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Five Houston Topics that Might Affect Your Business

Houston, Texas is a great place for any business these days. A diverse economy, growing population and favorable tax rates are just a few reasons that are contributing to the success of both small and large companies in the greater Houston area.

With that being said, there are unique traits and trends in Houston that affect your business. You need to be aware of these external factors specific to Houston in order to give your company the best chance to grow and prosper.

So whether you own an established business or are new to the area, here are five trends in Houston that you should definitely take into account in the upcoming year that will likely affect your company (whether you like it or not):

1. Shifting Demographics

Houston is now considered to be one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in America. You might be thinking “that’s a wide variety of consumers, how can I appeal to different groups?” It’s important to note that Houston is one of the least integrated cities in the States, according to several sources. So if you expect to capture customers from the Hispanic demographic, for example, do your homework and make sure you have brand visibility where it reaches that specific audience. Demographic factors in Houston aren’t just limited to ethnicity, but to age as well. Houston is quickly becoming a “Millennial Magnet”, due to it’s well paying job market and reasonable cost of living. Houston is now among the top 10 cities in America with the fastest-growing Millennial population (ages 18-34), with a 25% increase in Millennials from 2000-2013. Some of the key areas for businesses seeking to tap into the Millennial market are mobile technology, social media and an individualized marketing approach. The Millennial explosion is is expected to continue and you should consider how to use this fact to benefit your business.

2. Changes in Weather

The climate in Houston can be classified as “humid subtropical,” making the weather very unpredictable at times. This can make planning for seasonal trends in Houston particularly challenging. Businesses need to be aware that Houston is prone to severe, potentially disastrous weather that includes tornadoes, tropical storms and even hurricanes. Hurricane season usually begins around the first of June and can last for months. Hurricane Ike had a lingering negative effect on the Houston-area economy after it hit in September, 2008. A particularly rainy season adversely affected outdoor-related businesses this spring. Having a contingency plans for adverse weather is recommended.

3. Football Season

The state of Texas is synonymous with football, and the city of Houston is no exception. Houston is home to the National Football League’s Houston Texans. The Texans attracted the 10th most fans in attendance for 2015, despite below average team performance. In addition, local fans avidly follow their college teams, including the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, University of Houston, Baylor, Texas Christian, Rice and many more throughout the region. And Friday nights are traditionally high school football’s domain in the state. Over 54,000 fans attended the 2014 Texas 6A Championship, more than most of the college football bowls attracted during the same period.

Football season in Houston provides a great opportunity for businesses in terms of marketing. Some of the ways that businesses can leverage football season to their advantage are embracing a football theme for your space, offering Game Day discounts and engaging with fans that might be potential customers on social media.

4. The Local Livestock Show & Rodeo

You might not realize it, but rodeo season is one of the major trends in Houston that affect your business. The Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show is the largest rodeo in America. In 2010, the most recent for which the numbers are available, the HLS&R added approximately $320 million in economic output and $475 million in net sales for local businesses. It also generated the equivalent of 7,000 full time jobs during the three week period, making it an event that businesses in Houston shouldn’t ignore. Plan ahead and think of potential ways to use Houstonian’s rodeo experience to best benefit your business. Building a relationship with HLS&R, or smaller, more strategically located events and festivals around the area, could be a boon to your business.

5. The Super Bowl and NCAA Championships

Houston has become an epicenter for major professional and college sporting events. The city is set to host the NCAA men’s basketball championship in April of 2016, along with the NFL Super Bowl in February of 2017. In fact, Verizon has spent upwards of $173 million on a new and improved cell phone infrastructure in anticipation of the increased tourism these events are expected to bring. City officials and major corporations are extremely eager to showcase Houston during these events. What better time for local businesses to take advantage of the increased foot traffic and visibility? Major sporting events like these are expected to be one of the increasing trends in Houston, so make sure to have special marketing campaigns and promotions during these events to maximize your sales and brand exposure.

So there you have it, some of the major trends in Houston that will affect your business both in the near and longer term. By being aware of Houston’s shifting demographics, seasonal climate trends and major local events, you’ll know how best to position your business for success in one of the most beautiful, dynamic cities in the US.

Why Fall Doesn’t Mean a Fall in Purchases – Tapping Into Seasonal Changes

We can learn a lot from the aspen tree. Unlike other trees, aspen leaves have flat stems which allow them to bend and not break. They also change with the seasons, going from a bright green in the summer, to yellowish-amber during the fall and when all the leaves have fallen, the bark of the aspen carries out photosynthesis which gives it energy in the cold winters, a process usually reserved for leaves. Being able to adapt with the seasons gives the aspen longevity; a lesson many businesses could learn from.

While fall is known for being that in-between time when consumer money spends more time in their pockets than purchasing your goods and services, many smart marketers have learned to tap into seasonal changes to offer deals and promotions in order to ensure fall doesn’t mean a fall in purchases. In this post we’ll discuss a few quick tips to get your customers spending with you this season.

Who’s Spending During Fall?

Most establishments experience some ebb and flow in business, and in many cases these fluctuations correspond with the seasons. Depending on your industry, you may notice that consumer spending peaks during certain seasons. For a lawncare or landscaping company that may be the spring or summer, or maybe as a small boutique, your busy season is around the holidays as people start to buy presents for loved ones.

Now that the warmer weather is starting to dissipate, you may assume that consumer spending is following suit. Summer is over, the kids are back in school, and vacation memories have already been made. It’s time to amp up your Q4 marketing strategies for a new season. Many people claim fall is their favorite season and with the anticipation of the holidays a few months away, consumers are in high spirits, and looking to get gifts crossed off their Christmas lists. 

The first day of fall, 2015 landed on September 23, and it ends December 21. This nearly three-month season is marked by cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours. And contrary to what you may think, according to a 2014 Gallup poll, during the fall months, average daily consumer spending is up. The poll asked more than 14,000 U.S. adults about their discretionary spending, polling them on the amount they spent “yesterday” in stores, restaurants, gas stations or online — not counting home and vehicle purchases, or normal monthly bills.

What they found is daily discretionary spending averaged $95 in November, up from $91 in 2013, and well above the averages found in 2009-2012. Moreover, the October-to-November increase of $6 is the largest in six years. In previous years, spending has remained stable from October to November. Before 2014, consumer spending had increased by $3 or more — between these two months — only twice, in 2010 and 2013, since Gallup began this daily tracking in 2008. However, spending typically increases in December, with an average increase over the past six December’s of $6. 

What this shows us is that consumers are getting over the slump of the recession and starting to spend more money on discretionary things like restaurants and novelty items. It’s simple to forget that fall is really the “holiday season.” Winter doesn’t start until December 22, and by then, most consumers will already have all of Santa’s gifts purchased. In fact, while Christmas  and Kwanzaa are technically in winter, Hanukkah, a holiday celebrated by 5.5 million Americans, is in fall this year (Dec. 6-14).

It’s also important to note, partaking in Black Friday isn’t for every business. In fact, a study found that early holiday promotions are actually eating away at Black Friday sales. Many big box stores like Target, WalMart and Macy’s have extended their Black Friday sales to start earlier. “Their purpose is to make sure they get their share of the wallet before the competition,” said founder of ShopperTrak, Bill Martin. The research company expects sales to rise 3.8% this season. “It’s becoming a bigger part of how retailers do business,” he said. Furthermore, based on a ShopperTrak chart, 7 of the 10 Top Traffic Days and Top Sales Days land in the fall.

So consider reaching all those proactive holiday shoppers by starting your holiday marketing early. Brands have already begun lining up promotions in store, online, via newsletters, and for some, their mobile apps, meaning there will be deals aplenty for shoppers this season.

Focus on Savings and Keywords

No matter your industry, positioning your marketing with seasonal weather trends in mind can help throughout the slower season. Life is expensive; and people are always on the lookout for promotions, ways to save, and exclusive offers for the upcoming holiday. This is where tying fall activities into the mix comes into play.

Use buzzworthy keywords to reach the right audience. Knowing your demographic is half the battle. Once you know what your customer wants and is looking for, tie that into your promotions. For example, wouldn’t it be clever if a local coffee shop offered a complimentary cup of coffee for customers every time the Dallas Cowboys won? Now you’re tying in consumers’ love of football, with their desire for a warm beverage on a cool fall day. And once you’ve got them in your store, they’ll end up getting a donut to dip into that coffee, or hang out for a while, grab another drink and maybe even lunch?! And all it cost you was a small cup o’ joe.

Promotions like that not only create goodwill in your community, they bring in new business. Sharing your #CoffeeForCowboys promotion via social media channels will also encourage customers to engage with your brand, posting a picture of their lovely latte and scone, checking into your shop, and sharing their positive experience with their friends and family on social media.

Embrace Fall Holidays and Activities

Think Halloween festivities, the comeback of football season, and everyone’s favorite time to break their diets — Thanksgiving. These major fall events can be tied into promotions. For example, during the Thanksgiving season try sending out thank you cards or emails offering your customers savings in gratitude.

Just like any season, one’s profits during the fall can fluctuate. Instead of dreading this time of year, embrace the changes and use the uncertainty to your advantage by offering unique sales. For example, a creative hardware store owner may offer a special promotion revolving around the snow, or lack thereof. As a gimmick to lure buyers, create engagement, and start conversations, the store may offer to refund the entire purchase price of a new snowblower if a certain amount of snow does not fall that winter. If the snow does fall, however, all sales are final, and the shop was able to sell all their snow blowers at full price.

Businesses that offer creative seasonal promotion like this usually do their homework before they make seemingly outlandish offers. So, based on previous data, the hardware store owner might know that only twice in the last 100 years has the designated amount of snow not fallen, and therefore their odds of having to buy back the customers’ snowblowers are extremely small.

Autumn has a lot of other smaller holidays that are sprinkled throughout the season as well.  Columbus Day, Daylight Savings, Veterans Day, First Day of Fall, and Small Business Saturday are a few great ones. These are the perfect opportunities to offer one-day deals or flash sales.

Using seasonal imagery is another great way to grab attention. The changing of the leaves, pumpkins, crafts, the reds, browns and oranges—these are all fall staples.

Final Words on Fall

The imagery associated with the season is recognizable and gives way to fun concepts for themed campaigns on your social media channels, content and website. Sales and promotions should be part of your marketing strategy this season, as there are so many great ways of incorporating fall activities into your offers. This could mean a promotion you announce in your newsletter, a coupon code you post on your website, or a sale graphic you promote via social media. For ten great and simple fall promotions you can steal for your small business, check out this article from webs.

Using a little creativity can go a long way during this festive lead up to winter. We hope these ideas give you some inspiration for your fall marketing efforts that you and your customers can both benefit from. If you’re looking for even more marketing tips and tricks for the change in seasons check out our top ten list of holiday advertising mistakes many Houston businesses make.

 

 

How the Heat Affects Consumer Behavior in Houston

With temperatures soaring and the sun blazing down, there is no escaping the Summer weather in Houston. Most Texans claim that they aren’t fazed by the scorching heat. However, business owners and marketers in the area must understand how the heat affects customers and their purchasing decisions.

The Psychology of Hot Temperatures

Psychologists and market analysts have long asserted that temperature plays a direct role in how a person acts. For example, research from PsychCentral states that higher temperatures reduce depression but raise aggression levels.

Despite this, many businesses only pay attention to the weather and consumer psychology when they are working with the elements or selling seasonal products. The truth is, nearly every business experiences some repercussion from the heat.

Here are four major considerations Houston businesses and advertising leaders should capitalizing with when the temperatures heat up.

1) Location Matters

Summer in Houston is different from anywhere else in America; while 75° in Maine might make for a great day at the beach, it’s downright chilly for a summer’s day in Houston. This means that a one-size-fits-all marketing approach is doomed to fail. As Weather Unlocked explains, how a consumer experiences temperature directly affects their shopping patterns (i.e. visiting brick and mortar stores instead of online shopping).

In Houston, where comfortable summer temperatures are regularly in the upper 90s, advertisers must learn to “speak heat,” Texas-style. Viewers will not react positively, for example, to ads using a ploy such as “escape the heat” when it’s 79°. In other words, knowing your locale’s temperature profile is essential to good marketing.

2) Don’t Underestimate Projection Bias

On a hot day, there is little better than streaming through the Houston streets in a convertible with the top down. However, car dealers rarely can sell convertibles in the hottest months. That’s because shoppers often fall prey to “projection bias.” As Psychology Today explains, “projection bias” occurs when a consumer purposely does not make a purchase because of the weather. The convertible dealer (as well as the pool seller and sunscreen vendor) will have better luck shortly before the weather turns hot, when a consumer’s projection bias has him or her anticipating the hot weather rather than experiencing it.

3) The Optimal Temperature for eCommerce

Another common misconception is that online shopping decreases in the summer as Houston shoppers take to the streets. On the contrary, as one study shows, there was an increase of  46% in consumers searching online stores when temperatures increased from 68° to 77°. This is likely due to the fact that warmer weather ups the mood and makes people feel more at ease with purchasing an item they have no physical connection with.

4) Reduce Your Discounts

Harvard Business Review claims that warm weather also increases a perceived value. Those shopping in a hot room were more likely to buy versus those in a cold room. Just like online purchasing, it is because purchasing heat is connected to emotional warmth. And in return, shoppers will put a higher value on the item. Summer blow out sales, especially with larger products such as furniture, have little impact when consumers would be mentally ready to buy regardless of a hot Houston day.

Creating a Hot Weather Strategy

Research clearly shows a direct correlation between weather and consumer behavior, especially directly related to heat and extreme temperatures. However, just as no two customers are the same, your business’s weather-based plans should be flexible and malleable. The best and most effective way to design a weather strategy is to instead research your own data.

Using historical sales reports or your own knowledge, track how extreme temperatures may have created a real impact in your shoppers behaviors. Compare a surge or downturn in sales with weather websites such as Weather Underground, where you can determine your weather triggers (or meteorological events that cause a change in consumer behavior). You may be surprised to see shifts in consumer behaviors directly related to a hot, Houston day.

Heating Up Sales

When the weather heats up, Houston business owners shouldn’t sweat. Basic consumer psychology has shown that while heat may play a direct role in purchasing decisions, it is largely regional and can have a perception bias. Furthermore, a warm day may even cause a weather trigger that can bypass clearance sales or spur online shopping. By understanding how your business may be affected by the rising mercury, you too can ride the summer shopping heatwave.

SEO Tips for Your Houston Business

Search engine optimization — SEO for short — is an extremely effective method for driving organic traffic to your website. Having a solid SEO strategy for your Houston business not only helps to boost organic traffic but the traffic you attract is likely to be more qualified in the long run. When a user comes across your site through a web search you demonstrate your company’s value and authority by providing useful information on a topic they want to know about.

For those just starting out, Google has written a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide that outlines the best practices for creating great web content that’s hospitable to person and algorithm alike. But while the strength of the content you post is the foundation of any successful SEO campaign in Houston, there’s some additional considerations webmasters should keep in mind to ensure their pages are achieving the rankings they should.

Have a Responsive Site

You could have the best content in the world on your website but if no one can read it, it will hardly matter. Having a clean, fast loading, and properly coded site that displays correctly on any browser or device is necessary to having a highly ranked page. This especially includes making sure your site is optimized for mobile, since Google released an updated algorithm last month that specifically penalizes sites that aren’t built with a responsive design.

Design With Pagination in Mind

Make sure to have a strategy for how you split up the content on your site into separate pages. Irving Weiss over at Moz has some great advice about the importance of designing for pagination. Sometimes splitting up an article into two pages can be beneficial, such as when different parts follow different keyword strategies. Having a large number of indexed pages with quality SEO content will ultimately improve your search rankings sitewide, while having more than a few low quality pages will put a ding in the rankings of your quality content.

Have a Keyword Strategy

Long gone are the days when ‘Googlebombing,’ and keyword stuffing could push any old web page to the top of practically any search result. Today’s complex algorithms, combined with high competition for the top spot means that nothing but the best content will suffice. On top of that, you want to find a niche. Using a keyword planner, such as the AdWords Keyword Planner, will let you find a good balance between search traffic and competing pages. The trick here is to know your customer base, and create content that targets the keywords they are searching.

Keep Your Content Fresh

It’s a myth that changing up the content of your website arbitrarily, with the hopes of attracting search engine web crawlers to your site will give a boost to your search rankings. There’s no fooling search engines by updating content. Creating new, unique content on the other hand benefits your readers and your rankings. Your readers have more opportunities to engage with your site, and having more points of entry means your site will show up in a variety of different search results.

It’s a good idea to follow a schedule when posting new content. If your readers expect new content regularly, they’ll keep coming back, share your links on social media, and maybe even link to your site from their own blog, further bolstering your rankings.

Hire a Professional

A successful SEO campaign has value that is “completely unparalleled.” But it’s a long term investment that can flop if not properly implemented. The increasing complexity of search engine algorithms means that SEO best practices are constantly changing. Hiring someone who can manage your SEO campaign will ensure that your site is targeting the right keywords, and putting your site in front of the right audience for your business.

However you choose to implement your SEO campaign, one thing’s for sure: the modern search engine has completely transformed the way people seek out information, and it’s here to stay.

Responsive Design: We’ve Made It Simple for You.

So – turns out – Google is going to eventually have its way with Houston businesses who don’t invest in updating their non-mobile-friendly websites.  That’s because we know the majority of consumers are turning to mobile devices for their Google searches.

And how can Google help users get the info they need if businesses aren’t helping Google out by providing decent web experiences?

According to Entrepreneur.com…

“By some estimates, more than 60 percent of all Google searches are now performed on mobile devices, so it makes sense that Google wants to capitalize on this traffic and ensure the best possible experience for its users.”

Yes – it makes perfect sense. So – is your website doing all it can to help Google out?  Take a few minutes to read what we’re talking about. It’ll be worth it.

10 Horrible Excuses for Not Having A Digital Marketing Plan

Business owners frequently make excuses when it comes to why they aren’t utilizing digital marketing despite the many business advantages it brings. In this post i’ll list 10 excuses businesses make regarding why they don’t engage in digital marketing and explain WHY we think not having a solid digital marketing plan is a terrible business mistake in the digital age.

1. Digital Marketing Won’t Work for My Clientele

You’ll never know until you try. There are new customers that can be reached online that cannot be reached via local or traditional marketing channels for pennies on the dollar, and it’s easy.

2. I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

That’s okay! Everyone needs to start somewhere. That’s what digital agencies like Cox Media Group Houston (shameless plug) are for. We’ve spent the time and resources to build a team of digital experts to help be an extension of your team. Why try to go at it alone?

3. I’ve Tried It Before and It Didn’t Work

Use your prior campaigns as learning experiences and don’t make the same mistakes. Expand your reach or go for a specific local target. Do research to back up your marketing strategy and to improve your chance of success.

4. We Don’t Have the Resources

Most marketing keyword campaigns will be very cheap and have a great trackable ROI when compared to print, TV and radio ads which are typically a little more difficult to track.

5. TV, Radio, Print, Etc. Has Always Worked for Us

Of course the traditional mediums of marketing are often successful. Continue to use them. You’re creating demand or reminding your target audience to use your product or service. That audience is then highly likely to go online before they come directly to you. You want to be where they are.

And with digital marketing, the reach is often for a cheap price when compared with the alternatives. It makes it a business advantage that many companies, stuck in the past, often miss out on. Don’t let it be yours!

6. Our Prospects Aren’t Very Mobile/Tech Savvy, Etc…

You’d be surprised according to the stats nearly the majority of every generation use mobile phones and internet.

  •   90% of American adults have a cell phone
  •   58% of American adults have a smartphone
  •   42% of American adults own a tablet computer
  •   63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online
  •   34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.

Source: Pew Research Center

7. We’ve Budgeted Elsewhere

You can find room in the budget for $100-$500 for a test run on a few relevant keywords to your business. If it doesn’t suit your business needs, so be it, but the amount of customers that you can reach across the world with your businesses keyword categories makes it an undeniable way for businesses to reach new customers and expand their digital footprint.

8. We Don’t Really Use Social Media

You don’t have to, although it is recommended. With marketing campaigns such as Google Adwords and Adsense, your business can be found via Google searches and Google Maps expanding your reach and making it easier for your customers to find information about your business.

9. Our Website Doesn’t Generate a Lot of Business

Some businesses won’t benefit from a fancy website and a lot of expensive keyword campaigns but doing a small test run can surprise you and show you that maybe your website can generate business if you took a more serious look into digital marketing. Your website my not drive business, but if people don’t easily find your product or service when they search for it online, it will be your competition that they find.

10. I Don’t Know Where to Start

Do some reading and try and become more comfortable with how digital marketing works. Try reading these to get a quick understanding:

Know Enough to be Dangerous: Your Online Guide to Digital Marketing

Digital Advertising is Always Evolving: How to Stay on Top

The Five Steps of SEO 

Top 10 Digital Don’ts: Your Guide for What Not to Do

10 Facebook Best Practices for Businesses

After reading our list hopefully you have a changed mind about not implementing a digital marketing strategy. The upside is too great to not give it a shot. For retail businesses, with the amount of new customers you can generate and the cost effectiveness of your marketing efforts, digital marketing is something you can’t pass up. For other businesses it’s a great tool to direct people to you, expand your online footprint and improve the reputation around your brand.

Why Social Media Marketing is Critical for Your Houston Business

According to Pew Research Center, 74% of all internet users engage on social media every day—which is why social media sites have become the most efficient way to market businesses. Whether you tweet, post status updates, share photos, or write quick blog posts, being active on a variety of social media sites can help your business generate leads and engage consumer bases.

A New Way to Connect

Social media users come from all walks of life and touch almost every corner of the globe. They are eager and conditioned to use social sites to connect and share. This makes integrating social media into your Houston marketing strategy the perfect avenue to find and engage with potential clients and consumers.

Unlike other marketing routes (such as traditional or digital marketing) where advertising may reach a general audience that may or may not be specific to your business, social media sites are more targeted than ever. Based on the platform your business utilizes, you are able to correctly reach the client base that works for your needs.

For example, if looking for the biggest audience, look no further than Facebook. Pew Research Center says that 71% of Internet users have a profile on Facebook, making up more than 51% of the entire adult population. B2B organizations in particular should utilize LinkedIn, a social media site specifically for career-based networking, where the users are largely college graduates and high income earners. For finding younger consumers, sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, that allow users to quickly share snippets of photos or statuses, is quickly becoming the most effective medium for reaching out.

Businesses can choose to stick to one of these targeted platforms or to branch out with unique cross posts targeted for a variety of different audiences. An example of this would be a sharing a photo on Instagram of a new menu item to reach younger, mobile audiences.

A New Way to Engage

Overall, the main purpose of social media use by businesses should be to foster engagement between the business and its audience. This begins with drawing the consumer to the central hub — the website. Social media, according to Entrepreneur, is used by nearly half of Internet users as their “go-to” source for online discovery. An additional 28% say that using links provided by social media sites has helped them discover new websites. This means that social media has a huge potential in terms of generating unique, targeted website traffic without much effort, time, or financial investment.

Where social media really shines is in being the anti-website. Instead of just being a pitch from a business to a consumer or client, social media provides the chance for a two-way conversation. This includes having a comment section where users can communicate with one another or with the business itself or having a space for the customer to make suggestions for better business ideas.

Social media also provides a space for business owners to evaluate their organization’s performance. While it may be frightening, social media allows consumers to be honest and open– more so than ever before. This may mean that your business fields complaints or receives negative reviews. However, it also allows you to discover what is and isn’t working directly from the customer. It is the instant feedback that makes utilizing social media marketing in Houston worth it.

A New Way to Market Your Houston Business

Embracing social media marketing can be challenging at first. However, discovering ways in which to engage with a new audience and seek feedback through sites like Facebook, Yelp or Pinterest can open up a wide variety of opportunities for your business. From connecting and sharing to driving targeted traffic back to your website, social media has become today’s most critical media space for Houston businesses to stake their marketing claim.

Houston Business Owners: Don’t Try Marketing On Your Own

Sometimes it’s tempting for Houston business owners to handle all aspects of  business, including marketing, in hopes of saving a few bucks. And while having control might feel better than relying on someone else, it’s very likely that you could be hurting your overall chances of success.  Here’s why…

You are an expert. And you are an expert at what you do, at running your business, being a manager, and understanding your customers. But unless you have a formal marketing or advertising background, then you are probably not a marketing expert. By hiring a Houston advertising agency or working closely with your media company rep, you can achieve much greater success while saving yourself time and money in the long run.

We Know What You Can Do and Say – Legally

When you’re running a business the last thing you need is a lawsuit for using an uncredited photo without the photographer’s permission or unintentionally plagiarizing a phrase. These are marketing mistakes like that can have serious consequences and may cost your business.

Using an agency or media company can help you avoid blunders like that. They are experts in the best practices for marketing and understand how to increase your business’s success in the Houston market.

Professionals Have Expertise You May Not

The team you work with should have expertise in areas you know little or none about, such as:

  • Understanding consumer behavior trends.
  • Choosing the right media for your needs. (BTW – are you still only using print?! Tisk. Tisk. You need to chase down the digital bandwagon. It’s left without you.)
  • Setting realistic and measurable goals.
  • Developing creative that will get results.
  • Changing trends including Google algorithm, legal issues, and general market updates.

It Takes (Dedicated) Time

You have a business to run, a staff to manage, and new clients to develop. You don’t have time to write creative, place ads, track results, and respond to every tweet. Hiring outside your company takes the pressure and the responsibility off your shoulders so you can concentrate on other business needs. (And just because your super smart niece graduated with a degree in communications and needs a job – doesn’t necessarily mean she’s got tried and true experience to effectively plan and manage your marketing budget. Internships are designed for a reason! Hire a seasoned professional folks.)

Quality Marketing

Paying for marketing services is an added expense for your business. However, by appointing a quality marketing agency or utilizing the expertise of your media company, you should see quality leads, valuable feedback, and increased ROI.

The old adage continues to stand true: You get what you pay for.

This of course does not mean you have to step out of the process or that your input doesn’t matter, because it certainly does. But your input paired with a marketing expert is what will really make the difference.

Trusting experts at a media company (shameless plug => Cox Media Group) with your marketing strategy and execution will allow you more time to focus on developing your business. Their knowledge and experience will help you to deliver quality marketing material and avoid costly mistakes that put businesses that were once profitable in Houston out of business.

Would you leave your brand new, five-speed Mercedes in the hands of a driver who has never driven a stick – let alone – doesn’t have a license?  Probably not.

Radio Works in Houston: Here’s Proof from The New 93Q

For those of us whose careerqzoo2015 foundations are steeped in traditional media – where radio has long been our
go-to for disseminating targeted messages – the following story will come as no surprise to you.

And while this blog is a high-five moment for all radio professionals – may it also serve as a testament to Houston advertisers that ever doubted in the power of this tried and true medium. Turns out – radio not only compels consumers to buy – it changes their lives as well. That said…

At Cox Media Group Houston, we are accustomed to receiving regular email communication with important Corporate and staff updates. And – every so often – we get a note that does a heck of a lot more than just inform. These are the emails that make us proud to be Cox Media Group employees – and stewards of radio.

Here’s real-deal proof that radio works.

Last week, our Receptionist, Petrice Douglas, shared the following story with us and I feel compelled to share it with the readers of Houston Marketing Matters

I have been here for 12 years, and often get a reminder of just how BLESSED I am to have such a great job that surrounds me with AWESOME people.

This morning a gentleman walked in to pick up a prize and asked if he could speak with Al Farb, our Morning Show Producer. I’m usually pretty firm about not disturbing the jocks while they are on air in the studio, but I could hear Al and Erica Rico, one of the Q Morning Zoo hosts, in the hall talking. I asked the gentleman if it was an emergency, and he said that he wanted to thank them.

The entire Morning Show crew came out to greet him, and he humbly thanked them for helping him get his new job as a plumber. He explained to them how he received 15 calls from different companies offering him a job the same day they talked about his situation on-air. My heart got happy! To see the look on his face, and to see how grateful they were to be able to help was absolutely priceless.

Props to our very own Q Morning Zoo on The New 93Q for this one. Thanks for representing.

Houston Businesses: Is Your Competition Stealing Your Online Traffic?

Fact: If your competition’s website loads quickly, navigates and presents information easily on a mobile device and yours doesn’t, they are stealing your digital audience.

Mobile usage has shown rapid and steady growth over the past few years and is more popular than ever with Houston residents. Mobile advertising and optimization is crucial to marketing in Houston. Your website and content should be optimized for mobile viewing in order to reach your target market, expand brand awareness and keep you from losing digital traffic to your competitors.

Browsing on the Go

Houston’s mobile users want information quickly and simply. They are using the Internet on the go and don’t have time to hunt through your website for what they need. Houston businesses must take on this challenge by creating a responsive website.

A responsive website transitions from one screen size to fit various other screen sizes without users needing to zoom in or out. This makes content easy to read and navigate to increase your clickthroughs and conversions.

Mobile-Friendly Content

Optimizing your content for mobile use is key to improving engagement with your brand rather than your competitor. Use headlines to draw attention to important information and subheadlines for support and key details followed by body content.

Long paragraphs of content are difficult to read especially on a small cell phone screen and mobile readers are too busy too sift through to find the information they need. Break up sections of content for improved mobile viewing by:

  • Keeping your content concise
  • Keeping your call to action clear
  • Using bullet points to make key points easier to read

Opting Out of Optimization?

If your website requires viewers to tap or zoom their cell phone screens to see your content or scroll endlessly to find your call to action, they will be navigating away from your website. They won’t have the information they need and with a bad experience attached to your brand, your competitors will be more likely to gain their business instead—you are losing sales.

Mobile usage is constantly growing and having your content optimized for different screen sizes isn’t something that “cool” or “hip” businesses are doing, it’s something that all businesses need to consider adopting if they haven’t already. Because as we’ve read, if your site isn’t optimized for the mobile users experience your competitors may be.

A Positive Experience

If your website is easy to interact with and your content is easy to comprehend mobile users will connect a positive experience with your brand. This will enhance your brand value to them and increase your clickthroughs and likelihood of valuable lead conversions.

The world is ready for mobile even though you may not be. If your Houston business isn’t optimizing for the growing mobile audience, your competitors will leave you in the dust.