Archive for February, 2013

Building a Keyword Strategy

Is it more important to post content frequently or to post content about the right topics?  Creating content with targeted keywords and phrases is vital for companies.  Below are two important steps to ensure that you can do that successfully.

Identifying the Right Keywords
The first step in identifying the right keywords involves answering the question, “What should I create content about?”

Oftentimes, we look internally for those answers.  What do I want to write about?  What am I passionate about?  While those questions are important, we need to always consider the overall goal.  Typically, that is to build an audience and to drive traffic to our website.

Thus, we must ensure that the topics that we want to create content about also match up to the interests and passions of our target audience.

At that point, we should find a way to build a list of the words and phrases that are associated to those topics.  These items do not need to be stored in a fancy, complex system — you could simply keep them in a document or spreadsheet!  But the bottom line is, make the list!  Do not rely on yourself to try to remember the words and phrases that you should use when creating content.

Promoting and Sharing the Words and Strategy
The list of keywords must certainly have a big presence within the walls of a marketing department (whether those walls are physical or virtual).  But they also should be shared among employees from all departments.  Why?

Well, more and more, people from all walks of life and backgrounds are creating profiles on social networks. Perhaps they primarily use their accounts to talk about personal topics.  But if they occasionally interact with a customer or prospect on those channels, or if they link to your company’s website, or simply list its name in their bio, they are representing your brand.

By sharing the list, you will be creating opportunities for all employees to build awareness of your company’s products and services.

Oftentimes, there may be an employee that wants to contribute to the online conversation about your business, but they are just not sure what to say. Sharing the list can be the spark that ignites more conversations about the topics that are vital to you and your audience.

 

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6 Results-Oriented Marketing Tasks to Do Today!

If you want to re-ignite your marketing efforts, here are 6 tasks that you can do today that will drive results for your business!

Review Your Marketing Plan
Does your company have a marketing plan? If so, that’s a good thing. However, if it has simply been filed away since you created it at the end of last year, that’s not such a good thing!  A much better approach is to keep your marketing plan in front of you constantly as the days and weeks go by. It can serve as a force that guides you and keeps you inspired! It can help to make sure that your daily tactics support your goals and objectives.  If it’s been a little while since you’ve last looked at this year’s marketing plan, it’s time to print it and review it!

Spend Time Connecting and Listening on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
If you have a profile on those social networks, that’s a great start!  But if you primarily only use them to log-in, share some company information (perhaps a blog post, a press release, or some other news about your products and services), then you are truly missing out on some of the major value points social networking efforts can bring.  Take at least 30 minutes today to simply use those networks as a listening tool.

Read what your customers and prospects are posting there. Use each network’s search form to find out what people are saying about industry trends, conferences, and other news-worthy items.  Also, spend some time making sure that you are connected with the right people. Look up some of your recent customers and sales leads, and make a connection!

Create a Video and Upload it to YouTube
“Video sells.” Have you heard that expression? If you haven’t used video yet in your sales and marketing efforts, you are missing out. Online video can be one of the most effective ways to reach your audience with compelling messaging about your products and services.  Best of all, creating and uploading basic videos can be done quickly and inexpensively nowadays.

Give it a try! Sit down in front of one of your company’s posters, banners, or other collateral items. Have someone film you with a smartphone or some sort of handheld device. Then talk for about a minute about one of the major benefits your company can offer… or simply talk about an industry trend.  Then, upload the video to YouTube! But also make sure to include keywords and a link to your website in the “Video Description” field.

Write a Blog Post with Your Customers’ Needs in Mind
One of the best ways to keep your website fresh and up-to-date is through a blog.  Of course, having a blog is not enough. You must make sure that you’re posting content to it on a regular basis.  Also, in order for the blog to be effective, the content should address the needs and concerns of your customers.  Take 10 minutes today and think about an item that might be on your customers’ minds. Then, write two paragraphs that include some commentary, advice, and/or tips that will help them with that item.  Then, post it on the blog to offer instant value to your clients!

Analyze Your Website Traffic Reports
How often do you access and read your company’s website traffic reports?  Chances are that it may not be enough.  Take some time today to login to whatever system you may use for Website Analytics, or pull up the latest report that your marketing agency may have sent you.  Read through what’s happening — take a close look at traffic trends (good and bad), keyword usage, sources, goal conversions, and other data points.  You will most likely uncover important data points that can help you improve your website marketing efforts in the very near future.

Create a QR Code and Add it to Your Printed Materials
Print can still be an effective component in your marketing mix today!  However, it often delivers the best results when it’s integrated with other channels, including mobile.  QR Codes can make your printed items interactive, they can engage the mobile audience, and they can help you better measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts!

I hope you found these tips helpful, and remember that it is never too late to strengthen your marketing efforts!

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Posted in: Direct Mail, Email Marketing, Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Social Media

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Blog Strategy Checklist

Content marketing is becoming a big player in the marketing world.  It is the act of indirectly selling your products and services through educational and informative materials, such as blogs.  Blogging is a great first step for those who want to take advantage of the benefits of content marketing.  Whether you are new to this strategy  or you want to make sure you’re covering all of your bases, take a look at our checklist!

  • Make sure you have the right tools in place.  Your blog should live directly on your website and your website should be on a search engine-optimized platform, such as WordPress!
  • Determine who will write your posts.  This can include you, employees, colleagues, or ghost writers.
  • Decide how often you will publish a new blog.  Consistency is important, whether it is daily, weekly, or even every two weeks.
  • List out all of the topics you want to write about.  Each blog doesn’t have to be high-level and generic, they can be customized to each of your targeted audiences and can highlight how your products and services can be used in different ways.  Also, see what current news is happening in your audience’s industries, you may be able to use current events to spark interest from your prospects.
  • Distribute your blog posts through multiple marketing channels.  You can share your blog posts through social media, email, or highlight them on your website’s homepage.
  • Create content in various media forms, it doesn’t always have to be copy-driven.  Audio clips, videos, and images can all be great ways to mix up your blog posts and keep everything fresh.

Once you accumulate a number of blog posts, remember that you can repurpose them!  Combine a few related posts together to make an eBook, or reformat the content in a different media type.

Blog posts can easily be the fuel to your content marketing strategy, so give it a try today!

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Personalized Marketing and Why Your Business Needs It

Maybe your mother told you when you were growing up that you should treat everyone the same. Well, your mother was wrong…at least when it comes to the world of 1-to-1, or personalized, marketing.  No longer are you encouraged to place prospects upon the same level playing field. In fact, with 1-to-1 marketing, you want to embrace the diversity of your prospects and customers. You want to play to those exact differences and incorporate them into your marketing messages in order to get their attention and make them want to work with you!

Identify Your Audience
As with any marketing strategy, you start off by identifying your target market – the people who need your product or service. So you sit down and imagine a target. You imagine finding those people with laser point focus. You know who they are and now you have to get your message across to them. You have to tell them who you are, what you do and how you can help them. Using the 1-to-1 marketing approach, you toss aside the marketing shotgun; this is no time to “pray and spray” your message, hoping that it will be heard and acted upon.

Add Personalization
The idea is that by personalizing your marketing message, you are showing the customer that you know how to serve their specific needs. No customer wants you coming at them with a cookie-cutter approach and a “one-size-fits-all” solution. They want to feel like you know exactly what they need, and that you are the business that can provide it. Thus, your message needs to be current and relevant to that customer.

Stand Out
Your target market receives marketing messages on a daily basis. We all do, in both our personal and professional lives. It becomes second nature to ignore the messages that have little to do with our own needs. The same is true of any business. They all receive mailers, texts, and emails from other businesses, who are using the the same pitches and benefits to make the sale.

In the end, a customer will equate your marketing messages with the type of service they will receive when working with you. If your message is personalized and meets their needs, the prospect will anticipate that working with you will be a breeze. Everyone likes to work with the expectation of receiving terrific customer service and specific solutions.

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7 Ways to Make Your eNewsletter Stand Out

eNewsletters are a very valuable tool for reaching out and keeping in contact with your followers and clients. Many benefits can come out of this marketing effort when they are being used correctly, here are some of our favorites.

Company news can be shared.  eNewsletters can contain all of the top news your business has been generating, important industry trends, or pertinent human resources events. It makes complete sense to have an eNewsletter to send out to your database.

Contact lists can grow.  Encourage customers to enter their emails on your website in order to get a variety of news and bulletins in a timely manner.  Overtime, a few new contacts here and there will become a brand new list of inquiries your sales team can follow up with!

Other marketing channels can be promoted.  eNewsletter can be highly interactive, especially if you integrate your social media marketing channels.  By adding a YouTube video to your eNewsletter, you can deliver a more personable message and stand out from all of the other text-heavy emails that are out there.

Your team can be promoted.  An eNewsletter is a chance for your company to exhibit some personality and to humanize your brand. Being personable and stepping out from behind the company’s curtain makes your brand more relatable to your readers.

Great information can be shared.  A lot of valuable content can be shared through eNewsletters. Information such as industry tips, best practices, and case studies can all be ways to help educate your audience and start a conversation with them.  Encourage readers to write back with questions and comments!

Brand awareness can be built.  Design your eNewsletter to match your company’s branding and color scheme, and give it an appealing layout that won’t overwhelm the eyes of your subscribers.

Services can be promoted.  By utilizing the sidebars or banners of your eNewsletter, you can offer promotions or additional links that you might want to steer subscribers towards.  Promoting upcoming webinars, available eBooks, or related services entices readers to visit your website to learn more about that particular topic.

Your eNewsletter is a powerful asset if it is well put-together.  It involves your readers and offers them multiple forms of media for them to engage in. Make it so good that your customers can’t wait to get next month’s edition!

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