CommunicationMarketingSEOSocial Media

Medical masks

Things sure happen quickly, don’t they? Right now in Alberta “mass gatherings” can’t have more than 50 people attending it, unless it’s for an essential service.  Lots of companies, especially tech companies like ours, are having their staff work remotely.  No one has any idea how long this will last either.  Two weeks?  Two months?  Longer?  With that in mind, it’s time to dive into the options you have for marketing when more and more things are cancelled and shut down.

Advertising

a billboard advertisement

Depending on the form of advertising you’ll see different results.  As people drive less and self-quarantine more physical and radio ads will have less impact since the most common place to listen to the radio is in the car and obviously someone who’s staying at home isn’t going to see your billboard.  But if a form of advertising is likely to be seen by those trapped at home, then it will definitely still be as effective as normal, or even more effective in some cases.  If you provide something that people are still likely to search for, Google Ads are a good idea.  So a restaurant that does delivery?  Definitely a good choice.  But there are other searches that are less likely to have great results.  I need some car repairs done.  But at least until I’m done quarantining myself I’m not going to bother Googling my options.  In short, if you provide something people need, putting your extra marketing budget into advertisements can be a smart choice.  Otherwise there’s probably a better option for where you can put that extra cash.

Social Media

What better time to build a social media following then a time when pretty much everyone is stuck at home?  especially when over 50% of people using social media to check the news.  Putting in the effort to boost your social media following now means that you’re likely to see results immediately.  Even better, as you increase your following you’ll see more increases both short term and long term as your social media presence snowballs.  And unlike advertising, you aren’t just putting yourself in front of someone who you hope wants to make a purchase right then and there.  So if you provide a service that people aren’t really looking for, but you’re engaging with potential customers on social media, they’re more likely to see you on social media when they *are* looking for your services later on.

Search Engine Optimization

Google logo

Search Engine Optimization is always important, but it’s also the only option on this list that doesn’t have short term effects (normally).  That means that for a lot of businesses it has to take an unfortunate back seat to the other forms of marketing.  You want a return on your dollar now and not in several months.  So a time when you suddenly have more money to play around with in your marketing budget is a great time to finally tackle your SEO.  And the lack of short term results isn’t as important when the short term benefits for marketing are down across the board as people self-quarantine more and more.  In other words, while the downsides to putting your money in SEO are still there, they aren’t as noticeable right now whereas the benefits are still as strong as ever.

Deals on Products

Sale

Finally, depending on what you provide now might be the time to offer some deals.  A great example would be some of the phone companies in the US.  I’ve heard of several that are either increasing the data they’re giving to all their customers for free or even in some cases temporarily giving customers unlimited data plans.  Now obviously, being larger companies they can afford things like this.  Don’t run yourself and your business into the ground trying to look like a hero but it’s still important to recognize the effect that offering help in times of crisis can have.  Obviously, there’s the fact that it will certainly be easier to sleep at night.  That doesn’t really impact your business though.  What does impact you is the goodwill you create among your customers.  If you provide a service they need or one they really want right now, they’re well aware that even if you raised your prices they’d still probably buy it.  So when you offer a deal instead, while the cynical types like me will recognize it for the smart strategic choice that it is, most people will look at how it’s a gesture of goodwill.

Online Trade Shows?

photo of trade show attendees

Alright, this isn’t something that exists, as far as I can tell, but it’s an idea that I had.  And since it’s just an idea I haven’t fully fleshed it out yet so bear with me.  With conventions and conferences being cancelled, many of them are turning to online formats.  So what if there could be an online version of a trade show?  Perhaps a Facebook group, though that seems too disorganized to me.  Maybe an online forum?  Or maybe a website with information on all the various companies taking part with some sort of online version of a trade show booth.  Like I said, this is more of something that I’m mulling over.  I might even go into more detail on it next week (I make no promises though), but it’s still something to consider.

 

That’s all for now.  Hopefully these five options (well, four options and an idea in the back of my mind) will help you decide on a marketing strategy that your business can pursue in these chaotic times.  If you’re not sure what option would be best for you, or if you’d like a hand implementing your strategy, get in touch with us.  We’d love to help you out so that we can all make it out of these difficult times safely.

CommunicationMarketing

tissues and mug

The coronavirus has been pretty big in the news.  If you’re like me you’re probably already groaning about reading yet another article about it.  But I realized that there is a very important thing that businesses need to consider, regarding this pandemic.  We all know that if there’s a quarantine businesses will obviously lose sales as people stay home and only purchase necessities.  But before we even reach that point, something else will be affected first.

Conventions

If you’re a local business, your marketing plan might be about to change.  Currently, conferences, trade shows, etc. all across the world are being cancelled.  In addition to working for Panda Rose, I also do some contracting in the healthcare informatics industry and a big tradeshow coming up in Florida was cancelled the day before it was scheduled to begin.  The NBA has canceled games.  Ironically there was even a conference on the coronavirus that was cancelled because of the coronavirus.  The coronavirus is now officially a pandemic and it’s gradually spreading across the world, along with the panic and toilet paper shortages.  As it spreads, local and international events are all being cancelled in an important effort to slow down the speed of infection so that our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

a shopping cart full of toilet paper

What does this mean for you?  If you or a conference your business was attending are in an affected area, it means you suddenly have more money available in your marketing budget.  If you aren’t in an affected area though, it doesn’t mean you won’t be affected.  It just means you’ve got a bit more time to plan for when that happens.  But in both cases, you need to know what your options are.

Your Options

This brings us to my main focus today.  Marketing is about putting yourself in front of your audience.  That’s why tradeshows can be so effective.  You are physically in front of them interacting with them.  But when people are being encouraged to practice social distancing and it becomes impossible to be physically in front of your audience, what can you do?  Not too long ago, your options were radio and television ads.  That was it.  And even then, if your audience didn’t want to stop self-quarantining they weren’t going to go in to your store anyway.  But the internet has created a much different world.  You can show up on people’s computers through their searches on search engines and on social media, both of which are much more personal than a tv spot.

Ultimately, your main options are

  • Ads in various formats like radio, tv, Google, and YouTube
  • Focusing on social media
  • Optimizing your Search Engine Optimization
  • Some combination of the above

Next week, I’m going to do a deep dive into the pros and cons and associated costs associated with all your options if the tradeshows and conventions you planned to attend get cancelled. I’ll also give you some tips that your marketing department can implement to improve your online presence that won’t cost a cent, but for now I want you just to start thinking about it.  I’m not telling you to cancel all public appearances and hide in your house for two months, but you should start thinking about contingency plans in case your marketing strategy needs to make a sudden u-turn.

MarketingSocial MediaUncategorized

3 Reasons People Follow Your Social MEdia

Businesses of all kinds are finding their way to various social media platforms. I get asked a lot of the time how to increase following. While there are various “tips and tricks” for each platform, because they can not all be treated in the same manner, there is three basic reasons why people choose to follow a social media account.

Entertainment

People are seeking to be entertained. Whether you sell flooring, are wanting to become an influencer or selling homes, people are seeking the entertainment factor. People might not be interested in buying a home currently, but are more likely to follow a realtor’s account if they have an entertaining factor. A great local example of this is Tammy Colbow. She offers these fun and entertaining videos weekly to engage her followers. Gives them a reason to follow along and visit often. I often see her posts on Facebook and LinkedIn and I find myself stopping and watching without even thinking!

So entertain your audience. Find a way that feels most authentic to you and your company/brand and run with it. Maybe that means a weekly information video or memes (not too many!) or anything that resonates with your clientele. Maybe your clients are moms and you share interesting parenting articles with them.

 

Education

Think about some of the bloggers you may follow. Why do you follow them? Maybe it’s a food blogger sharing recipes you love or a fashion blogger showing you the latest trends? We are acquiring knowledge from these people. Knowledge about parenting, fashion , fitness, technology, business or otherwise. They know something about an interest we have and are following them to learn more.

A great example of this is Tony Robbins. He has 3.6 million people following him on Instagram. I don’t know the reason for everyone following him but I know a lot of people follow him to learn. They are following him to learn about business or personal development and love all the information he gives them.

 

Community

No matter if it’s online or in person, people are naturally designed to seek community. We want to be able to connect with other people, ideally like ourselves. Sometimes we find ourselves scrolling when we are waiting in lines or hanging out at home and we stop when we find ourselves looking at something we connect with. Or if you are apart of a Facebook group for example, you might find yourself regularly in there chatting it up with other people you “know”. Facebook’s algorithm shows the groups you are most active in and pages you converse with the most, because it shows you as part of the community.

Apply this to your own business social media strategies, but in a way that is true and organic to you and your brand, just like above for education. Think about your consumer and who they are. Aside from your company, what else might they be interested in? Connect with them on this level and ask them questions! This helps build the community, showing you care about them, but doubles as valuable customer data, so you can bring them the very best you have to offer that relates to them.

 

Ideally you will have a blend off all three of these things for a really solid account, but try to keep two in mind as you are posting. What value are you adding to your followers/potential clients.

 

Come check out all the entertaining, educational and community things we are doing at Panda Rose!

Panda Rose Instagram Panda Rose Facebook Panda Rose Twitter Panda Rose Linked In Panda Rose Alignable

 

MarketingSEOSocial MediaTechnology

Panda Rose Consulting Joins Clutch’s Research of SEO & PPC Agencies in Canada

Every business values exposure. When companies are looking to expand their customer base, it’s very important that they find a marketing firm that can understand the intricacies of their business and target the right audience. Our clients trust that our expertise in digital marketing can help their business grow and they trust that we’ll always deliver on time. On our Clutch profile, which was created earlier this year, you can see what sets us apart as one of the best companies for your SEO, PPC, and general digital marketing needs.

Clutch is a Washington, DC-based B2B research and reviews firm. They look to connect business buyers with the best service providers worldwide, using a thorough research methodology based on client feedback in the form of unbiased and accurate reviews. To collect reviews, Clutch actually calls our former clients and interviews them about their experiences working with the Panda Rose team. We have our first review on our Clutch profile, and already the feedback we’ve received from our wonderful client Krista Rumberg has been more than we expected. Check it out:

SEo       

Because of our commitment to our clients and our expertise in SEO, Clutch named us as one of the top SEO companies in Canada. We’ve also been recognized as a top-performing firm on Clutch’s sister sites, The Manifest and Visual Objects.

The Manifest’s content includes lists of top performing companies, articles on trends within the tech industry, and helpful guides for business owners. We are included on their list of the top 50 social media marketing companies in Canada.

Visual Objects is Clutch’s newly launched site that acts as a central hub to view the portfolios of creative firms. Visual Objects features firms from a variety of industries including app development, web design, and branding. You can find Panda Rose listed on their list of the top digital marketing agencies in 2019. We’re happy to be one of the first firms featured on Visual Objects and we’re excited to see how the site evolves.

With the new year underway, we’re extremely appreciative of our clients for taking the time to speak with Clutch and reflect on their experiences working with us. To get honest and verified feedback through a third-party source is a great opportunity for Panda Rose and we look forward to seeing how much more we can grow our presence on each site until we’re considered the very best digital marketing agency in Canada!

 

We thank all of our clients and would love if you could also take a moment to leave us a review as well.

Panda Rose SEO

MarketingMobile AppsSocial Media

To many marketers, Snapchat is a ridiculous, confusing app for the younger generations to fool around on. These people are not sure as to why the app still exists when it is such a difficult app to market on and wonder how the app is still running!

This article is for the marketers who are open to learning about the bizarre app. I hope to inform you on who Snapchat users are, what they are looking for, and how to market to them.

About 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34 and about ¾ of the users are female. Be sure to keep this in mind as you create your advertisements. I fall into both of these categories and would love to help marketers market to me.

What are Snapchat users looking for in content marketed to them you ask? Well, they aren’t looking to be marketed to at all. I have a previous blog explaining some of those thoughts and it can be found here.

The trick is to market to your audience without them knowing it. And you may already use this strategy in your other marketing platforms. For your advertisements to work on snapchat it is necessary that they feel “organic.” Snapchat gives you the opportunity to do so by placing the advertisement you create in between the stories of friends and the pages on Snapchats channels.

I have seen a couple of advertisement on Snapchat that have been in rotation and I thought they were actual posts from my friends. I would watch the whole advertisement (about a whole 5 seconds long) to the end and then realize it was an ad. I remember being impressed of their ability to make me believe the advertisement was a real story. Because they were able to do this, I was marketed to and awareness was grown.

“The more organic the ad feels and the later the branding appears, the more likely a user is to swipe up to view long-form content or web content,”- Liam Copeland

When a Snapchat user is advertised to, they have the ability to pass the video or to scroll up. If the user scrolls up, you did an awesome job in gaining user interest! (all the high fives to you!) When they scroll up they can be driven to the app store to download the app you just successfully advertised to them. They can be sent to your website, read your article or watch a longer video.

The way you want your potential customers react to your advertisement will help you create your Snapchat advertisement.

One aspect of Snapchat that draws in younger ages is how it is trendy and so are their best advertisements. An advertisement was created well when it is able to convince its young, contemporary audience that it’s product or service is cool. If your advertisement can convince Snapchat users that what you are selling will better their life with convenience or trendiness you are sure to gain customers as those two aspects are major sellers.

Pepsi and 7/11 filter on my sister

Another way to use Snapchat effectively for your advertising needs is through their face filters! Big industries create a filter that morphs the user’s face, usually in a funny way and also displays their logo on the screen. This is a great strategy as the users will take the good-humoured picture, post it and your brand will be shared via friends! Talk about innovative word of mouth referrals.

Canmore Alberta geofilter

You can also advertise by creating a geofilter. These are filters that display the place at which a person took a picture. Snapchat users use these to show their friends when they are at the concert in town or asking their friends if anyone else will be at the university till late that night and so on. These geofilters can be created to advertise your place of work or an event that you are hosting and again, work great for referrals from friends.

It is very possible to advertise on Snapchat and it is very possible to gain customers through Snapchat. Those that are successful to do this have the great potential of their brand becoming very popular with the young market Snapchat provides you with.

Good luck, I hope to see your amazing ad on my Snapchat feed!

Tess Houcher

Snapchat’s website to begin your advertising through them is right here!

 

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MarketingSecurity & PrivacyWeb Development

Apple made an announcement on June 5th that will change the economics of the internet. They plan to improve the Safari experience by adjusting ad tracking. Ad tracking is in-market research that monitors a brand’s performance including brand and advertising awareness, product trial and usage, and attitudes about the brand versus their competition.

Companies can follow you around the Internet in order to get further insight to better their advertising campaigns. This is how we are marketed to on the Internet.

Most consumers do not appreciate the attempts to be marketed to while on the internet. These online advertisements feel threatening when they take over your whole screen, and are annoying when they start playing sound when you haven’t allowed them to.

Not only are these inconveniences, but since these advertisements can follow you around and track what you do on the internet, it is a security breach to many consumers and Apple never wants their customers to be in a position where they feel uncomfortable.

So Apple created a new feature,

“Intelligent Tracking Prevention [ITP] is a new WebKit feature that reduces cross-site tracking by further limiting cookies and other website data, Intelligent Tracking Prevention collects statistics on resource loads as well as user interactions such as taps, clicks, and text entries. The statistics are put into buckets per top privately-controlled domain or TLD+1.”- Apple’s John Wilander.

In plain English: ad-tracking can only follow you around for 24 hours and Safari will delete all of a site’s tracking cookies if you do not visit the site for 30 days. This means that their ability to track you is fundamentally limited, and will improve your privacy and experience online.

Will Safari’s numbers rise with the promise of less advertising traffic? To a browser like Google’s Chrome, less advertisements would not be quite as beneficial as it will be for Apple — Apple’s business model doesn’t revolve around advertising sales. Thus, Apple is not intimidated by a lack of advertisements. They would prefer happy, safe customers and they may have found another way to give them more security and a better experience.

Now, this announcement did not make everyone happy; 6 major trade groups expressed concern with these plans. With this in place, it restricts the tracking abilities of websites and advertisers which could cut into their bottom line. What is good for the consumer privacy, would not be good for them. They explained this in an open letter to Apple.

“Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful.” — The Data and Marketing Association and the Network Advertising Initiative.

Advertisers will not be able to use target marketing to select their audiences and it will be more difficult for them to know how well or poorly their strategy is operating. These associations wanted to make their concerns very clear to Apple and the rest of the Internet.

For many small businesses that use these marketing tools, they will find themselves needing to adjust strategy. This means that some of Panda Rose’s clients might be affected as well. We agree with Apple that ensuring consumer privacy should be top priority, and will help our clients to work with these new restrictions.

Tess Houcher 

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