The New Word of Mouth Marketing: Unleashing the Potential of User-Generated Content

Word of mouth has always been one of the most popular and reliable referral tools. However, in today’s digital age, we can quickly access information about any product or service with a quick online search. What’s the best air fryer for a large family? How should I style my new shoes? What’s the best beach to visit for summer vacation? All the answers are just a search engine query away.

Yet, with all this knowledge at our fingertips, research still shows that we are more likely to make a purchase if it is recommended by a friend, a family member, or another person we trust.

Brands have found a way to create word-of-mouth referrals in an online environment through user-generated content marketing (UGC). The ever-increasing popularity of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, among others, has positioned user-generated content as a pivotal force in the future of social media. Read on to discover why your brand should implement a strategy for finding and sharing user-generated marketing content and how to achieve success.

Benefits of User-Generated Marketing Content

Increase Engagement and Reach

By creating user-generated content—such as unboxing videos, testimonials, or product reviews—real customers can actively engage with a brand rather than just being a spectator on the sidelines. UCG can also work to create a community around the brand as enthusiasts react and comment on the shared authentic content. Brands should also be active participants in the conversation by responding to posts in a meaningful way.

Showcase Authenticity

Today’s consumers are smart. They can tell when content is genuine and when it is fabricated.  93 percent of marketers agree that consumers are more likely to trust content created by customers instead of content created by a brand. Honest content created by real people, like your employees, customers, and brand ambassadors, will become your brand’s modern-day word-of-mouth marketing. 

Save on Costs

User-generated content is much more cost-effective than partnering with an influencer and can have better results! Depending on the influencer, hiring one could cost millions of dollars. However, sourcing and sharing user-generated content is much more cost-effective. For instance, if you run a campaign that offers prizes for creating content about your brand, your time and financial investment will be lessened since the ideation, creation, and execution will be done by your audience. 

Increase Conversions

User-generated content offers a way to get authentic endorsements from real people, which will go a long way, with 50 percent of millennials relying on recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase. The content acts as social proof that your product or service meets or exceeds expectations while allowing potential customers to see their contacts engaging with your brand.

What’s also noteworthy is how seamlessly user-generated content works with social commerce. Social commerce refers to purchases made directly from social media apps. Nearly 80 percent of people say that user-generated content influences their purchase decisions. User-generated content creates a natural funnel for customers to move from viewing favorable reviews to purchasing the product, all without ever leaving their social feed.

Best Practices for User-Generated Marking Content 

Share the Content

One of the best ways to encourage user-generated content is to share it! Uncover UGC by searching hashtags and finding content that mentions your brand. You can also ask your customers to share their experiences with your product or service through a giveaway, contest, or campaign. Some brands even creatively include the request on their packaging.

Whatever way you choose to gather content, be sure to share it! Doing so encourages a sense of community and motivates others to create content, too—opening the door to unlimited, authentic content.

Always Ask Permission

Yes, share the content, but before you do, be sure to get approval from the original creator, letting them know you will give them credit when you share. Usually, customers will be thrilled to be featured, but checking first helps establish a trustworthy relationship. Plus, it keeps you out of hot water with customers who don’t want their content shared. 

Embrace Diversity

Millennials and Gen Z expect the brands they support to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sharing user-generated content on social media allows you to do just that. Employees, customers, and brand ambassadors all come from different backgrounds, races, religions, genders, geographic areas, and experiences. While it could be complex to showcase a vast range of diversity in a traditional marketing campaign, sharing user-generated content makes it feasible for your brand to represent all of its enthusiasts.

Partner with a Marketing Agency

There are many moving parts to developing and implementing a successful social media strategy. It’s an essential aspect of marketing your business, but giving it the proper attention needed for success can be difficult. That’s why our team is here. Green Apple can work alongside you to seamlessly provide the help you need. We’ll strategize and implement, as well as measure results, optimize your ROI, and scale as you grow. Reach out to learn more about how we can help boost your brand.

How Video Marketing Works to Capture Your Audience’s Attention 

Capturing and keeping your audience’s attention is a constant battle. You pour your heart into crafting compelling messages, but sometimes words just don’t cut it. That’s where video marketing comes in—a potent force that can capture attention and forge a deeper connection with your viewers.

We’re passionate about helping businesses harness the power of video marketing, and we’ve seen how it transforms brands from faceless entities to relatable, engaging forces. Ready to get started? First, let’s look at why video is so valuable.

The Value of Video Marketing

Why is video marketing such a game-changer? The stats speak for themselves:

  • People retain 95% of a message they watch in a video, compared to 10% when reading text. (Source)
  • Incorporating videos on landing pages can result in a staggering 80% boost in conversion rates. (Source)
  • Videos are shared 12 times more often than text and image content combined. (Source)
  • 92% of video marketers in 2023 say video gives them a good ROI. (Source)

These numbers paint a clear picture: video is more engaging, memorable, and effective at driving conversions than traditional marketing tactics. But what makes it tick? Here’s the magic behind the curtain:

  • Emotional connection: Videos tap into our emotions, allowing us to connect with brands on a personal level. A well-crafted video can evoke laughter, tears, or awe, instantly forging a bond with your audience.
  • Storytelling power: Videos let you subtly weave in your brand narrative, showcasing your values, mission, and the people behind the scenes.
  • Visual impact: Let’s face it, words can be dry, and it takes work to read them. Videos bring your brand to life with vibrant visuals, dynamic motion, and engaging design. This multi-sensory experience leaves a lasting impression on viewers.
  • Versatility: There is an incredible range of styles and formats you can pull from: explainer animations, product demos, live streams, and customer testimonials.  The possibilities are endless with video. There’s an approach for every message and every audience.

     

Captivating Video Marketing Ideas to Capture Attention

We’ve successfully filmed and edited many different types of videos to cater to the diverse needs of our clients. If you’re not sure where to begin, consider one of the following videos to jump in and start creating. (And if you need a little more guidance, we’re always here to ideate, plan, and execute a comprehensive video marketing strategy for you!)

Company Overview Videos 

Embedding videos on your website is a game-changer. It allows you to convey information in a visually appealing manner. To understand how, take a look at one of the videos we created for The Gardner School, providing a glimpse into their ethos and environment. 

Client Testimonial Videos

Let your satisfied customers do the talking! A video testimonial builds trust by showcasing real people’s positive experiences with your brand. This video we created for Crain Construction shares clients expressing their satisfaction with the projects they completed with Crain.

Campaign or Brand Videos

Videos for specific campaigns or initiatives can be tailored to add a personalized touch. The video we crafted for United’s Project UNITE initiative is a prime example, effectively conveying a message and generating enthusiasm for their efforts to bridge the digital divide in Middle Tennessee.

Thought Leadership Videos

Videos are a great way to share your knowledge and build credibility. You can establish yourself as an industry expert with video masterclasses, Q&A sessions, or insightful interviews. Our master-class style video for textLIVING positions the brand as an authority in its domain, fostering trust and credibility.

Lights, Camera, Connection: Leverage the Power of Video Marketing

In a world saturated with content, video marketing emerges as a powerful way to capture the hearts of your audience. If you’re seeking a way to stand out and forge meaningful connections, don’t underestimate the power of video—because, after all, it might just be love at first watch for your audience.

Ready to take your marketing to the next level with video? Contact Green Apple Strategy to start creating your marketing masterpiece!

The Marketing Sandbox: How to Discover Your Next Best Marketing Tactic for 2024

The beginning of the year is always an exciting time to dream about future possibilities. It seems like the marketing world is buzzing with the latest trends and promising strategies this time of year. However, the flurry of new marketing trends can often be overwhelming, making it challenging for businesses to decide where to invest their resources. With a constant influx of new tools and ideas, it’s easy to feel paralyzed by the decision of which new tactics to implement. 

But what if there was a space where you could experiment, innovate, and stumble without jeopardizing your entire marketing campaign for the year? At Green Apple Strategy, we’ve started referring to this as the “marketing sandbox.”
 

What is a Marketing Sandbox?

Remember the childhood joy of building sand castles and digging for buried treasure in a sandbox on the playground? Children enjoy a sense of endless possibilities and the freedom to experiment and create without fear of consequences—that’s the essence of the marketing sandbox.

Just like the childhood toy, a marketing sandbox provides a controlled environment to test new ideas, explore emerging trends, and discover what truly resonates with your audience. It’s not about reinventing your entire marketing strategy; it’s about calculated exploration within a defined framework to find your next great marketing idea.

Tips for Incorporating the Marketing Sandbox Concept

At Green Apple, this is a concept we’ve incorporated numerous times over the year—for our own marketing efforts and our clients. In order to introduce a specific marketing strategy or test a new social media platform, we incorporate one or two new ideas each year to stretch our thinking and enhance our marketing efforts. 

So, how do you build your marketing sandbox? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Explore Emerging Trends in Marketing

The first step to finding your next great marketing tactic is to be aware of the latest trends and technologies shaping the marketing landscape. Whether you’re learning about user-generated content, social commerce, or social listening, staying informed will equip your team with the insights needed to innovate effectively.

Allocate a Portion of the Budget for Experimentation

One benefit of this approach is that it doesn’t require a massive investment. We often encourage businesses to set aside a dedicated budget for sandbox initiatives as they think strategically about their marketing budget for the year. Companies can mitigate risks by earmarking funds specifically for experimentation while fostering a culture that encourages innovation.

Encourage Cross-Collaboration Across Departments 

To ensure your marketing tactics are aligned with your overall business objectives, you’ll want to break down silos and encourage collaboration across different departments. By fostering an environment where teams can share ideas, you can leverage diverse perspectives to drive innovation and create cohesive marketing strategies.

Fire Bullets, Not Cannonballs

This is a principle from popular leadership author Jim Collins. Instead of investing significant time, energy, and resources into large-scale initiatives, start by launching smaller, low-risk experiments within the marketing sandbox. By firing “bullets” (targeted, low-cost tests), businesses can gauge the effectiveness of new tactics, gather valuable insights, and refine strategies based on real-world feedback before they invest in sweeping changes.

Marketing Sandbox Ideas for Various Industries

Now that you have an understanding of the best practices, let’s see how the sandbox can work in action across different industries:

Affiliate Marketing for E-Commerce:

By leveraging the trusted voices of affiliates, e-commerce businesses can unlock exponential reach, ignite audience passion, and fuel a sales engine that hums long after traditional campaigns fade. As you look at the year ahead, consider how to partner with influencers or niche websites to promote your products. 

Educational Content Marketing for Healthcare Brands:

Empowering patients with educational content marketing builds trust, fosters brand loyalty, and positions healthcare brands as valuable partners in proactive health journeys. As an expert, put your knowledge to good use by creating informative content that addresses common health concerns or topics relevant to your specialty. Share this content on your website and social media platforms to position your practice as a trusted source of valuable information.

User-Generated Content for B2C Businesses:

User-generated content empowers B2C businesses to foster authentic connections and drive engagement by showcasing real-life experiences and testimonials from satisfied customers. Encourage customers to share their experiences and use this content on your platforms to showcase authentic testimonials and attract potential customers.

Text Marketing for Local Restaurants: 

Customer loyalty is the lifeblood of many local restaurants. With an impressive open rate and the ability to deliver timely, targeted messages, text marketing offers a low-cost yet impactful solution for hospitality businesses looking to connect with their guests.

By exploring these low-cost marketing tactics, businesses can effectively engage their target audience, drive growth, and achieve their marketing objectives without breaking the bank.

Unlocking Potential: Harnessing the Power of Innovation and Creativity

The “marketing sandbox” offers a refreshing approach to innovation and experimentation in a complex marketing landscape. By embracing this concept, businesses can foster a culture that values creativity, rewards innovation and drives meaningful results. As we venture into 2024, let’s encourage businesses to step out of their comfort zones, embrace the potential of the marketing sandbox, and discover their next best marketing tactic. 

Let Green Apple Strategy be your partner in turning your marketing ideas into reality! You can learn more about our approach to building a marketing strategy or contact us today.

From Reactive to Proactive: Navigating Need-Based Marketing Planning

“There’s more than one way to bake a cake… but every great cake requires certain ingredients.”

In the dynamic world of marketing, one size rarely fits all. For many small businesses, a short-term campaign-based strategy is usually the go-to. While this approach has its merits, it also creates some unique pitfalls. One of the primary challenges is the risk of reactive marketing. When only immediate needs drive marketing efforts, there can be a lack of overall direction and coherence in brand messaging. This reactive approach can also limit the potential impact of marketing campaigns, as they may need more time to gain traction and build momentum.

Marketing planning isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. While we typically collaborate with our clients to create comprehensive annual marketing plans, we also recognize the need for short-term targeted campaigns for specific initiatives. In this article, we’ll delve into the best practices for needs-based marketing planning.

Defining “Need-Based Marketing” and When to Use It

Need-based marketing planning is a more agile and adaptable approach to marketing planning that is typically used by smaller marketing teams. It involves identifying and addressing marketing needs as they arise, rather than developing a comprehensive annual marketing plan in advance. A need-based strategy might include who, what, when, where, why, and how, along with goals for the strategy. 

This approach is often necessary for smaller businesses with limited resources or that operate in rapidly changing markets. Here are some instances when a needs-based marketing approach is more suitable than a comprehensive annual marketing plan:

Dealing with limited resources.

Small and mid-size businesses often need to direct their resources to other priorities than marketing. A needs-based approach allows a business of this size to focus its marketing efforts on the most critical activities without developing a comprehensive annual plan.

Launching a new product or service.

When introducing a new product, service, or initiative, a needs-based approach allows you to focus on a targeted and short-term campaign to create buzz, generate interest, and gather initial feedback.

Entering a new market.

When businesses enter a new market, they may not have the resources or time to develop a comprehensive annual marketing plan. A needs-based approach allows them to focus on the most important marketing activities in the short term.

Facing new competitive challenges. 

If your business faces strong competition or emerging rivals, a needs-based strategy allows you to swiftly counter competitive threats and seize opportunities as they arise.

Managing budget constraints.

If your marketing budget is limited or uncertain, you can allocate resources more effectively by concentrating on high-impact, short-term initiatives.

In these scenarios, a needs-based marketing approach provides the agility and adaptability required to navigate changing circumstances and capitalize on opportunities.

Best Practices for Need-Based Marketing Planning

How can you ensure your needs-based planning aligns with your overall business objectives to prevent slipping into a more reactive approach to marketing? Here are a few best practices to consider:

Make sure your short-term initiative is aligned with your overall marketing objectives. 

Need-based marketing should align with your overarching brand narrative strategy. Before diving into the specifics of your needs-based marketing plan, take a step back and clearly define how it connects with what you’re hoping to achieve overall. What specific campaign, initiative, or opportunity are you addressing? What do you hope to accomplish with this plan? 

It’s also important to note that the absence of a comprehensive annual plan should not equate to a lack of strategic direction.  Even if you don’t have an overarching marketing strategy, it’s important to ensure that your marketing activities align with your overall goals.

Set clear goals.

It’s essential to take a similar approach to need-based planning as you do to annual planning. You’ll still need to set measurable marketing goals and a timeline of when you plan to reach them. Define specific and measurable goals for each opportunity or need. Doing this will allow you to evaluate success and impact more effectively.

Identify high-impact opportunities. 

When your budget or time is limited, you especially want to focus on opportunities that have the potential to make the most significant impact on your business. This could include opportunities with high ROI, strong alignment with your target audience, or those that address critical business needs.

Focus on customer-centric marketing. 

Put your customers at the center of your marketing strategy and focus on meeting their needs. What are their pain points? What are their goals? What are they looking for from a business like yours? You can develop more effective marketing campaigns by understanding your customers’ needs.

Use data to drive your decisions

Refrain from relying on intuition or guesswork when developing your marketing plan. How will you track progress and measure the impact of your marketing efforts? By defining metrics upfront, you can make informed decisions and refine your plan. This will also help you to make more informed marketing decisions in the future.

Embrace testing and iteration for continuous improvement. 

When implementing needs-based marketing plans, consider starting with smaller resource allocations and conducting tests, especially for uncertain or high-risk opportunities. This approach allows you to gather valuable data and insights without overcommitting resources. If initial results are promising, you can gradually allot more resources and refine your strategies based on the data from each test. This iterative approach will help you optimize your marketing efforts and maximize the impact of your needs-based campaigns.

Leverage external expertise for enhanced effectiveness.

If you find yourself stuck in a reactive approach, consider outsourcing your marketing planning or implementation to an agency. One of the most significant benefits of hiring a marketing agency is that they offer access to a broader pool of expertise, fresh perspectives, and specialized tools that may not be readily available within your organization. When finding the right marketing agency, you want to find a partner who can help you take a more proactive approach rather than simply offering services that meet your immediate requests. 
 

Prioritize Proactive Planning over Reactive Marketing

While needs-based planning often involves responding to immediate opportunities or challenges, it’s essential to prioritize proactive planning whenever possible. You can develop more strategic and effective marketing campaigns by anticipating potential needs and opportunities.

At Green Apple, we love collaborating with clients to develop any and every type of strategy. If you’re curious about how our team can help you achieve your goals, schedule an exploratory consultation. We would love to learn more about your business and see if we’re the right fit for you!

Marketing Outside of the Office: 5 Ways to Be A Successful Marketer Without Being Stuck at a Desk

Can you be a marketer without working a traditional 9-5? The answer is a resounding “YES!” Today, more and more marketers are finding success—for their careers and for the brands they represent—without spending all day behind a desk. 

Modern, untraditional marketing initiatives take many forms, including influencer, affiliate, guerilla, stealth, and street. I’ll unpack each of those in this blog post so you can learn more about how the marketing landscape is changing to include new techniques that largely occur outside of the office.

Influencer Marketing

If you’ve spent time on social media, you’ve encountered influencer marketing. This type of marketing is highly effective, relying on endorsements and product mentions from individuals with a dedicated social following who are viewed as experts within their niche.

For example, a popular fitness vlogger may be asked to post a video on TikTok promoting certain supplements or athletic gear. She then creates content around the product and shares it with thousands or even millions of followers. Because they already trust her expertise, they will be more likely to purchase the product she is advertising. 

Influencer marketing is effective because it relies on the relationships the influencer has previously established with her audience. Instead of the brand building trust with the audience directly, the influencer’s endorsement does that for them, quickly creating a bridge between the audience and the brand. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing refers to sharing a link to a good or service on your website or blog and earning a commission each time someone purchases the product from that shared link. 

This type of marketing involves little to no startup costs, as most affiliate programs are free to join. Plus, there are several different paths to choose from as you’re getting started, including promoting your link in search results or through email marketing, developing your own influencer program, or creating a website based on product reviews or coupons.
 

Guerilla Marketing

Less intense than its namesake guerilla warfare, guerilla marketing relies on the element of surprise to create wonder and awe in the day-to-day lives of potential consumers, both in person or online. It requires less upfront costs than many traditional marketing methods. But, what guerilla marketing lacks in costs, it makes up for in hands-on execution and creativity. 

Consider Bounty’s surprise gigantic messes in the streets of New York City – think an oversized popsicle and a huge spilled coffee cup – to advertise the effectiveness of the paper towels. Out-of-the-box ideas like this are noticeable and thought-provoking, meeting potential buyers where they are and leaving a memorable and positive impression. 

Stealth Marketing

In contrast to guerilla marketing’s eye-catching techniques, stealth marketing aims to fly under the radar. Brands want to showcase a product or service, but in a more indirect campaign that drives awareness more than sales. 

A popular form of stealth marketing is product placement (i.e. when a product is strategically placed in a T.V. show or movie). However, it can also occur via reviews, company partnerships, and web content produced or endorsed by a third party. The most important part of a stealth marketing campaign, or any marketing campaign, is to be genuine or risk ruining your reputation

When done well, stealth marketing can create excitement and conversation around a brand. It can make a brand more memorable and help potential customers feel empowered in purchasing decisions. 

Street Marketing

Street marketing is the close cousin of guerilla marketing. Like guerilla marketing, effective street marketing can be accomplished on a low budget if it’s big on creativity. 

A key difference is that while guerilla marketing occurs in person and online, street marketing is limited to just that: the street and other public places like sidewalks and transit stations. 

Street marketing includes tactics like placing static ads in unexpected places, such as an ad for Roto-Rooter on a manhole cover or using enthusiastic brand ambassadors to pass out product samples. 

Develop the Best Marketing Strategy

Our team at Green Apple has years of experience developing modern strategies for brands throughout the United States. If you’re ready to move your marketing outside of the office, reach out and let our team put together a plan that will stop your audience in their tracks.

From Idea to Impact: How to Develop a Memorable Brand Story

Every successful company started as an idea. 

Whether it was a concept sparked by a business conversation or originally written down on the back of a napkin, every brand has a story to tell about how it evolved from idea to impact. As a marketer or business leader, your ability to tell that story (i.e., brand storytelling) affects how well your potential customers remember who you are, connect with your mission, and care about your products or services. 

Brand storytelling not only explains how you differ from your competitors; it also humanizes your brand in a way that allows people to relate to it. It helps customers understand who you are and why your business exists. 

For example, Green Apple Strategy was founded as a marketing and PR agency that builds marketing strategies with the entire business in mind. Rather than offering “one-off” marketing projects like creating a website or managing social media, we come alongside businesses to develop and implement marketing strategies with their “core” business areas in mind. As a result, a big part of our work has been helping businesses find their “story” and tell it effectively in today’s digital age. 


Develop a Blueprint for Memorable Brand Storytelling

After working with dozens of clients in various industries over the years, here are a few best practices we’ve learned when it comes to developing your brand’s story:

Discover your why.

To borrow the famous adage from Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Discovering your why when marketing your business should always be step one. Rather than leading with your products, services, or solutions, take a step back and examine the motivation behind your actions. It’s more than just making a profit (or at least, it should be). It’s the big, bold vision that motivates your company.  

Help your audience see themselves in your story.

While your brand story unpacks your origin and unique differentiators, it’s essential to remember that the best marketing makes your audience feel like the hero in the story. It’s important to make sure your audience can see themselves in your brand story. That means highlighting their specific challenges or obstacles and why you care about helping them solve the problem.

Make sure your brand story aligns with your business goals. 

Your brand story should align with your business goals and integrate into all areas of your business—including marketing, sales, and all internal and external communications. Potential goals to build your story around include revenue growth, clarifying what your business offers, differentiating from other companies, or growing brand awareness. 

Don’t forget to be human. 

Remember, people connect with people. Your brand story should have personality. Boring books don’t attract readers. In the same way, your brand story should be inspired by the presence of people who participate and develop your company — written with the specific personality that represents your company. 


Questions to Help With Brand Storytelling

As we work with brands, we get to know their history, unique value proposition, ideal target audience, and dreams for the future. Each of these impact the brand story we craft. While it’s important to create a unique narrative, here are a few helpful questions that could help you identify the important elements and narrative arc of your brand story: 

1. How and why was your company founded? What inspired its creation?

2. What were the specific challenges or problems your company sought to address in the market? How does that connect with the problems you seek to address today?

3. Were there any significant events, experiences, or turning points that shaped the early days of your company?

4. What were the core values, principles, or beliefs that guided the founders in establishing the company?

5. Did your company experience any transformative moments or breakthroughs that set it apart from competitors?

6. Who is your target audience? How does your product or service positively impact the lives of your customers? 

7. What is your company’s vision for the future? How do you plan to evolve and make a positive impact?


Take Your Brand Storytelling to the Next Level

Creating a compelling brand story is worth it because it becomes something to reinforce in every marketing campaign. If you’re struggling to identify a brand story or marketing message that resonates with your audience, our team can help. Reach out to our team to learn more about our process or schedule a time to chat. 

How to Audit Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Our analytical approach shapes everything we do at Green Apple. Regularly scheduled marketing audits are an essential component of any good marketing strategy. No matter how small or big your brand is, or how robust your returns are, you should regularly test and assess your strategy because marketing is always changing and evolving. While one approach may work for a particular quarter, that approach may need to change as you collect more data. Taking time in the middle of the fiscal year to audit your digital marketing strategy is a good practice. Here’s how to dive in: 


What is a Digital Marketing Audit?

A digital marketing audit is simply an analysis of all the practices, strategies, and outcomes of a brand’s online presence. The purpose of a digital marketing audit is to get an overarching view of your digital marketing campaigns and learn how (and if) your digital marketing strategy is meeting your business goals.


Why Are Audits Important?

In this ever-changing digital world, trends and updates are as frequent as a fast-paced TikTok routine. That’s why we run monthly audits to keep our clients’ strategies aligned with the latest developments. By assessing our progress, we can also make necessary adjustments to stay ahead of the curve.

A comprehensive audit helps to benchmark baseline metrics, identify opportunities, outperform competitors, and drive more business

“Conducting mid-year audits helps us stay ahead and be proactive for our clients. One example I have is when we conducted a mid-year audit and decided to change the size and type of graphics we did for a client’s social media content. We saw an uptick in engagement because we were adapting to the changing social media algorithms,” explains Katie Shayotovich, Green Apple Content Marketing Specialist. 

These digital audits not only help us fine-tune our clients’ strategies but also enhance the overall customer experience.


Digital Marketing Channels to Audit 

A digital marketing audit will examine several channels, depending on your goals. You can follow these steps to get started:

  • Review your website 
    • 75% of your website’s credibility comes from its design. An audit will ensure your website is designed to catch the eye of any potential customers.
  • Audit your SEO
    • Auditing your site for SEO helps boost your website’s ability to rank in the top three positions on the first page of a search engine. Since search algorithms are always changing, it’s important to perform an SEO audit multiple times throughout the year. 
  • Run a content marketing audit
    • Content marketing is a strategy used to attract, engage and retain potential customers and helps build brand loyalty. Start your content audit by pulling data for your website to determine what content is performing the best. Look for what is working and what’s not, then optimize your content moving forward based on those results. 
  • Run a social media audit 
    • Social media is an integral part of content marketing, so you’ll want to audit all of your social media profiles. 
  • Perform an email marketing audit 
    • Despite being one of the oldest email marketing channels, email remains very relevant. Be sure to audit email performance metrics such as your click-through rate and open rate to optimize your overall engagement.

Who Conducts the Audit?

At Green Apple, a marketing audit typically involves multiple team members and is a collaborative effort. To ensure comprehensive and specialized insights, our approach involves not only our dedicated full-time team but also a network of skilled freelancers known as “The Orchard.” Each member of The Orchard possesses expertise in a specific area related to the audit, contributing valuable perspectives and knowledge to the process. Our team reviews the audit findings and offers actionable feedback to enhance our clients’ marketing strategies. 

By leveraging the expertise of a team with specialized skills and a commitment to delivering actionable insights, we strive to ensure that our clients receive a comprehensive and high-quality marketing audit. This approach allows us to address various facets of marketing and provide our clients with the guidance they need to refine their strategies and achieve optimal results.

Looking to grow your business with an effective digital marketing strategy? Schedule a consultation with us today.

5 Keys for B2B Content Marketing Strategy that Drives Business

Sticky notes on a board

Content marketing has become a crucial component of nearly every B2B marketer’s strategy. In fact, 91% of B2B marketers say they use content marketing in their overall strategy. The good news is that content marketing has become a proven way to reach ​​customers, earn trust, and impact the bottom line. The challenge for many marketers is identifying the right tactics and channels that work for their business and within their budget. It seems like everyone is competing for attention or popular keywords, and artificial intelligence is changing content creation.

 

In this blog post, we wanted to explore a few best practices we’ve used with clients when it comes to developing a content marketing strategy that directly impacts business development.

 
1. Take time to truly understand your audience. 

The first step in developing an effective content marketing strategy is to understand your target audience. If you want your content to resonate with potential customers, you need to know who they are, their daily pain points and challenges, and what type of content resonates with them. This ensures you develop content that addresses their specific needs and interests rather than guessing if you’re creating valuable content. 

 
2. Make sure your content is aligned with your overall business goals.

What are you hoping to achieve this year? Are you launching a new product or hoping to increase customers in a particular area of business? If so, you should incorporate those goals as you develop your content strategy. One key factor in this approach is giving yourself plenty of runway to educate and inspire your audience to take action. As the old saying goes, the moment you’re tired of talking about it is likely the time your customers are starting to recognize the message. Give your top-of-the-funnel content marketing plenty of time to work before you start expecting results. 

 
3. Be strategic as you diversify your content. 

In addition to creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience, it’s important to diversify the format in which you share it. Today’s digital landscape offers a variety of channels that allow you to get more out of your content marketing. For example, you can turn a white paper into a podcast or webinar. You can break down a blog post into a social infographic. As you explore ways to diversify your content, it’s important to remember what formats your audience prefers. The good news is that diversifying your content allows you to meet the different preferences and consumption habits of your target audience.

 
4. Don’t forget to promote your content.

You could write the most amazing blog post in the world. But it could quickly fall by the wayside without an intentional promotional strategy. B2B marketers must ensure that their content reaches their content audience by promoting it through a variety of channels. This includes strategically thinking about how to promote content on social media, email marketing, paid advertising, and influencer marketing. Promoting your content is essential for amplifying your reach and increasing the ROI of your content marketing efforts. 

 
5. Let data inform your decisions. 

Measuring the effectiveness of your efforts is an essential part of marketing. But often, evaluating content marketing becomes anecdotal and causes you to question how to adapt your strategy. This is why evaluating the data and adopting a more agile approach to content marketing is key. Which content pieces are most popular with your audience? What promotional tactics seemed to be most effective? How can you use these insights to plan your content marketing and areas such as product development or customer solutions? These are all helpful questions that provide valuable insights for your business. 

 

Need Help with Content Marketing?

At Green Apple, we’ve used these principles to help dozens of businesses develop a content marketing strategy that creates a pipeline for business development. ​Our strategic, full-service marketing firm can help you plan and deploy an innovative content marketing approach to court customers and build brand loyalty. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation. Our team is happy to sit down with you to discuss your marketing goals and how we can help you achieve each one of them.

Our Top 10 Marketing Insights & Topics from 2022

2022

2022 provided its fair share of challenges for marketers. Many businesses were still navigating the ripple effects created by the pandemic — whether it was learning how to promote new services or balancing business development needs with operational capacity. Economic obstacles and the fear of an impending recession caused some companies to tighten their marketing spend or focus on fundamental strategies. Companies learned how to embrace the “new normal” of virtual team meetings and hybrid work models.  

Despite these challenges, our team at Green Apple, and the clients we serve, have discovered valuable insights to propel our work forward. As Albert Einstein once summarized, we’ve found that “in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

As we reflect on everything we’ve learned from 2022, we wanted to recap the insights and articles that our audience found most helpful throughout the year. As you’ll see, they cover a variety of topics in almost every aspect of marketing. We believe this goes to show the integral role that marketing plays in every area of the business. Without further ado, here are our most popular blog posts from 2022.

1. What Not To Do During a Zoom Meeting

We’ve all seen or experienced our fair share of Zoom faux pas over the past few years. But an embarrassing interaction isn’t the only thing that can derail a Zoom meeting.

As a virtual agency, our team has learned A LOT about maximizing Zoom for productive team meetings. This article outlines some common mistakes to avoid. 

2. 7 Key Elements of Eye-Catching Content

Marketing has always been about capturing attention. How can you do that in our world that seems busier and noisier than ever? This article highlights some helpful design tips to consider whether you’re creating a social media post, print ad, or sales collateral.

3. Why Corporate Social Responsibility Should Be on Your Radar for 2022

Social responsibility platforms have become a priority for businesses in almost every industry. How can you leverage it to connect with customers and prospects in a more meaningful way? This article outlines a few key ideas to consider. 

4. 5 [Virtual] Client Appreciation Gifts for 2022

The pandemic created the need to find ways to show appreciation virtually. But as the way business has evolved, virtual appreciation gifts are also great for clients you might have in other parts of the country. This article highlights five of our favorite ideas. 

5. Frustrated by the Fact That Marketing is Constantly Evolving?

We understand that it’s easy to get frustrated by the constantly-evolving nature of marketing. This article offers some encouraging reminders for business leaders or marketing managers who are frustrated by the fact that nothing seems to be working like it once did. 

6. Is Print Advertising Still Viable?

Print advertising isn’t dead. In fact, we’ve found that print advertising has some advantages over digital features depending on our client’s target audience and goals. This article shares a few benefits of print advertising and strategic ideas for integrating it into your marketing efforts.  

7. Enneagram and Marketing: The Creative Beauty of Type Fours

The enneagram has become one of our team’s favorite tools and topics to discuss in recent years. This article describes how an Enneagram 4 — also known as “The Individualist” – provides the much-needed creative ideas and spark for your marketing. 

8. 20 Questions to Ask Yourself That Will Improve Your Customer Profiles

It’s essential that you know your customers if you want your marketing to resonate. As a result, every business should develop customer profiles or buyer personas for their key target audience. This article unpacks 20 different questions that will make that experience more effective. 

9. 4 Factors for Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

The experience you provide customers directly impacts your bottom line. How do you go about creating a culture within your business or organization that values the customer experience? While the specific tactics or strategies may evolve, this article shares four key factors that you need to create a customer-centric culture.

10. Enneagram and Marketing: How Type Threes Move Mountains

Enneagram 3’s (also known as The Achiever) offer essential traits and skills that can be helpful for managing your marketing efforts. This article unpacks the traits of The Achiever from one of the Enneagram 3’s on our team, our Founder and Chief Strategist, Samantha Pyle. 

Get the Latest Marketing Insights & Trends

At Green Apple, we’re constantly looking for new sources of marketing inspiration for our clients. We typically share what we’re learning each month through The Core, our monthly newsletter. Sign up to get the latest marketing insights and inspirations delivered directly to your inbox. 

Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Advice to Stand Out This Season

The holidays can be one of the busiest—and most stressful—times of the year for marketers. Target audiences and potential customers are busier than normal and bombarded with messages and advertisements during the holiday season. All of the hustle and bustle also comes at the end of the year when you’re making one final push to meet your annual marketing goals

Developing an intentional holiday marketing plan can be one of the most effective ways to keep you and your team on track during November and December. And if you’re just now recognizing the need, that’s ok. Putting a little thought and effort into your holiday marketing strategy can go a long way. 

After working alongside many of our clients to design holiday marketing campaigns, we wanted to take a few moments to provide some last-minute advice to maximize your marketing efforts during the holiday season. 

1. Be sure to express gratitude to your current clients and customers. 

The holiday season is a great time to show your clients how valuable they are to your business. This is a simple and effective way to surprise and delight customers and keep them loyal to your brand. You could ship the same holiday gift to all your customers or take the time to send a custom gift to your top clients based on something you know about them.

If you’re running short on time, there are plenty of virtual client appreciation gifts that you can send last minute. 

2. Be creative and fun when incorporating holiday-themed messaging into your content. 

The competition for attention is at an all-time high during the holidays. One way to stand out is to take advantage of the spirit of the season by sharing light-hearted content. There are literally hundreds of ways to execute this. You could create a “12 Days of…” brand campaign on social media or send a funny online greeting card for your monthly newsletter that highlights your company’s human side.

3. Don’t let warm leads go cold during the holiday break.

While it may be difficult to schedule meetings during the end of the year, the holidays can also be a great time for closing new deals. With Q1 and new budgets around the corner, decision-makers are finalizing their vendors and goals for next year.  

Developing an intentional strategy to keep leads from going cold during the holidays could make a tremendous difference when it comes to hitting your annual goals or starting the new year with a lot of momentum. 

4. Find simple ways to give back to others.

More and more companies are adopting corporate social responsibility as a way to stand out and give back to society. Studies show that 84% of customers in the US will most likely buy from brands supporting the social causes they care about. If your company gives back in some sort of way during the holidays, don’t be afraid to share that through your marketing channels. 

Whether you’re looking for ways to connect with customers at the end of the year or need a fresh approach for the new year, our team at Green Apple Strategy can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and learn more about our approach.