How to Establish Your Mobile App and Keep Users Engaged

Mobile Apps Concept

So you have a website and a bunch of followers on Facebook, but what’s next? Creating a mobile app can be the next big step for many small businesses. Here are five steps to ensure your app will reach your audience and how to keep users engaged once they’ve downloaded it:

  1. Start by reaching out to existing customer touch points. Share the grand opening of your mobile app on the homepage of your website. This way, you’re reaching people who already know and love your company and you’re not spending your marketing dollars.
  2. Remember all of the things phones can do, and incorporate them. You can add QR codes, short URLs, and even SMS codes promoting your mobile app to all of your existing forms of communication.
  3. Turn to social media. Facebook and Twitter both offer app-install ads you can purchase, or you could simply post about the launch of your new app.
  4. Ask yourself if you would download your app. Your app must offer something unique in order to merit a user’s download. Make sure your app has value.
  5. Plan ahead for a seamless app experience. Once your app in launched, use your app analytics to understand which features of your app are most valuable to your users. Use this information to decide which areas of the app to grow and which ones to get rid of.
  6. Create a tie between other sources of media. Ask users to allow push messages to their notifications center on their phone. Use consumer information such as email and phone number to send updates.

Now you’re ready to drive traffic towards your new mobile app! Using these tips, you can be sure that once users are there, they’ll be there to stay. Don’t forget to spice up your app to keep long-time users interested. Bring on a digital marketing expert if you want more tips on mobile apps.

Natalie Kane contributed to this blog post.

iOS9 Changing How We Advertise; 5 Rules to Follow


Ad blockers have been around for years, but recently, when Apple released iOS9, they made their way out of our web browsers and onto our mobile devices. iOS9 users can now purchase apps that will block ads on their phones and tablets.

These ad blocker apps (for example, Crystal) function similarly to AdBlock Plus that many people use on their web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. to ensure that online users have a stress-free, comfortable online experience.

How can a small business ensure that its digital ads are still seen? Here are five steps to take while creating your online ads to make sure  they aren’t blocked by an ad blocker:

  1. Make sure your ad file size is small and loads quickly.
  2. Steer clear of animations and pop-ups. Ads that interrupt the user experience are the reason ad blockers were created.
  3. Cater your ads to the environment they will be in. Ad blockers are more likely to block ads that blatantly stand out from the rest of the site.
  4. Clearly mark your ads as an advertisement.
  5. Be sure that your ad doesn’t distract too much from the content on the site.

As a company looking to advertise online it may be your first inclination to ask for flashy, complex advertisements to attract users’ attention, but with the increasing rate of ad blockers used it is clear that simple ads will be more successful and reach more consumers.

Contact a digital marketing expert to assist in the creation of your online advertising campaign to assure that your ads will be seen by users.

Natalie Kane contributed to this article.

What Digital Media Investment Would You Make For $4.5 Million–The Cost of One 2015 Super Bowl Ad Slot


The Super Bowl has become a national event in the United States. Football fans want to see the best two NFL teams of the season and many–football fans and non-fans alike–enjoy the ads that top brands air (such as the Budweiser television ad shown above). This year’s broadcast is setting records for revenue including the amount brands are spending on Super Bowl ad slots. According to Newsday, a 30-second advertising slot in 1981 cost a mere $324.000. This year, NBC has sold out all of its Super Bowl ad slots, which cost $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime and will feature well-known brands such as Budweiser, Snickers, Bud Light, T-Mobile, BMW, Toyota, McDonald’s and more.

I’ve been watching how digital media and marketing is trending upward. eMarketing recently published a new report about the growth of online search as a trusted media source; it has even lapsed traditional media (including television). The fact that consumers turn to Google and Yahoo first means that television advertising could be a less than attractive option.

But John McDermott, in an interesting article for Digiday, wrote about how digital media has actually increased the value of Super Bowl advertising. “In an era of ad-skipping, time-shifting and a virtually infinite number of on-demand digital media options, sports — the Super Bowl, especially — remains a last bastion of appointment viewing and, correspondingly, one of the precious few times a brand can ensure people will actually watch its TV ads.”

That makes sense.

It doesn’t lessen the fact that the amount of money brands pay for a 30-second Super Bowl spot is astounding. Taking McDermott’s lead, here’s how $4.5 million could benefit a company if it invested it in digital media: run 3.5 billion display ads, get 50 million video views on Facebook, receive 6.4 million clicks on search ads, have a topic trend for 22.5 days on Twitter, pay for 7 days of Snapchat ads, and cover one year’s worth of sponsored content on

Super Bowl Spending Options

The businesses I work with don’t have marketing budgets as large as Budweiser or McDonald’s, but I do think the example from the Super Bowl ad slots and what could be purchased online instead, show the growing value of online marketing…no matter the budget.

How would you invest $4.5 million in digital marketing?


Digital Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing Platforms: What Can a Small Business Really Afford to Do?

digital marketing vs television advertisingI came across Rohan Ayyar’s recent article in Entrepreneur in which he highlights traditional marketing platforms that still resonate in the digital marketing world. I agree that digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing spend for many companies; they’d be foolish not to move toward more digital marketing initiatives.

As for the traditional marketing platforms that still hold their value, not all are affordable to the small and medium sized company. Ayyar briefly addresses television, billboards and events, PR, and radio as he highlights the staying power of these platforms. What’s so attractive about digital marketing is that it levels the playing field for small businesses competing with larger ones. So, over the next four blog posts, I’m going to take a closer look at the costs associated with television, billboards/events, PR, radio and online with a small business perspective.

Today, let’s look at television. As Ayyar points out U.S. consumers spend about 27 hours per week watching television and that television—broadcast and cable—advertising is worth it if you can afford it. We’ve seen the rise of programs like Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Fargo, and others. But what are the pros and cons with television advertising?

“When television advertising works, it influences online activity. Video ads on websites, social media and game aps are increasing, which is a tip of the hat to how well television advertising works.”

Television Advertising Pros

Attention Getting. Television ads usually reach viewers when they’re already attentive (i.e. watching their favorite shows). A good example of the magnitude of viewers paying attention can be seen in the number of people voting for participants in The Voice or American Idol.

Show and Tell at Its Best. Television as a medium is wonderful for sharing a product or service with a large audience quickly. Television advertising also lets a company reveal its personality and brand, which is a good way to connect with consumers.

Television Reaches a Large Audience. In addition to broadcast television, cable television programming is gaining attention from the public and there is an opportunity to purchase lower cost ads to reach a cable TV audience.

Television Carries Credibility. Believe it or not, being on television is still seen as a sign of prestige in America…and that translates into credibility.

Strong Call to Action Can Drive Online Activity. There’s a growing number of people who go online while watching television. In fact, according to Nielsen, 84% of smartphone and tablet owners say they use their devices as second-screens while watching TV at the same time.

Television Advertising Cons

Television Ads Cost Money. The average cost  of producing a national, 30-second TV commercial is about $300,000. That number goes down for local markets and will be based on number of viewers you want to reach, the number of times the ad airs, and when the ad airs.

Multiple Touch Points Required. Like all marketing platforms, television advertising requires multiple airings to influence viewer purchasing behavior.

Creative and Well-Written Scripts Cost Money. We can all think of a creative ad that simply stays with us long after the ad was aired. Those types of ads come with a price tag. Not only do good ads come from good scripts, they are also well-produced to avoid looking cheap or tacky—or making your product and company look worse than it really is.

Little Room for Change. Television ads, once they’re produced, are not easy to change with a new offer or deal. That would require reshooting the ad—an undertaking that is time-consuming.

Targeting is Broad. Television simply doesn’t target specific groups very well. There are niche programs, which could provide some targeting, but they may not be a company’s target market.

DVR Systems Use. Many television viewers are now DVRing programs to fast forward through commercials. That could mean an ad gets passed up.

Bottom Line

Each small business owner will have to make his/her own decision about television advertising. As a society, we are a visual audience. When television advertising works, it influences online activity. Video ads on websites, social media and game aps are increasing, which is a tip of the hat to how well television advertising works.

But, and this is a BIG “but,” television advertising is expensive. Don’t be fooled by production companies swooping in to offer your small business a deal. And, don’t spend money you don’t have or cannot justify with a strong return on investment. There’s nothing worse than unsuccessful television ads—for a small business budget, reputation, and business health.

Stay tuned for my next blog taking a closer look at billboards and events as a way to promote your small business.

Combine Social Media With Online Advertising and PR to Impact Sales

tweet birdI’m all about integrating social media and public relations. That’s why I was happy to read the results from a study that asked the question, “Will consumers spend more money when they’re exposed to a brand’s message on social media?”

According to the study consumers exposed to branded social media will spend from 2 to 7 times more than consumers who didn’t encounter a brand’s message on social media. When consumers were exposed to social media and another type of media, their spending increased even more. And…combining social media with PR saw an increase of 17%.

Increasing the visibility of your brand can be done in a variety of ways. Consider the following:

1. Social media is interactive and personal. Posts made to Facebook and Twitter should be done by real people.

2. Social media combined with online advertising and internet PR can reinforce the messages you create on social media for more impact.

3. Track social media in the same way you track other media impact (surveys, loyalty programs, coupons) to evaluate sales.

4. Keep your social media posts up-to-date and fresh.

Social media is about exposure. Exclude it from your marketing strategy and you could be hurting sales.