The Benefits of Retargeting For Your Business

An iMac computer opened up to Google Analytics.
Retargeting is a marketing tactic we do for a lot of our clients here at Sperling Interactive. We have found it to be a powerful way to get the word out about our awesome clients. As a result, today we wanted to explain what retargeting is and the benefits of retargeting for your business.

What is retargeting?

There are a number of reasons why people who visited your website don’t buy from you or reach out to you.  It could because they’re comparing prices, browsing and doing their initial research, or they got distracted. First impressions are important but they can also be forgotten about. That’s where retargeting comes into play.

Retargeting involves targeting individuals who have shown initial interest in your product or service. They went to your website, but left without completing any action (i.e. filling out a form, purchasing a product, registering for an event, etc.) Retargeting tries to get people who have repeatedly visited your site to convert.

Retargeting vs. remarketing

These two terms may sound the same but they are actually different. Remarketing is the term used to describe re-engaging prospects with email. An example of remarketing is a company sending a person an email to remind they have abandoned their shopping cart.  Another example is when a company sends you an email after you bought a product with products similar to the one you bought as a way to engage you with their company again. Retargeting, on the other hand, entails display advertisements. It’s the ads you see as you explore other websites while crawling the web. This blog post of ours dives deeper into how retargeting works. 

The Benefits of Retargeting

More sales

This is certainly a goal for every business doing retargeting. Whether or not your business has an online store, getting sales should be your website’s ultimate goal.

Attracts prospects

The people you retarget showed initial interest in your offerings. Retargeting is a way to nudge them. As we noted before, there are various reasons people don’t return to your website. Retargeting is a way to remind them about you.

It increases users’ time spent on your website

When you are using retargeting, you are reconnecting with prospects and this leads to users spending more time on a website.

It increases brand awareness

Only 2% of web users make a purchase on their very first visit to an online store and about 96% of all website visitors visit websites when they are not ready to buy. Studies have shown it takes most customers seven interactions with a brand before they build trust and buy from it. Retargeting allows your brand to have more interactions with your prospects. It helps people remember your logo, products or services, and slogan.

There are multiple ways to retarget people

Website visitors can be targeted through either pixel-based retargeting or list-based retargeting. Pixel-based retargeting reaches anonymous website visitors and list-based retargeting reaches contacts in a database. 

Pixel-based targeting is powered by browser cookie technology. The website has a bit of code that is invisible to users. Each time a new visitor comes to your website, the code embeds a cookie onto the visitor’s browser. When the visitor leaves the site, the cookie will track future web traffic. 

List-based targeting is usually used on social media platforms and allows you to retarget people in your business social media database. The advantage of listed based targeting is your ads can be highly customizable given the knowledge you have of the contacts. 

You can also target specific audiences with retargeting. You can target people based on their interests and demographic. You can target warm leads such as site visitors who abandoned their shopping cart.

As you can see there are many ways to target prospects and there are many benefits to it. To learn more about retargeting and how it can help your business, call us at (978) 304-1730. We’d be happy to have a complimentary call with you.

Marketing Tips For Home Service Businesses

A modern kitchen.

We’ve done blog posts before where we gave away our top marketing tips for some of the main industries we serve- schools and travel and tourism. Today we wanted to write a blog post for another industry we do a lot of work with- home service businesses- and how companies in that industry can better market themselves. 

Get Your Home Service Business Featured In A Magazine 

We may live in a digital world, but print is not dead. Many homeowners get inspiration for their homes in home magazines be it the publication’s website or a hard copy of their latest issue.

There are a ton of home and garden magazines out there, and while it can be tempting to go with the national, household name magazine, there are also popular online magazines, regional magazines, and blogs that may be interested in displaying your work and whom can help build traction for your home service business. 

When it comes to pitching, we advise doing one pitch at a time. You want to wow the editor with a customized pitch. The worst thing for editors are pitches that feel automated and impersonal. You should deliver your pitch via email as most editors don’t like cold calls. Make the pitch short and to the point. Another thing you’ll want to attach to your pitch is high resolution photos of the project. 

To increase your visibility to the publication’s editor, keep your website up to date with fresh content. You want to make your home service business look like it’s in business and popular.   

Have A Pinterest Account 

Speaking of places homeowners like to get inspiration, Pinterest is another fantastic outlet for home services businesses, particularly interior designers, architects, and construction companies. Use your Pinterest account to showcase your own projects as well as outside projects that your business could either replicate or your target audience would be into. When it comes to content on your website, don’t forget pins. A pin is any image or video that someone chooses to save to Pinterest. We advise all of the photos on your blog posts should have pins. 

Blog

Just like print isn’t dead, neither is blogging. Blogging prevents your website from looking stale and it impacts SEO. Every blog post you write is a chance to rank for certain keywords that are relevant to your home service business. You will want to put your keywords in the post’s title tag, meta description, heading tags, and the content. 

Location Focused Keywords

An important thing to note is that most home service businesses tend to service a particular area. If that’s the case for your home service business, you might want to have the region or town/ cities you service in your keywords. 

Create Content Around Design Trends 

Talking about design trends on social media and in your blog posts is an excellent way to show your up-to-date and know all the trends. This is a great idea for architects, interior designers, and remodelers/contractors.

Instagram

Instagram is the most visual social media platform and is a must for home service businesses. Like home magazines and Pinterest, home owners love getting inspiration from this source. You can post photos of projects as well as create mood boards.

360° Virtual Tours

As we blogged about earlier this year, VR experiences are on the rise. Nothing will wow prospectives more than the ability to feel like they have stepped inside foot one of your projects.

Give A Sneak Peak At Projects In The Works

Utilize social media to give followers a sneak peak of projects in the works. People will like being along for the ride, and it’ll give you a chance to show prospects your creative process. 

Invest In Job Signs

This traditional marketing outlet never goes out of style. If you’re a home service business whose work appear on the outside of a house,  a sign outside is a great way to get people who pass by and are impressed with your work the chance to contact you. 

Do A Newsletter

An alternate way to get people to know about your home service business and work is newsletters. You can use newsletters to spotlight projects, share blog posts, and feature testimonials. 

At Sperling Interactive, we have worked with an array of home service businesses. We’d be happy to consult with you over the marketing strategy for your home service business at (978) 304-1730.

How to Market to Different Generations

Graphic of four different age generations; baby boomers, gen x, gen z, millennials

As the world of marketing continues to expand, the ability to market to distinct niches is increasing. While everyone is unique and has their own preferences, research has shown that generational groups have a lot in common. This helps with marketing. By focusing on the different generations, a lot can be taken away for marketing. Having certain generations as target markets can save money and time by knowing the kind of people who will be receptive to particular ways of marketing. 

Target marketing is beneficial for learning about which specific customers the marketing should be aiming for. By choosing people with a shared factor, such as by location, gender, or interests, marketing can be more effective by focusing efforts only on those demographics. When thinking about the marketing, two important questions businesses should ask are “Who are the current customers like?” and “Who would you like your customers to be like?”. If there is any difference between the two answers, target marketing can help to get them more aligned together.

Different age groups can be a great place to start. The four main generations are Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964),  Generation X (born between 1965-1981), Millennials (born between 1981-1995), and Generation Z born (between 1996-present). Each generation is examined to see how they compare with particular marketing styles.

Baby Boomers

Of the generations, this group is the oldest in age and can be the least technology savvy. They can be found reading print more than any other generation. Thus, marketing in newspapers and magazines can best be applied to this age group. They also can be big fans of guides, catalogs, and books. Major pieces of technology, such as the internet and smartphones, were developed later in their lives. This explains why it took longer for Baby Boomers to overcome the learning curve and to implement gadgets into their everyday lives.

Still, Baby Boomers are emerging online and their online presence is on the rise. Many have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends online. Facebook and LinkedIn are the top platforms to find this age group. Baby Boomers emphasis on relationships can also be linked to how they like to have brand trust and brand loyalty with companies. Content with clear and brief information are delivered best over desktops and tablets. 

Generation X

As one of the middle generations, this age group is an assortment of people. As a result, the ways Generation X likes to be marketed can be comparable to Baby Boomers and/or Millenials. Although they are the smallest age group of people, Generation X should not be overlooked. They have the highest average income on the national level, which is reciprocated in their top-tier purchasing power

They use tablets, desktops, and mobile devices. Videos can be a nice interchangeable medium to use in this instance since it can show well on all devices. Additionally, blogs can be sought after for an organized and interesting application of information. Generation X still likes to rely on email to stay updated. 

Millennials

This generation is at the heart of the smartphone craze. They have the highest percentages of smartphone owners with 92% and laptop owners with 70%. Millennials have been the trendsetters for everyday technology, especially known for using phone apps, for anything from using social media to checking their bank accounts. Their ease with the constantly changing technology causes this generation to be able to learn and adapt quickly. The fast-paced environment is what they are used to. 

On the other hand, they are used to seeing a lot of media, so they can require more to entice them in comparison to the other generations. Thus, they want to be able to get information concisely. Information should be directly to the point. Still, Millennials often like to see creative and/or interactive media. Imagery can help attract their attention. They also engage with incentives, such as sales and offers. 

Don’t consider calling this generation because it is likely they will not answer the phone. Although they can often be found on their phones a lot, they still will not pick up calls. Texting or emailing are preferred in order to have clear and concise correspondences. 

Generation Z

As the youngest of the four generations, this group has grown up around technology. By being the generation to which it has become second nature to know how to navigate technology, they are most likely to catch up to Millenials with their mobile and online trends. Generation Z has another world available to them through technology, as seen through their vibrant social media presence; Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, and Musical.ly. are among their top mobile apps. 

Generation Z can work well with more creative content, such as through social media, quizzes, memes, and other graphics. They also are the most likely to make purchases from their mobile devices, such as from food apps or online clothing sites. It is important to stay up to date with popular trends in order to keep up to date with Generation Z.

Always Have a Plan

Target marketing to any of the four generations offers a concise plan to work with. Each of these generations’ expectations, likes, and dislikes provides information to strategically use for marketing. Considering the different elements of the generations makes sense based on how they behave and navigate life. It is important to realize who you are marketing to through different advertisements. Digital pieces will attract different people than those that gravitate to print pieces, which is what generational marketing is all about. The goal is to better end up understanding the connection between both the marketing and the customers.

 

This is the second blog post by marketing intern Maura Honan. The first blog post was about brand trust, you can read it here.

Brand Trust as Seen with 5 Companies

TOMS shoes on chalk

Just like it sounds, brand trust is all about establishing trust in a company’s brand. While this may sound simple, trust in a company can take years to build. Brand trust considers companies in a holistic manner. Consumers want to believe in a company they are about to buy from. Everything from their mission statement to their product information matters. Honesty and transparency are huge components in building strong relationships between companies and consumers.

Having trust in a brand leads to consumers continuously returning to the company’s goods or services. The connections that develop between businesses and consumers can also help long-term through a domino effect of positive outcomes, such as customer purchases, recommendations, and referrals. Brand trust allows for there to be a base of followers to maintain and grow the company.

Five companies are further explained below to provide a better understanding of what brand trust is about and how small businesses can take a page from their book. Although the companies range in how they function, they have great insights on how brands can develop better brand trust.

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean prides itself in its heritage. The company began in 1911 with Leon Leonwood inventing the Maine Hunting Shoe.  Although L.L.Bean sells outdoorsy products, such as camp equipment, travel gear, and clothing, the brand focuses more on the social aspects of outdoor activities. The company’s marketing often shows families and friends happily engaged in a variety of activities. L.L. Bean’s passion for bringing people together can be seen in their outdoor programs, which are free outdoor courses for people with an L.L. Bean Mastercard. Through integrating the company’s own family stories, and also that of its customers, L.L. Bean has created strong brand trust.

Being a family-owned business or a family values business can be an easy element for a business to focus on in terms of their marketing. Similar to how relatability is imperative to building trust with people, the same goes for building brand trust. Being a company with family values tags along with ideas of teamwork, commitment, thoughtfulness, and responsibility. This can be shared through stories of the company’s history, or photographs of family members working together.

While a company may be family-owned, if that does not mean much to your business, then it does not have to be stressed in your marketing. There is not a straightforward plan that fits exactly with every company. The best way to decide on a direction to emphasize on for furthering brand trust is through taking the time to figure out what is worth focusing on both internally and externally. Being on the same page with everyone on a team is what makes a difference in being consistent and authentic. Ultimately, ask yourself what are your brand values and from there you can touch upon them in your marketing.

Patagonia

Patagonia has developed strong brand trust through their environmental activism.  They are thought leaders on sustainability. Patagonia has made many strides to be as eco-friendly as possible through their production standards, scientific research, and their Fair Trade certification. Some of their work practices are also sustainable, such as their excellent benefits for employees and promoting a Drive-Less program, which provides alternative commuting options to driving.

Their progressive social and political pieces have been able to spark conversation and bring added awareness to the issues they stand for. They dedicated their $10 million in tax cuts to environmental charities in protest of Trump’s tax bill and supported two U.S. Senate candidates based on their conservation stances. Patagonia is continuing to find ways to improve the environment and their efforts certainly make them stand out amongst other sustainable brands.

A takeaway from Patagonia’s brand trust can be how the company takes the time to try to better the environment. Both small and large companies can take action to help change the world. Positive impact can be as simple as people only using reusable water bottles at work. Or on a larger scale sponsoring a running race and only using paper straws and no plastic take away.

Other ideas could include taking a few minutes each week to pick up litter or making sure to turn off everything at the end of the day. A big part of sustainability is realizing that every action ends up being beneficial. Not every company has the resources to do extravagant environment campaigns, but any difference can still be made.

TOMS 

TOMS is a company that mainly sells lightweight cloth style shoes, but has recently added other clothing and accessories to their repertoire. For each pair of TOMS shoes that is purchased, another pair is donated. For every pair of sunglasses of theirs that is purchased, TOMS helps to restore people’s eyesight. As a result of this system, TOMS has been able to change the lives of millions of people. TOMS has been able to make a fortune for itself, while also spending and donating a fortune to people in need around the world.

Businesses have the opportunity to help their communities by giving back in a variety of ways. They can donate money, shoes, food, or even volunteer their expertise pro bono. Businesses can use their resources (consumers, connections, time, and money) to aid their community. Often, it feels good for businesses to give back to the local area that helps them do their work. Helping the community is something that is praised, so it is often not hard to promote it. While information should be shared on the company’s own website, email, and social media outlets, it can also be communicated to others through different local providers, including newspapers and radio. Marketing a company’s efforts for helping out the community can be beneficial on so many levels. One of these being brand trust because it shows the company is not just focused on themselves, but those around them too.

Ramblers Way

Ramblers Way is a company in Kennebunkport, Maine and Portland, Maine that makes sustainable clothing. Their sheep, garment production and retail are all contained within the United States, which the founder Tom Chappell felt was important. Ramblers Way is very detail oriented. Anyone is able to know what is happening at every step of the way as the company expertly describes it online. The company’s conscientiousness is also apparent in what they sell. With a smaller array of options, Ramblers Way can focus on what they believe in, creating clothing pieces in a sustainable manner. Together with Ramblers Way’s transparency, they are able to have excellent brand trust.

The clarity that Ramblers Way offers its consumers is impressive. Their website and social media platforms make it clear exactly how the company runs, such as explaining in detail the specific types of wool they use and the money they spend on donations. This can be also be reciprocated through other companies. Sharing information about the company’s past and present all work to aid brand trust.

Another part of transparency can be taking responsibility for previous wrongdoings, such as poor customer service because then the issue can be viewed as something which has since been improved upon. The more that is shared about a company, the better reputation and brand trust it will have.

Facebook

Contrastingly, Facebook is an example of an organization that has weak brand trust. The popular social media site has been caught in multiple controversies since its birth, but most recently regarding its privacy with user information. Yet, the company seems to have put minimal effort into taking any responsibility or making changes. Unfortunately, brand trust can be taken away from a company in minutes, while it can take years to build brand trust. Facebook has a lot of work ahead of itself if it wants to gain more brand trust again.

Companies that have gotten into controversial messes often lose a lot of their brand trust since there is no longer a strong relationship. Facebook has had recurring issues regarding their use of private user information. In response to these matters, the leaders of Facebook tried to sell excuses, but the lack of transparency caught up to them and people did not want to hear it. While sometimes certain problems cannot be avoided, what has been frustrating about the Facebook fiasco is that it could have been avoided. Even after the issue came to light, the company should have done a lot more.

Bumps in the road are inevitable, but knowing how to handle a crisis can change the situation. A key factor is communication. Sometimes that may be talking directly with a single consumer, but other times it may be sharing information with all consumers. Marketing can help to smooth out issues. Taking a moment to consider how best to approach the issue can be worth it in the long run. People are quick to remember negative things, but with the right plan of action it will all work out.

This blog was written by our marketing intern, Maura Honan. Maura is a communications studies major at Saint. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. 

 

School Marketing Tips to Elevate Your Institution

 

Photo of Three Boys at School

Private schools are just like businesses. For a school, enrollments are the equivalent to a service- based business acquiring clients. So in many ways, it can be helpful for a school to view themselves as a business, their students as their clients, and the other schools in their district as their competitors.

Though your students may not be around, you know there is still plenty of work to be done. Because as we argued you’re a business, and businesses can’t get complacent with their marketing and business development as clients come and go. As such, here are our top school marketing tips for those of you needing some inspiration.

Know Your Audience

You can’t attract your ideal student if you can’t describe them. The most effective school marketing campaigns work because the marketers behind them know and understand the target audience. To get you going, create a profile of your ideal student based on their demographic. To get you started on that student profile, ask yourself what are your ideal students’ gender, age range, and economic background? What are their parents’ priorities? APA classes, dual enrollment, career and technical education? Answering these questions will help you write better copy and know how where to delegate your efforts.

Identify Your Marketing Goals

Besides your target audience, another thing you need to identify is your school marketing goals. Every marketing campaign needs a goal as it guides what kind of content you produce and the category of your paid social media advertising efforts if you go that route. Some common school marketing goals are enrollment, donations, event attendance, and after-school programs.

Content Marketing

A blog is not only a great way to improve your SEO, but it can also provide valuable content for prospective students and their families. Your blog could be used as an outlet to spotlight students, special events, and school awards.

Another avenue you can explore with your blog is tip-based articles. You don’t want to post just content that is just there to sell your school. Families will crave informative based content too. As you know, your school isn’t just there for its students, it’s there for the parents and guardians too. Check out the blog posts we write for North Shore Christian School for some inspiration. On their blog, we not only write posts about school happenings, but we also have articles that help parents support their students with their schooling.

Newsletters are another excellent way to communicate with your target audience. Consider doing a monthly newsletter if you’re not doing that already. Like your website, make sure the format of your emails is meeting the needs of the growing number of mobile email users. Your newsletter can include recent blog posts, new hires, and upcoming events.

Have A Great Website

Your website is the hub of your online presence and as such needs to be great. It is often the first impression prospective students and parents will have with your school. Your website should be responsive (this means it appears nicely on every screen be it a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or TV screen), easy to navigate, professional, and personable.

The website should also be ADA compliant. You may have heard the word ‘ADA’ be thrown around a lot recently. It stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It became an act in 1990, and last year the state of New York saw 1,564 ADA cases. A portion of these cases were for websites. Every type of website over the last couple of years has been targeted by ADA lawsuits, both small businesses and big name brands. With that said, it has become increasingly important for all websites, especially school websites, to be accessible.

20% of the population has a disability of some sort and one in ten people have disabilities that present obstacles with using computers.

Do Press Releases

Developing relationships with local newspapers and journalists is an awesome way to get the word out about your school to the community. You want to make sure major school events like tournament wins, the opening of the school play, prom, and honor roll are documented in their publications.

Network And Partner With Other Schools

Networking is a must for small business growth and since we’ve already agreed that schools are businesses, you should be sure to network like businesses do. The relationships that are worth building with are counselors at lower schools since they often give referrals to students. Local chamber of commerce events are also worth checking out. You could make your school more marketable if your students are able to job shadow or intern at local businesses.

Get Testimonials From Alumni

Testimonials are powerful. They are more persuasive than any sales pitch. Getting testimonials from alumni can help build trust and credibility for your school. Not to mention everyone loves a good story about how somebody was transformed by a school. Consider taking your testimonial to the next level with a video.

We hope you found this article helpful. Sperling Interactive has worked with many schools in its eleven years in business. We would love to help yours if you need to outsource any work. We can be reached at (978) 304-1730.

Google Ads Vs. Facebook Ads

A person using a computer mouse.

Pay-per-click advertising has become a popular advertising avenue for businesses in the digital age. There are many types of pay-per-click (PPC) ad services, but the two most common ones are Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Google Ads appear when people search for things online using the search engine, Google, and Facebook Ads are ads that appear in Facebook users’ feeds.

In today’s blog post, we will cover the benefits of both platforms and when you should utilize Google Ads and when you should be using Facebook Ads if you can’t utilize both.

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads is the world’s largest PPC advertising platform. Google Ads is so widely used it is often referred to as “paid search” even though the search engine Bing has Bing Ads, which is just like Google Ads only the ads appear on Bing.

Google Ads deals with selected keywords and are largely text-based. Advertisers bid on keywords, which are either specific words or phrases users put in the search query, in the hopes of their ads appearing in the search results, either at the top of the page or at the bottom.

Every time a user clicks on the ad, which brings them to either the advertiser’s website or a curated landing page, the advertiser is charged a certain amount. At its core, advertisers are paying for the potential of finding new customers and/or clients based on the keywords and search terms they enter into Google.

What Are Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads are referred to as “paid social.” In Facebook Ads, advertisers market their products or services to Facebook users based on their target demographics, behaviors, and interests. At its core, advertisers are paying for the potential of finding new customers on Facebook based on targeting features.

The Benefits of Google Ads

In Google Ads, advertisers are able to advertise to users in their search network and display network. The search network is the search engine, Google, and the display network are the banners you see when you’re surfing the web. Google’s display network spans 98% of the World Wide Web. Their display network is great in that it enables you to spread brand awareness to those who haven’t converted while they are using the Internet.

Another benefit of Google Ads is the number of people who search with Google. Google is the most popular search engine in the world with more than 40,000 Google search queries every second!

A misconception PPC newbies have with Google Ads is they think the advertisers with the biggest budgets are the only ones that perform well. The ads that perform the best aren’t necessarily the ones with the biggest budgets behind them, but the ones that are the most relevant to the users. You need relevant keywords on your landing page and ad copy. If your ad is getting a lot of clicks and conversions, you will see it appear higher in the search results over time. It’s important to note one of the only ways you can continue to improve your ads is to do A/B testing.

The Benefits of Facebook Ads

Just like Google, Facebook has an impressive number of users. Facebook has more than 1.55 billion monthly active users. That is more than ⅕ of the entire world’s population!

Facebook users share a lot with the social media giant. Not only do they share the biggest moments of their lives, but they consume, like, and share content that aligns with them, which enables advertisers to really market to their niche audiences.  

Advertisers can also use Facebooks Ads to create lookalike audiences, which allows advertisers to input deals of their existing audience into Facebook to reach new people who fit that mold.

With Facebook ads, advertisers can also upload photos and videos to peak the interest of users.

The last great benefit of Facebook Ads is fairly affordable. You can be a small business with a budget and competitors that are household names and still meet your goals.

Google Ads vs. Facebooks Ads

Based on the passages above, it’s clear Google Ads and Facebook Ads are both very useful advertising outlets. But which one should I use? Well, it depends.

When You Should Use Facebook Ads

You should use Facebook Ads when you really know your ideal audience since Facebooks Ads allow you to target people based on their demographic, behaviors, and interests.

You should also use Facebook Ads if you don’t have a big budget if you are small fish and your competitors are sharks. We always advise our clients Google Ads aren’t favorable if they have a small budget. If your budget is under $500 a month, you can still do well on Facebook.

Facebook Ads are great if you have an event coming up or a special offer as Facebook has ads that are meant just for these types of specials.  

Through Facebook Ads, you can also put the ad on Instagram. So if the picture sharing app does wonders for your brand already, it may be worth putting most of your marketing dollars to Facebooks Ads.

When You Should Use Google Ads

Google Ads should be used when you’re trying to increase sales. When people utilize Google, they have a problem and are looking for answers. People don’t scroll through Facebook because they have a specific problem. They want to catch up with their network so with that in mind the intent to buy is much higher with Google Ads.

You should also consider Google Ads if you have used it before. Google likes giving preference to businesses with experience as they have more insight into the user experience.

All and all, when it comes to marketing, it’s always important to evaluate your goals. Call Sperling Interactive today at 978-304-1730 to learn more about how we manage our clients’ ad campaigns.

Our Favorite Brand VR Experiences

A woman wearing a VR headset. In our last blog post, Where Will Marketing Be In Five Years?, we predicted VR experiences will be big by 2024. Some big-name brands have already developed some amazing VR experiences, so to give you some inspiration and a jump start, here are our favorite branded VR experiences.

Google Earth VR

This is an incredible app to download if you’d love to travel the world, but don’t have the means to do it right now. In Google Earth VR, you are able to go anywhere in the world in just a click.

Google Presents Inside Abbey Road Studios

Who wouldn’t love to step inside the world’s most famous recording studio? The record studio that has not only recorded every single Beatles’ albums, but the music from Queen, U2, Lady Gaga, and more. Go on a guided tour of Abbey Road from Giles Martin, son of the Beatles’ late music producer, Sir George Martin.

Netflix VR

Did you know you can now watch your favorite streaming service in VR? In Netflix VR, users can choose between two modes: a living room viewing experience or Void mode.

When you watch through the living room mode, you are planted in a living room that has a TV above the fireplace and a view of the mountain range. You are able to watch your shows on the TV.

Void mode removes the living room but allows users to watch a show in whatever position they’d like, even sitting down, which isn’t something you can do in the living room mode.

It is possible Netflix will offer VR programming in the future.

The New York Times VR

The New York Times VR app immerses users into some of the publication’s biggest news stories. Users can stand alongside Iraqi forces during a battle against ISIS or walk on a planet 3 billion miles from the sun! 

Volvo XC90 Test Drive VR

The car brand, Volvo, has created a VR app to give consumers a feel for its XC90. This VR experience puts you behind the wheel as you take the scenic route through an idyllic area with a mountain range. Forget a car dealer, when you can download the app for your headset.

IKEA Virtual Store

With IKEA Virtual Store, IKEA has created a store that never closes. IKEA was one of the first retail companies to launch a VR site that has e-commerce. If you are up at night thinking about your new home project, you can pop into the store without leaving your house.

TOMS Virtual Giving Trip

TOMS isn’t just a fashionable shoe brand, but a charitable one too. For every new pair of TOMS purchased, TOMS gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need. In TOMS Virtual Giving Trip, consumers get to watch TOMS employees give away shoes to the underserved in Peru. It has nooks in its stores where potential customers can view the VR experience.

Savannah College of Art and Design

In 2015, the Savannah College of Art and Design mailed 5,000 branded VR headsets to students who were accepted into the school but hadn’t yet enrolled. The VR experience immersed users into the college’s campus.

Do you have an inkling for an app idea for your company? Let us know. We love taking our clients’ ideas and developing them into reality.

Where Will Marketing Be In Five Years?

Girl working on a laptop with a soda can next to the laptop.Before the technology revolution in the twenty-first century, marketing was mostly done through print advertising, direct mail, and traditional media (e.g. TV, radio, and publications). Now, most businesses are only marketing on the Internet. Technology has shown marketing is one industry that isn’t going to stay constant. SEO is one sub-section of digital marketing that changes every day! With that, it can make you wonder just where marketing will be in five years time? So today we’re going to give you our predictions for where we think marketing will be in 2024.

Voice Search

People love using their smartphone’s voice assistant, be it Siri, Alexa, or Cortana. Our phones’ voice assistants make it easy for us to go about our day while still obtaining information from the Internet. Many leading digital marketers are expecting a rise in voice search over the next five years. Some estimate that by 2020, more than half of searches will be conducted using voice search.

There is a difference in keywords when we type a search versus using a voice assistant. People use more keywords when they use their voice, so those types of searches tend to be more conversational. In the future, businesses will have to create specific web pages geared toward the questions people ask their voice assistant in order to rank well in search engines.

Ethical Brands

We believe in the next five years people will still support brands that are ethical. Millennials and Generation Z are two generations that are conscious about they who buy from. They are passionate about issues such as climate change, income equality, and diversity. To cater to these buyers, companies will need to make sure they are contributing to improving society.

TV Ads

In the campaigns we run for our clients, we’ve noticed amongst the devices used are TVs. We speculate in the next five years popular streaming services will start utilizing advertisement, but instead of commercials like on cable TV, they will mirror the ads you see on social media. Most people aren’t fans of commercials, except for maybe during the Super Bowl, so with that in mind, streaming services will have to do quick video ads or interactive ads that users can click out of if they don’t meet their needs.

Consumers Will Want Control Of Their Data

From the GRPR to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, 2018 was a year consumers really came concerned with the usage of their data. Now more than ever, people are cautious with who they give their information to. We believe in the next five years consumers will take more action to seek control over their personal data in an effort to avoid breaches, phishing, and hacking.

Virtual Reality

Did you think virtual reality (VR) is just for video games? Think again!  In the next five years, VR will become the next big form of content marketing. It’ll be a new way for companies to offer value to their audience, but businesses that do decide to utilize VR should get creative and come at VR from a storytelling angle. Give your target audience an experience they will treasure that also fits with your brand. A great example is when North Face developed a VR experience of California’s Yosemite National Park and the Moab Desert in Utah. This worked well for North Face as their cozy apparel is popular amongst nature enthusiasts.

Storytelling Marketing

To piggyback off the last point, storytelling is a major theme you will find in marketing in 2024. Marketing will always change as technology does, but one constant will be content that people can resonate with and enjoy.

Struggling with new ways to boost your marketing? At Sperling Interactive, we love collaborating with our clients to create marketing strategies that support their goals. Call us today at (978) 304-1730.

Travel & Tourism Marketing Tips

A picture of the Boston skyline. At Sperling Interactive, one of our largest specialized markets is the travel and tourism industry. Some of our clients include the Salem Witch Museum, the House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne Hotel, Destination Salem, and the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. The travel and tourism industry is one of our favorite industries to serve as we love traveling and are proud that we get to promote some of Massachusetts’ gems.

Summer is coming up, and it is the busiest time of year for most businesses in the travel industry. Below you will find the best travel & tourism marketing tips to boost engagement and increase awareness” or something like that.

Create A Travel Guide

Put together a travel guide, be it print or electronic, of your favorite things to do in your area. Nearly every traveler loves receiving recommendations from locals. You could do two guides: one guide about the area and the other about your business.

We draft and design travel guides right now for Destination Salem and the North of Boston CVB. The guides are downloadable and we have found running them through Google Ads, Facebook ads, and display ads to be quite successful.

Write a Travel & Tourism Blog 

We always advise our clients to blog as it’s one of the pillars for SEO, but it’s always a way to engage your audience and pursue them to come to your location.

If you’re an agency or hotel, you could always feature a customer. You could have a customer write a guest post or you could start a series where you interview customers.

Schedule Social Posts

Scheduling social media posts is something we always encourage our clients to do, but it is especially important for travel companies expecting to be busy this summer. Jot down some photo ideas and on the first nice day of the year, go out and take some photos. Try scheduling posts 2 weeks to one month in advance.

Creating meaningful and interesting blog topics, and then sharing them on your social profiles is essential. In addition, sharing other blogs or articles from businesses you highlight helps boost engagement. 

Utilize Influencers

Are there content creators who create content about your area or fit well with your brand? While influencer marketing is on the rise and has been found to work, you want to find someone who caters to your industry or is in your target audience and set up an exchange. A good example would be having some food bloggers come to a new restaurant and/or brewery opening and giving them a behind-the-scenes. Or having a travel YouTube vlogger stay at your hotel or inn.

Produce Local Community Videos

With video marketing continuing to rise, you can’t go wrong with shooting a video. By going out and taking 1-2 days to shoot some content, you can end up with a few videos’ worth of footage. If you don’t have one already, you could have a video for the homepage of your website to capture travelers’ attention. The other videos that come out of the footage could be videos you post on social media and YouTube that primarily promote your city. These videos could provide fun facts, recommendations to other businesses, and tips.

Run Location-Based Ads

Combining Google Search, Google Display Ads, and Facebook Ads, build awareness around your target audience, whether it be local or areas where you see a lot of travelers come from. Run an ad driving people to a specific blog post or a free guide. 

There are many avenues to pursue. Geo-targeting with user-input targets specific ads to the user based on what kind of ads they want to receive. In geo-fencing, you target potential customers within a certain radius of your business. And then there are geo conquest ads, which is when companies lure perspectives from competitors.

Want some tailored advice for your travel business? Call us today at (978) 304-1730 to schedule a free consultation.

B2B Marketing Tips

Women in a meeting with laptops. Have you just started a B2B company? Or are you new to marketing for a B2B company? Marketing for a B2B company is different than marketing for a B2C, but it’s just as important. Here are some marketing tips to help you grow your B2B company and how to offer value to your target audience.

Write a blog.


You want to have helpful content that solves your audience’s problems, and a blog is a great way to make yourself an industry expert. To get going on your business blog, ask yourself, what are the most common problems my audience has? What are my company’s goals and how can I write about them?

Update blog posts that do well.


Sometimes a blog post does really well. You get a lot impressions and comments. People are engaging with the post because it offers value.

But somewhere down the line, you go back to that blog post that did so well and notice it is a bit outdated. You still want that piece of content to be valuable, so update that blog post with the most relevant information so that it continues to rank well on search engines and gain traction.

Do video marketing.


Blogging isn’t the only way to provide value to your clients. As this article from Forbes explores, video is the future of media on the web. This article reports that Facebook is prioritizing video content more than ever and that video is almost as big as mobile. You could make videos that showcase your products and/or services and tutorials that visually help businesses solve their problems.  

Start a podcast.


Podcasts have exploded over the last few years due in large part to the rise of smartphones. Podcasts are wonderful because they can help you expand your expertise and network. This is especially true if a big portion of your podcast involves interviewing guests. When you have a guest on your show, they’ll promote it to their community, who will then want to check you out. Or in turn, if you invite a client onto your podcast, it can build a stronger rapport with them because you’re promoting them and having a meaningful conversation with them. A podcast is a lot of work (this article from Search Engine Land dives into that), but it can really help strengthen your content marketing and grow your B2B company.  

Use LinkedIn.


If you’re a B2B company, you have to be on LinkedIn. It is the outline platform for growing your network and finding business opportunities. Check out this blog post we wrote about how to get the most out of LinkedIn.

Treat your audience as people.


It’s easy when you run a B2B company to forget that your targeted audience has life outside of their job. They’re people just like you. They go to their kids’ Saturday morning soccer games, go on vacations, and binge watch Netflix just like you! Humanize your marketing. Profile your staff and share what makes each employee unique. Show your audience a behind the scenes look at your business. Show them how you make your products and/or create your services.  Humanizing your marketing is a must have as it’ll help you connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Do you market for a B2B company? Do you agree with our tips? What are some tips you do that we may have left out? Let us know in the comments.