New To Marketing? Here’s a Guide for Creating an Initial Strategy That Will Set Your Business For Success: Part 1

Beginning marketing efforts for a new or existing brand can be quite hard, especially if you don’t know where to start. With so much content that can be found in social media channels, podcasts, websites and pretty much anywhere in the web it’s very easy to get lost. 

That’s why we’ve decided to put together this guide to help you succeed in your marketing journey. The following are the steps we take into consideration when building marketing campaigns for our clients. We’re quite certain that if you do these steps right you will set your business for success! 

1. First And Foremost, Define Your Target Market:

For marketing to pay off, start by understanding who your target market is. Many businesses make the mistake of believing their product or offer is for everyone, but in reality, the better you understand the market segment your ideal customers are in, the more effective marketing will be.  

The best way to define your target market is by understanding why existing customers bought your product. You can use some of these criteria to help organize your findings:

Target Market Strategy

Sources: QuickSprout & Oberlo

Start by gathering general information, and then get as specific as possible. If you sell laptops, for example, are they for children? Students, professionals? Try to narrow down who your product attracts, the problem it solves and who it is solving for; “professionals” is good. “Graphic designers” is better. 

After getting a clear idea of your target market, move on to creating buyer personas. 

Related: The Recipe for Creating Awesome Buyer Personas [Infographic] 

2. Create A SWOT Analysis:

You need to know where your company and brand stands in the market. A SWOT analysis can give you and your team a clear vision of your:

Create a Swot Analysis for an initial strategy

You should also apply SWOT to your competitors: their market share, value proposition, pricing, whether they’re conducting marketing efforts or not, and anything that helps you identify opportunities to leverage your company, reach a higher audience, and- most importantly- how to address your market, which begins when you…  

3. Create Your Elevator Pitch:

The concept of the “elevator pitch” has been growing in popularity because it helps you build a short, concise framework of your business goals. Startups use their elevator pitch to find potential investors and most importantly sell their ideas as should you and your team, this will help everyone get aligned with your product and sales approach.

Your customer should have a very clear idea of the problem your product or service solves in less than 30 seconds. Catching people’s attention gets more difficult by the day; that is why it’s so important for you and your team to efficiently communicate your product/service’s message.  

How do you create an elevator pitch?

  1. Identify the problem or market needs- then, the solution- your idea!
  2. Be straightforward and emotionally compelling in your language – give facts are impactful to your audience.  Make them believe in your cause. 
  3. Know your audience and speak to them personally- address their pain points, and they’ll identify with your offer. 
  4. Identify your product or service – be specific and measurable.
  5. Remember, the point of the elevator pitch is to keep it BRIEF – 30 seconds is a good guideline.

Here’s an example of applying these principles to a great elevator pitch.

“Don’t you hate how lazy and out of shape hamsters are these days? But there aren’t any gyms for small rodents, and personal trainers are expensive. The Ham 2000 is great for hamster moms and dads- a tiny full-body exercise machine they can put right in their hamster cage and get on with their day. Plus, it’s adorable!” 

4. Create A Brand Identity Book And Give Your Brand a Personality:

Most business don’t believe this is an important step in their marketing strategy – not only is it vital, but it’s essential to do it as early in the life of your brand as possible!

If you want your brand to have instant recognition out the door, you need an eye-catching brand personality that conveys your culture and product. 

A brand personality book establishes the consistent rules and principles that will guide your brand identity – for example, a small family of fonts that will always be used, color schemes for product livery or logos, aesthetic guidelines, etc. Visuals are one of the fastest and most instinctive ways humans accept- or reject- new experiences. Give your brand a personality and stay true to it. 

Developing your brand’s personality will not only make sure branding stays consistent across your team, creating it requires you to take a long, thoughtful look at what you want your brand identity to be – and how you want it represented to the world.

5. Create a Website Or  Landing Page:

If your audience can be found online, you need a website or landing page. Period.

First of all let’s start off by understanding the main difference between a website and a landing page. Landing pages are built to drive traffic for a specific marketing campaign,  the main purpose of a landing page is to make the visitors focus on the intent on the page that could for instance be “Schedule a tour to our facilities”, “Purchase THIS product” etc. It should only have content that is specific to the offer, product, or service. A landing page has no distractions and should be designed to convert the user or take them one step down your marketing funnel. 

A website on the other hand is a group of pages designed to help visitors coming to a website and drive the desire to navigate all or most of its content in order to build interest in a product or service.

A great, navigable site is one of the biggest customer trust indicators. Building a great site is challenging, but following these principles will help a lot:

  1. Set a timeline and due date: This is fundamental – if you don’t set a completion timeline, you won’t complete it.
  2. Define the hosting platform: if you have your own developers, great! If not, there are plenty of supported-DIY hosts like Wix, SquareSpaces or Webflow
  3. Have a plan: don’t jump into sitebuilding without design goals.  Will your site have a shopping cart? A Contact Us section? What do you want visitors to see first? 

Start by defining your website’s navigation – main menu and footer. 

  1. Stick to your previous work: Make sure that during the creation of your website you have on your top-of-mind your buyer persona, brand book/personality and your elevator pitch. 
  2. Design: start creating your website’s wireframes – a rough blueprint of your site and page layout. There are plenty of free, online tools to help you build one, but a map on your whiteboard or even pen and paper is fine! Define where you want to place titles, texts, images, call to action buttons and any other expected features.
  3. Create prototypes: Develop and test your prototypes or final design pieces- but always test and preview before you go public! 
  4. Review: The last step is extremely important! Show your final prototypes to a useful sampling of visitors for feedback and bug-hunting: a small group of trusted, existing customers is great for this. Always be open to clear, constructive feedback!
  5. Iterate as necessary. 

Building an initial marketing strategy is way too big a subject to do it justice in just one blog post! In 2 weeks, we’ll dig even deeper into the next steps. Stay tuned!

Does creating a marketing strategy by yourself seem too daunting?  Get in touch with us. We’re passionate about marketing strategy, great advertising, creative content, fun design, and helping people succeed in telling their brand’s story.

Sources: 

6 Simple SEO Best Practices to Stay On Your A-Game

SEO is a tricky business, but there’s plenty of simple things that can have a major impact on your website’s performance, and keep you ahead of your competitors on those all-important search results.

According to EngeniusWeb, around 3.5 billion searches are performed every day! Search engines drive 70.6% of all traffic: shocking!!

If you don’t conduct SEO on your website, you won’t be found online.

So how can you implement SEO best practices and drive traffic to your website without being an expert?

1. Create relevant & unique content

If you want search engines to find you, content is one of the most important elements of your SEO strategy. However, new content is constantly being written by individuals and companies every day; the best way to stand out is by writing unique content that your audience will find useful.

Search engines know better than to send a reader to a content piece that offers no value. You can offer multiple content formats such as videos, written blog posts, infographics- anything you can think of. Just remember, when it comes to SEO:

QUALITY > QUANTITY, ALWAYS

As our friends at Hubspot say, “great content isn’t optimized for search engines. It’s optimized for the people using search engines.”

When creating new content, keep the following in mind:

  • Have a short (preferably 65 characters long or less), straightforward title that tells the reader exactly what they’re going to get if they click on your link.
  • Always make sure your content has clear and specific metadata that doesn’t exceed 160 characters; this is what Google prefers nowadays.
  • Most important thing of all- focus on content that adds value to readers that are your ideal customer.

Related: HOW TO CREATE A KILLER CONTENT STRATEGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Don’t forget to also close your content with a specific Call to Action that will guide the reader on what steps to take next. This isn’t necessarily about SEO; it’s about making all your efforts pay off!

2. Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets have become an important element for users to get a quick answer on a topic they’re interested in. A featured snippet is a piece of text that Google serves on a search engine results page (SERP) itself.

You’ve probably seen these before, and they probably caught your attention 100 times more than a normal result that shows up on Google. Take a look:

SEO-Practices

There are many different types of featured snippets: the most relevant are paragraphs, lists, and tables.

So, how do you optimize for featured snippets?

  1. In your blog posts make sure to answer a specific question in a concise paragraph.
  2. Make sure the heading is a question.
  3. Answer the heading question in the following paragraph in under 50 words.
  4. Give facts on the question you’re answering or create a bullet point list or steps- Google loves lists!

SEO Practices

There are tools you can use to find featured snippet opportunities such as Semrush, or Answer The Public to find out what people are asking about the topics you write about.

3. Utilize keywords and long-tail keywords throughout your copies

Nearly everyone doing SEO works to optimize their website with keywords and long tail keywords. This is by far the easiest step, but only if you do it right. Adding random keywords throughout your content won’t necessarily work.

When doing your keyword research, make sure your keywords are:

  • Relevant to your offer, whether it is a product or a service: Always keep in mind the intent of the person using the keyword: are they looking to buy my product, or just doing research? Where are they in my marketing and sales funnel? Do I want to optimize for high intent or low intent keywords?
    Whatever keywords you decide to work with, make sure they help you stay aligned with your goals and not the other way around.
  • Popularity and amount of searches online: You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to find out the number of searches a specific keyword has. Just remember optimizing for the most popular keywords can be hard when you’re just starting out, and competitors will likely have higher trust and authority on search engines. Optimizing for less competitive keywords can work in your favor here, as your website will likely show in the first results for a specific keyword. Play around with them, and make sure to track keyword activity every now and then.

Here are some easy-to-use tools that will help you find the right keywords for your website. I’ve used them in the past and they’ve worked wonders!

4. Offer a clean and friendly User Experience for both desktop and mobile

This is often overlooked by many marketers, and it’s one of the most important SEO elements you need to have in mind. Years ago, SEO was all about keywords; nowadays, this is just one of the factors search engines take into consideration when ranking your website.

Why is UX so important? In simple words, if your website is showing up on search engines but visitors don’t stay there for long, it means your content and UX isn’t good enough.

If you have a clean UX and a friendly website structure, you make it easy for Google to crawl in your information and understand what you’re offering.

There are plenty of factors Google takes into consideration when ranking your website and giving it authority:

  1. Having desktop and mobile-optimized versions.
  2. Having a clear and concise website structure.
  3. Reviewing user behavior on your website.
  4. Making sure your site speed is good and the content, structure, and images upload quickly. Google offers a tool called Page Speed Insights where you can find out how your website is performing and what you can do to improve.
  5. Headers, title tags, and metadata. This also applies to videos and images.
  6. Having a clear URL title that explains the content in the site, between 50 to 60 characters.

5. Have proper titles and metadata

Throughout your site’s copy, make sure you’ve marked all your headers and that each page of your website has a proper title and metadata description.

The most important title or idea of a site should always be marked as H1, and you should only have one per page. Just one, and use as many H2s, H3s, H4s, H5s, and H6s as you want on each page.

It’s important that you utilize headers strategically, as it tells Google how the text on your website is structured.

6. Index your website

Indexing is a way of telling Google that your content exists; it’s how you add your site to Google Search, and it can be done in 2 different ways.

The organic way is where Google Search eventually discovers your website, crawls into it, understands your content, structure, offer, and decides to show your website in their search engine.

The faster and more advisable way is by creating a Google Search Console account and submitting a sitemap (if you don’t have a sitemap, you can look into your web design tool. Most tools instantly provide you a sitemap link) by providing your link and waiting for the magic to happen.

By submitting a sitemap in Google Search Console, you are telling Google your website is ready to be crawled, so make sure that you’ve addressed all the items in this article before pushing the button!

There you have it! You don’t have to be an expert to work on SEO: you just need to dedicate time, do proper research, and constantly track your website’s performance to improve and optimize your content.

If you’re struggling to structure your website and improve your online presence, don’t hesitate to ask our team for help! We’re always happy to assist.

 

 

Sources:

Engeniusweb

Husbpot

optinmonster

How To Create a Killer Content Strategy For Your Business

When we talk about marketing trends, we often forget that content marketing is one of the most appealing and underrated; everyone loves helpful and educational content that can help us define and solve a problem.

So, how do you start creating a content marketing strategy that your prospects will value?

Here’s some of the most effective techniques to create a killer content strategy that will not only drive traffic to your website, but that will also drive readers down your marketing funnel.

1. Create Your Business’ Buyer Personas:

I can’t overstate the importance of buyer personas. Without investing time and effort in creating personas, your marketing content strategy WILL FAIL. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack… with your eyes closed.

If you don’t know the pain points your current and potential customers are facing, you won’t create content they’ll read- simple.

How do you create a Persona?

Start by interviewing your current customers wherever possible. If this is a challenging task, send visitors to your site, blog, or eCommerce store a survey and offer something in return if they fill out all the questions.

This will bring you TONS of information you probably didn’t have:

    1. Their current role at their job
    2. Their most recurrent pain points and challenges
    3. Their demographics
    4. Their goals
    5. Their daily activities

You can also take this opportunity to gather real quotes from them, and use this collection as part of your persona creation process.

Here’s a very basic example of a single buyer persona for reference:

Buyer persona for your content strategy

Speak to the people in your own company, especially your sales and customer support, service, and success teams. They’re a reliable source of insights about customer and prospect motivations and feedback. Ask them about the most frequently asked questions (which should find their way onto a FAQ!)

If you don’t have a lot of information to start off, create a simple template and improve it over time as you gather more information from customers and leads.

We explore the process of building meaningful buyer personas in the following post:

The Recipe For Creating Awesome Buyer Personas [Infographic]

2. Perform a Content Audit:

With buyer personas defined, it’s time to audit your existing content, and identify all the marketing assets your business has at its disposal.

This is an analysis of every piece of content your team has ever created! It will help you understand which buying stages and buyer personas need more attention and content- what you have, what you need, and what should be improved.

You can organize your content audit in a spreadsheet, gathering information such as the following for each piece of content:

Content audit for your content strategy

A content audit keeps your collection organized, keeps your team on the same page, and makes it easier to repurpose past content that remains relevant to your prospects. 

3. Set SMART Marketing Goals

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Setting SMART goals will give you a long-term vision of where you want to go, and short-term motivation since your standards for success are clear and possible.

For example:

Your goals should always be realistic and precise- if you have a hard time defining them, look at your old data and start from there. If you don’t have any data from previous months, look at competitors’ blogs as a benchmark – tools such as UberSuggest can give a domain overview, keyword suggestions, content ideas and more.

4. Create Content Ideas

This is the final step to creating a content strategy, and it’s sometimes the hardest. Coming up with topics might be difficult if you’ve already written hundreds of blog posts. Creating or updating buyer personas and doing a thorough content audit will help you get there- consider the example buyer persona above, Amelia, and how her buyer’s journey evokes a unifying topic that would be a great foundation for a blog post, eBook, guide, or all three:

Content ideas for your content strategy

This seems repetitive, but as you write each blog post on the topic, you can make your headline more specific. Don’t forget that content written for the decision stage will always offer your product or service as the final and best solution to the reader!

As Hubspot says, content is defined by purpose, topic, and format. It’s always better to have a few posts that add a lot of value than hundreds that may be skipped- quality over quantity, always.

Don’t forget that you can use various formats for your content offers; the more diverse, the better, unless you’ve already identified one or two types of formats that your audience loves.

Finally, no matter who the target audience of your content- consumer, B2B, or something else- the reader is a human. Write to humans, and communicate as though you’re speaking to humans. The most essential quality of content that is read to completion and acted on is a genuine voice.

Looking to create and deploy a killer marketing strategy with help from the experts? Drop us a line– we’re the experts you’re looking for!

5 Ways You Can Use Chatbots In Your Marketing Strategy And Get The Most Out Of It

Marketing trends are constantly changing: we’ve seen the boom of email marketing, Facebook and Instagram Ads.

Now… it’s the age of chatbots!

Why? Today’s marketing is all about customer experience (or CX)- and chatbots are the perfect tool to improve your customers’ CX.

The rising demand for a personalized CX has made chatbots a natural choice; they’re changing the way industries offer their products or service to the market.  Chatbots offer a low-cost solution for 24/7 customer service, and when properly deployed, will be adaptive to each visitor’s needs.

Every industry is embracing the utility of chatbots, and the growth continues:

  • Chatbots can reduce up to 30% of the company’s costs for communication with customers according to research done by Business Insider Intelligence.
  • Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without needing a human.

Just like any AI application, chatbots are only as good as their programming. Fortunately, chatbots are becoming more advanced, intuitive to build, and user-friendly every day- you can create multiple sets of triggers for your bot to engage a visitor, and even learn from your customers (depending on how advanced your chatbot’s AI is). In most cases, chatbots are easy to customize for your CX needs- and you don’t have to be a coder to do it.  

Because of their high level of customization, chatbots can be deployed for a wider variety of purposes than you might imagine- anything from Q&A to account servicing to sales.

Here are a few ways you can start using chatbots in your marketing strategy.

1. Conversational Marketing:

Conversational marketing is engaging an audience (website visitors) to gather feedback, then using this information to personalize customers’ buying cycles and generally improve your CX.

Chatbots save you the time otherwise spent giving visitors the same answers over and over, and clarifying product information without filling your website with walls of text. You’ll need to set up your chatbot’s responses to the most common inquiries- here are some ways to get started:

a. List the questions your customers usually ask when visiting your website- and the best answers. This will be the foundation of your bot’s knowledge base.

b. If you don’t have a lot of information from your customers yet, that’s ok too- have your team go through your website’s buying steps and craft questions and answers of the steps where they got lost, or things weren’t clear. Asking people uninvolved in the design process of the site is best, as they’re “naive” users, just like your visitors will be. Everyone responds to a UX differently- this is where diversity in your site testing is essential!

c. After putting your bot to work, don’t forget to do constant rounds of optimization- this by far, is the most important step. It’ll help you improve your conversational marketing strategy, and it’ll also help gather valuable feedback on how your visitors live their experience on your website.

Here’s one example from the Australia Open 2018 for instance:

Ways you can use chatbots

Source: Chatbots Life

2. Share Important News

Chatbots have something to offer during your entire lead cycle: Acquire, Qualify and Convert. But don’t wait until you have a lead on the hook to start harnessing their power- chatbots are also a great way to share important news regarding your business!

We’re all sick of receiving 500 emails a day with promotions, news, and messages from multiple brands. Chatbots are a better way to approach your website visitors, and to share things that matter to our brand.

Think about a webinar for instance (and I’m speaking from experience) – I absolutely love webinars, but I often miss emails inviting me to ones I care about because I get so much spam every day.

On the other hand, if I visit your website, and I get a friendly message (presented in a very human way) from a chatbot about a super-awesome new webinar next week, inviting me to subscribe and add the event to my calendar on the spot, I’m very likely to do it!

Chatbots are a great way to approach your visitors without being too invasive. If properly executed, this tactic will do wonders for you and your brand!

For example:

How to use chatbots

Source: MaestroQA

Bots can be used in this way to effectively share promotions, new collections, or news your audience should know- while simultaneously building your database! It’s a win-win for both you and your audience.  

3. 24/7 Support and Sales

Need I say more? Chatbots give you a 24/7 sales cycle! You’ll never miss sales opportunities- every visitor to your site can get the product or sales support to make their decision IMMEDIATELY.

How to use chatbot

Source: Chatbots Magazine

Chatbots can be programmed to offer specific products to specific website visitors and even offer other product suggestions.  In other cases, bots can suggest great complimentary products to visitors who’ve already purchased something- think of the “you may also like..” feature usually appearing at the bottom of a sale page, this time presented in a more timely, social, personal manner!

4. Get your chatbot to qualify your leads

If you’re in the B2B business, bringing your chatbot to quality prospects is the best way to go. If you’re familiar with Intercom, you probably know they’re the perfect example of how to qualify a lead.

Once you go on their website and browse for a few seconds you get the following message from their chatbot:

How to use chatbots

Source: Intercom

Notice how the chatbot provides all the meaningful responses to drive the conversation forward as choices, rather than a text box- this is a powerful way to use chatbots to drive visitor behavior in meaningful directions.

As a visitor answers the chatbot’s questions, it’s qualifying them as a lead- and handing the information to the sales team, if they represent an ideal customer profile.

How to use chatbots

Source: Intercom

5. Increase Your Database By Providing The Right Content Offers

Does content marketing drive your traffic? Your chatbot can help you build a large database by providing similar content offers to what your audience is currently reading.

The real magic is when your chatbot can offer website visitors a downloadable item (such as a PDF or ebook) or even a link to one of your videos similar to the topic they’re reading.  Best of all, you can set your chatbot to start a conversation with the user, offer the relevant content, AND ask for their email in return. You’ve built your database and helped your visitor with even more useful content- completely hands-off!

As you can see, chatbots can do so much for you and your visitors- and their power and versatility is only increasing. They’re easy to set up and one of the most cost-effective CX solutions out there.

Have you started implementing a chatbot strategy for your business? If so, what are the strategies that have worked out the best? Share your opinion in the comment below!

Last, but not least: Don’t forget to make your chatbot sound human!

 

 

References:

https://neilpatel.com/blog/bots-digital-marketing-strategy/

www.intercom.com

https://chatbotslife.com/conversational-marketing-guide-2b381a5731da

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