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Business Content Marketing: Make Your B2B Blog More than Just A Blur Of Information

Let’s talk about pimping your blog.

Blogging has become a real social phenomenon over the past few years and for good reason. Besides being a great customer service tool, its ability to rank highly in search engines, attract swarms of traffic, create advertising revenue, promote services and generate sales has led to the growing importance of the blog as a business tool worldwide.

Simply put: there just isn’t any way around it.

As books inform us of the past, blogs inform of the here and now.

So what makes a blog great?

Like most things in life, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all approach.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so yes, in some aspects it comes down to your target audience, as well as topic relevance. But wouldn’t it be great if one had a general recipe for success?

There might not be a one-size-fits-all approach, but below are a few of the most fundamental things one needs to keep in mind when hammering out that next blog.

person holding pencil near laptop computer

Touch on Relevant Issues and Predict Any Possible Future Ones

Talking about hot topics is an essential way to get your audience involved and keep them updated on any current happenings. Everyone wants to know what is going on around them and if there is anything they need to look out for.

Including this approach in your blogging could be the hook that reels your catch in.

Most businesses want to find out what’s next for their industries too. Make sure you include up-to-date facts and statistics; audience response has shown that numbers are powerful. This is one of the reasons why statistics can be such persuasive pieces of evidence when bringing across a point.

Acknowledge Your Audience’s Problem Points

In many cases, what makes a blog great is that it provides content that solves the problem your readers have. Now this is not to say that you must monopolise on people’s misery, but pain points are a great motivator to get people to click.

This approach can enable  you to reach out and resonate with your audience rather than just throwing information at them. The fact is that people tend to pay more attention if something can or does affect them directly.

Watch How You Reveal Your Hand

An important thing to remember, especially when it comes to business blogs, is that your audience usually already know you are selling something. It’s how you go about it that matters.

We all dread that sleazy, pushy salesman that gets up in your face and tries to squeeze a sale out of you. So when writing your blog, feel free to include your services or products but don’t overdo it!

Go for a more rounded approach. Include interesting facts and information, concentrate on making your blog educational, engaging and relevant. Convince your audience that they need to have what you’re selling without trying to force their hand.

Making Your Audience Think

It’s a fact that people like to learn. They feel useful when using that brain in their heads, even more so when they can bring an interesting piece of information to a conversation. Blogs are a great way of providing that kind of opportunity for people. After all, it is the ultimate forum for giving and receiving information.

A good point to remember is that people don’t enjoy being spoken at, so when creating a blog rather angle your approach towards engaging with your audience and not speaking at them. Include questions, metaphors and examples that encourage thinking and personal deduction.

Visuals Are Key

Let’s face it, words on a screen are boring!

Lines and lines of black letters on a white screen… no wonder programmers get so many headaches.

Breaking the monotony up with relevant visuals is a must. You have to give those reading eyes a break and the beauty of it is that you can do this while still providing information. Studies show that the human brain is capable of processing information from an image 60 000 times faster than text. So those infographics not only bring colour to your piece but can actually boost what you are trying to bring across, while making your blog easier to read. Win win!

Keep Track Of Your Blog’s Performance

To know if your blog is a success or not you need to dig into its metrics.

Yes, this sounds complicated but fear not! Like everything else an app has been created. A great one to use is Google Analytics. It maps all relevant stats on your blog and feeds back information on how it is doing.

This information can be crucial in learning what works for you and what doesn’t.

Blogging Your Way To A Successful Tomorrow

Blogging has come a long way since it first appeared in the late 1990’s.

It’s become a universal language in its own right. And learning how to do it right is not only a requirement but a status symbol.

Like an online profile, your blogs can and do speak for you. The work you create provides a literal representation of who you are and what you seek to provide.

So the next time you write a blog, don’t just indulge in verbal diarrhea. Take note of the things that matter and be classy about it!

Marketing 101: What to do With Original Research

As the varied and wide expanses of worldwide marketing have shown, no two strategies are alike. Each strategy will have to cater to different project needs, and knowing which strategy will work best for you is the starting point in any successful endeavor.

One of the most difficult hurdles to overcome in marketing is the mass amount of effort needed to create an end product worthy of beneficial responses.

In all things, there are those who thrive and those who dwindle; with the latter coming in at an astounding 65%. It’s natural for one to start asking why. 

What is it exactly that “successful” marketers are doing that the less experienced ones aren’t? 

Original Data in the World of Marketing 

What sets successful marketers apart is that a vast majority of them have admitted to using original data wherever possible.  

The real question is: how do they do that, and how can you do it too?

If you find that you are one of the unfortunate marketing minds struggling down an unnecessarily rocky path, the good news is that you’ve started asking the right questions. Better yet, with a few tips and tricks you could completely change your marketing approach for the better.

So let’s get to it.

Game Changing Things Marketers do to Improve Their Approach 

Applying a Focused Effort 

A leading component to successful marketing can be summed up in one word: focus. This means finding original content and uplifting sales. 

While working within a budget, we tend to want our resources to do a lot of things while sticking to a basic costing structure.

In most cases this can, and often does, lead to a cluttered and potentially ‘copied’ end product. It costs less to build on an already established idea, after all.

However, this is where pack leaders and successful marketers tend to break away from the norm – they do not limit themselves by using pirated ideas, and they definitely do not try and cram a potentially successful idea into an unrealistic budget. 

What makes these successful marketers shine is that they understand that the end result should never be a reflection of what you could afford, but rather present an uplifting goal or achievement that benefits your company and any potential clients simultaneously. 

So, wanting to do your content and business justice comes down to how you focus your ideas:

  • Always start by defining your marketing goals: immediate, short term and long term.
  • With these marketing goals in mind, start asking the questions that really matter. Look at your marketing ideas with a narrow perspective and cut to the simple truths of your chosen path.
  • Find the originality in each point, instead of relying on well-used ideas to define your outcome.
  • Create realistic cost parameters that are not so small that they affect your implementation, but not so large that you cannot afford them.

Getting Your Concepts out to the Public  

Marketing can be seen as the art of give and take. When done correctly, it’s a gift of solutions a business provides to the public. The take is what they get back for their efforts. 

In order to get your content properly noticed, you need to go to the people – you need to find your readers and transform your ideas into action.

There are numerous ways in which a wider content coverage can be achieved – including media mentions and backlinks. When it comes to the application, each method can provide a different type of success when used right, and while some may work better than others; a defining step leading marketers take is choosing the right method for their end goal.

  • Upon reflection, one of the most popular forms of marketing outreach is achieved through medias mention, which can include blogging, social shares and general public recognition.  
  • Statistics have shown that as much as 69% of successful marketers create partnerships with other leading web organisations; and this usually consists of social media platforms. By doing this they are able to get their marketing content out to more people and make the potential for backlinks possible.
  • Mainstream marketers make use of both outbound (advertising) and inbound (content marketing) techniques to generate hype for their content, but, any established professional will advise that finding the balance between the two can either make or break your approach. 

Using Effective Survey Technologies  

Another highly effective technique that separates successful marketers from their less-successful peers is the ability to write survey questionnaires that provide an elevated level of interest and storytelling.

While producing surveys and generating questions may seem fairly straight forward, there is actually a proven science that goes into creating a successful survey:  

  • Successful professionals take the time to establish how they want their audience to think differently as a result of their content and what it provides.  
  • They define the story they want their marketing to tell, and gear the related questions in a complementary way, e.g. including life goals for younger respondents.
  • They use respondent disqualification technology to maximise their selection process, e.g. age, sex and race. This helps ensure the surveys are being completed by the precise group of people needed at any given time.
  • They use survey logic technology when needing a survey to perform optimally. This allows a survey to ask the right questions in relation to the feedback the respondents provide, thereby avoiding incomplete surveys due to lack of knowledge or interest.

Degrees of Demographics

A great upselling trick used by industry professionals is including the ebb and flow of public consumption and patterns aka demographics. There is always some form of peer pressure prevalent in our day to day lives, and established marketers not only understand this, but find ways to use it to their benefit.

Obtaining a successful marketing impact can easily be achieved by using demographics, whether concentrating age groups, branding and public consumption or business details like company sizes, industry inf
luence or notewort
hy accomplishments. 

  • Researching demographics is not only beneficial, but crucial when wanting your work to seem credible. 
  • Successful marketers often use statistical data relating to popularity, populations and group trends in the form of “comparison” – e.g. using data in men vs woman scenarios, or saving percentages in one service vs another. This often lends them an edge over their competition purely because they are “In the know” and able to work that knowledge to their best advantage. 
  • Highlighting the attitudes and habits of different generations can also work in one’s favour; especially when targeting younger respondents. The better it makes them look, or the more impressive it seems the more they will want it. Look at celebrity presences in marketing – This is why they do it! knowing your targeted audience and customizing your efforts accordingly by applying relevant incentive could greatly benefit your end goal.     
  • Another one of the most successful benefits of demographics is that they can be very dependable and recurring, generally the public is very prone to patterns and overtime come to expect certain things. A great example of this is summer or winter sales, as the seasons change people start to expect certain types of marketing, offers and sales. Tapping into this is a great way to boost your revenue.   

Creating Original Content is what Success is all About!

An important aspect and probably the most defining difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is the ability to not only create quality content and a healthy outreach but use the momentum gained to generate future directions and accomplishments based on the feedback given by clients. 

Getting your company on the map might be the first step of marketing, but as so many successful professionals have learnt; it’s the ability to not only make today a success but also convert that proactivity towards the days to come; through adapted content creation.

So go ahead and make your mark, keep these tips in mind and soon you’ll be in successful category too! 

You Need a Content Strategy that Works

Here’s a throwback for you:

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Let your mind wander back in time to a world where a blog was nothing more than an electronic journal for the chronically narcissistic, consistently bored teenager or desperate housewife.

Aren’t you glad you don’t exist in that particular space any more?

Flash forward a decade or so, and you’ll see that what started out as nothing more than a mere collection of diary entries has become an integral part of every business’ online marketing strategy. Ain’t technology grand?

At least 90% of B2B buyers have stated that online content has an effect on their purchasing behaviour. The fact of the matter is this: if you’re not on the content marketing bandwagon, you’re rapidly falling behind.

A few years ago, content marketing involved nothing more than churning out bulk collections of mediocre text. It didn’t really matter what you were saying, as long as you were actively posting something, your business was in the clear. With the growth of the Internet, however, that particular landscape has changed. Now, more than ever, the competition is intense. In order to take your business to the next level, you have to create content that is educational, insightful, and engaging.

In short, you need a goal. And in order to achieve that goal, you need a content strategy that works.

Set Your Goals and Start Planning

You can’t possibly begin a content marketing campaign without defining what your goals are. How will you know that you’ve been successful if you don’t have an idea of what you’re hoping to achieve?

Quite obviously, each goal will require a different approach. Your desired outcome will greatly influence the way you tackle each stage of the planning process.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to build brand awareness?

  • Are you looking to instill trust?

  • Do you want to increase traffic to a particular website or landing page?

  • Are you aiming to attract new prospects?

  • Is your major goal to convert leads into sales?

  • Do you want to increase customer retention?

Once you’ve figured out precisely what your goals are, you’ll need to establish your KPIs. You need something solid to aim for in order to keep your efforts on the right track:

  • Increase website traffic to 100k visitors by a specific date.

  • Generate a certain number of new leads per month.

  • Convert a specific percentage of leads into sales by a particular date.

By creating KPIs, you’ll keep yourself (and your team) accountable. The idea here is to work backwards to develop strategies that help you achieve your goals.

Develop A Detailed Strategy

When developing your content strategy, you need to focus on a few key factors. Take the time to lay down some groundwork before diving straight in. This will prevent you from doubling back and trying to figure out what went wrong when you’re too far down the rabbit hole.

First and foremost, you need to figure out who you’re targeting. Invest some time in creating customer personas. You need to be able to successfully connect with your readers in order to generate the kind of results you want.

Keywords are another all-important aspect of any content marketing strategy. You need to choose keywords that are highly searched for in your specific industry. Take the time to figure out which topics are in high demand, and build your content around that. Give your potential audience the information they so desperately seek. Try to find a way to spin these keywords into something original and exciting; often a simple change in tone is all you really need.

You’ll also need to pay attention to where your prospects are in the buying cycle. If, for example, you’re communicating with potential customers who have no idea who you are or what you offer, you’ll need to create content that is focused on education rather than sales. On the other hand, if you’re trying to connect with someone who is already familiar with your brand, you need to deliver valuable content (case studies are a good bet) that will help you close a sale.

Finally, you need to consider which channels are important for dispersing your content. Take some time to figure out the platforms that are most likely to be useful to you, and what your goals are for each of them.

Produce High-Quality Content

As soon as you’ve ironed out your objectives and strategies, you need to start curating your content. You have two options here:

1. Work with your in-house team.

2. Hire professional content writers to help you get the job done.

Quite obviously, the path you choose will depend entirely on your in-house team’s expertise and the availability of time. If your team members are too swamped with their own regular tasks, it’s not a good idea to drown them in additional work that isn’t necessarily in their wheelhouse. Remember, you need quality content, not something slapdash you’ve cobbled together at the last minute.

If you choose to outsource your content development, invest in writers who truly understand the principles of content marketing. Make sure they’ll be able to embody your brand message. A trial task never hurt anybody, so perhaps consider asking them to write a short sample related to a topic of your choice and see if they’re a good fit.

Market, Promote, and Measure

You can create amazing content until you’re blue in the face but it won’t help you if no one sees it. Make sure to promote each and every piece of writing on all of your platforms and leverage them as much as possible. If you have to add in a small advertising budget to boost those posts, do it. A small investment can make a huge difference.

While you’re churning out content, it’s too easy to forget that you actually need to measure the performance of your posts. Circle back at least once a month to see how your content is performing. Check if you’re meeting your KPIs. If you don’t see any progress, make some adjustments. If you do see progress, keep on doing what you’re doing.

In the end, it’s all about trying new things and seeing what works for your business. Be inventive, be innovative, and above all, keep measuring your progress.

you need a content strategy that works

PACER, Inbound meets Outbound. How to rapidly grow your business l

Step-by-step guidance on how to go from Zero to first 50 customers in any business, existing or brand new. Whether you’re looking to start a new arm of your business or start it from scratch, we’ll shed some light on how you can set yourself up for success. All of our techniques are based on what we have used to grow Goodman Lantern from $0, with no investment raised, to where we are today. We bootstrapped it all the way, and so can you!

The name of the game is being tactful. It’s not about inbound or outbound marketing; it’s about standing out and building trust. You can’t build trust with customers if you haven’t made contact with them yet. If you’re merely relying on blogging, Facebook, or Twitter to pull in the punters, we have some bad news for you: outbound tools, like email, see an average click-through rate of 3.57%, compared to 0.07% for Facebook and 0.03% for Twitter.

If you’ve previously heard that inbound was the only way forward, it’s worth looking at this:

  1. In an interview with Jeb Blount, author of Fanatical Prospecting, he mentions that he “was sold Hubspot on an (outbound) cold call ” (scroll to 42.30). The term “inbound marketing” was coined by HubSpot, yet even they engage in outbound marketing.
  2. Tony J. Hughes, in his blog post, talks about a company which went “full bottle” social selling. They removed phones from the sales floor and tanked their top and mid-funnel.

Why Isn’t Inbound Marketing Good Enough? 

Before we identify why inbound marketing isn’t sufficient on it’s own, it’s worth exploring why people don’t have success with it as an alone-standing approach. It’s worth noting that inbound works very closely with content marketing. The top reason why companies are likely to give up on content marketing, says Roman Kniahynyckyj, is due to the length of time it takes for the benefits to kick in, driven by these factors:

  1. Google indexing: The bottom line is that you need Google to index your website fully. Unless you are an internet phenomenon, based one experience, you are looking at a minimum of  3-6 months.
  2. Time to learn: Writing content takes time and you probably won’t get it right the first time, so you need to maintain a trial-and-error approach.
  3. Building content: Once you have mastered the art of content creation, you need to build enough volume so it starts to snowball and you begin to receive leads.

Inbound is good but it’s slow, outbound is quick but it’s pushy. What we are proposing is to take the best of both inbound and outbound, making the latter a dialogue. The key is to make outbound part of the 6-8 touches required to convert prospects into customers.

Our focus with this campaign is to rely majorly on email. Why email? 

  1. Email marketing alone drives as much revenue as all other digital channels combined, according to a survey of US marketing execs.
  2. Email is 40x more effective for customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined.
  3. Marketers generate 174% more conversions with email than social media.

The Inspiration

Where did the idea come from?

I will be the first to admit that the idea is inspired; it came from an email which I received in 2016 from Laura Hannan. It was probably the most well-crafted email I have ever read and I had no option but to respond asking for more information.

Subject: Goodman Lantern’s Role in the Future Smart Home

Hi Raj,

I’d be interested to understand if you have a view on where Goodman Lantern might sit in the future smart home.

The smart home future marketplace is not properly defined yet, so JM of EC (Wiki page) has created an ecosystem of organisations who want to lead or participate in this exciting field.

Members include utilities, telcos, insurance, property, manufacturers, digital enablers and start ups.

They share insight, ideas, and by utilising each others strengths, technology and consumer bases, they co-create and test applications for the future smart home.

Can we please set up a call to discuss?

Laura

This email was doing the following:

  1. Selling me an opportunity to be part of an elite group in exchange for a phone call, without spelling this out.
  2. Qualifying me to see if I’m in the space of smart homes.
  3. Testing if I’d be interested in transacting with other members.
  4. Finally, it’s up to me if I’d be interested in a phone call.

This is a push form of marketing where I have to request or ‘pull’ information. Now, here is the backdrop to this information: the person referred to as JH is someone who I know, as she has been on various business websites / social media sites, really getting her inbound marketing right.  As a result, this combination of inbound and outbound marketing worked. Had there been no email, I would have never signed up. I would have never reacted to this via a Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook ad etc, as I wasn’t searching for it.

So how did Laura find me and get in touch? What is the process?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how this can be achieved over a 3-month period:

1. Develop tool or content

2. Develop list of emails

3. Send out emails

4. Monitor results / compare with the industry

5. Repeat

PACER

We call this technique the PACER (Promote > Collect > Email > Analyse > Repeat)

PACER.png

Promote

According to Eric Worre, Go Pro: 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional, you need to give away something in order to invite people to your network. To start your promotion, you need to give knowledge, webinars, software tools, and other freebies to get your target market interested in what you’re offering. Some call it Inbound marketing, others Karma, but the fact of the matter is that genuine promotion is about giving, not taking.

Collect

Once you have done your promoting, you need to find a way to collect the email addresses of your target market and proactively email them. This is very much an outbound tactic, and yes, you will approach them cold. If you have done your promotion right, they would already have heard of you.

There are various tools in the market that enable you to collect email addresses. Alternatively, you can use data marketing agencies to buy lists. In a bid for shameless promotion, we also offer a free tool to help you generate a B2B list of leads including phone numbers and email addresses.

Email

Once you have collected the email addresses, you need to carefully draft an email and send it out using a mail merge tool. Be warned: please don’t send out newsletter or HTML emails, the default option on Mailchimp.

This section has three parts:

1. Drafting emails which generate high conversions

2. Sending out the emails

3. Developing effective landing pages

Analyse

This is probably the most import aspect of the campaign. You need to make sure your campaign actually reaches the goals you’ve set and that you get responses. The best outcome of the campaign is that you receive several positive responses, mostly in the form of signups or a direct response to the email.

This email campaign will generate a much higher response rate than the industry email marketing statistics. Our previous campaigns on average have the following responses:

Open rates should be 45-60%
Average open rate is 9.2-20%

Click through rate of 4-11% and
Average CTR is between 1.25-5.13%

Conversion rate of 2-5%

Repeat

Now repeat the process with new data and keep doing this recursively till you find a target market.

Let us know in the comments if this worked for you. We are always keen to hear success stories