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The 4th of July is the mid-point of the summer, and just beyond the half way point of the year. Winter is in the rearview mirror (where it belongs!) and scorching hot temperatures and weekends at the lake are enjoyed by many. This weekend is no exception.

So, what does the holiday weekend mean for you and your business? It’s a time for reflection, for new, fresh ideas and insight into how you’re going to conduct business for the last half of the year. Here are four tips for your social media plan to take into consideration when heading back to the office on Monday, feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and motivated:

  1. Graphic / Visual updates.
    Make sure your social media and web graphics are updated with a new summer feel (bright colors and fun text are a couple of examples). Consumers enjoy content that is visually appealing and season specific posts and graphics are a nice change of pace from the normal business professional posts.
  2. Set a monthly plan and stick to it.
    Write out the next six months and declare what your focus is going to be. If I was creating a social media plan for an irrigation company, for example, I would focus July’s social media efforts on summer landscaping and lawn care, September would focus on leaf cleanup and December would focus on dethatching. Consumers love posts that are specific to the season. Plus they may feel they’re going to miss out on a product or service if they don’t act during that specific month.
  3. Get involved in the community.
    From parades to festivals to fundraising concerts, summertime is all about community activity and what better way to get recognition for you and your business than making a difference in the community (or communities) you service? Grab a calendar and search for community activities in your area.
  4. Offer incentives.
    Offer followers discounts, freebies, and coupon codes or hold contests that entice users to interact and share your content. People love a deal!

So, while these steps are meant to help you revive your business plan, first take some time to relax and enjoy the weekend with friends and family.

Happy Independence Day from your friends at Prime Advertising & Design!

 

 

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07.02.15

Prime Team

Happy Independence Day from all of your friends at Prime Advertising. Enjoy the festivities with family and friends. In observation of the holiday, we will be closed Friday, July 3rd.

 

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Email marketing continues to evolve as a popular and dynamic digital marketing tool. However, as I continue my time in the marketing space, I’ve noticed that although many clients have invested in email marketing, in most cases they are only scratching the surface when it comes to maximizing the potential. That got me thinking… maybe they don’t understand the full benefits of email marketing? If they did, it would surely be moved to the top of their To-Dos. Right?

If you find yourself simply slapping together an email newsletter, sending it, and then checking off the box for email marketing on your To-Do list, read on. I’ve compiled a short list of tips and benefits of email marketing to get you ‘jazzed’ (a term that is used daily around our office) about your digital marketing efforts.

Benefits of Email Marketing:

 

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Cost Effective: We’ll start with the most important question… how much will it cost? That’s the beauty of email marketing. Not much. Email marketing platforms are very inexpensive and extremely user friendly. Need I say more?

 

 

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Content Planning: This is perhaps my biggest piece of advice, always start with an editorial calendar. The beauty of many email marketing tools is that once you have your editorial calendar created, you have the ability to schedule sends. A phenomenal tool when time is of the essence.

 

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Test – Revise – Re-Use:  It takes precious time to create GREAT content (emphasis on great because good content just won’t do). The good news is that with direct email reporting, you can test with small groups and see how the content is received. Not received well? Revise – Re-Use – Re-Send.

 

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Expand Your Reach: You might be thinking… I’m blogging, tweeting… what more do you want from me? The benefit of email marketing tools is that they can be integrated with your CRM. Distribute that GREAT content to your database of leads!

 

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Real Time Reporting and Tracking: My favorite benefit of email marketing is the reports! With real-time reports at your fingertips, you know exactly how your email campaign performed. Most importantly, you know which customers clicked for more information.

 

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Act on The Reports: This is a big key in taking your email marketing to the next level. Your reports tell you exactly who is interested. And you can keep them interested by following up directly or with more in-depth content.

 

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Visuals: It is important to start with a clean, branded template to work with. In addition to brand recognition, a template makes it very easy to add content and visuals specific to each message or newsletter. Ease… now that’s a benefit I like.

 

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ROI: If I haven’t gotten you ‘jazzed’ up yet to spend a little more time on your email marketing campaigns, I’m confident my last benefit will get your attention: ROI. There’s a term we know and love. Email marketing continues to lead the digital marketing space for return on investment. And if that isn’t enough, not to worry, you have detailed reporting of every campaign to give you the hard numbers

 

Employ these practices with regularity and consistency and your email marketing initiatives will provide those awesome returns that you are looking for.

 

 

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social_media_tips3Remember the day when social media just meant MySpace or Facebook? Yeah, we don’t either. Today there are so many different social media platforms that it can be hard to know which ones to use and confusing to deploy the best practices of each. Here are three easy-to-follow tips that can apply to all of your social media accounts.

1. Good Content – I know you have heard this one but stay with me for a second. Everyone has talked about how content is king, but what I think a lot of people leave out is that some of the best content describes what your company specializes in, such as new or existing products, services and events.

I call this localized content. Reposting or sharing articles are great ways to show your followers that you are current with what is going on, however, letting your followers know you will be at the local parade this summer helps feature your community involvement.

Posting pictures of your company’s parade float and volunteers can highlight content that is meant to be more light-hearted. It also showcases the human side of your brand. Other great localized content can be from your website or about a specific product or service. Sharing information about your services and products helps raise awareness of what you do.

2. Customizing your content for the network – Sharing the same information across multiple social media platforms is a good idea and can be helpful to reach all of your followers regardless of their preferred network. Visuals are a must on most, but tweaking your content so it better fits the social network helps display the content in the best way possible.
If the content is different on each network a user that follows multiple social media accounts will see complementary information. An example would be to post pictures from a recent photoshoot of a product; the post to Twitter could be a teaser, the post to Facebook could be an album or a few pictures and the post on Instagram could be either a behind the scene shots or the brainstorm session that brought about the idea of the photoshoot or project.

3. Use descriptive keywords or hashtags. – Social networks are a great way to reach new customers and followers. Most have built in search engines that scour the content to bring relevant results to users. Pinterest and Google have both added a search feature that scans your posts for keywords.

Using the right keyword to describe your content will help draw more people to your accounts and will help your post reach more users overall. However, air on the side of caution as far as adding every hashtag or keyword under the sun. Similar to SEO you want your posts, including keywords and hashtags, to seem natural and make sense for a person to read.

As mentioned, these are only a few tips on how to reach and engage more people on social media. We have additional resources available in other areas of our blog. Do you have a social media success story? We would love to hear it below in the comments section.

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The SEO buzzword is definitely not lacking in the marketing world these days, which may leave you wondering what it actually means and why is SEO important? Before we discuss why SEO is important, we must first understand what SEO means.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization means exactly what it says. When your website is fully optimized for search engines, you have followed best practices to ensure your site can be easily scanned (by the search engine) when your target audience makes a search query.

A web search query is the snippet of information (keyword or phrase) that a user inputs into a search engine to locate what they are looking for. In this example, our search engine query is “luxury architect MN.”

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When your potential client inputs a search query, it’s your goal to show up at the top of the results page. That’s where the importance of SEO for your business comes into play.

Following SEO best practices means that when your target audience makes a search query based on keywords and key-phrases, you will have a greater chance of ranking over those who may not have taken the time to optimize their site for search engines.

Here are a several SEO best practices we follow at Prime Advertising and Design:

  • Keyword & key-phrase research
  • Page titles
  • Inbound Links
  • Site reputation and brand recognition

Why is SEO Important? Keywords & Key-phrases.

When a search query is made, search engines scan web page content looking for the best results based on the keywords the user inputs.  For example; when we searched for “luxury architect MN”, Google found Smuckler Architecture to be the best fit based on our search query (see image below). *Notice the keywords sprinkled throughout the title & below description (also known as meta description).Screenshot#2

 

A great tool for keyword generation is Google AdWords. AdWords is not only an advertising platform created by Google but it’s also equipped with one of my favorite tools: Google Keyword Planner. The best part about the tool – it’s free. The Keyword Planner allows you to type in keyword ideas and gives you the analytics of each word or phrase.

Why is SEO Important? Page Titles

You can also optimize your website for search engines by creating clear, concise, and short page titles that engage the user but also utilize keywords or key-phrases that can be easily scanned by search engines quickly telling them what the page is about.

Why is SEO Important? Inbound Links

Consider another page on the web pointing to your site as a vote of trust. These links will not only reference your page but can bring traffic to your site. It’s important that inbound links are from credible sources. Google and other search engines are smart and are able to decipher the difference. Being active with blogs and social media naturally (known as “organically” in the marketing world) create inbound links and promote your brand and site to large groups interested in your products or services.

Why is SEO Important? Reputation

Sites that have high traffic, clean links, relevant content, clean URLs, and inbound and outbound links are utilizing SEO best practices. Optimized sites that have a great user experience and low bounce rate (people leaving their site quickly) are seen as reputable sites by search engines. Naturally reputable and optimized sites are given higher search engine placement.

It’s important to understand that SEO is not a one-time, quick project. Optimizing your website takes time and strategy. Search engines are also always changing; being knowledgeable with search engine algorithm updates and making adjustments to your website is important to your ranking.

These concepts merely skim the surface of all skills and tools necessary for understanding why SEO is important. As a business owner, often times SEO does not make it to the top of the ‘to do’ list, but if web rankings are important to you, it certainly should be a high priority to help grow your business.

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Promotional_items_PrimeblogAs community event season approaches and businesses make plans for 4th of July parades and summer celebrations, now is a great time to review your promotional item inventory.

Consider the following stats from the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI):

 

  • 88% of people receiving a promotional product in the past 12 months recalled the advertiser.
  • The most often recalled promotional product categories include:
    Wearables (41%): Shirts (22%), Caps/Headwear (11%), Outerwear (6%),
    Other Wearables (2%)
  • Writing Instruments (35%)
  • Drinkware (19%)

One of the great benefits of promotional items is that they tend to stick around for a long time because they are viewed as a gift. When your message or brand is provided to customers in the form of a t-shirt, mug or pen, it creates a personal experience with a product that they can really use. This leads to both brand recognition and brand awareness.

Remember the pen that you gave to a customer the other day? They may use that pen every day, increasing their recognition of your brand and putting you front and center when they are making business decisions.

How about that t-shirt you gave to a client? They wear the t-shirt to the gym, which means now you have a moving billboard, exposing your brand to  many other people who you may not have reached before.

According to the PPAI, eight in 10 consumers own between one and 10 promotional products. Six in 10 keep them for up to two years and about half (53%) use a promo item at least once a week or more.

Promotional products are important in every business, increasing brand awareness, recognition and reach. The variety of products across so many categories means that there is something for every budget, whether it’s a key chain, pizza cutter, chip clip, mug or golf shirt.

Getting started with promotional products can be as easy as thinking about what your customers use in their everyday life. Put your logo on that product and your brand will be out there for all to see.

What is your idea for a great promotional item?

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05.25.15

Prime Team

In honor of Memorial Day, we would like to thank all of the heros that have sacrificed their lives for our Freedom and Protection.

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4 Tips to a great website | Prime AdvertisingWhen I sat down to write this blog, I couldn’t help but notice the uncanny similarities between the creation of a good website and a stellar camping experience. The changing of the seasons and my excitement for bonfires, tents, kayaking and breathtaking views may be to blame, but stay with me here . . .

The evolution of website design and development over the past few years has created quite an exciting change for web users. The move to full width responsive websites showcasing large quality images, simple and engaging content and seamless navigation has streamlined the user experience.

That being said, when creating a new website the user should be top of mind. Start out by understanding what it is your visitors are looking for and then deliver that so they have a happy and valuable website experience. Hey, after all, you want them to set-up camp and stay a while, right?

Here are four tips to creating an effective website:

How’s the view? Like any top-notch adventure, visitors want an enjoyable and exciting view. Is your website visually pleasing to the eye of your target audience? Good website design gratifies the audience it caters to. Quality and meaningful images, unique graphics, prominent call-to-actions and buttons of complementary colors should all be considered in the design of your new website.

Adobe has a great tool for creating color combinations for your design: Click here

Are you providing a valuable map? A streamlined sitemap and navigation should be top of mind when creating a new website. Consider yourself the tour guide of their experience. You want to direct them through the site with engaging content, links to additional pages and a call-to-action. How easily visitors find their way around the site and are able to engage with the content greatly benefits your site ranking.

Is your content informative? Like the handy information desk at all tourist stops, information should be easily accessible and informative to your visitors. Each page on the site should have a clear purpose, a well thought out title and should also utilize headings, subheadings and bulleted lists. Content should be created with your user in mind. What topics will excite them? What information are they looking for when they visit your site?

Is the site active and in working order? Or did the maintenance man take the summer off?

  • Are there broken links?
  • Does the site take a long time to load?
  • Are there certain tools that don’t quite work correctly?
  • Is the last blog post outdated?

You have seconds to engage or lose your audience. When visitors run into the examples above, they’re quickly lost. Outdated or minimal content shows the site hasn’t been kept up and credibility of the brand diminishes. It’s important once you create a great site to maintain the content and functionality.

Try incorporating these four tips into your website plans to assure you have happy visitors who want to return!

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05.10.15

Prime Team

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there.

Thank you for everything you do!

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05.08.15

Mark

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Who cares more than your mother?

This is an expression I often use in conversation. In fact, I said it again just the other day but this time, with Mother’s Day approaching, I caught myself pausing for a moment and actually thinking about this line that I so often use.

Who really does care more than your mother?

When I think back through all the years with my mother, Marilyn, I’m extremely fortunate to have had both a personal as well as a professional business relationship with her. This is very unique (some might say crazy) and also very rewarding. She has been by my side as a wonderful mom and also a great business partner, mentor and inspiration to me.

I started Prime with my mom’s encouragement and support. She was there for me when I needed to win new projects but the experienced business community wanted more reassurance than a baby-faced kid on the other side of the table telling them the job would get done. And with mom’s guidance, it did.

Only a mother would agree to come out of retirement to help establish a business. And do so on a commission basis. And when I signed a lease for Prime to move into our first ‘real’ office, I called my mom, on her vacation, half way around the world, to tell her the news. And only a mother would take that call.

One of my mother’s favorite quotes is “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” In my personal life and through our shared appreciation of faith in our daily lives, my mom has taught me to care for other people. To help other people. To give back. To volunteer. To donate. This is also evident in the way we conduct our daily business, now as equal partners. Trust, follow through, and do what you say you are going to do.

Another of mom’s favorite quotes is “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” Well Mom, it has been up to me, and there has been no better way to have it be, than with you by my side all these years.

Best wishes to all the great mothers for a happy Mother’s Day weekend!

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