Build Your 2024 Content Calendar: A Step-by-Step Guide

woman-working-on-calendars

Your content calendar is one of the most important building blocks of your marketing plan. By creating eye-catching content, you can inform your audience, position your brand as a thought leader, and boost SEO. 

But, you might be wondering how to even get started.

Building a content calendar is easier said than done; we know. When you have the right tools, though, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. In just a few steps, you can plan content for your full year to ensure that you’re connecting with your audience consistently through blogs, email, social media, and other content-related channels. To get you started, we’re sharing this step-by-step guide to building your 2024 content calendar. 

How to Build a Content Calendar in 7 Simple Steps


1. Identify the types of content you need. 

Before you begin, identify the different channels that you’ll be writing content for. This might include blogging, social media, email marketing, podcasts, or webinars. Any channel that you need to be posting on consistently will need its own calendar. 

Pro tip: Build your content calendar in a spreadsheet, using a new page for each type of content. For example, the first page might be blogging, the second social media, the third email marketing, so on, and so forth. 

2. Set a schedule for each type of content. 

Set a schedule for each type of content so that your content team knows when each topic should go out. This will also help you determine how many topics you need for each type of content. Your different channels will all have a set cadence. Maybe you put out one blog a week, one podcast episode every two weeks, and an email every month. Choose a schedule that works best for your audience and your workflow, and try to stick to that schedule as closely as possible.

3. Identify your audience’s pain points. 

Your content really needs to grab the attention of your audience. You have a better chance of doing that if you key into a challenge that they are looking to solve. As an example, your pain point might be that you are ready to build a content calendar but aren’t sure where to begin. That’s how we chose this topic—we know that our audience might struggle at times to map out consistent content. 

4. Research your competitors’ content. 

Researching your competitors’ content is not to suggest that you should use the topics that your competitors write about. Rather, you should see the types of content that they share with their audience. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you must be aware of what your competitors are offering to prospects. Create a content calendar that is very much unique to your company; but, always research competing sites to ensure that you aren’t dropping the ball on any major stressors that your audience might face.

5. Identify the keywords you’re hoping to rank for. 

Using tools like SEMrush allow you to identify keywords that you want to target, increasing your chances of rising to the top of search engine results. By identifying keywords early in your content planning process, you can implement said keywords into your topic ideas.

6. Create topics for each channel. 

Now for the fun part. Begin building your content calendar piece by piece for each channel. We find it most helpful to map out our idea, the description, and target keywords for each topic. With this approach, you can easily delegate these topics to your content experts, and they will understand the direction and purpose of each piece.

7. Cross-reference your topics between channels. 

To make the most of your time and efforts, cross-reference your topics to repurpose as much as you can. For example, if you’ve written a blog article topic that would be great for a podcast episode, you can tweak the topic to fit your podcast audience.

Keep in mind that your audience consumes content differently depending on where they’re getting information. If you are writing a blog article about “10 Things to Know About X,” your podcast audience might prefer the topic to be presented in less of a listicle format and more of a thoughtful discussion. 

The Importance of Timely Content

Though it’s good practice to begin your year with a content calendar, remember that it isn’t set in stone. There will be events that happen in your industry, or even just out in the world, that will cause you to adjust your calendar accordingly.  A content calendar is a great planning tool, but you should always leave room for change. 

Would you prefer that a content marketing team helped you stay connected to your audience? We can help. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

What Small Businesses Should Know About Google & Yahoo Email Authentication Updates 

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for small businesses to maintain effective communication with their customers. One significant update that demands the attention of small businesses is the impending Google and Yahoo email authentication updates that are set to roll out in February 2024. This might sound like tech jargon, but adapting to these updates is crucial for reaching customers through email.

As a trusted full-service marketing agency working with both B2B and B2C small businesses, Green Apple Strategy is here to guide you through these changes so that your email marketing efforts remain successful. So let’s break down what’s on the horizon and how to navigate these email authentication updates with confidence.

Why the Update? What’s Changing?

Email authentication is a critical aspect of email marketing, as it helps establish the legitimacy of the email sender. It verifies the sender’s identity, ensuring emails are legitimate and not sneaky spam. 

On February 1, 2024, Google and Yahoo are turning what was once considered best practices for email authentication into mandatory requirements. The updates primarily focus on strengthening the protocols that verify the authenticity of the email sender’s domain and ensure that emails are not being spoofed or manipulated by malicious cybersecurity attackers.

Ultimately, these authentication updates are a proactive step toward a more secure email environment. For small businesses, that’s a good thing! Fewer spammy messages mean a cleaner, more trusted email environment, which ultimately benefits everyone.

Actionable Steps for Small Businesses 

If you’re a small business relying on email to reach customers or partnering with a marketing agency for your digital marketing efforts, here’s how to update your email protocols so that any emails you send are not blocked or marked as spam:

Make Sure You’re Sending Emails from a Domain You Own

One of the key requirements for the new authentication protocols is that small businesses should be sending mail from a domain that belongs to your organization. For example, we send emails from “NAME@greenapplestrategy.com” 

Your domain name is an important part of your business or organization’s online identity, and sending emails from your own domain is key to maintaining a relationship with your subscribers. 

Implement DMARC & SPF at the Enforcement Level

The updates primarily focus on strengthening authentication protocols such as DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework). At Green Apple, we’ve already helped clients update these authentications at the enforcement level. These changes instruct email providers about how to handle unauthorized emails claiming to be from a certain domain. 

Get Technical (or Find Someone Who Is)

Setting up these protocols might sound like tech jargon, but fear not! Most email service providers offer user-friendly guides and support. For example, Campaign Monitor offers built-in tools for DMARC reporting and authentication management. You can definitely DIY this process, but you must ensure the new authentications are done correctly. You’ll also want to make sure that they’re used effectively after they’re implemented.

Lean on Agency Expertise for Authentication Readiness

With the complexity of the updates, it’s even more crucial to rely on your agency’s expertise in email authentication and deliverability practices. Ensure your agency has implemented SPF, DKIM, and DMARC on your domain and configured them properly. Ask for specific details about their implementation process and compliance status.

Stay Informed Through Collaboration

Regular communication means that your business will be able to quickly adapt to evolving email authentication standards. That’s why it’s important to foster a collaborative environment that enables you to stay informed about industry updates, best practices, and any additional recommendations from your marketing agency. 

Monitor Performance and Adapt Strategies

The final step you want to take is to work closely with your marketing agency to review and adapt your email marketing strategies in response to the updates. Your agency should inform you about any significant decreases you see in open rates and work together to identify and address the root cause.

Don’t Panic, Get Prepared!

These updates might seem daunting, but with a little proactive effort, you can avoid any serious issues. Partnering with a competent and proactive marketing agency can help you navigate the email authentication updates smoothly. Trust their expertise, communicate openly, and monitor performance for a successful email marketing strategy in 2024 and beyond.

For Green Apple clients: Our dedicated digital marketing team is proactively working to help our clients seamlessly meet and comply with the new email authentication protocols, guaranteeing the continued success of their email marketing campaigns.

Bonus Tips and Resources

In addition to following these guidelines, implementing email marketing best practices is crucial. Good email practices will ensure your newsletters and marketing campaigns land in your audience’s inbox and captivate their attention. The resources below can help you build an email strategy with a solid ROI. 

The 7 Strategies Your Email Newsletter Should Use

woman working on a laptop

When it comes to the basic “blocking and tackling” of effective email strategy in 2022, email newsletters are on the starting line. After all, 81% of B2B businesses name newsletters as their top content marketing strategy. However, the popularity of newsletters often makes it one of the most difficult tactics to deploy. It’s important for every business to consider how their newsletter is going to stand out in the crowded inboxes of their audience.

3 Benefits of Email Newsletters for Marketing

Before we dive into the email strategy for developing an effective newsletter, here are just a few important factors to consider:

1. Newsletters provide a way to educate current and prospective customers.

An effective email newsletter is informative and relevant. It should appeal directly to the subscriber’s interests and cover the topics from the industry. Because of this, newsletters provide your audience with a better understanding and knowledge of your brand in a way that is helpful. 

2. Newsletters help you keep leads warm.

Not everyone who visits your website or submits their email address is ready to buy. Newsletters can be a great way to keep potential customers engaged and informed until they’re ready to make the decision to buy. 

3. Newsletters can enhance your brand reputation and highlight your expertise.

Newsletters also provide a way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build expertise. By sharing relevant industry news and providing perspective on important topics for your audience in your newsletter, you become a trusted voice for them. 

 

7 Effective Strategies for Email Newsletters

So how do you create an engaging newsletter that creates momentum for your marketing efforts? Here are seven strategies to consider:

1. Choose an Email Software that Works for Your Brand

There are many email service providers out there on the market and choosing the right one is not easy. While we’ve used several survey platforms to send newsletters for our clients, our team likes the features and functionality that Campaign Monitor provides. The key is to find software that can meet your requirements and can guarantee both high deliverability and quality of your emails.

2. Set the Right Expectations by Letting People Know What to Expect from Your Newsletter

Because of how many emails are sent daily, people are more and more reluctant to share their email addresses. Whenever you’re asking people to sign up for your newsletter, it’s helpful to answer the question “What’s in it for me?”

Helping people recognize the value of subscribing to your newsletter and setting expectations for how you will communicate with them goes a long way in maximizing the ROI of your campaigns. 

3. Use a Clean and Consistent Template

You want to make sure your newsletters are skimmable and easy to read. Whether you use an out-of-the-box template or get one created especially for your brand, using a consistent design will help your brand achieve a layer of cohesiveness and flow.  

4. Make Sure Your Subject Line is Compelling

You only get one chance to make a great first impression with your subject line. According to research, 64% of readers make the decision to open an email based on the subject line alone. Here are a few different subject lines you can use to elevate your email newsletters.  

5. Consider Adding an Emoji to Your Subject Line

At Green Apple, we’ve found emojis help our clients’ newsletters stand out in a crowded inbox. One study analyzed over 9K email campaigns on mobile and found that subject lines that included emojis increased email open rates by 1,071% on Android and by 662% on iOS.

6. Make Your Newsletter Helpful & Informational More than Sales-Driven

Newsletters are better for cultivating customer loyalty and brand equity than they are for hard selling. When it comes to the content you create, it’s important to embrace the mindset of “always be helping.” One way to integrate this into your newsletters is the 90/10 rule: 90% informational content, 10% sales material. With the right balance, less is more and the educational material will lead to more sales than product copy.

7. Continually Analyze & Test to Find What Works

As with any marketing tactic, in email strategy, it’s important to constantly test and analyze your newsletter to see what works. You want to track the metrics that indicate whether or not your newsletter is working and test new ideas along the way. This includes testing out different strategies for send date, layout & design, calls-to-action, etc. 

Email newsletters might be something we’re all familiar with, but it can challenging to create a successful one for your own brand. We hope these insights and strategies help you develop a newsletter that delights subscribers and creates momentum for your marketing efforts.

Campaign Monitor: A Marketing Agency’s Review

two people talking to each other in an office setting

While marketing trends come and go, email still remains an essential tactic for businesses to engage with existing and potential customers. 93% of B2B marketers use email marketing for distributing content and promoting their products. On top of this, 72% of customers have said that they prefer email as their main source of business communication. 

Finding the right platform for your email marketing efforts can make a tremendous impact on your ability to create, send, and optimize your campaigns. Our team at Green Apple has used a variety of email marketing platforms over the years. To date, Campaign Monitor has been our favorite, especially for B2B companies or service-based businesses. 

Why do we use Campaign Monitor as our go-to email platform? We asked our digital marketing team in this review to share a few specific reasons they love Campaign Monitor. 

3 Reasons We Love Campaign Monitor for Our Clients’ Email Strategy

1. Campaign Monitor has a user-friendly platform. 

Campaign Monitor provides one of the simplest and most intuitive experiences of any email platform. Their email templates are by far the easiest to use. Their customer service representatives also provide quick, responsive answers to any questions. If there is ever anything that our team isn’t quite sure how to do, they’re very quick to explain how something works. Another user-friendly aspect of Campaign Monitor is that all of our clients are in one place when we log in. This is extremely helpful when managing dozens of email campaigns.

2. Campaign Monitor makes it super easy to build beautiful and effective emails. 

The layout and design of emails impacts conversion rates. With Campaign Monitor, you don’t need robust design skills or coding experience to design effective emails. Campaign Monitor provides a variety of templates that are easy to customize to create branded newsletters. This is not always the case with all email marketing platforms! If you do want to invest in more individualized design, Campaign Monitor has the capacity for designers to create custom-designed emails in Campaign Monitor.

3. Campaign Monitor provides valuable insights and helpful reporting tools. 

One of the most powerful tools available to any marketer is the ability to analyze the results of an email campaign. Campaign Monitor’s reporting capabilities are really beneficial. We can view detailed analytics to help uncover where our clients’ most active subscribers are coming from and how they engage with the content. The campaign dashboard makes it easy to see exactly how each email performed. It’s also incredibly simple to pull reports for our clients so they can view the data for themselves. 

Want to Elevate Your Email Marketing Efforts?

Green Apple Strategy is constantly looking for ways to help our clients find effective ways to reach their audience. If you’re looking for a way to elevate your email campaigns, our experienced team can help provide you with the ideas and insights. Reach out to us today for a consultation.

4 Signs Your Email Campaigns Aren’t Working (And How to Fix Them)

computer screen showing emails
email campaigns not workingEmail marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience and turn subscribers into buyers. However, simply having a strategy and sending regular emails to your intended audience doesn’t mean email campaigns are working. The only way to know if your campaign is working is to track it. If you want to elevate your email campaigns, it’s important to evaluate each of the factors that determine your success. In order to help, we wanted to highlight a few of the common reasons your email campaigns might not be working and provide some quick ideas for how to fix them. Here are four areas to evaluate and improve if you’re looking to generate better results from your email marketing campaigns.   

1. Your Emails Are Ending Up in Spam Folders

Your audience will likely never see your email if it ends up in their spam folder. How do you measure this? Check the deliverability rate of your campaigns. Deliverability measures the rate at which emails reach subscribers’ inboxes.  If you notice your deliverability rate is low, here are a few things you can do:
  • Make sure you’re using a reliable email service provider and avoid spam triggers.
  • Delete old or inactive email addresses from your list and keep only people who are engaged.
  • Check which email addresses bounced and remove those email addresses from your list.

2. Your Emails Aren’t Being Opened 

As the old “tree falling in the woods” adage teaches us: if an email is never opened, will anyone read the message? The answer is no. The two biggest factors for determining open rates are often the subject line and send time.  That’s why your subject line is one of the most important aspects of elevating your email marketing campaigns. If you’ve struggled to increase open rates: 
  • Consider tweaking your subject line strategy to find more effective ways to capture attention and inspire your audience to open the email. 
  • You can also test the day and time that you send your email to see what works best.
  • Use A/B testing to try out several versions of an email campaign to determine which is the most effective at increasing engagement. 
 

3. People Aren’t Clicking Through or Taking Action

Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on your calls-to-action (CTAs). This is the ultimate goal of any email campaign. The email is the vehicle you use to inspire your audience to take the next step. Taking the time to create UTM codes that track post-visitor engagement is a great way to determine the effectiveness of every single email you send.  If you’re experiencing lower clickthrough rates than you used to generate, you might consider:
  • Segmenting your emails to create more personal and targeted campaigns for your various target audiences.
  • Optimizing the format of your content to ensure it’s easy for people to read.
  • Testing different CTA formats to see what generates the greatest response, including buttons, links, images, and questions.
 

4. People Are Unsubscribing

An unsubscribe rate measures the number of people who opt out of your email list once they receive an email from you. If someone unsubscribes from your list, you’ve lost your chance to engaging with them through email. So how do you avoid people unsubscribing from your email campaigns? Here are a few ideas:   You spend a lot of time and energy crafting emails for your audience. The last thing you want is for the work you do to be ignored. Constantly testing and tweaking your emails is essential for keeping up with customer demand and ensuring the work you put into your campaigns generates the results you want. If you’re looking for ways to stay on top of the latest email trends, subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll provide helpful insights you can use to reach more customers. 

10 Ways to Promote Your Upcoming Webinar

working-on-a-laptop-with-headphones
You have plenty of wonderful ideas and expertise to share with your audience. What better way than a webinar? The thing is, though, that a hefty amount of thought, planning, and design goes into creating a webinar. And, after all the work you’ve put into building this resource, wouldn’t it be great if someone attended? Of course, we know you want as many people as possible to see your webinar. So, we put together a list of ways that you can promote your upcoming webinar.   

1. Send an Email Blast 

First up, send an email to your newsletter subscribers. Because they already follow you, they’ll be interested to see that you’re providing them with helpful content. You can increase your chances of a successful email by adding an eye-catching subject line and segmenting your list to narrow in on those who would be most interested. In your email, make sure to include all necessary details along with a clear explanation of the benefits of attending.

2. Add a Line to Your Email Signature

Consider adding a line about your upcoming webinar to your email signature. That way, you always have a reminder there for clients and prospects. Be sure to add a link so that they can find more information! 

3. Feature it On Your Home Page

Try featuring information about your webinar on your Home page. When clients land on your site, they’re already looking for insight. Imagine how excited they’ll be to see that you’re offering to share your know-how!  

4. Create a Paid Social Campaign

Help your followers find your webinar with a paid social campaign. Before you put money behind your ad, make sure that you determine which of your social media platforms performs the best and where your audience spends the most time.

5. Write a Blog 

Writing a blog to announce your webinar and feature a high-level overview will give you a multi-purpose piece of content that you can use on your website, social media, and in your emails. It will also be great to send to those who ask for more information.

6. Add a Pop-Up to Your Website

To draw even more attention to your webinar, try adding a pop-up to your website. You can use this as an opportunity to encourage visitors to sign up or learn more. 

7. Collaborate with Influential People or Businesses in Your Industry

Many people in your industry have access to your target audience—social media personalities, podcasts, industry experts, and bloggers, just to name a few. Connect with these people to offer your insight on their next project (e.g., guesting on their podcast) to create an opportunity to plug your new webinar. Since your audiences are so similar, you’ll find that many of their followers are there for precisely this type of content.

8. Hand Out Flyers at Your Next Event

Have a trade show coming up? Design an engaging informational hand-out that you can give to attendees who may be interested. These events are also an excellent opportunity to collect email addresses from those who would like to receive more information.

9. Post Consistently On Social Media

Add a consistent routine of posting about your webinar on your social media accounts. Feature fun, informative content that lets the user know exactly what they would gain by attending.

10. Tell Everyone You Know

Word of mouth is a more effective marketing strategy than some may think. Tell everyone you know about your webinar, and be sure to send them follow-up information if they seem curious.

Need Help Building or Promoting a Webinar? 

Green Apple builds and promotes webinars for clients in various industries, and we find that it’s an incredibly robust marking tool with a high return on investment. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

5 Books to Read When Looking for Your “Why” in Marketing

stack-of-books-with-cactus-plant
Discovering your why when marketing your business should always be step one. It’s the foundation upon which you can build your entire brand—because people don’t create a business without a reason. They create a business because they are passionate about providing something to their audience or solving a problem.  This is especially important for your marketing strategy because when you fully understand what drives you and your company, you can explain it to others. Marketing is primarily storytelling, and you need a story to share with your audience. So, when you’re discovering your why, especially as you inform your marketing direction, where do you start? If you’re a bibliophile, we recommend these five books to find the true drive behind your company’s efforts.

1. Robots Make Bad Fundraisers: How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age

For the nonprofit organizations that live on fundraising, your why is essential. People give their time and their money because they feel good about where those resources are going, and they want to make a difference. By discovering the heart of your organization and telling that story in the strongest way possible, you can insight passion in others and boost your fundraising goals.  In Steven Shattuck’s book, Robots Make Bad Fundraisers: How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age, he ventures to answer an important question: Has technology actually gotten in the way of building a personal connection with our supporters? He would argue that, yes, the more digital our world becomes, the less our hearts are in it, and the further we stray from our purpose. We rely on these technologies to fuel our growth, but, in reality, they are allowing us to lose focus, and we aren’t telling the passionate story of purpose these organizations were founded on. This nonprofit-focused marketing book actually has an interesting lesson to teach us all, even in the for-profit sector—how to keep the donors you have, inspire new donors to give, and maintain your team members’ sanity.

2. Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story

A business’s purpose always circles back around to the most important person: the customer. We build these businesses because we want to help our audience overcome a challenge or feel a certain way. It’s only right, then, that we keep our customer at the heart of the brand story. Miri Rodriguez’s book, Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story, helps us do just that.  Rodriguez guides the reader to use storytelling to trigger the emotions that humans are driven by. She explains how to analyze, pull apart, and rebuild your brand’s story in a way that focuses the business as the “sidekick,” putting the control in the customer’s hands, allowing them to be the key influencer.

3. This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See

“Great marketers don’t use consumers to solve their company’s problem; they use marketing to solve other people’s problems,” says Seth Goldin, Author of This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See. This book description could stop here, as that’s the perfect way to describe what it means to discover the reason behind why you do what you do.  Goldin draws upon his many years in marketing to explain how marketers can make the world a better place through powerful marketing elements: empathy, generosity, and emotional labor. He walks the reader through identifying their viable audience, drawing on the signals to position their offering, building trust, telling a meaningful story, and giving people what they need to achieve their goals. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Right?

4. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Does your message matter if your audience isn’t listening? In his book Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, author Donald Miller shares his method for connecting with customers—helping them understand the benefits of using a brand’s products, ideas, or services. By simplifying your brand message, your audience will grasp it more quickly and be motivated to move forward. Miller helps readers do this through seven universal story points that all humans respond to.  When building our messages, we must keep our messages clear and engaging. And where does that message begin? You guessed it: your why. Your understanding of your purpose allows you to build a clear message. Miller can help you get there.

5. Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers

We search for our why because we want to matter to our customers. That moment when you think, “I have this great service. Why is no one taking advantage of it?” It’s because you know how great it is, and your audience doesn’t. In her book, Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers, Bernadette Jiwa explains that we “have no shortage of ideas, but we struggle to tell the story of how they are going to be useful in the world.” We couldn’t agree more. By posing a series of thought-provoking questions, Jiwa helps the reader dive into what about their brand will resonate and how to craft a message that will matter Are you looking to take your marketing to the next level? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

10 Marketing Questions to Answer Before Launching a Product or Service

hourglass-timer


Dreaming up a new idea for your business can be an exciting and rewarding process. You are about to offer your audience something they need or want, and so you’re helping people while growing your company. But, we can get swept away into dreaming about our ideas sometimes, can’t we? In all the excitement, we can lose track of the reality of a launch. 

We want to help you think through how you can launch your new products or services in the most timely, cost-effective, and successful way. Here are ten marketing questions to answer before launching a product or service. 

1. Does it align with my company’s goals? 

When we add elements to our company’s repertoire, it’s crucial to ensure that they align with the vision we have for our brand. Because no matter how small, each product or service says something about your business—and could very well change the trajectory of your brand’s growth. So, it’s first and foremost important that you choose your additions wisely. Picture your business in two to five years. Does this product or service still fit into that picture? 

2. What problem does it solve for my audience? 

The primary reason to build a new product or service is to solve an issue for your audience. Does this idea address a common pain point for your customers? If the answer is yes, you may have just come across your next big seller! If not, you may need to return to the drawing board.

3. How can I build strategic messaging around it? 

Once you have your golden idea that aligns with your brand and solves a pain point for your customer, you’re ready to craft messaging. This is an involved process, but every second is worth it in the end. You can use your answer to question two, “What problem does it solve for my audience?” to inform this process. Once you have the answer to that question, you can begin building your messaging strategy. 

Identify the key messages that you’re sending to your audience and hone in on what your tone will sound like. In general, you’ll use this time to map out how you will communicate your offering to your customers so that they will not only understand it but will then want to take action. 

4. Which platforms should I use to announce the launch? 

Using your messaging strategy, you will send your messaging to customers on the most appropriate platforms. Take a moment to review your analytics for different channels to decide where it will be effective to spend your most effort. You should not ignore the platforms that aren’t performing quite as well, but this step will help you choose your priorities.

A few platforms to consider are:

  • Email marketing
  • Blog articles
  • Social media
  • The local and national media (i.e., press releases)
  • Paid advertising 

For tactics that haven’t performed well in the past, maybe this is your chance to redesign your strategy to build your audience before your launch. 

5. Have I updated my website and social media profiles? 

Launching a new element of your business is a wonderful opportunity to review your website and social media profiles. Whether it’s updating website headers and social media profile graphics or description content, you’ll want to ensure that these channels are updated to reflect the most current and accurate information about your brand. You can also take this chance to boost your website’s visibility by reviewing your SEO practices. If your site is a local brick and mortar, optimize it for “near me” searches. Otherwise, focus on overall SEO, which is a powerful tactic, no matter what type of business you have. 

6. Which customers of my audience will be most interested in this? 

By identifying which customers will be most interested in this new product, you can again position your priorities. Identify where this customer spends their most time, what they care about, and how you can speak to their pain points. Customer profiles are a useful tool when exploring your customers’ wants, needs, and habits. With this information under your belt, you can build targeted messaging for the customers who are dying to have your product or use your service. 

7. How will I continue the product or service’s success following the launch? 

Marketing is an ongoing effort. So, it’s essential that you plan for success not only as you prepare for launch but also for as long as your business is in operation. You can follow proactive marketing principles to monitor the success of your marketing campaigns continually. All the while, you must find new and creative ways to keep your current customers interested and entice prospective customers.  

8. Are my marketing and sales teams aligned on the launch details? 

At Green Apple, we often discuss sales and marketing alignment with our clients. Your launch’s success will largely depend on the streamlined communication in your business, so your sales and marketing teams must be telling the same story. When their message is aligned, your customers know what to expect and view your business as one trusted, unified front.

9. What services should I invest in for the highest return on investment? 

Your return on investment depends on the efforts that go into your launch and the effectiveness of those efforts. But, it’s important to realize that you can’t do it all. You can, of course, but professionals who specialize in those efforts may be able to do them better, faster, and cheaper than you can. For example, you may spend twice the resources to build something internally that an outsourced partner could do in half the time while delivering a much more professional and effective product. Take a second to consider what your team is not fully equipped to handle and identify the best partners to work with to fill those gaps. 

10. How do I market the new product or service to my employees? 

A massively important element of marketing that many companies overlook is internal marketing. It’s just as crucial that you market to your employees as you do to your customers. When your employees fully understand your business and are excited about what you’re selling, they will be more excited to share that with others to help your customers succeed. Your employees are your most valuable asset, so ensure that you spend a great deal of time supporting their knowledge about and overall satisfaction with your brand.  

Do you need help building a robust and effective marketing strategy for your brand’s product or service launch? We can help. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

What You Should Know About Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z

Millennials-looking-at-computer-outdoors
By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?  This statistic shines a bright light on how our marketing lens should shift as generations age. Before we knew it, Millennials will be three-quarters of the workforce, and in the blink of an eye, Gen Z will be right behind them. So, how do we market to these audiences? What makes them tick? In this article, we share what you should know about appealing to these two age groups.  But first…

Is generational marketing worth it?

Though many brands are hoping to attract an audience of any age, some are surprised to find that they are only seeing individuals who fit the same profile. Of course, one may think, “Well, that’s the audience that is attracted to our business.” While, yes, there is some validity to that, you may be missing entire generations of people who would be interested in what you have to offer.  If you’ve noticed that you aren’t attracting the younger Millennial and Gen Z generations, consider these tips. 

5 Things You Should Know About Marketing to Millennial and Gen Z Audiences

1. Your brand story should be authentic.  
Your audience can spot “fluffy” marketing campaigns from a mile away, especially Millennials and Gen Z. They have grown up with a surplus of information on their computers or at their fingertips, giving them years of practice at filtering out what isn’t worth their time. Tell a story that speaks to their motivations and their needs. Provide them with a practical reason to engage with your business because, trust us, this audience wants to feel good about the companies they support. You can allow them to feel connected to your message by crafting an authentic story they can care about.
2. Email marketing is still effective, even for Gen Z. 
Most people assume that Gen Z’s attachment to social media makes it the best, or only, way to reach them. However, according to a recent study by Campaign Monitor, 58% of those surveyed check their email multiple times per day—so there is very little competition for space in their inboxes. Don’t be too quick to assume that traditional marketing tactics are lost on younger generations—those may just be the avenues we need to grab their attention. 
3. Use your limited time wisely.
Make your marketing count. A widely-used and often disputed marketing statistic is that Millennials have a 12-second attention span, whereas Gen Z has eight seconds. Many believe that the issue is less about the ability to pay attention and more about an overwhelming amount of options. Whichever you feel is true, the goal is the same: your time is limited, so use it wisely. Let’s imagine that you only have eight to 12 seconds to make these younger audiences notice you. How are you going to stand out from the countless competitors vying for their attention? 
4. Hone in your customer experience. 
As we discuss the importance of authenticity and helping your audience feel connected to your brand, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention customer experience. Millennials and Gen Z have higher expectations than generations before them—not in a way that feels demanding, but rather they want to feel taken care of by the brands they’re trusting with their hard-earned money. Younger generations are more selective and want to believe that you want to help them solve a problem or meet a need. Analyze your customer experience to ensure ease of use and that each customer feels special and supported throughout the process. After all, who wouldn’t want that in a buying experience? 
5. Focus on diversity, inclusivity, and equality. 
Millennials and Gen Z help us identify areas in our society that need to be more diverse, inclusive, and equal. Though these challenges have long been fought for by many generations, these two age groups are using their social platforms to raise awareness about these issues—and it’s changing our expectations for the companies we support.  Take brands like Aerie and Target, for example. They identified that their customer base wanted to see more representation. These brands answered society’s call—embracing the idea that humans are diverse, and we deserve to see that in the brands we support. Both retail chains have begun to show greater representation in their marketing, including more diversity in body shape, race, and gender. You’ll notice this change in other areas as well, such as mannequin sizes and clothing options.  Though these are specific examples, we can learn from Aerie and Target when considering how to speak to our Millennial and Gen Z audiences—through supporting causes they care about and making a genuine difference in the world. 

We Can Help You Reach New Demographics

If you take one lesson from this article, let it be this: these generations want to feel good about where they spend their money. So, let’s do everything we can to show them we’re worth the effort. Do you need help finding the missing pieces to your marketing demographic? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

Should I Hire an Internal Marketing Team or Outsource to a Local Agency?


Marketing is crucial to the success of a business. It helps you meet your sales goals, increase your brand awareness, and tell your story. Though many understand the importance of marketing’s role in growing a business, few are sure of how to go about it. Should you hire an internal team, or should you outsource to a local agency? For the most robust,
effective marketing strategy, we recommend outsourcing. Let’s talk about why.

In this article, we’ll cover a few reasons to consider outsourcing, including:

  • Staying ahead of the curve
  • Getting more out of your marketing budget
  • Having a comprehensive marketing team without searching for employees
  • Focusing on your core business operations

With an outsourced marketing agency, you can…

Stay Ahead of the Curve

A marketing agency lives and breathes innovative tools and effective strategies. They are working daily to research new methods, test the effectiveness of a tactic, and identify the best way to connect with your audience. Not only do agencies stay ahead of the latest trends, but they also invest the time into learning about your internal operations and your target audience’s expectations and needs. 

Agencies live in the marketing mindset, whereas internal teams are living inside of your industry’s world. When you outsource your marketing, you know that you’re working with a team that will identify your vision, build a strategy, monitor that strategy continually, and do everything in its power to deliver results. 

Get More Out of Your Marketing Budget

Can you believe that hiring an external marketing team could actually make your budget stretch further? When you think of it in terms of overhead, you can skip hours of searching for an internal employee and the countless dollars you would spend hiring, training, and managing that new person. 

Having an agency on retainer also ensures that your marketing strategy will not be put on hold when someone leaves your team—allowing you to continue growing even during times of turnover. Finally, consider the continual training costs necessary for professional development, such as conferences and classes, and industry organizations’ membership costs.

All in all, agencies bypass your overhead costs and provide you access to a diversely talented and well-trained marketing team that always has a finger on the pulse. 

Have Access to a Comprehensive Marketing Team without Hiring 

An agency removes the need to hire someone to fill every role—content, digital marketing, graphic design, photography, web development, and so on. You will have access to each of these skills, all in one place. It’s as simple as that. In Green Apples case, we approach each new client strategy by handpicking a team of marketing professionals to fit your business’s specific needs. We serve as a full-service, one-stop-shop for all things marketing, and you’ll find that it takes the stress off your plate. Rather than piling marketing tasks onto your to-do list, you know that an agency is already five steps ahead of you. 

Focus On Your Core Business

Your business’s core operations are where you want to spend your time. If you’re a roofing company, for example, you don’t want to spend your days wading through marketing tasks, nor should you have to. When companies have the internal capacity to tackle their core focus, that’s when they reach their highest potential. An agency identifies that potential and makes sure that your marketing aligns appropriately. You, on the other hand, focus on what you know and what you love doing. We take care of the rest. 

Are you ready to take your business goals to the next level? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation. To have marketing insight sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter—The Core.