Fresh from the SPRING: rsk Audree | December 22nd, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this print design project.

Let us start the slow clap for rsk. Check out more great work on rsk’s profile page.

Nicely done, rsk, nicely done!

 

Repurpose Great Writing with Visual Content Marketing Nick Bowersox | December 20th, 2016

You read all the guides on digital marketing funnels, defined your audience personas, created your editorial calendar, and spent hours researching and writing the perfect content for your customers. After posting the content, your blog post got retweeted by an influencer and traffic to your site has doubled. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to do it again.

Effective content marketing can be a bit of a grind, especially for small teams or individuals with other marketing priorities to manage on a regular basis. According to a LinkedIn report, the number one challenge businesses face with content marketing is having the time and bandwidth to create content. The second challenge? Creating enough content variety and volume.

With limited time and an unlimited need for content, it is important to get the most out of your existing efforts before heading back to the drawing board. Instead of starting from scratch on your next piece of content, consider giving some of your best-performing blog posts new life by repurposing it for visual content marketing.

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The Scientific Approach to Fostering Durable Creativity (And How Crowdsourcing Can Help) Lauren Nelson | December 19th, 2016

Image Source: Pixabay

 

Creativity is often regarded as a key ingredient in professional success, regardless of field, and rightfully so. Whether you’re a scientist trying to figure out a solution to one of the world’s great problems, a therapist trying to break through with a difficult patient, or a coach looking for new ways to motivate your team, creativity is an essential component in achieving your goals.

But for businesses, creativity can often be seen as make or break. It’s not just about thinking differently as we attempt to solve problems, but finding the most creative ways to communicate how we go about the solving. In a world where dozens of companies are promising the answer to any given question, creative competitive positioning is frequently the only way to make sure your solution gets top billing in the target audience’s mind.

But to say creativity is a necessary part of business success is a lot easier than delivering on creative messaging. Especially in a digital world that moves at warp speed, it’s not difficult for brands to get to a point where they’re settling for “good enough” in order to keep pace with the demands of the marketplace. Breaking out of that cycle can be challenging.

But it doesn’t have to be. Science says so.

Creativity is usually discussed in a very abstract fashion; it’s an intangible and fickle commodity that’s impossible to teach or manufacture. At least, that’s always been the assumption. Recent research suggests otherwise.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Crowdfunding Odds With Strong Design Lauren Nelson | December 19th, 2016

Image Source: Wikipedia

 

330,940 projects launched. 12 million backers. $2.79 billion raised.

And that’s just on Kickstarter. To date.

Crowdfunding has been around for centuries, with roots traced to the early publishing space. Its more modern manifestations began in the late 90’s, with bands and film producers turning to the crowd to see their projects realized. ArtistShare launched in 2003, providing early proof of concept for internet crowdfunding, but it wasn’t until the launch of indiegogo in 2008 and Kickstarter in 2009 that the model really started to take off.

The concept is appealing, especially in a world where tough interest rates and fickle investors don’t exactly favor those without a sterling resume or cash to spare. Crowdfunding allows anyone with a vision and hustle to realize their dreams. By defining what you’d like to do, why you’re the person to do it, how you plan on getting it done, and what you’re able to offer to those supporting your efforts, you can attract thousands of small donations that help make it happen.

But make no mistake: launching a crowdfunding campaign for your latest, greatest idea is hard work. In the early days of internet crowdfunding, it might have been a bit easier. Not everyone was using the tactic, and expectations for how a campaign would be set up and run were much lower. But today, there are over 4,000 projects currently live on Kickstarter alone. The competition is fierce, and people expect much more from your campaign if they’re going to be forking over the money.

Your idea might be new, your experience might be light, but your brand needs to look ready to rumble right out of the gates.

“People underestimate the important role of strong design in their Kickstarter planning,” explains Brooks Johnson, seasoned Kickstarter campaign manager and founder of White Unicorn Agency. “40% of people respond more to visual stimulus in marketing than they do text. Are you speaking to them? What are you saying? From your logo to the images used on your campaign page to the collateral leveraged on social media to promote the campaign, you’re going to need a lot of brand-centric, compelling design assets to be successful.”

And Brooks would know. His 2013 Kickstarter campaign for audio reactive fashion wear brand DropShades started with a goal of $15,000, but raised more than $78,000 over 34 days — 520% over their target.

So what design assets are necessary to launch a successful crowdfunding project?

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Fresh from the SPRING: AVARTDE Audree | December 15th, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for AVARTDE. Check out more great work on AVARTDE’s profile page.

Nicely done, AVARTDE, nicely done!

The Small Business Guide To SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in 2017 Ross Kimbarovsky | December 14th, 2016

Image Source: SEO Linkbuilding

If you’re moving slowly or have yet to implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies as part of your overall marketing efforts, you’re falling behind your competitors. In fact, even if your competitors aren’t thinking about SEO, you’re still missing out because 93 percent of online experiences begin with search.

Let’s take a look at the top ten things you can do to make SEO an effective part of your 2017 marketing strategy:

1. Set Specific Goals.

Like every other strategy, it will prove impossible for you to measure the effectiveness of your SEO tactics unless you establish clear goals.

Why This Is Important: If you don’t establish specific goals, you will not be able to evaluate the opportunity costs of your SEO efforts or you might give up too quickly. For example, SEO typically takes months to implement properly. If you’re not seeing immediate results, you might be tempted to stop too early. Or you might actually see some early benefits and more conversions (i.e. more traffic to your site), but you will have difficulty assessing whether you could have increased the traffic even more through other marketing efforts. You’ll also have difficulty scaling your efforts. 

Tip: Think about what needs to happen for your business to succeed. For most businesses, success translates to more revenue (and profits). For example, if your revenue model is driven by advertising on your site, one interim goal could be to drive a certain amount of additional traffic to your site. If your revenue model is the sale of a service or product, your goal could be to get your cost per conversion  below a certain amount after 90 days. SEO strategies, if done properly, can definitely help you do this. You can learn more about setting goals in our post on Lean Marketing 101: Setting Goals.

2. Define Conversions Properly.

A conversion is an action that a user performs on your site. For example, if you care most about registrations of new users, a user who registers on your site from an SEO lead will count as a conversion. If you care most about traffic to your site, then any user that comes to your site from an SEO link will count as a conversion.

Why This Is Important: Conversions are important because you will want to know the cost to obtain each new conversion on your site. Although many SEO strategies have soft costs (your time to create great content, for example), there are still opportunity costs (and often hard dollar costs). You’ll want to keep the conversion cost below your profit from each transaction (unless the value of the customer to you over a period of time, is sufficiently high that you’re willing to pay MORE for the conversion cost than your profit for the initial transaction). Even if you measure your SEO investment in sweat labor only, you might find that investing your personal time in other marketing efforts could benefit you more.

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Guest Post: Increase Your Remarketing Success with Great Design Lauren Nelson | December 13th, 2016

 

Solid design is the key to growing your business. Period. Point Blank. Fin. We could (and probably will) talk until we’re blue in the face on this subject, but we thought it might be helpful to hear it from others as well. This guest post is part of a new series on the crowdSPRING blog highlighting the importance of investing in good design. Why design? The real question is: why not? 

 


 

Even though the numbers vary across different industries, according to Smart Insights, the average website conversion rate is definitely somewhere between 2% and 4%. In other words, a large majority of people who visit your site for the first time leave quickly, without some form of the desired action. And that is why some many companies have turned to remarketing.

So what is remarketing exactly? Basically, the term is used to describe the process of re-engaging prospects with email messages, in an effort to bring them back to your website. In other words, remarketing gives you a second chance to make a good impression. And this is why, according to statistics gathered by the Digital Information World, almost 70% of marketing agencies are moving from dollars from traditional marketing, and investing it into remarketing.

How Does It Work?

The term remarketing often gets confused with the term retargeting, partially because it works in a similar way. Just like with traditional retargeting, your remarketing process starts when a user opens your email, and a cookie is dropped into his browser. When the same user visits other sites on the Internet, your ad will be displayed prominently, and your brand will stay top of mind. This is also great for promotional purposes, because according to Exact Target, almost 80% of consumer prefer to receive promotional material through email than any other channel.

Email remarketing has become a top priority for marketers around the world mainly because shopping cart abandonment rates have increased significantly in the last couple of years. According to Sale Cycle’s most recent remarketing report, nearly 75% of consumers abandon eCommerce sites mid-purchase and leave their carts behind. This means that around three-quarters of people who visit your website and initiate an order will not complete it at all. So if you want to increase conversions, sending an immediate email to a person who left your shopping cart can be an extremely effective tactic.  

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Fresh from the SPRING: kps Audree | December 8th, 2016

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for kps. Check out more great work on kps’ profile page.

Nicely done, kps, nicely done!

How To Create Content Marketing Unicorns Ross Kimbarovsky | December 7th, 2016

unicorn-crowdspring-blog

Image Source: Lisa Brewster

Some marketers and companies do a phenomenal job building and executing their content marketing strategies. But the vast majority of marketers and companies, especially in B2B, continue to struggle with content marketing.

What’s the problem?

There isn’t one clear answer that explains why most companies do a poor job with content marketing.

Some companies do a poor job executing cross-channel marketing strategies. In a recent survey by Econsultancy and Adobe, only 14% of marketers reported that their organizations executed integrated campaigns across various marketing channels.

Other companies rely too much on a disparate mix of technologies that often don’t talk to each other. Did you know that there are nearly 4,000 marketing technology companies delivering services to marketers? (there were only 150 in 2011).

At the end of the day, I believe most marketers and companies fail with content marketing because they focus on “content” and ignore “marketing.”

Think about it for a moment. Why are you or your company creating and sharing content? As I wrote previously:

Content marketing refers to creating information (content) that has value to others. The creator of the content ultimately wants to sell a product or service to prospective buyers who benefit from the content, but the goal of content marketing is rarely to sell directly. Instead, the goal of content marketing is to encourage people to read and perhaps engage with the content, and to begin developing a relationship with the person or entity that created that content.

Most content marketers measure “engagement” as a re-tweet or a like. But successful content marketing must go beyond simple vanity metrics. For content marketing to succeed, it must help a company develop a relationship with a prospective customer. And for that to happen, content must create an emotional reaction in the prospective customer that more closely connects the prospective customer to your brand.

Many content marketers simply don’t understand this. Great content marketing is not about curating other people’s stuff. Larry Kim, CEO of WordStream explains:

Content marketers are wonderful people, but they tend to overestimate the originality of their ideas. I try to break out of the “industry” bubble and originate new research as opposed to just curating other people’s stuff. I don’t waste time publishing my findings if the results are along the lines of the status quo.

If you want to develop a relationship with people who read and engage with your content, then the “marketing” part of “content marketing” deserves as much of your focus as “content”.

Fortunately, great marketing has one common element that transcends languages and cultures. Marketing is storytelling. Great marketing is about phenomenal stories.

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The Truth About the Post-Truth World (And Why Businesses Should Care) Lauren Nelson | December 5th, 2016

shutterstock_213082246

 

Continuing with a longstanding tradition, the Oxford Dictionary has chosen 2016’s word of the year: post-truth.

Sound nonsensical? That’s actually kind of the point.

Post-truth, according to Oxford, is, “an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.’”

In a year punctuated by a bitter American election and mind-boggling Brexit vote, that sounds about right, doesn’t it? In both cases, the masses made decisions spurred not by facts but feelings, backed by a surge sharing of fake news on social media. When confronted with information that directly contradicted their feelings, few were moved to change their positions. It was never about the truth. It was about what they felt was true.

In fairness, though 2016 may stand out as an extreme manifestation of such decision making, it’s actually far from a novel social paradigm. And frankly, it’s not really a cultural thing. It’s literally hardwired into our brains, no matter how cool and analytical we might think ourselves.

 

It’s Science, Not Society

Well before the 2008 election, American clinical and political psychologist and Professor in the Department of Psychology and Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Emory University conducted a study examining the neural patterns exhibited by partisan and neutral voters when presented with conflicting information about candidates on both sides of the aisle. The goal was to see how the brain processed such contradictions — what parts of the brain were stimulated.

In the end, it was the sections governing emotion that lit up like a Christmas tree. As Westen explains in his book The Political Brain:

The political brain is an emotional brain. It is not a dispassionate calculating machine, objectively searching for the right facts, figures, and policies to make a reasoned decision. The partisans in our study were, on average, bright, educated, and politically aware. They were not the voters who think “Alito” is an Italian pastry, the kind of voters who have raised so many alarm calls among political scientists and pundits.

And yet they thought with their guts.

This is not a phenomena reserved to political decision making, either. In fact, research suggests that emotions not only drive our decision making, but that they are essential to it.

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