Long-Term Audience Development

We can all agree that content marketing is super important, but did you know, developing an audience for that content is just as crucial? The creation and distribution of the content is easy, it’s the audience development, particularly the long-term audience development, that is the true challenge.

What is a long-term audience?

To put it simple, long-term audiences are the people that support your company by continuous engagement. They are the ones that see your ads, read your newsletters and sign up for your emails. This is especially important because by developing this kind of audience, you begin to own a loyal audience who sticks around and supports your business/brand/product well beyond the launch.

Ok so long-term audiences are key. But how exactly do I identify and develop my long-term audience?

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.

After reading a very interesting article by Intel iQ on audience development, we’ve put together a list of “steps” that a person takes before reaching the “long-term” audience stage. Whether you are sending out newsletters, posting ads on social media, or using an email “sign-up” pop up, we’ve got a guide that will help you and your audience struggles out!

Step One | Ad exposure

A person in this stage is someone who happens upon your business/product ad but doesn’t slow down to consume that content. This is typically seen on social media platforms where the audience stumbles upon your ad but does nothing to engage with it.

Step Two | First-time engager

First-time engagers may find you through a native ad, social media ad or a shared social media post. Regardless, they have stopped and engaged with your business/product because they’re interested in the content.

Step Three | Repeat engager

A person in this stage is considered a “repeat engagers” because they visit your business/product more than once and demonstrate an affinity with your content. This means that the audience likes or resonates with your business/product enough to do more exploring on you and your website.

Step Four | Email sign-up

This is probably the most important step for any marketer. The email sign-up refers to readers being converted into subscribers. In other words, the audience gets hooked by your business/product enough to willingly sign-up for more information. This not only gives you assurance of their interest, but it also brings in more of an impact for future newsletters or ads.

Step Five | Recirculation

Last but certainly not least, recirculation: the most valuable group of your audience. These are the people that are loyal to your business/product and care deeply about the content that you are putting out. Recirculation refers to the engagement of your audience in all of the content marketing that you put out. This is the long-term audience.

Being able to initially get your audience’s attention and then actually keep them engaged with your content, thus turning them into a loyal reader, is the real test. Like mentioned, this is super important because by developing a long-term audience, you also develop a sense of security among your audience. These are the people who will stay loyal to your business/product time and time again.


Things We Hear About Marketing

Things We Hear About Marketing

FEBRUARY 16, 2018|IN BUSINESS, ENTREPRENEUR, MARKETING|BY LAURIE CARVER

I’ve been working with small to mid-sized, privately-owned businesses for over 20 years. Over and over, this is what I hear the owners say: “Why do I need marketing?” and “I can’t afford marketing.”

Believe me, I can empathize with that, because I was a small-business owner for 10 years and I know how tight money can be. You have to keep careful control of your expenditures and invest wisely…put your money where it’s going to do the most good. Investing in product, people, rent and facilities tend to be top of the list, right?

Indeed, nearly every business owner I’ve ever worked with has all of those in their budget and in their business plan; but very few have allocated monies toward marketing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them include $25,000-$100,000 in buildout expenses, yet provide nothing for marketing. Or the same in inventory…yet nothing for marketing.

This is so short-sighted. Ultimately costly. And sad. Because it’s one of the contributing factors to the 80% failure rate in small businesses.

Why spend so much precious money yet not invest in a way to get the word out about your business? Do you think “If I build it they will come?” Sorry, wishful thinking.

I think most people say “Why do I need it?” and “I can’t afford it” because marketing is simply out of their wheelhouse—out of their area of expertise and comfort. They’ve started a business because they’re good at something. But the single greatest mistaken belief (see “The E-Myth”) is that being really good at what you do or create is enough. It simply isn’t. You need to determine what you’re NOT good at…and get the help from professionals who ARE good at it.

Enter marketing.

What’s wonderful about the world today is that there are so many ways to market, which also makes it confusing and dizzying. You need the help of a professional to wade through all of those options to determine what media is going to be best for you, let alone the message that will be most relevant and persuasive.

Marketing is about understanding your market, your competition, how your business/product fits within that environment, and what makes it different or better. It’s about discovering why someone would spend money on your service or product vs someone else’s, and how they’re going to find out about you, let alone find you. It’s about figuring out who you should be marketing to, and where. It’s about how to make the most of the investment you’ve made in your business, let alone your marketing budget. It’s a lot to figure out.

The other thing I often see is that the owner is myopic about their business. In other words, they have mistaken, naive or undeveloped perceptions of just who and what they are.

A marketing expert represents fresh, unbiased eyes--the value of which simply cannot be overestimated. We’ll see things you don’t. I promise you. We’ll see opportunities you may not, problems, issues and challenges you may not. We’ll come up with ideas you wouldn’t or couldn’t have. Or we’ll be able to help you execute the ideas you do have.

The other thing I hear is: “I can do it myself” (be honest, are you saying this now?).

To that, refer back to the previous paragraphs and really truly ask yourself if that’s true. Because the best path to failure is to start with a bad impression or one that is simply “less than” who you are. To hiccup your way into the market. It’s impossible, or at least incredibly expensive, to undo a negative image you can inadvertently create.

I leave you with this final food for thought: the things people say about you and your product/business will make or break you. So get professional help with marketing. Put it in your budget. Ask yourself what the cost of failure will be. Ask yourself what a new client is worth. Then please say “Ok, I’ll reach out for marketing.”


Always Leave the Campsite Cleaner Than You Found It

My father was a Boy Scout. An Eagle Scout actually. He taught me from an early age, “Always leave the campsite cleaner than you found it.” This is good advice. A good way to live. The idea being, that when you clean up your campsite at the end of your stay, clean up anything you brought, or discarded, or left behind. But also, if you should see a soda can or cigarette butt or crumpled piece of paper tossed aside by someone else, clean that up too. Don’t just leave it there because you’re not the one that dropped it in the first place. Make sure that your presence at that campsite results in leaving it in an even better condition than you found it.

This advice can, and should, be applied to most anything in life. Whether it’s picking up garbage as you walk your dog, putting a fallen loaf of bread back on the shelf at the grocery store, or taking the time to turn in a stray mitten to the lost & found. On a different level, “leaving the campsite cleaner than you found it” can (and again, should) be applied to our interactions with other people. In our relationships with loved ones, co-workers, and strangers, we should strive to add something positive, pleasant, encouraging, or helpful to our interactions.

What is this touch-feely advice doing on our marketing blog, you might ask? What does this have to do with your business? Could be, should be…a lot! Applying this cleaner-campsite-philosophy to your interactions with clients, customers, co-workers and associates can have far reaching benefits. A key, however, is that you’re not doing these kindnesses to get a benefit. When you have a self-serving ulterior motive, people can usually see right through that. Do the right thing, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

If you provide financial services, but see that your client could benefit from some legal advice, refer them to a trusted associate. If you own a bakery and your customer is placing their usual order for oatmeal cookies, but inquiring about your new cupcakes, give them one for free. Where you have the opportunity to support other entrepreneurs, do that! We need each other to succeed. Whether through referrals, sharing your time and experience or making networking introductions, your kindness will (almost) always be appreciated and (often) be reciprocated.

We live in an age when many people avoid direct human interactions in place of disappearing into their handheld, laptop, or desktop devices. Try using your necktop device! (See what I did there?) Look people in the eye, shake their hand, smile. Relate with your fellow human beings and do something nice for someone. It’ll be good for your business and good for your soul.


Binge-Worthy TV Shows

Binge-Worthy TV Shows

We love television. So much, that we decided to dedicate a whole blog on our favorite, binge-worthy t.v. shows.

Just to make it clear, these aren’t the only shows we watch nor the only ones that are objectively binge-worthy, but from a huge team collaborative list of about 40, we decided to form our own BRMG version of a master list of shows we believe are worth having your eyes glued to the screen. Oh, and FYI, most of these you can find on Netflix (you’re welcome).

So in hopes that you get sucked in to one of these [awesome] series, here is our personalized master list of binge-worthy shows (in no particular order):

And because our team is so diverse, we thought we’d also give an honorary mention and recommendation to each team member’s favorite show:

Andrea - The Killing

"For those who enjoy puzzles and character development, The Killing offers a compelling story of two homicide detectives who work together to solve crimes, but also to find their true selves, flaws and all."

Liz - New Girl

"New Girl is the perfect mix of quirkiness and hilarious-ness. I was hooked from the start and honestly fell in love with all of the characters (sadly I can't pick a favorite because they're all soooo good). The show is very well written and after re-watching the entire series almost 3 times, you can say I'm obsessed. If you like to laugh, this show is for you!"

Soulmaz - The Young Pope

"Ironic and unique story! Great music! Fantastic images + very smart comedy! And if that wasn't enough, Jude Law plays the young pope. What other reasons do you need to watch it? ?"

Laurie - Homeland

"An intelligent, complex and insightful series that takes place in the counter-terrorism era following 9/11 with a brilliant bipolar CIA officer, Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, and her wise mentor, Saul Berenson played by Mandy Patinkin. Fascinating inside stories about stuff we heard about in the news in the Middle East (and continue to do so)."

Dane - Leave It To Beaver

"Good, clean, family entertainment. I just like it."

Rebecca - Gotham 

"Quality viewing. Start from the beginning. Impeccable casting & acting (with one glaring & unfortunate exception)"

So, next time you find yourself bored at home with nothing to do and hours and hours to spare (or let’s be honest, just want to binge a show), we suggest you pick up your remote, grab a blanket & snack, and blissfully enjoy season after season of BRMG approved binge-worthy shows.


How To Be Seen In The Mess

How To Be Seen In The Mess

Our eyes and ears are filled with pictures, colors, lights, songs, and slogans! Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance, Chinese food cartons promote Continental Airways and US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags. There are TV’s in cabs, lobbies and hospitals as well as ads on socials media that are based on your interests and needs (which let’s be honest, is scary!). For instance, just the other day I was thinking about buying something, and the next day when I opened Facebook there was a small ad on the right side of the page giving me an option to buy what I was thinking about! It was like a scary movie!
Now, imagine yourself as a business owner wanting to sell your product or services in this mess. What makes you stand out? Think about it. You’re walking down an aisle in a supermarket looking for your favorite coffee; there are hundreds of other brands there, what makes you change your mind and try a new brand? A brand your friend suggested? The one you’ve just seen the ad on your way home? The package? It could be one or all of these!
Packaging design is the silent salesman that will grab busy consumers’ attention in-store. It informs consumers about the product’s properties and visually differentiates the brand from the competition on the shelf. There is a lot competition to promote and sell products or services online, so to put it quite frank, you need professional market research and advertising.
Advertising is a powerful tool to create and shape a brand universe as it is very visual in which it tells a story about the product/company. As John McNeil states, “If you do it the right way, you actually win points”. This is why your cousin who knows Photoshop is not enough to help your business succeed (sorry not sorry).
There are lots of questions you need to ask yourself and find answers to even before you run your business…
- Who is my audience?
- What is the age range?
- What are their needs?
- Who are my competitors?
- What is missing?
- What do they do to promote themselves?
- What are the colors, symbols, shapes, and languages they use?
Each of these requires professional research. Behind every successful company is a group of analysts who interact with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts to understand their problems and needs, along with the creative group who visualize and bring everything together.
Black Rhino Marketing Group is capable of delivering the right strategy, effective marketing campaigns, and definitive results. We will help your company grow your revenues and develop a plan for success!