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Why Content Marketing is Still Relevant in 2015

Content Marketing

Content marketing may sound, at first, like something cumbersome, or something for infomercials or late night advertising. “Call us now and we’ll send you a free booklet on our amazing product!” or something similar is probably not the best strategy for most businesses. But with the power of the internet, especially the ability to easily product videos and infographics and documents, content marketing could be exactly what you need to bring more eyes to your website.

Just walk down the street and it will seem like every other person has a smartphone, through which they can receive video content no matter where they are. This is one big reason why content marketing is not only still relevant in 2015, but more relevant than ever before. 70% of organizations are creating more content than in previous years, according to Forbes Magazine and the trend is going upward, rather than down.

Relevant Today… and Tomorrow

The use of spam as “marketing” has made some business owners and customers rather cold to the idea of content marketing. The big difference between the two is value. Whatever content you push has to have meaning to the person receiving it. If your content is good enough for people to stop to read it, you’re that much closer to a sale. Thanks to big, ready-made distributors of content, like YouTube , Facebook, and Twitter, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

More Than Just Email

The old world of content marketing is the email list. While this is still a valuable tool, now there are social media sites, blogs, videos, and interactive websites through which some amazing content can be created and posted. Few things spread more quickly than a viral video or a well-worded tweet. You never know when something you post will go from unknown to a national (or worldwide) sensation over just the course of a few days, making it the most effective kind of content marketing.

People-Focused

We can know more about the customers that patronize our businesses better now than ever before. People voluntarily post their information on social media and other public places on the internet. It’s no longer necessary to rely on demographics when the information is right there in front of us. Now, we can easily tailor content for a specific audience, catching their attention by opening with something we know they want to see or read.

People today prefer to be seen as individual, rather than a like-aged group who all believe and think the same things. Today’s technology gives marketers the opportunity to embrace and utilize that individuality. Different content will be produced to speak to different cultures and locations or to different needs a given client might have. Everyone likes being treated as an individual, and this approach will keep them coming back for more.

This is the Age of the Video

While YouTube is the vanguard here, video is popping up all over social media now. A commercial doesn’t have to be bought from a network anymore. If your content is interesting enough to gather viewers, you’ll get thousands (or more) views, a large number of which will become loyal followers and customers.

Content Marketers Are the New Way to Grow

It’s already undeniable that content can generate interest and even customer interaction, especially when the content is well put together. As methods develop to track and collect data linking content marketing to the growth of a company, the importance and popularity of using these new methods to gain and retain customers will only rise.

Are They Not Entertained?

Everything is entertainment today, which is why well-designed content is more important than ever. If you’ve got a video that makes your customer chuckle, or a blog post that makes the reader think, you’ve got a sale. You’ve probably also got valuable likes or +1s that will boost interest, bringing more people to your content, which in turn will generate a bigger positive response.

Content marketing is not only relevant in 2015, it’s a necessity. The way technology is trending today, it will more than likely become even more necessary in 2016 and in years to come. As with all of these important trends, it’s always a good idea to master the concept early, the better to get ahead of any potential competitors.

guest blogger

 

 

Emily Hunter is a SEM Strategist and Outreach Supervisor at the Marketing Zen Group. She loves designing strategies with her team and is excited about spreading the Zen gospel. In her spare time, she cheers for Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment, crafts her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen

North Face Uses Social Media in #ClothesTheLoop Campaign

social media

The North Face announced the expansion of its Clothes The Loop recycling program to all of its retail and outlet stores in the U.S. in tandem with an in-store and social media campaign to encourage consumers to recycle unwanted apparel and footwear from any brand in any condition.

Clothes The Loop extends the lifecycle of apparel and footwear brought in by consumers by giving them a new life through reusing items or reverting them to basic materials used for new product manufacturing.

“We’re committed to creating responsible products – both in how we design them, and also in how long they last,” said Adam Mott, director of sustainability for The North Face. “We’re expanding Clothes The Loop to help find a second life for pre-owned apparel and footwear that might otherwise go to waste. We hope this campaign gets people thinking about the lifecycle of the products they buy and how they can take simple steps to help protect our environment.”

From April 20th to April 26th, each customer who brings in used products for the Clothes The Loop campaign, The North Face will donate $5 donation to Conversation Alliance. Customers can also earn one discount voucher that can be used towards the purchase of The North Face products.

Customers can take a photo of themselves recycling their products and share it on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #ClothesTheLoop and #TNFContest. Anyone who tags a friend to encourage them to recycle will be entered in a contest to win a $100 gift card. Read more

[Source: Businesswire, North Face]

Social media is a conversation. So let’s talk. Learning about social media marketing? Read all about it! Here’s our social media blog.

More Social Media Marketing Resources

Social Media as a Channel

Marketing Library Blog

Social Media Marketing

Infographics

 

 

Roxul Launches Get Between the Studs Social Media Contest

ROXUL, producer of stone wool insulation recently launched a social media contest. Individuals can enter by using #GetBetweenTheStuds on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win an exclusive design consultation with contractor, real estate investor, and Income Property Host Scott McGillivray, $10,000 toward their remodel, and $1,200 in ROXUL® insulation.

In addition, participants must demonstrate, in a creative and compelling way, why they need a ROXUL® remodel.  Photos and/or videos are encouraged with each entry.

“There’s no question that a good remodel starts between the studs,” says McGillivray.  “Homeowners tend to jump right to the end result.  Their mindset, understandably, is focused on the finishes.  Choosing quality insulation may not provide the same sizzle, but it’s essential to ensure a remodel can stand the test of time and achieve its intended purpose.  That’s the message we want to share with consumers, and this contest is a fun, engaging way to achieve that.”

In addition to the grand prize, weekly prizing will also be available, including $250 pre-paid gift cards; Milwaukee Tool prize packs; copies of Scott McGillivray’s new book, How to Add Value to Your Home; and more.  Consumers are encouraged to drop in to a ROXUL® insulation workshop at local Home Depot and Lowes stores on Saturdays during the contest period, and tweet or share a selfie with Scott McGillivray (life-sized display) using #GetBetweenTheStuds for even more chances to win.  Visit the contest microsite for full details and contest rules. Read more

[Source: PRNewswire]

Social Media is a Conversation

So let’s talk. Learning about social media marketing? Read all about it! Here’s our social media blog.

Content is Still King in 2015 – Updated Strategies to Rule Online

Bill Gates and Content is King

Ever wonder where the phrase “Content is King” originated? Almost two decades ago in the beginning of January 1996,  the almighty computer king himself, Mr. Bill Gates wrote an article by the same name. In this piece, he predicted, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

He went on to state, “One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create,” and his prediction has already come to pass. At the time his essay was posted on the Microsoft website, content marketing was practically non-existent, but today it accounts for more than $51 billion dollars in online revenue and is expected to reach over $100 billion by 2019.

Since content continues to rule, let’s look at some winning strategies for 2015 when it comes to utilizing this valuable marketing technique:

The Mobile First Mentality Using Coupons

Statistics continue to prove that mobile is an absolute must for marketing since more people own a cell phone than possess a toothbrush. The sun may have already set on the popularity of “extreme couponing,” since smartphone users are redeeming their mobile coupons at a rate of between 5-15% compared to 1% or less of the traditional paper variety. The vast majority of mobile users, 63% of them, feel that a coupon delivered on their handheld device would be the most effective way to get them shopping, so this important strategy should not be ignored. 

Distribution Over Publication

Just as Bill Gates stated in his article, practically anyone can publish whatever type of content they create online, but what good is your valuable information on the internet if no one is reading or seeing it on the vast world wide web? Here are a few ways to help ensure your content is being found more effectively:

  • Targeting and Personalization: Using demographics, interests and other relevant information, target your audiences according to this valuable information.
  • Professional Relationships: Create a sharing bond with other businesses and their important influencers and more consumers will see your content when associated with publications and websites they already know and trust. 
  • Relevant Communities: Once you’ve published your content, reach out to relevant communities that may take an interest in your information.
  • Paid Distribution: Consider the use of paid promotions, suggested posts or sites like Outbrain to help boost amplification of content.
  • Logo Design Maker: Great content works best when paired with a brand or logo. That will create the connection between your company and the fulfillment of looking at whatever content you’re putting out, thus expanding your audience and their affinity for your business.

Email and Content Strategy

Better Emailing Techniques

In a world where are email in-baskets are cluttered with spam and other unwanted messages, marketers who wish to continue using this marketing strategy need to take a more sophisticated approach. According to a recent HubSpot survey, almost 40% of women and 30% of men never purchase products through an email proposal. If marketers are going to use email for their content delivery, they must make their messages more personalized, relevant and interesting for their recipients in order to be effective.

Measure Results

To continue reaching more readers, use tools like Google Analytics to measure results and change strategies and techniques according to this information. Don’t be afraid to try new avenues if the online pathways you are using are not effective.

In a day and age when everyone is trying to get noticed online, utilizing better strategies will help get our content to stand out from the crowd. Better engaging with our internet audience with a more personalized approach is key to success today and in the future.

Customer Insight Group Guest Blogger

 

 

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has  contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.

Is your marketing database on the edge of technology or retirement?

Marketers know that developing and executing successful marketing strategies that will create a positive impact on their organization’s bottom line begins with the knowledge found in consumer data. Consumer data provides insight about who buys your products or services, why they purchase, when they purchase, what turns a prospect into a customer and so much more. Knowledge empowers marketers to create impactful marketing decisions that increase sales.

Ensuring you have the most relevant, robust marketing data available, requires a marketing database solution that provides full integration across platforms, routine updates and maintenance as well as the ability to export the data into other marketing and sales systems requiring fully integrated data—all necessities in meeting an organization’s evolving marketing needs.

Dovetail Marketing Database Marketing Chart

Evaluate your current marketing data solution by considering the following questions.

  1. Is your marketing data updated frequently enough to meet your needs?
  2. Do all of your marketing and sales platforms have access to up-to-date, fully integrated data, opt-outs and suppressions?
  3. Do you have the ability to run ROI reports and responder profiling analyses?
  4. Is your data trustworthy, accessible, fresh and integrated (TAFI)?
  5. Do you have the ability to incorporate modeling, profiling, demographics and lifestyle data into your marketing database?
  6. Can you manage prospect data usage to ensure you adhere to list rental policies?
  7. Is your marketing data easily accessed to perform analyses, run counts, lists and reports at the individual, household, address, or other unique level(s) that are important to your business?
  8. Is your transactional data integrated with individual customer data?
  9. Do you have the ability to track touches and promotion history?

As you read through the above list, if you realize that the data and database you are using for marketing is not effectively supporting your needs, you are not alone. But you need to act; your marketing and business depend on it. Although it takes time and effort, work with appropriate resources to bring your marketing database back to relevance. Depending on how close your current marketing database solution is to retirement, it may be time to completely redevelop your database.

In any event, there is no substitute for a well-functioning, efficient, and effective marketing database. In the end, your marketing effort and results will be well worth the investment!

Customer Insight Group Guest Blogger

 

 

Dovetail — The Marketing Database Company

Dovetail provides marketers with a marketing database solution that fully-integrates marketing data from across an organization into a scalable solution that will grow with your company. In addition, Dovetail performs routine updates and maintenance to ensure your data is always fresh and actionable, provides a variety of reporting and analyses options and leverages pristine, integrated data into other marketing and sales platforms. To learn more about Dovetail’s marketing data solution, visit us at http://www.dovetaildatabase.com/data-driven-marketing/.

Social Media Reaches B2B Prospects & Buyers

By The NumbersStill have a boss not convinced you can reach your business customers by using social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube? Here are some facts that may help your business case:

  • 74% of B2B marketing companies use Twitter to distribute content (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 58% of marketers who have been using social media for more than 3 years report it has helped them improve sales (Social Media Examiner)
  • 40% of the world uses a social media site every day. And your B2B customers and prospects are likely among them. (Infographic)
  • B2B marketers who use Twitter generate twice as many leads as those that do not (Inside View)
  • For B2B companies, LinkedIn was the most effective, with 65% having acquired a customer through the professional network (Marketing Charts)
  • 55% of B2B survey respondents search for information on social media (MediaBistro)
  • The number one benefit of social media marketing is generating more business exposure (85%), followed by increasing traffic (69%) and providing marketplace insight (65%) (Social Media Examiner)
  • Identifying the value of social media marketing efforts comes down to looking at four factors: financial, branding, risk management, and digital marketing (Forrester)
  • Social Media can improve relations with employees. 82% of employees say they trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media (eMarketer)
  • Top tactics marketers plan to use this year for lead-gen are Twitter posts (82%), online communities (79%), blogs (76%), LinkedIn discussion groups (76%), LinkedIn pages (76%) and Twitter offers (74%).  (Forrester)
  • Companies that acquired customers from Facebook: B2C is 77% and B2B is 43%. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)
  • 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. (Source: Aberdeen)

What have you discovered about your B2B customers’ or prospects’ social media habits that have justified your activities?

Personalization Improves Customer Conversion Ratios

Giving customers or prospects the best experience possible is an age-old business goal. By facilitating more relevant, personalized direct marketing and customer interaction, advances in technology are allowing us to get closer to realizing that ambition than ever before. Personalization has a tremendous impact on customer acquisition by improving customer conversion ratios. It also improves customer satisfaction across the entire customer relationship lifecycle.

Accenture’s 2012 CMO Insights

Yet despite its importance, CMOs report they are lagging in execution. While 68 percent of CMOs say it’s important to create value from digital channels, only 13 percent of CMOs say their organizations’ performance is leading-edge. Additionally, digital orientation–which Accenture defines as working across the organization to infuse a digital focus in all business processes and functions–has the largest “performance gap,” which is the spread between performance and importance, among the five major marketing capabilities queried: digital orientation, marketing operations, customer analytics, customer engagement, and innovation.  Read more.

Source: [CMO.com]

4 Tips For Creating A Mobile Website

With mobile design growing in popularity over recent years, many mobile users expect a fast and fully integrated mobile experience when they visit your website from a smartphone or tablet. If you haven’t created a mobile website, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build awareness of your business and attract customers.

Before and After Mobile Optimized Website

Research by Econsultancy found 62 percent of companies that create a mobile website experienced increased sales. The reality is: most consumers use their mobile devices when making a purchasing decision. In fact, 60 percent of consumers use their mobile device to aid them during the purchasing process. Clearly, mobile is changing the way people use the mobile web to interact with businesses online.

As a business owner, you’re probably always thinking of different ways you can improve your website and the overall customer experience. In order to make a plan, however, you need to know the right techniques for your mobile website. Here are four tips that will help you get started with your mobile design:

1. Start with a responsive design.

The key to a successful mobile website is implementing a responsive design. This type of design will make it possible for your website to be accessed from any type of mobile device.

When creating a responsive design, it’s important to think about the operating system your customers will use when they visit your website. There are three major mobile operating systems including iOS, Android, and Windows. As you create your mobile design, it’s important to think about the different features each operating system utilizes and how you can adapt your layout to those platforms.

2. Speed up your website.

Did you know 40 percent of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load? If your mobile website is slow, it’s very likely consumers will stop visiting your website.

Now, there are a number of tweaks you can make to your website to make it faster. First, it’s important to make sure your design is innovative yet simple. Avoid using CSS elements or Javascript whenever possible because this will help you create a faster website. It’s also important to only use images that are scalable for mobile devices.

3. Keep it simple yet informative.

A mistake many businesses make when creating a mobile website is containing too little or too much information in their design. Remember, consumers want a fast mobile experience, but they also want to retrieve the information they need from a tap of their fingers.

The navigation of your website should be easy to access and outline the different pages of your website. You should also include the most important details your customers need to know about your business such as product information, contact information, and links to your social media accounts. It’s also important to write copy for your mobile website that it succinct and clear for your readers to understand.

4. Integrate branding elements from your current website. 

Finally, it’s important to make sure your mobile design contains the branding of your website and overall business. There are a few reasons why it’s important to use the same branding with your mobile website. First, you want to make it easier for your customers to recognize your business. Second, any type of website you create for your business should reflect your overall branding strategy.

Creating a mobile website for your business can greatly improve the overall customer experience and help you build a stronger brand. By keeping these mobile design tips in mind, you’ll be able to create a website that fits your customers’ needs.

What are your best mobile design tips?

Customer Insight Group Guest Blogger

Ivan Serrano is a social media, marketing and small business journalist living in the Bay Area of California.

Image Source: dazeinfo.com

 

12 Pinterest Marketing Tips for Your Business

Pinterest marketing tips

While it’s true millions of women love Pinning, men are actually the fastest-growing demographic on Pinterest. No matter who your target audience is, take your Pinterest marketing to the next level with these top Pinterest tips.

  • Add Links and Keywords – Pinterest is not only a great visual representation of your business, it also has the extra bonus of having SEO value if you include the link and keywords in your description.
  • Integrate – Be sure that the content on your website is easy to share. Incorporate the “Pin it” button into your social sharing area on each page of your site.
  • Engage – Repin, “like” or comment on pins and boards of others. Interact with your followers and take the time to participate.
  • Mix it Up – Avoid the “me syndrome” of pinning about your products. Connect with your target customers by pinning about inspirations, interests and your customers lifestyle
  • Be Relevant – Create boards and pin items that appeal to every segment of your customer base. This is your opportunity to speak to all your audience segments. To attract new followers and keep them engaged, provide new content regularly. Create a new board or pin to an existing board at least once a day, seven days a week.
  • Be Aware of Copyrights – Make sure you always credit images and link back to the original source. For more information see Pinterest’s terms and conditions for use of third-party content.
  • Avoid Price Tags – Resist the urge to add prices and logos on your images. The minute you do, it becomes less attractive to the consumer. However, you can definitely link the image back to your e-commerce site, where you will likely see traffic convert into sales.
  • Add Videos – Images are not the only things that can be pinned. You Tube videos can be pinned to boards in the same way as any other image. If you have how-to videos or presentations this would be a great place to add them for additional exposure.
  • Make it Personal – Use it show a different side to you and your business. Show behind the scenes at your office with boards about your staff or about a non-profit or cause you support.
  • Pin What’s Hot – Whether it’s a book that received exposure on a talk show or the latest fashion trends, users want to see what everyone’s is talking about. If you pin this type of content to your boards, you can draw that trend-seeking crowd to follow you, just make sure it’s relevant to your business.
  • Cross-Promote – Tell your Facebook and Twitter fans and followers to come join the party. Incorporate plugins like the “Pin It” button on your website to let visitors know you have an active presence on Pinterest.
  • Check Traffic – Use Google analytics to track what images and content are driving site traffic.

More Social Media Marketing Resources

Pinterest Stats

Social Media Best Practices

Social Media as a Channel

Marketing Library Blog

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Infographics

Trends in the World of Social Media for 2015

Social Media Trends 2015

In the world of social media, the only constant is change. When it first came into the limelight, it was seen as a way for people to connect with old and new friends. Today, it has become a key part in many businesses’ marketing and customer service strategy. With over 25 percent of the world’s population on at least one social platform and dozens of new social media platforms popping up yearly, brands need to stay up-to-date with the latest developments if they intend to stay ahead of the competition. While the social media landscape is constantly evolving, there are several trends that stand out for 2015.

Social Video

Video is quickly becoming the most popular form of content on the Internet with the rise of Vine and Instagram video. For brands, there are a couple benefits of incorporating video into your strategy:

  1. More so than text or photos, video evoke strong emotional responses. If you have a powerful story, your videos can create a strong connection with the audience in a matter of seconds. This can help build trust and ultimately brand loyalty.
  2. Videos are naturally engaging thanks to its audio and visual components so it’s no surprise that they are shared 12 times more than links and text combined. The more shares and likes you have on a branded video, the more potential customers will view your company in a positive light.

More Mobile

Mobile now accounts for 60 percent of total Internet usage. What are people doing on their phones? Well, 71 percent are accessing their social media profile. As the numbers show, mobile isn’t just a fad, it’s here to stay. If you want to make the most out of your social campaigns, you need to go in with a mobile-first mindset. Create campaigns that will work on mobile devices and then scale-up for desktop users. By doing so, you ensure that everyone has an equally pleasant user experience whether they are accessing your site or your social posts.

More Social Sites

While Facebook remains the undisputed social media giant with over 2 billion users, many other social platforms are popping up in response to serve more niche demographics. For example, Ello has positioned itself as the anti-Facebook and promises never to sell their users’ personal information or place any ads. Other platforms like Whisper promise complete anonymity where you post thoughts, memes, etc. all without posting under any name, real or otherwise. Will all of these social media platforms survive? It’s hard to tell but it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open for the next big thing.

Social Shopping

The idea of social commerce might seem obvious, but it wasn’t until much later that social media sites started integrating a “Buy” call to action that shopping and social media finally converged into a seamless experience. Not only does it make it easier for users to purchases, it also provides brands with important metrics to see how much of their revenue is coming from these campaigns. Still, there are some pitfalls with this as social media is more about customer engagement and building relationships, not pushing a hard sale.

Keep an Eye Out for Trends

By definition, trends are fleeting. With social media, they are often fickle as well. What might have worked one month won’t work the next. The most important piece of advice is to stay alert and keep an eye out on your campaigns to see what is working and what is not. Perhaps the only thing you can count on is the growing importance of social media in your marketing strategy. No other channel provides the same reach, engagement and connections that these platforms can.

Customer Insight Group Guest Blogger
Ivan Serrano is a social media, marketing and small business journalist living in the Bay Area of California.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com