Posts tagged with ‘content strategies’

Asking Tough Questions About Your Marketing Strategy


Warning: This post may make you extremely uncomfortable. Read at your own risk.

Today, there is virtually no reason not to have your pulse on the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. Data abounds, and to even the most casual business owner, this data can open up keen insights into where your marketing time and money is working for you, and where it is not.

To illustrate, I want to describe a strategy we are deploying on a web site right now, and this approach is saving us hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars normally wasted in the startup phase of any business model. The philosophy and steps behind this strategy is the same as you would read in practically any college marketing textbook: Devise, Implement, Test, Interpret Data, Revise and Repeat.

The real difference with what we are doing (across multiple marketing and advertising channels, such as Social, AdWords, SEO, Content) involves close micro-step evaluations of key drivers. Quite simply, rather than wait for an abundance of data, we are making swift course corrections based on tightly prioritized goals, using tiny-yet-measurable data samples.

This strategy requires that we ask difficult questions about our assumptions, letting none of them remain as sacred cows. Instead, we rather assume that we know nothing about what may work, and rigorously test every aspect of a business model, from messaging to offer to price point. And we are doing this rapidly.

Here’s the kicker: We are able to do this based on almost real-time data, in increments of fewer than 100 visitors to our web site.

It’s pretty exciting, and I believe it will lead us to circumvent the normally expensive and time-intensive process new businesses must endure when launching something new.

So the question I have for you is: What do you think you know about your business marketing metrics? Do you know what is working and what isn’t? How do you know it? And how long and how much is it taking you to find out?



Is your Content Telling your Story Part III

The Newbie

You’re just starting out your business – congratulations! This is a wonderfully exciting time where you get to figure out exactly what it is you want to say. So…what do you say? If you’re like most start-ups you likely don’t have a definitive voice connecting you to an audience or clarifying your presence.

One of the biggest mistakes I see new companies make is the error of fallacy.  Companies without a lot of experience often falsify their professional history, or sound bigger than they are in order to impress their audience. Don’t do that! While you don’t need to hang a, “I don’t know what I’m doing,” flag outside your door, you certainly don’t need to pretend you have a full staff when you and your business partner are conducting business in local coffee shops. (Editors note: there is nothing wrong with using coffee shops as your office.) After all, if you’re not starting out your business on a totally honest foot, aren’t you missing the point?

Fear not, newb. Your brand and identity are in there, waiting to be discovered. Consult your content professionals to discover the best way to display your expertise and business model, without overcompensating due to lack of experience. Together, you can exhibit your business in a way that’s both interesting, and appropriate.

The best way to reach your target is by being you.

The Importance of Good Content and On Page SEO

Every once in a while an analogy comes along that explains why you should or should not do something that is better than a picture (Yes! Better than a picture!). With this in mind I would like to demonstrate to you the difference of having a great looking website without giving the proper attention to the content on the page or the on page SEO factors and a mediocre looking website that has paid attention to the content on the page and the SEO on page factors.

It’s much like shopping for a car. You see a brand new shiny corvette sitting in the corner with a great price tag. In fact, the price of this car is so low compared to everything else in the showroom that there is no question what car you will buy today and you find yourself driving off the lot in a great looking car.

You ride around town in the neighborhood and everyone who sees you waves and comments on what a nice looking car you have. You get ready to open it up on the highway and put the petal to the metal only to find out that you are being passed by F150 pickup trucks, Honda Accords and almost everything else on the road! You pull over and pop the hood and though the engine looks big, underneath you are being powered by a 4 cylinder motor that won’t take you anywhere.

Just like cars, the slick look and promises to turn heads can lead you to purchase something that’s not exactly what you need. It’s very important to buy a workhorse of a website and that’s finding out how it will perform; not just how it will look. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a good looking website, it just means the look should be secondary to performance.

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Is Your Content Telling YOUR Story Part II

The state of the statistics man (or woman).

You love numbers. Venn diagrams and earnings reports are the stuff your dreams are made of. Clients love your keen eye for detail, and your unwavering commitment for exceeding expectations, and you love that at the end of the day you get to crunch numbers and calculate profits. The question is, how does this translate to what you put on the web?

You should always be telling YOUR story. If numbers and details are your thing, by all means showcase that on your webpages, blog and email marketing. However, it’s important that you aren’t overly statistical in all your content, because you may alienate your audience (content strategists love to talk about alienation). Instead, find a way to display your natural ability for the fine tuned without letting your audience believe you lock yourself in a room during lunch to configure algorithms (you don’t do that, right?)

Being a statistical person makes you an asset to the business world, so become creative in ways you show this to your clients and potentials. Infographics are perfect for displaying a vast amount of information in an eye-catching way that attracts a variety of viewers. Videographers can capture interesting factoids pertaining to your industry and combine them with excerpts of your office, or with carefully designed graphics that really pop. Think outside the cubicle and create something that interests your audience, while remaining true to your personality.

If your business is numbers, get creative with your business.

3 Essential Members of Your Desert Island Content Dream Team

Unless you are Superman or Wonder Woman (and we know she reads our blog.. hey there!), you’re going to require a helping hand now and then in generating the mountains of digital content expected of any thriving business with an online presence today.  You don’t have to hire content strategists like us, but it’s important to begin building a Content Dream Team that can crank out various multimedia, social and SEO/SEM content.

So, we asked ourselves, if we were stranded on a desert island, which three players would be indispensable in helping us generate our marketing content? (This is assuming that we would care about such things, being recently stranded on a desert island, and all…)  These are our answers:

  1. The Multimedia Pro. This is the person who can easily and effortlessly crank out video after video from their cool iPhone4, and upload them to YouTube seconds after catching a poignant story moment in the office or out in the field.  Make no mistake, the person who is a natural for this role is the person who is already engaged with the technologies to make this sort of thing happen, and that means that this person is particularly hard to source.  If you’re lucky enough to have one on staff doing something else, then make it part of their job description to follow around people and get this content captured and published to share with your hungry public!
  2. The Social Butterfly. I bet you never thought that the person who spends 2 hours a day on Facebook and Twitter while at work could ever prove to be an undiscovered asset to your company, huh? Well, maybe, maybe not. They’ve certainly proved how enticing and potent the medium can be.  And they certainly have an understanding of the workings of the various online social spaces.  But if they have an interest in helping you develop an authentic voice in those spaces, you may have just just hit pay dirt.  Ask them to give you a written proposal on how Facebook or Twitter could become a part of what they do for you on a daily basis.
  3. The SEO/SEM Robot. Writing articles, blog posts, submitting a site to multiple directories, and increasing the number of inbound links coming to your site from good sources is the bane of most small business owners. Who has the time?  Well, if you can add someone who has a penchant for technical details and obscure strategies, it’ll take most of this tedious-yet-essential stuff off your plate.  The best person for this job is someone who finds the Zen in keyword research and loves to get lost in formulating vast charts and spreadsheets of links and potential links to go after.

So there you have it. It’s not going to be easy to find natural fits for each of these roles, but we cannot see how you’ll be able to keep the content coming in any meaningful quantities without them.

Is Your Content Telling YOUR story? (Part 1)

The Plight of the Joker

I say it all the time – I can create a variety of tones and writing styles for every client. The reason this is necessary is because no two businesses are alike. Some businesses may have similarities and commonalities, but the true core of what makes each business is intrinsically unique (and one of the reasons I LOVE writing web content!)

It’s important to realize your uniqueness as a business, and how you wish to exhibit that in all of the content you create. From emails to web content, brochures and podcasts, you must always be true to your business and your story. By this, I mean, analyze what customers and clients like about you, and what keeps them returning to you. However, you must also realize that finding a balance between professionalism and personalization is the key to standing out, while becoming a trusted voice in your field.

Do clients compliment you on your upbeat sense of humor? Then talk with your content developer about appropriate ways to bring that out in your email blasts and other distributed content. Humor is a great way to put clients at ease, and make you relatable. However, there is a fine line between an email blast peppered with corny jokes, and an all out roast of your receptionist on her biography web. If you’re using your sense of humor, don’t get personal, and keep it G-rated. Your content developer should be able to tailor a content strategy that is honest and funny, while engaging and professional.

Find a balance, and reap the rewards.

Finding Your Marketing Groove

Now that I have your attention by using the “groove” word, let’s talk about how to find what works for you and your business when it comes to online marketing. If you were to listen to the latest guru you might think that the best game in town when it comes to marketing your product is on the social networking sites; mainly Facebook and Twitter. However, if you caught the stats from PowerReviews and the e-tailing group this past week you would find out that the social networking sites only account for 5% of a products search starting point. That’s not to say that there are not some great reasons to be associated with the social networks and that one day this just might be the search panacea that is predicted; it’s just not today.

The latest stats show that 57% of the searches for products start with a search engine, 20% actually go directly to the brands website while 18% will research the product at a retailer website. The way they break down the social side is 3% use a social site while 2% will ask a question on The latest stats show that 57% of the searches for products start with a search engine, 20% actually go directly to the brands website while 18% will research the product at a retailer website. The way they break down the social side is 3% use a social site while 2% will ask a question on Twitter. So while everyone is yelling about social, the guys still concentrating on search engines are rocking along getting more eyes on their products. Again, this is now and not next week, next month and certainly not next year. That’s why it’s important to have someone watching what is really happening online and not just listening to the hype. As things turn to the next “big thing”, which may be something totally different than Twitter, Facebook or search, you and your company stand a better chance of being in the right position to take advantage of it, if you are dealing with reality and not hype. That’s the first step to finding your marketing groove online.

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