Content Marketing Thursday: 4 Tips to Include in Your Content Marketing Strategy to Build Relationships with Your Target Audience

Content Marketing Source: http://www.seogon.com/blog/content-marketing-is-not-just-blogging-7-more-content-marketing-ideasBuilding relationships with your target audience is a top goal for a Digital Marketing Manager, and here are some content marketing strategies to put in your digital marketing toolbox in building relationships with your target audience. By implementing these content marketing strategies, it can increase your brand awareness and be highly effective in positioning your company as a thought leader in your field as well as shorten the length of the sales process.

Content marketing strategies are less formal than traditional marketing methods. So, when deploying your content marketing strategies be casual, and your target audience will be more open to the idea of building a relationship with your brands.

4 Tips to include in your content marketing strategy to build relationships with your target audience

  1. Embrace the Blog – Blogs give you the capability to talk to your target audience on a regular basis in a casual atmosphere. In addition to reaching your target audience, blogs assist your SEO efforts by increasing your search rank to drive traffic to your site.
  2. Promote through Social Media – Social media sites are one of the best ways to develop relationships with your target audience. Here, you can have two-way conversations with your current, past, and future customers, and social media allows your target audience to influence their social media communities.
  3. Drop the Sales Pitch – In the long run, content marketing strategies influence total sales, but content marketing tactics (blogs, social media, webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, mobile apps, newsletters, etc.) are not the forum to deliver sales messages. Consumers visit websites and social media sites to learn about a business’ brands and area of expertise, not to experience a hard sell. Content marketing provides the opportunity for your target audience to build trust in your brands and facilitates the relationship building process. Just be creative, informative, and engaging when communicating with your target audience, and they will place a purchase when they are ready to do so.
  4. Add Video – visuals help people connect with your brands. You-tube, Instagram and Vine are inexpensive ways to distribute your video content, so don’t be afraid of creating videos. Plus, search engines love video; therefore, as search engines tweak their algorithms, video will help you stay at the top of search engine result pages.

To help you utilize these tips you need to learn about your target audience by doing the following:

  • Listen to your Target Audience – listen to their preferences, needs, and wants
  • Understand your Target Audience – find out what is relevant to them and learn where they are on the Internet and when they are online.
  • Engage with your Target Audience – in the right time and the right place with what they want to read or hear

Try including these low-cost and effective tips into your content marketing strategy to watch your brand’s credibility and recognition increase without spending lots of money deploying traditional marketing methods.

Sources

Additional Resources

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

Follow 8 Golden Rules of Social Media to Avoid the Pitfalls of Social Media in This Week’s Social Media Update

To implement your social marketing strategy seamlessly, Digital Marketing Managers need to follow the golden rules of social media to make your social marketing successful and help you reach your overall digital marketing goals.

Golden Rules of Social Media

Golden Rules of Social Media Source: http://rebekahradice.com/golden-rules-successful-social-media-marketing/

  1. Create specific social media objectives – Give your organization a clear understanding of where you are going with your social marketing.
  2. Inbound is not enough – Social Media will not fulfill your overall digital marketing objectives on their own. Digital Marketing Managers need a well-rounded mix of inbound and outbound strategies to fulfill your overall digital marketing goals.
  3. Good content – make sure you create engaging relevant content.
  4. Strong call to action – your social media content needs to clearly express what you want your followers to do after they consume your content; otherwise, you are wasting your time and your followers time.
  5. Always add value – make sure your content adds value to your brand.
  6. Never forget that social is a two-way street – Once you make a post, followers will make comments, and you should take comments seriously and respond to them timely and sincerely.
  7. Peer-to-peer sharing is the best way to get your message heard – Social media creates an open dialogue with your followers, and it gives brands and Digital Marketing Managers the capability to create engaging experiences and relationships with followers.
  8. Most important! Don’t take yourself too seriously – participating in social media gives Digital Marketing Managers the chance to give their brands a personality and be likable. However, don’t go off the deep end, you need to have some decorum.

If you follow the above golden rules of social media, you can avoid the following pitfalls of social media:

Pitfalls of Social Media Source: http://www.socialsamosa.com/2012/04/social-media-pitfalls-to-avoid/

  • Don’t brag – yes, you want your content to add value to your brand, but you don’t want to sound conceited.
  • Don’t be afraid to try social marketing – just because social marketing is different doesn’t mean you should avoid it. By creating objectives and a plan, social media can appear less daunting.
  • Don’t be afraid of social media because measurement is difficult – there are ways to measure the impact of your social media. Plus, social marketing extends your brands reach that will impact your bottom line indirectly.
  • Don’t use social media sites as advertising opportunities – Social media is a chance for you to give your brand a personality and truly connect with current, past, and future customers. Traditional advertising methods will not allow you to connect with your followers.
  • Don’t assume every social media site is good for your brand – Not ALL social media channels will work for ALL brands. For example, if you are a B2C company, Facebook may be a better fit. On the flip side, if you are a B2B company, LinkedIn might make more sense. (Remember this is just an example and not proven to be true)
  • Don’t create social pages and think you are done – If you can’t create a relationship with a new person in one day, what makes you think you can create engaging ongoing relationships with your target audience in social media if you don’t update your pages or posts regularly? However, keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you should be on social media all day every day.

General Rule of Thumb: Use social media sites as one digital marketing tactic in your digital marketing toolbox to extend your reach with your target audience, and use it where it makes sense for your brands to build relationships and create engaging experience with your current, past and future customers.

Source: Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Social Marketing

Additional Articles for Social Media Networks:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Next Week’s Social Media Update: Creating a Social Media Army to Help Reach your Target Audience

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

Email Marketing Tuesday: 5 Attributes to Achieve Engaging Email Marketing

Welcome back to Email Marketing Tuesdays, I have been on a quest to discover best practices for email marketing, and I want to share my findings with you.

What is engaging email? One of the many things I have read includes Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Engaging Email Marketing, and the guide covers 5 attributes that makes email marketing engaging, and the 5 attributes include:

  1. Trusted
  2. Always Relevant
  3. Conversational
  4. Coordinated Across Channels
  5. Strategic

However, before going into details about the 5 attributes that makes email marketing engaging, let’s define engagement.  According to Brian Solis author of  What’s the Future of Business? Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, “engagement is defined as the interactions between a brand and a consumer, but it is in how it’s measured that counts.”

Now, as you read the details about the different attributes involved in engaging email marketing, think about the actions your brands and your consumers need to take, and then, think about how these actions can be measured.

1. Trusted – To create trust with your target audience, you need to develop and maintain the quality of your list; maintain your reputation to increase deliverability with ISP’s; be consistent in the timing, frequency, marketing messages, who emails are from, and subject lines; and finally, abide by CAN-SPAM regulations.

2. Always Relevant – Say the The crossover between what you what to say in your email message and what your audience wants your email message to say is relevancy
right thing to the right people at the right time.  To accomplish this, you need to segment your target audience and determine what is the most relevant content for each segment within your target audience.  The next Email Marketing Tuesday will talk more about how you can segment your list, so stay tuned!

Two-way communication3. Conversational – the content of your email marketing efforts should spark a two-way conversation between you and your target audience.  You can do this by listening to your audience, adapt to their changing needs, and tell engaging stories.  Segmenting your lists and using dynamic content will help you achieve this attribute.

4. Coordinated Across Channels – According to a recent study by Mckinsey & Company, “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than Social Media — nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.” However, social media extends your reach beyond your email marketing efforts. Therefore, Digital Marketing Managers need to include both email marketing and social media marking efforts in their digital marketing programs.  Tomorrow’s blog post, Social Media Wednesday, will talk more about social media efforts that you can coordinate with your email marketing efforts.

5. Strategic – First, make strategic marketing decisions that comply with your company’s goals.  Second, with the metrics that you are given, formulate a process to determine your Return on Investment (ROI) for your email marketing program.

Some of the above mentioned attributes are not surprising, but some the details and examples out-lined in Marketo’s guide are helpful.  In my opinion, Marketo put together an excellent guide that contains a majority of what you need to plan and deploy a top notch engaging email marketing program.

Remember: Tomorrow, check out the Digital Marketing Manager blog post, Social Media Wednesday, to find out more about the Coordinated Across Channels attribute mentioned above.

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

SEO Monday: How to Optimize your Content and Keyword Phrases for SEO

I recently came across this really great Infographic, from Aha Media Group, that walks you through the steps to optimize your Content for your Long-Tail Keyword Phrases to help you implement your SEO tactics and meet your digital marketing objectives.

As a side note, when reviewing this Infographic, think about how you can use Infographics in your Content Marketing.  Not only did I think this Infographic was clever, I personally thought presenting How-To information was clever and unique.

I hope you find this Infographic helpful to implement your Keyword Phrase strategies to help optimize your content. I also, hope this gets your creative juices flowing on how you can develop content for your digital marketing efforts.

Source: Infusionsoft Big Idea Blog: Recipe for SEO Success

How to Optimize your Content using your long tail keyword phrases

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

SEO Mondays: Improve your Google Rank by Implementing 7 Link Building Strategies

7 Link Building StrategiesKeyword strategies get the most attention for SEO, but link building is another SEO strategy that Digital Marketing Managers can utilize to increase website rankings on search engine results pages. Today’s SEO Monday blog post talks about 7 link building strategies.

7 Link Building Strategies:

  1. Manual Link Building
  2. Competitive Link Building
  3. Links via Embedded Content
  4. Linkbait & Viral Campaigns
  5. Content, Technology & API Licensing
  6. Partnerships, Exchanges & Trades
  7. Link Reclamation

Whatever link building strategy you decide to employ, just keep in mind that you should create relevant links for your content to increase the trust with your customers and search engines. The more relevant your links, the higher the quality of your links, the more value search engines will place on your content, and ultimately, the higher you will rank on search engine result pages.

Before starting your link building strategies, create a profile of websites and social media sites where your target audience spends time. Then, think about how you can build links from those sites to you site.

7 Link Building Strategies Details

1. Manual Link Building
Create a list of relevant non-competitive sites and pages, and then, make a request for a link with the website. Try to find an actual person who manages the site to make a request for displaying your link. This form of link-building is the most time consuming, but it produces high quality links.

2. Competitive Link Building
Complete a search of places where your competitor has links and see if you can post links on those same pages. Examples of where you and your competitor might both have links include industry directories or associations. This process doesn’t produce links with the highest quality, but it isn’t time-consuming like the Manual Link Building Strategy.

3. Links via Embedded Content
By offering widgets and embeddable forms of content, you can earn links back to the page of your choice when other websites include your work in blog posts, articles, or webpages. For example, you can use scribd.com to upload one of your PowerPoint presentations and embed a mini graphic of the PowerPoint on your website. When someone clicks on the graphic, scribd.com earns a link. This link building activity is not time consuming and produces high quality links.

4. Linkbait & Viral Campaigns
Find industry bloggers or content hobbyists that offer relevant content to your website where you both have similar audiences. Contact these individuals and ask them to post your content on their site with a link back to your site. It may take time to develop relationships with industry bloggers and hobbyists, but if both of you share each others content, you can build high quality links.

5. Content, Technology & API Licensing
With this strategy, you syndicate your content or create licenses with other websites to post your content.  Then, who ever distributes your content produces a link back to your site. Producing these types of links my take time, but once the relationship is formed the opportunities for building high quality links is limitless.

6. Partnerships, Exchanges & Trades
These types of links include reciprocal links, discounts, or invitations to events.  To maintain the quality of these links, don’t sell links. Building these types of links can be simple as long as both parties are happy, but the quality isn’t as high.

7. Link Reclamation
Find all potential broken links, out-of-date resources, and 404 pages, and then, redirect them back to your homepage. While this takes time, this strategy produces high quality links. Plus, this strategy is just good practice and can help build a relationship with customers.

Good luck utilizing one or many of the above link building strategies. Just remember to build relevant links for your content. For every link you build, ask yourself if the link feels natural or not.  If the link doesn’t feel natural rethink the link.

Additional Link Building Strategies listed from hard to easy to implement

Strategies in the above graphic are list from hardest to easiest to implement. However, think about implementing a combination of these strategies to reap all the benefits for your websites SEO. The source of the graphic is from Brands Exposed.

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

Email Marketing Tuesday: Taking Full Advantage of your Transactional Emails

Welcome to Email Marketing Tuesday: Taking full advantage of your transactional emails by communicating with your prospects and customers. Transactional emails are an opportunity to communicate with your audience via email messages triggered by an action they took or an action they need to take.

Since you only have a short period of time to attract and maintain your audience’s attention, inserting multiple messages in your transactional emails could be an opportunity get emails opened and call to actions taken.

What are Transactional Emails?

According to Mailchimp, transactional emails include messages with content tailored to a single recipient and only to them through a transaction that they made online. Others consider transactional emails as triggered, automated, real-time, or personalized emails.

Types of Transactional Email:

  • Welcome
  • Thank You
  • Bill
  • Renewal
  • Invoice
  • Receipt
  • Order Confirmation
  • Order Status
  • Post Purchase Review
  • Email Address Confirmations
  • Activation
  • Upsell/Cross Promotional
  • Re-activation
  • Website Behavior
  • Event Countdown
  • Shopping Cart Abandonment
  • Forget Username or Password
  • Notice for an update

According to MarketingSherpa, only 40% of  marketers use transactional emails. So, there may be an opportunity for digital marketing managers to benefit from transactional emails. However, I suggest you use transactional emails that make sense for your audience.

Thinking about the different types of transactional emails mentioned, transactional emails contain short messages to keep your audience aware of their relationship with your website. Some contain a call to action like renewal and invoice emails, and others are informational emails.

Even if you are currently using transactional email, your next step in taking full advantage of your transactional emails is including an additional call to action. Below are different examples you can do:

  • For Welcome emails, include a call to action for them to go to your website to check out some tailored content. If you manage a history website and someone registers on the website mentioning an interest in the American Civil Way, send them a welcome email with a link to an article on your website about the American Civil War.
  • For Order Confirmation and Order Update transactional emails, you can insert a “people that bought your item also bought these items” section.
  • For a Reactivation emails, the email message should contain new or updated content that is similar to the last piece of content they saw.

The key to your transactional email is to make the message about your audience and offering them something that is triggered by their action, personalized, and offering them something tailored/relevant to them  in real-time.

Keep in mind transactional emails don’t have an 100% open rate, so don’t expect transactional emails to be the only solution to increasing website traffic or engaging your audience. Transactional emails are just another tactic to keep in your digital marketing toolbox that have the potential to increasing traffic. Also, just like any other digital marketing and email marketing tactic, you should complete A/B testing to maximize the results of your transactional emails.

Resources:

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

SEO Monday: Google Pushs Organic Search Results Below the Fold

Welcome to SEO Monday’s. Last week, Google changed their Search Engine Results Page (SERP) pushing your organic search results below the fold in favor of images for Product Listings.

What does this mean for you?

Include images with keyword descriptions in your product listings, and you may want to test the pricing for your PPC bidding. For more information and screen shots of the new results pages, read Search Engine Journal’s “Breaking – Google Changes the SERP – Images are King and PPC Holds the Key to the Kingdom” article.

In other search engine news, Semantic Search is gaining ground. Semantic Search or entity search, uses machine intelligence to determine the intended meaning of the words you enter for your searches to deliver you more relevant search results.

Semantic Search works behind the scenes to deliver the results you need and takes content, context, and intent in to consideration when delivering results for each search. Now, when implementing your search engine optimization strategies, you need to have a deep understanding of how your current content users are finding you.  Also, you want to understand how the target market of your content conduct their searches on search engines. For more information, go to Search Engine Journal’s “The Stealthy Rise of Semantic Search” article.

Other Articles in Search to help you and your SEO:

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

Blog your Way to Giving your Brand a Voice with some Personality and Enhance the Customer’s Experience with Teachable Moments

In the digital world that we live in today, it is a Digital Marketing Manager’s responsibility to make a brand stand out. By blogging, a Digital Marketing Manager can help their brand stand out and give their brand a voice with a personality. A blog not only educates the brand’s consumers, blogs make your brand credible and enhances the customer’s experience with your brand.

Another compelling reason to start a blog is that search engines love blogs. With Google’s Hummingbird, many Digital Marketing Managers are concerned about how to optimize their content to land on page one of a Google search results page.  Well, let your blog be your savior.

Hummingbird concentrates on the long-tail keyword searches, and blog content lends itself to including long-tail key word phrases naturally.  Therefore, if Digital Marketing Managers consistently post relevant content about your brand on a regular basis, Digital Marketing Managers can help their SEO as well.

8 components to include in your blog posts

  • A SEO optimized title
  • A long-tail search keyword phrase
  • Conversational tone
  • Format should include lists and whitespace
  • Length of post should be 500 words or less
  • Create a call to action
  • Don’t make a sales pitch
  • Lastly and most important, a Digital Marketing Manager must make sure the audience learns something from each post

As a school girl, my father asked me everyday what I learned in school, and I usually said nothing.  Then, one day, I asked my dad why he always asked me what I learned in school.  He told me that every day where I did not learn something was a day wasted. Therefore, every post where your audience does not learn something is a wasted post and a chance to alienate your audience which could cause a Digital Marketing Manager to have nightmares.

If you aren’t yet convinced to start a blog, consider the following statistics about blogs from Hubspot:

  •  B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not.
  • B2C companies that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those who do not.
  • 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog.
  • 57% of companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog.

Additional Blogging Resources

  1. The Definitive Guide to Corporate Blogging for Marketers
  2. How to Blog for Business Success with Google’s Hummingbird
  3. Blogging 101
  4. “The Make Sure Every Story is Compelling and Share-worthy” section at the end of the Coca-Cola’s Storytelling: Three Lessons on Content Marketing and Creativity article

What and when is next Digital Marketing Manager post?

SEO Monday

Until Monday, have a great weekend and think about how you can make each blog post a teachable moment for your audience!

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

A Digital Marketing Manager’s Journey to Keep up with Technology Visits Day 1 of Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2013 Cloud Expo1

Technology is constantly changing and to stay up to date and discover the multitude of tools available to me as a Digital Marketing Manager, I spent part of yesterday walking around Salesforce’s Dreamforce ’13 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center meeting with different exhibitors to educate myself about strategizing, deploying, measuring, managing, analyzing with the latest technology.

As a marketer, it is important for me to stay on top of new marketing tools and technologies that can either engage customer experiences or improve marketing processes.  To deploy email marketing, social media, and other digital marketing efforts, finding the right technology that fits with your company and customers is important to maximize responses and revenue.  In an effort to reduce the length of this post, only a portion of the exhibitors that I met with are mentioned.  The companies mentioned below are no more important than the companies that I didn’t mention, and the companies not mentioned will appear in future posts.

In today’s digital marketing age, capturing data and analytics does not always happen in a timely fashion. However, waiting for analytics from digital marketing efforts may be a thing of the past with Birst, a Salesforce plugin.  Birst pulls all of your data from all of your digital marketing efforts in real time making it easier to calculate return on investment, ROI, make any changes if necessary, and make data driven decisions.

While Birst helps deliver real-time results of your digital marketing efforts, you need to develop objectives that your digital marketing efforts need to meet.  To help you develop those objectives, First Rain can assist you.  They can deliver real-time relevant knowledge and data about your market to help you design realistic objectives and market strategies for your business.

Every day, marketers utilize many types of media for various marketing efforts that drive customers to websites to take actions.  The different types of media include direct mail, email marketing, Social Media, online advertising, mobile, etc. As customers take action on your websites, they follow a path that originated from one of the types of media used.  Standard Register’s SMARTworks Connect solution with Salesforce, you can figure out which effort motivated your customer to take action and calculate return on investment by type of marketing effort.

If your product is subscription based, Kinetic Growth can assist you with renewal automation, billing, invoices, quotes, credit card payments, and account management.

All of these applications assist marketers in their jobs.  Just keep in mind, these applications plug in to Salesforce.com.

Dreamforce ’13 is a conference for marketers using Salesforce.com and developers of Salesforce.com applications to help keep you up with the tools and technologies to maximize your revenue.

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough

Social Media for Digital Marketing Managers – Marketo’s 7 Golden Rules of Social Marketing

Most of yesterday was spent thinking about the most effective way to organize a weekly Social Media post for the Digital Marketing Manager blog that the day was over before I could post something for you.

Since Social Media falls under the digital marketing umbrella, it is necessary for the Digital Marketing Manager blog to cover Social Media, but how can one blog posting per week contain everything that happens every week in the world of Social Media with 500 words or less.

Social Media has a high number of tactics within digital marketing that a whole separate blog could be dedicated to it.

After contemplating how to organize the Social Media post for the Digital Marketing Manager blog, I found a solution for the time being. However, nothing is set in stone, and I welcome your comments on what you think should be included in Social Media.

Since I believe the strategizing process behind implementing social media tactics is extremely important rather than just diving in head first, the weekly Social Media post will primarily discuss planning and strategy, and then, the post will include links to articles about individual Social Media sites news and tips. Now, for the stuff you have been waiting for.

Social Media for Digital Marketing Managers – Marketo’s 7 Golden Rules of Social Marketing

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously – give your brand a good personality to make your brand likeable.
  2. Inbound Marketing is not enough – combine inbound and outbound marketing efforts into all aspects of your marketing.
  3. Good Content and Solid Offers – Need content to engage customers.
  4. Strong Call to Action – After your content is consumed, what do you want your audience to do?
  5. Always add value – Social Media doesn’t work if there is no value added to your brand.
  6. Social Media is a 2 way street – Social Media opens the line of communication with prospects and customers, so you need to respond quickly and sincerely.
  7. Peer-to-Peer sharing gets your messages heard.

When implementing your Social Media tactics, keep these rules in mind to help you create superior customer experiences.

Source: Marketo’s The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing

Additional Links to Social Media Sites News or Tips

Thanks for reading Social Media Wednesday on this Thursday evenings.

Tomorrow’s topic – Blogging

Call to Action

Does it make sense for Social Media Wednesday to primarily discuss Social Media strategizing process as well as include links to additional Social Media articles? Please send me your comments.

Learn More about Digital Marketing Manager, Cindy Plough