Content Marketing vs Mass Marketing Part 3

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Content Marketing vs Mass Marketing

People Have Learned To Tune Out Mass Marketing

Content marketing of the 21st century is quickly turning into something much different than the marketing of the previous century. In the 20th century not much attention was paid to how many people you offended through marketing. All that mattered was sales conversions. In the new century, consumers are looked at more as individuals rather than statistics, so this shift has created a set of new marketing standards.

Consumer Behavior

It’s difficult to predict consumer behavior, regardless of the type of marketing. One thing clear about the internet revolution is that consumers are no longer quiet about bad purchases. Social media, forums and blog activity have steered a growing number of self-educated consumers toward using the internet for research before making a purchase. Customer reviews on sites like Amazon have become part of research.

New Call-to-ActionThroughout the growth of the internet, users have been bombarded with thousands of ads that had zero effect. People have now seen so much advertising since the 1990s on a daily basis that it has a nullifying effect on most advertising. People learn to not worry about the stack of coupons kept in a drawer or in their email. Since people witness so much marketing in any given day, it’s easy to conclude that most of this marketing doesn’t work for any given individual, as most advertising represents clutter.

Years of Advertising

People have figured out that advertising does not always present the best messages aboutContent Marketing - Big Media products. Many times products are over-hyped by ads. Consumers are no longer easily fooled by emotional appeal used by advertisers. The internet has taught many consumers how to articulate what they like or dislike about a product. Ultimately, as people sharpen their brand awareness skills, advertising is becoming more informational than persuasive, at least with content marketing.

One of the important lessons that stands out about advertising is that consumers have become aware of sales pressure, which can lead to high credit card bills. The internet has erased the barrier of location, which gives consumers more choices. Sales pressure is not embraced in content marketing, which favors guiding users through a sales funnel with interesting facts that eventually lead to a product.

Authenticity in Demand

Now that it’s easy for anyone to start their own web business, there is a growing need to separate helpful websites from sites that waste time. Mass marketers can be found everywhere online, which has contributed to an overall consumer skepticism about advertising. Like all advertising arenas, the number of people who respond to ads even on popular social networks is a small percentage.

The reason authenticity is becoming part of the new marketing paradigm is that original content rather than duplicate content is favored by search engines. The more your website follows Google’s guidelines, the less you have to worry about it. The main objective of content marketing is to provide plenty of valuable content that is of interest to an online community.

Why Content Marketing Works

Content marketing is a completely different world than interruptive marketing. Instead of interrupting someone’s day, your articles and blogs are found in search engines by people who care. Instead of annoying users with advertisements, you provide them with stories that promote products. These stories are presented in a unique way, which helps search rankings.

A main strength to content marketing is that it helps establish the relationship between the business and the customer. Interactivity through social networks or email helps achieve goals for both parties. While traditional marketing relied on wordplay and image, today’s content marketing is more about developing trust through sharing accurate and helpful information.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Certified Partner with HubSpot and Google.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Inbound Marketing & Big Media Advertising Part 2

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Inbound Marketing & Big Media Advertising

Big media advertising is expensive and high risk

One of the traps that many start-ups have fallen into has been to set aside a budget for traditional media advertising. This budget can be drained quickly because it involves a fun element, which is creating commercials. But once the spots are run, pressure builds to see a return on investment. Television and radio spots are seen and heard by thousands of people, but most viewers and listeners still consider commercials to be an interruption.

Inbound Marketing vs. Traditional Media

Traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers still reach a huge audience. It’s still a way to deliver a message to the masses and hope that the numbers game will produce a return on investment. The cost of a radio spot depends on how big the station’s market is, but in major markets a sixty second spot can cost hundreds of dollars per minute. Even though television advertising is much more expensive than radio advertising, they both equate to seeing thousands of dollars spent quickly.Improve your Lead Generation today!Inbound marketing usually does not reach as many people as television or radio audiences, but connects more with the target market. While traditional media marketing relies on reaching as many people as possible to produce a single digit percentage of respondents, inbound marketing aims at building a more loyal following, instead of a general following. Reaching followers through blogs and social media has a more personalized feel than traditional media.

Commercial Risks

In the late 1990s one of the reasons there was a “dotcom bust” was that many new internetBig Media Advertising companies thought they could create markets for their brands through buying radio and television time. Many of these companies attracted funding that helped pay for the advertising, but they eventually collapsed due to having poor business models that did not have clear revenue streams.

The lesson of the dotcom implosion helped steer internet companies toward more concrete business models. The collapse of hundreds of companies served as a reminder that markets cannot be created so quickly just by spending a lot of money on exposure. Part of marketing that remains true is that you cannot build a brand overnight regardless of the medium.

Print Advantages

In recent decades the number of newspapers and magazines have dwindled, but advertising rates have remained high. Ask yourself if advertising in a newspaper helps your cause in any way, knowing that most of your market gets its news online. Big ads – the expensive kind – work best in print, but the best deal when it comes to print is printing your own flyer and mass distributing it through various channels.

You can combine print with inbound marketing by offering printed materials to people who request them through your website. A big part of inbound marketing is offering free items that give people a chance to engage with your brand. You can use print to promote your website locally at stores that reflect your industry. Working with a printer is also helpful in getting your logo on various marketing items.

Avoiding Expensive Advertising

There’s a tendency for some business owners to blame sales declines on lack of advertising. But a business is much more than the product it advertises, which is why advertising does not always work. Mass advertising works when many factors have come together. Loyalty, brand awareness and reputation are just as important as the message being advertised.

It’s better to conserve resources and develop a business slowly than to try to jump start a business with expensive media advertising. By building a market with inbound marketing, a company can focus on developing a long term organic following.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Certified Partner with HubSpot and Google.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Content Marketing & Small Business Part 1

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Content Marketing & Small Business

Small businesses are shut out of big media

How did content marketing become such a big deal in the 21st century? It can all be traced back to how last century’s outbound marketing invaded people’s lives too much and didn’t do enough for small business. Outbound marketing is usually interruptive in the form of visual or audio advertising. The main problem with outbound marketing was that you had to do a lot of it to make any kind of impact.

Budget Constraints

Small businesses simply do not have the budgets to gamble with expensive advertising thatContent Marketing Budgets may not work. Television, radio and newspaper advertising each require repetition to be effective. But to gain visibility and brand awareness through this type of mass media, it can take several months of advertising to see results, which may not be the best return on investment. Big companies can afford saturating their markets with continuous advertising that can run several thousand dollars per month, but small companies cannot afford constant advertising.

Limited Message

Another problem with traditional media marketing was that it only gave you small snippets of information about the product. It was impossible to learn much about a product just from a newspaper ad or radio commercial. Part of the problem was that the advertiser was only given so much time or space to deliver a message. Last century’s marketing messages encompassed vague slogans designed to be one size fits all solutions.

One of the biggest weaknesses of traditional media advertising was that the target market was not always clear. You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on reaching big markets, but there was no guarantee that the advertising would generate sales. The broadcast industries blurred the picture further by using questionable ratings research as evidence that people pay attention to commercials. The fact is that media advertising can work, but does not always work.

Internet Expansion

The internet opened doors for marketers who were trying to get away from last century’s marketing approach that was expensive and invasive. In many cases, advertising was full of exaggeration. A more consumer-friendly approach has developed on the internet that allows marketers and consumers to connect when it’s right for both of them.

Instead of interrupting content with commercials, content marketing provides the information people are already searching for, presented in a digestible way.By designing a series of online messages through blogs and articles, you can educate customers about products much faster than in the past. You can even get some customers to speed up their purchases.

Content marketing avoids hard sell language and concentrates on giving readers the most important product information and then funnels toward web pages devoted to deeper details. By creating thorough web pages about products, pages are indexed by search engines, which can potentially equate to vast amounts of free advertising.

Alternatives to Mainstream Media

The rise of content marketing may not have happened if small business had not been shut out of mainstream media. Expensive advertising led to big business having a heavy presence on local television, newspapers and radio as small companies were overshadowed. Thanks to Google’s AdWords pay per click program small businesses finally found low cost ways to reach their target markets.Google and other search engines have also contributed to customers finding the businesses they are looking for faster.

Take the lead in content marketing by building a website full of content that people are searching for. If you build a small business site full of unique information that cannot be found elsewhere, it’s possible for search engines to create your core market and for content marketing to nurture your market.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Certified Partner with HubSpot and Google.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Repurposing Content

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Repurposing Content for Various Media Formats

Multimedia has been a concept developing for decades to empower creative minds by presenting a message through different forms of communication. Computers and the internet have become the vehicles for accomplishing many multimedia dreams. The amazing power of the computer is that it can now combine video, radio, music, books, slide shows and many other types of media into one platform.

Deciding on Formats

Your computer has become your media center for producing content that can be Repurposing Contentexperienced through several different formats such as video files, audio files, news feeds, text files, image files, HTML and many other things. You don’t really need to know the technical side of multimedia other than how to copy and paste a code into web pages. Understanding basic HTML is a good idea even if you never plan to write code. Then again, if all your web-based solutions will be through easy to use cloud platforms, then all you really need to know is how to click a button that says “upload.”

No longer do you need to worry about the technical headaches and bandwidth issues of hosting your own videos, since you can just upload your videos to YouTube and link to them on your site. Images as well as videos are hosted on Flickr. You can create slideshows with SlideShare. Ebooks can be constructed through cloud platforms such as CreateSpace, Lulu or Libiro. Audio can be recorded and stored on SoundCloud. You can also upload original music to ReverbNation. Each of these platforms allows you to build a digital library for multimedia presentations. Let your imagination guide you on the appropriate forms of media to reach your audience.

Hard Copy Formats

The physical world and digital world can work together in an efficient streamlined manner. While digital publishing is more cost efficient and eco-friendly than print, there are certain times when it’s reasonable to use print to expand your market. It’s also true that CDs and DVDs are wise to manufacture if you know there’s a demand for them. It becomes unwise to manufacture thousands of physical discs if you have no way of marketing or distributing them. You may want to create different versions of your content for each type of media format so that it’s not considered duplicate content by search engines.

The best of both worlds is accomplished when you use an on demand philosophy. If you have 100 requests for your ebook in hard copy form, then it makes sense to print 100 books. You can do the same thing with selling videos as downloads or DVDs or music as downloads or CDs. By interacting with followers on social networks, you will be able to learn the formats in which people want to consume your content. You may want to manufacture a limited number of DVDs and CDs simply to give out free at street fairs and trade shows. Printed flyers are still one of the best ways to get the word out about your business.

Advanced Multimedia

Remember that standing out is always more important than blending in when it comes to content marketing. If your competition isn’t doing anything too amazing with content, then almost any multimedia ideas you come up with will be better. But if your competition presents a lot of videos, photos, audio and ebooks, you might trying taking multimedia to the next level. Creative cutting edge media such as video games, highly attractive colorful infographics and heat maps, animation and interactive technology. Take the lead in content marketing by investing in equipment and software that helps you produce sophisticated, artistic multimedia productions.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Certified Partner with HubSpot and Google.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Reactive Content for Social Sharing

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Reactive Content for Social Sharing

Content that creates any kind of significant and fast spreading online buzz is considered viral and sometimes called “contagious content.” What are the qualities of videos, images, blogs and articles that go viral? It definitely has more to do with standing out than blending in. Evidence suggests that people who sort through YouTube deciding on what to watch pay attention to views, as popularity attracts more viewers. That’s why the more “likes” you can initially generate, the more chance others will watch it.

Seeing Through Viral Hype

The biggest myth about viral content is that there’s a certain formula that can work for anyone. viral contentObviously not all content creators have equal significance. No matter how many experts you listen to about the keys to crafting viral content, the top viral videos and blogs will usually either come from an already popular website or somehow receive exposure from a popular media outlet.

The video to the novice song “Friday” by Rebecca Black was the most viewed video on YouTube in 2011 and sparked a national discussion on how such an amateur could overshadow professional recording artists. What was amazing was that over 80 percent of viewers who rated the video voted “dislike.” The mystery can be explained by the fact that the viral activity began after the video was mentioned on a popular blog by comedian Michael J. Nelson. From there it was reviewed and ridiculed by several media outlets.

Viral videos can also be rigged. In December 2012 YouTube discovered and cancelled two billion views for music videos were faked possibly by hackers who worked for the music industry. In other words, don’t be distracted too much by what’s considered hot online because there’s always a chance it’s misleading, distorted, rigged or hyped information.

Viral Factors

Your video or blog might never be viewed by millions, but you might still have a chance to get enough attention to attract an audience that helps your business. One of the most important factors of viral content is that it gets reviewed by influencers such as popular bloggers. Developing an ongoing relationship with several successful bloggers can plant seeds to future viral action. Content that has no connection with other online influences will likely not go viral on its own.

The actual content can take on many different forms in viral scenarios. Short wacky videos and informative lengthy blogs are typical examples of contagious content. But there are no real ways to predict what can go viral, other than the content is usually filtered through popular media channels. Other terms that have been used by experts to characterize viral qualities include: relevant, controversial, personable, creative, inspiring, emotional, humane, humorous, shocking and daring. Catchy titles help as well.

Consistent Vision

Stay true to what you believe in instead of trying to figure out how to fit into popular schemes. Brand StrategyCompromising your vision for short-lived popularity might not be worth it because viral activity does not guarantee sales conversions or building long term loyalty. As long as you craft creative content you should be in the running for viral opportunities, provided that it catches the attention of influencers with big audiences.

If you come across viral content that inspires you and fits your vision, then go ahead and experiment with it, but don’t just do something controversial or shocking to try to go viral. What works for others might not work for you. It’s fine to experiment with humor and novelty, but never lose site of solving problems. Take the lead in content marketing by crafting edgy educational content that no one else is doing.

Would you like to get exclusive & relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Interacting with Followers

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Interacting With Followers Is Crucial To Your Business. Learn Why!

Content marketing is strengthened exponentially with social media in mind. You can rely on search Social Media Brandingengines to a degree to help bring you a certain amount of traffic, but if you want to accelerate loyalty and possibly sales, you will need to interact with followers through social media. The most popular social networks are Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You don’t need a presence on each of them, just the ones that suit your goals.

The Power of Interaction

The quote from Ian Conklin that “clients want to believe they found you .. not that you found them” applies to search engines, websites and social media as vehicles for knowledge discovery. People feel rewarded by making the right connections in their networks. Take advantage of the fact that half the world is now looking to make new friends online through social media to help with problem solving and possibly career advancement.

Interaction through the internet is a much more empowering form of communication than a person who passively absorbs television or radio programming. Social media can deliver immediate answers and responses faster than email or any other electronic medium besides the telephone. Social media is more convenient than the telephone, which can be interruptive at times, whereas people with social profiles crave attention. Another strength that social media offers is group discussion that can expand through content sharing.

Mixing Art with Messages

Putting Paint to Canvas

Putting Paint to Canvas

What’s spectacular about social media sharing is that it allows you to express yourself in artistic ways that had previously not been possible. You can now easily associate your message with a song, a movie clip or a painting to help reach a common ground with followers. Sharing original art, music, video or photography with your message can give a personal touch to your campaign. It’s easy to type a post with a link to your blog or article and upload other media at the same time, creating a multidimensional post.

Posting news articles with artistic graphics and a theme that goes along with your writing is a creative way to lead followers to your content. Facebook and Google Plus give you flexibility for combining multiple links on one post. The visual imagery helps pull in readers from their news feed, which is important, since only about 15 percent of your Facebook friends will see your posts in news feeds. Facebook learns through “likes” and comments what the most active friends are for each individual and serves them their own individual news feed of top connections. So it’s important to create as many impressive posts as possible to increase visibility.

Comments and Likes

Your social media interactivity should include reading other people’s posts as well as writing your own. You can write comments on people’s “walls” on Facebook just by clicking their names. If someone likes your comment it’s a good idea to like their comments at least once in a while. It helps remind them of your content and builds a connection that keeps your feeds active.
Adding new unknown followers on Facebook can be done for a business profile, but is discouraged for personal profiles, so you may want to have two separate profiles on Facebook.

Google Plus is more about building new relationships online and engaging in more about knowledge, while Facebook has a more fun and casual orientation. Both social networks allow you to create subgroups focused on specific discussions. Twitter is more about promoting links with simple short statements.Take the lead in content marketing by interacting with followers on a level that creates a meaningful bond that is mutually beneficial.

Would you like to get exclusive & relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web


OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Data Collection and Audience Measurement

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Data Collection and Audience Measurement

One of the things that makes content marketing more scientific than traditional marketing is the fact that it provides a mountain of data. Most of this data can be obtained at low to no cost. Google Analytics is one of the best tracking platforms for your online efforts to find out how well your content attracts traffic. Various other tracking services can help you gauge your performance. Studying this data will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses at content marketing.

Google Analytics

There are many different services that offer audience measurement for websites, but Google Analytics isHands hold tablet PC with graphs by far the most popular and it’s well respected due to its comprehensive detail. Analytics tell you how much traffic you’re getting, where it comes from and how visitors behave on your site. The research is designed for marketers and is divided into free and premium services. The basic free package tells you how many visits your site got in a given day, week or month, along with average session time and bounce rate, which reveals the percentage of visitors who exit the site after viewing one page.

One of the helpful indicators that Google Analytics provides is how users found your websites. Referrers such as search engines, social networks and websites are listed as sources that brought you traffic. You can use this information to share with referrers to let them know they provide you value. Another use of Analytics is finding out which geographic locations bring you the most traffic, which can help you determine if your branding messages need to be more universal or focused on certain regions. The main limitation of Google Analytics is that users can disable cookies in their browsers, which blocks data collection on how they use your site.

CrazyEgg

You can help improve your conversion rate by analyzing why people leave your site with Crazy Egg heat maps. The software shows you specific locations on web pages that visitors clicked before exiting. A scroll map shows how far visitors scrolled on pages, which helps you determine which parts of pages are most and least effective at holding people’s attention. The Confetti tool within the software helps you learn search terms that were used by people to find your site.

Alexa and Quantcast

Two audience measurement sites that can teach you a lot about web popularity are Alexa and Quantcast. Both sites rank millions of websites, using separate methodologies to measure web traffic. Unlike ComScore and Nielsen, Alexa and Quantcast publish their rankings for the public. You can even use them for free to find out how your website compares with competitors in traffic rankings. If you sign up for either service and paste their code on your web pages you can get much more detailed statistics.

Alexa, owned by Amazon, tells you how your site ranks globally as well as in the United States. If your site gets enough traffic it will tell you other interesting information, such as bounce rate, daily pageviews per visitor, daily time on site and heat maps for gender, education level, browsing location (home, school, work) and visitors by country. It will also tell you the percentage of visits that originated from search engines and the top keywords used from search engines. It will also give your site an SEO score on a 0-100 point scale.

Quantcast is useful for looking at income levels and other demographics of your users. Both sites provide much more information if you subscribe.Take the lead in content marketing by utilizing website Analytics, which will help fine tune your understanding of your audience.

Would you like to get relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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SEO – Improving Search Rankings

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SEO – Improving Search Rankings

Search rankings will be responsible for a major percentage of the traffic that comes to your site if you use search engine optimization (SEO). Keywords, relevance, content quality, content quantity, popularity and authoritative reputation are the most essential components of this process for building an online community.

SEO Checklist

Here are several elements your website needs to strengthen its SEO. Keep in mind that search engine guidelines have been evolving for years and may be different in the future. The following are some of the more timeless elements that have survived the algorithm changes. Another reality to remember is no one can guarantee specific search rankings using SEO.

1. Create a sitemap that outlines your site, linked from the homepage.
2. Exchange links only with quality sites relevant to your site.
3. Use relevant web page titles that contain keywords.
4. Write unique quality content designed to improve the user experience.
5. Avoid creating web pages far away from the root directory.
6. Stay away from JavaScript, AJAX, Flash and Frames as much as possible.
7. Keep adding fresh content to your site as often as possible.
8. Use keywords for links within your site instead of “click here.”
9. Make your site as user-friendly as possible with easy navigation.
10.Avoid spamming keywords or other outdated black hat tricks.

White Hat vs Black Hat

Learn the difference between white hat SEO, which follows search engine guidelines, and black hat SEO, SEOwhich could get your site banned. Google and other search engines reward sites with strong useful content, while penalizing sites for thin and useless content or tricks designed to manipulate search results. As long as you keep in mind that all your content should be crafted for the user and not to trick search engines, you should not have to worry about getting banned from search engines.

Since search engines will eventually catch up with new deceptive gimmicks, it’s best to focus on developing quality content. A site can get banned for several reasons, such as links to worthless or malicious sites, overuse of ads or sites that share servers with banned sites. The best SEO advice you can memorize is to avoid all black hat schemes and pay attention to increasing your compelling content.

Focus on Content, Not Techniques

Even though there are several search engines, Google is by far the most popular and should be your main concern for SEO. But try not to get too wrapped up in the SEO game because it can distract from your goals of attracting customers with useful content. Spend more time on making your content as relatable and relevant as possible to your audience.

Not all SEO techniques work equally for all site owners. If you own an educational site, then links from .edu sites can help your search rankings. If you’re a local business then you should get listed in as many credible local directories as possible, such as Google Places for Business, Yelp and Zagat.

General Tips for All Sites

Getting +1’s in Google+ can help your search rank in Google more than Facebook likes. Keep your blogs at least in the 400-600 word range with keyword density below seven percent and never buy links.The content should appeal to influencers, such as expert bloggers, so that it has a chance of being reviewed by other sites.Images are best indexed when they include captions that relate to the content and include ALT tags.Take the lead in content marketing by sharpening your focus on the most important elements of SEO, which are quality-text, images and links.

Would you like to get relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.


 

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.

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Lead Nurturing for the Sales Funnel

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Lead Nurturing for the Sales Funnel

The whole point to content marketing is getting leads with a good ROI, unless you’re just doing it as a hobby. Most people who go through all the trouble of massive content creation appreciate the business that it can bring. Your business will be elevated by implementing a system that captures, nurtures, scores and converts leads through your sales funnel, which ultimately directs users to your product pages.

Landing Page Optimization

A landing page, as defined by Google Analytics, is the first page that a user enters on a website. Marketers tend to extend the definition to pages where customers arrive after clicking ads. To avoid confusion, you might refer to pages where you sell products as your product pages or lead capture pages, whether the products are physical or digital. Use these pages to develop leads you can nurture for future sales. You can capture leads by offering a form, email address or link to your social media profile.

The most effective product pages will make it easy for the consumer to quickly learn the product name, what it looks like with a thumbnail or image, the price, product reviews and a purchase button. No matter how sophisticated the e-commerce software is, the buying experience needs to be simple. The consumer should have multiple methods for purchasing, such as credit, debit or PayPal. Product images need to be sharp and colorful. Reviews are essential because they provide real life experiences and give the consumer deeper insight.

A/B Testing

One of the ways to improve landing pages is through A/B testing, which is a process of experimenting with various versions of web pages to narrow down the most effective lead generation strategy. Multiple pages can be tested either at one time or in a sequence. The goal is to figure out which type of presentation gets the best click-through and conversion rates.A/B testing does not produce complex statistics. It’s more of a simple approach to decision-making that doesn’t require a lot of time, effort or expense. Variables can be the layout and the choice of wording, color and images.

Creating a QA Page

Offering a QA page is strategically advantageous because it’s what many leads gravitate toward when they have questions and want quick answers. Think of 10-20 or more questions that your customers might ask you regarding the purchasing process and how to learn more about the product. Provide links for further information if necessary. Be sure to also provide a link for followers to ask further questions, which captures leads.

Lead Scoring and Nurturing

As leads come to you through forms, email and social media, you can save time with the conversion process by developing a lead scoring system. You can use marketing automation software such as Hubspot, Pardot, PlanPlus, LeadMaster and a variety of other programs or you can do it manually. Simply create a 0-10 or 0-100 scoring system with the highest numbers being the most likely leads to convert. Then score your leads based on the information the potential customer gives you.

Concentrate your efforts on high scoring leads so that you don’t annoy the people who are not interested in making purchases. Low scores may someday shift to high scores if you nurture them in a friendly way. You can maximizing lead nurturing by keeping all contacts on your radar and interacting with them through social media and finding out more about their lifestyles and interests. Offer them free information whenever you can.

Would you like to get relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Take the lead in content marketing by converting leads to sales based on a sensible system that evaluates followers of your content.

Ian Conklin

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

 

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.

 

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Value Based Customer Service

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Value Based Customer Service

It has been said that the airlines are one of the primary examples of value based pricing. They have convinced the public that if the person next to them is flying for much less than they are it is because of some factor that we (the passenger in the seat next) could not get because of time or some other nebulous consideration. The airlines have convinced us that we should pay additional to fly with luggage with an increasing rate for 1 bag or 2 bags and a horrendous rate for 3 or more bags. Here have a couple of cookies and a pop … really it’s on us! We seem to accept this and are happy to fly on their airline. 

What they have missed was the unintentional results of this “value based pricing.” As they started to charge for luggage, passengers reduced the larger bags and started using the carry-on.  The value based customer serviceconsequence was the carry-on bag now filled the overhead bins to the extent that the airlines were forced to offer to check your bag for free at the gate. Today you get on a plane and often have to place your laptop bag under the seat rather than into the bin because there is no room. Or you can pay an additional fee for more “value” and jump to the front of the line so you can be the one to get your bags into the overhead bins.

What the airlines have forgotten is the other “value” and that is the value of the passenger who is the customer. It is the customer that pays the fares, the customer which generates the revenue base that allows the airline to schedule the flights.

 The formula is Customer> Value> Price> Cost.  The idea is the customer perceives the value and is willing to pay the price. 

A further unintentional result is the manner in which the employees end up treating the customers.  The culture runs down from the top and when the CEO’s and CFO’s decisions are based upon selling perceived value that philosophy carries over to every department of the company.

A real life example … recently I was flying from Boston to Denver on a United flight. The passengers were herded into Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4. Group 1 boarded and then group 2 and so on until it came to group 4. At that point there was an announcement that the overhead bins on the aircraft were virtually full and it was probable that you would have to check your bags or place them under your seat. One CSR came down to the agent who was checking the tickets and asked if he could announce that people that were willing to check their bags could come forward and they could board right away.  In a loud voice and with complete disdain this agent stated, “I do not do that any longer as the passengers were getting smarter and simply tore the tags off while going down the ramp and then boarded the aircraft with their carry-on in tow.” Of course the cattle in Group 4 were supposed to hear this and be properly chastened, as they were the group that placed the lowest “value” on the flight and as a result were the last group to board the flight. It was a despicable display that treated the airlines customers as worse than second class customers.

The question is how was all of this allowed to come about? We the passengers must take some blame but that is difficult because for the most part all of the airlines do the same. Banks are another example, do it our way or don’t do it at all. This whole value system comes down from the top of the organisations. Pricing executives are hired and moved to the upper floors of the corporation. Value has become king and service moved to the lower realms.

I am not against sales and purchases being made on value.  I am willing to pay what I think/believe something is worth; but it cannot be at the expense of courtesy, dignity and customer service. It cannot be because each company has gone the same route and left the passenger with no choice except to accept they are cattle to be herded into Groups. These same executives that preach value based pricing must also preach excellence in customer service. Every passenger is important and should never be made to feel lesser and unimportant to the airline or any other company. 

I have railed against an airline and in particular United because I had firsthand experience; but the principle remains the same for all business. Price on value and sell on the perceived value, but always remember the basic truth and that is the customer is always number 1.

Starbucks does it well … ever paid for their coffee? You are paying for the experience and the perceived value and you are treated well.  Airlines and banks figure it out and do it better.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

 

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