Sponsored Content: Ads That Get Read

If you’re not doing content marketing yet, you’re thinking about it. This study reports that 86% of North American B2B businesses are using content marketing in 2015. Sponsored content, also called “native advertising” is a form of content advertising.

In a sense it’s the successor to old-style magazine advertorials. But where advertorials — I’ve written more than a few in my time — plugged the advertiser’s product, sponsored content doesn’t. It’s going for the click, and aims to look innocuous, to blend in to its surroundings. That’s where the “native” comes in. It’s advertising designed not to look like advertising.

Let’s look at an example, clipped from News.com.au.

Sponsored content appears on News.com.au as it does on many news sites; in this instance, it’s called “News From Around the Web”.

Sponsored content is all about the headline, and history junkie that I am, I couldn’t resist a click on the Titanic mystery article, sponsored by Ancestry, via Outbrain. The article’s 400 words, and it’s an article, rather than an ad. The only clue you get that it’s advertising is the website on which it appears, and the final sentence.

Sponsored content’s replacing banner advertising

With straight banner advertising dead, sponsored content is its replacement. Unfortunately, as Mashable points out, marketers lose the plot. They get hypnotized by clicks, and a lot of sponsored content is just click-bait. Where’s the return on investment?

Making sense of sponsored content

Sponsored content can be hugely valuable. Your content appears on a heavily-trafficked website, and you’ll get clicks. However, there are challenges, because this is a new area of advertising.

Inc.com reports:

“Sponsored content represents a burgeoning opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in the comfort of their most trusted environments–the publications they go to for information and entertainment. Yet, as a relatively new form of advertising, the realm of sponsored content is largely unexplored and unknown. This will be the year that brands come to know sponsored content intimately–and embrace it wholeheartedly.”

Yes, sponsored content is a growing opportunity. If you’re using content marketing, sponsored content is your next step. It’s advertising, but it’s ads that get read.

Want more info? Contact me if you’re wondering whether sponsored content could enhance your marketing this year.

 

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Email Marketing: 5 Simple Ways to Get More Clicks

Email Marketing: 5 Simple Ways to Get More Clicks

Email marketing is a challenge. Everyone’s Inbox is stuffed. How many emails do you open? Most are deleted unread, right? Or they’re ignored. We’re all too busy.

Nevertheless, email marketing is effective. Even without a click, you’re building awareness of your company, and what you do. That bears fruit later on. MailChimp posted some stats on email marketing campaigns by industry. How do your stats measure up?

Whatever your stats are, let’s look at how you can get more clicks.

1. Keep Messages Short

One company (they’re not a client, but I wish they were, they know what they’re doing) sends email messages five times a day. Ridiculous, right? Well, no. I’m on their list, and although I delete their messages 90 per cent of the time, I do click through. So do others, because the company’s doing great. As far as I know, email is this company’s primary marketing tool. They’re not shy of mailing their lists.

Here’s the point: if you have something to send, send it. If you’re thinking “I can’t send email too often, people will unsubscribe!” They may do, and if they do, what have you lost? On the other hand, if you restrict the number of mailings, you’re losing sales.

Keep your messages short, and send more of them.

2. Encourage Social Sharing

According to GetResponse, their study, “Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Report”, revealed:

“… that email messages that included a social sharing option generated 30 percent higher click-through-rates (CTRs) than emails without a social sharing option, and messages with three or more sharing options generated 55 percent higher CTRs. Emails with a Twitter sharing option returned over 40 percent higher CTRs than messages without any social media links, indicating the benefits of sharing may be vastly underestimated.”

Who knew? I’m implementing social sharing in my own mailings, and mailings I create for clients. It’s a super-simple way to increase clicks.

3. Target: Create Email Lists for Each Stage of the Buying Cycle

Big companies do this. Smaller companies don’t. If they send emails, they tend to send out a mailing once in a blue moon, which gets the results you’d expect.

You need to target your emails to each stage of the buying cycle.

Your content creates awareness of your company: that’s the first stage of the buying cycle. Depending on your industry, this stage may be short, or it may be uncertain, or it may be on-going, as it is for companies like Coca-Cola.

In some industries the buying cycle is long. Whatever the cycle is in your industry, building awareness is vital. However, your email mailing for prospects who are becoming aware of you can’t be the same as your email marketing to people who’ve purchased from you.

4. Cut the Clutter: Put Your Offer at the Beginning of the Message

I use Mailbox as my email client; it offers a large preview. Some email clients preview the first few lines. If your email message includes a huge header, you’re wasting valuable space. Put your offer right at the beginning of the message, where it will do you good.

5. Build Urgency Into Your Calls to Action

Urgency increases sales if you’re sending to targeted recipients. Calls to action like: “Three days only”, and “first 100 customers” build urgency, and urgency works.

You won’t always use urgency, but use it often. It gets results.

A Bonus Tip: Remember Mobile

Marketing Land reports that 66% per cent of email opens are on mobile.

When someone opens your emails on an itty bitty screen, can they read your message and take action?

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.