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!

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. 

Harnessing AI in Marketing: How to Bridge the Gap Between Efficiency and Authenticity

AI has recently been identified as a technology that will impact almost every industry. As a marketing agency, one of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received over the past year is, “How does AI fit into our marketing toolbox?”

At Green Apple Strategy, we are continually exploring innovative tools and trends to bolster client success. Whether it’s tools like Canva, Airtable, or ChatGPT, we want to find tools that help us deliver exceptional results. The best way we can describe our approach to AI is that we use it as a tool that empowers our team to work smarter. It’s a helpful resource, but it doesn’t replace the human element of our work.

One way to think about the rapid evolution of AI is to think back to the early days of search engines. Before Google, our primary sources of information were found in encyclopedias, phone books, or word-of-mouth recommendations. While Google revolutionized information access, we never copied and pasted information from the results page. Just like a Google search doesn’t replace dissecting a nuanced text, AI alone can’t create impactful marketing. The magic lies in human interpretation, crafting engaging narratives from data, injecting the right voice, and ensuring factual accuracy. 

3 Benefits of AI in Marketing 

When it comes to utilizing AI in marketing, here are three benefits we’ve noticed: 

Information Architect

Imagine having a tireless research assistant who scours the internet, analyzes trends, and uncovers hidden insights. That’s the power of AI in information gathering. It gathers mountains of data and gives our team a solid foundation to build strategies. Like Google, AI becomes a starting point and a research partner that we can use to shape the informational content we gather into strategy.

Inspiration Igniter

Stuck in a creative rut? AI can be a secret weapon. Its ability to generate different creative formats and ideas can spark unexpected insights and take you down untrod paths. Think of it as a digital brainstorming partner. You might not always use its exact suggestions, but it’ll get those creative juices flowing, helping you break free from the blank page and land on something truly unique and engaging.

Efficiency Engine

Marketing agencies wear many hats. AI can be an efficiency guru, automating tedious tasks like scheduling social media posts and generating basic design elements. This frees us up to focus on the human touch—crafting compelling brand narratives, building genuine connections, and injecting your brand with that unique personality that only you can bring.

How to Harness AI for Marketing

As you think about incorporating AI into your marketing efforts, here are a few essential “dos and don’ts” to consider: 

Do: Use AI as a tool for ideation and brainstorming. 

Its ability to process vast amounts of data can spark innovative ideas and strategies you might not have considered.

Don’t: Blindly use AI-generated content for critical platforms like your website. 

Always ensure that human oversight refines and enhances the content to resonate authentically with your audience.

Do: Be specific and detailed in your AI requests. 

Much like a Google search, the more context and information you provide in an AI prompt, the more tailored and relevant the AI-generated results will be.

Don’t: Neglect the human element. 

While AI can streamline processes, always contextualize and modify the content based on a deep understanding of your audience and industry nuances.

Do: Embrace AI’s analytical capabilities to glean insights from data. 

Utilize these insights to refine your marketing strategies and make informed decisions.

Don’t: Solely rely on AI to understand your audience. 

Engage directly with your audience, gather feedback, and use AI as a complementary tool to enhance your understanding, not replace it.

The Future of AI in Marketing 

In marketing, AI presents a promising blend of efficiency and innovation. At Green Apple Strategy, we recognize its transformative potential for small businesses. AI can’t replace your marketing team, but it can empower and enhance it. While AI streamlines processes, the essence of authentic connection remains a human touchstone. As you consider how to harness AI’s strengths for your marketing efforts, we hope to bridge the gap between efficiency and authenticity and find a more effective way to capture your audience’s attention and achieve your marketing goals.

Wrap It Up: The Year’s Top Marketing Trends We’re Taking into 2024

Whew! What a year it’s been for the digital landscape! Platforms changed their names, viewers were glued to restock videos, and social commerce soared. Despite ebbs and flows in online trends, the need for a solid digital presence remains the same. It’s critical to a brand’s success. 

To make planning your digital strategy a bit easier, we’ve done the heavy lifting and developed a list of the top video and social media marketing trends in 2024 that will make an impact in the new year.   

Social Media Marketing Trends in 2024

User Generated Content and Micro-influencers

Influencers with several million followers have had their day. In a surprise marketing shift, brands are turning to micro and nano-influencers, who have anywhere from 500 to 100,000+ followers. Audiences find micro and nano-influencers to be genuine and tend to relate better to their niche content. As a result, followers are more likely to purchase products or services promoted by this type of influencer. 

Brands also benefit from user-generated content that customers make about their personal experiences with a brand. Again, it’s the authenticity that leads to peer recommendations, satisfied customers, and brand-new customer acquisitions. 

Social Commerce

We’ve all made our share of purchases made through social media, and this method of shopping is expected to grow in popularity. In-app purchases and shoppable posts will make it easier for customers to buy directly from their social media feeds. Ensure a successful approach to social commerce by optimizing your social media platforms for sales, creating content that encourages purchases, and implementing a seamless buying process. 

SEO-Powered Content 

Using keywords for search engine optimization is still critical to getting your web content to display in Google’s search results. Now, it will also play an important role in social media content. As more and more users treat social media like search engines, SEO keywords will help them discover your clever content more so than hashtags. The right keywords can also contribute to the virality of posts, which will be influenced by SEO and not just hashtags. 

Social Listening 

Evaluating campaign success usually means evaluating quantitative data and analytics, but brands are also seeing the benefit of monitoring social media for qualitative customer feedback, experiences, and opinions. Responding to these comments can help build your and increase customer engagement. Social listening and garnering feedback from social media can also lead to customer-friendly improvements in support, marketing campaigns, and products.

Video Marketing Trends in 2024

Video Content and Captions

Video content will continue to flourish in 2024 because it’s a powerful way to connect with customers, share brand stories, and showcase products. Short-form video content will also remain popular, as it is easy to consume on certain social media platforms. 

As you’re creating content, be sure to add captions to all videos. More and more viewers are watching videos without sound, and adding captions makes your content more accesible. Include keywords in your social media captions to make your videos easier to find. Social media is now serving as a search engine for users, and a descriptive caption can help them find your content.

AI-Generated Content

Artificial intelligence is making waves in many industries, including marketing. AI-powered technologies can help you analyze large amounts of data effectively and efficiently. You can use it to uncover new approaches to strategy and tactics or even to automate mundane tasks, freeing up your time to tackle larger endeavors. Customers can also benefit from AI-based bots that can answer questions about a product or service and serve as a first touchpoint of a brand.

Increases in Consumer Privacy 

Consumers are concerned with privacy protection and want to know they can trust your company with their personal information. A study by PwC found that 83% want more control over their personal information. You can help your customers feel secure by being transparent in your data collection efforts, asking for their consent, and following all privacy and compliance regulations. 

Streaming and CTV

CTV, also known as connected TV or smart TV, continues to grow. Consumers will continue to use streaming platforms via CTV to watch their favorite programs, movies, and shows. Stay on top of its popularity by incorporating a marketing strategy for CTV into your plans for 2024. 

Marketing Strategy is Always On Trend

Trends come and go, but planning will continue to be the little black dress of marketing strategies in 2024. Green Apple can help you decide which marketing approaches will work best with for your B2B or B2C brand. We also collect data measure the results, optimize what’s working, and scale with you as you grow. Reach out to our team today to see how we can make today’s marketing trends work for you.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Annual Marketing Planning

Annual planning can feel like a balancing act for most small to mid-sized businesses. On one hand, small business owners and marketers recognize its necessity for long-term success and sustainable growth. On the other hand, developing an annual marketing plan can seem like an obstacle course (at best) or an exercise in futility (at worst). Can we develop an annual marketing plan that works? More than that, is it possible to enjoy the process of creating one?

After more than a decade of walking businesses through our approach to building a marketing strategy, our team has learned several valuable lessons regarding annual planning. We’ve discovered how to ensure your yearly plan is aligned with other critical areas of your business—from supporting business development efforts to coordinating with operations. We know the common pitfalls that prevent businesses from gaining traction. 

As we prepare for the new year, we wanted to offer helpful insights for annual planning and ideas for businesses requiring a more needs-based approach to marketing planning. In this article, we’re highlighting some of the principles for effective yearly marketing planning and a few essential questions that your strategy should be able to answer.

5 Principles for Effective Annual Marketing Planning

Here are a few essential principles we utilize when developing annual marketing plans: 

Embrace proactive planning.

Effective annual marketing planning requires ample time and consideration. This keeps you from feeling rushed and avoids the obstacles created by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. 

At Green Apple, we typically initiate the planning process for clients in Q4, but the ideal timing may vary depending on the client’s industry and specific needs. For some clients, an earlier start may be necessary based on the scope of planning requirements and implementation deadlines.

Align long-term vision with short-term execution.

One of the temptations of developing an annual plan is that you may come up with dozens of great ideas but need help implementing them. While it’s essential to incorporate a long-term vision, you also want to be realistic.

Balancing long-term vision with execution helps you evaluate your brand holistically and get a clear picture of where you’re headed. Then, you can break those goals down into more manageable steps. For example, your company might know where you want to be in three years. By balancing that vision with short-term execution, you can create an annual marketing strategy that fits into your overarching company goals. 

Collaborate with various departments and key stakeholders as needed. 

Effective annual marketing planning requires buy-in and participation from all relevant departments, including sales, operations, and customer service. This collaborative approach ensures that marketing efforts are aligned with the broader business strategy and contribute to achieving common goals.

For instance, at Green Apple, we want to make sure we know our clients’ sales and operational goals for the next year. With this information, we can ensure their marketing and advertising plans for the next year can help them reach those objectives. When objectives and departments are overly siloed, your marketing strategy won’t be as successful. 

Start with a comprehensive understanding of your current marketing plan. 

The foundation of effective annual marketing planning lies in a thorough assessment of current marketing efforts. This includes identifying successes, challenges, and areas for improvement.

During annual planning with our clients, we ask insightful questions that help us evaluate their marketing efforts from the previous year. This includes identifying everything the client needs to be doing. All of this information is used to help us determine what strategies are working, what can be improved, and what efforts aren’t providing sufficient ROI. 

Use data to inform your strategy.

Developing a data-driven approach to marketing is essential. Data analytics can help you identify the most effective channels and messaging for reaching your target audience. Continuously refining your understanding of that target audience is also essential for deploying effective marketing campaigns. By understanding your target audience’s demographics, preferences, and behaviors, your marketing efforts can be tailored to resonate effectively and achieve your desired outcomes.

7 Questions Every Annual Marketing Plan Should Answer

Once you’ve developed your annual marketing plan, here are seven critical questions you should be able to answer. Recognizing these before you get started can help you as you go: 

  1. What is your overall marketing budget for the year? How will you allocate your budget across different marketing channels and tactics?
  2. What are your marketing goals, and how will you track and measure your progress toward them on an annual, quarterly, and monthly basis?
  3. Is every marketing tactic connected to a goal, and do you clearly understand how each strategy will help you achieve that goal?
  4. What specific tactics and content will you create for each marketing area of marketing, including email, paid advertising, social media, and PR?
  5. What new marketing initiatives do you plan to launch in the next year? How will you promote and launch each new initiative?
  6. Do you understand what’s being implemented monthly and who executes each marketing initiative?
  7. How will you adapt your marketing plan based on insights you discover through data or changing market conditions?

By answering these questions, you can develop a comprehensive marketing plan to help you achieve your marketing goals.

Let Green Apple Strategy Help You Develop Your Annual Plan

Need some help getting started on developing your annual marketing plan? 

Our team can help you build an effective strategy to help your business achieve its goals—and actually enjoy the process! Learn more about our approach or connect with our team to start a conversation.

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!

How to Set Achievable Marketing Goals

When we’re creating a marketing strategy for a new client or presenting a new approach to a client on our roster, everyone feels the excitement about launching a new initiative. Successful marketing can really move the needle on brand identity, audience reach, and total profits. Clients who are ready to invest in marketing usually know their brand, are aware of their audience, and want to take their company to the next level.

While it’s tempting to dive straight into planning, it’s wise to take a beat and set marketing goals that are clear, measurable, and realistic. With these three components in place, you can lead your team to success.

Set Realistic Marketing Goals

One of the first things we counsel our clients on is setting expectations for a marketing strategy out of the gate. Like any first expedition into a new territory, an initial marketing strategy is exploratory. It involves assessing an audience, testing out different marketing messages and platforms, and identifying the approaches that work. It can even mean figuring out which metrics to track in order to confirm that the marketing strategy is having an effect. This takes time and patience, but the results are worth the upfront effort. 

Get Clarity and Seek Precision

The good thing about setting vague goals is they are hard to measure. How does anyone prove whether a restaurant does or doesn’t sell the “Best Burger in Town?”

On the other hand, if you can’t measure goals, how do you know if your efforts are truly paying off?

Instead, set marketing goals that can be quantified and measured. Rather than improving the company website, aim to improve website traffic by 10% and conversions by 15%. With numbers added, checking your progress and determining exactly how close you are to meeting your goal becomes much easier. 

When building your marketing strategy, setting deadlines alongside your goals is key. How will you know if you are making progress without a due date? Consider the website example above, which mentions improving web traffic by 10%. As it is written, the goal could be met at any time and still be considered a success!

For true growth, indicate a timeframe. As you get closer to that date, you can check your progress and make adjustments if you aren’t gaining the traction you need in the allotted time. 

Keep Your Budget in Mind

Although it’s essential, marketing is only one part of a company’s budget. Staffing, materials, technology, and overhead are all part of the balance sheet as well. It’s critical to consider what you can achieve with the resources you have, including time, staff, and budget. While marketing goals can be ambitious, they should also be realistic. A small non-profit may be unable to afford a media placement that costs thousands of dollars of media placement. Likewise, a two-person start-up can’t undertake a massive event marketing campaign that requires available staff. Success will look different for every business, so set goals that won’t overtax your budget or your team.

Connect with Leadership

We’ve all had the experience of pitching an idea to someone who was not as enthusiastic about it as we were! Help mitigate that response by connecting with leadership before setting your marketing goals.

Because leadership is responsible for directing the organization’s mission, vision, and values, they are always looking at what should be done. Having a solid understanding of your boss’s point of view can ensure you stay on the right track when setting marketing goals. 

Green Apple: Your Partner in Goal Setting  

Goal setting is a critical step in developing any successful marketing campaign. Green Apple Strategy can help you put the right plan in motion to meet your marketing goals. Our team has experience setting strategic goals, executing tactics, measuring progress, and shifting when needed to ensure the best possible outcome.

We invite you to learn more about how our strategic solutions and services can help your business grow.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Event Marketing: Lessons Learned from Our Experiences

There’s nothing quite like an event to boost enthusiasm and excitement around your brand. Virtual and in-person events each serve a unique purpose for connecting with your target audience. While events are effective, they can also consume a lot of staff time and financial resources. 

Effective event marketing strategies can help you get the best return on your investment. Using our experience as professional marketers and event planners, our team at Green Apple Strategy has put together a list of practical tips to ensure your next event is successful. 

The Do’s 

Do Set Goals (and a Budget!)

When it comes to strategic event planning, always begin with the end in mind. Before you set a date, reserve a venue, or book entertainment, you must determine the goal of the event. Is it to position your brand as a stakeholder in the community? Is it to tell a story about your brand? Or is it to generate leads and make sales? 

Once you set your goal, be sure to set your budget. Your event will look very different if you have a $5,000 budget versus a $50,000 one. 

Knowing the answer to these questions—and staying true to them—will guide you when making choices about venue, food, entertainment, marketing, and more. It will set you down the path of pulling off a successful, cohesive event that meets your strategic goals. 

Do Amplify Partnerships 

Most events require partnerships with third-party vendors and sponsors such as entertainment, catering, AV equipment, corporations, and more. Capitalize on these partnerships by highlighting them on social media or in a company email newsletter. Showcasing your business as a collaborative brand is great PR because it demonstrates your involvement and investment in your local community. Additionally, tagging these vendors in your social media posts can expose you to new audiences. 

Do Use Text and Email 

In today’s multi-channel, digital world, you have to meet your audience where they are. This means connecting with them on their phone and in their email inboxes through personalized, well-thought-out, and well-timed text messages and emails. Text messages are a great way to send key event information that doesn’t require a lot of copy. At the same time, an email drip campaign can spark interest and move your target audience to attend. 

The Don’ts 

Don’t Limit Your Focus to Ticket Sales  

Yes, you want to sell tickets to your event. Besides, you can’t have an event if no one comes! However, be careful not to focus your messaging only on ticket sales. Your audience needs to know where to buy tickets, but they also may be interested in what to wear, nearby hotels, or participating vendors. The purpose of all of your event-related content will be to drive ticket sales, even if some of it takes a more subtle approach. 

Don’t Set It and Forget It 

We love strategy so much that we included the word in the name of our business! But just because you have a strategy doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible if needed. When marketing your event, be sure to pay attention to all the analytics you have access to. Some numbers to look at are email open rates and click-through rates, social media impressions, and engagement levels. If you aren’t getting the desired results, adjust your approach to capture greater interest from your target audience. 

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Congratulations! Your event is over, and your work is done! Well, almost. Post-event follow-up offers another opportunity to connect with your target audience. In fact, it’s so important that we consider it one of our best practices for event planning! After the event wraps, send out surveys to gather meaningful feedback that can be used to assess the event’s success and plan future gatherings. You can also use this time to connect with new leads and thank vendors and sponsors to further deepen your working relationships.
 

Get Started on Your Next Event 

Ninety-five percent of marketers believe that in-person events can have a positive impact on achieving their company’s goals. Green Apple Strategy understands that events can boost awareness, community connections, and revenue. But we also know they can take time, resources, and staff to pull off. 

Our team is here to help! Reach out to us today, and let’s talk about the benefits that the right special event can bring to your business.

How to Create a Marketing Moat 

In the ever-evolving world of marketing, businesses are constantly searching for ways to stand out from the competition to achieve long-term growth. Just as castles were fortified with moats to protect against attacks, today’s business owners can create their own “marketing moats” to maintain a competitive edge and better protect their market share.

Build a Strong Brand Identity

The impression that your brand makes on a customer can help you stand out from competitors. Develop a memorable brand story. Brand storytelling explains your differentiators and humanizes your brand. It helps customers understand who you are and why your business exists. Building a strong brand or achieving brand recognition can create a marketing moat that keeps customers returning because people prefer brands they recognize. 

Another impact of building a compelling brand story is creating a bond with your customers. This connection can foster trust and loyalty, which can turn into positive feedback and testimonials. You can use this feedback to promote the strong relationships you build with customers, which strengthens your marketing moat. 

Clearly Define Your Unique Value Proposition

Identify what sets your brand apart from competitors and communicate why customers should choose your products or services. Here are a few ways to identify your unique value proposition:

1. Understand your target audience. 

2. Analyze the competition and identify gaps in what they offer. Capitalize on these gaps.

3. Determine what makes your business unique and highlight those aspects.

Be sure to integrate your unique value proposition into all of your marketing and messaging consistently. Check out Green Apple’s approach to building a marketing strategy for tips to ensure your strategy is set up for success from the start. 

Invest in Consistent Content Creation

Produce relevant and engaging content that resonates with your target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, curated social media content, paid media efforts, email marketing, and more. Establish credibility by positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry and offer valuable insight through white papers, webinars, online courses or trainings, and free consultations. All these resources can be promoted on social media and through email marketing. A well-executed content calendar and email marketing strategy can help you plan and organize your content so it remains relevant and consistent.

Work With Us To Build Your Marketing Moat 

At Green Apple, we help business owners execute ideas with a solid strategy behind our approach. Let us help you build a marketing moat that will lead to long-term success by establishing a presence that stands out from the competition. To learn more about our process and discuss how we can help, contact Green Apple Strategy

From Chaos to Clarity: How Process-driven Operations Keeps Marketing on Track

Everyone who’s worked in marketing knows what it’s like when things don’t go according to plan. It could come in the form of a last-minute request from a client or realizing you need to rush ship an important resource to an upcoming industry tradeshow. There are days — sometimes seasons — that feel like your marketing job description should include being a part-time firefighter. While you may not be able to completely prevent chaotic moments, having a process-driven approach to putting out fires and staying on track with responsibilities can ensure you (and your marketing team) can keep moving forward with clarity and confidence.  

Recognizing there will be chaotic moments and proactively developing a plan to address them is one of the most important lessons we’ve learned over the past decade at Green Apple.  

The Most Common Chaos Creators for Marketing Teams

Here are a few of the most common disruptors that marketing teams and agencies must learn how to navigate: 

1. Last-Minute Requests

Every company has sudden requests from other departments or higher-ups that require immediate attention. These can obviously disrupt planned marketing activities and require an extra measure of attention and focus. To navigate last-minute requests, it is helpful to have a system in place for prioritizing and tracking them and to be clear with stakeholders about expectations and deadlines.

2. Lack of Clear Objectives or Change in Direction

When marketing teams lack clear goals and objectives, they may struggle to prioritize tasks and may get sidetracked by less important activities. That’s why it’s essential to establish clear marketing goals that align with your overall business objectives. In some cases, new opportunities may arise or your company might change directions on a particular product or go-to-market strategy. In these cases, there may be opportunities to pivot your marketing without abandoning your entire strategy

3. Technology Issues

Technology difficulties can create an enormous amount of disruption in your day-to-day activities. Technical glitches or failures with marketing tools and platforms can disrupt campaigns and lead to chaos. As a hybrid marketing agency, we’ve had the opportunity to learn how to manage our workload virtually to stay connected and productive. Every person on the team knows what to do if technology issues occur and how to implement a backup plan if communication tools aren’t working. 

4. Human Error

Even the best-laid plans can go awry due to human error. It could be anything from a typo in a press release to a missed deadline. That’s why it’s important to have clear processes and procedures in place for catching and correcting errors. It is also important to create a culture of accountability and transparency, where team members feel comfortable admitting their mistakes and learning from them.

Process-Driven Best Practices to Keep Marketing on Track 

Here are some helpful best practices that a marketing agency could implement to create a process-oriented approach. Implementing some of these approaches can help keep things running smoothly.

1. Create your marketing plan with involvement from key stakeholders.

Every good marketer starts with strategy. But one of the ways to prevent many of the stressful back-and-forth or navigating changes of direction is to involve key stakeholders to shape your marketing strategy as you build it. This has become an essential part of our approach to building marketing strategies for our clients over the years.

2. Establish clear workflows for status meetings and specific deliverables.

One of the most important factors for a successful business and agency partnership is defining clear and documented workflows for different marketing activities. This includes outlining roles, responsibilities, and timelines for expected deliverables. It’s important to ensure everyone on the team understands and follows these processes.

3. Set realistic deadlines.

Saying “yes” to every request is one of the quickest ways to derail your marketing efforts. As you identify new marketing ideas and make a plan to execute them, you want to ensure that deadlines are reasonable and achievable. Managers should avoid overloading the team with too many tasks within a short time frame.

4. Implement a foolproof quality control system.

An important part of marketing project management is implementing thorough quality control processes to catch and rectify errors before campaigns or projects go live. One of the benefits of working with a marketing agency is that they often have proven quality control measures in place — primarily because of the volume of campaigns we’re running at any given time. 

5. Have a backup plan for emergencies.

There will always be situations or scenarios that are completely out of your control. It could be a major PR crisis or a single social media comment that needs to be addressed. Whatever the scenario, it’s crucial to develop clear protocols for handling last-minute crises before they occur. You should also designate a point person who is responsible for evaluating the appropriate action plan and prioritizing the next steps. 

6. Use project management tools.

Technology provides a variety of tools that enhance our communication and collaboration. At Green Apple, most of our days are spent collaborating in Google, Basecamp, and Airtable. These tools can help our team track progress, manage deadlines, and communicate with team members.

7. Maintain documentation of your processes.

Well-documented processes can help to prevent errors by ensuring that all of the necessary steps are taken. It also helps when onboarding new team members and provides a reference point for resolving issues. Based on our experience, we’ve learned that it’s essential to document your processes for areas like campaign planning, content creation, social media management, email marketing, campaign evaluation, and website management.

8. Be flexible.

While processes are essential, it’s also important to cultivate flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances or seize unexpected opportunities. Things don’t always go according to plan, so be prepared to make adjustments as needed. 

Minimize the Marketing Chaos with Green Apple Strategy

At Green Apple, we’re proud of our track record for helping clients take advantage of new opportunities while minimizing chaos and disruption to their daily operations. We have a deep understanding of the changing marketing landscape and know how to help our clients stay ahead of the curve. We also have a team of experienced and dedicated professionals who are passionate about helping our clients succeed.

If you’re ready to build momentum through an effective marketing approach, you can learn more about our process or schedule a consultation with our team.