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STRYDE | Utah Marketing Awards 2014

Utah Marketing Awards 2014

By | Awards, Industry News | No Comments

For those in the marketing world, or those trying to get into the marketing world, there was only one place to be Wednesday afternoon — the 2014 Utah Marketing Awards.

More than 200 of the best Utah marketing professionals and small business owners attended this second annual event, hosted by the Utah Chapter of the American Marketing Association, at The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. These talented marketers gathered, mingled, ate, shared ideas and recognized the big dogs and the up-and-comers of the local marketing scene at this year’s UMAs.

Here’s what made this year’s UMAs a hit with all those in attendance:

  • Met creative, talented, bright-minded marketing folk from across the state
  • Exchanged ideas, advice, bad jokes and business cards with innovative marketers
  • Networked with marketers, small business owners and others interested in the marketing, business and communications fields
  • Made and built relationships with the best marketing minds Utah has to offer
  • Entertained by local comedian John Moyer

Besides meeting and greeting with fellow marketers, another big part of this event was recognizing and awarding local marketers for their skills and influence in the marketing world. The awards given out this year were: Best Marketing Team, Best Marketing Campaign, Rising Star and Best Branding/Re-branding. Here were the winners:

Best Marketing Team

Best B2C Marketing Team Winner: The Color Run

The Color Run is a for-profit event management company that hosts numerous colorful 5k events around the world. They believe and celebrate healthiness, happiness and individuality at each of their events. The Color Run hosted more than 170 events in more than 30 countries in 2013.

Best B2B Marketing Team Winner: StorageCraft

StorageCraft is an international software development company, with corporate headquarters in Utah, European headquarters in Ireland and regional offices around the world. They develop high-quality software solutions for desktops, laptops and servers.

Best Marketing Campaign

Best Content Marketing Campaign Winner: 97th Floor

97th Floor is a digital marketing agency. Their team uses creativity and innovation to help their clients flourish online.

Best Online Marketing Campaign Winner: Salt Lake Comic Con

Salt Lake Comic Con is a popular pop culture convention that brings fans together with their favorite comics, anime, sci-fi, fantasy, TV and film, along with their creators, celebrities and other professionals, to meet and greet and learn more about what they do.

Best Omni Channel Campaign Winner: MarketStar

MarketStar is a sales, marketing and business process outsourcing agency. They currently have 3,500 employees worldwide that serve clients on six continents in more than 60 countries.

Rising Star

Winner: Emily Burkhart, Social Media Manager with Stryde

Emily has been serving Stryde and its clients with her wit and rad social media marketing skills since March. She spends her workdays artistically promoting content through all the social networks, coming up with innovative social strategies, writing insightful blog posts, networking and keeping up with the latest industry news. Before becoming a Strydette, Emily attended the University of Utah and graduated with a degree in marketing. When she’s not obsessing inside the social world, this native Chicagoan loves bragging about her Blackhawks, pizza knowledge and her furry best friend, Lucy. (In case you can’t tell, we’re very proud and honored with this award since it was given to one of our own. Go Emily!)

Winner: April McKay, Marketing Event Coordinator with StorageCraft

April McKay is the marketing event coordinator at StorageCraft, an international software development company.

Winner: Carly Ray, Event Coordinator with Canvas

Carly Ray is the event coordinator with Canvas, a LMS created by Instructure that makes teaching and learning easier for millions of teachers and students.

Best Branding/Rebranding

Best Rebrand Winner: CompHealth

CompHealth is one of the biggest health care staffing firms in America. They have highly trained experts who help people find the best solutions for their specific situations and believe in putting people first.

Best Website Winner: Canvas by Instructure

Instructure was founded in 2008 and launched Canvas in 2011. Canvas is an innovative LMS used by more than 800 colleges, universities and school districts, helping millions of students and teachers better and more easily learn and teach in their classrooms.

Some lucky folks walked away with an award, but everyone walked away with innovative marketing solutions and a pocket full of business contacts. It’s a great and fun event for Utah marketers, so if you missed this year’s UMAs make sure you attend next year!

5 Warning Signs Your Content Marketing Sucks

By | Content Marketing, How-To | No Comments

You’ve probably heard by now that content marketing can help you generate leads, lift sales and increase brand awareness.

Are you currently writing blog posts and creating eBooks for your business – but not seeing the immediate results those Internet marketing gurus said you would?

That’s because your content marketing strategy has a few holes in it.

No, not the good kind.

No, not the good kind.

Here at Stryde we often see five common content marketing mistakes, and today we’re going to share with you how to fix them.

1. You Aren’t Promoting Your Content

Really great content marketing involves two components: content and marketing of that content.

It’s not enough to write a piece of content and then wait for people to find it. There are more than 170 million blogs out there now; what are the odds that your ideal customer will just stumble upon it? Not likely.

Optimizing your content for search engines is important and a good tactic, but the surest way to get people to see your content is to promote it yourself. In fact, some marketing experts say you should spend at least twice as much time promoting your content as you spend creating it.

There are several simple ways you can drive traffic to your content:

  • Share links to your content on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks

  • Share links on directories and forums like inbound.org or reddit

  • Use Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Promoted Pins, and Instagram ads to promote your content

  • Purchase Google ads to drive traffic to your content

If your content is accessible by anyone at any time, such as with a blog post, you will probably just want to share the link via social networks, forums and directories since these are free ways to promote your content.

Here you can see the website Upworthy promoting links to their own posts on Twitter:

And here is an example of Upworthy sharing their posts on Facebook, where they are receiving thousands of shares and likes from readers.

Don’t be afraid to share links to your content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other networks. If it’s good content, you can feel confident others will enjoy it too.

If you are putting your content behind a lead generation form, then you will probably want to experiment with a mix of free and paid marketing channels. Just remember that your content needs to be extremely high quality and valuable if you decide to gate it.

Facebook and Google ads are low-cost paid marketing channels through which you can promote your content. With both advertising platforms you can set your own budget and not spend a cent more than you want to.

2. You Have Lots of Readers but Very Few Social Shares

One quick way to know your content marketing sucks is if you have a lot of readers but not a lot of social shares.

For example, if you have a particular blog post that has 1,000 unique views but only 3 social shares, you have a problem.

There are two causes of low social shares:

  • Your content is not high quality.

  • You don’t provide an easy way for people to share your content.

Of course, you could have both problems. Identifying what YOUR problem is should be your first step.

The way to know if your content is low quality is by looking through your analytics. If you have a lot of visitors but your Average Duration is low and/or your Bounce Rate is high, you probably have a content quality problem.

Yikes! This is not what any content marketer wants to see.

You can find out what your Bounce Rate and Average Duration is by logging into Google Analytics and going to the Acquisition section and then All Traffic.

Low Average Duration and a high Bounce Rate indicate that your visitors aren’t captured by your content and they are leaving your site quickly. To fix this you will need to spend more time on improving the quality of your content.

Some ways to increase the quality of your posts, ebooks and guides:

  • Research before you write and reference interesting facts in your content

  • Include high-quality images and screenshots throughout

  • Interview experts and include original quotes in your content

If visitors are sticking around on your site for a while and your bounce rate is low, then the quality of your content is not likely the problem. In this case you probably just haven’t made it easy for people to share your content.

An easy fix for this is to install social sharing buttons on your content.  You can grab code from Facebook and Twitter to add their buttons to each page where you have content.

If you use a content management system like WordPress, you can install a plugin like Digg Digg which automatically adds social sharing buttons to each of your posts and web pages.

We use Digg Digg here on the Fit Marketing blog and personally recommend it.

3. Your Content Isn’t Helping You Generate Leads or Sales

Your content, whether you put it behind a lead gen form or not, should help you generate leads and sales because it will drive new visitors to your site. Hopefully your site is optimized for conversions.

The secret to generating lots of leads and sales with content is three-fold:

1. You must always generate high-quality content

2. You must generate content consistently

3. You must ask for the conversion

We already talked in the section above about generating high-quality content, so let’s dive into the second point.

According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Report, companies that blog very frequently see a direct impact on customer acquisition.

Companies that blog multiple times per day see the highest customer acquisition rate. That said, it’s equally important to be able to blog on a consistent basis.

If you are not able to consistently blog multiple times per day, it would be better for you to spread new posts out throughout the week. For instance, if you can only blog once per week, then you should try to blog on the same day each week to provide some consistency for your readers.

In addition to blogging consistently, you must also include a call to action with each piece of content you publish.

The easiest ways to generate leads from your content is by putting it behind a lead generation form. This works perfectly if you put together a piece of premium content such as an ebook or guide.

HubSpot is a great example of a company that publishes a lot of ebooks that help them generate leads.

Here’s an example of how they generate leads with eBooks:

If you don’t want to put your content behind a form – usually the case with blog posts – you can include a call to action at the end of the content.

Blogs like Nimble do this really well by including a small banner at the end of each blog post.

If you do not include a call to action with your content, then you will be losing out on leads and potential sales. If you truly drew in your reader, they will want to do something about your content.

Remember that content is marketing and thus should always include a call to action.

4. You Don’t Know if Your Content is Generating Leads or Sales

One gigantic warning sign that your content marketing sucks is if you don’t know if its generating leads or sales.

Having a “feeling” that it’s working is not the same thing as knowing.

You should have conversion goals set up in Google Analytics that will let you identify the sources of your leads and sales. You should check daily to see how many of your goal conversions have come from your content (such as your blog or landing pages).

Once you have your goals set up, you can then easily log into Google Analytics and see how many people have completed your goals from each of your traffic sources.

If your content is behind a lead generation form, then you probably know how many leads you’re generating – but do you know what your best source of traffic is?

Check your analytics to find out!

If Facebook is sending you a lot of traffic that is converting on your lead gen form, then you should put more time and effort into growing your Facebook channel so you can exponentially increase your leads.

5. You Can’t Tell Me What Your Strategy Is

What is your content marketing strategy?

This is not the content strategy you're looking for.

This is not the content strategy you’re looking for.

Sometimes when I ask this question the answer is a look of confusion, and the response, “Well, we blog three times a week and I’m writing an ebook.”

That’s really great, but that’s not a content marketing strategy, that’s just content.

If you have a content marketing strategy in place you should be able to easily answer the following questions:

  • What are your concrete, quantifiable, realistic goals for content? Brand awareness? Leads? Sales?

  • How will you measure your goals along the way?

  • Who is responsible for producing content?

  • How often will new content be published (including blog posts, ebooks, guides, infographics, guest posts, etc.)?

  • Who will create the landing pages for content that goes behind lead gen forms?

  • What happens once a new lead comes in? How will they be nurtured? How will they be converted into customers?

  • How much is a lead worth? What is an acceptable cost per lead?

  • How will your content be promoted?

  • What is your budget per month for paid traffic?

If you cannot answer ALL of these questions, then your content marketing is doomed to suck.

The good news is you can fix it!

Make time to sit down today and start figuring out the answers to these questions. This can feel like an overwhelming task, but it is a really important one. Without the answers to these questions, you’re wasting time and money.

Making Sure Your Content Marketing Doesn’t Suck

There is no doubt that content marketing can help you generate leads, lift sales and increase brand awareness. Following the tips in this post is a great way to get your content marketing strategy on the right track. So, let’s review:

  • Promote your free content through free channels, particularly your social media networks. Use free and paid promotion for premium content that generates leads.
  • Make it easy for readers to share your content, with social share buttons – it’s free promotion!
  • Check your analytics to make sure your content is high quality. If not, spend more time creating richer, more comprehensive content.
  • Create content consistently.
  • Include calls to action.
  • Set measurable goals, and follow up on them. Know who is responsible for what.

Got it? Good.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions. Or for more inbound marketing tips, download our free ebook.

 

Image credits: blue.tofu

 

5 Ways to Integrate Inbound and Outbound Marketing

By | Inbound Marketing | No Comments

Integrate Outbound and Inbound Marketing

I’m often asked to compare inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, and people are surprised when I talk about how to integrate inbound and outbound instead.

At Stryde, we focus on inbound marketing because we believe that it’s the best way to engage people who have an increasing amount of control over the content that they consume. We rightly point to stats like these to highlight the rise of inbound and descent of outbound, or traditional, marketing:

Go Inbound!

  • Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines (Content+)
  • Inbound marketing is estimated to deliver 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound methods. (HubSpot)
  • 50% of consumers spend 75% or more of their total shopping time conducting online research (PowerReviews)

Boo Outbound!

  • 86% of People Don’t Watch Television Ads (The Guardian)
  • 44% of Direct Mail is Never Opened (EPA)
  • 2/3 of US Citizens are on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List (FTC)
Pledging to Inbound Marketing

I pledge allegiance to inbound marketing and to the principles for which it stands

With trends like these, it is no wonder that 48% of marketers will increase inbound spending in 2013 (HubSpot). Smart marketers know that the future will be won by businesses and brands that earn their attention through remarkable content.

Outbound works best when it’s integrated with inbound

All of this doesn’t mean that outbound marketing is dead. One new customer told me last week that radio ads are driving their impressive monthly growth. Another customer recently broke their all-time record for leads collected at a tradeshow. When people need our help to make inbound and outbound marketing work together, they often find themselves in one of the following situations:

  • already committed to a significant contract for an outbound campaign
  • already using an outbound tactic that is generating a positive ROI
  • hoping to reach a target audience that is hard to reach online
  • feeling that if they are not at a certain event, or in a certain publication, that they won’t be viewed as players in their space
  • needing to see huge results immediately

Avoiding leakage – the power of inbound when combined with outbound

In any of these situations, our customers see a significantly higher ROI on their outbound when they integrate an inbound approach. Here are five ways you can make it happen:

1. Events (conferences, seminars, tradeshows)

Before the conference, prepare some killer content (guide, ebook, checklist, white paper, video, webinar, etc.) focused on something that the attendees deeply care about.

Diagram

Get an email list of everyone that will be attending and send it the list. Any click through from the email should take people to a well-designed landing page that is built to convert. Make it easy for people to get the content they want and give you their email address in exchange. Once the attendees have joined your list, be prepared with some follow up emails that provide more relevant content. Let them know where they will be able to find you at the event and give them a reason to get to know you.

If there will be great content shared at the event, blog and/or tweet about the event live. Make sure that if you are blogging, you are focusing on using keywords that matter to your target buyers. When tweeting use the conference hashtag and have fun interacting with everyone else that is in one the cyber conversation.

After the conference, follow up with another piece of powerful content. Give them a compelling reason to connect with you via email, and the appropriate social network (generally YouTube, Facebook or Twitter for B2C companies, and LinkedIn and Twitter for B2b companies).

If you follow these steps, your event marketing dollars will do more for you than they ever have before.

2. Direct Mail

If you have a targeted list that will go to your ideal customer, test an ad campaign that invites people to download a free white paper on a hot topic their industry. Send these people to a landing page that is built to convert. Your campaign will be more measurable, and you will see a higher total conversion rate than if you were going only for the direct sale. Once they are in your funnel, you can follow up to close the sale.

3. Email

If you are sending an email to the list of another company or organization, first make sure you know what matters to those people and understand how they like to be spoken to. As you prepare the email, be careful to not come across as too salesy. Remember that people don’t like to be sold to (although they love to buy). Instead, deliver compelling content. Direct the audience to a specific landing page made just for this campaign, and deliver a special offer that is only meant for them. When you do this right, you are leveraging the inbound infrastructure that you already have set up – and building one of your most powerful assets, your contact list. Oh, and you can also make a lot of money while you’re at it.

4. Advertising on LinkedIn and Facebook

These work best if you know that a certain company on LinkedIn, or a certain group of people on facebook, are already interested in what you have to offer. Make your ads specific, focusing on what you know that they care about. You might, for example, know that people from a certain company have been visiting your website – you can find the key decision-makers of that company on LinkedIn and target them. Or, you may know that a certain facebook group has been sharing your content. Put an ad in front of them that references the materials that you know they liked and give them a clear way to get more of that.

5. TV

When you are running TV campaigns, include a URL with each spot. Make sure that the landing page at that URL is mobile-optimized, as 49% of mobile-internet users will browse their phones while watching TV (IAB). Keep your message on the landing page consistent with the messaging from the ad, and offer clear calls-to-action that make it obvious to people what you want them to do. Remember to include sharing links – because if your ad is interesting enough to bring people to the site, it is compelling enough for some people to share. Once they have visited your site, reward them for paying attention and earn their permission (and contact information) to keep the conversation going through email and social media.

The leaky bucket

The bottom line is that we see inbound marketing as being the best option for most businesses. And almost any outbound marketing will have a bigger impact for you if it is integrated with inbound. Dumping money into an outbound campaign without having your inbound ducks in a row, is kind of like trying to carry water in a leaky bucket.

Five Social Sites You’re Probably Not Using To Their Fullest Potential

By | Social Media | No Comments

connecting with social mediaWhen it comes to social media marketing, I’m not a big believer of drumming up followers, friends, and likes just to look awesome. What I am a huge believer of, is using social media for what it was intended, connecting with your target audience, engaging them, and turning them into customers and then into brand advocates.

In today’s post, I’d like to talk about five social networks that you’re probably not using at all and if you are, you’re not using them to their full potential. Let’s get started.

Quora

I would describe Quora as a question/answer engine. It is a fantastic place for businesses of any kind to hang out and participate in discussions in their verticals. If I were a plumber, I’d look for individuals who are asking questions about fixing toilets, sink drains, and so forth. The awesome thing about Quora is, not only will you get some great backlinks out of your efforts, but if you provide quality answers that actually help someone, you might actually get some new business out of it. Which again, is why I participate in social media 🙂

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon has been around for many years and most business owners have probably used it on more than one occasion. If I were a betting man, I’d say that most businesses have an account with Stumble and use it for the sole purpose of pushing their new blog posts to “another network”. I’M GUILTY!!!

What you should be doing instead is tapping into their Paid Discovery option, which helps you deliver your content to relevant individuals. All you need to do is submit a URL and select targeting preferences and BAM!!, your content is in front of a new audience that is actively seeking content that you have to offer. It’s easy marketing!

Flickr

A lot of businesses have forgotten about Flickr since Pinterest has been on the scene. Businesses who have forgotten about Flickr are missing out on a huge opportunity to get their content in front of an audience not found on Pinterest. You will find that you’ll have the most success by posting share worthy images and videos, for example, you can show behind the scenes images your staff or production line as a way to better connect with current and future customers.

FourSquare

Another network that has been forgotten by business owners is FourSquare. FourSquare came out of the gate swinging, with a ton of momentum, but has fizzled over the last year or so as more people have chosen to use Facebook’s location check-in feature and Yelp. The truth is, there are still die hard FourSquare users and if you aren’t using their business tools, you are missing out on opportunities to connect with current and future customers and bring them into your brick and mortar stores.

Cafe Mom

Cafe what? Yes, Cafe Mom is a social network that most people have never heard of, which is a crying shame since it is a huge network where moms hang out and chat about ever day events. For businesses whose target audience is mothers, Cafe Mom is an excellent place to jump in and join the conversation, or even better, just follow along and come up with some great content ideas for your blog posts and drip campaigns. If this is your target audience and you’re not hanging out at Cafe Mom, you are seriously insane 🙂

What do you think? Are you spending enough time in these social networks? Are you leveraging their full potential to connect with your audience? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.