7 of the Most Effective Marketing Techniques

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Content marketing is king because it’s such an effective sales and marketing tool. If you think all your content marketing strategy needs to include is a good blog schedule, you’re wrong. And, you’re missing out on some great opportunities. Here are seven effective ways to use your content to drive results.

1. Segment Your Prospects

Now it’s easier than ever to try to cherry pick your prospects using strategic demographic micro targeting. By segmenting your target market into specific groups, you are better able to deliver highly effective, targeted content and convert the kinds of leads you want.

2. Implement The Pillar-Cluster Model

I know, the name makes it sound like it’s going to be complicated, but it’s not really. The Pillar-Cluster Model is a great way to make sure your site has good SEO. Search engines may get confused by all of the individual content pieces shared on your website. This means your content is competing against each other rather than working with each other. This Hubspot graphic illustrates the problem perfectly:

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Search engines want to see overarching themes and how your individual content pieces connect with these themes:

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To implement the Pillar-Cluster Model, start by deciding what your four or five cluster topic pillars need to be. Then create a single pillar page for each that provides a high-level overview of a topic and hyperlinks to cluster pages that address the topic’s subtopics. This signals to Google that your pillar page is an authority on the topic. An added bonus? When your pillar page ranks higher, so do your cluster pages.

3. Develop A Podcast

Online audio content is gaining in popularity and is a good lead generator. If you’re going to take the time to create a podcast, make sure it’s informative and entertaining or no one will listen to it.

4. Implement Social Media PR Campaigns

If you’re still just placing your PR on news outlet publications, you’re missing a huge audience on social media. In fact, your prospects spend more time on social media now than ever before. You need to deliver content that will perform well on both social media platforms and publications. Know the audience and provide what they want.

5.  Build Your E-Mail Subscriptions

The data tells us it takes about six to eight touch points to generate a qualified lead. By getting prospects to subscribe to your e-mails, you’re building an interested audience for your content and hopefully a list of hot prospects. Make sure what you e-mail your list of subscribers is relevant and of interest so prospects will be actively engaged and keep reading each time they hear from you.

 6. Resend Popular Posts

Take a look at your blog views and see which ones are pulling the highest. Pick a few of the best performing ones and republish them with some new information added. This helps you build on your organic traffic and conversions these posts are already generating.

7. Conduct A/B Testing

The only way you’ll know which copy, ad, design, etc. works the best to generate leads is to conduct A/B testing. My blog has a few posts about A/B testing on it if you need a refresher. In general A/B testing enables you to test two variables – like two different headlines or two different calls to action – and see which one performs better.

These seven marketing techniques are sure to help you finish the last half of 2019 strong.

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Eight Ways to Optimize Your Landing Pages to Drive Long-Term Lead Generation

SocialMediaMarketingIn marketing we often fall prey to instant markers of a campaign’s success. However, studies show that when done correctly, the content we create today may still be working to generate leads for months and years to come!

Think long-term on the content you create. It shouldn’t only address your current campaign goals. It should also address a broader message that will resonate with prospects for some time to come. You want to generate organic search traffic because it’s the strongest source for leads that are about seven-times more likely to convert to a sale. When prospects find your content via a search, you have a captive audience. Follow SEO best practices, and organic searches will help you generate leads by doing very little.

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However, no message is effective unless it can be found – even long after you’ve stopped promoting it in your e-mail campaigns, on social media, and in your calls to action. Make sure you optimize your content for search engines.  Here are eight ways you can be sure you’re building landing pages that offer long-term lead generation. I don’t go into a lot of technical detail, but anyone handling your website and lead generation should be very familiar with this information.

  1. Your Page Title Should be Short and Keyword Optimized

Your page title is considered the most important element for any on-page SEO. It is where you describe your web page so search engines find it. It is displayed at the top of your browser – usually only the first 60 characters show, so keep it short.

  1. The URL You Use for Your Landing Page Matters

Next in importance is the URL you use for your landing page because it helps share even more information with search engines about your content. Most search engines only show about 65 characters in the URL portion – and some of these will be for your domain name.

  1. Your Heading Tag Should Match Your Page

It’s important to make sure search engine visitors can figure out exactly what you’re offering on your landing page very quickly, before they lose interest and bounce back. Creating a heading that closely matches your page title helps increase your ranking and number of click throughs.

  1. Your Meta Description Must be Clear and Direct

Your meta description is where you describe what is on the page. It’s where you influence prospects to click on your search result. Make it to the point, including a summary of what they’ll see. You don’t want to lose their interest. The more clicks, the higher your Google ranking, which leads to more clicks.

  1. You Need to Optimize Your Images

Search engines can’t easily scan images, but you can still use them to help your page rank for certain keywords. Often search engines take clues about what an image contains from its file name and the alt text you provide.

  1. Test Your Landing Page for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets enhance search engine result listings and give searchers more information on your content. Google offers a free testing tool that will scan your page and let you see what it could look like in search results. For more information on rich snippets, you can read this 2018 post.

  1. Create Forms With as Few Fields as Possible

Most landing pages have forms to capture prospects’ information in exchange for content, a discount, etc. Forms serve a crucial function, but prospects don’t like filling them out – especially if they are long. If they are too long, prospects will leave your page.

  1. Design Your Landing Page So Prospects Link Back to It

To get the highest search ranking, search engines check to see if Internet users are vouching for your landing page by linking back to it from a blog post, e-mail or social media.

By implementing these eight tips, you will be able to create very effective landing pages that bump your position in search engines now and well into the future. This enables you to generate leads well beyond your launch of new campaigns.

 

 

Why Customer Reviews are an Important Part of Your Marketing Strategy

 

client-reviews.pngWe can all relate to the importance customer reviews play when we are making a purchase, whether for a high-dollar item or a less expensive one. In fact, consulting customer reviews has become second nature for us, a worthwhile step in the buying journey. So, it makes sense that this practice is spilling over into our business purchases as well. About half of all B2B buyers use reviews before selecting new products or services.

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While still a somewhat new practice in the business world, if customer reviews aren’t rolling in, you can use the ones you do have to their fullest potential by including them in your marketing strategy. This will increase their visibility while helping you build a trust relationship with your customers and prospects. This graph shows you why that’s so important.

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TrustRadius conducted another poll that found 76% of respondents in an active buying cycle used customer reviews during their decision-making process.

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The influence customer reviews wield is evident. Consumers trust peer reviews to give them honest, accurate feedback on a product or service to save them from making a bad purchase. Now that we agree customer reviews are important, let’s talk about how you can incorporate them into your marketing for the greatest effect.

4 Ways to Make Customer Reviews Part of Your Marketing Strategy

1. Keep Your Reviews Honest

There really is no such thing as a bad review. So called bad reviews often times point out limitations that are an important component of the fact-finding mission and an important objection that your sales people will know they need to address. Having this information upfront decreases customer dissatisfaction. It also gives you an opportunity to respond to the unfavorable review with a workaround, update, or great customer service that everyone can view. Your customers and prospects want to see that you care. Show them that, and you win their trust, and that wins you loyal customers.

2. Recruit Brand Ambassadors

It’s likely you have many satisfied, loyal customers. However, it’s also likely that most of them haven’t written a review of your product or service. There is nothing wrong with asking a happy customer to write a review. If appropriate, you can also invite them to record a video testimonial or write a guest blog about their experience with your product or service.

3. Make Your Reviews Easy to Find

You want to make sure your customer reviews are very easy to find. You’ll want to feature customer testimonials – written or video – on your website, in e-mail campaigns, and on social media. Stack the content to get the most bang for your buck.

4. Actively Monitor Your Reviews

Depending on your business, you’ll have reviews on the media you control, but reviews of your product or service may also appear on third-party sites. Make sure you are actively monitoring where your customers are leaving reviews and what they are saying. This enables you to get a complete picture and to respond to positive and negative reviews in a timely manner. Again, it’s all about sending the message that you care about your customers’ experience with your brand.

By encouraging, acknowledging, and promoting customer feedback, you are showing your customers and your prospects that you value their opinions and you want to make their buying journey with you a satisfactory one. Customer reviews are a great way to build trust, which goes a long way toward building your business.

2019 Marketing Challenges and How to Overcome Them

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overcomeThe role of marketing is changing and growing, covering multiple functions and business units now – traditional marketing, lead generation, online sales, digital marketing, etc. Not every company is prepared to handle this rapidly expanding and critical role. Many companies lack the staff, expertise, and infrastructure to pull off really effective marketing.

One of the biggest problems is that it’s not uncommon for the different marketing decisions to happen in a silo. Key players of other marketing functions are all too often unaware of critical decisions, technology purchases, platform selections, and strategy approaches that are being done in different parts of the company. Without a unified approach, opportunities are missed and important data isn’t gathered or analyzed, so necessary changes aren’t made.

These three steps will help you get your marketing efforts back on track for a unified and strategic approach that addresses the broad and ever-expanding needs of today’s marketplace and the challenges facing marketers.

  1. Know What Your End Game Is

We all know the importance of goal setting in determining the desired business outcomes. Equally important is that all key players (including executives) are involved in establishing and implementing the plan. Accountability alongside follow-up is key. Determine who is doing what and when, how it worked, what changes are necessary, and how it applies to the company as a whole.

  1. Determine Obstacles And Your Pivot Strategy

Likely, you already know what obstacles you face – low budget, board members, old or non-existent technology, incompatible platforms, etc. – and that’s good news. Now, you can work together with your team to address these obstacles head on. Brainstorm ideas with those from different areas of your company. You will likely get a broad range of good ideas, but more importantly you get buy-in from your team. No matter what level in the organization, employees like to feel heard and valued.

It’s important to also establish guidelines for when you’ll pivot to a new approach if the strategy for combating the obstacle isn’t working. Keep your communication clear and ongoing. Change isn’t always easy. Often you’ll encounter process naysayers who prefer to keep things “how we’ve always done it.” Ongoing education is critical to get buy-in from everyone in the organization.

  1. Implement Your Plan Incrementally

Effectively addressing your company’s changing and growing marketing needs is a big job – one that takes time. Determine the most critical gaps, the strategy to solve, who is responsible for doing the work, develop an implementation schedule, and create a process for analyzing the data you gather.

Successfully addressing your 2019 marketing challenges involves taking a holistic approach to how your company markets as a whole and working to build cooperation and communication among the key players to ensure your marketing and sales goals are being met.

Demographics Don’t Gauge Your Target Market’s Mood – Why That Matters

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Unknown-1In a climate ripe with data gathering and advanced analytics, the mood of our prospects isn’t often considered. We’ve come so far since the early days of advertising, yet in many ways we still rely on the yesteryear approach to marketing. Think about how we price advertising, which is archaic when you consider it’s best to buy ads one at a time based on analytic analysis. Equally outdated is the basic premise of demographics – a practice that begun in the 1920s – and it’s enduring focus on greater segmentation and third-party data collection with disregard to how we consume media in today’s economy.

In all of our advances, we seem to have missed the boat. Social media is the closest we’ve come to hitting the mark. Only in that arena do we realize that we have the means to speak to our prospects in real time. But, that’s where we tend to stop. We don’t acknowledge that that means we can advertise to prospects frequently, optimizing campaigns around prospects’ given moods.

If You Want a Personal Connection With Prospects, You Can’t Discount Mood

Much (if not all) of our segmenting is hard fact centered; we never consider mood. Yet, we increasingly want to use our technological advances to make a more meaningful, personal connection. It seems counterintuitive, and I’m not alone in this thinking.

We should be putting more emphasis on prospects’ given mood and optimizing from that vantage point. Media buys would then be adjusted to the content that speaks to the prospects’ moods, using real-time reactions. Traditional, long-held demographic segmenting practices alone will not get us where we want to go. We have to dig deeper and consider the moods of our prospects to reach them in a meaningful way.

Is Amazon the Next Great Advertising Platform?

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Amazon continues to experience spectacular growth in advertising revenues, so it’s worth it for marketers to look into this option. Now, that task is even easier. Last week Amazon released its inaugural 2019 Advertising Forecast, which published the results of a survey of 681 digital marketers and advertisers to better understand the challenges and opportunities that Amazon advertising products present.

Here are highlights from the report that I think are worth sharing.

44 percent of Amazon advertisers plan to add campaign automation tools in 2019. While the report shows that currently larger companies with revenue greater than $25 million are using Amazon ad automation tools more so than smaller businesses (under $10 million), both categories are equal in their intentions to use automation tools in 2019.

The tools they intend to use include ones from Kenshoo, Splitly, Sellics, Seller Labs, Prestozon, Pacvue, PPC Scope, Helium 10, Adlucent, Jungle Scout and Ignite, as well as proprietary tools.

Marketers will benefit from keeping top of mind thatAmazon purchases are “bottom of funnel,” which means shoppers log on with a specific purchase in mind. There’s an opportunity to capture some market with “similar products” with an Amazon ad that Kenshoo supports.

Recognizing the potential on Amazon, there are an increasing number of tools being developed specifically for Amazon to help marketers. For example, Teikametrics offers a retail optimization platform that optimizes Amazon search term bids, product keywords and other search parameters, and also supports the deployment of Sponsored Brand ads. Teikametrics takes advantage of the fact Amazon is often both the inventory advertiser as well as the order fulfillment center. Using this tool, sellers can zero in on important metrics like how many ads to run if inventory is low, or whether it is better to increase advertising or lower prices.

As Amazon continues to invest in its advertising offerings, marketers are looking for tools that will enable them to effectively scale and automate their campaign management. Amazon’s 2019 Advertising Forecast signals there is a substantial opportunity for new tools to help marketers do just that and that we’ll likely see ongoing innovation in this area as vendors work to meet growing marketer demand.

 

Three Primary Challenges Facing Marketing Executives Today

Platespinning-homepageToday’s marketing executives live in a very dynamic business environment and face new and complex challenges.  Among these challenges, there are three that I believe are most prevalent. The primary challenges facing sales and marketing executives today are digital integration, meeting marketing ROI objectives, and customer experience.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved with each challenge.

Challenge #1: Digital Integration

The reason digital integration is such a challenge is because marketing operations leaders are often not up to speed on the technology needed to fully bring their organizations into an optimized digital environment. Digital transformation is a necessity for B2B marketing operations and requires multiple marketing technologies.

Challenge #2: Meeting Business ROI

There is often a critical gap in business accountability when it comes to marketing operations. However, with increasing availability of financial metrics accountability, the position of the marketing executive has now become more and more relevant in the boardroom. We’ve moved from marketing being viewed as a nicety line item on the budget to a powerful and far more respected driver and supporter of the company’s revenue growth strategy. Marketing is now considered a must-have for overall business success.

Challenge #3: Customer Experience

Marketers’ new battleground is customer experience. Businesses are now required to pay attention to the experience they are delivering to their customers and would-be customers. The reason? Good customer experience pays in a major, major way. Nothing matches the success of a good customer relationship, and today’s technology gives customers ownership over their experiences. So, smart businesses are responding by becoming far more customer-centric. This means their marketing operations are driven by corporate strategy and operationalized by people, data and technology. This combination delivers a customer-centric approach that delivers real business results.

To be a successful marketing executive, these three primary challenges must be faced head on. This will enable you to transform your marketing operations into a strategic one that is primed to meet today’s challenges with forward-thinking, effective solutions.