Content Marketing Misconceptions

Content Marketing Misconceptions

Content Marketing is one of the most talked about and trusted online marketing tactics in 2021.

91 percent of B2B marketers are doing it, as are 86 percent of B2C marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

It can help your business generate online traffic, expand your presence on social media, establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, and most importantly, bring in new sales and leads.

But despite its current popularity and buzzworthiness, there are still a number of misconceptions about what content marketing is, how it works and what it can do for you. We’re going to clear up some of these misconceptions and help you get a better understanding of how content marketing can help your brand in 2015.
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Tips to Consider When Developing Strong Email Subject Lines

Email is one of the most effective marketing platforms in the world today. Marketing is based on judging books by their covers, thus attractive email subject lines are crucial. The choice of words used in the subject line has a huge influence on the readers and determines whether the hard work devoted to writing the email is fruitful.

Investing additional time into writing a good subject line increases your open email rates. This grants you additional exposure increased contact with the target market. Here are some suggestions when it comes to writing strong email subject lines.

Use aspects of personalization

For this, use tags in the subject lines indicating the addressee’s name and locality. For most marketing professionals, this has been observed to increase open rates. Combining this tactic with some targeted automation announcement will improve the effectiveness of the strategy.

Be target specific in creating recipient lists

Though sending blast messages to every contact in your list may seem comprehensive, it may be offputting to some recipients.  Due to receiving irrelevant messages, some of your recipients may feel confused and, at times, frustrated. To solve this problem, segment the list based on past experiences and observations of consumer behavior. Forms are good sources for such information because they are filled with descriptions of personal preferences.

Read More – Are people unsubscribing from your emails?

Keep it short and sweet

Around 40% of emails sent are opened in a mobile device. Assuming your readers might open emails in their mobile device, your subject line should be under 50 characters so it doesn’t get cut off.  To minimize the character count, only use the most crucial words in your subject line and take away the unnecessary ones.

Avoid overuse of caps and exclamation marks

Excessive use of exclamation marks and caps lock will make your recipient feel like they’re being yelled at. Not only is the tactic disruptive, but 70% of recipients are likely to mark such emails as spam. Avoid this mistake and use action-based language to catch your readers’ attention instead.

Do not divulge the contents

A strong subject line hides the contents of the email from the reader and instead makes them curious. Additionally, you should avoid making the subject line overpromising, which means whatever is indicated in the subject line should be consistent with the contents of the email.

Ask reflective questions

Ask relevant questions in the subject line to attract the reader’s attention. Formulate a question that appeals directly to the recipient, and then provide internal links that provide an answer to the question. This is an efficient strategy that will translate to more email reads.

A/B testing

Though subject lines can be formed based on many ideas, the focus should be the target market. A/B testing involves carefully researching your target audience and experimenting with different subject lines. A successful campaign tests different subject lines on customers and adopts the ones with more reads.  It is necessary to research continuously so as to remain relevant and effective.

email marketing program

3 ways to enhance your landing pages

3 Ways To Enhance Your Landing Pages

Landing pages are a great way to provide website visitors with helpful content, collect important customer information, and begin to build a relationship. They can be a great tool for generating leads for your business. But in order to convert visitors into leads, you must offer them something of value, and do so in a way that is easily navigable. Here are a few easy ways to enhance your landing pages.

Viewers should have a quick and clear understanding of the offer

People have very short attention spans, so in order to keep them on your landing page, it needs to be easily digestible within the first few seconds of viewing. Your message to your website visitors should be as clear and concise as possible. The headline should tell your visitors exactly what it is that you want them to do, and how to do it.

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drip email marketing

Drip Email Marketing vs. Lead Nurturing Campaigns; When To Use Each

Many marketing tools seem similar and are often mistaken for one another. Two tactics that are often confused are drip email marketing and lead nurturing campaign. It’s true that there are similarities in the way they work. However, they are two distinct tactics that serve different purposes. You should have both in your marketer’s toolbox to use when appropriate, especially with attraction marketing. Let’s learn a bit about each tactic and when they should be used.

Email Drip Marketing

Emails are a huge part of modern marketing. One email marketing option is email drip marketing. Named after drip coffee makers, this marketing tactic sends out emails at specific timed intervals. Time is the only factor used to indicate when an email is sent. Nothing else.

When should you use email drip marketing?

  • Educating prospects on all the products and services in your company’s portfolio.
  • Keeping your brand in front of your customers while they are contemplating a purchase.
  • Announcing new products or services for your business.
  • Showcasing best sellers in your portfolio.

A well-crafted drip email campaign can educate and inform your audience. However, done too frequently, or used only to pitch products or services, your audience may perceive these emails as spam.

[Read About Interactive Email Marketing Trends Here]

Lead Nurturing Campaigns

A lead nurturing campaign is not based on timed emails. It is based on the lead’s behavior. When a lead performs a specific behavior, it triggers an email with targeted information to be sent to your audience. These emails are designed to guide the lead through the buying process.

This type of campaign depends on gathered information about the lead’s behavior. Specific behaviors that can trigger an email include:

  • Which whitepapers grab the lead’s attention
  • How many times they visit a specific page on your website
  • Which webinar they attend
  • Which of blog post category they spend the most time in

The goal of the emails sent during a lead nurturing campaign is to deliver useful information at critical points in the sales cycle.

A marketing automation system is ideal for lead nurturing. You can build full campaigns within the system that automates almost everything in the process. The power of marketing automation systems is their ability to capture key data. This then triggers the specific emails that nurture leads.

They Complement Each Other Very Well

Drip email campaigns and lead nurturing campaigns, if well designed, will do their jobs well. They both help leads engage with your brand and give leads the information needed to make an informed decision about your products and services.

They are each powerful tools in the marketer’s toolbox on their own, but working together, they are even more powerful. Coordinated campaigns can help close deals faster and keep your brand ahead of the pack.

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Lead Generation Strategy

The Right Lead Nurturing Strategy Can Help You Stay Top of Mind

Just as you put thoughtfully planned initiatives in place to help with new lead generation, you must also think about how you will then nurture these prospects through the sales cycle once you obtain the lead. Successful attraction marketing is having leads. A smart, strategic email and direct mail program can help you maintain a consistent connection with prospects and grow the relationships you have available to you—remaining ‘on their list’ and top of mind when they are ready to act.

Lead Nurturing Basics

It’s a proven fact: marketing needs to assist sales in order to achieve the most effective conversion results. So when you create a program that keeps prospects in touch with your thinking beyond just a salesperson’s outreach, you provide an opportunity to push the prospect through their journey faster. Utilize various outbound communications as key touch-points that complement the sales teams efforts, yet showcase your company’s thinking on a different level. Provide information contacts may be seeking out—not what you want to tell them—to build trust as they make their way to a purchase decision.

Key Considerations

The goal is to offer interesting, relevant and varied content that is not primarily self-serving in nature. Begin by creating a detailed plan for messaging and scheduling of communications. Think about common questions prospects may have, and how you can provide those answers while conveying your competitive advantages, promoting educational content you have to offer, and building trust in your abilities.

A study by DemandGen found that leads that are nurtured with targeted content produce an increase in sales opportunities of more than 20%. To ensure even greater success, target content to coincide with the behavior and mindset of your audiences at different points in their journey—naturally guiding them through the sales funnel by providing the right information at the right time in the buying process.

[Read About The Importance Of Lead Generation Content Marketing]

Fine Tuning

Set a solid foundation for your program by maintaining an up-to-date database with as much information on each prospect as possible. Determine the activity level, timing and quantity of communications that makes sense for each. Be organized, yet allow for adjustments as your program evolves. Track and score behavior and deliver content accordingly, allowing the sales team to receive better quality leads along the way to reach their goals. And remember: conversion is the ultimate objective. Always hold something back—never tell the whole story in your email—make them want to click through to your site or landing page to learn more.

How Marketing Automation Can Help

According to ChadwickMartinBailey, 56% of U.S. email users unsubscribe from a business or nonprofit email subscription because of content that is no longer relevant. Automation makes it easier to schedule emails, segment contacts, manage your content, trigger responsive emails based on actions, and track the lifecycle of prospects in your marketing funnel. By addressing their specific needs, contacts stay engaged; yet you are ultimately in control because you set the parameters for informing, interacting with and nurturing each lead. It provides you the ability to better target your contacts in a personalized way—assisting the buying decision based on their behavior—and leading to increased conversion rates. Consider investing in one of many standard marketing automation software systems to simplify your Top of Mind program initiatives.

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50 powerful call-to-action phrases

3 Helpful Tips To Improve Your CTAs To Generate More Leads

Calls-to-Action (or CTAs) are images, buttons, text, etc. that prompts one of your website visitors take some kind of action. CTAs could be trying to get visitors to download a white paper, read an article, or contact for more information. They are an important part of beginning to convert website traffic into leads.

Here are three ways for you to improve your CTAs and to make sure they are maximizing their presence on your website and generating the most contacts.

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mobile market

Improve Your Marketing Strategy By Asking These 4 Questions

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu – The Art of War

Often in business, we feel like we’re on a good marketing strategy. But, as we move further away from when that strategy was defined, we’re really just going through the motions. Activities are being completed, but we lose sight of why we are doing them and what they are supposed to accomplish. In addition, there can be changes in the marketplace, competitor’s messaging, consumer concerns, and even the methods of communication.

8 Tips on Social Media Best Practices For Your Business

Most companies review their strategies at year-end, but the best businesses are updating and improving their strategy more often than annually. By more frequently updating your marketing strategies and refocusing your activities, you will stay on track, get through all of the noise and reach your audience.

How about a summer strategy tune up?

Make sure that you’re staying on track to achieve your goals. Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Does your media mix properly address the ever-changing ways your target audience consumes information?
  2. Is your messaging strategy corresponding with your current competitive advantages?
  3. Does your social media have a strong strategy that echoes your brand yet reaches beyond?
  4. Are there measurements to track whether or not your tactics are executing your strategy?

Stevens & Tate is a full-service advertising agency specializing in strategic creative thinking. Contact our team to discuss your marketing strategy today.

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brand development process

Five Inbound Marketing Resources Every Marketer Should Know About

If you’re tuned in to inbound, you’ve surely found some valuable resources on the internet. There are some failsafe, go-to websites out there that can help you hone your marketing skills. They can also help you develop better content, and drive traffic more effectively. Here are some of our favorite inbound marketing resources:

HubSpot

Arguably the world’s leader in inbound marketing software, HubSpot has more than changed the game of online marketing. As a matter of fact, they practically wrote, broke, and authored the rules of inbound as we know it.

From HubSpot’s comprehensive blog covering everything from marketing to sales and everything in between to the highly lauded HubSpot Academy, there’s something for every marketer. For instance, HubSpot has an interactive course dedicated to content marketing that can provide you with a big picture view of everything you need for a successful content marketing strategy. Subscribe to their updates, and you’ll have access to free webinars, marketing kits, and endless tools as they evolve.

One of HubSpot’s most valuable tools is it’s Website Grader. Enter your website and email, and the Grader will score your website in four categories: performance, mobile, SEO, and security. Use this as a starting point to improve your site’s visitor experience.

Content Marketing Institute

Great content is the cornerstone to any inbound marketing strategy, and the Content Marketing Institute is a must-visit for any inbound marketer looking to pump out quality work. The CMI has pooled together many industry experts to create a comprehensive white paper and ebook library. These are full of techniques for how to engage readers, keep them connected, and tell better stories.

Read More: About 8 Important Questions To Ask When Hiring Inbound Marketing Agencies

Moz

Creating excellent content is a great start to establishing expertise in your field and against your competition; however, attracting folks to your page is a whole different idea all together. Moz is the SEO-focused expert on the internet and their endless SEO learning library has comprehensive information, data, and research for how to improve your SEO game.

Canva

Canva is a free website which allows you to design visually appealing cover photos, social media posts, and presentations. It is used throughout the industry by some of the biggest names in inbound. Canvas also holds a complete library of how-to’s for all things Canva and design related.

The resources available through Canva can help you generate infographics, Facebook cover photos, posters, and more without guessing what dimensions you should work with. Canva’s pre-sized canvases optimize your content for the end digital user without skewing graphics or pixelating fonts.

Social Media Examiner

Once you’ve published your content, created some stylish Canva graphics, and SEO’d your blog posts, turn to Social Media Examiner for helpful tips on how to get your content in front of your social media followers.

As SEO trends and Google’s algorithms constantly change, social media has updated its algorithms. If you’re doing it alone, you’re taking shots in the dark, but thanks to Social Media Examiner, you can stay ahead of the constantly changing world of social media.

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

homebuyer persona template

How to create a buyer persona template for the homebuilder market

When it comes to marketing to your target audience, using basic demographics, such as age, married status, income, and geography is no longer enough. That kind of information, while helpful, is still too general. Your home building services are going to appeal to certain types of buyers, which means you’re going to need to pinpoint who those buyers are in order to market your brand effectively. To do this, you’ll want to develop a customer persona (also known as a buyer persona).

A customer persona is a representation of everything that makes up your ideal customer. This persona does include some of the information that businesses typically use, such as basic demographics. However, an effective customer persona needs to go beyond just age and geography. The following is a customer persona template to help you better identify who your target audience is:

1. Collect Customer Data

The best way to put together your customer personas is by turning to your actual customers for information. Speak with 5 to 10 of your previous and existing customers. Don’t just speak with customers for whom you built homes. Speak with customers who you may not have completed a deal with, but who you had a good relationship with despite that. In fact, it might be easier to just ask previous and existing customers if they would fill out a survey for you. This way, you can create a survey that asks questions that will provide you with the information you need. Some of the information you should ask these customers include:

  • How old they are
  • Why they are (or were) looking to build a new home
  • What kind of features they were looking for (such as an open floor plan or a garage) and why they needed those features
  • Whether they’ve owned homes in their past
  • What they do for a living
  • What income level they belong to
  • How often they use social media (and what platforms they typically use)
  • How they found out about your company (this allows you to identify what channels to target)

In addition to gathering information from your current and previous clients, you can also find a lot of helpful data through your social media channels by studying the behavior of your followers. What kind of questions are they asking? Who else are they following? What kind of content do they share?

2. Create a Personality for Your Customer Persona

Once you’ve collected your customer data, you’ll want to organize it, merging the information you have into distinctive personalities. While you’re going to find that some information is similar (for example, you could find out that the income levels of your customers happen to be very similar), some of it will be different. Because of this, you’ll need to create multiple customer personas.

With multiple customer personas, you’ll be able to personalize your marketing to more effectively target the different parts of your audience. Each customer persona that you create in essence represents a different group of people. Because they’ll potentially have different backgrounds, different goals and different needs, you’ll need to adjust your marketing strategy for each one. Give your buyer personas names to help shape their personality, thereby making a stronger customer persona template.

Some customer persona templates also recommend going beyond demographics and personal background to develop a personality for each persona. For example, some homebuyers may carefully think over every decision they make, while others make more impulsive decisions.

Last, but not least, you should give each persona a name, an age range and a picture. This helps make it easier to figure out ways to reach this persona since it will make you feel like you’re trying to reach an actual individual and not just targeting demographics. This alone should allow you to be more effective at personalizing your marketing efforts.

How does one use buyer persona’s in senior living marketing? Click here!

3. Define the Goals and Needs of Your Customer Persona

As a homebuilder, one of your main priorities should be to position yourself to meet the specific goals and needs of your customers. The goals and needs of your customers are a big part of your customer persona template. Different buyers are going to have different needs. For example, some buyers may be looking to build a home to raise a family in, while others may be looking at the home building process as a short-term investment.

What’s important to understand about your audience is that goals and needs are going to vary depending on certain factors. These factors are often found in the demographics of each customer. For example, different generations tend to have different goals and needs. Someone in their mid-30s that’s just starting a family is likely looking for a house that they can raise their children in. Someone in their 60’s is likely to look for a home that they can age in place in, meaning that it’s designed for convenience and accessibility.

4. Identify the Challenges of Your Customers

Knowing what the challenges of your audience are will allow you to more effectively present your services as a solution. This means understanding what customers didn’t like about previous homes they lived in, what changes they want to make and what their personal preferences are. For example, maybe their last home had a yard that was too big for them to maintain, but they still want to be able to spend time outside on their property. Or maybe the challenge is financial — they have a limited budget to work with, but are expecting to expand their family in the future when their careers are further along. Realizing what these challenges are will make it easier for you to craft a clear and concise brand message to your audience

Understand that a customer persona template isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution — it’s meant to help you better understand who your customers are so that you can identify the homebuyers that would benefit most from the types of services you can provide as a homebuilder. Real estate marketing, after all, is about connecting the right customer to the right property.

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

Social Network Social Media People Meeting Communication Concept

Social Media Campaigns for Attracting Prospects and Generating Leads

Becoming a part of the conversation in today’s evolving social world is not only a smart marketing tactic, it’s absolutely essential. It increases awareness of your brand, builds relationships, facilitates outside interaction, allows you to stay connected with your customers and leverage brand advocates, promotes your content online, and so much more. But how does it fit into an Inbound Marketing strategy? Read more