Tag Archives: Copywriting

Email Marketing Is Far from Dead: Here’s Why

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Is Email Marketing Dead - Eminent SEO

Many marketers are quick to tout the power of social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provide quick and easy avenues for engaging our customers. When it comes to building a brand, there are few better outlets than social media. Facebook has roughly 1.7 billion users, according to Statista, and it’s hard to compete with that kind of reach.

While Snapchatting and tweeting may seem like best way to attract new clientele, one area where social media lags is measurable returns in the form of sales. Social media helps indirectly: It starts and drives conversions to get people in your industry thinking about your niche.

Email marketing, however, is often where you turn those visitors into customers. If social media gets your customers in the door, email marketing is responsible for making them loyalists.

On this Halloween, let’s investigate the claims of email marketing’s supposed death.

The Case for Email

Social media is undoubtedly a marketing revolution, but there’s a reason we keep turning to email: According to research from Campaign Monitor, every $1 spent on email marketing yields $8 in return.

And while we may twist our hands trying to compose the perfect viral status update, the same research shows email does more than simply edge out the competition when it comes to acquiring new customers. It squashes it. Email is actually 40 times more effective at gaining paying customers than social media.

Why, then, do we spend the bulk of our efforts perfecting our social media campaigns? It may be the result of several misunderstandings we have about modern email marketing.

Email Marketing Myths and Truths

91 Percent Of Consumers Check Email Daily - Eminent SEO

Marketers sometimes shy away from email because it suffers from two common misconceptions:

  • They think email marketing is spam.
  • They think it’s too “old school.”

Yet, statistics say otherwise. Consider the following:

Everyone Uses Email

Millennials are often a group we try to engage due to their massive buying power. They’re also the group most likely to check their emails in bed (70 percent), in the bathroom (57 percent), and in the car (27 percent), according to Adobe. Some other compelling facts about email:

  • Gmail alone has more than 1 billion users, with more than 90 million users who access their account(s) from a mobile device.
  • Ninety-one percent of all consumers report checking their email daily.
  • Worldwide, there are 4.3 billion email accounts sending 196 billion emails each day.

Email Drives Lead Conversions

Statistically, email is more likely to create paying and repeat customers. Email marketing was responsible for the most Black Friday transactions in 2015. Nearly a quarter of those sales originated from the marketing channel, according to Custora (source since removed).

These Black Friday sales facts are especially important when we consider:

  • Nearly 90 percent of marketers say email is responsible for most of their lead generation.
  • Email marketing ROI can be as high as 4,300 percent.
  • More than three-fourths of consumers say they prefer marketing-related communication to be over email.

Clearly, email is still relevant. Making it work for you is simply a matter of sending the right email, to the right person, at the right time.

Crafting the Perfect Email

Your email marketing campaign can be streamlined into four steps:

  1. Find your audience
  2. Segment your contacts
  3. Pick the right time to click “send”
  4. Turn that lead into a customer

It sounds simple enough, but it will require some legwork on your part.

Find Your Audience

Email Blasts Entire List Or Segment - Eminent SEOWe obviously want to know whom we’re marketing to, and you likely already have an idea of who your brand attracts. But marketers sometimes fall into the “Field of Dreams” approach: “If you build it, they will come.”

Creating great content might organically draw people to your brand, but is it attracting the people you want to be your customers?

Understanding your target audience requires some introspection. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What problems do we solve?
  • Who are our current customers? What are they like?
  • Who is our competition?
  • What do we do that our competitors don’t?

Answering these questions helps determine who is going to read your content, as well as why they should choose your product or service over that of your competitors.

Segment Your Contacts

Why is segmenting so important? Research from HubSpot suggests targeted emails received 62 percent more clicks than non-segmented ones.

If you’re in the B2B community, you should segment by:

  • Company size
  • Type of company
  • Industry

Alternatively, you can choose to segment by role: function, seniority, department.

If you’re selling directly to the consumer, use that marketing intelligence. Social media data and SEO search terms will help you segment your contact list. Remember, your email list naturally decays by about 25 percent each year, according to HubSpot, so continually pursue campaigns to keep it fresh and to add subscribers.

Pick the Right Time to Click ‘Send’

Timing is everything, and email marketing is no exception. Sending the right content at the right time is a matter of finding the opportune spot in your targeted buyer’s journey. Here are some examples:

  • In the awareness stage, you’re nurturing leads. Let potential customers see the value in your product or services with free tools, eBooks, videos or SlideShares.
  • If a potential customer is already familiar with your brand, you need to let them know what makes you better than the competition. Add links in your emails to white papers, webinars, case studies, or reviews from third parties.
  • Why should a customer choose you, for the first time or once again? Offer free trial information, demos, price quotes or ROI reports.

Turn that Lead into a Customer

Lead nurturing is simple: It’s the process by which you cultivate a relationship with a potential customer so they’ll choose you when they’re ready. According to data from HubSpot, nearly three-fourths of B2B leads aren’t sales ready. Most of your prospects require nurturing, so create emails that add value.

The Importance of Mobile

60 Percent Of Adults Check Email First Thing In Morning - Eminent SEO

If your email marketing campaign isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re far behind the curve. A 2015 survey by BlueHornet (source since removed) found emails that aren’t optimized for mobile will fail: More than 80 percent of recipients hit delete, and another 30 percent unsubscribe.

On the other hand, 63 percent of consumers report more interest in buying a product when it looks good on their mobile device.

Since 2011, the number of email opens on mobile devices has increased by 30 percent. In fact, nearly 60 percent of adults report checking their email first thing in the morning – in bed, or over a cup of coffee.

We no longer live in a world where we sit down at our desktop to read through emails. Everything we do is on the run, so emails must be optimized for mobile and easy to digest.

Video and Images Improve Click Rates

Consumers are more likely to interact with emails that contain images and video. According to Emma Email Marketing, adding a video can increase your click rate by 300 percent. While 35 percent of users report they prefer text in their emails, the majority (65 percent) state they prefer emails to contain mostly images. Therefore, make your emails all the more attractive by including one or both of these elements.

Personalization Is the Watchword

Email Subscriber Lists Naturally Decay 25 Percent Each Year - Eminent SEO

Want to get a prospect to open your email? The key is personalization. Consumers expect to be referred to by their first names: It shows a brand knows exactly who they are. It also helps if you send an email from a real person, not a general company name.

Research shows that personalization can help improve click rates by 26 percent. Consumers also expect to receive personalized content. It’s what makes segmentation so important.

Campaign Monitor reports that almost 75 percent of consumers feel frustrated when they receive content that doesn’t appear to be relevant to their interests. This is why three-fourths of all enterprises invested in personalized messaging in 2015. Also, personalization can reportedly lead to a 760 percent increase in ROI.

Email Isn’t Dead

Email is, and should continue to be, an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy. The right personalized email turns prospects into leads, and leads into customers.

Successful email campaigns address the right audience at the right time in their buying journey. Optimizing for mobile, as we’ve seen, can also make the difference between a sale and a deletion.

Don’t underestimate the power of email in your marketing campaign. While social media is important for creating brand awareness, emails net paying customers.

Not sure where to begin? Eminent SEO can help you with your email marketing strategy and content. Click to learn more about our Email Marketing Services.

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How to Find a Qualified Content Marketer to Add to Your Team

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Qualified Content Marketer - Eminent SEO

Effective content marketing can take your entire company to another level. It can spread awareness of your brand, as well as create a following that’s hooked on the material you release and eager to consume your future offerings.

Content marketing that is done well should lead indirectly to more sales for the company that produces it. However, many businesses are lagging behind when it comes to actualizing the power of this type of marketing.

According to a recent Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs survey, although 88 percent of the business-to-business companies that were surveyed said they use content marketing, only 30 percent of them considered their organization effective at it. Additionally, only 44 percent thought their company was clear on what a successful content marketing program looks like.

The same survey revealed that companies that excel the most at content marketing use an average of 42 percent of their total marketing budget on this particular strategy, which is much higher than the current norm. These proficient companies also use a higher number of content marketing tactics and social media platforms on average than businesses that are struggling with this discipline.

One of the most critical steps in boosting your company’s content marketing game is to find a competent and qualified content marketer. This means looking for someone who can bring more to the table than just copywriting competence. Hiring a qualified content marketer can be a time-intensive process, but it will be worth it if you find the right individual.

Before we get into how to find a qualified content marketer, let’s back up a bit and make sure we’re on the same page about what content marketing is.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing aims to educate or entertain consumers in hopes of retaining customers or attracting new ones. This type of content eschews a sales pitch and makes little-to-no mention of the company behind it. It also has the potential to change or enhance consumer behavior, according to the Content Marketing Institute. This material hasn’t always been free to the consumer, but as it has reared its head in the online world, it more commonly appears at no cost to the public – or even to its subscribers.

Content marketing was actually known as “branded content” for several years before marketers started to glom onto the newer term. What we now know as content marketing has existed since before the 20th century. Its origins are often traced to John Deere’s creation of “The Furrow” agricultural journal for consumers.

Other Non-Digital Examples of Content Marketing

Did you know soap opera got its name from the soap manufacturers such as Proctor & Gamble that used to exclusively sponsor this type of radio and television content?

Content marketing really started taking off in the 1980s, led by Hasbro and Marvel’s creation of a “G.I. Joe” comic book. LEGO launched what is now known as the “LEGO Club” magazine a few years after. These were indirect methods of trying to boost the sales of certain action figures and kids toys.

Other industries have followed suit, such as Red Bull launching “The Red Bulletin” magazine roughly 10 years ago. Meanwhile, beer manufacturer Leinenkugel’s has included a self-published newspaper in every 12-pack of its product for several years now.

There are countless other examples across almost every industry. For an example local to us here at Eminent SEO, the renowned “Arizona Highways” magazine is actually operated by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

What are the Main Channels for Content Marketing Distribution?

Mail Notification - Eminent SEOContent marketing online is generally cheaper to produce than past print- and TV-based material, and the barriers to entry are lower than they used to be. However, this content has to be released at a much faster rate than before. Online content marketing material almost always involves some amount of writing, but it goes well beyond just the company’s blog.

The most common digital content marketing channels include:

  • Social media
  • Blogs and other website articles
  • Videos
  • Email
  • White papers and eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Webinars, webcasts and podcasts
  • Online presentations, such as through SlideShare
  • Research reports

Many businesses that are committed to content marketing have also cited in-person events as an effective outlet for expanding their message.

According to the aforementioned Content Marketing Institute-MarketingProfs survey, the most effective social media platforms for B2B content marketers are (in order):

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • SlideShare
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+

What it Takes to Find and Hire a Qualified Content Marketer

Now that we’re clear on what content marketing is, let’s explore the process you should put in place in order to find a highly qualified content marketer. The right candidate is going to need a mix of skills that goes beyond copywriting. You should probably establish this process as more of an audition rather than a series of interviews.

Start by Writing a Targeted Job Posting

Help Wanted Sign - Max - Eminent SEOGet the ball rolling by writing a strong job ad. This posting needs to catch a content marketer’s eye, and it needs to be clear and specific to the open position.

Using boilerplate language about your company will hurt your chances of finding the perfect candidate. You need to tailor the job posting to the specific tasks involved as well as the skills and qualities you’re looking for.

Don’t overwhelm the job seeker by listing every minute responsibility they would have. Nonetheless, you still don’t want your posting to be overly open-ended regarding which tasks they would be doing and which programs they need to know.

As far as where you should post your job ad, here are a few ideas:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Inbound.org
  • Glassdoor
  • We Work Remotely (if it’s OK for the marketer to not come into your office every day)
  • Your own blog or eNewsletter

What to Ask For

For your job posting’s submission requests, here’s what you should ask for:

  • A resume (not a C.V.)
  • Three links to exemplary online writing samples
  • A sample pitch email for three topics that would mesh with your company’s existing blog

On your end, the resume doesn’t need to have as much emphasis as it would for most other positions. However, it’s still important to receive one so you can see if the candidate’s history of achievement in academia and the workforce translates well to your open content marketing position.

With your candidates’ writing samples, you need to look for someone whose writing isn’t dull and who can handle relaying high-brow or technical information in an engaging way. You also want to see if they can handle writing longer pieces, such as 1,000-1,500 words or more. And finally, if the samples they gave you have social signals, take a look at those to make sure the writer has been able to reach a sizeable audience.

In the pitch email, the candidate should feature three ideas for your company’s blog. In this email, you should also look for an engaging hook, and an overallmessage that’s concise and in line with the style of communication in your industry.

Going Beyond the Resume: Putting Their Writing to the Test

For the candidates that pass your initial assessment, you should put their writing to the test with an assignment. This will give both parties an idea of what it’s like to work with each other.

Choose one pitch for each candidate and ask them to begin bringing the idea to fruition. It’s best to pick one of the pitches that’s a little out of the candidate’s wheelhouse – judging by their resume – so that they have to do some research in order to return with the first draft. Give the candidates a few days (maybe even a week) and ask for about 1,000 words.

For each applicant, if you see potential in their first draft, give them feedback and suggested revisions. Once they have acknowledged receiving your suggestions, give them two hours to return with a revised piece. This step is crucial to see if they can work on deadline. If the applicant has incorporated your suggestions to your liking and the piece meets your company standards, then he or she gets to move on to the final evaluation.

Interviewing In-Person or via Webcam

Webcam Interview - Eminent SEONo, you don’t need to wait until this far into the process to conduct the first interview. You can actually do it right before the revision deadline if you want, as it will be clear when the two-hour deadline starts – when the interview concludes or as soon as they get home. Otherwise, you can just schedule the interview sometime after the applicant submits his or her revised written assignment.

You should block out an hour for the interview, at minimum. Ideally, an interview for a qualified content marketer would last 2 to 2.5 hours. The first half should consist of you asking them questions, while the second half should be their questions for you. As you’re probably aware, if the candidate isn’t asking very many questions about the job or the company, he or she will have a harder time earning the job offer.

As you interview the applicant, you’ll get a better idea if his or her personality will mesh with your company’s culture, which will be important in a position that usually involves a lot of collaboration. You’ll also want to ask about which platforms and digital tools the candidate is comfortable with, as well as what ideas he or she has for raising brand awareness beyond simply writing a good blog post.

Making Your Final Decision

A qualified content marketer will not only be able to write for various platforms, but will also need to possess the following qualities:

  • Networking skills (online and in person)
  • Research skills
  • Basic design knowledge (image and web page)
  • An idea of which topics can generate interest
  • Basic SEO knowledge
  • Familiarity with multiple digital tools
  • Willingness to learn new programs, platforms and methods
  • Forward-thinking ideas on how to boost your marketing efforts

Interview Candidate Checklist - Eminent SEOIt can be hard to gauge each candidate’s competence in those areas based on their writing samples, the writing exercise and an interview, but you should be able to come pretty close. Some of these skills can be acquired along the way if you find an applicant who is flexible and astute enough. Once you’ve aligned all of the variables and decided on the right person, try to make your offer within a couple of days.

Also, don’t forget to notify the candidates who didn’t make the cut. They longer they made it through your process, the more detailed of an email they should receive. Tell them where they impressed you and where they could have improved. The ones who went through the ringer to land a job with your company deserve at least that much.

Now That You Have Your New Content Marketer

With your new content marketer on board, make sure to give the individual the support they need and be open to hearing their ideas on where to go next. As you read earlier, effective content marketing involves allocating a reasonable portion of your marketing budget to this area.

Even great content marketers won’t succeed if the company doesn’t have a solid strategy in place. The B2B companies that excel the most at content marketing meet weekly to discuss their strategy (not daily, not monthly, etc.), according to the CMI-MarketingProfs survey.

What are your goals with content marketing: Brand awareness? Lead generation? Engagement Boost? Customer Retention? It’s going to differ by the industry you’re in and the existing resources you have within your company. No matter what your strategy is, it’s going be much more successful if you’ve chosen the most motivated and proficient content marketer that replied to your job listing.

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How to Earn Backlinks with Valuable Website Content

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Earn Backlinks with Linkbait

In order for any website to obtain any sort of search engine rankings, high quality backlinks are still necessary. Back in the day before Google updated its algorithm to get rid of spammy, manipulative link building practices, website owners could easily place their site in low quality directories or participate in some sort of link scheme to gain high rankings on Google.

Today’s link building has to be much more strategic, and you have to have content that webmasters want to link to on your site. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time and yours because they aren’t going to link to just any site. It needs to provide their readers with something valuable. In short, the strategy for gaining highly authoritative, .edu, or .gov backlinks is to create content that’s meaningful and considered “link bait.”

What is Link Bait?

Link bait can be characterized as creating content on your website that encourages web users to share or link to, also known as viral content. Since a lot of websites are competing for the top positions in search engines, many websites are beginning to see the importance of content marketing, even for the sole purpose of increasing rankings.

Examples of what link bait can entail:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • How to’s
  • Stories
  • FAQs
  • Landing pages
  • Apps
  • Interactive websites or features
  • Product giveaways
  • Lists
  • Visuals

How to Create Link Bait That Encourages Users to Link to You

Creating link bait can be simpler than you think. Don’t overthink the situation. What you must understand first is your target audience. Ask yourself these primary questions to help you understand your audience and how you can develop content that will speak to that audience:

  • What is their primary problem?
  • What is the solution to their problem?
  • How can you help nurture them to reach that solution?
  • What educational content can you develop to help them potentially solve their problem?
  • What statistics can you provide to help sell your customer into learning more?
  • What is your final offer?

Create Useful Content

Now that you have those questions answered, you should have a pretty clear understanding of what kind of content can be developed on your website that would speak to your ideal audience. It’s important to keep in mind that only useful content is going to gain any sort of visibility online. You have a lot of competition that has already been creating useful content.

If you’re still stuck on the type of content that’s going to attract the right users and be shareable for their networks, think about creating content that is educational and entertaining, such as ways you can add humor to it. Keep the content highly relevant to your industry, but non-promotional. The last thing users are going to want to share is a page on your website talking about your product or your company.

Valuable Content for Backlinks

Create a Plan of Action for Your Content

Once you’ve developed a list of ideas for content, there needs to be a plan in place to promote this content so that it can start to receive the visibility it deserves. For example, if your link bait piece is an eBook, there are several things that need to be thought out in order for the promotion to be successful. Here is some additional collateral that can go into eBook promotion:

  • Dedicated landing page with quality content and optimization. This will most likely be what your users will link to, so make sure this landing page is fully optimized and speaks to them.
  • Where the content will be promoted throughout the website. If the eBook is relevant to a specific service or product you offer, promote the eBook on those relevant pages with a CTA.
  • Create link bait with other forms of link bait. Think about other content that is going to promote this offer and where to promote it. If you’re a B2B business, think about B2B social networks that would find your eBook most valuable. Create a meme or statistic graphic to give users something enticing to click on and share when sharing the link to your eBook landing page. Consider other educational content that could be turned into a blog post, and, at the end of the blog post, have the eBook be the final CTA. Do you have email contacts stored that can be segmented into lists? Send an email to those contacts and show off your eBook.
  • Promote your content in the right places. If you’re strictly targeting other business owners, think about where those business owners would spend their time online. What social networks might they be part of? What big brands might they be following? Make sure you have link bait visible to your audience in the right places online.
  • Develop the right messaging for the eBook. You want people to link to your eBook, but you have to create the right message for users to want to link to you. What do you want people to take away from this eBook? This is where those statistics can be a big help with enticing users to share and learn more. Also, this is the perfect time to add a little humor to your message, because humor can really catch someone’s attention.
  • Outreach to the right websites. Develop a list of websites that are relevant, have high authority in Google, and have trusted backlinks. Don’t be generic with your outreach approach, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you: trying to get a link. Don’t be naive and think these websites are just going to link to you when you approach them with a generic email. Be creative with the approach and have some key talking points ready about their website and EXACTLY where you see a fit for your eBook to be promoted. Whether you think a guest post would suffice or if there’s already a blog post on their site relevant to your eBook messaging, have an idea of how you’d like to promote your content on THEIR website. Being thoughtful goes a long way.

Include a Call to Action as a Final Message in the Content

Since the content shouldn’t be about your product or service, you can lead to a final CTA in your content. Every piece of content on your website should have an end goal, which is your final CTA. Make that CTA clear and concise so users are not only sharing your awesome content, but know how to reach an industry expert if they need more help. This works together with your sales funnel, nurturing website users to become qualified leads. Boom.

Boom Backlinks

Creative Link Bait Campaign Examples

There are so many ways to create link bait on your website, and existing brands have already established pieces of content that have gone viral. Some examples of existing link bait from other brands include:

Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors

This content piece went viral because of the visual content developed by Moz’s team to showcase different Google algorithm ranking factors. This spiked the interest of many other SEO companies who have used this content in their own blog posts and articles as a valuable source for understanding Google’s ranking factors.

Moz Search Ranking Factors Backlink Analysis

By developing this valuable piece of content, Moz has boosted the Page Authority, increased social indicators, and increased the total inbound links. You can say this content was pretty successful.

RSS Tutorial

Every blog needs to have a RSS feed. The following How To tutorial walks you through how to set up a RSS feed and why these steps are so important for websites.

Rss Tutorial Link Bait Backlinks

The success of this content lead to 2,403 backlinks, increased social indicators, and a domain authority of 74/100.

Psychology of Color Infographic

Understanding color psychology is important for any website designer or digital marketer to understand in order for websites to convert at a higher rate. showcases different colors and how they can effect moods, emotions, and more in a nutshell.

This specific infographic did better socially by creating more than 2,100 likes, more than 2,300 tweets, and more than 780 Google+1s.

100+ Ways to Conserve Water Interactive Landing Page

This page shows more than 100 tips on how to conserve water usage to help educate the world about excess water consumption.

Water Conservation Link Bait Backlinks

By creating an interactive way to educate the audience, the page authority alone is a 76/100 with more than 4,500 natural backlinks. That doesn’t even count the number of social indicators happening here. There are more than 7,900 Facebook likes, 8,240 Twitter tweets, and more than 5,500 Facebook shares.

Takeaways

Creating viral link bait is not an easy process. It definitely takes a lot of creativity, optimization, content marketing, and strategy development in order to attract natural backlinks. Many times, there is a lot of trial and error that goes into developing the right piece of content in the right form that’s going to attract the right audience. Once you’ve established the type of content users are going to share naturally and webmasters are going to link to without any issues, you can develop out your content marketing strategy to include this type of content more on your website, which leads to more backlinks and higher search rankings. The key takeaway is to create valuable content that users are going to share and want to interact with.

Don’t have time to create a content link bait strategy? Our digital marketing experts can help by developing out a viral marketing campaign tailored to your audience.
Learn More About Our Expert Viral Marketing Services Here

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How To Use Twitter For Your Business Without Sounding Spammy

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twitter businessYou’ve wanted to use Twitter for your company, or maybe you’ve already established an account, but if you’re a small- or medium-sized business, you’re probably having trouble gaining interaction or any ROI on the social media platform.

Heck, even many large corporations have trouble getting many Twitter users to care about what they’re tweeting. But if you are trying to use Twitter to generate sales, leads, or interest in your brand, there is some light at the end of the tunnel: Research shows there are reasons why your company should be active on Twitter, and that the proper strategy can help you succeed on the platform.

Why Should My Business Be On Twitter?

You might think of LinkedIn as the place to put on your proverbial sport coat and start making a sales pitch, but a recent Forbes study found there’s a better place to do it. Twitter has emerged as the No. 1 platform for sales prospecting, edging out LinkedIn and Facebook, respectively, according to Forbes’ research. Jill Rowley, a startup adviser, told Forbes she learns more about a buyer on Twitter than LinkedIn – whom they follow, who follows them and what they tweet about and retweet.

How A Business Should Tweet

First and foremost, businesses should aim to be engaging on Twitter and ready to interact with any user who shows genuine interest. Small Business Trends advises companies to be personable on the micro-blogging platform. For example, if one of your colleagues is celebrating a birthday, or if your team is gathered at a recognizable venue, a tweet or two with photos of the event goes a long way in peeling back the curtain to your company and showing Twitter users you’re relatable.

However, don’t be too personal on your Twitter timeline. The Twitterverse is sort of a buttoned-down place where business can be conducted, but sharing a little TMI will almost always have an adverse effect.

As far as volume of tweets, a new Hootsuite blog post recommended not to tweet too much, and not to tweet too little. Posting several tweets subsequently that don’t build on each other is a great way to turn some of your followers off. Conversely, tweeting too little will make users bored with your brand and will reflect how little commitment you have to the platform.

It is okay to send the same tweet more than once, particularly if you have an ongoing campaign you’re trying to draw attention to, but tweak the copy or attach a different picture so it looks different each time, and don’t post the same idea more than once or twice day. Also, make sure to post a variety of tweets in between the ongoing message you’re trying to deliver. And for the best times to tweet, a Hootsuite blog post last year said many studies point to 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m., but it may be beneficial for your company to post in the evening, as well. Just consider whether your business goes for a national or local audience, and if it’s the latter.

What A Business Should Tweet

Your business Twitter account should reflect your expertise in your field. Apart from the tips and industry knowledge you possess that can be shared on the platform, feel free to share links to recent publications on topics related to your field. Your Twitter followers will appreciate the insight, even if it didn’t come from in house.

A recent Twitter blog post recommended adding value to the products you offer, such as how to use the items in ways consumers probably never thought of before. Also, invite Twitter followers into a community; tell them what you tweet about, what customers you serve and what kind of incentives they might expect. That leads us to highlighting exclusive prizes and giveaways. There’s no greater way to draw in some potential customers than to tweet about giveaways, promotions, deals and contests you’re running. Additionally, remember to include a call to action in several of your tweets. Simply saying “follow us” and including a compelling reason why can go a long way.

And most of all, remember: photos, photos, photos. Try to include photos in as many tweets as possible. Mashable reported in 2013 that tweets with photos that can be instantly seen in a user’s newsfeed (e.g. not Instagram links) garner 94 percent more retweets than text-only posts. Food photos tend to do well, as do pictures of recognizable landmarks or destinations. Memes are also acceptable to include in your tweets, provided you can make a relevant connection and not choose something that might offend your followers. As long as you have rights to whichever photos you want to tweet, go ahead and post them and make sure the text of each tweet logically ties into the image.

Closing Thoughts

Don’t sound like a soulless robot in your tweets, and be engaging on the platform and ready to react to your followers or what other leaders in your industry have to say. If you’re mentioned in a tweet or asked a question, be sure to respond to it! Also, try to follow back anyone who has just followed you, as long as their account looks legitimate.

Not every tweet from your business’ account has to make a sales pitch, but such posts will be more effective as long as you are engaging and expanding your audience with a steady stream of compelling content and commentary.

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The Importance of Having a Killer Business Blog

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business blogWhen we create a custom website strategy for new clients we still sometimes get push back on whether or not the businesses website needs to have a blog. Often times it’s the item on the strategy that people end up cutting out or think they can “take in house”.

There’s no doubt that having a killer blogging strategy brings many benefits. However, many business owners are still overlooking this key aspect of their online marketing strategies.

I’m not saying you should blog just for the sake of blogging. I’m saying you need to create a killer content strategy that’s going to help grow your business and a blog is one of the best ways to do this.

The Benefits of Business Blogging

Let me first point out that business blogging is extremely affordable, and, you can do it yourself. You don’t necessarily need a marketing company or professional writer to do this for you. However, if you do choose to blog yourself, you may need to look into how you properly optimize your blog posts, or outsource this piece to in order to increase search engine visibility for your blog. We love it when clients write their own blog posts, but most rely on us to edit them, optimize them, post them on their sites with great images and share them across their social media platforms.

Increases Website Traffic

Looking to increase your website’s search engine visibility? Blogging can help do this. Not only can you increase the amount of traffic to your website but the amount of qualified traffic. Why? Because when your blogging strategy is properly targeted to your buyer persona, you get targeted traffic to your website.

After all, 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. (source)

What better way to attract those qualified leads than by creating fun, useful content?

Helps Boost Your SEO Efforts

Part of attracting qualified traffic is publishing properly optimized blog posts. You can write your blogs based off keyword research which, in turn, will help increase the chances of your blog showing in the search results for that term.

New content can also help boost your SEO because search engines love the fresh content. They will keep coming back to your blog and crawling your content when they can see it’s published frequently. Which also helps increase the amount of indexed pages on your website – another huge value add from an SEO perspective.

On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages. – Hubspot

More indexed pages means more chances for your site to show up in the SERP’s.

Builds Brand Awareness

Who doesn’t want to be known as the expert in their industry? Chances are your competition is already blogging. If not, you want to be ahead of the game by becoming an industry expert – NOW. You want users to keep coming back for more, subscribe and share your content because it’s not only worth reading, but sharing as well.

In order to effectively build your brand awareness with blogging you need to influence subscribers to share your blog posts. Basically, you need interesting, useful and sharable content. Your competition might already be blogging, but are they doing it effectively? Is their content receiving social signals? Are people engaging and commenting on their blog posts?

Social media engagement is a key aspect of building your brand awareness. Share your content on your own social media to increase your social signals and hopefully spread your blog/brand to a wider audience. Create a blogging and social strategy that will kill your competition to become an industry leader.

Increases Conversion and Leads

Okay, so we went over how you can easily attract those qualified visitors, but your blog content can also help convert them into leads. The setup of your blog is an importance piece to converting visitors into leads, along with your high quality content that includes clear calls to action.

For one, you want to have a closing call to action at the end of every post. The most effective calls to action that convert visitors into leads include collateral and other content they can subscribe to, download or otherwise get for free, such as: eBooks, case studies, your monthly newsletter or other related blog posts. It all depends on the content and what the end goal is for that visitor.

An easily accessible “Subscribe to this blog” call to action is also important. You want to get visitors to subscribe so that they know every time you publish a blog post. Then, when subscribers continue coming back to your blog they eventually convert into something more than a subscriber, like a lead.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that every online business should have a blog for their website. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you need one – even if only to work with your other online marketing strategies, such as SEO and social media.

Of course, there are many other benefits to hosting a blog on behalf of your business, but we think the points above really hit the primary benefits.

Have questions on how to start a blog or about creating a blogging strategy for your business? Call us today at 800.871.4130 or ask in the comments below:

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How to Find New Blog Ideas for Businesses Articles

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If you’re not a regular blogger, you might think it’s very difficult to find new ideas to write about on your blog.  It seems difficult because you’re so busy with everything else that you don’t have time to research your own blog articles.

But, those who blog regularly know there’s millions of blog ideas floating around at any given time.  Once you know where to look for ideas, and what types of ideas work on blogs, it’s quite easy to find a limitless number of topics to blog about. However, do remember the golden rule of blogging: keep your blogs posts 80% focused on providing valuable information to your audience, and 20% about your company.

With that said, here are some ways to find blog topics:

1. Answer Common Customer Questions Your Target Audience Has

You have a certain set of questions you get asked again and again, in your business. Provide answers to these questions on your blog, and this will not only show that you are an authority in your business space, but will deliver answers to your current clients and possible future clients.  This serves three purposes:

  1. Your customers will have a resource that can be bookmarked in case they have future questions for you.
  2. Odds are that other people are searching online for answers to the same questions.  Out of those readers that are searching for answers to questions you have answered, some of them may become return visitors and even steady customers.
  3. Your website becomes a more useful tool for your visitors, which builds your authority, and helps you attract even more readers through search engines.

2. Research Your Competitor’s Blogs

Yep, it’s totally okay to write about the same topics as your competitors.  However, to keep things interesting, create your own slant on the topic.  By creating a blog that is more interesting to readers, is more visually-appealing, and gives more direct and useful information, you are providing a much higher quality online product than your direct competition. A much higher quality product often attracts new customers from your competition, and gives you much more marketing leverage in your business vertical.

Pay Attention to Websites Like Quora and Yahoo Answers

You know how when you sometimes type in a question into Google, and then the top link goes to Yahoo answers?  You can either type in these questions manually, or you can visit Yahoo Answers and Quora directly and look at some of the questions being asked.  Once there, you can also ask questions and browse different categories of questions.

Some of these questions have a low number of searches on Google, but that’s a good thing because that means it’s easier to rank your blog article on the first page for those search terms.

4. Go to Google Adwords

This isn’t the most efficient way to find blog article ideas, but you can find some with a higher number of searches.  But, the catch is it’s generally much more difficult to rank your blog article on the first page of Google for these ideas because there’s more competition for them.  Check it out in action below:

googleadwords

For example, in this case, “How do I find blog article ideas” was entered, and a good relevant search “blog ideas for business.” So, a good title would be “how to find blog ideas for businesses” or “10 ways to find blog ideas for businesses.”  You’ll notice the number of monthly searches, 50, is quite low.  That’s a good thing – there will be lower competition, and you’ll have a better chance of hitting the first page of Google with your blog article.

There are many more ways to find blog article topic ideas, the trick is to find topics that many are searching-for, or are trending online. Look at your own online search habits and mirror your blog writing after your own search habits; this will lead your blog to be a more natural and efficient source for information related to your business.

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4 Reasons Your Website Needs an Updated Blog

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Even though blogging is the standard expectation of the typical consumer for every website these days, there are a ton of other good reasons your website needs a blog.

A blog actually provides many benefits for your website beyond sharing helpful information.

Why You Need A Company Blog

When you’re blogging regularly, how do you help your business and customer? Keep reading to learn about the benefits of blogging:

1. You Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader/Authority

Who do consumers and businesses ultimately purchase from?  Many times it’s the person or business they perceive as the leader in their niche.  You don’t have to be a gigantic company to become a thought leader.  You can make yourself a thought leader simply by blogging regularly and offering intricate detail that no other blog provides.  This is one of the ways a blog levels the competitive playing field in any niche.

2. You Get Excellent SEO Benefits

You can optimize your posts to help them rank organically for target keywords. Although simply writing is not enough, ensuring your posts are SEO friendly is the foundation for a well ranking blog. When you sprinkle your keywords throughout your posts that builds your site’s overall authority for key terms which in turn gives you a better chance of ranking – not only your blog but the rest of the website as well. In addition, Google released the Fresh update back in November of 2011, which gives preference in the search rankings to websites that offer regularly updated content.

Subsequent updates like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird also give preference in the SERPs to websites with high quality content.  The more in-depth blog posts you create, the better the SEO benefits you receive.

3. You Connect with Your Target Market, which Increases Sales

The more you connect with your customer, the more you sell.  Case in point – Hubspot notes these statistics on their website:

  • 92% of companies who blog more than once per day acquired a customer through their blog
  • 40%  of all companies in the United States use blogs to market their products and services

In separate research, Hubspot also found the more frequently a company blogs, the more likely they are to get a customer through their blog.  58% of companies who blog at least once per week are able to land a customer via their blog.

You don’t have to blog daily or multiple times per day, but if you can do so once per week, that’s a great start.

4. Content Powers Social Media Success

Of all the different ways you can market online, the blog remains at the center.  Think of it as your home base from which all other digital marketing efforts flow.

Once you blog, you have something of value to share over social media.  You definitely should share other people’s content via social media, but you will only see valuable business results if you share some of your own high-quality, original content through your social channels as well.

Remember these mind-blowing stats about social (according to the Hubspot report mentioned earlier):  77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies surveyed acquired customers through Facebook alone.  And, social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than any form of outbound marketing.

In a Nutshell:  

  • Blogging ensures better search engine authority and organic placement – leading to more organic traffic to your site.
  • Blogging regularly gives your clients more confidence in you and your business.
  • Blogging and sharing your own content socially drives more referral traffic to your site.

So, why aren’t you blogging already?

Overwhelmed? We can help. Click here to learn more about the Eminent SEO blogging services.

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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What You Need To Do About Google Authorship Right Now

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Have you seen those little pictures of people’s faces just to the left of the search results?  You know, like the one you see below:

That nifty little photo there looks cool when you go through the search engine results, but it does much more than that.

In one case, for example, Copyblogger noted some studies where clicks on results with photos increased by as much as 150%.  In fact, the better the headshot, the more clicks some users saw.

And you also see in that photo where it says, “by Danny Sullivan – in 1,769,122 Google+ circles?”  That’s also a huge credibility booster. You know it’s not just some average Joe writing on a topic for the first time. Instead, it’s someone highly respected, so search users are even more likely to click on that search result.

But There Are Some Questions About Authorship’s Long Term Usefulness…

AJ Kohn notes that the Authorship Project at Google was led by Othar Hansson… who now works on the Android search team. Additionally, Sagar Kamdar was the product manager for Authorship, and he now works on Google’s Project Loon.

And the truth is, even though many important authors already use Google Authorship, there are many who do not.

So, how can Google make Authorship an important factor in its search rankings if many major thought leaders don’t use it?

Even Though Not Everyone Uses It, You Should Use Authorship

There are simply too many benefits to ignore using Google Authorship. Even though it’s not used by everyone, it is used by many reputable people across the web. And, Google’s looking for a way to establish unique identities on the internet in order to help searchers find credible, relevant results.

Besides increasing click-throughs and building your credibility, it also:

  • Makes you easier to spot in the search results (numerous eye tracking studies, including this one from Moz, have shown people look at these images first before headlines)
  • Allows you to claim ownership of your content (that puts a damper on plagiarism)
  • Builds your reputation and authority as a digital writer
  • Distinguishes you from other people on the web who may share your name

There is a Catch…Isn’t There Always?

One catch about authorship is that it’s kind of quirky at times. It’s a comparatively simple thing to do, but it may (or may not) throw some curveballs in your direction. If you think it’s a good idea, read this post to learn how to get it set up (whether you write content on your own site or another).

The Nutshell…

Although there is still debate over the long term value of Google Authorship it is still very much alive and the data speaks for itself. If you want to increase the popularity of your site, the authority of your brand and the number of clicks to your blog, then Google Authorship is a great opportunity.

Happy Writing!

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Running Out Of Content Ideas?

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writers block

You need content that draws your target audience in, while creating true value and/or demand. Oh so you knew that already, you’re just hitting a writer’s block? Well, let me try and help bring you back to the basics with five topic ideas that could help you get out of that writers block rut.

1. Case studies | May not be possible for some, depending on the industry at hand but everyone loves a good case study in which they can see factual outcomes and results.

2. Solve a problem | Simple enough. You face a plethora of problems in your industry that others are sure to relate with. Why not share your solution with the world wide web!

3. How-To Paired with Tips & Tricks of the trade | We get it, you don’t want to give away all your ‘know how’ but people will appreciate a helping hand or kick in the right direction to get them started.

4. Tools are Awesome | Why not make a list of useful tools that can help in all aspects of ones work place or personal for that matter.

5. Bust the Myths of your Industry | I’m sure there are a few common misconceptions of your field that you’re just dying to prove the record straight on.

 

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Do It Yourself: Best Blogging Practices for the Newbie

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A quick rummage through a few Tumblr and Blogger sites confirms the initial suspicion; ANYONE can start a blog. And while many use blogging as a cut and dry, self-indulgent picture post diary, there are those who seek to monetize their contributions through an intriguing, relevant and engaging visitor experience. From page design to individual posts and the silly matter in between, the process involved in making a successful blog takes time, vision and unabashed honesty. In the entry below, we will offer up some insight regarding how to write a blog that people (other than your “crew”) actually want to read.

Features and Elements

Above all else, the most important aspect of your blog is what you say and how you go about saying it. Visitors will continue visiting, and even subscribe, if they have an interest in the subject matter and enjoy your writing style. As such, writers should take care to write posts with a tone that reflects the topic at hand AND the audience your blog intends to reach. Personality is key to ensuring interaction, repeat visits and referrals to your blog from other bloggers who enjoy what you have to say.

Writing Content

Simply put, nobody wants to weed through a text entry that reminds them of an Earth Science syllabus. Making a point to write honestly and openly about the subject at hand will speak to readers on a more personal level than fact listing and rambles. People who are visiting your blog for the first time and do not find a voice to identify with, or are even against, are not likely to return. Therefore, the content you post must be interesting, dynamic, original and provoking.

Best Practices

Though blogging is certainly an area for rule breaking, there are a variety of best practices worth following to ensure optimal traffic and reception. Use as you see fit:

• Graphics – Blogs without pictures are pretzels without salt; no good. While you want to avoid turning your blog into a cluttered picture album, a couple choice images will work to break up the read while holding your visitor’s interest. Choose something tasteful, relevant and grabbing.

• Headline – This is your wakeup call. Use your headline as both a description and attention grabber to hook your audience for the kill. Short and sweet wins the race.

• Intro – This is where you stake your claim. A well-written introduction will make the reader ache for more. Think of it like a movie trailer, leaving hints and potential highlights to linger on.

• Body – Where you make your case. Whether your entry is personal, professional or just goofy, the body serves as the area to make your opinion known. Lay down the facts and tell your story in a smooth and charismatic fashion. And as with all other area… BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR GRAMMAR!

• Conclusion – Your final point and invitation.

Sharing Is Caring

Of course, it wouldn’t be good blogging practice without a healthy dose of social media. Make sure to post links to your content on social media pages and invite others to do the same! With a little time, practice and creativity, you just might have yourself a big old piece of that sweet blog success pie.

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