Killer Content: How You Can Write Killer Content That Sells For Better Conversions

killer-content
Content marketing is no secret. In fact, you could call it one of the most traditional marketing philosophies out there. There’s the right reason for this, of course. Content marketing is good for a lot of things. The first being that it will catch the attention of your ideal audience. It also converts your ideal audience into leads, nurtures them through the sales funnel until the first sale, and then turns first-time buyers into lifetime customers or, better yet, brand advocates. Other channels undoubtedly play a role in the process, but compelling content is the underlying thread tying them all together.

When it comes to turning the skeptics on your marketing and leadership teams into believers, though, the above story of content as a significant driver of sales is likely to be met with eye rolls. Why? It sounds unrealistic, and, ultimately, lacks numbers. In the digital age of marketing–where everything that can be measured, will be measured–content needs to step up its game.

Luckily for you, there’s an easy way to do that: tracking and reporting on content assisted conversions. First, though, you have to write content that converts. This isn’t as scary as it sounds, but it certainly isn’t easy.

content

Keep reading for three fool-proof tips that will help you write killer content that will both convert your audience and make your marketing team look great.

1. Make sure your blog is as compelling and as consumable as possible

  • Compelling and consumable. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, and they speak more to blogging best practices than own marketing strategies. You want to pair these tactics together because if you write great, consumable content, but no one is compelled to read it, you’ve wasted your time. The opposite is true as well; if you’ve compelled your audience to click through to your content, but they don’t stick around and consume it, you’ve wasted your time again.
  • Writing compelling content–namely, content that drives clicks–is tricky. Content saturation is at an all-time high, and even click bait has begun to lose its effect. Your headline must have pull, and your first few sentences must immediately engage. The best headlines create a sense of urgency, invoke strong emotion (positive emotion performs better, but negatively is better than neutral), and keep the value up front. Scroll up, and you’ll find a headline that does just this.
  • Now that you’ve got readers engaged keep their eyes moving down your page. A little-known secret here is to treat your blog like a landing page. This means eliminating distractions, making strategic use of white space, and keeping all elements flowing towards the ultimate goal of the page.
  • Do you want readers to download a white paper? Follow you on social? Subscribe to your email newsletter? If you don’t show readers the goal of the page (or, even worse, you don’t know the goal of the page), they likely won’t accomplish it. Everything from bullet points to image usage to clear CTAs–more on this later–will help you accomplish this.

2. Use audience research and segmentation to ensure you’re speaking to needs

  • Marketers and writers alike often make the mistake of trying to speak to everyone. The logic goes, it seems, that if you try to appeal to 100 people, you might appeal to one. What research and experience have shown, though, is that if you aim to appeal to one person, there’s a high likelihood you’ll appeal to many. There is no substitute for polished content focused directly on one pain point when it comes to influencing conversions.
  • To do this well, you need to know two things. One, who your audience is. Two, what they want.
  • Hopefully, your audience consists of more than one person, though. If it does, there are still ways to write precisely to one person. Audience segmentation tools can break your audience down into smaller, more homogeneous groups. With these smaller groups, you can develop a stronger idea of simple wants, needs, and background information that you can translate into hyper-specific, realistic personas.
  • Ultimately, when you’re speaking to someone’s needs, getting them to convert isn’t a hard sell. It’s the natural next step.

3. Move your audience down the funnel with compelling and relevant CTAs

  • If the other steps were the cornerstones, this one is the steeple. You’ve captured your audience’s attention with a great headline and introductory paragraph. You’ve moved them down the page with easy-to-read content that solves their problems. Now, all you have to do is give your audience more of what they want.
  • Most of the time, what they want is more great content, so this is an appropriate time to offer that great whitepaper you just launched or your email newsletter tailored to this audience member’s pain point. Other times it may be a chat with a sales representative or a sample product. Luckily, you’ve done your audience research, and you know how to serve up a well-placed, genuinely valuable offering that will be a win-win for both your audience members and your marketing team.

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Closing The Deal With Content

Once you’ve got your audience clicking through to your content and keeping their eyes on the page, getting them to convert is easy–as long as you know their needs and speak to them openly. In fact, keeping content assisted conversions high is as simple as always keeping your audience front and center, following the basic tenets of quality copywriting, and ensuring that readers always have an important next step they can take to engage further with your brand. So are you ready to write killer content delivers better conversions?


aaron-content-conversionAaron Gray is a leading digital marketing expert in Australia, specializing in Blogger Outreach services through Nobullshit.com.au. Aaron’s goal is to deliver professional blogger outreach to clients across almost all industry niches. He is dedicated to hard work, his job, and loves to travel in his downtime. 

 

5 Things To Learn About Sales, Stress, and Success From The Marketing Experts

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In this data-rich world of technology, many people neglect the immense importance of communication. They get so preoccupied with daily duties and various processes that they don’t get to spend enough time on meaningful communication with a client. Communication plays a significant role in almost every aspect of our lives, especially in business. While it can increase client satisfaction and improve our opportunity for success, it can also alienate the clients and ultimately break the business.

Luckily, successful communication doesn’t cost a thing. If you want to improve your client communication and build and maintain sound collaboration, you need to invest your time and energy into it. Not only will it pay off but it will also help you draw new invaluable clients. Here are a few tips how to make client communication more productive.

Define Your Services

Before starting any collaboration with a potential customer, you need to state what kind of services you are offering individually. Instead of trying to impress your clients with a full range of services you do, you should focus on one or few you are proficient at. This way you are wasting your time and energy on multitasking while aiming to meet all your client’s needs and preferences which can severely damage your business and career. If you clearly explain what things you are specialized in, the client will value your work more and will undoubtedly be more interested in your services.

Choose the Right Method of Communication

This modern era of ubiquitous energy-efficient technologies gives us an incredible opportunity to communicate by using so many means of communication that we sometimes cannot decide which one to choose. When it comes to business, choosing the right method of communication is crucial as it will determine how successful your future client collaboration will be. While some clients prefer face-to-face communication, others are more mail persons. Probably the best option is to directly talk to the client and ask them which one they prefer. It will improve the communication flow and increase overall productivity.

Keep Everyone Involved in the Project

Building an excellent communication with a client is not an easy ride. Sometimes it is best to include your client in all the processes and stages of project development from the start and avoid any misunderstandings, payment delays or even disagreements. There is a wide selection of agile project management tools for creatives that allow your clients to follow everything on the project ones they get access. They can see what you are working on, provide feedback and upload content if necessary. This will help you break any walls and build honesty and trust between you and your clients.

Client-communication

Image Source: http://imgur.com/a/qbwoo

Maintain Friendly Communication

It’s not a brainer that poor communication can quickly break your business. However, sometimes lack of proper communication is not the issue. Sometimes the communication with a client may suffer due to the inconsistency of given data or just inadequate language. Keep in mind that clients do not have to be experts in your field of expertise and they do necessarily possess the knowledge and the skills you and your team are proficient at. Translating web-speak into language that will be easily understandable and more meaningful to you client is imperative in building a successful relationship with your client.

Keep Your Clients Frequently Updated

According to research, the reason why many clients decide to leave the project earlier is that they are unsatisfied with information delivery. Make sure you communicate, communicate more and over-communicate. Keeping your customer regularly updated about all the phases of the project development especially in case if some technical issues arise, is invaluable for the client. Get ready to get down to the nitty-gritty with clients. They will appreciate the effort you are making to keep them informed, and they will not have reason to worry.


rachelRachel is currently working as the vice president of communications at Active Collab. After finishing her master’s degree in Communications she pursued a career in the digital industry, most notably in marketing and public relations.

 

5 Things To Learn About Sales, Stress, and Success From The Marketing Experts

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“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

Whether you are aware of this or not, there are two types of people in the marketing industry: those who believe they can deliver every strategy efficiently and successfully and those who believe things can just happen to them. Each marketer has their fair share of experiences in the marketing world. However, their action and approach to a precise moment determine what type of marketer they are.

Admittedly, marketers also feel overwhelmed especially when there are so many things to consider – not to mention the deadlines you need to catch up. Marketers know so well, especially when you are working in a competitive business such as the digital marketing agency in the Philippines that it is not easy to be productive every single time. Sometimes, sales aren’t just going up, and because you need to think it over and over again as to why sales are stagnant; you would apparently exert more effort which causes you to feel stressed-out. If you are one of those marketers who is struggling with their productivity at work, then here are some things you need to know and learn about sales, stress and success and how marketing experts beat them all.

  1. Most people who purport to be influential aren’t – and people with tons of social media followers probably can’t help your sales.
    Never get tricked by the number of followers they have on social media, or how they claim to be influential they are. Although they may have some advantages, that does not mean they can already convert their followers into sales. When you’re a marketer, you should know how to determine people who are potential enough to engage on your site. It does not matter if you do not have hundreds or thousands of followers on social media, for as long as you know they are your target market and potential clients, then it should be good enough to give it a try.
  2. Anxiety and worry are rooted in fear and are wasted energy; they never contribute to any positive outcomes.
    The moment you decide to be a part of the marketing industry, you should already know that it is a risk to take. Sometimes, you need to sacrifice your time and exert the second effort just to come up with an effective strategy. With this, marketers tend to develop anxiety and worry about the things; they needed to do just to beat the deadlines. However, you have to know that worrying too much is not good especially for marketers. You need to be healthy emotionally and physically to achieve the goals you have for the business.
  3. Meditation does wonder for eliminating, preventing and managing stress and anxiety.
    Let’s face it; we usually experience stress – it is inevitable especially when you are working in a competitive company. But just because we often experience it, that does not mean you do not do something to prevent it from happening. Of course, there are also ways for you to avoid such. Meditation is one thing you can do to lessen the burden you are feeling. Whether you realize it or not; meditation has a lot of benefits; be it mentally and physically. With this, it will help you loosen up and start a new and fresh mind.
  4. The more you hustle, the luckier you get.
    This is also one thing marketers should consider. The outcome of your success would depend on how you do things the right way, or how you plan out your strategy to make it as efficient as possible. The more you strive for, the better, of course, you can also expect better results. One thing is for sure; you do not want to lose to your competitors just because you are slacking off of your work.
  5. Social media does not drive sales.
    Dor some businesses, social media might be a great way to drive sales. However, this may not always be the case for the other businesses. Social media is a broad platform where anyone can just skip your website. But if you are aiming for higher sales, then make sure you create a community where your target audience and potential clients can converse properly. It is in this way where you will be able to ensure you can drive sales out of them.

Perhaps, driving out more sales and beating up stress may be a challenge especially when you have so many things in mind. But with these tips mentioned above, it would guide and help you come up with better and strategic ideas for your business.


janiceJanice Jaramillo is a twenty-something who loves to write and read about technology and marketing. She is currently associated with the digital marketing agency in the Philippines. She also likes to travel around the world to meet new people.

10 Tools To Improve Your Guest Blogging Results

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From sources of inspiration to creating high-quality social images to accompany your post, there is a multitude of free and paid tools that can be used to improve your guest blogging campaign. While we certainly don’t advocate the automation of guest blogging, because this quickly crosses the line into a spammy and unethical territory, there is nothing wrong with using some of the tools available to you. By reducing the time it takes to manage multiple spreadsheets, install Outlook add-ons, and unaccepted recirculating pitches, you can concentrate more of your personal resources on creating high-quality guest posting content.

So, below we have put together a list of 10 of the most useful tools;

Tools that we use, every day, as part of our guest blogging campaigns.

AnswerThePublic

Finding inspiration for new posts can be difficult. You don’t want to send rehashed versions of the same articles to multiple sites, but after you’ve pitched a few blogs, you quickly run out of ideas.

Of all the content inspiration tools out there, AnswerThePublic is the one that we return to most often. We use it for writing our blog posts, for finding buyer keywords, and we use it to ensure that we’ve covered every single base with web page content. We also use it for guest blogging.

Only add your keyword, and hit search. AnswerThePublic will then provide you with a list of relevant questions about that topic. We don’t tend to use the visualization tab, which is selected by default. Instead, we click Data so that we are presented with a list of questions. Choose one question, create an FAQ style post, or just use the results to spark some content ideas.

BuzzSumo

Want to know what readers are sharing on social media about your niche? BuzzSumo is a great tool for exactly that purpose. Although many, many tools are part of the BuzzSumo suite, we primarily use it to determine popular topics and even to help us come up with blog post titles.

Enter your keyword, with quotation marks, and then hit search. You will be given an extensive list of posts that include the number of shares they have experienced on different social media accounts.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is probably the most widely used SEO tool that we have, and while it isn’t free, if you are conducting any ongoing SEO campaign, it is worth the investment. We use it to measure the quality of a guest blog site to determine whether it is worth pitching.

You can see whether a blog has any traffic, whether it has suffered any penalties that might be passed on to you, and you can also use it to determine the most popular posts that have appeared on a blog. This gives you great information to share with the blog owner – right; they probably know which there most favorite posts are, but by showing that you do too, you also show that you’ve put some time and effort into contacting them.

SEMRush

One of the biggest challenges in guest blogging is finding a steady stream of high-quality blogs that we want to publish content on. SEMRush may not be the first tool you think of for this, but they have a new SEO Content Tool. The tool is still in Beta, but enter a keyword, and SEMRush will display a mass of information, including a list of sites where you should try and get a link from. This will often include blogs that accept guest posts, reducing the time you have to spend mastering Google search queries.

Guest Post Site Scraper

We aren’t usually fans of scrapers and scraping tools. In the case of website scrapers, they tend to end in a list of relatively low-quality sites, but if you use it correctly, then the Guest Post Site Scraper will provide you with an extensive list of websites that use your keywords or are based on your topics, and that actively encourage guest post submissions. If you do use this tool, be sure to check the quality of the sites before you go submitting work to them.

BuzzStream

When it comes to pitching websites, you will find that some site owners answer straight away. Some take days or even weeks to respond, and many will never respond at all. You can significantly improve your acceptance rates simply by following up on the pitches that you send. A spreadsheet will do the job, but BuzzStream arguably does a better job, and it does it in less time. You can even use it to find sites. It displays the email or contact address of any site that you find, and you can set reminders so that you email the site owner again in a few days.

Moz Toolbar

Writing a guest post should take time. The more effort you put into it, the greater the results you will reap. However, because it can take hours to create a high-quality post, find a list of sites, and then pitch your idea, you should ensure that you are getting the most from every post that is published. For this reason, you should measure the quality of a site before you try pitching them an idea. Moz offers a Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of every website and web page online, and these metrics are considered the industry standard for this kind of purpose. We are asked for sites with a minimum DA of 20.

SharesCount

It is important not to overlook the power of social shares as well, and the past social performance of a blog’s posts is a reasonable indication of how well future posts will perform. SharesCount is a straightforward and useful tool that tells you how often a post has been shared on the major networks and is a simpler alternative to BuzzSumo and other tools. Paste the URL and click Enter.

Pixabay

Some blog owners receive hundreds of pitches every week and must spend more time trawling through submissions than they would spend writing the posts. It stands to reason, then, that the more work you do for the site owner, the greater the chance that they will publish your piece. Add images to your post. Use screenshots where applicable, or use royalty free, stock photos and illustrations. Many websites offer this kind of content, including Pixabay.

Canvas

If you want to go the extra mile with your submission, then you can create better quality images. Use the photos and illustrations you gather from Pixabay and other sources, edit them, and add text and other items using Canvas. Canvas can be used to create stunning infographics and hero images, as well, but it is a quick and simple solution to creating social sharing images.

Using the tools above you can increase your guest blogging performance. You will be able to find content ideas more easily, judge the quality of sites that you publish to, and even incorporate images. You can track your results, and you can use the information that you gather to make further improvements in the future too.


Matt1Matt Jackson is a freelance content writer and guest blogger. He manages dozens of campaigns, crafting high-quality content, and submitting to beneficial blogs to gain exposure for websites around the world. Visit brandingmedia.co.uk for more information on Matt’s services.

20 Secrets Why Infographics Go Viral

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Content marketing has many aspects to it, but the premise is very simple. You create content and then promote it. However, anyone who reads this blog knows that it’s not that easy. You have to create the right content that will get your shares and likes and then you have to outreach to people that will put your content on display to the world. Even then it can be hard.

However, infographics seem to play by a different set of rules. There is one thing I know about content marketing, and that is infographics get shared. They just work.

Then I started thinking about why infographics go viral. Why do they get more shares? Why do people like them?

So I did some research, and I complied 20 ‘secrets’ why infographics go viral, and what better way to compile these 20 hidden secrets than in an infographic.

Take a look, and hopefully, you will realize the power of infographics.

  1. A viral infographic has a defined purpose and message behind it.
    A study conducted by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health noted that the viral infographic transmitted a message and engaged the viewer using a three-step process: raising awareness, changing and challenging attitudes, finalized with a call to action’ to change behaviors.
  2. The display size of the infographic matters.
    Social Media Today conducted an analysis of 1000 infographics that were the most shared in some different business industries and found that the most popular size was an average of 3683 high and 803 pixels wide. This is an average size, so a rule of thumb you can apply is to use these pixels sizes and add or subtract 15 percent to maximize your viral potential.
  3. Viral Infographics are all in mind.
    There is clear scientific evidence, as stated in a Thomson and Reuters blog, that 30 percent of the brain is used to process visual data, contrasted with 3 percent for sensory information. An attention-grabbing infographic with the potential to go viral needs to use visuals that clearly explain the content with a minimal use of text. If the graphical information is confusing, it will lose the viewer.
  4. Being easy to understand is an essential feature of a viral infographic.
    There are many ways to communicate information, but what makes an infographic shareable is the fact it can convey its message at a glance. According to Thomson and Reuters, there are six characteristics to an attention-grabbing infographic, but when you consider the purpose of an infographic is to present the information quickly, so viewers need to see a clearly defined message.
  5. Make the connections between your infographic images and your brand message as clear and straightforward as possible.
    Neomam cites scientific data that says it only 150 milliseconds for an image to be processed in our brains, and another 100 milliseconds to attach a meaning to that image. This means that it is critical for your infographic to communicate information visually in a way where the viewer makes an almost instant connection with the symbol. The less the viewer has to think, the higher the likelihood of it going viral.
  6. Focus on color first, and then the text.
    According to NeoMam, someone who encounters an infographic is 80 percent more likely to engage the image visually. But more importantly, stopping to engage the color image makes the viewer more likely to read the text. Therefore, the color attracts, and the text informs. The danger here is that too much emphasis will be placed on the color and the underlying message in the text will be lost to the viewer.
  7. Create a special color scheme.
    Social Media Today took a close look at color schemes and found that almost 4 of 10 infographics that went viral had either a triadic color scheme or a monochromatic color scheme, while the least likely color scheme to go viral was tetradic. The color scheme needs to emphasize the critical points of the infographic.
  8. Viral Infographics take advantage of a fundamental cognitive process.
    Because our brains are wired to focus initially on visual stimuli, people can recall 80 percent of what they see, according to NeoMam’s infographic. Your infographic does not have a chance of going viral if it is not something people will be able to remember. The lesson here is to be creatively simple and make it easy for the viewer to remember.
  9. Sharing is fun.
    This may be the most obvious and also the most overlooked characteristic of a viral infographic. NeoMam puts this fact at the end of their website infographic, not because it requires a lot of explanation but for exactly the opposite reason. How much can you talk about making something fun? When it comes to a viral infographic, this can be the deal breaker.
  10. The Word Count needs to be carefully watched.
    An analysis by Social Media Today showed viral infographics had an average of 398 words, and no viral infographic has more than 502. Another rule of thumb you can apply is to keep your infographic text right around 400 words. Many marketers believe “less is more, ” but these statistics clearly show that people expect an infographic to convey a minimum amount of information to be useful – and shareable.
  11. The best viral infographics know their target audience extremely well.
    The primary characteristic of any social media marketing campaign is defining your target audience. An infographic needs to be very precise in its definition because the information in the infographic will only be relevant to a particular group of people according to Digital Marketing magazine. They, in turn, will share it with others who know the content is relevant to the other person.
  12. Choose your marketing channels carefully.
    Experienced social media marketers know that choosing the right channels is key to success. Social Media Today discovered in an analysis of 1000 infographics that on Facebook you would have a better chance of going viral if the industry is Health, while if your channel is Twitter you will have a better chance with – Social Media. It is possible you can commit an infographic to a single social media channel and watch it go viral. Only your marketing data and analysis can show you what will work for your particular situation.
  13. Infographic content needs to be both compelling and unique.
    One of the trademarks of a quality infographic, according to Digital Marketing, is that it has compelling content. This is only the first step, however. Being unique is also a critical part of viral success because there is little need to share information that can be easily found on 100 other websites or media channels.
  14. Be sure to contain backlinks in your infographic.
    While content is important, infographics that are out on social media should always have a backlink according to Digital Magazine, either to your landing page or home page There are two reasons for this. First, it increases brand awareness, and second, it opens the door for visitors to see other infographics available on your site. While backlinks can increase traffic, the goal here is to have the visitors browse your website and see your remarkable infographics.
  15. Choose your title keywords carefully.
    Many people do not associate keywords and infographic title as a sufficient attention grabbing marketing technique because they are often so focused on the content itself. Digital Marketing magazine makes the case that doing so makes your infographic better, increasing your chances for a viral hit. Organic searches have a better chance of connecting to your infographic if it is easily found through targeted keywords in your title.
  16. Use infographics to increase the number of your followers and subscribers.
    Digital Marketing sees this as a clear step towards going viral. The more people you have who you stay in regular contact with through email or mailing lists, the more people will know about your latest infographic. Remember that information in today’s world has a very short active life, which is why everything viral does not last very long in the Internet world.
  17. Color Me Blue
    In the Social Media Today report, blue was by far the number one color of choice, regardless of the industry. This included the areas of Health, Business, Entertainment, and the entire range of viral infographics. Red was second, except for the Health industry where it placed third. Blue is considered to be a stress-reducing, relaxing color while red communicates excitement. Use the color combination to your psychological advantage.
  18. Use the embed feature to allow others to embed your infographic into their blog or website.
    Allowing your infographic to be embedded in another businesses’ website or on a blog increases its exposure and increases its visibility, according to Digital Marketing magazine. The progressions are simple: the more people who see it, the more people who will share it, and the more people who share it increase the possibility of it becoming viral.
  19. Do not limit your infographic “mentality” to online media.
    Digital Marketing correctly points out that an efficient multi-channel marketing campaign extends beyond the online presence of your company. Though the concept of viral is usually associated with the Internet, there are ad campaigns that make the jump to print and other forms of media. A quality infographic looks just as good, or maybe even better, in print than in a digital environment.
  20. One secret that may still be a secret is that there are still hidden realities behind viral infographics.
    The fundamental Social Media Today analysis that has been used concluded that one of the least popular industries for infographics is Finance. That seems more than a bit odd, but it is borne out by the statistics. Likewise, it states one of the most popular is the Entertainment industry. Numbers don’t lie, but it is possible they can mislead.

20 secrets why Infographics go viral

Conclusion:

So there you have it the secrets finally revealed.
Now it’s your turn to create an infographic that will go viral and make your brand the talk of the town.

Sources:

Digital Marketing

NeoMam Studios

Social Media Today

Thomson Reuters


tahirTahir Miah is an entrepreneur, digital marketer and SEO enthusiast. He is the founder of Serpjump, a Bedford SEO agency.

Elements of Good Web Design for Marketing Purposes

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If you own a small business or offer services of a commercial nature, chances are you have considered taking your business online. Perhaps you have already done this and set up your website in the hopes that clients will notice it and contact you with orders. In today’s scenario, more and more marketplaces are moving online. Brick and mortar outlets and offices just cannot hope to compete with e-commerce. The reach, flexibility, and opportunities that the digital medium offers are unbeatable. Are you satisfied that your website will be able to cut through the competition and grab the attention of your customers? Does your website have those magical ingredients that can turn it into your most efficient marketing tool?

Industry observers note that e-commerce is helping smaller businesses narrow the gap between themselves and the bigger established players. Why miss out on this golden opportunity? This guide is here to tell you why your website should be the focus of your marketing campaign and what the right mix of web design elements can do to completely turn around your game.

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  1. Faster Is Always Better: Who doesn’t love websites that load at lightning speed? Clients have little patience and time to wait for content to load. Optimize graphics for speed and streamline your design by cutting out unnecessary clutter. Resist the temptation to indulge in fancy gimmicks; keep it clean, simple and fuss-free. A speedy site is guaranteed to translate into bigger business for you.
  2. Create A Credible And Professional Look: A purposefully goofy look works in some cases, but unintentional tackiness makes everyone cringe. It can reflect very poorly on your reliability as a service provider. One way to rectify this and create a relaxed, confident look is to add plenty of visual breathing space and make the text easy to read. Also, ensure that you banish click bait and targeted advertising altogether.
  3. Constant Updates: A well-maintained and up-to-date website bespeaks commitment and reliability. Need we say more?
    Security: Assure customers that their information will be kept confidential. If your website is going to incorporate a payment portal, then make sure that it is mediated by a trusted and internationally recognized third-party like PayPal.
  4. Analytics And Search Engine Optimization: Any website should be backed by solid analytics. This is the tool that lets you measure performance based on quantitative indices. What pages draw the most traffic and what sorts of visitors are viewing your site? What are their interests? Having this information at your fingertips helps you tailor your website to target your coveted customer base directly rather than throwing things into the void and hoping that they stick. It is worth investing in a dedicated team to care for your SEO needs.
  5. Compelling Content: Create content that should be able to draw viewers on its merit. If you run a cosmetics business, it could be a very good idea to set up a blog section on your website and invite guest bloggers and industry experts to do informative pieces on a regular basis. Invite clients to review products they love. Introduce videos, vlogs or even contests for readers to participate in.
  6. Leverage Social Media: Following on from the previous point, your website should be closely tied with social media because this is the primary portal through which you can access clients and be seen by them. Video content and customer images can be shared through platforms like YouTube and Instagram to boost visibility, get everyone talking and your website trending.
  7. Create A Mobile Version: Nowadays, most customers are looking to access websites on their mobile phones. Websites not optimized for mobile usage appear shoddy and glitchy on smartphones. This can put off potential clients. Better yet, if you feel the investment is justified, create a dedicated app.
  8. Solid Customer Support: Nothing beats immediate and sensitive customer support. Set up a clear channel through which clients can get in touch to discuss their concerns. Offer consultations through chats. Happy customers will leave you glowing recommendations that are sure to go a long way towards building trust and helping you carve a foothold in the industry. Customer satisfaction converts one-time orders into lifelong relationships.

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We understand that owners of businesses often have a variety of pressing concerns. They may be understaffed and struggling to break even or garner a regular clientele. They may be facing stiff competition in their industry. Amidst these everyday struggles, shelling out real money for stellar web design isn’t on the top of everyone’s priority list. Unless they are backed by a savvy marketing team, they tend to grudgingly fork out the smallest possible portions of their budget for barely-adequate websites.

We are not here to convince you to drop a fortune on getting yourself a great website. A hefty price tag doesn’t equal quality. What you must do, though, is ensure that the task is handed over to a trusted professional with plenty of experience. Smaller web design companies like Hashtag17 are more focussed on individual projects and offer the same quality at more competitive price points. A rule of thumb is to take a look at the company’s portfolio and peruse customer testimonials to satisfy yourself that this is the right choice for you.

The next and most important step in this process is to formulate a plan as to what you want your website to do and communicate. How will it embody your company’s philosophy? If you don’t have a clear sense of how to achieve this, try looking for what you would consider as excellent examples of web design for marketing. Share these with your designer and let them bring your vision to life.


meenakshiMeenakshi is the cofounder of Hashtag17 and coordinates with customers on their projects. She is very passionate about web designing and user experience. She also loves to micro monitor each project the technology team works on and ensures that the company’s clients are ecstatic with the output. 

How to Use Instagram and Snapchat Stories to Build Your Brand

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We’ve long known a single picture is worth a thousand words, but how many pictures does a whole story involve? If you have spent any amount of time on Instagram or Snapchat in the last year or two, you might already know the answer.

Companies of all sizes and statures have long recognized the value of image-rich marketing, using color to evoke emotion, infographics to simplify complex ideas, and shapes to highlight particular qualities and meanings. Brands create and utilize images to mold their persona, sharing their brand story by giving a peek at the people and purpose behind the logo.

And for some, there’s no easier way to showcase those eye-catching elements than on visual-emphatic social outlets like Instagram and Snapchat, the image-based platforms whose entire existence relies on posting optically appealing elements to engage their viewers.

instagram snapchat

But as much power as a single image can yield, a thousand words at a time ceased to suffice when Snapchat’s Stories feature – and later Instagram Stories – rolled out and installed a new era of social storytelling. Pioneering features like ephemeral content has forced marketers to craft stronger, more efficient, more engaging stories within the images they post.

With a 24-hour expiration date stamped on every Story, there’s only one place a Story can survive – in the viewer’s memory, but only if it’s worth remembering.

A Magnified Look at Social Media Storytelling

A Cultural Expectation

Storytelling has existed as long as human language, serving to share experiences and information, and eventually cementing its place as a cultural norm. Some stories we share today, such as fairy tales and urban legends, are ones that have evolved through centuries of retellings and embellishments, changing names, places, and happy endings to fit our purposes. And just as humans did centuries ago, we continue to tell stories to inform, engage, entertain, and inspire, only now those stories do not always come in the form of a book or oral recitation.

Brand storytelling isn’t about cherry-picking stock photos or copying the successes of others. To be effective, every story shared must epitomize the brand identity, rising above competing brands and images to engage, enlighten, and inspire the viewer to either take action or seek more information. These stories serve as a chance for brands to momentarily halt their advertising barrage and give their audience a transparent glimpse into the beating heart of the company.

Brands have become as big a part of our culture as the products they represent, from music to clothing to food to social media and beyond. Some of the most successful brands have integrated themselves so deeply in our society not through their products and services, but via a storytelling strategy that speaks to us on a culturally important level.

The Cash Value of a Brand Story

As transparent and genuine as brand stories need to be, there is no hard and fast rule to deter your story from becoming your Call to Action. You simply need to know how to craft a story that warrants an action.

Consider the following:

  • What do my customers need from me?
  • How can I connect with my customers on an emotional level?
  • What drives my customers to make a buying decision?
  • What honest elements can I add to my story that can help influence a decision?

Let’s look at Coca Cola’s 2014 Share a Coke campaign:

coca-cola

As one of the world’s most iconic brands, the company stayed true to its universal roots by featuring individual names on its bottles and cans, which sent millions of soda drinkers on a scavenger hunt to find the beverage that “belonged” to them. But as obvious as this was a marketing campaign, it was also less obviously a reflection of how people provide the beating heart behind the brand.

In this case, Coca-Cola shared a story about sharing a coke and earned a 2.5% increase in sales from the same 12-week period the previous year. Also, Coca-Cola benefited from an 870% increase in social media traffic, 18 million+ media impressions, and a 7% increase in consumption, among other perks.

A Purpose in Social Media

As digital marketing trends continued to shift to the social sphere, both Snapchat and Instagram rose to the call of an increased need for solid social media storytelling that doesn’t only provide an opportunity for engagement but encourages it. Thus, Stories emerged on each platform to give brands and viewers alike a different, more organized approach to interacting with each other.

Keep in mind, storytelling is not synonymous with story-selling. It’s not just an outlet to promote your good deeds and wild successes to gain positive PR. Storytelling has always been about how we relate to others and the ways we share and understand experiences. Build your social stories around what your users care about, and show them how you understand their needs, likes, and interests.

Truthfully, brands have become so adept at crafting original images and click-worthy content that it often begs the viewer to question its authenticity. But Stories can – and do – change that notion by not featuring your carefully constructed material, but your in-the-moment highlights. And those are the instances that tell the most genuine, unevolved version of your brand story.

A Bird’s Eye View of Snapchat and Instagram

Snapchat

Say good-bye to the self-destructing snap – if you want to. With Stories, users can look at photos as often as they like until the 24-hour timer dings.

Think of it as a well-honed twist on a traditional photo album: users can post photos or videos in Stories, and others can view those posts anytime while they are still live. This gives viewers a play-by-play of what the user has been up to within a day’s span, but without any content taking a deep dive in their rolling newsfeed. Once a post hits the 24-hour mark, it’s gone forever.

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Posting to Stories throughout a given day creates a unique narrative for the viewer that details what a day in the life looks like for your brand. It also avoids the one-view-only stipulation that formally ruled Snapchat and lets your image’s legacy live a little longer to create a bigger impact. This gives each of your Snapchat Stories a full 24 hours to inspire and engage before time runs out and something new takes its place. If creativity is ever necessary, it’s here and now.

Instagram

The first photo-sharing social platform lifted a page from the Snapchat playbook and implemented their form of Stories.

Similar in form and function to that of Snapchat, Instagram embodies one of the most important elements of telling and sharing stories – the personal aspect. By eliminating public likes and comments to posts shared in Stories, users are encouraged to reach out via private message on Instagram Direct. This gives brands a clear invitation to respond and engage by forging a direct connection with its fans.

instagram-stories

How to Choose The Right One for Your Brand

If you find yourself unable to differentiate between Snapchat and Instagram Stories, you aren’t alone. The resemblance between the two is nothing short of striking:

  • Posts disappear within 24 hours
  • Ability to add doodles, filters, and emojis
  • Similar privacy settings
  • Viewers can initiate one-on-one Conversation
  • Users can post photos and videos
  • Brands use them for similar purposes

Even so, the two can’t be described as identical. Snapchat trumps Instagram with its filters, face mapping, and reverse motion filters, while Instagram beats Snapchat on hashtag functionality within the app and easier navigation through Stories. Also, each app emphasizes Stories in different extremes, with Instagram prioritizing Stories as the top level idea, as opposed to a second rate feature on Snapchat.

Given the massive similarities and scant differences, which one makes the best solution for your brand?

There is no single right answer. If there were, either Instagram or Snapchat would cease to exist. But whether you are considering a transition from one platform to the other, or are making the first leap into a social media strategy, there are a few things you should consider before clicking the Sign-Up button:

  • What platform does the majority of my target audience use? Don’t worry about which platform has the most users – find out which one can put your brand in front of the right users.
  • What kind of results do I get on my current platform? If you are already active on either Instagram or Snapchat and are thinking of jumping ship because you are not currently getting the results you expect, consider tweaking what you are already doing before you completely abandon your efforts.
  • Do I have the resources and necessity to manage a presence on both Instagram and Snapchat? Some brands can sacrifice the money and manpower to manage multiple social media accounts. But even if you do have the time, funds, and people to manage both platforms, make sure the results warrant the extra resources you’re forking out.
  • Which platform does my competition use? Copying the competition does not always give you the same results as your competitors, but it could be a good indication that they have found their target audience on their current social channel, which means you can, too.

Once you make your choice, be consistent in sharing your stories by keeping your result in focus. Remember, storytelling is about understanding and connecting with your audience, so quality – not quantity – should win every time. Now that’s a story with a happy ending.


benBen Shepardson has been creating and managing websites and web content since the early aughts. From the early wild days of SEO to today’s demand for fully-researched content that users crave, he’s dealt with it all. His latest project is NoStop Content, a provider of original, top-notch written content for business owners and media agencies.

Why Blog For Business – Real Reasons to Start a Corporate Blog

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Learn How Your Business Can Benefit from Blogging

Blogging for business is important, no matter how big or small the business may be. Even small businesses with limited budgets can benefit from blogging.

Something which I encounter a lot is business owners who misunderstand the purpose of starting a corporate blog. People fear what they don’t understand which deters them from trying it out, and most of those who do just end up publishing company news which, let’s be honest, only reach a tiny audience. So why bother, you ask?

Well, let’s evaluate.

What does every business owner care about the most? That’s right; the bottom line. The highest priority is sales because earning money is the reasons why they started their company in the first place. In this post, I will explain how blogging effectively can increase your bottom line – if it is done the right way!

2 Common Myths About Business Blogging Goals

  1. People read your blog and immediately purchase your product
  2. People enter your home page or other landing pages, see that you have an excellent blog and that influences them to purchase

There is nothing more to add here; this is not how blogging brings you extra cash, and that’s the long and short of it.

Factors which Influence Purchase Decisions

Before we move further, it is critical to mention (at least briefly) the factors that do influence consumers during the purchase decision process. If you want to dig deeper, you can find more details here and here.

To summarize, here is my short list –

  • Product quality and pricing
  • Web site design, usability, and responsiveness
  • Content shared by people they know and trust
  • Brand familiarity and strength

Again, there is no really need to go into too much detail here. It is clear that there is no way we can influence p.1 and p.2, but what about the other two points? If you want people to know about you, trust you and to spread the word about you and your business, then blogging is the ultimate weapon at your disposal.

SEO and Traffic

Frequent and quality content updates are factors which play a role in your SEO ranking. If you regularity publishes new content, it positively influences domain-level authority. The more often you upload recent articles, the better. This may prove difficult to achieve this every day, but that is not necessary; twice a week is a good rate to start with.

If your only goal is to signal to Google’s bots that you have updated your website’s content to give you an SEO boost, then publishing articles of around 500 words would be sufficient. However, should you be seeking black-belt business blogging which results in quality traffic, valuable leads and that contributes to your brand’s authority, then you need to take a ninja approach to SEO-friendly blogging.

Here are the fundamentals which you need to take into consideration;

Do keyword research and write SEO-friendly articles to drive more traffic to your blog

Create well-researched and illustrated content; the more time people spend reading your posts, the better. Dwell time is a ranking factor too.

Write longer posts; count the number of words in the blog posts which rank top 10 for the keyphrase you want to be ranked for. You may also want to refer to this post by serpIQ for even more details about content length.

Link to other pages of your website or blog to reduce bounce rate, and do not be afraid of linking to reputable outside sources.

content-length-ranking-factor

The Buyer’s Journey and Business Blogging

What is the buyer’s journey? It is a three-step process which begins when buyers realize that they have a problem, continues as they seek ways to solve it and concludes as they choose a solution.

Here are the three steps, explained;

  1. The Awareness stage: during this stage, the buyer realizes he or she has a problem and looks for the ways to solve it.
  2. The Consideration stage: they buyer does in-depth research and analysis of the available solutions.
  3. The Decision stage: the buyer finds a suitable solution to get the problem solved.

Business blogging is a great way to catch the buyer’s attention at the point when they realize they have a pain point because it is during this stage that they look for additional information (educational content, testimonials, and customer feedback) that would help them to solve the problem. This is where you must show expertise in a well-researched and informative blog article.

Understanding your prospects’ needs is of vital importance; for this reason, you may want to create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fake character with the traits of your ideal customer. You need to create as many of them as it is necessary for your particular business goals. The number of details you may want to include also varies; it may be sex, age, income, education, shopping preferences, goals, challenges, etc.

Small Local Business Blogging Tip

This small business blogging tip is a real life example, and it is all about driving highly targeted traffic that brings sales.
This plan formed after I analyzed the Google AdWords data of one of my clients, a home window repair company. Search queries with local intent were bringing them results from a conversions point of view (they were enjoying a conversion rate of approximately 20% in Google AdWords).

The client offers their services in 30 cities, and there are about ten groups of keywords which describe the type of problems which they solve (30 x 10 is 300 extra pages to create!).

We created local landing pages for major services in each city, however, were still too many key phrases which we wanted them to rank highly for.

Our page title looks like this:

[service name] + [city name] + [state name]
Creating 300 pages with similar, directly selling content might have been a good idea, but Google loves content which brings unique value to the world wide web. So, what did we do?

We decided to blog about their services. We created short case studies, detailing jobs which have been done in different cities. Fortunately, the client always takes before and after photos of their most exciting projects, so there was no lack of visual content.

This is where the concept of telling success stories was born; a strategy which has proven to drive precious, locally targeted traffic.

Establish Authority Through Blogging

The whole article is dedicated to one single thesis statement only – blogging, if done the right way, is one of the best tools to build authority and trust. Econsultancy’s study revealed that 61% of the customers read reviews before they purchase something online. As you can see, trust is everything in a digital world, especially if you are selling an expensive product or a product which requires accurate and in-depth knowledge (such digital marketing, law, medicine, etc.) which a regular person has only broad understand of.

Becoming an authority

In the real world, you cannot become a power by just declaring it; customers need proof. Writing quality, well-researched and illustrated articles is the great way to establish yourself as an industry expert.

People buy from people

People buy from people, but not from brands, which is why you should consider publishing blog articles under your real name. If consumers like your content, they will be more likely to interact with your brand; they will express their point of view, they will ask questions or even debate. This builds a closer emotional connection between you and your audience and helps to establish relationships, which is key to the success of your business.

Build Your Email List

Even though everybody’s inbox is stuffed to the brim with emails (many of are junk emails), email marketing is still a very powerful marketing tool! If done the right way, email marketing can help you to gain trust, credibility and become a kind of a friend or a friendly consultant – not a stranger. The best part is that email marketing is relatively cheap, easy to implement and it usually doesn’t take much time.

If you write great blog articles, then why not to share them with your subscribers? The hardest part of email marketing is building a customer list. Your success directly depends on its quality; people must be interested in the content you produce. This is where blogging can help.

However, if you just have a hard-to-notice Subscribe option somewhere under your category links, that will not work for everybody. I suspect that only the top resources can afford such a shy approach to inviting new readers to sign up for their newsletters.

What You Should Consider Is:

  • Ensuring that there is a good reason for the reader to share their email address with you
  • Ensuring that your sign up offer is easily noticeable and well-designed
  • Ensuring that the process is simple; try to avoid complex forms
    If you have huge amount of data, test as much as you can to find what works best for you

Lead magnet (a free to low price offer) is an excellent way to build your emails list. You can provide a free e-book, private blog section access, a free report, a cheat sheet or a discount in exchange for an email address. It is paramount not to disappoint subscribers, so you must make sure your lead magnet brings real value.

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Conclusion (Spoiler or, maybe, not)

Content marketing, no doubt, is a powerful tool and corporate blogging plays a significant role in it. However, to ensure that everything you have read here works for your business goals, writing alone is not enough. You will see little to no results if nobody ever reads your articles, i.e., If you have no traffic.

If you want search rankings, then you need to invest in building links. If you want extra traffic from social media channels, then you need to grow your following and perhaps use paid advertising. If you have a limited budget, then you need to find time for guest blogging, time to participate in relevant forums, social media groups, people outreach and other activities.

Is this difficult or tedious? Not at all!

I want to finish off with a positive thought; even though business blogging will not make you quick bucks, it puts one more coin into the bank of your brand’s success every time you publish a new quality blog article. Start small and find out what works best for you and once you find your groove then accelerate your efforts. Happy blogging!


Alex OmelchenkoAlex Omelchenko is an SEO and PPC expert. He is a happy dad, British Fold cat owner and a COO at ProfCopy, a content writing firm. Alex Omelchenko is the CEO and a co-founder of ProfCopy, a copywriting firm. Alex is also astute in search engine optimization and pay per click advertising. He is the happy owner and biggest fan of his Scottish Fold cat. You can follow Alex on Twitter.

53 Essential Website Features for Local Business Owners

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A successful business website is not just about great products and services. Many local websites only fail to attract customers because of subtle design flaws that can go unnoticed by an untrained eye. While generic web designing best practices work as a good starting point, to stand out from the crowd, your local business site needs some extra fine tunings.

I work for WebAlive, a web design company and we recently published an infographic that shows 53 essential features for local business websites. I think you’ll find this infographic to be a useful guide for designing or improving the site of your own.

The infographic begins with the crucial advice of having a cc TLD domain for your local business. Then it gives an outline of a conversion friendly homepage, providing a complete list of elements that it should have. Next, it suggests a page by page structure of the whole site, mentioning important elements that those pages should contain.

Apart from the design elements, the infographic goes into some of the technical aspects which will help in SEO and improve your site’s performance. These include the advice of including the Google search console and LocalBusiness schema – a crucial thing that most of the local business sites ignore. It also warns against some of the common bad practices that you should avoid.

Take a look at the infographic below to improve your local business website.

local-business-website-features

Does your site have all the essential features mentioned here? Which features do you think are the most crucial for a small local business site? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

 


Liakat Hossain is a content marketing professional at WebAlive, a company that provides web design, development and online marketing services. He is helping businesses grow with search and content marketing since 2011. Connect with him on Twitter. 

How Important is SEO? 10 Expert Quotes

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is undeniably a crucial factor in making your website easy for both users and search engine robots. It has a set of rules where website or blog owners can follow and optimize their site thus achieving a better Google page ranking. Although search engines have become more sophisticated, new updates are created and developed now and then. When marketers take the time to analyze the process, the sequence and the methodology of SEO in your business development will always be able to justify.

SEO plays a crucial role in online business website since search engine serve millions of users every day looking for answers to their questions or even solutions to their problems. Simply put, if your website is not engaging in SEO, you are not going to be on the first page of results. In fact, this is one reason why even competitive companies such as SEO Philippines makes use of a guaranteed SEO. To give you more of it, below are some reasons quoted from the experts as to how important SEO is.

search-engine-optimization  

 

1. “Basic search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental. And essential. SEO will help you position your website properly to be found at the most critical points in the buying process or when people need your site.”Victoria Edwards

 

2. “The beauty of SEO is that, instead of pushing a marketing message onto folks who don’t want to hear what you have to say, you can reverse-engineer the process to discover exactly what people are looking for, create the right content for it, and appear before them at exactly the moment they are looking for it. It’s pull vs. Push.”Cyrus Shepard

 

3. “Search engines aren’t trying to make life harder for website owners. They see search as a product, and as they improve their product, the game changes by default.”Kathryn Aragon

 

4. “Search engines are unique in that they provide targeted traffic – people looking for what you offer. Search engines are the roadways that make this happen. If search engines cannot find your site, or add your content to their databases, you miss out on incredible opportunities to drive traffic to your site.”Rand Fishkin

 

5. “Think of SEO this way: If a customer-focused content marketing program is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of the sandwich, but on its own, it’s not very appetizing.”Lee Odden

 

6. “These days, a practitioner of search engine optimization is more of a content experience analyst who focuses on optimizing and deploying content across multiple devices and platforms. it’s all about building high-quality, useful, intent-based content for all stages of the buyer journey so as to be there in a consumer’s moment of need.”Winston Burton

 

7. “SEO is a long-term investment, and every company needs to be prepared to invest in the work of SEO over the long term. Frequently publishing unique and valuable content is the first step, but the ongoing work of SEO will be continually promoting the content, building social media channels, and building the overall brand by developing relationships with reputable websites and blogs.”Jayson DeMers

 

8. “Some marketers who work on SEO may cling to technical considerations and/or black hat strategies, and insist content marketing is just one small part of an SEO strategy. There are also content marketers who ignore SEO and dreamily whisper, “If I build it, they will come.” But as Google’s algorithms become more sophisticated and more adept at understanding and identifying high-quality content, marketers need to see the light: good content is good Seo, and good SEO drives good content.”Nate Dame

 

9.  “The success of very websites now depends on search engine optimization and digital marketing strategy. If you are on the first page of all major search engines then you are ahead among your competitors in terms of online sales.”Dr. Christopher Dayagdag

 

10. “But let’s pretend there was a secret set of rules. Ten things that everyone said you absolutely HAD to do. Would you do them? Would you follow the exact same template that everyone else was using so that you had zero chance of stand out? If you would, you’re a moron.”Lisa Barone

Regardless of the size of your business, investing in an organic and guaranteed SEO creates a great impact on its growth. Despite the challenges, every marketer face regarding the lack of organic keyword date and traffic, following an SEO strategy is still a must. After all, your business gets the desired traffic while maintaining the level of the search engine. Additionally, it does not only get you high-quality traffic from diverse sources, but search engine optimization can help your business have repetitive visitors, which would eventually lead to higher conversion rates.

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raphaelRaphael Rico Zamora is a Filipino Blogger, and a digital marketing enthusiast at SEO Philippines. It is a company that develops mobile apps, SEO, and web design company in the Philippines

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