I recently put together a stackable model for strategic content marketing for clients which places a heavy focus on content marketing. This allows clients to see at a glance how all of the strategic planning and execution phases of a marketing strategy work together and inform the later stages. It’s difficult when putting together proposals for clients for them to visualise how all of the pieces fit together. This content marketing stack attempts to do this.
There is an intensive focus on content marketing for good reason, because content – whether it’s paid, earned or owned is the foundation of all marketing activity.
Think of your website as a hotel you own
If we think of the marketing stack as a hotel building, the design, development, UX and maintenance of websites and apps are the concrete pillars, outer walls and structural integrity of the building. The chaos outside of the building is kept at bay by the sound management and security of our hotel.
The navigability through the building and way-finding through the building and attention to detail is the UX, IA and interface design. This ensures our guests find their way through the building, towards the various amenities and service offerings.
The website content is the reception desk, tourist information, customer service, sales team, marketing team, HR and general manager. It’s the heart and soul of a business – the human side. Content is the memorable experiential side which makes one business stand out from another. After all, you can have the nicest hotel in the world, but if the staff are rude or incompetent, you won’t have buckley’s chance of getting repeat guests. It’s the same with content. When it’s not performing as it should, or when the meaning and intention of your content is not clear – your users will go elsewhere.
Content is the foundational marketing principle from which everything else in a website flows…
I hope I haven’t taken this metaphor too far, and I hope you get my drift. Content is the foundational marketing principle that helps a business to grow from original concept to start-up to multi-national brand.
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No matter what kind of business you’re in, your website needs to effectively sell your offerings.
Organisations that deliberately and consciously invest in conversion optimisation are twice as likely to see a boost in sales.
However the reason many businesses don’t, is that they are far too focused on BAU – the business as usual syndrome.
When more pressing tasks need to be addressed right now, then
optimising the home page of your website takes a backseat. Although what
could be more important than ensuring your website visitors convert
In this article we will explore research into conversion optimisation
and UX and how your business can implement some fixes to increase
1. Use product videos on your landing page
Recent research by HubSpot found that using a self-explanatory product video on your landing page can increase conversion of 144%.
2. Create multiple landing pages for your products and services
Landing pages can be tailored and customised to your Pay Per Click advertising. Put yourself in the website visitor’s shoes.
If a website visitor clicks on a Google Ad and gets forwarded to your
home page, not to a page that directly relates to the ad – will this
visit convert? Most likely no.
That’s because when someone clicks on an ad, they are after a
specific product or service on your website. They don’t want to read all
about your other offerings or your staff or blog posts – that’s
irrelevant to them. Instead they want to be taken to a page that will
give them pricing and everything they need to purchase, with the minimal
effort, if they don’t get this information easily – they leave.
Tailoring your landing pages to have the same content as your PPC ads is really important.
3. Keep the headline simple and related to your USP
You only get 0-8 seconds to tell a compelling story with website visitors. If your headline isn’t good enough, people will abandon their session.
A great way of ensuring you have the best headline is to split test
your landing page’s headline for different visitors, to see which one
Headlines should be short, make an impression quickly and tap into
the pain points of the customer and how the product or service
alleviates these pain points.
Here are some examples
4. Keep your call to action above the fold
Whether you decide to use an opt-in form or a button to gain conversion, keep this prominently placed.
‘Above the fold’ means that the content is visible to website visitors before they have to scroll down the page. This technique is obvious for the brand landing pages mentioned in the previous section.
5. Make sure that your images and graphics mean something
Using stock photos on your home page without any
context and direct relationship to your products or services isn’t good
So how do you correlate stock images to your own brand? You could
superimpose a customer testimonial or short quote from a customer over
the top of your stock image to make it relevant.
6. Use the landing page to overcome common obstacles to purchase
Firstly, do a bit of market research into the kinds of reasons why prospective customers may be turned off from purchasing from your business.
These reasons may be manifold, but if you can resolve some of these
doubts on the home page, then you should use this opportunity to do so.
If your product is largely unknown and also highly priced, in your headline, you should allay website visitor’s concerns by clearly mentioning the 30 day money back guarantee in your headline.
If your product is in a controversial vertical, such as clothing made
in Bangladesh, you could have a video on your home page showcasing the
production process. You could use the homepage as an opportunity to
allay customers’ concerns about the ethical standards of this workplace
and the workers’ rights.
7. Make opt-in forms easy and breezy to complete
As a web user yourself, you will understand the frustration of completing an opt-in form that seems to have a thousand fields.
So make it easier for your website visitors by only asking them for the very bare minimum of information. Their name, email and telephone will do.
8. Use a ‘chat now’ pop-up plug-in
According to the VWO blog
adding a chat now plugin is estimated to increase customer signups by
31%! A simple pop-up can be answered by a chat-bot initially and then
forwarded for human interaction to the website content manager.
9. Add testimonials to your home page
Testimonials and customer recommendations are worth their weight in gold for gaining more customers. Ensure that you use these prominently on your landing page in an interactive or automatic slider.
10. Make your CTA button the most prominent and obvious element on the page
Split test the copy for your call to action button and also the colour of the button itself. One study showed that simply changing the button colour to red increased conversion.
There are many factors that impact the conversion rate for a website. You can get a comprehensive assessment of your brand messaging, marketing and communications needs for your landing page by getting in touch with me on +61 3 9028 7745 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The most effective way to grow your audience is through the power of testimonials. Testimonials are the old-fashioned way to build reputation and legitimacy for your brand. Sometimes the old-fashioned methods of marketing are the best ways!
Although without the right tools at your disposal, getting testimonials can be like pulling teeth. The most effective ways to get testimonials is to leverage the power of the internet.
1. YouTube Unboxing Vlogs
Probably the most powerful customer review or testimonial at the moment is an unboxing video review on YouTube. This kind of review entails a vlogger literally receiving a package from a brand and then unboxing, assembling, using and assessing the product for the first time, while filming for YouTube.
This form of review is ideal for consumer tech, FMCG or retail brands. Building a vlogger outreach component into your marketing strategy will pay dividends, with increased sales. This is because having a prominent and popular vlogger endorse your products in the video is a bit like the holy grail for marketing right now. It is possible to sponsor an unboxing segment on vlogs, but that makes it less genuine.
B2B brands can still get in on the action with vloggers and
user-generated storytelling too, it just requires a little more
creativity in the approach.
You could ask permission from the Vlogger to use their vlogs on their own social channels and to quote the most praiseworthy parts as text-based testimonials on their website. This could lead to relationship-building with the prominent blogger, and them being aware of your brand. This is how genuine collaborations and vlog reviews happen. Become a fan of theirs first and share their content. Then, after a few months of doing this, you have some leverage to ask for a review.
2. LinkedIn Recommendations
Linked In recommendations are great. However you can’t leave a recommendation for a company page, only for individual people. Nonetheless, this is a fantastic opportunity if you happen to be an owner/operator or sole trader.
For larger organisations, it’s still possible to leverage Linked In for company reviews. Encourage individual employees to ask for testimonials from clients regarding specific projects they worked on. Then obtain permission from these individuals to use these testimonials on the testimonials page of the organisation’s website.
3. Facebook Reviews
If you have a Facebook page and you’re setup using the business template, then your page automatically comes with a tab for testimonials.
You can rearrange the order of these tabs and how they appear on your Facebook page by going to settings and then selecting templates and tabs. From there you can move around your tabs so that reviews/testimonials appear at the top. Then you can ask your followers to leave you a review.
4. Incentivise customer reviews online and offline
When a customer purchases from you online or in-person, use that opportunity to encourage them to provide feedback. This could be printed on the back of a receipt. Or the prompt could be in the form of an automated email that triggers after a customer completes the website’s check-out or receives their goods in the post. Incentivise this process by offering the chance to win a prize.
5. Scrape the internet for reviews
Lots of reviews and feedback will remain hidden from your business without digging on the internet to find them. These reviews could be on message boards such as Reddit, industry forums, blog posts, comments under news articles or in social media.
The best way of getting to these reviews and testimonials is by using Google Alerts and Social Mention. You can set up email notifications for specific keywords related to your organisation, such as product or service names, the names of senior leaders in the organisation or any other term you like.
6. Online directory websites
Common search directories such as Yahoo Local, Yelp and Google My Business allow customers to easily provide feedback and testimonials. In the case of Google, the more reviews people give your business, the more your organic search ranking is boosted. So this is one reason to encourage Google reviews.
It is possible to triage and respond to negative feedback or reviews from this platform and get notifications when a new review comes in. It’s always a good idea to have an updated listing on these websites, as it’s just another way for the customer to reach you online. In your print and email marketing you can guide customers to leave a review on Google to gain more reviews over time.
A word of warning about negative online reviews
Despite all of the praise-worthy and heartening feedback left by clients, opening up multiple platforms for online reviews comes with its own risks. You can mitigate against these risks by subscribing to email notifications from these platforms. This will inform you when a new review comes through. When a negative review comes in, ensure that you provide prompt, helpful and positive response to the individual.
Instead of avoiding the issue, address it honestly and humbly and always turn the negative feedback into a positive for the business. The only way that a brand can succeed is by understanding when a part of the process, product or service is broken and then taking the necessary steps to fix this internally. View it as a positive if it ultimately makes your organisation better.
So are online reviews and testimonials worth the effort? Absolutely! Not only are they great for building brand reputation, negative reviews can be used as a powerful learning curve for the business, with the potential for positive outcomes.
Do you want help to find customer feedback and use it to the fullest in your business? I offer a free content audit, which can show you how you can leverage all of your existing content. What’s great and what should be improved.
As we enter into 2019, it’s a great time to consider future trends in marketing for the next year or two. No matter what industry your business operates within, it pays to know about the next big thing around the bend.
1. The diminishing power of digital ads
30% of all internet users are now experiencing the online world devoid of ads, thanks ad-blocking software they can install into their browsers.
This means that the Google Ad network isn’t perhaps as robust at reaching your audience as once thought.
Although that doesn’t mean you ought to abandon your AdWords campaign all together. There are still many ways to reach your audience through targeted PPC ads. Along with social media and interactive content marketing. The latter provides your audience with valuable, helpful and entertaining content that they want to see.
The existence of AI in relation to marketing is nothing new. Although in 2019 many businesses and their marketing teams will implement easy fixes to business challenges by harnessing the power of marketing automation and AI. This will be done in several ways.
CRMs and most analytics platforms allow for a granular view of the demographics of your target audience. From this data, marketers can produce more relevant and high quality content that will resonate with the audience.
Many analytics packages feature machine learning that can predict the likelihood of a result in a campaign. This is based on past performance parameters and the program makes an educated guess on how to proceed with marketing campaigns. Handy!
By harnessing the automation power of a CRM like HubSpot or Marketo, it’s possible to completely personalise the customer experience. You can personalise all touch-points and communications over email, phone, chat and social.
Workflows and business processes can be automated through using Zapier and other process automation tools.
3. An alternative to Google
Search engine dominance belongs unquestionably to Google. Yet history shows that there will always be other search engines and tech companies waiting in the shadows for their big opportunity to shine. While Opera ascended and then disappeared from our lives and Bing is almost laughable in comparison to Google, don’t write off other contenders too soon. The competitive landscape is big and other players may still enter the game in 2019!
4. The power of voice
Voice-based Google searches are set to become more popular in 2019. Voice search is a helpful bit of functionality which arose out of mobile-first design.
As a result of an increase in voice searches on Google, the world of SEO and keyword research has to caught up. SEO’s new frontier is voice-powered search terms and phrases. These are going to be different to how people type written phrases into Google.
Key to note here is that:
People speak in full sentences rather than a string of random words, as they do when writing search queries into Google. There is a semantic difference that needs to be accounted for.
Key to findability on Google for voice-search is therefore writing content as though you’re speaking to someone rather than writing. That’s possibly going to become a new comms and copywriting art-form in 2019!
5. Interactive marketing and video marketing
Video is booming now thanks to countless mobile apps. It’s possible to tweak your face, add stickers and background, and even generate artistic wonders using a simple app.
Recently, marketers have attempted to blur the line between normal video content and native advertising. This is possible on platforms like Instagram stories.
Interactive content like quizzes, surveys, polls and videos create interactive, fun and educational information for users that blurs the line between regular content and advertising.
6. Use outliers their strange creative ideas
It’s an obnoxiously loud online world with many players vying for attention. In 2019, only the most unusual and strange marketing campaigns will get attention and stick. Therefore you should push your brand outside of the norm. Don’t be afraid to take creative risks, often these pay off by increased interest in your brand.
Attention all of you closet weirdos out there. Let your true colours show also embrace a robot, you never know if one day they might be your overlord. To future-proof your marketing, make sure you enjoy a free assessment of your content!
Sometimes the ideas for blog posts just need some coaxing to come out. Then when they do…prepare for a biblical flood of content ideas. Here are some great questions to answer in your blog posts. These questions should help to get your creative juices flowing. They are ultra compelling and help you to grasp what’s important to you as a business owner/operator, as well as to your customers.
What are the most frequently asked questions your customers ask?
What is the biggest misconception people make about your business or line of work?
What do your customers need to know to make good purchasing decisions?
What is the story behind the founding of your business?
How did your business get its name?
What is a complete ‘how to’ that will guide customers through an important lesson?
What is the story behind your new product or service?
What is a hard truth your customers need to hear?
Who are the people that you work with. How did they come to work with you?
What are the first three things someone needs to become an expert in your field?
Do you have a customer success story that you can share?
Describe a day in the life of your company.
Do a survey of your customers. Then run through some key insights and data about your customer base.
What are your thoughts about where your industry is headed?
How do you hire your staff? What do you look for?
What are the unique selling propositions that makes your business distinct from all others?
Recall and write about a daily process in your business.
What are the most common mistakes you see people frequently make in your industry?
Can you summarise some key pieces of news/advice/tutorials/opinions from the last week in your industry?
Write an open letter to someone in your industry about a topic with broad industry relevance.
Write about legislation changes that might impact your industry.
What do your customers have a hard time doing?
What is the biggest news in your industry – and what does it mean for your customer?
What do you recommend customers read or watch?
What are the lessons you have learned in the last year?
Provide a checklist that’s relevant to something your customers might do.
Create a printable/template to help customers to achieve something
What were some key takeaways from a conference or industry event that you attended?
What are the latest trends that are emerging in your industry?
Who is an industry leader that you could profile/interview?
Can you profile a key member of your team?
What is the best suggestion you’ve had from a customer?
What quote do you think applies most to your business/industry?
What is the most innovative use you’ve seen for one of your products?
Who is a customer you could profile/interview?
Write up a talk or presentation you previously gave into bullet points or a summary.
What was the biggest challenge your business has had in the past year?
Ask 10 customers, peers and staff a single question. Then wrap an article around that.
What two products could you compare and contrast?
What two strategies could you compare and contrast?
What is a hot discussion/debate that happened in your business recently that you could recap or involve your readers in?
What is the history of your industry – from inception to today.
Project forward – where will your industry be in 5 years? Make a prediction.
Sum up your year just gone.
Review a book that you believe your customers should read.
Review a tool, product or service relevant to your customers.
What things have you done in business that you regretted and learned the most from?
What are the biggest secrets about your industry?
Record a conversation your team is having (podcast or video).
What amusing moment happened in your business this week?
What is your biggest passion and how does this align with your professional life?
What mistakes have you made and what did you learn?
Would you like a hand with ideas for your blog posts along with sorting through your existing content assets? Get a free content audit today by getting in touch below…