How Content Marketing Has Evolved Over the Past 100 Years!

Content marketing has been around for as long as humans have been communicating with each other. It's remarkable, however, how far content marketing has progressed and changed over the past 100 years. We could begin our look into the past almost anywhere, but we shall begin with the early 1900's in the United States and progress from there. As we shall see, businesses have been trying to find ways to get their product and services before as many people as possible with as little ad spend as possible.

Topics: Content marketing marketing strategies advertising strategies

Content Marketing: Blogging Mistakes

Blogging can be a great way to help you grow your business. You can reach a lot more people by writing consistent content that is helpful for others. However, it is not for everyone.

Blogging can be hard work. If you expect to get results without effort, you are going to struggle with your blogging. You may not get the results that you were hoping for. It takes time and dedication to see your blogging pay off.

Many business owners try to blog but they make many mistakes which could be hurting their marketing plan. Here are some common mistakes that many business owners make.

Many business owners start blogging without a plan.

They think that they will start a blog, publish a few online, and they will start to see results. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Business owners need to have a plan. They need to define their goals before they even start. They also need to define their target audience so that all of their blogs can be written for them. Then, you should determine your blogging schedule. This is important so your readers know exactly when you will put out new content.

It is also important to monitor the results.

Most small business owners start blogging and never stop. They don't look at the results. They simply continue putting content out there. While more content is good, you could really learn a lot about your posts if you look at the results.

You should see which posts get engagement and which don't. Are there certain topics or styles that readers respond to? If so, continue to put similar content out there. Don't waste your time writing highly technical posts, especially if no one reads them!

Your blogs need to focus on your target audience.

Too many bloggers think about their audience when they are coming up with ideas but they forget about them as they are writing the content. Every word and thought needs to be about your target audience or you will lose them. With content marketing, make sure that you talk in words that they understand. Explain things so that it will be clear for them. Though you might have a good way of fixing something, would they? Or would they fix it another way? Make sure you give them options that will work for them, not just you.

Blogging is often not a priority for most business owners.

You are busy. We all are. When blogging is new, it is easy to find time to fit it into your schedule. But what about a few months from now? Are you going to have time to write your blogs during your busy season? If not, are you going to find a way to make it work?

If you are too busy and likely to give up, you might not want to start a blog. It is not going to help your business if you grow loyal readers and then quit blogging. Many business owners try to write blogs ahead of time so that they have some to fall back on when they are busy. You could also outsource your blogs to give you more time to focus on your business.

Readers will not read blogs with bad writing.

Even if you do catch the eye of some potential readers, they will quickly click away if your writing is not good. Because of this, if you are not a good writer (or you struggle with your grammar), you are going to need some help.

If you have a few employees, one of them may be able to help you with your writing. If not, you may want to consider hiring someone else to write your blogs (or at least have someone else edit them)!

Many business owners don't use their blogs to their full potential.

Though blogs are used to help people solve their problems and bring them to your business, they are also used as a way to build relationships. You need to respond to any questions and comments that you get, even if they are negative. This shows your readers that they are important to you. It goes a long way to making your customers happy.

Many bloggers tend to make their blogs too promotional.

Though your blog is there to help you grow your business, you won't win people over if all you write about is you and your business. People don't search for your products. They are searching for solutions to their problems. In order to be found, your blogs need to give them valuable information on what they are searching for.

If you do have loyal readers and start to do too many promotional blogs, you may lose them. Many unsubscribe because they feel like all you are trying to do is sell them something.

Too many business owners struggle with their blogs. They know that they need one, but they don't really know what to do. They blog here and there, as they have time. They are not consistent. They also don't look at the results to ensure that they are giving their readers the information that they need, in a way that is pleasing to them.

You need to have a plan and a schedule before you even start blogging. Then, you need to stick to it. If you need help, get it. Someone can write one or two blogs for you (or all of them if you don't enjoy it)!

Once your blog is set up, you should try to use it to its full potential. Really connect and communicate with your readers. They will really enjoy it and, when they need something, they will come directly to you!

Marketing and blogging is not for everyone. If you are struggling with your marketing and are not seeing the results that you want, don't hesitate to contact us. We play all-in one hundred percent of the time and refuse to have it any other way. We would love to help your business grow through a successful marketing campaign!

 

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Topics: Business tips Content marketing Blogging tips content engagement

How to Take Your Analytics From Annoying to Enlightening

Haven't you heard? Analytics are the key to success. In marketing, data is the name of the game. And in the analytics game, it's sink or swim.

Enough with the metaphors. Anyone even remotely invested in marketing probably knows at this point that analytics just might be a little bit important to what you do. Without measuring the right data, you can forget about understand how successful your promotional efforts are, let alone how well your marketing budget is spent. But understanding the general importance of analytics doesn't solve a core problem: at the bottom of our hearts, none of us want to do it.

Sure, there might be some data experts out there who just love to run reports for the sake of running reports. But much more frequently, the opposite is true. Analytics becomes an important but difficult step of your marketing process. It's annoying at best, and easily ignored at worst. And yet, when that happens, you've already lost.

Because the key to success in measuring your marketing success is not biting your tongue and plunging ahead. Neither is it ignoring the numbers you get based on your efforts completely. Instead, the truth is much simpler: you need to make your analytics matter. And once you do, you might be surprised just how much of an impact they make in maximizing the results of your marketing.

Analytics Does Not Equal Insights

Think about your definition for analytics. Naturally, you will land somewhere along the lines of numbers and data, which can be analyzed to detect patterns and trends. One thing you likely won't be thinking of: insights.

Your definition of insights, on the other hand, probably doesn't have much to do with analytics. Instead, it tends to revolve around an a-ha moment that gave you the direction you need to move forward. Analytics and insights, to be frank, are not connected.

But maybe they should be. We tend to think of marketing analytics not as decision aides, but a necessary step to analyze past success. And while that undoubtedly matters, analytics cannot drive your business forward if they don't come with the natural next step in mind.

You cannot just collect and analyze the data - you also have to use it. And once you do, the impact will be drastic. Once you've made a better marketing decision because of a piece of data you collected (such as a successful A/B test), you will be surprised just how much easier it is to embrace the same analytics technique in the future.

Insights Need to Face the Future

Analytics as decision aides is only the beginning. To be successful, your insights also need to be future-facing. Consider this the natural step alongside the larger analytics movement, which is gradually rolling away from descriptive analytics and toward predictive analytics. As Information Week explains,

Predictive analytics is the next step up in data reduction. It utilizes a variety of statistical, modeling, data mining, and machine learning techniques to study recent and historical data, thereby allowing analysts to make predictions about the future.

All of that sounds a bit high-level. But we have good news: much of it can be automated. The key here is to not get swept away by the words, and look at the concept from a strategic perspective.

At its simplest, predictive analytics simply means embracing the future. It's largely using the same data as its descriptive counterparts, but leveraging it for better, forward-facing insights. The result is actionable data that can help not just your day-to-day decision making process, but the strategic direction of your company as a whole.

Think Beyond Tracking for Maximum Success

That, in turn, brings us to the third and final component of analytics that actually enlighten your marketing efforts. Yes, tracking matters. The reach, click-throughs, engagement, web conversions, and other social media metrics and digital marketing benchmarks are all important to understand exactly which of your marketing efforts work, and which don't. But they're just the beginning.

As mentioned above, what you do with these numbers to improve your future marketing matters more. And that's not all. In addition, it also makes sense to draw connections between them in order to get the maximum possible insights.

Most marketing firms, for instance, will tell you that reach and impression are largely vanity metrics with little impact on the actual business. In isolation, that might be true - there is little correlation between a Facebook user seeing your ad once and immediately buying your product. But what if that user has also seen other ads, clicked on a few, and is already a lead in your system? Now, that single view might have been the little push they needed to get out the door.

That's why you need to think beyond tracking, and move toward connections. The more you can approach your analytics from an audience perspective, the more you will see these connections appear. The result is an approach that treats your analytics not as a collection of tracked metrics, but an interconnected web of insights waiting to be uncovered.

Find a Partner Who Embraces Marketing Analytics

All of the above makes sense for a marketing firm like BOLD, which embraces analytics as a way to maximize digital marketing success. But the same might not be the case for your business, especially if you don't have the resources necessary for tracking, analysis, and decision-making based on the data you find.

When those resources don't exist, you risk becoming so disenchanted that your analytics never move beyond the annoying phase. Worse, you might abandon them altogether. In fact, that step would be a significant mistake. Look to find a partner instead that can jump into the niche and help you out exactly where you need it.

We can be that partner for you. We're proud in our ability to not just track and analyze relevant marketing data, but also leverage that data into insights that can lead to crucial decisions in the future. To learn more about a potential partnership, contact us.

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Topics: marketing analytics results markting

6 Smart Strategies to Boost Sales and Conversions with Remarketing

If someone told you there was a marketing strategy that could increase your digital ad response rate by more than 400%, you'd probably stop listening, and you'd probably relegate that claim to an ever-increasing pile of promises that are simply too good to be true.  But what if the someone making that claim was one of the leaders in digital marketing strategy, namely, CMO?

Remarketing:  A Proven Strategy to Boost Response Rate

That strategy is called remarketing, a way of displaying relevant ads on other websites to consumers who've visited your site.  When effectively implemented, remarketing can be a game-changer for your digital marketing campaigns, in large part because people who've taken key actions on your website constitute among your strongest leads.  Consider, for example, these metrics:  

  • More than 65% of people who visit your site and don't buy anything will make a purchase if you can persuade them to visit a second time (Search Engine Journal)
  • When customers see your remarketing ads, they're approximately 70% more likely to make a purchase
  • Only about 10% of consumers dislike seeing remarketing ads—more than 30% either like them, or like them a lot
  • In a recent survey, marketing leaders said that remarketing tops the list of underused marketing technologies

What Exactly Is Remarketing?

Search Engine Journal provides a useful definition of remarketing:

"Remarketing…are banner ads that target you after you've visited a company's website. So after you visit a site like 80sTees.com…and move on to a site like Gawker, you might see a 80sTees.com banner ad."

Chances are you've already seen your fair share of remarketing ads.  Maybe you bought some products on Walmart's ecommerce site and later seen those same products in banner ads on some other site.  Perhaps you've simply visited certain product pages but didn't follow through and purchase them—you then see ads on other sites that remind you of what you saw and feature links to return to those product pages.  You might have clicked on one of those ads, or perhaps you didn't.  The point is that many consumers do, and that can mean substantially increased sales for your business.

How Does Remarketing Work?

Following site visitors around the internet and showing them ads related to where they've just been (read, on your website) might at first blush seem like a daunting technological achievement.  It's actually relatively easy to do (particularly if you have the help of an experienced digital marketing agency). 

It begins by putting JavaScript code on your website.  The code attaches a browser cookie to visitors to your website.  That enables you to follow those visitors as they move to other websites (sites that you select), and to show them whatever display ads you want.  Typically, these will be ads that align with their behavior on your website and inspire them to complete purchases there.

Is That All There Is to It?

Well, that's it as far as the technology goes, but, like most marketing strategies, making remarketing work for your business means getting into the weeds, aligning your remarketing campaigns with key marketing objectives, and following best practices.  Those best practices include the following 6:

  1. Tag the right webpages:  the best remarketing campaigns are strategically integrated into a comprehensive marketing strategy, one with clear (and measurable) marketing goals.  For example, you might want to increase sales of products that aren't moving as well as you'd like.  In that case, you would tag those product pages.  If you want to generate leads using content offers, you could tag the pages that contain that content.  The point is, your remarketing campaigns need to tag the pages that help you achieve your objectives.
  2. Choose the right customers:  just as the pages you tag need to be part of an overarching strategy, you need to focus your remarketing efforts on those customers who are most likely to respond to your ads.  That means establishing conditions which define the customers you focus on.  For example, you could prioritize those customers who've visited your website a minimum number of times, or the ones who've looked at certain content.
  3. Focus on abandoned shopping cartsaccording to Shopify, more than 67% of ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned.  The good news is that many of those customers can be persuaded to complete their purchases, especially if you understand why they abandoned your cart in the first place.  For some, the reason is a cost they didn't expect (often due to unexpected taxes or shipping charges).  You can get these customers back with remarketing ads that offer special coupons and discounts.
  4. Don't forget about content marketing:  remarketing campaigns aren't necessarily targeted to leads near the bottom of the sales funnel.  For those closer to the top, you can use remarketing to push customized content that establishes trust and credibility.  For example, if a new lead visits product pages about CRM, you could nurture that lead with content which shows how to find a CRM tool that meets their business needs without spending more than they need to. 
  5. Make changes based on results:  you wouldn't continue sending emails that subscribers aren't opening—you'd probably swap out your subject line to increase performance.  In the same way, when you discover that some of your display ads are underperforming, you need to change your messaging.  You should also A/B test all the elements of your campaign, including images and calls to action, and use that intelligence to create campaigns with the highest response rates.
  6. Don't stop remarketing to customers who convert:  the goal of a successful remarketing campaign isn't to make a single sale—it's to create loyal customers who return to your site repeatedly.  One of the mistakes newcomers to remarketing make is to cease remarketing to converted customers.  The fact that those customers responded positively to one remarketing campaign means there's a good chance they'll respond positively to a subsequent one.

Conclusion

As with any digital strategy, some businesses are far more successful with remarketing that others.  To get the strongest results from your remarketing campaigns, you should consider partnering with an experienced digital marketing agency.  To learn more about the ways our social and digital marketing and video production services can help you drive sales and grow your business, contact us today. 

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Topics: marketing strategies digital marketing sales and marketing

5 Steps You Can Take Right Now to Embrace Results Marketing

We all want our marketing to matter. If we didn't, why spend the budget in the first place?

Topics: marketing results results markting marketing goals

Social Media Marketing Strategy: Tips for LinkedIn

While most people start their social media marketing campaign on Facebook and Twitter, there are other options, especially if you are a professional or your business caters to them. LinkedIn was created just for professional businessmen and women. You will find many business owners, doctors, veterinarians, real estate agents, and much more on LinkedIn.

Topics: social marketing social media marketing SEO Tips

How to Create Content that Gets Likes and Shares

Content is still king. Yet, with so many brands embracing content marketing to connect with their audiences online, how do you separate your message from the rest?

Topics: Blogging Content marketing social media marketing content engagement visual marketing

Marketing Tips for Your Business

Marketing is not always easy for business owners. Besides not having much time to devote to their marketing, it can be quite confusing if you never studied marketing in college (or have any experience with it). It takes skills and understanding to be good at marketing.

Topics: Marketing Strategy marketing strategies advertising strategies

Inbound Marketing Strategy for Tech: Write About the Problems Your Technology Solves

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Not every invention comes from necessity and not every person with a need thinks of the right invention. But when we really need to solve a problem, humans will figure out a way and then share that solution with others. It's just our nature. From the plough to the search engine, the need to accomplish a task has been met almost every time with an invention that solves the problem. Sometimes the solution takes no more than a few seconds to think of while other innovations have taken hundreds of years, but technology comes through in the end.

Topics: Inbound Marketing Blogging Marketing Strategy SEO Tips marketing strategies

Tips to Come Up With a Marketing Strategy

Many business owners, especially those just starting out (or with small companies), do the best that they can with their marketing. They market a little when they have time. When they don't, well, they don't really have time to worry about it. They usually post some on social media and blog when they can, without a strategy. However, this can really be a waste of time.

Topics: marketing tips Marketing Strategy marketing strategies advertising strategies