Software providers have the potential to offer a great deal of value to their consumers. Whether it's optimizing recruitment processes, implementing the use of artificial intelligence, or creating a useful customer relationship management tool, software fills gaps to create efficiency and make the day-to-day workload much more productive for clients. Although software providers know the benefits to the product they're producing, they also need to show potential consumers what they're missing out on. By engaging, educating, and developing trust with potential consumers, you can create lasting relationship that increase your success and make for delighted customers.
With the dawn of each new year, marketers are finding new ways to better attract and engage with current and potential consumers. Staying up to date on what’s new and next helps you make sure that your strategies are current and as effective as they can be. As we look to the year ahead in 2019, we are already seeing some trends when it comes to content marketing. In a previous blog we took a deep dive into content marketing and how it’s all about attracting and engaging with your potential consumers by educating them with high quality content. It’s an organic way to build rapport and trust because you’re not selling, but rather solving a problem that will hopefully end in a delighted customer. Content marketing has evolved since its inception, and with innovative technology and new channels for communication, we don’t see that evolution slowing any time soon. Although the new year has just begun, we’re already seeing what’s new and next, including 5 trends for content marketing in 2019.
Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is being used more and more by nearly all businesses, whether you know it or not. It serves as an opportunity to not only meet your company’s bottom line, but it also allows you to more efficiently allocate your time. For instance, chatbots used to be seen in a negative light whenever they’d pop up on a website. Well, not anymore. Chat bots have come a long way from the first ever bot called ELIZA in 1966. Created by Joseph Weizenbaum, the chatbot laid the fundamentals for future innovations by using preprogrammed responses, phrases, and keywords (though it didn't pass the Turing Test, i.e. the test of users believing they were interacting with an actual person). Fast-forward a few decades and AI interfaces like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are becoming more mainstream. Chatbots are now widely used on websites because they allow businesses to have more conversations with website visitors and interact like never before with sophisticated conversations that sounds much more real than previous efforts.
As consumers continually change the way in which they make purchases, how do businesses know how to keep up and be seen? It’s marketing’s job to have their finger on the pulse and be knowledgeable about consumer behavior, which means it’s good practice to check in on the strategies you have in place to see what’s going well, what’s not working, and where there may be some opportunities to improve. Whether your business has been around for a couple years or it’s just starting up, inbound marketing can serve as a significant piece of your puzzle as you attract, engage, and delight your consumers. It lays a significant and solid foundation for how you do business and interact with potential consumers.
Without inbound marketing, you’re probably using outdated strategies to attract leads and make conversions. Building awareness and trust is fundamental to inbound. Just think, if you’re a B2C company that’s using billboard advertising and direct mail to get the word out about your business, you’re really missing out on building a relationship with your consumer. Chances are that people who get the mailing or see your advertisement don’t give a second thought to doing business with you because they’re missing the why. Being able to demonstrate value and educate the consumer is what inbound marketing relies on to create success and keep consumers engaged.
If you haven’t begun using inbound marketing and aren’t happy with the results your current marketing strategy is providing, here are 5 signs that inbound might work for you.
1. Poor SEO
Think of the last time you had a question or were looking to make a purchase. What did you do first? Chances are that you’re in the group of 62% of people who turn to consult with a search engine before making a purchasing decisions (HubSpot, 2016). Businesses know that their ideal consumers are using Google as a resource, and that the goal is to figure out how to cut through all of the noise and really get people's attention. You’ve probably heard of search engine optimization, or SEO, and you intuitively understand the importance of ensuring you have a good SEO strategy in place. But how does SEO really work, and what does it mean for modern businesses?
We tend to think of artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of tangible technologies, like robots or even Watson. But most AI-powered technology actually exists in a much more abstract form, in the form of algorithms. And that technology is incredibly important for marketers who wish to stay at the forefront of the industry.
Understanding your customers' wants and needs is the first step to success. All marketers hope for a steady stream of qualified leads that begin their journey to eventually become a delighted customer. Of course, hope isn’t enough. Having a solid strategy for lead generation is important to gain prospects and customers and there are many ways to make sure you don’t have any missed opportunities.
With a couple of thousand blog posts under our belt, it is always fascinating to observe which concoctions are attracting the most visitors, the most interactions, the highest conversions.
For this year's review, we've looked at the highest visitor numbers in 2018 from some of our recent projects, generated by our content marketing team. Fun fact, not all of those posts were generated in 2018. The one that generated the most traffic this year, more than 40,000 visitors, was written in 2014. Hint: it seems apesurd. Talk about the long-term benefit of content marketing.....
Marketing is a huge industry these days, with untold numbers of ‘experts’ vying for your attention and your marketing dollars. What to do if you’re looking for a sure way to grow your customer base, and in turn grow your revenue stream?
When looking at marketing strategies for your business, it’s crucial to first thoroughly understand your options, and how they operate both independently and in tandem. Are you seeing good traffic metrics for your site, but not seeing those visits convert to sales? Or have you recently seen a decline in website visitors and want to see those numbers increase to their old level? Or maybe your numbers are fine, but you’re looking for growth?
So you've set up your own business and have a website. You have a great product or service and have sold it to your first pilot customers, partners in your network, friends, and family. You get encouragement that your solution is something great and you are ready to conquer the world. What's next, though?
In the digital world we live in, it’s no wonder more and more business are turning to digital marketing initiatives to meet their bottom line. When it comes to your digital presence, simply being online isn’t enough any more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is probably already a trusted tool in your marketing department. In a recent survey conducted by Salesforce, 61% of marketers already use some form of AI, and 27% plan to implement it in 2019. The enthusiasm for AI isn’t just because it’s a “shiny new toy”; it’s because AI offers “smarter inbound,” increasing conversion rates through predictive analytics, personalization and much more.
It's time to stop settling for average!
The average B2B conversion rates, i.e., how many of your website's business visitors turn into leads and eventually become customers are tough to come by, because most companies closely guard this information. Figures that are available show that conversion rates are incredibly low, lingering around 2.55%. In that context, a 7% conversion rate might sound downright impressive. That's the average for software/SaaS companies, which often have higher conversion rates because they offer free trials and the like. Yet even with that 7% conversion rate, more than 90% of website visitors are still leaving the site without engaging with the company. Sounds...much less impressive.
Animation. Hero images. Visual randomness. 2019 promises to be an exciting year for web design, as new trends bring a fresh face to the internet. But forget the buzz words and flashy fads--it's important to focus on what comes next within the context of your organization's online marketing strategy and goals. If you're ready for a website refresh, focus on trends that will support greater speed and higher conversion rates,
We’ve all heard and used the adage “client is king”. No matter what sort of business you’re running, you likely understand the sentiment behind that phrase. What the client wants and needs drives the majority of the work you do. So, do you know your client? You probably wouldn’t hesitate to say “yes”. But think about it again. Do youreally know your client? Have you taken the time to research who they are, what their needs are, and how you can best reach them? For start-ups (and all businesses, really), it can be a challenge to designate time and resources toward creating buyer personas. But you should.
Even if you work in sales or marketing, it’s likely that you’re being sold or marketed to more often then you’re selling to others. Whether it’s targeted advertising on your most-frequented websites, or in-person sales pitches at your local stores, you’re almost constantly being asked to consider a panoply of different products and services.
As an inbound marketing tool, your company’s blog is one of its most valuable resources. Not only does it often serve as a prospective client’s initial touch-point with your brand, but your blog can also go a long way in expressing your company’s mission, style, and accomplishments. Are you maximizing this aspect of your marketing platform? Or do you find yourself making the following blogging blunders? Perhaps you don't even know what an underutilized resource you have on your hands. Allow us to help. Read on for five of the most common blogging mistakes and our simple ways to fix them.
Mistake #1 – Poor writing
We’re going to start with the basics. Grammar matters. Proper writing matters. The quickest way to turn off a potential customer is with poor writing. If your blog posts are riddled with spelling errors, incorrect punctuation, inconsistent pronoun use, or any sort of typo, you lose all credibility. No one will consider you an expert in your field if you can’t express yourself expertly. Harsh, perhaps. But true.
Solution – Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Don’t be so anxious to hit publish that you fail to proofread what you’ve written. Read your blog posts back to yourself, preferably more than once. If at all possible, have another member of your team read them through. Two sets of eyes are better than one.
If that’s not an option, then step away and come back and re-read your work a bit later. You’ll likely catch something you brushed over the first time you read it. Another option? Read your text backwards. It sounds funny, but it’s a good way to ensure that you’re focusing on each word when proofreading, rather than just skimming.
Mistake #2 – Inconsistent blogging
You have this company blog. You know it’s a great tool. You decide to attack it with gusto. You publish six posts in one week. You publish four posts the following week as your enthusiasm begins to wane. By week three, you’re down to one post published. Publishing one post a week in and of itself is not a terrible thing; however, blogging inconsistently is. If a client decides to follow your blog in that first week and is anxious to learn more from you, they’ll be expecting a daily email. When you fail to deliver that in the following weeks, at best they’re confused and at worst they’re annoyed and take their business elsewhere.
Solution – Create an editorial calendar and stick to it
This solution takes some time and forethought. Sit down and determine what is reasonable for your team. How many blog posts per week? Per month? What sort of topics will your posts focus on? Generate a list and write it down in an editorial calendar. Plan ahead, and make sure all the players know their roles, deadlines, and expectations. Then, you’ll be able to publish consistently, and your followers will feel like they can trust you and your output.
Mistake #3 – No personality or too much personality
Stiff writing in blog posts comes across loud and clear to readers and prospective clients. And they’ll lose interest fast. At the same time, if you’re trying too hard to be funny or witty or something altogether inconsistent with the rest of your brand, those reading your blog will see right through you. In this case, you’ll lose much of your intended effect.
Solution – Convey your company brand, style, and mission authentically
No one will want to read your blog if you don’t show a little bit of who you and your company are through it. Infuse your blog with your company’s voice and unique style. Don't know what that style is? It's best to figure that out first.
Don’t worry about being too perfect. It’s okay to write more like you talk in a blog post. That being said, a balance is necessary. Don’t try too hard to be something you’re not.
Mistake #4 – Broad topics and tangential writing
When we begin writing a blog post, often our tendency is to think broadly so that we have enough content to fill up an entire post. When you pick a topic that’s too big (for example, trying to write about Africa, or World War II, or Social Media…all huge topics), there is no way to cover it in one blog post (or ten). If you try, your post will likely become convoluted, disjointed, and/or watered down. Likewise, if you are trying to tackle too much, often your writing becomes disorganized and tangential. You may find yourself circling around different topics but never quite making a clear point.
Solution – Narrow your focus and dive In
A more narrow focus works wonders. When you have a specific topic, you’re forced to be clear and thorough. A narrow focus also helps in attracting the right clients—those looking for exactly the services or expertise you can provide.
To avoid digression and tangential writing, come back to your main point often and reiterate your big ideas with clear subheadings throughout your post.
Mistake #5 – Plagiarism
Stealing is wrong. Stealing someone’s written idea or concept and claiming it’s your own is wrong. Copying and pasting someone else’s content into your own blog is wrong. As an English major, this was drilled into me, and I saw a classmate get expelled for copying an essay off the internet and turning it in as his own. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Solution – Cite your sources and be original
If you get an idea from someone or somewhere else, give them credit. This goes for images, too! Use images that are in the public domain, otherwise you could find yourself in a sticky copyright situation.
And be original in your ideas. The internet is full of information; it can seem nearly impossible to find something new to write about or to put out into the online world. But you can do it. Your company brings its unique experiences and expertise to the table. Channel these ideas, build upon what’s out there, and create content that’s original and compelling.
Looking for more help with your company blog or marketing efforts? Get a FREE blogging eBook by clicking below.