Category: Content

Integrating PR into Digital Marketing Strategy

integrating pr into digital marketing strategy

Have you integrated PR into your digital marketing strategy? It’s time to forget “link building” of SEO days gone by and start focusing on how PR can generate powerful links back to your business.

Gone are the days of link farms, blog comments, link swaps, and guest blogs. However, it is still a known fact that legitimate links to your website are a ranking factor for higher placement on search engine result pages. We’re talking links from the Huffington Posts, local and national news sites, .orgs, .edus, and other well known websites in your industry. But how do you go about getting these in today’s evolving digital landscape? Your greatest tool for generating powerful links is public relations.

Integrating PR into your probably already complicated digital marketing strategy may seem intimidating. It doesn’t need to! In fact, you are likely already doing things as a business owner that lend themselves to future PR opportunities: getting involved in your community, volunteering, sponsoring your child’s athletic team, or working with interns or local universities. The key is recognizing the PR niches where your business and branding fits, and tapping into those resources. And, as an added benefit, using these resources is almost always a sure way to build trust and loyalty with customers.

Public relations and marketing strategies need to work hand in hand to achieve common goals like increased revenue, brand awareness and customer loyalty. Are we suggesting you should spend your entire marketing budget with a PR firm to try get links? Definitely not. Instead, we will help you recognize how PR can help your brand, and we will teach you to integrate tools and tricks that open your eyes to the many opportunities available to your business. You’d be surprised at how much can happen when you spend even five or ten minutes a day on public relations.

Are you ready to learn about how your team can implement foolproof PR strategies in a hassle-free way? Good, because it’s time to unleash your digital growth.

About the Author

Veronica-Romney

Veronica possesses around 9 years of experience in the online marketing industry. She’s currently serving as President and Co-Founder of LoSoMo Inc, a digital marketing agency specializing in location-based business organizations. In this role, Veronica manages the company’s full scope of marketing products including the company’s Website Design & Development, SEO, Paid Search, Social Media services, Email Marketing, Reputation management, and more.

Follow her on twitter (@vromney) to learn more about the digital landscape.

 

Increasing the Lifetime Value of Your Customers With Content Audits

Increasing the Lifetime Value of Your Customers with Content Audits

60% of your customers’ journey takes place before they talk to a sales rep. You may ask, “what does this have to do with content audits?” Well, let me give you an example. Sarah H is a consumer in the market to buy a new car. She’s had the same hand-me-down, economy sedan that her parents sent her to college in 10 years ago. Now that she’s settled into a comfortable career, she’s ready for an upgrade. So where does her journey begin?

With upwards of 3.5 billion searches performed every day on Google alone, it’s a well-known fact that the first thing Sarah will do, just like millions of other people, is perform several online searches to start her purchase journey. While Sarah is conducting her online research, educating herself about options she has available to her before she is ready to make a commitment to buy, is your website showing up on the first or second page of search engines? Are you part of the online conversation that Sarah has before she picks up the phone to talk to a sales person or visit your store. Is your web content built to handle all of Sarah’s questions for every stage of her customer journey?

So let’s back up for just a minute. The obvious, initial answer to why you need a content audit is the all too common, day-to-day problem you are experiencing with your marketing efforts as it pertains to your website: lots of traffic coming in but not enough visitors actually converting into sales. If this sounds familiar, then ask yourself (and your marketing teams) one important question: “Is your content holding the hand of your potential customers throughout their entire customer journey, or is it only there for them when they are ready to move to the shopping stage of their purchase funnel?”. Do you have enough content on your website to cover every stage of their purchase journey, from awareness to exploration to consideration and then finally shopping?

It may sound like a daunting task to provide content for every stage of your customers’ journey, but here’s the most rewarding stat for marketers that translates into tangible and desired business outcomes: 98% of customers surveyed said that they will end up buying a product from a company that holds their hand throughout the entire purchase journey, not just the final stages.

And according to DemandGen report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.

So how do you determine if your content is truly there for your site visitors? Here is a one minute quick exercise we always conduct with our clients during our content marketing workshops and content audits:

Step 1: Login to your website analytics tool

Step 2: Find out what the top 50 most visited pages on your site are.

Step 3: Now ask yourself these 3 important questions:

  • Do these  50 pages help your customers in each step of their customer journey?

  • Do they skew more heavy towards a certain step in the purchase funnel?

  • Are there content pieces that are missing in the top 50 most visited pages that should be there?

one minute customer journey

These 3 important questions are the answers to whether it’s time for a content audit that leads to a customer journey focused content marketing strategy.

You may know exactly what your customers want at every stage of the funnel or you may not. If you are among the people who could use some help in determining what types of questions your customers are asking along their customer journey without having to spend a lot of money, here are some excellent (and mostly free!) resources you can use to guide your content development journey.

Answer The Public

  • Imagine there was a way to hold a microscope to the actual questions about your offering that consumers are asking via search engines such as Google and Bing on a daily basis. Imagine no more! The folks over at Answer The Public have built a technology that allows you to do just that. Here’s how it works:

Infinite Suggest

  • Infinite Suggest enables users to look up the search terms that pertain to their offering, and generate a list of the top relevant keywords. This not only helps marketers to identify the content types and topics to include on their website, but should also be a driving force behind overall SEO efforts, or messaging within various assets. Note: This site focuses on Google’s search engine exclusively.infinite suggest

BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer

  • As their homepage says, with BuzzSumo users can “find the most popular questions asked across hundreds of thousands of forums, Amazon, Reddit, Quora and Q&A sites for any keyword.” The beauty of this tool, as the site boasts, is that it allows you to tap into the minds of consumers on multiple search and discussion platforms.

buzzsumo question analyzer

Google Keyword Planner

(accessible through your Google AdWords tool)

  • This is a popular pick for those whose website is tied to Google Analytics. Leverage Google’s data to guide you through how to mindfully plan your content and keyword strategies. Identify the most popular search terms or phrases for your offering and easily move into setting up your Google campaigns, or simply use the insights for campaigns run through alternative channels.

google adwords keyword planner

Your number one goal with your content strategy should be to become a one-stop-shop for your customers, empowering them to get answers to all questions they have along their entire customer journey. Focus on addressing two important areas: barriers to purchase, and their aspirations. If your site content doesn’t guide your customers through their purchase barriers and motivates them towards achieving their aspirations, then you are in need of new content for your website.

This article first appeared on the Marketing Strategy Hub Blog, republished with permission from the author.

About the Author

Armida Markarova is an award winning Brand and Marketing Strategist who partners with companies to help them turn their marketing dollars into business outcomes that matter. As the Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Marketing Strategy Hub, Armida and her team are focused on making sure that their clients stay on top and ahead of marketing trends by providing them with strategic marketing plans and educational workshops that help them acquire new customers and keep more of the ones they’ve already got.

With over 15 years of experience in marketing, Armida Markarova is one of the pioneer digital marketing strategists generating results and driving value for companies when Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn didn’t even exist.

Armida’s approach to marketing and digital marketing is deeply rooted in understanding of the customer’s journey to purchase vs. just the final step of selling.

Armida is a strong believer in data driven marketing and storytelling. She uses analytics and data to drive her recommendations for her clients, which have proven to increase ROI and deliver desired business outcomes.

Your Content is Great. Is it Helping Your Buyers?

is your content helpful to buyers?

In a recent post from Pam Neely, a well-respected consultant and content marketer, Neely looks at the time spent on content marketing efforts and what we are really getting out of it. If you spend 20 hours producing a “great” piece of content, is it actually great?

Not necessarily. A high-quality piece of content doesn’t automatically make the content great for you. As Neely points out, “if you had taken those 20 hours of content creation and put them into creating a piece of content that filled a content gap in your buyers’ journey… that content probably would get you results. That content would support both your business goals and the needs of your audience.” That’s what makes great content.

Unfortunately for most content marketers, building the content that occupies the space between business goals and audience needs can be tricky. It may not fit with internal marketing campaigns, the right resources may not be in place, or even more likely, the team may not know what that content actually is.

How do we find the gaps in our content and move buyers down the funnel?

There are a few keys, of which we’ll be digging into further at Digital Growth Unleashed, that can help content marketers find that sweet spot for success. Let’s take a quick look:

What’s already working in content marketing?

So often, content marketers get stuck on the “what’s next?” element of content creation. We are constantly trying to produce the next best thing or come up with a ground-breaking idea. The thing is, we don’t have to do that.

You likely already have content that is driving traffic and customers are responding to. The key is figuring out why.

1. What elements do the pieces have in common?

2. What problem do they address?

3. Where do they fit in the funnel?

By looking at our data and understanding what is already working, we can figure out what our customers actually want.

What are people looking for?

My foray into the world of marketing began at an SEO agency so I would be lying if I said I don’t obsess over how people search.

1. Where do they search?

2. How do they search?

3. What terms or phrases are they using?

4. How do people respond?

A client of mine has a really fantastic resource section. They’ve created guides, best practice docs, blogs, webinars, product demos, FAQs and more. All of these assets target various pieces of the funnel but also different types of searches.

However, during an analysis last year we realized that while they were doing a fantastic job creating content to get new customers in the door, they were missing the content that helps bring existing customers back. How did we find that content?

By looking at how others were searching online (via social, review sites, search engines), what search engine results were showing, what competitors were talking about, and through additional keyword research.

As a result, we now have a content strategy that incorporates existing customers and helps drive potential customers facing those more advanced challenges.

What are you missing?

Luckily, identifying what you are missing is the easy part as the first two steps really help you figure out what you need and what you don’t have.

The results may surprise you. Perhaps those product demo videos you haven’t gotten around to are a necessity. Or maybe that money you spent on creating an infographic really wasn’t worth it.

Creating content that your buyers want is what makes great content. By understanding what content is working and what content you need, you can ensure your budgets are going toward building assets that hit that perfect spot between business goals and audience wants.

Join me at Digital Growth Unleashed as we dig deeper and look at how you can take your content marketing strategy even further.

About the Author

Casie-Gillette

Casie Gillette is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing at KoMarketing, a B2B marketing agency in Boston, MA. She has been in the digital space since 2005, working on both the agency side and in-house. Casie has been responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies for both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. She regularly speaks about content marketing, search, social, and branding.

Video is NOW

Video is NOW

The future of video is mobile.

Except it isn’t just the future. It’s now. It only takes a few seconds of scrolling on your favorite social media site to see that video is the primary medium these platforms are pushing. In 2016, more americans watched video on their smartphones than on any other devices combined! This is no brief fad. This is a trend which shows a readiness for the world of video to become more portable, more pocket-sized, and more convenient to watch in non-traditional settings such as the gym, the grocery store, or even the DMV.

Businesses who want to successfully position their marketing in 2018 need to take this into account.

At Mighteor, we have started thinking of how to position video in terms of why you watch things, how you watch things, and where you watch things. We’ve come up with three key things to keep in mind when making a video for a mobile platform:

1. Video is platform agnostic. Instead of creating video for just one platform, you need to think about making video that can be converted into different shapes and sizes depending on the medium you’re watching it on, be it a television, a computer screen, or a smartphone.

2. 20% of people don’t even listen to the sound of a video on their mobile device. This means instead of relying on audio, you’ve got to be thinking of alternative ways to get the message across.

3. Run-times are not a given. Don’t expect people to find your video at 00:00. Make your video accessible even to people who don’t start at the beginning.

In a world with countless videos – it’s important to get users to stop and watch. And the single most effective way to do that is through optimization of your video for mobile. This means optimizing all videos so that they are easily accessible, high quality, and most importantly: formatted for mobile. Square videos or vertical videos that people don’t have to flip their phones to see fully.

Not only does this make it easier for folks to watch it on the go, but it incentives the platforms to put your content on high priority.  If your business’s marketing strategy doesn’t include video, and hasn’t taken mobile viewing into account, you’re pretty much dead in the water in the social content contest that we currently live and market within.

About the Author

Elizabeth Giorgi is the Founder and CEO of Mighteor, one of the world’s first internet video production companies. Mighteor’s innovative combination of production and online promotion techniques have helped clients achieve more than 100 million organic views, capture the attention of hard to engage customers and positioned major Fortune 500s to implement video strategies with the effectiveness of a startup. The company has been featured in the New York Times, HuffPost, NPR, Wired, and Forbes and has worked with major tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft and CA Technologies, as well as brands like General Mills and Pillsbury.

Elizabeth is an Emmy-winning director, writer and editor whose work has appeared on PBS, The Discovery Channel and at festivals and museums across the globe. She is a passionate advocate for women in production and gives more than $100,000/year in free production to causes that align with Mighteor’s vision.

The Future of Personalization with AI and Machine Learning

the future of personalization

Cookie-cutter customer experiences just won’t cut it. And online personalization, once seen as a competitive differentiator, is now a strategic imperative.

Consider this: nine out of 10 marketers say their customers expect individualized experiences – and, according to Gartner, by the end of this year, organizations that have fully invested in online personalization will outsell those that haven’t by more than 30%.

Even though personalization is becoming more of the norm, we’ve all had those eye-roll-inducing experiences where a brand that should “know” us completely misses the mark – like, for example, when your bank encourages you to apply for a credit card you already have. Or your favorite retailer emails you about a hot sale in a category you’ve never shown interest in (e.g., baby clothes if you’re not a parent, or lawn care if you live in a high-rise apartment). In your work life, you’ve likely gone to a company’s website, only to be greeted with the same video shown to you before…for an industry that isn’t even relevant to what you do.

What’s the outcome in situations like these? It’s a frustrated customer. With a wide array of options, consumers today can (and do!) take their business to places where they feel recognized, appreciated and valued as an individual.

So companies have to do better.

The Netflix Effect

Consumers have been conditioned to want and expect personalized experiences from all the businesses they interact with, thanks in part to “The Netflix Effect” – where companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify have established a baseline for what personalization means. Consumers think: “If Netflix recognizes me from transaction to transaction and follows my activity from mobile app to the web, why can’t my bank – for example – do the same?” It’s a fair question!

There’s often a misconception among marketers, though, that personalization is something only the Netflixes of the world can do effectively…and can afford to do. This simply isn’t true. Cost and technical barriers to personalization are lower than ever.

Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning

At Digital Growth Unleashed, I’m looking forward to talking about how artificial intelligence – and in particular, machine learning – has changed the game for personalization in recent years. It’s a topic I am passionate about; in fact, I devoted my new book to exploring this topic in detail.

When we discuss machine learning in the context of personalization, it means using computers to process vast amounts of data, in milliseconds, to make the best decision about what to show each person. Machine learning puts the vision of “The One to One Future,” which renowned customer experience experts Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., predicted in 1993, truly (and finally!) within reach – accessible to businesses of all sizes and across industries.

With machine learning, true personalization – also called individualization – can be done at scale. Marketers can evolve from the traditional and manual rule-based approach to personalization (e.g. “If a person falls into Segment A, then show him Experience X”), which is most effective at targeting groups of people, to using machine-learning-based algorithms and predictive analytics to present the most relevant experience to each and every visitor.

With the right platform, algorithms can be created, customized and managed by marketers and other business users – no need to cede control to a “black box,” and no coding or IT required. And, importantly, one well-tuned machine learning algorithm can do the work of thousands of manual rules.

Getting Started

I often advise companies that are just beginning to tackle personalization to start small initially. Have a clear strategy in mind, and, at the onset, go after what’s possible right now. You’ll see a difference and can add more complex initiatives incrementally.

Applying personalization across all relevant channels – so customers are recognized and can pick up where they left off –  should be the goal. To do so, companies need to be able to: 1) track an individual’s behavior across different channels; 2) merge that information with pertinent customer data from other systems; 3) automatically interpret the data to determine affinities and intent; 4) house everything in a central place – creating a single, unified profile for each person; and 5) act on all the data in real time.

The most important element – and an essential part of all five steps – is, of course, data. Your personalization strategy is only as effective as the data informing it. Even the most advanced algorithms can’t work their magic if they have incorrect, inadequate or outdated data. But I do not recommend that you wait to start personalizing until you have cleaned up all your enterprise data. If you do, you will be waiting a very long time. Start with your digital channels. It’s easy to leverage a next-generation personalization platform to start bringing in deep, contextual, real-time, accurate behavioral data from your sites, apps and email. You can use this data in your personalization platform to create terrific results. Then leverage this success to start bringing in other enterprise data sources one by one, cleaning them as you go.

I look forward to discussing this more at Digital Growth Unleashed in a few months and explaining how, with machine learning, we can all raise the bar on personalization – doing away with those frustrating one-size-fits-all approaches and providing superior customer experiences.

About the Author

Karl Wirth is the CEO and co-founder of Evergage, the real-time personalization platform company, and author of the book “One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning.” Check out his session at Digital Growth Unleashed, “Raising the Bar on Personalized Experiences with Machine Learning and AI.”

Why You Need to Own Your Audience

Own-Your-Audience

Most digital marketers are concerned about growing traffic to their website and seeing at least a modest return on their marketing investment. They look at digital marketing as an expense. What if you could turn your marketing into one of your company’s biggest assets? What if you owned the audience instead of renting it?

Are you renting your audience?

I think we’re all familiar with traditional media acting as a marketing expense that’s very hard to measure. You’re basically renting the billboard, the TV commercial or the radio spot and putting it in front of someone else’s audience. When you quit paying, the ads disappear, and you’re back to square one.

Digital advertising can be very similar. You’re renting the space on someone else’s website, hoping to get a click through to your site. Again, when you quit paying, you are “evicted” from those websites, and sent back to square one.

Organic marketing can come in many forms: search results, social media mentions, links from content, and so on. And many of you may wonder how this fits into the “renting” category. Didn’t you earn that traffic? Isn’t it free? Well, yes and no.

You did earn it, as it takes a lot of work to get organic traffic to your website. But is certainly wasn’t free. You spent real time and money to earn that traffic. And guess what? When that traffic does hit your beautiful website, more than 90% will quickly leave, many never to return. That feels rented to me.

What is an owned audience?

An audience can be defined as anyone who has engaged with your organization in almost any fashion. Ideally, the engagement leads to an individual providing some personal information about themselves such as their name, email address, job title and company name. However, it might start with something as simple as a visit to your website or following you on Twitter. Below is our view of an audience hierarchy:

Tier 1: Owned such as email subscribers, blog subscribers, print subscribers, and LinkedIn connections.

Tier 2: Non-owned such as Medium followers, YouTube subscribers, podcast subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook followers, Snapchat followers, Pinterest subscribers, and Instagram fans.

Tier 3: Short term such as pixeled (or cookies) visitors to your website.

The goal is to use marketing tools to turn that initial engagement into a true asset for your company. Building your audience can be achieved through many channels, both paid and organic. Channels like traditional media, digital advertising, publishing your own content, organic search results, social media marketing, webinars, and events.

Your owned audience becomes one of your company’s biggest assets

As mentioned above, most of our marketing money is spent on renting an audience – sometimes for just a second or two. But if you can turn that investment into your own audience, you’re well on your way to building a significant asset for your company. In fact, according to a Salesforce and LinkedIn study, the average B2B company has a database of 50,000 individuals and spends an average of $150 to acquire a single email address. This means the email database alone is worth $7.5 million, likely making it the largest asset under a marketer’s control.

Want to build even more value for that asset? There are primarily two ways to accomplish this:

1. Drive revenue from your audience.

2. Get actual revenue for renting your audience.

Driving revenue from your audience means effective lead nurture. An Econsultancy study found that 66 percent of marketers have rated email marketing ROI as “excellent or good”. Consider sending an email to your subscribers every time you publish a new blog post, video, eBook or host a webinar, etc.

Renting your audience might come in the form of sponsorships or ads within the content going out to your audience. The more specialized or unique your audience is, the more value you can get for accessing that audience. For example, do you have one of the largest databases of people interesting in renting bulldozers? You can charge a premium to a bulldozer rental company to access that audience.

What do I recommend?

Make a slight adjustment to how you’re looking at your marketing efforts. Those efforts should not end when you have placed the ad or posted a new page. Your goal should be to build a list, an audience of your own, that you can reach anytime you choose.

About the Author

Arnie Kuenn

Arnie Kuenn is a world-renowned speaker and award-winning author (Accelerate & Content Marketing Works) who generously shares his 30+ years of entrepreneurial and digital marketing expertise. He is the co-author of Content Marketing Works and author of Accelerate. Arnie speaks to and trains thousands of people every year all around the world. In 2006, Arnie founded Vertical Measures, a highly respected Digital Marketing agency. In 2008, he founded the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA). In 2014, he was honored as the Interactive Person of the Year in Arizona and in 2015 entered the Content Marketing Hall of Fame. In 2017 he was named Content Marketing Person of the Year in Arizona and his company was named a Best Places to Work.