Tag Archives: digital marketing

Why content marketing starts with your ‘sign up button’

Whilst much of the talk about content marketing strategy focuses on the creation, packaging and presentation of information that might encourage your target customer to interact and transact with you, the reality doesn’t need to be so complicated.

Committing to the setting up and writing of a blog, developing thought provoking white papers, producing video, webinars or hosting slides and documents is a serious undertaking and not for every business.

But what is within the reach of all businesses are a number of little fixes that can be made throughout your website, your email marketing and advertising to give your marketing the best chance of conversion.

A focus on headings, action buttons and supporting copy can make a significant impact on click-through, lead generation and conversion.

Changing an action button from ‘Register’ which may be an obstacle in the mind of prospective customer to ‘Start now’ alters the perception from being a task to becoming a desirable, benefit enabled action. In this example from a natural wellbeing site, Start Now is softer and less prescriptive.

Hubspot is a masterful example in the art of content marketing. Everything they do is aimed at developing deeper relationship, evolving to product trial. Free Demo buttons stand out on every page throughout the site, which uses its multiple daily blog posts and free webinars, white papers and ebooks to drive traffic.

Joe Browns clothing and accessories, below, help the browsing process by colouring their search button and using the words ‘make it easy – search sale by size’ to help customers get straight to what they want. Simple. Effective.

Expedia simplify site browsing, whilst personalising it, with the use of the copy ‘Find your deal’. Great copy which implies you’ll be able to locate a holiday that’s relevant for you at a price you’ll be happy with. Pretty powerful stuff when you analyse it.

Even the banks are getting creative with their action buttons as this example from First Direct illustrates. From  the core ‘Apply Today’ button to the standout buttons to the right offering online security, partner offers and free software, they are making the most of their real estate and trying to drive traffic to key transactional areas of the site.

What can you be doing better to help your visitors and customers along?

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My Twitter Week (we 25 March 2011)

In the week the iPad 2 went on sale in the UK, here are links below to some of the content that engaged, intrigued and even enraged me over the last seven days.

What have you been reading that you want to share with the world?

Monday: I stumbled across (using StumbleUpon) a smart site called  http://www.futureme.org/ where I fairly promptly wrote myself a letter that will be emailed to me in a year’s time. I went for the short term but you work a lot further into the future. It will be interesting to see what has developed, changed, improved.

Tuesday: I was alarmed to read on Social Media Examiner that an Alterian survey claimed that most marketers are clueless about social media conversations. Surely not knowing what is being said you, your brand and your company is increasingly about as neglectful as it gets!

Wednesday: Two bits of ‘big number’ news on Wednesday. First that Linkedin hit 100m users followed swiftly by news that The BBC has received over 50,000 applications for 500 positions in Manchester. Maybe they need to fast track some HR appointments to help start the sifting process.

Thursday: I spent the day at Social Media Academy’s Manchester conference, where I gave a talk on social media for b2b marketers. My slides are here, a blog post covering all the day’s presentations is here.

Friday: The ever readable Seth Godin mused on whether businesses and individuals try to get away with less rather than trying to do more. Which camp do you fall into?

More next week!

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The future of selling

I’ve stumbled across another interesting presentation deck on Slideshare.

This one from Ogilvy explores how the sales function in most companies needs to step up and embrace new marketing, new technology and the new world of communication, collaboration and engagement. There are also some great examples of joined up integrated thinking.

I do think there is still a place for traditional techniques in sales but we have to realise that customers are smarter, more discerning and invariably look to the Internet before shortlisting suppliers or making key capital purchases.

It needs a shift rather than a complete change in mindset, but a willingness to adapt nonetheless.

Why just dipping your toe online doesn’t work

Time and time again we see companies making a hash of their online presence and the opportunities afforded to them by the Internet. To some it can be a place to make a quick buck, to others it is a terrifying place only entered with extreme caution. To others it represents an incredible opportunity to reach and engage with likeminded individuals.

From a business perspective, you are doing your company’s future success online more harm than good if you are just dipping your toe and using the latest in-vogue digital marketing tools rather than joining them up strategically.

Limiting your reach and exposure to a single website, the odd profile on a social networking site or a couple of banner ads on key industry portals really inhibits your ability to shine online and draw customers to you.

A term that is already in use in digital marketing circles is ‘social media optimisation’. This takes the notion of search engine optimisation one stage further and in using high traffic social media sites to in essence provide a backlink to a nominated web page, means you are optimising your site through social media.

As a weekend challenge, visit the website namechk and enter your vanity url to see whether it is already being used. You might find in some instances it has already gone. If not, I really recommend reserving it on the following so it is yours for the future if not right now: Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo and Foursquare.

And if you want to really go to town, you should also consider reserving your vanity url on Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Reddit, StumbleUpon and bag yourself a WordPress blog handle too.

All these tools will help you not only create durable profiles and content, they can host and distribute your content, driving inbound enquiries to your business. Which ultimately makes it easier for prospects to find you on platforms they prefer to use.

Summary: A strategic approach to using everything the web has to offer (just like any other approach in marketing) might be more protracted but keeps you focused and pays dividends in the end.

Image: My China Connection

Why I love Google tools, RSS and Google Reader

Waiting for a daily email newsletter to arrive or remembering to check any number of websites for updates can leave you ‘behind the curve’ on client and market developments. It can also be time consuming and things can disrupt the regular supply of emails.

You might use some Google tools but here are some quick ways to help cut through your information overload.

1. Setting up a Google account

Dead easy. If you haven’t got one head to www.google.co.uk and select Sign in top right. Create an account, verify it from your email, sign in, and you’ll be able to access a range of Google services for free.

2. Google Alerts

Activating a Google Alerts account means you can get information related to keywords, clients and brands you are interested in, delivered to your inbox as frequently as you want them. Google Alerts scour the internet taking in news, blogs, video, image, YouTube, books and lots more. You can set them to occur more or less frequently than I have below and can check in and run an update at any time.

3. RSS Feeds When you see this icon on a web page, it means you can be updated every time something new appears on that page. There are two ways to take regular, ‘live’ feeds from a webpage into Google, using the personalised home page or Google Reader, more below.

(You can, if you prefer, bypass all this and set up RSS feeds into Microsoft Outlook too but that restricts use to your work computer whereas with Google, you can access services anywhere and on any computer in the world).

 

Click ‘Subscribe now’ and you should see this screen, which gives you two options, outlined below.

4. iGoogle Home Page

Using the iGoogle setting rather than Classic (see the top right corner in the screen grab below) means you can personalise your internet browsing desktop and have your most important news feeds available at a touch of a button. The advantage of using this is that every time you refresh, each feed refreshes so you get the very latest published content from that site on your Internet home page.

And you don’t need to set up another email account as had previously been the case. (All my Google activity runs through my Yahoo! Ymail account).

 

5. Google Reader

There are several options on ‘readers’ but I personally prefer the Google Reader service which lists all ‘feeds’ in one place. Here you can group all your favourite sites, blogs and RSS feeds and flick through them easily. The latest content published on a site you take a feed from is always displayed at the top in bold.

The whole thing is designed to save time and effort but keep you up to date with the information and the sites you need to stay updated about. It isn’t necessarily a substitute for those daily/weekly emails which have a value and contain additional content, but for news that could provide an opportunity to respond on if done quickly, it is extremely useful.

The screen grabs below show various list views and expanded views. Depending on the feed, some articles can be read in their entirety in Reader, whilst others will give an introduction to the article but still require you to click through.

 

Different story displays:

 

I open up Google Reader first thing in the morning and check in a few times a day. Helps me keep up with the game, if not ahead of it.

How storytelling can enhance your brand

With a greater focus on content and context driving long term engagement with brands, I found this Slideshare by StoryBeats to be timely and relevant to the debate.

What I particularly like about it is the way they have drawn creative inspiration from a range of sources – in this example films and games – but have also fused some interesting b2c case studies into the presentation too.

Indeed, using strong characters, plots and scenarios to help create a point of connection with your customers – some common ground – is a powerful first step in developing a relationship.

I think using stories and values to position companies and their brands have never been in sharper focus. Companies that continue to differentiate themselves in this way will stand out from the pack.

Be interested to see what you think.

Making a commitment in 2011

Being bold and publicly committing to doing something gives whatever it is a much greater chance of succeeding.

I was greatly encouraged by WordPress’ official review of this blog which indicated that if the site was a gig at Madison Square Garden, I’d have sold out three times in 2010.

These 60,000 hits in 2010 made my first full year of blogging a reasonable success, but like any respectable blogger and aspiring writer, I want much more in 2011.

So, today, I’m committing to the WordPress ‘postaday2011’ initiative. In blogging and wider content marketing terms, quality, relevance and frequency delivered with a personal touch, combine to give your online profile the best chance of reaching and engaging as far and as wide as possible.

Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a day for 2011 (from today).

It’s going to be a challenge (I’ve tried before!), but it will be fun, hopefully inspiring. I’m also keen to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read this blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Image: http://www.aheckofaguy.com