[This article is originally published in bbntimes.com written by Issac Thomas - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Rebecca Jenkins] 

A content strategy is a segment of your marketing plan that deals with the management of any media that you create and own – written or visual. Along with content curation, one needs to form a deliberate strategy and execute this plan in an efficient manner to attain the desired results.  

If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website, spread awareness, and build a profitable online business, you need to start paying attention to your content marketing strategy. When you have an effective strategy in place, content marketing challenges won’t be as overwhelming – in fact, it will actually help you gain confidence in your work and take a critical step towards success.

Having a content strategy in hand opens a business up to a plethora of benefits, including higher domain authority, search engine rankings, and increased conversion potential. This form of marketing is undoubtedly a long process, and you need to be persistent enough to get the best results. Here are the five things that should be kept in mind before you draft a content marketing strategy.

1. Why do you want to do content marketing?

Before you decide to adapt content marketing for your business, the first thing you need to determine is why you even want to do content marketing in the first place. Your goals should be defined, as knowing what you want to achieve gives you a better direction and focus. Your goals can be anything – from better traffic to your website to more email subscriptions for your blog, there is no barrier to setting up your business goals.

2. Who is your audience?

Your customer should be the focal point of your content marketing strategy. It is critical to developing a broad and substantial understanding of who your customers are to gain access to their buyer’s journey. By producing content that is of value to your readers, you are more likely to gain their trust and initiate conversions. Even if you are an experienced marketer, make sure to revisit your audience parameters by conducting market research from time to time.

3. What type of content do you want to promote?

After figuring out the objectives, the next thing up for debate is the kind of material you need to create. You need to figure out the type of relevant and personalized content that can be consumed by the audience. Now, in the digital era, there are several social media platforms with a wealth of content, designed specifically to entertain and inform the audience. You can present content in the form of articles, blogs, memes, infographics, case studies, and e-books. However, before you start creating content, you should know the buyer persona for which content is being created. Knowing your customer will help you understand the way they think and the type of content they will like to read. You will sync your marketing message better with the content you create.

Try mixing and experimenting with different forms of content to see which style is producing the best results. If you have been crafting only blog posts till now, it might be a good idea to switch. For example, you can create an e-book that lists out all your previous work into one ultimate guidebook. This is a great way to offer the same information in a creative format – something that your readers will find efficient as well.

4. How will you promote the content?

Creating content is not enough – you need to make sure that your content reaches the maximum number of people as well. Promotion is as important as creating content. There are three primary mediums through which you can promote your content on various digital channels. Depending on the kind of strategy you follow, you need to choose one of these channels and make sure that your content reaches the maximum number of people. After all, without sufficient outreach, great content cannot explore its real potential.

There are three ways in which you can promote your content:

  • Influencer Marketing: To put into simple words, influencer marketing is taking the endorsements of socially influential people and utilizing it in a modern-day content-driven marketing strategy. When one collaborates with influencers, it leads to a 3-10 times increase in the conversion rate since they have a large and diverse follower list. You can approach these influencers easily, but keep in mind to perform thorough research and then provide them with a tailor-made strategy, along with your budget details.

  • Social Media Snippets: Ideally, your content should include numerous snippets such as quotes, statistics, and images, among others. These snippets can be shared multiple times over a period across various social media platforms.

  • Guest posting: Sharing your content as a guest post that has a massive number of readers will help increase the authority of your brand. Once can use channels like RedditBiz Sugar, and Business 2 Community to fulfill this purpose.

5. How Can You Stand Out?

The digital space is overflowing with content that’s almost begging for views and engagement. So, when you enter this digital space with your content, how will you stand out? Simple – you need to be innovative and smart enough to outsmart this wealth of content on the internet. The best thing to do in this regard is, to be honest with your audience. Create content that is useful to them and they will definitely engage with it.

6. What Content Ideas Can You Utilize?

If you wish to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas, you can use HubSpot’s Website Grader to help you optimize and enhance each area. This tool effectively grades your marketing areas and provides its users with a detailed report on how they can improve and streamline their marketing efforts.

If you're having trouble sparking content ideas, ‘What To write’ is a tool that asks you questions to jumpstart your brain with diversified ideas. BuzzSumo is a similar tool that uses social media to determine if a particular form of content is popular and well-liked.

7. How Will You Build an Email List?

“Content marketing is useless if you’re not getting it in front of the right people.” There’s a lot of truth in this seemingly simple quote. The most important part of the content distribution is emailing since it lets you directly communicate with your subscribers and find a place in their inbox.

An email service provider (ESP) is a helpful tool since it lets you build and maintain your subscribers' list. It also allows you to check reports on how your campaigns are performing. An ESP also ensures that your emails aren’t automatically rerouted to the spam folder. MailChimp and ConvertKit are a few options you can start with, especially if you have lower startup costs.

8. How Will You Measure the ROI?

Knowing the progress of your content marketing efforts is very necessary to track the direction of your lead. In the online space, following the results of the investment you made is important to understand how useful it is. A content piece is considered successful when it has generated a good number of views, clicks, and engagement. Now, with modern online tools available at the disposal of every marketer, measuring the success of a content piece is not that difficult. You can easily track how your marketing efforts are faring and constantly make improvements in your content marketing strategy.

Keep these things in mind before you go through any content marketing strategy to adopt it for your business or brand. These points, if executed well, will lay the foundation for a robust content marketing strategy and help in the attainment of better marketing results.

Let’s face it: when it comes to digital media marketing, content is king. No matter what kind of business you’re creating a strategy for, the success of your strategy (and whether or not you’ll get any traction) depends on the execution of your content.

For starters, your content can’t be updated sporadically. Following an editorial calendar and consistently producing new content for your audience has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity for content marketers and business owners.

Gone are the days of vague, general posts. Your content needs to be valuable. As a business owner, the easiest way to offer value is to focus on producing content that solves a problem in an actionable, tangible way. That may not be something easy to do 4 times per week, but it’s still the best way to maximize the traffic you get from your content.

But all of that is just the byproduct of a much larger issue. At the end of the day, content marketers care about one thing – creating engaging content. And while learning to produce more compelling posts is certainly important, your blog needs to engage readers on both an intellectual and visual level.

Infographics

Let’s imagine for a second that you have an idea you want to share with your readers. The good news is that this idea is definitely valuable to them. The bad news? Well, it’s a bit complex. In fact, your biggest concern before releasing this post is that there’s too much to digest. The very nature of this idea means that it could end up being too confusing for your readers to fully appreciate.

Complex ideas aren’t your enemy when it comes to content marketing. Truth be told, some of the most powerful ‘aha’ moments that people experience come from deep, thought-provoking analysis. The trick is finding ways to simplify the most complicated parts. If you can find a way to do that, then you can turn the confusing into the compelling.

If you’ve never made one, the infographic can seem like an incredibly demanding piece of visual content. After all, so much goes into creating even the simplest infographic. That being said, there’s no denying that if you want to make complex ideas simple, you’ll need high-quality visuals to get the job done.

There are a variety of ways that you can build an infographic, but there are a few key concepts to keep in mind. First, the foundation of your infographic is everything. Choosing the right design and layout is crucial to the success of this piece of content. Whoever is designing it needs to choose the right font, shapes and colors if they’re hoping to convey your data. Why does this matter so much? Because even the most boring data can become engaging if it’s presented in the right way.

But the benefits of having a great infographic don’t end there. Most of your fellow competitors are likely to love your new infographic. While they could go out and make their own, it’s more likely they’ll just borrow yours. Which is perfect for you – who doesn’t love free backlinks and exposure? Infographics make your content powerful, shareable and help cement you as an online authority.

Videos

If you take anything from this post, note the value of high-quality content. Infographics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visual content. Next on the list we have videos, a form of visual content that one study found increased conversions by increase conversions by 86%. There are certainly cheaper forms of visual content, but a well-executed video can make a world of difference for your brand. More specifically, the benefits of using video in content marketing are:

  • Improve SEO
  • Better email CTR
  • Higher retention rates
  • Rise in accessibility

The production value on your videos doesn’t have to be ‘Hollywood-ready’, but it shouldn’t be terrible either. The quality should be consistent throughout and each video should only be as long as it needs to be. Remember: every aspect of your content is either pushing your audience away or engaging with them and drawing them in.

If you want to understand how to make a good video for your content, you need to break down the process into two basic steps. The creation of your video (script, brand messages, intro) and how you’ll present it (upload to youtube or host it on your site). The goal is to create a piece of visual content that simultaneously engages your visitors and converts them into members of your community.

Images

A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? There are plenty of content marketers that would argue that images are the ultimate form of visual content and they might be onto something.

Despite the fact that infographics and videos are being used now more than ever before, images are still dominating the blogosphere and the world of content marketing. And the benefits of using images in your content are undeniable. For example, posts containing an image every 100 words received 2x the social media shares as articles with fewer images.

Going beyond the data, you can understand from a human perspective why images are so popular among content creators and appreciated by readers. Complex, nuanced ideas usually can’t be properly explained in 140 characters. Images help break up the monotony of your post and breathe life into your content.

Keep in mind that readers will most likely only remember a few key concepts of your post and the images you used — as long as they’re worth remembering. Using any old stock photo might technically qualify as ‘including visual content’, but it’s not going to help your post stand out. Using high-quality images ensures that your visuals are more compelling than the competition. The best part? You probably have a smartphone in your pocket that can capture those images for you, free of charge.

Screenshots

Otherwise known as the ‘screen capture’, screenshots are exactly that: a picture of an image on a phone, computer or tablet. At this point, some of you may be saying: “wait a second, we already covered pictures.” While you’re certainly right about that, it’s important to understand the unique applications of screenshots as it pertains to the content marketing ecosystem.

The pictures we were talking about in the last section were there as a sort of visual garnish, chosen purely to liven up the post and ensure that your reader is properly engaged throughout. Screenshots can certainly do that, although that’s typically not their goal when it comes to content marketing.

Screenshots exist, first and foremost, as a tool for explaining concepts that are more technical in nature. Let’s say that you’re offering a product or service online. While you could describe instructions via the actual text of your post, there’s bound to be a few people that end up getting confused about your directions.

So, to avoid any potential confusion, you can just go through the steps on your own computer and screenshot them. This provides readers with a visual template of what their experience will look like, reassuring them at every stage of the process.

Presentations

Why are presentations such an incredible tool when it comes to visual content? Simple: they allow you, the content creator, to pick and choose from just about any type of visual content you want. Presentations rely on various different forms of content, including (but not limited to):

  • Text
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Screenshots

If you’re wondering how this better than any individual form of visual content, just remember the most important part of the content marketing equation: your audience. When you have a chance to create a presentation, you can include aspects from each type of content that your readers respond to.

Of course, the flip side of that coin is being sure that your content doesn’t overstay its welcome. Remember what we said about how the longer your post was, the higher the chances were that your readers would abandon it? Well, that’s especially important to keep in mind with presentations. Concise, efficient presentations are the best of both worlds, offering the depth of value-rich content while still attempting to engage your audience in several ways.

Visual content presents you with the unique opportunity to engage with your audience in a way that text simply doesn’t allow. Having compelling ideas in your content is massively important, and no amount of visual spectacle could substitute that. Still, if you’re hoping to dominate your market, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to arm yourself with every content marketing tool at your disposal.

Author : Eric Sachs

Source : http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2017/03/15/5-types-of-visual-content-to-include-in-your-marketing-strategy/

Any good marketer knows to keep an eye on the future to stay ahead of the curve on new trends, emerging marketing channels, and other fresh ideas to deliver brand messages. With 2016 in the rear-view mirror and 2017 flying down the pipeline, now is the time to start examining what the New Year is going to mean for marketing.

Here are six marketing growth strategies to help your small business succeed in 2017.

Marketing Growth Strategies for Small Businesses

1. Mobile-Centric is the Name of the Game

Over the past couple years, we’ve seen mobile overtake desktop in usage and search. As a result, there was a big push in 2016 for small businesses to ensure that their web pages were optimized for mobile browsing. This mobile friendly attitude was the first step towards being mobile-centric, but that journey is not over.

Mobile-centric involves a lot of technologies and platforms, some of which are still emerging and only now being utilized for small business marketing purposes. The following are all mobile technologies that a small business should begin implementing into their content-based strategies.

Mobile Apps: If you do anything mobile-related in 2017, then get a mobile app. If you don’t already have one, check out this list for detailed reviews of affordable DIY app builders. Small businesses have been slow to build apps for their brands because of the high price point of mobile development. However, there are now a lot of inexpensive, yet effective, options that can allow your company to propel itself into the mobile-centric world of 2017.

Mobile Payment Services: Consumers are increasingly adopting mobile pay services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. They want to be able to pay with a simple tap on their mobile device, whether they are in your store or shopping online. From a marketing standpoint, you not only want to offer this service (or risk missing out on possible revenue), but also advertise that it is a viable payment option.

Mobile Only Apps: Many of the top downloaded apps are what are known as mobile only apps, meaning they aren’t available on desktop computers like Facebook and Twitter. Apps like Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat and others are rapidly growing in popularity. They present an exciting and new channels for small and large businesses alike to market themselves on. 2017 will undoubtedly offer more of these mobile-only apps, so keep an eye out.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is by no means a new trend, but it makes the list because of the severely misguided viewpoint that it is an “old school” tactic and no longer relevant. The data shows the exact opposite; email marketing is one of the most ROI-positive strategies out there.

The people that make the false claim that email marketing isn’t effective are the ones that aren’t using it correctly. This tactic is all about providing audiences with relevant, valuable and helpful information (think DIY guides, links to blog content, industry news, etc.). It is not designed for jamming sales pitches down consumers’ throats.

3. Data Informed Decision Making

A lot of people refer to this trend as a push to become data-driven. But, there is a lot wrong with that concept. It suggests that companies should plop their big data / analytics tools at the helm of the ship and let it steer all of the decisions. Most organizations, especially small ones, lack the high-end, sophisticated big data tools and existing data culture that make a real data-driven approach possible.

Even with these tools, the risks are very high. Data doesn’t always know best. Companies should be pairing their data-born insights with the existing knowledge and opinions of their team members. This approach yields the safety and best results that doesn’t require you to overhaul your IT department.

4. Video Content

It is easy to understand why consumers prefer to receive content-based marketing messages over ad-based ones. Advertisements are often interruptive while marketing through content is informational, entertaining and engaging. When you consider that approximately 60 percent of consumers prefer to watch content, instead of reading it, then the power of video marketing becomes immediately apparent. Video content will continue to build momentum and audiences will be looking for it more in 2017.

5. Expert Blogging

Your small business may already have blog content that is regularly published, but how good is that content? Blog content for marketing became a popular means to get noticed on search engines thanks to SEO practices. In this quest to be seen, a lot of organizations became more concerned with their SEO than the actual quality of their content.

Now, audiences are starting to take notice that there is a difference between valuable blog content and not so important writing. If your content isn’t informative and exciting to read, people aren’t going to stick around. 2017 is poised to be the year that brands invest in bringing their digital writing to the next level, which may mean hiring an “industry expert” to create higher caliber blogs.

6. Better Social Media Practices

This trend is in the same realm as blogging in that it is something that almost everyone is doing, but very few are doing well. Specifically, they aren’t getting the most out of their social media data. Even if you are creating high-quality content and regularly responding to comments, questions and complaints, you may be missing out on a lot of valuable information.

Social media platforms are a significant contributor to big data because there are a lot of engagements on these services. Customers are practically handing you a road map to running your business more efficiently and providing a better customer experience. Thus, you should be actively listening and collecting social media based data.

Conclusions

There’s a reason that the biggest section is about becoming mobile-centric. That’s the premier trend for 2017; everything that comes after mobile is just icing on the small business marketing cake. Not to mention that many of the following patterns are hugely affected by mobile (think about how often you check your email, watch videos and check social media on your phone). When it comes to providing value to consumers and retaining them as long-term, brand loyal customers, it all starts with how mobile-centric your small business is.

Author: Andrew Gazdecki
Source: https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/12/small-business-marketing-growth-strategies.html

Categorized in Business Research

This article is courtesy of BusinessCollective, featuring thought leadership content by ambitious young entrepreneurs, executives & small business owners.

Creating a great marketing strategy is like baking a pie — you don’t want to leave out the most important ingredients.

For many small business owners, taking time off isn’t just a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends. It’s also a chance to take a step back from day-to-day business operations and look at the parts of their business that they appreciate as well as what needs to be addressed.

When it comes to marketing, a lot of businesses make the mistake of leaving it to the end of their budgets and business plans — just like pie is left for dessert — when in actuality, it greatly affects that potential for success.

When you take a look at your own marketing pie, these eight pieces are integral in creating success. Each one on their own is great, but when you put them all together, the results will expand your bottom line immensely.

Web Presence

Your website is your first marketing opportunity for new customers. Make sure your website is attractive, presents what you do and who you are, and provides social proof of success. Your online presence, branding and marketing materials are a great place to start in  building your marketing message and attracting clients.

Customer Relationships

This is the most active and important piece of your pie. Keeping your current customers happy and engaged with you and your business is the most profitable area of marketing. Happy customers stay loyal and also bring new customers. Continually finding ways to bring value and service to your existing customers in unique and personal ways will always be good for business. Customer success is quickly becoming the epicenter of the marketing department.

Social Media

Stay active with your community — even if it’s just an image or a quick update. Social media presence is now becoming the indicator of life in a business. People do business with people, and social media is the number one place where people are interacting. Keeping content fresh on your social media profiles indicates an active online presence. It also becomes a place for quick customer support, and if comments and requests are missed, it can look poorly on your business reputation.

Content Creation

Creating content that is valuable to your users not only builds engagement and loyalty but also helps build your website value to search engines and will increase your organic traffic as you increase in your search engine ranking. If you’re looking for a long-term marketing effort that pays big dividends for your business, informative content is a great investment.

Joint Ventures and Partnerships

This is often overlooked but is one of the best-known secrets of small business marketing. Finding joint venture partners who service the same target market can help you promote your services to additional customers and provide better service. Seek events and partnerships with businesses that are non-competing and align with your company values. Expand your reach with either joint promotions or events.

Affiliates and Brand Ambassadors

Reward your raving fans and referrers. Incentivize your customers and online influencers to mention you and share your business. More than ever, purchasers are depending on reviews, referrals and social influence to make buying decisions. Once you’ve taken the time to set up an affiliate or referral system, your circle of influence can grow beyond your specific reach. This is a great way to reach new markets and reward fans which end up costing a lot less than investing in advertising and sales.

Speaking Events and Local Outreach

Small business still depends on a lot of exposure. There is no better way to create impact with the exposure of speaking events. Share your expertise, customer focus, and mission statement from a stage and you instantly show credibility and personal connection. Get over your fear of public speaking and discover the marketing power of sharing your own voice on a stage.

Networking

Never stop networking! To stay in business, you always need to keep building and working on it. Networking is the continual practice of making new relationships and maintaining the ones you have. Your presence at events and conferences with potential customers, employees and partners matters and may not pay off right away, but over time, you reaffirm your consistency in business and your commitment to growing relationships and community.

Just like pie, marketing takes effort, ingredients, and time to create the final results. The great part is, when you add it all together, nothing beats the smell of sweet success.

Arash Asli is the cofounder and CEO of Yocale, an online scheduling and marketing platform for small businesses.

Source : http://tech.co/essentials-great-marketing-strategy-2016-12

When you start a business and promote it on search engines and social media, you can start with initial tips and tricks for the beginners that you will find all over the internet. They will help you in establishing the initial name of your business on the web. Unfortunately, the beginners’ strategies stop working after a very short period of time. It gets really frustrating to carter the search engines with new information. In the past few years, search engines like Google have revamped their whole search ranking system a number of times which has made the situation ever harder. 

Fortunately, there are still some hidden white hat tricks that you can use to re-establish the search engine ranking of your business and promote it properly on the social media as well. The following tips will help you catching the right eyes in the haystack of non-converting visits to your website or page.

Make the menu items SEO friendly

Search Engine Optimization is the most important aspect of any online business. You cannot ignore the power that search engines have over the visitor stats. Most of the marketers and SEO experts think that it is okay for a website to have complex navigation. They actually ignore the fact that these navigation links are much more than some glorified links. If proper SEO tactics are applied to the anchor links and images in the navigation menu, a significant impact will be visible while converting a visit to an action

Google has some preferences about the number of words

Though Google has never published any reports based on which someone can tell that if longer or smaller articles are preferred. Still, the ranking mechanism works better for pages with more and significant words. The highest ranking pages have between 1200-2000 words in general. So if you have any doubts about the content on your website, prefer to go long. 

It is a misconception that people do not like to read. A lot of clients will try to find as much information as possible about the product you are promoting before actually buying it. Instead of letting them go to some other review site, it will be better to include maximum possible information about your product on the website itself.

Google understands you by your neighbors

We often try to get as many outbound and internal links. Make sure you choose to link the right websites related to your work. Linking any information to an authority site is always a good way of bringing credibility for your content. 

Offer a unique platform for researchers

Researchers around the world are often looking for different ways to find information related to their work. Also, once the research is completed, they try to find platforms to promote it as well. You can give an opportunity. You can either share the ongoing research so that they can find participants or publish a whole paper on their research. In return, ask them to give you the much-coveted .edu or high authority link back. 

Ask for link backs 

If you are selling a product or a service, there are a lot of people around who like to review them. If you are selling on e-commerce platforms, there is a very big chance that someone is promoting your product on their website. The search engines tools available for the website owners are very strong these days. You can find information about who is promoting or writing about your product of service and choose the best options for a link back. Request them for a link to your website and in most of the cases, they agree for the sake of better search engine ranking for their pages.

Give your customers some outrageous offer

How about 90% off or buy 1 get 3 offer? They look attractive and in most of the cases find space in the coupon or discount related websites. Make the deal as crazy as possible to attract more eyes and you will see the difference in the sales in no time. If you are running an informative blog, hold a giveaway contest. 

Describe your images properly

There are two ways to describe the images. One is for the viewers and second is for the search engines. The information about your product should be easy to understand and have good optimizable words. People do not search for heavy words and often are not well versed with the dictionary as well. Always go for the mass and keep the quality up.

In the case of the search engines, the crawlers often look for alternate texts for the images and anchor links. Make sure you write a small 5-10 word description with every image. It will increase the penetration of the tags for your website.

Do not concentrate on basic keywords

When it comes to search engines, most of the people use different keywords and phrases to search for a product. It is important to make sure the top basic keywords are included in the product page but at the same time, the non-conventional keyphrases related to the product are also important. Make sure to include at least 3-4 such keywords so that people can find the product easily.

Keep analytics handy

The Google analytics is one of the best ways to improve SEO. The Google’s search system loves to promote pages with the content that viewers love. The incoming signals of the visitors are a clear indication of how your content is working. You can emphasis on the niches that are more popular and improve the quality of the website accordingly.

Big words hurt

Have you ever heard of readability score? The highest ranking pages have the score of 70+ and even 75-78. It determines if the page is understandable to people with lower education or not. If the score is 70+ it is understandable to anyone who has passed grade 4. If the score is 50 or less that means the words and sentences are complicated enough even for a 9th-grade pass out. So keep this benchmark in mind and keep the content as simple and easy to understand as possible.

Author:  Lee Park yoo

Source:http://www.promotionworld.com/

Categorized in Research Methods

Marketing is constantly evolving. So if you want to create a marketing plan for the coming year, you need all the most updated tools and strategies. Members of our small business community shared some of their top tips in posts this week. Check out ten of the best ways to update your marketing strategy in the list below.

 

Use These 20 Essential Marketing Tools

 

If you want to take your marketing to the next level, you need the right tools. That means you likely need a lot of different marketing services that focus on different purposes. There are 20 different marketing tools that can be essential to your business listed in this zaneguide post by Zane J. Heil.

 

Factor the Effects of Decision Fatigue into Your Marketing

 

Decision fatigue is a theory that can potentially keep your customers from making purchases. But if you factor that theory into your marketing, as this Two Feet Marketing post by David Lowbridge suggests, you can give your business a better chance. You can also see what BizSugar members had to say about the post here.

 

Write Winning Content for Short Attention Span Readers

 

Today’s consumers aren’t likely to spend a lot of time reading your content if it doesn’t grab their attention right away. That means you need to know how to write for readers with short attention spans, as this post by Lisa Froelings on The Sociable details.

 

Get More Local Website Traffic

 

For local businesses, online marketing is still essential. Local search tips like the ones in this Search Engine Journal post by Mandy Wodnick can help you get more local website traffic and reach more customers who are looking for businesses in your area.

 

Achieve Marketing ROI With These Tips

 

If you want your marketing efforts to be successful, you need a real plan and the ability to actually measure results, as detailed in this post by Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media. You can also see discussion about the post by BizSugar members here.

 

Use A/B Testing to Build Buyer Personas

 

If you want to effectively market your business, you need to create accurate buyer personas to give you an idea about who you’re marketing to. And you can use A/B testing to achieve that thanks to the information in this Kissmetrics post by Aaron Agius.

 

Make Your Blog Visually Appealing

 

Blogs can be great marketing tools for businesses. But you need your blog to visually appeal to readers and potential customers if you want it to have any impact. These tips from Neil Patel offer some ways for you to make your blog more visually appealing.

 

Get Influencers to Read Your Blog Posts

 

In addition, influencers can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your blog posts. This post by Tony Paull of Tony Paull Consulting features some ways you can get influencers to read your blog posts. And members of the BizSugar community also comment on the post here.

 

Consider These Small Business Conferences for 2017

 

Conferences can be a great way to network and improve your business’s reach. And there are many different small business conferences throughout the year for you to consider. Here are some for 2017 shared by Nicholas Milewski on the Plousio blog.

 

Dial in Your Visual Ads

 

When it comes to visual advertising, there are many different online tools and platforms you can use to create your strategy. This Marketing Land post by Brad O’Brien includes some tips for using platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat to dial in your visual ads.

 

 

Source:  smallbiztrends.com

We live in an ad, ad world. Without them, there'd be no television or radio, no social media – or we'd have to pay a lotmore for such things. 

According to Revcontent, "86% of consumers say they feel ads are necessary to get free content online". And while that's true for the most part, that doesn't give marketers carte blanche to annoy the daylights out of them. Here are four strategies to make consumers happy to see your ads:

1. Make it personal

Nothing's more annoying than a pushy salesperson – don't let your marketing take on that persona. Shoving your brand down people's throats is not only a huge turn-off, it's ineffective. Consumers either tune you out or worse, they take note of how annoying you are and vow never to give your brand their business.

On social particularly, the landscape now is consumer-centric, so your marketing strategy must reflect that. Forbes contributor Daniel Newman describes it this way: "Influence no longer lies with the suave, silver-tongued marketer and glossy marketing brochures. Consumers need to be marketed to in the way they want to be marketed to".

Accomplishing this means applying social monitoring and analytics to uncover consumer sentiment, creating a gateway to authentic conversations between consumers and marketers. You've got to push past demographic generalities for the real data.

recent webinar by the American Marketing Association offers a great example illustrating this by Chris Leet, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at NetBase. Leet lists demographic characteristics of two men who both:

  • Were born in 1948 and grew up in England
  • Were married twice and had 2 children
  • Were successful in business and wealthy

The reveal? One man is Prince Charles, the other is Ozzy Osbourne – they couldn't be more different. Thus, the marketing approach for each of them must also be. Social listening gives you the information to make your messaging personal – so use it. Because consumers love it when you do.

2. Make it relevant

Not all marketing content can be personalized, of course, you can't know who'll read a particular blog post in a given moment, or what else they're interested in. But you can ensure your native network offers recommendations relevant to the content they follow. Vendors like Revcontent, Taboola, and Outbrain specialize in this.

Someone reading an article about gardening may certainly be into dirt bike racing – but do you want to take the chance? Content recommendations must be relevant to the taste of the reader. If the bottom of your blog is littered with spammy clickbait with sensationalistic headlines, it comes across as junky and low-rent, making your own site look bad.

On the other hand, if at the end of your posts your readers are pointed to relevant content they'd never otherwise find, your site becomes a trusted, valuable resource. Or as Revcontent VP of Marketing Richard Iwanik-Marques puts it, "Publishers can maintain sustainably high revenue streams, while also giving consumers a memorable content discovery experience they will enjoy”. Which beats the alternative.

3. Make it timely

Timing really is everything – especially when it's off. Here are just a few things consumers find super annoying:

  • Coupons that spit out on the receipt for an item they just purchased – useless to anyone who doesn't have the space or budget to stock up before the coupon expires, just so they can use it
  • Repetitive ads in their Facebook feed for an item they’ve already bought
  • Email subscription boxes that pop-up just as their eyes focus on the first sentence of the article they're interested in – it's like being sprayed by a perfume vendor walking into a department store

Marketers – and technology in the case of the Facebook ads – must do better if they want consumers to become loyal customers. These annoyances might seem small, but the little things add up quickly, and consumers know they have nearly unlimited options to get what they want. Don't give them any excuse not to choose your brand.

Use consumer feedback from reviews and social media to give them what they're asking for. Or do a little A/B testing to see what works best.

4. Make it relatable

Whether it's an experience consumers have had, or one they can commiserate with others about not having, creating content that touches on relatable human emotions is a smart strategy. Emotion is a great motivator. People may joke about emotionally manipulative Hallmark commercials making them tear up – but they remember the brand.

Just today, a friend shared this video by Organic Valley on Facebook:

She was to try the product, based on the commercial alone. It resonated with her because it was funny and real – not because it was trying to sell her something.

At its best, marketing doesn't even feel like marketing, and that should always be the aspiration. Consumers are smart enough to know when they're being "sold". And just like you would to a bad pick-up line, they turn their head and talk to the nice, relatable brand on the opposite barstool.

The one that makes them feel like a human being with a brain, not an "opportunity". Let that be your brand.

Source : socialmediatoday

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Just as you plan for other aspects of your business, such as product, operations and inventory, marketing requires some extensive planning as well. Plot your marketing strategies ahead of time and it may drive your business from breaking even to breaking records!

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If you can’t get your product out there to your customers, there’s really no point in continuing the line of work. So, no matter the size of your business, spend some time to think about your business and craft a robust, killer marketing strategy. There are many factors to consider, but let’s look at what you should focus on.

1. Identify your customer persona

Smart businesses always determine their niche market first. Surveys, focus groups, and website metrics are great ways to get to know your audience that help you develop a detailed customer profile. Stay tuned to your customers’ needs, and make them feel valued with intelligent and relevant content – this helps set the stage for long-term relationships. If you’re bootstrapping, this can be a powerful marketing technique!

2. Know your competition

Entering new markets involves a great deal of research about the market landscape, which includes your competition. Instead of trial and error—which is a rapid path to burnout—look at what your competitors are doing. Pinpoint both their strengths and weaknesses and determine what you can do to edge ahead of the rest. What makes you special to your customers? Why is your product different and better? Always remain differentiated and don’t get lost in advertising clutter and spam. Know who you’re up against, and outsmart them.

3. Set realistic goals

Imagine a desolate desert. You’re wandering aimlessly from one mirage to another. If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there? The same goes for marketing. Setting goals are the starting point of any plan. The exact marketing achievements should be realistic and attainable. Depending on the industry and business stage you’re in, each goal should impact the bottom line.

4. It’s all about tactics

Game plans are important. They guide and keep you focused on the key aspects of your business. Spend some time to figure out the exact marketing tasks that can help you achieve your goals. And be specific. For instance, if your goal is to generate online leads, then video content marketing tasks may become part of your key activity list. Dive in deeper with the details. Youtube videos? Webinars? Testimonial videos? Video edms? Get your tactics right, you’ll be well on your way for a home run!

5. Stay ahead of the curve

Technology evolves. Markets change. Algorithms adjust. Users adapt. We live in a dynamic environment, where changes are happening constantly. Take social media for example. Facebook and Instagram, 2 of the major social media platforms that businesses use, constantly change their algorithms. This potentially alters the way marketers maintain their reach and interaction with their customers from the site. Whether we like it or not, change is the only constant. Regularly review your marketing strategy and revise it as necessary. It is really more of a process and not a plan.

Learn from seasoned professionals

Marketing doesn’t have to be rocket science. With the right marketing strategy, it can be your best sales asset.

They say learning is a never-ending process, and you can always do with more knowledge. That’s exactly what Tech in Asia Jakarta’s Marketing Stage aims to do. Glean new insights from experts at Hubspot, LINE, Edelman, and more as they share actionable takeaways on Day 1 of our Jakarta conference on November 16 and 17. Check out our panel of speakers below:

With one pass, get access to all 6 content stages and so much more! Passes are currently going fast, at a 10 percent discount (code: tiajkt10). Promotion ends on October 28 – get your passes today before it’s too late!

Source : telegraph

Regarding personal goals, September is an iffy month. You have either achieved the goals you set out for yourself at the beginning of the year or have come to accept that you will not accomplish those goals and will just wait until the new year for a fresh start.

For marketers, however, September is different. Unlike a personal goal that can be shrugged off, an end of year marketing goal must be met in business. And you are heading into the fourth quarter of the year, most notable for a tremendous number of holidays in the United States and many other countries.

Depending on your business, this may mean a boom or drop off in business. Hence, as marketers, you may either be ramping up to meet those end of year goals, grasping at straws to meet those end of year goals, or preparing for the beginning of a new year.

Depending on which type of marketer you are, the following seven are the top end of year digital marketing priorities. The first one may not apply to all businesses, but the last six definitely will be.

1. Get Holiday Campaigns In-Sync and Finalized

Do you have your holiday marketing and advertising campaigns planned out for the upcoming holiday seasons? If so, now is the time to make sure they are all in-sync and ready to be rolled out at the appropriate times.

When I say in-sync, what I mean is that your holiday campaigns are consistent throughout your entire online and offline presence. The same colors, the same designs, the same message, the same featured products, services, benefits, etc.  Similar to your logo, having consistent holiday campaigns will help ingrain your brand and your promotions into your customer’s minds.

Visit Toyota’s main website and social channels. Chances are, you will see that the website’s hero image matches each social profile’s cover photo. And if you went to one of their dealerships, you’d likely see matching banners there as well.

From left, clockwise: recent banner ad campaign, Facebook cover photo, and main website's hero image. Screenshot by author.

From left, clockwise: recent banner ad campaign, Facebook cover photo, and main website’s hero image. Screenshot by the author.

Campaigns like that lead the customer straight to the thing that got them excited about your business in the first place without any breaks in the messaging or distractions.

2. Start Comparing This Year’s Data to Last Year’s

How will you know if you’re on track with your goals and ready to meet them by the end of the year if you haven’t been comparing this year’s analytics data to last year’s? You probably aren’t shooting for the same goals as last year, so you should adjust your data comparison accordingly.

image-2

This Conversions Overview report for a service-based business that measures contact form submissions as goals shows that this business is already behind compared to last year. At this stage, it’s important to know whether this year’s conversions were higher, dollar value wise, or if more conversions need to be made during the last quarter to meet the business’s overall goals.

For retailers who can plug a real dollar figure into the goal value, the report will be much simpler. They will instantly see if their website has produced the amount of revenue compared to last year to either meet or beat your goals.

For either marketer, if you haven’t met your goals, then it may be time to look into some aggressive marketing and advertising options for the fourth quarter.

3. Plan for a New Year—and a New You

Everyone wants to improve upon something each year. Let’s say it’s their looks, their health, or their education. A business can shoot for the same things.

The Top 7 End of the Year Digital Marketing Priorities | SEJ

When it comes to looks, a business can update its logo, website, graphics, and other branding materials. If your business hasn’t done so in several years, this may be the first New Year’s goal you tackle.

When it comes to health, a business can look at the health of the business’s finances, products, services, or its employees. With the latter, it could be anything from getting employees discounts at your local gym to hiring more employees so everyone can go home on time each day.

When it comes to education, a business can look at helping employees grow themselves through more training opportunities. Employees with more training will become more valuable for your business.

The goal isn’t to just create a new budget for the new year, but to create new aspirations for your business to strive towards. Growing your business in a more meaningful way can have even longer term benefits than simply setting yearly sales goals.

4. Organize Your Marketing Strategy

If your marketing team is all over the place regarding not knowing who is handling what, not having a guided process to use to train with, and not having a reason for every tactic used by your team, then it’s time to get your marketing strategy organized. Implementing a new strategy during a busy holiday season where lots of campaigns are going may not be the ideal time.

The Top 7 End of the Year Digital Marketing Priorities | SEJ

That’s why you’ll either want to get it in place before that fourth quarter or immediately after in the new year. The sooner you get your strategy organized, from top to bottom, the smoother each of your campaigns will be to run.

A lot will depend on the size of your team, but here is an example of what you’ll want to do.

  • Each member of your team should have their primary role, the skills to backup another team member should the need arise, and the ability to train new employees for both roles.
  • Each process that you use in your marketing strategy should be fully documented so that anyone on your marketing team could pick up your documentation and do a specific task if needed, such as how to edit a blog post from your freelancers or how to run a Facebook ad.
  • Each task that you do should have a justification. This can just be a document where you have different headings (Content Marketing, Search Marketing, Social Media Marketing), and under each, you note why each thing you do in that particular area is valuable to your business. Include each year’s conversions data if possible to backup your statements.

Once you’ve established this strategy, you will only need to review and modify it periodically to ensure it is still current and the best way to manage your marketing team, processes, and task choices.

5. Track Website Visitors with More than Web Analytics

I’ve mentioned conversions a few times throughout the post. If you haven’t set up your web analytics to track conversion goals on your website, now is definitely the time to do so. You may have missed out on a lot of great data for this year, but if you have a busy holiday season, you still have time to capture that traffic and be prepared to capture all of next year’s analytics data and beyond.

Also, remember that it’s not just about web analytics anymore. Google Analytics allows you to reach website visitors through remarketing via Google AdWords. Facebook, Instagram (by way of Facebook), Twitter, and now Pinterest allow you to advertise to your website visitors by adding their tags to your website. Some will even use those tags to give you some insights on your website visitors through their network.

image-3

As shown above, you can use Facebook Audience Insights to analyze the ad audience you create from your website visitors. It’s like web analytics, with more personal demographics about your visitors. Including with standard demographics are other Facebook pages they like, how they engage on Facebook (i.e., do they click on ads?), household stats, and spending habits (i.e., are they more likely to shop online or in your store?).

All of this information can help you get to know your website visitors better. Combined with your standard web analytics, you should have enough information to make important business decisions about your marketing strategy, what to feature on your website, and much more.

6. Optimize Your Website for Mobile

I’m probably preaching to the choir, but if your website is not optimized for mobile, either now or after the holiday rush is the time. I only suggest after for those worried about crashing their website before the major shopping months to come.

For everyone else, get mobile as soon as possible. While you don’t have to opt-in to everything that is mobile, such as Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (unless you’re a major content publisher, in which case, you should), you should, at a minimum, have a responsive web design.

The Top 7 End of the Year Digital Marketing Priorities | SEJ

A responsive web design, as recommended by Google, will allow anyone to view your website easily with any device, from their TV to their smartphone. It will allow them to engage with your website, whether it’s filling out your contact form or making a purchase.

So be sure to find a good responsive template, theme, or designer for the platform you use on your website (WordPress, Shopify, etc.) and make your website friendly to any visitor, regardless of the device they use.

7. Optimize Your Website for Speed

It’s not all about the layout. Speed can make a huge impression on a website visitor. Or not – if it takes too long for your website to load, your visitor may never see your website at all. Thanks to technology like Google Accelerated Mobile Pages and Facebook Instant Pages, people are becoming accustomed to fast web page loading speeds. Hence, your website needs to load as quickly as possible to meet their expectations.

A good way to find out how long it takes your website to load is theWebPageTest. It will rank your page load speed.

image-4

Then it will let you click on the waterfall view to find out what files are causing the most harm to your page load time. This will usually reveal things like large images on the page, code for website software or plugins, or callouts to APIs for widgets displayed on your website.

If any of these things are slowing your page speed, ask if they are necessary for your business, website’s design, or website’s functionality. If they are not, remove them. If they are, see if they are in some way compressible.

In Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a Hail Mary in the fourth quarter of this year to achieve your goals, or you are simply getting ready for your slow season, there are lots of things you can be doing to improve your marketing. Don’t let this month be spent in dreaded anticipation. Spend it planning with intention instead.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-top-7-end-of-the-year-digital-marketing-priorities/172218/

There are 20,000 people on Facebook every second of every day. With these kinds of staggering numbers, it’s easy to see why many companies, particularly the smaller ones, focus a lot of their digital marketing attention on social media. After all, when there are that many users, why bother with other avenues?

The problem with reaching out to customers and potential customers via social media is that it’s a bit like trying to get attention in a crowded room. With thousands of companies constantly posting content on Facebook and Instagram, the competition gets pretty fierce. The best marketing efforts are efficient, reaching as many people as possible in a meaningful way. But impactful posts on social media are not quickly conceived nor easily acquired.

It seems like some need a refresher as far as digital marketing beyond social media is concerned. Here are the often forgotten assets which are key to the digital presence of a modern business in conjunction with social media accounts:

Infographics

As one of the most popular advertising tools in recent years, infographics can be applied to virtually every industry. Consulting with a digital marketing service specializing in infographics will generate interesting and captivating resources. In turn, these can be used for years across a variety of outreach mediums in addition to social media, including email, newsletters, video, and web design.

Interactive Graphics

The next step up from infographics is the highly prized interactive graphic, which is gaining momentum across the web. In short, interactive graphics are infographics where the user can click and be led to further information and prompts for response. This gives more exposure to potential customers, making them more interested in your product. Interactive graphics serve to grab and retain attention in a way social media can struggle to achieve.

Video

The importance of video in digital marketing cannot be understated in today’s on-the-go world. Once a tool for television, video is now something that can reach people virtually anywhere, through the use of their mobile devices. And yes, video can be combined with social media advertising to generate eye catching posts. Placed on YouTube, a well produced video will gain traction on its own, though keep in mind it’s also a crowded environment.

SEO

Getting people to arrive at your website after entering a string of words into a search engine, continues to be a critical part of a successful digital marketing campaign. Content creation and link building are functions which marketing agencies – at least the good ones – use to elevate a website in the list of results for given searches.

Web Design

Once the premier, if not exclusive, means for companies to digitally reach out to customers, websites these days are all utility and no charm. The advent of prefabbed framework has created a clone army of website layout. While certain approaches to web design are standard for a reason, a little imagination never hurt anyone. And just like the old days, a memorable website will keep the visitors coming back.

Source : http://tech.co/digital-marketing-social-media-2016-08

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