IHOP Name Change – Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Remember that brief time in pancake history when IHOP changed its name to IHOb? Yes, it was a change that left the entire nation puzzled and somewhat feeling betrayed. However, this new identity was all too swift, as they went back to their old roots. And now, this change got us questioning, was this a brilliant IHOP marketing stunt or just luck?IHOP Name Change - Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Return on Investment for the IHOP Campaign

IHOP received great exposure that put it on the spotlight. Otherwise, how else would they bring attention to their new menu addition – burgers? We can speculate that this IHOP campaign to bring attention to their burgers worked. It got people lining outside their doors, including Food and Wine. Whatever the reason for this IHOP name change was, we sure are happy to see that the beloved International House of Pancakes would never turn their backs on pancakes – as they captioned on Instagram.

IHOP Backlinks

Getting these types of backlinks (e.g. Food & Wine) is ridiculously good for IHOP. When, if ever, would IHOP get this type of exposure? They wouldn’t. This clever IHOP marketing stunt was a success that gave the chain restaurant online prominence.

IHOP Campaign Media Coverage

With any major news comes major media coverage. And of course, this IHOP campaign was no exception. The media coverage for the IHOP name change illustrated their surprise as well as that of consumers. Fox News and NBC Right Now are some of the TV news stations that commented on this change. Sure enough people took this matter to Twitter where IHOP held a poll for users to guess the meaning of their new acronym.

Brilliant IHOP Marketing Stunt

We must admit that it was the best marketing stunt ever by a chain restaurant. Why? It’s simple. Not only did this unexpected name change shake consumers to their core, it also brought plenty of press to the chain restaurants. The fine dining magazine Food & Wine, equally as surprised as the rest of us, featured the IHOP name change in an article about the restaurant’s identity. This reflects the genius behind their marketing strategy because, again, when would IHOP get this type of exposure? It got people talking everywhere, on social media, on news channels, at work. Also, curious consumers and regulars now felt they had to go and try their burgers.

https://twitter.com/AntoniaMireles_/status/1012402427587416065

Faux Outrage?

Twitter is the platform of choice for people to take their opinions to. And surely consumers gave the world a piece of their mind, but did they take it too far? Did this new name call for a boycott?

IHOP Campaign or Mere Luck

We should also consider that luck played a role in the campaign. IHOP, a stamp for pancakes, has been around for decades. What better way to make national noise than to tease a brand change, while adding new menu items and increasing foot traffic to their restaurants? But how much more creative can one get to push a campaign for a menu item? Does that mean that other chain restaurants should pull the same strategy in exchange of exposure? I dare say no, this was just a one-time thing for IHOP and I do not think it will work for other restaurants. Think cry wolf. Our digital culture is quick to realize and adapt … and even filter out future attempts. So, yes, maybe the stars aligned just right to bring them the luck IHOP needed to pull this off. However, with smart campaigns, is luck even planned for?

Well done IHOP! You kept us entertained, confused, and intrigued for a while, all to present your newest menu item and tease that you were changing your brand. At Energyhill we were fascinated by this IHOP marketing stunt and think it was a smart move for the chain. As a marketing and advertising company, we understand strategies and always devise tactics to help businesses grow. Now, don’t worry, we will not use this card of name change, but we will use business strategies to push your business forward. Contact us to get more information and get the conversation started.

Engage with us on social and give us your thoughts on this brilliant campaign. It was a campaign right IHOP?

What Is the Value of Good SEO (vs. Bad)?

If you operate an online business, then you probably know how important it is to have good SEO. But what distinguishes good search engine optimization from bad? And, how do you know that your online marketing company is doing everything it should to earn you a top spot in the organic search results?

The fact is that Google is constantly updating its search algorithm, and marketers that neglect to keep up with the latest changes can easily see their good SEO efforts turn bad. Here are some ways in which SEO plays a vital role in your company’s success or failure:

What Is the Value of Good SEO (vs. Bad)?

Improved User Experience

Good SEO is an essential element of a site’s user experience. Along with impacting a site’s position in the search results, SEO can affect whether or not a site is easy to navigate, readable, and mobile friendly. The latter quality is especially important in light of the fact that approximately 60 percent of searches now occur on mobile devices. By utilizing an effective and modern SEO strategy, you show customers that you care about their experience and that you are always learning to make it better.

Superior Brand Reputation

Using the most cutting-edge SEO techniques can help position your business as an industry leader. After all, searchers tend to view the first few results on a page as the most authoritative. When you target the right keywords in your web content, you ensure that your business is seen by the ideal customers and clients and that they begin to view you as a trusted name in your field. Bad SEO? Well, ineffective practices won’t get you anywhere near the top.

Affordable Marketing Solution

SEO’s greatest value might just be its affordability. Unlike pay-per-click advertising, SEO lets you grow sales without stretching your budget too far. In fact, businesses often find that SEO offers better ROI than other types of online marketing. Now, this is true for good SEO practices. Bad SEO practices, while perhaps cheap, may only land your site in a troubling spot by getting your site flagged or banned from top search engines.

Contact Energyhill for a Consultation

As your SEO and Google Adwords partner, Energyhill is a complete solution for search, mobile, video advertising, and more. To learn more about what we can do for your business, call today or contact our team today.

Social Media Strategy Worksheet

Every business should have specific strategies to keep their online social presence active and up to date. The good news is that you can do something about it! You can grow your audience on social networks if you strategically work towards that goal. To help you get started, we made a list of some easy and fundamental steps that will get you on the right track.Social Media Strategy Worksheet

Set Clear Goals and Objectives for each Social Network

When you identify what your goals and objectives are before creating a strong social profile, then you will be able to have a social presence with purpose. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I going after?
  • Where do I want my company to be?
  • How can I get my company there – to where I envision it?

Knowing what you want to accomplish for your business will help you create meaningful posts that will attract followers. And thus lead you to grow your audience on social networks.

Get a Social Media Strategy

It is good you use your social accounts for a purpose. Set a marketing calendar to plan how often you will post about your services or products. Also, you want your audience to know you are an expert in your field. Thus, having material that shows your expertise will give you more credibility. Also, don’t forget to come up with ideas to release posts every so often, such as blogs, renovation pictures, community highlights, etc. This will keep your audience interested and active in your social pages.

Create Well-Rounded Social Profiles

When you are creating your social profiles and pages, make sure they have working links that lead your audience to your website. Include current pictures of your business and the services you provide, and give details about your business on the bio section. And of course, keep your posts up to date, along with periodic throwback posts to go with the trend.

Optimize Social Keywords

It’s all about the keywords! You need to make sure that the content you have is not only relevant and serves a purpose, but also contains keywords that will help you rank first on Google searches. Include the keywords you want your business to be known for. So, carefully create copy that follows SEO standards to grow your pages’ visibility and prominence in the search results.

Understand Your Social Audience

Put yourself in their shoes! In order to grow your audience on your social networks, you have to think about what the people you are targeting want and are looking for. Make sure you create copy/content that is relevant to your audience. Copy and content they will be able to identify with and that contains keywords they will be more likely to type on their search engines of choice. With this in mind, make sure you create social content that will draw them to your site while highlighting the services of your business.

Follow Your Target Audience and Engage with Them

Following your target audience on social media is just as important as having them follow you. This is especially helpful with other businesses you may want to collaborate with. Participate in online trends, such as holding polls about social events on Twitter, or use the “Ask Me a Question” feature on Instagram, just to name a few. This engagement with your followers will portray your business as approachable, a quality that will help you grow your audience on social networks.

Promote Your Social Accounts Internally

If you already have a strong social account with a lot of followers and a high click rate, then make sure you promote your other social profiles there! Invite your audience to follow your other accounts so they can be plugged in and know of any updates and news. For example, on Facebook promote your Twitter, and vice versa. We call this technique internally promoting your other social accounts.

Include Links to Your Other Social Media Accounts

Make sure you include the icons of your other social media accounts on your website. This makes for an easy flow of visitors and future followers of your account.

At Energyhill we devise the best business strategies to help businesses grow and give them more than brand recognition. Download our worksheet and grow your audience on social networks today! Also, contact us to learn more about how to take your brand to the next level.Social Media Strategy Worksheet thumbnail

Top 10 Reasons To Use Google Advertising

Top 10 Reasons To Use Google Advertising

Whether you’re building a business from the ground up or simply looking for ways to increase quality traffic to your website, Google advertising offers an effective solution that’s also surprisingly affordable. Here are the top 10 reasons to use AdWords in your marketing plan, if you haven’t already done so:

1. Scale Advertising PPC Budget

Unlike other advertising strategies, PPC lets you adjust your budget based on leads and profits.

2. Measure Results

With many forms of advertising, it’s hard to determine how many customers are actually being impacted. With Google advertising, you can easily view metrics to determine what ads and keywords are most effective and how much traffic is being driven to your page.

3. Engage Your Audience

New ad formats mean businesses can engage with web searchers in different ways. For example, Google now allows advertisers to highlight their in-store promotions.

4. Reach More Traffic

An increasing amount of research shows that paid search traffic converts better than organic traffic. If you’re not taking advantage of Google advertising, you might be missing out on valuable leads.

5. Learn About Your Market

Google AdWords provides business owners with invaluable information about their target audiences, including the devices they use and what keywords they’re searching. As a result, companies can create more desirable products and services.

6. Save Money

You don’t have to worry about spending money without seeing results. Google Advertising with AdWords allow you to choose a cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), or even a cost-per-thousand (CPM) viewable impressions approach. If your head is spinning… no worries we can help.

7. Target Certain Areas

With Google advertising, you can target specific geographic regions rather than advertising to everyone online.

8. Utilize Remarketing

Thanks to remarketing, your Google advertising campaigns can follow searchers around the web, offering more opportunities for them to buy your products. Also, utilizing some of Google’s great features allows you to set how long to follow a searcher. Remind searchers… don’t stalk them!

9. Reach Page One

AdWords lets you showcase your content in a place where searchers are more likely to see it. Because searchers view first page results as the most authoritative, there’s value to appearing on page one of Google.

10. Keep Up With Competitors

Reaching your target audience means utilizing all the advertising methods at your disposal. Remember, if you don’t advertise on Google, your competitors will almost certainly take advantage of the traffic you’re leaving behind.

Looking for a better online marketing strategy? Contact Energyhill to realize all your business goals without breaking your budget.

New Data On Generations Y And Z: Insight into Consumer Behavior

Generations Y and Z inhabit a unique position in the consumer marketplace because of one thing: the Internet. They cannot remember a time when the Internet or digital technologies did not exist. They are digital natives. But what does this familiarity and reliance on digital mean for Y and Z as consumers? In a recent study commissioned by Google and conducted by Ipsos, 200 Swedes, ranging in age from 13 to 34, were interviewed about their online habits.  Of course, minor cultural differences do exist between Swedes and Americans. However, the conclusions made by this study are invaluable to understanding this very influential demographic, regardless of nationality.New Data On Generations Y And Z: Insight into Consumer Behavior

Why Sweden?

Among European Union (EU) countries, Sweden has the highest Internet usage rate. Sweden was also an early adopter of broadband technology. This positions Swedes as people deeply committed to and familiar with the digital world.

What the Study Found

Study respondents were primarily split into two groups, ages 13-24 and ages 25-34. According to the results, 13-24 year-old Swedes spend more time on their mobile devices than the other age group. A quarter of the 13-24 age group also states they spend three hours or more per day on social media sites. However, a commonality between the two age groups was YouTube. Both 13-24 and 25-34 year-old Swedes seek out entertainment and short, funny videos on YouTube. One main difference though is that 25-34 year-olds are more apt to watch the news and current event videos.

Reacting to Brands

The data also indicates that watching a video that prominently features a particular brand causes both age groups to seek more information. The video could be posted by a person (i.e. a YouTuber or Vlogger) or the brand itself. In either case, more than a third of all young Swedes will seek additional information. However, when looking for recommendations, the 13-24 year-old age group is more likely to seek online personalities for reviews and input. This is good news for brands that are looking to increase their online video presence. It proves that straightforward video advertising can work, while also suggesting that investing in online personalities may net higher results.

While the expectations between Swedes and Americans may be different, there’s no doubt that Generations Y and Z in both countries share similarities. The type of information available in this study can be a useful roadmap to global companies or American-based companies that are looking for more guidance on how to connect with this age group. For more information about how to improve your brand’s online presence and connect with young consumers, please contact Energyhill today.

Shopping: The Role Of Mobile Sites And Apps On The Path To Purchase

Mobile technology has changed the social world. Not only has it altered the way we communicate and interact with each other, it has also greatly affected consumer behavior. In order to capture sales, retailers have created a dual path on mobile devices via sites and apps; thus, no matter how consumers prefer to purchase, they have an easy solution. Understanding consumer behavior and how shoppers use their mobile devices is now critical in conquering the path to purchase.

Shopping: The Role Of Mobile Sites And Apps On The Path To Purchase

Mobile Shopping Frequency

According to a study by Google Marketing Insights, nearly half of U.S. consumers with mobile phones use their devices weekly to shop. One in ten people states that they shop via mobile daily. These are huge numbers, especially when coupled with the fact that 60% of consumers use a mobile website to shop. Despite the proliferation of apps, it seems that a user-friendly mobile website is preferred by shoppers.

Shopping activities on smartphone

Information vs. Convenience

In general, mobile shoppers find that mobile websites offer more information. While 64 percent agree that shopping apps load quicker and 60 percent say they are easier to navigate, the path to purchase seems to flow more easily through a mobile website. This makes a strong case for all retailers having device agnostic or responsive websites. Having a website that scales based on device is key to capturing a majority of shoppers.

49% perceive mobile sites as likely to contain more info than apps

Incentives Make Apps Attractive

If a retailer is interested in making sure their app is part of the path to purchase, including special discounts or exclusive deals via the app seems to be the way to go. Thirty-five percent of mobile shoppers state they download apps specifically for discounts. Additionally, making sure the app is secure will also ensure more consumers use it; more than 70 percent of smartphone owners who download apps cite security as a deciding factor.

If you’re looking for ways to streamline your path to purchase or simply want to learn more about mobile- and app-based shopping trends, please contact Energyhill today. Our team of expert marketers is ready to help you capture and cash in on this mobile revenue stream.

Does Page Load Time Really Affect Bounce Rate?

Few things are more annoying than a slow-loading web page. But when does a user’s aggravation cross over to serious frustration and eventual abandonment? It’s been widely reported that all websites should strive to have a page load time of two seconds or less. However, that’s not always feasible. So, how important is this two-second benchmark? Let’s examine a few ways that page load time affects bounce rate and if it’s something you and your organization should really be concerned with.

Does Page Load Time Really Affect Bounce Rate?

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate refers to the percent of your site visitors who try to visit your web page and then don’t stick around before the page fully loads. This measurement was the precursor to the newer term of “engagement;” it was one of a handful of ways to see if people were engaging with your content. Per Visitor Insights, when a page load takes longer than 2 seconds, more than 35% of site visitors will abandon the site.

Why Does Bounce Rate Matter?

You don’t want to lose over one-third of your site visitors before they even have a chance to see your website. That could translate easily into missed sales, a loss of leads, or just overall disappointment with your brand. However, since 2016, website size has increased by 900kb and the amount of video being used has increased by 300 percent. It’s the ultimate catch 22: these two factors can lead to slow page load time, but in order for your company to be competitive, you’ve got to have a good-looking website displaying the most engaging user experience.

What Can You Do?

If you need more interactive content on your page, even though it may result in slower load times, what can you do to ensure your site visitors stick around? Well, it’s not just load times that matter to engagement. In fact, almost 80 percent of site visitors report they are satisfied with slower websites. That is, as long as the site provides an engaging experience. Website content, messaging, and functionality all work together to create a satisfactory website visit. Make sure your website looks good and reads well, contains no broken links, and that any video content is interesting. The worst user experience is waiting for a video to load only to discover it adds nothing to the user experience.

Speed is important online, but sacrificing quality for speed won’t get you far. When examining your page load time, think about what you want your users to take away from visiting your site. Shoot for the two second load time; but if you don’t quite make it, just make sure your website is worth the wait. For more information on how to make your website better than ever, please contact Energyhill today.

 

Wireframing: Building A Good Site Structure

Wireframing: Building A Good Site Structure

Building a friendly and functional website isn’t as difficult as it used to be. It’s no longer necessary to know how to code or even to understand HTML. However, building a website that’s functional, user-friendly and effective does require one thing: planning. A sitemap complete with wireframes and navigation cues is key to creating a website that users will want to visit again and again. Good web design also makes sites attractive to search engines and can help with indexing. Below we will discuss the key elements of good site design, planning and developing a structure utilizing wireframing.

Plan, Plan, Plan

There’s an old saying that the three keys to real estate are “location, location, location.” Well then, the three keys to a good website are “planning, planning, planning.” One of the first things you should create when designing or redesigning your website is the sitemap. A sitemap is a basic, no-frills document that simply outlines the pages your site will have and how those pages will be arranged; it also serves as the initial navigational concept for your site.

Besides being a road map, a solid sitemap will help you create a coherent user experience, as well as:

  • Highlight your site’s goals
  • Enable you to add content at a later date without requiring a massive redesign
  • Help you to avoid duplicate content and confusion

wireframe sampleGiving Your Site Structure

After you’ve created your sitemap, you’re ready to start conceptualizing each web page. One of the most basic ways to do this is via a wireframe. Wireframes are no frills illustrations that highlight the structure of your web pages. Each wireframe generally contains the following:

  • Templated features such as headers, footers, navigational bars, logos, etc.
  • Placeholders for images and text

Wireframes do NOT include:

  • Actual text or images that will be used on the page
  • Colors or branding elements

A wireframe in its purest form is a pencil sketch of a web page or website. It is the rough outline of what the page(s) will look like and a guide to how the entire site will flow (from page to page).

If you or your organization are thinking about designing or redesigning your website, the start of the year is the perfect time for a fresh look. At Energyhill, we are committed to working with our clients in a collaborative environment that brings out the best in your business.  Let our team of experts use their talents to help you succeed. For more information about website design, wireframes and digital media, please contact Energyhill today.

7 Tactics To Get More Email Subscribers

Growing your email list is a quick way to increase your reach and promote your products or services to a warm audience. Email subscribers offer businesses a great chance to reach engaged customers who have previously shown interest in your services. Below are seven ways you can generate more email subscribers for your outreach efforts.

7 Tactics To Get More Email Subscribers

Off-Site Options

  1. Conduct a Webinar
    This is a particularly good tactic if you offer a service to customers. A webinar, often conducted for free online, invites people interested in learning from you and your company about a specific topic. This is the perfect way to expose potential customers to your expertise and gain addresses for your email list.
  2. Create a Viral Loop on LinkedIn
    LinkedIn is a great networking platform. One of its lesser known features is creating a viral loop via a post. In short, you would create an article that is giving away something of value for free. In the example at the top of this article, Anna Vital created a PowerPoint template to help potential customers speed up their presentation design process. By instructing users to respond “yes” to the post and then add their email address to get access to the materials, Anna created an opt-in list. Once the additional materials are ready, it’s also a good idea to send it to your already established email list for added exposure.

On-Site Engagement

  1. Gamification
    One of the newer options for list building is to offer a “spin to win” feature on your web site that allows for an email capture. There are plug-ins you can use to easily create this feature. You will determine what site visitors are spinning to win a prize, which could include on-site discounts or a free item. Once the user has spun, they will be prompted to add their email address in order to claim their prize.
  2. Pop-Ups
    While this may seem like a dirty word, on-site Lightbox Pop-Ups are a great way to capture visitor emails. A Lightbox Pop-Up appears on the screen once a user has clicked through and “darkens” the rest of the website. The user can then enter their email address and click continue to see the rest of the content. Careful about how you use pop-ups! Earlier this year Google started cracking down on annoying tactics.
  3. Crowdsourcing
    Use your audience to generate ideas on a certain topic and offer a prize. You will gain email subscribers as people offer their opinion and sign up for the offer.
  4. Turn Commentators Into Subscribers
    If your site has a blog with a decent amount of comments, offer an option for commentators to sign up for your newsletter next time they leave a comment.
  5. Use Trigger Words to Generate Action
    Certain words will persuade readers to become email subscribers more than others. Some of the key trigger words that prompt a call-to-action are: You, Yes, New, Stop and Instantly.

At Energyhill, we strive to help our customers make the most of their online presence. For more information about how we can help increase your email subscription list and ultimately generate more revenue, contact us today.

Is Your Site Ready For The Holidays?

Sure they fall at the same time every year, but the holidays always seem to sneak up on us. For a business, that can be problematic. If you sell primarily to consumers, raising your profile during the holidays could greatly impact your annual sales. Even if you are primarily a B2B vendor, staying in customers’ minds during this time of year is important. Your first weapon to combat the holiday haze is your website. It is typically the first stop for many customers to find out more about you, your products, and your offers. Below are some ways to ensure an increase in website traffic for the holidays.

Is Your Site Ready For The Holidays?

Google Shopping Feeds

Google is the world’s largest search engine and the cornerstone of many business’ marketing plans. You can make their reach work for you by using a trio of services that will put your product images front and center during relevant searches. You will need your shopping feed, Google Merchant’s Center, and your Google Adwords account working in tandem to take advantage of the added exposure of these feeds.

Holiday-Specific SEO

Effective search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint; but you can optimize some pages on your site specifically for the holidays. Consider adding a few landing pages specific to your holiday offerings and make sure the SEO on these pages is targeted to holiday shoppers. Also, spend some time clicking around your site to test for things like load time, image quality, and calls-to-action. You don’t want a consumer to have any reason to leave before making a purchase, so be on the lookout for areas that might hinder a conversion. Slow load time is often the key culprit to consumers clicking out of the site, ultimately resulting in less valuable website traffic.

Pay-Per-Click Holiday Campaigns

Similar to shopping feeds, PPC campaigns can put your products in front of consumers who are searching for specific keywords. This gives you a direct line to consumers who are ostensibly looking for your product. Remarketing campaigns are also highly effective during the holidays. Customers who have previously visited your site, but haven’t purchased, will see ads for your products while they’re clicking around the Internet. It’s a good way to stay top of mind.

Make Social Work For You

Lastly, don’t forget about your social media feeds. These channels can pump up your promotional efforts with interesting content and clever community building campaigns. Just make sure that your site is ready to handle the traffic from a social media push.

No matter what tactics you use, the holidays can be a huge opportunity for you and your business, and they can generate website traffic you don’t normally see throughout the year. If you have any questions regarding how to make your site holiday-ready, please contact us at Energyhill today. Happy Holidays!