Marketing Tip of the Week: Marketing For Tomorrow

Content marketing isn’t just about staying on top of and discussing industry trends. It is often most effective when it is looking ahead to trends yet to come. But how do you predict the future? Fortunately, you don’t have to!

Seasonal Marketing

If any of your stock is seasonal, looking ahead is as easy as owning a calendar. The trick is in actually doing it. It’s easy to focus our attention on the here-and-now and neglect what’s to come. But often it’s as simple as understanding what your customers are going through.

Are daily temperatures regularly over 90 degrees? A post extolling the cooler days of Fall to come, and the product you carry that works within that seasonal framework, works for the customer on multiple levels. They connect with the desire for cooler temperatures, and that in turn helps them to connect the product you are showing them with those cooler temperatures. You effectively plant a seed that may not bear immediate fruit, but once the mercury drops your customer will remember.

Content marketing is predicated on you, the expert, passing on your industry knowledge to the customer. So be that expert, and let them know what’s next in line!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Word-of-Mouth Isn’t A Strategy

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Maybe you feel like things are already going well with your business. Maybe you live in a small town. Maybe you feel that you have a solid base of loyal customers who tell you that they sing your praises to everyone who will listen. So why not let the power of word-of-mouth carry you?

It’s An End, Not A Means

In short, word-of-mouth is not how you build a successful business, it’s but one way to know your business is successful. It isn’t the strategy, it’s the result of the strategy. You build interest through social media and content driven marketing. You close with excellent customer service, delivering on your promises and exceeding customer expectations. At that point, you begin to see a groundswell of word-of-mouth.

But even once you’ve achieved it, it isn’t enough to sustain you.

Bad News Sells

Ultimately that’s because bad news is much more popular than good news. For every customer who says good things about your store, there will be many more who find something to complain about. It’s a fact of human nature, and as such, relying on word-of-mouth is unreliable at best. Of course, we’d all like to think that we catch any disgruntled customers and make them happy before they leave, but the reality is that for every vocal customer we help, there are far more who never let their displeasure be known … to you.

Don’t rely on the kindness of strangers to promote your business, make your own strategy and watch your company soar!

Marketing Tip of the Week: How to Handle Those Idea Dry Spells

Content marketing relies almost exclusively on your ideas. After all, you can’t wow your customers with impressive content if you don’t actually have new content. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll have an idea exactly when you need one. Creative dry spells come so make sure you take advantage of days when the ideas flow.

Don’t Limit Yourself

When you sit down to think up your next marketing idea, your brain doesn’t always limit itself to only one. Often, you’ll come up with several different options, though not all are workable. But what then? Do you choose the best and leave the others behind? Why limit yourself to only one successful idea at a time?

Having a deep bench is a personnel staple, but it applies to marketing ideas just as strongly. Not every idea is equal, but all of them have merit. Writing them down, even the ones that feel weak, can have a lot of future value. You may reject an idea today, but when you are struggling to find something for your next post, a list of previous ideas can not only give you decent fodder but can also offer a base to spark you toward your next big idea. Even if you would never use the idea as it sits on your notepad, never underestimate its ability to lead you to the next one you would use.

Use Your People

Okay, so that takes care of future dry spells, but what if you need an idea now?

Involve your staff! Nobody understands the day-to-day customer like the people you employ to serve them. Bringing those folks into your brainstorm sessions can bring a new and potentially exciting perspective. And just like your discarded ideas, even if you don’t get an idea that is workable as is, you may find one that pushes you toward new concepts that you can use.

It’s true that our minds may not always cooperate with our creative needs, but surviving those idea dry spells is a simple task when we use a little forethought.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Facebook Marketing Beyond the Like

Your Facebook page is growing daily. You see the number of “Like”s you’ve received increasing daily so you know your content is getting in the hands of more and more people all the time. And yet, even with all this exposure, you aren’t seeing a significant increase in business. Why?

Identify Your Best Posts

The first thing you want to do is check your metrics. If you have been experimenting with a variety of different approaches, check your posts to see which ones caught the most traction. Facebook is helpful in this regard as it will let you know when you have a post outperforming your standard. They do that in an attempt to get you to pay to promote that post, but it’s helpful to let you know what customers are keying on and what YOUR audience finds the most interesting.

Why is that important? Because it’s not just about getting people to come to your page, it’s about getting them to like and share your content. Everyone’s news feed is full and prioritized by Facebook to show the things they are most interested in seeing. That means that if they don’t actively interact with your page on a regular basis, they run an increasingly large chance of missing your future posts.

Cater To Your Audience

So now you know what content gets the most attention, what do you do with that information? You pander. You create more content in a similar vein. Getting the Like is important, but engaging your customers after the Like is even more important. Engagment keeps them involved with your business and keeps your brand in the front of their minds. And more customers thinking about your business means more visits and more sales!

Customer interaction is the entire point of social media. And their interaction with your page shows their desire to see your content. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to seek them out on other social media. Someone Likes your page on Facebook? Reach out to them on Twitter or Instagram.

When customers express an interest in you, don’t be afraid to express an interest in them.

 

Marketing Tip of the Week: Find A Topic!

When your focus is content marketing, one of the most difficult things to do is come up with interesting topics. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Topics are everywhere, and here are a few great ways to tease them out!

Google Alerts

Did you know that you can set up Google to tell you what other people in your industry are doing and have it email that information to you? It’s true. Talk about taking the legwork out of hunting down relevant topics! Just open your web browser, navigate to Google (where else) and type in Google Alerts. It will bring you to a page that lists all alerts you have set up (If you weren’t previously aware of this service, that would be zero.) and will allow you to set up new ones.

So how does this work? You type in the keyword you are most interested in, how often you’d like the alert and how many listings you’d like to receive and presto! Google will search the web as often as you want for the topics you specify. Instant topic ideas for your content! (And no, you don’t want to copy someone else’s material, but you can take someone else’s idea and make it your own.)

Pick 5

Look for the leaders in your industry who also blog, and pick 5 to follow. They will blog about relevant topics, and you can choose to cover the same topic with your personal slant, or disagree with part or all of their conclusions in a related post that links back to their’s. Interactive content like this is great as it increases the traffic to both blogs, and if they choose to respond to your assessment, can greatly increase the hits on your own!

Personal Experience

The draw of personal experience cannot be overstated. You may think that your story is boring and not worth retelling, but people like to know who they’re doing business with. People are becoming disenchanted with the faceless corporations. As such, any opportunity you have to put a personal face on your business is an opportunity you should seize! Blog about how you got started in the industry. Blog about the biggest challenges you faced in the early years and how you overcame them.

In other words, blog about how you became successful. People are naturally drawn to success (it’s in our DNA), and your story can actually build confidence in your brand!

Don’t let the pressure of new topics keep you from focusing on content. Topics are everywhere, and finding them has never been easier!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Dynamic Headlines!

Quality content. Is there any more important topic in marketing? Is there any more important aspect to your marketing strategy? I would say no, but perhaps there is something equally important. After all, what does your customer see before they see your amazing content? What item draws them into your site and convinces them to read the nuggets you’ve mined out for their viewing pleasure? Your headline, of course!

The Importance of A Good Headline

The headline is there to entice your readers to invest their time in the content you’ve created. That makes its value directly proportional to the value of the content you’ve created. After all, getting the customer to read your content only matters if you’ve provided content worth reading. But having quality content doesn’t matter one whit if no one ever decides to read it. Therefore, your headline and your content are of equal importance and should be treated with equal care.

The Power of Curiosity

A good headline will grab your reader’s attention and entice them to read more. This can be accomplished in many ways, but one of the most popular involves piquing their curiosity with vague text or giving them just enough information that they feel compelled to learn more. An example would be just about any headline you see written for Buzzfeed or UpWorthy. These companies have made their bones using vague intros that draw the reader in. There’s no debate that this method works. Human beings are curious creatures after all, but just because it’s effective for them doesn’t mean that it will work for your needs.

Bringing in the maximum number of readers may sound good on the surface, but with every reward comes risk, and this is no different. Using the curiosity angle will increase your views for sure, but it can also increase your bounce rate. Customers who are enticed to open content they don’t really want to read may be less inclined to come back, and that’s never a good thing. These large companies use this method because they are casting a very wide net. They are willing to lose large percentages of the customers they reach because those that stay more than make it worth it. Most likely, your business caters to a much more select market and may not find that the benefit outweighs the potential cost.

Generating Excitement

Another way to get your customers to click on your content is to use headlines as excitement generators for your topic. That simply means to approach the headline as an opportunity to get your customers hyped up about your content. Use the title of this article for an example. I could have titled it “A discussion of headlines and their importance for your content”, but I didn’t want to put you to sleep before you ever read the first line.

As you can see, there is an art to writing headlines, and it is best learned through practice. There’s no one method that works for everyone, so feel free to experiment, but track the traffic on your content and see how different approaches work for you and your audience.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Video!

In today’s world, marketing means more than putting an advertisement in the local paper. With the proliferation of the internet, super-fast computers and smart phones, taking marketing into your own hands on social media and your own personal web page is not only recommended, it’s necessary! And now there’s one more avenue you can travel to get word about your business in the hands of potential customers, video!

Do It Yourself

You don’t need a camera crew and professional writing to make a great marketing video for your business. All you need is a smartphone, a vision and someone with the willingness to stand in front of the camera. Admittedly, smartphone videos are not as nice in quality as the more expensive options, but they are more than serviceable for the 30 second spots you’ll want to produce. These aren’t supposed to be masterpieces anyway. They are small videos to help get your customers and potential customers excited about your company.

So how do you do that?

Keep It Real

You want to make a video that shows passion and excitement for your company brand. You goal shouldn’t be to impress the viewer with your stylistic creativity. Instead, show them what makes your company great, what makes your products valuable. These traits will sell your video and by extension your brand.

Don’t Forget to Share

It does you no good to create a passionate and exciting video if it never goes anywhere. Put it on Facebook, Twitter, your personal website and anywhere else you can think to post it. Ask your audience to share it with their audience. There’s a lot of utility in the words, “Please Like and Share.” People will, and you will reap the benefits.

Videos are no longer unattainable expenses. They are an easy and cheap way to increase customer interest, and you can make one in an afternoon. So don’t squander the tools you already have access to, make a marketing video today!

Marketing Tip of the Week: 3 Summer Content Marketing Tips

Content marketing is nothing if not dynamic. It allows you to change your marketing focus as easily as changing your socks. All it takes is the next blog post or social media update to take your strategy in an entirely new direction, and that’s why it’s so useful regardless of your type of business. With summer finally upon us, here are some tips for taking your content marketing in a warmer direction.

Add Summer to Your Theme

Although your emails and blog entries are probably already light and fun, you need to make doubly sure you keep them from getting too heavy during the summer months. Your customers are thinking about vacations, hitting the road or getting away from it all with some other summer activities. As such, you need to manufacture marketing to match. Try to structure content to take advantage of this focus on fun and sun.

Summer Deals!

Everyone likes to save a few bucks, and seasonal marketing is always an eye-catcher. Whether you’re a nursery and greenhouse offering a discount on live plants or a local gift shop with a 10% off sale, adding a bit of summer to your sale is sure to catch a few more eyes.

Tips and Tricks

Summer heat can cause some issues as well as provide the opportunity for a good time. Promote yourself as an industry expert by offering your customers some valuable summer advice. Even if your business isn’t easy to situate in a summer context, you can still provide a few ways customers can beat the heat. Helpful tricks and tips will give your customer a reason to click.

Don’t let summer pass you by without taking full advantage of its marketing opportunities. Use the season to provide your customers a reason to come back!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Prioritize Your Website for Mobile

The mobile consumer market is building at a rapid pace. The number of people making purchases through their mobile phones has more than doubled in the last year alone! So if you aren’t fully optimized to take advantage of this new influx of customers, there’s no time like the present.

Web-Responsive Design

The first step in making sure your site is ready to receive mobile customers is web-responsive design. Web-responsive means that your site reacts or “responds” to the device your customer uses to view it. Therefore, if your customer is accessing your site on a PC it looks like it always does. But if they access it on a tablet or smartphone, it will resize itself appropriately. This may require stacking side-by-side columns into one row or moving your content into clickable headings that open the copy up at the press of a finger.

The most important thing for mobile is guaranteeing your site has large buttons and easy to use navigation. Customers can become easily frustrated if they are consistently hitting the wrong key due to your buttons being too small or too close together. And as you well know, frustrated customers won’t stay customers for long.

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Marketing Tip of the Week: Post at the Right Time!

The conversation about social media is never ending, and for a good reason. It’s possibly the single easiest and fastest way to increase your market awareness, grow your customer base and make more money. In other words, social media is important to the continued and future success of your business. In recent weeks this article has covered different outlets for social media, how to determine which is best for you and the best ways to structure your content to succeed on those platforms. (In case you missed it, here is part 1, part 2 and part 3.)

Not Just What But When

Today is the day you discover not what you should say, but when you should say it! That’s right, there has been research done to determine the best times to post on all the most popular social media platforms in order to reach the broadest audience and potentially influence the most customers. Where does this research come from, you ask? Well, I’m proud to say not from me. There are a plethora of statistical sites that run numbers like this, but the data I’m going to share with you today came from SumAll.com. So, without further ado, the best times to post for each of the major platforms is as follows:

  1. Twitter 1-3 pm
  2. Facebook 1-4 pm
  3. Tumblr 7-10 pm 
  4. Instagram 5-6 pm
  5. Pinterest 8-11 pm
  6. Google+ 9-11 pm

Why It Matters

Now obviously, you can post at other times as well, but you want to make sure your most important posts are made either during these windows or right before them. Why? Because the more time that has passed between your audience logging in and your post, the more time it has to get lost in the stream of material cascading through their feed. Have you ever had a friend ask if you saw their Facebook post only to reply with a shrug and a promise to go look for it? And then how much trouble did you actually have in locating it even when you were looking for it? If you want your content to be seen, the need to be posting when your customers are browsing cannot be overstated.

So take this information and use it to make your marketing strategy more efficient. After all, successful marketing means a successful business!