How Content Marketing Forges Stronger Customer Relationships

Effective Content Marketing StrategyEstablishing a relationship with your customers is the cornerstone of any business. It is even more important when it comes to your marketing strategy. If you are concerned about building a strong relationship with your audience and cultivating brand loyalty, then you should know that having an effective content marketing strategy is a must. Marketers worldwide agree that content marketing is one of the most powerful digital marketing techniques. In fact, content marketing generates three times more leads than paid search advertising. It makes sense why 42% of companies have a dedicated content strategist!

This means your efforts are not only focused around getting new customers, but also in nurturing your relationship with existing ones. Read on for some of the ways content can help you can do that.

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How reducing bounce rate yields more eCommerce revenue

How reducing bounce rate yields more eCommerce revenue

What is a Bounce Rate? Why Should You Care? In this blog we will walk through bounce rates with a focus on optimizing for conversions. You’ll learn the questions that will help you better understand why people leave your site quickly as well as the powerful business benefits of reducing your bounce rate.

Google Analytics defines bounce rate as the percentage of single-page visits where the person left the site without doing any other interaction. It is a measure of the percentage of people who land on your website and fail to do anything else such as click on a menu item, or follow any internal links leading to other pages on your site. What we can get from this is that the visitor was not interested because they either did not find what they were looking for, there were technical issues like error messages and slow loading of the page, or that the site is not user-friendly or professional-looking. All of these things can be a contributor to bounce rate being high. A high bounce rate for an eCommerce site means that you get fewer conversions.

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Top 5 Factors Influencing B2B Sales Lead Generation Online

Generating sales leads online for B2B products and services can seem counter intuitive at first. After all, those business deals tend to rely on personal relationships developed over years of networking and sales prospecting. In fact, I know a few B2B salespeople who tend to avoid doing any of their networking online. They claim, “not enough time,” “not efficient,” “not how I work.” That is, until I explain the top 5 factors influencing B2B sales lead generation.

Once sales leaders understand the connection between these critical B2B marketing factors and revenue, ears perk up. Funny how that works. (more…)

The One Weird Thing the Best B2B Content Marketers Do

I’m going to make a confession I never would have before: I’m starting to really, really love reports. I was never a numbers girl; I’ve always emulated the best B2B content marketers happy to highlight the benefits and beauty of words over numbers (forgive me, math people! numbers are beautiful too!). But now, I can’t get enough of numbers, percentages and graphs!

So it was with… unusual joy that I perused a new report, the B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Following the recent publication of Hubspot’s State of Inbound, I thought this report provided a great counterpoint and some interesting supplementary data.

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5 Skills Marketing Students Must Master To Succeed

Title image.5 skills marketing students must master to succeed

After a summer full of sun, fun and maybe summer work for some students, it’s now time to head back to the classroom and hit the books. There’s little I personally like more than the back-to-school time of year, despite the fact that I’m no longer a student. I love the warm sweaters, new books, changing leaves and especially: learning new things.

I would like to share some of my knowledge and wisdom for business and marketing students beginning their degree or returning for another year. 

You will learn lots of information and skills in university, but, if you don’t master these 5 basic skills, you will likely have a hard time succeeding in today’s fast-paced marketing world.

1. Writing

Writing is the most essential and most useful skill you will ever develop as a marketing professional. Get your writing skills in order.

typewriterThe ability to communicate using the written word has many, many purposes. Purposes that go far beyond your boss being able to understand your emails. Good writing, as it turns out, is a plain, good, life skill.

According to research, those who write well have a better chance of getting promoted in their chosen profession. Why? Because writing well means having the ability to communicate well.

Communicating well is essential to becoming successful at marketing.

In marketing, writing well will be beneficial to you as you will probably be asked to write blog posts, prepare presentations, and build proposals or reports. Without a well-developed foundation in writing, completing those common tasks required in the field of marketing could be difficult.

2. Basic Web Design

Designing a websiteBeing able to manage a website is another essential skill for future marketers. Although people in the marketing team are seldom asked to build websites from scratch, it’s useful if you know the following basic web design skills:

  • Format and update content.
  • Correct small errors. 
  • Manage plugins in your CMS (Content Management System).

A little ability with HTML and CSS can give you that little extra boost you need to get hired, too, so take that web design course if it fits in your schedule.

3. Social Media Management

Birds on a wireBecause it’s still considered recent, social media is not yet taught in most business schools though some programs are emerging. Whether you’re looking for a social media degree, certificate, or even an online refresher from a site like Udemy, there are plenty of opportunities to level up your skills. The ability to manage a social media stream and use it as a communications/PR/marketing/customer service tool is increasingly important. 

And if nothing else, your personal Twitter account counts as “social media management”. Showing you can maintain a consistent personal brand voice and produce content that engages followers is what matters for employers.

4. Analytics

Analytics chartsTomorrow’s marketer is as much at ease with data manipulation as he or she is with creating visuals for a campaign. Marketing initiatives are now so tied to analytics data that it’s hard to do one without the other.

I know, I know, not everyone’s a numbers person (I’m the first one to admit that), but being able to manage both the creative and the qualitative sides of a marketing campaign is going to be essential as everything moves towards the digital space–even TV ads.

5. Networking

Group of people.It can be a little depressing to be a student today looking at job numbers: fewer and fewer students end up with full-time, permanent jobs when they graduate.

But those who do usually have something special: they spent some time learning how to network effectively and used these skills to make their way into a job. Networking is one of the most fundamental soft skills you need to learn for success in the business world, and the earlier you do so the better.

Networking can be done in person, of course, but there’s also plenty of ways to do it online too.

Ready for the new school year?

With a focus on the 5 essential soft skills (as well as your grades, of course), you have a better chance of succeeding in the marketing world!

5 Secrets For Insanely Effective Landing Pages

Effective landing pages

I’ll be honest right from the start: landing pages, these essential elements of inbound marketing, are difficult to get right, at least in the beginning. You’re used to filling them up yourself when you see a great offer on the internet, but when it comes to doing it for your business, it’s really not that simple. However, the new rules of digital marketing say that landing pages are one of the foundations of effective inbound marketing, so if you do inbound, landing pages are a must.

Landing pages need a special recipe to convert clicks into leads… but what are the secret ingredients? (more…)

Your 7-Step Guide to Excellent Content

Content this, content that, content here, content there: content is everywhere. I’ve made my argument elsewhere that it’s an important part of your digital strategy, no matter your business size or type. And in order to reach your marketing and sales objectives, your content must be excellent. But I realized something lately: that lots of people don’t really understand what excellent content means, or how to reach that level of quality. The web is clogged with sub-par, badly written, uninteresting, plagiarized and useless content. (more…)

Exude Passion with an Active Writing Voice

It's no secret that content is key when marketing yourself online—and not just any content, either. Website owners, for better or worse, need to create genuinely good writing that potential cuActive writing voicestomers will actually want to read. But it's not enough to have good ideas; you're far more likely to find success if your writing is technically strong. The lack of active voice in writing is one of the most common problems people face; they are easily confused about what it is and why it makes their writing far more effective than the passive voice. By trying to use active voice whenever possible, content creators can bring passion, authority, and interest to their work—and readers will notice.

Subjects, Objects, and Verbs, Oh My!
In order to explain what the passive and active voices are, it's time for a quick grammar refresher course. There are three components to a basic sentence: the subject, the verb, and the object. The subject of the sentence is the person or being who performs the action, or verb, upon the object. For instance, in the sentence “Brian threw the ball,” Brian is the subject; he performs the throwing action on the object, the ball. Descriptive adjectives may get thrown in there, of course; multi-part compound sentences will introduce more information and there are various verb tenses to contend with, but at the end of the day the subject, verb, and object remain the pillars of basic writing.

A sentence like “Brian threw the ball” describes the subject performing a verb action upon the object; this is active voice in action. Passive voice, on the other hand, reverses things around: “The ball was thrown by Brian.” In passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted upon, instead of doing the acting. In the example above, the subject of the sentence is now the ball, not Brian; it's not actively performing the verb, but instead is being passively acted upon by the object of the sentence (Brian).

If you compare the two examples, some key differences immediately stand out. The active voice sentence is concise and clear, whereas the passive voice example uses more words and describes the scene in a more roundabout way. Instead of one verb—'to throw'—the passive sentence contains two: to throw, and “was”—a form of the verb 'to be'. Good writing uses precisely as many words as are necessary to communicate its information; passive sentences quickly become unwieldy and it's very easy for readers to get confused. Furthermore, the passive voice takes a lot of power away from you, the writer; when subjects are being acted upon, instead of acting, then your writing does not have the energy and passion that is absolutely essential for good marketing content.

Transforming Your Writing
Using the active voice in writing—especially when related to business or trying to communicate with potential customers—will improve readability and engagement. If you're new to content creation, try going through some of your already-published pieces and look for the passive voice. Some people feel that passive voice makes them sound smarter, so it pops up a lot in business writing. It won't be as simple as balls being thrown; you may realize you've written something like this:

“Our product has been purchased by over 3,000 customers”

While it's exciting that you've seen so many sales, changing this sentence to the active voice turns it into this:

“Over 3,000 customers have purchased our product”

This version puts the power back with the customers—and potential new ones will respond to it.

Of course, the English language is a frustrating beast, so there are situations where the passive voice can work in your writing. However, they are exceptions rather than the rule; you should aim for the active voice whenever possible. Your writing will exude more passion and be far more exciting to read; and when you're aiming to add to your customer base, you want your call to action to be active!

8 Silly Grammar Mistakes That Are Killing Your Blog

The worst piece of writing advice I ever received? Write like you talk.

If you’ve ever eavesdropped on a conversation, you know that our verbal culture is an editor’s worst nightmare. Saturated with rotten grammar, half-baked ideas and a disturbing amount of likes, ums and y’knows, human speech isn’t exactly made for readability.

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