Archive for the ‘Marketing Strategies’ Category

3 Quick Tips on Surveying Your Customers

Posted by Nick Murphy on December 21st, 2015

NMBlog_121715Imagine seeing a piece of art that is so beautiful it captures your attention, heightens your senses and provokes a feeling. These emotions are not directly connected to survey design, but just like captivating art, if you create a survey that touches a nerve, you’ll find yourself in a position where your customers will want to answer your questions. But where do you begin?

1. Think about the story you want to write. Before you can even begin to put together a survey, research the motive behind the creation of it. Really pin down what it is you are looking to accomplish and create questions your customers can answer that will help you do so. Forget about simple yes and no answers. It’s important for you understand why a customer feels the way they do. Ask them why and don’t only focus on negative scores. Positive feedback is just as beneficial. According to Huffington Post, “If a customer gives you the highest rating, you need to know why, so you can replicate that same experience and outcome with other customers and clients.” (1)

2. Build your survey upon a fundamental aspect of growing your business. One of the most central questions you can ask is, “How likely is it you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” Harland Clarke Digital recommends using the “Net Promoter Score” method. Extensive research as shown that, “Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®, acts as a leading indicator of growth. If your organization’s NPS is higher than those of your competitors, you will likely outperform the market.” Not only does this question address the participant’s interest in your company, it also indicates your value and their loyalty. (2)

3. Don’t overcomplicate your questions. Using technical jargon, run-on and complex sentences, only makes the survey participant more agitated and less likely to complete your survey. According to Harvard University, “Words used in surveys should be easily understood by anyone taking the survey. Examples: “Do you support or oppose tort reform?” “Should people held on terror related crimes have the right of habeas corpus?” (3)

Understanding these main principles of survey design is just a stepping stone into the world of knowing and understanding your customers. Forms + Surveys from Harland Clarke Digital makes it easy for you to communicate with your customers and gather valuable insights that can help your organization grow.

To learn more, contact our HCD Support team at 630-303-5000 or simply e-mail your questions to



Growing Your Subscriber List

Posted by Mallory Green on November 19th, 2015

List BuildingIn the ever-growing digital world, marketers spend a significant amount of time developing strategies to drive traffic to their organization’s website with hopes to build their audience and increase brand loyalty. Those who visit an organization’s website on a regular basis to consume content are extremely important for growth. While websites will certainly receive new visitors from organic search, the main goal is to have them opt-in to receive future updates, therefore keeping your products and services top-of-mind and relevant.

But how do we get them there? Ultimately, it comes down to a few easy-to-implement strategies to help grow your subscriber list and enhance loyalty:

1. Use data and analytics

With a plethora of data platforms at our fingertips, incorporating metrics into your marketing strategies should be a no-brainer. Utilizing data analytics enables marketers to get a better picture of the types of content that are being consumed on a regular basis.

Furthermore, you also want to notice if certain call-to-actions work better than others. Do you need to switch up content placement or utilize different text? Does one situation cause visitors to click more than another?

Using these metrics can help you create a template layout for your landing pages that offer you the best chance at success. It’s very easy to develop and implement A/B testing to decide what works best. Once you’ve reached a conclusion, you can incorporate that same line of thinking in other locations.

2. Create a well-researched content strategy

Here’s another situation where data can help you. Using metrics, you can begin to understand the types of content that mean the most to your subscribers. Using this information, you can create white papers, infographics, blog posts, etc. that will resonate with your current readers.

It’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily about having something to say about everything. You will experience more success by using the numbers to develop a clear understanding of what is working instead of just shooting fish in a barrel and putting out random content.

3. Know what the competition is doing

Developing a strong content strategy is at the top of many marketers’ lists. Countless research studies have been conducted supporting the importance of providing targeted, informative and relevant content to your readers. So, you might be hard-pressed to find a topic that hasn’t been covered. It can be extremely difficult to come up with a brand new idea that no one has ever talked about, especially to gain some sort of competitive advantage, but the key is to offer something different and interesting even if the subject has been covered elsewhere. This is a good place to use internal research, like a benchmark report or a data purge, to gain insight into what your customers are doing.

4. Know your niche

It’s important to understand that people subscribe to your content because they like what you have to say. If you are working off a focused content strategy, you are creating content that lives in a specific niche. While it’s okay to do something different every once in awhile, especially for a vessel like a blog, make sure you don’t take it too far. You don’t want your subscribers to feel like you have no focus and your information holds no value.

5. Be a thought leader

As stated previously, it’s hard to constantly come up with refreshing content, but you don’t want to let too much time pass before providing readers with something new. You want the content you offer to leave readers satisfied, whether they turned to you for answers to specific questions or just wanted to consume something insightful and intriguing. Regardless, the content you created needs to provide a level of value and leave your readers wanting more.

Use all the tools you have in your arsenal to create the right pieces of content for your specific audience. By taking the time to really get to know who your readers are and what they want to learn, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to build your subscriber list and increase brand loyalty.


Marketing Trends for 2016

Posted by Kavita Jaswal on November 17th, 2015

2016 TrendsIt’s beginning to look a lot like … that time of year when marketers discuss initiatives that worked, what could have been more effective, how marketing efforts impacted the organization and ways to improve for the new year. Many discussions will lead to 2016 marketing plans that comprise of the most effective initiatives from the current year along with new ideas and concepts. Here are three ongoing marketing trends that have made a big splash in 2015 and will continue to gain momentum throughout the new year.


Organizations are making a continuous effort to build brand awareness using digital channels to showcase user-generated content as well as turning some of their attention to building brand communities. Through forums, social media and email messages, organizations have given consumers a space to provide feedback, connect their ideas and compare product usage situations. Content has been a key ingredient in any marketing program for quite some time, and organizations are offering educational, relevant and engaging information through a variety of channels. Today’s consumers are informed, and the more information they can soak in, the better they will view the organization and its products and services.


Organizations strive to captivate their audience with innovative advertising. Implementing video into your marketing strategy can make a large impact on current and prospective customer engagement. Marketers have taken the traditional text-based ads one step further by using embedded videos in search results. With Google’s® acceptance of video-based advertisements in its search results, this new trend can soon become a norm.1


As organizations must ensure their sites are optimized for mobile devices in order to keep up with Google’s new search algorithm, mobile has never been more important. More and more people are using their smartphones for search, video and shopping among other things. This makes mobile elements, such as a responsive websites, embedded videos and other mobile capabilities an important part of any marketing strategy.

With the new year just around the corner, the time for updated marketing calendars, new budgeting spreadsheets and decisions for upcoming events has officially come. Marketers continue to search for innovative ways to entice, capture and retain customers. Utilizing content, video and optimizing mobile in your marketing strategy can help your organization keep up with current trends and stay ahead of the game.




Optimizing Your Website for the Holiday Season

Posted by Mallory Green on October 27th, 2015

social conversationWhether we want to admit it or not, the holiday season is upon us. Stores are taking down their fall decorations before Thanksgiving and putting up Christmas trees and North Pole inspired decor. Before we know it, the standard background music will be replaced with “Jingle Bells.” Furthermore, data from Google® showed that more than 25 percent of shoppers begin holiday shopping before Halloween.1 So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to start optimizing your website to meet the demands of both the overachievers and the procrastinators when it comes to online holiday shopping.

First things first, provide customers with a fast, seamless online experience regardless of the device being used. Customers shop online and avoid the stores because of convenience. If your website cannot handle the influx of traffic causing any page to load slowly, there is a good chance that customer will abandon your website and look elsewhere. In fact, a recent report from Radware found that 57 percent of customers will leave a site that fails to load in three seconds.2 So, take the time to update features like broken links and images and address error messages to make sure your website is running like a well-oiled machine.

Use behavioral data to identify seasonal sales trends. Website analytics can provide marketers with insight into what customers are searching for, whether they are typing specific words and phrases into a search box or using a navigation toolbar. It’s also important to look at trends from the previous year, especially which days saw the highest amount of traffic and which pages were visited the most. This type of information can help decide what to feature on the home page and in upcoming marketing campaigns.

We can’t forget that nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone.3  That means holiday shoppers will be spending a large majority of their time searching websites for the perfect gift on their mobile device. Even though Google’s Mobilegeddon was enforced earlier this year, which encouraged many businesses to ensure their websites were mobile friendly, now is the perfect time to make sure everything is running smoothly and both your mobile site and mobile app, if you have one, are user friendly.

The holiday season is often the most important time of the year for many businesses. It’s crucial to understand that the buying experience has vastly changed over the years, with more consumers shopping online rather than making a trip to the store. Businesses, more specifically, marketers need to make it a priority to optimize websites to keep customers happy in order to meet holiday revenue goals.






Help Meet Customer Needs With Brand Communities

Posted by Kavita Jaswal on October 20th, 2015

social conversationIn a previous blog post, I talked about user generated content and the role it plays in a marketing program. Using customer opinions, interests and feedback continues to be a large part of a targeted marketing plan. Taking it one step further, organizations can create a space where customers and potential clients share their impressions, offer feedback and speak with other members about products and services. Building a brand community enables organizations to understand consumer wants, answer any questions they may have and continually collect relevant feedback. This type of business strategy builds awareness, offers brand support and, in turn, meets consumer needs.

When consumers are engaged with a company, brand, product or service, they may want to share and learn information from others who have similar interests. Having a platform where they can speak freely on their likes and dislikes, carry on conversations about particular products and offer feedback on how to improve those products, gives organizations insight into consumer needs. This information enables companies to improve products in the planning, development and sales stages.

A brand community gives organizations the ability to speak to consumers in a conversational way rather than having to rely only on marketing communications to get their message across. Using a platform to answer questions customers may have gives companies a competitive advantage, because they are receiving feedback in real-time thus helping enhance customer satisfaction.

By continuously collecting consumer feedback, whether on an offered incentive, a new product release or an existing product on the market, organizations can use consumer comments and reactions to improve their offerings and strengthen brand advocates.
By listening to what the consumer is saying about the product directly as well as monitoring conversations that multiple people may be having about the company, marketers can develop relationships and create messaging centered around targeted brand enhancements.

Building a brand community gives organizations the opportunity to engage with current and potential customers and connect in a way that can enhance communications. Through direct conversations with these consumers, companies have the ability to understand what their audience is looking for, which helps improve the type of content being offered. These open forums are a useful way for businesses to learn more about their customers making targeting messaging attainable and improving the chances of future success.