Connect with Millennials Consumers through Branded Audio Content

In our hyper-visual world, it seems counterintuitive to have an audio-only ad campaign. But on the contrary, your highly desired customer base (i.e. Millennials ) are listening more than ever. 

During my daily internet scavenging for useful information to share with all of you, I found a research study in partnership with Spotify for Brands and YPulse on Understanding millennials through music. The study surveyed 7000 millennials (individuals born between 1982 and 2000) from first world countries (United States, United Kingdom, and Australia). From the study, there were four key takeaways: 

  1. Music is the number one passion for Millennials. Music is a key a part of their lives. It defines who they are. Music sustains them through allthe  moments of their lives whether good, bad, happy or sad.
  2. Millennials stream music through their mobile devices and listen throughout the day. Streaming provides a soundtrack to their lives.
  3. Millennials gather social currency from discovering new sounds and sharing with their network.
  4. Music tribes no longer exist. With more access to music from around the world, Millennials are wide-ranging in the audio content they consume.

Okay. Millennials listen to music but how does that help me market my small business? The research demonstrates the ability of these kinds of media platforms to reach younger audiences. Audio has great potential and here are some ways to incorporate audio in your small business advertising strategy.

Create a Playlist



Creating a playlist, is an easy and free strategy to build relationships with your current consumer and cultivate new ones.  With a Spotify account, you can create a playlist to match the tone of your brand. Playlists are an excellent option if you have a brick and mortar location. During your business hours use your playlist to set the store ambiance.  Also help to build your playlist followership by encouraging your customers to follow on Spotify. If you’re a salon, your playlist might give your customers something they can bop their head to. If you’re a personal trainer, your playlist may be high energy helping your clients give it there all. Whatever you choose make sure the sound you curate matches your brand and places your business in a professional light.

“Spotify playlists are Kate’s mood ring, mirroring what she’s feeling at any given moment. Pop hits spin while she’s in spin class, international music stimulates her mental state throughout the work day and her pregame playlist gets her in the mood for a fun Friday night with friends. Whatever you’re feeling or doing, there’s a playlist for that.”

Business Podcast

Podcasting is an excellent way to connect with a mobile audience and could possibly be a supplement or even a replacement for your business blog. MasterCard has a podcast titled, “Fortune Favors the Bold.The show discusses how our relationship with money is evolving. A money podcast by a credit card provider is very on-brand for MasterCard.

You may have a smoothie bar, your podcast may be centered around, healthy living. You’re a restaurant you could have a food show like Blue Apron, focused on a type culinary cuisine or a commenting on food trends. A podcast is a great way to solidify your authority on a topic. This goes with saying, but the topic of your show should connect well with your brand. If you’re a novice podcaster, start-out on SoundCloud where audio files are free and easy to upload. Also don’t be afraid to ask loyal customers or local influencer in your area to be the voice of your podcast.
Spotify Ads (Now in Beta)

Lastly, we have the paid advertising on streaming platforms. Currently, there is not an active self-serve ad platform for streaming services but Spotify ads is currently in beta and I’m really excited about the potential. The Spotify Ad Studio will allow any business big or small the opportunity to advertise on the platform. Businesses can upload their audio files directly to the ad studio, segment their audience based on age, gender, location, activity, and music taste. You can even segment by device. Just set your desired budget and campaign dates and you’re good to go.

If you need further convincing to dip your toe into audio, I think spotify said it best: Audio stays with people all day long, reaching them where visual media can’t — from the car to the shower (really). So what are you waitng for? Create that playlist, start your podcast and draft your ad script and prepare to make long lasting customer relationships one listener at a time. 



Business Tool of the Month -HoursTracker

If you’re in a service profession, you most likely charge by the hour. Keeping track of time spent on billable hours is important when invoicing clients.  It can be a lot to manage as a freelancer juggling multiple projects at a time.

HoursTracker was a lifesaver for me. It is a mobile application available for download iOS and Android devices. I recommend, downloading the premium version for $4.99. This will give you the ability to host multiple projects on the application, helping you keep your business organized. If paying for mobile apps does not interest you, the free version limits you to one project at a time.  If you find yourself working on projects simultaneously, the premium version may be a better fit.

The interface is very user-friendly. To add a new project press the plus sign (+). You will then be brought to a new screen where you can enter your project details such a name, and hourly rate. You can also set automatic breaks, allow overtime and set up your pay period. 


When you’re ready to start working, select the project, and push the “Clock In Now” button. When you’re finished just, clock out. If you ever forget to clock in or clock out,  you can edit your time in the job details. My favorite thing about the HoursTracker is the ability to export your time as an excel file. After I have received payment for my work, I export the timesheet as a CSV file and save to my G. Drive for my records. I then,  clear out the time for the client or delete the project completely if there is no further work. This feature can come in handy if there is ever a billing dispute.

I have found much success with this mobile application especially because it is so accessible.  Whenever I have the inspiration to work on a project, I pull out my phone and presto! I encourage you to try it out and let me know your thoughts.

Small Business 2018 Search Advertising Retail Strategy for the 2018 Holiday Shopping Season

As we all know, the holiday season is a crucial time for retail but with the big-box retailers flooding media channels with holiday ads, how can small business retail outlets reach customers looking for their products. The solution is search advertising.

Search advertising has grown substantially over the past two decades and has become a crucial touch point in the consumer decision-making process. Consumers prefer to search on their devices for the perfect gift than to travel from store to store, uncertain if they will find the perfect gift. Technology has provided the consumer with the power to define their shopping experience, and It is up to the retail store to match, no, scratch that, exceed their expectations.

“This is the age of assistance” – As leaders of the industry, you can take a major step forward in delivering a truly assistive experience to your consumer not only in the point of purchase but also as they research and understand more about the products and the needs they are looking for. There are more opportunities than ever for you to connect with your consumer to tell the stories that they want to hear. To help them find the information that they need and to truly deliver them a much more assistive service.”
-Joanna Aston, Google Partners Connect, June 20th, 2018

So how can search advertising prepare your retail store for the holiday season? To start, consumers have to be able to find your business at all times during their holiday shopping process. You may think most holiday shoppers wait till the last minutes, but actually, almost half of consumers begin researching holiday gift ideas in October. With this being said, it crucial to plan early by starting now.

The first step is to add your entire inventory to the Google Merchant Center and the Bing Merchant Center. A merchant center is your online store for the search engine. By placing your product SKUs into the merchant center, your products will appear when a consumer inputs a relevant query. For example, if your business sells luggage and an online shopper searches for “travel bags,” your products may appear as a Product Listing Ad (PLA).

Using the Merchant center is not a hands-off strategy, make sure that someone is checking the merchant center on a weekly basis to ensure that all products in your feed are approved to show. If this step is foregone, you may miss out on potential sales.

Now, that we have your product feed set-up for the engines let’s now talk about messaging. If you remember our last blog article, “Creating Content For Your Local Market…” we learned that average person is not created equal therefore mass messaging does not work. It is the same in search. Consumers are looking for shopping options that are differentiated and personalized. To create this experience in search engines you must set your campaigns to meet your holiday performance objectives.

It is recommended to create campaigns separate from your Business As Usual (BAU) campaigns to allow full control and to keep your performance data from the holidays uncluttered. I recommend having two to three-holiday campaigns. One campaign to house your featured products and any promotions you may have during the season. This campaign should be set to high priority. The second campaign for your top performing products. This should be set to medium priority. The third is for all other products. This should be set to low priority. Constructing your campaigns in this method will allow you to create custom ad copy catered to the customer you are attempting to reach.

Let’s talk copy. While the character count on search ads are low, the descriptions and titles still have to be descriptive. Having weak copy will lower your quality score and will prevent your products from showing on relevant queries. To ensure success focus on titles, descriptions and product categorization adding in relevant keyword when applicable.

All of this work would be all for not if the consumer does not a stress-free purchasing experience in-store or online. For in-store purchases, make sure your employees are well knowledgeable about current promotions and the products your business sales. For online sales, it is about the mobile experience. Test the load time for your online store if it takes more than five seconds on a desktop or more than three seconds on mobile, potential customers will leave your page. The Google site tester will show the load time for your website and how the site can be improved for an optimal experience. One last thing. This may be a no-brainer but, make sure your online inventory is kept up-to-date on the merchant store especially if you allow in-store pick up.

“That was a lot, but I’m done. Allow me to wrap this up.”

Now that summer is officially here, and it may seem crazy to talk about the holidays when it is 80 degrees outside. But trust me, early planning for the holiday shopping season is crucial to reach your profit goals. Remember, this when planning your holiday shopping campaigns, our focus in this omnichannel world is to provide an assistive service to help customers find that perfect gift with every click they take.