25 August 2020
Things have been heavy—both at home and at the (virtual) office the past few months. While we’ve been hunkering down and keeping our distance, we’ve also reassessed what we want out of life—and how we can improve our mindset and focus. After all, good can come from mess. According to Pinterest (most known for finding the latest instapot recipe or yarn wall hanging DIY), with COVID-19 creating new life stressors, more people than ever before are turning to the beloved inspirational platform for well-being and self-care. From February to May, searches have shifted from how to keep a succulent alive to mental wellness/meditation ideas (+44%), gratitude (+60%) and positivity (+42%). And the positivity doesn’t stop there. In challenging and uncertain times, sparks of creativity and a now-or-never attitude are ignited. No longer are we waiting for the “perfect time” to grow our family or build that house … instead, we’re taking life by the horns and making it happen now, damnit. Case in point: Pinterest says that searches for “starting a new business” are up 35% on average, as are searches for “future life goals” (2x), “life bucket list” (+65%), “family goals future” (+30%) and “future house goals” (+78%). And, searches related to gratitude are higher than ever—a huge leap of 60% from February to May. So how can brands and businesses take these keyword learnings and apply them to their own? According to our own resident digital marketing guru, Alex Webb, curating content that incorporates keywords and content trends will make all the difference. “People are trying to find something positive among the onslaught of negativity being constantly shoved in their faces,” she says. “Hence searches like ‘wellness/meditation/gratitude/positivity.’ Additionally, people are looking for ways to save and/or make money. The economy is uncertain, at best, right now. Even employed people may be thinking about tightening their belts. People are looking toward the future, when they presume things will be ‘better’ … which explains all the searches with the word ‘future’ in them.” Given these observations, Alex says advertisers should do three things: Avoid scare tactics. Focus on the feel-good messaging. In the past, scare tactic ads could create a sense of FOMO and drive users to take action now or create a sense of concern, again motivating users to do something now. However, people are worried enough these days. Focus on the good—the value—your company can provide. Provide and emphasize value. Can you offer free shipping, discounts, etc., right now? Do it! And let everyone know about it. Understand that the buying cycle might be longer. As people daydream about better days ahead, they may stumble across your ads or website … but they may be further away from committing than your pre-pandemic customers. Think about how you can nurture them in the long run. How can you stay top of mind until theyare ready to convert? Do you have an email list they can sign up for? Perhaps some longer-term retargeting ads are in order. Anything to allow you to stay in touch with them. “Knowing your audience’s mindset is imperative to building good relationships,” Alex says. And likewise, getting those insights is simple: Look at platform trends (like Pinterest). You can also check out Google Trends. Look at which pages on your website are getting the most traffic. Do you see a theme? If you’re running a Google Ads campaign, check your search queries reports. Here’s an example: At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, our pest control client saw a spike in search queries around DIY treatments. We hypothesized that this was because a) people didn’t want a stranger coming to their house during the pandemic or b) people wanted to save money, if possible. Maybe both. Our team wrote several blog posts about using essential oils to treat pests and DIY pest control. We provided real value by telling searchers the truth—some DIY methods can work as a stop-gap measure but they usually don’t clear up an infestation. Obviously, the client would rather you become a customer, but they didn’t balk at us talking about alternative methods. In April, their organic blog traffic (number of users) was up 50.7%. Specifically, one blog post about essential oils and pest control was up 68.1%, driving 3,596 users. (Keep in mind, this is a regional pest control company … not a national chain … not an exciting startup or social media platform.) Those significant gains continued and even increased further in May and June. In a recent survey by Channel Factor, 80% of consumers head to their favorite vloggers on YouTube to improve their mood—and it’s no wonder. Fun, lighthearted content with zero commercial interest is just what 2020 ordered. Lockdown life led to a huge uptake in media consumption—including a 44% worldwide increase in social media use according to Statista. With more people browsing through social media, knowing who your audience is more important than ever. And the better you know who your audience is, and, more important what they’re looking up on Pinterest or YouTube these days, the easier it will be to create more targeted, more relevant content for them to engage with … and that means more eyes on your business. Which is just the way it should be. This post is part of a series on marketing during and after the pandemic. To read the others, follow this link.
06 August 2020
Author: Stephanie Meinberg
As a University of Alabama grad and Anderson Twp., Ohio native, Emily Meek has divided her post-collegiate years to exploring Europe and launching her career (often simultaneously). Stonehenge to Dublin to Paris, then Birmingham and now back to Cincy, she’s a hometown girl with a passion for football—she’s also the newest member of the St. Gregory media team. Q: You’ve joined us as our assistant media buyer—tell us a little about your media experience. A: I spent just over a year as an assistant traditional media buyer for the Martin Retail Group, an agency in Alabama focused primarily on automotive clients. My work was with General Motors—Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac—covering TV, cable, radio and print buys for my region, which was about 29 markets. It was basic media assistant work—with my strong background in PR, which was primarily earned and owned media, this role allowed me to transition over to the paid media side, which was really interesting to me … I was excited about learning more from that perspective. Q: So why the move back to Cincy? What appealed to you about St. Gregory? A: I loved Alabama—the school, not the state. [She laughs.] I was really looking for an agency setting, the next step after focused corporate communications where you’re working for the same client every day. The pandemic limited my options, of course, but then I spotted this opening—in my hometown—and with everything that was going on in the world, it seemed like the perfect time, the perfect opportunity, to make the jump. St. Gregory as an agency had a deep roster of clients, a lot of which were automotive, which was my current forte. So, it was that ideal next step—going from what I was doing on just the media side at MRG to a full-service agency that did that and more. It blended my previous PR experience with my current work … all in one job. Q: Thoughts on media—in general? Where it’s going in our highly digital, on-demand world … A: Obviously there’s a lot of focus on digital, but I’m more interested in traditional … more interested in what’s going on in the moment when it comes to advertising, like when I’m watching football in live action on TV (versus paying to skip ads on Hulu when I watch The Bachelor). I think you can go further, do more with traditional media—and I think a lot of people don’t realize all that encompasses … it’s not just TV, it’s also billboards and radio and more … Q: So, your primary role here … and favorite part so far? A: I’m only just now a month in, so I don’t have my own accounts yet. Currently, I’m helping with whatever [St. Gregory media director] Janet needs … forms, adjusting plans and media tools, sending traffic, working with budget sheets, printing invoices, scanning things in for co-op … literally every day is something different. I haven’t done anything twice yet. Which is one of the best parts—I love the option of being able to do different things in different systems with different forms and different setups … nothing is ever boring here.