Marketing With Content

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

10 Simple Ways To Think About Content Marketing

Content marketing is not as complex and complicated as we make it be.  You don’t have to be an Einstein to be successful. Einstein himself said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

So, let’s talk about a simple content marketing strategy!

Many marketers and sales professionals still struggle with the concept of modern marketing. They struggle with social media profiles, improving their reputation currency, and using content to develop an audience – so the by-product of all of these actions is more sales and higher value sales.

Do We Agree On The Definition of Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute states “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” My experience in marketing leadership roles with IKEA, SAP, Cognizant and many award-winning agencies validates CMI’s definition is spot on!

Research Backs Up The Impact Of A Content Marketing Strategy

Much research suggests that a robust content marketing strategy leads to more business.

  • More Sales Quotas Reached. Social media pros, using relevant content, are 6x more likely to make quota than those who do not use social media. This research suggests all sales organizations need to use content and social selling immediately! Source: KiteDesk, The Ultimate Sales Guide To Crushing Your Quota

6X Reach Quota - Gerry Moran

  • Content Helps You Break Through To Decision Makers. 90% of B2B decision makers never answer a cold call. This statistic indicates content is the key to opening the relationship door! Source: LinkedIn, How Leading Sales Pros Use LinkedIn For Social Selling

90% Don't Answer Phone Calls - Gerry Moran

  • Content Influences Decisions. 65% of buyers (and an overwhelming 82% of senior executives) say the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their purchase decision. So, if I am a sales leader I would focus on an efficient content strategy for a competitive edge. Source: The Knowledge Tree

65% Say Content Sealed Deal - Gerry Moran

All of this research indicates that a messaging strategy will help create the competitive edge for your organization – and deliver sales!

10 Ways To Simplify Your Content Marketing

 

1. Build Your Content Marketing Foundation – so you have a sustainable platform from which to amplify your story. Start your content plan by writing down your strategy. 68% of marketers do not have a written plan, reports the Content Marketing Institute. Develop a foundational approach to your content creation and distribution to inspire your audience to do what you want them to do. Most of all, build a foundation by adding value. Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2016 Content Trends

68% Don't Have A Written Content Plan - Gerry Moran

2. Model Your Target Audience After Your Current Audience – to focus your efforts on ‘look-alikes’ vs. ‘look-aways.’ Develop target audience profiles – i.e., personas – with public-facing information from LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. This digital due diligence enables modeling your content after your current readers and customers. This approach will help deepen more relationships and close more sales. When it comes to what you audience wants, 97% want you to improve the quality of your content by including benchmarking data. Source: Demand Gen Report

97% Want Benchmarking Data - Gerry Moran

3. Build A Content Supply Chain – to efficiently create custom messaging and deliver valuable knowledge to your readers. Architect your content to be easy-to-read, real-time and relevant to today’s conversation. Focusing on this step-by-step plan creates a well-oiled supply chain. This production approach to your storytelling ensures clear thinking create the right message – enabling connection with the right audience on the right channel at the right time. With 32% of companies reporting they do not have the talent to pull off an effective content marketing strategy you may have to invest in a new infrastructure or a hire a consultant. Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2015 Content Trends

32% Don't Have The Talent

4. Be A Storyteller – to help your audience remember your value proposition. Chip and Dan Heath say 5% of an audience remembers a presentation based on statistics – while 63% remember the storytelling. We are all trying to sell something or convince someone. Developing analogies and telling stories helps to make your point! Source: Chip & Dan Heath, 23 Facts about Buyers and Purchasing

63% Remember Your Story — Gerry Moran

5. Properly Position Your Value Proposition – to help guide your readers to know what they should do and why they should do it after reading your messaging. Developing awareness, association and consideration of your expertise and offer takes time. Presenting a call to action is not always about the direct response like selling Miracle Mops on QVC. Plan to develop 7-10 different ways to communicate your story on several different channels and always provide a way to get to the next stop on the customer’s buying journey.

6. You Ought To Be In Pictures – since your readers are visual content consumers. A picture tells a thousand words. There is no better way to tell your story than by using custom-made graphics to support your relevant point. KissMetrics reports appropriate visuals drive 94% more views than content without visuals. So, make sure to use pictures, graphics, and videos in each of your go-to-market social media channels. Source: KissMetrics,  6 Types of Visual Content You Need To Use In Your Marketing Campaigns

94% More Views - Gerry Moran

7. Embrace Your Influencers – since they have the attention of your target audience. 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth, while 47% use blogs to influence their decisions. Marketers also report there is a 3-to-1 ROI for using influencers. So, it appears that investing in influencer outreach will pay out handsomely for you! Source: AdWeek, Why Influencer Marketing Is The New Content King

92% Rely on WOM - Gerry Moran

8.  Focus On Your Form Factor – since Google and native reader behavior requires it. Article titles, keywords, hashtags, subtitles, tags and other form factors help readers find you. If no one can find your content  – did you ever write it? No! Looking for proof? Tweets with hashtags get 16% more retweets than those without. Source: Kim Garst, 20 Quick & Easy Ways To Get More Twitter Retweets

47% Turn To Blogs - Gerry Moran

9. Stay In Touch With Your Touch Points – since it’s easier to be where your customers are vs. getting them to come to you. Think through how to connect with the right audience on the right channel at the right time with the right message. With B2B marketers using an average of 13 ways to communicate with content, you have to use the best mix of touch points to tell the best story to tell on the best channel. Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2016 B2B Content Trends

10. Plan To Make A Measurable Difference – to help you understand if you are successful with your content marketing strategy. You can’t succeed unless you measure it – so set measurable goals and then measure how you performed against those objectives. Once you determine how you performed, optimize your plan and do more of the right ‘stuff’ and less of the ‘stuff’ that doesn’t work.

Do you have a few more simple tips to plan and activate your content? If so, please share below. Or, reach out to me on MarketingThink!

5 More Content Marketing Posts You Might Enjoy

Einstein also said if you can’t explain it simply then you don’t know it well enough. By creating a simple content marketing strategy, you can begin to simply explain your value proposition to your customers – Ka-Ching!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran 7 Comments

Hop To It. Your Small Business Should Be On Instagram

Nothing like a mini-vacation at Rehoboth Beach this weekend to relax and to help me see clearly! The weather was 70-degrees in November and there was no damage from Hurricane Sandy – NICE! I love strolling the beach AND I love ending up most strolls at Dogfish Head Brewery!

I love taking photos of where I have been and great moments in marketing. And, I have been using Instagram more recently, since I really am a closet iPhone photographer (you should see the pictures of closets I have taken!). As I was strolling through Rehoboth and sitting in Dogfish Head Brew Pub I realized that not too many of these Rehoboth businesses seem to be embracing Instagram(social media either for that matter), with no one suggesting that customers should follow them on Instagram!

I have been evangelizing Instragram for it’s ease of use, high-engagement with customers and simple and visual way of communicating. The adoption rate of this “new” social media platform are huge!

Over the past sixty days, I have had many of my small business friends ask me about Instagram and how and if they should use it. I feel it is this silent tidal way of a social media platform, since it now has 100 million users (according to Zuckerberg) that are sharing over 4 billion photos! What a picture-perfect opportunity for them! In fact, Instagram now has 10 times the engagement of Facebook, so with all of those facts combined, then, yes! Instagram should be on their and every other business’ radar!

Developing a way for your business to use Instagram is important to you because:

  • Awareness. It will increase you brand’s or store’s awareness given the viral effect of the sharing and commenting
  • Community. Build community for your brand or store given the interaction opportunities and sharing
  • Sales. Drive traffic to your store or purchases for your product given the inclusions of the right types of pictures~

Unfortunately, with the advent of another social media tool like Instagram, many marketing minds think “how do I use this to generate more sales” and then use advertisements as the content. BAD MOVE with Instagram. There are so many subtle, nuanced and creative ways to drive sales through awareness that advertising-based content should never be used. In fact, Instagram strongly suggests that you avoid it too! Since visualization is always a great way to explain “how do I use this Instagram thing”, I decided to use my getaway to Dogfish Head as a field trip for show and tell to my readers!

5 Ways To Use Instagram
Here are five ways to use Instragram to help amplify the story of your brand, get people to engage with your content when not at your store, get people to visit your store or site!

1. Let your customers and fans know about product availability! Since all products and some services are visual, what a great place to show off the availability of a a product! For example, this Instagram photo of a much sought after beverage like this 2010 World Wide Stout, or the introduction of a new product like the I’ll Brew For You You Brew For Me with the right hashtag will be engaged with, commented on and even drive a store visit without asking for the sale! If I knew that this was on tap since last Wayback Wednesday, I would have come to Reboboth a day earlier! Lesson be learned Dogfish!

 

2. Tie into trends, events or holidays to drive awareness! Trends and events that fit nicely into a store or product are great messaging opportunities to leverage! As an example, I was sitting on the Dogfish Head Brew Pub porch on Veteran’s Day and snapped this great shot of the flag! I wanted to help my favorite brewery support an important US holiday! Cheers!

Hoppy #VeteransDay from #Dogfish

3. Let people know you are open (and the weather is great!). Weather (yes, i did spell this incorrectly for the effect) your store is decorated for the holidays or it’s an unexpected 70-degrees and your outdoor deck is open for business, what better way to capture the real-time ambiance than getting the perfect picture and hashtagging with your brand or store name! Paint a great picture of why people should come to visit you!

4. Run a contest and pick the winning hashtagged photograph. What better way to drive brand awareness and community by running a weekly or monthly Instagram contest for the best pic and caption! Photo contests for a brand or store community, so think of something fun to activate your customer base and increase your exposure!

5. Encourage the collection of happy onsite or offsite customers! What better way show that you have a great brand or store than encouraging pictures to be taken of them with a hashtag of your brand or store! Yes, that’s me on the right!

Two Happy Dogfish Fans!

So, whether you are Dogfish Head or any other brand or small business, you need to hop to it and brew up some great Instagram marketing. It’s low-cost, high impact and everyone is doing it! Sounds like the beer I drank back in college! Yikes!

If you need help getting started on using Instagram please reach out to me at @GerryMoran , moran.gerry@gmail.com or 215-817-0485.

Cheers!

@GerryMoran

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran 10 Comments

10 Ways To Go To The Head Of The Class With Email

Go to the head of the class with your email marketing!

Like a caring and doting father, I am always trying to get my two college-attending daughters to focus on their grades and go to the head of their class! Not a conversation passes, that I try to get them to answer my call to action in a number of different, strategic and carefully crafted ways. It’s sort of a game at time, like one of my old favorite 1960’s games Go To The Head Of The Class. I guess that I could just mandate them to tell me, but that would not be as fatherly as I want the situation to be!

How Does A Business Go To The Head Of The Class With Their Email Marketing?
This  conundrum got me thinking to show businesses, both small businesses and big brands how to easily assess and score their email marketing techniques, so THEY could go to the head of the class. Over the years, I have worked with some award-winning digital advertising agencies like imc2, Digitas and Whittman-Hart (and not so award-winning agencies). I created and evolved an in-depth and very useful email assessment tool to help analyze email communication for Pizza Hut, Carnival Cruise Lines, Sanofi and many others to help them reach more recipients, get these recipients to open more emails and then get them to click through to registration sites and other value content.
There Is A Scoring System To Help You Assess Your Email Marketing
I wanted to create an easy to use scoring system to help you assess if your email scoring with your target audience! But I thought to myself, hey … I am an social media guy now, so where is this email advice coming from? Well, marketing is marketing and we need to understand how to connect with the right customer with the right channel with the right message at the right time! So, here is some relevant email advice, for when email is the best tool to use!
by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

10 Ways To Drive More Clicks With Your Tweets

Have you heard the term “vanity metrics”? Vanity metrics is about SIZE …. the bigger the better … more Twitter followers, etc. We need to challenge ourselves to think beyond them : How many followers do I have?  How many times was a hashtag used? These are critical inputs into ROI – return on interesting. However … they are not the best business or demand generation metrics. Our job with social media and demand generation is to find a way to put ourselves in front of the customer’s buying journey with pull messaging. AND … craft a call-to-action that incites a response to take a step toward learning more … about content, about a white paper or about an event.
What do we know about social media clicks?
Four key characteristics that we know about social media clicks are:
  1. Registration Pages. You affect lead and demand generation with clicks-to-registration, clicks-to-site, etc. for both B2B and B2C. However,  in B2B and B2C the registration page has to work as hard as possible to convert! You can set yourself up for success by aligning your content to connect with the customer. The more the connection … the more clicks-to-registration.
  1. Engagement. Customers differ in their social media consumption and engagement. B2B and B2C target audiences differ in the way they engage with social media. Some retweet and repost, while others click through, while others just lurk until they feel comfortable to take the next steps … on their terms.
  1. Followers Do Not Mean More Action. More followers does not necessarily translate into more action … but better messaging does. Clicks, clicks per tweets and retweets are the best way to measure engagement to ensure content interaction aligns with your goals. Better messaging will drive better activity.
  1. Customer Centricity. Timing and customer-centricity matter when looking to drive customer engagement and a desired reaction. You need to consider when you deliver your message and if they mean more to you or the customer.
Each of us need to work very hard with putting a certain rigor and approach to our process of putting together a messaging strategy for each marketing campaign: thought-leadership content curation, strategic events and webinars. I wanted to share 10 things that we have proven to work (or believe in enough to test!)
  • Click Tip #1. Use different headlines to inspire clicks
    We have found  that the headline approach to a selection of your daily tweets will help your tweets to break through the Twutter (Twitter Clutter). For example:
  1. Direct Headlines
    “Free #Mobility E-book For All Followers”
  2. News Headline  “My Exclusive Interview With Godfather of #BI @HowardDresnan”
  3. How-to Headline ”How To Use Visual #CustomerService To Decrease Costs”
  4. Question Headline ”Do You Still Use #Excel For #MarketingPlanning?”
  5. The Command Headline “Get Your #SocialMediaQuestions Answered Today!”
  6. Reason Why Headline “5 Ways To Use #Evernote”
  • Click Tip #2: Mix The Style Of Your Tweets
    Too many tweeters have one style of messaging – just RTing, being very promotional, having the same tone, etc. I’ve seen it all and much of it is all of the same. Mix it up to keep your followers interesting  by mixing traffic-grabbing tweets (i.e. the headlines) with the regular conversational tweets.
  • Click Tip #3: Front-load your tweets, or at least a selection of your campaign tweets, with key information 50% of your followers and hashtag searchers are on a mobile device, so placing you’re the key  point to your message in the first 20-30 characters you will maximize your exposure on a mobile device. Also front-placement of the facts will help Google work harder to find you. Ultimately, this placement could potentially make for brake the decision for a visitor to pass … or click on the Tweet
  • Click Tip #4: Use the right hashtag! This is the number-one bad move of most B2B and B2C tweeters – great intention with bad execution. I best-practice check every social media campaign to ensure we include 2-3 non-brand hashtags. Better hashtags mean better reach. It’s a numbers game to inspire the right customers and prospects to click through to your content.The more people who see your tweets mean the more people will click through to your content. By using 3 customer-centric, non-brand hashtags in each tweet, you leverage and maximize the customer native behavior continuum – from search to click.
  • Click Tip #5. Keep your tweets to 100-120 characters
    A HubSpot survey identifies that 120 characters is the sweet-spot to drive the most clicks. In NA, we have also found that this character count drives the most retweets too … since it leaves room to tweet
  • Click Tip #6. Place your links ¼ into the tweet
    A HubSpot study shows the clicks placed 25% into the message drives the most clicks. For example, you tweet would look something like. “Catch the webinar in progress now! http://spr.ly/6013rNNT Running BW on #HANA prepares you for #BigData#database #analytics #inmemory “
  • Click Tip #7: Keep your link-tweets to 1-2 per hour
    My experience shows that tweets that contain clicks to registration or clicks to content, shows that 25-30 per day is a sweet spot to drive clicks, retweets and follower growth.
  • Click Tip #8: Include key action words to direct desired activity
    Customers, at times, need be told what to do, even in a pull (pull/push) environment. For instance, using words like Via, @, Please, RT, and Check drive the most click-through activity. In fact, Please RT! Is our best-performing tweet inclusion to drive clicks and retweets. For example, your tweet would look like …“Please RT! Learn how to maximize your #insidesales effectiveness, today at 2pmET. Webinar
  • Click Tip #9: Use verbs and adverbs to drive action, vs. nouns and adjectives.
    That means an active voice vs. a passive voice drives the best activity. For example a tweet like, Mercedes to go live with #cloud -based #HR #IT system next month to deliver better business value, will perform better for you.
  • Click Tip #10: Tweet on the weekend
    So many channels take the weekend off. I have uncovered TREMENDOUS potential on the weekend! Work on the weekend and you will see click-throughs to your event registration page and content!
 
Whatever you do, you need to ensure you tweets and messages are relevant and customer-centric.  Leave the brand or product feature and benefit pitch to emails and telemarketing and other outbound methods.
These 10 tips give you tools that you can immediately use to drive bigger and better demand and lead generation results. Give them a try to see how many more clicks your tweets and messages generate.
Gerry Moran
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