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4 Ways To Use Content Marketing To Grow Your Business

Content Marketing

 

A business that is not growing is often one that is dying. It is impossible to stand still in a dynamic economy, so you need to make sure that your company is always well-positioned for growth. One important tool for doing so is content marketing.

Essentially, this form of marketing involves using content, such as articles, infographics or videos to attract visitors and persuade them to become customers. By creating or curating the right content, you can enhance your brand and reach a large audience.


Lead Generation

Generating new leads is a major challenge for many businesses. Using content to bring in new leads is a very effective strategy. By providing the type of valuable information that people are looking for, such as how-to articles, tutorials, or expert interviews, you can increase the amount of traffic that comes to your site.

Sites that are regularly updated with new content tend to generate many more leads than those that only add new articles or content irregularly, or not at all. However, it is important to select the right type of content for your target audience. For example, if you want to reach people who are interested in cooking, then recipes or instructional videos are going to be most effective. You can re-purpose the video content by converting it to a podcast or transcribing it and posting it as an article on your site.

A blue thumb's up symbol with words Great Content to illustrate

 

Increase Interest In Your Products

If no one is interested in the products or services that you provide, you will have a hard time staying in business for long. By providing free samples or trials, you can significantly boost the level of interest in a short period of time.

One effective technique for doing so is to offer free trials or free samples. This is particularly effective if you are in the business of selling content. Offer a free sample chapter of an e-book or the first video in a series of instructional videos. If people like what they see, they will be more likely to come back and pay for the rest.

 

Creating A Vibrant Community

Too often, businesses think of their customers in isolation, as separate individuals with no connection to each other. In fact, companies that work to connect their customers and to create a lively community focused on their brand tend to do very well in the marketplace. Content marketing is an excellent tool for building such a community.

Do not just publish your content and forget about it. Instead, ask people to respond to it and to let you know what they think of it. Social sites are an excellent place where people can get together and discuss a particular article or video. Encourage people to provide their own ideas that expand on your content.

When people feel as if they are part of a larger community, they naturally come to feel loyal to that group. By working on building such a community, you can turn casual visitors into loyal customers. Of course, you need to make sure that you keep providing new content so that the community remains active.

 

Grow Your Business written on desert road

 

Building A Brand Image

Your brand is one of your most valuable assets so you need to protect it. A great deal of hard work can be destroyed overnight by a careless tweet or thoughtless post. You need to make sure that all of the content that you post is consistently aimed at creating a positive image for your brand.

Because of this, it is often wise to centralize the production of content. Instead of letting a half-dozen people write articles or create videos, it may be more sensible to put these tasks into the hands of a few trusted employees. This way, you can make sure that nothing is posted that will harm your brand image.

Content marketing needs to play a central role in your strategy for growing your business. By making judicious use of these techniques, you can make sure that your company is able to take advantage of any growth opportunities that may arise.

 

Guest post by Jim Daniels

Jim Daniels has been an online entrepreneur since 1996. He’s been featured in Entrepreneur and Opportunity magazines, as well as other respected periodicals and regularly posts internet marketing strategies to his website.

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Top 10 Marketing Planning Mistakes

marketing planning mistakes

 

Organizations have more marketing choices than ever before, making it easier to maximize your marketing budget. However, even the most seasoned professionals sometimes fall prey to mistakes that are easily avoidable. The list below details 10 common pitfalls to avoid when planning your marketing initiatives for the year ahead.

1. Failing to continually monitor your marketing programs. The phrase “you can only manage what you measure” is true. Online marketing offers you the ability to measure your marketing programs. This allows you to know what components of your marketing program are working, and what you should consider refining.

2. Staying on the same path. Sometimes the only constant is change. Objectives shift to align with business goals, new marketing channels enter the mix, and prospects begin using different resources to obtain relevant business information. Therefore, unless you’ve proven your current program is optimized for today’s marketing environment, your plan needs to evolve accordingly.

3. Forgetting to “fish where the fish are.” Virtually all professionals now use the Internet throughout their work processes. Are you reaching this target audience where they can be found looking for products and services like yours?

4. Ignoring frequency. “Fishing where the fish are” is only one component of a successful marketing campaign. Equally as important is how often you are reaching your target audience. Are you pushing your message out to the market on a regular basis, or are your efforts sporadic at best? Are you attracting professionals while they are looking and where they are looking for the products and services you have to offer?

5. Working “in a bubble.” Are the results you are seeing from your marketing campaign in line with what your sales team is looking for? It’s vital for marketing and sales to work together to ensure that your campaigns are delivering measurable results.

6. Focusing on quantity versus quality. Leads that provide intelligence to begin a relationship and gain a customer are more valuable than piles of nameless, faceless clicks. Be sure to capture relevant information.

7. Neglecting to maximize your media partner relationships. While accountability is a necessary component of any marketing program, you shouldn’t be expected to shoulder the burden on your own. Look to your advertising media channels for detailed reports delivered in a timely manner.

8. Overlooking timing. Are your marketing initiatives in sync with company-wide events such as product or service launches or trade show appearances? Neglecting to keep timing in mind can result in missed opportunities.

9. Abandoning branding and exposure. An increased emphasis on leads has resulted in some businesses shifting their focus away from branding and exposure. However, continuous exposure to your target audience will ultimately result in qualified sales and marketing opportunities. Are your media channels keeping you in front of your desired audience?

10. Moving into the year ahead without a plan. Still haven’t developed a road map for the future? It’s a good idea to set aside time to brainstorm your goals and objectives, and plan your tactics for the year ahead, including marketing channels that align with your plans.

ViaGlobalspec

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Analyzing The Success of Social Media Marketing

analyzing social media success

 

Guest post from Jonathan Leger

 

Social media is a modern phenomenon that presents incredible marketing potential. The problem lies in knowing just how to harness that potential to get the results you want. That’s why it’s so important to have a game plan in place for measuring the results of your social media efforts. In this article, we will share some doable tips and provide advice on keeping track of and increasing your return on investment (ROI) in social media marketing. Read on to learn more.

 

Six Smart Strategies For Assessing & Improving Social Media Marketing ROI

1. Set goals! Before you begin, decide exactly what you want your results to be. In that way, you will have some sort of guideline in place for measuring your success. Decide how much effort you want to focus on concerns such as lead generation, brand awareness, networking and reputation building. Set a target for the precise number of leads, fans and followers you want to generate in a given time period.

2. Make good use of tracking codes. Be sure to include tracking codes in every part of your social media marketing campaign. That way you will be able to tell which parts of your campaign are generating the most interest and you can tweak accordingly.

3. Do a thorough cost analysis on each lead. Determine how much each conversion costs as compared with how much you earn on each lead you generate.

4. Perform thorough demographics analysis. Be sure to use all the tools put at your disposal by Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to determine who is showing the most interest in your product or service and why they are attracted. Track interest from start to finish to determine the interests of your visitors, their location, age and gender. This information will help you target your best prospects.

5. Provide plenty of opportunity for feedback. Ask questions and encourage discussion. Create surveys, questionnaires and contests to engage your visitors. These activities will provide you with valuable information about what it takes to encourage and excite members of your target audience. It will also help you avoid doing things that will discourage them.

6. Find out how your visitors get to you. Use tools such as those provided by Alexa or Google Analytics to determine where your visitors come from and where they are headed. This will help you perfect your content to both attract and direct them.

 

Social Media Background

 

Is That All There Is To It?

While quantitative measurement of the success of social media marketing campaigns is important, it is also necessary to understand that qualitative results are even more important. The six simple techniques discussed above can help you get people to your social media pages where you can direct them in ways that will help you increase your ROI, but there are also many important aspects of customer service you should practice to optimize your results.

Remember that a very big part of social media involves making friends and building trust. There is a certain amount of finesse involved in this and success can be elusive if you are too focused on your business. You have to learn to set just the right balance between building authentic relationships with your followers and mentioning your product or service naturally and in an encouraging manner.

With social media, you can build your reputation as a trustworthy human being who has the best interests of others at heart. This may take a while and it is difficult to measure precise results. In this area, you will simply have to believe that with the passage of time, your consistent honest and trustworthy behavior will eventually pay off.

 

Frequent Involvement = Higher Numbers!

A successful social media marketing campaign will result in increased numbers of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites. It will also result in increased and positive activity. If you are simply attracting people to “follow” you and then never hearing from them again, your campaign is not successful. Your goal should be to have lively, active interactions on all your social media pages.

Be sure to visit your pages frequently and update your information on a regular basis. Create positive, interesting posts that engage your followers and encourage them to open up. Always keep in mind that you are working on building an ongoing relationship based in trust. Even if your potential customers are on the other side of the world, this is possible and desirable thanks to the internet.

 

Social media graph chart in 3d on blue and black

 

Think Of It As Building A Long-Term Relationship!

Don’t become discouraged if your sales figures do not climb as rapidly as your social media interactions. Your profits may not initially be an indicator of your success. Social interaction is a delicate activity. Success takes time to develop.

Focus on courting your target audience and building trust. This is a long-term investment that will surely pay off handsomely with the passage of time. By tracking and monitoring all of your activities closely, you will be able to look back through your records and see which of your efforts had the most success. This will allow you to repeat these efforts and improve your rate of conversion and ROI in a steady and reliable manner.

 

Jonathan Leger has been a successful Internet Marketer for over 11 years. He owns an SEO Tools suite at KeywordCanine.com.

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Happy Holidays from Epic Marketing

unnamed

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Get Your Emails Ready for the Holidays with These 11 Email Templates

email marketing

The holidays are coming.
And if you’re like most small businesses and organizations, email will play a big role in how you communicate with your audience and get the word out about everything you have going on this holiday season.

Read the full article at: blogs.constantcontact.com

 

Check out some really nice holiday email templates from our friends over at Constant Contact.

Email marketing can be some of the most effective and least expensive options, especially for a small business at holiday time.

So, get your list shined up, head over to Constant Contact, and get the email blasts ready!

Need some help or want a full service solution? Contact epic Marketing today. We can help you with anything from lists, templates, copy, imagery, custom coding, or a full service mailing.

 

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5 Aspects of a Successful PR Measurement Plan

successful PR plan

The constant state of flux within the PR discipline makes a solid measurement foundation all the more essential for communicators.

Read the full article at: www.prnewsonline.com

 

A leading industry publication recently conducted a poll of PR pros and asked about the hardest part of their job. An overwhelming majority cite the lack of having a measurement plan in place as making their job more difficult.

PR News followed up the poll with a great article outlining five aspects of a successful PR measurement plan. It includes:

Do preliminary research: It is vital to have an understanding of the overall marketing goals in addition to the brand’s business goals. This will help establish synergy between all communications efforts. Good research will determine if the company’s marketing goals are vastly different than the goals PR needs to achieve, and only solid measurement will demonstrate conflicting outcomes.

Think about budget, resources and timescales: Consider how measurement will be conducted. PR measurement often fails because PR pros are responsible for campaign elements and measurement at the same time. By assigning a separate, dedicated resource to measure campaigns, you avoid cases where one merges into another, clouding measurement outcomes.

Set clear goals: Whether you’re in an in-house or agency role, work with your brand or client to establish clear goals PR needs to achieve. Use the Barcelona Principles as your guiding compass.

Establish the baseline: Is the existing PR activity meeting some business goals, or is PR activity non-existent? If already used, does the existing program need to be ramped up?

Define measurement methods: Consider what PR goals need to be achieved. Then define the most appropriate measurement methods that will provide the level of detail required. For example, media results should account for impressions within stakeholder groups, as well as the quality of the message and media itself.

With the plan outlined, it’s time to execute – then track, measure, and report.

Still feel like you’re missing something? Contact Epic Marketing. We can help. We’ve helped clients with their public relations needs for over eight years and counting. Whether crisis communications, pitching, setting goals and budgets, or handling product rollouts, our experienced staff is here to help when you need an Einstein sized solution.

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PR Pros’ 11 Commandments for Working With Reporters

10 Commandments of Media Relations

As a PR pro, are you doing everything you can to make your dealings with reporters positive and get them to trust and, yes, need you?

Read the full article at: www.prnewsonline.com

There’s been a lot of discussion around our offices and in our online channels about how best to pitch a story to a reporter.

We’ve had reporter friends, other PR pros, and editors weigh in. What’s the common consensus?

Ken Grant, Epic Marketing media specialist says, “Regarding sending the pitch to multiple recipients at the same outlet – I have heard different opinions from reporters and editors who say they would rather have the same release sent to ten people in their organization than risk missing it because the one person it was sent to was out that day. Most importantly, I think the key is to develop a relationship with the media and give them what they want when they want it, like we try to do for all customers and clients.”

The keyword, though, would be authentic relationships. We’ve seen too many times when a media relations person believes that sending their “mark” some cheap swag and a white paper is a way to build a relationship. That’s not an authentic relationship.

Ken continues, “the individuals who pointed out things like misspelling their names or saying things like, “glad we talked yesterday” when they didn’t – those actions pretty much destroy any chance at an authentic relationship. I also recommend actually becoming a fan of the work the reporters, editors, and organizations do. When you’re talking with a reporter and can say, “by the way, that story you did last week was really insightful, that must have taken some time,” you demonstrate that you actually respect the work they are doing instead of seeing them as a means to an end.”

Matt Sullivan, former editor at Spark, made a great point. “On the subject of multiple emails – you certainly want to avoid having multiple people working on the same story in a news organization, so the larger the place, the more you want to be conscientious about targeting. But if you’re seeing multiple email addresses on a story pitch, that’s because the PR person didn’t BCC. As an editor, that always struck me as not only bad form, but not very smart.”

At Epic, we have firm guidelines for how, when, and to whom we pitch a story. Our top tips for getting your lead picked up by a reporter:

1. Don’t bury the lead. That frustrates the reader and wastes time.

2. Be aware of what is going on in real time and don’t pitch during a crisis or news event unless the story you are pitching is relevant.

3. Have someone such as the CEO or media liaison ready to talk on the record. If the story gets picked up, the reporter will have follow up questions. There are always follow up questions. It’s bad form to not have anticipated that and have someone ready to be interviewed.

4. Spelling counts – especially of the reporter’s name.

5. Don’t be deceptive. Not being genuine and honest will get you blackballed very quickly.

 

What tips do you have for reaching reporters and getting your pitch picked up?

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Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management

Quadrant for CRM Lead Management

Read the full article at: www.gartner.com

Gartner has released their white paper: Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management.

 

Their findings include, “CRM lead management matures amid strong user interest and a more complex vendor environment. IT application leaders should work with business leaders to define both core and emerging B2B marketing requirements in this technology segment.”

 

We couldn’t agree more. A successful advertising and marketing agency is no longer just a creative organization, we must also be a tech company to compete for ourselves and our clients.

 

Part of our arsenal is choosing the correct SaaS, platforms, and software. Gartner looks at the top lead management applications in this eye-opening report.

 

The full report includes:

  • Market evaluation and analysis of 14 CRM lead management vendors
  • Insights for selecting a vendor based on your organization’s requirements
  • Opportunities and challenges faced when deploying lead management systems

 

So how do you leverage your CRM? Well that’s where we can help. No matter which CRM you employ, Epic Marketing can help you reach your clients and customers with a message that will move them to action. We offer direct mailings, custom eblasts, newsletters, and promotional materials to let your customers know that they are valued and to keep them up to date on your happenings.

 

Take a look at the Gartner report and then let us know how we can help you leverage that valuable data to make a positive difference on your bottom line.

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GIFs Prove to Be Worth at Least 10,000 Words

GIF Happy Dance from Seinfeld

GIFs: Animated, looping images are experiencing a surge on mobile devices, growing an industry and providing textless messages for millions of users.

Read the full article at: www.nytimes.com

Check out these stats from the New York Times‘ fascinating exploration of GIF culture:

  • 23 million GIFs are posted to Tumblr every day.
  • Facebook Messenger sees more than five million pass through daily.
  • Slack counts more than two million GIF integrations each month.

 

The importance of visual content cannot be understated. We live—and market in—an age of ever-increasing competition for ever-decreasing attention spans. Study after study shows captivating imagery leads to better engagement. According to an ongoing research survey conducted by Software Advice and Adobe, images are the most important factor in optimal social media content. GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions, and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.

GIF stand for Graphics Interchange Format, and it was born before the popular explosion of video. In fact, the GIF is probably the grandfather of Web 2.0 video. The GIF tells a story more than a static image ever could – it is literally a series of timed images patched together

Just what do we see in GIFs? Like emojis and emoticons, they’re a way to quickly transmit information or emotion to a population that’s inundated with content and favors image-based communication.

Part of the fun is that there seems to be a GIF for any social situation you might find yourself in.

But GIFs increasingly have a more serious side, too—they can be a way to tell a story, explain a piece of information with more depth, or (yes, really!) conduct a conversation. For example, NASA uses GIFs of satellite imagery to transit important information, and Buzzfeed recently used GIFs to explain Greece’s debt crisis.

If you’re ready to add some GIFs to your online personality (or just up your GIF game) here are 10 social media moments to give GIFs a try.

 

Long live the GIF!

Rocky success GIF

 

 

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4 Things To Never Lose Sight Of When It Comes To Content Marketing

content marketing

According to Smart Insights, content marketing is the most important digital marketing trend for 2015. Chances are, you’re fully aware that content marketing is where it’s at and you’ve already been implementing it into your marketing strategy.

Read the full article at: www.forbes.com

In such a fast paced industry, it is very easy to lose sight of what’s truly important. Some individuals believe successful content marketers got to where they are because they supplied more content at a faster rate than the rest. However, it is not just the speed, nor the quantity, but rather the quality that earns true results. In this piece, Steve Olenski discusses four things to never lose sight of when it comes to content marketing. One important principle to remember is putting yourself in the reader’s chair.

 

“A writer must recognize target consumers to create engaging content. Your content should show readers that your business has credible expertise on the products you are offering, and your content must provide quality ideas of how your products can benefit consumers.”

 

There are no shortcuts to content marketing success. Check out the rest of this article to find out what else to keep an eye on.

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