That’s Not How Content Marketing Works

There is a common myth that surrounds content marketing and how it works. This myth hurts businesses, content marketers, and anyone who plans and strategizes the content a brand creates to promote itself and its products. It is a misconception of what content marketing can and cannot achieve.

The myth goes something like this: You can create a blog post, and after someone reads that blog post, they will buy something from you. (Feel free to replace “blog post” with “podcast”, “video”, or whatever content you happen to produce.)

That’s Not How Content Marketing Works

Many people think that the reason you produce a piece of content is so that someone will read/listen/view that content and will be inspired to make a purchase.

Even if you promote this piece of content on social media, and it gets shared a healthy number of times on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, this still doesn’t mean that the people who shared and consumed it are going to sign up for whatever it is you are selling.

This is simply not how content marketing works.

How Content Marketing Works

First you must create new content and share it on social media, and repeat this process over and over again until you get good at it. You need to keep at it and continue to improve until you find the type of content that will resonate with your audience. This is as much about improving as a content producer as it is a trial-and-error process!

And once you have done this, it is almost never the case that someone will stumble upon our content, without having any kind of history with your brand, and then decide to purchase from you.

What does happen, then? People will consume your content many times (because you are creating a lot of it and sharing it!), and they will start to form a positive image of your brand. Because you are creating valuable, interesting content, they will look at you as a trusted resource. Then when they are in need of the service or product you offer, they will remember your brand and the many positive interactions they’ve had with your content.

Even if they don’t remember your brand, they will most likely perform a web search for the type of product or service you offer. And because they have been to your site many times, it will show up higher in their personal Google search results, and now that they have the need and they have a positive image of your brand in mind, they will purchase from you.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Keep in mind how this model of how content marketing works so that you don’t get discouraged when your first few blog posts/YouTube videos/podcasts don’t immediately drum up sales. It is the companies that keep producing valuable content that earn their customer’s mindshare and eventually their patronage.

This post is based on a YouTube video by Rand Fishkin — Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing

Easy Web Marketing: Increase Ecommerce Revenue for Free

Easy web marketing by increasing revenue with Receiptful. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.If you are interested in a simple way to increase your ecommerce revenue, you should check out Adii Pienaar’s new web startup, Receiptful. Receiptful empowers you to send your customers “supercharged receipts” that include up-sells, discount codes, opportunity for customer feedback, and more.

Why Receipts?

Ecommerce receipts are a huge web marketing opportunity! While it is harder than ever to get a user’s attention on the Internet, almost everyone checks their email receipts. This is where Receiptful comes in.

Receiptful integrates with your ecommerce platform, so that when your customer checks their receipt to make sure the transaction was recorded properly, they are greeted with  your company’s logo, related products, promotional discounts, and a chance to share customer feedback on their online shopping experience.

Here is an example of what your receipt could look like using Receiptful:

An example of a Receiptful receipt that you can use to improve your web marketing and increase ecommerce sales.Right off the bat, you can tell this looks much nicer than most email receipts used on the web today, many of which are simply text.

You have probably spent a good amount of time and money on your company logo, so having it front and center to help build brand recognition is a good first step. The receipt builder integrated in the Receiptful platform allows you to then add a discount code (see above) or an up-sell. You can even have the discount code expire to encourage a swift return visit to your online store.

You can also add a feedback module (not seen above) so that your customers can share whether they had a good or bad experience shopping with you. If they had a bad experience, you want to be the first to know so you can rectify it before they share the bad experience with others! You can show your customers that you value them by responding in a timely and personal manner. By fixing their problem, you also have an opportunity to turn a customer with a bad experience into a customer who is loyal and appreciative of your swift customer support.

Is It Really Free?

Yes! Receiptful is 100% free. They have stated that their “supercharged receipts” will always be free, so you don’t have to worry about switching to their service and then getting dinged later. They are planning to create new functionality that they will charge for, but all existing functionality will be free forever.

How Do I Get Started?

If you are using WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, or EasyDigitalDownloads, there are Receiptful integrations ready to be installed. If you aren’t using one of these services, there is also a custom API to incorporate the Receiptful service into any ecommerce platform. This is significantly more work than using the pre-existing integrations though.

If you are looking to improve your web marketing and increase your ecommerce revenue, you should give Receiptful a try for yourself!

 

Smart Web Marketing: Find Out What Your Customers Think

Smart web marketing by finding out what your customers think. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.If you’ve been trying to improve your company’s web marketing, you might have run into this familiar problem: You end a blog post with a call to action like “What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!” And more often then not, when you check the comments… crickets. Or even worse, there are one or two comments that are clearly spam!

This doesn’t necessarily mean that no one is reading the blog, it just means that for many people leaving a comment is a chore. They have to think of something worthwhile to say, and then  communicate it clearly and succinctly. They may even have to share their email address or sign up as a user for the site. These are all annoying roadblocks that many people will not bother overcoming just to leave a comment, especially if you don’t already have an active community of commenters.

Getting readers to engage with your content is one of the pillars of successful web marketing, but if you can’t get people to comment, how else can you find out their opinions?

Enter the Poll

One easy way to find out what your customers think is embedding a poll at the end of your post, like this one:

Polls are a no-friction way for your readers to share their opinion. They don’t have to worry about phrasing, having their email address sold to spammers, or being lost in some user registration process.

Granted, you may not be interested in what your readers think about french fries, but polls can also be used to find out useful information like:

  • which new product features your users are interested in
  • which city you should target for your next event
  • what new t-shirt design or other apparel design your readers like best

If you are looking to gather opinions from your readers quickly, polls are an incredibly easy method of going about it.

Polling Options

For the poll above, I used Polar. The ability to easily upload an image for each response option is possibly the best unique feature of Polar, but it also offers easy color customization and automatic resizing for desktop, mobile, and tablets.

To start using Polar, simply sign up for a free account on their website. You can start creating polls right away. Once your poll is created, follow their simple instructions for embedding the poll on your site.

Another polling option is PollDaddy. While Polar is geared towards quickly assessing the thoughts of your users, PollDaddy seems designed to collect lots of data. Their plans range from free to $899/year. They also enable you to collect multiple answers in the form of surveys.

For the purpose of quickly embedding a poll at the end of your blog post (or even for posting on your company’s Facebook or Twitter account), Polar earns our recommendation.

What’s Next?

If you found this useful and are interested in learning more about how web design, online marketing, or social media marketing can help your business, contact Power Marketing International for a FREE consultation. We’re always happy to discuss how we can help your business achieve superior results.

 

Online Marketing: 4 Keys to a Better LinkedIn Company Page

Online marketing tips for using LinkedIn to create an effective Company Page. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.According to LinkedIn, more than 3 million companies have created Company Pages to connect with 225+ million professionals.  A Company Page helps LinkedIn members learn about your business, brand, products and services, and job opportunities.  Any LinkedIn member can follow a Company Page and research shows that 50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to purchase from companies when they engage with them on LinkedIn.  Plus, LinkedIn pages often perform well in company searches, thereby improving your search engine rankings, making your LinkedIn company page worthy of a role in your online marketing efforts.

See the SlideShare presentation below for some great LinkedIn company pages to inspire your efforts. You can click on the pages to see them live.

4 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company page

An effective Company Page doesn’t just happen – it takes strategy and time.  Here are 4 tips to maximize the effectiveness of your Company Page.

#1. Tell Your Audience What You Do Best and Give Them a Reason to Follow You

  • LinkedIn offers a “products and services page” – Use it!  Marketers who build up that page tend to attract twice as many company followers.
  • Include links to your white pages, case studies, videos, and how-to content.

#2. Do Your Homework – Take Advantage of Built-In Features

  • Edit your description so that it leads with powerful, keyword-rich sentences to make it more SEO-friendly.
  • Don’t forget your company contact information, descriptions of your offerings, and your areas of expertise.
  • Encourage your customers to write a recommendation for your product and/or service on your LinkedIn Company Page.

#3. Engage your audience

  • Encouraging a two-way conversation will help convert your audience into customers.
  • Post updates about your company – news, events, new employees and products, awards and honors, etc.
  • Keep your content short and start with the most important information first. This is how journalists write.
  • Include a picture, chart, or link whenever possible.
  • Ask questions to engage your audience.
  • Communicate with the voice and brand of your company.
  • The easiest way to turn off your followers is to give them the hard-sell.  This is a big no-no.  Instead, foster an informative dialogue regularly to keep your company at the top of prospects’ minds.
  • LinkedIn’s targeted updates allow you to tailor your message to your audience.
  • Encourage your audience to engage by liking, sharing and commenting on your posts.Engage your colleagues – Employees are 70% more likely to engage with your company updates.Use a multi-channel approach – Include a link to your LinkedIn Company Page everywhere, such as your email signature,   and include a follow button on your website.

#4. Analyze & Improve

The “page insights” and “analytics” on your Company Page are awesome tools that can help you focus and refine your LinkedIn strategy.

  • Page Insights show page views and unique visitors and page clicks over the last 7 days. It also displays charts showing data on page views by tab, Products and Services page clicks, and more.
  • Analytics: Use LinkedIn Analytics to leverage metrics and to reveal trends about your company page.
  • Monitor your Engagement %.  Noting which updates have higher engagement rates will help you understand what topics or types of posts engage your audience the most, allowing you to optimize future content.
  • Review your demographics. This tool provides a snapshot of your followers and allows you to tailor your content.
  • Know how you Compare. Knowing how your page compares with your competitors’ page can help refine your LinkedIn strategy.

If you want to keep your customers and prospects informed and keep your company name top of mind, an effective LinkedIn Company Page is a great tool.

Need help developing a better online strategy for your business? Contact PMI today to arrange a free initial consultation.

This post is based on an article by Jason Miller – 5 LinkedIn Company Page Tips to Enhance Your Marketing.

8 Online Marketing Tips for Stronger Calls to Action

In our last post we covered the types of calls to action (CTA’s) every website should have. In this post we’ll cover ways boost your online marketing results by making your CTA’s more effective and persuasive.

One of the best ways to move leads through the sales funnel (and eventually convert prospects into customers) is with a compelling call to action. As people browse your marketing material, they want to know what to do next. A strong call to action – a clear, simple, and compelling offer that persuades them to take the action you want – lets them know what to do.

A call to action may include asking your readers to …

  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Share the content on their social media channel
  • Download or read additional content
  • Enter a contest
  • Register for a conference
  • Make a purchase

Here are 8 ways to tweak your CTAs to significantly increase conversion rate: 

1.  Use actionable language

Keep it simple and concise, and use action verbs, such as discover, unearth, find, learn, and download.  Here’s an example: “Download E-book and Template Now.”

2. Align CTA copy with your landing page

Make sure the wording used in the CTA is the same as the wording used on the landing page you send them to.  If you ask someone to download a “crash course” on SEO, it may be confusing to call it an “ebook” on the landing page.

3. Include a clear value proposition

Let your readers know the benefit of clicking on your CTA.   Provide a brief description of what happens when they click on it; Will they save time?  Will they save money?  Will they become experts in SEO?

4. Play up the time-sensitivity

People are busy. One of the best ways to keep your reader focused on your CTA is to create a sense of urgency and encourage your readers to click on your CTA right now.  You can do that by using words like “now” or “today” on your CTA button.

5. Make sure they see it

To make sure that people don’t simply skim over your CTA, make it large, and make it pop off the page with contrasting design. Placing your CTA above the fold will usually result in more clicks. Placing it below the fold typically results in higher-quality leads (because they took the time to read past the fold and therefore tend to be more interested).  Wherever you place it, you want it to get noticed.

6. Make the button look clickable

Make it clear that it is a button that can be clicked on.  You can do this with shading, borders, or contouring to give it a 3-D look.

7. Add alt text

There are still many people who have problems displaying images in their browsers.  They may get an error, or maybe they purposely block images from appearing.  Including alt text in your CTA allows your reader to see it no matter what, and alt text can help boost your SEO.

8. Personalize CTAs for different segments of your audience

With the right software, you can tailor your CTA to only appear to a select group, so that visitors, leads, and customers each see something different.

Online marketing tips to make your calls to action (CTA's) more effective. From PMI, offering online marketing services to Reading PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and beyond.Summing it Up

Although there is no magic formula for the perfect CTA, these tips should help.  You still need to continue tweaking copy, design, sizing, placement, etc. and testing what works best for you.  If you need help developing better calls to action for your marketing campaigns, please contact us.

This post is based on “The Complete Checklist for Creating Compelling Calls-to-Action” by Ginny Soskey.