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Content Marketing Strategy is yours Missing Ingredients

Is-your-content-strategy-missing-ingredients

In today’s business world content marketing is what builds the trust and drives leads and ultimately sales. To understand content marketing, you need to understand how we do business has changed. All of us as consumers have digital access to all the information we need to make a buying decision.

Think about the last time you went out for dinner and you were looking for somewhere new to go. Chances are you either asked a friend for a recommendation or you got out your smart phone and did some searching. You may have looked up restaurants on Yelp or Google and scoured the reviews to see what people said before making your decision.

I bought a new car recently and before I ever set foot on a car lot I picked up Consumer Reports and accessed Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds on line to read reviews. Narrowing down the choices I went so far as renting a car on vacation from the rental company that had the make and model I was thinking about buying so I could try it out for a week. I then went to visit car dealers that had the make and model I was looking for in their inventory. I ultimately bought the car from a dealer who offered excellent customer service, who informed me about the details of the car I did not know about and who I felt would take care of me over the life of the car.

People buy from those they know, like and trust

In my car buying example, I bought from the dealer who had earned my trust.
Content marketing can help you build that trust. According to Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute “Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Why do your customers buy from you?

Rather than having a “Pitch and Pray” strategy which is making your generalized content fit everyone who might see it versus creating content that is more strategic and drives value to your ideal audience. If you are not sure what or why your customers do business with you I suggest you survey your clients and ask them specifically by writing down the exact words they use to answer your question. This will be helpful in future marketing and communication. For example if you write a blog and your customer told you they buy from you because you deliver solutions in easy to understand steps, you might write the headline to your net blog post that says “6 easy to understand step to XYZ”

Here are some questions you might want to ask your customers:
– Ask how did you solve their problem?
– What specific results have they gotten working or buying from you?
– What do you do better than the competition?
– Would they buy from you again?
– Would they refer you, if so ask how they would make the referral?

Develop your ideal customer persona

The questions you ask will help you create the ideal customer persona. It is a description of what your ideal client looks like.
Think of your ideal customer as someone with informational needs and your content should answer all their questions in all phases of the buying cycle. In other words, you want to be the ‘go to’ person they come to rely on for information.
By understanding exactly who your most ideal customer is you will now be able to attract with people that are more targeted, no more connecting with everyone hoping someone will be a good fit for you. The sooner we understand that ‘everyone is not our customer’ the more focused on the ones who are ideal become.

Where Are Your Ideal Connections

Once you have identified the idea customer persona, you want to find out where they are located. Are they on social media? Which platforms are they active on?
If you are doing B2B business you probably will be using LinkedIn in which case you can perform searches based on keywords, title, company name, industry and location.

Ingredients to a content marketing strategy

Step 1 is to decide what business goals your content is supporting.
– Increase sales
– Increase brand awareness
– Customer loyalty
– Build authority in your niche

A well-developed content strategy can drive sales, increase your brand awareness, build trust with customers and prospects alike and show you as a thought leader in your niche.
So now that you are clear on the persona of your ideal customer and you know what problems you solve and why people do business with you the next step is to stay top of mind by sharing great content that delivers on-going value to your audience.

What is your brand story?

How will you deliver content that differentiates you and lets the audience know your value proposition? This is defining what you are known for. Share your content in the tone of your brand. If your brand is humorous and you use lots of analogies and funny jargon than that’s how you want to continue to deliver your content. Do you have a tagline or slogan you are known for? Than you want to incorporate that theme into your content.

Why is it important?

Why is your content important to your ideal audience? Remember it is about them, not about you. If you target audience the President of a small business of under 5 million dollars and under 25 employees, what is important to them? Be specific with your answer and you will know what content they will want more of.

What types of content can you share on Social Media?
– Blog posts from your website
– Long form content you can share on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform
– Video
– Images with text
– Curated articles from other sources

Blog posts from your website

Sharing your blog posts in a status update and to your LinkedIn company page if you have one is an ideal place to start. In addition, if you have produced video content you can share that along with your personal reason for sharing it. In other words, let people know what they can expect by taking a moment to read or watch your content.
When posting a blog post from your website, by adding the URL from the website it pulls a thumb nail image from the article and places it in the left corner with a sentence or two from the beginning of the article.

Stand Out With Images

Blog posts are always more appealing with a good image that helps develop your article. With semantic search being at the forefront of SEO, you will want images in your blog post that are at least 699W x 315 H. Your height can be different but not the minimum requirement for the width. I like my images to be less high so it does not take up the entire page above the fold.

Curate Content

If your content strategy contains a mix of original content and content from other sources, you might make a list of resources that support your brand’s identity and brings credibility when you share it. You might also want to set-up a “Google alert” for your topic, this way Google will email you any new articles that are posted on the internet that you might consider sharing.
Don’t post on social media random thoughts or images, rather stay focused on what you want to be known for. There are all sorts of places to find content worth sharing – it could be industry publications, national publications that add credibility to you such as Forbes.

When you read good content I recommend if it is considered evergreen content versus something where timing is relevant than keep a spread sheet with these articles. Posting consistently on LinkedIn keeps you top of mind as a trusted resource.

Share content in a message to clients and prospects

Providing your clients and prospects with content of value via email or social is part of a content strategy. This is a great touch point for staying top of mind. You could send a simple message such as;

Hi John
I found some great insights in this article about XYZ and wanted to share it with you.
Sincerely,

Create a content calendar

To stay on track with your content strategy I recommend you create a calendar or spread sheet. You can use something as simple as a Google document, Excel spreadsheet or a calendar program. If you perform a search online for content calendars you will find many examples. If you have a team working with you you can share documents via Google drive or there are many management platforms online such as Asana. Ideally the best calendar is the one you will use!
Your content builds trust and drives leads when you have a well- defined strategy and are consistent with publishing and posting it.

For additional resources or to talk with me about a content strategy, I am happy to provide a complimentary consultation. Email: joanne@marketingdish.com Phone: 951-902-3263

Grow Your Business Through Speaking

One of the  techniques I use to grow my business is through training and speaking.  First, I love to teach so when I approach it with that goal in mind it takes away a lot of that scary feeling around public speaking.  I have practiced by providing many trainings whenever I can and when it fits my business goals. 

This week I have done two trainings and off to another one later today where I am speaking at a Writer’s Festival on the Business of Marketing You and Your Book.  I encourage business people to find ways to share their knowledge, experience and talents with groups.  There are many benefits to doing so, but here are the top three:

1.)  You can share your expertise with many people at one time

2.)  You gain credibility

3.)  You can easily generate leads

JoAnne Funch SpeakerSpeaking to groups of business people generates many leads for my business and I want to offer you some suggestions of groups that you may consider contacting

  • Chambers – obviously if you are a member you will get priority
  • Business networking groups
  • Associations relevant to your niche
  • Business and economic development departments of your city

How to get started

Create one or two presentations that you will then consider your signature presentations.  Generally I have a couple ready to go that are timed out for 60 minutes and then one that is longer.If you are speaking at local business groups the average speaking opportunity is limited to one hour.  Create a speaker document that you can use as a handout that give a short summary of your signature presentations and bullet points with what the attendees will learn.

If you are speaking for free in exchange for the possible leads, be sure to ask the organizer these questions up front;

1.  In exchange for waiving a speaking free, you request the contact information of the attendees so you can followup with them later.

2. Tell the organizer that at the end of your presentation you want to briefly make people aware of your services should they want to learn more about you.  This should be a soft sell or presentation and not something that will turn off the audience.  Remember this is not your platform to sell, it is your platform to share your expertise.

Use Your training to gain testimonials

I always provide a feedback form for the attendees to fill out following any presentation I give.  This allows me to tweek my presentation to offer the most relevant content and with the positive feedback I ask  for permission to use the testimonial.  This is gold to you because testimonials are such powerful proof of your expertise.

Sometimes I also ask attendees for a video testimonial, this has been powerful for me and is fairly simple to do.  I encourage you to be sure if you do this that you use a microphone so the sound is good quality as you can hear in this short 30 second testimonial below.

So have you use speaking to grow your business? Would love to have you share your experience in the comments below!

Recipe For Marketing Success

Anyone who cooks knows that you need all the ingredients to make a recipe come out right…

Fresh vegetables fallingIf you leave the eggs out of a cake it flops…
well leaving the primary steps out of a marketing strategy is no different.  What I see happen all the time is that people start out with the right ingredients but then
skip all the steps in the middle and jump right to the end to selling their prospect.

Why This Recipe Doesn’t Work

This way of marketing from welcome to my business will you buy something from me doesn’t work because the primary ingredients of Liking – Building Trust-
letting your prospect try you all come before they will buy from you.  Each of these steps are integral in the process of marketing.  Yes, just like a recipe you need to add each ingredient of your process step by step to ensure the best possible outcome.

Ingredients of the Marketing Process

  1. Let prospects KNOW who you arevia your blog, free ebooks & downloads, you advertising and referrals
  2. Give them a chance to LIKE you – via your website, your blog articles, newsletter and social media profiles assuming you engage with followers
  3. Ideas on giving prospects ways to TRUST you – can come in the form of workshops, listening to you speak at events, getting 3rd party testimonials, having
    compelling marketing materials.

Know Where Your Prospects Are In Your Marketing Process

Knowing where your prospects are in your marketing process is imperative, otherwise how will you know the next step to offer?  If you meet someone at a networking event that you were the speaker and they come up to speak to you after your presentation, you now have established KNOW and TRUST, you may want to encourage the, to get more value from your newsletter and free downloads.  How many of us have been invited to connect with someone on a social media site and the first engagement is something about clicking on a link that takes you to a sales page online to purchase their product!  Don’t you find that annoying?  and 9 out of 10 people won’t buy from an initial connection like that.

How To Create Compelling Content

As you take your prospects down the path of know, like and trust you need to provide content that helps them get to where they want to go or solves some problem they may have.  Often I suggest to clients that they pay attention to the most frequently asked questions or comments they get and address those questions in the form of ebooks, reports, blog posts and other forms of delivery your market would consume.
You can follow conversations on social media and again pay attention to what people want to learn more about or have challenges that you can help them solve.  Be a leader in your niche is why people will listen, trust and buy from you!

Was this helpful?  Can you create a simple document headed with KNOW – LIKE – TRUST – BUY on it and create a plan that takes your prospects through the steps?
Leave me a comment below – I’d sure love to hear from you.

My Insider only list of promotional product closeouts

As a subscriber to my email list you know from time to time I send out a list of fabulous promotional product closeouts that I want you to get first dibs on.  Often the deals are 50% or more of and they go quickly so don’t delay. If you see something you’re interested in, call or email me the item and the quantity you want and I’ll find out if it is still available.

You may want to take advantage of these bargains this holiday season or for your 2012 trade shows or events.
Continue reading My Insider only list of promotional product closeouts

4th Qtr Promotional Product Specials

Promotional products – 4th quarter specials

#15027-Stadium Blanket

This take anywhere blanket conveniently folds into its own carrying case with carrying handle and shoulder strap
  • Gray fleece lining, buckle closure
  • Removable, adjustable carrying straps, front slash pocket
Materials: 600D polyester
Product Size: 48″w x 57″h (open), 14-1/2″w x 11-1/2″h x 2-3/4″d (closed), Handle: 1-1/2″w x 46″l (adjustable)
Product Colors: Black/Black with Gray Fleece, Red/Black with Gray Fleece   $28-$36. each

 

Keep track of your cell phone with this handy desktop stand. Paired with a 2×3 photo frame to showcase a favorite memory.

$3.95-$4.48  Depending on quantities, includes a one color imprint

Item# EP2302

 

 

 

Continue reading 4th Qtr Promotional Product Specials

Hot Specials-Corporate Promotional Gifts

 

Promotional Gift, Corporate Promotional Gifts, Promotional Gift Items, Business Promotional Gifts

Promotional Pens

Plunge-action mechanism, jumbo barrel rocket pen, frosted translucent barrel, chrome metal plunger, cap, clip and pen tip. $1.54-$2.32 each    (There is a huge variety of pens, please ask me to send you other styles to meet your budget)BP3800 Translucent Ballpont PenDesk Accessories:  Executive desk box with 100pg paper pad, contrast stitching, letter holder, hide-away drawer, pen cup, phone/card holder with hidden slots for charging cables.  $18.95-$21.95 each

ES9025-Desk Organizer Continue reading Hot Specials-Corporate Promotional Gifts