Don’t Miss This! Denver Marketing Agency Shares the Importance of Urgency

People moving with a sense of urgencyWhen you use a sense of urgency in your marketing and sales materials, it can push your future and current customers to jump to action. But, as we tell the clients of our Denver marketing agency, if you use it too much, you’ll come off as the company that cried wolf.

How to Create a Sense of Urgency

Want to get your prospects to stop dragging their feet and take action? Here are some great ways to do it:

Tell them they’ll miss out. Retailers like Amazon use this tactic often. If the number of items available for purchase is dwindling, they’ll let you know and say, “Only four remaining. Order now!” The person who was on the fence about making the purchase today but sees that message is going to be much more likely to grab one of those items before they lose the opportunity.

Put customers against the clock. Sales pricing can be effective on its own. But as we tell clients at our agency, pair it with a clock that is ticking down the seconds until that great price runs out and you can give customers that extra push to purchase. Even though we all know there will probably be another sale next month (or even next week), seeing the price slip away today is a powerful jolt.

Don’t let them lose the opportunity. You know the emails that companies send out to you when you’ve left items in your cart, but haven’t checked out, urging you to come back? That fear of losing your offers or items motivates you to go back and finish the purchase. You’ll almost surely see a surge in interest and purchase activity if you employ this with your own services or products.

Create a friendly competition. Everybody loves winning. Contests and games that pit prospects against one another encourage the desire to “beat” the competition. This feeling can be easily focused on product research and purchase-related behavior.

Helping You Hurry Your Prospects Along!

Urgency is proven to get prospects moving. So, don’t wait! You may not be using these tactics yet, but your competitors surely are! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) Whether your goal is increasing brand awareness or closing more sales, A-Train Marketing is a full-service Denver marketing agency that can help you achieve it. Contact us today!

The Fluffy and Furious: Meet the National Fluffball League’s Top Team

This weekend, Americans will gather around the television to watch one of the country’s most beloved events… the Puppy Bowl. If you’ve never seen Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, we’ll quickly explain it. Two teams of heart-melting puppies face off on a miniature football field, and by face off we mean they run around, wrestle each other and tug on the toys scattered about. Though much less structured than the Super Bowl, it’s a sight to see.

At A-Train, we got to discussing the Puppy Bowl and then something occurred to us: if we were to round up all our dogs (and a few of our friends’ dogs) we could make a pretty stellar team of doggos. We evaluated our dogs’ strengths and weaknesses, and for extra giggles we imagined them as a literal football team. We are expecting to get a call from the Air Bud franchise any day now.

Although we don’t have our own Puppy Bowl to share with you, we do have a roster breakdown, so you can check out our star-studded squad. Let us know which of our pups is your favorite!

And for anybody who wants to make the Puppy Bowl in Fort Collins a reality, contact us and let’s make it happen.

 

A-Train's squad of dogs

Fort Collins Places Second in National Energy Prize with A-Train Developed Lose-a-Watt Brand

Lose-A-Watt - A-Train Marketing

When the city of Fort Collins announced the brave goal of doubling their energy savings in 2015 and 2016, they knew it would take an innovative approach from all ends. Their efforts paid off with a second-place finish out of 50 communities competing for the prestigious Georgetown University Energy Prize.

To secure the grand prize of $5 million, the city of Fort Collins and FortZED turned to A-Train Marketing to design a creative branding and outreach campaign that would engage citizens through education and friendly competition over a 2-year data collection period.

As a company that is passionate about making a positive impact on our community and our planet, A-Train developed the Lose-a-Watt Energy Prize brand, along with supporting graphics, website and a wide-scale, low-cost digital and traditional advertising campaign to push out these tools.

Through comprehensive monthly reports, it was obvious the campaign was taking hold in Fort Collins, reaching more than 4.7 million people. Nearly half of respondents in a survey of Fort Collins Utilities customers recalled the Lose-a-Watt marketing and found it creative and memorable.

In the first round of the competition, measured solely by energy saved, Fort Collins came in fifth after residents reduced overall energy use by 5.4 percent – enough to power 9,800 homes for one year. The city saved more than 160 billion BTUs of energy and reduced carbon emissions by 34,436 metric tons.

However, it was how well the designed and implemented practices ranked for innovation and ease of replication that pushed the city to its ultimate second-place finish.

The city’s approach to the competition showed that it’s not only great goals, but creative marketing and innovative messaging that create community awareness and impactful action when it matters.

A-Train Marketing Expands Administration Staff

A-Train Marketing - Sarah HirstwoodContinuing its 2017 dedication to staff expansion, A-Train Marketing Communications welcomed Sarah Hirstwood as the company’s office administrator Nov. 27 in their Fort Collins office.

Hirstwood joins the company with more than a decade of administrative experience, including positions both in the U.S. and abroad in the United Kingdom. Most recently, she worked as purchasing agent for Fort Collins-based Express Employment Professionals.

“I believe that my experience working in a variety of organizations in Australia and the UK will bring fresh insight to the administrative systems and processes within A-Train,” Hirstwood said. “The A-Train environment sounded exciting and different to any other I have worked in before.”

Originally from Richmond, New South Wales, Australia, she has attended college and university in both Australia and the UK. Her collegiate education included business administration, information technology and professional management.

“Sarah brings a new perspective to the admin staff at A-Train, giving us valuable insight into new processes and improvements within the company,” said Matt Sattler, director of operations for A-Train. “We’re excited to see her grow in her role and build upon A-Train’s quality reputation in the community.”

When she’s not at A-Train, Hirstwood enjoys hanging out with her family and friends while exploring Fort Collins. She enjoys being active and plans on taking part in the 5K Polar Plunge in 2018. She regularly participates in Pints and Purls, a craft group started by A-Train Account Manager Cathy Jones.

5 Tips for Better Case Studies from a Leading Denver Marketing Company

Leading Denver Marketing Company gives advice on case study publication

Case studies have long been a key component of marketing strategy, and in particular, content marketing strategy. However, while telling a customer’s story and why they selected your product or service may provide important and impactful information, readers faced with a steady stream of case studies are likely to ignore yours if it doesn’t stand out in some way. So, as a leading Denver marketing company, we encourage our clients to rethink the way they approach case studies.

How to Set Your Case Studies Apart

If you’re looking to breathe new life into your case studies, try one or more of these approaches:

Rename them. For some people, the term “case study” has become synonymous with “dry” or “boring,” even if the information the study contains is exciting and engaging. But, if they don’t open it, they’ll never know. What if you started calling them New User Narratives or Customer Stories or Client Chronicles? Odds are your open and engagement rates would increase.

Add some drama. Which of these two opening sentences would grab your attention: 1) XYZ Corporation was struggling to keep up with incoming correspondence from clients. In order to address this issue, they needed to implement an enterprise content management system. Or, 2) Sara could almost hear the clock on the wall ticking as she frantically raced to log the latest client communications. Dropping her head to her desk in exasperation, she came to the realization that she needed help. If her company didn’t start taking advantage of process automation, she’d be burned out in a month.

Put the emphasis on visuals. As any Denver marketing company will tell you (and as your own personal experience tells you), people prefer to learn new information through visuals like charts, graphs and images. Yet, we continue to think of case studies as marketing content that can, and should be, text-heavy. Instead, try creating a case study in two formats and see which one creates more engagement.

Use more engaging headings. Case studies are often broken into sections like client, challenge, solution, and results. If you want to keep a prospect reading, try something new like:

  • Meet [Company Name]
  • Buried in Paperwork
  • Automation to the Rescue
  • Cruise Control

Write studies that are more raw and real. Case studies tend to paint the most positive picture possible of a customer’s purchase and implementation of a product. But we all know that that kind of process rarely goes completely smoothly, and it makes us a little skeptical when we hear one portrayed that way. Tell the story “warts and all,” so to speak. If there were struggles, acknowledge them. Also, if you read the quotes in case studies, they are often very sanitized. Try being more true to what the customer really said, even if it’s not perfect prose.

Making the Case for More Engaging Studies

If you want to create case studies that people will read, it’s important to work with a full-service Denver marketing company like A-Train Marketing that can not only help you create the piece, but also integrate it effectively into your content marketing strategy. Get in touch and let’s talk about your needs.

It’s Time to Share in the Spirit of Colorado Gives Day

 

giving

It’s been said that need knows no season, which is certainly true. However, a donation to a charitable organization around the holidays can have an especially powerful impact on the people within your community. At A-Train, one of our company values is to do all we can to have a positive impact on clients, colleagues, and community, which is why so many of our clients are nonprofit organizations. It’s also why we are advocates for the entities and individuals that support them.

A program of Community First Foundation, ColoradoGives is a way for Colorado nonprofit organizations to share information about their missions, connect with the community and increase donations year-round. For over a decade, the program has provided nonprofits with an online giving platform that encourages supporters to make donations quickly, easily and securely. More than 2,300 organizations are currently listed on the site, and Community First Foundation researches each to ensure adherence to their high standards.

Since 2007, more than $200 million has been raised for Colorado nonprofits through ColoradoGives.org. Many of our clients can continue the vital work they do thanks to donations they receive.

Gifts Go Further on Colorado Gives Day

Colorado Gives Day is an initiative of Community First Foundation and FirstBank that seeks to support the important work of Colorado nonprofits by making charitable gifts go even further. The single day of fundraising has raised more than $145 million since it began in 2010.

This year, Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, Dec. 5. On that day, every organization that accepts a donation will also receive a portion of a $1 million Incentive Fund. Donors don’t have to take any additional steps to expand the impact of their generous gifts.

If you’ll be donating to a nonprofit organization this holiday season, we encourage you to consider doing so through ColoradoGives.org and to give your gift on Colorado Gives Day, Tuesday, Dec. 5. We also encourage you to learn more about our nonprofit clients that are Colorado Gives Day participants and the amazing work they do:

Aurora Mental Health Center

Community Reach Center

North Range Behavioral Health

Loveland Housing Authority/Green House Homes

Nightlight Christian Adoptions

Audubon Rockies

Crossroads Safehouse

McKee Medical Center Foundation

Early Childhood Council

OpenStage Theatre & Company

Ensight Skills Center

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Centennial Mental Health Center 

KUNC/Colorado Sound

It’s easy to donate through ColoradoGives.org, and every gift, no matter how large or small can make a big impact.

“At A-Train, we have always believed that giving is a key component to running a strong business,” says Gretchen Gaede, president of A-Train. “The best way to lead by example, whether leading a team, your family or peers, is to practice generosity. Whenever I am in a position to give, I remember that there is always someone that has needs greater than mine.”

From all of us at A-Train… Happy Holidays!

How to Sell Content Marketing Internally from a Fort Collins Marketing Agency

Fort Collins marketing agency - content marketing

Is your company currently using a more traditional marketing approach? Are your outreach efforts focused on providing prospects with reasons to buy your products and services? If you are also considering making the move to content marketing, you may have to “sell” the idea to upper management. At our Fort Collins marketing agency, we know that some executives have never heard of content marketing and they might be somewhat skeptical.

However, while they may be reluctant to authorize the new strategy, you can certainly make them believers. You just have to be well prepared to explain the benefits many companies are experiencing with inbound marketing and how you see this new approach being implemented at your company.  

What to Say to the C-Suite

In order to make converts of the C-suite, approach the conversation this way:

Outline your goals and your plan. Executives are focused on concrete goals and how to achieve them. They don’t buy into gut feeling, wishful thinking or passing trends. So, the fact that you are very passionate about content marketing isn’t likely to sway them. So, present them with a plan that includes specific steps and detailed figures (estimates on new leads, new newsletter subscribers, etc.).

Anticipate objections. You will probably get some pushback from your executives. Take a little time to think about their reservations and how to address them. They may think of content marketing as unproven, time-consuming, expensive, etc. We encourage our Fort Collins marketing clients to be ready to counter all those arguments.

Explain the concept of content repurposing. One of the first aspects of content marketing that executives tend to question is the need to create a large content library. But, you can put their mind at ease by explaining that your company probably already has a great deal of material and that all you have to do is provide a quick polishing and it can be published.

Pitch a pilot project. Nobody says content marketing is an “all or nothing” proposition. Suggest that your team conduct a pilot program that tests how your target market will react to content marketing. All it takes is a small taste of success to wet an executive’s appetite for more!

Caution them about your competitors. The truth is, your competitors are probably either using a content marketing strategy already (and growing their market share) or soon to be implementing one.  And, if those companies establish themselves as a “go to” source for great content before you do, grabbing the attention of your target audience will be exponentially harder.

Helping Upper Management See the Light

At A-Train Marketing, we’re a leading Fort Collins marketing firm with extensive expertise and experience in content marketing. We can help you craft a content marketing plan that impresses your executives and helps get you the green light to move forward. Give us a call.

5 Tips for Saying More with Your Email Signature Block

Denver marketing agency - email

As a full-service Denver marketing agency, our job is to help you get eyes on your product and service offerings. We do that in a number of ways, including by crafting an effective marketing strategy, updating your branding, creating advertising campaigns, enhancing your social media presence, etc. However, another very simple way to get some attention is by adding information and links to your email signature block.

People are curious by nature, whether they are interested in the content of your email or not, they’ll often scroll down just to see the name and title of the person contacting them. This gives you an excellent opportunity to try for a second time (i.e., in addition to the info in the body of the email) to get them to engage with you.

Great Ways to Get Them to Click

Here are some things you can do to entice recipients into taking the next step and clicking a link in your email:

  • Tempt them with a new piece of marketing content. That infographic, case study or e-book you recently collaborated on with your Denver marketing agency may be just what your recipient was looking for. So, provide a link to a page where they can learn more about it and download it if they are interested. The beauty of offering it to them in this passive way is that they won’t feel like you’re pushing it on them. Rather, it’s just there for the taking if they want it.  
  • Provide information on an upcoming event. When and where is your user conference this year, or that “meet and greet” you are coordinating? Here, again, provide a link to a page with more details. And, don’t limit yourself to your company’s events. You can let recipients know about any gathering you think they might be interested in (an event sponsored by one of your business partners, for example).
  • Use an interesting stat as a tantalizing tease. For someone even remotely interested in your offering, a teaser like “New research shows that users of our product cut their energy bills by a staggering percentage. Learn more.” is almost impossible to resist.
  • Announce a discount or incentive. Everybody loves hearing that they can save some money. A note in your signature block is a subtle way to let them know.
  • Invite input. Customer feedback not only helps you improve your operations, the fact that you asked for it shows customers and prospects that you are working hard to meet their needs. So, provide a link to a survey or a comment form.

A Great Use for Otherwise Wasted Space

As a leading Denver marketing agency, we emphasize to our long list of clients that every little bit of awareness and attention from prospects helps. Making good use of your signature block is just one example. Give us a call to find out how we can help you meet your marketing objectives.

Social Media and Charitable Giving

Social Media

Social media has become a powerful tool when disaster hits and humanitarian needs arise.

People in affected areas can use platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to let loved ones know they’re alright, stay abreast of response efforts and prepare for escalation. But for businesses and individuals outside afflicted areas, these networks provide another invaluable use: fundraising for charitable giving.

Brands such as Subaru, Coca-Cola, Kellogg Company, and Disney have used social media to raise funds for disaster relief and other worthy causes, from Make-A-Wish Foundation to Meals on Wheels to the National Parks Foundation. Individuals have created impressive results as well: perhaps the most recognized effort, by J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans, raised over $37M through more than 209,000 donations by its September 15 deadline.

Today, social users have a growing desire to play an active role in deciding where their donations go and who stewards those funds. This – combined with the ability for users to instantaneously donate and engage when they see a campaign – puts organizations in a unique position.

Once you identify a worthwhile cause you’d like to fundraise for – whether it’s disaster relief for incidents like hurricane relief or a dollar-for-dollar drive for a nonprofit – take these steps to ensure your efforts impact your audience and community.

  1. Identify a multi-channel approach to reach your audience and to motivate them to act. This can take the form of Facebook advertising, sponsored posts and organic audience engagement on your social channels.
  2. Establish a deadline for giving and a short, clear call to action. This motivates the audience to take more immediate steps by giving them a clear cause-and-effect.
  3. Make it worthwhile to act. Ensure that matching donations or action from your organization will also have an impact so users feel that they’re joining an effort, not just financially supporting it.
  4. Make it easy to act. Don’t ask your audience to donate and then make it too difficult for them to actually do so. With nearly 17 percent of online donations made on a mobile device last year, it’s important to ensure that the donation process is quick and easy by making donation pages mobile friendly. Additionally, embed a clear, large “Donate” button on related pages and emails.
  5. Engage your audience and follow-up. Once you receive donations and reach your goal, don’t leave donors high and dry. Capitalize on the participation – especially if users submitted photos or videos to trigger a company donation – by aggregating it all. Also, make sure to send a follow-up communication that highlights the success of the campaign.

Whether you take advantage of trending tags such as #GivingTuesday or jump in to raise funds for a more timely event, leveraging the engagement power of social media can benefit both your brand and your community.

Denver Marketing Firms Often Hear These 5 Content Marketing Misconceptions

Denver marketing firms - Content MarketingFor companies that are new to the idea of content marketing and unfamiliar with how the strategy actually works, there tend to be many misconceptions. As one of the top Denver marketing firms, A-Train hears a lot of them. So, while the list is long, we thought we’d set the record straight on some of the most common areas of confusion.

Much-Needed Clarity on Content Marketing

Not sure what to think about content marketing? We’ll clear things up for you a bit by correcting these five common misconceptions:

  • Content marketing is only for B2C companies with cool products. It’s true that the content marketing campaigns that go viral and make the news tend to be for consumer-focused companies with “hip” offerings. However, “going viral” is great, but it isn’t the goal. The focus of content marketing is earning the trust, and ultimately the business, of your target market. And, that works for any organization in any vertical.
  • Content marketing sounds so easy that there must be a catch. The problem here is that people sometimes confuse “easy” and “effective.” Content marketing requires focus, resources, and consistent effort (so it’s not easy, per se), but it delivers outstanding results. No catch!
  • Content marketing is about SEO, and we’re good there. While consistently producing high-quality content and making it available on your website will definitely help you in the search rankings, that’s not the sole focus of content marketing. As noted above, it’s really about earning trust by making a name for your company as one that has expertise and is willing to share it freely.
  • When you’re just giving your content away you can’t track how effective your efforts are. This one is just plain wrong. Analytics are easily captured in content marketing. In fact, using data to refine your content and determine how and when it is best presented is at the core of content marketing strategy.
  • Content marketing is expensive. Also not true. Create an infographic, post it on your website, mention it on social media, and voila… you’re a content marketer. Now, of course, as you scale that process, it can be very helpful to work with one of the leading Denver marketing firms. But how much assistance you get from an agency like A-Train is entirely up to you.

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

If misconceptions about content marketing have kept you on the fence about it, it’s time to dive in! And if you’re researching Denver marketing firms, we encourage you to talk with us. We’ve got nearly two decades of experience in helping clients achieve their marketing goals. Give us a call and let’s talk about what our full-service agency can do for you.