Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working & How to Fix It

By | Content Marketing, IMSLC | No Comments

The following is information we gleaned from Dan Bischoff’s presentation, 10 Roles Needed for Content Marketing Domination, during January 2015’s IMSLC event.

If you’ve fallen bait to the content marketing cycle-of-no-return, you’re not alone.

Thousands of marketers like you have tried the good ol’ “launch a company blog and start getting tons of traffic” tactic and been disappointed in the results.

To illustrate – the year of 2013 showed a hefty 93% of businesses were using content marketing as a way to expand their audience. This percentage shrunk to 86% in 2014, and is continuing to shrink.

Content marketing, as trendy as blogging and clever infographics have been, is losing steam.

So why the decline?

“It didn’t work. It wasn’t working for people…” is the simple answer provided by Dan Bischoff, founder of Content Hook, during his presentation at last month’s IMSLC. That’s right, Dan founded a company based around content marketing. So if you’re thinking there’s probably more behind the story of content marketing’s failure other than “it doesn’t work”, you’re right.

Let’s start by touching on the main reason people attempt content marketing in the first place…

How It Used to be

Just ten years ago, salespeople held you by the strings. If you wanted to buy a product, you typically had to go through someone to get all the information needed: a sales rep, a travel agent, a receptionist – you name it.

Today we hold personal salesmen in our own pockets. Most of us use online reviews, search engines, social media, and friends’ reviews to make purchasing decisions.

“Before a customer talks to a salesperson, the sales process is already done,” Dan pointed out. According to the Harvard Business Review, at least 57% of the buying process has already occurred before customers pick up the phone.

Content marketing is used for a variety of reasons, the main one being that businesses want to play a role in the 60% of the sales process that occurs before customers contact the company itself.

So Why Are Marketers Failing at Content Marketing?

Dan gave us three reasons:

1

2

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Need we say more?

You simply can’t compete against the elderly, soldier dads, or (especially) mourning dogs. Human stories will always win over advertised content.

On top of that, there are companies like Buzzfeed and Upworthy who do nothing but create content. Most of it is junk, but clickable junk.

And let’s not forget that Facebook likes are becoming less and less meaningful – the total number of pages ‘liked’ by the typical user grew more than 50% last year.

Dipping Your Toes vs. Diving In

This is the key.

The difference between those who find success using content marketing and those who don’t is the difference between simply dipping your toes in the water and diving in full force. You need a plan, a strategy, and a process.

A large part of that plan includes a robust, focused team made up of roles that are designed to drive content marketing from being so-so… to shareable.

Content Marketing

stryde-ladies

What The Stryde Ladies Can Tell You About Their Content Marketing Tools

By | Our Process, Tools | One Comment

At Stryde, content creation, distribution, and promotion is just another way of life. It’s our everyday bread and butter, our mental workout routine, and the juice that gets us going each day.

We three Stryde ladies know that there’s a lot that goes into implementing these marketing tactics from start to finish and using the proper tools isn’t just a big help, it’s a necessity!

For each of our specialists in the areas of social media, content creation, and outreach, there are a variety of resources that we use and love. Here’s what goes into our toolboxes:

Emily Burkhart, Social Media Manager, knows how to promote! She amplifies client’s content to tailored audiences on the daily and optimizes it with creative images, always while keeping up with industry trends. She relies on a few tools to stay on top of it it all.

“I live in Hootsuite. It’s the tool I utilize every single day without fail. Whether I’m scheduling shares for the week or putting reports together, Hootsuite really gives you all that you could ask for in a social management platform. I’ve tried other platforms, but even the most beautifully designed pale in comparison to Hootsuite.
When it comes to content amplification, getting your hashtags right is paramount! For that, I love Hashtagify.me. It shows a hashtags popularity and related keywords, all with one simple search.
Now, when it comes to images, I cannot live without Canva! I don’t have a formal education in graphic design, but Canva makes it so easy to make the image in your head a reality. If you find yourself fumbling with Photoshop and InDesign, or just want to add some fun images to your current blogging efforts, you have to check out Canva.”

@realemilylouisa
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Kirsten Metcalf, Content Strategist, writes on anything from witty dating advice, to cloud computing, to more sensitive topics each day; changing the subject matter and keeping her tone on point! She can draft up an intelligent, entertaining content piece in nothing flat, using a few tools to help spark her creativity.

“I like organization. If my house and workplace aren’t organized, I can’t get anything done. This is exactly why my No. 1 tool to keep me, my topic ideas, client content pieces, and my weekly to-do list organized is Evernote. Everything I need to see and be reminded of is right there in one place, and it easily syncs with all my devices so I can add and check stuff in the office or on the go. I’m cheap and just use the free version, which makes this tool even more fantastic that it keeps me focused and on task, and helps turn my content ideas into completed works of art at no cost.
As a writer, I’ve experienced writer’s block my fair share of times. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with an amazing content topic. This is where Quora comes in handy. I just recently got a Quora account, and so far I like this Q&A site. I selected topics that interest me and that are relevant to Stryde’s clients, and now when I log in I can follow and search for popular questions being asked and answered within those topics. I can also ask my own questions and answer other users’ questions. It’s a great way to see what questions users in Stryde’s industry and our clients’ industries are asking and topics they’re talking about, which helps me discover new ideas when trying to brainstorm relevant content topics.”

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Emily Christopher, PR & Outreach Strategist, understands the organic way of promoting content. When it comes to building relationships, quality and authenticity are key. She uses a few tools to get content under the noses of the right influencers and out to the eyes of the right audiences.

“In running an outreach campaign, I can’t stress organization enough. I use Buzzstream to build lists that live under assigned tags and can track my email threads and add notes. The Buzzmarker is also a newer feature that lets me save contacts directly from the page that I’m on. That’s really helped to speed things up for me. Buzz also makes it super easy to set up email outreach templates, while still giving me the option to customize a message before sending and giving it a more personal touch.
When I’m looking to reach out to more niche audiences, a great tool I’ve been using more recently is Citation Lab’s Link Prospector. It allows me to build contact lists and easily label them by campaign. You can select the type of report you want to run for your campaign; I often use “guest posting” and “links pages”, and then plug in my search phrases. It automatically pulls a customized list of contacts that’s right in line with what I’m searching for. It’s pretty awesome.”

@emily_C27
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Implementing these tools daily does not only make our jobs much easier, but it also expedites processes and helps to propel our client work to the next level. A big thanks to all of the tools we’ve listed and we’re excited to discover many more! What are some of your favorite content marketing tools?

OUTREACH & LINK DEVELOPMENT

Why Outreach & Link Development MUST Be Included In Your Content Marketing Efforts

By | Link Building | No Comments

A holistic approach to content marketing is required for success. Every aspect of your presence online, from your website to your remarketing efforts need to be aligned perfectly. Too often, individuals will focus solely on creating killer content that they overlook how that content will reach consumers.

Planning the distribution and promotion of your content is essential not only after the content is created, but before and during as well. To quote the knowledgeable Larry Kim, “If your content doesn’t show up in users social media timelines or email inbox, was it even created?” You should constantly be active in online communities and touching base with recipients of your email list. With the shrinking world of organic reach via social media platforms, you’re well aware of the “pay to play” nature of the space.

But, there’s another aspect of content promotion that is vital to success in distribution. You need a tactic that better increases your chances of showing up the ever-important user social media timeline or email inbox.

Content Outreach & Link Development

Algorithm changes by Google as far back as 2013 began to target low quality links and put emphasis on high quality, natural linking strategies. While this did translate into a higher quality user experience, generating quality links takes a lot of manual work on the part of the marketer. The process involves prospecting, building relationships, creating valuable content, and then ultimately securing the link.

A Look At The Statistics

When your outreach involves building relationships with influencers in your industry, you set your content up for maximum growth potential. The experts in synthesizing and making sense of millions of pieces at content, BuzzSumo’s team found the following when it comes to influencer impact on content visibility.

Influencers and content shares

Image Courtesy of BuzzSumo

From the above graph, you can clearly see the near exponential impact that influencers have on content shares.

Tools Of The Trade

To perform content outreach and link development, you need to flex both your technical and interpersonal skill set. Specifically, you need the right tools and the right approach to fostering relationships.

The Best Link Development & Prospecting Tool

It’s worth restating that the process of link development is intensive. But, there are tools available to make the job much more efficient. My favorite tool for performing link prospecting and outreach is BuzzStream. With BuzzStream, you can keep track of prospects, link building, and outreach all in one place.

The tool offers capabilities to prospect links and efficiently perform outreach. You can find an excellent video tutorial that walks through using BuzzStream for link prospecting on YouTube. There’s also a great comprehensive walk-through of using BuzzStream for outreach on the Point Blank SEO blog. But just as with holistic content promotion, there’s more to outreach than simply using a tool. 

The Best Way To Foster Natural Outreach

When you really get down to the heart of the matter, if you solely rely on the processes you have in place or the tools you have to help you develop prospect lists and manage email outreach, those relationships simply aren’t reaching their potential. You need to go beyond the screen and connect with bloggers, journalists, and people in general in a meaningful way.

The goal in building these relationships should be rooted in a genuine desire to connect with like-minded individuals and individuals whom you admire. Then, the auxiliary benefit of these relationships is the potential to leverage them to increase linking root domains and ultimately increase search engine rankings.

Adopt A Holistic Approach

In order to effectively carry out your content marketing efforts, you must include outreach and link development alongside your existing promotion strategies. Have these approaches helped you reach your content marketing goals? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Nurturing the Sales Funnel Using Social Media (Infographic)

By | Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Strategy | No Comments

Social media is taking the marketing world by storm. It’s crowded, competitive, but if you do it right, it’s golden.

Haven’t formulated a strategy for your businesses’ social media accounts yet? To successfully capture leads you need a fully developed plan, not a half-hearted attempt to be semi-visible.

To nurture your company’s sales funnel using social media, consider the following:

Awareness through repeat visibility.

Interest through engagement.

Conversion achieved through landing pages.

Sales through targeting new leads.

Loyalty through repeat visibility and engagement.

Easier said than done. So what’s the next step for you and your company? Put your strategy into action by following the funnel recommended in this insightful infographic.

SocialSalesFunnelIG

 

Google Algorithm Update Mobile 2015

Google Announces Two Important Ranking Signal Changes

By | Industry News | No Comments

Yesterday, February 26, 2015, Google announced two changes to “help users discover more mobile-friendly content.” Recognizing shifting user habits, Google is adjusting the ranking signals to mobile-friendly pages and app indexing.

In the update posted yesterday to Google Webmaster Central, Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung, and Doantam Phan outlined the changes to the algorithm and when these changes will go into effect.

On more mobile-friendly websites in search results:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

What does this mean for your website? It means that your site better be mobile-friendly! Google has given website owners plenty of time, almost two full months, to make the necessary adjustments to their sites. If you need help getting started, head over to Google Developer Mobile-Friendly Websites guide.

The second change impacts how app content is shown within search results:

Starting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.

If you have an app, you need to implement App Indexing as soon as possible. With App Indexing, users can go directly from relevant search results to your app, as long as it’s already installed on their phone.

It seems that all of the 2015 predictions that rolled out last month are already coming to fruition: mobile is indeed the focus of the year! We think this will serve as a great benefit to user experience, and website owners should make the necessary changes to better serve consumers. What do you think about the announcement?

Read the original update from Google on Finding more mobile-friendly search results here.

'gramming branding

‘Gramming Branding: Instagram for Business Do’s and Don’ts

By | Social Media | No Comments

With Facebook’s organic reach continuing to plummet, businesses are on the hunt for better ways to reach consumers through social media platforms.

Enter Instagram.

Instagram has enjoyed astronomical growth over the past several years. In fact, the mobile app’s year-over-year growth from 2013 to 2014 comes in at a staggering 66%. Furthermore, Instagram’s average engagement rate is 15 times higher than that of Facebook! Users are 58 times more likely to engage with a brand’s post on Instagram than engaging with the same content through Facebook. Instagram is truly an engagement incubator.

Salesfoce Canada recently released an awesome infographic on Instagram’s basics. Check it out below and start to realize how brands can start telling their own stories and increase awareness through the platform.

Click To Enlarge

Say Cheese: Perfecting Your Instagram Strategy

Via Salesforce

As we alluded to before the graphic, brands need to understand the landscape of the platform and elements of a successful strategy before they begin to represent themselves via Instagram.

Here are our favorite takeaways from the infographic.

Businesses & Instagram Do’s

Make Your Brand Instantly Recognizable

  • Your brand should be clear and identifiable.
  • When posts don’t include your products, make sure they include your logo.
  • Link to your company’s website from your profile page.

Post Quality Photos, Regularly

  • Decide on a flexible, but consistent, posting schedule.
  • Mix up fun images with real images from your business.
  • Use the platform to give users sneak peeks at upcoming events and product launches.

Take Advantage of Descriptions

  • Descriptions below photo posts should be clear, engaging, and reinforce your brands image.
  • Remember, here it’s not all about the links! Instagram isn’t for directing users off-site.

Use Hashtags!

  • Create firm-specific hashtags so you can collect branded photos.
  • Encourage followers to include your firm’s hashtags in their relevant posts.
  • Utilize trending hashtags, where appropriate, to gain more eyeballs.

Engage with Followers

  • Follow back your relevant followers!
  • Repost user-generated content.
  • Add personal comments to relevant posts by others.
  • Reward your followers with discounts codes and promotions.

Businesses & Instagram Don’ts

Post Irrelevant Photos

  • Only post photos that are relevant to your firm.

Overpost

  • There is no industry-wide acceptable posting schedule through Instagram.
  • Post regularly, but avoid filling your followers’ feeds with an influx of content.
  • Stick to your schedule!

Ignore Followers

  • Interacting with your followers is the best way to grow your account.

Is your company active on Instagram? Share your successes and lessons with us in the comments!

content for every b2b sales cycle stage

The Best Content Types for Each Stage of the B2B Sales Cycle

By | Business, Content Marketing | No Comments

As content marketing moves from an industry-specific jargon to a widely-accepted business tactic, we’re privileged and excited to be on the forefront of a new frontier. More firms dipping their toes into the content marketing pool means even more brilliant minds taking stock of the landscape.

One firm doing just that is Eccolo Media. Eccolo recently published results from an extensive survey among technology buyers. The firm surveyed over 100 individuals who influence or make technology buying decisions.

Respondents ran the gamut from engineers to C-level executives. Here’s a breakdown of the respondents demographics:

B2B Content Survey Respondent Demographics

Eccolo’s survey sample size is minimal, but the breadth of job roles and industries gives an excellent snapshot of what business-to-business buyers are looking for when it comes to content consumption.

Eccolo Media’s 2015 B2B Technology Content Survey Report Findings

The goal of Eccolo’s survey was to determine what content is most helpful in each of the four sales cycle phases: pre-sales, initial sales, mid-sales, and final sales.

Here is the Eccolo Media 2015 B2B Technology Content Survey Report, Eccolo Media Inc. infographic. After the infographic, we’ll really dig into the survey findings and what they mean for your firm.

eccolo_buying_cycle_infographic-FINAL

Digging into the Infographic

Creating content is a common content marketing stumbling block for organizations. The best way to overcome it is to totally understand your consumers buying journey. After you understand their journey and questions that guide the search, you can create content based on the Content Marketing Pyramid.

The buyer’s core questions along her journey create the crux of the sales process. These questions then help to form what content customers crave and consume at each stage.

Now, let’s really dig into Eccolo’s findings on content types for each stage of the B2B sales cycle.

Phase One – Unaware of the Problem

Before the consumer enters the buying process, she is understandably unaware of the problem at hand. The most effective way to spark a problem recognition is through visually-focused and succinct methods of communication.

E-newsletters – Email is an essential content type in your overall content marketing strategy. Through an email newsletter, consumers are able to quickly identify a problem they’re facing. With short copy and a clear call-to-action, consumers can easily identify the gaps they need filled.

Blogs – As with email, blogs provide a perfect stage to communicate a concise message. Unless consumers are subscribers to your blog, they will most likely end up at your blog through social channels or search results. This is the perfect place to herd customers into your funnel, since these channels are built for first-touch interactions.

Brochures/Data Sheets – Again, the common theme with stage one content consumption is visually appealing and succinct. Brochures and data sheets are the perfect way to quickly communicate an overview of a problem to consumers.

Phase Two – Understand the Problem

In the second phase of the buying process, the customer is full-on understanding mode. Here, she’s trying to collect and synthesize as much information on her specific problem as possible. Not surprisingly, consumers crave content that is very detailed and descriptive in this stage.

White Paper – White papers are a great content choice in the second stage of the sales process because they are lengthy, detailed, unbiased, and informative. White papers provide objective and thorough information that customers love to read at this phase.

Case Studies – Similarly to white papers, case studies are detailed and informative. The customer here is looking for similarities between firms you have already served, and the subsequent successes in that interaction. Remember, at this phase, consumers WANT lengthy and detailed content.

Phase Three – Identify Solutions, Consider Vendors

Now that the consumer fully understands every element of her problem, she will begin to consider solutions and vendors that provide those solutions. Here is where your firm should shift from complete objectivity to really showcasing what sets your firm’s solution apart from your competitors.

Detailed Tech Guides – Technical guides go much more in-depth into problem-solution scenarios than white papers or case studies. With tech guides, the problem and solution are described in meticulous detail. This is precisely what consumers crave here, so give it to them!

Videos – We all know that images are processed faster than text. In fact, 50% of our brain is dedicated to visual functions. Cater to your consumers preferences here by describing more complicated solutions through a video. Videos provide a great opportunity to speak directly to your customers and explain more complicated concepts through voice rather than text.

Webinars – Webinars provide a one-two punch to customers in the third phase of the sales process. Not only can you provide crazy-detailed information, but you provide it in a visually appealing manner. What’s also great about webinars is that they allow you to communicate in real-time with your consumers and answer questions directly.

Phase Four – Finalizing vendor, purchasing solution

As the infographic points out, fewer consumers digest content in the final phase of the sales cycle. Nearly 50% of consumers utilized content in the second and third stage, but by the fourth stage that drops to just under 20%. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create content for that 20%. Quite the opposite, actually. By providing useful content at the final stage, you could greatly increase your firm’s chances of being selected.

EBooks – B2B consumers utilize eBooks in the final phase of purchasing. Quite separate from white papers, eBooks are conversational, highly visual, and easy-to-read. EBooks highlight what kind of firm is providing the solution, and how the firm itself views the solution options.

The Sales Cycle, The Buying Process, & Your Firm’s Content

What we loved most about Eccolo’s survey findings was that it reinforced the concept of consumer-driven content at each stage of the sales cycle. For B2B companies, it can be easy to dismiss content creation as a strictly B2C endeavor.

But, that could not be further from the truth! Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you’re always talking to people.

Let these people dictate what they do and do not want to see at each step in their buying process, and adjust your sales cycle around that. By simply putting yourself in the shoes of your consumer and answering each question that could arise along her journey, you’ll effectively create content for every stage of the sales cycle.

Into the Funnel.

Driving Quality Leads From Your Blog Content

By | Blogging | No Comments

As a content marketer, one of your main focuses when creating content needs to be on lead generation. When deciding what the goals of your content marketing strategy are, lead generation should be toward the top of your list. Your blog content should be generating quality leads into your marketing funnel, as well as building trust with your customers, increasing brand awareness and driving engagement to your site.

Content should be the foundation of your lead generation efforts. Content is what fuels all your marketing campaigns, from email to social and everything in between. But according to a recent IDG study, 61% of marketers claimed generating leads was a problem for their company. A big reason behind this is that companies generate leads, but they’re generating leads that aren’t ready to purchase and they end up losing those leads. To prevent your leads from being lost, you must invest in lead nurturing and other middle of the funnel methods to help build strong relationships and trust.

But first, you must grab and keep the attention of potential leads at the top of the marketing funnel with your blog content. Companies that blog produce about 67% more leads per month than companies that don’t. Capturing a reader’s attention during the awareness stage provides you with a great opportunity to turn this reader into a quality lead who you can better engage with later on.

Below are ways you can effectively drive quality leads from your blog content.

Select Your Content Topics

Confused about what blog topics you should write about? Don’t make it so hard. Write about topics your customers are interested in! It’s as simple as that. To better know what topics to cover:

  • Ask you customers what they want to know.
  • Check your web analytics to see what past topics have been successful.
  • Keep up to date with your industry’s news so you know what and when things are happening.
  • Follow other industry experts on social media to learn what they’re writing about.

When it boils down to it, write useful, informative and unique content. This type of content allows you to build credibility and trust with your customers over time.

To stay organized and on track with your blog’s mission, have a handful of categories you write about so your blog content stays structured within your blog and so your reads know what topics you typically cover. When your readers know what content they can expect from you, it helps you get more interaction between them and your content, which also means they learn more about your business.

Connect Your Prime Content With Your Blog Content

Your blog posts are uploaded as a method of engagement for those at the top of the marketing funnel, as well as a way to reengage your current audience. For the most part, these readers are in the awareness stage, which means your content needs to secure them as a business lead so you then can start building a richer, more meaningful relationship with them through your other various channels.

The way to do that is adding a call-to-action (CTA) somewhere in your post that encourages readers to view a more prime piece of content you’ve created, i.e. whitepaper, infographic, video, etc. But before a reader can view this content, have them provide their name and email address — which you collect and save — so you are able to reach out to them in the near future.

Construct An Email List Using Forms And Pop-Ups

Prime content is a great way to produce email subscribers, as well as one of the lead generation forms of your business. To continue to grow and get more people on your email subscriber list, include an email form on your site that’s easy for visitors to find and quick and easy for them to fill out. There are two simple things this form can ask visitors to do:

  • Fill out their basic information, i.e. name and email address.
  • Ask them to subscribe by RSS.

When determining where to place this form on your site, you not only want to make it easy to find, but you also want to make sure it doesn’t seem out of place or disrupt the flow of content on your site.

You may think we’re crazy for saying to use pop-ups since most readers, probably including yourself, find pop-ups quite annoying. But when pop-ups are used correctly, they can work very much in your favor and lead to sign ups.

The first thing to remember is not being aggressive with your pop-ups. Program them so they appear in a noninvasive way when a visitor is about to leave your site or a certain page on your site, depending on how long they’ve been active. You must also remember that the point of a pop-up isn’t to disrupt what a site visitor is doing just to attain their attention. Think about it. When you’re browsing a site or reading a blog post and out of nowhere a giant, flashing pop-up appears, basically yelling in your face, you have zero desire to read it. You immediately close the pop-up and/or leave the site.

So when you use pop-ups on your site, provide a compelling offer to obtain a visitor’s email address, encourage them to view or download another helpful resource of yours or simply remind them just how valuable and informative your blog always is. And don’t be annoying about it.

Nurture Your Leads Through Strategic Email Drip Campaigns

Email is a quick and direct way to reach customers. There were 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide in 2013, a number expected to rise to 4.9 billion by 2017, and approximately 182.9 billion emails were sent and receive each day throughout the world during that same year. But emails aren’t just a way for you to talk to leads. They’re your way to nurture them and give them a reason and opportunity to respond. And nurtured leads are the kind of leads you want. When compared to non-nurtured leads, nurtured leads make roughly 47% larger purchases and produce about a 20% increase in sales opportunities.

Ever heard of the “batch and blast” campaigns? Well, don’t use those if you have! No one wants to be blasted. Today’s consumers want to receive personalized and relevant communications from businesses.

In order for you to provide that kind of communication through your email drip campaigns, you need to know:

  • How to talk to your customers as individuals, not as a group.
  • How to tailor each email to the customers you’re sending them to.
  • How to make your emails conversational, not sales pitchy.
  • How to make each email engaging, relevant and informational.
  • What’s going to make readers trust you through these emails.
  • How to coordinate them with your other channels.

Emails in this campaign should be geared toward answering your leads’ questions and fulfilling their needs through informative content that educates and entices them and moves them closer to spending their money with your business. Don’t forget to include CTAs and links in your emails that send your leads to your blog, pages on your site, etc., to get them interacting more with your brand.

Drive Quality Leads From Previous Posts

As you’re writing a blog post, include links to other relevant posts that have been published on your company’s blog. Readers know to click on links within a post they’re reading to receive more information about a certain topic, additional resources, industry news relating to the topic, etc. Adding additional links also makes readers see you as more of an expert who’s really done his or her research with this topic.

Relevant links to other posts on your site get visitors reading and interacting more with your blog and other site pages, which means they spend more time on your site. When you encourage more interaction within your site, your amount of leads from your blog increases, or at least it will if you have amazing, useful content.

Include A Free Sample Or Trial Of Your Product

If you can, incorporate a CTA that offers your readers a sample of your product or even a free trial of it. One, people love free stuff, and two, being able to review your product for free instead of having to review more and more content gets a reader moving more swiftly through the sales funnel.

Be sure to choose whichever option works bests with your business and what you’re selling or offering. These options can sometimes get a tad expensive for businesses, but if you can afford it, do it. It’s a good way to drive leads straight from your blog content.

Implement Social Media

Last but certainly not least, use social media. Several, if not all, consumers research various channels online, including most often social media, to find educational resources that help them make purchasing decisions.

What does this mean for you? It means you need to share your blog content on social media platforms to generate more leads. You want and need to be where you customers and prospects are, creating trust, informing them and providing useful content, all of which can be done when you’re on and continuously involved with social media.

A great social media site for B2B companies is LinkedIn. LinkedIn generates more leads for companies than Facebook and Twitter, but only about 47% of B2B marketers actively use this platform. So to stay on top of the game and drive the amount of leads you want, get and stay actively involved with the major social media sites.

In closing, follow these do’s of effective lead generation to drive the quality leads you desire:

  • DO develop content for the different stages of the buying process.
  • DO use a blog and create great, unique content that provides the information your leads are looking for.
  • DO take advantage of direct marketing, i.e. email drip campaigns.
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So, You Want A Bigger Content Marketing Budget?

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

You’re not alone. According to a survey of 600 marketers performed last year, 65% of marketers believe that more resources equate to higher ROI and “brand lift.” More specifically, nearly 35% of marketers surveyed estimated they would see two to five times more brand lift with a bigger budget. While nearly 30% of those surveyed said that more resources would lead to two to five times the return on investment.

Done deal, right? Throw more money into the content marketing machine and watch the results pour out like you just hit the jackpot on a slot machine.

A Dash of Cognitive Dissonance

In that very same survey, marketers were asked if their key content metrics are effective in measuring business results. A whopping 90% said they were uncertain about the efficacy of their chosen metrics.

That’s right. The very same pool of marketers whose majority was certain that a budget increase would yield higher ROI and brand lift, don’t even know if they’re measuring their efforts correctly. Talk about conflicting ideas.

How can you drive two to five times more brand lift and ROI with an increased budget if you don’t even know if your current measurement metrics are valid? Furthermore, why on earth should the powers-that-be approve any budget increase if that is the case?

“Measure Twice, Cut Once”

In Junior High, we had to take wood shop. Now they didn’t call it “woodshop,” it was “applied practical arts.” A rose by any other name, right? Anyway, I digress. It was in this class that the concept of “measure twice, cut once” was hammered into my head.

The same concept continued to appear throughout the rest of my schooling into the University years. When synthesizing droves of data became paramount, and misinterpreting that data held the consequence of passing or failing.

In the business world, there is no omnipresent authority that will grade the key metrics you’ve found. If you incorrectly interpret the data from a content marketing campaign, it isn’t a letter grade that suffers, it’s your firm or your client. Making the concept of measuring and re-measuring before “cutting” your content marketing campaigns even more important.

Before You Demand More, Know What You Have

A large portion of the content marketers that aren’t sure if their content marketing metrics are an accurate reflection of results, may simply be impatient. Remember, there’s no such thing as a short-term content marketing campaign. If you believe your metrics aren’t effective because they’re low, you may just need to wait a few more weeks, or even months, to see the full results.

Rarely does a single metric tell you the entire story. With content marketing it’s no different. Many marketers focus solely on consumption. While that’s important, it’s not the end-goal of your content marketing efforts. Content marketing requires a measurement of how the customer is consuming your content, and a quantification of how that content consumer customer impacts sales. Ultimately, it’s a combination of measuring the customer sentiment as well as the cents that customer ends up spending.

Some of the brightest minds in content marketing, Jay Baer and Content Marketing Institute, reached a consensus on the four essential buckets of metrics you should be tracking. Two of these buckets are meant to convey your consumer’s sentiment towards the content. The other two buckets involve cold, hard cash.

Measuring Sentiment

Consumption Metrics
Consumption metrics are things like page views, downloads, and similar measurements. Essentially, with consumption metrics you’re trying to figure out how many people actually read or viewed your content.

Sharing Metrics
Sharing metrics are quite easy to find and aggregate. In this bucket you’ll find shares via every social network and content syndication platform. With this metric, you’re showing how many, and how much, your consumers are sharing your content with their networks.

Measuring Cents

Lead Generation Metrics
Several lead generation metrics require work to be done before you even launch a campaign. This is quite different than the sentiment metrics that all occur post-campaign. Whether that’s setting a cookie or specific campaign URL, you need a way to see if those consuming your content are transforming into leads. Post-campaign, you can look at consumers’ paths in Google Analytics to determine if a lead form was filled out after interacting with a piece of content.

Sales Metrics
Measuring sales metrics from content campaigns is arguably the most daunting part of all. However, if you’re utilizing a customer or prospect database, it becomes infinitely easier. Note the specific pieces of content that each customer has consumed, and attribute their spending across those particular pieces.

Still Want That Big Budget?

If you aren’t a member of the 90% of marketers that question their content marketing metrics, by all means, ask for that budget increase. But, if you are one of the 90%, you need to evaluate your measurements first.

Examine your past campaigns using each of the metrics above. What are typical results in the industry? Do your results fall below or exceed those averages? And most importantly, did the amount a customer provide a positive return on investment for the amount you spent creating and promoting the content? Only then can you determine if more budget will impact your efforts, or if you need to adjust your approach.

We’re conditioned for our entire lives to measure incessantly and then form concrete, powerful conclusions. Just like success in content marketing, the ability to measure twice and cut once does not appear overnight. It takes constant flexing of your analytical muscles to transform it into a habit.

The bottom line: make sure you’re measuring your content accurately BEFORE you throw more money into a campaign.

Inbound Marketing SLC & StartSLC Combine Forces for Most Successful IMSLC Yet

By | Creative, IMSLC, Inbound Marketing, Video | No Comments

Utah is swiftly becoming what many are calling a “mini Silicon Valley”. Year by year, venture capitalists have been investing more and more money into Utah-born companies – so much so that the state has become one of the most popular destinations for venture-capital funding.

This is not your typical valley.

saltlakevalley

startslc logoBeehive Startups recognized the need to bring more attention to the growing startup community and recently helped host the largest startup and technology festival to ever be held in Utah. Lucky for us, we were able to witness the great success of StartSLC with our own eyes. Over 4,000 people attended StartSLC, which offered over 66 different events to choose to attend.

Inbound Marketing SLC was just one of the 66 events offered, but for us, was our most successful event yet. In keeping with our themed events, this time we could think of no better topic to focus on than, well… startups.

We invited four speakers with four very different but notable backgrounds to come preach to us about what it takes to find success in small businesses.

danbischoffDan Bischoff, Content Hook,  spoke about finding success from a content marketing perspective. Over the past couple of years, content marketing has grown into somewhat of a necessary evil (everyone’s doing it), and an annoying, overly-used marketing term at the same time. What does content marketing mean, anyway? And why are so many people failing at it?

Bischoff answered these questions, and also the question of why less and less companies are using content marketing, in his informative presentation. View his presentation below for insights into what content marketing roles are necessary for domination.

View Dan Bischoff’s Presentation: 10 Roles You Need for Content Marketing Domination

danrodenDan Roden gave a compelling speech about branding. He pointed out that the actual product or service sold by a startup is, in many cases, secondary to the branding behind it.

“So many people think that their marketing is about their product. No one gives a rip about your product if your product is some product they can buy anywhere else. How does your product make them feel?”

Roden also described the one most important thing you can do for your company to differentiate yourself from others – watch for it in his presentation.

View Dan Roden’s Presentation: StartUp Marketing Tips from the Trenches

williamlamWilliam Lam, founder of Dark Energy, shared his experience and knowledge of how startups can find success on Kickstarter. Building a supportive network and being aware of industry trends were two of the many useful suggestions he had for small businesses wanting to gain support from the community.

“You have to be willing to go out and ask people to pledge for you,” said Lam. Not only that, but you have to put a heck of a lot of thought into what you are trying to accomplish with your project.

View William Lam’s Presentation: The Anatomy of a Successful Kickstarter

belovedLastly, three guys from Beloved Shirts spoke to us about the evolution of their brand voice. From a silly instagram account to a product list of over 22,000 skews, Beloved Shirts came out of nowhere and become a unique voice that resonated with people. College students to celebrities loved seeing a company image that wasn’t afraid to be just straight up strange.

Robbie, the face of the brand, pointed out that “…if you have no voice you have no brand. If you have no brand you’re just a commodity. And it just becomes a price battle at that point.”

View Beloved Shirt’s Presentation: Crafting a Voice for the Company

Inbound Marketing SLC is getting a little bigger with every event. Partnering with Start SLC was definitely a step in the right direction and we look forward to more opportunities to partner with local startup communities.

In the meantime, stay tuned for slide decks and full summaries of what we learned from our IMSLC guest speakers in upcoming blog posts by yours truly.

What topics and/or speakers would you be interested in hearing from at the next IMSLC? Let us know in the comments below!