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How Content Curation Helps Your Brand 

There is no doubt that getting in front of your prospective clients with good content is key.  But who has the time to research, write, edit and publish all that good content?  That’s where content curation can help.

I want to share a well-kept secret with you.

Why Content Curation Helps Your Brand

There are several ways content curation strengthens your brand:

  • Positions you as an Expert
  • Adds credibility to your name
  • Shows you are resourceful
  • Demonstrates you care about others
  • You become a publisher

Become a Publisher

When you become a publisher others look to you for the latest information in your niche.

Posting relevant content, even if its not your own, bolsters your reputation as someone who knows their stuff.  And by sharing other people’s content it stands out because everyone else out there is shouting about themselves.

Content curation demonstrates your ability to find good content.

When the most people out there want to use technology to further themselves, sharing other people’s content can raise your own visibility. This demonstrates your ego isn’t driving the reason for sharing. You are perceived as caring by sharing.

So we’ve covered the how content curations helps your brand, now let’s talk about that great secret…

Finding Relevant Content

To find relevant content on a regular basis you could…

…type in keywords in Google search box and click on link after link reading to see what’s relevant. But that would definitely take too long.

Or you could…

…setup a Google Alert based on those keywords in your industry and wait for the automated email you receive to get links to content.  But that alert may get lost in your inbox among all the other emails you get daily.

Automation is Key

No, to find relevant content… you need automation.

I have just the tool for you.

It’s called Paper.li.

It’s an online magazine or newsletter tool. It allows you to publish an online newspaper based on social media feeds and keywords you select as you set it up.

For example, I’ve mentioned previously my target market is businesses who sell business intelligence tools.  Therefore, I setup my own newspaper is called Business Intelligence Daily.   See the example below:

Business Intelligence Daily

Paper.li Newsletter Example

Having your own newsletter allows you to always have access to the latest information posted. It provides articles, videos, pictures, podcasts, etc.

You’ll never have to go searching for something to share. All you need to do is open your newsletter and copy article link and post to whichever social media site you may be working in.

It couldn’t be simpler!

Another Benefit of Content Curation

Once your newsletter is setup, you can start growing your list too. As more people read the newsletter, they will likely sign up to receive your newsletter via email.

So now you know a trade secret of content curation. Are you ready to get started?

Contact me if you want help with your content curation plans.

5 Ways to Turn Research into Marketing Gold

Research is critical to successfully implementing any of these tactics mentioned below. Without research, you’d be grasping at straws. Research provides solid facts that put meat into your marketing tactics.

I recently told you how I performed research on 50 potential clients using the internet in How To Do New Client Research article.

Armed with the results of that research, we ready to make use of it in our marketing tactics.

There are many options but we’ll start with four ways to use this research.

First, use the data to write a white paper as a lead generation report 

“B2B marketers report sales lead quality as their #1 most important metric for measuring content marketing success; even more important than sales and conversions.” (source)

Because sales lead quality is so important, utilizing a white paper or special report is like having your audience raise their hand, indicating they are interested.

A white paper describes a problem a particular audience may be facing. Within the paper, it talks about how someone can solve a problem like this. It talks about a solution without selling a particular company. At the end of the paper, it highlights who the paper is sponsored by.  White papers are typically 8 to 10 pages long depending on the topic.

This can be used as a free special report you clients receive after entering their email address on your website.

I took my research an wrote a Special Report on “15 Ways to Increase Customer Engagement” as an opt-in piece for my website.  You can do the same thing!

Second, use the idea of a white paper to solicit quotes from potential clients to include in the white paper. 

The best way to add credibility to your report is with quotes from industry leaders.  The more quotes from experts in the industry, the more you are considered an expert too!

Start by reviewing your research. Identify a specific person within your targeted companies list you can contact.  Then, simply ask for a quote for to include in the upcoming the white paper. Next, let them know you’ll send them an advanced copy of the white paper in exchange for their email address.

This provides two-fold benefit.  First, you get your name in front of your potential clients.  And second, it adds credibility to your message.

Third, craft thoughtful blog posts about the findings (one finding per post) 

Research is critical as mentioned previously. It’s the underpinnings of all content we write.

As you review your research, you will start to uncover opportunities to write about.  If you wrote a white paper about the findings in your research, you have all the data you need to write blog posts too!

Many might consider this repurposing your content.

It’s simple. Each section in the white paper itself can become its own stand-alone blog post.  Remember my “15 Ways to Increase Customer Engagement” report? That turned into 15 separate blog posts.

So how that works?

Even if you haven’t written a white paper yet, consider writing about one thing you noticed in your research. This becomes a blog post.  Then look for another idea from your research. You may end up with several posts which will be good for your blog and getting seen in the search engines.

You’ll become noticed as an expert in your field by sharing these findings with your readership.

Forth, create charts or graphs from the data you collected. 

If you are a data junky like me, then creating some quick charts and graphs of your findings may be easy for you. This is a little like creating infographics which help readers understand the points you’re trying to make.

Even if you’re not a data junky, some basic excel skills will help here.

Try creating a pivot table to see how many companies had the same result.  Or sort the results by who has the best site based on the findings.

You could get more sophisticated and create a decision matrix, add weighs to the factors, and rank each company, and sort highest to lowest score.  Below is an example of such a matrix:

Business Intelligence Decision Matrix

Decision Matrix

Any time you add pictures to your words the better your post, project, or report will be.

Use these in blog posts, white papers, or add to your site to lead credibility.

Fifth, write a Profit GAP Letter and contact prospective clients. 

A profit GAP letter is a prospecting tool. The letter explains who I am, what problems I’ve seen in the industry, and how I help potential clients.

The research you created highlights all the problems found on the websites you audited.  Therefore, you now know problems seen in the industry. Next, craft how you help to solve those problems in the letter.

This is a great way to break the ice with a potential client. It’s best if you weave these into a story, so your potential client doesn’t feel overwhelmed that their site totally sucks.

This suggestion takes some time to create. It is best to get input from others before sending this out to prospective clients.  Have some of your closest writer friends review the letter and make suggestions on how to improve it.  The message should be very clear. The problem well defined, the solution demonstrated, and the value you bring to the problem obvious.

So there you have it.  Five unique ways to turn your research into marketing gold and reach more clients.

If you’d like me to help you with your research, or any of the above ways to turn that research into marketing gold, contact me today.

How To Do New Client Research Analysis 

Doesn’t New Client Research Analysis sound complicated? What exactly is it? It’s a fancy way of saying finding new clients.

So how does one go about doing new client research?

Using the internet you can do all kinds of research. You can find just about anything on the internet. So why not use that to our advantage to move our business forward.

Let me show you what I did to get my research going.

All good research starts with a goal in mind.  For me, my goal was to find 50 new client companies to research.

Step 1: Identify your Target Market

First, you must know your target market.  For me, my target market is companies who sell Business Intelligence tools. If you haven’t narrowed your target market very specifically, these suggestions aren’t going to mean much to you. Start there first.

Step 2: Identify Industry Organizations for that market

Next, think about what industry standard organizations publish reports and analysis for that target market. For me I found Gartner Group publishes a Magic Quadrant report for my target audience.

  • I found and downloaded Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Companies.
  • This provided me the names of 50 companies in my industry.  Easy!

Step 3: Define what to research

The next step is defining what I wanted to research. For example, I performed a web site audit to identify any opportunities I could use in contacting these new potential clients.

  • As a writer and marketing expert, I’m always looking for ways to improve business’ marketing message and vehicles. Therefore, the web site audit is the fastest and easiest way to find opportunities for improvement.

Step 4: Capture the results of research

Then I setup an Excel spreadsheet to capture 16 factors I was looking for on each website.

In the beginning you may not know what you’re looking for. That’s ok. Just start with the first web site and take note of what you find. Each element becomes a factor you can track and compare as you visit other sites. Keep adding to the factors in new columns, and then go back to previously visited sites to update for the new factors.  In effect you’re building the spreadsheet as you go.

Capturing data from this exercise is critical. Without it, you won’t be able to see the opportunities. Below is a portion of my data tracking sheet.

New Client Research Template

New Client Research Excel template

As I visited each web site, I noted what I saw regarding the 16 factors I was tracking. I did this for all 50 prospective clients.

Step 5: Identify Opportunities

In the end, I could spot opportunities easily.  For example, one company had no social media icons on their site. How can potential customers connect with them? Another company used a lot of pictures and the words were too self-serving to be attractive to potential customers. Again another company wasn’t making the best use of their digital assets.

I could go on and on.

There are so many possible ways to use this data to further your own marketing process. We’ll discuss some of those in 5 Ways to Turn Research into Marketing Gold article.

I’m not going to lie.

This research exercise requires quite a bit of time. I started the project several months ago and just completed recently only because other priorities had come up.  You’ll have to decide how much time you can commit to it. However long it takes you, it’s worth it!

Depending on how committed you are, plan to allocate 2 weeks or more for this kind of in depth study.

It takes time to review each of the 16 factors and make note of what you found. But it is worth the time and effort.  Read 5 Ways to Turn Research into Marketing Gold  now.

Emails Not Getting Through? Try Four Techniques to Increase Your Email Open Rates Now.

An Article on Email Marketing Issues to Avoid in Marketing.

Email marketing issues happen all the time. The purpose of this article to help you avoid some of them. The average number of business email sent/received in a day is 122 in 2015 and growing says Radicati.com. That’s a lot of emails to go through. It’s no wonder it takes time to get a response. Imagine having to read every one of those emails! When would you ever get any real work done?

The average number of business email sent/received in a day is 122 in 2015 and growing says Radicati.com. That’s a lot of emails to go through. It’s no wonder it takes time to get a response. Imagine having to read every one of those emails! When would you ever get any real work done?

Most people don’t read every email they get. It’s too time-consuming. Instead, they scan the subject lines and delete anything that it isn’t immediately relevant.

67% of marketers say that email is key for attracting and engaging prospects, and the best path to increase email marketing ROI according to Forbes. So how do we cut through the cluttered inbox to reach our potential customers?

It’s all about the headline

Before you write a headline you need to know your audience. Do the research to understand who you are writing to. You miss the mark if you forego this step.

Why is research so important? Through research, the typical customer is revealed. Research helps answer many questions about our potential customers. Questions like:

  • “Who they are?”
  • “What do they like?”
  • “What don’t they like?”
  • “How do they want to connect?”
  • “What words do they use?”
  • “What problems do they have?”
  • “What have they tried to solve their problem?”

In-depth research helps the writer to craft messages using the phrases and language the potential customer actually uses. The result is an email that resonates with the reader because it speaks their language. It connects with the reader on their level.

The next step is to craft a great headline or subject line for the email.  Using the trusted 4U formula ensures a greater chance of getting your emails read.  Here’s why.

When an email shows up, the reader scans subject line to determine if it relevant or worthy to open and continue reading.  If the headline doesn’t capture the reader’s attention, the email won’t get read. Worse yet it might get trashed before it’s even opened!

64% of people say they open an e-mail because of the subject line according to Mark the Marketer. Email subject lines are critical. It’s life or death of the email. So write your subject lines using attention-grabbing methods to compel readers to click through and read the rest of your email.

Important points to remember for upping your open rates:

  • use words that suggest urgency, such as alert, news, bulletin
  • include special offers
  • don’t mislead – don’t suggest something that you’re not going to deliver
  • spark curiosity
  • consider running A/B tests for subject lines to see what works best

Don’t get stuck in the spam filter

Obviously, your email will never get read, if it gets stuck in a spam filter.

There are certain words to avoid at all costs. Check out this list Hubspot put together.  It contains a huge list of words to absolutely avoid in your emails.  Verify your emails don’t include any of these words.

The next step is to test out your emails using spam content detection tools. There are many free options out there. Here are a few highly rated options by many email marketers:

http://spamcheck.postmarkapp.com/

http://www.mailingcheck.com/

http://www.jam-software.com/spamassassin/

Try each of those and see what works best for you and help you avoid email marketing issues.

Personalize or not?

Another way to avoid the spam filters is by using personalization. This seems fairly intuitive. Emails that are personalized have a greater chance of being opened. You want to open any letter you received when your name is handwritten on the envelope. It could be someone you know, right?

Personalization of email content yielded the highest average open rate for all email campaigns, with 17.6 percent of all personalized emails being opened according to MailerMailer.

Personalization means including your recipient’s name in either the subject line or the email body content. Campaigns without any personalization achieved a lower email open rate of 11.4 percent. With this in mind, ensure your email marketing is set up to include personalization in both the subject line and the body copy of your email content.

As a general rule, personalization is the best approach. After all, your emails are meant to foster a relationship with your customers. If you don’t treat your customers with respect they won’t stick around for long. One way to respect your customer is to call them by name.

Of course, this means you better have a way to capture their information so you can personalize the email you’re sending. More on that topic in another article about email tools.

So, don’t get stuck with email marketing issues like this one. Personalize your emails for impact.

Add Value

Adding value goes hand and hand with the research phase. During the research phase, you discover what problems, needs, or goals your customers have. Once you know those things you can craft content that helps your customer.

Content that:

  • Helps your customers overcome their problem.
  • Meets your customers’ need.
  • Enables your customers to reach their goals.

Email marketing is informational on purpose. Choosing not to be informational is another email marketing issue to avoid. Email marketing should be designed to help customers solve a problem, meet a need, or reach a goal.

So what’s the best way to do that?

  • Answer questions. Again, through research, you will discover what’s ailing your customer. When you know that you can write emails that help them answer their most nagging questions.
  • Make lists. Content with lists works nicely for conveying many helpful hints, tips, or suggestions.
  • Add value. Another way to add value is to lay out the plans to reach a goal. Providing a step by step approach to reaching a goal can help a customer reach theirs.
  • Offer solutions. Lastly identifying a problem and writing about the solution can also add value for your customer.

In conclusion, contact me to help with your email campaigns. I’d be happy to do the research, craft email subject lines using the “4 U’s” method, and brainstorm an email series that will address your customer’s problem, needs, or goals.  I also provide email proofing and make recommendations to improve existing campaigns.

For more information on how I write click here.

Email Marketing Digital Marketing

An Article on Email Marketing Digital Marketing.

Email marketing digital marketing is used for many reasons as we’ll discuss below in a moment. Specifically, it’s the most convenient and least expensive way to communicate with prospects and customers.

But is it really effective to send out personalized emails one at a time? Well, no of course not. As your business grows there’s no way to scale such a manual process.

As a result…enter the Autoresponder. (aka drip marketing or email marketing digital marketing).  An autoresponder is a series of planned emails sent out to an email list over a period of time. Because the emails are planned in advance, it’s an automated way to stay in touch with your prospects and customers. Therefore, no matter how many names you get on your list, you will always be able to ensure they hear personally from you on a regular basis.

In conclusion, autoresponder email marketing digital marketing is the only way to scale your personalized communications as your list grows.

So let’s look at the Purpose of Email Autoresponders

  • Stay in touch with prospects and customers
  • Share about who you are, so your prospects will begin to know you
  • Inform your prospect and customers of what you offer, so they will consider you when they have a need.
  • Educate your prospect and customers on solutions to solve their problems, help them achieve a goal, or satisfy a need.
  • Promote special offers to drive prospects and/or customers to your store/site.
  • Build relationship with your prospects
  • Project creditability
  • Earn trust

As you can see, there are many reasons for the use of autoresponders within email marketing digital marketing. When setup correctly, they become an effective marketing tool. These emails guide your prospects into a relationship with you. When done poorly, autoresponders can drive your prospects further away.

It’s all in the strategy and planning.

The Multiple Phases of a Prospects

Email Marketing Digital Marketing Customer CycleProspects are potential customers who have a problem, want to achieve a goal, or have a specific need.

Your product or service may be what they need.

As a result, email is one of the best methods to help position you and your product or service as the solution.

In an email marketing digital marketing campaign, begin with the end in mind to quote from Steven Covey’s Highly Effective People.  There are two fundamental questions to ask yourself.

What do I want the prospect to know? What do I want the prospect to do?

First, plan out all the things you want your prospect to know.

Start with what’s personal: This builds trust.

  • About me
  • About why I started my company

Move to discussing the prospect’s problem, goal, or need. This builds your reputation through empathy. As a result, the readers feel you understand their situation.

What do I know about:

  • the prospect’s problem
  • their goal
  • satisfying the prospect’s need

Then, highlight what you know. This builds authority through mentor/coach/advice process. As a result, your readers begin to trust your knowledge.

  • What I know
  • How I can help
  • What potential solutions are out there

Next, position products/services as the solution the prospect is looking for. This builds credibility. As a result, your readers find a way to solve their problem.

  • How my products can help
  • How my service can help
  • What my clients have said about my products/services

Finally, plan out what action you want the prospect to take with every interaction.

Email 1: About Me

  • Call to action: Go to the website to learn more

Email 2: Prospect’s Problem

  • Next step action: Sign up for Special Report

Email 3: What You Know

  • Take next action: Sign up for a free One on One assessment

Email 4: Products/Services

  • Call attention to action: Sign up for a free trial

Do you see how that works?

For each “sign up for” action, create another series of emails to draw them closer to making a decision.  After a few of these email series, your prospect may turn into paying customers.

Therefore, well-thought-out plan for email marketing digital marketing campaigns can increase your sales. And turn one-time customers into repeat buyers, and build better word of mouth referrals.

Contact me today to see how I can help your email marketing digital marketing efforts.

7 Ways to Measure the Return on Marketing Investment

You’ve heard the term ROI – Return on Investment.  Naturally, the term ROMI would mean Return on Marketing Investment.

Dr. Deming said, “If you can’t measure something, you don’t know what you’re doing.” Therefore, if you not measuring ROMI, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Failing to measure something means you could be losing money. If you are measuring something, but don’t do anything with the results, you ARE losing money.

Let’s stop the unproductive cycle by plotting a course that leads to profits and improved efficiencies.

So how do you measure ROMI?

That all depends on your marketing goals.

There are various ways to measure your marketing efforts. But the trick is identify the measures that make the most sense for your business goals.

Step 1: Identify your business goals.

The most logical place to start is with identifying your business goals. There is no one particular goal that fits all situations. Really think through what you want the marketing tactic to achieve. It must be measurable too.

Use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. to help you think in terms of measurability of your goal.

S – is it specific?

M – is it measurable?

R – is it relevant?

T – is it time-dimensioned?

If you don’t have business goals clearly identified, how will you ever know when you reach them?

Step 2: Identify your target audience.

Knowing your target audience is a crucial step. Therefore, your marketing tactics must be geared towards your target audience. If not, you’re wasting marketing funds on unproductive efforts.

Understand who your target audience, where they hang out on the internet, and how they prefer to connect. You need to know what they like and don’t like and what problems keep them awake at night.

Furthermore, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think like they do to really understand them. See how they try solving a problem. Search for how they achieve a goal. Look at how they satisfy their need.

Step 3: Assess you business’ capability.

Next, list out all the marketing tactics you are currently using. This helps you understand what your current capabilities are so you don’t overextend your resources. For example, just because there are hundreds of places to connect online, this doesn’t mean your business must have a presence on all those places.

Look at where you are present and compare that with what you considered about your target audience.

Step 4: Assess your tactics against your target audience’s preferred method of contact

Have you ever considered the way you approach a client could cause them to leave or stay with you for life?

Therefore, are there tactics you are not using your target audience would prefer you use? And, are there tactics you are currently using your target audience doesn’t care about?

Step 5: Map your marketing efforts to your target audience

Identify the ways your target audience prefers to be contacted or engaged.

Then, map out your marketing efforts through those preffered channels. For example, if you learn your audience hangs out on Facebook, then you should definitely have a Facebook presence.  If your audience never goes to Facebook, then what value would having a Facebook presence bring?

Think strategically. Only setup and maintain social media platforms that are where your audience is.

Step 6: Identify your Marketing measurements

Next, move to the critical step of identifying what to measure. Your business goals with determine the measurement.

For example, one goal might be increase your subscriber count. Therefore, one measurement might be the number of new subscribers.  Remember, you can have multiple goals per marketing tactic.

Revisit each goal you identified earlier and identify an accurate measurement for it.

Then, you will take a baseline measurement before making any changes in marketing tactics. This will tell you where you are starting from. This is an important step. If you fail to measure this first, you won’t know how successful your tactic really is.

After you implement a marketing tactic adjustment, take another measurement. Be sure to allow enough time to pass before measuring again. This will allow you to gather enough data to assess.

Compare this measurement to the baseline measurement. Determine if any progress was made.

Look at the results. Did the marketing tactic change the results in a positive way? If not, reassess.

Step 7: Reassess over time.

In conclusion, the process outlined in this short article is not a “one and done” approach, but rather an on-going process. As customers change, your marketing tactics may need to change too. Many factors make it necessary for your marketing plans to be flexible.

Therefore, set up a process that allows you to measure regularly and assess often.  You want to be nimble and able to change/improve your marketing tactics to coincide with the changing trends of your audience.

Read more about my services to see if we’re a good fit for your project.