5 Website Strategies for Better Results

website strategies

Your customers are online – and it’s your job to reach them, capture their attention and cultivate a relationship. In this post, our resident marketing experts explain how you can do exactly that by employing these five website strategies:

  • Making your website mobile
  • Harnessing the power of content
  • Using smart calls-to-action
  • Being social media-savvy
  • Keeping tabs on your competitors

Each of these website strategies is connected, and when they’re used properly, they’ll strengthen your brand and empower you to grow your business.

Here’s how.

5 Website Strategies for Better Results

Where’s the first place you look when you need information? You whip out your phone, open your laptop or start scrolling on your tablet.

That’s what your prospective customers do, too.

You need to position your company as the only company your prospects need. To do that, you have to:

  • Show search engines why your site is valuable to these searchers
  • Draw in potential customers on their own terms
  • Provide a useful, pleasant experience

What is Website Traffic, Anyway?

The term website traffic refers to the number of people who visit your site. It’s just one metric of your success, though – you need to attract your ideal customer and provide the user experience, or U/X, that he or she expects.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to visitors who come to your site because they found you in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic refers to visitors who clicked an ad on Google or one of your social media platforms.

An efficient and effective website brings in organic traffic. You can boost your site’s traffic by employing these five tried-and-true website strategies.

1. Go Mobile

Even in this wildly connected era, nearly 50% of all businesses still don’t have websites. If your site is up and running, you’re ahead of at least half of your competitors – and if it’s good, you’re ahead of even more.

Smart Website Strategies You Can Use Today

The majority of online searches take place on smartphones and tablets, so Google uses a mobile-first index to evaluate whether a site is worth delivering to people searching on mobile devices. If a site isn’t responsive, or if it doesn’t work properly on a phone or tablet, Google (and other search engines) are far less likely to deliver it to searchers using one of those devices. 

When a new visitor comes to your site, you have a window that’s only open for 3 to 5 seconds. Your site has to load and look appealing enough for users to stick around within that window – otherwise, that user will click the “Back” button and return to the search results.

When a visitor quickly leaves, Google determines that your site didn’t fulfill that user’s needs. With a high enough bounce rate (which is a topic for another day!), your rankings will drop… and Google will become less likely to deliver your website to searchers.

Your next steps:

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. (Test its mobile-friendliness here.)
  • Make sure your website is fast. (Test its speed here.)

Getting users to your site is hard enough. Letting them leave because you weren’t prepared is like flushing your marketing funds down the drain.

Pro tip: Older sites can be tough to optimize for mobile, so sometimes it’s best (read: easiest and most cost-effective) to start from scratch.

2. Harness the Power of Content

Strong content is the cornerstone of every successful digital marketing strategy. Good content that people can “Like” and share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms will bring more traffic to your site.

Content - Website StrategiesWhen people search the internet for something, they’re ready to learn. It’s your job to give them the information and experience they want.

They have a problem. You have the solution.

Your content is the medium that connects you. It’s what search engine crawlers “read” to determine what each page on your website is about, and it’s what search engine algorithms use to rank your site among other, similar sites for usefulness. 

The content on your website can inform. It can inspire. It can sell. 

Quality content establishes trust, builds rapport and sets the tone with prospective customers.

Your next steps:

  • Make a list of the most frequently asked questions about your products and services.
  • Turn everything on your list into a blog post. Link to reputable sites (those ending in .gov, .edu or .mil, or large publications such as the New York Times) to help build trust.
  • Publish informative, useful content on a regular schedule, whether it’s every Monday at 10 a.m. or every Thursday at 1 p.m. The point is to create a schedule and stick to it so search engine crawlers and regular readers know what to expect.

Pro tip: Don’t write for length. Write for quality. Get to the point quickly and succinctly. Avoid using “fluff” that doesn’t help visitors. Remember, Google is watching how long people stay on your pages and where they go next – and they’re using that information to determine how valuable your site is.

What About Video Content?

Video will comprise 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Check out these video marketing stats:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t use it
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • 90% of users say videos are helpful in the decision-making process

Your next steps:

  • Create videos that answer your customers’ questions and post them on your website. You can live-stream, create slideshows or show off product features.
  • Share your videos on all your social media channels, and include transcripts when there’s space to do so (such as on YouTube). Always include links back to your site where viewers can learn more on the topic or about your company.

Pro tip: Use subtitles on your videos, because 80 percent of people watch them with the sound off.

3. Use Calls-to-Action Wisely

Most of the pages on your website need a call-to-action, or CTA. A call-to-action is a piece of content that compels readers to take a very specific action, like buying your product, signing up for updates or clicking through to another page.

Website Strategies - Call to ActionYou’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into bringing visitors to your site and keeping them engaged, so you need a great CTA that seals the deal.

Calls-to-action need to tell the reader exactly what you want them to do and provide them with an opportunity to do it. You can use inline text or a button – whatever fits best with your brand’s tone and your website’s design.

Examples for inline text CTAs:

  • Click here to get your free one-hour consultation!
  • Get exclusive access to MarketCrest’s expert advice now by filling out the form below.
  • Find out how affordable our services are right now!
  • Get your free copy of our award-winning e-Book by clicking here.
  • Increase your leads by 1500% in one week – click here to learn our secret formula!

Examples for button CTAs:

  • Get a free e-Book now.
  • Let me in!
  • Sign me up!
  • Tell me the secret!
  • I want great deals!

Your next steps:

  • Identify pages on your website that need CTAs. Any page that offers a product, information or help can benefit from a call-to-action.
  • Come up with exciting text or great verbiage for a button.

Pro tip: Put a different CTA on every page and track its success. If some types, such as buttons, get more action than inline text CTAs do, make a few tweaks to perfect your strategy until your conversions increase.

What About Email Lists?

Opt-in email lists are extremely powerful tools in any marketing strategy.

But you can’t get something for nothing.

Offering your website visitors something they need – say, an e-book that gives people inside information from an industry expert (you!) or exclusive access to hot real estate listings – is the first step in cultivating your email list.

For example, if you know users look to you for how-to guides or for tips on working in your industry, you already know what types of deliverables to produce.

Pro tip: If you collect phone numbers when you make a sale, offer an option for people to opt into text marketing. Legally, you must ensure that people understand what they’re signing up for (this goes for email marketing, too) – and you must also provide an opportunity for people to opt out if they no longer wish to receive marketing messages from you.

4. Be Social

Social Media Website StrategiesSocial media posts drive targeted traffic right to your website. The user knows exactly what he or she is going to get after a click, and you’re uniquely positioned to deliver a great experience.

The key is to meet your customers where they are and make it easy for them to engage your brand. The more frequently you share useful content, the more visible your brand becomes across these mediums.

Check out these social media statistics to inform your next steps:

  • 73% of American adults use YouTube
  • 68% use Facebook
  • 35% use Instagram
  • 29% use Pinterest
  • 27% use Snapchat
  • 25% use LinkedIn
  • 24% use Twitter

Visibility on social media sites can boost your site’s visibility in search engines, and it helps build consumer trust. Even better, some of your competitors aren’t using social media – and that makes you far more visible.

Your next steps:

  • Create profiles on every social media site your clients are using. Be consistent with your branding on each.
  • Create or claim any listings on reputable websites, like Google My Business and Yelp, but avoid spammy business directories.
  • Use promotions through these websites to get people to visit your site, such as discounts and promotions available only to first-time customers.
  • Follow strong businesses in your community. Reach out and see if anyone wants to cross promote with you. If you run a yoga studio, start offering products with a local beauty supply or organic lotion company along with packages of classes.

Pro tip: Commit to a minimum number of social media posts each week, and make sure you stick to it. When someone interacts with your company by leaving a comment, reply! Share a mix of images, videos and text – and promote other businesses as well as your own.

5. Pay Attention to Your Competitors

Website Strategy - Keep Tabs on Your CompetitionSearch for your business on Google by typing in a key phrase an ordinary person would use. If you run a roofing company in Dallas, for example, type in things like roof replacement in Dallas or Dallas roof repair.

What companies come up in the organic search results? Which companies are paying for ads related to your business? Make note of who’s ranking naturally and who’s paying for ad space.

Visit your competitors’ websites. Look for:

  • Calls-to-action on each page. See how they’re wording CTAs and what they’re offering in return for a customer’s email address and other contact information.
  • Blog posts. Check to see how frequently they’re posting on their blog and see what they’re writing about.
  • Content. Find out what type of information they’re offering readers and compare it to the information you’re sharing. Evaluate it objectively, and if theirs is more useful, step up your game.
  • Social media buttons. Follow the icons to your competitors’ Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages to see how often they post, how much they interact with customers, and what they’re sharing.

Once you’ve done a little recon, it’s time to copy what the competition is doing – and put your own twist on it to make it even better.

Your next steps:

Pro tip: If you see something your competitors are doing that you think would work well for your own business, do it! Just make sure you track the results so you know where to focus more of your efforts.

Implementing Winning Website Strategies

You’re busy, but you know you need to keep growing your business and helping it thrive.

We get that – and we’re here to help.

Check out our powerful content marketing ideas for busy business owners or skip ahead and call us for a completely free marketing consultation. We’ll walk through what you’re already doing right and show you how you can save time and money while increasing your bottom line.

One simple phone call can help you get more from your marketing budget than you ever thought was possible.

Call us at 469-661-1040 or fill out the form below to get the help you need today.

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10 Reputation Management Tips From Seasoned Veterans

 

10 Reputation Management Tips From An SEO Expert

Ninety-seven percent of consumers in North America read online reviews to learn more about a business.

If you are not taking an active role in how your business is being perceived online then it’s time to start.

Our clients agree that Reputation Management is vital to succeed online today.

In this article, we have compiled helpful tips to help you recognize how professionals manage a company’s online presence. There are a lot of lessons learned!

Let’s get started:

1. Create A Consistent Online Presence

In order to manage your online reputation, you need to BE online. Create accounts for your business that are applicable to your industry. These go beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Though, you should have those too!).

Do some research to find popular sites in your industry. For example, if your business provides home services, consider creating an account on Houzz. Are you a B2B company that’s looking for hot leads? LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups will become your kingdom.

Delve into the digital world and find your niche. Among the websites we’ve listed above, you can also create accounts on Pinterest, Flickr, and Vimeo. Keep in mind that not every industry will thrive on these platforms. Do some research of your own to find out if your business will be a good fit.

2. Make Social Media A Priority

Social media is no longer just for friends and family. Users are turning to social media to follow brands, learn more about a business, and on some occasions, share their grievances with the world.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are replacing email complaints and comments. In fact, during the past two years, research shows customer interactions on Twitter have increased 250 percent.

Reputation management begins with your customers, their online comments, and reviews. Respond to their comments quickly, listen, don’t be defensive and always be professional (take the high road).

Like it or not, social media is an essential part of business today.

Users have a greater voice than every before. Thats good…and sometimes its bad.

3. Don’t Ignore Google Reviews (Or Google My Business)

When it comes to reviews, Google should be a primary area of focus. With more than 3.5 billion searches made per day, you cannot afford to take a blind eye to those reviews.

If you are investing in SEO, you will be easy to find online. Make sure when searchers find you, you like what they see!reputation management

Manage your online reputation on Google by claiming your Google My Business local listing and page. Manage your free listing directly, read and respond to reviews, and control the accuracy and completeness of your address, phone number, contact information, and photos.

We have read that an incredible 56 percent of local businesses have not claimed their listing!

Be part of the 44 percent that are taking a proactive approach to earning and responding to reviews. 

Google reviews may be important but remember that Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare reviews can be equally important. Tackle your reviews on every platform for the best results.

4. Reply to Every Review

You cannot expect to effectively manage your reviews if you don’t reply. Reply to each and every review, the good, bad, and ugly. Avoid defensive language and always be gracious and genuine.

Users seek out reviews to see what others are saying. When users stumble upon a negative review that has not been replied to, they’re only getting half of the story and they may think the business doesn’t care.

Reply promptly and offer a solution when applicable plus a prompt apology. Not only do you have the potential to win back a customer, your genuine response may sway a prospective customer.

Replies should always be conducted in a timely manner. A great rule of thumb is to reply within 24 hours Monday through Friday, and 48 hours Saturday and Sunday.

5. Encourage Customers to Review

Studies show that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews whenever your business completes a service.

Don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave reviews. If they’re thrilled with the service you’ve provided they’ll be happy to help. Plus there is a tendency to only leave reviews when we are angry. The best way to counter a negative customer review is with 5-10 great reviews.

A few clever ways to encourage reviews is to:

  • Ask in-person once service has been provided.
  • Include a link to leave a review on your monthly newsletter.
  • Make it easy to leave reviews by adding a “Leave Us a Review” button on your website.

Set internal goals every quarter to keep momentum and ensure that the number of your reviews never go stagnant.

6. Encourage Honest Reviews

Honesty and transparency is often the best policy when it comes to handling reviews. Everyone loves to get and read five-star reviews, but they should be earned, not just given.

Genuine, honest reviews are powerful tools for business. 

Note: If you’re hovering around a 4 or 4.5 rating, don’t worry! 94 percent of customers said they’d use a business with a four-star rating and 68 percent claimed they trusted a business with a mixture of positive and negative reviews.

Don’t panic if you have mixed reviews. The silver lining is that it helps the reviews feel more authentic.

7. Listen and Learn from Your Reviews, Even the Negative Ones

Reviews are windows into the services that your business offers and how you are doing.

Negative online reviews may be the byproduct of a customer having a bad day, but if you’re receiving consistent reviews mentioning a specific service or aspect of your business, listen!

Address any issues, be it customer service concerns or a specific employee complaint. Negative reviews are also an opportunity to build your brand. Genuinely apologize and offer to help make it right when it’s warranted.

Let’s make this clear…what you don’t want to do is argue.

One of the most popular “What Not To Do” examples is the now infamous Amy’s Baking Company.

On an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay met Amy and Salomon “Samy” Bouzaglo, restaurant owners in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not only did they refuse to believe any of their negative reviews–literal dozens of reviews–they actively sought them out and argued each one.

The episode and its subjects were so abrasive and unmanageable, focusing on each negative review as though it were a personal dig, it led to eventually closing their doors permanently.

If there was ever a cautionary small business tale about the importance of reputation management, it’s that one.

8. It’s Never Too Late to Apologize

Every business has bad days, sometimes there are fires that can’t be easily put out. If your business finds itself on the wrong side of a customer engagement own up to it and apologize.

A genuine apology goes a long way online. Some customers may even respond with gratitude and understanding.

It’s not unusual on platforms like Facebook and Google, for users to even edit their review to add a star or two and an extra line. When this happens, celebrate your accomplishment!

9. Don’t Stoop Down to “Trolls”

While there is a protocol for handling negative reviews, many businesses fail to anticipate “trolls”.

A troll is internet slang for someone that consciously tries to stir the pot by posting rude and often inflammatory comments online.

If your business has the misfortune of being plagued with a troll or two, don’t panic. Don’t hesitate to block someone who is obsessively commenting, reviewing, or spreading rumors about your business.

Delete the comments if you can, attempt to assuage the review, but do not fight back with anger or spite. If you reply with a vengeance, you’re only pouring more fuel to the fire.

10. Invest In Reputation Management

These days, managing your company’s online reputation can be a full-time job. 

We guess its fair to say that a major downside to our culture and social media is that there is no real way to avoid problematic issues with being found online. It comes with the territory.

Comments and reviews can come at any hour of the day, any day of the week. An upset or frustrated customer likes to vent and they don’t take weekends or nights off!

In reality, a hardworking small business, might not have the time to respond to each comment, every review, positive or negative. Crafting response after response takes a lot of time and energy.

If you find yourself in this predicament, consider enlisting a trusted member of your team to carry the load, or ask your agency to carry the load. 

Reputation management programs vary from agency to agency and from client to client based on matching capabilities and needs.

Our experience tells us that as you grow, it’s worth a little time and money to be proactive and stay ahead of your reputation online.

Need A Helping Hand

MarketCrest is an in-house digital marketing agency offers SEO, website development, Pay-Per-Click advertising, social media, content marketing and of course reputation management services.

Sign up for an hour of free marketing consultation with our chief consultant. Our award-winning team has helped local businesses and large corporations alike take control of their digital presence.

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How to Use Email Marketing Metrics to Maximize Your Campaign ROI

email metrics

Email marketing campaigns are a handy way of reaching out to potential clients. 

Actually, even saying that is a bit of an understatement. Using email, businesses around the world reach out to hundreds of thousands of clients every year. 

That’s a lot of potential for marketing.

Still, a boxer’s punch is only as good as the length of their arm. Great marketing is less effective when it doesn’t reach enough people.

Today, we’ll be discussing how to use email metrics to measure whether your email is helping you hit your goals. With this information, you’ll be able to hone your digital marketing, with a focus on email.

Why Do Email Marketing Metrics Matter?

Marketing emails are unique, by their very nature.

From one company to the next, the content, goals, and duration of your campaign all depend on what you want to get out of it.

The one thing they all have in common, though, is that they’re an investment in your business’ marketing structure.

Nobody invests time or money into something that gives nothing back, especially when that thing is advertising. Success isn’t just important – it’s the only reason to keep your email marketing going.

But how do we measure success?

As it turns out, through the use of accurate and comprehensive metric measurements. 

Whether you’re growing your email database or marketing a new service, access to the numbers allows you room to adjust and perfect your plan.

Specific metrics can provide meaningful insights into the efficacy of your email campaign. Each individual metric can help to drive engagement in your program, by tailoring the way you approach it over time.

Remember: before you begin your campaign, you have to evaluate your objectives. What are you trying to do? What would you consider a success? Decide on the metrics associated with these goals, and work to refine your emails, accordingly.

Decide on the metrics associated with these goals, and work to refine your emails, accordingly.

Six Email Metrics To Focus On

Though not all email metrics are created equal, there are some areas you should be focusing on in order to truly streamline your marketing.

Clickthrough

This is the most basic metric to measure and adjust for the success of your email campaign.

Measure the percentage of email recipients clicking on links within your email. With this information, you can track and measure the changes associated with your A/B split testing. Moreover, you’ll be able to measure the effect of your content on the people you’re emailing.

Moreover, you’ll be able to measure the effect of your content on the people you’re emailing. The higher the percentage of people clicking through, the more effective the content.

Conversions

If clickthrough is the foundation of your email marketing, conversions are its walls, roof, windows and light fixtures. Without them, you’re out of luck.

Always be converting.

The idea is simple: if someone clicks through to your website, you want them to click, next, on something that benefits your business. Any click “with meaning” is considered a conversion, and this is an easy metric to follow.

Integrate your email and website metrics to showcase your conversions, for maximum ROI on your email marketing campaign.

Bounce Rate

Bounceback, for ROI purposes, has the opposite effect of a clickthrough or a conversion.

This is the total number of emails which did not successfully reach their recipients’ inboxes.

“Soft” bounces result from temporary problems with the address, while “hard” bounces are from broken addresses. While one is clearly worse than the other, it’s important to get this number as low as possible.

List Growth

A secondary metric that can really make a big difference in the way you conduct your email marketing is the rate at which your email list is growing.

The benefits of this metric are clear: the more people on your list, the wider your reach is. Similarly, if your list is shrinking, you’re clearly either doing something wrong or not giving people enough reason to stay with you. 

Sharing and Forwarding

In digital marketing, as well as anywhere else, you’re only as good as your reach.

The more people who get hold of your marketing content, the better the chances are that someone will click through or convert.

But how do you get your email into more hands than just those on your standard mailing list?

Through sharing.

Integrated links for sharing and forwarding your email content, give users the ability to “spread the word” about your brand, all on their own. And that brings with it the potential to reach hundreds or even thousands of readers you don’t even know.

With sharing email metrics, you’ll be able to see the spread of your content to addresses other than the ones on your list. Those new readers, in turn, will add to other metrics, which can also be measured.

It’s no stretch, from there, to examine your content and identify how it is being and clicked. From there, shifting your focus to improving and reproducing those areas is simple.

Total ROI

Every marketing campaign comes down to a simple question:

“Am I getting enough of a return for the money I’ve invested in this marketing?”

Luckily, when it comes to email marketing, it’s possible to measure Return on Investment (ROI) and get this exact information. 

Measure the performance of various emails, links, leads, and content, and compare these numbers to goals you’ve set up, beforehand. How many email leads, from the total number you’ve sent out, end up converting? How much did you spend in man-hours, putting this campaign together? Are you making your investment back, or could you, give time and a steady improvement?

How much did you spend in man-hours, putting this campaign together? Are you making your investment back, or could you, give time and a steady improvement?

Depending on your focus, it’s easy to see the return on investment in your marketing campaign using metrics to measure performance.

Use Your Email Metrics The Smart Way

Email campaigns are a great way of getting your business name in the email inboxes of any number of potential clients. 

The efficacy of a campaign like this relies on your ability to check the numbers, though. Depending on how you approach it, this information can be used to tweak, repeat, or scrap your email marketing.

Remember to plan which metrics you’ll use, and don’t waste your time on information that doesn’t benefit you.

Interested in the benefits of this and other awesome content marketing strategies? Visit us, today, and transform your marketing with our comprehensive services.

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10 Marketing Mistakes Your Business Can’t Afford to Make

Marketing Mistakes to avoid by MarketCrest

 

Some business mistakes are more costly than others. In the digital marketing world, there are at least 10 marketing mistakes that you simply cannot afford to make and still expect to achieve your revenue targets. Here are 10 huge mistakes to avoid.

1. You Don’t Have A Written Sales Strategy

Make sure Marketing and Sales know the revenue target required to reach your annual goal. Factor in the length of the sales cycle, close ratio, repeat business, capacity, onboarding and time to pay. Also collect information on existing customer revenue, anticipated growth, churn and carry over (sold fresh the previous year and in the coming year will bill a full 12 months).

When you know what you need to sell… and when you need to get it sold and billed, you are ready to build your marketing plan. 

2. You Don’t Have A Written Marketing Strategy

What is your one-page plan for supporting the revenue goal the way it needs to be sold this year (products/services)? What is your marketing expense required to execute on your marketing plan and how will the cost be allocated across the calendar year? Not sure if you are investing enough on your marketing? Check it against your industry and small business benchmarks (often 3-10% of sales depending on your industry and how mature your market is).

Analyze the previous year’s category spend and determine what to cut or expand. Create a SWOT analysis if needed.  How many personas (target audiences) will you be marketing to and can you segment the existing contact information to match. Do you need to secure additional contacts? Do you need to secure resources to help you attain your marketing goals? Have you considered all the marketing tools and technology available to support marketers in this app heavy environment?

43% of companies have an executive in their organization who is directly responsible for an overall content marketing strategy. (Curata, 2014)

48% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, and 35% percent have gone so far as to document their strategy. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

3. Your Website Pages and Content Weren’t Designed For A Specific Purpose

Personas and Keyword analysis will determine your web page content and content plan for the year. Understanding your target audience is key to designing content for a specific purpose. Do you have content designed to help your target market get through their entire buying cycle? What if they are “kicking tires” and what do you have for them if they are deciding between your firm and one other?

52% of marketers support two to four roles and buyer personas with dedicated content. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)

48% of marketers use dedicated content to support three to five buying stages. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)

84% of B2B marketers and 85% of B2C marketers are actively looking to gain a better understanding of their audience or planning to do so in the coming year. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

4. Your Website Is A Static “Billboard”

Google rewards websites with lots of high quality, fresh pages. Quality content increases the likelihood of increased traffic, lengthy stays and high page rankings. Create content that engages an audience, keeps them on your page, or makes them return.

90% of consumers find custom content useful. (Demand Metric, 2014)

5. Your Website Is Not Built for Conversion

It is important that your website has the ability to reel in consumers and offer them an option to become engaged with the company. This allows you to create engagement, nurture them during the buying cycle, monitor and score their activity and nudge them to convert.

61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council, 2011)

Website conversion rate is nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs. 0.5%). (Aberdeen Group, 2014)

Examples: Do you have strong Calls To Action (CTA) on your web or landing pages? Many companies rely on CTAs such as Speak to a Specialist, Request a Quote/Sample, Get Help Now! Request a Free Consult,  Sign Up Here, Download Here, and Follow or Share our Social Media Links.

6. You Don’t Publish Content

Consumers want a service or company that they can trust. Trust comes from being a credible source. One way to achieve credibility is to become an industry expert online by publishing original content that customers or other industry leaders may reference when looking up relevant information.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. It might be a blog article, web page, landing page, ebook, slide deck, video, webinar, photo, social media post, podcast, infographic, case study, white paper, check list, research paper, or a press release.

 75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)

86% of B2B marketers report that their organizations are using content marketing, and 70% of them are creating more content than they did one year ago.

80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012)

marketcrest repurposing content

 

7. You Don’t Repurpose Existing Content

Consumers like to consume content in various ways. Some like to listen, some watch and some read. If you understand this, you can create content that is helpful to your visitors and customers and maximize its reach by repurposing content. Example: One, high-quality blog post or article can be turned into a slide deck, video, email, tweet, facebook post, brochure etc. Invest in quality content and remember to repurpose it relentlessly.

 

8. You Aren’t Building A List Of Relevant Contacts

Having a list of contacts is crucial. Keep track of all consumers, industry leaders, people who have visited your website or requested information, referrals, etc.

Also know even a good contact list will decay by about 20+% each year because people are constantly unsubscribing, switching jobs, moving or getting new email addresses. As a result, you must be building your database of contacts 12 months a year. Having a long list of contacts creates a bit of a “tribe” that can support your business in good time and in bad. Share industry and company news; new articles, ebooks and research…then when you are ready to introduce a new product and service they will be there to provide advice and spread the word.

With a list constantly in a state of decay, pay close attention to the formula for List Growth Rate:

 What It Is: The rate at which your email list is growing.

  • How to Calculate It: ([(Number of new subscribers) minus (Number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)] ÷ Total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100

 Example: (500 new subscribers – 100 unsubscribes and email/spam complaints) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list * 100 = 4% list growth rate

As we suggested, there is natural decay on your email list. It expires by about 22.5% every year. Always be growing your list…

9. You Don’t Email Your List At Least Once Per Month

Look, you can’t kill email! It’s the cockroach of the Internet, and that’s a compliment. Resilience is a good thing.

These days all emails are not created equally. A savvy marketer with the right technology, can set up workflows for email nurturing, include images, personalize with customer names, segment, and provide CTAs optimized for mobile. You have people willing to listen. Doesn’t your business have something important to say?

91% of consumers check their email daily (ExactTarget) and 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Litmus).

74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email (Merkle).

66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message (Direct Marketing Association) Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300% (Direct Marketing Association). 

Your company will want to measure your email program’s effectiveness. The most common email metrics are: sent, delivered, bounced, open (open rate), click (click rate or click to open), unsubscribe rate and marked as spam. Find the right key performance indicators for your business so you can test, tweak and improve.

10. Your Business Can’t Be Found Online

Here is how you got in this situation…

1) you are not actively performing on-page and off-page SEO

2) you are not helping people find your firm by using paid search or Pay Per Click ads (PPC)…

Just because people can’t find your company online, maybe it’s not the end of the world. Some companies don’t require online leads to increase sales. If you are one of those firms congrats…you are blessed almost beyond belief. For most of us, our potential clients use the internet to research and jump start their buying process. If we can’t be found…then it’s like we don’t exist….

By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web. (Source: Forrester Research )

Content creation ranks as the single most effective SEO technique. (Marketing Sherpa, 2013)

In search engine optimization, on-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.

In search engine optimization, off-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are off-site in that they are not controlled by you or the coding on your page.

Examples of off-page optimization include things such as link popularity and page rank.

If your company is not helping people find you by using paid search or PPC (a quick hit)…get started the right way.

Tip #1: Identify which organic keywords drive traffic and convert on your website.

Tip #2: Determine how much you’re willing to pay for a lead or conversion.

Tip #3: Don’t Go It Alone

Paid Ads are a great way to “test” new landing pages (copy and CTA).

PPC can be a good quick hit but it doesn’t compare to proper SEO and content marketing per dollar spent, content marketing generates more than three times the number of leads than paid search does. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)

Content marketing costs between 31 and 41% less than paid search, depending on the organization’s size. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)

Summary:

Make sure to have a written sales AND marketing strategy. Create a website that has SEO optimized copy; fresh unique content; is constantly evolving and more than a static “billboard”… and has landing pages that produce conversions. You will want to have a list of relevant contacts (the making of a “tribe”) and make sure to be contacting them at least once per month.

If you are operating without a formal sales and marketing plan designed exclusively for the current year and your annual revenue target…you are operating on a wish and a prayer. You can repair the damage quickly though…contact the team at MarketCrest a request a free consultation. Tell us about your current business challenges and imperatives and we will share how similar companies are solving those issues using online or digital marketing.

 

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MarketCrest Hires Rachel R. Thomas as Marketing Coordinator

MarketCrest, a McKinney, TX based marketing firm which focuses on online and inbound marketing, expands company by hiring a Marketing Coordinator, Rachel R. Thomas.

PLANO, Texas (PRWEB) September 20, 2016

Rachel R. Thomas, a former University of North Texas student, has joined the MarketCrest team as the new Marketing Coordinator. Working alongside M. Scott Berry, Founder and President of MarketCrest, Thomas is helping deliver online marketing strategies, consultation, and content to existing clients, as well as helping take on new clients.

MarketCrest, a McKinney, TX based marketing firm focusing on creating revenue for businesses through inbound and online marketing strategies, operates in five states. With a growing business and a need for a larger team, MarketCrest has decided to expand its marketing team in order to cater to new clients as well as fulfill their clients’ specific needs.

Thomas, with a B.A. in Strategic Communication and minors in Marketing and Social Science, brings new opportunity and insight to MarketCrest through expertise in social media management, PR content, marketing strategies and other online marketing services. Having graduated from the accredited and highly awarded Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism, Thomas says that she is “ready to kick-start her career and [is] excited to work for a company with high standards and client satisfaction.”

Founder, Scott Berry is looking forward to the future of MarketCrest as it continues to grow and succeed. With MarketCrest already offering consultation services, search engine marketing, content production, social media strategy and management, branding, website development, case studies and more, it is guaranteed that the future of the company will be profitable and promising.

“With the addition of Rachel to the team, it is going to allow MarketCrest to expand into new verticals and support our already growing SEO and Content Marketing business,” Berry said.

To learn more about the MarketCrest team or services provided get in touch with Marketing Coordinator, Rachel R. Thomas at rachel@marketcrest.com

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Why You’re Failing at Content Marketing

failing at content marketing

Content marketing is vital for any brand that wants to promote itself online. You need a content marketing strategy if you want your efforts to be fruitful. However, even with a strategy in place, you might find that your content marketing isn’t seeing the success you want it to. Are you failing at content marketing?

If you think you MIGHT BE failing at content marketing, there could be multiple reasons for it.

People often approach their content strategy in a disorganized manner. They don’t think about it in-depth.

There are many techniques you should think about. They will ensure your content strategy involves high-quality content on a consistent basis.

Here’s why you’re failing at content marketing and how to fix it.

You Aren’t Publishing Consistently

If you want to create a successful content marketing campaign, you have to be consistent. This applies to the frequency of your publishing and the quality of your content. Are you currently publishing only sporadically, when you can find the time?

This isn’t the best approach to take if you want your content to take off. You need to have new content available on a regular basis if you want to attract attention. You’ll have more to share and more information that’s helpful to your customers.

By publishing regularly, you can keep your website up to date and search-engine friendly. Plus, your social media posts will be more diverse. You also need to maintain consistent high quality in all of your content.

Your Content Is Too Short

How long is long enough for the articles that you publish? Many people choose a short 500 words per post. Some even decide on even shorter posts and publish them frequently.

However, longer content is often the best choice for a winning content marketing strategy.

There are several reasons to publish long-form content instead of sticking to shorter pieces. To begin with, people like reading longer articles. You can get more in-depth on the topic you’re covering and provide more information.

Search engines also like longer content and view it favorably over shorter pieces. Articles of at least 1000 words are a better choice than those of 500 words or fewer.

Your Content Needs to Be More Unique

How do you come up with ideas for your content? If you search for the topics you cover, can you find hundreds of similar articles? Perhaps you even rewrite content to make it suitable for your brand.

If you want people to share your content, it needs to be unique. It’s boring if it’s just like all the other content on similar topics. You don’t have to avoid writing about anything in particular. There are many subjects people have written about before that you can give your own twist.

But your content shouldn’t look almost identical to other pieces. It’s better for search engines and for people if it’s fresh and presents a new angle.

Don’t pump out boring content if you don’t have anything to say.

You Are Not Repurposing Your Content

Do you repurpose your content? If you don’t, you should be.

You might begin by publishing your content on your own website. But you can use it in a number of ways to spread it far and wide. For example, you should consider publishing your content on LinkedIn. This will allow you to reach a professional audience of people from your industry.

You can also repurpose content by turning it into different forms. Some people prefer visual content. Your blog posts could contain information that would make a great infographic. You could also make your content downloadable by turning it into a PDF guide or even a course.

Repurposing your content helps you make the most of it across a range of channels.

You’re Not Using High-quality Copywriters

Writing your own content can be a good idea if you have the time and the skills. But there’s a lot more to writing quality content than many people think. You might have some good ideas, but it takes a lot of work to turn an idea into a great piece of content. Perhaps you can bang something out in half an hour, but will it really be as good as you need it to be?

If you run a business or a website, you have a lot of other things to do. Not everybody is able to produce the high-quality content they need on a regular basis.

If you want to ensure you can publish consistently, you should access quality copywriters. You can pass on the responsibility of writing your content to someone else. They have the skills and knowledge to help you.

 

promote the best content marketingYou Aren’t Using Paid Social Media Promotion

You’ve published your content, and not you just have to sit back and wait for the clicks and shares, right?

If you’re wondering why not one is coming to look at your content, you need to get sharing it yourself.

Don’t rely on people discovering it on their own.

You should be using social media promotion especially. Make sure you’re using appropriate channels for your brand. It could be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

Sharing using free methods will help you reach your followers and their followers.

However, if you want to expand your reach you need to use paid promotion. You can do this on a range of platforms to reach out to people in the right demographic.

You Don’t Pay Attention to SEO

Remember that SEO is important for your content, even if you’re sharing via social media channels. You still want your content to be discoverable on search engines and for your website to have a good reputation.

If you’re not thinking about SEO when you choose topics and create your content, you’re missing out. It’s important to be up to date with the latest SEO content writing tactics. To make sure you’re following the rules, using copywriters to do all the hard work will help.

Don’t let your content marketing strategy be a failure. Publish high-quality content and promote it in the right places to make the most of your campaign.

About MarketCrest:

MarketCrest is a Marketing & Consulting Services firm focused exclusively on strategies that drive revenue growth. Simply put, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance. MarketCrest provides Content Marketing, Marketing Automation and CRM solutions, and services for clients. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult with a marketing strategist.

 

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What’s The Buzz About Content Marketing?

Content Marketing Buzz MarketCrest

Content marketing is a hot buzzword these days – and perhaps it should be. It has become one of the most effective ways for brands to connect and build credibility with prospects and customers. There’s no debating the fact that content is becoming an essential online marketing strategies… and there’s no end in sight to that trend.

Research is clear that:

Nine in 10 organizations report that they are currently marketing with content

 Source: Content Marketing Institute

B2B buyers say that 70% of the content they read and study before making a purchase decision… is found on their own.

Source: Forrester

So 90% of organizations surveyed, are marketing with content and the vast majority of customers making purchasing decisions are using that content to make informed buying decisions! These statistics should be are a bit of a wake up call for business owners who don’t have Content Marketing at the top of their Online Marketing and Sales priorities.

What is Content Marketing and it’s purpose?

So, What Exactly Is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute defines it as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience…and ultimately, to drive profitable customers.

In other words… communicating with potential customers to have an influence on their buying behavior.  Sounds easy, but proper execution can be harder than companies think… and it does take time.

The concept behind content marketing is fairly simple — consistently create helpful, interesting and relevant content and make it available to your target audience. Digital content can come in the form of:

  • webpages
  • articles
  • ebooks,
  • check lists
  • case studies
  • infographics
  • podcasts
  • webinars
  • slideshows
  • videos
  • images

On a similar note, offline content tends to come in the form of printed books, brochures, samples, sell sheets, proposals, presentations, papers, manuals or “how to” guides. With digital content being less expensive to create and easier to distribute and update, the use of offline content is still important… but less so than ever before.

Currently, when it comes to sharing content, in most cases online marketers share it for free. Other times they “gate” content, which is to share it in exchange for something of non monetary value, such as contact information. This allows the marketer to play the long game of capturing a lead that can be nurtured.

The nurturing of the relationship continues via email marketing and often marketing automation, until the lead becomes an opportunity that can be closed during the customer’s buying cycle. Understanding the buyer’s cycle is another article entirely, but it suffice to say it is perhaps the most critical time for content and digital marketers.

42% of B2B content marketers report that they segment content by stage in the buying cycle

Source: Top Rank Blog

Content marketing is often used to:                

Achieve website traffic goals

60% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve website traffic goals.

Source: Marketing Profs

Generate additional sales

 43% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve sales goals.

 Source: Content Marketing Institute

Get a greater return on marketing dollars spent (ROI)

Per dollar spent, content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.

 Source: Leaders West

The ultimate goal for a content marketer is to become better than their competition at solving people’s problems. Once a company is considered a source for valuable information, and a thought leader… brand trust and sales are next to arrive.

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust.

Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis

Content marketers remember to treat their communication with customers like they would any relationship… they nurture the relationship. The relationship was built on sharing quality content, which is why they take the content their business is putting out there, very seriously.

Statistics tell us that even small companies have turned to content marketing.

Companies with fewer than 10 employees typically allocate

42% of their marketing budget to content.

 Source: Marketing Profs

Remember that content marketing is used to build significance and impact over time. Marketers are building relationships and trust by becoming someone that people turn to for quality information and assistance.

What fueled the rise in content marketing?

The Decline in Traditional Content Marketing

Robert Rose explains content marketing this way:

“If traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star.

Content marketing is showing the world that you are one.”

It is no secret that traditional advertising effectiveness is on the decline. It is a trend fueled by a myriad of factors ranging from consumers having more control than ever before (and a subsequent unwillingness to be interrupted) and consumers having TIVO, email spam folders, caller ID, national do not call lists, ad blocking software, satellite radio and other technology to lesson the likelihood they will be bombarded with advertising and interrupted.

They are canceling print newspapers and magazine subscriptions. Traditional advertising, and outbound selling, is working less and less… so marketers have been forced to identify new ways to connect with customers.

70% of consumers say they prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads

 Source: News Cred

Content marketing is becoming a great equalizer. It evens the playing field against a myriad of claims and interruptions. It’s no longer enough for business to say they’re the best… they have to show it through the quality of the content they’re sharing.

As it is, content marketing is still advertising, just… modernized to convert casual readers, into paying customers, create fans, followers and loyalty. In this way, content marketing is demonstrating the ability to be more powerful than traditional advertising, and provide a greater return on marketing dollars invested.

Is Content Marketing right for you and your business?

If you are a company that relies on the arrival of new leads to maintain and grow your business, Content Marketing may be for you.

Content must be relevant, valuable and of high quality if you want to impact buyer’s behavior in your favor. Buyers have access to the widest range of information and services ever collected thanks to the internet. Google and search has changed how buyers shop and how companies market.

The entire Search Engine Marketing (think SEO and PPC) industry exists because buyers relentlessly search for quality content on the internet. Buyers will complete a great portion of the buying cycle long before actually contacting a company. As a result, having your content and company “found” on the internet, has quickly become a necessity to many businesses.

So you know what the buzz is all about and that content has quickly become one of the most effective ways for brands to connect and build credibility with prospects and customers. Content and online search go hand in hand.

You see that statistics of the large number of brands using content marketing to drive website traffic, leads and new sales. …and there’s no end in sight.

If you want to explore how content marketing would do the same for your company…contact us for a free, 1 hour strategy session to outline your plan.

About MarketCrest:

MarketCrest is a Marketing & Consulting Services firm focused exclusively on strategies that drive revenue growth. Simply put, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance.

MarketCrest also provides Marketing Automation and CRM solutions, and services for clients. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult with a marketing strategist.

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5 Signs Your Business Is Ready For Marketing Automation

5 Signs Marketing Automation

 

Many businesses find the concept of marketing automation appealing and want to jump right in with an improved strategy. However, a number of these companies don’t fully understand the financial implications — dedicating someone to the project full-time, or even just three-quarters of the time, is a big investment, not even considering the expenses for paying for software and development of content.

Although it is undeniable that marketing automation has significant advantages, it can also be a waste of money if you are not yet in the position to benefit.

1. You Have Enough Content to Automate

First of all, it is important to understand just how much content you will require for marketing automation. Ideally, you will have content for every persona at every stage of the buying cycle and in a range of formats (blog posts, videos, and podcasts, for instance).

This is a huge amount to plan, design, and create, and you should already have at least half this content to make marketing automation worthwhile.

2. You Have an Allocated Budget

You must be able to afford the costs of software, a dedicated team of staff, and content creation tasks. The exact amount you can expect to spend will depend according to the number of contacts in your database and the number of emails you intend to send per month.

It is important to note that trying to cut costs in any aspect will most likely result in lower quality content and less conversions, which can end up costing you more due to a reduced ROI.

3. You Are Unable to Reach Your Revenue Number

You should have already completed the analytics and determined the number of inbound visits, conversions, nurtured leads, and wins you need to reach your revenue. If you are currently falling short, marketing automation is the right solution, as it will allow you to deliver the right type of content to different groups of prospects at specific points in the buying cycle.

4. You Are Already Investing in SEO

SEO is essential for continually gaining qualified leads and a constant flow of traffic to your website, as marketing automation cannot work if you lack leads and prospects whom you will convert. Plus, connecting the content you create for email campaigns, newsletters, and articles to your website adds to optimization efforts, further improving search engine rankings to send you yet more visitors.

5. You Have CRM Software

CRM software is a much smaller investment and a precursor to the more complicated marketing automation. You can think of skipping CRM to dive straight into marketing automation as like trying to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Before you even consider marketing automation, you should have set up CRM software with all the details about your customers and prospects.

Once you have fulfilled all the above criteria, you are ready to benefit from marketing automation. However, if you fall short in any point, you should first focus your attention on solving this shortcoming before employing marketing automation software.

Do Your Research

SharpSpring, a marketing automation services company, and Acend2 collaborated to conduct interviews with over 300 small-midsize businesses to benchmark their automation strategy and expectations.

MarketCrest has presented the results in a free ebook to help CEOs determine if they are ready for the investments and if so, provide benchmarks on strategy. The research results are available on our free Resources page.

MC MAS-Research Reports

 

About MarketCrest:

MarketCrest is a Marketing & Consulting Services firm focused exclusively on strategies that drive revenue growth. Simply put, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance.

MarketCrest also provides Marketing Automation and CRM solutions, and services for clients. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult with a marketing strategist.

 

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An Introduction To Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation

When looking for ways to improve marketing in your business, you may come across the phrase “marketing automation.” This term encompasses all types of software and techniques that enable you to automate your marketing tasks while personalizing efforts toward different groups of prospects to increase your chances of gaining conversions.

As a manager of a small business or startup, you may be wondering if such a course of action would be worthwhile for you. To clear up any doubts you may have, in this post we will look at how marketing automation works, what are its advantages, and who can benefit.

The Marketing Automation Process and It’s Capabilities

Marketing automation is often confused with email marketing, when in fact it is far more complex. Although email marketing is part of marketing automation, it is just one small component.

In addition to handling marketing execution, marketing automation allows businesses to improve efficiency in a number of areas, including lead generation, segmentation, lead scoring, nurturing, customer retention, and analytics, all by prioritizing leads by their likelihood to convert, filtering prospects according to engagement and interest, and making sure marketers stay on track with the aims of their strategy. More on this subject in our MarketCrest Infographic.

Software for marketing automation usually consists of:

  • A database that holds all the information about leads, prospects, and customers.
  • An engagement aspect, where authors can create and manage content for lead nurturing and for landing pages.
  • Analytics, to measure marketing efforts, compare actual results against expected results, and determine the best ways to improve engagement and conversions.

Some of the top providers include HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and SharpSpring.

Why You Should Consider Marketing Automation

As your business grows, you will find it impossible to handle all your marketing tasks manually, even if you dedicate a small team to the task. Marketing automation solves this issue by doing some of the work for you. Whereas this is obviously a priority for large corporations, it is also beneficial for small companies. Freeing up resources for other necessities will allow you focus your efforts on aspects of marketing that cannot be automated, such as content creation.

The most significant benefit you will receive from marketing automation is higher revenue, due to increased pipeline and greater productivity. Nuclear Research found that 95 percent of companies saw some improvement, including between on average 1.5 and 6.9 percent greater productivity in marketing and 4 percent in sales productivity.

To get started with marketing automation in your company, check out this new marketing automation research.

MC MAS-Research Reports

Once you’ve decided if it’s the right option for your business, contact us to find out how to take your marketing efforts to the next level, including which automation services would be suited to your needs.

About Us: MarketCrest is a Marketing Consulting & Services firm focused exclusively on strategies that drive revenue growth. Simply put, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance.

MarketCrest also provides Marketing Automation and CRM solutions, and services for clients. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult with a marketing strategist.

 

 

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