Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
Hello again my feline friends. It’s been a while and I thank you for your patience as my lazy humans have taken some time to get this site back together. While my biped associates have been busy on the blog scene, we feline followers have been busy on a cat project to further dominate the Twitter scene.
Thanks to my friend @Purr2Dream the cat empire has taken a bold leap in the right direction with Kitty Twitty, an aggregation of yours truly as well as other popular cat twitter celebs. As I’ve mentioned before, social media isn’t dead, it’s just run by cats. Keep the faith.
Monday, June 27th, 2011
Whether you are starting up a new business or trying to grow and improve an existing brand, content marketing is almost a necessity in the current global economy. But, what is it?
Simply put, Content Marketing is the technique of creating and distributing valuable information and or ‘content’ to possible customers and consumers, keeping them engaged and interested. The purpose isn’t to sell them directly, but to give them something valuable and keep their interest, incentivizing them to come back of their own volition.
But, why use this strategy? Why not use direct or interruption marketing methods or commercials instead? Simple. They’re annoying. The average consumer has had a backlash against many conventional marketing strategies. Through the invention of DVR, people can simply skip over the commercial break without skipping a beat. Over the radio, ads are considered a gap between music and news, and online? Banners are ignored and pop-ups are considered perhaps the most annoying technique of all.
So, the solution is to create content that the reader will wish to actively seek out. There are many types of possible content; going from blog posts, testimonials and reviews, to viral videos and viral marketing.
The first step is to plan your goal. What is the purpose of your business? Aside, of course, from making money. After that has been attentively planned, you can move on to the consumer.
The second step is finding out who your base is. Who are you selling to? What are their personalities like, their wants, needs, desires? And most of all, what do they need to know to go from possible buyers to definite first time and repeat customers? After that, how can you most effectively match up their needs with your business’s goals?
Then, you must find out where your marketing base is. Where do they congregate? What kind of websites do they find online, and what interests them? You must try to sell to the target audience, using any possible channel. If you’re selling to the hip and trendy youth of today, blog posts full of outdated slang won’t appeal, while viral videos on YouTube aren’t going to touch base with octogenarians.
From then on, finding out what content and tactics are required will become clear. First, find out what you already have. What materials can you re-purpose, and what content do you need to create? What gaps can you already fill? Whether or not you write in-house or partner with a copywriter, or buy unique content online, it is important to be sure what is being published will fit your target audience.
There are a variety of content marketing channels, all of which have benefits and drawbacks. Videos have gone viral and did worked wonders for some companies, as well as creating content that consumers simply enjoy. See “The Man You Could Smell Like” campaign from Old Spice for a style that viewers enjoy and run with. Blogs that subtly add in your business or product in posts, or good reviews can do wonders.
After the content has been crafted, it is important to create a calendar. Spread it out and be sure not to over saturate the airwaves or to bombard your audience too fiercely.
Finally, observe how your marketing technique is being accepted by the consumer. Page views, web traffic, and several other measurements can be taken to see how effective the strategy is. Be sure to adjust your methods accordingly.
Davy Kestens is a motivated young lunatic from Belgium with a highly entrepreneurial vision on his life. Continuously starting up online projects when he’s not out trying to take over the world. His latest published tool for world domination is GhostBloggers.net – An online marketplace where you can buy & sell unique blog posts.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Many business owners are scared to launch a business blog; they feel that the risks are too high or the investment too great. They feel that the resources could be used better in other places and in more traditional marketing.
The truth is that small business blogs can be one of the most powerful marketing channels. They can introduce masses of new leads, generate more traffic to product pages, or elevate a brand.
It’s always been said that content is king online, but still small business owners balk at the idea of launching a blog.
I want to convince you that it’s in your best interest to launch a blog, so let me give you five specific reasons that I think will change your mind.
Reason 1: Content Acts as Landing Pages
I’m assuming you already have a website; it probably has a home page, an about page, and possible a contact page. The total weight of your website online is three pages. That’s a relatively small website.
Online search engines can drive a lot of traffic to a website, but before they can do that you have to have pages that they find relevant. With only three pages, online searchers will only find your website from keywords that closely relate to your brand.
When you create a business blog, now you’re able to write article about your services, new theories, and even case studies. Your online footprint begins to grow with each article you publish.
The bigger your online footprint, the more traffic you can drive to your site – the more leads you can generate.
Reason 2: Highlight Expertise
When trying to close a deal, most sales people will tell you that trust is an important aspect. If your client doesn’t trust you, it’s going to be hard to get them to sign up with you (just ask used cars salesmen).
Small business can use their blog as a platform from which to build their trust level with consumers.
When I look for a specific service, for example an accountant, I might get a recommendation from a friend but I’ll always still Google the company. Potential consumers do their own research beyond recommendations they get from others.
Business blog can be used to highlight expertise by including previous case studies, pointing out clients, and explaining what makes the company different.
Reason 3: Cultivate a Community
New clients are great, but return clients are awesome. It’s an amazing feeling to have clients that are so happy with your work that they keep calling you back. These clients, that feel attached to your brand, are the ones that rave about you to your friends.
With a small business blog, you give these clients a reason to come back to your website. They want to know what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, new services you’re offering, and how they can be a part of your brand.
Interacting with readers in the comments of your articles, makes these users feel like they have a one on one connection with the brand.
Although not a full-fledged social network, a blog’s comments can still lead to a sense of community and build brand loyalty.
Reason 4: Create an Online Sales Funnel
It’s rare for a customer to just come to your site and order your services. Instead, it usually takes time for a potential lead to take the next step and contact the business or sign up for a service.
Blogs can give a potential lead reason to come back over and over again. It can also convince a reader to become a customer.
Consider the following sales funnel:
- Step 1: User searches for information on what taxes to file for their business
- Step 2: User finds your article that outlines which forms businesses should fill out
- Step 3: User sees that you offer accounting service
- Step 4: User goes to services page for more information
- Step 5: User fill in form to inquire more about your accounting services
- Step 6: User becomes new client
This kind of sales funnel occurs regularly online. The client was introduced to your services because of an expertise that you highlighted- leading them to flow through the funnel and contacting you for your services.
Reason 5: Get in a Customer’s Inbox
There’s one marketing channel that is often underutilized but can be a great boon to small business owners. The email inbox is a great way to bring your business to consumers instead of waiting for them to come to you.
How does a business blog get you in a customer’s inbox? Simple, give readers the opportunity to subscribe to your latest blog posts. They won’t want to miss out on your insights so readers will sign up for your newsletters.
Once they subscribe, they’ll be added to your mailing list and you can connect with them whenever you have major announcements or new sales. (Use your mailing list carefully, you don’t want them to mark you as spam).
Newsletters are a huge opportunity and definitely on small business owners don’t want to miss. Having a blog, gives you an opportunity to supercharge your newsletter and grow your subscriber list.
Bonus Reason 6: Viral Content
Want proof that blogging really pays off? Here’s an example. Louisville Painters wrote an article about colorful cities which drove over 36,000 views.
Viral content doesn’t always work, but when it does it’s huge. Try new ideas and expand beyond just what your business does. When you write about fun topics and really show how excited you are about your business, others become excited too. This is what leads to shared content, more traffic, and increased leads.
I hope these 5 reasons have convince you to launch your own small business blog. If you’re still worried about the resources or technical skills needed to have a blog, don’t be. It’s actually not all that hard.
There’s so many resources online to help you get started and a number of services that you can use to get setup. Of course, if you have any problems you can always leave a comment here or ask me directly.
So go ahead, get started. Leave a comment and share your blog once it’s up. Already have a business blog? Post a link so we can all see it!