outline of a blog

The Anatomy of the Post [Ideal Outline of a Blog]

You may have heard that blogging is essential for content marketing success, but did you know that blogging helps to position you as an expert in your field, presents a valuable resource for your site visitors, and creates new opportunities for your site to rank on Google results? So what is the ideal outline of a blog for SEO?

Businesses that blog acquire 126% more leads than those who do not.

Do I really need a blog?

It’s critical to have a blog on your site so that you can help answer your visitors’ questions. Sharing your expertise, assisting the visitors to solve issues that they are encountering, and improving your overall site experience with your blog is what helps to get your rankings on Google up.

Don’t be confused, though. Blogging for SEO requires more than simply stuffing keywords into your posts and waiting for traffic to pour in. Bloggers should focus on writing content about subjects surrounding target keywords so that they can provide a breadth of knowledge on a given topic with the intent to help visitors rather than merely trying to drive traffic to sell more stuff.

Blogging on topics is great for user experience, helps people answer their questions, and will keep people returning to Google (and hopefully your blog) to solve future issues, the reason Google created the ranking algorithm after all.

However, there is a formula that works for creating individual blogs well for SEO. And, yes, it does involve ensuring that your target keywords are included in specific sections in the post to squeeze the most out of each article.

Blogging for SEO

So how can you ensure that people see your posts and that you blog yields traffic? We encourage our clients to use this method:

Keyword Research

Use multiple tools such as SEMRush, Keywordtool.io, and Answerthepublic.com to find long-tail keywords that surround your area of expertise and your industry.

Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific to your niche. They will usually have a lower number of monthly searches, but also fewer people competing for top results.

Look for words that have high traffic with relatively low competition.

Let’s consider one of HARNESS’s areas of expertise: video marketing.

video marketing outline of a blog
The search term “video marketing” has 4400 searches per month, which is relatively high.

However, it also has a keyword difficulty (a score between 0-100 rating how difficult it is to rank on the first page for that keyword) score of around 68.58.

That search volume means it’s a popular keyword and one for which we want to rank. On the other hand, it has a high keyword difficulty (KD), so it will likely require many blog posts to hit that front page with this search.

What if we modified that keyword to find a long-tail search on the same topic?

Let’s try this one: video marketing services.

blogging for seo
The term “video marketing services” has 480 searches per month with a keyword difficulty score of 41.01. The search volume level is lower compared to “video marketing,” but we can rank for this keyword with only a few blog posts.

Further, even if the 480 people are searching for this term, we want to talk to all of them as they are likely to be qualified traffic to our website. Heck, if only one person is searching for one of our high-value keywords, I want them to hit my site rather than my competition’s page.

We consider these low-competition keywords the low-hanging fruit, so we advise clients to start there. Higher difficulty keywords will have more traffic but require more work. Those are long-term goals, so work on those over time.

Titles - Use Your Keywords

Use your keyword to create a title that makes sense to your reader. Note: you must use the exact phrasing of the keyword in the title; otherwise, the keyword difficulty and volume will be different.

Your title should read naturally and help to start the process of the blog to educate, solve a problem, answer a question, and/or entertain. Creating titles can be one of the most challenging parts of the process.

You want a title that will grab attention and make people want to jump in. However, do not use clickbait titles unless you want to aggravate your readers. While clickbait titles will generate more traffic on the front end, if it’s all flashy title and no substance, you will send your readers to the next site looking for better, more informative content.

Title Generators

There are many title generators out there that can help with ideas. Hubspot offers one, but it tends to be pretty superficial in the ideas it generates. Portents is another option.

Let’s use our example of “video marketing services” in these title generators.

First, let’s plug it into the Hubspot Blog Idea Generator:

  1. Video Marketing Services: Expectations vs. Reality
  2. Will Video Marketing Services Ever Rule the World?\
  3. The Next Big Thing in Video Marketing Services
  4. Video Marketing Services Explained in 140 Characters or Less
  5. This Week’s Top Stories About Video Marketing Services

Mostly garbage, right? It does, however, illustrate the way we work to include the phrase in the title.

Next, let’s try the Portent title generator:

  1. The Hunger Games Guide to Video Marketing Services
  2. 8 Freaky Reasons Video Marketing Services Could Get You Fired
  3. How Video Marketing Services Aren’t as Bad as You Think
  4. True Facts About Justin Bieber’s Love of Video Marketing Services
  5. Where Video Marketing Services are Headed in the Next Five Years

These are also pretty rough, but they are unique at the very least. Number five is not terrible, but will this compel our users to click? That’s the question you have to ask yourself.

Do you need a title generator? No, not at all. You can quickly brainstorm 50 ideas with your keywords. Answer the Public (referenced above) provides some great ways to phrase questions around your keywords.

Some of your phrases will require more creativity than others to arrive at a compelling, natural sounding title, but that’s part of the fun.

A Note on Title Length

Let me make it slightly more complicated :)

  1. The perfect blog post title is 60 characters
  2. Titles with 8 to 12 words are shared more often on Twitter
  3. Titles with 12 to 14 words are shared and liked most often on Facebook

Keep those additional thoughts in mind as you work on your list of title ideas.

The Outline

Note: there are many ways to write a blog. The following is just one example format, but it tends to be very successful because it is the same format that many successful public speakers use to present information on a massive scale. It also brings the keyword in at appropriate times for SEO.

Check out our other posts for other templates such as the How To Post, the List-based Post, and Curated Content.

Now onto the layout -

    1. Killer Title (H1 Tag)

      • Use your keyword as discussed above
      • Beautiful Picture or Graphic
      • Ensure that your keyword is in the title of your photo and your alt text in a natural way
    2. Introduction

      • Keep it concise and punchy. Perhaps you can present a common opinion or idea and then disagree or agree with it. Ask a question. Tell them what you are going to say. Anything that will help to excite the reader and warm them up for the main content.
      • Important: Be sure to use your keyword in the first sentence of your first body paragraph.
    3. Main Content

      • The main body is where you support your thesis from your intro. Why do you disagree with the argument? What is the answer to the question? What are the top five reasons that dogs can’t drive? Present the meat of your article here.
      • Use synonyms of your keyword in these supporting paragraphs. You can reuse your keyword if it reads naturally. Don’t force it.
      • Use subheaders to divide up content into easily scannable heading
    4. Conclusion

      • Don’t write your conclusion like an essay in high school but do bring it all together for the reader. Summarize what you said in a clear, concise way and present your commentary as needed.
    5. Feedback/CTA

      • Invite interaction and engagement by providing a space to comment or create a call to action to take users to the next stage of your sales funnel. You can link to a content offer here as well.
    6. Meta Description

      • The meta tag is not part of the post that your users will see, but will be the text that will display on Google search results. This description should be helpful to users in deciding whether or not it solves their query. Include your keyword in the meta info.

Important SEO Areas

These are the areas to ensure you use your keyword to maximize your chances of ranking.*

    1. Title (H1 tag)
    2. First Paragraph
    3. Image Alt Text
    4. URL
    5. Meta Description

*Remember that your main goal should be to create content that is inherently valuable to readers and then focus on SEO and rankings.

Just creating content based on keywords and stuffing them in as many places as possible can get you penalized by Google. The intent of your content should be to present information with practical value.

Avoid fluff content. Don’t waste your users’ time by presenting superficial garbage. Your blog must be high quality, comprehensively answer questions with relevant info, and it must be easy to read across devices.

Conclusion

So is blogging for SEO easy? Yes, once you get the hang of it, but it takes some planning and practice just like most things worth doing. This type of formatting becomes second nature after you write a few posts.

Does this seem like too much trouble?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. HARNESS is an inbound marketing agency that specializes in creating content for each stage of your unique sales funnel. We can help to get you in front of your target customers, taking them from a new visitor to brand evangelist.

LEARN MORE

Why Small Businesses Need to Embrace Digital Marketing

Almost half of all businesses don't have a digital marketing plan in place. Is your company among them?

If so, you need to make some moves. Small business digital marketing is essential for scaling your business in 2018. Advertising is on its way out, and digital marketing is taking the world by storm.

Want to learn more about digital marketing for small businesses, and how to create an effective online marketing plan? Read on to learn more about the importance of digital marketing strategies for small businesses.

It's the Way of the Future

83% of businesses report that their digital marketing tactics are working to grow their business. There's no denying that we live in a digital economy today. Smartphones are so pervasive that people spend 24 hours per week staring at their phone.

In the twenty-first century, you'll find people on digital outlets more than anywhere else. In the past, car passengers would certainly read bus stop benches as they zoomed past on the highway. Now, they stay occupied by the phones in their pockets.

Same goes for other popular forms of advertising, like newspapers, for instance. Every major news outlet has an app now, so people turn to their phones to get the latest news. It's easy, digestible, and usually free.

Even magazines are turning more and more toward digital publication. You'll find fewer places to place print ads in 2018. Those ads won't get beneath nearly as many people's eyes as digital strategies, either.

Connect with Your Ideal Client

One of the most potent uses of digital marketing strategies is to connect you to your ideal client. Digital marketing offers ways to market directly toward the exact demographic you're trying to target. Traditional advertising methods don't allow this direct targeting method.

Here's a social media marketing example. On Instagram, you can find hashtags that your ideal clients are searching on the app. Once you see these hashtags, you can begin to use them on your posts to reach that demographic.

Here's another example relevant to content marketing. By writing a blog and hosting it on your website, you can attract organic leads that are interested in what you have to say.

With some light research, you'll be able to find the questions your client base is asking online. From there, you can even tailor your blog topics to answer those questions directly. With some search engine optimization, this can land your potential clients right onto your website.

Your Small Business Digital Marketing Plan

Digital marketing is the only way to scale your business in 2018. As old traditional advertising methods die out, small business digital marketing has become a much stronger alternative. It's also the best way to reach your target demographic directly.

Want to learn more about how to dive into online marketing for small businesses? We can help there.

We specialize in inbound and video marketing, two of the most significant branch of digital marketing today. Get in touch to find out how we can help you scale your business!


Why Videos Are the Best Tools in Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Why Videos Are the Best Tools in Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Did you know that consumers prefer videos over text when discovering more about brands and products? In fact, four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than to read about it (Source: Hubspot).

Marketers have noticed a surge in engagement, conversions, brand loyalty, and customer experience when leveraging videos in their inbound marketing strategy. Videos have a fantastic way of capturing attention and drawing your audience into your message. It’s one of the best tools to humanizing your brand and getting people to take action.

Let’s review what video and inbound marketing are and why it’s essential today

What is Video and Inbound Marketing?

Let’s begin with inbound marketing. This strategy focuses on attracting ideal prospects and customers to your brand through valuable content that solves problems, educates and informs. Rather than using traditional outbound marketing like cold calling, buying email lists (spam), and ads, inbound embraces sharing content that your audience will find useful and relevant.

As a result, you’ll be viewed as an expert and valuable resource. In a digital era where a search is a top source for finding information, inbound marketing positions you to show up when your audience is looking for you. Therefore, you’re utilizing platforms like your business blog, social media pages, video and podcast channels to share your expertise and give value.

This is a much better approach than chasing prospects…you’re drawing them in, making them more qualified and receptive to your content.

Now, video marketing is a part of your content marketing strategy which is a subset of inbound marketing. You see, your content includes blog articles, images, infographics, email messages, eBooks, checklists, videos and much more. A video is a tool leveraged with the intention of either increasing brand awareness, capturing leads, or generating sales.

Why Videos Are More Effective in an Inbound Marketing Strategy

The benefits of using videos in your inbound marketing strategy abound when you consider the impact and influence it has on moving viewers to action. Videos give your audience a chance to experience your brand’s culture, making you relatable and trustworthy. It significantly bolsters the know, like and trust factor which are key ingredients to getting people to do business with you.

Here are several top reasons why videos are incredibly useful in an inbound marketing strategy:

  • It dramatically improves lead conversions. Including one on a landing page can improve opt-ins by a whopping 80% (Source: Hubspot)
  • Creates more opportunities for customers to find you on Google and YouTube, boosting brand visibility
  • 62% of B2B marketers rated videos as an effective content marketing tactic in 2016
  • Adding video to an email accelerates engagement, leading to a 200-300% increase in click-throughs
  • Allows you to build genuine relationships with your social followers, email list, and potential customers
  • Video appeals to mobile users, a significant benefit since more people use their smartphones than desktops
  • Videos can help explain everything. Whether you’re launching a new product or idea, attempting to explain a difficult concept or need to dive deep into a topic, you can be as creative as you want to help viewers understand

How to Implement Videos in Your Inbound Marketing

With a clear understanding of what video marketing is and how it can positively impact your numbers, the following provides a step-by-step blueprint on how to incorporate it into your inbound marketing strategy:

#1 Be Clear On Your Audience

Having clarity on your target audience and knowing their pains, problems and challenges is the prerequisite to a solid content marketing strategy. One of the best ways to understanding your market is by developing buyer personas. This process will help you to create winning topic ideas that you can share in your videos that appeal to your audience.

#2 Brainstorm Content that Aligns with the Buyer’s Journey

Your viewers will each be at different junctures in the buyer’s journey. This is important to recognize as you want to create videos that target each stage to increase your reach. These include the Awareness, Consideration, and the Decision stage. Think of video content ideas for each stage to have a well-rounded video marketing approach.

#3 Use an Editorial Calendar

Plan, organize and schedule your video content by utilizing an editorial calendar for consistency. By mapping out your topics, you’ll get a holistic view of when your content will publish, so you’re constantly feeding your audience with quality-rich content. Google Calendar is an excellent tool to schedule your videos.

#4 Create and Publish Your Videos

Videos can take on many forms such as YouTube videos, webinars, social videos, and live-streaming video. Decide on the types of videos you will use for your topics and begin publishing.

To create stunning videos that capture attention and exudes your brand personality, leverage a team of experts that can help you stand out in the crowd!

#5 Promote Your Videos

Get more eyeballs on your content by promoting your videos. Synchronize them in your social media, email and blogging strategy for maximum impact. Effectively promoting your videos improves its viewership, SEO ranking (if on YouTube) and brings more significant exposure to your brand.

Conclusion

Videos are one of the best tools you can implement in your inbound marketing strategy. Adding them today can catapult your business goals, increasing brand awareness and generating engagement from your audience. Given the way people consume content online, amplifying your video marketing will position you to reach more of your audience.


Inbound Marketing Strategy - Turning Leads into Customers

Use Inbound Marketing to Turn Leads into Customers

How to Use Inbound Marketing to Turning Leads into Customers

Inbound marketing has revolutionized the industry of marketing through the ease of turning leads into customers. Partnering with outbound marketing, customers and clients are more receptive to the information that pertains specifically to their interests.

 

Customer Relationship Management

Hubspot offers a free CRM software which tracks contact and company information in detail and with ease. If kayaking is your business, then utilizing the inbound technology to send outbound information will have your prospects paddling their way to your company because of your marketing efforts.

 

Email Marketing

Once the CRM is in effect, emailing those who inquired about your outdoor products or services is one of the most useful tools used in obtaining leads. According to Hubspot, "A good email is valuable, relevant, expected and integrated." Customize your email to express your business' unique personality and design while appealing to your customer's specific desires.

 

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a fantastic tool that helps to differentiate contacts that are mildly curious from contacts that want your products or services today. It takes the responses and ranks the potential of which connections to follow-up with first.

 

Automation

Marketing automation is a mass of information to reach out to potential prospects. When used with the other inbound marketing tools, it can boost the efforts of encouraging candidates to inquire more about the product or service offered. Utilizing the tools of inbound marketing in conjunction with some outbound is a more effective method of turning leads into customers. Prospects won't feel as invaded and welcome the information that is pertinent to them. Market your company with the proper tools toward its highest potential. Contact Harness today for obtaining more information toward your success.

 

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Hubspot (2016). Free CRM Software for Small Business. Retrieved from http://www.hubspot.com/products/crm

Hubspot (2016). What makes good email marketing. Retrieved from http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-resources/email-marketing

Hubspot (2016). Lead Scoring 101: How to Use Data to Calculate a Basic Lead Score. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/lead-scoring-instructions#sm.000018pfw5o23zelspsh7jp8mi1lq

Hubspot (2016). What is Marketing Automation? Retrieved from http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-automation-information


2 Men with laptop facing each other in marketing agency

What Should You Look For in a Digital Marketing Agency

2 Men with laptop facing each other in marketing agency

You've tried juggling your marketing. Either you're doing what you do best—focusing on your core business needs—or you're losing hours on social media and trying to figure out why your website won't work right on mobile. Let's face it. You need a digital marketing agency.

A quick web search gives you plenty of company names. But how do you pick one? How do you differentiate between sizzle and substance? High bills and high conversion?

Here are a few things to look for when selecting the digital marketing agency that's right for you.

Social Media Experts

Content is king. You want a digital marketing agency that has tapped into where your audience gets their media. They should be able to formulate a strategy to put your company on the lips of your target audience. Engagement is key to social media. Will the agency craft a plan that tells your brand story in a way that relates to the audience? Look at how they handle their presence? Has their blog been updated recently? Marketing is ever-evolving. If there hasn't been a blog update in months or if their Twitter feed is empty, it's not the marketing company you should hire.

Adaptable and Innovative

You can't afford to be a step behind. You need to keep up with the competition, or better yet, stay a step ahead. Marketing is always changing. Radio was big. Television was huge. Now, social media is the current forefront of marketing, and the most consumed content is video. Social media platforms are adapting to the content their users want, and that means video. It will be the next cornerstone of inbound marketing.

Strong Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing means motivated customers come to you and want you to market to them. Rather than inundating people with expensive hit-or-miss ads, you generate content and capture an audience. They follow you because you talk to them, you interest them, you engage them. This is less intrusive, often less expensive, and establishes more than leads; it creates repeat conversions.

Flexible and Scalable

Would you wear a one-size-fits-all suit to a meeting with your biggest client? What would you think if a vendor came to meet with you? When choosing a digital marketing agency, why would you choose one that wants to sell your company cookie-cutter solutions? Look for a digital marketing agency that will tailor their services to your business needs. They should respect your firm as the unique entity you've worked so hard to create.

Real Data Analytics

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data tells you about your buyers and how they are interacting with your company. They can tell you how you're perceived, what campaigns are generating leads, and, more importantly, what strategies are converting leads. Without sufficient data, an agency is fumbling in the dark. Sure, they might have an occasional hit, but they won't know why or how to duplicate their former.

Take your time and evaluate your options. At HARNESS, we tailor our services towards your company's needs to give you the best results. Whether you need us to complement your existing traditional marketing efforts or we're your first foray into working with an agency, our focus is you.

Contact us to harness the power of inbound digital marketing.


inbound marketing strategy

Key Elements to a Winning Inbound Marketing Strategy

inbound marketing strategyInbound marketing is the best way to promote your business online. Leveraging this strategy significantly increases brand exposure, boosts follower engagement, drives traffic to your blog and lead pages, and improves lead and sales conversions. If you want internet marketing success for your company, embracing the inbound methodology is the way to do it.

There are four essential actions in the inbound marketing strategy. Each element must be actively working to achieve the best outcomes in your marketing efforts. Here are the major components, with examples of techniques and tools, you can use to create a winning strategy:

#1 Attract Visitors

The first action is driving traffic to your site…but not just any traffic. The goal is targeted to quality visitors that are interested in your message. Having clarity of your target market is vital to creating content that solves their problems. Once you have established your buyer personas, you can align your entire content marketing strategy including social media, email messages, SEO, blogging content and videos to their interests.

#2 Convert

B2B Companies that blog only 1-2 times per month generate up to 70% more leads than those that don’t (Source: Hubspot). This stat illustrates the power behind the inbound strategy and how it dramatically impacts lead conversions. Convert website visitors into leads by using tools like landing pages, web forms, and lead offers. The key is ensuring your lead magnet is enticing and valuable enough for viewers to give their contact information in exchange.

#3 Close

The third element of an inbound marketing strategy that works is closing your leads into buying customers. It is in the nurturing process where you are grooming prospects to move them closer to a purchasing decision. Email marketing and marketing automation are excellent tools to fostering relationships with your leads that build trust. Thus, wanting to do business with you.

#4 Delight

You’ve earned a new customer…good work! But it doesn’t end there. This final step to inbound marketing is where you build loyal, raving fans who proudly promote you to their networks. How do you make this transition? By continuing to feed valuable content that resonates with your audience. Tools such as surveys and social monitoring are ways to gain feedback to improve your customer initiatives and create amazing experiences.

Ensuring that these four ingredients are working in your inbound strategy is imperative to achieving online marketing success. When executed correctly, you will maintain a steady flow of traffic, leads, sales and returning clients to your business.

For help on creating an inbound marketing strategy that increases your brand exposure and improves online conversions, contact us here for a schedule consultation. We are ready to help get you to your next level.


15 Things You Should Know About Marketing Automation

A new year is just around the corner. Many see that as the perfect time to transform their personal lives. Why not make it the perfect time to implement marketing automation as your advertising strategy? If you are not already using marketing automation, here are 15 things your boss wish you knew about it and why it should be your strategy of choice for better performance throughout 2017.

1. Productivity Increases with Marketing Automation:

Take advantage of software that automates the processes of an effective marketing campaign. Make better use of your time with automated solutions for customer segmentation, integrating customer data into a campaign strategy and managing a campaign. For example, create and schedule an entire month's worth of social media posts in a single day.

2. Workflow Efficiency:

Automate the following repetitive tasks: data processing of information collected on forms, managing calls to action (CTAs), generating conversion reports, etc. Complex tasks are smoothly delivered with accuracy through automation.

3. Channel Agnosticism:

A single platform can tie together all cyber venues for a campaign, as well as integrate multiple online tools. This increases your brand's visibility and also allows for customer interaction by the method they prefer. For example:

  • Email
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • CRM Tools
  • Texting

4. Revenue Growth:

The numbers do not lie.

  • 78% of high-performing marketers credit marketing automation for revenue improvement.
  • 68% of companies whose growth is surpassing their competitors use automated marketing strategies.
  • 34% is the average revenue increase for businesses using marketing automation.
  • 10% revenue increases have been reported within 6-9 months of beginning a marketing automation strategy.

5. Customer Retention:

Once a company makes the sale they need to keep a client coming back. Customer insight abilities of marketing automation imbue it with the capacity to gather intelligence on customers, discover their needs and analyze their decision-making process. This information can, in turn, be used to develop methods of engagement that are more appealing to the customer, increasing the likelihood of customer retention.

6. Data, Data, Data:

If you cannot track and monitor a campaign, you cannot measure its success. Campaign managers have access to graphs, statistics and report an analysis of data that are easy to review and utilize. At a glance, you can know which strategies are working and which have bombed. Making the most of the data maximizes leads and conversion rates.

7. Relationship Marketing:

Customer satisfaction is just as important as generating sales leads. A satisfied customer will become a brand loyalist that can also do the work of a brand ambassador. Marketing automation makes it possible to personalize strategies for particular customer relationships through digital footprint analysis, lead qualification, and marketing alignment. By defining specific restrictions, a laser-focused list of customers can be generated to receive a text or email designed especially for them.

8. Consistency:

Mainly where social media and blogs are concerned, consistency matters. Users and viewers become accustomed to the content being posted on particular days, perhaps even specific times during those days. Life happens. Any number of reasons could disrupt a regular post that customers have come to rely on. Marketing automation will deliver the content consistently.

9. Value:

Maximize revenue potential through the value of automated marketing. Time is money. Manpower is money. An automated process saves both as it makes the most of your resources. Industry research reports a potential of 50% more hot leads at a third of the cost.

10. Simplicity:

You do not have to be a technology wizard to manage an automated marketing strategy. Most software solutions are designed like a template that guides the user through the process.

11. Lead Generation:

80% of businesses engaging in marketing automation enjoyed more leads. Qualified leads increased by an incredible 451%.

12. Lead Nurturing:

Marketers report that creating better leads is the number one benefit of marketing automation. On average, nurturing leads resulted in a 47% larger purchase.

13. Detailed Customer Profiles:

It is easy to create customer profiles filled with the perfect kind of data to help marketers create more effective ad campaigns. Data such as:

  • Opened email.
  • Email responses.
  • Purchases.
  • Selected preferences.

14. Conversion:

77% of businesses who employed a marketing automation campaign increased their conversions.

15. Accuracy:

A campaign is only as good as its data. By automating, you can take out the one element that contributes to error, the human element. Whether it is spelling, punctuation, or number crunching, humans get it wrong quite often. One digit or a single letter can mean a complete fail with something like email delivery. Automate and get it right.

To get started on your automated marketing campaign strategy, please contact us. Our experts are ready to help you harness the potential of data automation and put it to work so that your business can grow.

 

 


5 Important Aspects Your Video Marketing Campaign Should Include

Are you using video marketing the right way? Video Marketing is an effective way to reach out to customers while keeping them engaged and interested in your material. Customers can get all of the information they need through a video in just seconds. So how do you optimize video marketing to make your campaign even better? Here are five methods:

 

Schedule your Videos

As you may have discovered, scheduling your social media is an effective way to release posts consistently and at the optimal time for engagement. You should do the same thing with your videos. Be creative with it. Instead of releasing unrelated videos, come up with a topic and put together a series of related videos that will tell a story to you customers. Remember, you can also utilize this tactic to lead up to a big announcement, launch or event.

Take Advantage of Micro-videos

Micro-videos are all the rage right now on social media. Making small videos through apps is a smart way to promote your product on social media as customers scroll through their social media feeds. Consider using Vine or Instagram to make videos. Make them entertaining so your audience will want to watch them.

Tutorial and Tips: Implementing tutorials in your video marketing campaign is a way to keep customers coming back to your site. Some may think that providing tutorials and tips is giving away your company’s secrets, but in actuality it makes customers look for you as a point of reference. This will also keep customers coming back because they will look for more videos hoping that there are a series of tutorials.

User-generated Content: Let your customers be on camera sometimes. This allows customers to be involved with your brands and give genuine thoughts on something related to your brands. Instead of making a script, customers can come up with their material. You can even incentivize users to create content by awarding the best video. This will show people how passionate others are about your product.

Call-to-Action: Tell your users what to do after watching. Provide a description of next steps in your video. Without this, your customers will have no idea what to do after watching. An example of a call-to-action can be a coupon code, or you can even offer a discount to customers who mention your video on their social media. Another method is to utilize a “turnstile” to capture emails to view the video if the content is particularly valuable. Finally, a call-to-action button, such as a “buy now” or “learn more” button, can be utilized to drive traffic to a landing page to drive traffic and increase conversions.

Now that you’ve learned how to optimize your video marketing campaign, you can stand out from other products or marketing companies. For more information on video, marketing stays in touch with Harness on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


5 Tips To Generate Leads At Outdoor Retailer

Tradeshows are not an inexpensive pursuit nor are they a guaranteed success. Outdoor Retailer is no exception. The value gained from attending and exhibiting at Outdoor Retailer is immense, but companies must consider their strategy to truly take advantage of that value. Just purchasing a ticket to walk the floor of most shows can cost several hundred dollars or more. Hosting a booth to market your brand is even more expensive. That does not even factor in the time commitment of your staff, strategy, design, and marketing collateral needed to have a competitive presence at most shows. Once those items are examined, the costs add up to be quite substantial. However, if a company maps out a strategy, then the benefits can be immeasurable.

Considering those costs, how can you succeed despite the high cost of entry? 

Trade show veterans can quickly provide you some info on lessons they learned the hard way. We have taken this into account and had a few tips below on how to get the most for your trade show marketing dollars:

  1. Establish your plans well in advance. A month before the show is not enough time to start planning. In fact, three months is not long enough. Successful marketers start planning at least six months before a show start, and many take a year or more.
  1. Set goals for all of the shows in your trade show schedule. All of your marketing efforts should tie back to the overall strategic plans of the organization and trade shows should align with individual campaigns that carry the marketing strategy forward. With that in mind, your trade show goals should match up with the goals of the campaign into which the show fits. Trade show marketing goals can include:
  • New leads and direct sales
  • Increasing traffic to your site - driving website traffic is always a good idea because it can also create new leads
  • Building your social media following - social goals seem a little passive to many old-school salespeople, but consider that most new sales require three to five touch points with a future customer before gaining commitment
  • Expanding your email list - while many prospects may not be ready to buy now, they may be interested in keeping in touch to learn more about your product/service over time. The buying process is cyclical so keeping in touch is critical

Once you have established your goal for this show, you should identify metrics that allow the analysis of progress, success, and failures at a given show.

  1. Stand out. How can you reflect the culture of your company at your show? Regardless of how automated and digital our world has become, people still buy from people. Future customers are interested in learning more about you and your company as well as what it is like to do business with you. Your booth presents an opportunity to reflect the individual traits that make your organization unique.

The tradeshow floor can become quite monotonous as one booth blends into another because people follow the same formula for materials, design, and displays. Create something that stands out. You spent years developing your product or service in a way that your value proposition is different from any other business, your first impression on your new customers should be a reflection of that effort. While the extra effort may cost more, this added expense can be the difference between whether or not a new key account bothers to stop to meet you.

  • Consider your booth - can you create something different than everyone else? How can this further the goal you set for this show?
  • Dress for success - how will you and your team dress? How does this reflect you as an organization and your culture?
  • Collateral - what are your signs and other materials going to do to further your goal? More on this later.
  1. Create a single call-to-action. Assuming you have set your goal and created metrics, you should establish the pathway that a future customer will take to reach your goal. This call-to-action will become part of every facet of your trade show strategy, allowing a customer to move quickly from being a total stranger into your sales pipeline.

While designing your booth, materials, landing page, and analytics, you should consider this call-to-action (CTA) as being the keystone to all of your efforts. A CTA should inspire a visitor to commit to an action of some type and can include:

  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Register for a webinar
  • Sign up for a product demo

A CTA will direct your visitors to a landing page, a web page that is specifically designed to provide targeted information to visitors in exchange for the offer for which they initially registered. In turn, your CTA will lead to increased conversions and more qualified leads.

Only gathering business cards a tradeshow, which is what many salespeople do, is squandering the valuable resources required to get the company to the show. While that lead may have seemed very qualified and excited about your business at the time of the show, that excitement dissipates as time passes between the show and your sales team’s follow-up. However, if your CTA draws that visitor back to your website, then they are more likely to move all the way from stranger to lead and on to becoming a customer because of the excitement generated by your offer. 

  1. Create a landing page for each show you attend. Mentioned above, the CTA will drive traffic to a dedicated landing page that furthers your overall goal. Prospective customers will provide their email address in exchange for a valuable piece of content such as a video series, ebook, white paper, or product demo. The page itself and the content offer should be tied back to your trade show presence. By creating a landing page that you only send trade show attendees to, you can measure the success of your trade show presence by the response generated by your CTA and landing page.

Finally, have a particular, detailed process for how the content will be delivered to leads and the process for follow-up. How will leads be scored and qualified in your system? How will you keep track of the follow-up process? What are your next steps to further your goal and move prospects down the buyer’s journey? These questions must be considered in depth before launching your campaign.

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By utilizing these steps as a guide and adapting the advice to your particular organization, you are certain to have trade show success. Please get in touch if you have specific questions on how to establish a strategy to make the most of your shows.

 


inbound-vs-outbound-marketing

Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing

You might not have heard the terms inbound and outbound marketing before, but you have most likely experienced both without realizing. Read the scenarios below about inbound vs. outbound marketing.

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Outbound Marketing:

You’re in the middle of working at your desk and the telephone rings.  

You: Hello, this is John.

Marketer: Hi John, this is Sam from [insert name of Company X here]. Company X manufactures widgets. We pride ourselves on our quality and superior service. We have managed to help other companies transition to our widgets, and in doing so, we were able to help one company raise their retention rate of clients by 50% in six months. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if I can provide you with our services.

You: Well, right now is not the time for me to talk. Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.

This is an example of cold calling, which is an outbound marketing tactic. You’ve probably experienced this before and felt caught off guard. This type of tactic doesn’t form a relationship with the prospect and is interruptive. It shows a marketer-centric mindset and usually is not very efficient and rather costly. Other types of outbound marketing are mass emails (spam) and interruptive ads.

While each of these tactics may have a place as part of a larger marketing campaign, they do not work on their own in a vacuum. Let’s take a look at an inbound marketing scenario.

Inbound Marketing:

The sales process has changed dramatically in the past few years. Instead of relying on salespeople to inform them about new products and services to solve their problems, buyers are doing research on their own and arriving at a buying decision often without ever speaking to a salesperson at all! For this reason, marketing companies are transitioning from outbound to inbound marketing. Because of this, buyers feel more connected to the brand or business because of the relationship building aspects of inbound marketing. Read this scenario and think of a time you might have experienced this:

Steve is the production manager for an outdoor product manufacturing company. He has a problem with a bottleneck on his production line that has slowed down operations and decreased efficiency. He hits the Internet to search for a solution.

While researching, he happens to come across a blog post outlining areas that most plants usually incur wasteful production and how to remedy such issues quickly. At the bottom of the post, he finds a call-to-action that asks for his email in return for an e-book entitled “10 Steps to Immediately Increase Production Efficiency.” Steve is happy to give his email in exchange for such valuable information. Thus he has moved to the next stage in the buyer’s journey, or into the sales funnel.

After receiving his ebook, Steve receives subsequent emails promoting content and videos that help Steve to solve further his problem as well as other related issues that production managers like him have encountered in the past. Through this process, the company promoting this content has accomplished a few things:

  1. They’ve established a relationship over time through a contact frequency that made sense to the stage of the buyer’s journey where Steve was at the time.
  2. They have established a high level of expertise in Steve’s mind. He trusts this company with helping him to solve his problems.
  3. The company has nurtured this lead (Steve) all the way through the Awareness and Consideration Stage of the sales funnel to where they can now position their product or service in a way that Steve would be very willing to listen - sure beats a cold call!

How is it different?

In this scenario, Steve didn’t get bombarded with spam emails that were irrelevant to his interests or feel caught off guard with cold calls. Steve decided on his own time whether he felt that the company’s services were for his business, and he made the decision to call.

With inbound marketing, the consumer can give permission to be contacted instead of the marketer acting as an interruptive sales person in the consumer’s day. Inbound marketing conveys a customer-centric mindset.

Inbound marketing uses tools such as blogging to create interest, social media to engage leads, email marketing as part of the sales funnel and providing value with free resources, such as a downloadable ebook. All of these tactics build relationships with consumers over time.

Inbound vs. Outbound. Which one would you choose?