Category: Marketing Tips


Stop Ignoring Storytelling: Your #1 B2B Strategy

B2B Storytelling Strategy

How You Can Tell Stories to Stand Out

You’re just about to throw in the towel. As any B2B business should, you’re doing everything by the book: you’ve published tons of marketing content, you implemented blogging, you’re using email automation, you’re scraping for comments on your Facebook company page, and at this point, read hundreds of articles for “best practices” for lead generation. You’re frustrated. After all, how can a B2B business stand out from the competition on social media and elsewhere? What more can be done?

 

You’ve probably heard the term ‘storytelling’ in the marketing sphere. Before you turn your cheek and say ‘I’m B2B, that doesn’t apply to me’, we have a secret to share with you: storytelling is the greatest tool in your B2B marketing arsenal.

 

 

What You’ll Find in This Article:

 

 

What is Storytelling in Marketing?

Since the dawn of human civilization, we naturally gravitate towards storytelling. Emotional narratives resonate with us and drives us to reminiscence, change our views, or take action. It’s a no-brainer that this applies to the sales process, no matter where potential leads are in the buyer journey. In fact, advertising research shows that emotion is the greatest factor in buyer intent.

 

This explains why people tend to be loyal or prefer to buy from certain brands than others—they want to be included in their story. People will choose what they’re emotionally connected to over functionality any day.

 

Stories are not advertisements. A story does not promote any product or service directly. Rather, it gives the company an opportunity to voice a statement, to show that there are people behind the brand, or make an ethical stance.

 

How YOU Can Tell Your B2B Story

 

Let’s talk about the essential elements of a storytelling campaign:

 

  1. Setting
  2. Characters
  3. Conflict
  4. Plot
  5. Resolution
  6. Action

 

Setting

The setting is straight-forward: where is the story taken place? The city or country-side or maybe something local like an office? When is it? Modern or sometime in the past? Relevancy is an important factor to consider depending on who the audience is.

 

Characters

Who are your characters? Consider their gender, age, race, educational background, social class, and job. Are they young, fresh out of college adults? The middle-class working man? The businesswoman and mother of two? Depending on who you want to target, you’ll want to make your characters relatable.

 

Conflict

What’s the conflict your characters are facing? Are they struggling with change, in need of something, facing a life situation, or need their voice to be heard? Think about the tone you want to go for: light-hearted, humorous, or emotionally heavy?

 

Plot:

Now, here’s the bulk of it: plot. What initiated your characters to want a change? How are your characters going to resolve their conflict? Is it a long journey or just a couple of steps? Does it take physical action or a change in mindset? Most importantly, is it doable to your viewers?

 

Resolution

What’s the defining resolution? What does success look like to your characters? Have they changed for the better? What’s their life like now that they overcame their conflict? Think about the purpose of this story. Is the main takeaway courage? Love? Resilience? Teamwork?

 

Action

Lastly, how will your viewers take action to be included in the narrative? Using a hashtag to add to the conversation on social media? Share with friends or colleagues who might relate to the story? Donate to a charity? Take into account the delivery:  A video? Series of interviews? A podcast? Blog posts? A combination of presentations?

 

These questions are to help you construct your story, but don’t limit yourself—the most successful storytelling campaigns are the ones that are specific and unique to your business.

 

Calculating ROI for Storytelling Strategy

Now, you might be wondering: How can I measure ROI? How can something creative and abstract translate to marketing analytics?

 

First, take a look at your pain points: Are potential leads clicking on your Google ad but clicking off your website? Are your current clients not opening your email marketing campaigns? Do you have tons of views on your Facebook post but zero engagement? Use these pain points to identify your goals and tools like data visualization software needed to create the story framework. This will also give you an idea on where to emphasize your story.

 

Next, take into account human resources, talent, and tools needed to complete the storytelling project. This will help with measuring ROI in the long-run which will be in the form of cost outlays and selected metrics. You’ll want to track cost and profit over the full course of the storytelling campaign.

 

Most importantly, don’t neglect marketing technology. Investing in analytical research such as search algorithms and SEO will help point to the right direction when creating and timing content. Consider the multimodality of a story campaign—text, graphics, animation, video, voice, etc.—and the different platforms from it will channel the message.

 

At this point, the standard procedure of setting KPIs comes into place: social media statistics website traffic, lead generation, and response and conversion rates along with cost-per-click (CPC) and customer acquisition cost (CAC). But remember: storytelling is about the bigger picture. Remember those pain points we established? Use data visualization to show how your storytelling campaign impacted these weak areas by emotionally engaging with the potential lead or customer.

 

Ultimately, storytelling breathes life into a business. It brings value that no product or service, no matter its superb quality, can achieve. It makes your business a person; that alone makes you stand out from the competition.

 

Brands That Leverage Great Storytelling

 

Cisco

The technology conglomerate Cisco, known for its networking and telecommunications hardware, launched a documentary series “The Network Effect”.  It tells the story of how service providers helped pave the way for the development of mobile communications and social media. The campaign involved a series of videos on YouTube and their website.

 

Cisco The Network Effect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it was successful

The documentary was nominated in the 2012 American Business Awards for Best Motivational Video and Film category. The video campaign received over 137,000 views on YouTube and even screened at Mobile Word Congress and featured on ShortsHDTV.

 

Cisco aimed to increase “…awareness of the socioeconomic impact the network has in bringing education and access to services, allowing microbusinesses in the third world to compete globally.” As a result, Cisco is perceived as a thought-leader and passionate about the networking field, recognizing its history and inserting themselves in the story as it continues today.

 

GE (General Electric)

Created by their in-house marketing team, The Grid, the iconic company GE launched a sci-fi podcast series called The Message. The series garnered a massive audience, with over 8 million downloads and reaching to the Top 20.

 

The Message by GE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it was successful

Not only was the experimental project a success in numbers, but the podcast also managed to creatively feature GE technology at the core of the story. Its listeners no longer see General Electric as a cold corporation but instead a company that likes to innovate with storytelling on the latest platforms.

 

LinkedIn

The professional and business-focused social platform LinkedIn launched a series of stories about their users called Celebrate Success. Each short video focuses on a member of the company and their journey of how they achieved their goals.

 

LinkedIn Celebrate Success

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it was successful

There’s been a number of times when LinkedIn aims to divert from the typical ‘white-collar professional’ stereotype on their platform, such as with the In it Together campaign. This storytelling campaign is no different, as it casts a light on their users in a real, authentic way. These strides help attract diverse users to their platform, particularly millennials as they enter the workforce.

 

Ready to tell your story? We’ve got you covered.

We’re here to provide the strategies you need. Contact us and learn what options are right for you.

5 Steps for Finding the Perfect Keywords for SEO

How to Find SEO Keywords

Your Rainbow to the “Pot of Gold” of SEO Ranking

 

How to Find SEO KeywordsWhen it comes to SEO, having the perfect keyword can definitely feel like finding the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. When it’s a struggle to find the right keywords, though, it can be overwhelming to decide which new ones to invest in.

How do we do it at Dream Factory? We’ve got a 5-step process to help you out!

 

1. Figure Out Your SEO Goals

Different keywords accomplish different goals. To start, ask yourself:

  • Are you looking for immediate results, or are you aiming for long-term goals?
  • Is your audience broad, or super specific?
  • What types of traffic are you looking for?
  • Are you looking for people to purchase something on your website?
  • Or are you just pushing brand awareness?

 

Once you know what your SEO goals are, it’s time to start figuring out what keywords to look through to find them for you.

 

2. Check Out Your Competition

As Sun Tzu famously says in The Art of War, “Know thy self, know thy enemy.” Chances are, your competitors are using SEO keywords, so why not see what’s working for them?

Check out their content, then try to determine patterns. What words show up over and over? What topics are their focus?

Now try using Google to search those keywords. Does your competitor show up? For that matter, do you show up? If you want to really dig deep, you can use technology like Spyfu to get the down and dirty of where your competitor ranks versus you on specific keywords, both organic and inorganic.

You might discover you both rank high in certain keyword searches, in which case, you should consider investing more in them to stay ahead of your competitor. Well done, super spy.

3. Do Some Keyword Research

Try to come up with a few categories of words that feel relevant to your website.

  • What do you regularly talk about in your content?
  • What would a person visiting your website expect to find?
  • Do you sell a particular brand or product, or offer a specific service?
  • What shows up in the “related search” engine for those words? Is there anything relevant you can use?

 

From there, make a list. Start big and broad, but don’t forget to include specifics, too. For example, you should include your city and state to help your local customers to find you.

Outside tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner can be useful for taking words from this list and finding more than you haven’t thought of, too.

Got your list? Great! That brings us to our next point.

 

4. Choose Phrases Over Stand-Alone Words

Think about it. Do you google “business” or “business marketing tips” when you want to know tips for marketing your business? By that same logic, if you wanted to bake bread from scratch, you’d search online “how to bake bread from scratch,” not just “bread.”

Phrases are generally less competitive than popular stand-alone words, too, so it’s a cost-effective way of narrowing your audience to be the demographic you want. It’s going to be next to impossible to be on the first page for “business,” but maybe you can succeed at “small Orlando real estate firm.”

Even better, the person doing the second search is definitely looking for what you offer.

5. Test, Test, Test Your Results

Just because something seems like the best keyword for you, doesn’t actually mean it’s a good keyword for you. That’s why you should constantly measure and keep track of your keyword results.

Remember these goals we talked about earlier? This is where you compare those goals to your results. Do people find you from the search terms you’ve chosen to invest in? What’s giving you traffic? Is that traffic converting to leads?

You’ll want outside tools for this, and there’s plenty you can choose from. Google Analytics is a freely available one with plenty of articles that explain how to use it to measure your analytics.

 

No one ever said SEO was easy. With hard work, though, and some trial and error, you should find the keywords that work best for you.

 

Want to know more about Dream Factory’s analytical, results-driven marketing solutions?  We’re here to provide the strategies you need. Contact us and learn what options are right for you.

Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Marketing Agency

Why You Shouldn't Hire a Marketer

And Four Reasons to Prove We Absolutely Mean It

I can see you scratching your head now as you read this headline. “Huh. Why shouldn’t I hire a marketing agency, and why is a marketing agency asking me not to?” you’re likely asking yourself. Perhaps you already have made this fatal error, and are paying an agency top dollar to market your products and services.

Allow me to burst your bubble and tell you precisely why hiring that agency was a huge mistake.

 

Your Website is Probably Fine

Do you remember when you asked your uncle Jeff in the 90s if he could hook you up with a free new website? You didn’t have to pay him money in 1994, so why pay for a new one now? I’m sure the retro appeal of your repeating patterned backgrounds and animated cursor is a big hit with the nostalgic millennial crowd. And that hit counter in your footer is about to hit 100 visitors, so you can’t lose it now! Google Analytics who? Mobile optimization what? You’ve got social integration covered – you tell all your friends about your site in social settings!

Bottom line: making a great impression with potential customers isn’t essential.

 

Nobody Reads Content Anyway

I mean, do they really? Don’t be fooled by Forbes magazine’s ten reasons why your content matters! How many times have you gone to a website to find out about a company, or discovered a product thanks to social media promotions? Probably never. (Except for that one time. Or two.)

Bottom line: content-schmontent! It’s only rabbit food for search engine bots.

 

You Could Always Use More Work

There’s nothing like doing a job yourself if you want to do it right! And doing this job right just means studying modern marketing strategy in your ample spare time, while developing a steady stream of content, keeping up with your company social media, researching your market, optimizing your SEO, learning graphic design that looks sleek and professional, employing tech savvy skills, and…

Bottom line: just put your name in the yellow pages and call it a day.

 

Marketing Nightmares are Myths

A marketing campaign has never gone wrong before. Nope. No one has ever sent out an email opening with “Dear First Name” or with broken web links, either. Why would you want someone with professional experience looking over your marketing campaigns? You’re so paranoid!

Bottom line: proofreading is for English majors and has no business is marketing!

 

Marketing Agencies Write Satirical Blog Posts

In retrospect, this may be the only valid reason here.

 

Want to know more about Dream Factory’s analytical, results-driven marketing solutions?  We’re here to provide the strategies you need. Contact us and learn what options are right for you.

3 Reasons to Fall in Love with Marketing Automation

Spreading yourself too thin is an all too common problem for many marketers. Repetitive tasks like blogging, distributing emails, checking leads and other ongoing monthly actions can take valuable time away from focusing on marketing goals or brainstorming for a new project.

Instead of drowning in work and cursing the day the Internet was born, invest in a marketing automation system!

This technology helps to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks – like emails, social media and blogs – so that you can spend more time developing innovative strategies and award-worthy campaigns.

Still not convinced? Below are the top three reasons why marketing automation is a lasting investment:

 

Streamline Lead Nurturing

Email Nurturing CampaignsAttending to all of your leads could take days, maybe even weeks if done the old-fashioned way. No one likes to be forgotten and it’s all too common that a lead here and there could fall through the cracks. Since over 25% of leads are ready to buy, what if that lost lead could have become a highly profitable customer?

With an automation system, your leads can be reassured that your company is aware of their request and they’re guaranteed an immediate followup.

You can also set up the system to:

  • Alert the sales team of new leads
  • Create followup reminders for the assigned salesperson
  • Send leads additional marketing collateral related to their interests

Forty-seven percent of nurtured leads make larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, which makes an automation system an ideal tool for sales goals like upselling and winning back past customers.

 

Assist the Sales Team and Enforce Accountability

Maximizing ROIMarketing automation is beneficial for your sales team too! When properly implemented, the right system can distribute leads to specific salespeople or via a round robin system. Either way, the administrator is in control of who gets what lead.

Automation systems help the sales team:

  • Know who and when to call
  • Prioritize the most qualified leads
  • Be aware of a lead’s primary product or service interests
  • Continue to nurture leads if they’re not sales-ready

This also creates tracking capabilities, as the lead’s journey through the sales pipeline will be dependent on their interaction with their salesperson. Negative experiences will be well documented now that everything is automated through customer surveys, contact page notes and record keeping, which will create a sense of responsibility within your team.

 

Monitor and Report All Efforts

Increase Qualified LeadsOne of the greatest perks of our digital world is the ability we have to track, monitor and analyze the success of online campaigns. There’s no excuse for continually running a poor performing initiative. Marketing automation is entirely measureable from a centralized database, meaning enhancements can be made as soon as you see something’s not working.

For Example: Are your email campaigns resulting in limited engagement? Try adding an additional content download that’s related to your lead’s product or service interests.

With an automation system, you will have reporting tools that measure:

  • Email opens, clicks, bounces and more
  • Full blog post reads
  • Landing page impressions and clicks

Even contacts in your system can have notes and lead scores applied to their record.

Automation systems measure the ROI from each outlet you use, making it easy to report on performance to management or clients, which will save you time and effort when it comes to analyzing campaigns.

 

Let Marketing Automation Love You Back

Marketing automation can empower marketers by improving operational efficiency. Not only is it beneficial for the marketer, 78% of automation users cite their system as being responsible for improving revenue contribution, which will make the boss very happy!

Marketing automation systems are definitely a worthwhile investment, but they can’t accomplish everything. They represent the efficiency and directness of a plane, but each automation system requires a skilled pilot to fly them in the right direction. The team at Dream Factory is well seasoned in the strategy, planning and execution of simple to complex automation systems.

Contact us today to learn how marketing automation can streamline your daily tasks and increase your sales-ready leads.

Sources:

Emarketer.com
HubSpot.com

Image Sources:

Pixabay.com

5 Organic SEO Tips to Help Your Website Rank Higher

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way of enhancing your website for search engines, like Google and Bing, in a way that clearly communicates the message of your content. Without it, search engines wouldn’t understand what our website content is about, and search results would be a mess of random information. Optimizations to the metadata in a website are considered part of “organic SEO,” meaning they help a website achieve natural placement on a search engine results page (SERP).

Note: Metadata includes keywords that describe the main content, a short description of what a web page is about and keyword enriched headlines and titles.

As websites advance and new design trends develop, it’s important to maintain a resilient SEO plan with strong metadata that accurately explains the purpose of your website. SEO takes time to develop and even more time for search engines to recognize, so getting started when a new website is being created or making enhancements to an existing website as soon as possible is always within best practices.

The bright side of organic SEO is that it costs nothing to maintain since it’s placed within your website’s code and can be easily applied by your webmaster. Abiding by best practices for SEO will enhance the health of your website and help you achieve natural placement among search engine results.

So where should you get started? Whether you’re developing a new website or just making enhancements to a few pages, the following suggestions will help your website maintain the best practices for organic SEO:

 

Add All Necessary Content to Each Page

The most important part of your website is thorough and complete contentSEO Green Man. Each page should have a healthy amount of up-to-date content that’s relevant to the topic of the website and that specific page. A good keyword density
(a healthy balance of keywords) within this content is also important, as it compliments your metadata. It’s recommended that a relevant keyword/phrase appear within your content every 50 words.

It’s also a good idea to segue your content into a call-to-action (CTA). This is an instruction targete
d to your readers, such as “Call Us Now,” that is intendedto prompt an immediate response. A CTA can be placed anywhere as text or within a clickable button. You never want your readers to finish the end of the content on your webpage and not know what to do next. CTA’s are a great solution to this.

Include Unique Metadata on Each Page

As we’ve mentioned, metadata is a webpage’s way of talking to search engines and explaining what a specific page is about. The most important part of metadata is the page title, since it’s the first part of your webpage that is displayed in search results. A dynamic page title should include relevant keywords in the beginning and your company name at the end, if desired.

Organic-SEO-1Often, a website’s homepage will include the business name first since it’s the introduction to the company. As you can see from the image at the right, the company Howland Business Apparel has followed best practices for the titles of their webpages.

Also important to include is a meta description. This is the brief summary that appears beneath a page title in organic search results. Meta descriptions play a big role in getting people to click to your website, since they act as a preview to what your content is about. It’s important to include targeted keywords in your meta description, since any words that a user searches for will be bolded in the search results.

Maintain an Active Social Media Presence

We recently spoke on the importance of an active social media presence and how search engines look highly upon those who are active daily, especially on Google+Social media is already affecting Google’s SEO rankings, and this will only increase as time goes on. Google+ is becoming more important when it comes to sharing and indexing content to increase exposure, making it the most important social media site to set up and actively maintain.

List Your Business on Google (and Other Website Directories)

When your business is listed in Google Maps and other related sites, your listing gets higher priority on search placement when the keywords entered are accompanied by your city’s name. The more information Google knows about you, the better.

It’s also helpful to submit your website to other popular online directories to take advantage of all possible listing opportunities. Often, basic listings are free while optimized and priority listings can be bought on the listing directories.

Update Your Website Frequently

Continuously updating a “News,” “Events” or “Blog” page of a website helps avoid stale information and keeps your visitors informed. Also, be sure to update any product or company changes that occur, since fresh content can influence your search engine rank. Whenever there are new blog posts added to your site, be sure to share on every social media channel (especially Google+) to increase exposure, potentially driving up traffic and, in turn, increasing rank.

Organic improvements to your website won’t help you climb to the top of the search engine results page overnight, but investing in a knowledgeable SEO specialist can help the long-term health of your website and gradually improve your ranking in search results.

Not ranking high enough in search engine results? Contact us here at Dream Factory for more information on how we can help you can optimize your website for search engine results and take your exposure even further through integrated digital marketing strategies.

 

How Google+ Can Make or Break Your Online Presence

Google+-2

Author: MARIA DICESARE, Marketing Coordinator

Google’s mission of absolute control of the Internet wouldn’t be complete without social media domination, starting with its own networking platform. Google+ may have had a slow start, but it will eventually unify all search, social and mobile efforts, making it the future of Google.

Since the number one search engine in the world is putting all of its eggs in the Google+ basket, shouldn’t your business be using it? Here’s why the long-term success of your business’ online presence depends on an active Google+ account:

 

Dominate Search Results

Since Google pretty much runs the Internet, it makes sense that all of its subsidiaries would be integrated into its search results. A business is only truly successful in terms of search engine optimization if they are the first thing you see when you Google them. JCPenney is a great example of this:

Google+

You can see that their Google+ page snippet appears on the right-hand side of the screen below a local map of their stores. Their ad is the first paid link you see and their website is the first organic link to appear. JCPenney has dominated the entire initially visible search results area simply by taking advantage of every placement opportunity available through Google. They’ve connected their main website to their Google+ page, set up Google My Business and launched an AdWords campaign. Besides the cost of AdWords, all of these steps are free, easy to set up, and will give your business prime placement in search results.

YouTube is also a great way to increase the likelihood of your content being found, since it’s owned by Google and is the second largest search engine in the world. Remember that the content your post on Google+ and YouTube can appear in search results where your website might not. All Google network pages are indexed, which means you can increase your chances of your content being found whenever you post.

Tip: Make sure all of your Google networks are under the same account to increase authority and trust! 

 

Easily Interact with Your Audience

Google+ incorporates numerous ways to help you keep in touch with your customers and business associates by making it easy to connect through other Google platforms. Google Hangouts makes it easier to meet with people with HD quality video chatting. Google Authorship allows you to link your Google+ profile to the content you create and share, making it easy for readers to find more content from your business. Even Gmail has a Google+ integration, showing the sender’s page badge in the top right corner of your email screen, just like the Marketo one here. As long as you have a Google+ account, you will be able to link all of these platforms together.

Google+-1

Additional Unique Benefits

Besides the ability to integrate all of its related platforms, Google+ has a few other great benefits:

  • Unlike Twitter and Facebook, you can share GIFs easily.
  • There’s no character limit for posts.
  • There are currently no social advertisements.
  • There are no spammy game or app promotions.

Google+ offers businesses a world of potential for reaching new and existing audiences and, most importantly, helps increase their presence in search engine results. Google is almost making it hard to avoid the many opportunities there are for your business to succeed online. Since the ultimate goal of search engine optimization is to have your brand seen by quality leads, it’d be crazy not to utilize Google for all it’s worth.

How to Master Google Algorithm Updates

Google-Algorithm-Updates-4

Author: MARIA DICESARE, Junior Marketing Coordinator


Google-HummingbirdPanda and Penguin and Hummingbird, oh my! Google recently introduced its new search algorithm, Hummingbird,
which has affected roughly 90% of all searches. To put that high percentage into perspective, past updates like Panda and Penguin only affected 5% of searches, at most. This was one of the biggest Google algorithm updates we’ve seen in over 10 years, and more big updates could soon be on the way. 

Why does Google keep changing?

Hummingbird may seem like an inconvenience right now, but Google is simply adapting to user demands. Times are changing and users are now more likely to ask their search engine a specific question, as opposed to entering in a simple word or phrase. 

For Example:

As mobile devices become more and more popular, users are looking to their phones to solve their dilemmas. Think about Siri, the iPhone’s intelligent personal assistant, and how many extensive questions she must be asked a day. If you wanted to know the score from your favorite team’s playoff game, you’d ask Siri specifically “What was the score of the Red Sox game?” You wouldn’t just say “Baseball scores.”

Hummingbird works with Siri, and other forms of searches, to answer your specific question in the most accurate and quickest way possible, hence the name “Hummingbird.”

Past searches looked through Google’s entire index for results that matched each separate word of the phrase being searched. With this new update, Hummingbird will aim to understand the entire context of your search, not just a few words. This will help Google to bring you the most accurate results in the shortest amount of time. As the search engine attempts to understand the actual semantics of a user’s query, it then matches the user with the websites containing the information that answers the initial question. This means that if your website can’t answer a prospective customer’s question, you won’t show up in the search results.

Any good webmaster knows that Google’s algorithms are ever-changing. If you can adapt to the following suggestions, your website will be sure to stand the test of time.

Answer the User’s Question

Think about what a future customer might ask Google in order for your website to show up on the results page. You will want your content to reflect these questions. Do you sell office supplies? Are they affordable? Would a customer that’s searching “Where can I find affordable office supplies?” find their way to your site? Including questions related to your business in your content will help your website stay afloat. Imagine this search process from your customer’s point of view and you’ll be able to come up with topical questions.

Create Smart Content

It used to be that compiling a lengthy list of specific tags and creating a detailed meta-description were the main tools needed for your SEO game, but this won’t be enough anymore. Hummingbird works to extract the semantics of content instead of just searching through the obvious keywords. So, if all of your tags are spot-on but your content is weak, Google will pass you over for a website with content that is more put together. It’s sad, but true. We warned you!

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still create a solid list of tags that accurately describe your website, but just that it should no longer be your safety net. The better overall content you create, the easier it will be for Hummingbird to help your website show up in the search results page.

Remember: Hummingbird is smart, and your content should be too.

Become a True Authority

Looking ahead, future algorithm updates will focus more on authority than popularity. This means that Google will look for sites with clear evidence within its content that qualifies them to be experts on the topics they are covering. This will affect your Google Page Rank.

For Example:

If your company sells office supplies but your site’s content mainly talks about football, then your site is obviously not coming across as an authority on office supplies.

This may not affect the overall popularity of your site right now, but when Google rolls out future algorithm updates it will show a preference to sites with a more obvious authority in their field.

Make sure all of your content is relevant to your business.

As long as technology advances, Google algorithm updates will continue to affect your SEO strategies. Creating smart content that is useful to current and future customers will help you stay ahead of the game. Your previous SEO strategies don’t need a complete makeover, but you do need to keep them fresh and up to Google’s standards.

Next month we’ll dive into how Hummingbird is affecting your social media presence and what you can do to optimize your campaigns.

How to Save Your Marketing Efforts from the “DVR” Effect

hand-controller

Author: MONIQUE OLAN, Marketing Supervisor

The DVR has given each TV viewer the opportunity to fast forward and skip over the TV ads that brands spend large amounts of money and time trying to create. It has been a huge influence on whether companies even try to invest in this media outlet, how they do so and when. That said, the notion of being “DVR’d” and skipped over is not new to other marketing outlets.

 

For Example:

Reading an article in your favorite magazine, there’s a full page ad between the last page you read and the next one you get to, what do you do? Well, if the ad is compelling enough, you will hopefully read it over and digest what it is before flipping the page over to continue your reading. However, if it lacks any means of grabbing your interest, you’ll press your internal fast forward button and skip right over it.

 

SO HERE’S A QUESTION FOR YOU:

 

How do you avoid getting skipped over in OTHER types of marketing?

 

Whether you’re doing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, TV ads, print ads, etc., how do you avoid getting overlooked? How do you keep your target audience from completely skipping over your marketing piece, or as a play on words, “DVR’ing” you?

Assuming you’ve already strategically targeted your audience beforehand, there are three things you should aim to do in your marketing effort/piece to keep from being “DVR’d”:

  • Add Value
  • Differentiate
  • Give a Compelling CTA

 

The following is a breakdown of why you should aim for these three things and how to go about it.

 

Add Value

No one will pay attention to what your marketing effort says or does unless there is something in it they need or want. If you target your audience correctly, a good portion of this step is completed; you just need to convey the need or want that audience has.

Make sure that no matter the marketing effort, there is something in it for the viewer. It’s a hard thing to accept, but your audience doesn’t actually care about your brand; they care about what your brand does for them. If there is a relevant painpoint being clearly addressed, you are much less likely to get skipped over and more likely to engage the audience through any marketing channel.

 

Differentiate

differentiateAfter hitting the painpoint of your target audience, you have managed to grab their attention for a couple seconds and delayed their “DVR’ing” ways. However, how are you going to hold on to their consideration of your marketing effort beyond initial glance? That is when you need to differentiate.

Differentiating your brand means to make a clear and concise reference to how your company is better than competitors at solving the painpoint that made them engage with your marketing effort to begin with. Each company should have a differentiating factor to set themselves apart. This is not only a portion of what defines your company and its value proposition, but also a significant factor in deciphering who your target is and how to grab their attention.

 

Give a Compelling CTA

With the painpoint and how you are going to solve it clearly in the minds of your audience, you have them considering your value proposition and right at the tipping point of potential future engagement or conversion. What’s next? Tell them what to do, and make it something they want to do – give a compelling call-to-action (CTA).

This is where a lot of marketing efforts can flop. Don’t just tell your audience to “Click Here for More” or “Learn How.” Give them an action that promotes your product or service as the solution to their woes, something that is more of an actual, positive action. And while you’re at it, make it something they want to do right now and not postpone for later. For example, use alternative CTA’s like “Solve Your XYZ Issue Now” or “Enhance Your XYZ Today.”

 

Developing your marketing efforts with these three key aspects in mind, you are more likely to grab the attention from your target audience that you are aiming for and avoid being “DVR’d.”

 

Keep in mind that the value you add, the way you differentiate and the CTA that truly compels your audience to click through will all vary across your different target markets. We operate in a marketing world of personalization, so always know the needs of each audience segment you market to and tailor your marketing and advertising efforts to match.

2 Signs You’re Doing B2B Content Wrong and How to Turn it Around

b2b content

 

No one likes to hear what they’re doing is wrong, especially when it comes to their own business. However, pinpointing what you’re doing wrong and learning how to fix it can really help you bring more success to your company. One of the places companies tend to go wrong without noticing is in content development.

The landscape for content in B2B is growing, just as it is in nearly every industry. The good part about content is also the bad part. We have so much to choose from, but we also have so much bad content littered throughout the options we have to consume.

So how do you make sure your business’ content is on the good side of the coin? For this post we are highlighting two signs of content gone wrong and solutions to fixing them.

 

Sign 1: You’re always producing the same kind of content, with the same low results.

This might be one of the most common problems when it comes to developing B2B content. A lot of it is getting produced, but it’s all the same and you’re seeing very little engagement or marketing ROI. As Albert Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

If you’ve found a sweet spot reaching and engaging your audience with the same stuff, that’s excellent. Keep developing the same thing and look for ways to improve upon it. However, for many, this isn’t the case. Engagement is low, the posts, tweets and updates are the same, and not much is changing. A lot of effort is being put into delivering a large amount of content, but nothing is happening in return.

 

The Solution: Take a good look at what works and what doesn’t, then do something about it.

 

Going back to look at your content and analyzing what’s working and what’s not is a simple task that many businesses fail to do. When you make this a routine part of your marketing strategy and you adjust accordingly, you put yourself ahead of a bulk of B2B competitors.

For content, this task is invaluable. If you see that a particular topic or format of content is causing more engagement for your company than others, you should push towards that format or expand on that topic. For example, if your product video excelled in engagement while your simple status updates are flailing, push more towards video content.

 

Sign 2: You don’t really know why you’re creating content and whether it’s useful.

One of the biggest reasons B2B businesses have trouble with social media and other content platforms is because they can’t really pinpoint why they’re releasing what they are releasing. With so much content out there, what you’re putting out must have a purpose and be useful to be effective.

In movies, sports, television and art, audiences tend to flock to good performances, superior athleticism, great scripts and beautiful renditions. The same can be said for online and offline content. People have taste when it comes to your industry, and they want content that is relevant, high quality and useful.

 

The Solution: Utilize your resources the best you can to find important factors, and then develop content based off them.

 

Don’t just produce content because you can. Your content should always add value to your audience. The feeling of not having enough to work with is common. We’ve all been there, we feel helpless in finding more valuable information when it comes to projects we’re working on, but nine times out of 10, we just haven’t exhausted the right routes. The same can be said for finding which types of content to develop.

There are a variety of resources to help you generate effective content that you may just be unaware of. For example, one of the simplest ways to get new ideas for social media is to poll your sales staff on the different pain points of customers.

This doesn’t just mean getting the basics; it means working with them to really find out what your customers are most interested in and what drives them to convert. Who knows what drives your consumers to purchase more than the sales team? Chances are there are many things that drive them, and your content is the perfect way to address those factors.

Online, the resources are almost endless. Doing things like keyword research can allow you to analyze words and phrases within your industry and whether those topics are popular or not. So how do you turn this into good content? Simple; look at the popular keywords and phrases, pull which ones are topics your company can speak on as experts in the industry and relate to your products, then make those the focus for content. Chances are the engagement and reception of popular topics online will translate as successful content topics for your company as well.

There are many more signs that your content could be improved, but note these two and make the effort to turn them around. Taking these in stride and making the necessary changes can have major reverberations on your business’ customer engagement and conversions. Keep visiting our blog and stay tuned for more content marketing tips and best practices.

How Not to Be a Marketing Creeper

marketing creeper

Author: MONIQUE OLAN, Marketing Supervisor

Behavioral tracking data on potential customers has become a huge influence on integrated marketing efforts. From demographic information to interests, points of engagement, related activities, and more, the details of data you can gather on a potential customer these days helps feed more information for marketers to know what they are interested in at the company, to what extent, and in turn, what might be the best approach or pitch to reach out to them with the greatest probability of conversion.

HOWEVER, data use for marketing has also started to creep customers out.

 

Take Amanda for Example:

marketing-stalker-2

Amanda was in the market for her first house. One evening, she was scanning websites for properties, looked at a few realtor listing sites and general listing sites. Next morning she gets a voicemail saying, “Hi Amanda. This is XYZ with XYZ Realty. I saw that you were on my website last night at 8:32pm looking at our listings in Americatown. I wanted to contact you IMMEDIATELY to see if I could help you with anything. Please call me. I’d like to help…with anything. Really, call me as soon as you can.”

Needless to say, Amanda did not feel like she was getting great treatment and attention related to her interests, but instead felt uncomfortable realizing that her actions on the website were being so closely monitored. Instead of calling the realtor back she decided to shy away from them and avoided their attempts to reach out.

 

So how can you use data efficiently, without being a creeper/stalker? The goal is to make sure you use the data to add value for your potential customers.

 

There are a few ways to use this data efficiently, without really revealing to your customers that you’re tracking them and delivering value to increase their probability of turning into sales:

 

Lead Nurturing

nurturing_leadsThe concept of nurturing your leads isn’t new. If you honestly want a lead to convert you need to understand what their interests are, their level of interest, where they are in the buying process, what they have already engaged in, and their potential first sell product/service and following upsell.

Using your data, you can deliver the right content, at the right time and with the right channel to generate the highest probability of conversion. This is where marketing automation comes in as a saving grace –a pointed source for gathering this data, usually integrated with CRM systems, and a means to communicate this targeted content.

 

Take Amanda for Example:

Amanda probably would have felt a bit less creeped out about the realtor having that kind of information on her if she had instead received a much less overbearing touchpoint and with the right type of information she needed. For example, it would have been much more appropriate to send a follow up email with:

a)      Information that further detailed something she was looking at, or

b)      A downloadable infosheet  on “Steps to Purchase Your First Home”

Amanda was just beginning her search for a home. Having either (a) more on the product/service she was interested in or (b) info she could definitely use at this stage in the buying process would have both benefited her well and would have made her feel more comfortable and willing to engage with XYZ Realty.

 

Target Leads Socially

target-audienceThe data you gather on your current and potential customers is what you use for your buyer profile. How about you leverage that data to target potential customers via social sites as well? Whether you are putting up ads, doing sponsored updates, or sending messages, Facebook and LinkedIn are two great outlets to target both current leads and capture leads that best fit your buyer profile and have the highest probability of converting.

Whichever platform works for your type of company the best (Facebook, LinkedIn, or both), they each offer targeting based on user information such as gender, age, job position, salary, interests, industries, company size, marital status, their own connected friends or colleagues, or even direct contact (based on data you’ve already gathered on that person).

Talk about getting your information in front of the right people, whether they already realize they need your product/service or not.

 

Take Amanda for Example:

Mister XYZ, using direct contact info and/or social filters, could have targeted Amanda with an ad in her Facebook news feed that said something about XYZ Realty being one of the most trusted real estate agencies in Americatown for first time home buyers. She would then notice that her friends Nancy and Tom both like XYZ Realty. She might think, “Hey, I looked at this website before. They must be pretty reputable. My friends seem to think so.”

Mister XYZ could have also done this on LinkedIn, with that infosheet we previously mentioned being sent directly to Amanda, presented as a side ad or represented in a sponsored update that appears in her LinkedIn homepage feed. Using these methods could have indirectly offered more information from the company and enhance the likelihood of Amanda’s engagement with XYZ Realty with less stalker feelings than the voicemail she had received.

 

Remarketing: Burning the Brand into Their Brain

A third method to use your data efficiently is through remarketing (or retargeting) techniques. You may have heard this term thrown around a few times but haven’t quite fully grasped its meaning. Well, have you ever visited a company’s website, then after that noticed banner ads for that company appearing everywhere you went on the web? Whether reading news, researching something, or just browsing your usual interests, you keep noticing that there are banner ads on display for the company website you once visited.

What a weird coincidence… or not. That is remarketing. Using tracking through cookies and banner ads entered into Google AdWords’ remarketing tool, you can get your company continuously displayed in front of previous visitors to your website. This helps remind them of your company and build their awareness of you, making them more likely to click the ad and go back to your website and convert to a potential sale.

 

Take Amanda for Example:

XYZ Realty could have started using remarketing. After Amanda left their website, instead of the stalker-like phone call, XYZ could have relied on remarketing to get XYZ Reality in front of Amanda. She might go to the New York Times and read some news pieces and notice an ad for XYZ Realty; she might visit her favorite recipe site for her dinner plans that night and find another ad for XYZ Realty; she might be researching information on getting a home loan and see yet another ad for XYZ Realty.

After seeing these ads she might realize, “I still need to find to find a house. Oh look, there’s an ad for XYZ Realty. I remember visiting their website. They had good listings. I should click and go back and look some more.” There’s your potential new client.

 

What’s great is that these actions don’t have to act alone! Say you implemented remarketing and then later sent an email with information relevant to that potential lead. The built up awareness of your company through remarketing helps justify your email information even more with that potential lead. They will recognize you and see value in what you are offering them, making them more likely to do business with you.

Just remember, most consumers know their data is being gathered when they visit websites. The goal is to make sure you don’t creep them out by being a bit more discrete with the way you use the data and making sure your point of contact adds value to the potential customer as well.