Though many believe content marketing to be a fairly new phenomenon, in actuality, the concept has been around for hundreds of years starting with the first bag of chocolate chips that gave its consumers a great recipe for baking chocolate chip cookies.
According to Susan Gunelius, author of Content Marketing for Dummies, content marketing is “the practice of developing awareness, recall, purchases and loyalty through the use of content published on or offline.”
Okay, that’s nice but how is this going to help my business to increase sales and awareness?
The fact of the matter is that content marketing is a KEY component to increasing your sales and your brand’s awareness.
1.Content Marketing shows your clients and potential clients that you are an authority for your subject matter. Giving unique and valuable information to your following, asking for nothing in return, is a great way to build trust and gain loyal brand ambassadors.
2.Content Marketing helps to drive traffic to your website. In creating more content in connection to your brand, you will increase your chances of showing up in a Google/Yahoo search. Well-written content also gets shared and linked to, and backlinks are one of the best ways with which to climb up the search rank ladder.
3.Content Marketing helps to build your marketing lists—a great technique in content marketing is to create fabulous content (which should always be your intent), and to ask your readers to enter their email addresses to receive your content for free. Both sides will mutually benefit from this scenario; your brand will have more email addresses to send sales collateral, newsletters and promotions, and your following will obtain valuable information free of charge.
4.Content Marketing strengthens your relationships with existing and potential clients and helps you to become a greater influence within your target market.
In the last few years, big brands like Coca-Cola and Amazon have spent nearly 26% of their marketing budget on content marketing—will you hop on the content marketing train, or are you already a frequent user? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below!
1. It can drive more traffic to your Web sites
If consumers identify certain descriptive words or slogans that represent your brand, it makes your company much more visible within the online marketplace. The more ways that people can describe and identify your brand, the more search results will be found in sites like Google and Bing. A great example of this is McDonalds. The following keywords/phrases would easily find the company on search engines:
• I’m Lovin’ It
• Golden Arches
• Big Mac
• Ronald McDonald
• Put a Smile On
• Happy Meal
2. It gives your company more credibility
Plain and simple, people go with what they know. If faced with a decision between two different products with similar price points, people will most probably always go with the better-known brand. Consumers have a very strong influence on one another and if a company has built their brand around a specific product or service, people will talk (good or bad). The more positive chatter, the greater chance your company has at becoming a credible organization and one within which consumers will become loyal to. There is a phenomenon called brand religion that explains this behavior. This means that the value of a company’s brand becomes so high that consumers will remain loyal to it even if it costs much more or its stock has depleted.
3. Helps your company to develop a recognizable identity
One piece of effective branding is that you have created an identity that can be recognized by the masses. Do you recognize all of the logos on the rest stop sign when driving on the highway? If yes, it means that that brand has done a good job in developing a recognizable brand identity. If you have made the products or services of your brand to represent something specific, your consumers will expect that consistency for all of your products/services. For example, Coach is a highly recognizable brand, and their products are identified as a high-end and good-quality alternative.
4. Makes your consumers view you in a certain way, and affects their behaviors
Being a recognized brand also comes with a lot of responsibility. People start to expect certain things from your brand, and they can turn on you just as easily if you disappoint them. An example of this would be finding out that a company that positioned themselves as a very environmentally responsible organization that prided themselves in using all green and natural products, was using artificial growth hormones on their animals, and emitting chemicals into the atmosphere. If your consumers viewed you as the way you marketed yourself (green and all natural), and you indulge in behaviors that prove otherwise, your consumers will most probably switch to a different brand no matter how loyal they had been to you previously. A strong brand also allows the transfer of the brand to new products, meaning your consumer will assume that because your brand has created the product, it will be as good as their other products that they love so much.
5. Distinguishes your company from competitors
This simply means that your entire brand make-up including products, designs, logo, and overall mission is unique to other companies in your field. Making sure to stand-out is important, especially in such a saturated market. A great example of a company that has made their brand distinguishable from their competitors is Apple. Not only do they develop high-tech and highly functional unique products, but they are the people that other brands mimic. Their products are so unique from their “competitors” that it almost seems as though they aren’t competing. Apple and HP are both computer companies, but Apple products are so different from other computer products that they almost can’t be lumped in the same category.
1. Your Site Looks Unprofessional
Your Website visitors are going to decide whether or not your brand is reputable and trustworthy within seconds of viewing your home page. Web designers have the experience and the understanding of what your customers will be looking for upon arrival. Aesthetics and creating a user-friendly interface are issues that they are experts in, so if your site isn’t getting the traffic that you’d hoped, consider rethinking the look and feel of your site and consulting with a professional for their opinion.
2. Your Site Isn’t Interactive and Engaging
It is important to spell out everything for your viewers. Web designers will work to simplify information so that your clients can find the “about us” section or the “contact us” section as quickly and easily as possible. Is there an appropriate ratio of visuals to words? People want to know the quick background and major concepts of your work—if they want to read a book, they will go to the bookstore.
3. Your Navigation Links are Long and Complicated
Navigation links should be short, descriptive, and specific. Where the link directs you when you click on it should be completely in sync with the navigation link verbage. Web designers will be able to show you the standard practices of building a functional website, with effective inbound/outbound navigation links.
4. The Information on Your Site is Dated
If your website is still promoting events that happened last month, how are your viewers supposed to trust the rest of the information displayed on your site? Web designers can create a website that can be easily updated by you or themselves. Creating a fairly uncomplicated interface for their client is something that designers are very good at—a lot of people don’t want to spend the extra money to have their site maintained by an outside source (which is fine), so it is important to get an experienced designer to walk you through the steps to maintain the backside of your site.
5. The Pictures on Your Site Aren’t Optimized
If your website is full of large pictures that take forever to download looking pixelated and/or warped once they do, don’t expect your viewers to stick around. Web designers know exactly how to optimize images on your website, helping it to operate smoother and faster.
6. Your Text is Hard to Read
Computer screen reading is hard enough on the eyes; don’t make it any harder by writing large amounts of text. You should always keep your writing short and sweet for maximum readability and blocks of text should never be more than 12-15 words long, and 3 to 5 lines long. Web designers will help you to get the most out of your text, finding the most effective balance between content and design.
7. If Your Site is Hosted on a Free Site
Free hosting puts other businesses’ ad banners on top of your site…do you really want to be advertising for another company on your own site? Hosting on a free site also dramatically slows the loading time on your site, frustrating your readers and discouraging them from staying.
8. If Your Site Can’t be Found Through Search Engines
No site, no business. Web designers will work with the web coder to make sure your site is search engine optimized and has the appropriate keywords to ensure that you will be as close to the top of a Google, or other search engine search, as possible.
9. If You Don’t Have Navigation Links at the Top and Bottom of Your Site
People don’t like to be bothered to scroll down to the bottom of your home page to find the “about us” or the “contact us” links. It is the web designer’s job to make it easier for your viewers to get to the desired area of your site.
10. Your Text Goes On…and On…and On…
The body text on your site should be easy for your users to read. A web designer can create balance between space, text and images, so that your viewer will see and read only the most important information to give them a basis for conversation when they call in for your product or services.
As Pinterest becomes one of social media’s top dog, it is important for your business to learn how to capitalize on Pinterest’s ability to increase Web traffic to your sites and translate these visits into dollars.
Right now, Pinterest is the number one referral source to Websites for all of the social media platforms. Not only is it number one, but if you took the referral rates of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and added them up, Pinterest’s rate would STILL be higher. Pinterest has linked itself to other social media giants like Twitter and Facebook thus marketing themselves to a greater audience. There are presently 9 million Facebook users linked to Pinterest whose pins and boards can be seen by their friends on their wall.
Okay let’s get down to the meat and bones of this blog. Below you’ll find the top 5 ways to grow your business using Pinterest as noted by entrepreneuress Melanie Duncan in a recent Webinar.
1. Embed Links to your Website or blog in the caption section of your pin. This will allow your potential client to obtain more information, or see the product that they were interested in when they clicked. Adding the link within your caption is almost like a call to action. I can’t tell you how many times I have found an item on Pinterest that I loved, only to realize that I had no way of finding where to purchase it because of the lack of a connecting link. The easier you make it for your audience to find and purchase a product or service, the better your chance of converting that user into a paying customer.
2. Add the “Pin-it” button to your website or blog. With one click, a user can add an image or video from your Website or blog onto their own personal board. Remember that over 80% of pins are repinned, making Pinterest an easy way for any of your products or services to go viral.
3. As you know, Youtube is one of the leading Websites for content to go viral. Not only can you pin images to Pinterest, but you can also pin videos. One of the most popular video genres that are uploaded to Pinterest is “do-it-yourself” tutorials that many pinners often post to their “DIY” or “craft” boards, which are one of the most popular Pinterest boards.
4.Use strategic wording in your photo captions. A lot of people use hash tags as a way to classify their pin and make it searchable within the Pinterest platform, and on search sites like Google and Yahoo. It is also a great idea to include keywords and SEO backlinks to increase the traffic to your Website/blog. Remember that when people are searching specific topics in the Pinterest “search” bar, the only way that Pinterest will be able to find their requested search term is through captions, as they obviously can’t read an image. Be specific as to what your image is within the caption. If you have a bouquet of peonies, use “peony,” “peonies,” “flower” and/or “bouquet.”
5. Make sure to strategically arrange your photos/images to be visually pleasing. Pinterest is all about visual aesthetics so if you have the money, hire a photographer or a designer to make your image pop. Tall/long images have also proven to receive more “likes” and “repins” so when possible, stack related images onto one another to create a bigger buzz for your pin. Infographics and step-by-step do it yourself instructions are very popular. As Melanie said in her Webinar, “take your information, and make it visual.”
Happy pinning everyone : )
Social Media is beneficial in a variety of ways, not the least of which being its ability to increase your site’s search engine rankings. You might wonder how something like a Facebook profile or a Twitter account can have an effect on your site. The answer lies in the fact that search engines such as Google and Yahoo! take into consideration the amount of traffic your site already gets in addition to how many other sites link to yours.
We’ll discuss the benefits of a good linking strategy in the next SEO blog (it’s second in importance only to keywords and copy), but for the purposes of a Social Media discussion, it’s vital to understand the core concept that Google, Yahoo! and all the rest of the search engines look for; links FROM reputable sites TO your site. While these search engines do most of the heavy lifting themselves, they leave a certain amount of it to the community at large. What this means to your Web site is that if you have several links coming into your site from reputable sources – as which Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn certainly count – then Google sees those links as “votes of confidence” in the content and relevancy of your site, and will raise your ranking accordingly. This can be reinforced by reciprocating those links.
Another factor that the search engines will take into account is how much traffic you’re already getting, via word-of-mouth or other means. In other words, while having a properly-optimized site is of paramount importance, if you somehow manage to drive hundreds of hits to your site daily, Google will raise your ranking. This is instance number 2 where having social media profiles are invaluable – if you’ve got a Facebook account, Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile and all the others which are consistently pumping out interesting, relevant information, people are going to follow the links contained therein to your site, thus boosting you rankings even further.
There are currently 17 million people using Pinterest, pinning images onto virtual boards for hours on end. There’s no question that Pinterest is addicting. According to Mediabistro.com, people spend more time on Pinterest than on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and Google+ combined, with the average monthly user spending one hour and 17 minutes each month on the site.
The thing with Pinterest is—these people—these gifted artsy people, they make us believe that we can do all these cool crafts, inspiring us to create these innovative designs. After more time is wasted trying to recreate an item that we see on Pinterest, we realize the reason we’d never attempted any of these projects before—because we’re a lot better at buying them than making them.
Enter business developers and marketers. If you haven’t realized already, Pinterest isn’t just a great place to DREAM about owning items, but it can also be a great place to ADVERTISE your product to bring in dollar amounts for your company. While blatant advertising is prohibited on Pinterest, users can find many ways to bring awareness to their company without a sign or banner.
Clearly the poor person above is cooking challenged. Why not post a link below the picture of your cupcake to purchase a dozen of these adorable treats? That way, people like me don’t have to embarrass ourselves trying to recreate them ourselves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that I could find a certain dress or pair of shoes online with hopes of purchasing. By leaving a simple website below your pin, that person can easily find the item and you will at the very least improve your website’s SEO and traffic, if not increase your sales.
To help better explain Pinterest’s ability to increase your businesses sales, here is a great case study. Holly Xerri, owner and creator of the Camibands noticed sky-rocketed traffic to her site after a Pinterest user pinned the product and it went viral. “In 4 days I had about 40,000 hits on my website,” Xerri said. “All from this [thing called] Pinterest.”
So although we probably won’t be able to afford an indoor waterslide, or a bed that hangs from the ceiling, there are a lot of ways in which to advertise and promote your brand and your products, and benefit monetarily by using Pinterest.
If you’d like help entering your brand into the Pinterest arena, call Viral Technologies toll free at 1.855.718.4725 or email firstname.lastname@example.org!