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5 Signs It’s Time for a Website Redesign

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If your website isn’t working for you, it’s working against you. It’s as simple as that. Your website is the cornerstone of your banking business, a critical marketing channel where customers can learn about your financial services and become loyal customers, all on their own time.

So how will you know when it’s time to reinvest in your website? Here’s a checklist of five common mistakes you might be making today.

1) Your website is loading too slowly. Customers don’t have time to wait for your website to load. According to a recent study, 40% of users abandon a website after a three second load delay. Use a website speed test such as Google’s PageSpeed to check your page speeds. If they are underperforming, you’ll want to talk to your website administrator to find out what’s holding it up.

2) The design is unappealing or outdated. Your first impression says a lot, so invest in the time to get it right. If your website is over three years old, uses poor graphics or mismatched fonts, was built using Flash or is not mobile-friendly, it’s time to update. These are all signs that tell potential customers that you are not paying attention to detail or not a professional, credible financial business.

3) No clear message or call to action. Your potential customers are looking for a clear-cut message about what your business has to offer to them and how to sign up. If the copy is too sparse or overwritten, users will be confused and move on. Aim to be thorough yet succinct and create a clear “conversion funnel” to turn potential customers into clients. Consider adding a CMS that makes quick copy updates to your site that allows you to use timely content, stay in step with your marketing campaigns and directly leverage performance insights.

4) Underutilizing your website. Are you “leaving money on the table” by underplaying your most valuable marketing tool — your website? With the various traffic sources coming in from search, Affiliate Networks and advertising, a robust site can help educate a potential customer and convert them to a loyal client. Review your new user flow and available content that you offer. Is a visitor gaining valuable insight into your business? Is it better than what your competitor offers?

5) Not seeing your website analytics. Setting up analytics and tracking tags, enables you to review your website traffic and navigation patterns. These reports are valuable to see how well clients and potential customers are moving around on your site, how they are using the navigation, what pages they are going to the most and, most importantly, where they are dropping off. If you’re not getting tracking data from your website, you’re working blind.

Shared Results offers a digital onboarding tracking solution that can be highly-customized to your website and marketing goals.

Offering a clean and clear online experience will give you a competitive edge, so investing in your site should always be top priority. And, a credible-looking website establishes a strong message to your clients and all those seeking out your financial services. You can never make a second first impression.

Someone Marketing on a Laptop

Affiliate Marketing and Video | Part 2: Crafting Your Content

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The marketing industry buzz about video content is well-earned and growing. Part 1 of our affiliate marketing and video series outlined why video is vital publishers and merchants alike; this week, we’ll walk through some of the different types of video content that you can produce to optimize your affiliate marketing activities.

What can publishers do?

Thought leadership

Video content that is not expressly related to products or brand partners can still help your bottom line. For example, videos about affiliate marketing, ecommerce, or other subjects related to your site’s industry niche can help establish your site as a quality information source, bringing consumers back for more. If customers trust your industry knowledge, they’ll be more inclined to trust your brand partnerships.

This video from successful internet marketer and blogger John Chow is a great example of simple and effective thought leadership content. Produced with a camera in his car, the video contributes to Chow’s reputation as an industry expert and brings a personal touch to his brand – two vital components of customer trust.

Product recommendations

96% of consumers find videos helpful when making purchase decisions. If you’re a publisher, especially a blogger who does product recommendations, self-produced video content can be a great way to build customer trust and increase familiarity with you and your site. Alternatively, publishing merchant-produced video content, such as product demonstrations, can also boost conversion rates.

Product recommendation videos are most effective when published regularly – consistent content gives your audience a reason to trust your recommendations, and ultimately follow your links.

What can merchants do?

Product demonstrations

In addition to standard advertising content, product demonstration videos can help push customers through the sales funnel. Providing this kind of content to your affiliates (and making it available on your own sites and landing pages) can build consumer familiarity with your brand and confidence in your products, helping you boost sales.

iFetch’s product demonstration video for their automatic ball launcher shows how simple it can be to produce a high-impact product video. With no script, one audio track and natural footage of their product in use, iFetch conveyed the purpose and effectiveness of their product – with nearly 700,000 views to boot!

Video creatives

Produce video content for your affiliates! Particularly if you have affiliates who are getting high amounts of traffic to their sites but failing to convert, video creatives can be the finishing touch that pushes customers to click through and actually make a purchase. According to Vouchercloud, 92% of online shoppers say visuals are the most influential factor of their purchasing decisions.

This GoPro ad showcases how minimal production value can still result in far reach, garnering more than 226,000 views. Your ad can be demonstration-based or have an informative script; either way, the video format will help your customers stay engaged.

Whether you’re an affiliate or a merchant, online video content should be on your radar to ensure that your marketing efforts are meeting their full potential.

 

 

4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016 (Part 4)

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Hello and welcome to the final installment of our blog series 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. To date, we’ve tackled three critical areas of online marketing that are bound to receive a lot of attention in the coming year. Namely, the marketing potential of wearable tech and virtual-reality simulators, two simple attributes that will dramatically improve content-driven campaigns, and most recently, why Ad-Blocker should exhilarate – not terrify – us.

In this ever-changing industry where today’s certainties aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, the simple act of being aware is the best strategy for ensuring a brighter future. So read on to learn about another dimension of marketing through digital channels that should be seriously considered at the start of 2016.

4. The Importance of Niche Social Media

Businesses are no longer apprehensive towards social media. Heavyweight hitters like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now regarded as the most essential components of the online promotional mix – either get social or consider your business irrelevant. But there are plenty of other, less crowded social platforms out there just begging to be employed for marketing purposes.

While the networks mentioned above are, indisputably, the premier channels for social media marketing, they’re decently polluted with other brands trying to accomplish the same goals. The unique selling point of any social media is its ability to facilitate community engagement, and often it’s a cost-free endeavor – particularly if you’ve got a young unpaid intern at the helm. But in all seriousness, making an impact on Facebook or Twitter is significantly more difficult in today’s media climate. That is, unless you’re willing to bust open the piggy bank and shed some decent coin.

This is why in 2016, brands should begin exploring less popular networks for a more targeted reach and access to an untapped community of potential customers.

Quora for Sharing Insight

One of the Internet’s fastest growing and baby-face social networks is Quora – an online Q&A-based community that’s kind of like the unofficial yet sophisticated sequel to Yahoo Answers. Quora has emerged as the ultimate resource for dependable answers on a variety of topics. Every day, experts with varying backgrounds weigh in on a multitude of queries, to share insight and provide users with unprecedented wisdom. In my opinion, Quora is a fantastic tool for building brand awareness, evidenced by the many politicians who’ve used the platform to demonstrate their prowess in a publically viewable space. For instance, Hillary Clinton has recently taken to Quora to answer a series of questions related to her bid for presidency. Heck, even Barrack Obama will get involved every once in a while and chime in on a pressing issue.

Entrepreneurs, too, have often tackled questions via Quora that are pertinent to their business offering, casually slipping in a reference at the tail-end of their answer to drive awareness and stimulate curiosity. And that’s an important notion to be mindful of when producing marketing content for Quora and other alternative media, to ensure that it’s native to the platform. On Quora, for instance, your answer will not receive much traction if it side-steps the question to blatantly promote something.

Medium for Social Blogging

Another rising platform is Medium – the Internet’s equivalent to a macro-blogging network. Conceived and launched by one of Twitter’s co-founders, Medium is the quintessential publishing platform for aspiring, established and novice writers alike. The idea is affably simple – all content that’s shared via Medium is not only available to readers of a particular blog, but the entire community of users who are active in the network. As Medium builds strength and more people, brands and businesses adopt the platform for any and all discourse, like Quora, even politicians are beginning to appreciate its capacity for user engagement. Consequently, Medium is beginning to replace the “blog” section of any given website for an organization. Indeed, the content is much the same, but the depth of reach has been amplified by Medium’s community-orientation. When a user stumbles upon a great article, it happens organically. Because great content is great content – it speaks for itself regardless of who are what’s behind it.

While nothing will ever replace Facebook and Twitter, it’s always wise to establish a presence on other social media platforms. However, when you determine which network to adopt, just make sure that it’s congruent with the message you’re trying to communicate. I mean, you would never post text-based content on Instagram, right?

So there you have it – four essential considerations for marketers to make in 2016. It’s an exciting time to be alive – we’re living through a digital revolution, and the Internet has produced so much opportunity for marketers to be creative and discover new ways to connect with people.

2016 has finally arrived. How will you tell your story and where will it take place?

 

 

 

 

4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016 (Part 3)

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Welcome to the penultimate edition of 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. The most recent entry dealt with the importance of creating content that’s not only valuable, but useful or entertaining. If you’re not caught up, don’t be afraid to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

So how will you connect and grow an audience in 2016? There’s so much innovation going on, that putting together a digital strategy can feel a lot like organizing a wedding – in other words, overwhelming. But before you find yourself amidst the chaos of Times Square waiting for that big ball to drop, take some time to become aware of what trends, insights and recent developments are bound to impact next year’s marketing mix.

3. Ad-Blocker and Intrusive Advertising

This is a widely discussed topic that everyone from college students to industry experts  have weighed in on – whether or not Ad-Blocker (and other content filters) are good, bad or great for digital marketing. Personally, I’m a huge advocate for this kind of technology, but perhaps you think otherwise and that’s OK – it’s from this chatter and debate which an ultimate solution will be born.

However, to be brutally honest, marketers who are opposed to the proliferation of Ad-Blocker, uBlock and other content filters should probably consider an attitude adjustment. These browser extensions are wonderful examples of good, strong innovation, and I find it so weird when people cower in response to what is perceived to be “disruptive.” Having the capacity to adapt is the touchstone of any business venture, and naysayers will almost certainly perish in the long-run.

Blemishes on the UX

For instance, nowadays, if you’ve got Ad-Blocker installed, it’s nearly impossible to stream a live sports match online. Granted, these platforms operate in a rather grey area of the law and are technically classified as illegal, but come on – instead of identifying other possible sources of revenue or creating an entirely new value stream, these site operators have elected to restrict access to all streaming services unless, of course, Ad-Blocker is disabled. This panic-stricken behavior is ridiculously common; especially in the digital era – it’s no different than taxi drivers protesting Uber (who have experienced nothing but turmoil, mind you).  The first rule of commerce is to evolve with the business climate. Denying or refusing to accept the future is the least productive strategy, because innovation will always triumph.

Ad-Blocker is designed to eliminate the spammiest of digital adverts – those desperate, intrusive, least-effective and antiquated banner ads that can totally spoil the user experience. So we should stop bashing the creators of such technology and buy them a pint of cold lager – they’ve done the world a good deed. And save for most industry execs, I’m not alone in my views. One commenter on the Financial Times shared his opinion on the matter, representing what I believe to be the general consensus among Internet-browsing consumers. Referring to pop-up ads on the New York Times website, FT user avidreader says: “They’re a serious deterrent to reading the paper online, which is to say a serious deterrent to reading the Times at all.”

Ad-blockers are just like those “no-flyers” signs many people print out and display on their mailbox – a simple yet effective measure that prevents exposure to unwanted promotional material. If people of the real world can do it, why can’t Internet users?

Thanks to ad-blockers and content filters, the Internet is a significantly cleaner place. But like most innovation, it’s not without disruption; marketers are now forced to be more creative than ever.

Out with the old, in with the new – everybody wins.

This concludes Part 3 of 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Part 4, the final entry, where we champion niche platforms by demonstrating how alternative social media can amplify a brand’s overall reach.

4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016 (Part 2)

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Hello and welcome to Part 2 of our series 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. Earlier this week, we talked about super channels – including wearable tech and virtual-reality simulators – and how these mediums boast plenty of opportunity for marketers to explore. If you missed it, need not worry – check out Part 1 and you’ll be caught up in no time.

There are many ways and methods to interact with consumers these days. Executing the best strategy possible is contingent upon a multitude of internal and external considerations. So before 2016 rears its beautiful head, take a moment to become familiar with the trends and innovations that are destined to shape the New Year.

2. Creating Valuable Content Is Not Enough Anymore

We can all agree that the undisputed, byte-for-byte champion of digital marketing is content. Good, meaningful and unadulterated content. In any case, content marketing isn’t really a new concept – it’s more of an umbrella term for a series of practices and philosophies that are generally well-received by consumers in the present day. You cannot just tell someone to buy your product anymore. You must provide something of value that will actually move people to be organically interested in your offering.

Hey, wait a minute – this is common knowledge by now.

Sure, the past few years have seen a proliferation of content-driven marketing campaigns, as brands duke it out over the attention and curiosity of the consumer populace. But to be plainly honest, there’s almost too much content out there and it’s a tad overwhelming. So if the Internet is just swarming with all kinds of branded stuff, what does it take to, you know, stand out?

Whatever content you produce, it either has to be: genuinely useful or wildly entertaining.

Useful Content

In the domain of affiliate marketing, one of the fastest growing verticals is consumer-facing credit cards. These websites serve as digital brokers and have a rather straightforward purpose – to provide the most relevant information about the various credit card options available in the marketplace. In the past year or so, many of these publishers have begun implementing a tool that totally streamlines the consumer selection process. Its primary function is to help individuals find a credit card based on a few simple parameters like age, income and interests. For instance, if you’re a recent college grad who wants to bank some cash and work a little while before taking a trip around the world, the tool might suggest a student-travel option. Conversely, if you’re wealthy proprietor looking for an elite cash back credit card that’ll give you access to a vast network of luxury services, perhaps it would recommend a premium-rewards product.

Because of the tool’s genuine usefulness, online credit card brokers can’t really compete without it. Thus, the industry benchmark has been set.

Entertaining Content

Another genre of content that’s equally as effective is, unsurprisingly, entertainment. The greatest example of wildly entertaining content that I’ve ever experienced occurred way back in the early 2000s, when a third-person driving game called Final Drive was published across the Internet. Gameplay consisted of driving an off-road vehicle in an open, sandbox-style terrain – packed with hills, jumps and cliffs – making for a profoundly entertaining way to kill anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours. The creator? Oddly enough, it was produced by British rock supergroup, the Gorillaz.

In Final Drive, you play as the band’s fictional front-man, 2D, while their original song “19-2000” plays on an endless loop in the background. I can proudly admit that Final Drive was my first real exposure to any material by the Gorillaz, and since then, I became a fan and have been for the past decade. And if you’re unfamiliar with Final Drive, ask around – the majority of young people I’ve talked to can recall the game, with many admitting that it consumed far too much of their time.

Perhaps it was some kind of brand building fluke, but a Google search will provide evidence of the game’s lasting impact. Many old users have taken to forums and YouTube comments to inquire about the present availability of Final Drive. Others just like to discuss how ridiculously entertaining it was, including one Reddit user operating under the name Jessori who states:

“This game actually made me hooked on Gorillaz back when I was a kid. Man it was so awesome.”

Another user, macaronyboy, also chimes in with the kind of campaign-feedback that every content marketer dreams of:

“I remember finding the game as a kid. I loved the music, but I thought it was just a game until years later…”

Just a game? Oh how you were so wrong, macaronyboy. But as was I and that’s OK, because the Gorillaz absolutely hit the nail on the head with Final Drive. It was just marketing content – cleverly disguised as a wonderfully-addictive game – providing a stunning illustration of how to properly execute a content-driven campaign in the 21st century. Honestly, who knows how many additional albums, concert tickets and merchandise was sold as a result of Final Drive, but it’s safe to assume that the figure is impressive.

For the TL;DR’s out there – content is much more effective when it’s either genuinely useful or wildly entertaining. Yup – two ridiculously simple attributes that can take a campaign from being mentioned in a few Tweets all the way to the front-page of Reddit.

That concludes Part 2! Check back soon for Part 3, where we demonstrate why Ad-Blocker is not a threat, but a surety that marketing is going to get a lot more creative.

4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016 (Part 1)

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Marketers have accepted the Internet as the ultimate communications channel, largely due to the medium’s omnipresence and near boundless reach. While content-driven campaigns continue to dominate modern conversation, it’s wise to remember that marketing isn’t merely a static craft. There are always going to be a wealth of considerations to make – particularly so in the digital era – and nailing the right strategy requires a delicate recipe.

2016 is right around the corner, and for the sake of preparation, we’re going to illustrate four areas of marketing that every digital enthusiast should be aware of before the New Year falls upon us.

1. Super Channels for Dynamic Brand Experiences

The future’s almost certainly here, people – wearable technology has debuted in the marketplace. Now, thanks to recent technological advances, these forward-drifting products have been made available for purchase by anyone who’s got both the desire and requisite capital.

So how can marketers aptly leverage the intimacy of, say, an iWatch, without being intrusive and off-putting to the consumer? Many agencies are wrestling with that question now, and because no benchmark has been set, there’s a big opportunity to do something great.

The Current State of Wearable Tech

To date, the most popular product categories appear to be smartwatches, healthware and smart-eyewear, and there are already a few offerings that standout. The Nymi wristband, for example, which serves as the be-all and end-all to identity authentication. In lieu of complicated passwords and a step-above fingerprint technology, Nymi is promising to grant consumers with universal access to all devices via a never-before-seen security feature that they’re calling biometric authentication. Yes, you read that correctly – to ensure that it is, in fact, the real owner who is trying to unlock the device, Nymi’s wristband will cross-reference the heartbeat and EKG pattern (i.e. the HeartID) to verify the user’s identity. Thieves and miscreants be warned – it’s scientifically impossible for two people to share the same HeartID, or so Nymi claims.

If such products were to hit the shelves by the end of next year, biometric authentication technology could very well be 2016’s champion of innovation. Likewise, presuming that consumers are happy to adopt the Nymi wristband, surely, the economy will experience some disruptive consequences. But I, for one, can only foresee one major problem – these advanced security measures will herald the extinction of pawn shops. Think about it… where will these shady merchants obtain new goods if their suppliers cannot produce?

Although Nymi’s wristband isn’t a suitable channel for any marketing endeavors, it’s an object lesson in where consumer electronics are going.

Virtual-Reality Marketing

Besides fashionable tech, marketers should begin exploring more extreme channels for brand experiences, like Oculus Rift – one of the world’s first consumer-facing VR headsets. Presently, the Oculus Rift can only really be accessed at art installations and other participating museums, but due to the overwhelmingly positive response from consumers – not to mention Samsung’s recent foray into virtual-reality products thanks to a partnership with the above-mentioned innovator – 2016 is poised to be a monumental year for VR technology. So again, we must ask ourselves – how can a brand’s value be effectively communicated through such an immensely powerful medium? It’s pretty unclear at the moment, but preparing a good strategy will undoubtedly offer a leg-up on the competition. Soon enough, someone or something’s going to launch a rip-roaring campaign by means of a virtual-reality simulator, and marketers will never, ever look back.

If you ask me, when VR headsets become an established product and appeal beyond the world’s early adopters, the Internet, as we know it, will be totally unrecognizable. Consumers won’t be interested in just reading articles, browsing infographics and watching videos – they’ll want to actually engage and interact with content. I mean, why scroll through a website when you can explore it?

There you have it – Part 1 of our series 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. Come back soon for Part 2, where we discuss how two simple traits can help you craft a strong and unforgettable content strategy.

Mobile Marketing

Marketing Agencies in the Year 2020 (Part 2)

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Beyond the Trends

Rather than bore you with a list-based article discussing the many marketing trends that will surely dominate practice in the years to come, we thought it might be more amusing to speculate about what a typical marketing agency will look like in the year 2020. Honestly, I beseech you to Google “marketing trends” and peruse the first few results… the same information, emphasized and recycled time after time. Boring!

In any case, last week, we tackled two essential components of a marketing agency, both of which advocate the philosophy that all customer-facing communications must be deep-rooted in value. What’s more, is that besides value, by the year 2020, it will be absolutely necessary for all marketing-related endeavors to inspire genuine interest and curiosity – which is, admittedly, a tall order if you’re not equipped with the appropriate talent.

CRM Becomes Entirely Personalized

Remember that scene in the Spielberg blockbuster Minority Report when Tom Cruise’s character enters the mall and receives a plethora of hyper-targeted advertisements? Yeah, imagine that, but perhaps less drastic. Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

Customer relationship management will no longer be wholly focused on retaining patrons and increasing loyalty, but rather; firms will deploy highly-skilled CRM teams with one, everlasting mission: to leverage social media and develop data-driven customer profiles that reflect the unique nature of people’s interests, behavior, attitudes and beliefs. If you’re petrified by such examples of marketing innovation, then you should probably try to ignore the proliferation of wearable technology – because, quite frankly, this is only the beginning. Sure, this also implies that agencies will also have to establish an unwavering ethics team that know precisely when and where to draw the line. But hey – when all’s said and done, isn’t that what marketing’s about?

Believe it or not, but entirely personalized CRM is already happening thanks to a mildly disturbing application called Crystal Knows – a web platform that scans a particular individual’s digital footprint to produce a set of personality traits from which hyper-targeted communications can be deployed.

We already live in the future!

Everything Optimized

In the year 2020, a marketing agency is nothing without its optimization team – an exceptional group of perfectionists who take great pride in their ability to cultivate an efficient browsing environment. Every aspect of a digital campaign will be polished to produce the smoothest, richest and most enjoyable user experience that circumvents any semblance of slow load times or poorly rendered content.

Just say it out loud… everything about the word optimization oozes with swagger. It could be the most universally admired term in the English language. I mean, its implications are profoundly beautiful! I implore you to include the word optimization into your-day-to-day vernacular. Honestly, it applies to everything.

There you have it – our predictions for what a typical marketing agency will look like in the year 2020. I’ll bet you’re wondering why anything mobile-related was left out? Come on, people! Everyone and their neighbour’s dogs are barking about mobile technology and how it’s imperative to marketing in the future… this is common wisdom!

Agree with what we have to say?

Perhaps you’d like to add something?

Don’t be afraid to let us know in the comments below!

Commercial Buildings/Skyscrapers Downtown Blue Sky

Marketing Agencies in the Year 2020 (Part 1)

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Half a Decade’s Worth of Innovation

Hey, 5 years isn’t that far off… is it? In our era of digital fascination, you bet your little iWatch it is! Technology is advancing so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible for businesses to stay afloat, and guess what? Playing catch up just doesn’t cut it anymore. To illustrate the affect of innovation, half a decade ago I was beyond pleased with my Motorola KRZR, and the idea of owning a smartphone was preposterous. I thought to myself… “What good can a pocket computer do for a guy like me?”

Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on your temperament – the digital revolution that began materializing roughly 5 years ago continues to persist, and with remarkable force. It stands to reason that by the year 2020, the vast majority of marketing endeavors will occur online. Thus, including “digital” in the nomenclature of an agency will be completely redundant.

So, what will a typical marketing agency look like in the year 2020?

Content Teams

This reality is already coming to fruition. Although recognized as a credible practice as far back as 1996, content marketing is currently enjoying a meteoric surge in popularity. Agencies are specializing, marketing blogs are going loco, and a certain nefarious-grinned individual has fostered a reputation that does more in the way of personal brand building than offering valuable insight.

In any given content team, you’ll find graphic designers, filmmakers, videographers, seasoned writers, computation artists, new age bloggers, vloggers (video bloggers), and front-end programmers. Nothing will be more valuable to a marketing firm than the depth of flair and creativity boasted by their in-house content team. Due to the diversity of expertise, the potential for collaboration is outright mouthwatering… therefore, instead of dividing up the workforce based on projects and focus; agencies will embrace a more cross-functional approach to task management.

Content teams are the firm’s pacemakers. They provide the strategy, direction and overarching mission.

For the record, content teams have always existed. Now that everyone seems to care, the appropriate talent is deliberately being assembled and classified. In truth, people who are dubbed content producers will probably just be situated closer to one another in the office.

CONTENT TEAMS UNITE!

Programmatic Succeeds

Advertising departments will totally lose the responsibility of the inventory management.

There, I said it!

By the year 2020, gone are the days when media buys are prudently conducted to amplify reach and exposure, because, in the spirit of robot conspiracy theorists… computers will take over!

Face it… some tasks are better suited for computers to handle. In the case of programmatic advertising, why shy away from a digital revolution that goes beyond traditional standards by improving the performance of a marketing campaign in nearly every respect?

So media buying? We’ll probably forget about it. Automation departments will be on deck to ensure the necessary software is functioning accordingly. Yup, you heard right – the silver tongue of a sly negotiator will be replaced by the mathematical precision and astuteness of a modest computer programmer.

Well, that’s all she wrote for Part 1. Tune in next week to find out what other areas a typical marketing agency will concentrate on in the year 2020.

Think it’s a waste of time to deliberate what the future might hold?

Or maybe you’re from the future and have a few things to add?

Let us know in the comments below. We won’t bite!

Psychedelic Digital Art

Digital Media Producers: Trust Your Gut (Part 2)

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Content Devoid of Quality is Worthless

In this day and age, when it comes to online marketing, no one’s really an expert. The digital cosmos is evolving so rapidly that it’s impossible for everyone to agree upon a definitive set of practices that ensure the viability of an Internet-based marketing campaign. Sure, there are elements of popular strategies that breed success, but when developing your next digital platform, it would be unwise to purely concentrate upon traditional customs in lieu of originality.

It’s widely reported that a website’s searchability is most influenced by the quality of its content. Yes, this is true, but come on… the philosophy behind this approach isn’t nearly novel enough to deserve the volume of attention it receives. The quality of anything determines its popularity, and it’s a waste of time to deliberate whether or not it’s necessary. Of course it is!

If you’re not infusing quality into your work then what’s the point?

Back-To-Basics

Now that we’ve established the importance of sound content, stop reading other “Best Of” lists and take a moment to think about the nature of your customer/user base. This is precisely where you begin formulating a unique and convincing content strategy that communicates value while distinguishing your brand’s identity from the crowds of other similar enterprises, imitators and “me-too” enthusiasts. What are your users/readers/customers interested in? Why do they even care about you? What motivates them to get up in the morning? What industry insight can you leverage to amplify your brand’s appeal? Instead of worrying about what other firms are doing, use your imagination and conceive an original idea to lay the groundwork for a unique and compelling content strategy. Easier said than done, right? Wrong! Imagine yourself in the shoes of your most valued customers. Become familiar with their heartbeat’s rhythm. Visualize what success truly means to them. Unearth their passions and motivations. Then, after all that, somehow nurture your discoveries into opportunity.

OK, that last part can be tremendously difficult… I’ll admit it.

Trust the Almighty Algorithm

Once you’ve grasped why people seem to enjoy what your brand’s about, integrate all of your findings into a meaningful search marketing campaign. So what, the previous statement – in itself – lacks originality, but it would be unforgivably foolish to neglect the sheer power and authority of strong SEO. This is because search engines are quite literally the gateways to the Internet. People deploy the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo on a regular basis to support the buying process. If content’s truly king (sorry – I’m beginning to despise this expression), then SEO is its noble ancestor- or, if you will – its raison d’être. So, by and large, SEO should be at the top of your priority list. Heck, the top of your priority list of priority lists! The centerpiece of your entire digital strategy. The first thing you should think about when you wake up in the morning! Well, not before your family, of course. But you get the point.

Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic, but listen; those crazy and unpredictable web spiders (think: Google’s equivalent to drunk uncles) are known to appreciate and respond well to strong content ergonomics – freshness, diversity and richness. You can read more of those “SEO 101” blog posts and list-based articles all you want, but lest I warn you of their wild inconsistencies. Like I mentioned earlier, no one knows for sure, but the three aforementioned content traits – freshness, diversity, and richness – are undeniably the greatest influencers, particularly when fused together into a cohesive strategy.

Craft an exciting narrative for your brand, decide upon the relevant digital channels, create some engaging content, own your environment, and last but not least – trust your gut.

Do it the right way, but do it your way.

By incorporating these content traits – or at the very least, becoming aware of them – you’ll have the requisite knowledge base to further optimize your website, and everyone knows what that implies…

Higher conversions!

Content ergonomics is much simpler than you thought, huh?

Please, by all means, let us know how these strategies are working out for you in the comments below.

Content Marketing Is The New Black

By | Digital Marketing, Online Marketing Ideas, SEM | 3 Comments
content marketing

Photo Credit: SuperHypeBlog

Pop-up ads are out. The debate about the true effectiveness of a well placed banner rages tirelessly on. You know you’ve heard it being touted around the digital marketing sphere: Content marketing is the new black.

It seems what every future-leaning business is trying to emulate is the brand-turned-publisher approach of executing an advertising strategy. With this shift in mindset from traditional to native ads (advertorials, sponsored content, etc), it’s unsurprising that –  just like subtle product placement in movies or on TV – strategically embedding links in relevant, engaging content is far more effective in adding value to the user experience over the blatant promotion of your product.

What I’m getting at is that a well thought out content marketing strategy put proactively to work can be a powerful relationship-building and brand positioning tool.

Remember: your end goal here should be building engagement and using that to boost your bottom line across your conversion funnel. Do not indulge in obvious self-promotion. Never resort to hard-selling tactics. Prioritize relationships over transactions. Quality and value are key; making the customer experience as fun, frictionless and interactive as possible are your primary objectives.

Turning Water Into Wine

Why are you trying to write content and what are you trying to achieve from it? The obvious first step in deciding what information to prioritize sharing with your audience is asking yourself the following: Does it align with your brand narrative? Is it relevant to your product or service? Does it add value? Next, ask yourself, do you want to establish yourself or your business as a thought leader in your industry? Assume your audience is hearing what you have to say for the first time. Presenting information that is easily understood from a layman’s perspective is inherently easier to remember and instantly more share-worthy. It’s basic human nature to gravitate towards what’s easiest to remember and partake in what people tend to have similar or polarizing opinions about.

Putting It Out There: Effective Content Distribution

Once you have your content ready to go and a communication schedule or broader game plan in place, distribution is usually the next hurdle. Here, it’s important to remember to use social to re-enforce content, and not the other way around. Effective content distribution is a crucial factor in controlling how existing or new customers interact with your brand. Think: Halo Effect. You come to love and trust the brands you’re most familiar with. Similarly, when you really really like one aspect of a product, you tend to hold a positive predisposition towards everything else that it offers and derive more value in sharing it. And vice versa.

Re-Purpose Existing Content to Optimize Your ROI

Re-purposing existing, archived content that best resonated with your audience is an often overlooked way to boost customers’ engagement with your brand or product. And adding genuine value to the user experience is arguably at the core of truly effective content marketing – a positive user experience can go a long way in building or fuelling your brand presence without much out-of-pocket spend. Leverage this. Here’s a few ways how:

Hub-and-Spoke It – Tweet key takeaways from past articles that were of most interest to or saw the most engagement from your audience. Even going so far as asking for a re-tweet or share can bring surprising results. Ask questions. Reach out to influencers or otherwise recognized experts or authorities in their fields for new perspectives on past projects. Let their legions of followers or site visitors into your circle to add more fuel to your marketing fire.

Visualize Your Content – One of the best ways to optimize content for sharing is to make it visual. Share existing or create custom infographics that are relevant to your content to help simplify concepts and boost engagement across your blog and social media channels.

Break up longer pieces of content into a whole series of blog posts.

Accumulate blocks of posts to use as supporting documents for a whitepaper, put together an e-book or put a face to your ideas by hosting a webinar.

Do you use content marketing for your business? Let us know in the comments below.