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Content Marketing Tag

What’s on your back burner?

When managing a company is your responsibility, a lot of important detail work gets put on the back burner.

So what’s simmering on your back burner?

  • Updating your web site with fresh page content?
  • Better utilizing social media?
  • Updating the navigation of your site?
  • Making sure your web site if properly protected?
  • Preparing trade show materials for your soon-to-be-released product?

Or maybe it’s larger than that. Perhaps what you don’t have the time or energy left to do is revamp your marketing strategy to bring in new business.

Interestingly, what’s relegated to your back burner can have a huge impact on the very thing that’s stressing you out right now. Such as your last quarter ROI.

That’s because when your marketing is taken care of strategically with a practiced eye towards your industry, your job gets a little less intense as your ideal customers begin to take notice of what your company can actually provide to them.

What you do

Carve out a 90 minutes to meet with us when the time is right for you. Tell us what you don’t have the time or the people to do, and what results you’d like to see. Give us your parameters, financial and otherwise.

What we do

When you say go, we do the work, providing you with feedback, details and a few fine-tuning decisions along the way. We don’t make assumptions. We research your niche and come up with several positioning approaches that tell your story to the right people — in a compelling and memorable way. We also adjust to your budget and your timeframe.

What we do is eye-opening. Don’t be surprised if we uncover a few fascinating things about your own rapidly shifting marketplace that raise your eyebrows. Or help you determine how your company can make the most of its sweet spot through well-placed ads in carefully researched places you may not even be aware of.

It all starts with a 90 minute meeting.

Say when.

 

 

 

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Web Design - Focal Point Marketing

Now that we’ve set up your website, the real work begins.

Wait, your website is complete.

Isn’t that the goal?

Well, a lot of companies think just that. They set up a nice looking website, print the site URL on all their marketing materials, and move on.

Getting your website set up, well-designed and saying what you want it to say in a compelling way is really the first step in your on-line marketing strategy. Your next step is to make sure your website is working for you now, as well as in the months and years to come.

If you want your website to stay meaningful, you’ve got to keep it relevant.

That’s where managing your website comes into play.

  • Monitoring and tracking visits to determine if visitors do more than arrive, look at your first page and leave. If so, something’s wrong.
  • Make sure your prospects get to the information they are seeking with as few clicks as possible.
  • Make sure there is new material added to the site on a regular basis. That could be blogs, product updates,  special offers, videos, or testimonials.
  • Stay on top of crucial software updates.
  • Execute website backups on a regular basis.

It all comes back to strategic planning, designing your website is just the beginning. It’s the hard work, the know-how and the strategic thinking that keeps your website working for you when it’s brand spanking new, and in the months and years to come.

If you have questions or would like to learn more feel free to reach out to me via email.

brien@focalpoint.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting it right

Attention to detail is big for us at FocalPoint.

We believe in getting things right. The first time.

And – what we seek to get right that first time matters more than just about anything else. Like what’s really important.

Really important like…

  • Creating a product or a service you are truly proud of
  • Addressing a workable business plan that meets a real need
  • Hiring a team that cares about the dream and the details
  • Building shrewd creative marketing around your business model that will speak to your mission and your audience

About that last bullet point…

FocalPoint creates marketing strategy with an end point in mind. The tag line won’t simply be ‘catchy.’ It will support that business plan you lost sleep over.

We understand that there will be endless details to get right before you launch your web site and your social media plan. That’s the ground point where we work best together. Before you have something that you’re truly proud of. That’s an ideal place for us to be. So together we can create, double check, test, and launch with more than just a hunch.

We want to get things launched right— right alongside you and your team. Greeting success together after hard work ironing out what’s most important.

Short. is. in.

Less is most definitely more these days.

Short attention spans are in evidence everywhere.

To stay connected to your audience, you’ve got to be brief. Your points crisp and concise.

This applies to meetings, presentations, advertising, emails, Tweets, web sites, and memos.

Short is not only the new black, it’s the only way to be heard over instant communication.

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Er, what should I say about my business on social media?

Here at Focal Point, we frequently talk to business owners and managers tasked with using social media as a part of their overall marketing plan. Often these folks can pull up their latest Twitter feed, link to YouTube, post on their Facebook page, and download their LinkedIN updates, but just aren’t very sure what to say when it comes to business use.

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Why Your Free Content Isn’t Really Free

Free Content Doesn’t Exist

I am a big proponent of putting out free content on a regular basis to drive leads.  I understand that the most effective forms of content marketing are all about solving problems, answering questions and building trust.  The fact that educating leads turns them into better customers is not lost on me.  And while I say all of this and use the term “free content,” I understand that it’s never truly free.

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3 Quick Ways To Simplify Online Marketing Strategy

Simplify Your Online Marketing Strategy Now

So often as online marketers, we get caught up in the excitement of the “next big thing.”  We set our sights on hitting the online marketing home run or viral campaign.  It’s times like these when we need to simplify our overall online marketing strategy and get back to the basics of what works.  It’s the daily work that paves the way for the big successes.  And it’s getting back to the basics that will help when you’re struggling.

Below are some tips and reminders of basic online marketing and social media strategies that will always work no matter what the latest technology or next big idea might be.

Ask Why & Subtract
Let’s get right to it.  I know you may have read the intro and thought, “oh great, more things to do.”  Well, actually in this first point I am going to ask you to do less.  Stop for a moment to think about all of the different marketing activities you do on a daily basis.  Now, ask yourself why.  Go through each activity one by one and ask yourself why you’re doing it?  Does it tie back to a common purpose, help you accomplish a goal or help move business forward?  If you are unsure on the answer to these questions for any task, stop doing it.  You see, life is a lot like marketing – when things just aren’t adding up that often means it’s time to subtract.

Start Subtracting

Create A Content Plan
Content marketing is a big deal.  By now most digital marketers understand that they need to be producing content as part of an overall online marketing strategy to generate traffic from Google organic search, social media and more.  Yet, many still do not have a plan.

Several big name digital marketers will swear by a content calendar.  I am not going to tell you that you have to do that, because I don’t think it works for everyone.  What I am going to tell you is that you do need to have some sort of plan.  Something that eliminates the guesswork.  Something that makes it easy to answer the question – what are we going to write about today?

Here’s a blog post I wrote about how to create a simple content marketing plan.  It’s based upon the concept of creating themes for each day of the week and writing about those themes/topics on that designated day.  It’s that easy, yet it can be so effective.  Why?  Because it eliminates all of the guesswork and provides a direction in which to move.  And sometimes we just need that direction.

Recycle Your Best Stuff
You’ve created the perfect blog post.  The content is compelling.  The image is stunning.  The call to action is easy to follow.  It’s sure to be a smash hit!  Excited to tell the world all about it you go about your social media marketing by posting a link to it on Facebook, sending out a Tweet and posting the image on Pinterest with a link.  This post is even so good, you send out a new email to your loyal subscribers.  Then you wait…nothing.  A few hours go by and now you have 1 like on Facebook, 2 retweets on Twitter and 2 click thrus on Pinteres and Mailchimp shows a few people are opening the email.  But then the rest of the day goes on and the numbers are still the same.  And a week later, still the same.  While something is better than nothing, this is far from the results you wanted to see.  Frustrated you chalk up the loss and move on.

Unfortunately, this is a scenario I see play out in social media marketing and online marketing in general time after time. It truly is sad, because it’s selling yourself short.  You’ve spent time developing that content.  A designer was even hired to make sure just the right image was created.  This blog post was a big time investment.  Now you just need to understand that as much effort as you put into creating the content, you need to put even MORE effort into promoting it. 

Recycle Content

The simple fact is that people are busy.  A very small percentage of your audience saw that Facebook post and even fewer noticed the Tweet.  It’s also entirely possible that your next big client was out of the office when you sent the email and in an effort to cleanup her inbox just went through deleting emails as fast as possible.  Timing can be everything and sometimes it’s not the right time.  So change the time and try again.  Alter the subject lines or teaser text.  But whatever you do, RECYCLE the best content over again.

Ready to Talk Online Marketing Strategy?
Let’s set up a time to get together soon.  I’d love to help you simplify your online marketing plan, so contact me today!

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3 Incredibly Effective Time-Saving Tips for Online Marketing

If you’re reading this article, odds are you wish there was more time in the day for online marketing.  Well, the good news is that if you’ve spent any time in the past developing any type of content, what you are about to read will be either an incredible reminder or complete game changer in that respect.  Either way, following these 3 simple but often overlooked tips will free up room in the schedule to work on other things…the things you just can’t seem to get to right now.  Furthermore, I also believe strongly that you’ll see increased results by following this advice.

1. Resend Your Best Emails

Email

Stop trying to think of your next email marketing campaign.  Instead, take the time to look back through past email sends.  The past few months, the past few years.  How many of the emails you sent were unopened?  I am willing to bet it’s a significant number. Now do this – export the list of your unopened emails for one of your best emails into a new group.  Now, rework that subject line a bit and resend the email.  Odds are you’re going to see results very similar to the first time you sent the message.

Remember, we’re all busy and someone who might very well be a great prospect could have been having one of those days where they just needed to hit “delete.” Now, you’ve got a second chance to reach that person with one of your most effective messages.  If the first time you sent the email it resulted in 15 sales or 10 leads, odds are it’s going to produce similar results the second time around.

Yes, this does somewhat depend upon the size and quality of your email list.  But even a list of a couple thousand emails deserves to be cultivated better than just one send of each message.  Large, valuable rocks should not be left unturned and giving your best emails a second chance is worth it.

Key Takeaway – Instead of spending hours creating a new design, coming up with the perfect copy and developing a new landing page – go back to your best email from the past (the one with that generated the most leads or had the highest click thru rates) and resend it to the people who missed it the first time.

2. Repurpose Your Best Content

Content marketers spend hours and hours creating great content.  Whether it’s a blog post, infographic, or even a podcast, serious effort goes into producing great stuff.  Yet all too often, I see even seasoned marketers make the mistake of letting this incredibly rich content die a week or two after it was originally published.  This is truly a shame and something that can be easily corrected. 

Start by looking through analytics for the past year.  I am willing to bet that some of the top pieces of content are several months old.  This means that a brand new visitor to your site could miss your best stuff.  It’s time to change that.  Turn that how to post with thousands of views into a quick video.  Create a whitepaper with that post from 7 months ago showcasing your top industry tips and tricks.  It’s never too late to breathe some life into these posts and you’ll be surprised at how they might just take off again.

Key Takeaway – See my post on evergreen content and shelf-life content.  Remember, seasons come and go.  A video or blog post that was a huge hit last winter can be equally as effective this year.  Even if some updates are needed, that can save hours compared to creating something from scratch.

3. Repost Your Social Updates

Social Media

I’ve got news for you.  Unless you are paying to play on social media, the majority of your fans and followers are probably not seeing your updates.  Does this mean you should give up?  Actually, quite the opposite.  What it does mean is that it’s time to rethink and repost your social updates.  Just because a certain update posted at 8:00 AM only reached 132 people doesn’t mean that same updated posted 1 week later at 7:30 PM can’t reach 2,000 people.

If time has been spent to build a good following and time has been spent to create great content, don’t let that time be wasted by only pushing out one tweet or one Facebook update then trying to determine its success.  Instead of trying to come up with the next update – try different times, different days of the week or a different image.  All of these things can make a huge difference and so often I see small companies get discouraged when it comes to social media marketing because a certain message didn’t take off they way the though it might after being posted only one time.

Key Takeaway – Social media is such a moving target.  Perfectly crafted tweets (hey, we all know it’s hard to fit everything in 140 characters or less) and Facebook posts with just the right image shouldn’t go to waste.  Check out this new app called Edgar.  It allows you to categorize your social media updates and put them on a schedule so it’s easy to find the best time and day to post.

What is Smart Marketing?

Smart marketing isn’t coming up with the next great idea.  Smart marketing is taking a good idea and making it better.  These tips are meant to be helpful reminders that serious time can be saved when we slow down, take a look at some of the good things we’ve already done and do them again, only better the next time around.

Ready to talk about your strategic marketing plan?  Get in touch with me here! 

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Educating Your Prospects for FREE Makes Them Better PAYING Customers

Everybody wants somethings for free, but businesses need to make money to, well, stay in business.  So what if I told you that giving away free information to your prospects actually results in better paying customers?  Would you believe it?  In fact, as a business, giving away free information might be one of your best content marketing strategies.  Let me explain…

Your Customers Want To Feel Empowered.

They’re reading online reviews, watching how-to videos and listening to podcasts.  And they’re spending more time doing these things prior to purchase than ever before.  A large part of your marketing strategy when it comes to content development should be putting a plan in place to educate your customers by providing them with free information.  The reason why is simple – if your prospects/customers don’t find you when doing this type of research, they’re going to find “someone else.”  That “someone else” is going to be your competition.  Let’s jump right into a couple of case studies to show you what I mean.

Case Study: Lowe’s Fix In Six

One of my favorite examples of a business that does a great job of educating its prospects and turning them into customers is Lowe’s.  Just take a look at this Vine video…

Pretty cool, huh?  Who knew that real mayo could help remove wood stains?  Side note – I haven’t actually tested this yet, but I am taking Lowe’s word for it.  Now that’s some pretty useful information.  Information that doesn’t really directly make Lowe’s any money (last time I checked they didn’t sell mayo at Lowe’s), but indirectly goes a long way at establishing them as the authority in home improvement projects.  While it’s just 6 secs in length, I am willing to bet a few hours (if not more) went into planning and shooting just this one video.  This type of video marketing is clever and resonates well with customers.  It’s no secret that people don’t like being sold to.  But what they do like are helpful solutions like an easy way to remove water stains from wood and they’ll remember the company that published this info.  Not only will they remember it, but they will share it with others.  Furthermore, the types of people searching for and watching videos like this one are….BINGO….you guessed it….people who like to do home improvement projects AKA Lowe’s target market!

Case Study: Pampers

Let’s completely shift gears from home improvement to baby care.  Pampers has a content marketing strategy that includes producing videos which showcase quick and easy baby tips.  These short videos cover basic topics that new parents are sure to be searching for such as tips for traveling with a baby or how to get your baby into a sleep routine.  While Pampers products are shown during the videos, there is not a hard sell. Again, it’s about being the brand that puts the information out there that your customers want and need – especially during a time when they might be establishing brand loyalty for a necessary item like diapers.  Take a look…

Develop A Content Marketing Plan To Put This Into Action

Now, it’s time to put these tips into action and develop a content marketing strategy that will help move your business forward.  Here’s how to get started…

  1. Log into Google Analytics or whatever analytics platform you use.
  2. Drill down to the report showing the keywords driving organic traffic (in Google Analytics it’s under Acquisition->Keywords->Organic).
  3. Use the search feature within that report to find keyword phrases using words such as “how,” “what,” “why,” etc.
  4. Write down the top 5 keyword phrases within each of these searches.

So, what happens next?  First you must realize that in just those few minutes you have uncovered the golden nuggets of your business. These are the questions or problems that people finding your site are trying to answer/solve.  If you can help prospects easily find the answers and possibly even expand upon each one with other variations then you are establishing trust.  And once you’ve earned their trust, it’s far easier to earn their business.

How do you go about answering these questions?  Contact us and we will help you develop a content marketing strategy to do just that!

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2 Must-Haves for Every 2015 Online Marketing Plan

It’s never too early to write a blog post predicting the keys to a successful online marketing plan for the following year.   After all, the hope is that readers like you will get the message and start taking action now.  Well, I’m here to fill you in on the 2 online marketing plan must-haves that are going to make or break your success in 2015.

2015 Online Marketing Predictions

Before we get started, let me just say that these are two trends that many online marketers saw coming but were still overwhelmed by how fast they happened.  Let me also say that your online marketing plan and marketing strategy needs to include these things because they are not going away.  They will only continue to become more apparent.

1. Multi-Device Consistency and Compatibility

Is your brand represented well on every device?  Businesses who aren’t thinking about this question are getting blindsided everyday when they realize that 30% 40% of their website traffic is coming from smartphones.  And another 8% – 10% from tablets .  All at once they realize that beautiful website design isn’t exactly user friendly for the majority of their potential customers.

We live in a multi-device world.  We watch TV with our iPhone in hand.  We regularly switch from PC to tablet throughout the day.  If a potential customer views your site from their desktop at work, gets distracted and comes back later that night from a smartphone – will the experience be consistent?  It’s no longer a choice.  Responsive website design is here to stay and the customer experience MUST be consistent or sales and leads will be lost.  End of story.

Statistics from a recent Marketingland.com report:
“Mobile web traffic has grown 50 percent over the past year and now represents more than 25 percent of all internet visits according to a study by Wpromote. The company looked at traffic to 35 of its client sites, including e-tailers, B2B industries and consumer services.

Consumer services was the category with the highest percentage of mobile traffic at 33 percent. B2B sites had the lowest percentage of mobile traffic at 16 percent.

Source: Wpromote

With a much larger sample of sites, StatCounter shows a higher aggregate percentage of mobile traffic in the US market:

  • Desktop: 68.8 percent
  • Smartphone/mobile: 21.4 percent
  • Tablet: 8.7 percent

Recently I was told by mattress retailer Sleep Train that roughly 40 percent of its traffic now comes from mobile devices. This is also true for sites that offer real-world or “local” information (e.g., Yelp, YP). These sites are seeing traffic north of 40 percent from smartphones and tablets.”

Who is doing responsive website design well?
Take a look at WeAreIU.com.  It’s a website all about helping Indiana University upcoming freshmen prepare for the college experience. The majority of the content is written by students, for students.  The mobile version of the site features a condensed menu with the “Must Reads” front and center using large text that makes it easily clickable.  The content is the start on this website and they make the best stuff easy to find.

WeAreIU

Make Your Website Look Great on Smartphones

Ready to talk about a responsive website design for your business?  Get in touch with Focal Point here to chat.

2. Visual Approach to Social Media Marketing

I don’t need to cover the importance of social media marketing.  By now, you’ve heard it a million times and you get it.  But what I can tell you is that social media marketing skills are going to become like Microsoft Office skills – every new hire is going to need to have them.  It’s just that important.  The other thing that I can tell you is that having a visual marketing strategy for your business is going to be the most critical thing to your success on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

These social media sites continue to make changes that put more and more emphasis on images and videos.  This isn’t going to change anytime soon.  Facebook continues to increase the size of images in its news feed.  Twitter recently made changes to the way its images are displayed, added filters, etc.  Google Plus allows its users to show off their photography skills like never before.  Instagram continues to grow in popularity along with Pinterest.  Is your company adapting to these changes?  Are you using video and images to tell your story?

Stats about Visual Content Marketing:
Hubspot put out an article about the effectiveness of using images and videos in content marketing entitled 19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing [Data] back in 2012 (hint hint – you should be doing these things by now) and the trends mentioned have only become more true today.  Here are a few of my favorite points:

15) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa16) Mobile video viewing increased 35% from 2010 to 2011. (Source:Nielsen)

17) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos)

18) Mobile video subscription is expected to hit $16 billion in revenue by 2014, with over 500 million subscribers. (Source: Ooyala)

19) Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer)


Who is using visual social media marketing well?
Remember Dollar Shave Club?  They’re the ones who had to wildly popular video that went viral back in 2012 (go here for a reminder).  Well, they’re still at it and doing a great job with their social media marketing strategy.  Take a look at the example below.  Simple.  Funny.  Best yet, it gets interaction and drives sales.  This one FB post had 276 likes, 44 comments and 25 shares.  Not bad for a post about razor blades!

Dollar Shave Club

Ready to talk about your visual content marketing?

Focal Point can help you share your story through the use of stunning photography and video that can be incorporated into your social media marketing strategy.  Contact us today to talk about your visual online marketing strategy!

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