If there’s one aspect of digital marketing that changes faster than any other, it may be search engine optimization (SEO). While the goal of the search engines remains the same—to reward websites that provide content that searchers want and need—the rules they build into their algorithms seem to be in almost constant flux. So what do you need to know in 2018?
Marketing automation tools, as their name implies, simplify and streamline content marketing processes. However, because tools like HubSpot handle their assigned tasks so reliably and so well, enabling you to turn your attention to other things, it’s easy to fall into some bad marketing habits. As a content marketing agency, we try to ensure our clients are aware of, and avoid, these pitfalls.
Dictionary.com defines personification as “the attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract notions” or “the representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person.” You may have noticed that advertisers are using that approach to great effect these days. And their success can provide a cue for your inbound marketing.
As I write this, the action in PyeongChang is wrapping up. From my perspective, some of the best stories from the XXIII Olympic Winter Games are those in which an athlete who seemed to be out of medal contention snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat, as they say. I watched that happen on many occasions, and it occurred to me that the same can be true with your content marketing program.
Many a B2B marketer has spoken words to this effect: “Yes, emotion is helpful in B2C marketing, but it just doesn’t work in B2B.” And many a B2B marketer has been mistaken! It seems that we’ve convinced ourselves that business decision makers only focus on purchasing products and services that “drive business value” or that have the right technical specs and “differentiators.” In short, we think that behind the fleshy exterior lives a cold, heartless, analytical robot.
These are exciting times in inbound marketing, with new strategies and tactics being developed faster than ever before. However, this means that “what works” for building a brand, increasing lead generation, and growing sales is changing rapidly too. At our Colorado Springs inbound marketing agency, we stress the importance of data-driven marketing and of staying on top of the tactics that are driving results, both for your company and for other marketers.
Whether it lives on your website as part of your content marketing program or is taken by sales reps to initial meetings with prospects, or both, a solid sales presentation deck can be a powerful tool. But, too often, these items are neglected until the last minute and then hastily pieced together with a variety of mismatching resources. And of course, as they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
If your company is like most, your website is the cornerstone of your inbound marketing efforts. As the first “salesperson” that prospects encounter, it’s critical that your site is fine-tuned at all times. Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon to have a “set it (up) and forget it” mentality. As one of the top inbound marketing agencies, with teams in Colorado, Washington, and Missouri, we are also one of the most doggedly persistent in encouraging clients to take another look at their site because we know even small tweaks can have a big impact on engagement and conversion rates.
Infographics are a proven tool for communicating data quickly, clearly, and in a way that engages the viewer. And they can be a key component of a content marketing program. That said, all infographics are not created equal. As you would expect, some are better at grabbing and keeping the attention of a target market. But, what’s the right “recipe” for an infographic? You can certainly start to zero in on what works through trial and error. However, a better approach is to use data to drive your decision making.
There was a time when nonprofit entities tended to believe that content marketing was meant for businesses only. Today, however, nonprofits understand that they can leverage engaging materials to attract and inform their target audience, thereby increasing support for their cause. However, just like with any organization, it requires a solid strategy that incorporates some proven tips of the trade.
In a previous post, I talked about “content fatigue” as a condition we’re all experiencing as more companies come to understand the power of content marketing and begin creating bushels of content. But, I expressed my opinion (which is shared by some of the wisest marketing gurus out there) that the idea that inbound marketing has run its course is nonsense. No marketer worth their salt is going to turn back the clock and start bombarding their target audience with old school flyers full of nothing more than product features and benefits.
If you want confirmation that content marketing works, just do a search online for any product or service, no matter how obscure. I guarantee you’ll find content… lots and lots of content. Marketers have invested time and money in creating those materials because they know that their audience is hungry for them. That said, the sheer volume of content that has been created in recent years has led to what many are referring to as “content fatigue.”
Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holiday season. And whether your product or service is one that gets gobbled up between now and the end of the year or not, there are some great content marketing lessons to be learned from that time-honored tradition, the family Thanksgiving dinner.
You’ll sometimes hear a discipline described as “simple, but not easy.” That label is perfect for inbound marketing. You create interesting and informative content, offer it to your prospects for free, and then nurture your relationship with them until they become customers. Simple. Unfortunately, as one of the top inbound marketing agencies in Colorado and Missouri, we know from experience that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Success in inbound marketing requires more than great material. There are a number of other key components you must have in place if you want your inbound program to thrive.
Right now or later this week… in a conference room across town or across the country… a team is or will be meeting not to focus on their product and service offerings, but on yours. In today’s increasingly competitive business climate, companies that have an understanding of what others in their industry are doing are much more successful than those that don’t. As part of your content marketing efforts, it’s critical that you commit some resources to competitive research.
Ignore the humorously ominous title of this post. Content intelligence isn’t something to fear. In fact, it’s something to embrace. “Content intelligence” is a term that’s been around for a decade or so, but it has been used much more frequently in the last few years. It refers to the knowledge gained from systems that use information on content consumers and content consumption to produce actionable insights for driving a content marketing strategy. Yes, that’s a mouthful!
It just seems to be human nature that even if someone isn’t engaged by the content of an email, they will often scroll down to the signature block to see who it is from. They’re just looking for a name and title, but while you have their attention, it’s a great time to take a second shot at connecting with them. By adding a little teaser to your signature area, you may just get them to click.
The marketing automation system you implement can have a pronounced impact on everything from lead generation to website conversion rate. Needless to say, this is an important decision. However, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. As you evaluate your options, you just need to keep some key considerations in mind. Then, the right solution for you will reveal itself pretty readily.
Lead nurturing is the process of repeatedly reaching out to a prospect as they make their way into and through the sales funnel. The goal is to provide helpful content that answers the questions the prospect has at each point along their buyer's journey. Lead nurturing creates confidence in your prospect that your solution is what they need. That’s a little different than the old-school approach to marketing, which was to send a list of product features and functions to a prospect, and if they were interested, great—and if not, so be it. While that sort of “one and done” approach didn’t require a lot of time and effort, it was not, as you can imagine, very effective.
Oh, how time flies! I can’t believe I’m saying that fall has officially arrived, but it has. And before you know it, we’ll be handing out candy, eating turkey, wrapping presents, and ringing in a new year! I suppose as marketers we're especially sensitive to the passage of time, as we’re constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve.