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November 14, 2018

How Do Businesses Benefit From Social Media?

Businesses pay-to-play, when using Social Media to communicate with prospects and customers. There are rewards for this investment, fortunately.

VISIBILITY Your business will be seen through your posts and event announcements. Then viewers of this content have the opportunity to share it with others. Also, visibility results through your website being more visible in search results because the search engines positively respond to your Social Media use.

TARGET Communication efforts do not have to be wasted. Social Media can deliver them directly to your target audience through the careful selection of which Social Media platform you use and also via Social Media advertising and the respective demographic selections you are afforded.

NEW CONNECTIONS Need a way to connect with new prospects? Social Media advertising can drive your message to those who do not already know you.

BUYING CYCLE ESCORT The digital nature of Social Media allows for ease of use of URLs in your posts. These URLs will escort viewers to additional online information or registrations/engagements/applications, advancing consumer movement in the buying cycle.

FREQUENCY We always remind you that “frequency” is the advertising secret sauce. Without it, one-and-done advertising is wasted time and money. Social Media offers additional communication channels, which can be cost respectful.

PUBLIC RELATIONS Enhance the value of your Public Relations efforts through the use of Social Media. When the online news covers your story, use that link in posts to further its reach to viewers. Or, you can purchase rights to scan and use printed information from the Media.

REAL-TIME Advertising typically involves production time, before the communication can be released. Social Media posts can happen as events and information unfold.

Even though Social Media is a pay-to-play form of communication for businesses, it can be a cost effective resource to drive your business forward.

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October 30, 2018

Is Social Media a Match for Small Businesses?

Before you create Social Media platforms for your small business, consider your target audience, goals, time, and budget.

TARGET Social Media platforms share demographic profiles of their users. These can be accessed through an online search. When selecting Social Media that best fits your business, compare these demographics with your current customers and prospects you are trying to reach – – look for a “match.” Once you start to use Social Media, keep an eye on the resulting metrics for your business page, to ensure that your target audience is truly being reached from your page. If not, you can try advertising on your Social Media, choosing “matching” demographics. Also, consider using a survey and ask your customers about their Social Media of choice, to determine the best match.

GOALS What are you trying to achieve through the use of Social Media? Document your goals and how you will measure achievement. With these stated goals, talk with other professionals within your network, to get feedback on how realistic your business goals are, from others’ experiences. This feedback does not have to be a barrier; you can always experiment on your own, but do not forget to evaluate performance. With recorded goals, you will have this baseline to return to down the road, giving you feedback and energy to make needed changes

TIME Yes, using Social Media communication channels does take time and time is money. Consider what time is available within your organization to devote to Social Media, while being sensitive to protecting your business image through this form of communication. Look for your human resources that have the following skills: copy writing, graphic design, web coding, photography, and videography. Not only will they need to post content, but they need to rely heavily on images through graphics, photos and video. Also, it will be important to respond to engagement on your business page from your followers AND seek out other pages for you to engage with, utilizing paths to additional business connections and ultimate business visibility. You may need to consider hiring a Social Media service. Our recommendation is to also incorporate some posts from within your business, to allow for real-time communication of information and to clearly communicate the voice of your culture.

Budget As “free” as Social Media may look to the personal user, for the business world, it is a pay-to-play communication tool. However, there is a return for your financial investment because search engines will acknowledge your use of Social Media and your website will be positively impacted through search results. Also, through your financial investment, messages will be seen by more of your target market and you will have the opportunity to connect with new prospects too. There is also the value of “frequency” – – reaching your target audience many times, positively effecting consumer memory. Through the use of some Social Media, your business news will become more visible by the media, as well.

Match your TARGETED prospects and customers with the demographic profile of your Social Media of choice. Document your goals, adding measurable results desired. Identify human resources to keep the Social Media up-to-date, positively adding to your business image. And, get ready to spend some money, finding your business’ sweet spot in the numbers game of how many connections does it take to move a prospect further along in the buying process.

Bottom line: multiple communication channels, used consistently over time, reaching your target market, increases sales.

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September 17, 2018

Google cracking down on websites it deems not secure

Google is STRONGLY encouraging a change to the use of HTTPS website certificates, which in the past were mainly used by financial and e-commerce websites. Google wants all websites to become more secure.

Google’s STRONG encouragement to date has been seen as:

  • placing “Not secure” to the left of your url in the address bar
  • not allowing any changes to current AdWord campaigns (recently renamed: Google Ads) without the HTTPS certificate
  • not allowing any new Google Ad campaigns without the HTTPS certificate

We expect more Google sanctions to come.

Each server has a unique offering of certificates. One of our servers has a no-cost HTTPS certificate which meets Google’s requirements. A minimal amount of labor time is needed. If you have questions, please feel free to ask Edge Advertising Group, 585-218-0011, Diane@EdgeAdGroup.com.

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June 8, 2018

On-hold Messaging

When it comes to making appointments and calling for information, there is always one thing you can count on more often than not—being placed on-hold. But what you think about being placed on-hold may be significantly different than what studies are showing. While a customer is sitting there, waiting to be helped, they’re actually experiencing a myriad of different things: your business’s customer service image, the information you want them to know, and both of those combine to keep the customer on the line, happy, and satisfied. Let’s take a closer look at how on-hold messaging works in these different categories.

Company Image and Customer Service

You’ve worked hard to create an identity for your company. On -old messaging helps you keep that image with your callers by helping them understand that you value their time, patience, and business. You can use on-hold time to promote yourself to callers that are interested in your products and services. Let them know why you are the right source for their needs. On-hold messaging can also act as a virtual front door for your store, giving callers hints about the quality and innovations your brand holds for them. By maintaining contact with them for the few minutes you are on-hold, you can assure the customer that you are worth their time.

Hours & Services

While you’re busy, your on-hold message is running every day, sharing information about your company with your callers, and it gives your callers something to listen to after every time you say, “please hold.” On-hold advertising gives you the opportunity to answer the most routine questions that are commonly asked by callers, such as business hours, location, and driving directions. More importantly, it gives you the opportunity to highlight your products, services, or capabilities, and lets callers know that you offer more than they think you do. On-hold messages give you the ability to cross-sell more of your products and services and keep your clients informed of new items available. You continue selling after that first sale by mentioning more of what you do. You’d be surprised how many callers will be saying “I didn’t know you also did that!”

Limiting Hang-ups and Preventing Lost sales

“Every time your phone rings, you’ve paid for that ring to occur! The one thing you absolutely can’t afford to have happen is that caller hang-up before you have the chance to serve them,” says On hold Inc. This is known as caller abandonment, and it results in lost customers, lost sales and wasted marketing dollars. Licensed on-hold music and messages are the only on-hold solution proven to keep callers waiting on the line for up to three minutes longer than silence, music or radio (illegal to use on-hold), reduces stress and frustration, and provides for a better overall customer experience. (source: https://www.onholdinc.com/mohblog/how-on hold-messaging-benefits-your-small-business/)

To conclude, with on-hold messaging, you greatly reduce the risk of hang-ups and lost business—with something interesting to listen to while they wait, your callers are more likely to stay on the line and wait for one of your staff to pick up. It helps you to keep your clients and prospective clients on the line. Listening to a nice, informative message while on-hold alters a caller’s perception of time and reduces their anxiety — time passes more quickly and they are not upset having to wait. When it is their turn and you pick up the phone to address their needs, they are ready to do business with you, and you have ensured the first step in what will be another great client interaction.

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March 8, 2018

Value of the Visual

As an advertising agency, we are instructed by multiple contemporary sources to increase the visuals and decrease the words. However, we do know that search engines read words and not images, so a balance of visuals and words is necessary. As we skew toward visuals, what do we gain?

Visuals are known to:

• speed up comprehension
• increase the level of comprehension
• increase retention
• increase recollection
• decode text
• attract and direct attention
• enhance or affect emotions and attitudes
• engage imagination
• heighten creative thinking, leading to a more profound and accurate understanding

So, when we encourage your business to seek representation through photos, video, drone images, creative drawings, architectural renderings…, we are not just following the digital trend. We are preparing your business to effect the consumer in a greater way.

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February 5, 2018

Short Spots Can Be Advertising Gold

Stopwatch secondsIn a world where Vine reigned supreme with only 7 second videos, advertising trends are following suit and trying to match our attention span. Just think about it: when you see a video on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, do you stop and watch the entire video every time? You may pause for a minute, watch the first five to ten seconds of the video, and if it is captivating, then you’ll watch the entire video. If you get bored or disinterested after a few seconds, you’ll scrap watching the video altogether.

Advertisers are trying to keep people interested within our current short-attention spans, plus earn added benefits.

This year, Superbowl ads were created for fifteen and six-second slots. These short ad slots cost millions of dollars and generated great profits for the companies because of the sheer volume of people watching and their strategic use.

Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said in an interview* with CNN Money, “[A] common tactic is for a company to release its ad ahead of time on YouTube. It might seem counter intuitive to give away the surprise before you have a captive audience, but a good spot can generate welcome buzz.” If someone watches the ad on YouTube and enjoys it, he said, there’s a chance that person will talk it up to friends at a Super Bowl party before it even hits the air. By using these YouTube tactics as well as shortening ads, it’s creating a stellar environment in which advertisers are earning great revenue from the consumers.

Our Edge Advertising Group media buyer, Diane McClure, shared, “In the Rochester market, businesses and organizations have enjoyed short media spots, even down to three seconds, for over a decade. Short spots are a cost-effective way to reinforce a longer message which has been delivered to the same audience. In advertising, “frequency” is a secret sauce and short media spots buys that frequency.”

Short media spots match viewing habits, reduce total media costs, afford more media frequency, and have the potential to earn more revenue.

Article with the interview: *http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/01/news/companies/super-bowl-commercials/index.html

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January 1, 2018

What Worked for Work This Year: 2017 Advertising and Marketing Trends

As 2017 ends, an important thing to keep in mind is the trends that have risen this year, especially if you are looking to capitalize on new successes in the coming year. The following list compiles some of the top trends of the year, explaining what they are and why you should keep them in mind.

Omni-Channel Marketing

Before this century, all buying decisions were made in-store. We only bought things we could physically touch and try on. Now, we have the internet, phones, TV and physical stores to contend with. Purchases that used to be a one-stop buy are now decided ahead of time after we’ve interacted with businesses in a variety of ways first.

This is known as “omni-channel” marketing. It focuses on providing a seamless purchasing experience across as many channels as possible to reach the target audience. For example, you might see a new product in a television commercial, research it on your mobile device while sitting on your couch, order it on your laptop, and then pick it up in-store. By using omni-channel marketing to your consumers, you can assure them that what you’re offering is what they need in a variety of ways, spelling more success for your business.

Personalized Advertising

Shared experiences can shape our perception of a product. Our opinion of a product and the enjoyment and value we get from it doesn’t just come from our personal contact with it. How we perceive a Mac computer, for example, is influenced by what we know about its brand, Apple.

Spotify’s internal creative team’s “Thanks, 2016. It’s been weird.” campaign played on the idea of shared experience. The Spotify team used the entirety of their user data to generate funny headlines for the campaign, including:

  • “Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day, what did you do?”
  • “Dear person who made a playlist called ‘One Night Stand with Jeb Bush Like He’s a Bond Girl in a European Casino,’ We have so many questions.”

People see this, and some want to check out the business that is getting personal with its customers, and some want to get in on this personal action. Regardless, such a quirky and fun advertising campaign certainly sparks interest.

Agents for Social Change

While advertising influences our behavior as consumers, it also has the power to shape our aspirations and reinforce our values. Social media has prompted companies to shift away from delivering monologues to engaging in conversation, transforming the relationship between brand and buyer. This dynamic has made brands more human in the process as they focus on creating conversations about shared values, and combines principles found in both omni-channel marketing and personalized advertising.

Always’ SuperBowl ad, which went viral before it even aired, doesn’t reference feminine hygiene once. Instead, it focuses on the issue of female empowerment and the question “What does it mean to do something ‘like a girl’?” By approaching the advertisement from this angle, Always draws the main attention away from them by taking a stance, but draws attention selflessly back on the brand by standing as an agent for social change. Not only can a brand gain more customer loyalty from this type of advertisement, but it can also attract new customers that are invested in brands that share their alignment on issues.

Brand over Product

Outstream videos might not ring any bells to you right now, but 77% of digital advertising agencies have already reported that it is going to be critical to their client’s success in the years to come. Its sudden rise in popularity is because of the increasing internet users being annoyed with obstructive videos on the sites they’re visiting.

So what exactly are Outstream videos? They’re a new type of ad format that allows publishers to show video ads outside of actual players (i.e. in text line breaks or on the corners of a web page). This provides better user experience for the user as they are no longer forced to watch ads before they can access the main content or during their access of the main content. This means that they’re more likely to watch the entire ad, rather than wait 5 seconds to skip the ad and not remember anything at all.

Chatbots

WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger are already outpacing the world’s biggest social networks, and some experts predict, with a little help, they could even outdo search engines. This improvement comes in part from chatbots — customer service agents introduced to Facebook’s messenger platform earlier this year at the social network’s F8 conference. Since then, 18,000 bots have already been developed to help brands offer streamlined, individualized service through chat. Chatbots are software applications that mimic written human speech for the purpose of simulating a conversation or interaction with a real person.

Early adopters have seen some success with these bots, and people are spending increasingly more time in chat apps like messenger and WhatsApp (around 2.5 billion people use at least one messaging app, and by 2018 that could grow to 3.6 billion). Since Facebook recently loosened their restrictions on sending promotional content via chatbot, now is a good time to rethink how chatbots  might fit into your marketing strategy.

 

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December 11, 2017

Tips for holiday visibility

The holiday season is already underway.  Stellar marketing techniques can earn year-end success for businesses!  Not sure where to start or how to up your game?  Here’s a few tips for holiday visibility.

Get Personal, Behind the Scenes
Your audience always wants to see the people behind the brand.  During the holidays, those who are celebrating will enjoy seeing others celebrating, too.  Snap candid shots of decorated desks, bedecked halls, and coworkers in the holiday spirit.

Encourage Shared Holiday Photos
During the holiday season, most people’s thoughts turn to happy childhood memories.  Encourage your audience to share their favorite memories and photos with your brand.  Other ideas can include a unique branded hashtag for any social media accounts, such as #___celebrates____.

Change the Spotlight
One of the most powerful ways your brand can get noticed this season is to turn the spotlight onto someone else.  Instead of posting simply about your brand non-stop, highlight a charity that your brand is supporting, and offer a way for your customers to lend their support, too.

Focus on Needs
Take some time to think about what special wants and needs your specific audience has this time of year.  Better yet, ask a few of them. You could end up creating some powerful, useful content instead of more holiday dazzle.

Bring it Full Circle
Not everyone celebrates a religious holiday this time of the year; but, the vast majority of consumers do celebrate the New Year.  It’s a time to look ahead and to reflect over the past year.  Take the opportunity to tell your current and potential customers about your brand’s year.  Tell them how the company grew, what you learned, and most importantly what you are planning for 2018.

Here at Edge, we’re throwing ourselves into the holiday spirit whole-heartedly!  Check out our social media to stay updated with our festivities and what we’re doing this season!

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November 16, 2017

Community Service During the Work Day

It is fun to watch a community service campaign grow over the years! Edge Advertising Group has been in a fortunate position to be a part of the ever expanding Henderson Ford Toy Drive for the past seven years.

The beginnings of the toy drive came from Randy Henderson’s commitment to serving our youth. For example, long before the toy drive, he was already engaged in a youth ministry role, working with imprisoned juvenile offenders.

The annual toy drive started with collecting toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. During these early years of the drive, other businesses were added as collection sites, with an opportunity to spread the message further. The drive became one of the largest collections of toys for the Toys for Tots program.

Three years ago, through a well tenured Rochester ministry, Project Urge, we were introduced to an Atlanta based campaign for a Christmas Store concept with very low priced toys, to allow for individual selection and a sense of pride, coming from the purchase process. This effort was added to the recipient list of the Henderson Ford toy drive. The Henderson championed collection is also one of the largest supplies of toys to The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market.

All along the way, the local media has been very helpful in spreading the news of the toy drives, through print, television, radio, and online communication sources.

The Henderson Ford Toy Drive today is an example of community service and collaboration within the business community to get the job done.

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September 19, 2017

Tips for Choosing a Website Platform

When choosing between a HTML and Content Management System (CMS) website platform, there are options to consider for the business or organization to have a positive short-term and long-term experience.

Do I want to update content and images on my own?  
Do you want to be able to update content and images yourself, in an effort to save time and/or money? There are specific website platforms which allow for the content and images on website pages to be updated without having to know how to code, on platforms like WordPress or Drupal.  A word of caution- consider the likelihood of these changes being made from within your business. Our experience is that best intentions do not necessarily come to fruition.  Also, infrequency of updates has the staff always on the steep part of the learning curve, to complete the content and image changes.  Plus, many websites which allow for ease of update are not flexible to accommodate all types of changes into the future. HTML websites do allow for almost limitless changes. So, be sure you will use the ease-of-update feature, before you give away other website attributes, especially in the long-term.

How much future flexibility do I want my website to have?
Some website platforms are more flexible than others; therefore, a decision needs to be made about planning for future changes.  What business needs are foreseen, effecting the website into the future? Again, HTML websites offer the most flexibility.

Do I want to budget monthly for required updates to themes and plug-ins?
Content Management System (CMS – do-it-yourself editing) website platforms require regular and security updates which help the website to continue to perform, even perform better, and provide increased security from present-day hacking. These updates involve the platform, theme, and plug-ins and require some more advanced technical knowledge of the platform to manage the update process.  Backups of the site should also be performed before and after each update to minimize the risk of losing content and images.  Some updates need to be performed as frequently as weekly. Who is going to take care of these updates and at what cost?  Ignoring the updates can yield a crashed website, when trying to bring the site up-to-date by taking a large developmental step.  Also, the security updates keep the various website components functional and working together; updates provide protection from hacking as well.  On the other hand, if you choose to have an HTML site, these constant updates are not needed and site security is more risk-free.  Both CMS and HTML websites require similar costs to develop; the financial difference is in the ongoing updates.

Do I want to own or delegate ownership of my website?
With some website platforms, you pay to have them developed to your specifications; other websites you have built to your specifications, within parameters limited by the website template.  These limited website templates may also require forfeiture of the right to own the site.

With websites which are not owned by the business which they represent, owned by third parties, the website only operates as long as you keep paying the vendor.  As soon as you stop, you cannot move the website to another server of your choice. This type of website is in a proprietary format, which only works as long as you keep it on the developer’s server.

Another consideration point with websites you do not own is the fact that these types of websites are generally less flexible to accommodate future customization.  And remember, customization also means differentiation—more ways for you to look different than your competition.

Start by asking these questions, then proceed to investigate your website development options – – content and image updates; future flexibility; budget; ownership.

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