Is it Time to take Content Marketing off its Pedestal?

Posted by frank harris on 28/02/19 15:50

b2b content marketing 0618The idea that content marketing is some sort of messianic marketing device has stuck so well that, regardless of business, product or market, there has been a compulsion to simply ‘do content’. With securing and retaining permissions, building relationships and earning trust more important than ever, is it time for content to integrate more with the rest of the marketing mix?

 

Never mind about the consumer’s experience – what about the content? Never mind about how, when or even whether you should engage – what about the content?

 

Too often, content marketing has not had the data, insight and creativity to support it. We have got personal without building the foundations. We have kept content and data strategy apart.

 

Now, GDPR puts the way we engage under greater scrutiny than ever before. If consumers want to hear what brands have to say, and share information with them, then content is going to have to climb down off its pedestal and integrate.

Permission to Speak?

GDPR doesn’t mean the end of email marketing. But it gives permissions the sort of currency usually only associated with US dollars in Cuba.

 

GDPR means content has to work harder to earn and protect those permissions. It should cultivate the journey from the initial privilege to communicate, to securing the long-term relationships that make people want to share their data.

 

Amaze One commissioned research to understand how UK consumers feel about the information they currently share. 70% of consumers said they were concerned about the way their personal information is collected and used. Only 18% feel they have some degree of control over their data. 80% have concerns about the way their data was sourced and sold.

 

The research revealed a feeling of imbalance in the ‘value exchange’, the quid pro quo of reward in return for personal information. Consumers feel they’re giving a lot of quid for very little quo. That would be worrying even without GDPR. But with the marketing landscape having changed, now is hardly the best time to be alienating customers who just want a fairer deal.

 

The right to share your content starts with clear permission. That is what gives you the privilege to engage. So, be transparent about the ask. Make requests big and bold, front and centre: permission that says, ‘here are some of the great things we are going to be sharing with you – and here is how you get to see them’.

This transparency is appealing, but there is pragmatism too.

 

GDPR does not have to be scary or difficult. If we embrace it, we share the benefit with consumers. If we don’t, we get to spend the next few years testing the boundaries of GDPR compliance to no real purpose.

Collaborative Content Marketing

Crucially, this model ensures content marketing is not the headline act. It forces it to work with data, strategy and consumer experience, and that forces us to ask questions about the nature for content before we create it:

  • Is content desirable and appropriate? How does your brand sit in your customers’ lives? How does that inform the content you create?
  • What is the role of the content marketing? How does it fit your communications strategy? If it doesn’t fit the strategy, why do it?
  • How does the content fit the customer experience of your brand?
  • What is the publishing model? Let the data, strategy and customer journey guide you to a production, publishing or newsroom model that is a natural fit.

How Personal is Personal?

Amaze One’s research showed that even a simple breakdown by age reveals major differences in the way we want to consume content.

  • Preference for visual (including video) content is strongest in younger groups (18 to 44) and falls away with age.
  • Entertainment is a key determiner of channel appeal among younger groups (18 to 44).
  • Being informative is a universal preference, but peaks in the 25 to 34 age group.
  • Trust in the originating brand/sender is a key factor in brand interaction. The older the target group, the greater the trust required.

So be personal. Tailor your voice to your customer. Mass marketing is fine when you are issuing a change of terms and conditions to every account holder, but it is personal content that generates interest and inspires a response.

New Time and Place for Content

Traditionally, content has been created parallel, but often not quite connected to other marketing activities, CRM-driven communications and distribution strategies.

 

But if content is to help drive sharing in this post-GDPR world, it needs to be constantly in the mix, a part of – but not superior to – the data and insight that informs the initial brainstorms and briefings.

 

It is time to take content marketing off its pedestal? Next time someone suggests you should just ‘do content’, pull back and ask what you are doing it for. When you do, you will find it’s a far more effective tool at generating the trust, permissions and sharing we are all going to need.

 

For your content marketing toolkit click the link below:

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, interactive content marketing, content marketing strategy

SEO for Better Content Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 12/02/19 10:21

content marketing 0119As marketers we should provide our customers with quality experiences. One way is by implementing a customer focused content marketing programme.

 

Content marketing includes blog posts, infographics, email, podcasts, and many other content types. Every online channel provides a unique way for us to reach our personas. So, we need to optimise every piece of content to make it easier for people to find.

 

Competition for your audience’s attention has never been higher and it’s challenging to get your content in front of your personas. This challenge continues to become more difficult as over 91% of B2B marketers claim they already use content marketing. Although that number is high, many can better optimise their existing content.

 

Here, we’ll cover basic SEO tactics you can deploy to make your content easier to be found by search engines.

Keywords

The first step for writing online content is choosing the right keywords to target. Conducting keyword research is an important optimisation process. First identify a group of selective keywords that are semantically related, i.e., share similar interest to your personas. By choosing a semantic group of keywords to target, you broaden your reach by ranking for multiple keywords instead of just one main keyword as search engines are getting cleverer at determining what keywords are related.

 

To help explain semantic keywords, a keyword glossary would include the following terms for “marketing book reviews:”

  • Marketing book comparison
  • Marketing strategy book
  • Reviews for marketing books
  • Best marketing book
  • Marketing books to read

Your semantic keyword group should contain some long-tail keywords that are less competitive. Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank for and brings most of your organic search traffic.

 

Another advantage of using a semantic group of keywords is the ability to sprinkle keywords naturally throughout your content. You will build relevance for the overall topic by doing this.

Content Marketing Structure

When creating your content, ensure you plan the structure. Content should be presented in a way that provides a solution for the issue your personas are searching for - answering a question, finding a product or anything else. Writing good content that solves a problem gains audience interest and potential visibility via social shares and links. Your engagement rate will be better, which sends positive signals to search engines.

 

Creating structure for your content is challenging. To create structure, fashion an outline of how you want the content to be viewed, with the most important information near the top of the page.

 

If your post gets long, use anchor links to push people to the content. Use heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) to break content up to allow users to skim and scan the content. Avoid using long blocks of content, and if content is becoming long, visually break it up by:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Testimonials
  • Bulleted list

Creating a fluid structure for your content will help improve your audience engagement metrics by making the user experience friendly.

 

The structure of the content should be considered at the beginning of the optimisation process.

Build a Map to your Content

After writing optimised content, the next step is to build backlinks to it. Backlinks help people and search engines crawl and find your content more efficiently. They can be related to three areas - internal, external, and social links.

 

Building backlinks can be like a map. For example, you have the most amazing beach and you would like to charge admission. You’ve put in a lot of work to make your beach the best in the area and you know people would love to visit. The first problem is that no one knows how to find it. So, you build paths to make it easier for people to get to the beach (internal links). Next you place signs near your beach for local visibility (social shares). Now people start coming to your beach and they love it so much they go and tell their friends (external links). Soon, your beach is filled with happy and paying customers.

 

The moral of this scenario is to optimise your content by building links to your content. Links are still important to receive organic and overall traffic. The easiest way to get some links to your asset is to build internal links strategically with correct anchor text. Use keyword variations and long-tail keywords as your anchor text to not over optimise the content, which sends better relevance signals to the search engines.

Share your post on social media with a promotion plan to gain more visibility via referrals. Increasing social shares for your content sends more positive signals to search engines about how popular it is.

 

Lastly, focus of earning backlinks from credible sources on other websites. Reach out to influencers that might be interested in your content, so they can either share socially, or even better, on their website. Also, reach out to websites that are linking to the pages that are ranking for the keyword topic to see if they will link to your content. Hopefully, your amazing piece of content goes viral, which helps earn backlinks naturally and easily.

Writing more Optimised Content

This can be challenging. We can optimise content, so our personas can find it easily over our competitors. Optimised content will lead to more organic traffic and ultimately potentially higher conversions/ROI. We don’t need more content in general, but we need more optimised content that helps solve the audience’s problem.

 

For more on up to date SEO follow this link>>>

 

new website seo checklist

Tags: small business seo, content marketing, small business seo marketing, b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, seo for b2b business, b2b seo programme, website seo

3 Reasons you should be doing Content Marketing in 2019

Posted by frank harris on 21/01/19 16:23


b2b content marketing 0618Content marketing is a very general term that can be used to refer to many individual areas, from digital PR to the creation of blog content. Put simply, it is the creation of content that is shared online using a variety of marketing channels and assets. However, it can be so much more than this. Here are three ways content marketing can be useful for your business:

  1.  Stand out from the Crowd

In a world where almost everything is online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd and that is where content marketing comes in. The aim is to provide content that is useful to the user so that people want to share and engage with your brand and in many cases, this means staying away from branded content that looks to sell.

 

It’s important to consider what your personas wants to know or talk about, this information can be found on

platforms that are probably already used by your business such as social media or social news aggregators.

  1. Brand Identity

Initial thoughts are that content marketing does not benefit a business instantly or directly however it can

help build relationships and loyalty. This is developed over time and whilst users are engaging, they are also a persona, providing an emotional aspect that the user can relate to in a digital landscape.

 

So, the next time potential customers look for answers or need a certain product your brand will be there in the forefront of their minds ready to assist and provide the answer.

  1. Learn about your Personas

Understanding consumers wants and needs can sometimes be baffling, especially at the pace they change today, so running content marketing campaigns means you are always monitoring your target audience’s interests. Ultimately, providing a deeper understanding of your market, which can be useful when looking to expand or change your product offering.

 

However, content marketing is experimental so not every creation will be a success, but you can learn from this. It is all about the research, talking to your users, experimenting with mini campaigns, and learning from

experiences. Analysing the performance of a digital campaign is much easier than a traditional marketing campaign, if you choose your platforms wisely.

 

Just like most elements of marketing, nothing stays the same for long, so how do we expect content marketing to grow in 2019?

2019 Content Marketing Trends

We are now in the age of assistance and so the content we produce may see a change in 2019. Providing content that answers a question for the audience will meet the need for assistance, whilst also positioning your brand as thought leader in the industry.

 

During 2016, there was an 80% increase in live videos viewed online, and in 2018, 78% of people watch videos online every week, and 55% every day. With video playing such a big part in daily life written content alone just won’t cut it – it is time to use video to share content, of course written content still has its place, and it’s important to accompany any video with some optimised text.

 

Authenticity plays a big part in marketing today with consumers wanting to know where, when, and how products are made. When it comes to content marketing, authenticity can come into play with the type of content you create and the way that it is shared.

 

To get the best content for your industry is essential. The toolkit that you can download from the link below will give you many great tips:

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: content marketing, b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, b2b content, small business content, content marketing strategy

Some useful tips for B2B Online Marketing Copywriting

Posted by frank harris on 14/12/18 10:33

copywritingThere are an overwhelming amount of tips and tricks to help you become a better B2B online marketing copywriter.

 

To help you organise these tips into a useful 'toolbox' here are 2 best practices:

  1. Use short words, short sentences, and signpost your writing.
  2. Outline for your audience, write for yourself.

If you follow these rules, your writing will be easy-to-read, clear, and coherent

 

Your writing will also be well-structured yet capture some of your unique, personal voice which keeps readers interested. Additionally, you won't lose your easily-distracted online audience.

But, one more step is needed.

B2B Online Marketing Writing that Works

According to Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson in Writing That Works:

 

Clarity in B2B online marketing copywriting, desirable as it is, is not the goal. The goal is effective communication — writing that works.

 

Professional writers have to write with the intention to have an effect in the real world.

 

As a copywriter, your goal is to motivate a reader to do something or think differently. They may buy something from your company, try something new, or change their perspective on a familiar topic.

 

Whatever it is, the result of your writing should be an action.

How can a Writer Achieve this?

It's difficult and it's also not something you can necessarily improve through trial-and-error.  

 

If you're writing to get leads then, yes, you can track readers to leads. More effective writing will produce better results.

 

If you're writing to change an opinion, however, it is not quite so easy to know which pieces are working. Readers simply don't comment like they used to and so it can be hard to know whether you have made an impression.

 

One source of advice about how to be more effective are other B2B online marketing copywriters. Reading about writing is a great way to move from good amateur writing to effective professional writing.

 

Start with the classics: 

  • Stunk & White, The Elements of Style
  • Zinsser, On Writing Well
  • Raphaelson & Roman, Writing that Works

 Then try reading modern writing books which also cover online copywriting: 

  • Felder, Writing for the Web
  • Handley, Everybody Writes
  • Redish, Letting Go of the Words

And for organising ideas, I've found Beyond Bullet Points (Atkinson) indispensable.

Key Points from Professionals

Here are a few key points which can help make writing more effective.

  1. Drive the action point home

The most important thing you can do to encourage action is to make it absolutely clear what you want your reader to do.

 

Have a clear call-to-action in your writing and make sure it is front-and-centre, not buried in your post.

 

content marketing for small business

 

Check your structure and ensure that the outline supports the intended action. Irrelevant or conflicting points distract from your goal and should be removed.

  1. Add spark

Spark is what makes writing exciting to read, and adding it is much more enjoyable than fiddling with structure. 

 

Spark comes as much from removing words as from adding them. Most adjectives, the passive voice, and clichés should all disappear.  

 

There are many more best practices in the books listed above. Apply them mercilessly and review. You will, almost certainly, have clearer writing and more effective results.

 

Besides the books mentioned above, here are a few more tips to review:

  1. Swap places with your readers

Ann Handley, in her book Everybody Writes, makes this additional suggestion. 

 

Swap places with your reader. Read what you have written and ask yourself a few simple questions: 

  • Is the point of the piece absolutely clear, from start to finish?
  • Has it been written with a real, honest tone? 
  • Have I been drawn into the subject, even if it doesn't interest me?
  • Did I enjoy reading it?

If you answer 'no' to any of the questions, then you need to revise.  

 

Writing which is memorable, enjoyable, and real is much more likely to make a lasting impression than that which is written in business-speak.

So...

B2B online marketing writing is not at all easy. You not only have to capture your audience's attention, but you need to convince them to take action.

 

Additionally, it is difficult to improve in this way by trial and error. Instead, it takes research, practice, and a lot of self-critique.

 

There is, however, a simple indicator that you have crossed over, though. Your B2B online marketing copywriting will have an impact in the real world.  You will have more feedback, more confidence, and perhaps even measurable results.

 

That is, your writing will start to 'work'. For more help follow this link>>>

 

Get your Whitepaper on How to Write Inbound Marketing Content

 

Tags: b2b online marketing, small business content marketing, content strategy, marketing content, repurposing content, content writing, b2b online copywriting

8 Ways to Create Small Business Content

Posted by frank harris on 06/12/18 15:10

content marketing 0119While small business content created for your personas helps persuade and engage customers, it also has the added benefit of letting search engines know what your business is about.

 

Although the days of writing and producing content for the likes of Google has long gone, if you focus purely on keywords and forget about your personas it’s just not going to work today.

 

It’s all about quality content that your visitors and customers will want to read and is of value to them, here’s a few ideas on how to create engaging user friendly content

  1. Use Variations of your Keywords

Forget keyword stuffing and using the exact same words 10 times, but you do need to keep in mind relevant words that will make the content relevant to the users search and SEO friendly. Search engines now have the ability to understand variations of words which benefits you and users, for example – ‘social media course’, ‘social media training course’ and ‘training course for social media’.

  1. Create Evergreen Content

When producing content, it’s good to keep in mind how Google works, which is to return relevant results. When they deliver the right answer to a query they are doing their job right, that’s where evergreen content comes in.

 

Evergreen content focuses on longevity, so will be just as relevant in two or more years as it is now. Google will continue to deliver evergreen content and it can rank well if users are finding it useful by clicking and engaging on that page.

  1. User Experience

Creating content for ‘search results’ is usually based on what content is on the page. When you create content for a great user experience you need to focus on the impact the page has on a reader too.

 

Google’s web crawler measures how quickly a person clicks to your website page, how many people click on a page, how long they spend on that page, how far they scroll on that page, and where they go after viewing that page. All of this information available through Google Analytics, lets you see your website through your visitors’ eyes and whether your content is compelling them to click on more and stay on your site.

  1. Use a Readable Style

User friendly content must be easy to digest and in a style that is suitable for your target audience. Make sure you write short paragraphs so not to intimidate readers with long sections of text. Within your paragraphs, keep sentences short and don’t try to impress by using big words.

 

Breaking content up also helps, use headings (H1 and H2 tags), along with bullet points if you have a lot to get across. Don’t forget to include images, we process an image faster than text but it also breaks up the page.

  1. Create Shareable & Link Worthy Content

User experience and SEO should work together, and if you can let your visitors have a positive experience using your website or reading your content they are much more likely to:-

  • Visit more pages
  • Interact on your social media
  • Share your products/service
  • Link to your website
  1. Video Marketing

Video captures viewers faster than written content but you still need to keep it user friendly. Ensure that as well as grabbing attention, it also educates and entertains at the same time. The growth of video within social and mobile content marketing makes video a great option. Even the smallest of budgets and an inexpensive video camera or smartphone can go a long way.

  1. Share, Share, Share

Once you have carefully crafted your content, it's time to get marketing through your website, email marketing, blog and social media networks. Whatever form your content is; a blog post, infographic or a video, content marketing is all about getting your message out there to attract and retain customers.

  1. Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Organising your content marketing is not only helpful in order to provide focus but lets you see what works well and what you can do better. A simple spreadsheet is often enough and you can link this to events, offers and instore promotions you have and create a coordinated marketing plan.

 

Have you created user friendly content that made you stand out from the crowd? If not why not look at our Content Toolkit, an eBook that can help you further>>>

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: small business content marketing, content strategy, content writing, interactive content marketing, small business content, content marketing strategy

10 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

Posted by frank harris on 28/11/18 15:32

online marketing 1018A content marketing strategy plays a crucial role in digital; marketing as it tells you how successful your programme is going to be. It’s about planning, strategizing, execution and measuring results.

Why you need Content Marketing?

Here are 5 reasons why you need it:

  • Trusted by customers - When you write a blog post or publish an eBook, that content will be trusted more by your customers than the marketing copy on your website.
  • Supports purchase process - A sound strategy helps guide your personas down the marketing funnel to conversion.
  • Feeds social media - With social media, content drives behaviour. It’s not just the cat pictures that people like and share on Facebook but also content that your personas like. Your content distribution feeds your social media channels.
  • Delivers your message multiple times so customers believe it - You can produce the same content in different formats like blog, eBooks, infographics, video etc. In doing this your customer has more chances of believing it.
  • Is less expensive - There is a cost in producing pieces of content. It comes from the time you spent researching, writing, editing, designing that piece of content.

So now let’s start your content marketing strategy with our 10 Steps:

  1. Establish your content marketing goals

Be clear on what you are trying to achieve. Goals may vary per campaign e.g., building your brand or generate leads and sales?

  1. Know your personas

If we try to market to everyone, we reach no one.

 

Start with identifying a simple demographic and then expand. This link shows you how to develop personas:

 

personas cta

 

  1. Determine information needs

What information are your customers seeking? Providing something they need and want makes you a useful source. Not sure what your audience wants? Test. They may want answers, product information or how to tips. Ensure any ratings or reviews are accurate and legitimate. Honesty is a must!

  1. Select Content Formats

Content comes in many forms so decide what works best for your brand and your personas.

 

Once you start to relate to your personas and develop a better understanding of them, you’ll be able to cater for their needs. If you use a format and determine an alternative would be better, don’t worry change tactics!

  1. Tell stories

You can share stories, but you must allow your personas to do the same and remember it’s not always about you.

  1. Brand content

You have to take everything you do and make it consistent. Colours, text, sound, and even the structure of your language.

  1. Develop an editorial calendar

This ensures you stay on track with your content marketing efforts and will save you time in the long run. To create an editorial calendar, decide its structure. Decide how many posts you will be sending out daily and the metrics you’ll track. Remember seasonality and holidays to embrace content like seasonal tips to humanise your brand and directly relate to your personas.

 

Your calendar allows you to establish recurring content features and decide on your major content offerings. It also means you can do some advanced keyword research and enhance your content’s SEO.

  1. Optimise search and consumption

If no one can find your content, no-one can consume it. It’s easy to get close to your business and become removed from your personas are searching for. You must start by finding out! Your headline is crucial so ensure that it is attention grabbing. Your content should be visually appealing with eye-catching images. Write your content around one keyword phrase that your personas are searching for.

  1. Distribute and promote content

After creating content, distributing and promoting it will determine how successful your content marketing efforts will be. Start by placing it on your website, then promote and direct people to it from your social media platforms. Include links in all communications and incorporate your content into offline interactions.

 

It’s important to ensure that people are aware of and can find your content, otherwise all your hard work won’t bring the rewards they should.  Attend events relevant to the topics you have covered in your content and spread the word!

  1. Track results

You have established your goals, implemented a strategy and worked on creating and promoting your content. Now, track the results.

 

What were you trying to accomplish? If you were trying to increase traffic, did people come? Have you generated leads?

 

To make things measurable, you need to create a sense of urgency by including a promotional code, a call to action or insert a tracking into any links that you share beforehand.

Conclusion

Content marketing is about establishing goals for your target audience and then determining their needs. It is also about selecting the content format that your personas use along with keeping your branding in mind. Finally, it’s about being focused with the help of a content calendar and then optimising your content and distribution and measuring results. Content marketing is hard but if it was easy everyone would be doing it!

 

To get my toolkit to help you further, click on the link below>>>

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: content marketing, b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, content calendar, real time marketing, call to action, content marketing strategy

7 Ways to Humanise your Brand through B2B Content Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 09/11/18 10:38

B2B marketing 1018Some B2B content is so flat and boring that it can be hard to read.

 

No one wants to be faced with an article that is corporate, uninspiring, and feels like it has been written by a robot.

 

Behind every brand is a human being that is passionate about the industry they work in and is driven by their area of expertise.

 

But how do we make the human side of a brand come across? Being authentic in your content marketing efforts is key.

 

If your audience doesn’t feel like they are talking to and engaging with a real human being, they will likely lose any connection they have with your brand and start to look elsewhere for a brand they can relate to.

 

If your social media accounts look robotic, and the content you post becomes repetitive, you will start to lose your fans and followers and may even drive customers away.

 

Content marketing provides the perfect way to humanise your brand, so here are 7 ideas:

  1. Buyer Personas

A humanised approach to B2B content marketing means focusing on the behaviours, goals, and needs of your target audience.

 

Focusing on sales and conversions takes any human connection away, resulting in corporate-based processes and communication.

 

You need to know who your audience is in order to create content that meets their goals and needs. So you need to create Buyer Personas.

  1. Write for People, not Bots

The easiest way to humanise your brand is to talk to your personas whenever you can.

 

Remember, you are writing for people, not search engines, and while optimising your content is important, don’t detract from your brand’s personality with keyword stuffing, misleading headlines, and bland topics.

 

Ensure your readers’ interests and requirements are always at the front of your mind when you publish B2B content.

 

You are writing for another human and therefore their experience is important.

 

You want them to see your content as helpful and informative, and repeatedly return c your site, with the end goal of a conversion.

  1. Tell a Story

With so many online platforms, you must tell a meaningful story through a clearly thought-out B2B content marketing strategy.

 

Focus on the people who use your products, rather than the products themselves.

 

Use blog posts, pictures, videos and live engagement, to tell a story and show your human side through the content you produce.

 

The most successful stories are those that generate emotion and social engagement and help the audience feel closer and more connected to you.

  1. Keep up your Engagement

Don’t always use social media as a platform to promote your products and services.

80 20 rule

 

While this can be a good place for self-promotion, keep to the 80/20 rule and try not to drive followers away with constant promotional noise.

 

Social media should be used to build relationships with your personas, by showing them your brand’s human side in a real, meaningful way.

 

Different customers will engage with you through different social media channels, so it’s important to remain consistent with how and when you interact with your personas.

  1. Think like a Journalist

The best thing about content marketing is that it allows thought-leaders to demonstrate their expertise by communicating directly with readers.

 

This is good for readers as content is more likely to provide detailed insight into specific areas or topics.

 

By writing about your brand’s current trends, you’re automatically encouraging engagement from a large audience and presenting yourself as a personable, knowledgeable business that people can turn to for advice.

  1. Create B2B Content Experiences

Providing information to your personas is great, but it’s better to entertain your audience, connect with them, and keep them coming back for more.

 

Use videos and pictures to keep them up to date and share funny, serious, and interesting moments with them as they happen.

 

By creating experiences around your brand, you’re showing your personas that you want to involve them in your business.

 

By using the human aspects of your brand and showing your humorous/emotional/personable side, you’re providing your personas with entertaining or interactive content.

 

This encourages them to connect with the people behind the business, not just the external face of the brand.

  1. Listen and Respond

Online marketing gives your audience a platform where they can comment, reply to, and share your content.

 

It’s one thing to listen to what they have to say, but you should show you have listened by responding to them with an action.

 

By doing this, you gain their trust and respect, and, most importantly, build brand loyalty.

 

This could be by answering questions as quickly as possible or fully reacting to customer feedback by introducing a new loyalty scheme.

 

Because you have taken on board what your customers have said will make them like you, stay with you, and tell all their colleagues about you.

Finally

In a busy world of B2B digital marketing, you need to stand out from your competitors, and shouting the loudest isn’t always the best way.

 

It’s not about what you say, it’s how you say it and who’s listening.

 

Think about who your personas and talk to them as you would a friend.

 

A little can go a long way when it comes to human interaction and regular engagement – just keep your tone and content consistent, and try to be reactive online.

 

To understand your customers and their journey to become one follow the link below>>>

 

Your perfect customer journey

Tags: content marketing, b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, digital marketing, b2b, b2b marketing blog, b2b customers, b2b customer experiences, b2b lead conversion

6 Tips to Create Compelling Small Business Calls-to-Action

Posted by frank harris on 26/10/18 10:09

cta 1018Creating small business marketing calls to action that work is key to increasing your conversion rates. Getting visitors to do something you want, whether to buy a product, subscribe to your emails, click on your ad or read a blog post you need an enticing call to action that they just can’t resist.

 

Whilst there is not a ‘one rule for all’ when it comes to a good call to action (CTA), there are several best practices that can increase your success rate. Designing simple yet effectual call to action buttons that are click worthy is central when it comes to encouraging click throughs.

  1. Size Matters

An effective CTA should be larger than the surrounding content for visitors to see it as something separate. It needs to be easy to read when you are scanning the page. The larger the call to action the easier it will be found, but this needs to be balanced with informative page or ad copy to communicate to the reader about the service or product being offered.

  1. Colour & Contrast

A call to action needs to stand out from your design, using a contrasting colour to the background to draw the visitors eye. To create a sense of urgency a bright colour such as red or orange is effective. Although you don’t want a colour that is going to clash with your overall design.

  1. Wording

The words and language you use will have a massive impact, again simplicity works best for straightforward actions such Sign Up, Find Out More, Book Here, View Products, Add to Bag etc. Don’t be to pushy as the hard sell can turn buyers away.

 

If you want to try something different, you can try a question as a call to action to see if this works for your business for example ‘Want to save money on your heating bills?’. Getting creative with wording also helps, if you’ve got a promotion running why not try ‘Add to Basket – Save 50% Today’ to make a product even more irresistible to buyers.

  1. Position

Never overcrowd or squeeze in your call to action, leave plenty of space around your small business marketing CTA to draw the readers eye. You can use a call to action across all your digital marketing from your website and newsletter to your social media networks and blog, and this will make a difference where you position the call to action.

  1. Multiple Calls to Action

Offering multiple calls to action on a page is not necessarily a negative but will have an impact on conversion rates. A good tip if you are displaying two CTAs is to make the one you’d prefer users to click on to stand out more using colour and contrast. Whilst this gives visitors a choice it also lets you entice them to the better option for your business.

  1. Test, Test, Test

Small tweaks in calls to action can make all the difference to your conversion rate, just changing the colour or a word can have an impact, so testing is essential. Try various options to see which get the best results, but make sure you only test one thing at a time otherwise you won’t know which element is working.

 

Whether we notice or not we are all faced with many CTAs every day. Are you nudging your customers in the right direction with your calls to action? If you have any examples that have worked well, we’ve love to hear them, after all if you don’t ask you don’t get!

 

Calls to action are essential to get leads via direct sales or sign ups. For more on How to drive not only leads but traffic and then sales check out my Free eBook from the link below:

 

How to get Traffic,   Leads and Sales  to your Business

Tags: b2b small business marketing, small business blogging, small business content marketing, call to action, calls to action, cta

3 Steps to Creating an Inbound Marketing Content Inventory

Posted by frank harris on 09/10/18 15:57

content marketing 0918In inbound marketing, we spend a lot of time creating content, and it can be a struggle to constantly come up with fresh ideas. 

 

However, the key to creating effective content is to know what you have already in your content inventory.

 

Creating a register of effective content means mapping your content to the appropriate stage in the buyer’s journey.

Once you know what content you have, you can identify opportunities and holes, and then create new content to fill gaps in your content library.

 

Here are 3 steps to help you create the content you need to align with the buyer’s journey.

  1. Gather your Inbound Marketing Content

Sometime in the future you realise you have no idea where your content is stored or how much you have.

Good, quality content that you’ve invested time, effort and expertise creating gets lost. There are lots of places where you can look to find your lost content. Consider:

  • Shared Drives
  • Folders
  • Your computer
  1. Create a Content Inventory Spreadsheet

First, you need to set up a system to capture important information about each piece of content.

 

Setting up a spreadsheet about each content offer in your digital library will enable you to access your content for use in campaigns and marketing initiatives.

 

Identify the categories that are specific to your business and the appropriate values. I'd recommend at least the following:

  • Buyer Personas - identify which buyer persona a particular content offer is most relevant to. Since buyer personas are unique to your company, list your company’s buyer persona choices in your spreadsheet. 
  • Topics - when you get to 3 below, you’ll want to specify content subjects. To do this easily, prepare a list of your business’ topics of importance.
  1. Map Content Offers to the Buyer's Journey

In inbound marketing, you want to deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time.

 

To achieve this, know which stage of the buyer’s journey readers would likely find your content offer most helpful. 

 

Each stage of the buyer’s journey is characterised by unique behaviours, motivations and information needs. Review content and determine which set of the above needs your content aligns with. Here are descriptions of the stages in the buyer's journey.

Awareness stage 

A prospective buyer starts identifies a problem and begins research to understand the problem more clearly, develop context, and finally define their problem and give their problem a name. They are seeking educational information that helps them understand the problem.

 

The person in the awareness stage is self-involved and not ready for product or vendor specific information.

 

This self-indulgent time spent learning about their own problems in the awareness stage will help them prioritise their research and articulate their needs for features later in their journey. At the end of this stage, the buyer has defined their problem and is committed to finding a solution.

Consideration stage 

The prospect researches all available solution options in the marketplace. They consider technologies and ways to solve their problem. At the end of this stage, they’ve chosen the solution strategy for their business and their problem.

Decision stage

A prospect is building a list of potential vendors, products and services and seeking information to help them reduce the list to a short list, make a decision and based on that decision, they’ll make a happy purchase.

In pictorial form the journey vs the content looks like this:

 

buyers journey 1

Use the steps in this article to consolidate your content into a content inventory and then sort each content offer into its appropriate stage in the journey. Once your content library is nicely ordered with your content inventory spreadsheet, you’ll be able to take action by using this content in the following ways:

  • Do a Content Analysis - to gain actionable insights, identify holes and spot content opportunities that will influence your content strategy, drive your content roadmap, and fuel your content creation efforts.
  • Repurpose content - select content from your inventory that you’d like to increase exposure.
  • Create new content offers -  to create new content to fill the holes and gaps in your current library.

To help you define and construct the content just use the toolkit you can find by clicking below:

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: inbound marketing, b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, inbound marketing campaign, small business content

How Small Business Content on its own brings Traffic, Links, and Leads

Posted by frank harris on 14/09/18 11:23

content-marketing-question-ss-1920Web marketers tell you that just publishing small business content does not achieve anything. I know they have never done it.

 

I’d like to say it’s easy to publish content that fails to attract traffic but when even spam blogs can bring in traffic, links, and leads you have to ask what these marketers are doing that they cannot even match the performance of spam blogs.

 

The “quality” of your small business marketing content has nothing to do with whether someone else links to it. People will link to anything that they believe is useful. In fact, many bad SEO articles earn links just because they were written by someone whom the linkers know, follow, or trust. That’s terrible, but the majority of link-earning SEO articles earn links for this reason more than any others.

 

There is no such thing as an objective standard of quality. Google certainly doesn’t apply standards of quality consistently. They admit they ensure consumers can find well-known brands in their search results even if the brands are caught violating search engine guidelines.

 

You’re not going to win any argument based on the assumption that merely publishing content cannot accomplish anything on the Web. The data and search results are against you. The mantra of you MUST promote your web content represents a distorted version of a truth: active promotion speeds up the acquisition of traffic, links, and leads.

Why Merely Publishing Content Is Enough

It’s a rare Website that fails to get indexed within a few weeks, unless the publisher takes steps to prevent indexing.

 

If you publish a blog you don’t have to do anything other than publish posts. Let a WordPress blog’s default behaviour of sending out PING notifications work for you. Your content will be indexed, sometimes within a matter of days, in the worst cases within a few weeks.

 

That is passive promotion. You do nothing but publish the content.

 

Of course, you post links to blogs on social media. I consider this to be active promotion.

  • Hyperactive crawlers look for RSS feeds and new content. Google runs hyperactive crawlers along with many RSS directories. Those crawlers index your content so that it can start earning traffic from search sites.
  • DNS-aware Websites are often disavowed by Web marketers who don’t understand that these sites are not only harmless, they actually help you. A DNS-aware Website monitors the activation of domain names. It may send out a crawler to scan the site or it may just publish “who is” information about the site.

These Websites exist for a few reasons. Most of them carry advertising. Some are tied to Web marketing competitive intelligence tools.

 

There is nothing wrong with these links, many of which drive traffic to your Website. Web marketers have a tendency to assume the search engines will punish them for having these kinds of links but the search engines know you did not create the links. They either ignore these links or give them very little weight. But they do drive crawl.

Random Queries Create Real Visibility for Your Content

Google sometimes defines a long-tail query as one that drives 10 or fewer visitors within a 28/30-day period.

There is no length requirement for a long-tail query. They can be 1-word queries or 20-word queries. The “long tail of search” consists of rarely used queries. There LOTs of these kinds of queries.

 

More importantly, these long-tail queries often reflect specific user needs. When your content is a clear match for a long-tail query you have a very good chance of making a conversion be they on high-traffic or low-traffic Websites.

 

Your conversion rate doesn’t depend on how popular the queries you rank for may be; conversions depend on how well you meet the visitor’s expectations and how well you earn their trust.

 

If you’re earning 1,000+ visitors per month through true long-tail query traffic, you’ll earn natural links and build brand recognition, meaning those people will remember and search for your site again.

 

All you must do is publish useful small business content.

Search Referral Optimisation Ignores Arbitrary Goals

An arbitrary goal is anything like “we need to rank for [2-word term]” or “we need 1,000 visitors per month”. You cannot optimise through arbitrary goals. In fact, they degrade optimisation.

 

You can build traffic outside the search optimisation channel. People do this all the time but they label it as “SEO” because they don’t know what else to call it.

 

Search referral optimisation creates the best possible relationship between a search engine and a website. A new Website does not earn traffic from high-volume queries unless its content goes viral.

 

Going viral is random, unpredictable, and genuine enough to occur on its own. If you are nudging your content into some sharing funnel it’s not true viral content even if you gather hundreds of thousands of shares or links.

 

Optimisation is all about improving how the system performs according to its maximum realistic potential. What you are doing isn’t SEO if you push your metrics beyond the limit of what natural search optimisation can produce.

The Length of your Content Doesn’t Matter

Long content has become the new Web spam.

 

On the Web it’s easy enough to identify small business content spam because:

  • It’s only there to provide context for advertising - OR
  • It’s only there to provide context for 1 or more promotional links - OR
  • It’s there to serve as a place holder and still tries to get some traffic

Long-form content spam adds to this list by pretending to be thorough, complete, and authoritative. A few examples of Long-form content spam include:

  • Articles consisting of many quotations with little or no transitional context
  • Articles that contain many images (especially screen captures)
  • Articles that contain many unrelated facts with little or no transitional context
  • Articles that are written to cover as many “long tail” queries as possible
  • Articles that are hard to read because of incessant popups and calls to action

Long-form spam sometimes earns lots of links and draws lots of commentary but tends to fall into content that is just there to get you to buy something, sign up for something, or register for a Webinar. The user experience is of no importance to this form of content.

 

If the content was important it wouldn’t be obscured by pop-up registration forms and calls to action or long sequences of page-wide images. These long articles just draw people in to pop-up forms and calls-to-action. They’re not trying to create a valuable, useful Website experience.

 

The fact the search engines reward Long-form Spam doesn’t mean it’s not spammy. It just means the search engines’ guidelines have not yet caught up to the latest spammy practice.

 

While it’s true that nagging your visitors gets them to sign up for whatever you are selling, aggressive nagging that obscures the user experience is a hallmark of Websites that search engines have long-since dumped as bad user experiences.

 

If you’re content to milk Long-form Spam for all it’s worth, don’t lie to yourself about what you are doing. It’s spam, plain and simple, and nothing more.

 

Short content articles are fine. What matters is whether they deliver the goods to the visitor. Artists, cartoonists, and even major news Websites still publish a lot of articles that run to fewer than 500 words and continue to top the search results for many high-volume queries.

 

If length really mattered my own 1,000+ word articles would have been buried by now. I never count the words and I stop when I can’t add anything of value. I expect people to read my articles. I’m a “content first” marketer. I’m not afraid to lose your attention because I know you’ll be back.

 

It never fails to work. Sometimes it takes a little longer than we want.

Search Engine Optimisation Includes Active Promotion

In case I leave you with the impression that I am saying you’re not optimising for search if you actively promote your content, that is not the point I want to make.

 

You can build links, target queries, and do all that SEO stuff and it can make a contribution toward optimising your site’s relationship with the search engines.

 

What is important to remember is that SEO must always support the business decision. If the business decision is to do absolutely no active promotion then the worst thing you can do is conclude that your hands are tied and the project is doomed to failure. Websites can succeed on content alone. Any social media sharing came later and remains secondary.

 

It’s the small business content that matters most, not how you promote it. Make content that you yourself will want to read and it WILL last (and it will do well). Just be consistent.

 

For a content toolkit that will help you produce your best content, follow this link>>>

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: get more traffic, get more leads, seo traffic, small business content marketing, interactive content marketing, b2b small business email marketing, small business content

Subscribe to Email Updates

Now you've read this article why not subscribe by filling in the form above and keep up to date with all that's happening in the world of Inbound Marketing

 

FREE eBook Effective Inbound Marketing Campaigns

 

  FREE eBook &quot;Social Media Marketing&quot;

  10 Things to cut from yourMarketing in 2014

Most Popular Posts

Follow Me