The Top Must-Haves For Any Kickass Marketing Plan

Must-Haves For Any Marketing Plan

Any company that wants to be successful must have a solid marketing plan to get their name out there, bring in leads, and close on a sale. While there seems to be more or less an unofficial system in place that most businesses can follow to design their marketing plan around, why is it that some businesses do so much better than others?

For starters, although all businesses may have a marketing plan in place, there’s a big difference between what’s considered a good marketing effort and what’s considered not-so-good. A good or a great marketing strategy one of the key differentiators that businesses need in order to grow, and although it takes a lot of effort, the guidelines are essentially the same across the board.

As long as you have these three things at your disposal, then carrying out an effective marketing strategy shouldn’t be too much of a challenge:

1) A Brand Persona

The first step in putting forth a great marketing effort is to establish a brand for yourself. When most people think of a brand, the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. While a logo is certainly important in the fluidity of your brand across your website, social media platforms, etc., it’s not really what defines a “brand.” In fact, a brand is actually defined as A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” This means that when people come to learn about and understand your product (or services), they know that it’s directly connected to YOU.

That being said, developing a strong brand so that you can string it through all your marketing efforts takes a bit of an investment. And, in many cases, it also requires an expert that can walk you through the process. Sometimes, it helps to have an outsider help you understand what makes your business stand out from all the others. You may be selling a product that hundreds of other businesses are also selling, but for some reason, yours is unique. Tell them why. When you have the answer to that, then you know what your brand really is. Only afterward can come the creation of logos, signatures, visions, missions, mottos, and all those things that are generally tied to what people should be defining as a company’s brand persona.

2) A Buyer Persona

In addition to defining your company in terms of a brand persona, there also comes the other side of selling your products and services, and that’s establishing criteria for the people who will buy from you. Therefore, you must also have a buyer persona in order to put forth the best marketing effort possible.

According to Hubspot, a buyer persona is defined as “A representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Customer data can include anything and everything from user behavior, demographics, and the needs and desires of your customer base. Until you gather this information — and you continue gathering it throughout the lifetime of your business — you won’t be able to define your buyer persona and really understand your audience.

But, once you do understand your audience, altering your marketing strategy so that it’s appropriate for your audience, will be a breeze. This can be done in a number of different ways, whether its analyzing information on trends of your buyers or taking a poll to find out more information on your leads.

3) A Plan and Basic Strategies

Finally, once you’ve got your brand persona and your buyer persona all taken care of, it’s time to come up with a plan as well as basic strategies to follow through on. This will allow you to measure the success and positive change that’s happening in your company over time. A great marketing effort comes from company leaders and their employees who work together to create the foundation that determines how things will work, in order to reach the final goal – making money.

It lays out a series of steps that are your best guarantee to finding success. And, once you go through this process, you’ll be able to go back, again and again, to analyze how you’ve done, so you can improve yourself for the next round.

Remember that a great marketing effort can only exist when a company continues to find areas where changes can be made so that you can come out with more profit, more customers, and more leads than the previous quarter. This plan, along with your basic strategies, will be different for each and every business, so it’s a good idea to meet with an expert to make sure that your plan and strategies are directly aligned with your end goal.

Don’t waste time playing around with a marketing strategy that just won’t work. Hire a marketing and branding expert to get you started on the right track from the very beginning. This way, you can be sure you have everything in place to create an outstanding marketing effort that will continue to bring in leads and drive in profit.

Looking To Get Your Buyer Personas In Order?

Check out this free guide!

 

Read More
Kole Riggs August 15, 2018 0 Comments

5 Reasons Why You Must Have a Brand Persona

[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

5 Reasons Why You Must Have a Brand Persona

There are three main pieces that every company must put together in order to put forth their best marketing effort, and one of the most crucial is your brand persona. Most companies know the importance of the role marketing plays in their business.

After all, Mcdonald’s didn’t get to where it is today without those Golden Arches! Companies who, therefore, put more time, money, and overall effort into their brand persona, will have an easier time measuring their success compared to those who don’t.

A brand persona is what’s used to define who you are and to single you out from the competition. If you don’t have a brand, then you can’t move forward with your marketing strategy.

HR Persona

HR Persona

1) A Brand Persona Defines Who You Are

If you want people to be interested in engaging with you as well as buying your products or services, then people need to know who you are. Just like no two personalities are the same, no two brand personas should be the same, either. In order to establish your brand, think of what personality it would have if it were a human being. What would its traits be; its character? What are its values? Think of these questions when you try to formulate your brand persona, and you’ll have no issue coming up with all the other aspects that often coincide with a brand — your story, your logo, your mission, etc.

Example Brand Or Buyer Persona

Example Brand Or Buyer Persona

2) It Tells Your Audience What You Can Provide

If you’ve ever used a brand name to refer to a general product — for instance, calling a tissue a “Kleenex” — then you already have an understanding of how much your brand persona has the ability to influence your audience. Of course, your company may provide more than one product or service, but there’s something about what you’re offering that people should crave and that they can’t go without. For some companies, this might just be one item, and for others, it may be a whole list of items. And, even though people can likely find those items elsewhere, your brand persona tells them why they need to get it from you.

Example Of Either Buyer Or Brand Persona

Example Of Either Buyer Or Brand Persona

3) It Sets the Tone or Voice for Your Company

We’ve mentioned that one way to create your brand persona is by giving it human characteristics. But, behind all that, are the actual human beings who have helped to create and build the company. A brand persona not only tells your audience what you can provide, but it tells them who you are based on your company’s tone or voice. Sometimes when these two things don’t match up well, people can choose to boycott your products (Chick-fil-a can speak to this), especially if they don’t feel that what you’re providing agrees with what your values are.

The tone or voice your possess, therefore, demonstrates to the world what you stand for. Perhaps you have an interesting backstory that inspired the business, or you donate a percentage of your profits to charity. This is all part of your brand persona, and why having this particular piece of your marketing strategy matters. People are much more likely to buy from your company when they feel they can relate to you as a person.

4) It Makes Your Company Unique

Having a brand persona as part of your marketing effort means that you’ve worked to create something that makes you stand out, even if there are many other companies doing something similar.

Think of ice cream companies in the United States. Ben & Jerry’s is known for its unique, yet familiar, flavors, Baskin Robbins is known for traditionally having 31 flavors, Friendly’s is known for creating an atmosphere for friends and family, and newcomers — like Salt & Straw — are known for using local ingredients to create flavors that no one else has ever tried before. These companies are all more or less doing the same thing, but there’s a reason that a customer would gravitate to one more than another. For them, it’s all about your brand.

Example Brand Or Buyer Persona

Example Brand Or Buyer Persona

5) You’ll Become a True Competitor in Your Industry

Despite the fact that your company isn’t the first one out there selling ice cream, travel backpacks, or business consulting (if you are, more power to you for getting there first!), one of the main reasons you must have a brand persona  is because it will lead you to become a true competitor in your industry. We know what you’re thinking — “Who wants competition?” In case you haven’t realized this yet (and, if you haven’t, you’ve probably got some more experience to gain), competition is a GOOD thing. It means you’re playing in the big leagues, and people will notice that.

Developing a strong brand persona as a part of your marketing effort isn’t always easy to do. However, by hiring an expert to help (aka we’d love that to be us), you can be sure that you’re starting off on the right foot so your business can be successful long term.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Read More
Kole Riggs July 18, 2018 0 Comments

Grow Your Social Media Following With Organic Marketing

Grow Your Social Media Following With Organic Marketing

Organic marketing is a way for company leaders to bring in leads without paying for a platform to do so. It’s an opportunity for businesses big and small, new and old, to push their advertising to the furthest possible boundary with the current resources they have available. Those who are able to implement strong organic marketing strategies are able to do so because they can confidently rely on less resources to achieve more results. One way this is done is by taking advantage of the number of free advertising options that exist on these platforms. This will allow you to connect with high-qualified leads that are interested in your products and services, without needing to spend a dime or waste time on leads that need a lot more convincing.

Why Social Media Channels  

Organic marketing strategies can be applied to pretty much anything these days, whether it be website landing pages, mobile apps, or email campaigns. But, the main reason most company leaders resort to social media channels for this specific marketing strategy is because it’s where the attention is. By next year, it’s believed that there will be approximately 2.77 billion social media users around the world, which means that the average company will already be provided with a list of potential leads for free — they’ll just need to put in a little time to make sure they are visible and accessible.

Luckily, finding those leads on social media via organic marketing has never been easier. With an algorithm very similar to Google, users on Facebook are provided with an enhanced experience that will display posts and ads that are relevant to only them. Automatically, social media allows you to connect with the people that are meant to find your products and services, without you having to lift much more than a finger to do so. And, while there are certainly ways to pay for marketing on social media platforms, many will find that you can get just as much done by not paying anything at all.

Examples of Organic Marketing on Social Media Channels

When you look at the different organic marketing strategies, it doesn’t take long to see that one of the easiest ways to practice this strategy is through social media channels. This is primarily because “organic” means “free” and social media is, well, free. This gives users a wide array of opportunities to target potential leads, without having to make an investment in something that may not lead to any results. If your business is already on social media, then it’s likely you’re already practicing some degree of organic marketing. But, in case you need a refresher or you want some other pointers, here are some examples:

Optimize Your Brand

You can’t plan on maximizing your organic marketing without having a solid brand. Make sure you have a logo that speaks to your clients, and ensure that that logo and everything associated with your brand, is plastered on every page and group you run. Additionally, make sure all our social media accounts are linked.

Utilize Video

Video is a great way to bring in leads is through organic marketing. Whether you choose to post pre-recorded videos that you’ve already posted on Youtube, or you’d rather try your hand and live video, this channel can play a huge role in any marketing campaign, but is guaranteed to reach way more users via social media.

Share Often

One of the best ways to enhance your organic marketing strategy is by sharing content as often as possible, whether that’s your content or someone else’s. More shares and more activity on social media that can ultimately provide value to your clients and increase connectivity overall, will naturally make you more exposed.

Use Emojis

Organic marketing can be done in something as simple as a Facebook post. But, not just an ordinary post — one that really attracts people. By implementing strategies like the use of images, emojis, and spaced out text in a post, people will be intrigued by the mere attractiveness of your post, and will thereby engage with you quicker than they normally would.

Monitor Your Competitors

If you want to be successful with organic marketing via social media channels, then it’s necessary that you monitor your competitors to see what they’re doing on social media. If they are talking about trending topics or you see that their posts are getting a lot of likes and shares, then take note of what they are doing and try to replicate that.

Automate Your Inbox

Most social media platforms, especially Facebook, give page owners the ability to create automatic responses in the messaging portal. This will come in handy when you’re too busy to respond to messages all the time, but you want to ensure your leads are being taken care of.

Engage with Others

While automatic responses are great, those who want their organic marketing strategy to be successful must put in the time to engage with others, whether it’s a post someone makes in a group you’re in, or a comment on one of your links. Take the time to react and continue the conversation, and these leads will start to get to know who you are and what your brand represents. After that, it won’t take long for you to lead them to the end of the sales cycle and increase that closing ratio.

Post Relevant Content

Content is one of the best ways to bring in leads and make a sale without having to spend too much money. (Unless, of course, your company has hired a content creator.)  Content that’s done well — whether it be an eBook, a whitepaper, a blog post, a podcast, a video, or anything in between — should be done with the idea in mind that it will provide value to the lead or customer for free. From there, they should get a nice slice of what it’s like to have your products or services, and they’ll, therefore, be more inclined to pay for the next piece.

But, it’s not only free for them, it should be free for you, too. Sure, you’ll have to create the content yourself, but no one said that you need to reinvent the wheel. Come up with a consistent content strategy and share away.

Things to Keep in Mind

Because social media platforms like Facebook have worked to perfect their algorithms, companies are having a hard time reaching as many people as they’d like to, despite the fact this was the very thing that made organic marketing what it is. There is some debate regarding whether or not company leaders should rely too heavily on this marketing tactic via social media, because, after all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That being said, if companies can find ways to reach their leads organically while also investing in some paid media (such as boosting posts or paying for ads), then they are much more likely to be successful. Balance is key to success.

There are many ways in which company leaders can implement organic marketing strategies, and social media is one of the most reliable in terms of ratios. But, knowing how to do it and knowing how to do it well are two different things, so take the time to utilize social media channels to the best of your ability. After that, it shouldn’t take long to see how easily organic marketing can be achieved.

Read More
Kole Riggs July 10, 2018 0 Comments

What Is Organic Marketing?

Marketing 101: What Is Organic Marketing?

When it comes to growing your business by attracting more leads, there are several different ways to go about it. While some company leaders put a lot of money and time into their marketing approach, others have a way of growing their following and making more sales simply by letting the marketing do itself. This is known as organic marketing, and it’s a sure-fire way to expand your business naturally. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no work to be done — after all, creating a successful organic marketing strategy requires at least some type of ‘investment’ upfront.

The Basics of Organic Marketing

Organic marketing is a marketing strategy in which companies can bring customers to them “organically,” which means they aren’t actively chasing after customers with in-your-face marketing campaigns, irritating sales calls, or paid ads. It’s defined as natural marketing tactics that are free, because anything you pay or to bring in customers would be considered “inorganic marketing.” Organic marketing is a term that’s thrown around a lot, and you may have heard the term “inbound marketing” more often. Inbound marketing and organic marketing are essentially the same thing, but organic marketing can be thought of as “inbound marketing 2.0” as it takes similar strategies to the next level.

Different Types of Organic Marketing

These days, there are many different types of organic marketing that company leaders can experiment with. While a combination of all types of organic marketing strategies is wise, some companies may feel as though a certain type works better for them than others. Before you discover what works best for you, take a closer look at the main organic marketing tactics used by companies today:

  • Organic marketing using social channels
  • Organic marketing using external groups and online communities
  • Organic marketing by building connections on an individual basis

Examples of Organic Marketing

Within those three different types of organic marketing tactics are additional strategies companies can use to grow their following. The number of examples are endless, but there are a few that have proven effective thus far for many businesses selling in a variety of different industries. Remember, anything that can be used to bring in leads without paying, can be considered a form of organic marketing. Best of all, the more organic marketing examples you try for yourself, the more it will boost your validity on platforms like Facebook:

  • Highlight your best performing posts on social media by pinning them to the top of your page
  • Use emojis to brighten up your posts
  • Share a link to your page in a Facebook group that allows people to highlight their services, for instance, an entrepreneur group
  • Publish interactive content, like polls, contests, tag-a-friend, etc.
  • Host a webinar or one-on-one consultation with an interested client where you offer value for free

Setting the Groundwork

One of the main reasons company leaders zero in on organic marketing is because it allows them to save time and money on finding leads. But, it’s also a better way to bring in leads in general, because people appreciate when companies do things naturally. No one wants to feel as though they are being coerced into buying a product or service. Instead, they prefer to find a solution to a problem their having, or be given valuable resources for free before they make a financial commitment.

As you can see, organic marketing isn’t “organic” in every sense of the world. It takes some time before you can get yourself to the point where you see the leads coming in, and that’s only after putting in the initial work to make that happen. Social media posts are going to post themselves, and video chats with interested customers isn’t going to happen via a bot (though, that’s certainly not impossible).

That being said, these tasks should only take a few minutes of your time, and with software like marketing automation, you can do more. The fact that any determined company can potentially bring in loads of leads with just a post or share and absolutely no money down, goes to show that organic marketing is something every smart business leader should be considering, if they are not already doing it.

Why You Should Be Doing It

We are very lucky to be living in a time in which there are so many ways to advertise your business for free. The internet and social media platforms have gifted entrepreneurs with something that wasn’t even fathomable a decade ago. Though companies will still no doubt continue to invest money in things like ads or boosting posts, there’s no guarantee that those strategies will always work. And, when you can bring in leads without needing to spend a dime, companies can do so much more with less. Organic marketing has completely changed the way businesses advertise and sell their products and services, and those who aren’t taking advantage will likely fall behind.

Read More
Kole Riggs July 3, 2018 0 Comments

Looking To Automate Your Business? Think Again..

Truthfully we all hate doing the tedious tasks that could just easily be fixed or made easier by a fancy software…

But, more likely than not 99% of us are jumping into automation software WAAAAAY too quickly.

Let’s preface this article for a sec, software is great and we are not saying you shouldn’t use it to make your life easier. After all who wants to spend more time on the minute tasks that could be automated by a machine?

We do though believe that automation software is best suited for the business processes that we have already done the hard work of optimizing from the manual process. Think of the hard manual process as a way to better understand how the job is done on a granular level. Often times we are so focused on just getting the work done that if we took a step back to understand what we doing and why then we would be able to make adjustments and decrease the amount of time doing the work. If you’re lucky you’ll find a smoother process for yourself that doesn’t rely on software at all.  #savethatmoney

Ok moving into the reasoning for this article in the first place.

Me: “Let me see the email you’re planning to send.”
(Shows me his cold email.)

Me: “What’s your response rate on this email?”

Jason: “Not sure. That’s why we need email automation.”

Me: “Gotcha. I recommend Gmail.”

Jason: “But Gmail won’t send automated follow-ups.”

Me: “Right.”

Find 100 prospects.

Send two emails to each prospect.

Call them three times.

IF you get 5% of people to meet with you

AND you have 15% conversation to close rate

THEN we can chat about email automation tools.

It’s easy to get seduced by tech.

Keep the start simple.

NOTE: If you or someone you know relates to this story above share it. We all love sharing stories, don’t we? 

Your Likely Running Your Business With Automation But Completely Unprepared Todo So

Trust us when we say that It’s not just you that’s doing this wrong. So many of us are constantly searching for the latest and the greatest tool’s that can further automate your business.

But, what should be doing is increasing efficiently of the current process over trying to find the next tool or full automation to use.

Stop wasting your money and focus on how to make your process more efficient and effective using what you’ve already got.

By always thinking automation first without taking the time to optimize how a business process works create a BIGGER MESS.

Spending more of your money to automate crap, just brings you MORE crap at a faster pace.

Start Making Your Business Processes Efficient:

We get it; when someone talks about optimization your mind immediately goes “lets build and automation”…

Automation’s are helpful in all but, what about your actual process. Before you invest in your fancy new software that will “fix your problems.”

Like that happens…

First, you should be looking into the FREE methods you can use to optimize your business processes further.

What we do when we decide to optimize a specific section of our business is we take a look at our current process. Often, we resort to just writing it out on a whiteboard. Then, we start adding the numbers that matter to get an Idea of how optimized it is already.

Many times, just by writing out your current process, you’ll find parts of it that could be changed and reworked. When you see what part’s of the process you’d like to change then WRITE IT OUT AND FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE CHANGES.

After you’ve written it out, give yourself some goals to hit before you decide to make any more changes to the process. Sometimes the methods that you think are inefficient rally just needed more time and data.

What We’d Starting With When Optimizing Business Processes:

Before anything here, recognize that every business is different and each one will have places that REQUIRE your attention. These processes of your business are the ones we’ve felt had the most significant impact on the small businesses we’ve worked with.

 

1. The Sales Outreach Process

Most of us HATE sales, some of us though were born for it. By understanding the fact that you and your sales peeps are likely missing out on sales opportunities. Just because of how you do your outreach via. Email, social, call, letter, etc.. So we recommend taking some time at least two times a month to look into how your team performs their outreach.

Whats their outreach process?

  • Do they spend time getting to know each possible customer before outreach or are they just playing a numbers game?
  • Do they follow a copy regardless of who they are talking to? if so, why?
  • How have the possible customers responded to how they did their outreach? Was it good or bad?
  • How many people wanted to move forward after 100+ outreach attempts?

Spending some time looking at how you and your team first speak to your possible customers could easily 5x the amount of business you’re currently getting.

 

2. The QUALITY Of Your Customer Service

Something so many business owners and employees neglect are the quality of their customer’s service. This in many ways (especially with today’s THERE FOREVER reviews online) can hurt your business. We always recommend taking a deeper look into the whole process of how you handle your customer’s questions and issues, so you can make your customers experience AMAZING every time.

DID YOU KNOW: One of the best ways your business can get more business is from your past customers and their referrals.

Does that make you think a little more about how you treated your last customer?

What we recommend looking into your customer service process. Often you’ll find many inconsistencies in the way you and your team connect and build a relationship with your customer. Taking some time to look deeper into how both you and your team do this can provide some REALLY valuable insights.

  • Some Questions Recommend Asking Yourself During The Process:
  • How long does it take for questions to get answered by you or your team?
  • What is the time frame for you to send a customer a refund, and how easy is the process?
  • How Do you manage GREAT reviews, and also the bad ones?
  • Who keeps in contact with your customers to increase the Life Time Value of your customers?
  • How do your customers react to your customer service experience?

 

3. The Quality & Consistency Of Your Community Outreach

Are you confused on this one?

Most business neglect the amount of community outreach they do. After all, you wouldn’t immediately think about how much community service you do as a relatable metric to how many more business opportunities you’ve gained or new clients you’ve acquired. At least for now, since community engagement is an AMAZING way for your to further connect and market your business and add some extra personality to who is apart of your business and what you stand for.

Now, if you are trying to think of the ways you can connect with your community (if you’re not already doing it) some of the best places are FREE!

If we had to choose only three methods for community outreach, we would have to decide.

Social Media Outreach: this process may seem complicated and hard to do if you are not used to doing it. But, Organic Social Media Marketing is a very straightforward process that takes some effort on your part. Better yet it doesn’t even cost anything to you besides say your time.
This is one of the best ways to do your outreach if you are on a tight budget or want to engage in a new way with your local community. If you’ve never done Organic Social Marketing, you should check out our post on how to do just that!

Go To Networking Events: This isn’t for everyone, but this is an excellent way for you to connect with your target customer. If you are new in a field or have just started your business going to networking events can be a compelling platform to launch your business off of.

If you have never been to a networking event, just understand that people want to connect with you as a person first and then as a business.

So, when your there, enjoy it, have a great time, and be yourself, no one likes a fake. Doing this often with help build the foundations of your local network with these people. If they are not your direct customer, you can likely find them by building rapport with the people you know at these events.

Volunteer In The Community: With all of the needs in the community is surprising how few companies take time to volunteer in their local community. Often when you go to these events, you’ll find people that work at larger companies that are there for a similar purpose as you. But, just remember this type of community outreach is different but can at the very least bring some warmness in your hearts.
We recommend looking into local NFPs that are focused on a message that correlates in some way with your business values. Starting there can lead to building connections with influential people in your community.

If you are ever looking to start throwing your money at new automation, you came across. Please think again and take a step back, not every process needs to or SHOULD be automated. If you go through some of the methods listed above and find you still need to automate parts of your business, then you can feel confident that you are choosing at the right time. We hope this has been able to help you along your journey as a business owner and marketer.

Don’t forget to share with your friends!

Read More
Kole Riggs April 22, 2018 0 Comments

Why Your Content Strategy Is Seriously Failing

Do you remember when you had to be convinced that content marketing was worth the effort?

Now, it’s more popular than ever before and has proven to be more effective than any outbound marketing activity, costing 63% less and generating three times as many leads.

In fact, 90% of all organizations now incorporate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy. We’ve evolved from bemoaning how long it takes to write a blog article to eagerly adopting new formats and approaches.

This is, after all, a generation with young adults earning $10 million per year through monetized blogs on YouTube:

It’s safe to say the overwhelming effectiveness of content marketing has been established. For businesses who have adopted this channel, however, there is one potential pitfall. A big one.

Its equation is simple. The more organizations produce and promote content, the more content there is available to be consumed. The more content available, the less time their audience has to identify and consume the most valuable and relevant content to their needs and interests. This is what Mark Schaefer calls ‘content shock’.

What is Content Shock?

Schaefer published an article four years ago in which he suggested that content marketing was not a sustainable strategy for many businesses. What was once a relatively uncrowded content space, “Red Bull was a beverage company, not a media company, Chipotle was making burritos, not claymation films, and there were roughly one-third as many bloggers”  was becoming a “situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand [remains] flat”.

In 2018, we have officially reached saturation point.

As well-intentioned as your efforts are, no matter how many hours you spend researching a blog post, or scripting a webinar, there are no guarantees that your work will yield positive results. This infographic shows just how easily your content can get lost in the crowd.

Your Content Strategy is Failing

You know your target audience. You built a strategy. You put together a content calendar. You invest time and resources. And… it’s not working.

In our current state of content shock, this is unsurprising. You need to be able to differentiate your brand, demonstrate your Unique Selling Points, and set yourself apart from an ever-growing level of competition. To quote Steve Martin, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

This may seem like an impossible prospect, but even in a world in which 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, you can still come out on top.  

Let’s check out the most likely reasons your content strategy is failing and how to turn things around!

 

  • You aren’t measuring the ROI of your content.

 

Only 8% of marketers consider themselves “very successful” or “extremely successful” at tracking content marketing ROI. If your business is spending time and budget on creating and distributing content, this is, unquestionably, the metric that matters most. And if you aren’t using the right tools and data points, it will be impossible to achieve.

Use a time-tracking app or iPhone timer to discern how long it takes to create a piece of content. Don’t forget to pause the timer while taking a break. The worth of your cumulative time spent creating content is your investment.

To find the return, you need to discern which metrics to track. If it’s online sales, you should set up a Google Analytics User Flow report to see what website visitors do, like whether they click your CTA after reading an article, or whether they make a purchase after landing on a product page. Then, knowing which content on your website is converting and which is underperforming, you can optimize your strategy.

If the main objective of your content marketing is lead generation, you can calculate content ROI by tracking the number of contact enquiries that were completed via lead gen forms around your content. Depending on how you set up your lead gen forms, this can be done through your CRM, email provider, or software such as Leadformly.

If you want to adopt a more all-inclusive approach, you can use Google’s Attribution Modeling to calculate the monetary impact of every piece of content consumed at every step in the customer journey.

Once you’ve figured out what will constitute your return, calculating ROI is only a few simple steps away. Through your content ROI, you can determine which titles, topics, and content formats best engage your customers and provide most value. These insights will enable you to adapt and refine your content strategy, and set you up for success.

 

  • You haven’t considered video.

 

51% of marketing professionals worldwide cite video as the medium with the best ROI. Marketers who use video content grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t, but many brands are still reluctant to embrace it as part of their content strategy. Despite its unparalleled ability to boost brand awareness, generate quality leads, and maximize sales, video still carries a few common misconceptions.

Many assume that video only works for top-of-funnel campaigns, when brand awareness is the key objective. Or that it’s more suitable for B2C audiences rather than B2B. Or that anyone with a smartphone can create compelling video content. Or that it’s too expensive for your organization to have its video content created professionally.

The truth is, video can be whatever you want it to be and achieve whatever you need it to achieve—often more effectively than other formats. Now that the average human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, it’s more feasible to imagine a consumer engaging with a 60 second video than a 1500-word article (apart from this one of course!). Easy-to-consume over breakfast, during a break, or on a commute, video also helps viewers retain 95% of its message compared to 10% for text, ensuring your brand stays front-of-mind amongst your target audience.

Video also has the ability to engage your customers on a variety of platforms. As one of the most repurposable content assets, video can seriously maximize its ROI. You can use video on your website’s landing pages to increase engagement, in email marketing campaigns to increase CTR, and in social ad campaigns to increase conversions. If you’re reluctant to invest in video production, this amazing example from Zendesk, suitable for every stage of the sales funnel, may make you want to reallocate your marketing budget!

  • You aren’t being specific.

 

You know you need to produce content as part of your wider marketing strategy. Before you start, you need to be able to answer one deceptively simple question.

“Why are we creating this content?”

One of the most common reasons for the failure of an organization’s content strategy is they haven’t considered the needs and interests of their customers. Consequently, their content lacks direction and clear purpose. You’ve taken the time to identify specific business goals and specific target audience segments. Now, you need to identify your specific content niche.

It’s important to avoid becoming an aimless content creator, fluctuating between listicles and webinars and GIFs with no sense of cohesion. Consider your target market, your value proposition and your industry. From there, decide upon the most appropriate content formats. Keeping a narrow focus will enable you to build your brand reputation and strengthen relationships. Potential and existing customers will come to eagerly anticipate your particular pieces of content.

You might become the company known for their emotive customer testimonial videos. Maybe your product review podcast series will be your specialty. But whatever angle you choose to adopt, stick with it, and do it well. Your content marketing performance metrics will speak for themselves!

 

Read More
Kole Riggs April 18, 2018 0 Comments

Why Are We Giving Away Our Data So Easily?

I’ve asked myself this question before but, recently with everything that’s been going on in the world of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Personal Opinion Disclaimer

It’s shocking really how quickly we are to give out our personal information.

Now, with the way the online world works. I feel that people should understand that with almost every company we interact with, we’ve openly given them some type of data about us. Arguably the most important part of this is WE CHOOSE to give them our information, they didn’t (in most cases) tricked into giving our personal information for free.

We’ve Been Conditioned Into Using Our Data

Over the past 8–10 years we have been conditioned by companies to use our personal information as gate keys into what they offer. Giving our data away didn’t come easy, it’s been a bit of a struggle for companies to get us to offer them our personal information for a “free service”. One of the first major software’s that comes to mind for me at is email.

In many ways, I think we can agree that some of our information must be given in order to provide a personalized experience, but there is a limit. But to what degree is too much data? After all, over the years we have become so used to giving our data away that what SHOULD be given has been blurred.

Going back to when email first came out we were so excited to use this new software because it allowed us to move away from all the faxing and the phones. More and more of us started creating various email accounts so we were able to connect with friends, family, and business.Down the road, this started to create consumer habits that in order to get access to anything we must provide them with our personal information.

It’s very interesting to see how something that is now considered simple like email. Has given many companies to thrive on our preconditioned habits that gave rise to today’s data behemoths like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and many more.

Why We Shouldn’t Give Our Data Away For Free

Every one of us whether we agree with it or not are giving out data away. Using data as a gateway to the many services we love could be great.

With any technology it will always with come risks, whats bad about giving our data is:

1. It Makes These Companies BIG Targets For Cyber Attacks

Every website you can imagine has more than likely been attacked by hackers or Dangerous AI that actively looks for loopholes in their system. One of the biggest reasons is because every day hundreds of BILLIONS of personal data transactions are being logged on many sites.

This leaves us and the companies we use open or breaches, this alone makes offering our data a massive risk.

After all, do you want to be one of the Millions of people every year that have there personal data stolen?

Example: The Lawsuit on Facebook & Cambridge Analytica, see more on that here

2. You Lose Control Of Who REALLY Has Your Personal Info

Regardless of whether we like it or not. When we chose to give a company our data we immediately lose control of what they REALLY do with it. Now granted many companies have controls to choose what data they actively pull, but you can’t ever completely remove the data or prevent them from tracking everything.

Because of this fact, it is very important for us to really think about what companies we are handing our personal information to so willy-nilly.

Whats Been Great About Using Our Data Access Products/Services

On the plus side using our data to access free products and services gives us access to tons of amazing solutions to our problems. In many ways giving out data has many positive situations where it drastically increases the opportunity for people and companies to connect with each other.

Some great examples that come to mind are:

1. Brings Rise To World Problems

Every country has issues, everyday people are dying because of drugs, violence and even the more nuanced problems that people are just unaware of. Having access to platforms like Facebook & Twitter give Billions of people the opportunity to bring up large issues and underlying causes to find ways others have solved them or are working through them. Without these services, it’s very likely that we would not be able to spread the word to huge issues such as the #MeToo movement and #BlackLivesMatter.

2. Allows Free Speech To Spread Where It Matters Most

The vast majority of people across the world are repressed and unable to express themselves as they should. Using platforms that offer their service for data gives many people a place in the world to connect and keep people connected.

Conclusion

Over the past few years, we all have been affected in some way by us giving out our data to companies. Just a few examples to recap, Targets hack of credit card info, Twitter accounts being hacked and lost of personal data, and just recently Facebook’s lawsuit because of the theft and sale of millions of peoples personal data to a third party company.

So this should at the least beg these questions…

  1. What company can I really trust with my data?
  2. Should we pay for the services we use that are currently “free”
  3. Should these large companies restrict the amount of data they offer to third parties?
  4. What regulations should be in place so my data is better protected?
  5. What can actually be done to protect my self and family from having my data stolen?

So what do you think about our data? Should it be kept more private and what do you think we should do about better protecting our selves online?

Let us know what you think, we would love to get your thoughts below.

Read More
Kole Riggs April 11, 2018 0 Comments

The Old Ways Of Doing SEO Is Dead, Here’s Why

The Old Ways Of Doing SEO Is Dead, Here’s Why

Traditional SEO has a blind spot. For most companies, it’s handled by people more focused on developing your website. Why was SEO put in the IT department in the first place? Let’s dive into a little internet history. Up until July of 2002, the leading search engine was AltaVista, which served up pages based on keywords. SEO was largely about optimizing each page’s meta tags and titles with those keywords. So, it took HTML skills to do SEO.

Even after July 2002, when Google emerged as the leading search engine, most SEOs remained focused on optimizing web pages, because the ten blue links that appeared in Google’s search engine results still featured pages that included relevant keywords. Other factors, like link analysis, required building links from directories, widgets, or footers of various sites. In short, it remained technical enough to need IT.

Universal Search

Then, in May 2007, Google unveiled “universal search,” which blended results from more than just the web to provide the most relevant and useful results possible. In addition to web pages, for instance, the search results started to include video, news, images, and maps. But, in most organizations, the SEOs in IT departments weren’t responsible for creating video, news, pictures, or maps. And the people in marketing departments who were building most of this content didn’t think that SEO was their job. So, despite the fact that the era of 10 blue links had ended, a blind spot developed in SEO that still exists in most organizations to this day.

This is a missed opportunity because YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, and it uses metadata– your video’s title, tags, and description – to index your video correctly. To maximize your presence in YouTube search and suggested videos, as well as Google universal search results, video marketers should make sure that their metadata is well-optimized. This includes the title, description, and tags of each YouTube video. This isn’t the IT department’s job, and many video marketers haven’t learned how to do this.

Panda Update

In February 2012, Google introduced its first Panda Update to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. In May 2012, the official Webmaster Central Blog provided some “guidance on building high-quality sites” that SEOs in IT departments – who don’t write articles – weren’t in a position to implement, while the people in marketing departments – with rare exceptions – didn’t think this guidance was for them. If you want to step into Google’s mindset, the questions below provide some guidance on how the search engine’s engineers were looking at the “quality” of an article:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?

These look like questions that someone who majored in journalism or communications can answer, not someone who majored in computer science. So, executives in most organizations need to ask themselves: If SEO now involves creating original, complete, comprehensive, insightful, and entertaining articles, then does it still belong in the IT department, or does SEO now belong in the marketing department?

Penguin Update

In April 2012, Google launched the first Penguin Update to do a better job catching sites that were obtaining them through link schemes. And Google provided some examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:

FROM GOOGLE:
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links, or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.
Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking.
Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
Using automated programs or services to create links to your site.

In other words, many of the tactics that have been used for years by SEOs in IT departments may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. After the Penguin Update, what are the bust practices for “building” links?  According to Google, “The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”

In other words, link “building” once required lots of left-brained skills and competencies, but many of these are now considered link schemes. Since 2012, getting other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours requires lots of right-brained skills and competencies to create unique, relevant, useful, and valuable content. So, once again, executives in most organizations need to ask themselves: Does SEO still belong in the IT department, or does this team now belong in the marketing department?

RankBrain Algorithm

In October 2015, Google confirmed that it had launched the RankBrain algorithm, a machine learning artificial intelligence system. It is mainly used as a way to interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were searched for. Google has said that RankBrain is the third most important factor in its ranking algorithm along with content and links.

According to an article by Danny Sullivan in Search Engine Land, here’s an example of a search where RankBrain is supposedly helping: “What’s the title of the consumer at the highest level of a food chain?”  To a layperson, “consumer” sounds like a reference to someone who buys something. However, it’s also a scientific term for something that consumes food. There are also levels of consumers in a food chain.

So, the name of the consumer at the highest level is “predator.”

So, this changes the way SEOs conduct keyword research. Instead of optimizing for popular short-tail terms that are one or two words long, SEOs need to optimize for more targeted long-tail terms that are three, four, five or more words long. That’s because they provide more context that helps you understand consumer intent – what consumers are looking for.

Speedy Update

Finally, Google has announced that it will start using page speed in mobile search ranking. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. In January 2018, the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog announced that “starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. The “Speed Update,” as Google is calling it, will have a significant impact because more than 50 percent of search queries globally now come from mobile devices.

Among the resources that SEOs can use to evaluate a page’s performance is PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations. Typical optimization suggestions include:

  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content.
  • Leverage browser caching.
  • Enable compression.
  • Optimize images.
  • Reduce server response time.
  • Avoid landing page redirects.
  • Minify CSS.
  • Minify HTML.
  • Minify JavaScript.
  • Prioritize visible content.

Now, these require the kind of technical skills that are found in the IT departments of most organizations. So, even if responsibility for SEO is moved into the marketing department, the SEO team still needs a dotted line relationship with the IT department. Or, you can put people from both departments together to create an emergency task force to improve your mobile friendliness and page speed before July 2018.

SEO best practices in 2018

In summary, SEO best practices in 2018 are very different than they were back in 2002, 2007, 2011, 2012, or 2015. They include:

Optimize their YouTube videos, press releases, and images for Google Universal Search.
Create a satisfying amount of high-quality content for Google’s Panda Update.
Get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours for Google’s Penguin Update.
Use keyword research to find relevant search terms for Google’s RankBrain algorithm.
Use PageSpeed Insights to improve the performance of a page for Google’s Speed Update.
In most organizations, the executives still haven’t received the memo that the era of 10 blue links ended a decade ago. This explains why so many organizations still aren’t using these SEO best practices. And whether executives decide to move their SEO team out of the IT department and into the marketing department or not, they still need to recognize that SEO isn’t something that you can set and forget

Read More
Kole Riggs March 29, 2018 0 Comments