One Site, One Voice

The time has come. You’re ready to revamp your website and you want to start with the copy. You have several departments. You’re surrounded by knowledge workers. So many people with so much to offer. You accept multiple contributions to your website by choosing a number of staff to write content. Next, simply put it all together and you’re all set, right?

Wrong. It all sounds good in theory, but having several writers create content for your site – no matter how skilled they are – can lead to a disjointed, inconsistent site that’s a disappointment to your visitors.

With your website, your blog, and even your tweets, your objective is to present your business in a unified, consistent, recognizable way. Would you design every page differently, asking multiple designers to put their own spin on it? Of course not. Your copy should be no different. So take the most direct route to consistency by using one voice. Let’s look at a few strategies to make this happen.

  • One voice = one writer. You can still accept contributions from a variety of knowledgeable staff, but they don’t need to wordsmith their contributions. Instead, they need only present the highlights, even in bullet form or through conversation with your writer/editor who connects with all contributors, pulling vital content, and compiling it into a draft document. One writer, one voice, one tone, one style.
  • Define your tone. As a business, who are you? How do you want to present to the world? Are you serious? Straightforward? Witty? Relaxed or more formal? There’s no right or wrong answer. It simply depends on you and who you are.
  • Consider your audience. Who visits your website and for what purpose? Detach from your own office space and put yourself in their place. What might they expect when they visit your site? How do they like to be spoken to? And if you can keep it conversational, great.
  • Define your brand and keep it consistent. Brand consistency makes you recognizable and familiar, and it comforts your consumers. Your customers want to know you. Familiarity feels good and it makes regular visitors believe you can be trusted. If they feel they know you, they identify with you and want to return to you, time and time again.

Direct Mail: Is It Still a Direct Route to Your Audience?

Let’s investigate. Is direct mail (DM) still an effective marketing strategy, or has it gone the way of the horse and buggy combo and door-to-door milk delivery? Personally, I’d gladly forgo the effort of hauling those awkward bags of milk to my car in favour of having cold, bottled milk delivered to my door every week. But that’s a Dragon’s Den pitch for another day.

So in this day of advanced capabilities and lightning speed digital tactics, is DM still worthwhile? To find out, let’s ask some direct questions.

Is it measurable? Absolutely. You can track the success of your DM campaign just the same as your ability to track your digital campaign. With visits to custom landing pages, registrations, sign ups, inquiries, coupons redeemed, and more, you can track and analyze to your heart’s content.

The score so far? DM Disciples – 1. Naysers – 0.

Is it tangible? When it arrives, your recipient must at least touch it. And if you’ve delivered a targeted message in a striking, curiosity-building package, it’ll get noticed. Think about it. It’s the one strategy that puts your message physically into your customer’s hands. Move from postcards and letters to a three dimensional package and you just scored. DM Disciples – 2. Naysayers – 0.

Is it suitable for every audience? Even “kids these days” will attend to a piece of paper. In fact, just this morning my 17-year old grabbed a private college brochure from our kitchen counter and said, “This is neat. Can I take this to school and show my Guidance teacher?” I’m not making this up. And further to our last blog questioning the potential disconnect between seniors and social media, DM is no doubt a suitable strategy for every audience. Game on – it’s a 3-nothing lead.

Can it provoke a call-to-action? 74% of consumers look forward to browsing the contents of their mailbox*. Correct – that’s mailbox, not inbox. And 79% of consumers will act on DM immediately*. Game over.

DM is clearly a winner. But just one closing thought. At risk of flogging a dead horse (attached to an obsolete buggy), the choice to use DM is entirely yours, even though we’d clearly recommend it. But either way, always be sure to choose an integrated marketing strategy. We never get tired of saying it because we believe in what we’re saying – the most fruitful campaigns make use of a diverse collection of tactics. Why? Because it’s all about integration.

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-taylor/why-direct-mail-marketing_b_10627116.html

SnapFace and InstaChat

Antonio Brown’s posting of a Facebook Live video of Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin, trash talking the New England Patriots went viral. The Steelers had just come off an 18-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, earning themselves a shot at the AFC Championship showdown against the Patriots. The video created controversy and led to a string of apologies. And – it posed a loaded question about social media use among seniors.

Late night talk show hosts had a heydey after Patriots coach Bill Belichick expressed his lack of concern over the video, telling a Boston radio station, “I’m not on SnapFace and all that. I don’t really get those … I’m not really too worried about what they put on InstaChat, or whatever it is.” Jimmy Fallon took Belichick’s statement to a whole new level, suggesting that he went on to say, “If Tomlin wants to come at me on Instagoogle, that’s his business. We’ll settle this on the field, not Skypee, MyFace, or TubeBook. But please follow me on Pinterest for tips on how to update your home interiors for spring!”

Admittedly, I laughed out loud. But all public ridicule aside, Belichick’s comments about “SnapFace” and “InstaChat” got me thinking seriously about the potential disconnect between social media and seniors.

Belichick is in his 60’s and is approaching 65. Join the crowd, Bill. According to Statistics Canada, 22.9% of our Canadian population is 60 and older. With seniors making up nearly one quarter of our population, the question is … if a public figure like Belichick isn’t using social media, are other seniors? And if the vast majority aren’t social media savvy, are we missing a large part of a huge demographic when we rely heavily on social media and digital marketing strategies in our campaigns?

Let’s investigate by looking at some numbers, again pulling a few basic stats from Statistics Canada. Although internet use among seniors is trending upward every year, about half still aren’t using it. Fewer than 20% have made the leap to downloaded music, and when it comes to blogging, discussion forums, uploading photos, or watching movies on the internet, seniors are sitting down to click at a dismal rate of less than 10%.

Maybe you’re wondering if our seniors are ravaging Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram? As found on eMarketer.com, sourced at Forum Research, 32% of seniors use Facebook, 30% use LinkedIn, 25% use Twitter, and 16% use Instagram.

It looks like Belichick isn’t alone.

But wait. If half aren’t using the internet, that means half are. And those social networking site usage stats are promising. Any senior accessing Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is pretty savvy. What’s more, I’d wager that the majority of those seniors surfing the net, whether they be social networkers or just googlers, are frequent, attentive users who take their time and read everything on the page, including – you guessed it – your digital ad.

So what’s the answer when you’re looking to grab the attention of those hard-to-reach seniors? In a word – integration. When you use an integrated marketing strategy you’re betting on all the horses, not just that quick one that everyone’s talking about. You’re drawing attention from many sources, creating a consistent, multi-dimensional experience for all consumers — even one who doesn’t use the internet.

But no matter what strategies you choose, don’t bother with SnapFace or InstaChat. Like Belichick, I don’t think anyone else is really getting those either.

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep (and Enjoy at the Office)

Friday the 13th seems like as good a time as any to ask you how your New Year’s Resolutions are going. If any of your resolutions included the words work out or weight, maybe not so well? If I just hit the nail on the head, here’s a quote from Jay Leno that’s sure to make your day:

“Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average … which means, you have met your New Year’s Resolution.”

Perfect. Go grab a muffin and let’s move on.

To be perfectly frank, New Year’s Resolutions are a drain. If too lofty, too serious, too challenging, or utterly too punishing, they shouldn’t be met anyway, never mind made. So let’s start the rest of the year right. Let’s make three resolutions we can actually keep, ones that focus on enriching our work lives and making business better. You’ll love me for this. I promise.

Collaborate more. No matter what field you’re in, no matter your expertise, it’s so easy to get caught up in that silo you work in and forget that collaboration can be the key to innovation. Step outside your personal space, take a deep break, relax, and listen to someone else’s contributions. Chances are, his great idea will lead to her clever thought, and end up as your absolutely brilliant, scintillating solution.

Learn. Learn something new every day. Knowledge is at your fingertips – just key in a topic. You’ve probably done enough reading today, so find an engaging video. Ready to truly absorb? Then relax your mind and your body. Before you click play, take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and now … focus. Or, feel like sending your mind to another space? Try a podcast. Just remember to shut your eyes to sharpen your sense of hearing. You can still sip coffee in the dark, so you might as well heighten your sense of taste in the process.

Take a break. Does your mobile seemed permanently glued to your person? Don’t let it become part of your person. Put it down. Walk away. Stretch. Gaze out a window. January is a great time to get busy, but if you want to be your best business self, you need to refresh. When you’re in the zone, it can be tough to turn off. But I can guarantee that little mental break will make you better than ever when you get back to your desk.

Happy Holidays from Brickworks

It’s that special time of year when we’re reminded to enjoy and celebrate all that we have, knowing that the greatest of all gifts is the companionship of friends and family. Here at Brickworks, we sincerely wish you peace, good health, and the happiest of holidays!