LISTOWEL – Off the Lens Media started in 2015 when owner Brayden Gingrich was still in high school, and by 2019 it was the winner of the North Perth Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award. It set out to help businesses change the way they market online using high-quality video, targeted online ads and custom brand strategies.
With a passion for helping others, Off the Lens Media is aiming to change the online marketing space and how business owners look at investing in themselves and their brand.
When introducing Gingrich as the keynote speaker at the Listowel Business Improvement Area (BIA) annual general meeting on April 7 BIA coordinator Lisa Schaefer mentioned that the business is run with a belief that by educating their clients, everyone can be successful.
“Over the past seven years Off the Lens Media has compiled a list of common mistakes businesses often make unintentionally when selling to customers, branding and reaching their audiences online,” she said. “Brayden will speak to these mistakes and then share how you can avoid them and improve your digital presence.”
Gingrich acknowledged the effect COVID-19 has had on businesses and individuals and the fact that its effects will continue to be felt in the foreseeable future.
“(I’ve) been working with Off the Lens for the past seven years,” he said. “We’ve supported over fifty businesses across North America, mainly in Ontario but also in Los Angeles and British Columbia.”
Off the Lens Media has completed hundreds of projects from video ads to long-format productions, ad campaigns and Gingrich’s favourite – social media and strategy.
“My biggest passion isn’t just Off the Lens,” he said. “It’s helping entrepreneurs and businesses grow. I find it so cool that you can get up in the morning and just do what you want in life and this is what I’m choosing.”
His keynote address tackled five common mistakes most companies make and offered some suggestions.
1. Delegating marketing internally without understanding it
“This is super important because it creates confusion and uncertainty in your marketing efforts,” said Gingrich.
He said he often hears business owners wondering how to tell if marketing has worked. People may be getting likes on their page or their ads but they wonder if it contributes to growth.
“It can leave negative reactions towards your company with rough branding, poor messaging and targeting,” said Gingrich.
This can also lead to massive unwanted costs and wasted time.
“We want to make sure marketing efforts are moving the needle forward in the right direction and at the right pace,” he said.
Gingrich offered a few suggestions to make sure people understand marketing. There are courses available online to help people familiarize themselves with marketing and read and listen to educational insights.
“You can develop an understanding of consumer behaviour and the psychology behind their actions through those avenues,” he said. “Really be aware of the reactions from the content you post.”
Gingrich recommended two books for every entrepreneur and business owner to read – High-Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard and The Art of Client Service by Robert Solomon.
2. Not testing ads, creatives and strategies
Gingrich emphasized the importance of testing all marketing to find out the necessary scale of certain campaigns what content is “sticking to the wall.”
“Your budget is going to be eaten up by campaigns and content if you don’t plan to target properly,” he said. “It takes about two weeks to do a full in-depth test on social media and then once you have that final copy you can go all in seeing what sticks long-term.”
This was the first time Gingrich mentioned the importance of tracking results using analytic software which is included on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
“Probably, I’m almost positive every business in here if you look at your Facebook analytics you’ll see that about 80 per cent of your traffic is viewing through mobile so getting mobile content is super, super important,” he said.
When it comes to photos and graphics he spoke said it’s important to test things like colours to see what stands out to your audience and what gets more clicks.
“Right now especially during these times people want to see faces, with masks of course, but adding personality and individuals in your business will help you grow online,” said Gingrich.
To break the subject of testing further he used a campaign he did for a local gym as an example. The gym needed to generate some more memberships in Listowel so a 45-second virtual tour video was created.
“It was super quick, punchy, catchy advertising – the end goal was for (people) to buy a membership and come in after seeing the video,” said Gingrich.
Off the Lens tested out nine different ad campaigns until they came up with the final product.
“It was only on Facebook and it was only on for seven days,” he said. “We had 25 messaging conversions which converted into memberships… and 308 new page visits so the key thing here is the message conversions. That is what we were tracking.”
This was done with $175 because they tested on low budget ads and a cost per message of $7.03.
The testing was done in three phases. Test one was to find the right offer. Three ads were put up with different offers and then the best performing one and was moved into a new ad. The next three ads had the same offer but with different photos, colours and graphics. The best performing one of those was tested one more time for the writing style and that’s how they ended up with the final ad.
3. Targeting everyone
“It is different than brand awareness,” said Gingrich. “If you market to everyone, you market to no one. This is a super popular saying in marketing.”
If you don’t target an audience he warns that a business will waste time and money and it can cause negative reactions from audiences who don’t relate to the content being displayed on their social media feed.
“Make sure you are targeting and speaking to the individuals that you want to purchase from you so the first step is to identify your ideal client profile,” said Gingrich. “This does not have to be your current ones – this is a misconception, so don’t think about your favourite customer that walks in the door. Think about the customer you would love to walk in the door.”
When choosing the correct target market, he also encouraged choosing the appropriate social media platforms.
“For business to business companies a lot of the time you are going to be hammering on LinkedIn and Facebook for written content and then Instagram is very visual,” said Gingrich.
He also emphasized the importance of messaging pillars which are topics that are the foundation of marketing.
“They are themes,” he said. “We chose three for our business and a lot of our clients run three to five. They are themes that are consistently mentioned in posts, online advertising, print advertising, conversations that you have with prospects for customers – anywhere your business is seen or heard you want to bring these up. They don’t have to be the main focus but a support context to the content you put out.”
The pillars at the foundation of Off the Lens Media messaging are to create long-term strategies, focus on supporting and building communities and help clients save time and arrive at results faster.
“So those are three things that we incorporate in all of our messaging and ads in any way we can,” said Gingrich.
4. Not tracking or paying attention to analytics
Gingrich returned attention to analytics.
“Depending on what marketing platforms you are using – not just digital – there will be some analytics,” he said. “Try to use these to the best of your ability.”
He warned that not tracking analytics will waste time, energy and money.
“Your marketing can feel like it is at a standstill because you are not looking at the numbers,” said Gingrich. “It is going to confuse where you are losing and gaining customers and it’s incredibly difficult to scale marketing effectively and efficiently – those are the keywords, effectively and efficiently.”
He repeated that on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram analytic software is built in to track what geographic locations people are viewing your content from, how many clicks they are giving you, what kind of engagement your posts got and more in-depth metrics.
“Analyze and keep a record of where your conversions are coming from and which efforts are working the best,” said Gingrich. “Get educated and familiar with the built-in systems and confirm the metrics you want to track – traffic sources, engagement, conversion rates. “
5. Not creating a culture
“When we talk about culture, this doesn’t necessarily mean internal but external as well,” said Gingrich. “Failing to do so can engage the wrong audience… it creates confusion on what your brand stands for – your values and your work culture.”
Not only can a strong online culture and community help with promotion of products but Gingrich also said it will be a benefit to the hiring process because it can lead to better applicants who are exciting about working for the company,” he said.
Gingrich said culture can be created by building on values, building on people and building on experiences.
“If you can think of the last time you went to a car dealership… think about the experience,” he said. “Close your eyes and envision it. You walk in, you get the keys from the salesman after you sign your life away … you smell the leather. There is something about the air in the car. It’s the experience. How can you show your experience from your company online?”
Gingrich mentioned that customers want to see individuals that they can relate to online.
“It will help engagement,” he said. “Build on the values. That’s not just the values your business is built on with honesty, integrity and respect but also the value financially… What value do you bring to the table.”
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner