Content marketing is a powerful force. It brings in around three times as many leads as traditional marketing, but costs about 60 percent less. It’s safe to say marketers have caught on to its importance. Yet, once upon a time content marketing did not get as much love… Now, context marketing has found itself in a similar situation.
Whether you know what context marketing is or not, I’m willing to bet that you’ve dabbled in it in some way— or at least have wanted to. Context marketing is essentially delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
In every industry, those who excel at marketing are the ones who leverage the context of their audience, leads, and customers. These marketers may know what kind of content their leads prefer, what industries they work in, and through which channels they prefer to consume content.
The basic idea behind context marketing is to use what you know about your contacts to provide targeted, relevant, and personalized marketing. So, why is this important?
1) Understanding your contacts with help you create relevant, personalized content that people want to engage with— not unsubscribe from.
2) Very targeted marketing, the type that appeals directly to a customers point of need, is likely to perform better— saving you time and money in the long run.
We know context marketing is important, now, how do we incorporate it?
1) Dynamic calls-to-action will greatly strengthen your lead conversion rates. Not everyone who reads a case study is ready to speak to a salesperson, but it’s important not to scare these people away with a CTA that is too pushy. By incorporating dynamic CTAs that adjust depending on a visitors stage in the sales cycle (for instance), you won’t risk overwhelming potential leads.
2) Your email database also needs to be smart. To start with, it should be segmented into targeted lists. These lists should be smart enough to know when to pull in a contact based on relevant information.
3) To turn it up yet another notch, you must incorporate smart forms— landing page forms that fill in form fields for people. Thus, your leads spend less time filling in “First Name” and “Last Name” and more time giving you new, viable information.
They say “the best things in life are free.” Sure… sunsets, laughing, and perfect weather are pretty awesome, but so are things that cost money— concerts, plane tickets, luxury vehicles etc.
So is free stuff better, or things that come at a cost? Both have their perks and downsides. The same can be said for organic vs. paid social media.
The pros of organic social media
It’s technically free.
You can directly engage with and assist your customers. A well-maintained, active profile gives customers an accessible location to post concerns, complaints, and compliments.
It allows you to establish a brand identity, personality, and a sense of humor— making you much more relatable. Not sure what I mean? Google ‘Wendy’s twitter roasts.’
The cons of organic social media
It can be incredibly time-consuming.
Social media algorithms can be difficult to grasp and master, but understanding them is crucial or your content could get lost.
Your content will only go as far as your followers take it. Meaning, if your followers don’t share your stuff it won’t be exposed to new people, and forget targeting a specific demographic.
The pros of paid social media
Paid advertising allows you to pinpoint specific groups and expand your reach. You can target people by gender, location, age, interests and then some.
Its payment model can work for any budget. Establishing a spending cap will ensure that your budget is never exceeded, and in many instances, you only have to pay for users who interact directly with your content.
The results are more immediate.
The cons of paid social media
Your investment may not yield meaningful results. Just because you’re paying money doesn’t mean your advertising campaign will be successful.
The landscape can be very competitive. Some target demographics will have much higher rates than others.
You must constantly monitor paid social campaigns to get the most out of them. This involves consistently analyzing data and adjusting everything accordingly.
So… to optimize or to advertise?
It’s impossible to say which is better without having a particular business in mind. Ideally, you’d incorporate both methods. Leverage paid social media to immediately draw a new audience to your profiles, and then convert them to customers with thoughtful organic content.
We’re all guilty of overdoing it sometimes— even at work. And although overdoing it may seem extra-productive, sometimes it’s just extra-unnecessary.
Now, let’s talk about six areas of marketing where the “less is more” approach can save you valuable time, money, and ensure higher efficiency.
In marketing, management pertains to both managing employees and managing campaigns. Both can be streamlined. In terms of employees, focus on creating the right work environment and avoid micromanagement— people should feel comfortable coming to you with questions, but safe making their own decisions.
Marketing tools are supposed to make our lives easier, but they oftentimes over complicate things. All-in-one tools are more efficient and therefore a better investment. They’ll save you a lot of time spent switching windows and exporting data, trust me.
Scheduling your calendar
Practice calendar minimalism. At the beginning of each day schedule the main things you need to accomplish, not every single daily chore. Some days are busier than others and you don’t get to “schedule the Facebook post.” Thus, it’s best you’re not moving your calendar around every hour on top of it all.
This is one I seem to preach all the time. Short snappy writing usually performs better than long complex copy. Not only do search engines favor shorter sentences and paragraphs, but readers typically do too.
Meetings are expensive. Most people don’t look at it that way, but they should. An hour long meeting with 10 people costs 10 hours of company time. Although meetings can be valuable, they should only be taken when necessary and only be as long as necessary. If you’ve got to have one, send out an agenda beforehand for optimum efficiency.
Group brainstorming sessions
It’s proven that people come up with more ideas and solutions when working in a group. Team brainstorming sessions can be very useful, but sometimes people don’t know how to end them. Set a time for the brainstorm and stick with it. In the time normally spent winding down and debating ideas, you could be putting them to the test.
Remember, perfection does not equal performance. Since marketing is a matter of scale, doing less is the most efficient way to squeeze more in.
The goal of an e-commerce website is pretty straightforward— present a product or service, entice people to purchase it, and then process their payments accordingly. Simple, right? Unfortunately, nothing about the e-commerce business is as easy as it may seem.
To meet your goals, and grow your business, you’ve got to put in some serious work. Here’s some tactics that should help you do just that in the ever-changing world of e-commerce.
Every aspect of your website should be tested for improvement regularly— including headlines, images, product descriptions, and overall design… everything. But, before you just go around changing everything, have a plan. Changing everything at once won’t show you what was truly effective. Try testing one item at a time— giving it about two weeks per change, so you have a chance to gather the type of data needed to make a permanent decision.
Social media helps business owners get more personal with their customers. But, posting all the awesome content in the world won’t often matter (maybe unless you’re a big time fashion influencer) if you aren’t attentive to your followers. Answer their questions about products, start conversations, acknowledge every photo you’re tagged in. Although this is quite a bit of work, there are an array of tools available that make staying on top of your social accounts easier. HubSpot’s social inbox is just one example. Use it to provide great customer service whenever given the chance.
Heat mapping tools allow you to see where site visitors spend the most and least amount of time. Even if you’re not making many sales, you’ll still be able to see what products yield the most interest. Also, heat mapping can track where site visitors came from— Facebook, Instagram, your landing page? This is extremely important, as it helps you determine what outlets to focus on.
Exit Calls-to-Action for Lead Gen
I love a deal, I’m pretty sure everyone does. When I jump on a site and an email signup pops up right away offering 20% off, I appreciate it an all, but why give them my email if I don’t want any products? Thus, the exit CTA comes into play… An exit call-to-action is a last minute offer that can be added to a website for last minute lead generation— typically right before a visitor might bounce. If a customer has been on your site for 10 minutes, chances are they’re pretty interested in what you have to offer. Thus, pretty likely to provide an email.
Some blogs may take us 30 minutes to write while others, of a similar length, seem to drag on for hours. Why is this? Because some topics are just plain boring. And if they’re boring to write, they’re oftentimes just as boring to read. Unfortunately, many mundane matters are just as important as the fun ones. So next time you get stuck with a dull blog topic, here’s how to make it more interesting for your readers:
Make it personal
Use your introductions to tell a story about yourself and address how the to-be-discussed topic has impacted you or a colleague. Sometimes we can’t personally relate. When faced with this, present a question like “have you ever had this problem? Well, this tool could have definitely fixed it.”
Add some visuals
Many people, like myself, are visual learners. Creating a simple infographic makes it easier for these people to understand a highly technical topic. If you don’t have any infographic-making skills yourself, or access to someone who does, simply adding a picture breaks up the text and improves overall readability.
Tell a story
“The ins and outs of ROI” honestly comes across as a pretty lame topic, but still, a very important one. ROI in itself is pretty straightforward, so how can you talk about it in an entire blog post? Try telling a story of the biggest movie flops of all time, so readers can visualize ROI on a very large scale. Mars Needs Moms, Dark Phoenix, we’re looking at you.
Tie in current events
Pop culture is your friend when presented with a dull topic. Introduce your blog with something readers can relate to, like song lyrics or a TV show. Include information as to how your blog will relate to said pop culture anecdote to immediately hook readers.
Interview the experts
If asked to write something you don’t know much about, turn to someone who does. Experts on a particular subject will usually discuss it with the kind of vibrance that will even make us average joes interested.
Incorporate facts and stats
A stat or research-based fact is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate why the topic at hand is important. Look for statistics that shock you— chances are they’ll keep your readers hooked.
In a perfect world we would all have the marketing dollars necessary to make a serious impact on our target audiences. Instead most of us have a budget to stick to, and many barely have much of a budget at all.
Having a tight marketing budget can make our jobs a little harder, but there is still plenty that can be done. Let’s review some top tactics for how to implement a good marketing strategy when the funds are not flowing.
Improve your content marketing
Content marketing should be a go-to for those on a tight budget. Build up organic traffic with blogs, YouTube videos, infographics, podcasts and more. Guest blogging on other sites, for instance, is a great way to expand your audience for free.
Offer a free trial
Offering a free trial period allows you to build trust with customers and improve overall brand reputation. Let customers experience how amazing your product is, and pamper them so they’ll never want to leave.
The best way I’ve seen this done is on Instagram. If you don’t have an account for your business, now is the time.. Ask people to follow, repost a picture, and tag friends in order to enter a giveaway. Boom, free potential leads.
Encourage users to generate content
Your company should ask users to submit photos of themselves using or wearing your products. Repost these photos (with their permission of course) and show your target customers just how many people love your stuff.
Dominate social media
This one is self-explanatory.
Increase community engagement
Being involved in your local community is more important than ever, as many people now prefer to shop local and help out smaller businesses when given the opportunity. Sponsor events or sports teams, or host your own event that encourages locals to come. People are more willing to purchase a product or service from someone they have something in common with.
Arrange a webinar
A webinar is a presentation or workshop that is transmitted over the web and encourages viewers to interact— it’s an online discussion in real time. If your webinar is helpful and solves the audience’s problems, you’re likely to gather leads from it and further build your email list.
Update your online directory listings
Directories like Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp are the first places many people turn to find information about your business. Therefore, it’s vital to not only be listed on as many directories as possible, but to make sure they’re all up-to-date.
Enhance your SEO strategy
Optimizing your site correctly is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase traffic. To do this, conduct keyword research, create a link-building plan, and set up a blog. Don’t know anything about SEO? There’s plenty of free courses, tutorials, and guides online. Google it!
At some point, many of us have asked ourselves, “why would I need to add meta descriptions if Google will show the accurate text of my blog posts in the search results?” Well, because they’re more important than you think…
So what exactly is a meta description? It is the bit of information under the blue link of a search result. Its purpose is to describe the contents of a particular page to the person searching— with an end goal of persuading them to visit your site.
But meta descriptions don’t just need to please potential site visitors, they need to appease Google as well. If Google can read and understand your meta description content, chances are it will be easier for it to rank your page correctly.
Meta descriptions should be short, descriptive, and use keywords, but what else makes up an excellent one?
Answer the question
Many people turn to Google to answer their questions. Thus, your meta description should answer that question with a benefit or solution. Think about what main question your page answers and word the description accordingly.
Provide a solution to the challenge
It’s important to mention how or why your page will be valuable to readers. For instance, “Discover the 10 best stock trading programs for beginners and learn how they can begin to make you money and boost your market confidence.”
Keep it concise
Your meta description should not exceed 160 characters. Remember, the body of your webpage is where you’ll really educate your audience. This is just a quick summary.
Avoid overusing keywords
Pumping a meta description full of keywords is a quick way to look scammy, and possibly even confuse your readers. For example, “Stock market trading success offer that’s free to trial to be successful in making money” is a lot less appealing than “Learn the tips and tricks for making money in the stock market with this free trial.”
Be engaging, be unique
Sure, some businesses might need to have serious meta descriptions. But, if you have some wiggle room, show a bit of personality— as long as it stays true to your overall tone. Some descriptions may cover all your bases, but completely leave the personality out. “The ultimate stock trading course that is both interesting and educational” sounds a little less appealing than “Stock trading can be a bore. Learn how to dominate markets in a way that won’t put you to sleep” if you ask me.
When it comes to overall corporate marketing, some brands just get it right. Coca-Cola, for instance, keeps it consistent, Nike shares stories of empowerment, Budweiser is the American beer, and Geico dishes out just the right amount of humor. These brands are easy to relate to and thus, evoke a feeling of trust among consumers. As marketers we should always strive to improve our strategies, so let’s review yours.
First of all, what exactly is corporate marketing? Well, it’s the type of marketing employed to promote a company as a whole, not just individual products. It’s how a company brands itself— from its mission statement to its advertising language.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s discuss some tactics that’ll help improve your corporate marketing strategy.
Focus on your target audience
Figure out who exactly your target audience is, and then use this to determine what your specific goals are— to generate traffic or raise brand awareness? How does your audience prefer to be communicated with? Do you need to build their trust or obtain new leads? One way to get to know your audience better is through customer satisfaction surveys.
This goes unsaid, but you need to stand out among competitors. How can you do this? Analyze competitors’ marketing strategies and determine what you have that they lack. Zero in on your special offerings and talk about them.
Sell a lifestyle
Trader Joe’s, for instance, carries many organic products at affordable price points. They also have their signature murals in each one— murals and other decor that typically matches the neighborhood. The grocery store chain doesn’t just sell produce and knick knacks, it sells a lifestyle. Consumers like to purchase from brands that align with their lifestyles.
Keep the voice consistent
Some brands are witty, others are serious, and many just feel relaxed. Choose a tone and stick with that— it will help people personify your brand. And also, contribute to your unique style.
One of the main channels you’ll use to communicate with your audience is social media. On social platforms you can really let your personality shine, as well as understand the needs of your customers better. Remember, a strong social presence is characterized by efficient two-way communication.
As I just mentioned, strong two-way communication between brand and consumer is pretty darn important. When you provide excellent customer service, it’s only natural for your customers to become brand advocates. If you’ve had a great experience with a company, you’re likely to talk about it. Make sure your reputation is solid and you’re very likely to come up in conversation.
It may be hard to wrap your head around, but Gen Z is starting to enter adulthood, and with adulthood comes more purchasing power.
So just how do you market to the generation that doesn’t know a time without internet— a generation that is more hyper-connected than anyone else? You do it differently. Because Gen Z has different habits than even their close cousins, the millennials.
This is how Gen Z searches the web.
They are much more likely to use long-tail keywords. For instance, older generations are more likely to search using one or two simple keywords— like “politics.” Gen Z is more apt to typing an entire phrase or question in the search engine. “What do I need to know about politics?” — much more Gen Z.
Even if Gen Z is not your target audience just yet, you should optimize your web content for long-tail search keywords. Although the younger generation uses this search tactic most often, millennial aren’t too far behind.
Here’s how Gen Z is likely to begin searches.
Young adults often use the words “cheap” or “how to” in search queries. But the all time favorite? “Best.” These predominate search terms suggest that Gen Z is more frugal and heavily researches ways in which to get the best possible product or experience for their money.
Gen Z searches on mobile devices.
This may be a well known fact, but how should it affect your marketing style? Well, Google typically rewards higher search result ranks to websites with a mobile optimized design.
Young adults prioritize different content.
When compared to older generations, Gen Z much more aggressively seeks out video content. Thus, if you’re trying to appeal to younger adults, it’s key to develop a video strategy on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and now TikTok.
And of course, they love their social media.
This goes without being said, but Gen Z is heavily connected. Search engine optimization might be vital to your overall strategy, but having a social media presence is vital if you want to appeal to young adults. If you’re not on social platforms at this point, you absolutely should be.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that social isolation and online shopping seem to go hand in hand. And guess what? Our affinity towards online shopping is not going to change much once the world is back to “normal.” This being said, online product descriptions are more important than ever.
So here’s some tips to help you describe your product or service in a way that best resonates with your buyers.
Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes: Potential customers will visualize themselves using a product before making the purchase. Make this easy for them by addressing common concerns, using language they can relate to, and explaining how the product will help them achieve their goals.
Be creative: Product descriptions should not only sell an experience, they should tell a story. Think about what inspired you to create the product when writing this story.
SEO is extremely important. Do keyword research and optimize your product descriptions. By utilizing specific keywords in your page titles, alt tags, meta descriptions, and product descriptions, it will make it easier for potential customers to find the product online.
Reviews are key: Encourage people to leave reviews, utilize quotes, and overall, reduce the need for customers to do further research as much as possible. Additional research is likely to take a potential buyer to a rival site.
It should be an easy read: Not only should the information be clear, but it should be presented in a way that is pleasing to the eye. A large block of text is not easy to digest— consider using bullet points, larger headlines, and other simple formatting fixes.
Incorporate imagery: You know your product better than anyone, so leaving a long list of bullets can be tempting. Yet, textual descriptions can only go so far. Include pictures that help potential buyers envision themselves with the product. Or better yet, also add easily distinguishable symbols or graphics— like a simple vegan symbol, if the product is not made up of animal products.
Measure your success: A/B test different versions to see which product descriptions resonate with your audience better. Besides language or imagery, test out different keywords and lengths. Remember, testing is not complete after you’ve chosen the better description. Track your conversion rate, cart abandonment rate, or simply organic rankings. There is always room to improve.
Social media may have once been a marketing afterthought, but those days are well behind us. Major brands from every industry have a social presence— some, a stronger presence than others. So, what industry exactly is lagging behind in the social media race? Healthcare. A space that seems appropriate to discuss given the current climate.
Thanks to the increasing popularity of social platforms, not to mention— the internet, people are finding themselves more empowered than ever to make their own decisions in regards to their health.
Thus, here are some tips to help you do social media marketing the right way in the healthcare space.
HIPAA regulations still apply
Although social platforms can get pretty wild, medical ethics codes are not to be thrown out the window. Always protect the privacy of your patients/consumers.
Your organization needs a (non-sterile) voice
Social media gives you a chance to engage with customers, as well as show a bit of (appropriate) personality. Choose a consistent tone when posting, respond to all reviews and inquiries, and hey, it doesn’t hurt to introduce some of the faces behind your organization either. Humanizing your business is likely to evoke feelings of trust in potential patients or consumers.
Do not solely push promotions, when you can also be a rich resource and, once again, establish some trust. You already know your audience is interested in their health, so give them the relevant, educational content they’re looking for. Better yet? The kind of content they won’t find elsewhere.
If there’s a public health crisis, talk about it
People like to discuss and distribute critical information on social media, and you could very easily be the source they look to for their news. By providing new information, as well as resources and support, during a time of crisis, your organization may simply amass a large audience organically.
Do not forget to advertise
If you’re truly passionate about your industry, as many in the healthcare space are, it is very easy to get carried away writing educational blogs. Remember to amp up your pay-to-play strategy— also known as sponsored content. Keep in mind, these ads must be well-written, relevant, accompanied by attention-grabbing imagery, and MOST importantly, HIPAA and FDA compliant.
I recently moved to a new city, and I have to say, one of the most frustrating things about the move was not figuring out how to get around, it was finding the most reputable local businesses in the area.
I needed to find a new hairdresser, but didn’t know where to begin. So, I turned to our friend Google, and narrowed down my options after doing some research.
Since about 90% of consumers used the internet to find local businesses last year, it might be time to rethink your local promotion strategy.
Thus, here’s how to successfully promote your business locally:
UTILIZE LOCAL AUDIENCE TARGETING TOOLS
Yes, local audience targeting involves choosing certain zip codes and geographic regions, but you must also use the right language and keywords to appeal to this specific audience. For example, using “Palm Beach County” in your page titles and meta descriptions can mean the difference between a click and a scroll by.
CATER TO LOCAL AUDIENCES WITH BLOGS
Educational content can raise brand awareness by ranking with local keywords— the more ranking content the better. If you have a restaurant, try creating blogs like “best places to eat in Palm Beach” etc.
YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT SHOULD APPEAL TO LOCALS
Do not forget to tag locations in your posts and use hashtags relevant to your area. The more active you are, the easier it will be for locals to find you.
ONLINE DIRECTORIES (like Google) ARE YOUR FRIEND
Get set up on Google My Business, Facebook, Bing, and Yelp (just to name a few). And remember, it is key to keep your information consistent or you risk confusing potential consumers— turning them away. Also, encourage existing customers to leave reviews, as many people distrust businesses without them.
CREATE A LOYALTY PROGRAM
Why should your customers come back for more, or what is the benefit for recommending your business to others? Offer loyal customers discounts. Even take it one step further and give out, let’s say, a reusable coffee cup with your branding on it, after a certain number of purchases— a win-win for everyone.
YOU SHOULD HAVE AN EMAIL LIST
Email marketing can be very underrated, and so easy to start. Begin building your lists using some of the methods above. Require an email to join a loyalty program, or have customers sign up to receive relevant blogs in their inboxes weekly.
DO NOT DISMISS TRADITIONAL METHODS
Direct mailers, radio, and newspaper advertising methods may seem ancient, but they still work. Just be sure to monitor your success while you run traditional advertisements, in order to adjust them accordingly if need be.
Before opening a business, unveiling a new product or service, or even implementing an advertising campaign, (basically before you do anything) you must brush up on your market intelligence. Much like outlining an essay before diving right in, this is a marketing step that is typically just skimmed over, but oftentimes vital to success.
Market intelligence is the industry/market specific information gathered by a company to help them make smart business decisions. Basically, it’s the stuff you gotta know to be competitive, and it can be broken down into four main categories.
Learn everything you can about your competitors. To do this, try conducting a SWOT analysis— aka a planning technique in which you identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The overall goal? Determine why someone would choose someone else’s product or service over your own.
Is your product quality and does it perform well? If it’s a physical product, examine the efficiency of the manufacturing process. If it’s a service, delve into the user experience- ask for feedback. Find your cracks and make the necessary improvements.
Look at the various markets your product is available in. Now, get an idea as to how it’s performing in each one. Is it possible to expand to new markets? Which markets would benefit most from your product or service? Answering these questions should help you determine where your audience is.
Did you know it is five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain a current one? Now that you do, you must also know that it is absolutely vital to know your audience- very well. Why should customers keep buying from you? Answering this question is key to developing targeted marketing campaigns.
Now that you understand the basics, here are just some ways to answer your questions:
Competitor Tracking Analytics
In business, being a know-it-all can be a serious problem. Trust me, I’ve been there. Just keep in mind that a true leader never stops learning, and to put it simply, market trends will absolutely never stop changing.
New goals and deadlines are unfortunately (and very typically) accompanied by new pressures. Thus, the new year is just about as stressful as it is motivating. The trick is not to let stress, and the feeling of failure, stand in the way of your motivation and overall creativity. Easier said than done.
Here are some tips for keeping your creativity (and cool) when expectations are at an all-time high.
1. Pretend to work on someone else’s behalf
The stress of looking bad can greatly hinder your creative process. It may sound strange, but pretending to come up with ideas for someone else (like a client) can keep your pitches unique. Detach a bit, as if your project will be passed off.
2. Outlines are your friend
An empty page can be incredibly daunting, trust me- I know. When you’re too overwhelmed to get started, simply write down some bare bones bullets. Then take a break, and come back to it later. You’ll be surprised how much the pressure subsides.
3. Work during your peak creative hours
Some of us are morning people, others are night owls. You know when you work best. During this time put other obligations and distractions (ie Slack and your email inbox) on hold while you really get down to business during your 2-3 hour creative window.
4. Know when to walk away
When your mind is absolutely fried, it’s pretty easy to get distracted on the internet. Although the idea of leaving your desk when deadlines are looming can sound absolutely terrifying, it’s time to take a much-needed real break. Getting lost online will only set your mind even further away from your aspirations rather than closer to them.
5. Get some solid sleep.
This is one of the most vital, and also overlooked, tips. Basically, your productivity is shot during resting hours— not to mention, a lack of sleep stifles creativity. That is all, case closed.
6. Write down creative ideas when they hit you, at all times of day
Chances are, you have a smartphone— aka a notepad and pen, or voice recorder, strapped to your hip at all times. A brilliant idea can hit you without a moments notice, and depart just as fast.
Setting marketing objectives is great and all. Goals can incentivize a team and help sustain growth, but at the same time, many people prioritize the company’s needs so much that they lose sight of what matters most… the needs of the customers.
Thus, it’s all about balance. In this post we’ll discuss how to hit your numbers and prioritize your customers’ needs, simultaneously.
First of all, let’s talk marketing objectives, what are they really? Yes, they are goals that typically have a time limit, and they often involve hard numbers or metrics— a metaphorical finish line if you will.
Yet, establishing how you will win the race is just as important as a the photo finish. In order to reach your “what” (aka the goal), you must focus on both the purpose and process— the “why” and the “how.”
Why- Our blog is educational but it does not resonate emotionally with the audience.
How- Consistently run a blog that people will look forward to reading.
What- Increase subscribers by 25% month-over-month in 2020.
Now that we’ve established the “why” and “how” behind the “what,” let’s discuss how to clearly define your goal(s) using the SMART framework.
What particular metrics need to be improved upon? Leads, customers, visitors? Establish which member of your team will work on what.
In order to gauge progress, each goal should have a quantity (ie a percentage) associated with success.
It’s important not to bite off more than you can chew— it could quickly tank team morale.
Goals should at least somewhat relate to industry trends, as well as the company’s overall goal. For instance, if you need to boost revenue, will increasing your Instagram following directly correlate to this?
Deadlines equal pressure, and pressure typically equals significant progress. Without a deadline, reaching your goals will take far too long. And as they always say, time is money.
Take a look at your inbox. Most of those subscription emails you accidentally signed up for are delivered between 9 to 10 AM or 5 to 6 PM, correct? This is absolutely not a coincidence.
There may not be an exact science behind the perfect time to send an email, but heavy research has presented some pretty interesting findings. And after analyzing these findings, some times are just better than others to jump into someones inbox.
Why does this matter?
Email marketing can quite possibly improve your sales conversions by 14 percent. Recipients are typically interested in the unique offers, sales, or updates emails provide— this is information they typically cannot get anywhere else.
So what time should I send them?
Email marketing software company, GetResponse, analyzed 4 billion emails to come up with these numbers:
The highest click-to-open rates are at 1PM (22.5%), 10AM (21%), and there was a spike around 6PM. Typically, these times represent lunchtime, the beginning, and the end of ones work day.
Consider the content of your email before choosing one of these key slots. For instance, sales or promotion (non work related) emails are more likely to be opened around lunchtime— when the recipient is on a break.
Now lets look at different days of the week.
You can measure the success of your email marketing campaign using a variety of factors. Surprisingly, each day of the week may have different benefits associated with it.
Thursdays are best for open rates (18.6%)
Tuesdays have the highest click-through rates (2.73%)
Mondays and Sundays have the lowest unsubscribe rates (0.16%)
Saturdays yield the highest click-to-open rates (14.5%)
Monday has the lowest bounce rate (0.79%)
Email can be a tricky, yet vital, part of your marketing strategy. Keep your emails relevant, use some of these tips, and track your metrics— success should soon follow.
When you’re scrolling through instagram feeds, chances are some appeal to you more than others— even if the actual content is relatively the same. Why is this? Because people are typically drawn to higher-quality visuals.
This applies to your favorite shows to binge, the food labels that jump out at you most, and of course, marketing in general. With 94% of brand first impressions being based off design, the time to amp up your visual language game is now.
What exactly is visual language?
Visual language is essentially a set of guidelines for your brand’s marketing campaigns. It is not a replacement of your brand’s overall identity, but slight additions or changes to the brand that optimize a particular campaign.
Some of the primary features that make up your visual language include:
Together, these features should give your campaign a united look and feel, help achieve your specific goals (ie drive awareness, sell products, increase sign-ups etc), and appeal to your target audience. Leading us to the next topic…
How do you create your own visual language?
Step one is to establish your goals. A fashion blogger may want to increase their following, while an online publisher would benefit more from newsletter signups. And a retailer… sell products of course.
If you are unsure of what your primary goal is, research the industry and see what the competition is up to. Do you think their approach was successful or not?
Step two— determine who your target audience is. Let’s look at a somewhat similar product, for instance— while both sneakers, people who are interested in running shoes may be vastly different than those who are looking to snag a pair of hiking shoes. Ultimately, the visual language for each of those sales campaigns will have a vastly different tone, look, and feel.
And the final step, narrow in on the right visual language for your particular campaign and develop a mood board for it. This will help achieve consistency across your marketing, and save time and money— ensuring most planning happens simultaneously.
Fall is in now full swing. To most people, that means cooler weather. To Floridians like myself, that means the bathing suit/summer clothing sale jackpot.
The other day I received an email promotion from one of my favorite swimwear brands, which prompted me to check their instagram account. What did I find? The same promotion. And what did I do? I began to fill up my shopping cart.
Email marketing and social media marketing may be completely different animals, but they can absolutely work together to boost your next marketing campaign if utilized properly.
Typically, email marketing strengthens the relationship with loyal customers, whereas social media marketing attracts new, potential consumers.
Here’s why to integrate email and social media marketing.
When you include a link to your social media profile in a marketing email, it gives subscribers new ways in which to interact with your brand and content.
Consumers could discover a new item or service they were previously unaware of. After all, you don’t want your marketing emails to be cluttered and too content heavy, but sometimes you have so much more to say— that’s where a simple link will suffice.
Say you have a big event coming up. Some people may want play-by-play updates and others do not. In this case, send an email to customers requesting that they like or add your social page if they’d like to stay in the know. By giving people a choice, you may save some from gravitating towards the dreaded “unsubscribe” button.
Now lets change things up a bit. On Instagram, companies such as Birchbox remind customers to check their emails for upcoming promotions. If I was a Birchbox follower, but not yet a subscriber, this may just prompt me to sign up and see what special offers I may receive.
As no two customers are exactly the same, your approach to digital marketing should be holistic. And believe it or not, these “rivals” actually work very well together.
Partnering with influencers is a great way to reach new audiences, seeing as almost 50 percent of consumers look to influencers for product recommendations.
So if you’re considering an influencer marketing strategy, the next question is… where do I even start?
The key(s) to an effective influencer marketing strategy:
Set defined goals
Is your goal to drive engagement or increase brand awareness? Gain more leads or establish a sense of brand loyalty with the leads you already have? Not only does defining your end goal help you work backwards to achieve it, it will help when tracking metrics as well.
Determine who your audience is
This is vital because influencers’ audiences vary greatly, depending on what products or lifestyle they promote. Who is your ideal buyer? Get specific if you have to. A 22 year old sorority girl and 28 year old new mother may appear close on paper, but their priorities will likely be vastly different.
Zero in on a campaign type
There is so much you can do with influencer marketing— create competitions, offer discount codes, promote collaborations, and sponsor content, just to name some. Each campaign type can yield different results. Revisit your goals before zeroing in on one.
Create compelling (and relevant) content
This should be a given. Consumers are quick to lose interest, but they’re even quicker to point out a painfully obvious advertisement. Thus, your brand and messaging should seamlessly flow with the rest of your influencer’s content. Ask for the influencer’s opinion if you’re stuck. A true professional will help guide you, and act as a brand ambassador. This ideal partnership is unobtainable if your messaging does not resonate with the influencer’s followers.
Find your influencer
Search relevant hashtags, pay attention to who similar brands promote with, sift through users who are active on an influencer’s posts and see if they align with your audience. Instagram will even show you suggested users when you follow someone new.
Track the performance
By tracking engagement, conversions, traffic, or other metrics that monitor success, you will be able to alter campaigns accordingly so you get the best possible ROI.
There was once a time when people found jobs through ads in newspaper classifieds, but that time has long since passed. In the present day about 70% of jobs are found through personal connections.
So whether you’re searching for a new job, or looking for new clients, solid networking skills are key. Unfortunately, to many people networking can feel more awkward than a middle school dance.
This guide may not make face-to-face networking less awkward than hiding behind a screen, but it sure can help you navigate your next event or meeting with poise.
Have clear goals
“Who do I want to meet and why?” This is vital to ask yourself before any networking event. Many event’s will have a list of attendees available. Scan this list and determine which connections will be more meaningful to your future or the future of your company.
Come prepared with relevant conversation starters
Whether a big group or a single person, the approach can be intimidating. With the right approach you can start your own conversation or smoothly join an existing one. Read up on industry-relevant news and trends to help you connect with your audience.
Introduce yourself to a big-deal person, as an equal
Why do we become nervous or awkward when we see celebrities— even mini-celebs like a CEO you admire? Because we put them on a pedestal. Approach industry celebrities as an equal, not a fan. Try mentioning something thought-provoking that they can relate to.
Be interested in others
Ask people questions about themselves. It’s simple to exchange names, hometowns, and job titles, but small talk is… small. Make the person you’re talking to the main topic of conversation to avoid awkward silences. If they mention a project they’re working on, for instance, ask them to tell you more about it. Showing real interest in others typically says more about you than talking about yourself does.
The conversation should benefit all parties involved
In asking for what you want (such as a job or investor), be sure to mention the mutual benefits— otherwise risk coming across as aggressive. Do not just ask for a job, explain why you are the right person for the job. “What are your core business problems? Here’s how I would fix them.”
Your exit should be graceful
Sometimes it may seem like it, but networking is not speed-dating. Your goal is not to meet as many people as you can, your goal is to make valuable connections. It is very important not to rush through conversations for this reason. When your chatting does seem to dwindle, end with a “I’d love to hear how that project turns out.” You’ll come off as engaged and keep it feeling open-ended. You never know who you’ll need guidance from in the future.
Businesses operate a lot differently than they used to. Thankfully, the standard clock-in-clock-out nine to five seems to be dying out— at least a little. According to recent surveys, remote work has grown 91% over the last 10 years.
If done right, remote work can be more productive, more flexible (depending on the job at hand), and quite possibly, more rewarding. However, working from home is not for everyone and that’s ok.
If you’re considering remote work, or are struggling to stay afloat in the work-from-home world, here are some tips to excel when out-of-office.
Stay on a schedule
Remote work and full-on freelancing are different entities entirely. Yet, you will need to establish a schedule with both— with a remote work schedule being more strict.
Over half of remote workers still work fixed hours. If you’re working with a team it’s vital they can communicate with you throughout your work day. If you have the flexibility to run an errand during working hours, great! Just know that you’re still on the clock. Be available at all hours between the start and finish of your work day.
Get familiar with communication technology
Slack, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Dropbox, GoToMeeting etc.— these are all your friends. Familiarize yourself with the technology that helps you communicate and share with your team.
Many companies provide new employees with on-boarding and training tools aka Learning Management Systems (LMS). If not, YouTube tutorials can do wonders.
Fine-tune your communication skills
Determine what channels your team uses to communicate and for what purpose. It’s critical to know how each channel is used and what tone it’s used in.
Slack may be more for laidback idea sharing, while email threads could be a more official channel to discuss major projects.
Focus is key
Working from home can distract even the most disciplined workers. Do you work better in silence? Or with some meditative music in the background? Determine what works best for you.
Also, establish a dedicated work space. Most people may not have the space for a home office, but a small nook in the corner will do just fine. Associate that area with work, your bed for relaxation, and kitchen for cooking and socializing.
Manage your time and get organized
These speak for themselves. At home, you won’t feel as much pressure to stay on task. Create lists at the beginning or end of every day, in order of priority, to determine how to distribute your time over the next eight or so hours.
Nearly 2 billion active users are on Facebook, but if you don’t have a strategy in place to get noticed, engaged with, and liked, the chances of generating leads from it are slim.
So whether your Facebook business page is new on the scene, or it could use a revamp, here some essential tips for engaging your audience and making the most out of the platform.
Personal profiles and businesses should always be separate
Creating a personal profile for a brand, instead of a Facebook Business Page, will put you at a major disadvantage. Business pages not only have special promotional and analytics monitoring tools, but they do not require an approved friend request in order for people to engage with the page.
Your profile picture (and cover photo) must be recognizable & engaging
Consider using a company logo for your profile picture and a high-quality, engaging cover photo. Your profile picture is the first thing people see in a Facebook search, so you’ll want it to be recognizable. As for the cover photo, well, it takes up a lot of real estate on your page.
Add a call-to-action button
Adding a customizable CTA button is a great way to drive traffic to your website. “Watch Video,” Book Now,” or “Sign Up” are just some examples.
Do not abandon your ‘About’ section
The ‘About’ section is typically the first place a potential customer will look when trying to get more info about your business. Fill it with the basics and company milestones— all the details can get confusing.
Consistently post both photos and videos to your timeline
Don’t get me wrong, photos are great, but videos can be even more engaging. You should switch it up with the content you post and develop a strategy for how frequently you post it. Uploading 5 videos in one day and nothing for the next month can be both annoying and confusing for consumers. And if you don’t think you’ll stay on top of, let’s say— 2 posts a week, schedule them out.
Leverage targeting tools
Facebook allows you to target specific audiences based on their gender, relationship or educational status, location, age, language, or interests
(and possibly more!). Utilize these tools. A 14 year old is probably not looking to renovate their new home, but a 35 year old quite possibly is.
Respond to messages and comments
Facebook tells page viewers how quickly you typically respond to messages. If you don’t keep up with it, people will know. I think most potential customers would forgo sending a message if they knew it wouldn’t be answered in a few weeks, if ever. In their minds, if you’re not easy to reach you may not be easy to do business with either.
If you send a marketing email, chances are pretty slim that it will be the only one received that day. Peoples’ work inboxes are constantly getting flooded with emails— many of which are business to business (B2B) marketing emails advertising a product or service.
It is easy for B2B marketing emails to be overlooked. Therefore, it’s key to recognize the components of high-converting B2B marketing emails.
Use brief subject lines
Readers are typically working, meaning their attention span is short. Don’t waste their time with wordy subject lines— try and stick to around 5 words as a general rule of thumb.
Keep paragraphs short and to the point
Short paragraphs and bullet points are your friend. Most people read emails on their phones and long text blocks can be overwhelming. Short paragraphs hold a person’s attention, while bullet points ensure readers do not overlook important content.
Your messaging should align with the recipient’s intentions
Someone who just signed up for a mailing list is a lot less likely to purchase an expensive product than a person who signed up weeks or months prior. A new lead will likely spend time learning about the company before spending money. Do not immediately urge new subscribers to buy products.
Follow a template
Following a template will ensure general message uniformity and reduce the likelihood of errors. Appearing scattered or uneducated can dramatically decrease a business’s credibility.
Provide real-person testimonials
Do not just include a customer testimonial— include a customer testimonial that people can relate to. Testimonials work best when they are not too sales-driven and also not simply an extension of the marketer.
Strategically place your calls to action
Calls to action (CTAs) encourage people to make a move toward your product or service. Make your CTAs button style so they stand out, place at least one above the fold, tailor them to the specific product or service (ie "purchase your ticket”- instead of “purchase”), and do not overdo it. Pages littered with CTAs will only elicit feelings of annoyance and confusion.
Millions of brands have promoted their content on social platforms for years, with nearly 3 billion social media users in the present day, it can be a surefire way to find your target audience. Yet, the demand for content on social platforms has plateaued as it has become flooded with photos, videos, and articles. Gone are the good ole’ days of utilizing organic reach alone to get ahead— you must pay-to-play now. One of the most effective ways to do this? Boost your posts.
Boosting posts involves paying social platforms to amplify an existing posts in order for it to reach a larger audience. These posts will appear as “sponsored” on a users feed.
How to boost a Facebook post
1) Login to your facebook business page and choose an existing post you’d like to boost
2) Click “Boost Post” on the bottom right hand corner of the post
3) Choose your audience- either choose facebook’s recommended option or create a new audience using a variety of targeting options
4) Set the budget and the amount of time you’d like it boosted for- you will get an outreach estimate once you do this. Play around with budget and duration to see how your outreach may be affected.
How to boost an instagram post
1) Click “Promote” at the bottom of your existing post
2) Choose a goal- do you want to attract more profile visits, web traffic, or specific promotion views? Choose the option that best aligns with your product or message.
3) Choose your audience- The “Automatic” selection targets people like your followers, “Local” targets specific locations, and “Manual” allows you to control various targeting options.
4) Set your budget and duration
How to boost a Twitter post
1) Click “View Tweet Activity.” This is located at the bottom of your tweet
2) Choose “Promote Your Tweet”
3) Choose from different targeting options- Twitter does not allow for as many targeting options and is currently only based off of location.
4) Set a budget
Apps are pretty well known for their low retention rates. The majority of people who download an app will stop using it after just a short amount of time. With the increased storage space on our smartphones, it is all too easy to let an app sit idle and forget about it altogether. Due to the lack of long-term interest, it is vital that mobile app owners actively combat this trend.
Here are 4 tips for keeping mobile app engagement high
Functionality is key
The app market is highly competitive— there are nearly 5 million on the market. If an app offers subpar functionality, there will likely be numerous competitors a user can (and will) turn to. A short on boarding process is absolutely key— it should take users less than one minute to see what value the app brings to them. In addition to this, poor performance and bugs could ruin engagement. Check often to ensure the app is free of bugs.
Push notifications are your friend
Recent surveys revealed that 46% of app users who enabled push notifications spent 11 or more sessions on the platform— only 25% of users spent 11 or more sessions on apps when push notifications were disabled. When used properly, push notifications have a positive impact on engagement. Yet, the trick is not to overdo it.
Help users create an emotional connection with your app by involving them in aspects such as incentives, interactive content, and games. “Waze” is a navigation and traffic monitoring app that allows users to communicate with one another about recent accidents, road blocks etc. Also, many retail apps will allow for discounts on in-app purchases. Make engagement worthwhile either socially, emotionally, or financially.
As previously mentioned the app marketplace is extremely competitive. For this reason, you simply cannot afford to have a boring, tired, outdated app. In order to be relevant, constantly evolve and provide new and exciting incentives frequently. By keeping a constant eye on the market, you’ll be able to stay up to date with new features and trends that are developing in your niche.
Yes, everyone wants their webpage, email, or popup to look good, but it takes more than just good looks for your marketing assets to drive a particular action. The action may be to read a blog post, take a quiz, fill out a form, or sign up for a newsletter— it depends on your particular goals. Once you’ve established your goals (ie build brand awareness or promote the purchase of a product) you’re ready to begin creating effective, high performing calls to action (CTA).
An effective CTA is the right combination of elements working together to drive an action. Some of these elements include messaging, design, and location on the page just to name a few— but there’s plenty to cover.
Here are 6 different tips to create highly effective CTAs:
The CTA should stand out
A call to action must be clear, in both a visual and action sense. Use bright colors, bold fonts, and borders to catch a viewers attention— it should contrast from the rest of the elements on the page and simply specify what action you’d like the viewer to take.
The CTA should be surrounded by supporting messages
There should be more elements at work than just the call to action alone. The email subject line, header graphic, and page copy should all guide viewers to click on the CTA.
Keep it simple
A good CTA makes it easy for viewers to follow through. If possible, add helpful elements, such as an autofill option, that make completing call to actions simple and stress free.
An effective CTA instills a sense of urgency
Create urgency by limiting an offer by time, quantity, or space. Many people will not act unless they are given a reason to. Some high pressure words include “Now,” “Today,” or “Limited Supplies.”
Be sure to optimize for mobile
More than half of web traffic happens on mobile, thus your CTA must be mobile optimized. For it to be effective, it must look appealing on a smaller format. Also, be sure the button appears above the fold and it is easy to click on a touchscreen.
Space CTAs out properly
Including multiple calls to action on one webpage is a common practice, but they must fit logically within the flow of content. If there are too many CTAs or they are too close together you could risk looking desperate— trust me, that is never a good look.
What’s one thing all of your users, visitors, leads, prospects, and customers have in common? They’re all human. Your product or service aims to fulfill human needs and desires in order to create demand for your business.
Design drives peoples behavior and how they react to your business. When you optimize a website or landing page design for conversions, it is important to leverage psychology and design, as it is key to guiding potential leads.
Here’s three foundational principles that will help you marry psychology and design. Lets take a look:
Don’t be cursed by knowledge
From the moment you begin to develop any sort of marketing collateral— an email, ad, or landing page etc, you are cursed. How so? Business owners and employees know their product better than your average joe. What many do not realize is that someone outside the industry won’t understand the product or service like you do.
Here’s how you beat the curse of knowledge. Test the marketing collateral on members of your target audience who have yet to be exposed to your product. Do they understand how your product works? The benefits? If not, ask them why and utilize that feedback on future pieces.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
As marketers and designers, we need to effectively guide prospects towards the most important parts of our collateral. If an element is larger and bolder than its surroundings, it will draw more attention. Typically people are used to seeing the nav up top, text aligned left, headline then subhead then body copy— change this basic structure up too much and you risk confusing your potential leads. Keep the design simple and information easy to digest.
Minimize user stress
Have a form on your page? Check and recheck it to make sure it’s working properly. Are the fields labeled properly? This will prevent error on the users end. Is it twenty fields long? Cut it down to five. Stressing out your target audience is one surefire way to send them straight to a competitors site.
For 95% of businesses, an email is an essential component of their marketing strategy. Due to high competition and an ever-changing online culture, the rules, trends, and experiments in email marketing can get confusing. This write-up addresses 5 major mistake that will keep your email marketing strategy from reaching its full potential.
Utilizing outdated mailing lists
Low quality email lists will elicit a number of returns and complaints. Long-abandoned mail or overfull mailboxes could even cause your emails to get blocked. Know where your email lists come from— if through a third party, is the company credible? Request to see the results and maintain a level of transparency.
Sending inconsistent emails
About one-third of marketers will send out emails randomly— when they have something to say. Yes, you do not want to flood your recipients inboxes with useless information, but you do not want to become irrelevant by the time there is something to say. Send at least one email per week.
Sending useless emails
As mentioned previously, flooding inboxes with useless information will do more harm than good. How to avoid this? Know your consumer, try to think like them, and then target your emails accordingly. Consider the words and tone in your email creative and provide real, relevant information.
Mismatching subject lines and body copy
Subject lines speak volumes. Initially, “click bait” type headlines may lead to higher open rates, but they will disappoint recipients and eventually be considered spam. It is important to establish trust among potential customers. Subject lines should reflect the content you share.
Email has held a position within the top three most influential sources of information for years. Don’t let it be your downfall.