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Whether you were surprised to learn the recent news of Google+’s impending demise in April 2019 or you saw it coming for some time, chances are that – if Google+ is part of your social media repertoire – you may be seeking some refreshing alternatives. Premier Atlanta marketing agency Woodall Creative Group is pleased to present you with three substitutions that could convert Google+’s loss to your gain…

Place a Renewed Focus on Your Google My Business Page

If you don’t already own and manage your company’s Google My Business Page, claim your business listing ASAP and make sure all the information on your page is accurate. Your business address, phone number(s), web address, hours and other information that may prove relevant to clients and/or customers is also significant to Google – and more importantly your company’s Google ranking. Your company name, address and phone number (aka NAP) on file on your Google My Business Page serves as your digital landscape calling card. Post them everywhere you can – in blogs, in directories, in press release, etc. – and this can serve as a nice little SEO boost, as well. Best of all, Google now offers a user-friendly mobile app – making it even easier to update your page and engage with customers.

Explore Previously Unchartered Social Media Sites

All the content and energy you used to devote to your Google+ page can now be rechanneled to new social media networking sites. In addition to the major players like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, if you’re not already on Instagram – with its 1 billion + users, NOW is a great time to jump onboard. Depending on your target audience and product/service mix, you may also want to consider LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest, among others.

Increase Your Reach on All of Your Current Social Media Sites

Of course, you could also take the energy you once reserved for Google+ and use it to grow your fanbase on all your current social media sites. Since social media is an ever-changing animal and social media users are moving targets, it’s wise to become a student of the best days/times to post on the channels where your company currently has a presence. Also look at your content mix to ensure that you are happy with your messaging. If it’s not engaging the audience, switch it up to find what will. Not all posts should be a novella – some of the best performing posts on Facebook are just 80 characters or less. Find unique ways to get your message across, use a blend of videos when able and avoid the temptation to make every post self-promotional. Of course, if you really want to grow your fanbase – consider putting your money where your mouth is and running a series of social media ads. Facebook, in particular, has an easy to use platform for creating and launching ads.

If you’re mourning the imminent loss of Google+ and want some help to breathe new life into your social media marketing, the talented team at Woodall Creative Group stands at the ready. From eye-catching graphics and engaging content to strategically-planned social media calendars, we can help you take your social media presence to the next level. To get started, simply call us today at (706) 658-0244, email us at info@woodallcreative.com or fill out our convenient online contact form and one of our team members will be in touch with you shortly!

The world of advertising and marketing is an ever-changing animal, evolving at faster rates than ever witnessed before as marketers continue to explore the vast expanse of the digital landscape. For that reason (and many others), it’s wise to stay on top of the trends when developing your strategic planning from one year to the next. Since the New Year is particularly NEW, it’s the perfect time to take a peek at a few of the hottest marketing trends that will be ruling the business world over the course of the coming months… and years. The future is NOW and if you’re not already incorporating the following tools to your marketing arsenal, you may want to seriously consider what they could do for your company’s brand in 2019 and beyond…

  1. Traditional Advertising Gives Way to Influencers and Content Marketing: While it seems there will always be a place for traditional advertising, the move towards connecting with influencers and having them connect with your target audience continues to gain steam. Brands will team up with celebrities, YouTubers and bloggers to gain a little clout and credibility. Content marketing is another way of positioning your company and/or product as a must have. Develop and distribute relevant content consistently – not just on your own website, but also on others as a guest contributor. Editors of online publications are often on the lookout for great content that allows them to share new insights with their readers. If done properly, content marketing can not only position your company for success, but it can also position its leadership members (for whom the content can be ghost-written, if needed) as industry experts. Pair those two things with the ever-growing love affair consumers have with social media and you’ve got a recipe for success for digital marketing in 2019.
  2. A Personal Touch Trumps Technology: Although automation has made life SO much easier for countless marketers, it’s important that your brand retains is unique “voice” and dedication to the customer experience. A more conversational tone in content marketing, email marketing and social media paired with tactics geared toward engagement will aid in this, as will a dedicated effort to balance the somewhat impersonal nature of automation by putting a human face on your company whenever possible – through face-to-face interactions and phone calls to webinars, speaking engagements and experiential marketing.
  3. Voice Search is Surging: While the phrase “Google it!” remains entirely viable, the calls for Alexa, Siri and Cortana to search for our most burning queries are rapidly rising. By 2020, ComScore estimates that 50% of all search-based queries will be made by voice. And since people tend to speak differently than they might text, this is another important reason to begin infusing a more conversational tone to your copywriting. You’ll also want to think like your target audience, begin researching the most common searches related to your industry/services/product line, and start creating cornerstone content that will begin leading your target audience TO YOU.
  4. Amplify Your UI experience with Chatbots: Of course, chatbots are nothing new, but the way they interface with website visitors is evolving. Again, a more conversational tone comes into play as more and more companies are using chatbots to not only act as data collectors and to encourage engagement, but also as a friendly extension of their brand image. Research comes into play once more as you try to predict the conversations your guests might want to have with your chatbot – including the questions they might ask and the pleasant responses they will receive. If done properly, it will amplify your UI experience AND enhance your guest’s customer service experience – aiding in conversions from prospect to viable consumer.
  5. Creativity is (STILL) King: As the internet becomes an ever-increasingly busy marketplace – with more and more competitors vying for the same target audience – the need to find new ways to stand out is potentially greater than ever before. Creativity and innovation serve as the barkers on the sidewalks of old – beckoning potential customers to “step inside” your website and see what’s new. Video is currently one of the most powerful tools in your creativity arsenal – particularly video that provides “news they can use” and something they are likely to share with others. White papers are another terrific tool – once again, research is your friend when trying to gain insight to your target audience’s collective mindset – helping you to predict what they might want most to learn about. You can also combine the two concepts for the development of a webinar. The point is, it’s vital to be proactive in the enhancement of your content in such a way that will consistently DRIVE traffic to your website AND keep them there.

Don’t miss out on potential customers in the New Year! The award-winning team at Woodall Creative Group welcomes the chance to help your company implement any and all of the above marketing trends to your digital strategy in 2019. We’d love to start a dialogue with you to learn what your needs and wishes are for the coming year and well into the future. Call us today at (706) 658-0244, email us at info@woodallcreative.com or fill out our convenient online contact form and one of our team members will be in touch with you shortly!

Sources:  Forbes and Advertoscope 

Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency Rounds Out Design Team with Seasoned Industry Veteran Who Has Led Campaigns for Coca-Cola, Chick-Fil-A, The Home Depot, MetLife, Porsche and UNICEF.

 Atlanta, September 10, 2018 (Press Release) – Jim Balke has joined the design team at Woodall Creative Group (WCG). A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Balke has served such recognizable brands as Coca-Cola®, Chick-fil-A®, The Home Depot®, MetLife®, Porsche® and UNICEF®. In his new role as Lead Designer at WCG, he will be implementing design trends and strategy throughout the full suite of marketing services WCG offers to its clients.

“There is a rare culture of mutual respect and dedication to the clients here,” said Balke. “I find myself among like-minded design strategists who love what they do. Accustomed to giving 200% to my clients, I value the fact that WCG really connects with the small businesses and brands it serves through a personalized, service-oriented, above and beyond approach.”

Balke defines his foundational career strength as an artistic approach to design. His love of typography has been honed into a true forte that has been used with great success for a wide variety of clients and projects. Included among his career highlights to date are his role as a two-time winner of the Peachtree Road Race T-Shirt Design, five-time winner of the Graphic Design USA Award, and his work with both UNICEF and Chick-fil-A.

“The addition of Jim to our award-winning team further solidifies our position as one of Atlanta’s most exciting digital marketing agencies and reaffirms our dedication to serving our clients in the best possible way,” said Tracy Woodall, Founder and President of Woodall Creative Group. “In addition to his incredible talent as a consummate artist, Jim is a seasoned marketing veteran with more than 25 years agency experience – ten of those years spent in senior-level management. In just the short time that he has been a member of the team at Woodall Creative Group, Jim has already proven himself to be a real asset – not just for his artistry, but also for his ideas. He works beautifully with the rest of the creative team – as we fuel one another to reach even higher levels of excellence in the work we produce for our clients.”

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Balke eventually migrated south to the foothills of North Carolina before moving further south to Georgia to attend classes at the Art Institute of Atlanta. Today, he lives in Lilburn with his wife Cathy and their two children, Bryce and Grace. Three cats, one dog and a bird round out the Balke family.

About Woodall Creative Group: With over twenty-seven years of award-winning strategic marketing, Woodall Creative Group has the expertise to catapult brands for success. The expert graphic designers, copywriters and programmers at Woodall Creative Group excel in implementing dynamic creative design, website development, marketing, social media content and corporate branding campaigns. The Atlanta-based agency has served a wide variety of clients from a broad array of industries. Included among them are Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies, Service First Pros, Southside Church, Hallco Community Credit Union, Clayton Signs, Weener & Nathan Law, CBP Engineering and BM&K Construction. WCG will make sure your project gets the full creative attention that ensures success! Contact Woodall Creative Group by calling 706.658.0244 or e-mailing support@woodallcreative.com.  To learn more about Woodall Creative Group, interested parties are invited to visit www.woodallcreative.com.

The key to success in social media marketing is CONSISTENCY – particularly for any company that puts a lot of stock in its social media presence!  Strive for consistency in your company’s brand image, consistency in your messaging (which should always sound as though it is coming from the same centralized figure/being/collective group), consistency of response times and – most importantly – consistency in the number of posts you share with your audience each week. While the statistics may vary with regard to timing and frequency, once your company has found its sweet spot (which often varies by industry and region) – STICK TO IT! In other words, YOU may take a vacation, but your social media presence should NOT. You’ve fought long and hard to build up a following on social media, it would be a shame to lose touch with your core audience – even for a week – only to potentially face weeks of fighting to get in front of them again. That valuable time lost when your competition might have gotten the upper hand! Fortunately for all of us who yearn to put our toes in the sand or ski the slopes from time to time, there are some really great options that mean your social media presence will never have to skip a beat. To save you some time and research, Woodall Creative Group has compiled a number of those options for you here:

  1. Look to Your Creative Partner:  If you already collaborate with an agency on the design of your social media graphics and/or messaging, you may want to look to them to “housesit” your social media accounts while you’re away. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results and may even want to consider making that a permanent gig for them – allowing you the freedom to focus on other more pressing aspects of your job. If they’re really good at what they do (like the award-winning creative team at Woodall Creative Group), they’ll be able to study your posts from the past, discover what resonates most with your core audience, channel the brand image you’ve worked so hard to build and maybe even try a few new tricks to grow and engage your audience. Having a strong social media partner that can get results is worth its weight in gold.
  2. Tap a Social Media Savvy Member of Your Team:  Not that we’re ever ones to stereotype, but millennials are typically social media savvy and may prove a great resource for when you’re going to be out of the office on vacation. However, you don’t want to run the risk of a potential “house party” while you’re away – possibly alienating your core audience with some inconsistent messaging and/or graphics that doesn’t quite jive your brand image. Assign your most reliable team member who ALSO knows their way around your social media channels to pull together 5 to 7 days of messaging and accompanying images PRIOR to your departure for your approval. Once approved, they can stick to the agreed upon plan and post every day that you’re away, giving you the peace of mind you deserve to enjoy your vacation. If they do a good job, you know you can rely on them again during your NEXT vacation.
  3. Build a Social Media Calendar and Automate:  In the event that you manage more than one social media channel and you have yet to discover the joys of automation, be prepared to have your mind blown! In #2 of this list, we suggested you have your social media savvy team member pull together 5 to 7 days of messaging. In the event that you DON’T have a social media savvy and reliable team member to whom you can turn (or you just prefer to do things yourself), YOU can be the one to plan ahead, pull together a social media calendar of 5 to 7 days of messaging (or however long you plan to be gone) and upload/schedule those messages through an automation tool such as HootSuite, Sprout Social or Loomly. Not only will they allow you the freedom to pre-schedule your posts, but they will also allow you to post content to multiple social media platforms. While this may mean more work for you in the days leading up to your vacation, at least it assures you a stress-free, well-deserved break from the office once that glorious time arrives. Best of all, many of these automation tools offer free trial periods. You can try several to see which proves the best fit for you and your needs. You may find one that you love SO MUCH that you continue to use it after your vacation – cutting your posting time dramatically and providing you with valuable insights.

Now that you know the reasons WHY you can’t let your social media presence lapse – even for a week – AND three potential ways to cover your social media responsibilities while you’re away, Woodall Creative Group wishes you a peaceful and relaxing vacation! Bon Voyage!!!

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To learn more about Woodall Creative Group and the many ways we can help your company promote its unique brand – both in print and in the digital space – we invite you to visit us online at www.woodallcreative.com.

The Importance of Consistency and Multiple Touchpoints in Marketing

Rolling out an effective marketing plan is not unlike planting season on a farm. If executed properly, you’ll get to reap the rewards later for all of the preparation and promoting you do today. Just like at a farm, you till the soil, sow your seeds, keep watch to ensure growth and prepare for the harvest.

Dr. Jeffrey Lant – professor, author of more than 60 books and internationally renowned expert on the subjects of marketing, business development, copywriting and more – put forth the “Rule of Seven” marketing principle decades ago. The principle dictates that it takes an average of seven touchpoints before a customer remembers your brand message and feels compelled to act.  That’s a lot of marketing seeds to plant. While the advent of the internet and social media has served to speed up the process considerably from the original 18-month period for the Rule of Seven to take root, there are a number of things to take into consideration when planting those seeds…

Tilling the Soil: When planning your marketing campaign, make an effort to really stir things up. Do your research to see if there’s an audience segment you may have missed with prior campaigns who might be the next great thing for your brand. Also, dig DEEP to come up with a marketing campaign that will really grab your intended audience’s attention. Phone it in, and that will not only come through in your less-than-stellar messaging – but also in customer’s response.

“In a crowded marketplace, you want your message to stand out,” said Tracy Woodall, founder of Metro Atlanta-based Woodall Creative Group. “Be sure to outline all of the differentiators that set your company apart from the competition – everything that makes you ‘special.’ Stay true to the look and feel of previous campaigns for brand consistency, unless it’s time for a complete company rebrand – which is an excellent way to really shake things up and attract members from a new, previously underserved market.

Sowing the Seeds: Once you have a fairly clear plan in place, it’s time to start sowing the seeds through the design of your campaign and identification of the various modes of delivery you will use to reach your audience. Rather than planting just ONE kind of seed, use a variety of means to get your message out there. Think of the rows in your garden as streams of communication: website, digital marketing, e-mail marketing, social media, direct mail, print ads, TV commercials, radio ads, billboards, promotional items, experiential marketing and MORE. Because today’s marketplace is so crowded and noisy, multiple touchpoints are the key to success. Don’t merely select one avenue at one time – it will be the marketing equivalent of shouting into the wind. After you’ve identified the best modes of delivery, start creating designs to fit.

“If design is not your strength, consider outsourcing to an agency,” shared Woodall. “You may be highly skilled at identifying your audience, brainstorming ideas and media buying, but if you’re lacking in the design department – your entire campaign will suffer. To compound matters, you may even be compromising your company’s brand image. Professionally designed digital and print pieces can have a completely opposite effect, propelling your brand in a positive direction in the eyes of your audience.”

Keep Watch to Ensure Growth: Once you launch your campaign, don’t take your eye off the ball. Track results and make adjustments when necessary. If you notice that your digital efforts are really taking off, whereas your print campaign might be falling short – you may want to reallocate any remaining budget to the digital side for continued traction.

“Many companies miss this step,” said Woodall. “They send their campaign out into the world, then watch their sales results to measure its success. There are a variety of ways to track results and measure success – not merely by watching one’s bottom line. “

Prepare for the Harvest: Another often overlooked step many companies miss is to communicate the upcoming campaign to its employees. It’s SO IMPORTANT to share your marketing direction with the folks in the trenches.

“An internal campaign rollout is a great way to get team members excited and to encourage them to reinforce that same messaging to customers,” suggests Woodall. “Try to practice patience. The results won’t always be immediate. However, if your marketing campaign is truly successful, your employees will be better prepared for a bountiful harvest of happy customers. Not to mention the fact that your product or service had better live up to the hype, or that new customer you just worked so hard to earn might not return in the future.”

Begin Planning for Next Year’s Planting Season:  Once your campaign has hit the market and you’ve begun to reap the rewards of your hard work, it’s not time to rest on your laurels. It’s time to start projecting and laying the groundwork for NEXT YEAR’S marketing campaign.

“Take a look at your tracking to assess what worked and what didn’t,” said Woodall. “If everything worked, pat yourself on the back and determine what had the strongest impact on your campaign’s success: mode of delivery, audience identification, the message itself or a combination of all of the above. If some elements were stronger than others, start considering ways to make the weaker elements stronger the next go-around for even BETTER results next year.”

Woodall Creative Group is a trusted resource for marketing managers and company leaders throughout the Southeast seeking a creative partner to share their company’s unique brand story with the world. If you need help planning for a harvest of your own, contact the team at Woodall Creative Group at 706-658-0244, info@woodallcreative.com or via our convenient online contact form. To learn more about what we do and sneak a peek inside our extensive portfolio, visit www.woodallcreative.com.