Our Blog

Check out our insights into the world of media and marketing, along with project spotlights, featured blogs from our client pages and other musings on how to optimize brand recognition in today’s technologically-driven environment.

5 Reasons McNutt & Partners Is Thankful in 2020

This year has been like a broken record. “This is the worst year ever.” “The year 2020 is a dumpster fire.” “Can we just skip to 2021?” With so much negativity, it may bode well for us to point out some of the benefits that 2020 has brought us (despite the obvious downers). It’s Thanksgiving week, a time when we typically write about reasons to be thankful for this or that. This year, it’s more important than ever to recognize these pluses in our lives! Here are a few reasons McNutt & Partners is thankful in 2020.

Launching products amid the pandemic

The pandemic put a stop to many things. Shaking hands. Gathering in crowds. Even blowing out birthday candles, for some. However, as the world changes and society’s needs evolve, the call for new products to meet those needs has arisen. We’ve been working with clients who have launched products inspired by life in the COVID-era, including Sanitation Station and the SHEMA97 Functional Active Mask—both of which are poised for continued success heading into 2021.

Lucky during lockdown

COVID-19 has not been kind to many in regard to the job market. Our staff is thankful to have been able to continue working. Thank you to our great clients for making this possible!

Reveling in remote work

Remote work has been the name of the game in 2020 heading into 2021. Prior to COVID-19, roughly half of our staff (and sometimes more) operated remotely, with home bases all over the Southeast. We are thankful that our experience with managing remote work allowed us to continue working seamlessly for our clients. We are also thankful that the nature of our work allows us to do it remotely!

Continuing to expand client reach

Another of our reasons why McNutt & Partners is thankful in 2020—we’ve been fortunate enough to continue to extend our client reach geographically. This year, we joined five more Chambers of Commerce—all located in Baldwin County, Alabama, in an effort to extend our services to businesses in need in the Gulf’s coastal region. We can’t wait to continue that trend in 2021.

Getting to see clients grow

When our clients are happy, everyone’s happy! Throughout 2020, we’ve been excited to witness client growth, evidence of which ranges from upticks in web traffic to literal building expansions and acquisitions of new locations. We’re grateful for growth—as it is a sign of a brand trending in a positive direction.

Summary

It’s true that we’ve all got a lot to complain about in 2020. But instead of spending time being down about many things out of our control, let’s flip the script. As corny as it may sound to sit around and list why you’re thankful, it’s something we do every year for a reason. McNutt & Partners is thankful in 2020 for this and more—including you! Thank you for reading and for following our blog.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

4 Types of Remarketing Audiences for Businesses

Remarketing is something consumers encounter every day in the digital landscape. Put simply, remarketing is a tool that uses a web user’s past online actions to determine which ads to show to that user next. The benefits of remarketing for businesses largely involve placing ads in front of consumers that are more likely to be interested in that particular product or service—and thus more likely to make a purchase. Here, we’ll look at some of the specific types of remarketing audiences for businesses.

A quick refresher

Remarketing is the practice of targeting online ads to users who have already completed a specific action, like visiting a website. These users will then see these remarketed ads at other points throughout their daily web browsing.

Let’s consider an example. You go to a website to browse for camping gear. Later, you’re scrolling Facebook, and you see sponsored ads for that camping gear brand pop up in your news feed. This is a result of remarketing.

Some may argue that remarketing is invasive, but think of it this way. People are going to come across ads regardless, and they’d rather see ones that are relevant to them than those that are not. Some may even welcome these types of ads as reminders of a product or brand that a user was previously interested in, but had forgotten.

Types of remarketing audiences for businesses

Understanding remarketing from the consumer perspective is one thing. However, if you’re thinking about using remarketing in your ad strategy, there are a few general categories to consider. This includes remarketing for the following audiences:

People who have already visited your website

Perhaps the most common form of remarketing is queuing up ads for web users who have visited your website previously. You can set these ads up to appear in a variety of places, like social media platforms, for example—many of which have their own internal mechanisms for doing so. The Google Display Network is another widely-used solution that encompasses a multitude of spaces across the internet on which ads can be displayed to relevant users at relevant times.

Web users who have not yet visited your website

Remarketing can also apply to audiences who have not visited your website, but who have searched terms and products similar to yours across the internet. These allow you to capture an audience that may not have had exposure to your brand otherwise.

In addition to places like other websites, remarketing ads can also be placed on search engine results. Again, these ads can be targeted toward people who have not been to your website, but who have searched keywords relevant to your content.

Members of your email list 

Have a growing list of email followers? Does it include people who actually open your emails? This can be another audience among our types of remarketing audiences. Remarketing tools exist to allow you to create ads for people who have already opened your emails as they move elsewhere throughout the internet. If they opened your content before, then they are likely at least somewhat interested in your product or service.

Online video viewers

If you have YouTube channel and regularly post content on behalf of your brand, your video viewers comprise another type of remarketing audience. After viewing your video content, you can set up retargeting ads to show up elsewhere on their internet travels.

Summary

Remarketing is a viable strategy for narrowing your focus on a set of internet users that is more likely to be interested in your product or service than not. Consider these types of remarketing audiences for businesses when deciding whether to move forward with this approach.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

Public Information on Facebook: What Content Is Always Visible?

Privacy settings on social media are there for a reason—so use them! Despite how much of a privacy wall you build for yourself, however, there is some information on social media that you can’t hide from the public. Knowing and accepting that this information is visible is just part of participating on the platform. Here we will specifically look at public information on Facebook and what information other users are always able to see despite privacy settings.

Public is a label

Keep in mind that “public” is an actual label assigned to posts and other information on Facebook. This is opposed to posts/info that can be seen by “friends only” or “friends of friends only,” or even just by the user, for example. By definition of its label, “public” is just as it sounds—anyone on or off Facebook can view the information.

Public information on Facebook

Facebook uses information contained in your Public Profile “to help connect you with friends and family,” according to the platform. This information is always public and includes your:

  • Name
  • Profile picture and cover photo
  • Gender
  • Language and country
  • Username and user ID (located in the URL of your profile)
  • Age range
  • Listed networks (school, workplace, etc.)

Using the audience selector

In addition to the information that comprises your Public Profile, posts you make on Facebook can be marked “public” and therefore visible for all to see—but you do have control over this. Facebook’s audience selector tool allows you to designate the audience to which your content is visible. The selector tool appears below your name when you go to make a post. Click the drop-down arrow to select from the audiences below.

Keep in mind, when you select an audience for a post, Facebook will use the same audience for any subsequent posts unless you change the audience again. In addition, if you change the audience on one of your devices on which you are signed in to your Facebook account, it will change across all devices on which you are signed in to the same account.

What if I don’t see an audience selector?

If an audience selector is not visible on something you shared, then that information is by default public information on Facebook. That means it may fall into one of the categories of information that is always public.

Things other people share

By nature of social media, you are interacting and sharing content with others. That means that you are not always fully in control of what information stays private. For example, if other people share content about you, they can choose to make it public. If you privately share content with them, they also have the power to make it public. If you comment on someone else’s public post—guess what? It’s public. Just be aware of what you are sharing with whom when using social media.

Summary

Having a grasp of what constitutes public information on Facebook is important for protecting your online privacy and promoting responsible social media use. It’s a social platform, but you still may want to regulate how far your “social circles” expand.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Candy, Costumes, and COVID: Halloween 2020 Spending Statistics

It’s a holiday where you’re encouraged to go door-to-door, collecting candy from multiple hands and piling it all together for a sweet, sugary haul. In the era of COVID-19, it’s no wonder that some people are opting to spend Oct. 31st a bit differently. But hey, at least many costumes come with masks! We’re less than a week out from this year’s spookiest Saturday. Let’s take a look at some Halloween 2020 spending statistics.

First, how many people plan to celebrate?

This is not a spending statistic, but equally important to note. According to the National Retail Federation, 58 percent of people plan to celebrate Halloween this year. That’s compared to last year’s 68 percent who planned to celebrate.

Pull out the wallet

Despite the pandemic, Halloween is not stopping people from dropping some cash. Total planned spending for Halloween 2020 is $8.05 billion. That is a decrease from the $8.8 billion Halloween-enthusiasts spent on the holiday in 2019.

Individual spending has increased

While the overall average spending decreased slightly, the average expected spend per person has actually gone up. Maybe it’s because the people still planning to celebrate Halloween are the dedicated fans of the holiday that always go all-out? Average expected spending per person is $92.12 compared to $86.27 the year prior.

Candy takes the cake

So, what are people spending their money on this year? Candy takes the cake, with 96 percent of those celebrating planning to spend money on candy. After that, 75 percent of people planned to spend money on decorations, 65 percent are purchasing costumes or costume materials, and 40 percent had plans to buy Halloween-themed greeting cards.

The biggest spenders

Next on our Halloween 2020 spending statistics—who is spending money on the holiday, and how much? Broken down by age, celebrants aged 35-44 are projected to spend the most on Halloween this year with an average spend of $126.15 per person.

This age group is not, however, the most-likely to celebrate despite being the highest spenders. Ages 25-34 have the highest percentage planning to celebrate, at 76 percent, with a planned average spend of around $118.22. The 25-34 age group is also the most likely to spend money on costumes (including costumes for children and pets), with 88 percent projected to do so.

Diving for discounts

We’ve got the who, the what, the when and the how, so now it’s time for the where. Discount stores (like thrift shops) account for the largest percentage (38 percent) among the places where consumers plan to shop for their Halloween goodies. That’s followed by specialty Halloween/costume stores (32 percent), and online at 29 percent.

Summary

While these Halloween 2020 spending statistics show a definite dip in the percentage of people who plan to celebrate, spending is still only slightly affected—good news for retailers! Wishing everyone a happy and safe Halloween, however you choose to spend the holiday.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Staying Safe Online: October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

We arm our homes with alarms. We lock our cars. We shred important documents. We take measures to protect our personal data online (or we should). Staying safe online goes beyond just using common sense and having general mindfulness of situations that “just don’t feel right,” (though those things are imperative too). With the importance of protecting ourselves from scammers, hackers and other threats at an all-time high, cyber security awareness is up there with all other matters of personal protection.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, a time for a few quick reminders as to what it means to protect your personal assets online.

What is cyber security?

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The internet is a vast place—both full of promising possibilities—and potential problems. Bad people are out there who want to steal your identity, scam your money and, in any way they can, take advantage of the information that you put out into the world digitally.

Cyber security, or computer security, is the practice of protecting individual and business, data, systems and networks from digital attacks or unauthorized access. Protection strategies range from using technology specifically designed for cyber security to simply implementing “best practices” when navigating the internet.

You likely see instances of scammers at work every day—whether you realize it or not. Pop-ups, viruses, bogus emails—they’re all examples of threats to cyber security.

Quick tips for staying safe online  

Cyber security can be complex, but a few quick tips for enhancing online protection in your everyday life can make all the difference. Here are a few to follow:

Create secure passwords

With so many accounts to keep up with, it can be tempting to use the same password over and over again. Doing so, however, leaves you extremely vulnerable. Create complex passwords, use a password manager and change your password any time you suspect your information has been compromised.

Be wary of scam emails.

There are some telltale signs for spotting a scam email. Learn the signs and watch out for them in the event that something fishy comes through your inbox.

Keep your computer up to date.

Those little reminders can be annoying, but don’t ignore them! If your computer prompts you to update your anti-virus, operating system or any of its software, do it. This keeps your computer current with the most recent protections available.

Take advantage of privacy settings on social media.

If you don’t want to broadcast to the entire world on social media, you don’t have to! Certain information may be best left to friends and family. Most social media platforms have built-in features that help you regulate who exactly can see your content.

Only click trustworthy links.

Sketchy links can lead to viruses. Be wary of unfamiliar websites, or those that try to mimic other trustworthy sites (a familiar URL with a .net instead of a .com, for example).

Do not share personal information electronically.

Never send usernames, passwords, bank account numbers, credit card info or any other sensitive information via email or electronic chat.

Summary

As we increasingly live more and more of our lives online, cyber security should be top of mind rather than an afterthought. Staying safe online via cyber security awareness protects you and your loved ones from harm while allowing you to still take advantage of all of the ways that technology makes our lives easier.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

FAQs Answered: Is Using a Purchased Email List Effective?

With many instantaneous forms of digital communication at our disposal, some might speculate as to whether email is still a viable means of marketing. Our short answer—it is, and the potential ROI of email marketing supports that case. When starting from scratch, often our clients ask us about the best way to go about curating an email list—specifically, whether a purchased email list could be useful. Here’s our take.

The drawbacks of using a purchased email list

There, we said it—plain and simple—blog over!

Just kidding. But not kidding about not using a purchased email list.

Buying a list of emails to send marketing material to sounds easy and appealing, but often the easiest way is not the best way. Purchasing an email list will actually do more harm than good in the long run, including the fact that it:

  • Costs unnecessary money
  • Can lead to you being labeled as a spammer (sending to unsolicited addresses)
  • Does not ensure that the recipients on your list fall into your target audience
  • Can sometimes include old or fake email recipients—which is a waste of money spent
  • In general, is not a credible way to cultivate an email audience that will give you results

How should I build an email list?

When you’re not using a purchased email list, then the good news is, you can feel confident knowing that you collected your emails legitimately. You have complete control over your list and who sees your content, which is not always the case in other forms of digital marketing like social media.

Building an email marketing list is not something you should expect to accomplish all at once, but with the help of multiple efforts over time. Here are a few easy strategies.

Ask existing customers to opt-in.

If you have a set of loyal customers, let them know that you are starting an email list for your brand, and ask them if it would be OK to include their address on that list. They’ll most likely be happy to support you.

Set a physical sign-up list at your point of sale or events. 

A good old fashioned clipboard and pen never hurt anybody. Set one out on your welcome counter, point of sale, or on your table at events your business is participating in. If you want to take it a step further, you could also use an iPad or tablet for sign-ups.

Give an incentive for people to sign up for your list.

Incentivize, incentivize, incentivize. Offer special discounts or offers to members of your email list. This could be as informal as “sign up and get 20% off your next purchase” or as detailed as an ongoing customer loyalty program with offers exclusive to members of the email list on a regular basis.

Include opt-ins on your digital assets.

Don’t miss opportunities to remind people to sign up for your list. This could be in the form of a pop-up on your website, a prompt in your email signature or a request on a social post. Just be sure to give a short explanation as to why it might benefit someone to sign up.

Distribute content that will keep people interested.

Quality content to quality recipients equals a great email marketing strategy! Whether you’re sharing your monthly blog post or giving people a company update, content that people appreciate bodes well for maintaining a strong list—and could even lead to word-of-mouth sign-ups.

Summary

Using a purchased email list will almost always lead to more bad news than good. It’s best to build an email list organically to certify quality leads and consumers that are actually interested in your brand’s content.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Supporting Clients Digitally: Customer Service on Social Media

Customer service is a universal concept. When you’re trying to get someone to hand you their money, it bodes well to be nice to them. Of course, that’s customer service at a very base level. It also involves cultivating an aura of friendliness and helpfulness around your business. That being said, just because you’re communicating behind a computer screen does not mean that things should be any different. Customer service on social media is a critical component of generating positivity around your brand that people will want to keep coming back to.

The case for customer service on social media

Social media has been a part of our daily lives for nearly two decades now. However, its relevance to consumerism—and the expectations consumers have from businesses on social media—has evolved over time. Whereas a decade ago it might have been more forgivable for a business to leave a direct Facebook or Instagram message unanswered, now (at least in our opinion) that is akin to not returning a customer phone call.

When communicating online, people also tend to get lazy in their correspondence in terms of grammar, spelling and general formality. Maybe it’s because it’s still a relatively “new” method of communication and specifically of conducting business—so the norms and standards have yet to be fully established. As we rely on social media more and more to carry out daily tasks, the need for some sort of protocol for customer service on social media heightens.

What we mean by customer service on social media

Put plainly, customer service is the way you and other representatives of your company come across to clients—and the effort you put in to making their experience with you a good one.

On social media, customers and potential customers communicate with your business page via direct messages, comments, tagging your page, sharing your posts, etc. How you conduct yourself in those communications is a form of customer service.

Our suggestions

Promoting good customer service on social media is easy! Here are a few of our suggestions.

Respond to messages in a timely manner.

You wouldn’t ignore a customer asking you a question in your store, so why would you do it on social media? Responding to direct messages and comments in a timely manner on social media should be a standard for your business.

Use polite and formal language.

Internet slang is a thing. But just like spoken slang words, there is a time and a place. Conducting business online is not that time or place. Address your customers on social media formally and respectfully.

Check your grammar and spelling.

Nothing makes you look more unprofessional than a misspelled word or a “they’re” when it should have been “there.” Yes, we all make mistakes, but check your grammar and spelling in social media communications to the best of your ability.

Give customers another option.

If a question or concern can’t be answered online, invite the customer to call you or come meet with you in person. Sometimes communicating online can get frustrating, and the last thing you want is frustrated patrons.

Express your thanks for positive feedback.

You would thank your customers for giving you a compliment in person, so be sure to share the love when they praise you on social media! Give a thankful response for a good review, a positive comment, or even a shared post.

Summary

Customer service on social media should be treated the same way you would extend customer service in any other interaction between your brand and your customers. Just because you are communicating digitally is no excuse for throwing all manners of etiquette and respect out the window. Don’t have time to manage your business’ social media? We’ve got you!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Showcasing Your Company Culture on Social Media

Social media is many things. A way for human beings to connect. A record of life events and activities. A platform for brand exposure. A network for ecommerce. As a marketer on social media, it’s important to not confine yourself to using social media for solely one of these roles (even if just in appearance, and even if your main goal is to generate sales.) As social media users’ expectations have evolved, showcasing your company culture on social media is more important now than ever before.

How we define company culture

“Company culture” is a broad term to encompass the values that your company stands for and the image you are projecting into the world. Yes, this can get as serious as showcasing your affiliation with political and social issues (though we typically advise otherwise), or as casual as sharing your company’s annual “Bring Your Dog to the Office Day” photos. It can also include details like office hours, employee benefits, dress code, etc., which all affect how employees carry themselves as a representative of a business.

Offering your social media followers some insight into your company culture shows them the human side of your brand, which gives them a better opportunity to feel connected to you. In turn, people who feel connected to your brand are more likely to do business with you.

The drawbacks of being overly-promotional on social media

The opposite of content that discloses company culture on social media is content that is purely promotional and sales-driven. According to a recent blog from HubSpot, brands being overly promotional on Instagram is one of the top mistakes marketers are making on the platform right now. HubSpot suggests that sales pitches like “Sale!” “Free shipping!” and “Save now!” flooding a brand’s Instagram feed is “unflattering” and even “distasteful.”

This is not to say that one should not post promotional content on Instagram and other social media networks; however, it’s all about finding the balance. Instagram users especially expect messaging with substance and relevance to their lives. If all they see is sales pitch after sales pitch, they will likely be more apt to unfollow your page.

Ways to do it

So how do you share “meaningful” content? Here are a few suggestions!

Turn the spotlight on your customers

Share customer posts that tag your page to give them an extra shout-out. You can also ask customers if it’s OK if you take a picture of them after an exciting purchase!

Showcase your staff

A suggestion we’ve mentioned many times before, give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your employees. Talk about notable achievements, celebrate birthdays and just generally show them off!

Talk about local issues

Taking a stance on a social issue or portraying your political affiliation can be tricky. Doing so can isolate entire portions of your customer base—so do so at your own risk. A safer bet is to talk about local issues that directly affect your business. Celebrate the announcement of a new anchor store coming to your shopping center. Applaud the city for making traffic improvements in your area. Encourage customers to get out and vote in your next municipal election (even if you don’t state who for).

Share what you do in the community

Showcasing your company culture on social media doesn’t get more direct than giving your brand a pat on the back for doing good in the community. Post about your volunteer work, events you participate in, and other local businesses you support.

Have a sense of humor

Lighten up! When it’s appropriate (and non-offensive), don’t hesitate to have a sense of humor using your brand’s social content. Nothing bonds us more as human beings than a good laugh.

Summary

We know that your overall goal as a business is to make a profit, but not every social post you make has to be overtly sales pitch-y. Posts associated with the culture of your brand are a more relatable way of appealing to your customers while still supporting your business goals.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.