14 Feb 2015 Leave a comment

Twitter Secrets: Do You Have The Right Followers?

While many marketers put emphasis on the number of Twitter followers a brand has, we here at 31 Creative are about quality vs. quantity. Which is why we’re letting you in on a few of our Twitter secrets!

How do you know if you have the right Twitter followers? Here are 3 secret tips we use as well as help our clients with:

  1. Get ahead of your demographic.
    This means knowing the behavioral traits of your potential buyer. For example, if we’re targeting West Michigan CEOs, we try to follow high-end golf clubs, museums, large charity organizations, yacht clubs, local chambers of commerce, business publications, etc.
  2. Keep your enemies close.
    Follow competitors in your industry – and don’t just stop at brands. Follow people who work for your competitor or use your competitor’s products/services. You never know when a customer service gripe could be a tweet of opportunity for you.
  3. Search for industry keywords.
    And then follow influencers and brands for these terms. While many large brands won’t follow you back, many of their followers will follow you back. So what’s the magic in all of this? Casting a wide net allows a larger set of users to discover you on Twitter and follow you back. If you’re casting your net in the right areas, you have a better chance of gaining quality followers. We typically try to follow everyone who follows us back and then periodically do clean up of our followers. This keeps our stream current and helps with quality followers.

Share your Twitter secrets with us @31creative!

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Blog, Marketing, New Media, SEO, Social Media, Strategy Tagged , , |
20 Jun 2014 Leave a comment

B2B Social Marketing 101

Stepping into the social media sphere can feel somewhat daunting for more traditional B2B marketing teams, but believe us, it doesn’t have to be difficult to be successful. By incorporating social marketing into the mix, companies can extend brands, generate leads and engage customers. The 2014 State of Marketing found that 57% of marketers plan to increase on social media.

We’ve recently been receiving quite a few inquiries for tips on how B2B companies can start adapting social media into current marketing plans. Here are a few ideas on getting started with social marketing:

PROMOTE – Your customers and prospects must be able to connect with you online. Promote your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or YouTube accounts on all marketing collateral – direct mail, e-newsletters, print ads, website – any message bearing your company stamp should also include your social media contact information.

ENGAGE – Instruct your staff on how to include social media contact information in their email signatures. Urge employees, customers and prospects to join online conversations. Remember, a conversation is two ways – don’t just shout about your products and services, listen and engage with all your participants. Bonus tip: Having a social media plan in place helps with continued engagement.

NETWORK – Make ‘network’ a verb. Connect with key players in your industry, potential customers and media members in your niche. Once you’ve laid the foundation, organize tweet-ups or Facebook events to network with users of the same interests.

COMMUNITY – Small businesses and large corporations alike can go a long way by engaging with their local or international community online. Start a discussion on LinkedIn; conduct a quick poll on Facebook; use a hashtag to live tweet at a tradeshow. Promoting community builds trust while enhancing all brands, events or organizations involved.

At a minimum B2B businesses should at least be involved in communities and social networks where their customers already are. Choose a few initiatives that will work well for your company and gain incremental success until you are more comfortable delving deeper into social media.

If you have ideas or success stories to share, please leave a comment or tweet us at @31creative!

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Advertising, Blog, Holland, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy, West Michigan Tagged , , |
17 May 2014 Leave a comment

What’s Your Call to Action?

If you’ve launched a website or tried your hand at email marketing, you’ve probably heard the term “Call-To-Action”, but really what does it mean? A “call-to-action” is a technique used by marketing companies and advertisers to capture a reader, viewer or visitors attention and guide them to the next step. For example, “click here” on a web page is a common CTA.

From website content to email marketing to direct mail pieces, here are 3 tips for a more effective ‘call to action’:

  1. Define what a conversion is to your organization – is it turning a prospect into a solid lead, capturing prospect information for nurture campaigns, or simply keeping users on the site for longer than X minutes?
  2. Have a specific goal in mind of what you would like your audience to do – is it downloading a whitepaper, registering for a webinar, requesting a product demo, or purchasing with a special offer code?
  3. MEASURE! Compare calls to action and try A/B testing to see what works best – is it a specific font, placement of a button, language, or even colors?

Always be thinking of the target audience – after Mr. Prospect reads your promotion, what do you want him to be compelled to do?

Share more tips for powerful call to action below or tweet us @31creative

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Advertising, Blog, Marketing, Strategy Tagged , |
18 Nov 2013 Leave a comment

Branding Questions to Get You Started

Initially, branding was created to differentiate one’s cattle from another’s by using a unique symbol burned into the animal’s skin. A Brand goes way beyond the simple ‘look and feel’ of your logo or website, but as marketers we’re still trying to find ways to burn it into customers ‘skin’.

  • Why are you rebranding?
  • What do you want your new brand to say about you?
  • When are you launching your rebrand, and how ill you roll it out?
  • What main message do you want to present?
  • What makes you different, or better?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • How can you address your prospective customers’ values?
  • How do you want your brand to ‘feel’?

Take time to answer these questions, and you’ll streamline your branding efforts. For additional tips, details or assistance getting started contact 31 Creative at (616) 823-3238.

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Blog, Branding, Corporate Identity, Holland, Marketing, Public Relations, SEO, Social Media, Strategy, West Michigan
15 Nov 2013 Leave a comment

31 Quotes to make you think … and smile

I love a good quote, below is a selection that has always made me stop, think, and smile. Enjoy, and if you have a favorite, please pass it along.

And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.
- Abraham Lincoln

The Future ain’t where it used to be.
- Yogi Berra

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office.
- Robert Frost

If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.
- Paul Newman

I’ve been accused of vulgarity. I say that’s bullshit.
- Mel Brooks

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
- Henry Ford

I don’t always know what I’m talking about but I know I’m right.
- Muhammad Ali

Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.
- William Durant

 Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.
- Oscar Wilde

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
- Arthur Schopenhauer

A day without laughter is a day wasted.
- Charlie Chaplin

Any man who is under thirty, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over thirty, and is not a conservative, has no brains.
- Winston Churchill

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
― Dr. Seuss

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
― Bernard M. Baruch

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
― Oscar Wilde

A room without books is like a body without a soul.
― Cicero

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
― Mark Twain

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
― Mahatma Gandhi

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
― Peter Hamilton

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
― Mark Twain

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
― Albert Einstein

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
― Thomas A. Edison

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.
― Albert Einstein

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
― Dr. Seuss

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Anaïs Nin

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
― Mother Teresa

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.
― Albert Einstein

Everything you can imagine is real.
― Pablo Picasso

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Blog, Copywriting, Marketing, Public Relations Tagged , , |
07 Nov 2013 Leave a comment

Use QR codes creatively

What is a QR code?
A QR code is a barcode that can be scanned by a smart phone’s camera and transfer information. Based on the type of code, it might direct the viewer to a website, make a phone call, or more. They’ve been used in online and traditional advertising campaigns for years. If you think there might be place for this technology in your business, here are a few creative uses we’ve seen:

  1. QR Codes on business cards. This is the probably the most common way many businesses use QR codes. By using the QR code to direct your viewer to unlimited web-based locations, you can devote the rest of the business card to keeping your company’s brand, getting their attention, and hitting them over the head with your sales message.
  2. Scavenger hunts. You’ll find this on most QR lists. Scavenger hunts are fun, engaging, and happening in a city near you. College freshman, rookies, and company newbies are visiting places they might not have thanks to QR codes.
  3. Package Labeling. Ok, you’re eating your fries, you grab the ketsup, and there it is… a QR code on the bottle. Of course you scan it, you’re eating alone, you’ve already peeled the label off your bottle, and before you know it you have the full attention of the tomato industry.
  4. Storefront displays. Few businesses are open 24/7. Many create an after-hours alternative. Transform your window shoppers to online shoppers with a click. Psst… Online shoppers share more contact information than those who enter and exit physical spaces. Follow up.
  5. Follow Up. Build mobile-friendly landing pages that will make engagement easy. Facebook like, Twitter follow, Pinterest love. Seize the moment: create a long-term marketing opportunity.
  6. iOS. Encourage iPhone and Android users, by creating discounts that are specific to the QR codes. Promote these codes as ads, tags, or POP signage. Whatever you do, don’t forget social. iOS devices make it all to easy to share your amazing find with friends and followers.
  7. T-shirts. Shameless self-promotion.. QR codes on t-shirts. Does this really need more explaining? …ok, maybe a little. Get creative.
  8. Style. Change the look of the QR code without changing the functionality. Just make sure to check it before printing a gazillion t-shirts.
  9. Take a hike. I for one love a good audio tour. But something tells me the art gallery, museum, and that historic marker at exit 14 just outside Bora Bora would be better served with an audio, video and interactive experience.
  10. Ring. Ring. QR codes can dial a predetermined number, or generate SMS text messages. Take it easy with this one, the idea is to engage potential customers, not annoy them.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use QR codes to connect and engage your audience. QR codes can provide additional information, including photos, reviews, directions and event dates and times. There’s a certain amount of fun and surprise with QR Codes, so that you can take advantage of a “what’s behind door number one” mentality.

Have you used QR codes in your marketing and communications? If so, how are you using them, and what results have you seen?

Whether they’ll have the staying power of your website or of your MySpace page has yet to be determined, but while they still enjoy the buzz of the “next big thing,” you can take advantage of QR codes in your marketing efforts.

You’re dying to take a picture of this aren’t you…


TOPICS: 31 Creative, Advertising, Blog, Branding, Corporate Identity, Marketing, New Media, Programimng, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategy
19 Dec 2012 Leave a comment

Warm Wishes!

Merry Christmas from 31 Creative Holland Michigan Ad Agency

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Blog, Graphic Design, Holland, Marketing, Public Relations, SEO, Social Media, Website Design, West Michigan
18 Aug 2012 Leave a comment

On Demand Advertising

From the onset of social media, there has been a shift in how advertisers target consumers. The days where a family with a new puppy would sit through a kitty litter commercial or a senior citizen would listen to a radio spot on the latest acne medication are gone. Scanning the newspaper looking for articles between a variety of ads … gone. Driving down the road, passing billboards for motels 10 miles off the highway … gone. Most of these advertising opportunities are replaced by social media channels including Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.

One of the biggest differences between traditional and social is right there in the name: SOCIAL. For a social campaign to be successful, people have to actually choose to participate. To share brands with their peers, friends and family. Consumers are becoming fans of products, tweeting for customer support and connecting in today’s digital age. How are you and your brand becoming involved?

Which commercials do you help “go viral”?
Which products do you “like”?
Which brand do you “follow”?

Check out some of the social projects we’ve worked on – do you see something you would like to try? Give us a tweet, we’re happy to help you out!

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Advertising, Blog, Holland, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategy, West Michigan
04 May 2012 Leave a comment

Tulips, Threelips & Stems

With summer in February and tropical storms in May, it’s no surprise that Holland’s popular flower festival, Tulip Time, is no longer about the flowers. Instead townies and tourists are clicking their wooden shoes and celebrating Stem Fest this week.

West Michigan Web Design Agency Keep Calm Spoof

A Dutch parody on the Keep Calm and Carry On propaganda poster produced by the British government before WWII. The original was intended to raise morale. Our short series is inteded to celebrate our heritage... and humor.

Just like every other Spring, the quaint (read: Awesome) Michigan town of Holland blooms to life with parades, traditional Dutch Dance performances, concerts, Dutch attractions, children’s events, city tours and more. Locals and out-of-towners gather to celebrate Dutch heritage, culture and community, while sharing delicious oliebollens and carving wooden shoes. A few of 31 Creative’s favorite activities to indulge in during Tulip Time are binging on carnie food, holding on for dear life on the rides at the Meijer Midway Carnival, voting in the Tulip Time People’s Choice Awards and, of course, catching the fireworks at Kollen Park.

This year while the tulips may be missing, the spirit of 19th century Holland is still alive and well. Get downtown and enjoy what our wonderful city has to offer. We’ll be live-tweeting all week – follow us on Twitter for #stemfest updates at @31creative.

TOPICS: 31 Creative, Advertising, Blog, Branding, Graphic Design, Holland, Marketing, Public Relations, SEO, Social Media, Strategy, Website Design, West Michigan
10 Jan 2012 Leave a comment

Link Building 131

The “Big 3″, Google, Bing and Yahoo, which is really 2 since Yahoo now uses Bing’s database, use crawlers to find pages, index your site, rank you, share you with the world, yada yada yada… BUT, it never hurts to speed up that process. Submitting your site to the Big 3.
Google’s Webmaster ToolsAdd a URL
Yahoo & Bing’s ToolboxSubmit your site

Based on the premise that the more quality inbound links you have pointing to your site the higher your page rank and traffic, two sites exchange outbound links to each other. Find sites that complement yours, similar target audience, keywords, geographic location, etc., to get the most out of your efforts.

Increasing the page rank of your inside pages is a great way to increase traffic to your site, and as a result, increasing your home page rank. Make sure that all of your pages are one click away from your home page. Use keywords in these links. Add a sitemap link to your footer to reinforce this concept.

Breadcrumbs are a secondary navigation term for links showing the user the path the the web page they are currently viewing. Not only does this help improve user experience (UX), but it is a clever way to add a few internal links.

You want to make sure that your user is directed to the correct page on your site right? Well let’s make sure that the crawlers are too. Your site can be accessed through several different URLs (http://, http://www., etc.), make sure that you are funneling everyone to the right place … and increasing that page’s rank.

This is sort of a catch-22. More of a goal than a tip. If your already on Google’s first page, you’ve got it. And by “it” I mean unpaid listings at search engines or directories pointing directly to your page. These valuable organic links gained by putting together a site with quality content, accurate keywords, SEO, and a lot of work.

Tweet about your site. Post updates to your site on Facebook. Check in to your site with Foursquare. Build your LinkedIn profile. Hey, you can even throw links up on your old MySpace page. Links don’t get much easier than these, and if you’re lucky, your connections will pass them along.

8. BLOG.
Blogs, like this one, can link to your home page, other blog posts, previous tweet, your Facebook page, Google+ account, etc. These links increase your exposure, and direct traffic to your site. Beyond this self serving (boring) approach, keep in mind that blogs providing original, quality, up-to-date, cutting edge content, will be the ones that others value enough to share. Spreading your message, and your links.

An easy way to add more metadata, keywords, links to your pages,  and an opportunity to let people subscribe to your message. A no-brainer.

Wiki’s support hyperlinks and anyone can create one … or two.

… and a link. Although most links left in blog comment sections are turned into “no-follow” links, a well thought out comment could entice other readers to follow your link and comment or share your message.

There are a ton of these. Some more valuable than others like Yelp and Yahoo! Local. Most list websites by category, service or location … and are free. So take the time to enter your keywords, services, logos, promotions, phone numbers, urls, locations, descriptions, examples, and whatever else you can.

Black hat SEO results don’t last long, and often sites that employ their techniques may be banned or blacklisted from search engines. If your  goal is to get listed highly, try quality links, relevant links, honest links … and plenty of them!

TOPICS: Blog, Marketing, New Media, Programimng, SEO, Social Media, Strategy