ClearVerve Marketing, LLC

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Posts Tagged ‘Great ideas’

OK, Google, can you help me with marketing?


I’ve been seeing these “OK, Google” ads on TV and wondered what would happen if I asked Google to help me with marketing. Of course I know Google can help with marketing, so I thought I’d pass along a dozen of my favorite free Google tools (and descriptions from other online sources) — all accessible using one login.

These tools offer ways to get more out of your search engine and social media marketing experience.

1. Google AdWords

If you’re not getting good enough traction with organic search traffic, then you might want to consider a paid search campaign using Google AdWords. By bidding for the right keywords, you can gain a considerable amount of qualified traffic where the conversions will meet or exceed the value you pay for your ads. Be sure to use advanced targeting options for location, mobile or desktop browsers, and other criteria to get the target audience you want.

2. Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Need keyword ideas for your search engine marketing campaign or paid search advertising? Try the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. When you enter a term that offers a wide range of ideas, like SEO, you will get groupings of keyword ideas that you can dig deeper into. While the total of the global searches is not always spot on, it can give you an idea of whether one keyword is more or less popular than another. You can also see an approximate cost-per-click amount, if you were trying to target the keyword using Google AdWords.

3. Google Alerts

Want to keep on top of the latest news, mentions of your brand, or other items in Google search? Then set up your Google Alerts. When you enter a search query, you will get a sample of the results you would receive and the option to have them delivered regularly to your email inbox. You can use this to keep up with your competition as well to see where they are getting mentioned or are building profiles.

4. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is probably one of the most powerful Google tools that you can use a as a marketer. You can learn so much about your website’s visitors including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Demographics – Learn more about your audience, including their location and language.
  • Social Engagement – See what social networks visitors come from and how they interact with your website’s social plugins (custom coding must be implemented).
  • Technology Used – Find out what browsers, operating systems, and networks your visitors are using to view your website.
  • Mobile Information – Curious if you need a mobile website? Find out how many of your visitors are using mobile technology.
  • Traffic Sources – Analyze what websites, keywords, search engines, and other referrers send traffic to your website.
  • Top Content – Get a handle on how effective your content is by seeing your top entry and exit pages.
  • What Leads to Conversions – Set up goals in Google Analytics to find out which visitors complete conversions such as purchasing a product or signing up for a mailing list.

5. Google Books

If you love reading, then Google Books can be a good place to go to find books online in all genres, some of which you can read for free. But from a marketing perspective, if you have a book, then you will want to get it listed on Google Books so that you can sell it to an even larger audience, especially now that Google is competing with iTunes and other online media retailers with their new Google Play store for music, books, movies, and Android apps.

6. Google Docs

Want to share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and tables with other users to view online or download? Then Google Docs is for you. You can even create forms and send them via a link or directly in an email to collect survey answers, crowd source post information, and other data.

7. Google Display Planner

Need some quick traffic or demographics information for a website? Get it using Google Display Planner. The larger the website, the more information you will be able to find about it including the average visitor’s age, gender, education, household income, other sites visited, interests, and keywords searched for.

8. Google Trends

Google Trends allows you to search for keywords to see their trends over time. This way, you can see whether a keyword is gaining in popularity, see worldwide search trends over the course of a year to find popular months or seasons for a search, see search volume by region, and find a list of top ten related searches and rising searches.

9. Google My Business

Want your business to show up before organic search results? For some keywords, it can thanks to Google My Business. Be sure that you claim or add your listing on Google Places, complete your profile, add photos and videos, and encourage reviews so that your business will make it to the first page of search results.

10. Google+

Google+ is Google’s social networking channel. Google has not only created a thriving social network, but has incorporated it into almost every aspect of the Google experience, including Google search results themselves. Thanks to personalized search results, you can actually rank higher than normal in search results for those you are connected with on the network.

11. Google Voice

Google Voice allows you to create a phone number to make and receive phone calls and text. You can view your messages in an interface similar to your Gmail. It’s a good alternative if you don’t want to give out your office or cell phone number for particular contacts.

Another cool little trick with Google Voice is that you can set up a Google Voice number specifically for tracking how effective your phone number placement on your website is. Every time someone calls in using your Google Voice number, you can count the calls in your Google Voice account. This will allow you to test the size, location and color of your website phone number.

12. YouTube

Last, but not least, if you want to dominate the video market, then start with Google-owned YouTube. Not only will your video be available to YouTube’s millions upon millions of visitors, but it will also be on prime real estate for showing up in search results. Even if you can’t get your website on the first page of search results through traditional SEO, you might be able to get there with video.

Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve. She works with clients to communication more clearly and create smarter, better, channel-appropriate content. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.

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#doorsopenmke – Totally Worth Seeing


For the past four years, Historic Milwaukee and several other community organizations sponsor Doors Open Milwaukee, a project featuring more than 150 buildings — offices, theaters, hotels, museums, clubs and universities — that open their doors to the public and  invite them in to take a look around.

I finally had the chance to check it out last weekend and it was well-worth the wait.

We enjoyed backstage access to the Milwaukee Theatre, Bradley Center and Turner ballroom. Plus we got a look at the city from the top floor of the U.S. Bank building where the view was spectacular. Here are a few pictures of this adventure.

So why do a project like this?

  • By giving the public access, you create some goodwill with them. You also get foot traffic into sometimes historic spaces that really ought to be appreciated by others.
  • You get to plug your upcoming events.
  • You get an opportunity with potential donors to share ways they can help your organization (as long as you soft sell it).

The materials promoting Doors Open Milwaukee (DO MKE, clever right?) were easy to find and to understand, highlighting all the available spaces in a really simple design. We used the online interactive map to plan our walking tour. There was even had a handy mobile app that provided great tours, donation and event information. Way to go Historic Milwaukee!

Susan Schoultz is Design Director at Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to create and execute marketing campaigns.  Follow her on Twitter as @susanschoultz.

10 ways to create engaging Facebook posts

Friday, March 14, 2014 — 


We blog. We tweet. We post. We wonder…actually our clients have wondered what they can do to increase engagement and improve the chances of their corporate pages being shown in the Facebook news feed? Here’s a listicle that will help.

1. Use engaging copy, images and videos

  • Photos and videos get more attention and help your message stand out.
  • Lifestyle images like the ones you see from your friends on Facebook are always engaging. Try sharing images of your products or photos of your customers enjoying your services.
  • Try to keep your posts between 100 and 250 characters to get more engagement. Shorter, succinct posts are better received.

2. Create a two-way conversation

  • Take a poll. Ask a question. Ask your audience to share their thoughts and feedback on your product and services. This is another way to listen to your customers and improve your business.
  • Posting content that shows you took their feedback into consideration can build customer loyalty and show you value their ideas.

3. Share exclusive discounts and promotions

  • Offer special deals or perks to your customers to keep them interested and to drive online sales. Include call to actions with links to the most relevant page on your website.
  • To improve engagement with your promotions, include clear calls to action, redemption details, and when the promotion ends to add a sense of urgency.

4. Provide access to exclusive information

Reward people who are connected to your page and drive loyalty and online sales by providing them with exclusive information. Make them feel special by sharing exclusive product news, contests and events.

5. Be timely

  • Your audience will be more likely to engage with posts when they’re related to subjects that are top of mind, like current events or the holidays.
  • Timeliness is also important when replying to comments on your posts. The faster you reply, the more likely fans will engage with you in the future.

 6. Plan your conversational calendar

  • The easiest way to stay in regular contact with fans is by creating a conversational calendar with ideas about what to talk about each week or month.
  • A content calendar will not only help you post regularly, but will ensure your content is well planned, interesting, and that you don’t miss major business events and news. Find a frequency that works for you and your audience.
  • And don’t always post about how great your product is.

7. Schedule your posts

  • To better manage your time, you can schedule your posts in advance and plan for upcoming holiday events and specials.
  • To schedule your Facebook posts, simply click the clock icon on the lower left-hand corner of your page’s sharing tool.
  • Schedule your posts when most of your customers are online. You can find out this info by visiting your Page Insights and going to the posts tab.
  • After you’ve scheduled a post, you can manage your scheduled posts by going to the top of your page and choosing Edit Page and then selecting Use Activity Log.

8. Target your posts

If your posts are meant for specific groups of people, you can target your post in your page’s sharing tool by clicking on the target icon at the bottom left corner and selecting Add Targeting. You can target your post based upon gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, location and language.

9. Use link posts to drive people to your website

  • Link posts have a larger, clickable area that helps drive people to your website.
  • In your page’s sharing tool, enter the offsite URL, then click Enter.
  • The title, description and image are taken from your URL, but you can still customize the text and image of the post. Be sure to select compelling imagery that will blend into the news feed experience.

10. Review the performance of your posts

Check your Page Insights regularly to understand what’s working to keep your posts relevant and engaging. Page Insights will help you understand your audience and what types of content interests them.

Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve. She works with clients to communication more clearly and create smarter, better, channel-appropriate content. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.

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Be unexpected


I recently had a completely unexpected lesson in effective communication while attending church.

There we were, sitting in our pews waiting for the service to begin. At the invitation of Pastor Meredith, someone from the congregation headed up to the front of the room to make a few announcements. We sat there silently and waited.  Suddenly, a whistle blew in the back of the room and everyone turned around. There stood Pastor David, wearing an apron and carrying a shepherd’s crook. Behind him were several women wearing aprons and carrying pots and pans. After them came a drummer.

The pot and pan brigade marched to the front of the church to a drum beat and sang a song in traditional army style about how fun and easy it is to volunteer for coffee service on Sundays. The song was a bit silly, the group looked funny, and Pastor David was having a great time twirling the shepherd’s crook. The entire congregation was paying attention. And smiling. Even the teenagers. It was completely unexpected and everyone was watching.

When you need to communicate something, the traditional route often feels the safest but might not yield the best results. How many people would have paid attention of Pastor Meredith had just rolled the “volunteer for coffee service” message into the rest of her announcements? Maybe a few, but not everyone. I guarantee there was not a single person in church that day who did not know that we needed volunteers for coffee service, and it’s likely that the sign-up sheet is now full.

The next time you need to ask someone for something, think about how you can make your message appealing and unexpected. Remember, if you can’t get someone’s attention, you can’t communicate anything.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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Inspiration can come from anywhere


I was working with a client to write a blog post recently when we both agreed we needed some new inspiration.

Inspiration can come from everyday objects or from anywhere. Whether it’s from the pattern on your grandma’s China, the paint color in your kitchen or the buckle on your bag, I believe there is usually something I can take away from one spot and use somewhere else. Case in point, @susanschoultz, Clear Verve design director, often finds herself taking photos of patterns on buildings, interesting floor tiles or colorful artwork. I’ve been with her when she’s done it. She’s always thinking of ways to bring an aspect of those characteristics to her design work. (She posts her photos on Instagram, by the way.)

It’s all about figuring out what it was about these things that draws her to them.

Another blogger I follow wrote about how this persimmon pump inspired her to design this desktop wallpaper. Between the bold color, the detailed white stitching and the floral touches, the shoe gave her some good material to work with, she says.

For me, inspiration comes from some phrase I hear during an interview or a feeling I get while getting to know more about a topic. Writing headlines, picking themes for publications or creating marketing messages are usually inspired by something else.

Sometimes, sitting down to write something — anything — gets my creativity moving and motivates me to start that blog post or a case study I need to write.

Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve and works with clients to communication more clearly and create smarter, better marketing materials. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.

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Playing with Vines


Have you heard of Vine? It’s a fun new app that you can use to make the equivalent of a video “tweet.” You use your smartphone to make a six-second video, which you can then post to Facebook or Twitter. Once your video is posted, you can get an embed code that will allow you embed the video anywhere.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “How great can a six-second video be anyway?” Well, they can be pretty great! In fact, the Tribeca Film Festival invited people to submit Vines for judging and got some amazing super short videos. Check them out here.

So, what can you do with a vine? Lots! Obviously, vine isn’t great for explaining complicated topics or if you need to impress someone with a high quality video, but it can be used to create a fun, simple message. Check out two we quickly made at Clear Verve.

Imitation and innovation


It’s not unusual for businesses, especially businesses in conservative industries, to market by imitation. We are constantly reminding clients and prospects that if they are asking themselves what their competitors are doing in order to make a decision, they may be falling into this trap. Of course, we know that it is important to know what your competitors are doing, but a smart business owner should never make a decision based upon copying someone else.

However, there are times when paying attention to what others are doing is very beneficial, especially when the business or industry you are watching is not a competitor. Futurist David Zach calls this “thinking into other boxes” instead of the tired expression “thinking outside the box.” If you can think about how something that works in another industry could be repurposed for your business, you are likely to come up with something that is innovative and interesting.

Here’s a great example. It’s called Lent Madness. Patterned after March Madness, Lent Madness gets those interested in theology to vote in a celebrity tournament of favorite saints. In the tournament, bloggers nominate saints and the faithful cast their votes online. Participants come from all across the country. The winning saint is awarded the Golden Halo – virtually, of course – and participants get the chance to brush up on their knowledge of the saints while having a little fun during Lent. It’s a nontraditional approach to religion, which is exactly what makes it fun. Last year, someone named Queen Emma of Hawaii (my apologies to anyone who really knows who she is) went all the way to the championship round before losing to Mary Magdeline (believe it or not, I do know who that is). Apparently, the Bishop in Hawaii really got into the game and urged his followers to vote.

The next time you read the newspaper, watch TV, or read a magazine or blog post, pay attention to industries that are completely different from your own. Who would have ever thought that the church could borrow an engagement tactic from college basketball? They could and they did. Don’t be afraid to think into new boxes. Who knows how you might be able to innovate your marketing strategy.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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What matters in marketing


Sometimes things that seemingly shouldn’t matter end up truly counting for something. Take nonverbal cues, for example. I was recently part of a jury pool and when the defendant’s attorney asked us about his client’s appearance, a couple of us mentioned we thought the client’s prescription sunglasses were not appropriate for the courtroom. Wearing the glasses conveyed something, shadiness maybe, that we thought would not serve him well. We just wanted to see his eyes.

In marketing, we consider nonverbals – paper choice, ink color, size and shape of printed pieces – all the time. But we also have to consider several other factors and make recommendations to help clients increase awareness of their products or services.

Here are five things that are important and must be considered if you want to make a difference in your industry:

Even now in the age of innovative strategies, it’s important to always choose the strategy that’s well-thought out. Strategy is what ultimately determines the overall measurable success. Without the use of proper marketing strategies, your business won’t experience any type of long-lasting prosperity. With the right strategy in hand, on paper, and in action, businesses of all types, sizes, and locations will experience the necessary success in order to hold a place in today’s competitive market.

What you offer is of prime importance, of course, but it’s the features, advantages and benefits – the FABs — of your product or service that count more. Most audience segments are eager to know about the benefits they’ll get by buying your particular product or using your services. You need to find the right key messages along with the right offer to promote your products or services.

Channel and Audience
The way you choose to reach your audience can really make a difference as well. Every communication medium has its own strengths and weaknesses. We’re all getting marketing messages constantly, so deciding which channel to use should be based more on the nature of the products and the target market than the cost of the tactic. For example, if the target market is local, current customers, it makes sense to use social media, email and maybe even direct mail rather than TV and newspaper. The right channel choice ensures extensive reach and conversation among those you want to get your message. Everyone here at Clear Verve believes discretion when choosing your channel for communications will determine the final results you’ll achieve.

As in so many endeavors, timing is of prime importance. That’s true with marketing too. The time of the year you choose to promote your products and services, the timing between your promotions and the timing of your follow-up are all relevant to your results. When you have an opportunity to do something, act quickly before you lose your chance.

Jackie Costa, the director of content marketing at Clear Verve, works with clients to create and distribute smarter, better marketing communications materials. Listen for her on Twitter @JackieMCosta.

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What the Future May Hold


Recently, Futurist David Zach spoke to the Milwaukee Rotary Club about trends that he feels will affect our lives in the future. Not surprisingly, many of these trends related to communications and design. As our world has become more technological, the amount of information we consume on a daily basis has made communication more important for all of us in our personal and business lives.

Trend #1 – Reality

People spend so much time in the virtual world, it could almost be considered a major world economy. In the virtual world, everything looks perfect and sounds perfect. We post the most exciting bits of our lives on Facebook. Every company seems uber-successful. What is happening to our perceptions and expectations of the real world?

Trend #2 – The Rise of Logistics

With technology, we know where things are and where they are going. We are bombarded with information. We can find out just about anything about anyone. How will this affect innovation? Think about it. If everything you do is known – are you willing to take risks? Try something and fail? Most successes are simply the last attempt that did not fail. Are we willing to fail in front of the world?

Trend #3 – The Age of Design

Design matters. It helps us solve problems and makes our tools more useful. David says that everyone needs to learn to think like a designer because designers see what others can’t. They help us solve problems. They are not passive. We can’t get complacent or we won’t innovate. Throughout history, it hasn’t been big companies that have saved us, it’s been amateurs. People who aren’t afraid to let things get messy. Have you ever heard the term “think outside the box?” David says we don’t need to think outside the box, we need to think into other boxes.

What can you learn from this? I think David points out that we need to challenge ourselves. Even though systems and processes are important, sometimes throwing them out the window is also important. As business owners, we need to look outside our own industries and get inspiration from others. Don’t just copy your competitors, surprise them by coming up with something they would never think of. Think like a designer, and succeed.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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Delivering controversial news


When I visited Alterra the other day, I noticed this sign outside the door.

This is a great illustration of one way to handle a politically charged, sensitive, emotional issue. Of course, it won’t work for every sensitive subject. But Alterra found a way to be legally compliant, funny, and inoffensive WHILE maintaining their branding. Great job!


Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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