internet marketing strategy

5 Ways to Update Your Internet Marketing Strategy in 2020

The end of the year is quickly approaching. This means that you should take time to review the progress of your marketing efforts this year. You should also think about adjusting your internet marketing strategy and improving upon it. Even if your internet marketing strategy was successful this year, there are always ways you can improve. This is especially true when you consider how quickly internet marketing evolves and changes. With that in mind, the following are five ways that you should consider updating your internet marketing strategy for next year:

1. Update Your Web Design

Your web design has a big impact on whether visitors will stay on your website and continue to explore. The thing is, many businesses don’t update their web design for years. What might have been considered a cutting edge web design three or four years ago may be significantly outdated now. Your website should be easy to read and easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile. As a result, modern web designs tend to go with a cleaner, more minimalistic approach. Take a look at the websites from some of your competitors or from other businesses within your industry to see what they’re doing. If it’s been more than a year or two since you last updated your web design, there’s a good chance that it could do with a few improvements.

2. Personalize Your Email Marketing Efforts

Email marketing might be an old internet marketing strategy, but it’s certainly not an outdated one. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to not only nurture your leads, but to continue building relationships with existing customers. Be sure to segment your email lists based on the personal data and user behavior data you have access to so that you can personalize your emails more effectively. The more personalized your emails are, the more relevant they’ll be.

Check out our article: Email Opening Lines That Actually Work

3. Make Better Use Of Social Media

A lot of companies have social media pages, but they don’t do anything with them. Use your social pages to your advantage. Link new content to your social pages. Encourage conversations about your brand or your industry by asking your followers questions. Contribute to conversations that are relevant to your brand. By engaging with your followers, you build brand trust.

While using social media to engage with your followers should be a priority, there are other ways that you can take advantage of social media as well. For example, find influencers within your industry and connect with them. Building relationships with influencers can expose you to even bigger audiences and can help to boost your reputation.

4. Create New Content

New forms of content catch on quickly. Because of this, don’t limit yourself to just writing blog articles. While you should certainly continue with your existing content marketing tactics if they’re working for you, you should also look to vary your content. For example, if you haven’t started creating video content yet, then there’s a good chance you’re already falling behind the competition. If you don’t have the resources to create high-quality video content, consider recording podcasts.

Creating new content in a variety of formats will help to extend your reach and will go a long way towards building your brand authority. You may even want to source some of your content from your users. Consumers often connect more with user-generated content, after all. You can do this by holding contests on social media and awarding prizes to the best user-generated content (such as the best picture submitted on Instagram or the best video on YouTube).

5. Continue Finding Ways To Improve SEO

One of the most common online marketing mistakes people make is to assume that once they optimize their content for SEO, that they no longer have to worry about it. However, SEO optimization should be continuous. You should continue doing keyword research in order to optimize new content that you publish. You should monitor your page speed and improve it when it slows down. Also, work on off-page SEO, such as earning backlinks from respectable sources (such as by getting influencers to share links to your content). Remember that SEO isn’t just about optimizing your website. Your SEO strategy will only improve if you compliment it with your content marketing and social media strategies.

When it comes to your internet marketing strategy, it’s important to take note of what worked and what didn’t at the end of every year. Focus on improving marketing efforts that you feel fell short of expectations or of the goals you set. Even if you’re happy with how your marketing strategy performed, look for possibilities for improvement. As such, keep these five ways to improve your internet marketing strategy in mind for 2020.

The Rising Importance of Voice Search Marketing

Search marketing has long been a primary focus in the marketing strategies of many businesses. A good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can help increase your website’s exposure and bring in more organic traffic from search engines. However, as technology has advanced, search engines have as well. Keywords are not the only way that users perform search queries anymore. Voice search is quickly becoming a priority for search engines, especially with the rising popularity of virtual assistants, such as Alexa and Siri. As such, you will need to adapt your search marketing strategy to include a voice search strategy.

Why is Voice Search Marketing So Important?

Voice search makes searching the web much more convenient for customers. It takes far less time to ask a question vocally than it does to type it into a search bar. Voice search isn’t perfect, but it has improved significantly year by year and will only continue improving. It’s estimated that 65 percent of consumers between the ages of 25 and 49 use voice search-activated devices at least once a day. It’s also estimated that roughly half of all searches will be voice searches by next year.

On top of this, mobile optimization has become a must as a result of Google’s decision to rank pages based on the mobile version of a site instead of the desktop version. While typing in search queries on a computer is relatively easy, it’s more challenging on a smartphone, which is why consumers generally use their phones for voice search more often. By optimizing for voice search, you’ll be optimizing for your mobile audience as a direct result.

Tips On Optimizing Your Strategy For Voice Search

The following are a few essential tips on how to optimize your search marketing strategy for voice search:

  • Use language that sounds natural

    Voice search allows users to speak like they do in their daily lives. This means that the language being used to perform search queries is going to be more natural. When writing content, write using natural language and avoid sounding overly formal, if possible. This greatly improves your chances of being matched to their voice search query.

  • Use questions throughout your content

    Try to incorporate questions that users might have as part of your content. Many businesses are formatting their content’s headers as questions. This will help improve the chances of your content being matched with user voice search queries. For example, if they ask, “How do I get a wine stain out of my carpet?” and you have the header, “How do you get wine stains out of your carpet?” in a blog post on stain removal methods, your post is more likely to come up.

  • Consider user intent

    You can’t solely focus on keywords and hope that they will match. You have to consider the intent of the user in order to write high-quality content that’s relevant to their needs. Doing so will allow your content to be inherently optimized for voice search.

  • Use long-tail keywords

    When a user types in a query on Google, they tend to type in as little as possible. For example, if they are looking for a local plumbing service, they will likely type in “plumber” or “plumber” + their location. However, when performing a voice search, they will say something like, “I need a plumber near me in Detroit.” It’s more convenient to speak longer sentences than to type them. However, this means that you should focus on long-tail keywords more than single-word or small phrase keywords.

Learn more about keywords and SEO: Are Keywords Still Required To Increase SEO Rankings?

  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

    Because voice search is primarily used on mobile devices, you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. There’s no point in attracting leads through voice search if they’re going to leave your site immediately because of a lack of responsiveness. Use responsive design to ensure that your site displays properly on small screens. Make sure your website loads quickly as well.

  • Optimize local SEO

    A large number of voice searches are going to be local. Customers who are out and about will perform voice searches while they are doing other tasks as they search for a specific business in their area. By optimizing for local search, you’ll not only have a better chance at attracting such customers, but you’ll be able to provide instant results so that they don’t necessarily need to visit your site. Submit your NAP (name, address, phone number) to local listings and set up a Google My Business listing to optimize for local SEO.

It’s no secret that voice search is the future. Begin optimizing your website for voice search marketing today or you’ll find yourself falling behind the times — and your competition — as a result.

A GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE MOBILE MARKETING TECHNIQUES
marketing optimization

A Guide to Successful Marketing Optimization

Trying to manage all of your marketing efforts can be a time-consuming process. There are only so many hours in a day and if you have a robust marketing strategy, then finding time to perform basic marketing tasks can be challenging. It’s why marketing optimization is so important. The idea of marketing optimization is to improve the efficiency of your marketing efforts and maximize your desired outcomes. Effective marketing optimization can help make your strategy easier to manage and more successful to boot. The following guide lists the steps you need to follow to begin utilizing marketing optimization.

1. Analyze Your Marketing Data

You’re not going to be able to optimize your marketing efforts if you’re unable to identify existing issues and challenges facing your marketing process. Collect and analyze data about your current campaign and website performances in order to identify various weaknesses and/or inefficiencies within your marketing strategy. For example, maybe your email list grows at a sufficient rate, but email open-rates seem to be going down. Or maybe your social media follower numbers are growing, but your web traffic isn’t.

2. Identify What Issues Need Addressing

After analyzing your data, determine what areas could benefit most from marketing optimization. There are a few common ones to consider.

  • Advertising

    Narrow down your audience by identifying your business’s buyer personas. When you have a detailed description of your ideal customer, you can focus your ad campaigns on the correct audience. When you’re reaching the right people, you no longer need to worry about wasting money on failed campaigns.

  • Landing Pages

    If your landing pages are not generating traffic or leads, you need to look into ways to optimize them. Your social media, SEO and paid advertising should all be leading back to your landing pages. Review each page’s copy and see if it relays the correct message you want your audience to see. If your copy does not align with your company goals and values, visitors will get the wrong message. Additionally, rethink your layout and design, including font, colors and images. You can use different CTAs to test what your audience responds most positively to.

  • Emails

    Your email audience is important because you already know they opted in to hear from you. You want to keep them engaged and interested in your business. You need to optimize all aspects of your email campaigns, including times sent, layout, copy and audience. Look into automation tools that will help.

Learn more about understanding email metrics: Email Marketing Metrics You Should Keep in Mind and What They Mean

3. Determine Automation Opportunities

In addition to identifying issues that need to be addressed in your marketing strategy, marketing optimization also allows you to identify opportunities for marketing automation. Automating certain processes can help improve results by speeding up the completion of tasks and improve accuracy by minimizing errors. The use of automation also helps cut down on tedious, time-consuming manually done tasks, therefore giving you and your team a significant amount of time to dedicate to more important jobs.

Take the previous email marketing example. You likely have customer emails that no longer exist, are no longer being used, or the recipients haven’t engaged with your brand for a long time. To remove them, you can implement an email validation (also referred to as email verification) automation tool. Such a tool can comb through your email list and automatically find non-responsive email addresses to remove. This gives you more time to focus on the content of your emails and tailor them toward the active recipients. It also takes the inactive recipients out of your analytics, giving you a more accurate representation of your email performances.

You can also use automation to segment your email list using the personal information you have from your recipients. Segmenting your email list can improve your ability to email relevant content to different recipients. This boosts your email open rate and improves the overall effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. Making your content more relevant to recipients means they’re less likely to ignore emails or unsubscribe from your email list.

4. Execute Your Plan

Optimizing your marketing strategy isn’t as easy as simply doing it. You need to obtain organization alignment, which means working with your team to prioritize responsibilities and inform the proper stakeholders. Certain stakeholders can provide insight into the process, after all. This helps you highlight the goals that you want to achieve. You also need to make sure that you have the resources to execute your plan. Your team may already have a plate full of responsibilities. You will need to efficiently manage who is responsible for what task and how they need to prioritize their work.

5. Continue To Optimize Your Marketing Efforts

Optimizing your marketing strategy may take some time depending on the resources at your disposal. However, once you finally execute your plan, you still need to continue optimizing your marketing strategy. There’s no guarantee that the changes you’ve made will be effective, after all. You’ll want to keep collecting and analyzing data so that you can continually find ways to further optimize your marketing efforts. You may discover that you missed more ways to optimize your marketing strategy. Odds are you’ll be implementing new tactics that will need to be optimized as well.

Marketing optimization allows you to pinpoint problem areas in your marketing strategy and to address them. Optimizing your marketing strategy also gives you the opportunity to obtain a big-picture view of your marketing efforts. This makes it easier to prioritize your tasks and ensure that you’re focusing on the most important tasks at hand.

30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips

5 Tips on How to Market to Gen Z

When it comes to marketing strategies and marketing trends, millennials receive a great deal of attention these days. However, they are not the only generation that businesses should focus on. Generation Z already has buying power, and it won’t be long until they overtake the Millennial generation as the largest generation. In fact, anyone born after 1996 is considered part of Generation Z, which means that there have already been five years worth of Gen Z adults that you should be marketing to. The following are five tips to take note of on how to market to Gen Z.

1. Stand For Something

While focusing on how your products and services fulfill the needs of your customers is important, it will be difficult to stand apart from the crowd when it comes to getting Gen Z’s attention. They were raised on the Internet, so doing research and finding solutions to their problems is second nature to them. They have no trouble finding multiple options. In fact, the options are practically limitless for them. Consequently, they care more about what a brand stands for.

Gen Z is more aware of environmental, socio-economic, and political issues at their age than arguably any other generation. They look for brands that are eco-friendly or support their political views. This means that you can’t remain neutral. Stand for what your company believes in and you’ll be more likely to gain the support of your Gen Z audience.

2. Focus on earning brand loyalty through engagement

Gaining a new customer is far more difficult — and more expensive — than retaining an existing customer. This means you should focus on building brand loyalty among Gen Z customers. The best way to do this is by engaging with them in a meaningful and authentic way. The challenge lies in the fact that Gen Z is much less brand-oriented. They are more likely to become loyal to your company as a result of how you interact with them than any other tactic (such as offering loyalty rewards).

First of all, don’t push your products on them. When engaging with Gen Z customers, make sure it’s a two-way street. Listen to what they say. Don’t use sales jargon and don’t lie. Be personable. Offer them opportunities to participate, whether it’s by hosting brand-sponsored events, allowing them to submit ideas or feedback, or even letting them contribute content.

Explore more about How Businesses Are Using Brand Ambassador Programs To Increase Brand Awareness And Trust

3. Emphasize Mobile Marketing

Most of Gen Z won’t remember a time when they didn’t use mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. A survey published by IBM indicates that Gen Z prefers using their smartphones over other devices by 75 percent. Take advantage of this by making sure your website is mobile-friendly and that you employ mobile marketing techniques. You may want to develop an app to improve their user experience on their smartphones even more.

4. Understand How They Use Social Media

When it came to previous generations, figuring out social media wasn’t that difficult — everyone was on Facebook and Twitter. While Gen Z still uses these channels, many prefer other platforms. Channels like Facebook aren’t popular with younger consumers because of the fact that they are more family-oriented. Gen Z is more interested in visual-based social media channels that allow them to engage in a more personal way with others and that provide a creative outlet. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Snapchat and Instagram are the two most popular channels among the Gen Z crowd.

5. Invest In Influencer Marketing

Even though certain tactics, such as Google and Facebook Ads, can still be effective, Gen Z tends to respond more to influencer marketing. Influencers on platforms like Instagram have huge amounts of sway with their followers. Their significance makes them a great tool for promoting your products and services to a younger audience that’s relevant to your brand.

Keep these five tips in mind when marketing to Gen Z. While many members of Gen Z aren’t adults yet, we know more Gen Z individuals will become adults in the coming years. As such, they should be the generation that you focus more of your marketing on, which is why learning how to market to Gen Z is so important. Get a head start on your competition by beginning to tailor your marketing efforts to the needs of Gen Z now.

Learn To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

4 Essential Brand Components

There’s a common misconception that many people have that a “brand” is basically just the name of the company and the logo that they use. While these elements contribute to the overall brand of a business, the term “brand” is actually much more comprehensive than that. It involves many different components, which is why it takes a lot of thought in order to successfully develop your brand. The following are the four main brand components that you will need to address when building your brand and what kinds of strategies you can put into place to further develop those components.

1. Brand Identity

Your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived. It’s important that you know what your brand identity is and what you want it to be. If you don’t, how is anyone else supposed to know? You’re going to have a tough time generating brand awareness if you lack a strong brand identity. The following are a few steps that you should take to establish your brand identity:

  • Identify your mission

    What was the reason you established your company in the first place? What is your company’s goal? Consumers want to know what your mission is (and they don’t want to hear that it’s “to make a profit”) and it will reflect who you are as a company.

  • Establish your unique value proposition

    Your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s a statement of how your offer benefits your customers, how you will meet the needs of your customers, and what makes your offer unique. Every marketing campaign you run should align with your unique value proposition.

  • Create your brand’s visual identity

    The visual elements of your brand certainly factor into your brand identity. Just consider the logos and color palettes of some of the biggest companies out there, from Facebook’s simple logo and use of blue to McDonald’s golden arch and yellow and red palette. A strong logo that’s instantly recognizable is important, but so is choosing your colors. Different colors have different meanings and the colors you choose can have a psychological impact on your audience as well. For example, many fast-food restaurants use red and yellow because that combination of colors is thought to stimulate the appetite. Just keep in mind that consistency is key. If you decide to use shades of blue in your logo and on your website, then you should use those same colors for your social media pages, email newsletters, and physical location as well.

  • Increase brand recognition

    It’s going to take some time to get your vision of your brand identity out to the masses. You’ll want to generate awareness of your brand to do this through a variety of marketing efforts, such as building a website that emphasizes your mission and unique value proposition, creating content that’s optimized for SEO, using social media to engage with consumers and to post your content, and more. It’s also vital that you make sure your mission, unique value proposition, and visual identity are consistent across all platforms. If it’s not, it will end up hurting your brand identity.

2. Brand Image

Your brand image is similar to your brand identity in that it deals with how your brand is perceived. However, whereas your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived, brand image is how your brand is actually perceived. Consider your brand image as the reputation you currently have with the general public. Take for example United Airlines. Not long ago, they updated their brand design in an attempt to strengthen their brand identity as a “thoughtful, modern, and innovative airline.” However, their brand identity and brand image are currently quite different from each other after numerous massive PR failures regarding their customer service. Keeping that in mind, the following are a few ways to build and maintain a positive brand image:

  • Spread your message via PR

    Use public relations to spread your key messages as well as relevant news concerning your company. You can do this through news outlets, trade publications, and even online blogs. Public relations will help you raise awareness of your brand and what you’re doing, thereby helping to improve your brand image.

  • Establish a social presence

    Social media is an incredibly effective way to build your brand image, whether it’s by sharing content with consumers, keeping consumers up to date on the latest news and product launches, spreading awareness of your message, and engaging with consumers on a personal level. In fact, you can even use social media to address negative comments. It’s a good way to repair potential damage done to your brand image as a result of a poor customer experience by showing that you care and trying to correct the situation.

  • Create high-quality content

    Content will help to increase brand awareness by bringing in more web traffic. However, it can also help to build your brand authority. By publishing content that is relevant to your company and to your audience (and that’s of high quality), you’ll become a trustworthy source of information, which — in turn — will help improve your reputation and increase brand trust.

Explore more about defining and developing your brand: Why brand development matters and how it works

3. Brand Culture

Brand culture refers to your company’s core values and how you set an example for those values. Businesses have always

emphasized certain values; however, those values were often things like “reliability” or “honesty.” Values that are more equivalent to basic ethics. While those are important values to hold onto, more and more businesses have begun taking moral stances as well as political stances in addition to generally accepted values. These types of values feed into your brand culture as well. Take Nike for example. They have taken strong social positions by running commercials backing Colin Kaepernick and recently touting the importance of the women’s U.S. soccer team’s World Cup win. These are branding efforts touting their championing of equality, which has become a part of their brand culture. The following are a few tips to help you establish your brand culture:

  • Define your values

    Define exactly what your values are and how your company lives out those values. Don’t be afraid of taking a stance if there’s a particular stance that you want to take. Using the Nike example again, their backing of Kaepernick was considered controversial and plenty of consumers did not agree with their position. However, those that did agree with their position became even more strongly aligned with Nike’s brand. You can’t please everyone, but by sticking to your values, you’ll be more likely to strengthen your relationship with many of your customers.

  • Spread awareness of your values

    Let consumers know about your values by declaring them on your website or by encouraging discussion about your values on social media. Publishing content that backs your values is an effective method as well.

  • Ensure that your company reflects your values

    There’s nothing consumers hate more than a hypocrite. If you’re flaunting your support for equal pay across social media and in your marketing efforts, then you better be practicing what you preach. Your brand culture is incredibly dependent on your ability to embrace your own values within your company.

4. Brand Personality

Your brand personality refers to the human characteristics that your company has. Developing a brand personality is vital to connecting with your audience on an emotional level and for making your brand relatable. Because of this, make sure that you use the following tips to develop your brand personality:

  • Learn who your audience is

    Understanding your audience is something that you need to do from the very beginning. It’s an important step in building your brand identity as well. However, it’s particularly important when it comes to developing your brand personality. The way you present yourself and the way that you communicate should reflect not only who the audience is but what they expect. For example, if you have a younger audience, then a dry, formal tone may not resonate with them. However, if your audience is older, using younger slang and current pop culture references may go over their heads.

  • Engage with your audience

    While you can get your personality across in the content you write, it’s easier to do through engaging with people. It’s why using social media is so important. Your entire audience sees your interactions and it helps establish your personality a certain way. For example, Wendy’s has a reputation for having a playful personality because of their use of humor and the pretend feuds that they get into with other brands on Twitter.

  • Be consistent in tone

    If you’re going to be funny and informal on one platform, you need to make sure that personality carries over to all of the other platforms you use, both online and offline. If you’re inconsistent, it will hurt your ability to develop a cohesive brand personality, which will only confuse your audience.

These are the four main brand components that you will need to address when developing your brand strategy. A strong brand requires a strong brand identity, brand image, brand culture, and brand personality. Implementing a successful brand strategy that develops all four of these components increases brand trust, loyalty, and awareness.

Learn The StoryBranding Process
what is brand strategy

Long-term essentials: What is a brand strategy?

The term “brand” gets thrown around a lot these days. When people think about a brand, they often think about the name of the company and its logo. For example, Nike and its swoosh. However, these are just elements of their brand. Your brand encompasses much more than just your name and logo. Your brand is about your unique selling proposition, what your company stands for, how you engage with consumers, and more. As a result, you’re going to need to create a brand strategy. What is a brand strategy? A brand strategy involves building your brand identity and reputation as well as increasing brand awareness. A good brand strategy will consist of the following eight essentials:

1. Establish Your Brand Strategy Goals

Without goals, a strategy isn’t a strategy. How are you supposed to measure the performance of any of your branding efforts if you don’t have any goals to measure them against, after all? As such, you need to establish clearly defined goals at the outset. These need to be long-term goals. What are your main business goals? Do you want to reach a new audience? Do you want to be an industry leader? Your brand strategy will vary based on what your main goals are — and while every company’s goal is to “make money,” you need to get a little more specific than this.

2. Maintain Brand Consistency

In order to increase brand awareness, you need to strengthen your brand identity. One of the most important elements of a strong brand identity is consistency. All of your branding efforts need to be consistent across all platforms. If your tone is generally somber (for example, if your company provides funeral services or sells anxiety medication), then posting wacky memes or pictures of cats onto your Facebook page isn’t going to be consistent with your brand. Doing so will only confuse your audience, especially if they jump from one platform to another. For instance, if they’re on your Facebook page and they decide to visit your website and your branding isn’t consistent, they’ll be unsure as to whether they’re in the right place. A lack of consistency causes doubt into what your company is and does, which is not going to help you retain your audience or capture new leads.

The key to maintaining brand consistency is to maintain the same tone and to always keep your message in mind. All of your branding efforts should align with that message. Even the aesthetic of your brand needs to remain consistent. You can’t just have different logos or different color schemes for each platform you use. Consistency is important because it helps to contribute to brand recognition, which is vital when it comes to building customer loyalty.

Learn more about brand development: Why Brand Development Matters and How it Works

3. Avoid Short-Term Brand Building

While getting immediate results would be nice, you don’t want to sacrifice long-term brand building for short-term results. Successful brands take years to build and require continuous work and consistency. It can be easy to lose focus of your long-term goals when you see other companies implement branding tactics that appear to be successful. Just because it works for one company doesn’t mean it will work for you — especially if what they’re doing doesn’t align with your goals. For example, one brand might put out a video that goes viral. Creating a similar video does not guarantee similar results, especially if it’s not in line with your existing branding efforts. You should also be careful about following the latest trends within your industry. Many branding trends are often short-term tactics that may hurt your long-term strategy.

4. Create An Emotional Connection

Branding isn’t just about putting information about your company out into the world in the hopes that consumers remember why your product or service is the best one available. Consumers don’t always use rational thought to justify their purchases, after all. It’s why you need to engage consumers on an emotional level. Not only are they more likely to purchase products from a brand that they can relate to emotionally, but they are more likely to be loyal as a result. The reason behind this is simple: humans have an innate need to belong and to feel a connection.

When building your brand, you need to figure out how you can foster such an emotional connection. It’s why you need to make sure your branding efforts engage consumers on a personal level. Many businesses employ a more informal marketing strategy as a result as its easier to connect to. Developing a brand personality or even putting a face behind your brand makes it easier for audiences to connect to you as well. Take, for example, Apple’s commercials in which a young actor wearing casual clothes and speaking in a friendly, informal manner represented Apple, while an older actor dressed in a suit with a more formal demeanor represented Microsoft. Apple used these commercials to connect to their younger audience, essentially showing younger, hipper consumers that they were just like them.

5. Involve Your Employees

One of the most important ways to maintain brand consistency is by involving your employees. You’ll want to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the tone and message of your brand. For example, if you’re pushing a more informal and playful tone on your social media pages, then you’ll want your customer service reps to follow that tone. The last thing you want is for someone who follows your brand on social media to call your company only to speak with someone who is incredibly dry and informal. This lack of consistency may not fool consumers, but it will hurt your ability to build brand loyalty.

Consumers are expecting a certain kind of experience and engagement as a result of your branding and if they don’t get something similar when actually interacting with your employees, they will likely be let down. It’s why you should make sure that your employees understand your message, goals, and tone so that they can accurately represent your brand when speaking or engaging with consumers, whether it’s over the phone, via email or online chat, or even in your physical location.

6. Reward Loyalty

Customers who have already showcased loyalty to your brand can help strengthen your brand. Such customers will often go out of their way to recommend your brand to others, whether it’s by writing reviews, providing testimonials, or simply recommending products and services to friends and colleagues over social media. There is nobody consumers trust more than another consumer. That is why you should turn to these types of customers to act as brand ambassadors on your behalf.

Reach out to customers who have made multiple purchases with a personal thank you note. Ask them to write a review for you. Thank them for any reviews that they have written. Engage them on social media. You can even reward their loyalty with something like a discount or a special offer. These kinds of efforts don’t go unnoticed and will help to further encourage their loyalty. Making such efforts in public (such as on social media) can help highlight your relationship with your best customers, which will strengthen your brand’s reputation and entice other consumers.

7. Track Your Competitors

Your competition is likely targeting the same audience you are. It’s why it’s worth your effort to keep an eye on what they’re doing to build their brand. While you don’t necessarily want to copy their ideas and tactics (remember, short-term tactics may not benefit you in the long run if they don’t align with your goals), you do want to track what their strategy is and whether or not their tactics prove to be effective. This can help you identify tactics that work and to figure out why they worked or didn’t work. This information can be incredibly beneficial for your own branding strategy since it can allow you to avoid certain pitfalls.

You can also track your competition by following what consumers are saying about them. You can see what positive things people are saying about your competition and use that information to your advantage. Negative comments can also be helpful as they can allow you to address a need your competition isn’t addressing. For instance, if you notice that consumers are complaining because a competitor is difficult to get a hold of, you can make sure that this won’t be the case for you by offering various channels of communication to your audience.

8. Be Flexible

While you don’t want to jump on the latest branding tactics just because they’re trending, you do want to remain flexible. For example, your branding goals may end up changing over time, so you’ll want to adjust your branding strategy accordingly. Additionally, some short-term branding tactics may actually align with your goals and could benefit your long-term strategy. You shouldn’t be afraid to deviate from your existing strategy in order to adopt such tactics. Flexibility is important to your brand’s continuous success.

 

No brand strategy is the same, nor should it be. Your brand strategy should align with what your goals are. However, these are eight essential tips to keep in mind when creating your brand strategy. Just remember, don’t expect overnight results. Building your brand is a long-term strategy that never ends — you should continue to build your brand even as you gain success. While consistency is important, change is inevitable, whether it’s your products and services that change, your customers that change, or your market that changes.

buyer persona guide for business

Using Organic Marketing To Reach Your Audience

There are many ways to go about marketing your business. Paid marketing (such as through the use of Google AdWords or Facebook Ads) can be effective, but there’s only so much you can do with it, as it’s more short-term oriented. You’ll want to implement more organic marketing strategies. Organic marketing is a way to generate more traffic to your website in a more natural, unforced manner. Additionally, anything that you don’t directly spend money on can be considered organic. Of course, it’s worth noting that all marketing costs money in one way or another. However, there are a lot of benefits to using organic marketing that go beyond the cost.

Reasons to Implement Organic Marketing

There are two major reasons why you should implement organic marketing into your marketing strategy. First of all, it’s a more long-term strategy than any paid marketing strategy is. The efforts you make executing your organic marketing strategy can help drive traffic to your website for a long time to come. They can also go a long way in helping to strengthen your brand identity and build up your brand reputation, both of which will have positive long-term effects as well. Finally, organic marketing gives you the opportunity to learn more about your customers and to better understand what their needs are. This is something that cannot be discovered via paid marketing, which is completely one-sided.

Learn about another type of marketing: The Benefits of Mobile Marketing Optimization

How You Can Make it Work

The following are a number of different tips on how to implement organic marketing successfully.

  • Make sure your website is engaging

    Your website is usually what will convince potential leads to further engage with your brand. Make sure it’s user-friendly, meaning that it’s easy to read, easy to scan, and easy to navigate. In addition to your homepage, consider creating an about page, a testimonial page, a contact page, a blog page, and an FAQ page. You may want to implement a chat feature as well so that visitors can interact with you whenever they want to.

  • Create evergreen content

    Evergreen content is content that will never grow out of date. For example, an article about how to save money will always remain relevant for a financial advisor’s website. Evergreen content will continue to be of use to visitors, which means it will organically attract new leads over time.

  • Use hashtags

    Hashtags make it easier for people to find your content on social media and also shows consumers that you’re up to date on trends and current events.

  • Build relationships with social media influencers

    Social media influencers can unlock the doors to large audiences that you haven’t reached yet. Find the influencers in your industry and engage with them on social media.

  • Engage with followers on social media regularly

    Always respond to commends or feedback that people leave on your social pages, even if they are negative. This will greatly help your reputation and shows people that you care and that your social media presence isn’t just for show. Keep in mind that engagement isn’t just about posting content — it’s about listening to what your customers have to say. Ask questions and respond to concerns in a timely manner.

  • Contribute to social media discussions

    Look for groups, communities, and conversations occurring across social media concerning not just your brand, but your industry as a whole. Engage with these conversations. Doing so will naturally get your name out there and will generate interest in your brand (as long as you have worthwhile things to say, of course).

  • Use local SEO

    One of the best ways to naturally attract local customers is by implementing a local SEO strategy. Use local keywords (meaning, geo-centered keywords) and generate content that’s relevant to your area. Submit your NAP (name, address, and phone number) to local directories as well. This will make it much easier for local customers to find you organically.

  • Find ways for customers to participate

    By finding ways for customers to participate, you create a more engaging experience for them. This can help build brand loyalty as well as generate more interest from new leads. For example, set up contests on social media. Something as simple as sweepstakes can be quite effective. For something a bit more engaging, consider photo contests on platforms like Instagram.

  • Request customer feedback

    Routinely ask customers for their opinions about your products, services, and brand. You can do this by asking visitors to fill out surveys on your site, sending out net promoter scores through email, or asking followers directly on social media.

Organic marketing does take some effort, but it’s less expensive than paid marketing tactics and will have a much bigger impact over the long term. These organic marketing tips should help you to drive more traffic and, eventually, generate more sales as a direct result.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

5 Noteworthy User Generated Content Examples & Benefits

Content marketing is an essential component of any successful online marketing strategy. The success of your content marketing depends on a variety of factors. Your content has to be relevant, informative, and of high quality. However, it also has to be varied. Creating content takes a lot of effort and it can sometimes be a challenge to create content that’s both new and exciting. One type of content that you should focus on is user generated content. User generated content adds to your content’s variety and provides benefits. Before going into some user generated content examples, it’s important that you understand what those benefits are.

The Benefits of User Generated Content

The following are a few ways in which user generated content can benefit your marketing strategy:

  • Free content – Constantly creating new content is a challenge for any business. However, user generated content does it for you for free. For example, asking your audience to submit creative content such as artwork or stories relevant to your brand creates a positive experience for both parties. Also, free content can boost your SEO and your social media reach.
  • Build brand trust – Consumers are naturally skeptical about anything that businesses have to say to them. It’s why they tend to trust the word of other consumers more. User-generated content, such as brand hashtags, gives users the opportunity to share their positive feedback about your company in a more authentic form. The content comes from the consumer’s point of view, which means that they’ll be more likely to trust it.
  • Engage customers – Allowing your customers to create content for your brand is a great way to get them involved. Brand engagement lets customers participate directly in your marketing efforts, which also boosts brand loyalty. Engagement helps customers feel like they’re communicating with real people, rather than just a business.

Learn more about content creation from Stevens & Tate: How To Create Content For Each Sale Funnel Stage

5 User Generated Content Examples

Now that you know the benefits of user generated content, take a look at some examples of brands putting it into action:

  1. T-Mobile

    T-Mobile attempted to steal customers away from its competitors by offering to pay for the early termination fees charged by carriers for any customers who switched over. In addition to being a stellar unique selling proposition, it was accompanied by an excellent marketing strategy that focused on user generated content. They invited customers of other carriers to submit break-up letters that highlighted why they were leaving their existing carriers for T-Mobile. Not only were many of these letters hilarious, they also highlighted the weaknesses of their competition. Over 113,000 letters were written, resulting in close to 70 million social impressions.

  2. Warby-Parker

    Roughly five years ago, Warby-Parker launched a campaign in which customers were allowed to request five pairs of glasses online to try on at home. This allowed them to try the glasses, pay for the pair they liked most and send the others back. It was an effective way to promote their online store. Additionally, they encouraged participants to post photographs on line of them trying on the glasses. Customers then gave and obtained feedback from each other, thereby driving engagement between customers and their brand.

  3. GoPro

    GoPro uniquely allows users to capture incredible footage using small cameras that can be strapped to their heads. To highlight the GoPro’s capabilities, GoPro used the footage that their customers filmed using their products as part of their marketing campaign. It was such a successful endeavor that you can now find over 40 million results for the word “GoPro” on YouTube, and GoPro itself has almost 8 million YouTube subscribers.

  4. Adobe

    This popular design software company ran a campaign not long ago called the Art Maker Series. During the campaign, they asked their users to share the work they did using Adobe products. Adobe used this content to promote their software. The campaign was incredibly effective as it allowed Adobe to show off their software capabilities while providing exposure to talented designers.

  5. Starbucks

    Starbucks ran a similar campaign to Adobe in terms of highlighting the creativity of their customers. They did this by running a Twitter contest called #WhiteCupContest. The contest encouraged participants to draw on their white coffee cups and submit them. Starbucks used the winning cup as a limited edition reusable cup design. They received over 4,000 submissions in just three weeks. It was so successful that Starbucks ran several similar contests after that.

User generated content is a great way to develop more content and help build your credibility with consumers. It also encourages consumers to participate, thereby building brand loyalty. Hopefully, these five user generated content examples inspired you to encourage your consumers to help create content for your brand.

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Introducing the 4C Marketing Model and why you should follow it

When it comes to marketing models, the 4P marketing model is the most traditional, business-oriented one — and the one you’re most likely familiar with. The 4Ps represent product, price, promotion, and place. For a more customer-oriented model, you may want to follow the 4C marketing model. The 4C marketing model was first proposed by Bob Lauterborn in an article published in Advertising Age in 1990. He saw it as a possible effective alternative. The following is a brief breakdown of the 4C marketing model, which consists of consumer, cost, convenience, and communication.

Consumer

First, you have to know who your target customers are and what their needs and wants are. The consumer should drive all of your marketing efforts from here on out. Having knowledge about your target audience makes it easier to create a product that fulfills a need in the market. This is where your buyer personas come in. Buyer personas represent your ideal customer and once you understand them, you better understand your target audience. This leads to improved communication with your consumers and gives them the sense that you understand them as well, leading to improved sales. Of course, the product is an important focus in any marketing model, but always remember the value of the consumer.

Cost

In the 4C marketing model, the cost evaluates the cost considerations from the buyer’s perspective. Determining the cost involves performing detailed research into what customers are able and willing to pay. Additionally, do research into the cost of competing products. The research will aid you in figuring out whether selling your product at a cost that customers are willing to pay will be profitable or not. You will also need to take into account the added costs of purchasing your product outside its sticker price. For example, how much customers will need to pay in taxes, shipping costs or transportation costs.

One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that the price point of your product isn’t what necessarily convinces consumers to purchase your product. A low price point won’t always drive sales, after all. In the end, it’s the benefit of your product that will help support its costs.

Explore More Marketing Models: Understanding the Difference Between Earned Media vs. Paid Media And Embracing The PESO Model

Communication

Communication refers to how you will engage with your customers. You will want to find ways to engage with your target customers to build confidence in your brand and your product. Customers want to know how buying your product will benefit them and that’s what you need to focus on communicating. You should focus on providing relevant information to customers in order to help them figure out what their problems, needs, or challenges are. This will then allow you to position your product as a potential solution. This requires that you ask your customers questions and listen to what they have to say. Communication is a two-way street after all.

Promoting products is all about saying what you have to say and hoping the customer buys it. Communication is about strengthening your understanding of your customers and building trust in your brand. One of the best ways to do this is through social media.

Convenience

Convenience focuses on how easy it is for customers to purchase your product. You’ll want to identify potential barriers and figure out ways to remove those barriers in order to improve customer convenience. For example, maybe a poor user interface is preventing potential customers from using your e-commerce site. Providing quality customer support to help make the purchasing process easier is also an important facet of improving convenience.

In today’s world, the consumer has more power than ever. As such, your marketing efforts will be more successful if you take a more customer-oriented approach. By using the 4C marketing model, you’ll have more success targeting customers who are actually interested in what you have to offer. Not to mention that such an approach will help you build long-lasting relationships with your customers.

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A marketer's guide to advanced automation

A Marketer’s Guide to Advanced Automation

Using marketing automation solutions can greatly improve your marketing capabilities. Automation saves time on repetitive, mundane tasks, giving you more time to focus on more pressing matters. Additionally, automation helps improve the customer experience by making client data better organized and easier to access. However, using basic automation will no longer provide you with a huge advantage over your competition. Few companies exist that do not employ some kind of automation solution. If you want a real advantage, you need to begin using more advanced automation tools. The following are some of the advanced automation tactics that you should think about adopting:

1. Advanced Email Segmentation

Basic email segmentation, which involves sectioning your email list based on things like gender or information pertinent to your products and services, is quite common. However, the use of advanced email segmentation personalizes your marketing even more. Advanced email segmentation allows you to segment your email list even further based on things like content opened, location, engagement with your brand, the device used, their stage of the buyer’s journey, and more.

2. Date-Based Automation

advanced automation emailing

Many companies use action-based automation to deliver certain emails. For example, if a customer makes a purchase on your e-commerce page, you might automatically deliver a thank you email to their inbox. Many businesses use this basic form of action-based email automation. Another form of email automation worth using is date-based automation. Date-based automation tools allow you to automatically send off certain emails to certain recipients on specified dates. For example, if your opt-in form asks for a birthdate, use date-based automation to automatically send an email wishing a happy birthday to your leads and customers when their birthday comes around.

3. Lead Scoring

Lead scoring hasn’t quite caught on with the average marketer because it can take some time to set up. However, lead scoring helps make it easier to identify the quality of your leads. This, in turn, prevents your marketing and sales team from engaging with uninterested leads. It also helps prevent your marketing and sales teams from missing out on leads that were ready to convert. The way lead scoring works is simple. For every action a lead takes, or for every piece of information they provide, they are automatically assigned points. These actions or bits of information can be worth different values. For example, downloading an eBook might be worth more than liking a blog post on social media. Certain actions or information can be worth negative points as well.

You’ll have to decide at what point the total of their score determines that they are an MQL (marketing qualified lead) or a SQL (sales qualified lead). As you can imagine, having scores on all your leads can be incredibly helpful; however, your marketing and sales teams will have to work together to come up with a scoring system.

Learn more about how marketing automation can benefit you: How Marketing Automation Can Improve Your Lead Nurturing Process

4. Personalized Offers

Using an advanced automation eCommerce recommendation tool, you can automatically create dynamic emails that suggest relevant products to customers based on their past behavior. Some of these behaviors may include what they purchase, how much they spend, and how often they make purchases. The email is only generated after assessing the customer and it can go a long way towards increasing sales.

5. Chatbots

People often have basic questions when exploring a new website. A chat feature allows them to ask these questions without having to call or email you. Unfortunately, you may not have the resources to personally engage with visitors on your website 24/7 via the chat feature. That’s why you should consider implementing chatbots. Chatbots can be programmed to answer the most common questions automatically so that you don’t need a human to engage directly with every visitor. Even social channels such as Facebook are beginning to implement automated chat features.

Automation doesn’t just help make time-consuming tasks less time-consuming to do. It organizes valuable data, making it easier for you to improve your ability to engage with customers. Automation can even help improve the customer experience directly. Any business that’s looking to grow should go beyond the basics of automation and implement these advanced automation tactics into their marketing strategy.

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