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Using User-Generated Content

You’ve created it. Your friends have created, and you’ve seen it all over social media whether you know it or not. We’re talking User-Generated Content (UGC). User-generated content is an affordable and inexpensive means of building credibility for your business. It’s about showing your customers that you care about their needs and it helps foster a human connection. UGC can prove very beneficial for your business. Why? Because your offerings are being praised by your audience’s peers. It can take the form of a nice comment on Facebook, a curated photo of one of your meals posted to Instagram or a rave review on Yelp. Think of it as word of mouth but digital.

Now that we know what UGC is and how beneficial it can be, the next step is to determine the type of UGC you want and strategize towards it for the best results. Here are some tips to help you devise a UGC plan for your business:

Engage Your Audience:

In order to engage your audience, have them interact with your brand and provide you with UGC, you need to put a focus on engaging content. A simple way to do this is by asking questions in your social media posts. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you can ask what everyone’s favorite dish is. You can also encourage people to leave reviews on Google, Yelp or Facebook. If you want to amp things up a notch, you can partner with micro-influencers or you can host giveaways where an entry requirement is to leave a review, comment about what they love about your business, etc.

Selecting the Best UGC:

Not all UGC is created equal. When selecting which content to share or repost, first look at things like grammar, quality of any visuals and overall shareability. Then, once you’ve compiled some options, strategize on how to get the most mileage out of these posts. To put this in context, pretend you’re the owner of a clothing store and you have a pair of jeans that are about to go on sale. Say you also have a great review of these jeans. Instead of just randomly selecting content, use the review of the jeans to also highlight that they’ll be going on sale.

Post Branded Hashtags:

Hashtags are a secret weapon for optimizing user-generated content. Consumers can easily look up content through branded hashtags. Try to keep your hashtags short, simple and unique to your business. Look at your competitors’ hashtags and think strategically about phrases and words that best describe your offerings. 

Sponsored and paid advertisements on social and digital have become redundant, and consumers may have a tendency to scroll past them. The right UGC strategy can be just what your business needs to create a connection that’s meaningful, engaging and profitable. 

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The Basics on Thought Leadership

The Basics on Thought Leadership

There are always buzzwords floating around the business world: productivity, transparency, ROI (just to name a few). And while thought leadership might be a topic you’ve seen, it’s so much more than just a buzzword. It’s essential for the growth of your business. So let’s dive into the basics. Thought leadership is being an expert on a specific topic or in a specific industry that people and publications can rely on to learn the newest trends. It’s a simple way for your business to reinforce your expertise on a given topic or industry.

So what’s the big deal? Well, other than the obvious fact that every business wants to be an expert in their field, it’s crucial to position yourself as an expert in front of your target audience.

How does one become a thought leader? By creating timely, knowledgeable and expert insight on a subject through branded content. Here’s how:

Long-Form Written Content

Blogs are a major player in helping your brand become a thought leader. They engage your audience and they offer up an easy way to get across expert information. After reading your posts, your audience should leave knowing how to do something new or with valuable knowledge they can apply to their life, business etc. By integrating a robust, knowledgeable blog presence on your website, you’ll not only reinforce your authority to website visitors, but you’ll also increase searchability and have the functionality to share across digital channels such as social media and newsletters.

Visual Content

As we mentioned above, relevant content is key to a successful thought leadership campaign, but it isn’t just enough to write blogs. You need visual elements to capture your audience’s attention and relay key points of information. Not everyone has the time or attention span to read blogs, so utilizing visual content like infographics makes your expert information easily consumed by social media scrollers. According to Facebook, on average, most audiences spend about 1.7 seconds on a piece of content. In order to get the most out of this very short amount of time and hopefully capture someone’s attention, a strong visual presence is key.

 Publicity

Another great way to increase brand authority is through publicity. Once your business has scored a media hit due to your excellent thought leadership content, you can not only expect a wider reach to your target audience via the media publication you’ve landed, but also increased credibility. When the media is relying on you as a source of expert information, this will solidify your status as a thought leader among your target audiences as well.

Stay tuned to receive additional blog posts as we take a deeper dive into the elements that lead to a successful thought leadership campaign. 

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F.A.T. Stacks 101: Putting It All Together

Your website backend is properly configured. Your contacts are listed and tagged. You have digital ads running to drive new traffic and engage with existing users. What’s next? It’s time to tie it all up and put everything together utilizing what you’ve set up.

First, you’ll want to design a specific content series on a topic your audience is interested in. Say, for example, you’re a marketing company that focuses on small businesses. Perhaps you could create a blog series on the topic of small business marketing covering the specific topics of branding, digital marketing and thought leadership. Your contacts would be tagged according to actions they have taken on your site or completed in your newsletter – maybe they read a branding blog or clicked through to an article about digital ads. So you know this is a topic they care about.

Then, you’ll want to create some sort of lead capture to draw people in to the series. This could be something like a downloadable resource or guide – something that people find valuable and will input their information to receive. Once someone submits their information to download your guide, they will automatically be entered into the content series and tagged appropriately.

Your digital ads now serve two purposes. You can use a retargeting ad to engage with users who have submitted their information and shown they are interested in your topic (creating custom audiences based on their site activity may prove useful here). You can also run ads to drive new traffic to your site and push your content series out to a broader audience who might be interested.

So a user’s journey might go something like this: I’m a small business owner looking to grow my brand. I’m wondering about custom audiences and doing some online research when I see a digital ad directing me to an online resource guide for small business marketing tips. I see one of the topics it covers is – aha – custom audiences! I click the ad and am taken to your lead capture page where I enter my information in order to receive my downloadable guide. From there, I am automatically entered into your content series where I also receive emails about other topics I may find interesting (branding and automation, perhaps). Based on my tagging, I also often see retargeting ads. This leads me to click through to your website, decide I like what I see, and reach out asking for more information. Ta-da!

If this still seems like a bit too much, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t despair, contact us for a free assessment or to inquire about our simple stack install package.

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All About Our Summer Interns


Gianna Scheuneman is a senior at North Central College majoring in Broadcast Communication. After she graduates with her Bachelor’s degree, Gianna aspires to branch out in the Chicago Marketing/PR Industry as an Account Executive and hopes to eventually work her way up to a managerial role.

One thing Gianna Didn’t Know Before Starting This Internship
One major lesson that I learned throughout my time interning at Fetch is that it is critical to expand your mindset in this industry. Brainstorm, create and execute as many goals and ideas as you can to ensure that you, your brand and business are constantly evolving.

My favorite thing about interning at Fetch is working around diverse content for clients. I was never doing the same work for just one client each day; there was always something to take on within 3-5 clients and you are able to learn about so many different industries within a role in the Marketing and PR industry.

Gianna’s Favorite Thing About Interning at a Small Business
I especially value working at a small business because this challenges you and your team to work towards as many goals as possible for each client with a limited amount of time each day. You are essentially building a brand from scratch and this ensures that new ideas, digital trial and error experiments and further strategies to consider are constantly flowing in the workplace, and also puts your time management skills to the ultimate test.

All About Gianna
Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, I am always looking for the best places to eat, see or limited events to experience throughout the city. If I was not pursuing a passion for Marketing/PR, my dream job would be a Chicago food and lifestyle blogger. I would love to write, take photos and share my experiences with the world every day, on top of traveling.

David Flores is a born and raised Chicagoan who currently will be enrolled in his junior year at Northwestern University. He is studying Communication Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications. David is passionate about his community, music and elevating the people he is around.

One thing David Didn’t Know Before Starting This Internship: I personally did not know how much collaboration there is between small businesses throughout the city of Chicago.

David’s Favorite Thing About Interning at a Small Business: I enjoy the community and close collaboration that a small team provides. It allows for work to share a multitude of different perspectives rather than pertaining to a certain department of a business.

All About David
I enjoy spending my free time learning more about hip hop culture, ultimately hoping to hone my skills in hip hop production and dj’ing.

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F.A.T. Stacks 101: Digital Ads

After you’ve properly set up the backend of your website and carefully curated your contacts, you can utilize what you’ve set up to really get in front of people using digital ads. Read on for the basics in beginning to use digital ads to both drive new traffic to your site, as well as engage with existing users.

Driving New Traffic

Digital ads can be used to drive new users and increase overall traffic to your website. One way to do this is by creating a general ad to get in front of new audiences that do not already exist for you. Not sure who to target for your first ad campaign? Start with the data you already have. A great strategy for targeting new users is to create a look-alike audience based on the data of people who have already been on your site. This will allow you to cast a wide net, but with parameters by targeting people with similar features or attributes as those who have already interacted with your brand. 

Also important to note – you should exclude from this particular ad the audience that has already been on your site. The message to people who haven’t engaged with your brand will be different than the messaging you want in front of people who have previously interacted with your brand

Engaging With Existing Users

Digital ads can also be used to engage and re-engage with people who have already been on your site. You can create these ads to be more specific based on users’ activity while on your website. Remember those pixeles we talked about setting up? That’s how certain ad platforms track activity. You can now use that data to create an ad to specifically target people who have viewed a particular product or read a certain blog on your site.

An important step to keep in mind here is that these two types of ads (driving and engaging) should be run concurrently. This is important because it will allow you to get initial engagement, and also to send those new contacts through your retargeting systems. Now when someone in your new audience clicks through to your site, the brand will be reinforced in front of them as they convert over to an existing user.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t despair, contact us for a free assessment or to inquire about our simple stack install package.

Interested in the digital aspect of marketing? Read here to learn about contact curation, the other side of marketing.

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F.A.T. Stacks 101: Contact Curation

Now that you’ve properly set up the backend of your website, you are ready to begin your marketing efforts by really diving in to your contacts. For our purposes, let’s assume you already have a functional CRM up and running. The next step is then to both nurture and engage with your current contacts, as well as to capture new contacts or leads.

Think of your ultimate end goal – maybe you want people to sign up for your newsletter, download something or complete an action. How will you get them to do this? It’s as easy as simply listing and tagging your contacts. Read on for the basic steps to get you started!

  1. Create specific lists and tags for your contacts. Generally speaking, a contact will enter a list when they sign up for something (like your newsletter list), and a tag will be assigned to a contact based upon their activity (like a tag for contacts who have clicked a certain button on your website). This will then allow you to treat or target contacts differently based on their particular list or tag.
  2. Build forms that point back to those specific lists and tags within your CRM. These forms will be embedded as calls to action within your website, newsletter, etc. The corresponding lists and tags should be associated with the content in which the call to action is embedded.
  3. Design automations or drip campaigns specific to each list and tag. Remember that pixel you set up with tag manager? Now you can see the activity of anyone in your list on your website. By creating a tag in your CRM for certain actions, you can automatically enter these contacts into a drip campaign.
  4. Set up a tagging automation for newsletter and site activity for current contacts already in your list. You can set up alerts to be notified if they complete a valuable action on your site or through your newsletter. You can also send contacts information that is valuable to them based on their actions.

Your new, enhanced CRM is now ready for you to double down on your marketing efforts. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t despair, contact us for a free assessment or to inquire about our simple stack install package.

Interested in the content aspect of marketing? Read here to learn more digital ads, the other side of marketing.

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F.A.T. Stacks 101: Backend Basics

While some marketing technology does require industry and tech knowledge, there are several easily accessible, user-friendly marketing tools that any entrepreneur can implement on their own. In order to do so, you’ll first want to ensure the backend of your website is properly set up. This will lay the foundation for everything that is to come, as your website is homebase and all of your future marketing endeavors should point back to content on your site.

Properly setting up the backend of your website enables you to identify high-performing content as well as to track visitors to your site and then target those visitors based on their activity while on the site. Sounds pretty great, right? It must be complicated. Not really – read on for the basic steps to get you started!

  1. Install google tag manager on your website. Tag manager is essentially a hack cheat code which allows you to insert tracking codes and pixels on your own without the help of a web developer.
  2. Sign up for google analytics and add tracking code. This will enable you to identify where traffic on your website is coming from.
  3. Connect google search console with your google account. Search console helps you see your high performing webpages, search terms and content. This will allow you to optimize your site for search engines.
  4. Insert facebook pixel. Adding the facebook pixel to your site will allow you to create custom audiences and then target those audiences with ads based on their specific site activity.
  5. Add google ad pixel. This will enable you to tell which of your ad clicks lead to customer activity on your website – such as purchases, sign-ups, and form submissions.
  6. Insert ActiveCampaign pixel to each page of your website. Installing this code will let you see the website activity of all contacts in your CRM and the follow-up with targeted email campaigns.

Your new, enhanced website will now be ready for you to dive in and double down on your marketing efforts. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t despair, contact us for a free assessment or to inquire about our simple stack install package.

Learn more about digital ads or contact curation, the two biggest parts of marketing.

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Make Your Website a Brand Asset

It’s a common theme for entrepreneurs to spend an immense amount of time – and even money! – on their first website, only to forget about it as the business picks up. This can actually become detrimental to the digital health and searchability of the business. Think of your website as a living, breathing plant — it continually needs water and sun if you want it to grow your brand. When considering a rebrand, it is absolutely imperative that you plan to revamp and optimize your company website.

Websites Have a Shelf Life

Your website is the digital storefront for your entire brand, often serving as the first touchpoint for your potential customers. The backend of your site should be easily accessible to layman users to make it easy to update key points of your business. (e.g. hours of business, new phone numbers, etc.) Unfortunately, due to the perceived complex nature of a site, business owners can become too intimidated make these necessary changes. If this is the case, we can almost guarantee you need a new website. There are dozens of professional website and content management platforms designed for users with absolutely no prior design experience.  

Focus on the User Experience

It’s no secret that online users’ attention spans have grown shorter and shorter over the years. In an effort to keep readers engaged and moving through your website, you’ll need to evaluate the user experience (UX). How many tabs or menu items does the visitor have to click through to get to the information the need? Does your website function well on mobile devices? Can the user quickly find contact info? It can be tempting to use flashy videos or photos, but always remember that the user’s journey should be simple and easy.

Don’t Forget About Copy

Web copy should be just as streamlined as the design experience, written in short succinct sentences that briefly outline your offerings with plenty of calls-to-action (CTAs). As you’re evaluating your current website, read through every single line of website verbiage. You may be surprised at how much your brand language has changed. Consider your SEO strategy (or lack of strategy), and how you can fix that with content adjustments and ongoing contributions.

A subpar online presence will negatively affect your business in a variety of ways. As you’re considering a rebrand, your website redesign should be the centerpiece of your marketing efforts.

 

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Consistency in Brand Messaging is Key

If you want to find out how consistent your brand messaging is, ask three people to describe your business: a customer, an employee and yourself. If your company has been around for while, you’ll most likely get three very different messages. No matter who the public face is for your brand, it’s important that everyone involved be able to distinguish the key points that set your offerings apart from the rest.

External Branding

Once you’ve identified your target audiences, think about how you want people to interact with your business. Whether a potential client is holding your business card, using your website or reviewing a sell sheet, the essence of your company should be there and be familiar. If you want them to walk away feeling confident, work backwards and decide what your business can do to instill that emotion.

How did a boring yellow ‘M’ become one of those most recognized logos in the world? Consistent branding. You might not be as big as McDonald’s (yet!), but presenting a unified look and feel across every single marketing channel is crucial in communicating your value to your target audience. Part of your rebrand should be to decide how this will spread across every platform.

Internal Branding

Depending on what type of business you’ve built, there could be multiple internal audiences – from support staff who keep the company running to client-facing employees who interact with your target audience on a regular basis. However, when it comes to brand messaging, everyone needs to be on board.

A good analogy is how restaurants work with their serving staff. When a new menu item is released, a good restaurant will have everyone taste the item while they explain the flavors behind it. That way, the servers can make recommendations to the customer and be able to describe the dishes before placing their order. Now, ask yourself how your employees would be able to explain your offerings to your target audience. Can they describe your services? Do they know the key differentiators of your brand? Would they recommend working with your company to their own networks?

Strive to have every single person who interacts with your brand come away with the feeling and knowledge you want to communicate. You may never reach McDonald’s status, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to instill that same recognition among your target audience.

Still not sure about a rebrand? Take our quiz!

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Redefining Your Target Audience

The very first step in a company rebrand should always be to re-evaluate the target audience. Depending on how long you’ve been in business, what was true of your ideal customer back then is most likely not true today. (Those young Millennials fresh out of college aren’t so young anymore!) Don’t worry about starting from scratch because you probably have the information right at your fingertips. It’s all just a matter of taking another look at the facts.

Make a List of Your Favorite Past Clients or Customers

Think back over your years in business, and write down your best customer-centered experiences. This could be a short transaction that went better than expected or even a long-term partnership that helped define who you are as a company. Are there any similarities in the clients that were involved in these situations? This may just be the type of client you want to target in the long term.

Decide Who Your Product or Service Helps Today

Even if your core offering hasn’t changed, your target audience definitely has. A 10-year-old office furniture company may still provide chairs and desks, but the needs of today’s working spaces are vastly different. As you begin the rebrand process, you’ll need a realistic picture of who has the potential to purchase your product or service. If that same office furniture company opened its doors marketing to cubicle-ridden office spaces in the Loop, it’s time to adjust their focus.

Create a Complete Audience Profile

As you’re imagining your new target audience, really get into who they are and what makes them tick. What’s their story? How old are they? Are they tech-savvy? Where do they get their news? What makes them happy? Answering these questions now will shape your entire marketing plan later. You’ll be able to speak to your target audience in their language and through their preferred medium.

Don’t be afraid that pinpointing your audience will pigeonhole you into marketing ONLY to that group. Just because you choose an ideal client doesn’t mean you can’t work with anyone else. This is merely a jumping off point to help give direction to your rebrand.