Marketing online can come from a combination of different sources but one of the most important platforms is social media. Many companies are still struggling to get the most out of their social media campaigns because it can be difficult to stand out with so many competitors trying to get the attention of customers. For businesses that are less savvy about social media they may feel that their posts are not effectively engaging customers. With so many social media channels available and so many ways to market it can be hard to develop the right campaign that gets the results that you want. However, there are certain strategies and tools to consider that may help improve your success in social media marketing.
Strategies for Twitter and Facebook
In terms of social media websites, twitter and Facebook are two of the key platforms to communicate and stay in touch with customers. Twitter is something that works best if you keep up with it often and are constantly connecting with your followers. It can be a good idea to use Twitter as a way to send a thank you every time your company is mentioned and respond to questions as quickly as possible, often in the same day. Facebook is a way to post content that is longer than Twitter but it is still best to keep posts simple and ask questions instead of making statements to increase interaction. Utilizing Facebook ads is also a great method for reaching more people and increasing your followers.
Using Images and Content to Engage Followers
When posting on social media, whatever platform you are using it is helpful to include images as often as possible. Photos and also animation through GIFs are more likely to attract attention to your post and make people stop browsing to look at a visual image. Images and videos can also work well with your efforts in SEO optimization. While an image can bring them in, you also need great content accompanying it to keep the customer’s attention. You need to provide content that will make people want to click through because it has sparked their interest. Keep your target audience in mind as you create content and think about what they are looking for from you. If you create something that provides an answer to some of their questions then they are more likely to read through your content.
Community and Inspirational Campaigns
A good social media strategy means more than having a lot of followers but instead building a community. If your posts have a lot of personality and humor or are entertaining to your followers then you are more likely to see interaction. It is important to converse directly with the people interacting with your posts so that it feels like a two way communication every time you respond. Finally, your social media efforts should include cross-channel campaigns that include an emotional or inspirational component that will get people more involved. Use powerful stories that will engage followers and get them to stand behind your brand.
Having a website that works well on mobile phones is a key strategy in modern internet marketing no matter what your goals are with your campaign. If you are looking to redesign for a more mobile-friendly site there are a lot of things to consider before you dive in. For one thing you will need to choose between responsive web design and behavioral web design or BWD. Using a BWD or an active web design allows you to employ a step by step design process using analytics data and testing. If you are looking to do a full website redesign BWD is a good choice because you will have a six to twelve month redesign cycle and it will give you the best odds of success. Once you make a choice about redesign methods you can start the process and figure out the best plan for completing the task.
Value Proposition and Calls to Action
When in the process of a redesign it is important to keep your old website around so you will have the opportunity to test some things before you make the final move. As you work on redesign you can do some A/B tests on your existing site so you ca see the difference on your new site. Some questions to ask yourself when testing are what is working on your current site and what is not working. You need to test out your value proposition which is basically the combination of copy, images and offers that inform the visitor that they are in the right place for what they are looking for. Using the right language to communicate key information as well as powerful images can help connect with your visitors as soon as they reach the site. Your mobile site should also have calls to action with the right kind of language that will convince them to move to the next step. Test calls to action in exit-intent popovers, entrance popovers, and scroll triggered overlays can be carried over to the new site.
Building Trust in Your Brand
Your mobile site should offer visitors information about return policies to help you handle risk reversal. Visitors often fear that they might purchase the wrong product or get spammed after filling out a form. You need to build trust among your visitors and strategically place brand logos and symbols on your mobile site so that consumers know who you are. You can also place logos of other trusted brands if your company is a member of an association or you carry certain certifications that people might recognize. Your mobile design should include an effective landing page that stands apart from the main site and is well-designed for high conversion rates. For each new decision you make about your mobile site you should test any suggestions on your current site to make sure they will work with the redesign.
When producing advertisements businesses always need to create more than just something people will be interested enough to read. Especially in the world of internet marketing when consumers are bombarded with digital ads that they’ve essentially learned to ignore in many cases. With so much content, and the tendency to use multiple devices or multi-task with different media it is harder than ever for ads to have an impact on online consumers. Ads need to be something people will see, read, and remember but the ultimate goal in breaking through with digital ads is to create something that people will also seek and share. While it can be hard to plan an ad that will be viral, there are certain strategies to keep in mind that could help facilitate a more successful, sharable advertisement.
Engaging Consumers with Insights and Stories
Advertisements that are going to breakthrough to viewers and become seek and share ads need to have a number of different qualities. One aspect of a great ad is having insights that can provide a new story and transform the viewer’s thinking to a different viewpoint. An effective insight will surprise the viewer and tell them something that changes their mind or understanding of themselves by really having an impact. Insights can be created by looking for and identifying connections between the past and present, finding contradictions or inconsistencies in behavior or beliefs in the market and looking for effective ideas that were created in creative desperation. Another important aspect of a breakthrough ad is the story that it tells. People find meaning in stories and they can help us to understand our world through universal truths. Creating a story that people relate to on a personal level but also one that has a natural connection to your brand is a key strategy to focus on.
Evoking Emotions for Shareable Content
Another way to create breakthrough ads is to strive for content that evokes high-arousal emotions which are often more sought-after and shared by consumers. While evidence shows that positive content is usually more viral, overall it is highly emotional content that is more likely to be shared regardless of whether it evokes positive or negative emotions. Content that evokes a specific emotion characterized by arousal is more often shared by consumers because it creates a visceral reaction that moves beyond mere emotional connection. It may seem difficult to gauge if your content has the right kind of insights, story and emotional charge but using advertising research can help you tailor your digital ads for the best results. Copy-testing can provide an opportunity to optimize your advertisements in every step of the creative process. Early stage campaign testing, pretesting and in-market tracking can all provide you with a better idea of how your advertisements will land among consumers. Understanding these important strategies will help you create content and breakthrough advertisements with a lot of sharing potential.
The way that consumers search for information on the internet continues to change dramatically with all the new devices and types of technology available. While for years, searching was limited to typing in a keyword on a desktop computer the range of searching abilities has expanded into many different platforms and tools that actually change the way people search. It is important for marketers to understand how consumers’ searching behavior changes across devices and tools. Searching has evolved from typing out a few keywords into more personalized help that allows people to get more done through digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now. Voice searches allow people to use natural and more conversational language and digital assistants are able to adapt to user intent using context and past searches to anticipate their needs.
Information from Questions and Tone
Marketers need to understand how voice search changes their ability to reach customers because these types of search queries have different signals of intent than simply typing in a few keywords. A voice search might contain information such as intent to purchase a certain item and a consumer’s geographic location where they are looking for that particular item. The tone and addition of question words like “who, what, where, why, how and when” can be a source of rich data for marketers to have a better idea of what a customer wants. With a conversational tone, marketers can start to build user-intent models so that they better understand where a customer is coming from and where they are in their journey. They can also begin to match advertising campaigns to the right stage of user intent and also work to develop content with a more conversational tone that provides specific answers to user’s needs and their top questions.
Content for Voice Search Users
Creating content that caters to what people using voice search want to find and providing them with quick and accessible answers can improve your interactions with them. If you have content that answers specific questions your website will become a great resource. Adjusting your marketing strategies to adapt to voice search and creating content specifically designed for that type of search can help you meet the demands of potential customers and stay relevant. Search technology will continue to change and evolve the way we understand user intent and voice search is one way for marketers to see more of the context of the user experience.
A blog is a format where you can create the kind of high quality content that is going to be engaging to customers and a place to have relevant interactions with them. That’s why it is so important to make an effort to drive more traffic to your blog so that you can convert at least some of that traffic into business. There are some key strategies that can help you generate more traffic to your blog and get more interest in your content so that people continue reading and know who you are. One of the quickest and most effective ways to boost traffic is connect with other bloggers, particularly ones who are well-known.
Linking with Other Blogs
When you talk about other important bloggers who are not necessarily competitors you can start a connection with them that could link some of their traffic to yours. You should first find other bloggers that are influential in subjects closely related to yours and mention them in your blog. If you link to their blog and cite them as a source for information they might receive some traffic from your link and return the favor. Mentioning other bloggers is both good karma and also a way to make connections with influential people who could help you build traffic. Emailing them to make sure that they know you mentioned them is a good way to confirm the connection and hopefully get them to link back to your site.
Promoting Blog Posts and Optimizing Content
Another way to improve traffic for your blog is to incorporate it into your email marketing strategy. Sending out an email promoting a certain blog post that you want to get more attention can help build traffic for that post and the blog in general. You can organize different email lists so that you can promote blogs based on the topic and the interests of individual customers. Sending out an email to a broader list will not have as great an open rate as one tailored to specific interests. In addition to email marketing or social media, you can also use other sources to help promote the content on your blog such as press releases. Using a press release will carry more prestige and build authority, it could lead to more journalists contacting you and it will also give you better visibility. Aside from promotion you can also look to improve your blog post by including long-form content over 1500 words which ranks better than short content and optimize the images on your blog so that they will show up in a keyword search. The most important thing is to have good quality content that will engage readers but putting some time and effort into boosting traffic through connecting to bloggers and promoting your posts can make your blog more effective at increasing business.
Aside from your usual email marketing campaign, it is important that you also utilize a strategy called blogger outreach. The idea behind this is that a company or an individual blogger, utilizes influencers or other bloggers with a good number of followers when trying to create exposure for their post, products, and or service.
3 Simple Steps in Blogger Outreach
- Create a list of influencers/bloggers that is within your niche. To do this, you will have to use Google/Twitter search or opt for a paid tool like NinjaOutreach in order to curate your list (and do outreach as well). Remember that these influencers have to be relevant to what you are writing about. You can’t reach out to a food blogger even if they have a 100k facebook fan-base if your niche is about home improvement.
- Build a relationship with these influencers/bloggers. This is plain and easy but it takes some time to master. Subscribe to newsletter, follow on social media, comment and share their posts.
- Newsletters – Don’t subscribe but be active as well. When they send out a newsletter, be sure to read through it and maybe try to add value by sending out your thoughts to them as a response. Remember to read the post that they’ve highlighted in their email as well because if you don’t, you won’t really have anything to say but just the generic, “thank you, this helped”, and you don’t want that when trying to add a real value.
- Social Media – tweets, retweets, post, repost, these things helps you get noticed because they would know that you exist even before you reach out to them. This is giving them something without asking anything in return.
- Blog Commenting – ideally, what you want to happen is to get seen by the influencers themselves. Don’t just put in clumsy ‘awesome post, thank you’ comments, make your comment stand out. It doesn’t need to be a long narrative, it can be short but make sure that it summarizes a point that you are trying to make. How do you do this easily? Read the post before you comment and you’ll have something to say.
- Outreach. If you have done steps one and two correctly, this should be easy. The reason why this is the last step in here is because unlike in your usual email marketing campaign, going ‘cold’ on these influencers will get you nowhere. They have to know that you are there and they have to ‘know you’ firsthand before you even reach out to them and ask them a favor. They are busy people and they have tons of emails to sort through. You don’t want to be one of those emails that trashed instantly.
Consider this question before you do outreach:
- What value can I give or have given to this influencer?
If you are able to answer that on your outreach email, then you are good to go.
One of the goals of most businesses is to foster brand loyalty among customers so that you have devoted fans who will continue to choose you over your competitors. However, brand loyalty is harder to develop in the modern marketing world even with loyalty promotions and programs offering customer rewards. In recent years these types of programs have increased exponentially but a recent report shows that they may be less effective at customer retention because of the sheer volume of loyalty promotions. It may be harder than ever now to create and maintain relationships with customers who expect consistent and relevant experiences both in person and online.
Using First Party Data for Better Interactions
In order to create brand loyalty it is important to know and understand modern consumers so that you can have more positive interactions with them. Utilizing access to first party data can help you create a people-based marketing approach so that you have more personalized interactions with customers that help to develop their loyalty to your brand. One strategy for people-based marketing is to use addressable advertising that appeals to each customer’s personal interests. Instead of using traditional display ads that have a very low click-through rate, you can use ads that target known customers. Using first party data you can create addressable media that engages with customers on a more personal basis. Using display ads that target customers based on their current interests and interactions can help develop their loyalty.
Personalizing Customer Experience
Another way to use first party data to your advantage is to gather information from everywhere customers interact including email, internet, mobile apps, or from CRM and POS systems. Using all this data from different sources you can start to create a 360 degree profile for each customer so that you know more about them and can target advertisements accordingly. A more holistic view of your customer can help you more effectively deliver messages where, when and how these consumers want them to create a relevant interaction. One of the most important ways to create brand loyalty is to personalize the experience for the customer so that they keep coming back. Every interaction should be personalized to them so that they are more likely to engage and choose you over competitors every time. Your first party data provides you with valuable information that can help you develop a more personal marketing approach that wins loyalty and trust from every one of your customers.
Modern day internet users often become so accustomed to the thousands of ads that they see on websites that they can develop a natural defense of ignoring them. Areas of the screen such as the sides and tops where banners normally appear eventually become something they unconsciously avoid even glancing at. The same can be said of promotional emails that appear in a customer’s inbox throughout the day. They may get hundreds of emails and they have trained themselves to be able to sift through to the important ones in seconds. People often develop a kind of “inbox blindness” that allows them to scroll through emails that look like advertisements without even reading them. The subject lines of these emails may not even register for them because they instinctively avoid commercial emails that they do not have time to read. Even customers who have subscribed to your email newsletters may not notice your marketing efforts because of the sheer volume of emails they receive a day.
Using Subject Lines to Your Advantage
In order to avoid the pitfalls of “inbox blindness” you need to find ways to use pattern interrupts or subject lines that stand out and get people’s attention. There are a few types of pattern-interrupt subject lines that can be used to get customers to notice, open and read your marketing emails. When creating a subject line it is helpful to avoid making the email look too much like an advertisement. Long subject lines that seem impersonal are a dead giveaway. One strategy is to use short, informal sounding subject lines that read the same way a personal email would. These can work best as the first welcome email to your subscribers so that they become engaged in our newsletter. Another way to standout in the subject line is by using characters, symbols or emojis that give an extra visual element to your email. The characters or symbols can help to emphasize the subject of your email as well as differentiate it from your competitors. Emails with symbols or emojis tend to have higher open rates than emails with more typical subject lines.
Speaking to the Reader
An important concept in grabbing people’s attention is addressing them directly rather than making a more general statement. Using the words “you” or “your” in statements within the subject line can make them feel more compelled to open it because it may be something which concerns them. Even using their first name as part of the subject can make the email feel more personal and draw them into reading the content. Employing some of these techniques can help get your emails read but a little goes a long way. Trying some new strategies without being desperate for subscribers’ attention can help improve your open rates and make your marketing efforts worthwhile. Along with great email content, you need an effective subject line to avoid being ignored by the kind of inbox blindness that is so common among internet users.
Since new SEO strategies demand more engaging and high quality content, many businesses struggle keep up with their content efforts. It can be a lot of work to handle the task of consistently creating a lot of top notch content that engages a target audience. An option that more people are taking advantage of is the ability to outsource content creation so that they can reach more of their marketing goals with less of a struggle. Outsourcing content marketing is a way to maintain consistency in your company’s content and still see substantial returns from it without being responsible for creating all the content yourself. Many business to business companies outsource marketing tasks like content writing, design, editing and even distribution when it seems necessary. It gives businesses an opportunity to gain more from their marketing efforts with the help of experts instead of scrambling to create better content themselves.
Scaling Content and Using Technology
One of the many reasons to try outsourcing content creation is that it can make it easier to scale your efforts. Instead of having to hire new employees when you want to increase your content efforts you can simply put more of your budget into an agency to create more content. In the same way you will not have to make major layoffs if you are looking to scale down your content at any time. A content creation company also allows you to have access to better tools and software that your own business might not have. They often have the ability to look into the analytics of their content or showcase their published content on their public profile. Outsourcing your content allows you to use custom technology that will help you see better results from your content marketing efforts.
Using Expert Resources for Consistency
Overall, outsourcing content can save your business money and help you make more efficient use of your time. With all of the other marketing tactics you may be dealing with, your content might suffer in terms of quality and effectiveness if you do not have enough time to focus on it. Content creators are able to organize and deliver content to your social platforms, blog and email newsletter on a regular basis whether it be weekly or monthly. They can consistently produce the kind of high quality content that you might not have the resources to create that frequently. You can choose whether you want an increased quantity of content through the agency’s writers or you want to work collaboratively with a content marketing partner to create specific, unique content. Agencies will often work with you to better understand your company and what your goals are for reaching your target audience. While you may be able to create a certain amount of content yourself, it is important to recognize any limitations you might have in terms of time and energy available to focus on content marketing. Outsourcing content to an agency can give you the chance to see the benefits of higher quality content developed by experts.
When Google launched the Penguin update in 2012, those involved in the marketing world had to dramatically change their SEO practices and many companies had to scale back or abandon their link-building tactics. Penguin was designed to catch sites that were deemed to be spamming search results by buying links or getting them through link networks designed mainly to boost a website’s search rank on Google. Businesses have had to recover from some of the setbacks caused by Penguin because SEO best practices changed so suddenly and they had to comply with new link building standards. Although many businesses are now much more cautious about getting involved in link building it is still a key factor in organic search rankings. There are still methods to use link building as an SEO strategy without worrying about getting caught by Penguin.
Getting Links from Websites and Articles
Certain types of links can be relevant and effective at building your search rank without being spam or falling below Google’s standards. Alumni directory or association links can be effective ways to link back to your site because the “.edu” link is strong and authoritative. If any of the company’s business owners, partners or executives attended a local or state university then the school website can link back to your business site. Not all schools will allow this but you can also have them link back to your social media site as another effective alternative. Another way to build quality links is to look for content that mentions your brand or your company and ask them to include a link to your site. If someone has written an article about your business or mentioned you in a news piece but hasn’t included a link then you can contact them to see if they would be willing to add one. While journalists are not obligated to provide a link to your website and some may decide not to, many will have no problem including one if you simply ask.
Using Business Directories
Building links without being trapped by Penguin can be also be achieved by getting listings in industry-specific directories because they reinforce signals to Google about your business category, products and services. Using directories can make it very clear to Google that your business is relevant to people searching locally. It can be helpful to check the websites of local business associations to see if there is a directory or if business profiles include a link. You can look for directories you are not a part of and create a profile through them that links back to your website. In this way you can start building up links that are less likely to get trapped by Penguin and start to enjoy a better organic search rank. Link building is still a key strategy for SEO but you must be more cautious and understand what type of links work best and meet Google’s requirements.
There are a number of ways to increase the amount of quality content you produce improve your SEO strategies. One of the most direct methods to engage in content marketing that communicates effectively to your customers is to add a blog to your website. A blog is a way to incorporate a section in your website that will allow you to post relevant topics that will be of interest to your customers or potential clients. Your posts could provide valuable insight and advice, feature your own services or products and provide current information and news on related topics. A blog needs to be of interest to your customers so that they can engage and interact with your business in a more meaningful way. Blogging can offer you a chance to provide quality content on a regular basis and get feedback from customers who are interested in what you want to communicate.
Creating Engaging Content
Starting a blog can be fairly simple as most content management systems include a blog component that can be quickly activated. It is a good idea not to think too much about the technical aspects of the blog at first since your focus should be more on the content you are creating. While there may be concerns about setting it up for optimization, whether to hire writers or the easiest way to fit the blog in your budget and schedule you can set aside those problems at least initially. The main concern with a blog on your website is creating a vehicle for communication that will both promote your business and provide information that customers are looking for. You should research topics that are up to date and are the type of content that customers want to read. It should always be something that sparks up curiosity or an interaction so that people are actively engaged with your blog.
Blogging as a Promotional Tool
A blog is the type of content that you can share on different platforms to expand that communication by posting social media, sending directly to customers through email or advertising on search engines. In this way the blog can be a starting point to a bigger promotional project and you can market the content in a variety of different ways. You can begin by posting a blog about a promotional event, service or produce that you want to spread the news about and provide the link to the blog on any other site that you manage such as Facebook. Blogs can be used for a special event or marketing plan but they can also be a way to connect with customers on a regular basis that is direct and rich with interesting topics. It is important to find you voice with a blog and consider it a type of meaningful communication that also benefits your marketing strategies.