Grab the Popcorn: How to Make Video that Rocks Your Marketing Strategy

In the digital world, video reigns supreme, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. It’s estimated that by 2019, eighty percent of internet traffic will be video. Ready to give your marketing strategy a boost with video content that rises above the rest?

Our video geniuses have rounded up five essential steps to creating impactful video that amplifies your brand storytelling.

1. What’s your WHY?

Understand the purpose of the video that you’re creating, who you’re targeting, and what you want to achieve. It’s key to know what message you’re sending, who is receiving it, and when. Your viewers need to know what to do with the message you’re sending them, especially since viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, versus only 10% when reading it in text. Give your video a clear, actionable call to action so your viewers understand and remember your message.

2. Give it Context

Where does your video live in the customer journey? Is it a stand-alone, or part of a series? Are you explaining a concept, demonstrating your expertise, or showing off a product? Video content is a great tool to guide your customers toward making a purchase. Roughly 50% of internet users look for related videos when shopping for products and services, so be sure to show off what you have to offer!

3. Tell A Story

Knowing whether your video should purely educate or push to purchase will inform the story of your video tells. Be sure to have a clear beginning, middle, and end, all of which tie back your message. Viewers look for authenticity, originality, and relatability in brand videos. When done well, video increases brand recall by as much as 33% and brand likeability by as much as 40%.

4. Execute Intelligently

The technical specs behind your video help make the most of your efforts. Be sure to stay concise, as videos under 2 minutes have the best engagement rates. Consider your resolution and aspect ratio based on your overall plan for your video. While widescreen HD videos are great for web use, lower-resolution videos stand up to compression social media and vertical or square videos translate easily to mobile feeds. Don’t forget to caption to not only make your videos accessible to a wider audience, but also make them easier to watch in noisy situations. About 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.

5. Distribution

Each distribution platform has a different purpose, and knowing the difference can make or break your video strategy. Short-form social media videos offer quick and easy message delivery with high engagement, with video generating 1200% more social media shares than text and images combined. Website video drives traffic and conversion by keeping people hooked on your message: users spend 88% more time on websites with video than websites without. If you’re at an event or have breaking news about your brand, consider going live on social media to engage your audience in the excitement! When it comes to inside access to important events, 82% of people prefer live video to social posts, and 80% prefer live video to reading a blog.

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Creating video content that fits into your greater marketing strategy is no small task. Here at Sparxoo, we know your brand strategy needs to work for you, and how to make video cooperate with your overall storytelling strategy. By following these tips, you’re all set to make a video that keeps your audience asking for more.

Don’t Get Fooled: The Truth Behind 5 Writing Myths

With every profession come stereotypes and assumptions. Blame Hollywood, social media or town gossip, but we’ll never really know what 8-6 is like in a certain job unless we live it for ourselves. Using my magical content talents (myth), let’s debunk some common industry myths that continue to plague writers.

Oh, and if after this you realize that writing still isn’t your thing, our content marketing services are at your ready.

Myth 1: There’s one key secret to effective writing.

Ready to learn the big secret that only writers know? Well, there isn’t one. Because having one defining writing secret would be like having one key secret to oenology—if you were to figure it out, you’d be a world-class winemaker.

Like every craft, writing takes time, research, and practice to perfect. And even then, work always has room for improvement. While every writer has their own unique process—and you can learn from them—the truth is, it varies from writer to writer. Some may like to write in the comfort of their own home while sitting at the desk, in their closet, that faces the wall. Others may produce their best work at a local cafe, watching the hustle and bustle of people passing.

While writing would be easier if there was one key secret that unlocked the door to bestsellers, front page articles, and award-winning advertisements, nothing great ever comes easy. As Dan Poynter said, “If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” There’s always going to be another book to read, another author to study or another draft to write, but none is the end-all-be-all. Plus, if you’re committed to getting better at the craft of writing, you wouldn’t search for an easy out.

Myth 2: Good writers don’t need to create a rough draft.

This may be true of good writers, but it’s definitely not true of great writers. Stephen King said it best in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

A rough draft is like a page from your diary—it’s personal and for your eyes only. Rough drafts are a great place to write down your ideas without any rhyme or reason, with the understanding that nothing is your best, final piece of work. Ideas need to be revisited and reworked.

Don’t get discouraged—you can almost always find some diamonds in the rough (draft). A useful tip that all writers can get behind is to walk away from your work for an extended period of time (be that weeks for a novel or tens of minutes for a tight deadline blog) and come back to it with fresh eyes. You’ll find that a refreshed mind adds new insight into the same topic you’ve been writing about for a while.

Myth 3: All writing comes easily to writers.

Like any profession, a writer is a writer because they enjoy the process behind the craft and the work that comes from it. But to say that writing is easy for writers is like saying practicing law is easy for lawyers.

While studying allows the craft to come more naturally and years of experience help as a backbone to reference, ease isn’t the right word. Even professional writers get writer’s block. It happens to the best of us so don’t get discouraged when it happens to you.

Myth 4: All writers are introverts.

A writer is often portrayed as the loner with their nose in a book or the wallflower furiously scribbling notes in a journal in the corner; what a beautiful stereotype to have, that we’re constantly learning and observing the world as it passes us by.

But to answer the myth, no, not all writers are introverts. What writers are are humans. Humans who like to eat and drink and travel and play sports and lay on beaches. If we do all of that with a book in one hand and a journal in the other, it may just mean we’re doing it better.

Myth 5: All writers are perfect spellers.

By nature, no. With Grammarly, yes. But we definitely don’t mess around with your/you’re and their/there. Misspelling either of those is not an April Fool’s prank to pull on us.

Let’s not confuse spelling with grammar, which is an essential part of the writing process. We’ve all seen the example: “Let’s eat Grandpa” and “Let’s eat, Grandpa!” Punctuation is key—it can change the entire meaning of a sentence. This isn’t to say that all writers have perfect grammar (we still Google for clarity), but we do work hard to make sure it’s pretty darn great.  

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Ready for one statement that is true? The more you write and the more you exercise your creative mind, the quicker it becomes second nature. Give it a shot—we aren’t fooling ya there.  

Best Practices for Writing Google Adwords Text Ads

The days of boring text ads are long gone. Even in 2018, many advertisers still think they can string together random words and it will work for a PPC campaign; however, copywriting is a huge factor in determining an ad’s success. As a customer, would you click on an ad that was dull and somewhat irrelevant to your search, or would you click on one with vibrant language that basically read your mind?

As an integrated digital marketing agency, we spend our days working to craft effective and engaging text ads. We’ve compiled a list of Google Adwords best practices to ensure your ad maximizes interaction…AKA saves you big bucks!

1. Stick to the Character Limit

Google AdWords ads must be short and to the point. Currently, headlines must be 30 characters or less and descriptions must not exceed 80 characters. Paths include up to 15 characters. Google won’t even publish an ad that doesn’t follow the guidelines. Try not to hit significantly under the limit as taking up as much space as possible on the page is important. You can view the most recent character limits here.

2. Think About Customer Desires

It’s easy to write an ad describing your product or service, but that’s not enough in 2018. Customers want the ads to be personal and unique. Start by thinking about the emotion behind the ad. For example, if you are advertising pool floats, you could use language calling out benefits like “cool down” or “escape the heat” rather than simply “buy our floats.” As Helpscout says, “features tell but benefits sell”. Just think of “get rich quick schemes” – whether you like them or not, they are successful because marketers play off a frequent human desire — to have more money.

3. Place Special Deals in Main Text

If you are offering an awesome deal, don’t be afraid to show it off. As an example, if you are having a ‘save $50 on your first purchase sale,’ tell everyone! Potential customers are looking for the best bargains and best quality. Also, be sure to call out unique features (yes, sometimes features work with benefits) that differentiate your business from your competitors. This could look like: “now offering new styles and sizes!” And before you even write your ads, make sure you have a solid understanding on your competitors’ products and how your products stand out, whether it’s a better price or a better selection. Find that secret sauce and use it to your advantage.

4. Avoid Restricted Punctuation & Content

Google has specific instructions and guidelines for all ads in every industry. Some ads can’t contain too many exclamation points or misspellings, unless the misspelling is part of a brand name. Also, advertising certain services are restricted. For example, medical prescriptions might be restricted until Google can prove you are a legal seller. You can view the list of restricted content here. If you violate guidelines too many times, you could be restricted from advertising all together.

5. Use Your Targeted Keywords

Make sure your ad is relevant to the people searching for your product or service. You will be bidding on a keyword, so if your keyword is ‘hiring solutions,’ use the term ‘hiring solutions’ in your description! Only bid on keywords appropriate for your organization – otherwise, you will get a disinterested audience causing a preventable, negative ROI. Remember that CTR (click through rate) affects your quality score, which in turn affects how much you will pay for an average CPC (cost per click). Lastly, be sure to view your competitors’ ad copy on certain keywords and make adjustments accordingly.

At first it can be difficult to write top-notch ads, but with time and practice you will get better and better. We promise! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. These best practices for Google AdWords text ads provide you with a solid understanding to start building successful AdWords campaigns. Still not up to the challenge? Our digital marketing consultants and PPC gurus in Tampa at Sparxoo can manage your AdWords account, and other digital marketing needs. Drop us a note below if you’re curious how we can help.

Digital Marketing Posts We Love

Ok, we’ll admit it—we’re smitten with you. We get those butterfly feelings and emoji-like heart-eyes when you come around.

via GIPHY

But to show you the love you deserve this Valentine’s Day, we decided to ditch the chocolate, candy hearts and flowers and focus on what you’re really here for: a killer marketing strategy. A strategy that delivers a solid ROI. A strategy that sets you apart from your competitors. A strategy that gives you the rightful reign of the digital world.

We rounded up our favorite blog posts to help you on your path. Think of this as our not-so-secret secret admirer gift to you. And even better, this gift isn’t a one-and-done deal. Our team of digital marketing consultants are here to help you along the way. Any questions, comments, conversation heart-starters? Hit us up below.

Posts We Love <3

1. Digital Marketing Resolutions to Kick Butt in 2018

We might be 44 days into the new year, but there’s no time like the present to recommit to your resolutions.

2. Inside the Tech Revolution

The tech landscape can be overwhelming. This post explores ways to leverage the latest technology to benefit you and your brand.

3. Predictions on How Automation Will Evolve Digital Marketing

Automated technology will undoubtedly shape the future of marketing. How so? We look into our crystal ball and share some predictions. (Hint: Robots are in play.)

4. Digital Marketing Testing Strategies

Want to optimize your digital strategy? Test it up. In this post, we share our tips and suggestions for effectively testing your website.

5. 3 Ways to Leverage Deep Data

Deep data = high-quality information. Rather than building surface-level personas, technology advancements today provide an ocean full of customer insights. This post will help you grab those insights and turn them into winning campaigns.

Love (and opportunity) is in the air. Soak up this knowledge and create your own irresistible campaign.

XOXO,

The Xoo

How to Optimize Your Campaign With an Attribution Model

We’re all about giving credit where credit is due. Just like Instagram Stories should probably thank Snapchat for their idea, and Kobe should thank Shaq for three of his five trophies, it’s important to hone in on the specific touchpoints or channels that played a key role in your own success—especially as a marketing professional. After all, if you don’t acknowledge (and support) just what drove your customers to purchase, you risk losing out on some serious profit.

Marketing is a team sport—but in order to have all the players cooperating, you need to know who performs best and when. That’s where attribution comes into play.

As noted in our guide, 5 Steps to Marketing ROI Stardom, leveraging and optimizing your attribution process will help you create personalized campaigns and better reach customers. While an integrated marketing agency will deep-dive into your processes, we’ll help you lay the foundation now.

Set up for Success

First things first: You must design your campaign for testing purposes. This means setting up your website and landing pages for split testing and installing UTM links for tracking. It’s impossible to improve with a fixed campaign, so build your campaign with growth in mind.

Okay, now we’re ready.

Get the Details

The next step toward attribution optimization is getting to know your audience and how they currently respond to your efforts. How many touch points does it take before a lead converts? Where is the majority of the traffic coming from? Are they abandoning the cart? If so, why? The answers to all these questions can be found in Google Analytics.

Let’s take a look at some of the metrics that offer the most valuable insights about your audience:

Website traffic

  • Geographic location
  • Device (mobile, browser, tablet)
  • New/unique visitor vs. return visitor conversion
  • Source (organic, referral, direct, social)
    • Conversion by source

Website behavior

  • Bounce rate—how many visitors leave your page immediately after arriving?
  • Top pages—what pages receive the most traffic?
  • Interactions per visit—what is your audience doing once they get to your site? For this, make note of your page views per session and time spent on individual pages.

Don’t just stay at the surface-level of data—dive a little deeper and collect more detailed customer information, too. A demand generation agency is your go-to for leveraging the smaller, more dense data streams that might get overlooked. For example, our team will assess (and spruce up) your lead scoring and grading processes in order to analyze which ad groups and targeting methods are actually delivering the most qualified leads.

Measure Conversion Goals

Another pit stop on the road to optimization: choosing an attribution model. These models help marketers decide which touch points and which channels get the credit for each conversion. Here are some of your options:

Last-Click Model—attributes 100% credit to the last touch point before conversion.

First-Click Model—attributes 100% credit to the first source within a search session.

Linear Model—attributes equal credit to every touch point within the conversion path.

Time Decay Model—attributes more credit to the touch points closest in time to the conversion, but gives some credit to every stage.

U-Shaped Model—attributes more credit to the first and last touch point, but gives some credit to the touch points in between.

It will take some experimentation to find your most successful model, which might change based on different campaigns. It then becomes a matter of “when should we use this model?” not if.

Optimize for Opportunities

When it comes to optimizing based on attribution models, think of the process as connecting the dots. You’ve mapped out a plan to get from point A to B, and you have multiple checkpoints along the way, but sometimes things aren’t so fluid. Your job is to see where things are falling through and revamp your tactics accordingly. Let’s take a look at a few real-life examples:  

If Google Analytics showed an influx of traffic from iPhones in Arizona or Texas but not nearly as many conversions, you might want to take a look at both the frontend and backend of your site. For instance, you might design a mobile-friendly version of your site in Spanish to better cater to that audience.

Let’s also say you test LinkedIn and Facebook ads and notice that LinkedIn ads deliver higher quality leads. Despite having a higher CPA (cost-per-acquisition), you might decide to allocate more of your budget to that channel moving forward.

Optimizing your attribution model is your not-so-secret secret weapon. When every aspect of a campaign works together to achieve the end goal, you can maximize both your input and output. Put all of your weapons to good use and make smarter, savvier decisions.

Social Media & Business: Metrics, ROI & Campaigns That Deliver

Let’s face it – in 2018, no one can escape social media. This statement is especially true if you are looking to enhance your digital marketing presence. One of the (almost painfully obvious) reasons that businesses should leverage social media is the opportunity it presents for consumers to keep up with everything. Promos, new content, exciting announcements — everything. However, a successful social media presence is more than achieving a certain follower count. When done right, social media can significantly impact your ROI.

Let’s explore how:

Why does social media matter?

Social media is an extension of you and your business. It turns a seemingly distant, disconnected brand into an approachable, personable and relatable friend. Social media platforms help build your brand by providing a place to share information and engage with your audience. Whether you share links back to your website or respond to customer inquiries via messaging, social media can make your business more human – an important element in today’s very digital world.

How can I improve my social media campaigns?

There are several steps you can take to strategically improve your social media campaigns, both organic and paid. This includes:

  • Conducting research: Take a deep dive into what your competitors are doing, industry standards and best practices across all platforms.
  • Mapping content: The creation of organized, pre-planned content calendars allows your social media team to get ahead of the game. Based on past performance, they are able to map content that will make an impact.
  • Tracking key metrics: Establish goals according to key performance indicators (KPIs) for each platform. This will ensure you are creating and implementing content that is truly working for your audience.

How can I see my ROI?

Measuring your social media ROI is hugely beneficial for your business because it allows you to see where improvements can be made, what your budget should be, and what kind of social posts consumers gravitate toward.

The first step? Set goals. The best way to track your ROI is through achievable and actionable goals. Make sure to utilize key performance metrics that are relevant to your business. This might include a certain number of web page visits, email sign ups, or simply number of followers on each platform.

As for tracking performance, there are several tools to help set up and track progress—and ultimately determine if your social media work is achieving a positive ROI. The easiest way to track these goals is through Google Analytics, which notes the blog posts or web pages that are performing the best, along with which campaigns are getting the most traction on social media. Some other platforms to keep in your arsenal include Sprout Social and Hootsuite, which allow you to schedule social media posts and see corresponding analytics.

Finally, benchmark your output of KPIs against your investment. The best way to do this is by tracking the amount of hours your company puts into your social media, along with the paid budget. (Hint: A social media management platform will allow you to track some of these hours more easily.) If you’re looking for more help, you can always reach out to a social media marketing company to assist in the planning, creation and execution of these digital strategies.

One last tidbit about social media ROI: Not everything is going to earn you direct cashback. For example, a reshare on Facebook or a post on Instagram may not visibly impact your ROI – but both are beneficial as they spread brand awareness and expose your company to a new audience.

Want to learn more about marketing ROI? Check out our online webinar on five ways to be a marketing ROI star.

 

Author: Trixie Szilagyi

About the Author: Trixie is an SEO and Content Intern at Sparxoo. When she’s not optimizing websites or writing content, you can find her running, eating queso and petting all the pugs she can find.

 

Inside the Tech Revolution: Work Some Tech Magic

2018’s digital marketing landscape might have you feeling like The Little Mermaid. Marketers have gadgets and gizmos aplenty, but don’t necessarily have a clear understanding of what everything does and how to make it work most effectively. Between tons of automation tools for internal use, and new content consumption streams to contend with, getting your land legs for effective digital marketing has become increasingly complicated.

The first step in setting yourself up for success? Look within your ranks. Are your marketing and sales teams at war with each other? Many organizations face an issue with completely separate processes and systems. In order to take full advantage of marketing automation services, your marketing team needs to understand what messages the sales team is communicating in the field – and your sales team needs to fuel the marketing team with accurate information to streamline campaigns and funnels. The best solution: work with your teams to determine their needs and build a unified project management solution. This approach increases collaboration and improves transparency within your ranks, which keeps your teams at peace with each other.

The next step is to understand how your message is being spread. As technology evolves, so must brands—often altering the content they share and how they share it. For example, we all know that smart home technology has moved from “nice-to-have” to “standard.” So following in suit, brands are taking this to the next level by developing content specifically for Alexa Skills, which lets users play games, check facts, ask questions, and make Alexa-assisted purchases. Some major players like Domino’s, Best Buy, and Fandango are leveraging direct product integration to let customers use voice technology for e-commerce. Other brands like Purina, DeWalt Tools, and The American Heart Association are using a more education-focused approach, developing reference content and gamification to build brand recognition. We’re not saying that everyone needs to immediately jump on the Alexa train, but you should definitely consider working voice-specific keywords into your SEO strategy and reading your content aloud to make sure it’ll sound fabulous when found via voice search.

While tech is constantly evolving, you might be tempted to gather up as many solutions as you can and push your brand on every outlet possible. Before you start filling your office with every thingamabob you come across, pause, breathe, and strategize. As an integrated digital marketing agency, Sparxoo encourages unifying your brand, team, and tech to serve your business goals. Want more wisdom? Check out the 2018 Digital Marketing Trends Report for a glimpse into our strategic crystal ball.

Appealing to Audiences: Give ‘Em What They Want

In 2018, capturing an audience’s attention is harder than ever. It makes sense though—technology and social media dominate the landscape and people are becoming selective with where they spend their time, energy and money. In order to set yourself up for success in 2018, it’s time to up your content game—and content delivery game. Your audience wants to be engaged by content they consume, and simply reading a post or status update isn’t going to push them to take action.

Luckily, technology has continued to evolve and allow marketers to engage prospects in new and exciting ways. While video was king in 2017, and will continue to enjoy the spotlight in 2018, we can also anticipate live video and virtual/augmented reality content to continue evolving and developing as ways to reach audiences.

There are also tried-and-true concepts that benefit from a digital twist. For example, gamification, which has long been a marketer’s best friend, is making a comeback. Starbucks consistently pushes the envelope with their games and rewards with the “My Starbucks Rewards” program. The app-based rewards program gives customers “stars” based on dollars spent that can be redeemed for free treats. Higher frequency users receive special challenges to earn bonus stars for ordering certain items or completing certain actions (like placing a mobile order, or ordering at a specific time of day). Low frequency users get incentivized with easier to achieve bonuses for simply making a purchase. Taking into account a user’s habits and rewarding them for what they’re already doing in a fun and friendly atmosphere has helped make mobile orders through the app account for 30% of all Starbucks business.

Another tool marketers have always fallen back on? Expert endorsements. Ever since the days of radio dramas, advertisers have relied on endorsements from celebrities and subject-matter experts to gain audience trust and faith in a product. Today, it’s not as simple as drawing a comic where Superman uses Twinkies to defeat his foe. Identifying an influencer that your target market trusts requires a strategy. “Micro-influencers” with follower counts under 1,000 are more trusted by consumers, have better engagement rates than the bigger names, are more affordable, and are often willing to put forth an endorsement or review for a fraction of what a bigger influencer might charge. Sometimes they’ll even post in exchange for free samples of the products.

Despite the excitement of a new year and tech-growth, marketing isn’t always about using the newest, shiniest toy to lure your customers. Your focus should be creating content that your audience actually wants to consume. Here at the Xoo, we love combining new technologies and strategies with data-driven, tried-and-true practices. 2018 is all about leveraging new technologies to understand and reach your prospects directly. Want more tools to make 2018 your best year yet? Check out our 2018 Digital Marketing Trends Report for more predictions and tools to add to your arsenal.

The New Age of Consumer Experience: Tailor the Journey

New Year, New You. Resolve to Evolve. The best is yet to come. The list goes on and on….

But we know one thing for sure—the turn of the calendar and ensuing ‘blank slate’ leaves ample opportunity for improvement. We have all the confidence that you’ll make 2018 a year of growth and self-improvement, but how about digital marketing improvement? We have a few ideas up our sleeves for that.

As we look into our crystal ball for the biggest digital marketing trends of 2018, one recurring theme we see is the increased focus on the individual customer journey. Customer experience, or CX, has long been a major concern for marketers. But as digital technology evolves, so do CX expectations and abilities. This year, add CX to your list of things to improve. It might be worth moving it to the top of the list too.

As marketers become more and more capable of capturing information about their leads through browser history and cookies—the next step is determining what to do with that information. There will be a push to go beyond audiences and demographics and get straight down to the individual level. By leveraging the technology and information available to us, we can create individual paths for customers based on their needs and preferences.

Here’s how the tech is put into action: UK-based Offer Moments creates interactive digital billboards that show you ads based on the clothes you’re wearing…as you walk past them. The company states they draw inspiration from sci-fi movie Minority Report, which is about policing people based on acts they haven’t yet committed. Even their founder admits “it’s a little bit scary.” While it might be a marketer’s dream come true to be able to read a consumer’s thoughts and actions, don’t risk making your prospects feel like their every move is being watched and cataloged.

The easiest way to understand what your customers want is simply asking them. Customers are happy to share and post about their experiences, which, when leveraged correctly, could turn into new conversions. A staggering 97% of customers read online reviews before making a buying decision. By controlling your individual customer journey from prospect to purchase and beyond, you’re in control of the online narrative surrounding your brand.

So how do you actually improve CX? What can you do to ensure your customers have that personalized, only-one-who-matters experience? In our 2018 Digital Marketing Trends Report, we dive into CX, along with eight other digital marketing trends you need to know this new year. 2018 is your oyster—ready, set, go.

3 Marketing Resolutions to Kick Butt in 2018

As we get ready for holiday treats and NYE bubbly, we’re looking ahead to 2018 and all it holds for digital marketing. Here at the Xoo, predicting—and preparing for—the future is one of our favorite pastimes. While we gear up for all the changes next year is sure to bring, consider this post our gift to you—three resolutions for badass digital marketing in 2018:

Commit to the Journey

Your number one resolution should center around customer experience and engagement. At Sparxoo, we believe in—and demand—a seamless customer journey from prospect to purchase and beyond. How can you do this? Demonstrate to your customers, regardless of where they fall in the funnel, that you have the answers – and then take action to support this goal.

Start the customer journey with interactive, engaging content that speaks to your customers individually. Then, continue to tailor content to specific niche audiences by including personal messaging that speaks to each of your prospects. And as always, speak directly to your existing customers and seek out feedback on where you can improve and how you can do better. StitchFix, a clothing subscription service, does a great job of this. They start with targeted ads on various social media that lead to an interactive quiz. Once a customer takes the quiz and subscribes, StitchFix continues to offer direct engagement opportunities and personalize their deliveries through social media, direct 1:1 feedback, and discount opportunities for customers who refer their friends.

Embrace Change

The nature of digital marketing is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. Rather than a concrete landscape, think of your digital marketing plans as a forecast. When developing a weather forecast, meteorologists look at patterns, trends, and as much data as possible to predict atmospheric changes and possible outcomes. Marketing works very much in the same way: in order to develop your marketing plan, you should look at what’s worked in the past, current trends, and the potential impact of new technology on future outcomes.

Currently, digital marketers should be gearing up for the ongoing evolution of interactive content. Live video, gamification, virtual reality, and voice search all present new and unique channels to engage audiences and distribute content. Oreo is a brand that does this really well—between great graphics, cute videos, and a recent contest that allowed users to submit their own flavor creations, with three winners actually ending up on store shelves. By offering an audience a direct opportunity to interact and engage with a brand, marketers can open the door for future conversations and deeper connections.

Insider tip: We love a challenge at Sparxoo, and we are resolving our commitment to using these tools to achieve our own digital marketing goals.

Build A Community

Next year, connect your business to the community and be proud of your values – your customers will notice. Research shows that more and more consumers are committed to brands with a purpose: 87% of millennials say that they base their purchasing decisions on whether or not a company makes positive social efforts. In 2018, resolve to renew your company purpose, give your brand context through individual values and charitable work, and understand how your efforts are engaging with specific communities locally, nationally, and globally.

Connecting your business to community, like most self-improvement related New Year’s resolutions, starts from within. In 2018, ask serious questions about your company culture. Do your recruitment efforts target top talent? Is your current team happy and engaged in the work they’re doing? Does your company have a unique culture that sets you apart from the competition? Google and Trader Joe’s are well-known examples of companies that create positive workplaces, treat their employees well, and work with the community (but you don’t have to look too far for a smaller, equally badass culture). If your company culture is thriving, the outside world—including your prospects—will take notice.

Hungry for more ways to turn 2018 into the best year yet? We take a deeper dive into all of these resolutions and highlight the must-know digital trends in our 2018 Digital Trends Report. From all of us at Sparxoo, we hope you have a wild and wonderful New Year!