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Marketing Tactics

How Content Marketing Adds Real Value To Your Customers’ Lives

If you’re marketing on a budget, content marketing is a great way to reach your audience, add real value and gain brand traction – without breaking the bank.

Greg Tinkler

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Content marketing is a relatively new type of marketing that most businesses are still trying to get their heads around. Unlike traditional media advertising, which interrupts customers to get noticed, content marketing provides content that customers want in exchange for permission to market a product or service.

Disrupted media

There’s a saying, fish where the fish are. Marketing is the same. You need your message to appear where your audience’s attention lies. I don’t believe billboards or even TV adverts hold consumer attention anymore. People aren’t looking at billboards as they drive past; most aren’t even looking at the road, they’re so busy staring at their mobile device or listening to a podcast.

Related: Your 4-Part Formula For Creating Killer Content Marketing Videos

The traditional advertising model creates ad content that interrupts consumers. Billboards, TV commercials and radio advertisements momentarily disrupt what you actually want to be doing — watching your favourite TV show or listening to a song or chat show.

These ads don’t provide any real value to the customer and they don’t offer an immediate reason to even be viewed or engaged with. Instead, they rely on good placement, clever wording and brilliant creativity to capture your attention for a brief period of time.

The rise of content marketing

In response to these problems and restrictions, content marketing is on the rise. As a marketing alternative, it’s not only more cost effective, but it doesn’t aim to interrupt your customer. Instead, it aims to add real value to their lives and businesses by plugging directly into their interests, problems and challenges.

So how does content marketing work? Companies and marketers create content in the form of blog posts, podcast recordings, downloadable guides and infographics, video content and articles that don’t push products, but offer interesting advice, tips and opinions.

The value to consumers is provided in two ways: As educational content and as entertainment content. In both cases, access to this content is free, heightening its value.

Related: 5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing

Get the most out of content marketing

Here are three ways to get the most out of your content marketing efforts:

  1. Provide content that your customers want. Don’t make the mistake of writing your blog posts about your business. Lesson number one is that people don’t care about your business. Provide valuable content that customers want and need in exchange for their attention. This content can be educational or entertaining. It can be a ‘How to Guide’, an in-depth stats-driven article or an entertaining video. Just make sure it’s about them, and not you.
  2. Focus on content for the customer’s benefit and only occasionally promote or push your product. This is the rule most brands and companies struggle to understand. If you’re going to provide value to your customers, you need to mostly write content for the customer’s benefit and only occasionally promote your products within the content. People are interested in articles and posts that benefit them, not ad posts touting how awesome your products are. Give your customers content that they want, and nine times out of ten you’ll be rewarded with engaged and targeted audiences.
  3. Write cornerstone content. Cornerstone content is content that can be easily found by your ideal customers. It’s content that provides incredible value to customers over a long period of time. How-To Guides, resources, 101 content and instructional videos all fall into this category. It should be content that customers can refer back to, and which has a long lifespan. This also immediately increases the ROI of your content production, as you only need to create the content once, but it will continue to bring returns.

Bringing it all together

As you make your final marketing push for the year and gear up for next year, make sure content marketing forms a vital part of your strategy. Learn to write engaging blog posts, invest in a podcast setup and push video content. No one is expecting your content to be perfect — you are the expert in your area, and have great advice to share. That’s what will keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Just remember that this is a long play. Success won’t happen overnight. It takes time to build momentum — but over time, you will notice increased traffic, more leads and more sales.


Getting Started

  • Do you know what your clients are interested in, concerned with or challenged by?
  • Are you offering advice, tips or opinions that tap into these areas?
  • Does your content mostly focus on your clients and not you?

Greg Tinkler is a serial entrepreneur and owner of the Cre8tive Group, one of SA’s top brand activation and marketing agencies. He has launched many of SA’s top sports supplement & pharmaceutical brands from start-up to multi-million rand brands.

Marketing Tactics

5 Content Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

5 Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses.

Marie Fincher

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A small business owner struggles with a lot of challenges in his journey to success. One of his major concerns is related to content marketing. You need to promote your products and services and reach a larger audience to strengthen your brand on the market. However, in comparison to large businesses, small business owners struggle also with limited budget and workforce. In a small business, the business owner is usually multitasking, doing everything he can to save money and stay in control of his business.

The truth is that your content strategy can help or break your business. You may have the best product in the world. It isn’t enough if your target audience hasn’t heard about it. You need content to promote yourself and spread the word on the market. Furthermore, when it comes to acquiring new clients and expanding on new markets, there’s nothing more powerful than content. This article is going to show which content marketing tips you can use to promote your small business.

5 Content marketing tips for small businesses:

1. Start with a good plan and steady flow

Your content can take many forms. You can impress your target audience with various forms of content like:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • Visuals
  • Press releases
  • Videos

Before you start creating your content, you should have very clear in your mind what you want to achieve. Therefore, once you know which are your goals you can organise your marketing strategy and decide what type of content you are going to post and when. What is more, once your clients become loyal to the type of content you are producing, they will want more.

This means that you should be consistent in publishing different forms of content. You can post relevant content on a daily basis, or if you want to keep your clients in suspense, you can schedule your posts to be published every two weeks. Irrespective of the form you choose or the frequency, Trust My Paper advises that your content should be informative, actionable, and relevant.

Related: 10 Content Marketing Tips For Start-ups

2. Trust evergreen content

Yes, this might seem a cliché, but it is 100% guaranteed. Your content should deliver value regardless of the time your customers are going to read it. What does evergreen content mean? This type of content is always fresh, relevant, and valuable for your reader irrespective of the period when you will publish it. For example, it is important to keep your readers updated with the industry’s trends and development. But, this is not evergreen content because if your readers will find it after a while, it will not give them any relevant information.

To make sure that you build evergreen content, you can go for long tail keywords so that your content will rank high on the search engine for a long time. Plus, try to target beginners in your area of expertise and stay away from technical jargon.

3. Conduct a survey or a poll

If you feel you do your best to create relevant content for your buyer persona but the results still don’t appear, then it means that you should research more on what your customers really want. And, what is the best way to find what your target audience wants? You can organise a poll or a survey where you will ask them what type of content they would like to find on your website.

Based on the results you will receive you can organise your content strategy and the posting frequency. What is more, you can introduce some open questions where you ask your clients about the most interesting topics for them. This is a great exercise which will help you when you feel stuck and lack ideas for relevant ideas for your audience.

4. Do more content re-marketing

If you have some already published topics which were very successful, who says that you cannot re-publish them after a while? Re-using the relevant content you published in the past is definitely easier than creating new content from scratch.

What is more, if you shared your content on social media and tagged some of your most loyal clients, this is a great way to reach out to those customers after a while. This is a good method to reactive existing users and involve them in your story. In addition, you can refurbish past ideas to create even more exciting posts for your potential readers.

Related: 3 Ways To Build Your Brand Identity Using Content Marketing

5. Use verifiable facts in your content

In today’s reality, it’s perfectly okay if you produce interesting content. But you will be even more interesting to read if you add facts and clear data to your content. This is how you will show your readers that you are professional, and you did a deep research before publishing your posts. People like numbers and concrete ideas.

What is more, numbers have a higher impact on them, making them understand the reality and context. So, if you back up your content with facts, you can rest assure that your number of readers will increase. You will consolidate your position on the market as a serious business owner who is constantly updated with the market’s progress and trends.

There is no magic recipe for successful content. It takes a lot of effort and research to produce that type of content that makes people click and drives traffic. You can use the tips above and make your life a bit easier. Moreover, if you evaluate your content before distribution, you will be less exposed to errors. Your readers deserve error-free and relevant content. This is how you can keep them engaged and transform them in loyal clients.

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Marketing Tactics

7 Secrets For Websites That Convert Like Crazy

Happy converting.

Kiran Wicksteed

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When it comes to making more sales through your website you have 2 options:

A. Get more people to visit your site.

OR

B. Convert a higher percentage of your existing web visitors into active customers.

There are many ways to increase the amount of visitors to your website. For example: increasing your ad spend or investing in a long-term strategy like SEO, but that’s a topic for another time. Today we will be speaking about option B and the art of conversions.

Secret 1: Leverage Urgency

When someone is on your site looking at your products, undecided, and they make the decision to “think about it”, it is super unlikely that they will ever make that purchase.

Urgency is a tool you can use to force the issue. Urgency is cultivated by some of the most successful and effective companies in the world on their websites.

Neil Patel — the guy Facebook & Google hire to do their online advertising — noticed an 11% increase in conversions on his website when he put a countdown timer on his website set it to the expiry of his online offer.

Or take Amazon.com: Ever noticed how next to the product you’re looking at it says something like: “Only 3 left in stock – order soon”?

They don’t do that to be helpful to you. They do it to get you to make your mind up. Fast. To get you to complete the purchase without thinking about it too much.

And if you implement this on your own website, you will start to notice an improvement in your sales.

Related: Converting Leads Into Sales

Secret 2: Use Geotargeting

What is Geotargeting you ask? It is the method of detecting where in the world a particular web visitor is located, and serving them content specific to their location.

It’s one of the best ways of creating a personalised website experience for your visitors.

An example of well-executed Geotargeting is a retail store showing different clothing items based on what country you’re in. It would be pretty pointless selling swimming shorts to someone in Greenland in mid-winter. Just saying. By serving relevant content, you improve sales. Simple.

Even just using the visitor’s City in the page headline can significantly improve conversions and click through rate. You’ve probably seen a headline like: “How Cape Town Mom Makes 6-Figures Working From Home”. That’s Geotargeting in action. And it works.

Secret 3: Use the word “Free”

Say you want to capture your prospects’ email addresses so you can continue to market to them on an ongoing basis.

Use the word “free”. Contrast these 2 CTA’s for a newsletter signup:

  • Signup to our newsletter.
  • Signup to our newsletter — it’s free.Studies show that “B” will consistently perform better.

Secret 4: Trade value for action

How do you go about getting anyone to do anything you want them to?

That’s right. You offer them an incentive.

Why should it be any different on your website? You want people to sign up for your newsletter? Give them a reason to. Simple.

This can be anything: a free trial of your digital product, a promo code for your store… You get the idea. You can also get super creative with this.

For example: Say you run a garden landscaping company…

Offer a free personalised report on how the visitor can improve their own garden at home. Create a little questionnaire and when they’re done, make them submit their email address to get their free report.

This works because after they have filled out the questionnaire they are already invested. They will now be much more likely to give you their email address.

Related: 5 Research-Backed Strategies To Increase Your Sales Revenues

Secret 5: Nurture Leads

By the time people hit your site, most of them aren’t ready to buy just yet.

That’s why it’s vital that your landing page nurtures their interest and guides them gradually from uncertainty, to answering their objections along the way, and eventually to their buying decision.

This system is called a “sales funnel”. You’ve probably heard of it. The funnel starts as soon as people hit your landing page. As they scroll down the page you lead them on a journey until they finally make their purchasing decision.

Along the way people will drop off and leave the site. Through website analytics, you can see at which points of the funnel people begin to drop off and you can tweak these sections to make them more effective and keep more traffic locked into your funnel.

Adding a video to your funnel can be a highly effective tool for retaining traffic.

Secret 6: Make it relevant

Running an online business without knowing your target audience inside-out is a bad idea.

You need to figure out everything you can about them and then figure out any possible objections they could have to using your service or buying your product.

One way to find out what people in your niche want to know is to hop on a site like Quora. Pop in your niche and you’ll instantly see what kinds of questions people have about your business.

Then you want to preemptively address these possible concerns or questions in your content. You will be rewarded with better sales. The point is to make your content as relevant to your customers as possible. If it’s off-point, you’ll lose conversions.

Secret 7: Master the upsell

So your funnel has worked and a lead is about to become a happy customer.

Why not offer them another product to go with what they’re already buying?
Write a little line of copy saying something like: “people who bought this item frequently buy these related products”.

Then feature a couple of related products.

You’ve now given yourself a decent chance of turning 1 sale into 2. Since the upsell is so effective, why don’t you try a downsell too?  That’s when you offer a person a more affordable alternative to your product when they drop off from your sales funnel.

Conclusion

As you now know, there are some simple and super intuitive techniques you can begin to implement right now to make your website convert better.

This article was just a brief overview of a very broad field. There’s plenty more to learn like re-marketing and a/b testing which I would like to cover in more detail down-the-line.

Remember you need to get people to your website to be able to convert them so these tips should be used in conjunction with your existing marketing efforts.

There are plenty of free (& paid) tools and plugins that can help you implement everything mentioned above. The best way to get started is to implement them one at a time. If you have any questions, please leave them as a comment below.

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Marketing Tactics

6 Things To Consider For Putting Together Your Best Holiday Marketing Plan Yet

When autumn starts, will you be ready for the holidays, having already created a gift guide, email and social media strategies and more?

Syed Balkhi

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‘Tis the season for online shopping. Well, not quite yet, but it’ll be here before you know it. In fact, according to CPC Strategy’s survey results, 35.5 percent of shoppers surveyed planned on starting their holiday gift shopping before Thanksgiving. That’s why you need to start putting together your holiday marketing plan now.

As soon as autumn hits, shoppers are bombarded with stunning holiday advertising and jaw-dropping deals from companies that will be fighting for their attention during that busy season.

But how will your company break through the noise and get consumers to make holiday memories with your business?

Let’s get festive, then, and think about seven things you might consider when putting together your holiday marketing plan.

Create an email marketing strategy

There’s no better way to boost your holiday sales than to send deals straight into shoppers’ inboxes. Email still converts the best for online holiday shopping. According to Shopify, a staggering 8.8 billion data points were collected on Black Friday in 2017, in the form of email sign-ups and other lead-generation tactics.

Since holiday shopping starts as early as November, you’ll want to craft your email marketing messages now and schedule them to be sent automatically.

Not all customers are created equal, either, so use your customer data to segment your email marketing. For example, if a large proportion of your customer base are busy moms, don’t send a broad, generic email; instead, send them one with products and tips to ease their stress during the holiday season. Personalised emails will make you stand out from the rest.

Related: 5 Ways to Dazzle and Delight Your Customers This Holiday Season

Have a countdown timer for sales

holiday-store-open

Ever heard of FOMO (a.k.a. “the fear of missing out”)? Creating a sense of urgency is one of the most effective strategies to make consumers feel that something valuable is being offered that they don’t want to miss out on. An eye-catching way to create urgency is to display countdown timers for sales.

For example, American Express displayed a countdown to the expiration of a special Amazon deal it offered its customers.

You can easily add a countdown timer to your website for free using the T(-) Countdown plug-in for WordPress. Seeing a visual symbol, like a countdown timer ticking down the minutes, pushes consumers into action by raising the urgency level to high.

Think about a “free” shipping strategy

Since consumers today are spoiled with Amazon Prime and same-day shipping, your business needs to offer awesome shipping deals this holiday season in order to compete. By reducing shipping costs for your customers, you’ll increase your chances of shoppers buying from you instead of from a big-box retailer.

Want to offer free shipping but afraid of losing money? Set a minimum order amount – for instance, customers must spend $50 to unlock free shipping – or offer free shipping on select items, like your lightest items only.

That way, you can offer customers free shipping without cutting into your profits.

And remember to account for realistic shipping times and cutoffs throughout the season to ensure your customers receive their orders in time for the holidays.

Craft holiday-themed content

Content marketing is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site, so add a little holiday cheer to your blog.

Crafting holiday-themed content will get your business in front of a ton of consumers searching Google for holiday-based and buyer keywords. Make sure your content is valuable to the reader; if it helps solve their holiday problems, they’ll be more likely to share it.

Lululemon does this well by creating holiday-themed lifestyle blog posts as well as posts about gift ideas for your loved ones.

Start thinking about content ideas now so you won’t have to scramble at the last minute. Brainstorm some fun holiday topics and plan out your content using a content calendar. CoSchedule offers free content calendar templates that will help keep you organised during this hectic season.

Related: Gear Up your Marketing for the Holiday Season

Devise a social media strategy

Getting festive on social media is a great way to capture the attention of shoppers on the lookout for deals, and to inspire a cheerful connection between consumers and your brand.

A great tip to avoid becoming overwhelmed come November is to create all your social media graphics ahead of time.

Don’t have a graphic designer? Don’t worry. Canva is a free tool where you can easily create all the stunning graphics you need to advertise your products with high gross margins and your free shipping holiday deal. You can also find fun images to use to wish your customers a happy holiday.

Schedule all your posts with a tool like Buffer, to make your life even easier. And consider enabling a Facebook retargeting pixel, too. It’s a highly effective strategy to recapture those shoppers who left your site without buying. When users abandon your site in search of other deals across the web, a retargeting ad will “follow” them and display specific ads to encourage them to return to you.

Create a holiday gift guide

Finding the perfect gift can be stressful, so make things easy for your customers by creating a holiday gift guide. With a gift guide, you’ll be able to showcase your best products and increase organic traffic by taking advantage of the shoppers searching “gift guides” on Google.

Etsy curates stunning products for a gift guide its shoppers can easily browse.

You don’t have to be a computer wiz to add a gift guide to your site, a clever hack to create your own is to use a free menu plugin for WordPress like Restaurant Menu by MotoPress. Instead of food photos, add photos of your products and product descriptions; your customers will now have a convenient way to see what items you recommend.

You can also reach out to other websites or publications that will feature your products in their gift guide so that even more people will discover you.

Don’t wait any longer: The holiday season is right around the corner. With these simple strategies, your holiday marketing will turn jaded shoppers into jolly customers, and the boost in your revenue will be the best gift you’ve ever received.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Related: 8 Shopping Habits Of Millennials All Retailers Need To Know About

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