Tag Archives: content marketing

Marketing Trends for 2017

Marketing Trends for 2017
Image: Pexels

Where will you be focusing your marketing efforts for the new year?

Marketing trends for 2017 may already be on your radar, but before I list the ones I think you should stay on top of, let’s take a quick look back. According to inbound marketing expert Hubspot, the top three marketing challenges for 2016 were generating traffic and leads, proving the ROI of your marketing activities, and securing enough budget for marketing activities.

Does this accurately reflect your marketing challenges?

With there being so much noise online coupled with the exhaustive competition for attention these days, marketing your business requires a lot of focused strategy. It is always a good time at the beginning of the year to review where your revenue came from in the previous year. Has your target market changed? Is it time to make some adjustments to your audience targeting, lead generation strategies and pricing?

Remember, how we do business has changed. Buyers are socially savvy. They do the research ever before thy knock on your door so knowing how to attract and draw customers is essential to your marketing strategy.

Here are the marketing trends for 2017 you should consider implementing:

1. Live Streaming Video

Video has taken over as the primary content delivery system. Video is so much more social, it puts a face to your brand and allows views to be part of the conversation – that is BIG. Again, according to HubSpot Research has found that 43% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future, while only 29% want to see more blog posts.

Video can be done in short segments via all social channels and offers a way to tell stories, build relationships, communicate with customers and pull back the curtain to your organization. Whether that’s one of one hundred 2017 is the year to try the platforms where your ideal clients might spot you.

Facebook live is the leader in streaming video. If you have a business page I encourage you to give it a try. To gain further exposure, either boost the post with $20 or create a strategic ad campaign promoting your video’s. Facebook is giving priority to video – time to jump on that opportunity.

2. Relationship Marketing

Are you building relationships or just pushing out content hoping someone will bite and be interested. Taking the time to develop relationships with customers, prospects and referral partners is a long-term strategy that will pay off. Investing in people that become advocates or champions of your brand will tell others.

I bought a new iPad over the holiday and had an immediate issue with it randomly shutting down. I called Apple care who took an amazing amount of time and caring to resolve the issue. Apple builds relationship equity consistently!

Investing in building relationship capital is what I hear more savvy professionals finally getting on board with. No longer is having the most LinkedIn connections valuable. What is valuable are the deeper, meaningful relationships that have been nurtured over time.

In the article I wrote titled, “Beyond LinkedIn: Mastering Relationship Drives Success” It is important to understand so much of what we do in business is virtual or digital, building relationships that are meaningful, long-term and focused on a serving mentality are the way to winning business. This may require a mind-shift in your thinking in terms of how you approach prospecting and connections in a thoughtful yet strategic way.

3. Influencer Marketing

Who influences your market, you know that person who others listen to as the credible resource?
There are always certain people that can influence a brand, or who stand out because their opinion means something. If you can focus on meeting and building true relationship with a few of those folks in time you could earn the respect to have them promote you! The mistake novices make is connecting with an influencer let’s say on LinkedIn, you send them a nice invitation and once it is accepted you send them a message telling them about your really great blog post abut XYZ and would they share it with their audience!

Yes, the right influencers establish credibility and build you up through each social media post or share with their followers, but the key is for you to serve them first. Can you share their posts, quote them in your blog post, promote their event or introduce them to someone? I encourage you to find the ‘giver’ inside and find ways you can serve before asking for something in return.

4. Content Marketing

If your website has a blog you can win in search if you develop high quality, longer posts. Bottom line, Google wants to see better content and will reward those sites that are producing it. What that means according to content marketing guru Neil Patel, “Make your article 4,000 words, add images, include authoritative discussion and create the best piece of content on the internet on that topic.” And Google will show that content above high ranking sites!

Okay, so now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor because you fainted over the idea of writing a 4,000-word blog post, I get it. However, consider this – all of us have the opportunity to dominate a niche if we focus on the topic we are known for, remain relevant and keep generating really good, quality articles.

I don’t think I need to explain what that means because you’ve read other people’s content where you really gained valuable tips or insights. In the social media niche, the best blog out there for quality content is Social Media Examiner. They have guest bloggers who produce high-quality content because each and every post teaches the reading something of value they could implement immediately.
The length of the articles is nowhere near 4000 words. The caveat to what I’m suggesting you do is to understand they have already established themselves and won’t lose much in search because they have dominated social media blogs for such a long time. If your blog is not established in top search results then I might encourage you to try a 4000-word blog post and track the results.

5. Mobile – get your website up to speed

Google knows that the majority of internet users are accessing everything online via their mobile devices. If you want your website to be shown during a search on mobile you want to be sure your webpages are AMP ready. Accelerated Mobile Page (or AMP, for short) is a project from Google and Twitter designed to make really fast mobile pages. This is very geeky stuff, but here’s the bottom line, Google is saying they will give search preference to those sites that load fastest which will be those who implemented AMP pages into their websites.

Talk with your web developer about AMP pages for your website. If you want to understand more, here is a great article from industry expert, MOZ. https://moz.com/blog/accelerated-mobile-pages-whiteboard-friday

6. Personalized Content

It’s time to get more specific and personalized with your marketing. Go narrow with your marketing messages speaking directly to your ideal customer about the specific solution you offer to their problems, this means not communicating in generalities or trying to offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Audit your website and social media sites for your communication style. The goal is not to do business with everyone who needs what you offer, the goal is to do business with those people who believe in what you believe in. Tell your story, who you serve and how you help.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’
– Simon Sinek, “Start With Why”

Conclusion

Although I shared some marketing trends for 2017, it is important to always be communicating and speaking to those you want to do business with and influence. Tools change, trends change offering ways to leverage your marketing efforts. Taking advantage of these will keep your brand relevant.

What do you think? Is live streaming video something you can implement into your business this year? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below – JoAnne.

4 Ways to Educate, Connect & Engage Your Prospects

4-ways-educate-connect-engage-prospects

Content marketing has changed how we deliver our marketing messages. Long gone are the days when we pummel people with messages hoping to eventually get them to buy from us.

Marketing has changed because how we do business has changed. As consumer’s we have access to more digitally driven data than ever before. Most often we have already made the decision of what we want to buy, the decision is who do we want to buy from.

In today’s marketing to be successful we must educate, connect and engage with our target audience to earn a chance to sell them something.

“Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time. Worry less about sounding professional and worry more about creating remarkable content that other humans can relate to.” – Ann Handley

1. Educate by Answering Questions

Seems like this should be common sense and so I am amazed when I go to buy something and I can’t get a question answered. Recently I was doing research online for a specific product for my home and I did a ‘Google’ search for “Top Rated XYZ’s” and one blog popped up offering reviews of the product I was searching for. Now there is an opportunity!

Pay attention to the questions you are asked about your products or services and answer those questions on your website because that will show up in search results! You can also answer those questions in your newsletter, utilize live video on Facebook, or via a blog post. Content marketing is a term used for using a form of content to market – there are so many forms these days such as what I mentioned above and so many more.

The more you can answer questions your ideal customer has, then you become the authority. The ‘go to’ company who people learn from, gain trust in and eventually buy from.

2. Connect with Your Target Audience

To connect with your target audience, you need to know where they hang out. If you have a retail business do, they prefer the in-person connection? Are they social, if so what platforms do they frequent? How do they like to hear from you? Do they read online newsletters or are they from the era they want snail mail? If you don’t know the answers now is the to take a survey.

Connecting means more than sending a LinkedIn invitation or asking someone to join your email list. It means you are intentional and clear on who you want to attract and how you can best serve that target prospect.

3. Engage with Your People

Once you know where your audience is, you will want to set-up an engagement strategy. For example, if your ideal audience is on Facebook, have they liked your page? Do you post informative and/or fun posts that elicit engagement? Do you ask them to comment and share on your page? Again, sounds simple but so often I see comments ignored by businesses on all social media platforms.

In this crazy, non-stop digital world we are faced with thousands of messages every day. I believe people want to connect more deeply, they want to be seen and heard. If you are building a community, answering questions and simply showing up for people – well, that is a game changer.

Building relationships lead to trust and people buy from those they know, like and trust. Showing up and being engaged can drive revenue and those who are successful are winning. Engagement is an investment of time in your business but something you can’t ignore.

4. Reviews & Testimonials– people care about the opinion of strangers

When was the last time you bought something on Amazon? Did you read the reviews before you made the purchase? Have you checked someone out on LinkedIn to see how professional or credible they appear? Perhaps you checked out their recommendations to see what others were saying.

The point is, in today’s world we care about the opinion of strangers! In marketing, adding testimonials to our website and marketing materials adds to our credibility and trust factor.

Consider the ‘Google’ effect…you are out doing errands and stop to do a Google search on your mobile device for something. You check out the Google reviews before making your decision. Google is rewarding businesses with 5- star reviews online by pushing more search traffic their way. Google believes review are that important.
If your business does not have a Google business listing I recommend you do it today and encourage people to leave you recommendations.

marketing-dish-facebook-reviews

Conclusion

Implementing these four steps into your marketing strategy will build deeper and more meaningful business relationships. People will be more curious because you show you care in ways that are helpful and valuable to those people who are wanting more from you.

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

Content, Adding The Right Ingredients

By now you have heard the word CONTENT used often when it comes to your website and social media platforms – right? But writing and promoting the right content is important to your success.

Initially your content builds trust and likeability with your audience, it shows them you have an expertise in the topic that you are sharing. Just like in cooking, we mix the right ingredients together to create the result we want – this is no different in marketing.

We mix various forms of content together to share our topic, brand and product.

What types of content could you be creating?

  • Blogging
  • Video
  • Podcasts (video or audio)
  • White papers or reports
  • Email

Creating content for your audience

When creating any type of content it is important to remember to create it for the audience you want to attract, and a good question to ask yourself is “what result does this person want from me?”

Content drives leads

By providing really good content that helps your audience, they will become more interested in working with you and purchasing your products & services.

Consistency is the key

Consistency of your content builds your exposure and gains you more followers! Creating a content calendar is a great way to stay consistent and makes you accountable to getting it done! To get started challenge yourself to one blog post a week, one video every other week that you can include in a blog post or email you send out to your email list and post on your social media accounts.

Please share below, what type of content marketing is working for you?