Tag Archives: Marketing Advice

Getting started with paid promotions…

New post on Online Marketing Hub

Getting Started With Paid Promotions
by christopherjanb
Posted by anthonycoraggio

I’m receiving more and more questions from clients about how best to leverage paid content distribution and paid social platforms (here referred to together as ‘paid promotions’). There’s a lot of reason for increased interest—as content production has ramped up in digital marketing, it has become harder and harder to stand out from the crowd and reach the audience you want. Facebook shutting down companies’ free lunch social distribution has only further pressed the issue—and sometimes you’ve simply maxed out on other paid channels!

But more than simply being an extra ‘pay to play’ option, paid promotion is a crucial part of any holistic digital marketing strategy. By using the range of paid online promotion and advertising tools available, we can take more comprehensive control in presenting the best user experience throughout the funnel—delivering the right content, at the right time, to the right person. There are three primary functions of paid promotions:

Improve the breadth and depth of content distribution
Use powerful targeting to drive more qualified traffic
Capture, retain, and shepherd qualified users to ultimately produce conversions
How and why you might use paid promotions will of course vary quite a bit, but regardless of your end goal, there are two key tasks for anyone seeking to succeed in doing so. Do these two things right, and you will have laid a solid foundation for achieving your goals.

First…

1. Define and target a specific audience
Defining a target audience in digital advertising or paid promotions is a more exacting exercise than usual, because we’re actually operationalizing a definition that can be precisely carried out by setting controls in a PPC-like interface. Think of it like programming a computer—you need to break down your definition in extremely concrete, exclusive terms that are interpretable by the tool you’re using. Don’t despair though—it’s not hard to do, and if you’ve been a good marketer and developed some proper user personas you’ll be ahead of the game!

Answer these questions to set a concrete definition of the people that should be targeted with a given campaign or content release. These are typically going to be the criteria you actually enter into an interface when starting a promotions campaign on a tool like Facebook or StumbleUpon.

Demographic Information – Our ideal target for this content is…

Age – Many platforms will offer simple age based targeting, usually in the form of your typical “18-24, 25 – 36” type brackets.

Gender – Again, this is a simple demographic setting and is often available. Think about setting up separate ‘A/B’ versions to separately address men and women when relevant!

Education Level/Status – Is your audience in school? Have they completed a degree? Facebook and LinkedIn will let you drill in on these parameters.

Geography – Be as specific as possible. Generally, the combination of a state/province and a metro area level is as granular as geotargeting options go.

There are a few more options you can find on places like Facebook -income level, marital status, employment status, and more can be particularly useful in B2C contexts.

Many platforms will also give you an opportunity to define your target audience by interests, so think about what relevant topics or subjects the target user might be particularly interested in or looking for while online! For example,
likes for travel blogs, language learning sites, famous travel writers, country specific cuisine, etc all can be used to converge on a very specific type of person.

2. Choose promotion channels
Once your target audience has been defined and the above questions answered with the best data available, you must consider the channels or platforms that will best make use of it. There are three major factors:

Which platforms have targeting capabilities and an audience that can best replicate the user profile using their targeting?
Remember to weight the user’s expected online behavior heavily in selecting platforms – while one might offer targeting to match the most targeting characteristics, if your audience does not actively use the platform’s core service it is of little value as a promotional channel.
Which platforms can best present the media to be promoted?
It is important not to detract from the user’s experience of the content, or place it in a channel that does not fit it’s form. A long form video, for example, will not usually fare well in skippable preroll spots or on-site rollover placements.
Remember also that use of different platforms can depend on device – and so might the usability of your content!
What behavioral context is preferable to achieve your objectives for this piece?
I strongly recommend taking a few minutes to browse around as a user when making these decisions, in order to think less abstractly about the experience you aim to create. Choosing channels is often a case-by-case process, but for common objectives there are some simple, intuitive guidelines to keep in mind:

If you want your content shared, promote it on channels that have built-in sharing capabilities (social media, StumbleUpon).
If you want users to feel they’ve ‘discovered’ a piece, focus on content plug-ins (Outbrain, Zemanta, etc), discovery tools (StumbleUpon), and more niche placements (subreddits, subject blogs)—depending on the accessibility/simplicity.
If your goal is a high level of direct exposure for content at a low price, content discovery plugins and display ad networks can deliver. Cost is relatively low and inventory is high, so it’s easy to get eyeballs on your work.
If conveying authority is important, officially sponsored or openly disclosed promotions on respected media platforms or with trusted individual publishers can be a good tool—though often more expensive.
It can be useful to combine these guidelines to plan for more complex goals. For example, if you want to convey a sense of ‘discovery’ but also encourage sharing, StumbleUpon Paid Discovery could fulfill both these needs—the sponsorship is subtle, the user is in ‘discovery mode’, and SU has a social sharing frame right on top of the page. If that audience isn’t engaged enough, you might bring traffic to a piece via Reddit and retarget for sharing on Twitter.

Planning for promotion should not be an exclusively post hoc activity—the content itself should be created with intended placement and utility in mind. Engage early in the process as goals for the content are first set, so that creative development and objectives do not ultimately conflict with the feasibility of promotions. Simply being involved in the conversation to flag potential problems is often enough!

Think outside of yourself…
One of the most critical parts of this framework is leveling what you want to achieve with what users will accept and value in a given medium, so I want to take a moment to reinforce the importance of this.

In answering questions of targeting and placement in a performance-driven world, it can be dangerously easy to think egocentrically, only in terms of what YOU want your customer to do in a given context—or more insidiously,
what you want them to want to do. Remember that as a marketer or advertiser you are necessarily carrying tremendous baggage, both in terms of product knowledge and expectations. It’s tremendously important to step back from your own (or your company’s) perspective and think as a user.

What you ultimately need to reach your goals isn’t necessarily what individuals using one of these channels wants when doing so, or are ready to do. Take the time to understand your audience and reach out to them in a way will resonate with the journey they are on.

What considerations do you pay special attention to when promoting content? Are there areas of the discipline you’d love to learn more about? Hit me back in the comments!

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For more about Getting Started with paid promotions or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/getting-started-with-paid-promotions/e

The Getting started with paid promotions page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015

New post on Online Marketing Hub

10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015
by christopherjanb

Over the past 5 years we’ve published over 380 articles about content marketing here on Online Marketing Blog. It’s a big topic after all and there’s plenty of opportunity to help.

Digging in to our web and social media analytics, I’ve identified 10 of the most popular posts on content marketing that I’m sure you’ll find useful. From our Content Marketing Maturity Model to tips, tools and measurement – the 10 posts summarized below will help you finish off 2014 in style and put your planning for 2015 in the right direction.

Content Marketing Maturity Model from TopRank – Every business goes through an evolution of sorts as they mature in their content marketing skills. While not every business needs to make it to Monetization for every content marketing program, no one should be satisfied with Stasis. This post breaks down the journey from creating more content, to creating meaningful content to creating content experiences that will inspire your customers to buy and advocate for your brand. What else could a budding content marketer ask for?

5 Steps to Content Marketing Awesome: You Can Do This! – Content marketing can seem overwhelming when getting started, but not with this handy guide. Start with identifying audience segments, then map the customer journey as you embark on your own journey to content marketing awesome. Map the essential buyer questions and brand answers to your content plan and then get ready to optimize your content performance. Is that awesome? We say yes!

What is the One Most Important Skill for a Content Marketer? – Information overload is giving us all a headache, so let’s boil it down to that one most important thing to soothe our minds towards content marketing success. What is it? To find out, you’ll need to finish reading this sentence and click the link above. Go!

Visual Content Marketing Strategy eBook – As part of a foursome of content marketing eBooks produced for the 2014 Content Marketing World conference, this collection of visual content marketing strategy tips from content marketing gurus like Pam Didner, Mark Schaefer, Maggie Burke, Carla Johnson and Jason Miller from LinkedIn really resonated with our readers. I think you’ll like it too – information plus entertainment. It’s infotainment Alice in Wonderland style.

Modular Content – Creative Repurposing for Content Marketing – So much content and so little time. Plus that content has to be great or no one will read, share or be inspired by it. Enter the notion of “modular content” to help savvy content marketers create and repurpose high quality content that attracts, engages and inspires customers to take action. You’ll learn how to plan for content efficiency that’s both social media and search engine friendly.

5 Ways To Create Great Content Without Writing A Lot – Writing is not a skill all marketers are experts at and yet the demand for content from customers continues to rise. The solution? This liveblog of Marcie Hill’s presentation at NMX revealed her approach to using photos, infographics, video, audio and animations to engage customers – without writing a lot. In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words!

What is the Difference Between Content Marketing and Content for Links? The Wrong Answer Could Cost You – Don’t let the chubby Spanish Spiderman fool you – he knows exactly what the difference is between acting in a way that gets tips and acting like a fool. That’s a great analogy when comparing the difference between content marketing for customers and content marketing just to attract links. It’s a must read for SEOs and marketers alike.

Mobile Content Marketing – What You Need to Know: Pros, Cons, Examples, Best Practices – As part of our series on content marketing tactics, this post about mobile content marketing really resonated with readers. And why not? Content discovery, consumption and even commerce via mobile devices is skyrocketing. Are you ready for mobile content marketing? I didn’t think so. Read on.

5 Content Marketing Best Practices Most Businesses Aren’t Doing, but Should! – The godfather of modern content marketing, Joe Pulizzi, shares his smarts at Social Media Marketing World on some of the most important content marketing best practices that just aren’t being practiced. Which are you missing?

Attract, Engage, Convert: How to Better Measure and Optimize Content Marketing Performance – No successful marketer creates content just for the sake of creating more content. Content Marketing by definition means creating content for a specific audience to inspire a business outcome. The model for content marketing accountability presented in this post (Attract, Engage, Convert) will give you a clear line of sight to the performance metrics that will help you understand content marketing ROI.

With hundreds of content marketing posts to choose from, this was no easy task, to narrow it down to 10. Depending on where you’ve matured your content marketing skills to, this collection of posts is either a great primer or a great confirmation of the best practices being used by some of the top marketing brands on the web.

BONUS:
We’ve been busy this year at TopRank Online Marketing with a wide variety of content marketing programs for numerous mid-market and Enterprise clients. We can’t talk about many of those due to NDAs.

But there are a few projects that I can share with you that are both great examples of our content marketing work and super useful collections of marketing advice. Below are a few examples of content marketing projects that we produced this year for Social Media Examiner, LinkedIn, Content Marketing Institute, and MarketingProfs – a fine collection of marketing authorities that know great content.

These eBooks include practical tips and advice from over 120 marketing experts and industry thought leaders. In fact, there are also over 50 major brands represented as contributors ranging from Adobe to Xerox and John Deere in between. Collectively, these eBooks have been viewed over 290,000 times on SlideShare in the past 6 months. I hope you enjoy them too.

For more about the 10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015 or content marketing in general see :
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/10-must-read-content-marketing-posts-for-2015/

The 10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015 page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

15 steps to improve your digital marketing for 2015

Recent post on Online Marketing Hub

15 Step Guideline To Create Your Perfect 2015 Digital Marketing Strategy
by christopherjanb

It is hard to believe that 2015 is right around the corner.

As the weather starts to cool down, digital marketers’ brains just begin to warm up and think about the budget for the New Year. The million-dollar question is what are the best digital networks to invest into and what platforms should receive more exposure for 2015?

Malcolm X was quoted as saying; “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” If you are reading this article, you are likely a step ahead of the competition by staying sharp in news and trends in the online marketing field. By starting to think about the future of online marketing, you can plan out a successful 2015 year for your business while staying a step ahead of the competition.

The 15 step guideline for the perfect 2015 digital marketing strategy will provide you with a digital marketing blueprint for the upcoming year.

Once the ball drops on New Years at midnight, you won’t drop the ball when it comes to digital marketing strategy.

1. Get started on Instagram
If you haven’t started an Instagram account for your business, what are you waiting for? The younger generation has flocked to this social media platform with over 200 million monthly active users (according to Expanded Ramblings). Advertisers are getting more of an opportunity to share their content through filtered photos. Instagram is one of the most natural ways to share content for your brand. It is better to be a step ahead of the game than 2 steps behind it.

2. Yahoo! Bing network
The average cost per click on Yahoo! Bing was 10% to 24% lower than on Google AdWords. A lower cost per click can yield a lower cost per acquisition, which is the exact reason why you should start taking the search network seriously that receives 11.6% of the market share this upcoming year.

If you are in an expensive industry in the pay per click world like the legal profession, insurance industry or medical field, having a lower cost per click can help with a profitable PPC campaign.

3. Facebook lookalike audience
What exactly is a Facebook Lookalike Audience? According to Facebook, Lookalike audiences let you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to a customer list you care about. When you use Custom Audiences, you can choose to create a lookalike audience that targets people who are similar to your Custom Audience list.

Let’s say you have an email marketing database over 5,000 contacts and are in the heating and cooling industry. You can upload this onto Facebook’s advertising platform and target the EXACT demographic similar to your existing customers! This is a neat feature that advertisers should at least test during the upcoming year.

4. Paid promotion on Facebook
Adding just $5.00 in promotion to selected Facebook posts will drastically increase your interaction. You’ll start to notice a major spike in communication when you boost your post for a small budget. With Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm, the likelihood for a business to appear high in the news feed is less likely. This is why for 2015, you should focus on posts that can yield the best results and boost them for a small budget.

5. Email marketing
If you are a business that only sends out one email blast per month, start doubling this number and send out at least two per month. Nordstrom sends out multiple email blasts EACH DAY! If you have compelling content that would be informative to the subscribers on your email list, tell them about it via email communications.

According to econsultancy.com, email marketing remains the best digital channel for ROI. Start strategizing heavily as to how you will make this for of online marketing work for you business in 2015!

6. Twitter outreach
There has been a lot of frustration amongst marketers over all of the advertising that various social media channels are forcing businesses to partake in. Luckily, Twitter is still a great platform where you can grow your following organically. Start searching for hashtags within your industry and reaching out to users in this fashion. Compliment someone on Twitter about a blog post that they wrote. Begin asking questions related to your hashtag. The result will be more interaction and core following of people who are interested in your content! There is a reason why Twitter has nearly 1 billion registered users! Start reaching your target audience via tweets through the perfect Twitter outreach strategy in 2015.

7. Facebook re-marketing
If you are a social media marketer and have not taken advantage of display advertising on Facebook, you are missing an outstanding opportunity. Not only will this yield one of the highest return on investments for your clients, it will help with brand exposure, lead to better conversion rates and provide a flexible budget which will lead to a more effective strategy.

An apartment community in Columbus implemented beautiful graphics with relevant messaging for one of its apartment communities for Facebook re-marketing. When someone would drop off of their website and visit Facebook, this messaging would follow them around. This resulted in a 33% uptick in conversion for their Polaris Apartments community!

Start seeing an uptick in conversion by implementing a Facebook re-marketing strategy for 2015.

8. Better blogging
We like to refer to blog content as the match that starts the fire. When you write a compelling blog, it has the potential to rank well organically in the search engines. 80% of daily blog visits are new so this is a great driver of new website traffic! Additionally, a blog can serve as content for a Facebook and Twitter post as well as a teaser for an email marketing campaign. By creating better blog content in 2015, your web traffic will increase and your content will become more compelling

9. Google+ game plan
Google+ might not gain you that much interaction on your social media posts. This social media platform plays a crucial role in search engine optimization on the localized level, which makes this a must for marketers in 2015.

The more reviews you get, the more content you post onto your page and the more followers your obtain, the higher the likelihood that you will start ranking well for localized search terms.

10. YouTube videos
Did you know that Google owns YouTube? By implementing videos into your online marketing mix, you can start to get search engine exposure for the videos that you upload onto YouTube! There are a lot of great tricks to obtain more video SEO Exposure. Choosing a proper title tag, uploading a transcript and embedding the YouTube video are just some of the tricks for optimal SEO exposure. Online video should definitely be included in your 2015 digital marketing strategy as this form of rich media can be a game changer in terms of publicity for your company. People will interpret your YouTube videos that you are taking your marketing initiatives very seriously!

11. Compelling graphics
The more compelling your graphics are on various social media channels, the more interaction you will receive. If you have a graphic designer, start sending him or her over your social media calendar so they can help create beautiful imagery. In 2015 you will want to increase engagement and great pictures certainly help. If you don’t have a graphic designer, don’t worry; there are affordable sites that offer stock photography like BigStock.

12. Search engine optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) leads have an average close rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (such as cold calls or print advertising) have an average close rate of 1.7%. Having your website optimized for SEO is a necessity heading into 2015. By having an SEO strategy in place, you can increase your leads and grow your business for next year.

13. Content contribution
If you want your content to be seen by more eyeballs and gain more exposure, start contributing content to other blogs in similar fields. If you own an apartment community in Nashville, start writing for a local Nashville website that talks about the best activities around town. You will be seen as an expert in your city and this can help drive more traffic to your website. While people might not be looking for an apartment immediately, they will remember that you have invested time and effort into content within the community!

14. Digital PR
You can build off of the content contribution by implementing a Digital PR strategy. If you reach out to various media related websites and send them over a solid pitch, they might just write an article on your company or feature your CEO in a blog post. The more people talking about your company, Tweeting about your business and mentioning your brand, the better exposure you will receive for the upcoming year.

15. Unique promotion:
Brainstorm a unique promotion that people will actually enjoy that can drive massive publicity for your company in 2015! Whether it is coming up with a user generated jingle contest or a photo upload promotion, entice your great fans on social media to interact with your brand in a clever way. If the promotion is a success, it will be one of the most talked about campaigns for your company in 2015.

We don’t expect digital marketers to hit on each and every one of the 15 guidelines referenced above. Within the list, some of the suggestions are relatively new while others have been around for the past decade. If you incorporate some of the 15 Steps from our Guideline, you might just have the perfect year in 2015 from an online marketing perspective!

Author Bio: Jason Parks is the Owner of The Media Captain, a Premier SEO Company. Follow @TheMediaCaptain on Twitter.

The post 15 Step Guideline To Create Your Perfect 2015 Digital Marketing Strategy appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.

For more see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/15-step-guideline-to-create-your-perfect-2015-digital-marketing-strategy/

The 15 Step Marketing Guide Line to improve your digital marketing for 2015 page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

10 Top Social Media Marketing Tips for using Social Media Software Tool Buffer!

Please find a list of 10 Top Buffer Tips:

https://blog.bufferapp.com/little-known-buffer-features

If you use social media and haven’t yet given buffer a try, there’s no time like the presence!!!!

Top 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for using Buffer Page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”