In Marketing, Timing Is Everything

These days, messages move at the speed of light. During the presidential debates, memes and hashtags of the candidates’ comments become trending topics before they even have time to take a breath at the end of their sentence. A few hours later, those same statements have been analyzed, Twitter streams sorted through, and the morning news programs have built an entire segment around the topic. Twelve hours later, we’ve all moved onto the next story, as this has already become old news. Any regular viewer of ABC’s Shark Tank knows that the key to success for a featured entrepreneur is having a website and production system capable of handling the massive amounts of traffic they will receive during the one-hour airing of the program, regardless of whether they land a deal with the investors or not. The point is, for businesses that are able to move on a dime and capitalize on real-time conversations, there is a tremendous opportunity to be had. But if you miss that window, you’ll miss the opportunity. timely marketingLast week, news came out that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, America’s answer to royalty, had filed for divorce. News of the breakup hit every news station and Facebook and Twitter feed – Brad was soon to be eligible again! Within a couple days, Norwegian Airlines placed a print ad in the newspaper: Brad is single. Los Angeles. From/one way, incl. taxes £169* No fanfare, no need for an explanation. The message was simple, the timing was perfect, and when you saw it, you got the point. In fact, I didn’t even see it in print. I saw it on a friend’s Facebook profile because someone else who saw it in print thought it was so amusing that she took a photo of it and shared it on social media. And the power of social media has now taken a PRINT AD viral on social media. Think of the millions of unpaid views this message has now seen. Brilliant. So how do you do it if you’re not Norwegian Airlines? Can you position your business to take advantage of timely marketing opportunities? Absolutely, the key is to be ready and able to move on a dime. 

7 Ways to Bust Writers Block & Create Share-Worthy Content

7 Ways to Bust Writer's Block and Create Share-Worthy Content You’ve heard the mantra: writing content is one of the most important things you can do to build a strong inbound marketing system to bring in new leads and customers. You get it. But here you sit, hands poised on the keyboard, and the ideas just aren’t flowing. You’ve got a to-do list piling up beside you, the phone keeps wringing, and you’ve checked email at least 3 times since you started writing. You’re officially stuck and ready to give up. But before you throw in the towel, read through the examples of share-worthy content below. You could probably whip out one or two blogs on any of these topics in a matter of minutes; and then you can go deal with that nagging to-do list, email inbox, or buzzing phone.

Using 'Super Bowl' or any Trademarked Name in Marketing? You've Been Warned.

using football trademarks in marketingIf you are thinking about tying a business promotion to the Super Bowl this Sunday, read on before you do. The NFL has trademarked the words “Super Bowl,” which limits the use of that phrase by anyone other than the NFL. Generally speaking, you can use “Super Bowl” to make reference to the actual game (“The Super Bowl is this Sunday.”), but not in connection with any commercial activity (“Come to Joe’s for free soup or salad on Super Bowl Sunday.”).

The Best Online Marketing Tool. It's Less Than $3!

Best Online Marketing Tool Under $3You don’t have to spend hours searching for ‘best online marketing tools’ to know that there are hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of tools rangimg from software to promotional products and display materials that will claim to help you multiply your sales and reduce your costs. While many of these claims are legitimate, and there are thousands of tools that can help you improve your bottom line when used correctly; there is one that stands above most others but is probably the most-overlooked of all. In fact, you probably have a pile of them sitting near your desk, just waiting to be noticed.

Are you ready to be wowed?

The product that can help you multiply your leads, create the compelling and original content that will drive new customers to your door and keep past customers returning for more, perfect your strategy, put your ideas into action, and vastly improve your Inbound Marketing performance is…….. {drumroll please}…… a pack of small notepads. Or the notepad app in your phone or tablet. No, we’re not kidding, and you shouldn’t hit your browser’s back button just yet! Of course this is a simple answer, and that’s why it’s so often overlooked. One of the most often-heard concerns from our clients is that they don’t have enough ideas for creating the content that will improve their website traffic and online marketing performance. They don’t have time to create new content. They are not natural-born writers. They don’t have new, unique, and compelling answers to the questions their clients ask. And on and on and on. These are legitimate concerns, with a simple and easy answer. Keeping a small notepad EVERYWHERE (next to your bed, in the kitchen, near the TV, at your desk of course, in the car, even in the restroom – we won’t tell!) will ensure that when those random ideas and thoughts pop into your head that would make for excellent blog posts, articles, even full-scale guides and eBooks; you will have an easy way to jot them down. You’ll be shocked at the random times your most brilliant ideas come to you (admittedly, some of my best ideas have come to me while showering, as it’s one of the few quiet times in my day). And the next time you sit down at your computer to bang out a blog post or article, you’ll have a pile of ideas to work from.

Try it for one month, and if you’re not satisfied…… well, a pack of notepads costs less than $3, so there really is no excuse, is there?

 

Content Marketing Infographic: By Demand Metric

A Guide to Marketing Genius:  Content Marketing 

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You're Not Perfect! So Don't Let It Stop You.

Marketing Tips from Kids' Soccer GameHave you ever been to a 6 year old’s soccer game? If you have had this experience, you likely saw kids running in different directions, some chasing the ball, others running away from it, and a few either chatting on the sidelines or running in some random direction. At my niece’s recent soccer game, I watched expectantly as she ran with the other kids for a while in some type of formation that wasn’t exactly the right direction, then proceeded to do a cartwheel in the middle of the field, and spent at least two minutes chasing a butterfly that happened to be near her. Not exactly a game-winning strategy, but guess what her personal experience was? She was happy, excited, and really thought she played a great game. Now, I’m not of the mindset that all kids should get a trophy just for showing up, or that we should care so much about self-esteem that we don’t strive for excellence or help kids find other areas where they may be better suited. That’s a topic for a whole other article. The reason I tell you this story is that as kids, we were happy to JUST PLAY the game. We got out there and gave it our all, and we didn’t care what people thought about the fact that we chased a butterfly for 2 minutes, and quite possibly helped the other team score a goal. We joined the team even if we had no remarkable skills, and we were eager to get out on the field and show off to our parents and friends. As adults, we somehow lose this confidence in what we have to offer. I speak to so many business owners who tell me that they can’t write opinion pieces because “nobody will listen to me since I don’t have a PhD, haven’t written a book, or am just starting out’. They tell me that they don’t know what value they can offer to their clients and customers in terms of written articles, resources, or advice. They tell me how they “just can’t do it” because the media hasn’t yet found or published them. Well guess what? This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you create great content, people will find you credible. The media will have a far greater likelihood of finding and publishing you. And that next client or customer will be far more likely to do business with you because they’ve already had a chance to see that you have something of value to offer them. But if you continue to let the fear of “what if people don’t agree with me, or think I don’t know what I’m doing” stop you from ever creating that content, then you will never be found. Clients and Customers will assume that you don’t know what you’re doing because they don’t see any evidence that you do. And that inaction can have far greater consequences than even the most controversial of topics. The morale of the story? Create something today and publish it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact it probably never will be. But it will be the first step toward putting you in front of your next client.  

SEO Strategies: Learning From Competitors & Vendors

researching competitorsOne of the first steps we take as marketers when beginning a new search engine optimization campaign is to research a client’s competitors, industry, and their target markets. While this one research element can consist of a multi-layered project, there are some key elements that you can do yourself in order to stay on top of the competition and enhance your website’s search engine performance.

Researching Your Competitors

On a very basic level, you can see where the priorities are for your competitors based on the topics and outline of the pages on their website. For instance, if their products or services are similar to what you offer, but they incorporate many more pages dedicated to specific uses of those products, or have services listed by the type of customer that would use them, then they are likely capturing more specific, focused, and relevant search traffic than you may be. You can also do a quick review of their page names and titles (the descriptive URL of those topic-based pages and the title that appears in the top of your browser window on each page) to determine which keyword phrases they consider to be the most important and relevant. By having a better feel for what your competitors are structuring their websites around, you can make better decisions on the topics and tactics of highest priority for your own.

Surveying Your Customers

Want to know what your customers and prospects are looking for when they search online? The easiest way to find out is simply to ask them. Tools such as email marketing surveys and Facebook application surveys allow you to easily send out a quick request to your target audience in order to get a better feel for what they are looking for.  Beyond helping you start to build a topic-focused strategy for your website, you may also be surprised to learn about new uses for your products, or services that your clients are hoping you’ll add to the mix.

Researching Your Vendors & Suppliers

There is so much you can learn from how your vendors, suppliers, and business partners position similar products and services for their own sales strategies. Do they have a unique way of pitching, or a great tagline that tells your story well? Can you package together products or services in a unique way that you haven’t thought of before?

Staying On Top of Industry Trends

Lastly, one of the top priorities for any website content marketer is to make sure that your site is always up to date with the products, services, and features that your potential customers may be looking for. Be sure to stay on top of industry news, deliver your opinions and reactions to current industry trends by writing topic-specific blog posts, and be sure to comment regularly on those 3rd party news websites. By keeping your eyes open and always being aware of how others are talking about your products, services, customers, and industry, you will be sure to stay on top and capture a bigger share of the search market.  

3 Blog Topic Ideas to Cure Writer's Block

So you have your blog up and running, you’ve identified your keyword and content strategy, and you’re ready to start writing. But where do you start? Here are some ideas to combat even the worst case of writer’s block, and help you on your way to a developing the content that you can build your online marketing strategy around.

3 Ways to Cure Writer’s Block:

1) Keywords as topics

If you’ve already done your ‘keyword’ homework, then you likely have a long list of phrases and questions that people use to search for your products or services. This list is often the best, and most-overlooked place, to find ideas for great blog topics that answer your clients’ questions. By focusing on the actual search phrases and questions that your potential customers are searching for, you will multiply the likelihood of those prospects reaching your page in answer to their search. By using the actual question or keyword phrase as the title, and page URL, of the post, you will greatly increase those chances and improve the overall search engine effectiveness of the post.

2) Real-life examples

Oftentimes, the best way to explain your service or product’s value is to share your clients’ stories (with their permission of course). Some of the best blog posts come from telling the stories of clients, and sharing real-world examples. Have you encountered an industry trend? Resolved a common consumer issue? Learned of a situation that other’s may not be aware of? These would all lead to excellent blog posts.

3) Answering questions posted by clients.

The 3rd tip for curing writer’s block in your blogging efforts is to enlist the help of others. Have an active social media community? Simply request that your fans post their questions and concerns about the industry or a particular topic. Allow them to submit their stories, questions, or comments; or post a quick survey on your company’s Facebook page that they can quickly respond to. You may be surprised at how many topics you’ll discover that will not only be great resources for all prospective clients, they will also help you to show your network of friends and followers that you are actively listening, and responding to, their concerns. Good luck and happy writing!

What Names Are They Calling You?

All the wrong words No matter what industry you’re in, you probably use a lot of terminology that your clients may not be familiar with. From industry jargon to complex medical terms; to the formal names of products and techniques; you likely have a very different way of explaining your business than your potential clients do. The problem is: prospective clients can’t find you online because you’re not speaking the same language. The key to writing your website copy in such a way that you can easily be found by prospects searching for you is to think like a client. For example, an ear, nose and throat doctor would commonly define their practice by those terms (ear, nose, throat); while a person searching for them would commonly use words like ‘allergy’, ‘sinus’, or ‘hearing’. A heating/cooling technician may refer to his services as HVAC repair, while his prospective clients are searching online for “air conditioning repair”. Although two phrases may have exactly the same meaning, search engines will only return results that use the same words and phrases. The next time you sit down to write a blog post or a page of copy for your website, ask yourself: “how would my client say this”. You may find that you’ll need to incorporate actual questions into your headlines, or reword entire sections of copy. But the closer your copy matches the exact phrases being typed into a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search, the stronger your performance will be, in search engine rankings as well as conversions from new site visitors.

Superbowl Commercial Impact Without The Budget

They say “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. We say “at least learn from them”. So if you, like us, are one of the millions of businesses that could not afford to run a $3 million, 30 second commercial during the Big Game this year, we’ve found some lessons from the commercial we feel was the most successful. Whether you agree or disagree, please leave your comments at the end. If you didn’t see the Chrysler/Eminem commercial during Sunday’s game, watch the clip below and then continue reading.