5 Things You Can Do Now to Build Trust in a Digital World

Top industry leaders know that trust is the cornerstone of business development. As society grows increasingly dependent on digital communication, however, establishing trust with prospective customers seems harder than ever. According to Salesforce, over 60 percent of customers said it’s hard for a company to earn their trust.

How exactly can a company earn trust in an online world where breaches in cybersecurity and online scams make headlines? Despite these challenges for businesses, establishing online credibility is more crucial than ever before.  In this blog post, we share five ways to build trust in a digital world.

Building Trust Starts With Transparency

According to a recent survey, 86% of Americans believe transparency is more important now than ever before, and that nine in 10 people would be willing to give a second chance after a poor customer experience when an organization is transparent and has a history of transparency. With today’s informed consumer, it is no longer enough to create a catchy logo or jingle and expect the masses to buy into the message you are selling. Potential customers want your website to be informative and user-friendly – whether viewed on a computer or smartphone. They want to know exactly what your brand has to offer, including the prices for your services. Customers don’t like hidden surprises or the impression that they are not being given all the facts, so make sure that everything potential clients need to know is easy to find, thorough and truthful.

Keep Customer Service in Style to Show Customer Appreciation

Responsive customer service is still important in a world that is increasingly more digital. For starters, B2B companies should always answer website inquiries about their products or services within 24 hours if possible. The same theory applies for consumer interactions on social media. Creating a memorable connection with existing and prospective customers on social media by answering their questions or having a quick but meaningful conversation humanizes your brand and builds trust in your company. When developing an email marketing campaign, make sure to thank customers after purchasing a product and ask if there are other ways your business could help. New digital technologies and social media features provide companies with agile ways to connect, help and show customers appreciation in real-time.

Have Values and Stand Behind Them

Transparency in your products and services is not the only form of transparency that is important to your potential customers; they want to see transparency and authenticity in your brand values as well. When used frequently and effectively, social media provides real-time opportunities for brands to connect directly with their audience, which can go far in developing brand loyalty and gaining new customers. Because consumers can instantly research and learn about a company’s personality, values and ethics, it is important that brands remain genuine and consistent with the image and values they are conveying to the public. Consumers are not afraid to make their voices heard to millions of people through social media posts regarding your company’s approach at a high level, so be clear about your brand values and stick to them! Develop social media content and marketing emails that project an accurate narrative that lends credibility to your unique brand persona.

Go Beyond the Digital Landscape with Prospects to Establish Offline Credibility

Remember that it is easier to establish trust in digital interactions if your brand has already established a trustworthy reputation in the real world. Think of ways you can build credibility with prospects, like memberships in industry organizations and speaking opportunities, such as panels, webinars and networking functions. The digital world has made finding these opportunities — and nurturing the connections you make at each — easier than ever. Through networking, encourage the people you meet to visit your website and follow and engage with your brand on social media. Remember, relationship-building is essential to earning trust, so be authentic and transparent as you start conversations and build relationships with others.

Create an Emotional Appeal to Your Brand

Review your website. Does it include client testimonials and success stories — as well as highlight examples of your work? This type of content can create a personal, even emotional, appeal for your brand and help convey your overall brand message in unique and memorable ways. Some research suggests brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity receive three times as much word-of-mouth promotion as less emotionally connected brands.

Building trust with your customers and prospects in a digital world takes time, energy and resources, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact Prototype Marketing today for help developing strategies to increase transparency, engagement and trust in your brand.

5 SEO Trends for 2022

According to research, search engines are the entry point for over 90% of online experiences.

In other words, optimizing your company’s website and content strategy for search engine optimization (SEO) is not a preference, but a necessity.

As part of your SEO strategy, your goal is to make your company’s website and all your products, services and valuable content readily available when people search for it. Driving traffic/customers to your website and ranking high in search engine results is a comprehensive and competitive, but achievable, endeavor.

Investing in new SEO trends is crucial to ranking high or improving your rank on search engines like Google and Bing. We’ve all Googled things we need to find and are most likely to click on websites that appear at the top of page one of the search results. There’s confidence and credibility associated with high-ranking page one search results.

Ranking high in SEO requires an investment of time and resources but equipped with the right strategy coupled with patience and commitment to analyze — and adapt if needed — you will be on track for SEO success. 

Below are five SEO trends for 2022 to consider in your SEO strategy:

Artificial Intelligence Impacts SEO

Technology continues to integrate more and more into our daily routines. Apple introduced Siri years ago, and today we can ask our smartphone questions and get answers in seconds; and thanks to Amazon, Alexa can even order and purchase our groceries. For businesses, instantly responsive artificial intelligence (AI) communication tools like chatbots and voice chat are valuable customer service tools to provide customers reliable answers to their questions and concerns as quickly and easily as possible.

So how do AI tools impact SEO?

Search engines are incorporating AI and machine learning directly within their algorithms to better understand how to match the intent behind unique search queries to the best search results. This means that search engines are iteratively measuring how people interact with the web and are incorporating that into their algorithm constantly. 

This also means that search results are becoming more and more unique to each individual customer. Google uses many factors to personalize search results such as location, past search history and other information to display results that have a much higher likelihood of being relevant for a particular customer than for anyone else. 

Google’s EAT Metrics Improve Quality of Content and Trust in Your Company  

When it comes to determining search engine rankings, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EAT) are very important metrics used by Google. These three metrics are used to measure a website’s content quality and whether your website is a trusted and reliable source by distinguishing between web page content that is misleading, poorly written or wrong and web page content that offers rich and reliable information. Creating a buyer persona and providing reputable source links where applicable will help improve your Google EAT metrics, according to Screpy. 

Long and Quality Content Is Becoming More Relevant for SEO

Writing and publishing long blog content or whitepapers on your website improves your SEO, as opposed to writing short-form content of just a few hundred words. According to a HubSpot SEO social media study, there is a connection between publishing long-form content and earning quality backlinks — when another website links back to your website and/or specific webpage — which is important for your SEO ranking. Another benefit of writing longer content on your web pages is that it can demonstrate authority on the subject matter you are writing about. If users are interested and trust in what you are writing, they will be more likely to return to read more and click on more of your website’s content, earning you more backlinks.

Mobile-Friendly Content and UX Is Still Growing in Relevance for Search

With smartphones being high-powered portable computers, people are constantly on their phones for personal and professional reasons. So many of the websites we search throughout the day are in mobile view, which means that companies need to ensure their websites are optimized for the mobile experience. If a website opened on a mobile device loads slowly and looks wonky, then users will likely become frustrated, leave the website and not return. Your website’s user experience (UX) is critically important. According to HubSpot, close to 90 percent of web designers believe a website that loads slowly is the primary reason for a user bailing on the website. Moreover, UXCam research shows that every $1 that is invested into improving UX design translates into a return on investment of $100. When it seems like everyone in the world is on their smartphone, make sure you are providing them a great mobile experience. 

Video Content Is Becoming More Important for Engagement and SEO

Does your website feature video to aid your customers or help tell your company’s story? If not, you should consider introducing a video strategy for your website. Some research suggests users will stay 2.5 times longer visiting web pages with videos than pages without any videos. 

Just think about how much time you spend watching videos on YouTube, whether for movies and TV, learning a new skill, professional tutorials or continuing education. Creating and publishing videos as part of your marketing and SEO strategy, whether it is a short intro from your CEO or a demonstration of a product or service, is a powerful storytelling and business tool. 

We are spending increasingly more time online searching for a wide variety of products, services and helpful information. This means it’s more important than ever to stay updated on what’s changing and evolving in SEO, like the five trends highlighted in this blog post! Investing the time and resources into updating and optimizing your SEO strategy with new elements that make sense to your company’s overall and specific marketing objectives will pay dividends down the ever-changing digital and SEO road.

If you are interested in implementing the latest SEO trends for 2022, contact the digital marketing strategists at Prototype Marketing today.

Winning Online! What it Takes and Why it Matters

Attract attention from B2C buyers

  • 76 percent of mobile shoppers change their minds about which retailer or brand to buy from after searching online, according to Google.
  • 8 out of 10 consumers are influenced by online sources before purchasing.

Convert those B2B decision-makers

  • Business decision-makers conduct, on average, 12 online searches before they engage with a brand, according to Google.
  • Those same decision-makers are 75 percent of the way through the process before they contact a company.

As a CEO or business owner, you don’t need to get bogged down with the details of online marketing, but it is important to understand how data, cost and results impact your company. Why should you concern yourself with digital marketing, you have people for that, right? 

According to HubSpot, CEOs should care about online marketing for one main reason: “Online marketing reduces marketing costs while improving lead quality and volume and provides detailed metrics for measurement and further improvement.”

Leave the details, like keyword selection, content creation and scheduling social media to your marketing team and concern yourself with these key elements of your company’s digital strategy. 

A CEO’s checklist for winning online:

When it comes to your company’s website, ask yourself this important question: “What does our website say about our company?” Your website should convince prospective customers that your business is reliable, reputable and stays up to date with industry trends. The company website also should address customer pain points and let your customers know what problem you can solve for them. In addition, your website should be mobile friendly, given that more than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. Businesses that optimize for mobile devices generate 30 percent more traffic and leads than those that don’t.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
SEO is the process of optimizing a website to make sure it ranks higher in results when prospective customers search for your products, driving more and better-quality leads to your site. The SEO game is painstaking, and the rules change frequently. For example, Google looks at over 200 factors to rank websites and changes its algorithms more than 700 times a year — almost twice a day.

Local SEO:
Local SEO refers to taking advantage of local business listings — Google My Business, Bing listings, etc., — and making sure they are updated, owned and verified. In many searches, business listings will outrank website listings. Be sure to include business descriptions, menus, photos, addresses and phone numbers to provide ample information about your company.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):
Sometimes, to get to the top of Google, paid search engine marketing, like Google Ads, provides just the right shot in the arm to boost your company to the top of the listings. Paid placements, after all, appear above organic listings in Google search. It’s important, though, to know how to manage Google Ads correctly. It can get quite expensive, and it’s critical to work with a Google certified agency to ensure success.

Social media:
There are about three billion social media users in the world, according to Statista, so it makes sense to capture the attention of those eyeballs. Your prospects are using networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to research new vendors, learn about new products and businesses, connect with potential partners and much more, so stay active and stay focused — on the right message and on the right channels.  And don’t forget YouTube. It can be a key tool to educate prospects about your product or solutions through video. Consider paid social campaigns. Boosting or sponsoring posts allows for extraordinary targeting to make sure your message is being seen by the right demographic, with the right job title and and/or interests.

In summary, your prospects and customers are going digital — even if you are not. To be successful, you need stay on top of what they want, how they research and how they prefer to buy products and services. Armed with this information, you can prioritize strategies and create a strategy to attract more leads and increase sales.

If you want your business to win online, contact the digital marketing strategists at Prototype Marketing today.

Is Influencer Marketing for Your Business?

Who has the most influence to promote your brand?

In the past, those who had the most influence on mainstream popular culture were famous celebrities — actors, athletes and musicians. But thanks to the significant global impact of social media over the last ten years, it no longer takes Michael Jordan posing on a Wheaties box to convince children across the world that a breakfast cereal will transform them into elite athletes. 

Now, some of the biggest authorities on trends and products are the appropriately named “influencers” on social media. 

Recent research indicates influencer marketing can deliver an 11 times higher return on investment than some traditional marketing tactics, but influencer marketing is not for every brand. These findings suggest, though, that business owners should take another look at their marketing strategy and decide if influencer marketing is an effective tool to reach their target audience.

Surprisingly, influencer marketing can have a more significant impact on B2B companies over B2C companies. Mainly because the average purchase amount in B2B is typically far larger than that of B2C. Additionally, a study conducted by Convince and Convert found that while 19 percent of the overall U.S. economy (B2B and B2C) is driven specifically by word of mouth, 91 percent of B2B transactions are at least influenced by word of mouth. 

If you think influencer marketing could work for your company, let’s explore how it can be done effectively to boost your company’s ROI. 

Conduct research to find the right influencer

A report by eMarketer says 75 percent of influencer marketers struggle to find the right influencer, but making sure you have the right person who can appropriately showcase your company’s products and services is crucial to successful influencer marketing. Obviously, if your business sells a variety of meat products, your top choice for an influencer for your brand would not be someone who goes by the moniker “Vegan 4Ever.” When looking for the ideal influencer to represent your brand, a great place to begin is to search for people who are already supporting your business. This can involve going through the followers on your company’s social platforms to see if any of them have a large fan base, or quickly researching your business on the Internet to see if it has been mentioned by any popular bloggers. Also take note of employees within your company. They should already be big fans and if they have a respectable number of fans on social media they could be a perfect, reliable influencer to effectively represent your brand’s voice and values.

Don’t forget to research your target audience

Just as it’s important to research potential influencers for your brand, it is also important to make sure you understand the type of influencer who would connect with your target demographic. Find out what brands and influencers your social media followers are following, liking and engaging with on social media. If necessary, conduct a B2B buyer persona that details exactly what your audience enjoys and searches for in a brand. Even if a popular influencer uses your products or services, if they have other interests or a certain energy that could be off-putting to your current customers, they won’t be worth the investment.

Know your budget

As with any new marketing tactic, understanding how influencer marketing plays into your budget is an important factor in finding the perfect influencer for your company. Keep in mind that every influencer has their own price, which is usually dictated by factors such as their number of followers and engagement rate. Influencers can be broken down into the following levels:

  • Mega-Influencers: Over a million followers, often celebrities, usually paid 4 to 6 figures per post, less than 1% engagement rate.
  • Macro-Influencers: 10K to 1M followers, usually paid 3 to 5 figures per post, 2% engagement rate.
  • Micro-Influencers: 1K to 10K followers, usually paid 2 to 3 figures per post, 3-4% engagement rate.
  • Local influencers: 0 to 1K followers, followers are friends and family, do not usually get paid, engagement rate varies.

These levels determine the cost of having the influencer promote your business. Remember that it’s not always beneficial to choose the influencer with the most followers, especially if they could monopolize your budget. Also, if your business is part of a niche industry, chances are high that the top influencers for your business will have fewer followers. Review your B2B buyer persona to see if your target audience likes to have a lot of interaction with brands. If they do, it is more advantageous to select an influencer with fewer followers but a higher engagement rate (which will probably be less expensive as well), than to choose a mega-influencer who will rarely communicate directly with customers.

Go beyond social media

While much focus of influencer marketing is placed on the number of followers an influencer has on social media, great influencers for your company can be found in other areas as well. Incredibly influential people can be found in the form of authors, speakers, thinkers, podcasters, researchers and more. If you find a potential representative that has high visibility but may not have a large social media following, consider creating short videos or guest blog features that your business can place on its website or social media platforms. Influencer marketing is all about being creative, so don’t be afraid to step out of the box – it could have a positive impact on your business in the long run!

Could influencer marketing be right for your brand? Contact Prototype Marketing at 434.846.2333 to learn more about this trendy marketing tactic. 

Animating your Brand for Competitive Advantages

Today’s digital world is continually changing and evolving. Internet users are constantly consuming content, and it is easy to get lost in the mix. It is important to stay ahead of the game to keep up with everchanging algorithms.  

Animation has become a popular trend in digital marketing because it captivates consumers more than text or photos. According to HubSpot, 85% of consumers want to see more video content from brands. Animation uses dynamic components to engage viewers, which increases retention of the content. Studies have shown that animation in marketing campaigns leaves a longer lasting impression on viewers. Here are four ways your brand can use animation to liven up your marketing experience.

Explainer Videos

On average, B2B videos that are shorter than 60 seconds are watched in entirety 68% of the time. Explainer videos are extremely popular for companies wanting to show complex products to their customers. Live-action explainer videos tend to be longer and do not keep viewers engaged. Animated explainer videos convey a product in a fast, engaging and easy-to-understand way. 

Animated explainer videos show the complexities of a product or process quickly, while also keeping the viewer visually stimulated. Processes can be simplified for consumers, making it easier for them to understand your products and services. Well-executed animation can persuade consumers to seriously consider purchasing a product, promote more engagement, and increase brand loyalty by helping customers visualize complex solutions. Using animation does not have to mean cartoons. Many successful companies use highly realistic animated footage to portray scenes that may have been difficult to film, such as the inner workings of equipment that cameras cannot reach. 

Email Marketing

On average, consumers get an average of 120 emails every day between personal and business accounts. Your company must do something to stand out in email inboxes. Animated videos and GIFs inside emails can increase engagement and retention of the email’s contents. A promotional email can be elevated using animation, creating a memorable impression on consumers. It is crucial to place your call to action in or around your animation as recipients are more connected with animation than text.


In the past few years, many companies have begun to animate their logo. A memorable use of animation is the Google logo, which changes often for holidays and special events. Animating your company’s logo can increase brand awareness because consumers are more likely remember it compared to a static logo. 

Animated logos do not have to be complex or expensive to produce. Adding a small, animated element draws attention to your logo, increasing brand awareness and retention. For example, FedEx animated their logo with arrows representing speed and direction. Logos with animation can demonstrate brand positioning unconsciously to consumers.

Social Media Ads

Social media advertising promotes your brand to unaware consumers and adding animation to your advertising creates a lasting impression that will stick with users longer than a static advertisement. Facebook’s algorithm change in 2016 gave preference to videos over other posts. Therefore, a short, animated video can be viewed by more people and create a longer-lasting impression than a photo. 

Social media users are looking to be entertained, not just be presented with information. Animation adds an element of entertainment and increases brand trustworthiness because consumers feel they are receiving more than just a sales pitch. Advertisements on social media using animation are more likely to be noticed and retained by those scrolling through their feeds.

Animation is appealing to consumers and highly personalized to your brand, increasing brand awareness and retention. It is clear and concise, which is what consumers in the digital landscape are looking for. Animation is an important tool in your marketing strategy that can increase results of a campaign, whether it be more followers or web traffic.

The experts at Prototype Marketing can create animation for your company that engages viewers for desired results. Call us today at 434-846-2333 or visit prototype-marketing.com for more information.

Integrating Digital Calls-to-Action with Graphics

In today’s digital world, direct mail remains one of the most effective and profitable forms of advertising and since the pandemic, it has become even more appreciated. According to the US Postal Service, people are more excited to receive mail each day since the pandemic, and 34 percent of consumers are scanning direct mail ads for deals more now than before the pandemic. 

As presented in a session titled “What You’re Missing About Today’s Direct Mail,” during The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Direct Mail Virtual Conference, these statistics demonstrate just how powerful direct mail is for moving people to action:

  • 68% say they use coupons they get in the mail
  • 46% say direct mail encourages them to go online for more information about the advertiser
  • 41% say direct mail encourages them to make an online purchase from an advertiser

As you can see, an effective call to action, or CTA, is crucial to the success of any direct mail campaign. But the traditional “call today” may not be enough to stay competitive.

So how about integrating digital calls-to-action into your direct mail campaigns? A digital CTA prompts the reader to respond to your direct mail digitally through a website address, QR code, social media channel or more.  

Social Media Icons

According to WyzResearch, social media icons are the top used digital CTA in direct mail. Including social media icons not only offers visual appeal to your mailings, but also establishes trust, especially with millennials and gen-zrs who have grown up with social media. 

Social sharing can give your direct mail additional reach and could even go viral with the right incentive. For example, “Follow us on social media and share this offer with your friends for a chance to win…” 

QR Codes

The second most used CTAs are QR Codes. These easy-to-use squares offer a simple way to get customers to your website or social media channels. Your customers can simply scan a QR code on your postcard with their smartphones or tablets and be immediately taken to your website, blog or social media profile. You set the destination! 

Get creative! QR codes are not just for URLs anymore, here are some examples of ways you can use QR codes to engage with your customers:

  • Scan to read our blog
  • Scan for an instructional video
  • Scan to download a free e-book
  • Scan to enter a contest or giveaway
  • Scan to register for our event
  • Scan for a 20% off coupon
  • Scan to hear our story (or podcast)

The options are endless.

URLs or “Visit Our Website”

WyzResearch shows URLs are still the third most popular CTA, and for good reason. Your website is one of the best tools for generating leads and converting them to sales. Add forms to the pages that get the most traffic to obtain contact information for your prospect list, and make sure these popular pages are doing everything they can to nurture the visitor’s interest.  

Through website analytics, you can gain valuable insights into who your customer is and what interests them. By knowing your visitors’ demographics and interests, you can create targeted content and get better visibility on search engines. 

Personalized Calls-to-Action

With today’s technology, it is so easy to personalize your direct mail campaigns. Long gone are the days of offset printing, when printers had to create plates before running the press, resulting in large set up fees and minimum quantities. Today, with print on demand, set up time is minimal, and printers can easily integrate your contact data and other personalized content into the job. Here are some ways you can personalize your calls-to-action in your direct mail.

  • Personalized URLs (PURLs): When your prospect visits their PURL, their contact information is already pre-populated, and the message is very specific to them. The CTA would read something like, “Go to {companyname].com/[prospect name] for your personalized pricing.”
  • Variable Data Printing (VDP): VDP is a form of digital printing that is data driven, allowing for total customization. VDP automates the process so each piece looks like it has been designed and printed specifically for each recipient and can include anything from the prospect’s name, unique salutation, text, coupons, tracking numbers, PURLs and even maps.
  • USPS Informed Delivery: Customers who sign up for this free service from the US Postal Service receive scanned images of their household mail before actually receiving it in their mailbox. They can view the images via email, an online dashboard or the mobile app. For businesses, this service offers a new opportunity to engage users through an integrated mail and digital marketing campaign that generates additional customer impressions, interactions and insights. 

By integrating these digital calls-to-action into your direct mail campaigns, you will create effective multichannel marketing opportunities that will reach a broader array of customers right when and where they are — whether that is on their computers reading social media, on their phones or at their mailboxes. 

The experts at Prototype Marketing can help you integrate, personalize and profit from your direct mail and digital marketing campaigns. Call us today at 434-846-2333 or visit prototype-marketing.com for more information.

Is Your Logo Doing its Job? 5 Qualities of an Effective Logo

In today’s marketplace, a well-designed logo is crucial to enhance your brand and help your company stand out from its competitors. A successful logo creates a strong first impression and is the backbone of your brand’s identity. Here are some things to consider when creating or reviewing your logo.

1. Brand Recognition.

When you think of Nike, what is the first thing you think of? Chances are it is the Nike Swoosh logo. The quality of Nike’s products is inarguably great, but many people buy their shoes and clothing to show off their logo. Make sure your company’s logo is memorable and reflects your brand.

2. Clear Design.

Unless the spirit of the company calls for a rainbow of colors and over-the-top fonts, simplicity is key. It can be distracting to interpret your brand and your message if your logo has too many unnecessary design elements. Facebook’s logo is one of the most recognizable logos out there, and one of the simplest in design. Even though it is minimalistic, it can be easily identified in a crowd. When designing your logo, strive for a clean and striking template.

3. Meaning

Every company has a story to tell and an image to uphold. Your logo can help tell your customers who you are through color and graphics. For example, a square, simple, monochromatic design can represent a “down to business” company like a law firm or doctor’s office. A colorful and whimsical logo tends to portray a more creative or imaginative company, like a software start-up, a non-profit or a design firm.

4. Timelessness

A logo should be able to stand the test of time. Although styles do change and rebranding occurs to keep companies relevant, the core design should be simple enough to make slight changes in the future. It is best to start off with minimal design, as it is much easier to add design to your logo later, rather than removing aspects of your logo that become outdated.

5. Versatility

Have you ever seen a logo that has been stretched out of proportion or that doesn’t display well in black and white? To be effective on all platforms your logo design should include several formats and color schemes. If your logo has an icon, be sure to include primary and secondary logo options — one being the icon by itself, while the other includes your company name in your brand’s font, along with the icon. It is important for the logo to be scalable on all sizes and types of media. Whether on a billboard or a business card, the logo should be legible. If done incorrectly, logos may become hard to read on smaller items. Creating a grayscale or black and white logo, as well as a 2-color option, will help ensure you are ready for any document or print marketing. 

A strong logo is ultimately one of the most important parts of your brand. It creates a good first impression and is one of the key fundamentals of your brand’s overall identity. When done correctly, your logo will surely stand out and give your brand the extra boost it needs to become more successful.

To learn more about designing a logo that does its job, contact the experts at Prototype Marketing today.

5 Tips to Choose Great Music for your Social Media Video

Video and audio go hand in hand when it comes to social media advertising. Research shows that that viewers are more likely to click or watch an entire advertisement with well-known music, or any music in general, as opposed to no music at all. Using music that fits in well is crucial when creating a successful advertisement. Here are five tips to help you choose the best possible music for your social media video ad.

1. Determine your target audience.

The type of music selected should appeal to your focused target audience. Does your target audience prefer a certain musical genre, such as classical, or country, or Top-40 pop? Are you aiming for a broad market and need a popular genre? Or is it a more focused and distinct demographic that may have specific musical taste?  Spending some time understanding your audience and their musical preferences will help you better narrow down the best range of tune choices. 

2. What is the intended emotion?

Music often has an emotional impact on the consumer. It plays an active role on your current mood and how you feel about the product shown. Many social media advertisements have happy upbeat music to subconsciously change the way you think about the video’s message or what is being sold. The goal is to win you over and make you more interested in the product or company. Choose a song that’s welcoming to make a potential customer more likely to stay and watch the entire video.

3. Choose your music based on your message.

Think about what music would match the message your social media video is  portraying. Is the product or service something useful and important for businesses? Perhaps a song with a slower, more serious sound is the right choice. Does the video promote a product or service that offers safety and security? Perhaps a soothing and calm melody will help viewers feel that.  

4. Determine whether you want copyrighted or non-copyrighted audio.

This comes down to your budget. Free songs can work well when your budget is limited, and  there are numerous tracks you can obtain that are non-copyrighted. If you can afford it,  you’ll have more options if you purchase a standard license and get the full rights to the song. Paying for a copyrighted song will allow you to use the music in all of your ads without having to worry about the same song playing in other ads, which makes your ad much less memorable for your audience.  There are several websites you can purchase songs for a very reasonable price including https://stock.adobe.com/audio and https://artlist.io/.

5. Align the music with the brand

People will associate your music with your brand, and it matters how closely the music aligns with the brand. For example, a brand that has core values of innovation and a focus on the future may want to steer away from music that is nostalgic or “classic” in favor of the newest and most current sound. Sometimes, the right music for the brand and the target audience preference don’t easily line up. What if you are doing a video for a legacy company that is aiming to attract young customers?  The music needs to both align with the brand and attract the target audience. This is where music choice can be critically important. Having a thorough understanding your brand, audience and message will help you identify tracks that fit all three. 

Music is a highly important part of your video production. As you can see, it can impact your viewer as much as the visuals. Making a thoughtful music choice can give your ad the extra boost it needs to become successful.

Need assistance producing a powerful and effective video ad to use on social media? Contact the experts at Prototype Marketing today. 

What to consider when creating your annual marketing plan

If you’re anything like the rest of the United States, 2016 felt like a blur of confusion and last minute decisions. If you approached your 2017 marketing plan in the same way—with confusion and last minute decisions—we’re here to help you clear the air and start 2017 off with a marketing plan that is truly solid.

Here’s what you should consider when creating your annual marketing plan:

  1. How effective was your 2016 marketing plan? Be truthful. Start with a complete copy of your 2016 marketing plan and work from there.
  2. What should you keep from your 2016 marketing plan and what should be removed due to lack of results? Keep what was working, remove what wasn’t and note changes on what could have worked had you put in a little more effort, marketing dollars or resources into it.
  3. What’s your brand’s overall situation? When was the last time you performed a brand audit or a brand refresh? If it’s been a while, start 2017 off with one.
  4. What are your sales goals for 2017? What sort of percentage increase is required to meet those goals? Put that goal at the end of your marketing plan, and note incremental increases every quarter. It will keep you on task.
  5. What are the marketing trends emerging from the end of 2016? A new social media platform? A new design trend? If it makes sense for your industry, business and client-base, note the upgrade and schedule it for early in the year.
  6. What is work you should always be doing, each and every month? Think about social media activity, thought leadership, sales touch points. This is work that should be ongoing throughout the year. Don’t assume you’ll stay on task. Note it over and over and over in your marketing plan.
  7. What events do you have coming up this year? Note everything from holidays to tradeshows to internal development meetings. Executables will either be required in preparation for those events or will come out of those events. Make sure you have bandwidth allotted for them.