Welcome To My Blog

6 Sources for Creating a Consistent Flow of Marketing Content

September 21st, 2012 by | Posted in Marketing | No Comments »

marketing content

Frequency and consistency are keys to creating successful marketing campaigns. If you want the market to get to know you, you have to “touch” them regularly with quality content. This can be very difficult for solopreneurs, and small and medium-sized businesses who struggle with finding the time to churn out a consistent flow of marketing content while they’re working hard to service their customers. Here are six ways to you can generate enough content to keep your pipeline filled.

 

1. Bundle your blog content.

If you’re already writing a blog on a regular basis (and if you aren’t, you should), why not repurpose the content and get a new marketing content source without having to create it from scratch? Can you take a series of your blog posts and turn them into an ebook to use as a lead generator? How about repurposing them into an instructional series? The point were making is you should go back and look at the posts you’ve created. Identify posts that discuss a particular subject from a variety of angles. Bundle them together to create new content.

 

2. Include guest bloggers.

Why come up with the content on your own when others are willing to create it? Put the word out there that you’re interested in receiving submissions from other bloggers who focus on your target audience. You will still be the editor-in-chief, but let others put their expertise to work for you. Plus, your readers may enjoy the blend of personalities and perspectives. It helps if you create an editorial calendar ahead of time so the guest bloggers know what topics they should focus on.

 

3. Review comments on blogs and forums.

Do you ever wonder what kind of information, problems or solutions your audience is most interested to receive? Check out industry blogs and forums to see what comments are there. Their comments give you multiple clues into their perceptions and the language they use. This will help you create marketing content that speaks to them.

 

4. Shoot a video.

Most business owners and executives can have a hard time “turning it off”. We’re flooded with information and experiences that get us thinking. Why waste those thoughts. Today’s technology means you don’t have to spend a Hollywood blockbuster budget to produce quality content. Your target audience cares more about the value of your marketing content than what you spend on the production. It helps if you can find a quiet space with good ambient lighting. Other than that, you simply need a pocket camcorder or the video camera on your computer, your personality, and your insight.

 

5. Ask your sales and support teams.

Your frontline people should have a good pulse on what’s going on in the industry. They will tell you what customers like and dislike, what their problems are, and so forth. Poll your people or create a suggestion box as to the marketing content they think you should create.

 

6. Interview experts.

Similar to the guest bloggers, interview experts serves multiple purposes. It allows you to provide an alternative insight to a problem or situation while someone else creates the content. Interviewing an expert brings additional prestige to your content and can attract a new audience that follows the expert.

 

Creating compelling marketing content doesn’t have to be a difficult process. It just takes a plan.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

Share

5 Facebook Stats You Probably Didn’t Know About Marketing Your Business

September 13th, 2012 by | Posted in Marketing, Social Media | No Comments »
Tagged as:

Facebook stats

Sure, Facebook is the king of the social media hill now, but just a few years ago, many business owners thought it was another fad for business use. Do you still feel the same way? Let’s take a look at five recent Facebook stats included in HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing (unless where otherwise noted) to help you decide how important of role it can play in marketing your business.

 

1. 42% of marketers say Facebook is critical or important to their business.

Back in 2009, this number was just 24% according to HubSpot. So in the last three years there’s been a 75% increase in marketers creating their marketing strategies around Facebook and not simply including it as a line item on a plan.

 

2. 77% of B2C and 43% of B2B companies acquire customers from Facebook.

While Facebook can help many businesses in a variety of industries, it is a particularly strong network for B2C companies. The key take-away here is that it works for both kinds of companies. So what kinds of businesses are currently tops for converting customers on Facebook?

  • Retail / Wholesale
  • Education
  • Tech / Software
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing

 

3. 80% of social network users prefer to connect to brands through Facebook.

If this stat doesn’t wake you up, I’m not sure what will. Marketing your business works best when put your company in front of the right people where they spend time and communicate with them using their preferred method. If 80% of people using social networks prefer Facebook, don’t you think you should be using it?

 

4. Facebook has a 9:1 ratio of views to shares.

This stat was provided by BuzzFeed. Is this ratio good? It isn’t great for people who have the expectation that everything they post will go viral. We included this Facebook stat to help set some appropriate expectations when marketing your business on the network. Don’t let this ratio discourage you. Simply use it to as an appropriate marker. Realize that this isn’t the total number of people who are your fans, but who see your posts. For example, you may have 500 fans, but if only 120 people see a particular post, then the ratio applies to the 120 views, not the 500 fans.

You can increase your numbers by posting visual content which captures peoples’ attention over just links and/or text. As more people engage with your posts, you will show up more in peoples’ News Feed. The more you show up there, the higher likelihood that they will leave a comment or share the content. As you increase your reach, you can start adding in more posts with the goal of increasing lead generation.

 

5. Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%.

This stat comes to us via Digital Buzz Blog. Yes, you can save time by automating your content, but Facebook users like connecting with real people and not machines. If you content comes off as stilted or as auto updates from say Twitter, then your followers are going to shy away from your posts. There are things you can do to organize your social media strategies that will help minimize your time, like creating an editorial calendar and setting up your Google Alerts. However, is saving time by automating your social media worth seeing a 70% decrease in the likes and comments on your content?

So if these Facebook stats have you wishing you were doing a better job of marketing your business on this top social network, and you need help creating an optimized profile and a lead generation strategy, contact me at SmallBizMeda.tv for help.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

Share

Market Research: 5 Tempting Traps to Avoid

September 7th, 2012 by | Posted in Marketing, Strategies, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Tagged as: ,

market research

Let’s say you’re launching a new business or your current model is struggling. You need ideas for attracting ideal customers and turning your investment into income. You make the wise decision to perform research and get the inside scoop on how other competing companies are succeeding. By reviewing their information, you see a variety of marketing strategies and tactics that are paying off. Do you take the high road and use your new-found insight to navigate your own path to success or do you follow the dark path of copying your competition hoping you can achieve the same results?

Spying on the competition isn’t bad. It’s actually wise. Market research helps you analyze the strengths of your competitors and identify the gaps in the marketplace. It’s how you incorporate that information into your marketing plan that makes the difference. While it’s tempting to think, “If that’s what’s working, let’s do that, too,” you’ll never beat your competition trying to copy them.

Here are five traps uninspired companies fall into with the information they collect that you should avoid.

 

1. Using the Same Keywords

It’s common for direct competitors to have some duplicate keywords. For example, let’s say there are two competing SEO companies: ABC SEO Firm and XYZ SEO Consulting Services. Since their service offerings and their target markets are very similar, they will likely include many of the same keywords when optimizing their branding site, in their social media profiles and content and other internet marketing campaigns. However, at some point they need to differentiate themselves, whether it’s by locale, target market, some service offerings, or other value proposition. Whatever the differentiating factors may be, they should be reflected in the keyword strategy.

 

2. Bidding on Branded Keywords

Some companies will go as far as to try and compete for branded keywords. Let’s stick with the same example in the preceding point. XYZ SEO Consulting Services wants to capture market share from ABC SEO Firm who has been kicking their butt. So XYZ decides they’re going to engage in a PPC campaign bidding on branded terms like “ABC SEO Firm”, “ABC SEO”, and the like. Obviously, if someone is entering “ABC SEO Firm” into Google, they’re looking for ABC. XYZ knows this and hopes that having their ads appear on the SERPs alongside the organic ranks for ABC will allow them to siphon off some of the clicks on the page. Is this a wise strategy or a dirty trick?

Here are the downsides to this strategy:

  • People trust and click on organic links far more than paid ads
  • If someone is typing in a specific brand name into a search engine, links with the correct branded name will receive far more clicks
  • You run the risk of being viewed as a company that engages in below the belt tactics won’t help your company image

 

3. Copying Content

Some companies that struggle with writing creating original content will go so far as to copy content form high ranking sites and just simply change any branding. There are several issues with this dark path approach:

  • Marketing doesn’t work in independent chunks. Strong marketing presents a cohesive, integrated, concise message. If you copy content in chunks, you will be sending mixed messages to your market. Conflicting message don’t work.
  • Today’s customers are tech savvy. With the easy access to information, they will likely research a couple of possible options before they make a buying decision. If they see identical content replicated between companies, it raises red flags. Upon further review of the companies, prospects will usually be able to identify author and the copycat. If you’re the one copying content, it won’t bode well for your credibility, which often results in a loss of profitability.
  • Google dings copied content. Your goal is to rank high on the SERPs for your keywords. Copying content won’t get you there.

 

4. Mimicking Product / Service Offerings and Pricing Structures

There has to be something that differentiates you from the competition. Copying the competitions’ product / service offerings and pricing structures isn’t going to help you make your mark. Yes, you may have many similarities just as you will with the keyword selection mentioned above. However, if a customer sees the same products / services and pricing, why are they going to choose you over the competition?

 

5. Buying Domain Names Similar to Theirs

This is similar to bidding on branded keywords mentioned in the third item above. For example, let’s say that ABC has the domain abcseofirm.com and XYZ wants to try and convert some of their clicks. They go out and buy abcseofirm.net, abcseofirm.info, and the other extensions with all domains forwarding to their branding site at xyzseoservices.com. They figure that some people will type in the wrong URL, hoping that when people arrive on their site, they’ll see the similar services and decide to contact them instead of taking the time to retype abcseofirm.com. Again, while this may bring you some traffic, it also flags your company as having questionable ethics. Do you buy form companies you feel you can’t trust?

 

Market research is critical to getting a good lay of the competitive landscape. However, it is best to use this insight to understand where the gaps in the market exist so you can apply your talents to fill the holes. If you simply do what the competition is doing, you’re playing a game of follow the leader. You can’t be a leader and a follower. So which do you want to be?

If you need help performing market research and devising a strategic marketing plan, contact me. I’m here to help.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

Share