5 Tips for Building a Content Calendar for 2024 with Your Marketing Team

A content calendar is a critical tool for your digital presence and is essential for planning and distributing content on social media. Think of it as a blueprint that directs your online storytelling efforts across various platforms. While a content calendar provides structure, it’s also adaptable. This flexibility allows us to respond to current events, industry trends, and audience feedback, ensuring your brand remains relevant and dynamic.

Here are five tips for creating a content calendar for 2024 with your marketing team:

  1. Align with Business Goals and Events: Start by understanding your marketing agency’s overarching goals and your business goals for 2024. Identify key business milestones, product launches, and events that are planned internally, and share them with your marketing team. Create thematic content around these significant initiatives, ensuring that your content enhances your overall marketing objectives. Also, consider which social media channels are best for each goal and event.
  2. Consider Seasonality, Trends, and Business Specific Dates: Take into account the seasonality of your industry and the target audience’s behavior throughout the year. Certain times may be more opportune for specific types of content or promotions. Incorporate industry trends into your content calendar to stay relevant and engage with current audience interests. Share employee birthdays, promotions, good news, business anniversaries, and other relevant news.
  3. Diversify Content Types: Plan a mix of content types to keep your audience engaged. Experiment with different content formats and distribution channels to see what resonates best with your audience. This diversity not only keeps your strategy fresh but also accommodates different preferences and consumption habits. And don’t forget to re-use the content that you have, just in a different way.
  4. Establish a Consistent Posting Schedule: Consistency is key in content marketing. Establish a regular posting schedule that aligns with your audience’s behavior. Your marketing team can use scheduling tools to plan and automate posts, but remain flexible to capitalize on real-time opportunities or address emerging trends.
  5. Integrate User-Generated Content and Feedback: Encourage user-generated content (UGC) to foster community engagement. Plan campaigns or activities that involve your audience in creating content, whether it’s through contests, challenges, or sharing their experiences. Monitor audience feedback and adjust your content strategy accordingly. Actively engage with your community to build a more dynamic and responsive content plan.

The Bottom Line

Remember to evaluate the performance of your content regularly and adjust your strategy as needed. Analytics and feedback should inform your ongoing content calendar refinement throughout the year, allowing you to continuously improve your strategy.

In Store Shopping Versus Online Shopping: How Shopping Has Changed in This Lifetime

This blog was influenced by a mall close to True Fit Marketing called Century 3 Mall. This mall was quite a gem in its heyday. And then, like a lot of similar malls, it started to die. Now it is abandoned and has been for years. The local government associations are now trying to figure out what to do with the crumbling and dilapidated structure. There have been fires, break-ins, flooding, ceiling collapsing and many more issues. It is time to tear it down, but that costs money. It also costs money to keep the building up to code even though it is empty. Quite the predicament in this era of online shopping. Is there a mall like this near you?

 

Who scored some great deals a couple weeks ago during Amazon’s Prime Days? Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and a whole bunch of other retailers rode the coattails of one of Amazon’s biggest online sales days every year (besides Black Friday). It’s amazing how convenient technology has made shopping these days. With the option to shop online, people can now order everything they need from the comfort of their own homes. Some stores even offer delivery services, making it even easier for shoppers to get what they need without ever leaving the house.

The emergence of online shopping has transformed the retail industry and has forced brick and mortar shopping centers and stores to adjust their marketing strategies. In person shopping centers and stores now need to focus on creating unique experiences for customers that cannot be replicated online. This includes offering a variety of entertainment options, hosting events, and providing personalized services. Additionally, brick and mortar shops need to enhance their online presence by developing user-friendly websites and social media pages that engage with customers. To attract and retain customers in the digital age, shopping centers should adapt to the changing retail landscape. This can be achieved by implementing strategies that incorporate technology, such as offering online ordering and curbside pickup options. Additionally, creating unique experiences within the shopping center, such as hosting events and offering personalized services, can help to draw in customers. It is also important to focus on sustainability and social responsibility, as these values are becoming increasingly important to consumers. By embracing these changes, shopping centers can thrive in the digital age.

Here is how.

In Store Shopping at a Mall

Is there a mall near you? According to a report from Green Street, malls have experienced the sharpest decline in value among all commercial property types since 2018. From small stores to large retailers, malls were a big hit years ago. Now they seem to be dying faster than ever! Why? Likely because rent is higher than it has ever been, the trend is to shop closer to home and people are literally shopping at home on the Internet. It used to be a luxury of just mall walking and seeing what good things could be found, but now people have a mission, a true reason to go shopping. And thanks to the Internet, there isn’t a need to “waste” time walking around a mall. Stores that survived the mall era have moved out of the big complexes and into smaller strip mall areas.

Strip Malls/Strip Center/Strip Plaza

Ulta, Old Navy, Gap, Sephora, Macy’s and other well known mall stores have been moving to strip malls, also referred to as strip centers or strip plazas. Strip malls are open air retail developments that lack enclosed hallways. Instead, they consist of retail storefronts that are connected by common walkways. These storefronts are often arranged in a straight line, L-shaped, or U-shaped layout. They have large parking lots with spaces near whichever store you’d like to shop at and are typically closer to home rather than a big mall. 

There is a difference between buying and shopping which can also be seen as the difference between running errands and seeking out experiences. This can be linked to a mall and a strip mall. We know what we need to buy, so we just go buy it versus skimming the shelves. This change makes marketing for a mall very hard. There needs to be a reason to get consumers into the mall complex itself, plus ways to get them to visit multiple stores with multiple purchases. 

Online Shopping Versus In Store Shopping

The rise of mobile devices and easy access to the Internet has drastically changed consumer behavior in the past decade. Shopping habits have been revolutionized as a result.

To effectively market to consumers, it’s important to understand that the division between online and offline marketing is a myth. Consumers engage in both online and offline shopping, and it’s crucial to convey a consistent image across all channels. A multichannel marketing strategy is highly effective in making a strong impact.

Shopping in an actual store is facing increasing competition from online shopping, which requires businesses to adapt and modify their offers regularly. To remain competitive, brick and mortar stores must evolve their marketing strategies, as content marketing and social media could be essential tools in this effort. Just because you have a brick and mortar store does not mean you can’t have an online store as well. In fact, you should have an online store no matter what!

The Bottom Line

The role of malls has evolved beyond just shopping. Consumers now visit malls to socialize and feel a sense of belonging. As such, malls should prioritize their function as centers for socializing and culture rather than just shopping. This means focusing on hosting events such as musical and artistic performances to attract the general public. Marketing efforts should also be tailored towards promoting these events and creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.

Open-air shopping centers are becoming increasingly popular among consumers due to the convenience, safety, and selection they offer. This trend is expected to continue, leading to healthy lease demand for the next few years. In addition to these benefits, open-air centers provide retailers with more opportunities to connect with customers and build brand loyalty. As a result, traditional shopping malls that fail to evolve may struggle to survive in this changing retail landscape.

No matter if it is a mall, strip mall or online shopping experience, marketing is still important and can work for both entities. Having the marketing work together simultaneously can help grow sales and customer engagement. Expanding an online presence can attract new customers, while promotions and advertising can increase sales. Collecting contact details enables personalized communication and rewarding loyal customers can foster repeat business. Highlighting brands and products through giveaways and promotions can showcase your best offerings. In times of low consumption, employing deals and online campaigns can help revive interest. Even though there is an added expense associated with brick and mortar stores, the pleasures of shopping have not died and plenty of shoppers still enjoy the experience.

The Tip of an Iceberg: Data Analytics in a Digital World

 

Diving into digital analytics can be a daunting task, especially for those who aren’t data analysts at heart. From websites to social media, to digital ads and beyond, analytics isn’t anything new, but the ease of obtaining digital information is growing at a lightning fast pace. It is something we can all learn about, and continuously learn about! We will likely never know it all, but by having this information literally at our fingertips, it provides opportunities for those studying them to learn and progress with new ideas and visions faster. Interpreting data can vary from business to business, and what is considered a success for you can be different as well, but let’s just skim the top off of what data analytics is and briefly learn what the most important parts of analytics are for beginners.

Google, Social Media, and Other Digital Analytics

Likely the most popular kind of analytics for a website, Google Analytics is used by over half of all websites. Google tries to make their analyzing methods easy for the viewers, but there can be a lot of data and quite the big puzzle to put together. When first opening Google’s data interface, it can seem like a lot of information being thrown at you. But once you set up your goals, you will start to see the magic happen. You’ll learn where your audience is coming from, who they are, what their habits are, and so on. Here is a good reference for Google Analytics for Beginners, but we can also help answer any questions that you might have. 

As for social media, each platform improves upon their analytical composition constantly. Insights as to who is following you, the performance of your social media posts, and learning what your target audience craves are all examples of why analytics are important for social media. There is likely very valuable information in your social media analytics, it is just figuring out what is most important to your business that is key. And truthfully, once you figure out how to interpret the data, the social media channel will likely change how they show you this data and you will need to re-learn how to read the information all over again. They are always keeping us on our toes!

Since this is just a quick reference, there are three things we suggest taking into account when learning how to read your analytics. Understanding your audience is critical as you need to know what they want and how you are going to respond to that. So let’s just briefly hit on the following topics to give a brief overview of what they are and how they help your business.

  • How do people reach your site?
  • What are they doing when they get there?
  • What is your conversion rate?

How Do People Reach Your Site?

Thanks to analytics, we can see how a user even came to find your website. Did they just do a random search on Google? Did they click one of your digital ads? Did they click a link on social media? Your analytics will tell you all of this information which can then help to determine what is working best for your target audience and where you need to be!

What Are Common Behaviors on Your Site?

Once someone is on your site, whether it is your website or social media, what are they doing? Your analytics will give you a glimpse into how much time someone is spending on your site, where they are going within your content, what are they clicking, where are they getting stuck, how much time are they spending on certain pages and so much more! All of these behaviors can help improve your website for your audience.

What is Your Conversion Rate?

And finally, likely the most important analytic that we all want, is what is your conversion rate. If multiple people are getting stuck on a certain page and leave the website, then it is a website problem, not a customer problem. If you start to see patterns of what website visitors are doing when they make a purchase, then it is rewarding to see what you are doing is working for your audience. You always want to make sure that whatever you are pushing, whether it is a product, service, sale, download, etc., that it is easily accessible to the viewer and they obtain their goal for coming to your website in the first place.

The Bottom Line

Analytics are not always easy to digest but they are essential. If you are just learning analytics, start with our three recommendations for what to check out first. Once you learn those, then you can keep diving deeper into more. If you are not working with a marketing team that provides clear and consistent analytics information, then contact us to chat about how we can help.

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Google My Business (GMB) is a bit of a gem in the business world. Google, a giant in the tech game, has their fingers in all aspects of the universe (or at least it seems). With a Google account, you have access to all of the Google products: Gmail, Ads, YouTube, access to log into sites with autofill and so on. However, if you don’t have a Google Account, no big deal, except you once were missing out on the ability to leave a review with Google My Business. Not now! While it is much easier to leave a review with a Google account, there is a work around to leave a review for your favorite (or not so favorite) business. Business owners appreciate honest feedback, so it is important to follow through with a review. Take the leap and leave a response. Here’s how!

Step 1 & 2: Click The Review Link

Hop on over to Google, search for the Google Business Profile that you’d like to leave a review for and find the area that has some reviews already posted. Click there, then click Write A Review. 

Step 3: Create An Account

If you do not have a Google account, click on create account, then select For my personal use.

Step 4 & 5: Use Your Current Email Address

Make sure to select Use my current email address instead, then fill in your information. As always, use a secure password when creating your account. 

Step 6 & 7: Verify It and Agree

Google will send you a verification email. Verify that, then continue to fill in the required information. Read through and accept Google Privacy and Terms, then…

Step 8: Leave A Review

Now you can leave your review without a Google account! Adding photos if you have them is always great, whether it is a positive or negative review. 

The Bottom Line

We understand that not everyone has a Google account. Hopefully this work around will help those who do not and more reviews will be left for businesses. It is helpful for others to read about your experiences so they can continue to research and make a choice and it is also great for a business to hear about your experience – whether it is good or bad!

Advertising 101 – Where and How Much to Spend on Advertising

In today’s world, there are so many different places a business can advertise. It isn’t just the newspaper and television commercials anymore. It is social media, streaming services, at the movie theater before the show begins, electronic billboards, apps and so much more. So how can a business even start to determine where they should advertise and how much money they should be spending? Let’s discuss traditional advertising and marketing spend to get the most out of your budget.

Have a Marketing Plan that Includes Advertising

Word of mouth advertising is great, but it only gets a business so far. Creating a marketing plan that incorporates advertising through different mediums can be far more effective. Within your marketing plan, a target audience should be determined. Their age, likes, trends, etc. can help to navigate where they gather most of their information. And once you take a deeper look at those items, you can then determine which medium will work best for your business. 

A marketing plan without an advertising budget is like fishing without a worm. You might get lucky and catch something, but it isn’t going to happen as fast as you’d like, and it might not be your target customer. With an advertising budget, that is your worm that you are putting on the hook to lure in the right customers. 

How Much Should A Business Spend on Advertising?

There isn’t a magic number when it comes to advertising budget. Your marketing team or advertising agency can help determine what the best budget is specifically for your business and where they feel you will get the most bang for your buck. The business owner, manager, whoever is making the call on spending, needs to be comfortable and feel confident in the budget and return on investment.

That is not to say there isn’t a general rule of thumb. Within the business world, the general consensus is to aim at spending between 2-5% of your sales revenue on marketing. Small Business Trends reports a lower number at 1.08% of revenue for advertising, but of course it will vary from industry to industry. Some industries spend more, like retailers at about 4% while restaurants spend 1.93%. Business to Consumer (B2C) companies typically spent slightly more on average, with product companies spending 9.6% and B2C services companies spending 11.8%. Those percentages might scare someone but let’s put it into perspective. If your revenue were $1 million per year, your marketing and advertising budget should be $50,000 annually based on the 5% of sales revenue rule. From that $50k, you can drop different amounts into different marketing and advertising buckets. 

Advertising 101 - Where and How Much to Spend on AdvertisingTrack Your Return On Investment

When you are just starting out, it might seem like a hard decision to do a lot of advertising, but once you get rolling, it is a good idea to be reinvesting revenue back into the business through more advertising. You need to keep that momentum going, keep on pulling in more customers. But it is always best to track your return on investment in every medium.

Measuring your spending and the effectiveness of the advertising should happen quarterly. It does take some time to garner effective data, so if you are just starting out, give the advertising some time to get out there. Become a detective and find out which advertising works best for your target audience and which medium brings in the most business.

What are My Advertising Opportunities?

Working with an advertising agency like Triple-Nine Digital can help your business research which targeting tactics will work best for you. While we are always open to exploring new and different ways of advertising, here are the tactics that we pride ourselves on:

Targeted Display

Targeted Digital Advertising is just that, targeted. We don’t just blast your ad to whoever and wherever we can. The targets we look for are age ranges, gender, location, and interests. We also make sure that the style of the display ad matches your business and appeals to your audience. With pay per click ads, we match the text to the ad, sale, promotion, whatever we are running to generate more clicks.

Search Engine Marketing (Google Search Ads)

The average web user won’t go past the first five listings on a search engine results page. In fact, more than 67% of all clicks go to the top five listings.

Increase online traffic and visibility of your business with Google Search and be on top of search results at the moment customers are searching for your products and services.

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising is making sure that your posts get seen by more people than those who just follow your business’s page. With Social Media Advertising, you can get your message seen in only certain areas or by only a certain gender and much more targeting options. By having an advertising budget on social media your message will go further than organic reach.

Video Pre Roll, OTT and CTV

Target your customers with your existing video on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and OTT/CTV platforms and channels such as Roku, Sling, AppleTV, CNN, Fox, CBS and more.

Google Discover and Direct Email Marketing

Powerful, cost effective programs to promote products, services and events by delivering ads to Gmail accounts and targeted email lists.

Waze GPS App

Waze Advertising is owned by Google. There are three types of ad options within the Waze platform. They are Branded Pins, Promoted Search, and Zero-Speed takeovers that are part of an advanced Waze ad program. Each of these programs offers different capabilities, but all are driven by either your current location or your destination. Your ad appears in targeted search results or when a driver is near your location.

The Bottom Line

Every business is different. Every budget is different. What works for one business may not work for another and that is fine! True Fit Marketing will work with you to learn about your goals, products or services, and your target audience. From there we will do research of our own to create a strategy that fits for you and your business. Every business is unique and we know that there is no one size fits all strategy. We will research your competitors, demographics, and services to find what will work best. Once we create a plan and put it into action, we will adjust as necessary, reminding you and our team of the goals and evaluating performances so we are all on the right track to success.