The Cloud9 Marketing blog covers trending digital marketing topics, industry tips and advice as well as, resort marketing tactics.

Top Marketing Trends 2019

It is important for small businesses to keep on top of trends, especially in Digital Marketing. Here are the top things you should be doing in 2019 to get the most out of your budget and beat your competition.

Instagram

Social media is a rapidly growing industry. With over one billion active users worldwide, Instagram is an essential tool to connect with your customers. 64 percent of US adults aged 18 to 29 claim to be using the platform. Being an exclusively visual platform, users can post videos and pictures. Posting regularly on Instagram- at least twice a week – is a great way to connect with your customers. You can also use paid advertising options if you are looking to target a wider audience.

Live Video

In a survey conducted by Livestream in New York Magazine, 80% of the 1000 people surveyed said they would rather watch a live video that read a blog. In 2019, there are many live video platforms you can use, including Facebook Live, Youtube and Instagram. You are able to reach a more engaged audience as they have opted to tune into your live stream. It is a great tool for new product reveals, staff intros, how to videos and advertisements. It is also cost effective and doesn’t take time to produce.

Chatbots

While only 15% of Americans currently claim to have used a chatbot, this is something that is predicted to grow rapidly within the next 2 years. Chat boxes pop up on web pages and answer customer’s questions, usually outside of business hours. It’s a great way to engage with your customers 24/7 and gain a better understanding of their needs. Plus once chatbots have been set up, the cost of maintaining and updating them is low.

Strong Content

The purpose of online content is to provide accurate relevant information to your customers. This will not only educate them but help to drive sales. Good content doesn’t have to be keyword heavy. It needs to help solve a problem and be useful to your customers. Make sure to add relevant, well written content to your company’s blog and keep your website up to date.

Ever-Evolving Marketing Strategy

Staying on top of ever-changing digital marketing strategies is essential for your business to move forward. Something that is relevant now, may only be an effective strategy for half a year. Understand Google’s rapidly changing algorithms, will help you to meet their criteria and better place your ads. Here at Cloud9 we stay up to date with fast changing digital strategies so we can help with what will work best for you. Contact us by calling 604- 938- 4016 or email clientcare@cloud9marketing.ca.

Struggling to find the time to manage your social media platforms on top of your business demands? We have the perfect solution with our Whistler Curated Social Media Content Package!

Did you know that poorly managed social media can actually be more damaging to your brand then having no social media presence at all? Social networks are one of the fastest growing industries in the world. With a projected 25% annual growth in the next 5 years, proper management of your social media channels is essential.

Stimulating Content

Social media algorithms mirror that of Google. This means that content that is stimulating and gets lots of engagement will show up higher on a News Feed. We want to help you to reach your customers by producing high quality, Whistler relevant content that stands out and looks professional.

Timing is everything

Social Media gives you the opportunity to engage with customers on a new level. We understand that you may not have the time to post regular updates to reach customers at the right moments.

Here at Cloud9, we not only produce high quality content but also feature events, and weather updates, engaging with a community who ‘wants to know.’ We post as things are happening- keeping your feed relevant so you don’t have to!

Your Competition Is Already Doing It

Today’s generation expects companies to be involved in social media. From ‘Checking In’ on Facebook to Geo Tags on Instagram, you need to show your customers that you are on top of your social media game. If your brand is not appearing in the feed of your customers on a regular basis you’re really missing a massive branding opportunity.

Posting sporadically or seemingly random content can disengage users and even cause them to believe your business has been shut down!

Don’t Have The Time To Manage This Yourself?

We know that devising an effective social media strategy may not be at the forefront of your mind. That’s why our Whistler Curated Social Media package offers you an affordable solution, ensuring your channels appear well managed, professional and timely. Curating content is the process of sharing interesting and relevant content, created by other people. It is a great time saver and really helps to diversify your content.

What It Involves:

We share Whistler photography, engaging videos, professionally designed graphics, event coverage, real time weather updates and more. This allows you to continue to post to your channel brand specific content occasionally without having to worry about it being inconsistent or irregular.

All our content is Whistler focused, sharing a joint goal of promoting all that Whistler has to offer. It is not brand specific, enabling development costs to be split between clients. You will receive the same high quality, professional content as a client who was paying several times this – but for a fraction of the cost!

Anything Else?

But that’s not all.. you also receive a monthly newsletter with photos and blogs that you can post to your website!

What’s Included:

-Regular High Quality Whistler Content

-Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

-Blog Content & Photos

-Automated Monthly Report

What’s Not Included:

-Brand Specific Content

-Social Media Advertising

-Message or Comment Monitoring

-Strategy or Results Meetings

*Additional Services are always available for a fee.

$250 p/m + GST

Contact us today at: clientcare@cloud9marketing.ca or call: 604-398-4016

Online businesses should be constantly striving to better the user experience (UX). In today’s digital world, making sure that your potential customers have a seamless and enjoyable experience on your website is key when it comes to leads, sales, and site optimization. Here’s what you need to know about UX, and why UX deserves a little more attention.

What is UX?

User experience refers to how a person feels when using your website, product or service. It focuses on improving the emotions and attitudes of your customers when they interact with your business online. By focusing on UX, you can improve the usability and visibility of your site, and drastically improve your customer satisfaction.

Why is it important ?

While Google’s algorithms are everchanging, user experience is a major player when it comes to determining how high a page should rank in search results. Not only this, but companies that prioritize UX get many more visitors to their webpage than businesses with outdated, cluttered pages. This is why businesses should make sure they have an updated user-friendly website that will allow them to convert leads into sales successfully.

Usability and UX are not the same thing

Usability is not the same as UX. Although usability will help to decide is the user has a positive or negative experience on your site, it is only a small part of the entire experience. Usability focuses purely on how your site looks and feels, and how easy it is to navigate. Big buttons, few pop-ups and clear text all help to improve the usability of your site. UX however is much broader than this, and relates more to how the user feels when they are on your page.

A good UX creates brand advocates

The process of earning loyal customers and creating genuine consumer-brand relationships cannot be bought or forced. It is something that happens over time depending on your hard work to consistently better your interactions with your consumers. When you put in the effort to create seamless and rewarding customer interactions, they will repay the favour by spreading positive opinions about your business – both online and offline.

Good content is vital to UX

Original, engaging and thought-provoking content that performs great when it comes to SEO is key to a good UX. Not only will it help your page rank well, but SEO friendly copy will deliver relevant information to your customers, and give them the answer they are looking for. This will help make their experience with your brand easy, pleasurable and (above all) useful.

A positive UX fosters a positive relationship! But focusing on UX is also one of the most effective ways you can help your business stand out against competition. If you need help improving your UX, let us help you. Cloud9 Marketing offers solutions that enhance user experience. We’ll work closely with you to incorporate UX into the design of your site in a way that will fit in with your marketing and sales objectives.

We’re often asked how long it takes to see results with content marketing. Many businesses expect to see an increase in leads and sales immediately. But the truth is –no matter how great the content you put out – content marketing takes time and perseverance!

While it can be frustrating to not see the fruits of your labour straightaway, content marketing is a long-term game that allows you to deliver quality information to your customers. Seeing slow results in the first few months is nothing to worry about – here’s why.

It’s different to traditional advertising

Marketers are constantly debating how many times it takes for a consumer to see an advert before they change their behaviour. Some believe that the answer is 7, but for others the number can range anywhere from 3 to 20 times. Despite varying opinions, everyone can agree that advertising relies on showing products or services enough times in order to get a sale.

With content marketing, you need to come at it from a completely different angle. Unlike advertising, it is not meant to create immediate leads. Instead, the quality content that you put out serves to raise brand awareness – over time.

And runs on a different timeline

Often businesses start off strong with content marketing, but get tired and give up after a few months. With no immediate pay out, it’s easy to think that your efforts aren’t paying off. Because there is no instant gratification, and no guaranteed method of success, many give up on content marketing prematurely – before they are able to see improvements to their online visibility and customer interactions.

It takes a little experimentation

Learning how to write content that will rank well is a serious skill. It takes a while to understand where your audience likes to hang out online, and how they want to engage with your business. It also takes a bit of experimenting to find which type of content will work best for your business online – whether it’s blogs, articles, podcasts, videos or e-newsletters. Once you master the format, you have a way to target your audience uninterrupted, and teach them about your product or service in a way they find interesting and engaging.

And has different goals

Unlike advertising, the purpose of content marketing is all about building loyal customers and brand advocates. While an ad campaign can get you short-term sales, high-quality, engaging content has much more lasting power when it comes to gaining loyal consumers that trust your brand.

It’s complex!

SEO is changing all the time: Google changes it’s algorithm 500-600 times a year, and rarely lets everyone know of its updates. This means that there is no recipe for success with SEO. Rather, it’s a constant learning process of jumping through hoops, experimenting with content, and sticking with it!

While content marketing is a long-term game, it is something you should be investing in. Why? Because it works. Here at Cloud9, we can monitor and analyse your content marketing efforts to ensure you’re on the right track to producing great results for your business. To find out more, please get in contact.

The Instagram Story feature lets you share photos and videos with your followers for 24 hours. Although stories, filters, effects and tags may feel trivial and just another thing for you to remember in your marketing strategy, Instagram stories create easy and fast content with many benefits. Allowing you to show off your business’ personality and drive authentic customer engagements, here’s why the Insta story is an integral tool in your marketing strategy.

Tell a great story

Instagram stories are like your own personal TV channel. They’re designed for mobile users to quickly flick through, making them great for businesses who want to spark engaging, casual conversations with their customers. Your business can combine stories and live videos to open up to your followers and reveal what goes on behind the scenes.

Create easy content

What’s great about stories is that there is no set rule for how often you should post. Similar to Snapchat stories, Instagram stories are designed for continuous watching, meaning the more content you put out, the better! Plus, unlike regular Instagram posts, Insta stories are all about being in the now. Instead of curating the perfect picture and caption, you can use your story to humanize your brand and give it some personality.

Take creative risks

The temporary nature of stories makes them perfect for creative risks. You can be spontaneous and test out new content, safe in the knowledge that users are much more forgiving when it comes to stories. By testing and experimenting with new ideas, you can learn what your audience responds best to, and adapt successful stories into permanent posts.

Drive traffic and engagement

Instagram stories make it easy for you to connect with your audience. Not only can they respond to your stories with direct messages, but the poll feature allows you to hear the collective voice of your customers. You can also link to other Instagram profiles and add links to each story through the swipe up feature. This allows you to direct your audience’s attention towards specific blog posts, products, or news articles.

Boost organic reach

Due to the change in algorithm, Instagram sorts your feed by what it thinks you will like the most. Usually accounts with active stories tend to show up higher in the search results. To boost your organic reach and increase your visibility, you’ll need to post regularly to make sure that you’re staying in current feeds. You can also add hashtags and locations that will increase your reach and enable your account to pop up in different search related results.

Like any social media platform, it can take a bit of finessing to master Instagram and use it most efficiently. But don’t let that put you off! With the help of Cloud9 Marketing, we can manage your social media to boost your brand awareness, improve online credibility, and increase sales and/or customer acquisition. Please get in contact to put us to the test!

Despite an ever-growing surge of social media apps and platforms, email is still a major consistent player in the marketing world. Email marketing allows brands to connect and respond to their target audience, and has the highest return on investment of all online marketing channels. Plus it’s super affordable, which makes it great for small businesses. However, with over 269 billion emails sent each day, there’s a lot of competition out there. If you want to know how to run a successful marketing campaign that will drive engagement and sales, here’s our step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Define your goals

Your goals for your email marketing campaign should line up with the overall objectives of your company. Pinpoint exactly what you want your campaign to achieve, whether it’s welcoming new subscribers or boosting engagement. From there, your goals will give you a good indication of whether you should be sending promotional, relational or transactional emails.

Step 2: Build your email list

If your primary aim is to nurture existing subscribers, then you should already have a bunch of known contacts at your fingertips. However, if you’re starting from scratch you’ll need to build a list of promising email addresses. Google Analytics is a great starting point when it comes to finding valuable leads. Alternately, nonintrusive popups on your site that offer irresistible incentives – like discounts or free shipping on first orders – gain immediate attention, and immediate results.

Step 3: Craft your email

A great email starts with a great subject line. Personalizing your email and creating a hook right at the start will encourage subscribers to read on. When it comes to copy, keep it direct and simple, and break up your text with blank spaces and images so the reader can quickly scan the page.

The end of your email copy will contain your call to action (CTA). This reinforces what you want your subscribers to do. For example, a property management company in Whistler would use their CTA to encourage subscribers to book their winter vacation before a certain date to secure the best deals.

Step 4: Test it out

Your email marketing campaign will need to be constantly evolving to stay ahead of the competition. A/B testing is a great way to see which kind of email designs, subject lines and CTAs perform best. Alongside this, you should also regularly monitor your email list so that you can re-engage inactive subscribers, and remove them if your attempts fail.

Step 5: Be consistent!

Once all of the hard work is done, it’s important to keep at it! If you do choose to manage your email campaigns by hand, we highly recommend you use email templates to save time. Email automation is also a cost-effective option that enables you to enhance the customer experience by responding to customers immediately – at all hours.

If you need any help launching an email marketing campaign, or if you would like detailed tracking and reporting of your marketing efforts, please contact Cloud9! Our experienced team build successful email marketing strategies that cultivate audiences and connect businesses with their growing online communities.

There’s a common misconception that landing pages are hard to create and maintain. But we want to dispel that rumour! Many businesses don’t make the most of their landing pages, but – done right – they are one of the easiest and smartest ways to generate more leads for your business.

However, a high converting page does more than simply “look good”. To convert visitors into customers, there are a number of design factors you will need to consider. Here’s how you can make your page as appealing as possible to visitors, to encourage them to stick around.

What is a landing page?

Landing pages are distinct from your homepage, or any other page on your website. They are designed for one purpose and one purpose only – to convert visitors into customers by capturing their information. A good landing page will target a particular audience and convince potential customers to share their personal details in exchange for a deal or special offer.

Why do you need a landing page?

Put simply, landing pages are a great way to improve SEO and drive traffic to your site. They guide customers towards a specific offer or product, and encourage them to take action. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to create conversions and grow your consumer base.

A few rules to consider when designing a high-converting landing page

 

  • Never send traffic from an advert to your homepage

The first rule of thumb is to keep your landing pages separate from the rest of your website. The whole purpose of a landing page is to make sure visitors can’t miss your promotional campaign. Home pages often bombard visitors with images, text and information, which will make it difficult for them to focus on your offer.

  • Keep your landing page clear and relevant

Online you only have a few seconds to convince someone that your business is relevant to their needs. This means you need to make those few seconds count. Entice your visitors by making your offer as big and bold as possible, and removing all surrounding clutter.

  • Keep your copy to the point

If you want to stop traffic on your site, you’ll need to design a killer headline. Keep it short, snappy and engaging, so viewers will be compelled to keep reading. The rest of your text should also follow this format. Match your concise and relevant copy with keywords that you used in you PPC ads, to reassure visitors that they’re on the right track.

  • Focus on the visitor experience

While it’s important to keep the overall look and feel of it similar to your main site, your landing page should be all about the visitor. Their first impression of your landing page really counts, so capture their interests and showcase how your brand can improve their life.

If you need any help developing a high converting landing page, or if you’re running a campaign but questioning the results, let us take a look! Our team at Cloud9 would be happy to evaluate your campaign to learn exactly how to refine your ads to gain maximum response – for less cost.

 

Real-time marketing is nothing new, but thanks to the power of social media more and more businesses are starting to embrace it as an effective form of online marketing. RTM is bold, loud, and undoubtedly one of the best ways to garner attention. And even better, RTM doesn’t require fancy technology, extensive planning or complex automation: All you need is some clever timing. Here’s a breakdown of what real-time marketing entails, and how you can use it to increase traffic to your website and increase sales.

What is real-time marketing?

Businesses use real-time marketing to interact with their target audience based on current local, national or global events and trends. Brands can engage with their consumers and connect them to what they need at critical moments. This doesn’t mean that brands are jumping on every Internet trend, but rather adding value to certain online conversations.

RTM is the antithesis of planning ahead, as it relies entirely on relevant news and current crazes. Businesses use real-time marketing for live event promotion, location-based deals, and most commonly for social media engagements. One of the most notorious RTM strategies comes from OREO, and their single tweet during the infamous 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

What are the benefits of real-time marketing?

 

It’s impactful

Marketers often struggle to come up with new, innovative ways to engage the always connected consumer. Real-time marketing offers a solution. Enabling marketers to adapt their message to a specific context, RTM cuts through the noise and allows businesses to connect with people in the right place at the right time.

It increases engagement

With RTM, businesses can reach people interested in their products or services wherever, whenever. Instead of blasting out generic messages across all social media platforms, you can personalize these messages to spark a dialogue with consumers, and increase the quality of engagements.

It diversifies your content

While it’s important to show your expertise through longer forms of content, sometimes shorter pieces can have more of an impact. These bite-size pieces of content, such as graphics or tweets, offer a quick and easy way to inform and engage your audience, giving them something to remember!

It increases a sense of urgency

Everyone wants to be in on the latest trend. When businesses tailor marketing to consumers in a time of need, their products or services become more appealing. Urgency motivates people and incentivizes them to engage with your brand. By structuring your advertisements to reflect a current event or trend, consumers will recognize how useful your products or services are in the current moment.

It’s inexpensive

Real-time marketing does not require huge amounts of money, making it one of best ways for small businesses to market their products or services. With a bit of swiftness and creativity, you can easily connect your brand with current and potential customers through relating to the most popular Internet topics and crazes.

Whether or not you’re using real-time marketing for your brand, it’s important to be in the loop with what your customers are talking about online. Here at Cloud9 Marketing, we specialize in social media management, as well as brand story-telling and graphic design. If you want to take your businesses marketing efforts to the next level, schedule a free consultation with us to get started!

You don’t have to search for long to see that most businesses in Whistler conduct excellent customer service on social media. But how many businesses consider it to be their main support channel?

As we move further into the digital age, emails and phone calls are taking a lesser role when it comes to customer care. Instead, people are choosing to turn to social media to voice their complaints and complements towards businesses. Offering many benefits to both small businesses and to customers, here’s why social media is the future of customer service, and why – if you aren’t already – you should be consistently and promptly responding to customers online.

The power of social media

Social media already dominates internet activity. With over 1.5 billion Facebook users and 400 million Instagram users, the power of social media is ever-growing, and becoming increasingly accessible to people all over the world. With so many users, brands are able to reach an unlimited number of potential customers.

It’s customers preferred method of communication

90% of users prefer to use social media over other methods to communicate with brands. Understandably, people don’t want to wait hours for a response, or sit waiting on hold. Customers require instant gratification, and now expect companies to use social customer service to answer issues and problems immediately.

Phone conversations can occasionally leave customers with a negative impression of a business due to miscommunication. With text-based customer support, it is much easier for your team to understand and translate a customers issues, simplifying the process for both customers and companies.

It’s an inexpensive solution

Shifting customer service to social media has great financial benefits. On average, it costs $1 to solve a customer issue on social media…with conventional phone calls, solving the same issue often costs 6 times as much. This is partly due to the fact that customer service agents can solve problems much more efficiently through social media, and decrease the time spent on each issue.

It improves and increases brand reputation

Thanks to social media, customer service has become a spectator’s sport. But this can really work in your favour!

If you fail to respond, you’ll give off the message that you are arrogant and have nothing to offer in terms of a solution – all of which, as you can imagine, will greatly damage your reputation. However, provided you deal with situations appropriately and promptly, your outstanding customer service will play out in full view of the public. Your audience will be able to see that you are a trustworthy business that cares about your customers, and brand awareness will grow accordingly.

It benefits an integrated marketing approach

A successful marketing campaign can only succeed if it’s backed up by strong and solid customer service. Nailing the social customer service experience is particularly important for local businesses, as potential customers are likely to look up reviews before purchasing your products or services.

We cannot stress enough the importance of an integrated marketing approach. To create a seamless and positive image of your brand, it’s important to consider every aspect of your marketing strategy from awareness building to how you handle post-sale customer service. If you haven’t already invested in social media, now is the perfect time to get started. Cloud9 offer strategy consultancy and monthly social media services, and we would be happy to discuss all the ways in which you can improve the online customer experience. To get in contact, please click here.

To measure social media Return on Investment (ROI), most businesses use the following formula:

Profit/ Investment x 100 = Social Media ROI

But this can be more complicated that it seems. For starters, how do you calculate profits? How do you work out which social media goals to set in the first place? And how do you prove which specific marketing campaigns were the ones to spark interest and drive sales?

If the concept of social media ROI feels a little daunting, you’re not alone. But calculating ROI doesn’t have to be complicated and time-consuming. We’ve composed a simple step-by-step guide that will help you measure your social media profits, and save a whole lot of time and money in the long run.

By seeing which of your marketing efforts deliver great results, and which ones don’t do so well, you can focus on the campaigns that really matter to maximize your ROI.

#1 Define your goals

Before anything, you will need to carefully identify your key performance indicators. KPIs will show you the progress of your business goals, and make sure you stay on track.

The more specific your goals, the better. Brand awareness means something different to everyone, so make sure you agree on a single, quantifiable awareness goal that you will be able to measure afterwards. For example, you could track new followers, clicks on links, or online purchases made.

#2 Track your goals

With your goals clearly defined, it’s time to start tracking. An easy – and free! – way to track website actions like sales and downloads is with Google Analytics. For tracking social media interactions such as shares and likes, Buffer is also a great tool to use.

#3 Attach a dollar amount

Once you’ve tracked your actions, you’ll need to assign them a monetary value. This is where it gets interesting, as there are many ways to do this. You could…

  • Work out how much you earn on average from each customer
  • Calculate how much each online visit is worth to your business
  • Work out how much the average purchase is through your site
  • And finally, work out your PPC costs e.g. how much you would end up paying to achieve the same actions through ads.

#4 Track your social media expenses

For the final step, you’ll need to deduct your investments from your overall ROI. These often include:

  • Man-hours- Deduct the amount of time you or your employees spend on each specific social media campaign.
  • Content- If you paid for content, such as a freelance blogger, you will need to factor this in.
  • Social media tools- While Twitter and Facebook are free, often social media tools and services are not.
  • Ad costs- Remember to deduct the amount you spend on social media advertising, such as boosting Facebook posts and promoting tweets.

With your stats in front of you, you can calculate your ROI using the formula at the top of the page and see which of your social media marketing campaigns come out on top. Just remember your social media investments might be paying off whether or not you see a direct, immediate increase in revenue- so stick with it!

We understand that social media takes practice and may not be at the top of your to-do list if you’re running a small business. Our team at Cloud9 Marketing are social media whizzes, and would love to give a helping hand to boost brand awareness, improve online credibility, and increase sales. To put our social media management to the test, please get in contact!