Saturday, April 20, 2019
Thursday, March 21, 2019
I was talking to a business acquaintance about my new consultancy focusing on digital marketing and his first question unexpectedly made me stumble. "What exactly is digital marketing?"
Those of us who live in the digital world take it for granted that everyone must know what that means. But this question was a great reminder that digital marketing -- and indeed the entire world wide web -- is still the Wild West. Most people don't really understand how it works or what it is. This is even true for business owners and professionals.
In the case of what digital marketing services I offer my clients, here is a brief summary along with some helpful resources to learn more.
Website Development - This one is probably the most tangible and easy to grasp. Everyone knows what a website is, right? But what it takes to put one together? Not so much. I am not a web developer, but I know how to help businesses build the right kind of website for their needs. This includes choosing the right content marketing platform (there are more than just Wordpress, although that is widely used), defining the site architecture and organization (the navigation and content areas), directing the design (the look and feel of the site), writing the content (my personal specialty), and optimizing the site for SEO (also my personal specialty). You can literally build a website for $10 (like this one on Blogger) or you can spend ... virtually any amount of money. I'm working on a project now that is five figures. My piece of it is tiny, but depending on functionality, number of pages and other factors, the sky is the limit.
Social Media Management - There is more to this than posting on Facebook. I'm Hootsuite certified in Social Media which means I've received advanced training in not only using their tools but also how to maximize your impact on all your social media channels, including YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
I strongly recommend creating annual, monthly and weekly social media calendars and taking a disciplined approach to posting so that your efforts support larger business initiatives. I work with my clients to develop a marketing strategy and then create these calendars to help them reach their business goals.
Email Marketing - Email marketing is undergoing a resurgance. In the context of an increasingly complex and confusing social media environment, email marketing makes a lot of sense.When you use a properly opted in list of prospects, customers and past customers, you can create targeted meaningful communications. Best of all, it's all measureable right through the purchase path, which makes it a great tool for those with online booking or e-commerce solutions.
I can help businesses set up with the right Email Marketing platform for their uses. This can be popular solutions such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, and other CRM solutions like Salesforce that are more appropriate for larger businesses. I've used them all and there are pros and cons to each of them. But understanding the benefits of list segmentation, the importance of multi-variate (A/B) testing and the value of attracive and well written email content - that's where the magic lies.
Content Marketing - The Content Marketing Institute defines Content Marketing as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. A simpler defintion is that it's the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
The cornerstone of content marketing is strong copywriting - which lucky for me is my forte. But it's also strong visuals, such as infographics, photography and videos. I'm able to create this content for my clients and advise the best way to distribute it, through blogs, social channels or websites.
These are the broad categories - there are no doubt more and I could write a novel about each. But now after writing this, I'll be better prepared to answer that most basic of questions when I'm asked about my new business!
Monday, March 4, 2019
Marketing consultant or advertising agency. Freelance or employed. These are questions many businesses ask, large and small, when trying to come up with the right resources for a marketing campaign. There are good reasons to consider one over the other. Here are some things to think about before you go in either direction.
1. A marketing consultant will recommend the services you need, not necessarily based on in-house staffing. Resources can be identified as needed based on the client project. As the saying goes, when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Don't be a nail.
2. A marketing consultant is scaleable. Not tied to a specific staff set up, they can work with you to identify your needs based on your goals and objectives, and bring in the right resources at the right time.
3. A marketing consultant brings skills to your organization you might not have on staff. Even if you have a strong marketing leader or team, you may lack expertise in a certain specialty. This is especially true with digital marketing. A consultant can supplement your team and even serve as a mentor or trainer for the in-house staff. This might be the single most important benefit of hiring a marketing consultant.
4. A marketing consultant is agile. She can validate your direction and quickly analyze the situation and tap into the additional team members you need to get results quickly.
5. A marketing consultant has lower overhead. You know how some offices have foosball tables, unlimited Red Bull and other cool things for the staff? You do know who pays for that, right? Working with a consultant who pulls in a virtual team of experts doesn't waste your time or money on overhead.
6. A marketing consultant lets you work with a more skilled practitioner than you might be able to afford in-house. Not every business is ready for a CMO, VP or Director level marketing lead. Working with a consultant lets you get at that level of expertise without committing to a full time senior level marketer.
Looking for a marketing consultant to round out your in-house team or lead the charge with a virtual agency of experts to meet your business goals? Contact me at katbennett @ gmail.com. Leave the foosball behind!
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Photo credit: Pexels.com
Is video in your toolkit of content marketing best practices? If it's not, it should be. Video is a juicy means of attracting viewers not only to your YouTube page but also to your website, your social media pages and ultimately to your business.
According to Hubspot, the usage, spend and consumption of video content are set to increase (again!) in 2019, according to new research, continuing a growth trend that shows little sign of slowing. People have been talking about it being the ‘year of video’ since way back in 2006, but these latest stats show that, despite its continued growth, video hasn’t reached saturation point - and it’s here to stay
I was an early adapter to using videos for marketing strategy. Working in the travel business, I found video gave a quick, easy, and inexpensive means of showing potential visitors the visuals and story telling that would drive sales. Whether it was a professionally produced long-form video or a short video "snack," we provided a steady diet of videos that generated thousands of site visitors
Many marketers miss the point of video, that it is a powerful SEO tool. Google is the dominant search engine. Google owns YouTube. Get the picture? Google's algorithms prioritize YouTube video content, not just because of that relationship but also because of the richness of the content and the user experience it provides.
But it's not as easy as posting videos and hoping viewers show up. YouTube allows for the same keyword optimization opportunities as any good web platform. Take a look at your YouTube channel (if you have one - and you should). Are you using strong headlines, or is your video using the filename your video producer defaulted to when saving it to file. Do you have a robust, keyword rich description that mirrors the keyword research you have (presumably) done for your related website content. Have you added relevant tags? If it doesn't, it should. And it's not too late - take the time to go into your video library and spend some time optimizing these elements, even for older content. Want to learn more? Watch this video on how to optimize videos!
Want to know a fun fact? YouTube automatically transcribes your video and viewers can read a de facto script. Click on the triple dots on the likes/dislikes line below the video and click on "Open Transcript." Mind. Blown. Guess what this transcript provides? That's right - more keyword rich content. This is part of why videos are such a critical tool in your SEO Toolbox.
You might be surprised to see which videos gain traction They are not always the ones with high production values. For one organization, I produced a fairly simple low-cost video titled "how to use crutches." It was intended for in-house use for clinical staff to easily share with patients before they were discharged. 13,000 views later, we discovered that the simple keyword search term of "how to use crutches" has driven traffic to our little video project. Score! This exercise also points out the importance of always properly branding your video. Embed your logo throughout and have a well designed and branded opening and closing graphic. When your video goes viral, you'll want to be sure you get the credit! It might not always be viewed in the context it was intended.
In the age of Facebook, it's tempting to post videos direct to Facebook and call it good. But videos are valuable content that should be spread around liberally throughout a multi-faceted marketing strategy. For all the good reasons stated above, your video content should live on your YouTube channel.
I don't care if you are a small business just starting out or a Fortune 500 company producing hundreds of videos a year. Keep your current video library on YouTube. Then cross post that content on your other social media channels - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever the flavor of the month is at that point in the future.
You should also embed those videos on relevant content pages on your website. You can use an embedded video player or you can use YouTube. I prefer YouTube as it drives the viewer to what is hopefully a robust presence on that platform, encouraging them to subscribe to your Channel and view your other video content which I just know you will now be studiously developing.
Video is how people like to use to learn and to research a product or service, according to a study posted on Hubspot. Over two-thirds ( ) said a short video would be best, way ahead of text-based articles ( ) infographics ( ) presentations and pitches ( ) ebooks and manuals ( ).
Better yet, consumers say that entertaining "viral" style videos are popular, and businesses are finding that cycle time to produce videos is reducing and more are being produced in-house. While I advise against producing videos that don't reflect well on your brand, with continuing ease of producing videos in-house, there's no reason to limit the creation of video content, especially given the SEO opportunities and the potential ROI for your business.
Bonus Content! Want to view one of my earlier video projects? Check out this video. It was one of my weekly snow reports for a New England ski area!