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Posts Tagged ‘content’

Inbound Marketing: Do you care about the quality of your brand’s content?

August 20th, 2019
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If I had to break down the world of content marketing into two groups, it would be these:

  • Those who care about the quality of their content
  • And those who don’t

Ouch. Seeing those words in writing, my statement is a little harsh. So let me try to rephrase:

  • Those who only see content as a means to an end
  • And those who view content as an (often free) product that should have value in and of itself

To further refine this split, we could say there are two content marketing approaches we can simply label:

  • Quantity
  • Quality

Of course, every piece of content offers some level of value. You need a certain level of consistent production for even the most high-quality content. And there are shades of gray between the two extremes.

That said, I’ve noticed more and more of a focus on the “high quantity/means-to-an-end” approach as the content marketing industry has matured. Brands that seem like they don’t care about the quality of the content they’re producing, or at least not nearly as much as the volume. I thought this would make a fitting topic of exploration in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa inbound newsletter.

Content pollution

Content marketing has shown impressive growth as a marketing tactic. One reason for that is the proliferation of digital platforms and the growth of computing power allowing for less expensive production of content.

If you’ve ever listened to a talk by content guru Joe Pulizzi, you know that content marketing isn’t necessarily new. But when the means of production transitioned from a printing press and six-figure Avid system to a free blogging platform and smartphone, it was inevitable for content marketing to grow.

But there’s another reason it grew as well. It was effective. And it was effective because it was disruptive.

The traditional advertising and marketing model was built around selling to the prospective customer. The core of content marketing is helping the customer. When done well, customers sell themselves.

The low barriers to entry and “free” cost compared to paid media led to explosive growth in the amount of content. This has created plenty of helpful content. But content creation has also been used as part of a major quantity push by companies viewing it as a means to an end to attract traffic.

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Effective Landing Pages: 30 powerful headlines that improved marketing results

August 8th, 2019
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There are 21 psychological elements that power effective web design (see infographic). Of those elements, one of the first your customers will experience is the headline.

21 design elements

(You can download a PDF of this infographic here.)

 

A powerful headline is your make-or-break opportunity to connect with the customer and get them to engage with the rest of your page — and ultimately convert.

We’ll provide you oodles of examples of effective headlines in this MarketingSherpa blog post to help spark ideas as you brainstorm your own headlines. And you can delve deeper into all 21 of those psychological elements in the following videos from MarketingSherpa’s sister brand, MarketingExperiments:

The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design (Part 1)

The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design (Part 2)

The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design (Part 3)

(This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.)

 

Now on to the examples …

Like with your own landing pages, in many of these examples the headline wasn’t the only factor that affected performance. However, a different headline is a pretty significant change on a website and is usually a major contributing factor to a change in performance. The best performing headlines below are bolded.

Before: We’re here to help.
After: Simplifying Medicare for You
Results: 638% more leads

You can read more about the above headline in Landing Page Optimization: How Aetna’s HealthSpire startup generated 638% more leads for its call center

Before: About The GLS
After: Two Days of World-Class Leadership Training
Results: 16% increase in attendance

You can read more about the above headline in Customer-First Marketing: How The Global Leadership Summit grew attendance by 16% to 400,000

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Copywriting: Listen to customers so you can speak their language

December 1st, 2017
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Words matter. Both for their denotation (to ensure prospective customers understand your advertising) as well as for their connotation.

(Words are subtle indicators to tell a potential customer “we understand you specifically” and “this offer is meant for people like you.”)

To truly speak our customers’ language, we must listen to them because our customers may be very different from us.

No easy task. As Don Peppers and Martha Rogers say in Managing Customer Experience and Relationships, “‘Listening’ has never been part of most mass marketers’ primary skill set.” (I’m reading the book as a student of the University of Florida/MECLABS Institute Communicating Value and Web Conversion graduate certificate program.)

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They Won’t Bite: How talking to customers helped Dell EMC turn its content strategy around

October 12th, 2017
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“What we were finding was that a lot of our content was very product focused, and really quite technical. It’s not that we didn’t need that, but we weren’t engaging with customers at the top of their decision making,” said Lindsay Lyons, Director, Global Content Strategy, Dell EMC.

Lyons and her team came to the same content revelation that many marketers do — “we were talking about what we wanted to talk about, and not talking to customers about what they wanted to talk about,” she said.

In this content effort, they overhauled production efforts to ensure that content went through a stringent and honest assessment. This ensured that the content was not only in the tone that customers wanted to speak in but also in the spaces that they were already interacting in.

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Insta-famous: 4 quick tips on how to build your brand’s Instagram profile

June 16th, 2017
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Instagram is a great space for marketers. Brands and friends are freely intermixed, and the platform has a light, fun vibe, and there is an emphasis on creativity.

This is a space where, when done correctly, you can be counted among your followers’ favorites. They’ll look forward to your brand’s posts, or click to view your stories, more than any of their real-life friends.

Read these four tips to get a jump on how to take your brand to another level on Instagram and get in with the platform’s cool kids — some of whom are actually giving these tips.

Tip #1. Interact with other brand Instagram accounts

After BBC Earth and 500px discovered a natural overlap between their two communities, they decided to shake things up and offer Instagram followers a different perspective.

500px users are a full range of photographers, from those just starting out to professionals. BBC Earth has a photographer following as the natural history brand for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

They created an opportunity to bring each other’s content to a wider audience in a week-long “Instagram takeover.” The two brands posted content for each other for a week, bringing each other’s community and conversations with them.

“We saw this Instagram opportunity as a way to show off our community to the world, in particular [to] the 500px community of really highly skilled photographers,” said Kara Segedin, Community Executive, BBC Earth.

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Snapchat Do’s and Don’ts from HP’s session at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017

April 21st, 2017
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Throughout my tenure at MECLABS Institute, parent company of MarketingSherpa, I’ve worn a lot of hats. I have been the managing editor of MECLABS.com, produced web clinics for MarketingSherpa’s sister site, MarketingExperiments, and currently serve as a senior manager of digital analytics, where I help our Research Partners make sense of mountains of customer data.

Perhaps my most cherished responsibility, however, has been to act as the resident Snapchat journalist around the MECLABS campus. Whether the office alligator is sunning himself beside the lake, a company-wide ping pong tournament is taking place, or we’re surprising Aimee Reynard, Senior Events Manager, on her birthday at Summit, if something interesting is going on, I consider it my duty to spread the word to my coworkers via Snap.

For this reason, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Frank Danna, Content Director, Softway and Stef Brower, Global Social Marketing, HP on their MarketingSherpa 2017 Best Practices session, “Navigating the Complex (and Weird) Landscape of Snapchat: An inside look at HP’s Snapchat journey.”

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Social Media: How to make [the right] friends and influence people [who matter]

March 13th, 2017
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It’s one of those randomly attributed phrases that people throw around in social media: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

We’ve all probably randomly scrolled past that phrase and ones like it a thousand times. But for some reason, reading that today on LinkedIn got me thinking — why do so many brands just follow the status quo for social media when the space is made so that the user can stand out from the crowd?

There are so many different ways to reach out not only to your customers as a whole, but to maybe even excite a niche crowd. Here are three of those ways:

Tactic #1. Pioneer uncharted platforms — go where competitors aren’t

In navigating the competitive marketplace for high-end jewelry, the team at Brian Gavin Diamonds needed a cost-effective method to help them stand out.

At MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, Danny Gavin, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, discussed how the team wasn’t afraid of going somewhere the competition had yet to explore to do that.

This attitude led them to Vine, a social app that allows for six seconds of looping video clips.

“The natural paths of marketing can be more expensive. We turned to social,” he said. “No one in the jewelry business was using Vine. It was a wide-open playing field.”

There’s a reason no one else had dared — six seconds is not a lot of time to tell a story and sell customers.

The team came up with a four-part strategy to their Vine videos to surpass that hurdle:

  1. Don’t oversell
  2. Be true to the platform
  3. Be timely and relevant
  4. Distill

This Vine video follows that strategy by quickly showcasing what the company can do with the caption: “From idea, to design, to the custom engagement ring of your dreams … Brian Gavin Diamonds is a cut beyond brilliant.”

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Content Marketing 101: How to write compelling content in five tips

February 16th, 2017
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Picture your ideal customer deciding where to spend his or her time and energy. They want something good for even a small time investment. Your headline, emphasizing value, gets their attention. They invest a click and continue reading.

That is the ideal scenario. But once your customer has clicked through to your full content, that’s when the real battle begins. How do you make it so impactful that not only do they read the whole thing, but they actually stay on your page and continue through the funnel?

Tip #1. Never bury the lead

We all know abstractly that people are busy, with a lot of other content competing for their attention. But when it comes time for pen to hit paper (or fingers to tap keys), many marketers don’t know where to begin.

There’s no need to be mysterious — tell them why they’re here and why they should stay. For example:

Why you’re here: You’re trying to find some marketing content motivation and/or tips.

Why you should stay: I have four additional tips coming (and boy are they good!), honed from years of writing over 2,000 pieces of (mostly) successful content for MarketingSherpa.

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5 Inbound Marketing Hacks Your B2B Company is Missing Out On

February 6th, 2017
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There’s a common misconception that B2C marketers get to have all the fun. Learn how to kick off your B2B marketing shackles and grow your business with these five inbound marketing hacks, taken from six proven case studies with your peers.

Hack #1. Cannibalize your content

When it comes to content marketing, robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t going to get you fired. It might even get you promoted.

If robbery and cannibalism harsh metaphors for you, consider it recycling. Saving your marketing team’s environment one piece of content at a time.

When your social media team creates a cool and valuable infographic, don’t just let it die after it moves down the Facebook wall. Shock some electricity into it, call it reborn, and send it out in an email send. Build a blog post around it. Heck, build a white paper around it and drive downloads.

A great example of this tactic is what SAP was able to do in building a full complement of industry-specific white papers, infographics, blogs, surveys, presentations and email promotions for its 19 industries.

While the customer-focused team at SAP wanted the content to be specific to each industry, within that industry, they wasted nothing and converted information to appeal to people’s different preferences for digesting information.

Read the full case study: Inbound Marketing: How SAP drove 9 million impressions with targeted content campaign

Hack #2. Remember that you’re talking to a person, not an entity

When developing campaigns, remember that while you technically cater to businesses, you’re actually talking to one, or maybe just a handful of people.
In other contexts, they’re B2C consumers, and are beginning to expect that type of human-to-human communication from you as well.

Take Nextiva, a cloud-based communications company, that deals with companies that range from “your local mom and pop shop to fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees,” according to Max Anderson, Video Producer, Nextiva.

The company dedicated itself to stellar customer service as a way to set it apart from competitors, which they found difficult to do over the phone. So Nextiva decided to break the barriers of traditional B2B customer service and began recording personalized videos.

1 customer responses

“In today’s digital age, it has become increasingly hard to provide a level of face-to-face interaction, and we have found that our video responses have helped bridge that gap,” Max said.

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How a Healthcare Software Company Used Behavioral Marketing to Exceed Lead Targets by 400%

January 30th, 2017
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As marketers, when we hear the term “personalization,” we’re conditioned to think, “Hello [recipient name], I really looking forward to sharing with you some ways that [company name] can best serve you.”

Though these methods may have increased opens and clickthrough a decade ago, they are no longer capable of working magic on their own. In short, customers have figured us out.

We all know that email can be effective at driving demand. The challenge is knowing exactly how to craft our emails in such a way that they are immediately relevant to our prospects.

How deep should you segment? How do you figure out the right message to send to each segment?

In this interview at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, Jeremy Mason, Director of Demand Generation, SCI, will discuss his takeaways from how his team redefined their primary buyer personas and launched a triggered email nurturing program based on prospect depth, role, readiness and behavior.

SCI Solutions, a Seattle-based company that offers software to hospitals and other medical facilities, is faced with an impossibly crowded marketplace. The contact information for every buyer is easily available, and open rates across the industry are less than 1%.

To combat this, Jeremy and his team combined the most effective aspects of persona-marketing and trigger-based marketing to create a truly individualized behavioral marketing plan. Read more…