With so much great content out there, sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to get through it all and it is harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. But here are two (unrelated but stand-out) items that I’ve loved today for different reasons.
From the lovely people at Unbounce – this one caught my eye because I’ve spent the morning looking at e-mail best practices – and then this shows up in my inbox. It has some great tips on how to get value from that all important welcome email and shares some insights like:
- With 4x the open rate of most campaign emails, a dead-end welcome email is a missed opportunity.
- Specific subject lines with an element of utility/curiosity make your welcome emails more clickable.
- Welcome emails aren’t sign up receipts. Don’t underestimate their purpose.
Diet Coke presents: The Slender Vender
This showed up in my Twitter feed today and I thought it was great. Why? Because like most great ideas, it is novel but clear and simple. This is a fantastic example of looking at things slightly differently to bring that element of surprise and novelty to an accepted format (in this case the vending machine). Of course the real genius lies in the fact that it contributes to the brand too. Smart.
We all know that ‘content is king’, but when you are a small business owner with 101 things to get done each day it’s easy for blog updates to slip way down the list of priorities. Goodness knows I empathise. With all the other project work I have as well as a job, running a busy house and managing the diaries of three very socially active children, my own blog can be the first to suffer. Mine too is a question of time but I have found the following have helped:
1. Develop the habit
Set aside a set time each week to write some content and stick to it. Be realistic. If it’s only 30 minutes – that’s better than nothing at all. It’s far better to update regularly with smaller pieces than sporadically with longer ones.
2. Sit down and write
It seems obvious but the act of sitting at a blank screen or paper is a great incentive to write something. Anything. I have found that I struggle to settle on a topic until I actually do this.
3. Read widely in your subject area
This can be happening anytime, anywhere but it will feed your ideas. Keep abreast of current trends and know the language your industry and customers are using. As well as being great for getting ideas, this will also help with Search Engine Optimisation as you’ll know the keywords to include in your blog posts which will help your search rankings.
4. Write for one person
I have found this a great way to approach blogging. The art of good business blogging is based on writing content for each of your buyer personas for each part of their buyer journey. Buyer personas are semi-fictional characters based on your ideal customers. If you have done a good job developing your buyer persona, you’ll know who they are, where they hang out, what their pain points are and how you can help solve them. You will have given them a name and possibly even a photo. Pin it on the wall in front of you. Write to that person. Write something your buyer persona will find useful, relevant or just plain entertaining. Depending on the sector and your persona, you’ll know which the correct route is.
5. Write something for each stage of the buyer journey
Ideally, you should have content for each buyer persona for each stage of their journey. As a rule of thumb, the earlier in the journey, the buyer is, the more the content focuses on them. As they get closer to their decision, you can start talking about you and your products. So in the early stages, your blog pieces may not even mention your product or service, it could be more general tips or very general advice. For a reader who is comparing options, they may want product specifications etc. and finally for someone who is ready to purchase, they will actually need all that sales material in order to make that decision.
My twelve year old daughter is buying a watch. She is using her own money to get it and although it’s not a big purchase, it’s a big deal to her. Talk about research. I’ve seen her check out eBay and Amazon for ‘girls’ watches’. I’ve noticed a rash of photos on her Instagram account of her friends’ watches so she has obviously asked them to take a quick photo and send to her. I’ve noticed her jump on my Pinterest account and do a quick search there too. She tells me she is just getting ‘ideas’. She has also asked me if, next time we go to the shopping centre, she can browse in the shops. I’m talking about a purchase which is going to be no more than €20 perhaps, but I’m guessing that for her the risk is not about cost but about ‘cool’. To a twelve year old kid, that’s the bit you need to get just right.
Goodness knows where she will end up buying but when she does, she’ll certainly have done her homework. Compare this to when I was her age. I lived in the countryside so when we needed special items like this, we went into the nearest big town or perhaps to Dublin. There was a set time frame in which to go into a shop, (two if you were lucky), have a look around, see if there was something you liked and could afford and buy it. Job done.
I’m telling you this because it struck me just how much more complicated the shopper journey has become, even for a ‘simple’ purchase like a kids watch but look at all the opportunities it gives us along the way to help with that big decision.
As marketers, we can help my daughter on eBay, on Amazon, on Instagram, on Pinterest or in-store. Compare that to trying to reach me as a twelve year old. If you were lucky enough to be a big brand and could afford TV and radio, then I might have heard of you and gone into the shop looking for your brand. But even then, despite knowing about the brand, if your products weren’t in stock in that shop on that particular day, then all the advertising in the world couldn’t influence my decision. I had to choose there and then from what was on offer or else leave without my beloved purchase until the next time. No blissful sigh and ‘ah well, we can always get it on-line’ for me in those days.
So yes marketing is more complicated these days now but isn’t it exciting too?
Since beginning the Graduate Certificate in Management (Digital Marketing) last February, I spend a hell of a lot of time online, so much so that my children think I might have a problem! Last semester one of our assignments was to produce a content marketing plan for a relationships counselling service so when my youngest saw me checking out the ‘Support for Single Parents’ page one day, he thought the worst and suggested I might grow cabbages for a living instead! Now I’m not sure that cabbage growers are all happily married either but at least now if I do decide to grow cabbages, I’ll be able to market them digitally!!
But I digress. I tell this story to get across just how easy it is to immerse yourself in all the helpful content that’s available out there both for me as a student and for practitioners too. You literally could lose yourself for hours if you had the time. One way I’ve found that really helps my learning is to read the long-hand version first and then find a great infographic that crystallises the topic and presents the key data in a pleasing visual format.
In my last post, I talked about the advantages to marketers of using infographics and promised you my favourites so far. So true to my word, here they are. Needless to say, this is massively subject to change as more and more great infographics are produced. I like to keep my favourites together on my Pinterest Board so you’ll find more there but for now, here are my favourites.
The State of Content Marketing
The Secret Art of Digital Marketing
I must warn you it’s a long one but well worth the scroll.
The last one is here because it made me smile.
Infographics are a graphical representation of a wall of text usually including data or statistics. The idea is that, presented in this way, the information is easy to consume and fun to share.
We have all heard that a picture speaks a thousand words and I happen to believe that’s true. I have gathered my fair share of infographics on my digital marketing journey so far. When time is of the essence and learning is paramount, I’ve found infographics really help to cut through to the heart of a subject and present the salient points in a concise manner, aided by lovely graphics to help make sense of the data.
Marketers have realised this too and this has led to the rise of the infographic.
Infographics make great marketing tools. Why?
- 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual
- 99% of all sensory information is filtered out by the brain almost immediately.
- Infographics are in that 1% that isn’t
- The eyes are a physical extension of the brain.
- 65% of us are visual learners
And now that you have processed this information the hard way, I’ve got a great infographic from NeoMam Studios which puts it across much better! In my next post, I’m going to gather my favourites and share them with you.
Today I want to talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There’s a project coming up in my Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing course in DCU where we need to assess and make recommendations for a real live client. I want to do a good job so I’ve been going over the sessions we’ve done in lectures on this subject and supplementing them with resources I’ve found on-line.
There are alot of things to get right with SEO, from keywords research, content optimisation, web site structure optimisation (URL, meta title tag, H1 header tag, pictures) to name just a few. I won’t be telling you how to do carry out SEO in this blog, but I will be telling who can.
As a marketer and strategist who is accustomed to advising clients at a high level, I’m enjoying being pushed way out of my comfort zone into the dark arts of web site architecture, webmaster tools and the like; all the things that are usually taken care of by IT. But of course, it’s not just IT’s problem any more is it? Depending on where you read, between 60% and 90% of the purchase journey is completed before your customers actually speak to a sales person in your organisation. Think about that. It means that marketing owns the majority of the funnel and that funnel starts with being found on Google and the other search engines. So of course it’s crucial that marketing have a solid knowledge of how to optimise a web site’s search rank.
As I said, I’m no expert (yet!) but I wanted to share with you some of the excellent resources on-line which have helped me on my SEO journey.
This is a very comprehensive and popular guide from Moz. It seems a million others have gone before me and have visited here for advice on SEO. The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an in-depth tutorial on how search engines work and it covers the fundamental strategies that make websites search engine–friendly.
I found this tutorial very useful. It is structured in a step-by-step approach which suits my way of learning. I’m not able to comment on the course as a stand alone piece because of course I came to it already pre-armed with alot of learning on board from both my lectures and Moz but what it did was helped me make sense of all that new-found knowledge by breaking the process down into logical steps.
Closer to home for me, I found the advice from this SEO specialist very helpful. (I have no connection.) There are general tips, mistakes to avoid and a post with useful local SEO tactics for small Irish businesses. Well worth a visit.
It’s important that you stick within Google’s guidelines in order to avoid being penalised. If that happens, you’ll find your website languishing in the depths of invisibility far from where your visitors can find you. They say it’s better to do no SEO at all than to do bad SEO so it’s crucial to stick to best practices.
I love this infographic from searchengineland.com because it pulls all the factors of SEO together in one place and attributes a weighting to each helping you to see where gains can be made.
If you need to understand SEO, these are excellent resources. SEO is not a quick topic, nor is it a quick fix but if I had to give one piece of advice on SEO based on everything I’ve read, it would be to carry out SEO with the human visitor in mind and in doing so, you will likewise keep the search engines happy.
These are my 5 suggestions. Have you others?