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How to Make SEO-Friendly Videos

Creating videos is a great way to inform and engage an audience. However, for your video campaign to be successful, it should also reach users who aren’t already familiar with your brand. To do this, it’s important your video displays in the search results for related search engine queries. Although there are a number of techniques that can be implemented, let’s dive into some of the methods that will give your videos the greatest chance at gaining visibility.

Video Optimization Best Practices

1. Take Advantage of Video Markup: The very first step in making your video SEO-friendly is to help Google properly index them. In most cases, the page where your video is embedded is not descriptive enough to allow search engines to index your video. Google requires three key pieces of information to properly index a video:

  1. A title
  2. A description
  3. A thumbnail

To pass this information to Google, you have two options: On-page markup or video sitemaps. On-page markup is hidden, descriptive text added within the source code of your web page. Schema is a markup format that has been collaboratively designed and supported by the three major search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. To learn more about on-page markup and implementing it on your site, visit schema.org. Video sitemaps are XML documents which describe your videos to search engines. You can learn more about video sitemaps to get started.

2. Optimize Text Content: Similar to optimizing webpages, keyword research should be performed before creating your video to find popular terms people are searching for related to your video’s topic. You can find relevant terms by simply typing a query into the search bar of YouTube or Google.

search bar auto-population results

Optimizing the title tag and meta description for the page on your site where the video will be embedded will also help search engines understand what your video is about. It’s also important to make sure the keywords are highly relevant to your video’s topic and not just working as click bait that will disappoint the user and make them bounce off the page. If you’re hosting the video on your site, make sure there is supplemental information relevant to the video’s topic on that same page. The goal is to provide relevant, informative content that encourages users to share your video.

3. Include a Video Transcript: Speaking of content, adding a transcript to your video is another way to include text that search engines can crawl to determine what your video is about. Video transcripts also provide additional room to optimize with keywords, making your video more SEO-friendly. In addition, video transcripts make your videos more accessible to other users – especially those who may be hearing impaired or are not a native speaker.

video transcript example

4. Upload the Video to Multiple Locations: Hosting the video on your site is a great way to attract visitors to your website and convert leads. In addition, hosting the video on your own domain ensures search engines won’t direct traffic to another site. However, if you’re wanting to increase brand awareness, posting your video on multiple platforms (i.e. YouTube & Vimeo) will allow you to reach a larger audience who may not already be familiar your brand. In addition, publishing your videos on YouTube and other video hosting platforms will ensure your videos are automatically optimized for mobile viewing. This brings us to our next point…

5. Ensure Your Video is Mobile-Friendly: In late 2016, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, meaning Google will predominantly use the mobile version of a site’s content for indexing and ranking. These days, most users are viewing videos on their smartphones. So, it’s more important than ever to ensure your site and videos are responsive to mobile-viewing. Additionally, it’s best to avoid using Adobe Flash. Although Flash has some advantages, this technology typically slows down the loading speed of your site. Slow sites typically have less user engagement, higher bounce rates, and lower organic visibility overall.

mobile device video

This is not a comprehensive list of optimization techniques, but these methods will ensure your videos are primed to gain greater visibility within search engines. Although the technical aspects of video optimization are necessary, a video campaign must not ignore the human element. Crafting a well-optimized video that is informative, entertaining, and evokes emotion will pave the path for tremendous results.

11 Essential Influencer Marketing Facts and Statistics

Influencer marketing is a phenomenon of modern marketing that places expert consumers in the role of consultants for buyers looking to make informed purchase decisions – and the power of influencers is growing every day.

Influencer marketing is the management of exchange relationships between service and product providers and trusted consumers with authority over a target audience.

Social media, one of the main mediums for influencers to flex their marketing muscle, has a white-knuckle grip on the youth of the early 2000s. Over the past 10 years, social media has built an entire digital world in which millennials socialize, create, and consume. The majority of their interactions and decisions happen online, and now they are reaching the age at which they are making and selling products and services. The wise marketer should pay attention to the growth rate of influencer marketing and track the statistics that can help craft a successful influencer marketing strategy and campaign.

To get you started and thinking about influencer campaigns and research, we’ve dug up some surprising influencer marketing statistics:

influencer marketing facts and statistics infographic

74% of people trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions

Three out of every four customers trust the opinions on social media, including friends, family, and influencers, to help them make the right decision about a product or service. If you’re not working with influencers, you could be losing those customers to your competition.

49% of people rely on influencer recommendations

That’s nearly half of all potential customers. Influencers build trust by creating a memorable brand and creating useful and relevant content. When consumers feel safe with influencer recommendations, they follow them and purchase those products.

In 2016, influencer marketing surpassed print marketing

According to Google Trends, the following three marketing channels deserve your attention:

  • Video marketing is still the most promising marketing channel
  • Influencer marketing is moving in on video marketing
  • Print marketing is falling behind in effectiveness

“Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing.” – Tomoson

Customers are blocking ads

47% of customers have reported that they use ad-blocking technology when browsing. Only 14% of people can remember when they last saw an ad and what it promoted. The power is shifting to the influencers – real people with real opinions.

75% of marketers claim to have allocated money for influencer marketing

Unless you’re already actively enticing influencers to try your product or service, your competition has you beat. Marketers know that influencer marketing is a top contender for marketing channels – it’s time to hop on board with social networks and influencers.

Businesses make, on average, $6.50 for every $1.00 spent

Tomoson found data that backs a huge return-on-investment for marketers and companies who use influencer marketing. At an average of $6.50 in revenue for every single dollar spent, the risk is, at least for now, well worth the reward.

Marketers spent $25,000 – $50,000 per influencer marketing program in 2016

Linquia’s deeper research found that spending on influencers has increased, as well. Most budgets for influencer marketing fall within the $25,000 – $50,000 range, which matches the external marketing budgets of small-medium sized companies.

Instagram has 700 million users

And a majority of those users are in the 16-24 year age range. Connecting with youth through social media outlets like Instagram enables access to a wealth of consumers, most of whom are endlessly hungry for consumer goods.

40% of Twitter users made a purchase based on a tweet

At least one purchase based on a tweet at such a high percentage means influencers do, indeed, have the ability to affect the decision-making process for customers. Engagement with influencers over Twitter has the potential to drive sales for goods that have previously been unavailable.

64% of brands are on Snapchat

Plus, they are reaching 301 million active users per month. Though Snapchat requires more creative marketing than most social channels because of the nature of the application, it also yields instant influence in the hands of powerful influencers who market across channels.

67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers

That 67% goes beyond the 75% of marketers who have just set aside a budget. 67% of marketers are actively engaging with influencers and striking deals to promote products and services using their hard-built trust.

If you haven’t started looking into influencer marketing, take the time to get familiar by logging into your social accounts and exploring the accounts of users with large followings. Observe their words, actions, and photos, then start imagining how they can use those tools to promote your or your client’s products and services.

It’s not too late to get on board and start an influencer marketing campaign. Develop a strategy that includes some of your industry’s top influencers, and show them how useful and valuable your product or service is. If you have questions, talk to the masters of marketing at Leverage Marketing, and check out our Guide to Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget eBook to make sure you’ve got room in your budget to sway those influencers today.

How to Use Visual Content in Your Marketing

In the world of digital marketing, visual content is:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Charts & Graphs

You use visual content in marketing by selecting and designing it to enhance the communication of your message – and we know how critical that message can be to the success of your enterprise.

Using visual content and imagery in marketing should be a practice in helping every possible customer or client understand what your business offers, how it can help him or her, and how he or she can get it.

concept image of logos of companies teaming up for profit Learn how to maximize the effectiveness of your imagery with our visual content marketing strategies.

Don’t Fear Images

Our brains process visual content and text in two contrasting ways. Though it may not seem like it, parsing the meaning of language is a work-heavy procedure, especially when compared to the brain power necessary to find meaning in an image.

We figure out images an impressive 600,000 times faster than we figure out text. They also evoke stronger emotional responses and elicit action more often than pure text. We tend to only read about 20% of the text on a webpage – but with the help of images, we can understand large concepts and remember them more easily than we would by reading about them.

Imagine the concept of the Leverage Marketing team giving you the gift of free marketing knowledge. We’ve wrapped it up in a blog and we’re handing it to you, here and now, obligation-free and with the hope that you’ll use it to better your business. How would you represent that concept?

Mouse-over below to see our version of the concept.

hands holding purple gift box for free marketing knowledge concept

The way to engage with images is by assigning a purpose to each image. Every photo or illustration you choose to use should be able to drive home a point and leave a lasting impression. Creating custom images is the best way to ensure that there is meaning behind each image, but if you don’t have the resources to do so, then don’t be afraid to invest the time necessary to search for and acquire only the most relevant images.

There are four common types of images we use in visual content marketing:

Standard Images

purple fruit watermelon representing standard images

These are the images you see pasted into pages and blogs to enhance the consumer experience. They can range from memes to photographs and tell a part of the story that can’t be communicated through text alone.

Icons

female testimonial icon

Icons are miniaturized, simplified versions of full-sized images. An icon is a representative or symbol of something. In much the same way that an image represents an idea from text, an icon represents an idea from an image.

Screenshots

green leverage computer with facebook screenshot

To make it easier to describe complex computer issues or processes, smart marketers use screenshots. These are still grabs from your computer screen that share with the viewer everything viewable to you on your monitor – or, with a little editing, the parts that you want the viewer to see.

Infographics

leverage infographic kit example

Infographics are the capstones of images. They combine the features and storytelling power of different types of images to create a fully-realized graphics and marketing experience. Often, they also include text to ensure that viewers have access to the complete body of information.

Tips for Using Images and Graphics in Your Visual Content Marketing Strategy

There’s more to beginning to use images than just including them in your next content piece. Try these tips to make sure your images are helping you reach your marketing goals:

  • Don’t treat images like filler content – If you start adding non-relevant images just for fun, you’ll quickly raise your page’s load time too high with content that doesn’t contribute to your message… and probably confuses your viewer.
  • Be careful of file size – 200 kilobytes should be your absolute maximum, with few exceptions, but you should aim to keep almost all of your images 100 kilobytes or below to keep load times rock-bottom.
  • Tie in image appearance – A rowdy mix of illustration styles and random photos, with and without borders, and with wildly varying color schemes and value ranges is a heavy burden on your professional credibility. Use your brand’s colors as a base for your images. Pick a category, such as photos or illustrations, along with a consistent style, such as flat design or matte painting, for reliable results.

Did you notice that most of our graphics use our brand colors? That’s how you pull your imagery together!

Start Making Videos

You can’t stop video from becoming more and more relevant. Most of what you consume on social media is now either images or video – text has taken a seat way, way behind visual media.

hit play video with leverage colored treesGeneration Z youth, born between 1995 and 2012, now spend about 10 hours a day online between all of their available devices. 70% of this demographic watch over two hours of videos on YouTube alone every day.

If you want to capture their attention (and the attention of those outside the Gen Z demographic) then you have to start making and outreaching videos now. But beware – producing video is so much more than talking into a phone camera.

Record, edit, and post videos like these to start driving website visits and page views:

  • Weekly broadcasts
  • Influencer interviews
  • Testimonials
  • Customer service videos

Think of creative ways to use the videos – we’ve suggested some unique video ideas before that you might want to check out. You can:

  • Add videos to blogs
  • Post videos on your social media channels
  • Share videos with influencers
  • Use videos to enhance service & product exploration

Make and Use a YouTube Account

Google is the most widely used search engine, and they already own YouTube. It’s a win-win to create a YouTube account to host your videos, because Google has the greatest access and integration with its own service.

If you let Google-owned YouTube host your videos, you’re much more likely to rank highly for your target keywords in organic search – and that’s a smart visual content marketing strategy. Just don’t forget to embed your YouTube videos in relevant areas on your site and social media channels.

Integrate Charts & Graphs When Possible

Build ‘em in Excel, Piktochart, Canva, or Adobe Illustrator – whatever creative program you have access to, use it to create visually appealing graphs and charts.

You can embed Google Trends graphs directly into your content.

OR you can build your own Excel charts – and they actually look all right!

shopping interest excel chart in green

Seeing an astounding statistic in text is one thing, but watching bars and lines rise and fall gives you a physical sensation of the impact of statistics, a power tool in visual content marketing. In marketing, graphs and charts drive home information as well as emotion – and can sometimes call your audience to action.

Tailor Your Visual Content Marketing Strategy Directly to Your Audience

If you’re selling to millennials, push video on social media. If you’re targeting 30-50 year old professionals, employ engaging infographics and interviews with influential industry leaders. Each demographic consumes in a different way, but they all have one thing in common:

Everyone consumes visual content.

Leverage Marketing provides visual content marketing services from strategy to execution. Connect with us today and get moving on a graphics and marketing plan to increase traffic and qualified leads!

B2B Video Marketing for Service-Based Businesses

You can spend acres of website real estate trying to explain the inner-workings and objectives of your service when you own a B2B business, but video marketing is the only way to demonstrate accurately what you can do for customers.

While it’s essential to provide text explanations of your service and its benefits to your potential customers, today’s service shopper relies more on visual media to consume information. The brain uses different processes to parse information from text versus video, and modern consumers have chosen the ease of consumption of video over the rigor of processing text.

Luckily, video marketing strategy for B2B businesses fits right into the needs of those customers. Outbrain found in their State of Content Marketing 2012 report that social media, video advertising, and content marketing are perceived by marketers to be the most potent strategies for improving brand awareness, consideration, and affinity. The goals of customers and of marketers align beautifully when video marketing integrates with service-based businesses.

graph of video advertising revenue projected for 2021

Considering a video marketing strategy for your B2B enterprise? Educate yourself with our short guide to video marketing for B2B service-based businesses.

Understanding the Objectives of B2B Videos

google five star rating stars in 3d Just as clever and successful entrepreneurs lay down solid, achievable goals before setting off into the province of business, video marketers must mold the objectives of their videos to the dreams of their clients.

It all starts with the aims of B2B service companies and the common issues across which they run. Some of the broad objectives commonly sought in B2B video marketing include:

Building Trust

In early 2017, videos on a landing page were able to increase conversions by 80% or more. It’s a sign of trust – customers felt more comfortable with businesses that explained their product or service using a video on a landing page.

It’s like working with a salesperson who can masterfully demonstrate the proper use and value of the product that he or she is selling. Words can only do so much to build your trust – most of us have to see it to believe it, and video marketing for B2B companies provides the opportunity to do so.

Offering Transparency

According to Vendasta, 95% of unhappy customers will return to a business if that business resolves the issue in question efficiently. It’s a sign that even those customers who link your brand heavily with negative emotion respond to transparency.

You can win the loyalty of potential customers and help possibly unhappy customers understand where things went wrong by offering them a peek behind the scenes into your business. Show how you perform your service and why it is legitimate, and comfort your potential buyers by explaining your commitment to the process and why it works.

Improving SEO

The methods of SEO and customer acquisition practices lead to the same result: the provision of useful information to potential buyers. Note that blogs with video integrated into them bring in three times as many inbound links as ordinary posts without video.

Outside of blogs, videos have the potential to do even more to enhance overall site rankings in Google and other major search engines. Customers who are more inclined to watch your video from beginning to end provide search engines with the information they need to determine how effective your videos are at explaining your service and how that performance compares to your competitors.

Common Video Types for Service-Based Businesses

box showing several sides representing video type variation

When you look up services in your area, you may notice businesses that offer services using B2B video marketing in the following ways:

Process Demonstrations

Process demonstrations enhance transparency, which improves customer awareness and loyalty.

But beware: people won’t be interested in a step-by-step re-reading of your business process manual. Pull the interesting parts from your services, show them in action, and enlighten your potential customers. Answer their frequently asked questions as you explain your process, and delight them with factoids and other engaging information.

Results Videos

Show what life is like after customers have received your service with results videos. Display the positive emotions of customers who are pleased and how your service improves their lives, workflow, etc.

You can achieve the effect using animation, actors, or the words and demonstrations of real-life pleased customers. When you can genuinely show your potential customers what’s in store for them when they put down money on your service, you gain an edge most of your competitors don’t have yet.

Testimonials

Maintaining a positive online presence and building a happy customer base are matters of course in business. But B2B companies that use video marketing have a distinct advantage: they can post permanent positive reviews that connect emotionally with customers through testimonial videos.

74% of consumers have said that seeing positive reviews for a local business makes them trust that business more. A testimonial video stands as an immovable positive review that appeals to an emotionally potent part of the brain in consumers. It’s a testament to a remarkable achievement made by you and your company, and your potential customers will laud it, too.

How-To Videos

How-to videos have a two-fold advantage:

  • They show customers how to use your service effectively
  • They get customers engaged with your service without overwhelming them

Your prospective customers can, at their own pace, enjoy and learn from how-to content provided by and branded with your company. Letting customers get hands-on with your service provides them the freedom they need to determine how effective your service will be to them on their own time.

Get Started Right Away

If you want to take advantage of the benefits of video marketing for B2B, formulate your strategy as soon as possible. If you can gain the edge on your competition, they’ll have a tough time catching up as you continue to evolve your B2B video marketing strategy, and the SEO advantages will have a strong head start, as well.


 

Leverage Marketing’s video marketing team is fully prepared to write, shoot, and edit all types of marketing videos for B2B enterprises. Watch our videos and find out more straight from us!

How to Use Social Media for Ecommerce

For ecommerce businesses, social media is going to become and may already be one of the most formidable arenas for advertising to potential customers. If you’re an ecommerce business owner, you can take advantage of the reach of social media to find potential customers at any part of the sales funnel.

hands holding purple box toward customer for marketing on social mediaUse of social media as an advertising tool for ecommerce businesses is sneaking up on social network addicts as well as the businesses and marketers that advertise to them. The birth and rapid expansion of influencer marketing has also pushed shoppers to start their buyer’s journey on popular social websites like Instagram and Facebook.

In those same places, advertisers are dropping chunks of their advertising budgets on videos that demand viewer attention and get them interested in products about which they didn’t know. Ecommerce sites may still be able to generate significant revenue without social media presence, but they will be missing out on an enormous audience of potential buyers – an audience that their competition may already be targeting.

Not convinced? These facts and statistics about social media for ecommerce businesses may change your mind:

how to use social media for ecommerce facts and statistics infographic

 

Get into Social Media for Your Ecommerce Business Now

Building a social media presence doesn’t happen overnight. You can use social media as one of your main advertising channels for your products, but you have to build an audience first, and if you want to make money, it better be a large audience.

Plus, you’ll need to figure out where your branding fits into your social media persona. Grab your accounts now, and if you already have them, start posting as soon as possible with product descriptions, special offers, and quick graphics and advertisements.

Information and data provided in this article and in the attached infographic were assembled and revised from articles provided by experts at the following websites:

Entrepreneur
Statista
TechCrunch
The Telegraph


 

Your friendly Leverage Marketing team is already hard at work creating social media opportunities for ecommerce businesses. We know how to push product announcements, bring in customers for awesome sales, and find new audiences for your products. Talk to one of us today to learn more, and don’t forget to join our newsletter for invaluable marketing know-how you won’t find anywhere else!

Mother’s Day Marketing Secrets that Lead to Profitability

Mother’s Day is one of the biggest commercial holidays of the year. Thanks to companies like Hallmark and the power of collective guilt, in 2015 the average consumer spent $173 on Mother’s Day gifts. The holiday has expanded from mothers to wives, daughters, sisters, grandmothers—women in general. The challenge, therefore, is figuring out how to develop Mother’s Day marketing ideas for this larger population.

Developing a Mother’s Day marketing strategy before the holiday is integral to your success. With an increased focus on online shopping, three in 10 shoppers will buy a Mother’s Day gift online this year, using mobile phones to research and purchase their gifts. By developing a mobile-focused and forward-looking approach to Mother’s Day advertising, your brand can succeed this year.

Marketers use conventional techniques around holidays like Mother’s Day to entice shoppers, including free shipping (55%), price cuts (44%), and coupons (41%).mother's day marketing techniques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But beyond these apparent techniques, here are some of our Mother’s Day marketing ideas to help your business delight customers and the important women in their life this year:

Video Marketing

Mother’s Day video marketing campaigns like Proctor & Gamble’s 2016 Olympic Games’ ad employ emotional techniques, invoking the bond between mother and child. This Mother’s Day marketing strategy displays the strength of mothers and how they help their children succeed. Developing Mother’s day video marketing campaigns can be extremely successful, as videos like this can perform up to 20% better than similar as placements.

This P&G ad has over 22 million views at the time of publication. The ad shows Olympic athletes’ mothers helped them in their journeys to the Rio games, comforted them in times of struggle, and supported them through everything.

When creating Mother’s Day video advertising ideas for your product or brand, attempt to play on the feelings of the audience—the connection between mother and child, or wife and husband. By utilizing emotional advertising techniques, you can capture market share and increase your sales around Mother’s Day.

Contests and Giveaways

No matter the season or holiday, consumers love contests and giveaways. You can utilize sweepstakes and giveaways around products you’re promoting to drum up excitement for your Mother’s Day sales and marketing efforts. Tie your special or contest into the items you’re trying to sell, such as beauty products, chocolates, or flowers for mom.

Offering a high-value prize, like a spa day or a vacation package for two, can get customers talking about your brand. This type of Mother’s Day marketing strategy can be an excellent way to get email sign-ups for your mailing list as well.

Gifts and Mother’s Day Specific Products

When creating Mother’s Day marketing, focus your deals and promotions on specific gifts for Mother’s Day. Remember that Mother’s Day goes beyond gift-giving for mothers–to aunts, sisters, grandmothers, wives, and even daughters. You can create Mother’s Day packages targeting specific segments of the population, as well as those to whom they want to give the gift.

Nostalgia is a powerful factor in driving customer engagement—whether it’s a child buying their mother a gift that’s reminiscent of a good time in their lives or a husband giving his wife a gift reminding them of how happy they are to be parents. Utilize social media to promote your Mother’s Day gift packages—Pinterest and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms for Mother’s Day.

Email Marketing

Before beginning an email marketing campaign for Mother’s Day, it’s important to segment your email lists and create email content that speaks to your individual customer bases. As Mother’s Day is a diverse holiday, create well-crafted emails targeting those who plan far in advance—in addition to emails for last-minute gifts will allow you to maximize your email list.

Simply starting email subject lines with “Mother’s Day” will also increase your success, as titles that start with the holiday phrase have a 16% higher engagement rate than those that include the phrase later in the line. By segmenting your lists, using Mother’s Day-front loaded subject headings, and writing original emails, you can succeed in capturing market share during the holiday.

Mother’s Day PPC Campaigns

mother's day flower image

To make an impression this Mother’s Day, work with your PPC team to create a campaign several weeks before the holiday. Make sure to update relevant ad copy for Mother’s Day product categories and talk to your team about prioritizing bids for Mother’s day product categories, including popular gifts and presents.

A smart Mother’s Day PPC marketing strategy would be to start with low bids on broad queries and then segment and monitor engagement to accurately remarket to likely customers. Advise your PPC team to save ad dollars for last-minute Mother’s Day shoppers as well.

By using these techniques and other Mother’s Day advertising ideas, you can increase your sales and build goodwill towards your brand. Mother’s Day grows each year, with spending reaching $21.2 billion in 2015. Grab a slice of the pie by utilizing these marketing strategies.


If you need help with your Mother’s Day advertising strategies, the Leverage Marketing team can help you develop a plan to increase your sales and website reach. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news in the digital marketing world from Leverage.

 

6 Unique Ways to Use Video in Your Marketing

Scroll down your Facebook feed, catch up on Twitter, or rummage through Instagram, and you’ll notice immediately the use of video in marketing. Visit a major retailer or electronics developer’s website and you’re likely to stumble on how-to and explainer videos.

Why use video in marketing? Because leverage green computer with mock facebook on screen and videosopportunity exists to market your goods or services within those channels to customers who need and want them with a bit of clever video creation.

It’s no simple task to learn how to use video in marketing, but there are some rarely traveled avenues for video that your competitors probably haven’t explored yet. The following unique ways to use video in your marketing all require only a basic video setup with a microphone and some free space.

Attention-Grabbing GIFs

Animated GIFs don’t just have to come from your favorite TV shows and movies – you can shoot a custom video and turn it into an animation that will pull your website visitors’ attention immediately.

eric promotion highlight animation pointing at text to the leftUse GIFS to:

  • Draw attention to a CTA
  • Make an offer
  • Enhance branding
  • Inject personality

You can use GIFs on your website, in your emails, on social media, and in presentations. Just don’t overdo it – too many GIFs in inappropriate places will hinder your professional credibility. If you don’t have software like Adobe Photoshop to make custom GIFs, use Giphy’s GIF Maker to assemble your animations.

Video Email Signatures

Give prospects, business partners, and clients a chance to look through another entertaining and enlightening window into your business by adding a crafty signature video to your email signature block.

 

The video should exhibit your individual personality and include some elements of your work culture. There’s no one format, and you can film it anywhere at any time. Like most videos, keep it short – it should be fun for the viewer and heighten their goodwill and respect for your company.

Weekly Broadcasts

leverage purple computer showing weekly broadcast showWeekly, monthly, or even daily broadcasts uploaded to YouTube are beneficial to your SEO and can also be easily posted and shared through major social networks like Twitter and Facebook. If your site garners a healthy amount of traffic, you can also feature them on an exclusive part of your website and encourage visitors to register for other special content that you provide.

Assemble short videos to:

  • Display new products
  • Update customers on upcoming products
  • Announce new services
  • Provide industry tips

If you haven’t addressed them in a while, you can also just say hello to your audience. Your broadcasts are most likely to catch views if you share them on social media and encourage others to share as well. However, you can still get some traction by recording periodical videos to create a library of company news and events as well.

Interviews with Influencers

leverage green computer showing interview with influencer

Influencers hold phenomenal authority in the world of social media, which gives them the ability to direct customers to a product or service they deem worthy of their fans’ attention. If you’re using influencer marketing as part of your marketing plan, you’re already on the right track to reaching your target audience and bringing your product or service to the people that are currently looking for it.

 

Influencers and video both currently dominate social media. Combine these trends to multiply the results of your efforts.

Broadcast and record live chats and interviews with influencers about your product. Do it question-and-answer style or just spend some time thanking an influencer for his or her endorsement and reinforcing the reasons that your product or service is worthy of attention from influencers and their followers. You can then turn your live videos into exceptional testimonials for your website.

Unscripted Testimonials

leverage purple computer showing video testimonialVideo testimonials exist scarcely in the deep recesses of the Internet – but that’s not because they aren’t effective. Text-and-photo testimonials still dominate because they are easy to make and post. But by employing only a small amount of additional effort, you can collect a few video testimonials that will tell more than text ever could.

Coordinate with happy customers and offer them an incentive if they don’t seem to have time to fit you in. A one-off free service or product offering is an incredible price for a video testimonial. Prepare a short list of questions to ask to get organic responses and provide the list to the customer beforehand.

Try some of the following questions:

  • What do you like about our product or service?
  • Can you tell me a story about a time when our product or service helped you or your business?
  • Why do you plan to continue to buy or use our product or service?

Bring customers or clients in for a shoot (don’t forget to ask them their name and company while recording), send them on their way, then do a quick edit for a 30-second testimonial and you’ll capture a new level of trust from your audience.

Offline Customer Service

leverage green computer with hammer and wood showing offline service videosCustomer service representatives often have a script from which they read to help customers solve their problems. Save your customer service team some time and eliminate the troubleshooting script with a video or series of videos that attempts to show customers and clients how to solve basic problems without human guidance.

Draw from an available Frequently Asked Questions database or start collecting information from your customer service department. Then draw out a script with step-by-step instructions on how to fix problems. Give the videos a single, cohesive format and brand them so your customers know that it’s your company that cares enough to give them a hand solving their problems.

Get creative with your videos, and no matter how you’re doing them, make sure:

  • Your brand is clear
  • Your actors are recurring
  • Your video fulfills a need
  • Your video’s content has not been done before

Follow content marketing best practices (provide useful information, don’t manipulate your audience, etc.) when creating and sharing videos to increase their power. When executed correctly, videos can enhance almost every part of your digital marketing strategy. Try to find new ways to integrate video into multiple marketing channels at once to take your brand or company to the top – fast!

Leverage knows video marketing. We stay up to the minute on video trends to keep our skills sharp and share information with trusted readers and clients like you. Stay afloat in the video information flow by signing up for our newsletter today. It’s easy, free, and loaded with marketing magic.

Brand Marketing at SXSW: How to Make Your Brand Stand Out

South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media and music conferences that take place in Austin, Texas. With increasing attendance and new attention-grabbing tech displays each year, brands struggle to get noticed at SXSW. How can your brand bring a unique experience to SXSW that translates into something unforgettable? It’s increasingly difficult to get noticed when every consumer-facing company gives out free swag, throws parties with free beer, and shows off the latest technology.

SXSW is known for helping to launch Foursquare and Twitter, and the conference regularly screens excellent films and television shows, many of which go on to great acclaim. Marketing at SXSW is an increasingly complicated endeavor, as getting noticed above all the buzz is difficult enough. Brands struggle to tie in product releases, navigate consumer trends, and figure out how to draw attendees to their events.

While every SXSW is different, last year some successful brand activations made their mark on attendees and marketers. Creating SXSW marketing that stands out sometimes means doing something a little different than what everyone else is doing (or what you think they’re going to do).

Each of these SXSW brand activations highlights a unique aspect of their product and communicates that to the audience—something every brand needs to do. While you may be successful by just following the current marketing trends– whether that’s virtual reality, make-your-own soda, or just giving out free stuff—doing something that conveys your signature SXSW brand image will likely be more successful.

American Greetings

american greeting sxsw branding

credit: @mullenloweus

It might seem odd for a greeting card company to even come to SXSW, let alone do a brand activation. But American Greetings wanted to disrupt the mold of disruptive digital technology by bringing in the analog. Their three-day 2016 promotion was entitled #Analog and allowed festivalgoers to do DIY printmaking and pop-up cards. They could learn letter-making techniques from an American Greetings artist, fill in a coloring book mural, and even get a selfie stitched with thread. American Greetings’ message is not to say that digital communication is not important or analog can replace digital communication, but rather that they’re complementary. Many people don’t slow down to send paper cards, and American Greetings’ SXSW marketing message is that analog still matters, and we should slow down to appreciate it.

Suicide Squad

Another unique brand activation at SXSW 2016 was Suicide Squad’s tattoo salon. Although the movie didn’t come out until Summer 2016, Warner Brothers started promoted it early through this special Harley Quinn-inspired experiential marketing. Instead of just doing a sneak peek of the film, Warner Bros transformed Affinity Tattoo and Body Piercing into Harley Quinn’s Tattoo Parlor—and offered free real (and temporary) tattoos. This brand activation got people excited about the film, created a unique SXSW marketing angle, and involved artists and fans in an innovative way, without using virtual reality or alternate reality to do so.

Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot, a techie show that launched at the 2015 SXSW festival and won the SXSW Audience Award, wanted to come back in 2016 and make a splash. The show’s marketing team figured there was no better way to do way to do that than to bring their iconic “Wonder Wheel” Ferris wheel to Austin. In one of the largest SXSW brand activations to date, USA Network designed the Ferris wheel to look like the Coney Island Wheel in the show, complete with nearby carnival games. The Mr. Robot cast and crew even visited SXSW to pay homage to the success the festival helped them garner—and of course, see the Wonder Wheel in real life. By creating SXSW branding that directly references the television show and allows the audience to experience a piece of their world—Mr. Robot succeeded in their SXSW marketing.

Mophie

If you have a smartphone, you’ve probably heard of Mophie. They make external batteries and cases to charge your favorite devices. As you can imagine, at SXSW, battery life gets eaten up pretty quickly. Between all the tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, and interactive brand activations and events, your smartphone may be dead before the day is half over. But Mophie is here to rescue you—with adorable St. Bernards. At 2016’s SXSW, Mophie partnered with the National St. Bernard Foundation, Glympse, and a motorcycle company to bring you a fresh phone battery when festivalgoers needed it. If someone tweeted using the hashtag #mophieRescue, the company would send one of its fleet of St. Bernards straight to them with a Mophie battery pack to charge up. This cute SXSW brand marketing makes Mophie look good, helps people out, and helps a good cause—dog rescues.

The Takeaway

SXSW is a brand marketing war. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different companies competing for attention from festivalgoers and consumers. Many companies try using the tried and true techniques of giving out free swag, throwing parties, and utilizing the latest technology trends. But these aren’t enough to truly make your product or company memorable. Take note of the uniqueness of the SXSW branding campaigns mentioned in this article—they all did something that was integral to their brand identity and helped their core audience in some way. If you can harness this mentality for your SXSW marketing, you can succeed in the crowded marketplace.


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Valentine’s Day Campaigns You’ll Love—and What You Can Learn from Them

Valentine’s Day marketing can be difficult for content creators and marketing companies alike. How can you tap your marketing arsenal into a holiday where the message is all about love? The most successful Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns utilize the “human factor,” connecting with their audience and establishing trust. Building a relationship with potential customers is the best way to go about Valentine’s Day marketing.

However, it’s easy to strike a false note when attempting to create efficacious Valentine’s Day marketing ideas. How do marketers seem genuine when creating their marketing campaigns? We’re going to look at several Valentine’s day marketing campaigns that hit the mark and analyze why they worked for their respective companies.

With an average spend of $142.31 per person, and nine out of 10 people buying a gift for their partner, Valentine’s Day is a big retail holiday. While certainly not in the same league as the winter retail season, over $18.9 billion is spent on Valentine’s Day, more money than Easter or the Super Bowl, and in the same league as Mother’s Day. Let’s take a deeper look into how you can capture a share of that spend with a successful Valentine’ Day marketing campaign.

WestJet Proposal Campaign

The #WestJetLove Valentine’s Day commercial was an exceedingly popular campaign in 2015 with over 1.2 million views, detailing two couples’ surprise proposals on Barbados. Canadian airline WestJet flew two couples out to Barbados with the catch that the men had to propose when WestJet asked them. This situation results in a tear-jerking, beautiful video of two couples’ love stories, watching love come to life on screen. With just the right degree of awkwardness, the video strikes a personal tone, brings the love element of Valentine’s Day, and gives you access into the couples’ lives.

As a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, #WestJetLove succeeds because it focuses on building a relationship with its customers. The ad isn’t describing how wonderful WestJet’s services are, but rather is a funny and sincere love story—a unique take on proposals that succeeds in showing the quirkiness of the company. Both JP and Stephanie’s and Mike and Heather’s love stories are relatable to the audience, but it’s the fun tone of the videos, complete with anticipatory music each time the host shows up—that push this campaign over the top.

The Takeaway

Try using personal techniques in crafting your own Valentine’s Day marketing ideas. How does your company or product appeal to your customers? Your Valentine’s Day advertising doesn’t have to correlate to your business—as long you’re connecting with your clients and driving traffic (and positive reception) to your site.

Cartier- The Proposal

Cartier’s “The Proposal” advertisement from 2015 is in some ways more insidious than WestJet’s—but tells a beautiful story in the process. Cartier lures you in with a touching three-part love story, telling simultaneous tales of Valentine’s romance (and struggle) between couples. The three couples in Paris are all slightly different ages, but the men’s aims are similar—to proclaim their love for the women in their lives.

The first, set in the Rodin Museum, tells a story of a man sending his wife on a scavenger hunt to find him until she finds the jewelry box (from Cartier) and he proposes. The second is set in the airport, as the wife is going away on a trip for six months. Her husband deftly removes her passport and re-proposes to her with a new ring (from Cartier). The last is set as a man and woman are separated by an elevator, and he desperately runs up the stairs, catching her as the doors open each time, making pleas that he cares for her. Eventually, he proposes—while she’s still stuck in the elevator.

The Takeaway

These intertwining stories of love in the City of Lights follow established rules of a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign. While enhanced by fantastic acting and a great storyline, the primary aim and focus of the advertisement are the Cartier rings. These gorgeous, diamond-studded rings make the audience want Cartier, associating love with the Cartier brand. That red box is instantly associated with love. Cartier has set up a world through these three stories, and at least eight million people have watched. Creating a successful Valentine’s day marketing campaign means associating your product with love, romance, and engagement. Cartier has done this—and you can do it too.

Netflix Binge for Love

Netflix’s 500 Hours Binge for Love video from 2016’s Valentine’s Day campaign capitalizes on Netflix’s successes in reaching out to its customers. The idea of “bingeing” a television show—watching a whole series quickly and viewing many episodes back-to-back– has grown familiar with the streaming service’s growing triumphs in the video space. This advertisement takes that concept and connects it to a blossoming love connection.

The man in the ad, after falling for the young woman shown at the beginning of the commercial, immediately watches all the available series of the Netflix original Orange is the New Black. It takes over his life for the span of the advertisement—he wants to impress the young woman. He is “bingeing for love.” The commercial cuts the tension when she hasn’t watched the season three finale with a singing group reprising the modified I Would Watch 500 Hours to them.

This advertisement succeeds on multiple levels. It capitalizes on Netflix’s new cultural cache and the concept of bingeing television shows. It also modifies an existing popular song for its purposes—successfully (unlike many commercial jingles), and it leaves the audience hanging. We don’t know if this couple will succeed, but the man has gone to absurd lengths to like her interests—and many in the audience can relate. We’ve all be in the situation where we’ve pretending to have an interest or like something as a conversational piece—and it works well here.

The Takeaway

What are your company’s strengths? Netflix has unique advantages in the cultural cache that they can incorporate into a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, but it’s about founding your company or product’s individual assets—and utilizing them. Use popular culture to your advantage—tap into ideas and concepts that appeal to your target audience (your buyer personas)—and you’ll come up with great Valentine’s Day marketing ideas.


If you need some help creating Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns that will hit the mark, talk to the marketing experts at Leverage Marketing. Contact us today, and we’ll assist you in crafting a Valentine’s Day campaign of your dreams. Our team can help you understand the sophisticated new marketing technologies on the market and how they can work for your business.

SEO Trends and Predictions for 2017

The beginning of 2017 may be a fresh start for you, but for Google, progress in the sphere of optimizing Internet search won’t slow for a second. The preference for mobile Internet consumption, the desire for quicker and denser content, mounting pressure to increase ad revenue, and the unstoppable development of digital assistants and voice search point to a new golden rule for search engine optimization (SEO) trends:

Make it for mobile.

Mobile-First Is Undeniable

chart of hours spent daily on mobile devicesSEO experts have been predicting the latest SEO trends as part of their jobs for years, and there’s one that keeps making an appearance in the latter 2010s: mobile is the future of Internet and search. Major search engines are putting mobile at the forefront as trends in SEO continually point toward the indomitable strength and convenience of mobile consumption.

More Americans are spending more of their free time watching the screens on their smartphones and tablets, according to comScore. If the amount of activity on social networks is any indication, it’s likely that most of those hours are spent scouring Facebook and Twitter feeds for images and videos. Social apps and mobile search are in line to become some of marketing’s biggest targets for paid advertisements and organic efforts. Changes in the way that search will respond to mobile users as well as desktop users point to an almost certain future of mobile takeover.

Mobile-First Indexing

In the latter half of 2016, at the beginning of October, the first iterations of mobile-first indexing became a reality. Mobile-first indexing resets the priority of Google’s indexing bot to read through a site’s mobile version when determining how a site should be indexed. That means Googlebot looks at the relevance, speed, and technical organization of mobile sites over desktop sites when it decides where your page goes on the search engine results page (SERP).

Desktop SERPs Match Mobile

December also saw a UI update for desktop search engine results pages that helped them match the appearance and function of mobile SERPs. Specifically, desktop users see more specialized cards such as featured snippets and maps when they perform searches that trigger those cards. Of course, in such early stages, the desktop experience isn’t quite optimized for desktop searchers:

how long does google take to index serp with mistake

As of 2016, producing cards for desktop searches runs into trouble when wording is ambiguous. In our example, it seems that Google understands our query to be something closer to “How long does it take, Google, to [get to] Index, [WA]?”

Fortunately, development of semantic search promises to inch ever closer to matching the meaning and understanding the context of searches and the searcher’s intent. Consistent improvements in machine learning allow more of your searches in 2017 to reflect the intent of your search rather than the face value of the words you have typed into the engine. While returning relevant search results has long been a goal of Google search, the rise of digital assistants and voice search has lit a new fire in the quest to teach machines to parse language in the same way as humans.

Progressive Web Apps

Google has created a streamlined way for business owners to build progressive web apps, mobile applications that integrate the in-app experience with web capabilities. In many ways, they are web pages that look and act like apps. The intent of progressive web apps is to keep users engaged with apps by:

  • Provided online and offline service
  • Drastically decreasing loading times
  • Eliminating the need for purchase and installation
  • Offering an app experience without the maintenance of an app

Progressive web apps are perhaps the first step toward creating seamless product and service shopping experiences without the need to download apps. Users can keep progressive web apps on the home screens of their mobile devices and load them instantly.

The goal is customer retention. According to Smashing Magazine, users are three times more likely to reopen a mobile application than a website, especially after receiving push notifications. If integrating the app experience with the web experience can make purchasing easier for users, SEO experts will need to focus efforts on driving more customers to those progressive web apps organically.

Video and Images Are Next

The Content Is King mantra is steadfast, but SEOs need to consider more than ever that content has a greater reach than text articles. Major search engines, too, are looking for ways to read and organize all types of content. The term content includes video, animations, and images as well as text. Quality videos and images are proven ways to increase customer engagement and retention, and SEO experts will need to find ways to optimize videos for search in 2017.

Multimedia works in all parts of the marketing funnel and matches the goals of SEO:

  • The intent to purchase of users who enjoy video ads increases by 97%
  • One-third of all online activity is encompassed by watching video
  • 87% of marketers are using video content

These incredible facts from HubSpot make the user preference for video and image content clear. Check out some of the ways marketers are using video content in 2016:

Branded Video Content on Social Networks

titanfall advertisement with video on facebook

Autoplay pushes social videos straight to the brain. When advertisements combine exciting content with beautiful presentation, customers watch – and buy.

Live Streaming

new york times live stream video facebook

Anyone can instantly live stream a video on lots of social networks. Companies can get on-the-spot engagement by sharing stories, information, or just entertaining audiences.

Background Video on Home Pages and Sales Pages

life of pi home page background video

Companies can capture attention instantly with moving backgrounds, then entice users to stay with text overlays or an in-video call to action.

GIFs everywhere

giphy home page with trending gifs

GIFs resonate with young audiences, and marketers are learning how to pull on their heartstrings with simple animations that celebrate their favorite people, movies, shows, and music.

Closer Ties for SEO and PPC

Ad-heavy search results mean that competition for top rankings in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising will likely push advertisers to improve the quality of their paid content. SEO experts must be ready to focus on improving quality scores for ads in 2017 as Google search moves toward a role as a PPC giant as well as an organic search engine giant.

Voice Search and Digital Assistants

The artificial intelligence that governs the functions of voice search and digital assistants is the focus of research for many of the companies developing such technologies, including Google. Digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant use artificial intelligence to attempt to understand natural language and harness that knowledge to produce useful information and resources for live people.

If they weren’t already, SEOs should look to improve relevance, usability, and permanence of content so that digital assistants and voice searchers can utilize the real language contained within the content to find the highest quality information.

What Should We Focus on in 2017?

In anticipation of an even more quickly changing search landscape, SEOs should focus on:

  • Crafting all SEO strategies and making design decisions based on mobile use
  • Building a video strategy that integrates with other marketing solutions
  • Sharpening PPC and paid search knowledge to keep customer rankings high in the paid sphere
  • Optimizing organic content to be found by digital assistants that understand real language

Don’t be afraid of change, be ahead of it, and remember: Make it for mobile.

Leverage Marketing can take you every step of the way through the SEO process – but we also do so much more. If you’re thinking about changing the way you market your business, let us guide you through it. Start by getting your hands on our 2017 Digital Marketing Budget Guide and find out what it will take to pull your marketing into 2017.