Friday, June 28, 2019

Mount Washington Valley Tip Sheet - July 2019 Edition



Mount Washington Valley Tip Sheet

July 2019 Edition



North Conway and the surrounding towns make up Mount Washington Valley. The area has received top national rankings for best small town for outdoor adventures, best ski towns and more! Travelers near and far will be interested in these lodging packages, special events, deals and “what’s new” announcements from these featured businesses in the region.


Packages

Kearsarge Inn, North Conway Village, NH

https://www.kearsargeinn.com 

Ultimate Rail Fan Getaway

In keeping with the legacy and elegance of New Hampshire’s Grand Hotels, the owners of the contemporary Kearsarge Inn began a meticulous restoration in 2002 of a late 1800’s village residence into North Conway’s first boutique hotel. The Kearsarge Inn is also within walking distance of Schouler Park and the antique train station that is home to Conway Scenic Railway. 



The Kearsarge Inn is offering a special package for summer and fall 2019 for those who are looking for upscale luxury with the added twist of walking to an antique train station to be whisked away to Crawford Notch for a breath-taking excursion.


The Ultimate Rail Fan Getaway Includes:

2 nights in the Kearsarge Inn Penthouse

2 adult Premium Coach Notch Train Tickets

Dinner for 2 at Wildcat Inn and Tavern - 2 salads, 2 entrees, 2 deserts and bottle of wine

Total Package Price: $895.00


Bernerhof Inn, Glen, NH

https://www.bernerhofinn.com 





Babymoon Package


New parents-to-be are invited to relax, rejuvenate and find romance in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, close to North Conway and Jackson.  This beautiful adult only inn is the perfect antidote for today’s hectic world.  Located in the heart of the 660,000 acre White Mountain National Forest, the Bernerhof offers a refuge for those seeking modern amenities in a traditional and distinctive European-styled country inn.



The Bernerhof BabyMoon Package includes a gourmet cooked to order breakfast each morning and a 60 minute couple's massage for a pre-baby retreat heaven.  Also includes:


Dozen long stem roses

Non alcoholic champagne

Rose petals



Total Package Price: Room rate plus $299 (rooms as low as $139 per night)







Adventure Suites, North Conway, NH

www.adventuresuites.com

Ultimate Haunted Castle Package

The Haunted Castle Suite at Adventure Suites is the world’s only simulated haunted hotel suite with a sophisticated computerized system involving motion sensors, time delays. video, projection, pneumatics, lights, audio, and more.

The suite features a gangway bar overlooking the living area, 5 person, second story outdoor (covered) hot tub, the Kings "bone throne", 2 fireplaces, 3 bathrooms, sound-proof walls, a draw bridge leading to the 3 bedrooms (including the 3 tier Dormatorium), a full kitchen with a Kings' table, and unbelievable castle architecture. Sleeps up to 18.



For the ultimate Haunted Castle Package, Adventure Suites can arrange for psychic Sara Moore to visit guests for her uncanny readings for both people and pets. Sara is a medium and intuitive, meaning she can connect with your loved ones in heaven, give insight into your past, present and future, and also help find relief from physical pains that are a result of emotional issues.


Package Price:

Rates start at $1,500 per night, plus $170 for one hour with psychic Sara Moore.





Events



Cold River Radio Show

http://www.coldriverradio.com/



June 30, 2019 - 7pm

Headliner Denny Breau, MicroMasse

Driving on a curving dirt road, visitors coming to the Cold River Radio Show may feel that they are arriving at not just a place but also a time far away. Held at the Theatre in the Wood six times a year, the Cold River Radio Show and its founder, musician Jonathan Sarty, strive to bring guests to a special place where musical magic is made, stories are told and fans interact with the performers in an intimate setting. The next Show, scheduled for June 30, 2019, promises to once again delight a loyal following of fans and welcome newcomers with an eclectic selection of artists, including guitar-slinger Denny Breau, avante-garde instrument group Micromasse and a talented troupe of other musicians and storytellers.




Wildcat Inn & Tavern

https://www.wildcattavern.com



July 20, 2019 - 7pm

Bradley Jazz Collective - Dinner Concert Series

 Building on  a decades long commitment to bringing the best in musical talent to an intimate setting, the Wildcat Inn & Tavern is making plans to go big on the regional music scene with an on-going investment in top regional performers, improved amenities and access for guests.


The Wildcat Inn and Tavern has long been known as the home to exceptional music in the mountain town of Jackson, New Hampshire. Back in the 1960s, Big Band jazz ensembles played at the Tavern. Now owner and music aficionado Stu Dunlop wants to establish the Wildcat as the place where performers who want to play in a true listening room and music lovers can come together.

The Bradley Jazz Collective is a highly creative ensemble that plays a mix of original music and interesting arrangements of eclectic tunes featuring Al Hospers (bass), Mike Sakash (sax), Jed Wilson (keyboard), Craig Bryan (drums), and Mimi Rolfe (vocals)



Concert is $30/person, and does not include the cost of dinner. Reservations are required; call the Wildcat Tavern 603-383-4245.



Adventure Suites

www.adventuresuites.com



Sept. 21, 2019

45th Anniversary Celebration with Motor Booty Affair

Come celebrate Adventure Suites’ 45th anniversary, Saturday September 21st 6pm - 10pm. Featuring the Motor Booty Affair, the ultimate Disco tribute band. Special guest, courtesy of the Cog Railway, Peppersass the world’s first mountain climbing train, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year!  Free and open to the public. Cash bar, light fare available for sale.


Black Cap Grille

www.BlackCapGrille.com



Sept. 2, 2019 - 4-7pm

10 Year Anniversary Party




Celebrate a decade of fun, food and drinks at Black Cap Grille this summer. Photograph yourself at Black Cap with your favorite menu item, drink, bartender or server. Then use the hashtag #10YearsofBlackCap on Instagram or Facebook to enter to win a fabulous prize package at their 10th Anniversary Party on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2. Increase your chances to win by posting at each visit (limit one entry per person per visit). You do not have to be present to win.



10th Anniversary Ultimate Prize Package: 2 nights at Adventure Suites, $100 Gift Card to Black Cap Grille; $100 REI Gift Card - a $650 value.



The winner will be drawn at Black Cap Grille’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, taking place Labor Day Weekend, Monday Sept. 2 from 4-7pm.



Monday, June 3, 2019

OVP Management Transforms Dining Scene in North Conway

I'm happy with how this piece came out for my friends at Settlers Green. Working on getting it picked up on a wider regional and trade publication basis too. Enjoy!

https://www.conwaydailysun.com/business/local/ovp-management-transforming-local-dining-scene/article_b03ee1b0-8162-11e9-b650-4bdc4f8c87d4.html

Barley + Salt
Barley + Salt is just one of the new dining experiences at Settlers Green.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Digital Marketing Boot Camp Series with Kathy Bennett


Digital Marketing pro Kathy Bennett will teach three Digital Marketing Boot Camps this spring, presented by the MWV Economic Council. Each session will cover a different aspect of digital marketing, promising to give business owners, managers and non-profits quick, effective and actionable ideas for improving your bottom line through popular online marketing tactics. The sessions will cover Email Marketing on May 7Social Media Management on May 21, and Search Engine Marketing on June 4. All Boot Camps take place at the Technology Village in Conway from 9am – 12pm and cost $35 each.  
Kathy Bennett has a long pedigree of digital marketing expertise, having overseen large scale email marketing campaigns, digital marketing efforts and website launches, as long-time marketing director for Valley institutions including Cranmore Mountain and Memorial Hospital. Now she is taking her marketing know-how to businesses throughout the region with her new digital marketing consultancy, Kathy Bennett Marketing, LLC. She will share the secrets of tackling the most effective digital marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes.
Bennett shared,  “I have worked with businesses both large and small, so I know the challenges we all face when it comes to raising the awareness of and driving results for an organization. These workshops will offer step by step instructions for launching or improving your digital presence, through free or almost free tactics such as email, social media and search engine marketing. I’ve designed the content for these boot camps so that you can learn something whether you have marketing experience or if you are just getting started.”
The three workshops feature the following topics:
Email Marketing Like a Boss – Email marketing can be the single most effective tool in your digital toolkit. The magic lies in how you use it. Many companies gather email addresses for customers or prospects, but few use them to their full potential. This session will go through the process of setting up an effective email marketing program, such as selecting an email service provider (such as Constant Contact or MailChimp);  the do’s and don’t’s of building email lists; how to conduct A/B tests to improve results; the importance of developing good visual content; writing for email; scheduling and planning email campaigns; and tracking results and measuring ROI.
Social Media Management for Business –  Everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account, but do you know how to use it for your business? It’s more than posting selfies or photos of food. Your social media presence should reflect your brand, support your business objectives and drive community engagement. This session will cover the pros and cons of the most popular social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and others); creating a social media posting calendar; best practices for posting; and how to respond to messages, comments and reviews. You’ll also learn the benefits of using social media management tools such as Hootsuite, and how to use it to track your social media effectiveness.
SEO and SEM Basics – Do you know the difference between paid search engine listings and organic results? Can you access and interpret a Google Analytics Report? This workshop will start with the basics and take you through the process for understanding your website’s performance and how to improve it. It will also walk you through the process for setting up a paid search campaign using Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords). Non-profits can learn how to apply for a Google Grant for Non-Profits, which can provide free Google ads for qualifying organizations. There are simple steps anyone can take to improve their site’s performance, without hiring a web developer. Includes tips for keyword research, blogging for SEO, and linking strategies.
Reserve your spot at any or all of these workshops quickly as space is limited. Contact Susie Kennett at the MWV Economic Council to register at 603-447-6622, email her at susie@mwvec.com. The cost of the workshop is $35.00.  
To register on line click link below:
For more information, go online to https://mwvec.com/bootcamps. For more information on Kathy Bennett Marketing, LLC, go towww.kathybennettmarketing.com.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

So What Exactly is Digital Marketing?



I was talking to a business acquaintance about my new consultancy focusing on digital marketing and his first question unexpectedly made me stumble. "What exactly is digital marketing?"

Those of us who live in the digital world take it for granted that everyone must know what that means. But this question was a great reminder that digital marketing -- and indeed the entire world wide web -- is still the Wild West. Most people don't really understand how it works or what it is. This is even true for business owners and professionals.

In the case of what digital marketing services I offer my clients, here is a brief summary along with some helpful resources to learn more.

Website Development - This one is probably the most tangible and easy to grasp. Everyone knows what a website is, right? But what it takes to put one together? Not so much. I am not a web developer, but I know how to help businesses build the right kind of website for their needs. This includes choosing the right content marketing platform (there are more than just Wordpress, although that is widely used), defining the site architecture and organization (the navigation and content areas), directing the design (the look and feel of the site), writing the content (my personal specialty), and optimizing the site for SEO (also my personal specialty). You can literally build a website for $10 (like this one on Blogger) or you can spend ... virtually any amount of money. I'm working on a project now that is five figures. My piece of it is tiny, but depending on functionality, number of pages and other factors, the sky is the limit.

Social Media Management - There is more to this than posting on Facebook. I'm Hootsuite certified in Social Media which means I've received advanced training in not only using their tools but also how to maximize your impact on all your social media channels, including YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

I strongly recommend creating annual, monthly and weekly social media calendars and taking a disciplined approach to posting so that your efforts support larger business initiatives. I work with my clients to develop a marketing strategy and then create these calendars to help them reach their business goals.

Email Marketing - Email marketing is undergoing a resurgance. In the context of an increasingly complex and confusing social media environment, email marketing makes a lot of sense.When you use a properly opted in list of prospects, customers and past customers, you can create targeted meaningful communications. Best of all, it's all measureable right through the purchase path, which makes it a great tool for those with online booking or e-commerce solutions.

I can help businesses set up with the right Email Marketing platform for their uses. This can be popular solutions such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, and other CRM solutions like Salesforce that are more appropriate for larger businesses. I've used them all and there are pros and cons to each of them. But understanding the benefits of list segmentation, the importance of multi-variate (A/B) testing and the value of attracive and well written email content - that's where the magic lies.

Content Marketing - The Content Marketing Institute defines Content Marketing as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. A simpler defintion is that it's the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. 

The cornerstone of content marketing is strong copywriting - which lucky for me is my forte. But it's also strong visuals, such as infographics, photography and videos. I'm able to create this content for my clients and advise the best way to distribute it, through blogs, social channels or websites.

These are the broad categories - there are no doubt more and I could write a novel about each. But now after writing this, I'll be better prepared to answer that most basic of questions when I'm asked about my new business!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Consultant, Agency, Freelance, Employed - Don't be a Foos



Marketing consultant or advertising agency. Freelance or employed. These are questions many businesses ask, large and small, when trying to come up with the right resources for a marketing campaign. There are good reasons to consider one over the other. Here are some things to think about before you go in either direction.

1. A  marketing consultant will recommend the services you need, not necessarily based on in-house staffing. Resources can be identified as needed based on the client project.  As the saying goes, when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Don't be a nail.

2. A marketing consultant is scaleable. Not tied to a specific staff set up, they can work with you to identify your needs based on your goals and objectives, and bring in the right resources at the right time.

3. A marketing consultant brings skills to your organization you might not have on staff. Even if you have a strong marketing leader or team, you may lack expertise in a certain specialty. This is especially true with digital marketing. A consultant can supplement your team and even serve as a mentor or trainer for the in-house staff. This might be the single most important benefit of hiring a marketing consultant. 

4. A marketing consultant is agile.  She can validate your direction and quickly analyze the situation and tap into the additional team members you need to get results quickly.

5. A marketing consultant has lower overhead. You know how some offices have foosball tables, unlimited Red Bull and other cool things for the staff? You do know who pays for that, right? Working with a consultant who pulls in a virtual team of experts doesn't waste your time or money on overhead.

6. A marketing consultant lets you work with a more skilled practitioner than you might be able to afford in-house. Not every business is ready for a CMO, VP or Director level marketing lead. Working with a consultant lets you get at that level of expertise without committing to a full time senior level marketer.

Looking for a marketing consultant to round out your in-house team or lead the charge with a virtual agency of experts to meet your business goals? Contact me at katbennett @ gmail.com. Leave the foosball behind!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

What is Video SEO



Photo credit: Pexels.com


Is video in your toolkit of content marketing best practices? If it's not, it should be. Video is a juicy means of attracting viewers not only to your YouTube page but also to your website, your social media pages and ultimately to your business.

According to Hubspot, the usage, spend and consumption of video content are set to increase (again!) in 2019, according to new research, continuing a growth trend that shows little sign of slowing. People have been talking about it being the ‘year of video’ since way back in 2006, but these latest stats show that, despite its continued growth, video still hasn’t reached saturation point - and it’s here to stay

I was an early adapter to using videos for marketing strategy. Working in the travel business, I found video gave a quick, easy, and inexpensive means of showing potential visitors the visuals and story telling that would drive sales. Whether it was a professionally produced long-form video or a short video "snack," we provided a steady diet of videos that generated thousands of site visitors

Many marketers miss the point of video, that it is a powerful SEO tool. Google is the dominant search engine. Google owns YouTube. Get the picture? Google's algorithms prioritize YouTube video content, not just because of that relationship but also because of the richness of the content and the user experience it provides.

But it's not as easy as posting videos and hoping viewers show up. YouTube allows for the same keyword optimization opportunities as any good web platform. Take a look at your YouTube channel (if you have one - and you should). Are you using strong headlines, or is your video using the filename your video producer defaulted to when saving it to file. Do you have a robust, keyword rich description that mirrors the keyword research you have (presumably) done for your related website content. Have you added relevant tags? If it doesn't, it should. And it's not too late - take the time to go into your video library and spend some time optimizing these elements, even for older content. Want to learn more? Watch this video on how to optimize videos!

Want to know a fun fact? YouTube automatically transcribes your video and viewers can read a de facto script. Click on the triple dots on the likes/dislikes line below the video and click on "Open Transcript." Mind. Blown. Guess what this transcript provides? That's right - more keyword rich content. This is part of why videos are such a critical tool in your SEO Toolbox.

You might be surprised to see which videos gain traction They are not always the ones with high production values. For one organization, I produced a fairly simple low-cost video titled "how to use crutches." It was intended for in-house use for clinical staff to easily share with patients before they were discharged. 13,000 views later, we discovered that the simple keyword search term of "how to use crutches" has driven traffic to our little video project. Score! This exercise also points out the importance of always properly branding your video.  Embed your logo throughout and have a well designed and branded opening and closing graphic. When your video goes viral, you'll want to be sure you get the credit! It might not always be viewed in the context it was intended.

In the age of Facebook, it's tempting to post videos direct to Facebook and call it good. But videos are valuable content that should be spread around liberally throughout a multi-faceted marketing strategy. For all the good reasons stated above, your video content should live on your YouTube channel. 

I don't care if you are a small business just starting out or a Fortune 500 company producing hundreds of videos a year. Keep your current video library on YouTube. Then cross post that content on your other social media channels - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever the flavor of the month is at that point in the future.

You should also embed those videos on relevant content pages on your website. You can use an embedded video player or you can use YouTube. I prefer YouTube as it drives the viewer to what is hopefully a robust presence on that platform, encouraging them to subscribe to your Channel and view your other video content which I just know you will now be studiously developing. 

Video is how people like to use to learn and to research a product or service, according to a study posted on Hubspot.  Over two-thirds (68%) said a short video would be best, way ahead of text-based articles (15%),infographics (4%) presentations and pitches (4%) ebooks and manuals (3%).

Better yet, consumers say that entertaining "viral" style videos are popular, and businesses are finding that cycle time to produce videos is reducing and more are being produced in-house. While I advise against producing videos that don't reflect well on your brand, with continuing ease of producing videos in-house, there's no reason to limit the creation of video content, especially given the SEO opportunities and the potential ROI for your business.

Bonus Content!
Want to view one of my earlier video projects? Check out this video. It was one of my weekly snow reports for a New England ski area!