media mix

Using The Right Media Mix During Each Stage Of The Buyer’s Journeys

Not all buyers are created equal, and depending on what stage in your sales funnel a buyer lands can dictate the type of marketing they’re ready to receive. And while old marketing practices preached broadcasting a message to the masses, using a media mix to nail down a lead at a specific point along their buying journey is crucial and proven to be more effective to converting leads into sales.

Inbound marketing is about just that: tailoring exactly the right content to your buyer precisely when they need it. In order to accomplish this, though, you must know exactly who your buyer is, where they are in your sales funnel, and what content they need. To do this, you must first understand your buyer personas. From there, you can begin crafting a targeted, personalized, and efficient marketing campaign keeping your buyers in mind.

In order to find the right media mix for your buyers, though, you need to better understand your buyer’s journey stage by stage.

Awareness

Awareness is just the beginning of your buyer’s journey. At this stage, potential buyers are becoming aware they have a problem and begin their search for a solution. This is a perfect opportunity for your brand to be the first thing they see, and plenty of juicy, easily-consumed, educational content will satiate their desire to learn more about their problem.

The awareness stage is at the top of your sales funnel, so buyers are most likely ready to receive a media mix of keyword-focused and successful blogs, PPC and SEO to drive traffic to your site, and mass media to get your message across. Essentially, your buyers will become information consumers and it’s your job to be the content expert they turn to during this initial information gathering phase through your sales funnel.

Your buyer’s awareness of having a problem, incidentally, coincides with your own company’s brand awareness which is the cornerstone of helping curious buyers find their way to your content. Learn how to build that foundational content in the second part of our attraction marketing series: How to Drive Brand Awareness.

media mix

Consideration

Once a buyer has been made aware of their problem, the consideration stage of their buying journey begins. At this point, buyers truly begin to shop around for a solution to their problem and it’s extremely important for you to deliver authoritative, trusted solutions as they matriculate through your sales funnel. Here your brand becomes more distinguished from your competitors.

This is where granular, tailored messages begin to take on a new life and a new role for your buyers media mix, typically in the form of targeted emails that trigger actions from the buyer. Drip emails and lead nurturing campaigns (when used correctly) will become the staple media mix for these buyers entering the middle of your sales funnel. From those emails, a buyer should be able to download content, sign up for a webinar, or read a case study.

Naturally, once a potential buyer filters their way into the middle of your funnel, they must be nurtured in a way that will keep them thirsting for more content and information about your brand. The third part of our attraction marketing focuses on exactly that: Using Lead Nurturing During the Consideration Stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

How do you create great content with the help of the buyer’s journey? Learn more by reading this article. 

Decision Making

This is where the rubber meets the road for your marketing and your buyer’s journey. If your buyer has made it this far, then you’re on their short list and it’s time to make all of those hard-fought marketing efforts deliver by closing your lead into a sale. Now, you should prove why your brand is above and beyond your competition and establish an emotional connection with your prospective buyer.

At the bottom of the funnel, the best types of mix media marketing for your lead are retargeting and one-to-one connections. Retargeting is where you reconnect with your site visitors and offer a fresh look at your brand while one-to-one connections make a personal connection with your buyer through emails, phone calls, or customized demonstrations of your products or services. These are make-or-break tactics, and implementing them very well could make the difference in making a sale.

For some marketers, picking up the phone and calling a prospective sale can strike fear into their hearts at first glance. Nevertheless, the final piece of the attraction marketing puzzle comes by Using Personal Selling During the Decision Making Stage. Here, we will discuss how to successfully make those personal connections and close your qualified leads into sales.

Learn To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

social media strategies

Senior Living Marketing Experts Dan Gartlan and Nicole Wagner to be Featured at LeadingAge Illinois 2018

LOMBARD, IL., February 26, 2018 – As long-time educators of senior living marketing, Stevens & Tate Marketing has once again been selected to present at a LeadingAge association event. President Dan Gartlan and Internet Marketing Director Nicole Wagner will be presenting their proven marketing strategies to attendees at the LeadingAge Illinois 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition, being held from April 17-19, 2018, at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Thousands of LeadingAge Illinois members and affiliates are expected to attend this year’s “Recharge!” event, which is the most anticipated conference for senior living providers and professionals in Illinois. Gartlan will be speaking on Tuesday, April 17th, from 2:45 – 3:45 pm, with a session titled “Harnessing the Power of StoryBranding: Creating an Authentic Message.” Wagner will be speaking the following day on Wednesday, April 18th, from 8:00 – 9:30 am, with a session titled “Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight Your Prospects with Inbound Marketing”. Over the last few years, the pair’s custom-tailored Attraction Marketing presentations have been highly regarded by numerous LeadingAge chapters around the county, with a program that provides actionable insight that senior living and aging care professionals can use to enhance their organization’s success.

Attraction Marketing is the process of making your company and its products, services, and culture more attractive to prospects by driving specific marketing initiatives. Both presentations will cover strategies key to this process. Specifically, Gartlan’s presentation will discuss the power of brand storytelling to attract prospects while Wagner will explain how to create quality content to appeal to the right audience.

“Telling your brand story in a unique, human way is an important component of attracting prospects,” says Gartlan. “Today, marketers must do all they can to get more out of their marketing spend. Virtually any senior living/aging care organization can benefit with positive increases in overall brand awareness, increased interest, and lead generation.”

Wagner adds to this by saying, “Through Inbound Marketing we are able to take our marketing tactics and optimize them towards a single effort focused on real data and quantitative performance as the measure of success.”

LeadingAge Illinois is one of the largest and most respected associations of professionals serving Illinois older adults—with more than 500 providers including home and community based services (HCBS), senior housing, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), assisted living, supportive living and skilled nursing/rehabilitation centers. LeadingAge Illinois is the state affiliate of LeadingAge and Argentum (previously the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA)) association consisting of more than 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the possibilities of aging.

Stevens & Tate Marketing (http://www.stevens-tate.com) is a full service advertising agency offering Internet advertising; award-winning, on-strategy creative; integrated message development; and cost-effective media planning and execution. Stevens & Tate creates focused, targeted solutions for its clients within senior living, healthcare, pharmaceutical, homebuilding, CPG and food, grocery and retail, travel and tourism, and business-to-business industries.

Learn more about Stevens & Tate’s speaking experience.

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SUMMARY: Dan Gartlan and Nicole Wagner of Stevens & Tate Marketing will be presenting a redefined Attraction Marketing program to senior living/aging care industry professionals at the LeadingAge Illinois 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition on April 17 and 18, 2018. This represents multiple showings for the group in the national LeadingAge association sector.

 

lead nurturing

Using Lead Nurturing During the Consideration Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey

The consideration stage of your buyer’s journey begins a pivotal series of events for your buyer and your brand. Once your buyer has been made aware of their problem, searched through your content, and become a lead, their true “shopping” experience begins. This is where delivering solutions in an authoritative way will start to differentiate your brand from competitors offering similar products and services.

That differentiation starts with a shift in your marketing towards your potential buyers in the form of lead nurturing: granular, tailored messages focused on the information you’ve gathered through them during the awareness stage. Email marketing and marketing automation are the primary avenues for marketing to your buyers at this point.

Drip Emails

Drip emails, much like a drip coffee maker, deliver content to your prospective buyers over time with time being virtually the only factor affecting how and when messages are sent. Drip emails, while customizable in the sense of what content is delivered, offers very little in the control you have of the content against the information you’ve gathered about you lead over their buying journey.

Drip emails, though, certainly have a place early in the consideration stage for offering further education, keeping your brand present and in front of your potential buyers. Drip emails can also be very broad campaigns announcing new products, brand updates, and showcasing the highlights of your company. Drip email marketing and lead generation, however, have a mutual independency on one another for a successful marketing campaign.

Lead Nurturing Campaigns

The goal of lead nurturing as part of your buyer’s consideration process is to deliver the right information at critical points in their journey through your content. The beauty of marketing automation is that you can build the campaigns tailored to your buyer personas and design those automation steps to deliver perfectly timed content.

Through marketing automation, lead generation collects data about your buyer’s behavior and helps guide them through the buying process. The actions your buyers take on your website will trigger certain actions on behalf of your lead nurturing campaign. Attending a webinar, downloading a certain piece of content, or visiting a page a certain number of times can trigger an email.

While drip emails can be effective at points during the consideration stage and certainly keep your brand at the front of your audiences, lead nurturing campaigns are a “smarter” way to go. Lead nurturing is smart in the sense that it leverages the information your inbound marketing software collects about your leads and uses it to tailor the right content to your leads.

Goal: Drive Website Conversions Throughout the Buyer’s Journey. Task: Read more about it by clicking the link. 

Remarketing

As you probably know, marketing doesn’t necessarily always go according to plan. Sometimes a marketing qualified lead (MQL) who has already dug deep into your content, fallen into a workflow, and even triggered actions based on your lead nurturing campaigns goes cold. This is where some clever remarketing coupled with lead nurturing can rejuvenate those once-promising leads.

Remarketing is a multifaceted and very versatile way to bring leads back into your lead nurturing campaigns. We say multifaceted, because various avenues can be used to reinvigorate your buyer’s interest including paid social media promotions, smart CTAs, and smart lists as part of your lead nurturing. While remarketing may seem like a last resort in your buyer’s journey it’s actually an integral part of how you keep your brand relevant to prospective buyers especially those who may have slipped through the cracks.

The Marriage of Sales and Marketing

No matter what degree of marketing your brand engages in, marketing without sales will not meet the results your company is seeking: ROI. In the inbound world, we call this “smarketing”, and it’s that partnership between your sales force and marketing department that ultimately tips a buyer in your direction. As we have moved down the funnel, hopefully you’ve seen how vital integrating sales with your marketing practices truly is.

Both the consideration stage and decision making stage of your buyer’s journey rely on that smarketing relationship and the symbiosis therein helps make that transition from a simple lead to a sales qualified lead more fluid. In our next article, we’ll discuss how the personal touch from your sales team can help your sales qualified leads turn into actual sales.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

how to tell your brand story

How To Tell Your Brand Story Using Personas

When considering how to tell your brand story, you must think of the role of the audience as well as that of the storyteller. Stories create wonder, excitement, and engagement in the world they create. Through storytelling, your business can engage with its audience on a much more emotional level. Connecting with your key audience is vital, and can be achieved through the creation of buyer personas.

What Is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents the behaviors, goals, and needs of your current and potential customers. Once you know who they are, the problems they are facing, and what they want from life, you can begin to see how to tell your brand story in a way that reaches them and provides the answers they are looking for. The more thoroughly the buyer persona is fleshed out, the more focused your brand storytelling can be, and, consequently, the more effective.

Where to Start with Your Buyer Persona

As with any storytelling element, you start with what you know. Who are your current customers? What age group do they fall into? What gender are they? This information can be gleaned from login details, email lists, and customer feedback. If you make use of social media platforms, the data your customers share publicly provides a wealth of knowledge. You will find that specific characteristics are more common than others, providing you with the basis for your persona. It is essential, however, to create more than one persona, or you could have too narrow a view of your potential audience.

Check out this article called How to Build a Brand Story

Putting the Flesh on the Bones

how to tell your brand story

Once you have these details, you can begin to ask further questions that allow you to fill in the gaps and create fleshed out individuals. Give your buyer persona a name, age, and gender. Determine their marital status and flesh out the details of their immediate family. Don’t forget to consider their level and type of education, as well as how long they have been out of school. All of this is important because how you approach a single millennial will differ significantly from how you tell your story to a married member of generation X with a mortgage and a family.

Give your personas a career, responsibilities, and challenges. How do you think they approach these elements in their life? How do these aspects affect their levels of trust, loyalty, and their approach to taking risks? These are again all crucial elements in how you tell your brand story and what image of your company you create.

Don’t forget to consider their social life as well. Your buyer personas need to be as human as possible. As well as helping you to create a connection between the audience and the story, this helps you understand where they spend their disposable income, and what you can do to redirect more of that spending towards your brand.

If you are ever unsure of the next step to take with how to tell your brand story through a buyer persona, just imagine a conversation between them and your brand persona. If it is a long pleasant conversation that finds solutions and answers questions, then you are on the right track. If it ends in an argument or, even worse, still silence, you probably have to revisit your brand storytelling strategy from the top.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

Powerful Call-to-Action Phrases to Increase Clicks

Are you looking to increase your conversion rate? Call to action phrases are an essential part of the conversion process, but what kinds of call-to-actions should you put on your website? CTAs should be simple yet effective, and catch the attention of your visitors.

The formula for a successful CTA page title consists of combining such sales buzzwords as “free,” “discount,” “offer,” “gift,” “guarantee,” with action-oriented words like “click,” “download,” “request,” and “send.” Putting together a strand of words to entice clicks sometimes doesn’t get the job done, though. As a marketer, think of what strikes you as a buyer: emotion.

Humans are oddly emotional creatures and are the only ones that tie those emotions to money hence making many of their purchases subject to the emotions invoked by marketing which is exactly why call to action phrases are so important. This isn’t a secret to marketers either, but leveraging that knowledge and coupling it with your brand’s content can be a little tricky.

Call to Action Phrase Building Tips

CTAs can be as simple as “click here” and “download now,” but can have an infinitely more powerful meaning by adding a few simple words and giving the reader the benefit of what they are getting from the offer.

  1. Include a possessive determiner such as “your.” The possessive aspect of the CTA makes the reader feel as though that piece of content or your offer is already theirs to be had and in their back pocket.
  2. Briefly outline the benefit of the content. Add what your website visitor gets from clicking your CTA. This almost acts as a miniature landing page. For example, instead of saying “click here” use a phrase like “click here for your free white paper.”
  3. Use action words and urgency to encourage clicks. “Limited downloads,” “limited time,” and words such as “now” and “quickly” will enhance the sense of urgency for your users to click on your brand’s CTAs.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

 

Actionable Call to Action Phrases

Actionable CTAs leverage words like “now,” “here,” “click,” etc. Actionable CTAs use an action word to draw the reader into the CTA which gives them that emotional sense of action and satisfies that human demand for immediate satisfaction. Getting content “now” versus “get it in a week” will certainly drive more clicks onto your CTAs.

Keeping in mind some of the tips above, let’s take a look at how using actionable words can make a simple CTA far more powerful. We’ve bolded some of those key terms, but have a little fun. Remove some of the bolded items and see what that does to the phrase. Keep in mind that you can insert any content type or offer in the brackets to fit your brand. Here are a few examples of actionable CTAs:

  • Download Your [Content] Now
  • Click Here for Your Free [Content]
  • Join Now and [Get 30 Days Free]
  • Download Your Free [Content] Here
  • Start Getting Your Free [Content] by Clicking Here Now
  • Click Here for Details About the Best [Service/Product] for Your Company

Urgent Call to Action Phrases

For most of us, the essence of time can very well be the thing that either helps us make a decision or turns our “eventually” into never. Your buyers are the same way, and giving them a little nudge into a sense of urgency can be just what they need to click your CTA, capitalize on your content, and ultimately buy what you’ve got up for offer. Adding some personal touches (in the right context) can further drive that sense of urgency for your buyer.

Limited time offers, limited time discounts, first time buyer discounts, and limited supply all tend to push buyers a little closer to the buy button in their shopping cart and can be great ways to improve your CTAs. In the case of content and CTAs where the downloads themselves are free, your prospective buyer has virtually nothing to lose. Here are a few urgent call to action phrases that are sure to light the proverbial fire under your buyer and increase clicks:

  • Download Your [Content] While Supplies Last
  • Act Quickly Limited Downloads Available
  • Hurry, This Free [Content] Offer Expires Soon
  • Secure Your Spot Today! Limited Spots Available
  • Only X Days Remaining to [Sign Up, Download, Attend]
  • Take Advantage of this Limited [Content] Today Only
  • I Urge You to Download this Limited Time Offer

Want to learn more about how to attract more leads? Click here to learn about Attraction Marketing!

Exclusive Call to Action Phrases

Adding urgency to a call to action phrase can sometimes seem a little pushy, especially to some C-level managers and business owners, but there is another equally crafty way to make your CTAs appealing to your target audience: exclusivity. Exclusive offers give readers the feeling that they are a part of or at least offered a deal that no one else is in on.

We see these sort of lead generation tactics across multiple retail platforms where deals are both confined to time and exclusive to members only. Whether or not your particular brand is a retailer or not we, as consumers, have been trained to jump on those exclusive offers available only to the elite. This can work with your CTAs as well. Here are some useful exclusive CTA phrases:

  • Join Our Mailing List and Get Exclusive Content
  • This Offer is Only For Our Subscribers
  • Sign Up for Exclusive Offers only Available to Subscribers
  • Request an Invitation to [Join, Sign Up, Get Content]
  • This [Content, Offer] is Only Available to [Subscribers, Members]
  • Download Now for Exclusive Access

Responsive Call to Action Phrases

Naturally, every call to action you create should have an overall goal of generating a response from your target buyer and while practically any of these CTA phrases we’ve outlined could be categorized as either “actionable” or “responsive” we think that it’s best to separate the two factions. Actionable CTAs lead users towards a specific action such as clicking, downloading, subscribing, etc. whereas responsive CTAs invoke a sense of two-way conversation.

With that said, the CTA phrases below will elicit a response from your potential lead: think feedback, a reply, or a point of contact. These types of CTA phrases should hopefully open up a dialogue between you and your potential buyer and give them an opportunity to start the conversation. Here are a few examples of responsive CTAs:

  • Talk to One of Our Experts About…
  • Get a Free Consultation and Talk About Your Business Goals
  • We’d Like to Hear from You: Talk to a Specialist Today
  • Let Us Know What You Think
  • Contact Us Today
  • Contact Me
  • Don’t Hesitate to Get in Touch With Us

Free Marketing Consultation

For more attraction marketing resources, click here.

Craft Your Own CTA Phrases

As we’ve mentioned, the sky really is the limit to crafting attractive content-focused CTA phrases and experimenting with them is one of the great ways inbound marketing can help marketers learn more about their tactics. What’s important to keep in mind is that your buyer is the focus of any CTA or piece of content you craft, and without a doubt, targeting those CTAs is crucial for the success of your content initiatives.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers

 

 

What’s New With Google Analytics – How To Measure Your Audience

Google Analytics is one of the main tools that you should be using to track audience metrics because of the in-depth information it provides as well as the regular updates that Google makes to the continually improve the program. In fact, Google has already implemented several upgrades this year that will help provide you with more data concerning your website’s visitors that allow for more comprehensive user reports. Learn what’s new with Google Analytics by checking out the following updates made in 2018 so far:

1.  User-Focused Reporting

User-Focused Reporting is an update to the standard reporting provided by Google Analytics and can also be used in Lifetime Value, Cohort Analysis, and Active Users. The feature allows companies to look more closely at users who visit their websites multiple times instead of only being able to see the total number of sessions.

what's new with google

 

 

2.  User Explorer

User Explorer is a feature that provides detailed information for the top 10,000 users dating back to 2016 based on the life of their cookies. This data, which includes metrics such as bounce rate, revenue, amount of sessions, the average duration of sessions and transactions, can be incredibly useful.

what's new with google

 

 

3.  Audience Reporting

Audience Reporting is a feature that allows you to segment or target display campaigns in AdWords. Previously, there was no way to publish an Audiences Report in Google Analytics. This has changed with this update, allowing you to add them as a secondary dimension in custom reports, custom funnels and segments, thereby allowing marketers to view a cross-channel view of them.

what's new with google

 

 

4.  Conversion Probability

Conversion Probability is one of the most useful new tools that can be used in Google Analytics. Basically, it uses the data a company has on its website visitors as well as on past conversions to make a prediction on how likely a user will be to convert in the future. The Conversion Probability feature designates users with a number between 1 and a 100, with 100 being the most likely to convert. Companies can use these numbers to identify which users are worth remarketing to.

what's new with google

 

Learn more about what’s new with Google here!

Knowing what’s new with Google makes it easier for companies to track helpful metrics, thereby giving them the opportunity to make more effective adjustments to their marketing strategies over the course of their campaigns. These are four of the updates that Google has made to its Analytics tool so far this year.

Learn To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

package design

5 Package Design Trends for 2018

Change happens quickly, and if you are caught unawares, you could be left with packaging that is outdated and stale. Recognizing and incorporating the following package design trends into your packaging ensures that your packaging is modern and beneficial to your image.

1. Minimalism

Minimalism, the use of elegant, streamlined, and visually simple packaging, never really goes out of style. There are numerous ways to achieve a minimalistic look, including using bold typography contrasted with stark white backgrounds, splashes of color on clean backgrounds, or a basic arrangement of simple shapes. If you incorporate this year’s top colors, including pink, purple, and color of 2018 PANTONE® 18-3838 Ultra Violet, you can make your minimalistic design modern and timeless, without isolating or overwhelming the viewer.

2. Go Bold

Color has always played an integral part in developing packaging and this year is no different. Use bold colors to evoke emotional responses in potential consumers and, consequently, impact their buying decisions. So, the primary color you use in your package design has a significant psychological effect on those viewing it, and you should choose it carefully. Be bold, but choose colors that represent the personality of your brand.

3. Handwriting and Handmadepackage design

Many consumers are looking for environment-friendly and ethical goods, including homemade items. Homemade products also create an emotional connection with the consumer, often evoking warm memories and nostalgia. The handmade package feel can be achieved through careful package design that includes text that looks handwritten. However, it is essential to ensure that your writing is clear and readable. You do not want to confuse or inadvertently mislead consumers.

4. Whimsy

Most consumers love goods that evoke positive childhood memories, or that engage their inner child. Using fun visuals, bright colors, and fantastic illustrations, including hand-drawn logos, is a great way to engage such consumers. Whimsy makes people smile and feel happier, so when your product packaging incorporates whimsy, you are creating this joyful connection between your customer and your product.

5. Eco-friendly

Going green is the best way to gain new customers and keep returning ones. It is not enough for your product to have eco-friendly credentials though; your packaging has to as well. Using packaging materials that are eco-friendly, biodegradable, and locally sourced is a great place to start. However, your design must also shout eco-friendly. Using earth-based colors in your packaging is one step, as are the inks you use in printing and the amount of packaging you use.

Incorporating these package design trends into your packaging will benefit your business in 2018. However, it is also important to employ them in a way that maintains your individuality and ensures that you are instantly recognizable to your audience, so using the same color scheme as you use in the rest of your marketing can be a great start.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

brand awareness

How To Drive Brand Awareness

Awareness, as we alluded to in our first article Using The Right Media Mix During Each Stage Of The Buyer’s Journeys, is a two way street. On the one hand your potential buyers become aware they have a problem that needs a solution, and on the other you as a marketer must boost brand awareness in order for them to find you, your content, and consequentially your products or services.

Brand awareness deals, in large part, with how familiar your customers are with your brand. In other words, how well do they identify with your brand name, its characteristics, your logo, or other things that strongly correlate to the products or services you offer. And while many major corporations have a significant hold on their respective markets with their branding, how can you as a marketer drive brand awareness? Let’s take a look.

Keywords and SEO

Your blog is the destination you want all prospective buyers to land on during their awareness stage, and keywords and SEO may as well be the road map to get them there. Getting found through search is the cornerstone of inbound.

As a matter of fact, the top 3 search results typically get 50% of the clicks which is exactly why you should strive to get your search results to the top of search engines. The search engine optimization game; however, is more of a marathon than a sprint and instant results likely won’t see your brand become the cream of the crop in the long run.

Correctly keywording your blog posts and your site as a whole will improve your company’s overall credibility which will in turn create trust between your brand and your site’s visitors. Additionally, SEO gives you a quantifiable, trackable avenue for your marketing by helping you see real data from your search results. For more on the nitty gritty of how SEO can boost your brand awareness, check out our blog post for how optimizing your website can lead to great results.

Keywords themselves will only get you so far, so let’s take a look at how to tie your target keywords into meaningful content via blogs.

Blogging

brand awareness

For small and large businesses alike, driving brand awareness starts with a healthy group of focused, educational content pieces in the form of your brand’s blog. Any successful blog starts by finding a topic that people are interested in. Add in a few internal links, some CTAs, and you’re mostly good to go. Here are a few of the finer points to a successful blog:

  • Proper Formatting – The meat of your blog is its content, so format it in a way that makes sense and helps your posts flow. Break the content up into short paragraphs for easier reading and intersperse some relevant offers and promotions throughout the body.
  • Attractive Titles – Titles should accurately and attractively reflect the body of the blog post. Keep your titles between 50 and 60 characters for search engines.
  • Pretty Pictures – Add some relevant pictures to your post to make it more eye-catching. Be sure to alt text the pictures in your blogs to help boost SEO.
  • Links and CTAs – Internal links help keep users on your page and help them take in more of your expertise. CTAs help convert visitors to leads through well-designed landing pages with offers as the end result for the user.
  • Consistency is Key – Regular blog posts with fresh content will keep your subscribers coming back to your brand. Start with one quality blog per week then expand as you feel comfortable.

While these tips are great foundational resources for your blog, tying them to your keywords is crucial to getting found organically via search engines. Once you’ve found a long tail keyword or group of keywords that work for your blog, it’s important to use those words naturally (generally 3-5 times) throughout the body of each blog post. Also, link similarly keyworded content to the keywords you use and connect the web of your websites SEO.

Check out this similar article about Blogging

Social Media

The final piece to brand awareness as it pertains to your buyer’s journey is social media. While social media is the last piece of the awareness puzzle we’re mentioning, it may very well be the first place your buyers land when seeking information to solve their problem.

Social media sites are some of the most indexed by search engines on the entire world wide web. With hundreds of millions of posts daily by businesses and individuals alike, social media is a crucial hub of activity for your content and your buyers. In all likelihood, ceteris paribus, your brand’s social media sites will be scrolled and indexed before your brand’s blog or website which makes brand awareness through social media all the more critical.

Posting on social media is an art and a skill that can be honed by knowing your buyer personas, what social media platforms they use, and what your goals for social media are especially as it relates to driving B2B sales. Tailoring your messages within those confines will make sure that the things you’re publishing are on point, relevant, and capable of converting interested parties into leads. Lead conversion in social media means attaching a meaningful CTA or offer to each of your posts to give your potential buyers the chance of becoming more aware of your brand through offers.

Next: Lead Nurturing During the Consideration Stage

In our next article we’ll move further down your sales funnel as we examine what happens during the consideration stage of your buyer’s journey including leveraging drip emails, marketing automation, and remarketing to move your buyers into the decision making stage.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

Top Graphic Design Trends for 2018

With a substantial number of companies turning to the internet to market their businesses, it is harder to stand out from the crowd than ever before. However, knowing the graphic design trends that are most likely to occur in 2018 can put you ahead of the game.

1. Color Is Key

The key aspect of all elements of graphic design in 2018 is color – from multiple brand color schemes to the return of color gradients and the use of unusual color combinations. The colors you choose this year could make or break your web presence. The multiple brand color approach is already being piloted by companies like Dropbox. Rather than change their familiar and instantly recognizable logo, they introduced a new range of official brand colors including pink and purple, which are set to be central colors in design this year. It is worth noting that color of 2018 is PANTONE® 18-3838 Ultra Violet.

2. Image Authenticity

There has been a move away from stock images over the past few years, with businesses realizing that visitors and customers wanted and trusted authenticity. This move will increase this year with the winning pictures being carefully chosen, purposefully created, and impactful. Images that include photos of real people, which are really connected to your company are going to be essential, especially when it comes to your social media presence.

3. Think Fonts

 

In your written content, the focus of your font choice needs to be on providing a quality reading experience. However, the fonts you use in your design have multiple other purposes. One of these is to encourage an individual to stop scrolling and find out what you are all about. Graphic design trends for 2018 include using handwritten and bold fonts to create eye-catching features. Of course, color comes in here as well; fonts can be colorful, as long as the color engages and intrigues your visitor.

4. Getting to Grips with GIFs

GIFs are quite literally everywhere. While they are great fun, it is hard to see how they can be used seriously within your graphic design. However, while the GIFs you regularly share on your personal social media may not be right for the job, it is possible to create them specifically for your needs, website style, and your customer segment.

Design GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

5. Brutalism Bares All

Although brutalism has been around for a while, it is set to be one of the significant graphic design trends of 2018. Clear lines, bold yet limited colors, and functional typefaces are at the heart of this approach. This striped-back approach does not work for everyone, and it needs to be used carefully, with the question, “Does this fit my brand story?” being repeatedly asked during the design process. Websites that use the brutalist style well include EPIC Ireland, particularly in their headers and menus; Fake Music; and Tennent Brown Architects.

From bright colors and 3D modeling to brutalism and flat graphics, if the trends of 2018 tell you anything, it is that there is no one right way to stand out from the crowd. It is about choosing the typography, color palette, and design approach that best encapsulate your brand, its image, and its story.

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Mobile Market

Ten Ways to Use Google Trends to Increase SEO

Most people love free SEO tools. Google Trends is one of the most underused free tools; it is a place marketers can use to get their finger on the global pulse. Increase SEO using Google Trends in the following ten ways.

1.    Start Big and Narrow Down

The latest Google Trends dashboard is much simpler and allows you to explore various topics before narrowing down. Therefore, begin by entering a broad or all-encompassing keyword and then drill down. For example, the Worldwide feature allows you to focus on a certain market geographically. The word umbrella will peak at different times depending on the location. You can also filter your search by time selection and category, enabling you to increase SEO by targeting a wider region.

2.    Use Specific Search Options

Get advanced insights using options like image search, Google Shopping or news search. Digging deeper into your queries can increase your chances of identifying a new trend. You can also click Rising to see the top keywords.

3.    Context is Key

Google Trends operates in a relativistic manner. Today’s results are not compared with popular trends; rather, with the prior keywords you entered, meaning results vary according to various factors like timeframe. Therefore, never overlook the context and avoid personal blind spots when trying to increase SEO.

4.    Target by Location

A cursory use of the tool usually focuses exclusively on keywords. To get the most relevant results, incorporate location into your mix. Focus on specific and relevant regions and sub-regions.

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5.    Trend Predictions

It is easy to identify trends that leave a trail, but that is not very helpful as most marketers are using that data. Predict trends to gain additional insights. Identify potential trends by filtering according to specific countries or categories. Today’s  health story may not be a headline on Google Trends; however, it may help you spot topics to watch out for.

6.    Use Long-Tail Phrases

It may be difficult to rank high on the SERPs for a phrase like “Caribbean Cruise”, but you can make it to the top of the search results using a long-tail variation of this phrase.

7.    Use Top Chartsincrease SEO

Click on the Top Charts icon on the upper left to view Google’s version of Billboard Top 100. Do not confuse it with the trends most individuals are seeing. You can sort between Most Searched and Trending to glean more relevant information.

8.    Video Optimization Data

For example, if you posted a video on YouTube about how to avail discounts on Caribbean cruises, you can switch from web to YouTube search to explore related topics and queries. You can also sort by Rising or Top to capture more YouTube traffic.

9.    Cyclical Trends

If you are optimizing your wedding boutique, even a simple search will reveal that most weddings do not compete with holidays. With some aforementioned strategies, you can determine a few additional keywords to carefully direct your future posts to better handle each cyclical trend.

10.    Avoid Misreading the Trends

Advanced and sophisticated use of Google Trends allows you to move a step or two beyond your current insight to determine if there are any blind spots. For example, never trust one snapshot to tell you the whole story; instead, get a broad view of different timelines to figure out what else is happening.

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