5 Ways to Energize Content Marketing in 2015

2015 is a bright new year. Will this be the year that you make content marketing work for your business? If you feel that your strategies aren’t working as well as they should, let’s look at some ways you can energize your efforts.

1. Consider your readers: your ideal customers

Too many companies try to create “viral” content which goes nowhere. Or, even worse, becomes wildly successful… but your sales results are a big fat zero. To add insult to injury, your viral content increases the cost of your bandwidth.

Focus on your customers. Create a persona (an avatar if you like) who respresents your ideal customer. What are her likes and dislikes? What challenges does she have? Once you zero in on your ideal customer, not only does content creation become easier, it will also attract that customer.

2. Remember email: give it the attention it deserves

In the early days of the Web, email was all there was. Gradually, companies stopped paying attention to email. Consider this. It’s very easy to create a series of email messages. Add the messages to your autoresponder, and they go out to everyone who signs up for it.

Yes, it takes a little energy and creativity to create a series which is not only opened and read, but remembered — and which gets results. A successful series can keep working for you all through 2015.

3. Snap photos: use them everywhere

Politicians stroll around with a cameraman in tow, and there’s a good reason for that. Every company has more photo opportunities than they ever use. Unboxing videos are hugely popular on YouTube — they should be boring, but people love them. Make a list of photo opportunities and snap at least five photos every day. And use them.

4. Share and RESHARE your content

Share your content on social media more than once. People dip in and out of social media. No one sits and reads their Twitter feed. They dip in occasionally, and they glance at Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn when they have a moment.

Use a scheduler like Buffer, and share your content more than once.

5. Add calls to action to everything

If you pay attention to nothing else, pay attention to this. Add calls to action to your content. When I do a marketing audit for a company, one of the first things I check is that calls to action are happening. Usually they’re not. It may seem obvious that your customers know what to do, but they don’t.

Tell people what you want them to do: call you, subscribe to your mailing list, visit a page on your website… Every piece of content needs a call to action. Adding them is the simplest way to energize your content marketing in 2015.

 

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

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

Email Management App: Boomerang for Gmail

Email Management App: Boomerang for Gmail

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your email, you’re not alone. While there are many email management apps, it’s hard to find an app which works the way you do. If you’re a Gmail user, and need a straightforward app that’s both a scheduler, and reminder, Boomerang for Gmail is worth checking out.

Boomerang for Gmail Works in Your Browser

The app’s easy to install. It works in Gmail in your browser (Firefox, Chrome and Safari), and Google Apps email. It’s unobtrusive, until you need it; you’ll see a small icon when you open Gmail.

Install

Click on the icon, and the menu opens.

When you’re writing a message, Boomerang for Gmail installs options under the Send button.

send

Click the Send Later button, and you can choose a time and date to send your message. If you want to follow up a message, click the dropdown boxes, to choose a date and time to follow up. You can customize the follow-up menu to suit your workflow.

It’s easy to review your scheduled messages and follow ups. Click the Boomerang for Gmail icon, and choose Manage Scheduled Messages.

review

You can even add notes to messages. Let’s say you’re looking through your archived messages, and realize that you need to ask one of your contacts a question, but don’t have time now. Open the message, click the Boomerang for Gmail icon, and write a note to yourself. (The Note icon is on the top right of the menu.) Write the note, and choose the time you want the message returned to your Inbox.

Save Time, and Clear the Clutter

Do you use your email Inbox as a To Do list? It’s tempting, but distracting. The biggest benefit I’ve found with the app is that it saves time, and clears my cluttered Inbox.

Instead of adding a reminder to follow up with someone to your time management app, just schedule a reminder in Boomerang for Gmail, and the message politely returns to your Inbox.

3 Boomerang for Gmail Time Management Tips

Boomerang for Gmail has helped me to feel more in control of my email, and has also helped to ensure that fewer things drop through the cracks. The app’s also helped me to save time.

Here’s what I’ve found useful.

1. Schedule Email, and Batch-Write Your Messages

You check your email several times a day, but you don’t have time to respond immediately. Have Boomerang for Gmail return messages to your Inbox at the time you’ve scheduled to respond.

Schedule time each day for email, and batch-write your responses. Then close your email program. If you know you’ll need to send out messages next week, write the messages on Friday, and let Boomerang for Gmail send them out on schedule.

2. Create a Follow Up Workflow

If you have clients with whom you need to follow up, create a workflow. For example, if you’re working on a project, and need to send reports, you can write the reports, and schedule them.

3. Remind Yourself

When you’re browsing your email archive, you can create notes and schedule follow ups, without opening your contacts, or your calendar. Open a message, write a note, and schedule a time for it to appear in your Inbox.

Boomerang for Gmail’s charm is its simplicity. You can customize the app to work the way you do.

, 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.

3 Easy Facebook Marketing Tips

3 Easy Facebook Marketing Tips

Oh, the horror. Facebook is changing the way its newsfeed works. If you’re already feeling the pinch: you’re not getting the results from Facebook you want, you’re thinking about your strategy. Let’s look at some easy Facebook marketing tips.

Before we get into that, keep something in mind: Facebook is a walled garden. If your Facebook page is your business’s “website”, you’re digital sharecropping. To some extent we’re all digital sharecroppers of course, but as long as you’re aware of what’s happening, you can minimize the threat to your business.

1. Post Real Content on Facebook

Hootsuite said:

One of the main reasons why Facebook is changing its algorithm is because more and more businesses are posting sales-driven content, as opposed to resourceful content that will provide value to their audience.

Facebook’s aim is to ensure that advertising on Facebook happens on ads, for which you pay.

If you’re not sure who’s following you on Facebook and why, get to know your audience. Your Facebook audience is different from your audience on Twitter, and your audience on other social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Consider ways to get your audience selling for you. Encourage them to post photos of themselves using your products. If you’re looking for a direct sales option on social media, Pinterest may be a better venue than Facebook.

2. Be Social: Engage With Your Audience on Facebook

Some companies do this brilliantly. They ask their audience open-ended questions, and respond to comments.

If you’re not doing it yet, consider this: you can get to know your customers on Facebook. When someone leaves a valuable comment, you can click through to their profile to see who they are. If you do this consistently, you can gather some valuable intelligence.

3. Play the Pided Piper: Lure Your Audience Onto Your Email List

Facebook promises to be more challenging in 2015. So your aim should be to get people onto an email list. Few companies make the best use of an email list. I have a suspicion of why that is: email campaigns take planning. Yes, email open rates are lower than they used to be. However, your best chance of increasing the value of your Facebook page’s visitors is via email.

As this Kissmetrics article points out:

…email allows you to make repeated contact, and that contact is “invasive”. It’s in their mailbox—their inner electronic sanctum. That’s very different from sending out a tweet or posting something on Facebook, where they may or may not see it, because it’s just part of a much larger timeline featuring hundreds of other people.

Bite the bullet. Take your email list seriously. Indeed, prioritize your email list. I subscribe to lots of email lists, both for my interests, and for research. I’ve noticed that some companies send out mailings several times a day. I may not read all their mailings, but I glance at them, and several times a week I click through to their website. These companies are successful. They’re focused on sales, and they know that their best chance of making sales comes via email.

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

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