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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

3 Things that Make Content Marketing Invaluable

Friday, September 19th, 2014
Image courtesy of Boykung/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Boykung/Flickr.

Content marketing is an extremely popular form of Internet marketing and one that can bring a lot of benefits to your business. Using things like blog posts, online articles, infographics, images, videos and other types of content can help you reach a variety of business and marketing goals, but what is it about content marketing that makes it so valuable?

Each company and campaign will get different results, but some very common benefits that come with content marketing are just a few examples of what makes this strategy so invaluable.

Telling Your own Story is Easier

To build your brand and promote your business, you need to get online and tell your own story. Using content marketing allows you to tell your market, the public and even the media all about who you are, what you value and what kinds of benefits you can offer your customers.

Failing to tell your own story means you will lose control of the message and speculation, social media complaints and misunderstandings will follow your business, which will weaken your brand and make it harder for you to grow.

Statistically, Consumers Prefer Content over Ads

According to Ragan Communications, 70 percent of consumers would rather get to know a company through articles than advertisements.

Of course, ads do have their place, but content can do things ads can’t. People know when they are being advertised to and quite frankly, they know that ads don’t provide as much value as content. Online articles, blog posts, videos and other types of content make it possible for you to provide real value to your market.

Use content to provide tips, educate, offer insight and give your customers excellent resources they will actually use. This approach tells people that your goal is to help your customers, not just overwhelm or annoy them with advertisements. It will also help you position yourself as the go-to solution in your industry.

An Opportunity to Build a Trusting, Beneficial Relationship with your Market

Ragan Communications also reported that 90 percent of consumers feel that custom content is useful and 78 percent feel that businesses that use custom content are interested in creating a positive relationship with them.

What does this mean? It means that when you use content marketing, you have the unique and valuable opportunity to build a trusting relationship with your market. When you create this kind of relationship, your customers will benefit as you provide the best resources and products available.

But, you will also benefit because you will build a stronger brand, gain more loyal customers and create a reputation that helps you attract new customers. Content marketing is one of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your market, and that relationship can bring big benefits.

These are just a few examples of the benefits content marketing can bring to your business. This strategy can help you achieve all kinds of business and marketing goals, and it’s one that you can easily tailor to your needs. Start getting these benefits and more by implementing a strong, comprehensive content marketing plan at your organisation.

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What is Social Proof and how do you use it for Marketing?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Image courtesy of Sarah Reid/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Sarah Reid/Flickr.

Using a marketing tactic called social proof is a great way to show off your reputation, tell potential customers that people are satisfied with your services and make more sales. But what exactly is social proof and how do you use it?

Social Proof Defined

Social proof is online content from your current customers that helps you promote your business. Sometimes this is organically created as customers are satisfied with a business and other times businesses create it as part of their marketing strategy.

Some common forms of social proof include:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Social Media Interactions
  • Online Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies
  • Statistics about Sales and Customers

The purpose of using social proof is to show your market or potential customers that others are happy with your services. People are often more likely to listen to people like them rather than marketing or sales material.

What’s the Big Deal about Social Proof?

There’s enormous power behind social proof. According to KISSmetrics:

  • More than 70 percent of American consumers read reviews before buying a product.
  • Almost 63 percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy something on a website if it has product ratings and reviews.

These statistics alone show how much user reviews can influence potential customers.

But, social proof can do more than that. It can help you build a reputation as a business with satisfied customers. When your online presence proves to your market that you provide top-quality services and are invested in making sure your customers are satisfied, you’ll reap big benefits.

This kind of reputation and presence can help you grow your business and even make more sales. Social proof is all about showing people what you can do for your customers so people will want to work with you.

How you can Start Using Social Proof

To start using social proof at your business, decide on a few tactics to use. Look at the above list and decide whether online reviews or case studies, or any of the other forms of social proof, would be best suited to your business.

Then, decide how to illustrate that social proof and disseminate it to your market. For example, statistics about your sales and customers could be organised on an infographic you will share through social media.

Case studies could be posted on your website, emailed to your subscribers and shared on social media. Online reviews could also be posted on your site, or you may want to link to third-party review sites. Testimonials could be used in blog posts, videos or just short snippets of text on your website.

You can also leverage organic social proof by interacting with your customers on social media and your blog so that others can see that you value their input and thank them for their compliments. Interaction also shows your market that you are active in listening to your customers and provide excellent customer service.

There are so many ways you can use social proof, so the trick is to decide what kind of information would be most persuasive to your market and then finding the right way to use it.

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Facebook Media: a New Resource for Marketers

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Image courtesy of Marco Paköeningrat/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Marco Paköeningrat/Flickr.

Facebook has announced a new resource, called Facebook Media, that is designed to help marketers find better ways to use the site. Social media marketing can be very effective and when you know how to leverage all the tools available to you, your marketing can be even more successful.

What’s in the Resource?

According to the announcement, Facebook Media will highlight ways brands and public figures are finding success on the social network. It will help marketers find ways they can use Facebook to promote their own business and build their brand.

The new site includes sections like “Get Started,” “Best Practices,” “Success Stories,” “Support” and a blog.

Each of these sections is full of tips to help businesses set up a Facebook page and then grow their audience. They include tips on what kind of content to post, ways to engage followers and how to use various features.

The site has a wealth of resources that will be valuable to beginner social media marketers and experts who are looking for more creative ways to leverage the site.

How can I use the Site?

In essence, Facebook Media is a one-stop shop for tips, tools, ideas and success stories for marketers. It is the perfect resource to go to when you set up your first Facebook page and then as you look for ways to make it a more valuable social media marketing tool.

Because there are so many resources on Facebook Media, you can use the site in so many different ways to enhance your marketing strategy.

Start the Right Way

To lay a strong foundation and set up a Facebook page that will bring results, it’s important that you take certain things like branding, settings and content into consideration. This new resource can help you set up a page the right way.

Learn how to Perfect your Strategy

Even if you’ve been using Facebook for a while, there are always things you can do to perfect your strategy and get better results. Facebook Media lays out some best practices you can use to make sure you are using Facebook to its fullest potential.

Find out What Works for Others

Of course, your business will require its own unique Facebook strategy and what works for one business may not necessarily work for yours. However, finding out how other brands find success on the site can help you get creative and find ideas to try on your own page. You may try strategies or techniques others are using or success stories on Facebook Media might inspire new ideas.

Where do I get Started?

To start taking advantage of this amazing new resource, head over to the new Facebook Media website. You can browse the categories, immediately start reading about others’ success on Facebook, search for specific topics and even sign up to get email updates about Facebook news and best practices.

Using Facebook Media is an excellent way to learn how to get more out of the site. We offer Facebook marketing services; so if you would like social media marketing assistance, contact us.

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7 Video Marketing tips You can’t Miss

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Image courtesy of Luke Roberts/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Luke Roberts/Flickr.

Yesterday we posted about how videos can bring a whole new element to your marketing campaign. They give you a new level of creativity and can help you reach your market in a new way. But, to really get the most out of videos, you need to keep a few things in mind.

Right Occasion, Right Message

While videos can work for many situations, they won’t necessarily work for all situations. Look at your business, goals and market and decide where to use videos to get the most return on your investment. Also consider your message and remember that some messages are more conducive to videos than others.

Consider your Current Marketing Plan

Many times, videos can be used to enhance a marketing plan that is already being executed. Videos can breathe new life into social media plans and blogs and can help you emphasise a message and engage with your market.

Don’t Skip Calls to Action

To make your video more valuable and see results, don’t skip calls to action. Each video should have a very clear goal and in most cases, should ask viewers to do something. You may ask people to purchase a product, visit your website, attend an event or take another action that will help you reach your business goals.

Attention Span is Limited

You only have so much time to capture and keep a viewer’s attention and make him want to finish watching your video. In some cases, you may only want to produce a 60-second video. In others, you may have a few minutes to set the scene and share your message. Determine your video’s length after evaluating your purpose, calls to action and distribution channels.

Make it Shareable

Everyone wants people to share their content online. We know how powerful content can be when it goes viral and creates a buzz on social media, widening your audience and helping you get your message to more people.

But, to get these benefits, you need to make your videos shareable. Start by producing videos that have a clear value, are entertaining and are high quality. Then, make it easy for people to share them by posting them on social media and adding sharing buttons to them when you post them on your website.

Distribution Channels are Important

Once you produce a video, it’s important to choose your distribution channels wisely. Depending on your market and goals, you may promote your video on your website, blog, social media site or a third-party website.

Pro Editing Matters

The quality of your video will speak to your brand, level of professionalism and even the quality of the services you provide. Excellent editing will make your video more effective and help you build your brand and reputation.

We offer video marketing services and you can get in touch with us to find out how you can enhance your current video marketing plan or start using videos at your business for the first time.

Video marketing is an excellent way to reach and move your market, and when you keep these tips in mind you can leverage each video for best results.

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What Videos can do that no Other Kind of Content Can

Monday, September 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of David King/Flickr.

Image courtesy of David King/Flickr.

Videos can bring something new, fresh and powerful to your Internet and content marketing plan. There are some things videos can do that no other kind of content can and marketing videos can bring a lot of perks you can’t get any other way.

Draw on Emotion

There’s something about a combination of images, music and video that makes it easier to draw on people’s emotions. The right kind of video can make your market feel excited, happy, inspired or touched, which can help you send your message.

Inspiring emotion in people can lead to all kinds of results, from increased sales to better brand recognition. Videos are one of the most powerful ways to play on emotion in any online marketing campaign.

Tell a Story Quickly

Videos can also help you tell a story in a quick, effective way. Blog posts, online articles, pictures and infographics can also help you tell a story, but these tactics don’t allow for much visual depth and can’t convey information as quickly as a video can.

Use videos to tell your brand’s story, highlight success stories, illustrate case studies or convey any other narrative that will bolster your marketing efforts.

Make more Sales

According to DigitalSherpa, people who visit a retail website are 64 percent more likely to buy a product. This may be due to the fact that videos let people see products in action, let businesses explain features in a simple way and make their content more engaging.

If you sell products on your website, using videos is essential. Simply posting videos about your popular products, products people often ask questions about or new products you want to promote can help you encourage customers and make more sales.

Stand out on Social Media

Social media is full of links, status updates and a seemingly endless stream of photos. Break through all the noise with a video. Videos on social media stand out and are a refreshing break. They can capture people’s attention so they will stop scrolling through their news feed and see what you have to say.

Some videos can be so creative and so effective that they get shared across social media, helping you reach a wider audience and establishing your voice and brand on social media.

Give your Market a New View

In many cases, videos give you a whole new level of creativity. Use sound, images, action shots, demonstrations and editing to tell a story and give your market a new view.

Using creative videos to launch a product, let people participate in a conference via the Internet, show people your new headquarters or hear from your employees gives you more leverage when it comes to marketing strategies.

Creating videos gives you access to creative tools that no other kind of content creation does. You can use these techniques to help you reach your market and give people a new view of your business or products.

Video marketing is always growing and if your business wants to stay up to date with current Internet and marketing trends, you need to use videos to creatively reach your market. As you start adding them to your strategies, you’ll find that you can do more and could even experience benefits you can’t get from other kinds of content.

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Tips for Mobile SEO and How to Make more Sales with this Strategy

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Kissmetrics revealed some information from a study done by Comscore and one of the most interesting statistics it found was that 78 percent of searches from smartphones result in a purchase. This is higher than searches from laptops, with 61 percent resulting in searches and from tablets, with 64 percent resulting in searches.

It is telling that 78 percent of searches from smartphones lead to a purchase. People use their phones while looking for products and details about them, business information, prices and other information they look for when considering buying something.

Another study, done by Google and Nielsen found that most people, 48 percent, who do research on a mobile device start out by doing a search.

The most common products that were purchased after a search fell into the automotive, home and garden and apparel and beauty categories. Fewer people do mobile research by starting with a branded website or app.

These facts emphasise just how valuable SEO is when it comes to making more sales, finding new customers and growing your business. So how do you make sure your mobile search engine optimisation strategy is ready to turn searchers into customers?

Simple Mobile SEO Tips

Use Mobile Keywords

Remember, people doing searches on their smartphones are likely to use slightly different keywords than they would on their computers. Potential customers are also likely to use different kinds of keywords than people who aren’t interested in making a purchase.

Try to use the kinds of keywords your customers would use on their smartphones. This could include your business name, product names, phrases that describe your services and words that are used when searching for prices.

Use a Click to Call Feature

Make it so easy to contact you from a smartphone search that nothing gets in your customers’ way. On your website, use a click to call feature so all people have to do is tap on your phone number to connect with you.

Google recently unveiled a new ad feature that allows businesses to track phone calls that result in their paid search ads. Using this is another great way to enhance your mobile SEO campaign.

Think Local

If you sell products at brick-and-mortar locations, local SEO techniques can be especially valuable. Consider using keywords that include your location and using search ads that are geographically targeted.

Prepare your Site

Mobile optimisation can only go so far. If you really want to bring in potential customers through their smartphones, you need to make sure your site has a responsive design that makes it easy to use on small screens and while on the go.

The layout, amount of text, navigation and other elements of your mobile website need to be conducive to a smartphone so site visitors can browse your products, find what they are looking for and make a purchase.

There are lots of studies out there that show just how influential mobile search is when it comes to making more sales. To take advantage of this, don’t ignore mobile SEO and make sure your website is easy to use on a smartphone.

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How to use a Variety of Content and still Maintain your Brand

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Image courtesy of Wendy/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Wendy/Flickr.

Content marketing involves more than blog posts and online articles. Videos, photos, infographics, guides, ebooks and virtually all other types of online content can be a valuable part of your content marketing and Internet marketing strategies. No matter what kind content you use, it is absolutely essential that each piece helps you build and maintain your brand.

Use Visual Elements

One of the best ways to maintain your brand across several types of content is to use the same visual elements. Use the same colours, logos, fonts and visual styles on all of your content. Some types of content lend themselves to visual design more than others, but find ways to brand your content, no matter what kind you are using.

Use everything from photos and graphics to header colours to brand your content. Even small things, like the tone, music and style can help you build and maintain your brand.

Don’t Alter your Messages

It is important that you use consistent messages throughout all of your content. This doesn’t mean that you need to use the same message over and over or even that you need to phrase it the same way each time.

It does mean that you need to choose a few key messages and then make sure all of your content helps you convey them to your market. A video may be better at sending one particular message while a blog post is perfect for another. You will also need to use different phrasing and tones to make each piece effective.

Remember Calls to Action

Using calls to action that complement each other is another way to make sure all of your content helps you maintain your brand. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, most of your content should highlight your products and the benefits you can offer and ask people to make a purchase.

It is possible to use more than one call to action throughout your campaign, but don’t use too many conflicting calls. When you do this you risk confusing your market, distracting people and causing them not to follow up on any of your calls to action.

Row in the Same Direction

To succeed with Internet or content marketing, all of your tactics need to help you row in the same direction. They all need to work together, complementing each other, to help you reach your goals. Sometimes you will be trying to achieve multiple goals, so some of your tactics will be designed for one goal and some for another.

Using consistent messaging and calls to action is the first step in making sure all of your tactics are working together. Make an outline for each piece and keep your goals in mind as you create them.

No matter what kind of Internet or content marketing strategy you are using, it’s important that all of your content helps you build and then maintain your brand. As you do this, your online presence will become stronger, helping you increase brand awareness and achieve your goals. Content that uses consistent branding, messages, calls to action and direction is more powerful and more likely to help you see results.

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4 Places you Haven’t Thought of for Link Building

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Image courtesy of Hannah/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Hannah/Flickr.

Link building is an integral part of search engine optimisation. The key to making this tactic work though is to build links on high-quality, relevant sites so that you’ll achieve high rankings and get valuable traffic to your site.

There are dozens of ways to build links and if you have an SEO strategy, you are likely already using some form of link building. Here are some more creative ways you can get valuable links back to your website.

Event or Blog Sponsorships

Consider sponsoring an event or blog that is related to your industry. This brings huge marketing and brand awareness benefits and lets you get some quality links back to your website. Negotiate for a sponsorship package that includes links on the event’s website, blog sidebar or anywhere else that will help you promote your business and get high-quality links.

Best of List with an HTML Badge

Create a list, either as a blog post or a page on your site, full of excellent links relating to your industry. Of course, you don’t want to link to your competitors, but you can link to businesses that you work with, partners or organisations in your community. Make this list valuable to your market and something people in your industry or community would be honoured to be included on.

Then, provide a badge with a snippet of HTML code, that includes a link to your website, that people on the list can use on their own site to show off their inclusion on the list. These kinds of lists are also likely to be widely shared on social media by those on the list and your customers, so they pack a lot of Internet marketing potential.

Online Industry Publication Submissions

Take guest blogging to a whole new level by submitting articles to industry publications. Look for news sites, association websites, educational sites and leading industry publications that have a high page rank and a large readership.

This is another tactic that can bring more than high page rankings. It can help you tap into a new audience, raise brand awareness, establish your business as a thought leader and bring on new customers.

Your Own How-to Article Directory

Set up a section on your website dedicated to how-to guides and similar resources for your products and related subjects. Then, use links to this section to answer questions on social media sites and forums, leave comments on blogs and to encourage people to link to your website.

In some cases, people may be more likely to link to a resource on your site, instead of your home page, so having lots of places for bloggers, social media users and even journalists and other businesses to link to can help you get natural, high-quality links.

Search engines are cracking down on low-quality links, link farms and links built in illegitimate ways. These creative techniques can help you build valuable links that tell Google your site is a legitimate resource and can help you earn higher rankings.

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Get Earned Links and Boost your Search Rankings

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
Image courtesy of Laia Ros/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Laia Ros/Flickr.

Earned links, or links that other people build to your website naturally, are valuable in the world of search engine optimisation. These links show Google that your website is an excellent resource and a legitimate source of content and information.

Getting these valuable earned links requires a mix of social media, public relations and marketing tactics.

Make News and Share it

One of the best ways to earn links is to make news. Things like new product launches, fast growth, new leadership, new locations and events are all types of stories that media outlets will want to cover, with a link back to your site.

Share newsworthy stories and information through press releases and by reaching out to news outlets and journalists. Also, don’t be afraid to think creatively to find connections between your business and current events to get media attention.

Become a Thought Leader

When your business becomes the go-to leader and source for information, you can build earned links to your website. For example, if you are a well-known expert on technology as it is used in education, journalists, bloggers and site owners will contact you for information and quotes for their content. These should all be linked back to your website.

Become a thought leader through your content marketing and social media plans by standing out as a resource that is valuable and reliable.

Build Relationships with Bloggers

To get to the point where people reach out to you for your thoughts and opinions as an expert, you’ll need to build your reputation through Internet marketing. You will also need to build relationships with journalists and bloggers so you’ll be the first person or business they reach out to when they write about your industry.

Building relationships takes time, but you can start by emailing bloggers when you have information they might be interested in covering, sending them press releases, inviting them to events or asking them to write a product review. Make sure you foster relationships that are beneficial for both of you, and don’t focus only on what relationships can do for you.

Be Involved in your Community and Industry

Getting involved in your community through events, research, volunteering, publishing white papers, offering samples, sponsoring other organisations or events and in other ways will help you get your name out there and become part of conversations about your area or industry.

As you build a reputation as a business that is very involved, your name will naturally come up in news reports, blog posts, other websites and forums online, which will help you get earned links back to your website.

Of course, you can’t expect to be able to passively wait for earned links. You need to continue with strong Internet marketing campaigns and actively promote your business and services.

As you make and share news, become an industry leader, build relationships with content creators and become highly involved in your community and industry, you will start to earn links back to your website, which will help you gain higher search rankings.

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Easy Ways to get more Marketing Power out of Webinars

Monday, September 8th, 2014
Image courtesy of Ian Page-Echols/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Ian Page-Echols/Flickr.

We usually think of webinars as a way to connect with, train and educate employees, team members and sometimes even our customers. We don’t often think of them as a promotional tool, but when you use them the right way webinars can be a powerful part of Internet marketing.

Search Engine Journal published an article explaining just how effective webinars can be when it comes to getting more social media shares, making sales and even getting higher search engine rankings.

According to the article, a Content Marketing Institute study found that webinars are the third most effective content marketing tactic due to real-time delivery and behaviour scoring.

But how do you make sure your webinars are more than just a conference call? How do you turn them into powerful marketing tools?

Choose the Right Market

Obviously, webinars that are designed for your employees aren’t going to give you the marketing opportunities webinars designed for your customers will. Think carefully about your market and which of your audiences would be most responsive to a webinar.

Some common groups to target with webinars include current customers, past customers, potential customers, people of a specific demographic or people that are involved in a specific industry.

Use Promotional and Educational Content

The most effective webinars use content that is both promotional and educational. People don’t want to sit through a commercial for your business or product, and your webinar shouldn’t be full of sales pitches. Instead, use content that is valuable to your audience, that helps you position yourself as an industry leader and that is educational.

Then, add small “touches” of promotional tactics to make sure the webinar is also a marketing tool. Some easy ways to do this are:

  • Putting your logo in a prominent place as the sponsor or host.
  • Using examples or case studies from your clients.
  • Offering free samples through a link on your website.
  • Referring people to your blog.
  • Encouraging people to contact you for more information.
  • Asking people to connect with you on social media.
  • Holding the live webinar at your location while broadcasting it online.

To get marketing benefits from your webinar your content should be carefully designed to be educational and beneficial while still promoting your business.

Make the Webinar Accessible in Multiple Ways

Make it easy for people to participate in your webinar. Of course, you should broadcast it online on your website or YouTube channel so people everywhere can participate. But, you may also consider live tweeting the webinar, posting a link to your webinar on your blog, using multiple social media channels and even allowing people to attend in person.

Doing this makes it more likely that a lot of people will participate and also gives you more ways to market your webinar, and also your business. Creating a buzz on social media and getting more traffic to your website before and during your webinar can help your marketing efforts.

Recycle Webinar Content Later

Don’t stop using your webinar for marketing purposes when it’s over! Recycle the content by posting the video and audio, as a whole or as short snippets, on your website and sharing it through social media.

Other ways to recycle webinar content include using the same ideas, themes and sources to create blog posts, podcasts, infographics, articles and white papers. All of these can be used as part of your Internet marketing, content marketing and social media marketing strategies.

If you use them the right way, webinars can help you educate and provide value to your market while still promoting your business. Use these tips as you plan your next webinar so you’ll see more benefits.

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