Building Brand Preference with Lead Nurturing

Okay, so you’ve identified some promising leads but they’re not yet ready to buy. Time to give up? No! It’s time for lead nurturing. Primarily employing cost-efficient, email communications, this marketing practice not only suggests you stay engaged,shutterstock nuture plant but also actively build a strong brand preference among these targets. Why? So that when they’re ready to make a purchase, they make your product or service their leading choice.

So how do you go about lead nurturing? Here are three recommendations.

  1. Gain – and maintain – permission to stay in contact. If distributing an e-newsletter, keep your content fresh and relevant to your audience. Whenever a prospect loses interest, you lose the opportunity for a future sale.
  2. Educate by establishing key ideas and points of differentiation. Your messages should work to position your product or service as a preferred solution in the mind of prospects.
  3. Focus on the next stage – which may not necessarily be the final sale. An opt-in for an e-newsletter, for example, may result in a request for more information, which may provide an opportunity for a “Did you have any questions?” phone call.

One final tip? Do as much as you can, but don’t feel pressed to do it all. Start small, enlist the aid of a qualified marketing services provider, if needed, and build from there.

Want to know more on how lead nurturing can benefit you? Call us today.

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Building an Online Community

shutterstock_communitySmart marketers have discovered that one of the most cost-effective ways to strengthen their brand is to build an online community via their website, blogs and social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Note that “community” is different than “audience.” While laudable, gaining a huge number of followers doesn’t mean much in and of itself.

Why?According to a Nielsen study, 90% of consumers rely on the recommendations of their peers, while just 33% trust online ads. So your objective should be to turn those in your user base into active advocates who spread the word on your goods or services in a way you cannot do on your own.

All that said, how do you go about building an online community?

Begin by paying close attention to your followers to determine what content they deem worthy of sharing. With these insights, you will want to provide them a steady stream of content they value most – be it tips, videos, interviews or otherwise. Never go silent for lengthy periods, and always seek to be different as well as relevant.

Next, strive to make your content shareable. Brief and catchy headlines will help, as will built-in plug-ins that enable one- or two-click sharing from one social site to another.

There are, of course, dozens of other methods to employ. But if you construct a solid foundation of valuable content that’s likely to be shared, you’ll be well on your way to building an online community that will help build your brand.

Need help in creating – or strengthening – your online community? For expert assistance, count on us.

 

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Tips on Writing a Successful White Paper and How to Promote It

Generic-Q3-Guide-ImageWhite papers can be an effective content marketing tool. Besides building credibility and trust and establishing your company as an expert in its field, the real value of white papers is in lead generation.

To be successful, your white paper must capture and keep the attention and interest of your reader. There’s a valuable exchange of information that goes on here. Your reader needs to recognize that in exchange for their precious contact information, they are receiving something of real value.

Keys to a Winning White Paper

Make sure the content is compelling and offers solutions for the reader. With your target audience in mind, answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Other suggestions to make your white paper a success include:

  • Use interesting and powerful titles that arouse interest and curiosity.
  • Write in a conversational tone as if you are talking one-on-one with a person.
  • Every white paper needs a cover. Make sure it’s engaging.
  • Keep it relatively short, around 14 pages.
  • Make it easy to read. Break up the text with headlines, sub-headlines, bullet points, graphics and charts.

Getting Found

Even the best written white paper is only useful if it gets opened. And to get opened it needs to be found. Here are some ways to make it easy to find your white paper:

  • Showcase the offer on your website.
  • Send an email to your contact list to let them know about it.
  • Post an announcement on your social media channels.
  • Send a direct mail piece that leads the reader to a PURL (personal URL) to download the paper.
  • Offer free copies through pay-per-click ads.
  • Distribute printed copies at trade shows.

Plan for a Safe Landing

Don’t forget to include a landing page for your white paper campaign. All of your promotional channels should drive the reader to a landing page that gathers their contact information before enabling a download of the white paper.

In need of an effective copywriter and strategies for promoting your white paper? Give us a call.

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Webinars: A Smart and Cost-Effective Marketing Tool

First of all, what’s a webinar?shutterstock webinar

A webinar is a live online presentation during which participants can submit questions to an expert. Typically, prospects phone in to participate or, if unable to attend, review the presentation later if you post it on your website.

And what makes webinars a valuable marketing tool?

By allowing you to engage with people anywhere around the world, webinars are often an ideal way to introduce a new product.  With them, you can satisfy the needs of that growing group of prospects who seek information (i.e., content) without the old-style hard sell – all while earning trust and demonstrating your expertise.

Webinars also allow you to generate new leads and nurture existing relationships. And, did we mention webinars are achievable at a relatively low cost?

Sounds great! So, how do you set up a webinar?

After determining the topic, time and date – and practicing your presentation – you’ll select a hosting platform to collect registrations and facilitate call-ins. Some popular platforms are Adobe Connect, AnyMeeting, GoToWebinar, MeetingBurner, WebEx and ZipCast.

Next, you’ll promote registration for your upcoming webinar via blog posts, emails, news releases, newsletters, postcards, social media pages and your website. One tip to spur attendance: Tell your audience you’ll announce a special discount, giveaway or download at the end of your webinar!

Need help in creating and hosting a webinar? Count on us for expert assistance.

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Jump Start Your Website Viewership with Pay-Per-Click

shutterstock PPCThe idea behind pay-per-click marketing (PPC) or paid search is simple: Google, Bing, Yahoo and others allow you to buy listings on their results pages when consumers go online to search for goods or services such as the ones you offer. These listings appear along with the natural or organic, non-paid search results.

To place your ad, you’ll bid against competitors on the keywords people commonly use to search for your goods or services, and pay only up to a budgeted campaign amount. When someone clicks on your PPC ad and arrives at your website, you are charged the amount you bid.

But why “buy” website viewership when other methods are no- or low-cost?

Organic search, for example, is inherent to any web marketing effort. Through careful selection of keywords of interest to your targets and employment of search engine optimization (SEO) measures such as page titles, site structure and XML site maps, you’ll enhance your search engine rankings and grow your audience at no added cost.

Of course, including worthwhile content such as guides, videos, updates, offers, events and more will attract website viewers, and keep them coming back for more. And yet another no- or low-cost technique to boost viewership is to claim your local listings at Google My Business or Bing Places for Business, among other sites.

Speed is the key advantage to pay-per-click.

While more costly than organic search, paid search has its advantages – among them quick implementations and potentially rapid results. So consider a pay-per-click campaign if you are launching a new product or service, announcing a special event, promoting a sale or publicizing some other time-sensitive communication.

Another great reason to consider pay-per-click? If you are a new business or one that is establishing or renewing its web marketing effort, and would benefit from a jump start in the growth of your audience.

Need help in creating a PPC campaign for your business, organization or nonprofit? Call us today for expert assistance.

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5 Ways to Effectively Use Video to Promote Your Business

Have you thought about creating videos to promote your business? Besides the fact that YouTube ranks second only to Google as the most widely used search engine on the Internet, videos also have the power to engage customers and increase the time they spendshutterstock video on your website.

Here are five ideas for using video to boost your marketing efforts

  1. Demonstrate a product or how to do something. Showing how a product works is more meaningful than a written description. Plus, video lends credibility to your product and brand, inspires customer loyalty and ultimately will translate into more sales.
  2. Interview customers that are advocates for your products or services. Or invite your customers to upload their own videos using your product. This kind of activity generates interest and excitement about a brand and encourages engagement that a written testimonial won’t achieve.
  3. Encourage repeat visits to your site by keeping it fresh with frequently updated video content. Consider sharing news about activities, projects and promotions.
  4. Give your business some personality. Feature various team members or film a “day in the life” piece. This type of content makes your business seem more human and approachable.
  5. Advertise special events or sponsor a competition and share the link to the video on your social media sites for maximum exposure.

Keep in mind that your videos need not be the same quality as Oscar-winning movies. There are affordable cameras and editing programs available that will yield you an effective product. Need help getting started? Give us a call. We can help.

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Finders-Keepers: Help More Web Searchers Locate You with Local Listings

shutterstock local searchIf you own a small or mid-size local business, you know how important it is for online searchers to find you when they enter keywords such as “take-out pizza Poughkeepsie” or “welding services Duluth.”

In fact, 70% of searchers use local search to find offline businesses, according to Google.

You’ll help these searchers find you – and benefit your business, too – by claiming your local listing. In fact, if you operate a brick-and-mortar business, there’s a good chance a local listing has already been created for you by a search engine, online directory or social media site.

To establish or “claim” your local listing, you’ll work with search engines and directories to verify all key facts of your operation (e.g., location, hours, phone, payment methods, business category) to thereby signify “ownership” of it.

The good news? It’s easy. And the better news? You can do it at low or no cost!

Begin with a Google My Business listing (google.com/business) which helps people find you no matter what device they’re using – and no matter if they’re looking for you on Google Search, Google Maps or Google+.

Another key service – Bing Places for Business (bingplaces.com) – lets you claim (or add to) your business listing on Bing and be found by millions of users who are searching online. According to eBizMBA, Bing is the second most popular search engine after Google, and ahead of the next recommendation …

You should also consider local business listings on Yahoo (smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings). Offered through Yahoo Localworks, you can get your business listed on Yahoo Local, Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, MapQuest and Superpages.

The sources suggested above are just for starters. You can continue your quest for even more customers by claiming or establishing additional local listings on Yellowpages.com, Angie’s List, Yelp, Merchant Circle and Facebook.

Need help in claiming your local listings or with other digital marketing initiatives? Call us today for expert assistance.

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6 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve SEO

The fact that most searches for products and services begin on the Web, makes visibility a top concern for businesses. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is a frequent topic of conversation amongst today’s marketing gurus. But is there a practical application for small businesses whose budgets and time are often limited? Is there a way to boost visibility without breaking the bank?

In her article, “6 Uncomplicated Social SEO Tips for Small Businesses,” Constant Contact’s Social Media Community Manager, Danielle Cormier, outlines simple ways that small businesses can increase their SEO results.

Interested in getting better search results? Give us a call. We can get you noticed.

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Social Media Marketing: Get to Know Your Audience and Platforms

There are many social media platforms available today, each with its own unique characteristics and users. Should you participate? What do you say? How do you say it? And how often? What’s a marketer to do?shutterstock_social media
Below is an overview of some of the more popular venues available to you and tips on how to use them:

Facebook. The first step is creating a Facebook Business Fan Page. Marketing through this medium is all about conversation. Facebook has a casual, friendly feel. It’s a place people go to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light, friendly and lively. Engage your audience through industry-related articles, images and videos.

Twitter. Twitter allows you to announce your updates across the web. Follow tweeters in your industry or related fields, and you should gain a steady stream of followers in return.
Tweet about your specials, discounts, and events. Be sure to retweet when a customer has something nice to say about you, and always answer people’s questions. Twitter is a marketing tool that revolves around communication, so be sure to interact as much as possible

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional social media site. LinkedIn Groups provides an avenue for people in similar industries to share content. In addition, customers can recommend your business on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations can help make your business appear more credible for new customers. Also, be sure to browse the “Questions” section of LinkedIn. By providing answers you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

Google+. Google+ provides a fun, casual environment. On Google+ you can upload and share photos, videos, links, and view all your +1s. With Google+ Circles, you can divide your followers into smaller groups, enabling you to select who you want to share what information with. For example, you might create a “loyal customer” circle, and share special discounts and exclusive offers only with that group. Hangouts provides a venue for sharing video. Try hosting a “how-to” video conference on some aspect of your business.

Pinterest. Pinterest is an image-centered platform and is ideal for retail, but others can benefit as well. Pinterest allows small businesses to showcase their own product offerings while also developing their own personality.
YouTube. YouTube is the number one place for creating video content, and the second most widely used search engine on the Web. You want to be there. Focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. “How-to” videos also have the added benefit of increasing the ranking on Google searches.

Need help creating a social media strategy? Contact us. We have the expertise to keep you social.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Blog

shutterstock Why BlogYou may have asked yourself, “Do I really need to have a company blog?” Maybe you’re concerned about the time it will take or what you will write about. While these are real concerns, the answer to the question is yes, you should have a blog, and here are six reasons why:

1. Blogging drives traffic to your website. We all want customers and prospects to be able to find us on the Web. Blogging helps your company appear higher in search results.

2. Blogging Improves SEO Performance. Search engines want to display the most relevant and up-to-date information that’s available in their search results. Blogging shows that your website is current and is one of the best ways to improve SEO performance.

3. Blogging builds a loyal following. Provide compelling information to your audience and not only will they keep coming back for more, they’ll also share your information through their own channels, resulting in higher search results for your company.

4. Blogging builds your reputation. With content that is relevant, informational and educational, you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Plus, when readers share your articles, it shows search engines that you’re a trusted authority.

5. Frequent posts get noticed. You will be more successful keeping your audience engaged with fresh content. Try to blog as frequently as you can. It may not be possible to post daily or weekly but try to post at least twice a month. You want to maintain your audience’s interest and search results will increase with frequency.

6. It is nice to share. It’s important to get the most social exposure you can when blogging. So be sure to share your blog posts on social media. It provides more opportunities to gain exposure with your audience and for them to share it with their friends.

Need help getting started with a blog? Give us a call. We can help.

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