Tag Archives: Strategy Advice

How Businesses Are Wasting Money on Marketing That Doesn’t Work

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Businesses Are Wasting Their Money Marketing That Doesn't Work - Eminent SEO

This is probably the conversation I have the most frequently with marketing industry peers and clients. It is just a repetitive chat; the subject gets people animated, agitated, confused and eyes-bulging, vein-popping frustrated. Why? Because nobody listens.

Here’s one note of caution for starters: If you think you know marketing because of a Google search or two, you don’t know squat!

Marketing and Sales People Are the Biggest Suckers on the Planet

We’re in this conundrum together – because there isn’t one answer on how to do marketing. Instead, it’s essential that you understand the options and how they work together (or fail).

Even with the best industry gurus on your side, watching the SEO analysis month over month and staying current with the latest Google and Facebook algorithm shifts, there are no guarantees that your creative campaigns or media placements are going to work. Depressed yet?

Here’s what I can tell you. Marketing, just like people, shifts. What works today can be gone with the wind of tomorrow’s latest and greatest trend. Yaaass. This business is not for the emotionally thin-skinned. In other words, grow a pair, do some due diligence and have fun.

Beware of Snake Oil Yes Men (and Women) That Guarantee Anything

Recently, I had a client call me on the phone (old school, I know) to share his excitement. He’s got a handful of websites and just got a call from this guy in Chicago who swears he can deliver a branded TV commercial and media placement on 30 some odd stations. Wait for it… all for 1,000 bucks.

You’re laughing, right? It gets better. This guy also says he will guarantee 300 leads, calls that will go directly to my client’s call center.

Remember what I said earlier about there being no guarantees? Yeah. It applies here. So I called the guy in Chicago. I told him that if he wanted to swear to God that 300 leads are guaranteed, it was on him. I wouldn’t bet on that and I don’t think the Lord would appreciate being the brunt of a wager in futility.

How did I call him out? With one easy question: “Can you send me the list of media channels where the commercial will run?” I asked with a snarky smile. He replied, “No.”

This was a sketchy operation with phony leads that would undoubtedly go nowhere. Trust (sort of), then verify. Works like a charm.

Businesses are wasting money on #marketing because they do not think QUALITY over QUANTITY.Click To Tweet

Secret Keywords Are Like a Losing Game of Hide and Seek

Ever since Google has been cracking down on those who try to outsmart it (some do so successfully, but it’s temporary) one such solution appears as a “miracle grow” for SEO rankings. Watch out for the companies that say they will boost your presence by using targeted keywords strategically placed and hidden within your fine print of terms and conditions or right-hand-side testimonial content, for example.

Do really you think this is smarter than the peeps and tech that crawl websites for Google? Naw, probably not.

Marketing That Doesn’t Work: More Isn’t Mo’ Better

Marketing Tactics To Use In 2018 Keywords Video Content - Eminent SEOOverconsumption comes by us honestly. We’re Americans. It’s what we do. While some people have an issue with taking in excessive amounts of food, alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships or shoes (yes, shoes), many business owners believe that a handful of websites to represent their product offerings are better than just one.

Moreover, these duplicate (basically that’s what they are) sites house essentially the same content as one another. Not only is this so passé and ineffective; it’s naughty.

Why the marketing tactics mentioned so far don’t work isn’t just about cheesing up our industry standards. Our core audience detests it. Millennials are now the largest group of consumers. If your business doesn’t understand this audience, you might as well hang it up right now.

If you’d rather get a clue as to what you should be doing to get their appeal and more accolades for your product or service, keep reading.

Pander (I Mean Cater) to Your Audience

Millennials can be cruel. Maybe not cruel, but brutally honest. They don’t understand the merits of privacy (thank you MySpace, and now Twitter and Facebook) and believe that everything is subject to discussion, rant and opinion on the web. If your product or service doesn’t cut it, you’ll know, quickly. Here’s what to do to angle it all in your favor.

Invite the Criticism

Take a deep breath. Swallow that lump of insecurity in your throat. Be bold enough on social media to have a unique presence and put posts out there that speak to who you are and what you stand for. Take the heat that comes.

Pay attention; it’s the most inexpensive way to get an understanding of what’s working or not…and it’s ideal for discovering gaping holes of opportunity. Although, social media is not the place for ongoing product pitches. It’s about having a personality and building a following.

Make Millennials Matter

Leveraging the right social media platforms is essential to owning the millennial market. How you position your profiles is even more important. Make sure your content doesn’t talk down to them, as it needs to include them.

Position this audience as instrumental in your success. They must be part of your conversation. If your brand strategy allows them to lead the conversation, that’s golden.

Create the Experience

Product and services aren’t flat surfaces (though many smart devices are pretty close). The world isn’t flat either; it’s full of dimension. Enter marketing and editorial content.

What resonates with people today is a full-bodied experience with your product, service or brand. It taps on the emotion, the most powerful place your marketing can target. People may not remember what you said or did, but it’s how you made them feel that matters.

Provide Information That’s Unique and Individually Topical

The definition of an information junkie = millennial. From their childhood, web surfing was the only way to get the answers they needed. Ask a question of their parents, and “Google it” was the go-to response. As such, the information you put out must be accurate, relevant and thought-provoking, which gives them a reason to investigate further (they will) and respond.

Build Your Brand with Integrity That Is Globally Relevant

Long gone are the days where providing a free product offering would win over potential customers. Today’s consumers are cynical, and for good reason. With the onslaught of cyber theft and security breaches, people understand that if it says it’s free, there’s probably a cost.

If your product or service doesn’t provide global impact by its very existence, then your company brand should. If it doesn’t – to a millennial – you don’t exist.

Top 6 Marketing Angles Worth the Expense

Sales, web development and marketing firms will try to entice you into needing what they offer. With all the choices, it’s difficult to discern between necessity and fluff. Use this list of must-haves to position the marketing of your business well.

2018 marketing angles that work:

  • Quality content – original copywriting and optimized alt tags for imagery should rank organically
  • Video often – boosts viewership and experiential marketing
  • Cause marketing – brands your business with emotional substance
  • Niche campaigns – all media outlets, segment your audiences
  • Embrace the screens – use cross-channel marketing to increase impressions
  • Long-phrase keywords – catches the low-hanging fruit of search engines

Final Thought on Marketing to Your Audience

Not every business can claim millennials as its target audience. True. However, early adapters of web use and the culture of instant gratification aren’t merely for the young. This is how every generation under 65 years of age consumes.

Today, we are all millennials. Your marketing efforts need to align with our new, collective behavior.

See How to Appeal to Generation Z Online

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Passing the Torch: Updating Your Website’s Backlink Strategy for 2018

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Backlink Building To Link Earning - ESEO

As long as Google has acted as our de facto gateway to the rest of the Internet, so too have brands and marketers developed strategies for optimizing their content according to Google’s algorithm.

This has created a bit of tug-of-war between the tech giant and advertisers. The sequence goes:

  • Google introduces a new algorithm update to better optimize search engine results.
  • Marketers then update their best practices to help their brands gain or maintain as much online visibility as possible.
  • Within a year or two, Google significantly updates its algorithm and starts the cycle all over again.

With the introduction of Penguin in 2012 and its subsequent updates, Google has become incredibly sophisticated at differentiating between backlinks that are earned organically and those that are established using industry-wide content marketing strategies. Now Google plans to use that information to prioritize sites that predominantly host organic backlinks and, in some cases, penalize sites that do not.

Want to make sure your link strategy is up to date and penalty free? The following tips outline ways that you can update your approach, introduce new solutions and leverage your link-building experience in a link-earning world.

The Rise of Link Earning

Evaluate Content By Leads Conversions Bounce Rate - Eminent SEOIt wouldn’t be fair to describe link earning as a completely new concept for two major reasons: First and foremost, link earning was basically the only way that individuals and businesses gained exposure for their website back before search engines were ubiquitous. Those who produced interesting content that filled a need had their website linked to by other websites. In the most straightforward way possible, great content earned you links.

Second, it’s important to point out that the strategies used to “earn” links are not considerably different than those used to “build” links. Both require businesses to make intentional decisions about their content, stay disciplined in producing brand-supported content and find ways to consistently engage with customers and other businesses.

The shift is less about strategy as it is about execution. If you were already link building at a high level and producing content that naturally attracted visitors to your site, then you may have already been link earning for years.

If your link-building strategy was minimal or depended on questionable tactics like purchasing links, your website is now a greater risk for penalties than ever before.

Chances are that Google’s standards will only become even stricter in the future. The time to get your content marketing approach up to date is right now.

Backlink Strategy Advice on Shifting from Link Building to Earning

Sometimes the differences between link building and link earning are as subtle. Convincing another business to link to your site might qualify as “link building” if you don’t have much of a history with the other website.

Conversely, you may have had an established relationship with another professional and they share your content because it is a good fit for their own customers. That would certainly qualify as “link earning.”

In a sense, link earning is merely link building being done at a consistently high level. Here are a few ways to streamline your content marketing strategy and generate organic interest in your site:

Stick to Your Schedule

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is that your brand delivers high-quality content on a consistent, predictable schedule. This is one of the most effective ways to get repeat engagement from online users.

Provide them with valuable information then let them know how, when and where to get more. If you follow up with even more useful content, you’ve got yourself some fresh, organic engagement.

Not keeping to a content release schedule, regardless of what difficulties your business had in producing on time, will quickly erode your audience. Even worse, other websites are less inclined to promote your content if they think your company is unprofessional about meeting deadlines.

Share, Share, Share

Posting links to your brand’s content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? That’s not enough. The companies that are earning organic links consistently are also engaging customers over a broad spectrum of social media channels every day. Sites like Medium, LinkedIn and Google+ feature feeds that can be used to share content. More niche social media platforms like Pinterest can be used to share eye-catching graphics and other visual materials.

Regardless of what kind of high-quality content your company is generating, it is critical that you share that content to a wide variety of places. Casting a wide net when it comes to social engagement is one of the most effective ways to draw new and routine traffic alike to your website.

Review and Revise

If your brand hasn’t developed a strategy for evaluating the impact of your content, then that needs to change right away. If you do have an evaluation strategy and you aren’t getting the results you want, it may be because your performance evaluations aren’t providing you with the right information.

You need to identify effective metrics for analyzing the performance of your content, including, but not limited to:

  • Lead generation
  • Sales
  • Bounce rates

Once these evaluation tools and benchmarks are set in place, it’s important that your brand commit itself to constant self-improvement. Your competitors are always going to be strategizing to push their content to the next level. Equal amounts of diligence are required on your end to stay relevant. When all else fails, look at your competitors for ideas and strategies that you can turn into your own.

Preparing for Transition

Updating a business strategy isn’t easy, especially when your brand has been doing things a certain way for a long time. That being said, refusing to stay current with the times spells disaster for your brand’s long-term success.

There are plenty of ways to make the transition from link building to link earning with minimal stress and hassle. As mentioned before, these strategies are not so far apart. Your task is less to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content marketing, and more identifying the special niche that only your brand can fill.

Research will be a major factor in your company reaching its goal. You’ll need to fully understand the types of customers who might be interested in your brand and tailor your content strategy to reflect their tastes.

Talent acquisition will also play a major role in your ability to consistently earn links. Earning links and developing content that people want to share are both full-time jobs. Expecting a professional to wear both of these hats is far from setting that person up for success. Hiring the right people to produce the right content is a much more reliable investment.

Get Support If Necessary

Without sufficient expertise, turning your link-building strategies into link-earning solutions can be time consuming and costly to implement. That’s why it makes sense to work with experts and expand your education. This type of online and offline networking can help you earn more links in the long term as well. Check out the rest of this helpful blog or reach out to us if your site needs more traffic.

See Our Many Link Earning Services

Avatar for Remy Albillar

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Did Google Crush Your Addiction Treatment AdWords Campaign?

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Eminent SEO - Google Crushes Addiction Treatment AdWords CampaignsAround September of this year, Google placed new restrictions on advertising keywords related to searches for addiction treatment. This had a tremendous impact on addiction treatment centers around the country that relied on Google AdWords campaigns as their primary digital ad source.

In fact, word on the street is certain centers have been hit so hard they are cutting staff, selling their facilities and even going bankrupt.

Why Did Google Crack Down on Addiction Treatment Ads?

As a long-time addiction treatment marker myself, I have watched the recovery industry evolve over the last 12 years. Over that period of time, I have seen a lot of shady marketing practices in general. I mean, a ton.

However, what has become even more alarming over the last few years has been shady (sometimes even illegal) addiction treatment center business practices. I even recently wrote a blog post directed to addiction treatment centers as an open letter on what NOT to do: Dear Addiction Rehab Owners.

Those of us who preach ethical marketing saw this coming and said it would happen. Overnight, Google decided to stop selling ads for a giant number of “addiction treatment” related search terms, including “rehab near me,” “alcohol treatment” and thousands of others.

Imagine the SHOCK around the country as the $35 billion addiction treatment industry discovered its primary lead generation source was practically shut off overnight.

Google told The Verge in a statement:

“We found a number of misleading experiences among rehabilitation treatment centers that led to our decision, in consultation with experts, to restrict ads in this category. As always, we constantly review our policies to protect our users and provide good experiences for consumers.”

Isn’t This a Loss for Google?

Uh, yes. Some of the top-searched rehab terms were going for $100-plus per click! We know addiction treatment centers that were spending millions of dollars a year on Google ads alone.

But, you know what a bigger loss is? The 570,000 people who die annually from drug and alcohol use every year in the United States. According to National Institutes of Health drug facts, that number breaks down to more than 480,000 deaths related to tobacco, about 31,000 due to alcohol, nearly 22,000 due to overdose on illicit (illegal) drugs, and close to 23,000 due to overdose on prescription pain relievers.

If those deaths don’t shock you, let me give you something to compare that too. This is the list of the top 10 causes of death in the United States every year:

  • Heart issues: about 630,000 people die of heart disease annually
  • Cancer: a source of roughly 596,000 deaths annually
  • Chronic lower respiratory disease (a collection of lung diseases): 147,000 deaths
  • Accidents and unintentional injuries: 136,053 deaths
  • Stroke: 140,323
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
  • Diabetes: 79,535
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 57,062
  • Nephritis and nephrosis (kidney issues): 49,959
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193

If you combine alcohol and drug related deaths, we are talking about 90,000 annually. Doesn’t that place substance abuse and addiction number 7 on the list?

People are dying! And, the saddest part? They are dying because they aren’t getting the help they need.

Although this stat is outdated (real-time stats on this stuff are hard to find!), the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found only 10.9 percent of the individuals who needed professional substance abuse actually received it.

We can do better. We MUST do better.

How Can Addiction Treatment Centers and Marketers Do Better?

Jenny Stradling - Quote on Ethical MarketingUnfortunately, this crackdown wasn’t rolled out based on the legitimacy of the facility or its advertising agency, like the organic rankings have been. This change impacted all treatment centers and their marketing agencies, legitimate or not.

It’s not fair, but Google never claimed to be fair. One bad apple might have not ruined it for the rest of us, but a LOT of bad apples did. And you know what? Good.

You heard me.

I’m tired of shady business practices. I am tired of seeing the greed in this industry. I am tired of getting calls for “grey hat” marketing practices from treatment centers who still think they have to trick Google in order to win.

I am tired of finding misinformation on legitimate sites (yes, I see you spammy rehab marketers and your regurgitated, ill-researched content). I am tired of seeing zero value being placed on quality and ethics. I am tired of auditing digital brands only to find crap.

Wake up, addiction treatment providers and marketers! This is not why we do business. We MUST find a way to do better.

Start by putting your clients first. Start by laying out a clear goal and mission. Start by agreeing to do things ethically. Start by working with other industry professionals that care about getting results AND are passionate about making a difference.

The only way your brand stands a chance in the long run is to do things the right way. Otherwise, it will catch up with you. It always does.

What Should You Replace Your Addiction Treatment AdWords Campaign With?

As a multi-channel marketing agency, we have always suggested a custom brand and marketing strategy for our addiction treatment center clients. There is no single marketing channel that will ever supply any business with all of its leads indefinitely, especially when you consider the ever-changing digital landscape.

Typically, our addiction treatment center clients will have a campaign that includes several tactics and digital channels of marketing:

  • Quality Website Design and Images
  • Professional Landing Page Optimization
  • Technical Website SEO
  • Optimized Content and Meta Data
  • Website Blogging
  • Brand Asset Development
  • Organic Search Engine Marketing
  • Local and Geo-targeted Marketing
  • Social Channel Management
  • Paid Social Ad Campaigns
  • Newsletter and Email Marketing
  • Testing, Tracking and Custom Reporting

We may also supplement with Google or Bing paid ads, but we have never relied on them. Why? Too expensive, higher cost per admit and lower conversion rate than the organic channels.

However, if you have recently been hit hard by the Google AdWords “rehab” related keyword restrictions, here are some channels you can explore:

Social Paid Ads

Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat can generate addiction treatment leads when done properly. Facebook and Instagram ads are killing it for our clients right now.

Inbound Marketing

It’s not a quick fix, but utilizing custom landing pages, gated assets and email campaigns with smart, automated workflows can have a big long-term impact on your brand reach.

Geo-targeting

It’s not just “local marketing” anymore. Google gets to decide what search queries are considered local and which ones are not. You must optimize your website and ad strategies for the geo-targets you want to rank for. (Looking for more? Ask us about geo-fencing.)

Video Marketing

We can talk about video for days, but I’ll just say this: videos are valuable assets for your brand. But, not all videos are created equally. A well-researched video strategy can drive the entire marketing campaign. 2018 is the year to invest into video.

Website and Social Chat

A surprising number of treatment centers think online chat won’t work for them. Well, I am here to tell you something: it does work, and I know because I see the conversions from our client chat campaigns. If it isn’t working for you, you’re doing it wrong.

Conclusion

When you are in an industry that is known for false advertising, illegal patient brokering and bidding wars, it’s imperative you take the time to A) put ethical business practices into place, and B) hire a company who can guarantee they are doing the same.

If you need an agency that understands the addiction treatment industry and cares about quality, ethics AND the bottom line, give us a call. Let’s make something special together.

Contact Us to Get Started

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Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and 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 love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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Beware Boredom: Keeping Your Content Marketing Strategy Fresh in 2018

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Keep Content Marketing Strategy Fresh For 2018 - Eminent SEO

For years you’ve been hearing about the importance of developing higher quality content and making that content a central part of your overall marketing strategy.

Don’t count on that thinking to go away anytime soon. That’s because long-term content marketing strategies across every industry are bearing fruit and helping brands to significantly expand their reach.

Revealing Study

A study performed by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs revealed that 2017 was a big year for content marketing. The survey of more than 1,000 American companies representing a vast range of industries – ranging from technology and consulting to health care and publishing – found that investments in content marketing have produced promising returns.

Here are some of the most notable takeaways from the study:

  • 89% of B2B marketers are using content marketing in 2017.
  • 63% of respondents are “very committed” to content marketing.
  • 85% of companies said that improving content quality had considerable benefits.
  • 88% of respondents agreed that content marketing was the most important part of their marketing strategy.

It’s clear that content marketing has been just as effective as promised, and that means more and more companies are going to be jumping onto the trend in 2018. The pressure is even higher on individual brands to develop fresh, relevant copy that drives sales and social media engagement.

So how do you plan to stand out next year now that thousands of companies are dedicating serious resources to content?

Fine-Tune Your Content Marketing Strategy

The following strategies outline a few ways to keep your content marketing strategy as unique and engaging as possible:

1. Next Level Content Marketing: Going Beyond the Blog

Content Marketing Straining To Reach Next Level - Eminent SEOToday, blogging is the go-to strategy when it comes to content generation. This straightforward medium can become quite dynamic in the right hands.

As studies have shown, more brands are becoming adept at developing blog posts that communicate the right message to their customers. That means your company will need to start thinking about new options for content generation beyond the traditional methods as you head into 2018.

Yes, you’ve put a lot of time and resources into mastering social media, blogging, newsletters and whitepapers. Taking your content to the next level does not mean abandoning these efforts; you’ll still want to keep generating dynamic blog and social content.

However, it’s equally important that your company start devising new ways to leverage these skills to stand out from your competition.

For example, some companies have elevated their blog and email newsletters into something more akin to a full-blown publication. Food Processing and Food 52 are two instances of publishers that have transformed their newsletters to have the look and feel of a magazine, rather than just another disposable email message.

By leveraging subject matter experts in your network, dedicating time to developing regular featured content and your knowledge of customer pain points, your brand could create consistent resources that provide audiences with in-depth information about your industry and your business.

These are just a few of the many ways your company can elevate its content creation strategy in 2018. The sooner your team starts brainstorming a new approach, the better.

2. Leverage Transparency: Kill Two Birds with One Stone

Max Breaking The Fourth Wall Shattering Glass - Eminent SEOWith data breaches and digital scams in the news on a regular basis, today’s clients want to feel like they can trust the brands they work with. One of the easiest ways to establish a connection with potential customers is to let them peek behind the curtain.

Transparency is more important to customers than ever. The companies that are able to provide the inside look that clients are looking for will be more effective in building important, long-term connections with those same customers.

Now, what does that have to with your content strategy for 2018? If you’re willing to think outside the box, the push for transparency could very well be the solution your brand needs.

First, develop a long-term strategy for increasing transparency across the company, both between the brand and customers and between leadership and the rest of the employees.

Next, start documenting the progress of these transparency efforts. Not only does this approach help your staff stay accountable, it also generates a bevy of material that can be turned into eye-catching content.

Here are a few more ways your transparency implementation can double as trust-building content for your customers:

  • Host digital Q&A sessions that answer customer questions and address any ethical concerns.
  • Develop a series of blog posts that track, describe and discuss the results of new transparency initiatives.
  • Develop a case study that analyzes and reviews company-wide transparency efforts.

3. Copy and Video: Hire a Specialist Who Does Both

Copy Writer And Video Specialist Who Can Do Both - Eminent SEOIn 2018, everyone will looking for ways to implement video into their content marketing strategy. Few, however, will find an effective way to integrate video into their content strategy.

The difference? Consider the advantage of posting video content that relates to or even directly refers to the written content on the same page.

YouTube personalities have become adept at breaking the fourth wall on the Internet, physically gesturing in their videos toward buttons and special offers that exist on the page. They also dedicate time to verbal calls to action that encourage viewers to follow certain links once the video has ended. Why can’t you pull off the same tricks with your content?

The most efficient way to get this type of project off the ground would be to have the same writer develop copy and related scripts. This way, there should be cohesive tone and messaging from one medium to another.

Placing irrelevant videos on content pages can just end up distracting your viewers, after all.

The possibilities for leveraging video and content together are endless. Ultimately, your goal is to provide visitors with content and engagement they’ve never seen before. If you can execute uniquely exciting video, visual and written content, you put yourself at a major advantage going into next year.

Think Bigger than Your Competition

2018 is all about thinking outside the box and utilizing the content marketing strategies you’ve learned to subvert expectations. The longer the content marketing game plays out, the better everyone is going to get at it. So keep mastering new moves!

Enjoy what you just read and want to keep learning? Check out a few more of the entertaining and insightful content marketing blog articles that Eminent SEO has to offer. Remember, the quickest way to innovate is to continue absorbing solutions and strategic tips like these.

Feel Free to Comment Below:
What Are Your New Plans for Content Marketing in 2018?

Avatar for Remy Albillar

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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How to Optimize Your B2B Website for Conversions

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Optimize Your B2B for Better Website Conversions

What Are B2B Website Conversions?

B2B (business to business) website conversions have become a common marketing tool for many companies. This has been propelled by rising access to the internet globally and the need to increase market penetration for businesses.

A conversion in the context of digital marketing is the rate at which those visiting your website provide you with an opportunity to market to them by filling out your digital forms. Through the forms, visitors share their contact info with you and confirm that they understand you may use the information to market your product(s) and services to them in the future.

Site Visitors to Conversions Funnel Illustration

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What Is the Importance of Having a B2B Website For Your Business?

Businesses are endlessly trying to build their presence online as more and more people are able to access the internet globally. If you aim to develop and grow a successful business online, you can find some of the resources provided for free online.

The Benefits of a B2B Website Include:

  • You are able to increase your customer base: A B2B website makes it possible for your business to analyze customer trends and incorporate strategies to convert new visitors into customers. More conversions will translate to more sales and eventually an increase in overall sales.
  • It helps improve your marketing strategies and overall brand: This becomes possible when you develop pages and products that meet the individual needs of each potential customer. This strategy is critical in increasing the conversion rate for your business.
  • It makes your business scalable: B2B websites will make it possible for your business to improve its marketing strategies and align them with market demands. This can be achieved through creation of new sales channels for emerging market segments.

What Steps Can You Take to Optimize Your B2B Website Conversions?

Closed Won Vs Closed Lost Opportunities Ratio Infographic

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The adoption of internet marketing has been booming as its efficiency, cost and effectiveness have proven to be worthwhile, and seemingly every business is investing in this new trend. Digital marketing can be effective if you are able to direct traffic to your website to convert those visitors into customers.

What Are the Strategies You Should Use to Optimize Your B2B Website Conversions?

  • You should rework your product or service offers: Every person enjoys getting a product or service at a reasonable or discounted rate. You should look at the offers you are providing to your potential customers and evaluate whether they are the best deals you can provide. You could also come up with other ways to make the offer more tempting. Under the offers you are providing, determine whether you have positioned them well on your website; offers should highlight the best deal for you to attract more customers. If the offer price does not seem captivating to customers, consider revising it.
  • You should focus more on your product’s benefits and not features: The common mistake that you are likely to make is putting an emphasis on the product’s features without focusing on the benefits of these features. To avoid the mistake, you have to design your business based on the solutions or insights that you intend to bring your customers. Your product’s features will have little meaning to a potential customer compared to highlighting the benefits of those features or the customers’ problems that the product could solve. You should use the product’s features as an attention grabber that attracts more people to your website, and the benefits of your product should play the role of converting website visitors into customers.
  • You should target high-quality leads: Focusing on a wide range of leads may not necessarily lead to more conversions. Instead, it may even increase the cost of marketing. You should always ensure that the methods that you employ currently to generate leads should be able to attract the right people. You can have a higher conversion rate if you are able to funnel more high-quality leads without making any changes to the marketing strategies. You should always analyze your previous target market, see its achievements and then determine if there is a need for improvement to make it more efficient.
  • You should consider retargeting your audience: Many businesses always want to increase financial spending to increase the number of leads, although this strategy is not always effective. You should consider directing more finances to those who have already traveled partially into your sales funnel, as this increases the chances of achieving more conversions. Focusing on retargeting marketing strategies is likely to be persuasive to those already in the sales funnel and increase their conversion into customers over time.
  • Always watch what competitors are doing: Changing your strategies can be determined by what your competitors are doing, and this can help you know the new trend in your industry. If you think your competitors are getting it right, you should consider monitoring how they walk their leads down the sales funnel, their pricing strategies, their webpage designs, and other marketing strategies. To know more about your competitors’ strategies, you can always follow them on social media, sign up for their newsletters and frequently visit their websites.
  • Ensure that your customers can trust you: Online marketing is based on trust and how you earn it from your potential and current customers. Getting a stranger to trust you can be a cumbersome affair. Building trust requires you to work on your credibility over time. You can increase your credibility through providing customer testimonials on your website, listing your previous customers and providing satisfactory guarantees as a way of earning your potential customer’s trust. This is likely to lead to more conversions over time, as more people will start having trust in your business.

What Are the Limitations of B2B Website Conversions?

Challenges That B2B Marketers Face Survey Chart

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  • Always remember that high B2B website conversion rates do not translate to high performance: Rates and actual numbers can differ greatly. As such, you should focus on the raw numbers more than the rates. For instance, if you have low visits and conversions are high, the conversion rate can be high while the sales numbers are relatively low. Meanwhile, someone with high visits can have low conversion rates, but the sales will still be substantial.
  • This method assumes that all visits to your website have the potential to convert, and this can be misleading: You are likely to get new visits to your website from people who do not intend to purchase a certain product but are interested in the product’s features.
  • Chances are that when you grow your site, the conversion rates will decrease: When your site grows, the number of visits will increase and the number of sales will increase, but the conversion rate is likely to go down.

Many firms have come to appreciate the role of technology in product and service marketing, since a majority of traditional strategies are no longer reliable. You can take the steps listed above to optimize your B2B website and ensure that you achieve high conversions.

Avoid These Landing Page Mistakes

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Note: This is a guest blog post written by Helen Cartwright.

See more from Helen at http://www.helencartwright.com/.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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4 Ways Website Redesign Offers Spooky Levels of ROI for Your Business

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Website Redesign Spooky Levels Of ROI Witch - Eminent SEO

With Halloween just around the corner, creepy costumes and spooky decorations will temporarily be the norm. For business owners, however, the scariest part of the Halloween season will come when they review their website’s traffic data. If a company is drawing in fewer leads and converting fewer customers each month, then it’s probably time to make major changes to the website.

In fact, the potential ROI for a proper website transformation is so staggering that it’s a little scary. Consider that, on average, users typically engage with a website for 10 to 20 seconds before moving on to another site or back to their search engine. If your website design is not optimized to present a value proposition within that 10-to-20-second window, then chances are your company is missing out on a significant amount of potential traffic.

Improving design to account for user behaviors will considerably improve the value of a company’s website. Look to make changes sooner than later, lest your company’s current website become a terrifying example of poor investments.

1. Exorcise Ghosts of Marketing’s Past

Ghosts of Marketings Past - Eminent SEOVengeful spirits are a common theme during the Halloween season. Typically, these pesky poltergeists target those who wronged them in life, hoping to find closure. Outdated marketing strategies pose a similar problem for business owners, especially when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).

That’s because Google and other search engines have continuously updated and refreshed the algorithms they use to analyze websites and rank them for relevancy. Several SEO strategies, such as duplicating content or overstuffing keywords, will now actually hurt a website’s performance on Google.

Unless a company wants their website to be haunted by unethical marketing strategies, it may be time for the entire website to undergo a major overhaul.

Tips of Terror: A new website design means that your company will need to reconsider how the navigation of the website is organized. Take this opportunity to cut out extraneous pages and make your menu more navigable for the user.

2. Raise SEO from the Grave

Raise SEO From The Grave Hand To Moon - Eminent SEOZombies, skeletons and other undead creatures often appear in spooky stories. While bringing back someone from the dead is impossible, fixing a company’s dying SEO performance is nearly as difficult.

Even worse, if your company has not developed a targeted content strategy, mastered the nuances of metadata and alt tags or earned links from established authorities in your industry, then you can mark your SEO strategy as dead on arrival.

A website redesign is a perfect opportunity to rethink not only what your website looks like, but also what it does to covert leads into customers and rank well in search engine results. That’s because the design of the website is directly related to SEO as well.

A well-designed website uses precise, organized copy and appealing graphic design to guide visitors further along the marketing funnel. Images should help keep a customer’s attention and prevent them from bouncing to a competitor’s website. By piquing a visitor’s interest, a newly designed website can play an important role in improving a company’s search engine results.

Tips of Terror: The rise of voice search technology will have a major impact on SEO in the near future. The ubiquity of mobile phones means that voice search-capable tech is getting into the hands of more consumers every day. Marketers must consider how to rank for phrases that are closer to conversational speech than traditional search engine inquiries.

3. Dispel Negative Feedback

Negative Feedback Witch With Book - Eminent SEOIf you plan on battling the forces of darkness, it helps to know how to dispel a curse. In the digital era, curses appear in the form of disgruntled or unsatisfied customers posting in very public forums. Whether that be in the comment section of a company’s blog or on a consumer review site like Yelp, these customer complaints are highly visible and can have a significantly negative impact on a company’s brand.

More often than not, it is impossible to make these negative reviews, ratings or comments disappear. Companies must instead earn an overwhelming volume of positive feedback to balance the scale. A flood of affirming comments pushes negative feedback into the background, painting these complaints as outliers.

What’s a highly effective way to make a great first impression on new potential customers? If you guessed “a website redesign,” then you guessed correctly!

In addition to making your website attractive to new visitors, a redesign also signals to previous visitors that a company has committed itself to improvement.

The launch of an updated website can also be leveraged as a marketing opportunity. Consider reaching out to customers or partners who have not touched base with you recently by announcing your revamped web presence. A successful website redesign can even spearhead an entire rebranding effort.

Tips of Terror: There are times when a string of negative customer interactions or public relations snafus make it impossible to revive a brand. In cases like these, it’s best to stop pushing the boulder up the hill and start working on a strategic rebranding effort. A fresh, optimized website will be a central part of this rebrand strategy. A new brand name may not hurt, either.

4. Carve Out Your Special Niche

Carve Out Your Niche Pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern - Eminent SEOHalloween isn’t all gloom and ghouls. Pumpkin carving is a great opportunity for kids and adults alike to show their originality. When competing in a congested market space, it can be difficult to appear original next to myriad rival companies that provide similar services.

Of course, providing top-notch work and a high level of service quality will encourage your customers to keep coming back. But it’s going to be a website’s visually appealing and user-friendly functionality that converts curious visitors into first-time customers.

If you need to stand out from the crowd, a memorable website that encourages visitors to make a purchase decision is your best bet for attracting new business.

More importantly, rebranding and marketing efforts help a company to establish itself as a uniquely talented player in the industry. Branding is successful when customers believe that a company has a one-of-a-kind service to provide. A newly updated website goes a long way toward convincing customers that this is the case.

Tips of Terror: Successfully developing a website that reflects a company’s unique mission and values is a challenge in of itself. This task is even more difficult when these goals and values are unclear. Take time to understand the company’s personality before starting a comprehensive website redesign.

Tips for Summoning Help to Your Side

If your company decides to deploy a new marketing strategy, major changes to the website are more than likely going to be a part of this refresh.

Your company will get its full ROI by identifying digital marketing best practices and developing solutions to incorporate these strategies into the site’s redesign. That process starts by reviewing helpful digital marketing resources like the ones found in our informative blog.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Guess Who: Connecting with Audiences Through Word Choice and Tone

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Guess Who Connecting With Audiences - Eminent SEO

For a long time I’ve thought about writing as a friendly competition between myself and my readers. In this model, I am playing chess against their tastes, aesthetics and expectations. Checkmate is evoking a feeling, persuading a point or encouraging a reader to take an action.

This approach is especially apt when it comes to professional blogging and copywriting – scenarios where my web copy is expected not only to produce a reaction in the reader but also encourage a response that is beneficial for my clients.

My secret weapon? Knowing when to use the right words in the right place for the right audience.

Granted, the process isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. That’s why I’m breaking it down for you into manageable chunks. These tips can provide you with a crash course in connecting with your audience through thoughtful selections of word choice and tone.

Word Choice Shapes Your Audience

It’s difficult to express just how important word choice is in determining the size and makeup of your audience. As important as your choice of content and use of proper grammar is, the words you use in your copy will ultimately decide who reads your content and who moves on to the next webpage.

That being said, a thoughtful and intentional attitude toward word choice is necessary if your goal is to develop copy that is both effective and influential.

Consider the following factors when drafting or editing your content to make sure your vocabulary usage is in line with the potential customers your client is trying to reach.

Audience

In order to make word choice decisions that will delight a particular audience, it helps to understand what your target audience finds appealing. The type of verbosity that might engender trust with an academic might not fly with a more down-to-earth, slang-friendly crowd, ya dig? That’s just one of the many reasons why strong communication between copywriters and their clients is so essential.

Accessibility

The famous journalism rule of thumb advises writers to produce work at the level an eighth-grader would understand. This approach ensures that the content is as widely accessible as possible.

On the flipside, needlessly using big vocabulary words or constructing complex sentences is a surefire way to make an audience feel unwelcome. When readers run into a paragraph filled with words they don’t understand, they are likely to assume the content wasn’t written with them in mind.

Credibility

While avoiding language that alienates your audience is important, so too is correctly using vocabulary that establishes your client as a credible authority. Writing for medical professionals, for instance, requires you to use medical terms accurately and appropriately. Failure to do so will make it harder to convince this particular audience that your content is a reliable source of helpful information.

Tone Controls Your Messaging

Tackling Tone For Content Who Is Audience - Eminent SEOIn copywriting, much like in life, how you say something is as important as what you’re saying.

In terms of composition, “tone” is defined as the writer’s perspective on their topic, as expressed by their word choice and rhetorical strategies.

When an audience feels like content is written from a perspective they can relate to, they are more likely to receive what that content has to say.

Think about how some of your favorite advertisements use language to connect with their target audience. Marketing copy directed at millennials, for example, is often humorous or flippant. This approach plays well with an audience that often identifies with not taking themselves too seriously.

Understanding tone is a critical part of drafting persuasive copy. Here are a few helpful ways to think about finding the right tone for your own copy:

Word Choice

As you might have guessed, word choice will have a very large impact on how your copy’s tone is interpreted by your audience. Language that is inspiring, affirming and motivating is an ideal way to shape the tone of copy that aims to draw a specific action. On the other hand, discouraging and negative language is effective for convincing an audience to avoid a decision they may have made otherwise.

The proper use of descriptive language – think adjectives – will also have a large influence on your copy’s tone. During your editing process, take special care to analyze descriptive language used throughout. Make sure that language inspiring the right tone is used consistently throughout.

Formatting and Punctuation

Word choice will play a large role in deciding how an audience will receive your copy, but it’s not the only factor to consider when editing for tone. Punctuation, grammar use and text formatting will leave an impression on your audience too.

A great example of how formatting impacts tone is the use of bold. When used sparsely and strategically, this type of formatting can add emphasis to certain statements and make copy more persuasive. When used throughout an article or a blog, however, the audience may get the impression that writer is intending to take an informal tone toward their subject.

Depending on your desired tone, the use of bold and italics can be as distracting as it is helpful.

Language Drives Your Brand

Fear The Fluff Ovoid These Overused Words In Your Copy - Eminent SEOIt is clear that managing a client’s messaging is a test of control. Your word choice controls your tone. Your tone controls the effectiveness of your messaging.

Now that you understand why word choice and tone are so important, the next question to consider is how you will reliably decide which approach is right for each audience.

As I alluded to earlier, getting access to as much information as possible about your client’s preferred leads is very important in shaping your tone and word choice for a certain content piece.

I also like to use the following maxims when it comes to making tone and word choice decisions. When faced with a choice, I do my best to remember the basic goals of marketing copy.

Regardless of the scenario, most effective word choice and tone strategies are those that:

  • Drive marketing goals – This one is pretty straightforward. What narrative is your client trying to communicate to its audience? Which products or pain points are they prioritizing, and does the copy’s language reflect this? If a copy’s tone and word choice are effective in driving the client’s marketing goals, then it is the right copy for the job.
  • Affirm company values – An important part of building a brand is to communicate values and a vision to potential customers. Every piece of language used to represent your client will either support or conflict with those stated values. As such, it is very important that your copy’s tone and word choice are in line with these values.
  • Support SEO Strategies – Don’t forget about search engine rankings. Though high-quality content is far more important in today’s digital marketing game than it was in the past, following a well-researched SEO and keyword strategy when drafting copy is necessary to get your client the best results possible.

Final Thoughts on Word Choice and Tone

Remember that this resource is meant to be less of a list of hard rules and more of a collection of go-to strategies. Making the right choice when it comes to word choice and tone can still be very tough, even with a million helpful tips.

That’s why I rely on as much help from my peers as I can. When you collaborate with others, whether they be internal experts or consulting professionals like myself, you have a better chance of making sure the language of your copy is going to be received by your audience as you intended.

Want some additional insight on copywriting, crafting your message and getting into the heads of your audience? Read a previous blog article of mine that discusses what happens when you make the wrong assumptions about your readers.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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10 Things to Do Before You Start Writing that Viral Blog Post: A Pre-Writing Checklist

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10 Things Before Writing Viral Blog Post - Eminent SEORemember the days when blogging consisted of sitting down at your computer, throwing your thoughts onto the screen and posting online for the world to see, and people read it?

At least I hear that’s what happened. But I’ve never been a blogger in such simple times. When modern-day bloggers write a blog post – or any content for that matter – it’s competing with an ever-growing mountain of online information and faces the very real possibility of never being seen by another single person.

Content marketers these days don’t have the luxury of simply writing something and hoping that it will get seen. If you want your content to be read and shared online, you need a powerful plan to make it stand out from the crowd.

Do I Really Need to Pre-Plan My Blog Posts?

Most Effective Messages Win-Win For You And Audience - Eminent SEOYou definitely need a plan. It’s usually best to create the plan before you start writing, simply for efficiency’s sake. That being said, there are times when you might want to begin by simply getting all your thoughts on a topic down on paper, and then develop the plan afterwards.

Either way, you will need to modify the content so that it not only communicates what you want to say, but also hits home for your readers.

Investing time in a plan will help you achieve a much better ROI on the time you spend actually writing your content.

I’m going to give you an inside peek into the process I’ve created, improved and used again and again for the last nine years to create outstanding content. You’re welcome.

Pre-Writing Checklist

Pre-Writing Checklist For Writing Viral Blog Post - Eminent SEOThis is the step-by-step list I go through before I write a blog post – or any important piece of content. I’ll explain how each step works and how thinking about each angle ahead of time will help set your content apart from your competitors who aren’t doing this.

1. Company Objective (i.e., What’s in It for Me?)

This one is super easy because this is where everyone writes from by default when planning a piece of content. This is simply what you the writer (or the company you represent) what to accomplish with your content.

It can include things like:

  • Sharing your message on a certain topic
  • Educating clients and potential customers
  • Ranking for a search term
  • Creating a gated offer to get people to sign up for your email list

The Company Objective is whatever reason(s) you have for writing the content. It doesn’t matter if your goals are selfish or altruistic; in fact, they may be both. The important thing in this stage is to be honest and clear with yourself about why you’re investing resources in creating this content.

Don’t worry: Your audience won’t see this information. It’s for your eyes only.

2. Writer’s Stance

This is a step I added recently, and is really an extension of step 1. This is where you give your opinion, your position on the topic. Whereas the Company Objective is practical – what you want to accomplish – the Writer’s Stance is about what you want to say. It stems from your deeply held beliefs about the topic.

It’s OK – in fact, it’s good – for this to be emotional and opinionated. Remember that your audience has many other sources for their information. What can you bring to this topic that no one else can? What’s your unique take on the subject? What do you want to say that no one else is talking about – that needs to be addressed? Why does what you have to say really matter?

3. Audience

Next, you want to clearly identify who you’re writing this content for. The more specific you are, the better, because it will allow you to create a more targeted and impactful message.

If you have buyer personas that you use in your marketing, identify which one this is for primarily. It’s OK to have content that is for multiple audiences, if need be, but designate which one is the primary audience and which is the secondary audience.

It is also helpful to identify which part of the buyer stage this content is targeted to. For example, are you writing for an existing client, or a prospect? If they’re a prospect, are they in the early information-gathering stage, or in the almost-ready-to-buy stage?

4. Audience Objective (i.e., What’s in It for Them)

This is a critical step, and it’s one that most people skip without realizing it, because they’re so focused on their own objectives for creating the content.

Quite simply, you’re answering the questions:

Why will my audience care about this? What’s in it for them? How will they benefit from reading this?

Put yourself in the mindset of the person you identified in step 3, and be really honest with yourself as you ask these questions. Would I read this if I were them? Would I care? Would I share it?

If the honest answer is “no,” don’t panic. This is actually a good thing, because it means you just dodged a bullet. If you had gone ahead and written the article only because of the reasons you wanted to write it, then while you might be quite satisfied with it, your audience would probably ignore it. That’s no bueno.

But when you recognize that you’re missing the WIIFT (what’s in it for them) element, this gives you the opportunity to figure out what would make the piece relevant to your audience, and then plan your writing accordingly.

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this stage enough. If you do no other planning before you write, do these first four steps. Do it every single time you write anything where you need to influence others to pay attention and take action.

I realize you’ve probably heard about the importance of the WIIFT principle before, but if you’re not using it on a regular basis, then you’re likely missing the mark in a lot of your communications. All people – myself included – communicate by default from our own point of view.

It takes conscious effort to shift your thinking to see the situation from another perspective. And that shift can make all the difference.

5. Emotions to Evoke

In this step, you’re asking yourself how you want the reader to feel when they read your article.

Whereas the Audience Objective is often very practical – they want to learn something – there should also be an emotional component.

In fact, when you do this step, you may end up going back and refining your Audience Objective, because the biggest thing your article may be able to do for your audience is help them feel better, or feel more certain about what they need to do next. Knowledge is powerful, but emotion is often the extra kick people need to motivate them to take action.

6. Main Message

Now that you know what’s in it for you, what’s in it for your audience, how you feel about the topic and how you want to make your reader feel, it’s time to identify your Main Message.

This is the main idea, the thesis statement, the single most important point of your communication. Like The Highlander, there can be only one. (If you’re not old enough, or geeky enough, to know that reference, don’t worry about it, just keep reading.)

Yes, you will have other ideas in your article, but those go in the next step. Feel free to brainstorm both your Main Message and Key Points at the same time.

7. Key Points

Once you’ve identified the Main Message, you can flesh out the key supporting details – just like you learned in writing class in school.

In practice, however, I find that I often start outlining and then get on a roll and end up writing paragraphs of content. If this happens to you, just go with it. Get out whatever comes to you.

Once the ideas are out on paper (metaphorically speaking) you can easily copy and paste to separate the outline points and put any content you wrote into your actual post draft.

The point of outlining is to organize the flow of your ideas, not to stifle your creativity. So keep this process as tight or loose as feels comfortable for you.

8. Call to Action (CTA)

This is another one of those steps that people commonly leave off, because they get so focused on writing the content that they forget to ask the reader to do something at the end.

There are many types of CTAs, including these popular choices:

  • Share your opinion in the comments.
  • Sign up for a free guide to learn more.
  • Take the first step to applying this advice now.
  • Learn about our services.
  • Read one of our other posts on a similar topic.
  • Call us to find out how we can help you.

Remember in step 3 how we identified which stage in the buyer’s journey your audience is in? This is one place where it becomes very relevant.

If someone is just getting started educating themselves on the topic, you probably want to send them to additional information, like another blog post or an eBook. But if they’re near the ready-to-buy stage, then asking them to visit your services page or call for a quote may be more appropriate.

9. Keywords

While your content should be written first and foremost for real human beings, it’s also a good idea to consider which keywords you would like your article to rank for. In fact, if online traffic is an important part of your business, then this isn’t optional: It’s an essential part of planning your blog post.

One common mistake that many people make when they’re focused on SEO is that they write for the keyword and not the reader. By doing this entire pre-planning checklist, you can be sure to do both. An article that speaks deeply to audiences will do well on social media, and if it’s also SEO optimized, it will do well in organic search – the best of both worlds.

Looking again at your audience and audience objective, think about what that person would search for if they were looking up information on your topic. Make a list of a few different search variations. Try to identify specific terms, because it will most likely be easier to rank well for long-tail keywords than general, umbrella terms.

10. Google-Tested Headline Ideas

Once you know your main message – which is optimized for your audience’s needs and emotions – and the keywords they’ll use to search for information, you can start brainstorming headline ideas.

Writing great headlines is an art and science in itself, and beyond the scope of this article. However, there is one tip that I picked up recently from a co-worker (thank you Zach) that is so simple and obvious that it’s easily overlooked. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been doing this all along.

Copy your favorite headline idea, and paste it into a Google search and see what comes up. Read the top-ranking posts and evaluate them. How are the messages the same? How are they different?

And perhaps most importantly, what are they leaving out? Where is the gap in information that’s currently being served up by Google that you can fill with your article?

Your goal with this exercise is to find ways to set your content apart and not be just a copy of something that’s already been written. Because the thing that’s already ranking will keep ranking at the top, not yours, unless you have something better to offer.

How Long Does the Pre-Writing Process Take?

Good Blog No Longer Online Diary - Online Publication - ESEOSo now that you’ve gone through the whole pre-writing list, you’re probably wondering, how long will this take?

Expect this pre-writing process to take about an hour. It can certainly take less than that, but plan the extra time just in case. You may even find as you’re doing your research and strategizing that you come up with ideas for multiple posts, such as a series, or with different angles and audiences in mind.

Yes, I’m asking you to spend an hour of planning before you even start writing a word of actual copy.

Think that’s too much of an investment? Maybe it’s time to update your idea of what a blog post is.

In the early days of the internet boom, people would just throw their random thoughts up on a blog and publish it for the world to see. And unfortunately, a lot of people still do that – and still think that’s what blogging is. Please, please, for all of our sake, don’t be one of them. The last thing we need online is more junk.

A good blog is no longer an online diary; it’s an online publication. Each post is an article. You should treat it as seriously as you would being asked to write an article for a print publication.

Do you like reading stuff online that clearly didn’t have much effort put into it? No. And no one wants to read your stuff if you’re not going to put in the effort to make it worth their time.

This process will help you ensure that you’re writing something people actually want to read, that is written for a specific audience, addressing a topic that matters to them, and giving them something they can’t get anywhere else. That is the only way you will get any traction online these days.

It’s CTA Time, Baby

OK, let’s say you agree with me that we need high-quality content online, and you want to only publish outstanding content on your blog. But…you’re a busy person, and the reality is that you just don’t have the time to put in that much work. Eminent SEO to the rescue!

Writing outstanding content is what I and other talented writers here at Eminent SEO do all day long. And you can hire us to write your blog for you! How cool is that? Problem solved. And because we use this process, we can tailor it to your voice, brand and audience.

So go ahead and click the link below to learn more about the type of content writing services we provide, or simply contact us to tell us what you need.

Let Us Write Your Content!

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Sara Korn

Finding creative ways to give both readers and clients what they want is why I love being a writer! As a Content Strategist at Eminent SEO, I listen to clients and put myself in the shoes of their customers to create compelling marketing messages that drive engagement.

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A/B Testing Cracks the Code of Online Intelligence

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A-B Testing Code Of Online Intelligence - Eminent SEO

Digital marketing is a wide-open, challenging space. For business owners, advertising and editorial campaigns are the fruit of sales initiatives meant to entice audiences and feed their hunger for products or services. Will they bite? It depends – on a lot of unknowns.

Marketing plans, in their infancy, are like seedlings: tiny, thought-provoking concepts that require warmth, love and attention to reach their full potential.

In the earliest stages of development, online presence is a collaborative process using the talents of web developers, content strategists, graphic designers, writers and more. There many human touchpoints along the way, though each embraces a common fear: the unknown.

Who is our audience?
What if our brand has no appeal?
What if the messaging is off target?
What do customers care about today, tomorrow or at 6:32 p.m. on Thursday night?

With the best marketing director, creative director and product managers that money can buy, no marketing campaign can bank on success before it happens. How do you know what creative strategy and market positioning is guaranteed to work? You don’t. But here’s where you’ll find the clues.

The Benefits Behind A/B Testing

A-B Testing Nutures Your Baby - Max Monster Egg - ESEOIf you’ve never considered adding A/B testing to your marketing plan execution, it will provide more clarity than you might think. A/B testing could also bring more questions to light, but there’s clarity in that too.

Time efficient? Cost effective? Boosts ROI? Definitively.

Perhaps you’ve tried A/B testing before but weren’t happy with the results. Isn’t that the point though?

Digital A/B testing measures more of what you need to know and streamlines marketing efforts. It forces you to delve deeper into the details of your product or service offering, audience, brand and goals. A/B testing allows creative ideation to meet with user reality – and that’s the sweet spot.

There are added benefits to ongoing A/B testing as it helps you keep a pulse on your audience and if or when your business garners relevance.

Online Marketing Without A/B Testing Is Like Target-Shooting Blind

Doing digital A/B testing measures more of the efficacies in new product or service launches and is highly recommended, even for a soft launch. Unless you’d rather bite your nails to the quick, suffer from a bad case of insomnia, take your chances on performance, and pray you still have a job when the campaign goes sideways.

Your vision for success is only as clear as the ability to target succinctly and deliver. Everything else is noise. A/B campaign rolling is the only fair and true test to measure creative messaging and audience engagement.

Know-It-Alls: Digital A/B Testing Measures More than Ego

There’s a sanctity in “being right.” Coming up with award-winning creative messaging might get you kudos from your industry peers but if it doesn’t convert your audience to act, it is so wrong.

Business-minded narcissists and braggarts can use the A/B online platform to measure just how right they are. But digital A/B testing measures more than ego. When ideas align with A/B measured results, you show a knack for marketing intuitiveness and then have just cause to say, “I told you so.”

A/B Test Everything, Often

As consumer wants and needs change with the tide of online influences, so too should your marketing outreach. What works in the summer of 2017 will most likely vary greatly from what works the winter of 2018. A/B testing allows you to stay current and top-of-mind.

To better understand the basic process of A/B testing, use the following steps as a mental illustration.

A/B Testing Mental Process:

  1. Pick a product or service
  2. Decide what you’re testing for
  3. Forecast the right answer/approach (ego ergo here)
  4. Predict the anticipated response
  5. Live with the truth and consequences
  6. Adjust where needed
  7. Test again

The knowledge you can acquire through A/B testing is astounding. You can even generate love, at first sight.

A/B Testing Gives You a Second Chance at First Impressions and More

A-B Tests Can Measure Audience Design CTAs - Eminent SEOIt’s been said that you can never get a second chance at making a good first impression. With A/B testing, you can in five seconds.

The right messaging entails many variables. Focus on who will receive the messaging, and that should dictate design and layout, colorization, verbiage and tone, and the call-to-actions applied.

With A/B testing, you can alter any single aspect of your messaging to discover what works best.

If you’re not sure of who your target audience is or if your business has multiple types of consumers and prospects, A/B testing is the perfect forum to segment your market reach through:

  • Demographics
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Education
    • Average household income
  • Psychographics
    • Personality
    • Values
    • Opinions
    • Attitudes
    • Interests
    • Lifestyles
  • Geotargeting

It’s a Matter of Time

Keep in mind that some user behavior is a direct result of predictable timing. You can use this to your advantage during A/B testing.

For example, industries that are entertainment-centric would probably fare better by marketing on Thursdays when consumers are thinking about the weekend. If your luxury product offering might appeal to middle America, A/B test its marketability within two days of the 15th or 30th of the month (paydays).

Finding Value in Pricing

Price points can dictate a do-or-die success rate for a product launch or rebrand campaign. To get a better idea of what monetary number consumers will accept or reject as a purchase point, explore your options with A/B testing.

Use the other elements of measurability:

  • Messaging
  • Audience
  • Timing
  • How they create a consumer’s perceived value

This type of value is then weighted against competitors’ offerings, product benefits, misgivings and price.

Choose focal points that promote your value and segment them within the A and B rollout. Note the psychology behind numbers and how they affect human behavior. For most people, $39.99 is more pleasing than a $40.00 price point.

SEO Makes It Easier on You and Your Audience

Why not give consumers what they’re searching for? If they don’t know you exist, how can they find you? Instill A/B varied keyword campaigns to find out what people are looking for. You’ll gain important insights as to what consumers want and how they look for it online.

A Good Approach Sets Up a Smooth Landing

Pay-per-click ads and social media posts aren’t the only places that A/B testing can prove to be constructive. As long as you’re evaluating the strength of the initial ad or post, complete the campaign assessment by A/B testing the corresponding landing pages.

Use the same seven-step mental process shown earlier in this article as a guide to formulate variances in landing pages. You may want to do two sets of the testing, A/B and A/B, to measure the performance of banner designs, headlines or call-to-actions.

To read more about A/B testing and other optimization tips for landing pages, click the button below:
Read 8 Tips for PPC Landing Pages

The Patience and Virtue of 90 Days

A-B Tests Take 90-Plus Days For Results - Eminent SEOIt might be asking a lot of anyone to exercise patience in the creation, execution and measurement of digital content. Consider this: Just because user behavior indicates impulsivity at a click or swipe doesn’t mean the artists behind the content should be just as reactionary, though the attraction to do so is understandable.

Let’s say you’ve worked hard on every aspect of a given product launch. You launch the online campaign. You’re not getting the anticipated results, even with A/B testing.

Give it time. Oh the difference 90 days can make to judge marketing effectiveness, engagement and conversion rates.

Consumers’ interests ebb and flow with pop culture trends, seasonal changes, employment adjustments and the best reason of all: just because. Your business representation online should be solid. If your digital presence shifted as quickly as consumer interest, you’ll find that it’s hard to tell what’s working and what isn’t. It might feel as though you’re spitting into the wind. Only you know where that spit’s been.

Give your current marketing campaigns three months to season. If they’re not bringing you the results you’d hoped for, there’s no reason to start from scratch. Make small changes to what you already have, then A/B test again and run those versions live for another 45 days.

A/B Testing Refines Virtual Imperfections

In the quest for perfection, we tend to home in on the details of marketing initiatives and adjust them, based on measured performance. No matter how diligent you are about using A/B testing, there is one truth that cannot be changed and must be accepted:

User behavior is measured; human behavior is not.

The intuitiveness about online use provides the data needed to structure marketing campaigns. The quirkiness of human behavior cannot be adequately measured as it comes from individual thoughts, emotions and dreams that flow with changes in personal life circumstances.

Is there an A/B test available to measure that? Technology moves mountains…

Great A/B Testing Is Born with Purpose

Marketing content at its finest should inform, entice and draw engagement to elicit brand awareness, customer loyalty and commerce (direct, deferred and referred).

A/B testing isn’t meant to replace original campaign strategy or ideology, but to measure or tweak it. Based on performance numbers, your strategy, positioning and content can be realigned.

Imagine how much more your business could thrive, faster, by partnering with a one-stop digital shop that knows how SEO and creative content work best, collectively, from day one.

A/B Test Us

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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4 Ways News Websites Fail to Deliver the Optimal User Experience

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How News Websites Can Deliver Better User Experience - Eminent SEO

By design, news organizations have the resources to research, report on and publish an online story much quicker than the average B2B or B2C business is able to produce and publish a blog post. And for that, news-focused websites are generally rewarded by being featured more prominently in search engine result pages, trending social media timelines and several other areas of the internet.

Being that news outlets offer relevant, almost up-to-the-minute content, they’re often able to get away with not following the SEO best practices that the rest of us publishers strive to adhere to. Are we envious? A little.

However, all of our years of studying SEO has led to many valuable takeaways on user experience, and we now know that building a better user experience can positively affect search engine results in a number of ways.

So, my objective here is not to critique the content of what news organizations are offering these days. Instead, I want to focus on the presentation of said news. I believe that building a better website user experience (UX) will lead to improved reader loyalty and more page views, and I have a few suggestions on how news websites – whether catering to local, national, international or niche audiences – can make that happen.

Loyalty to Specific News Websites Is Declining

Raise your hand if your preferred method of consuming news is by visiting the homepage of a news website each day and then clicking on several articles of interest.

I’m guessing for everybody who read that, less than half of you actually raised your hand – or at least mentally raised your hand. If you did, there’s a good chance you’re not a big fan of social media – or at least use it sparingly. That’s because social media is altering the way we consume news, even though television is still a major source of news to many Americans.

The Game Is Changing

News Consumption Stats Websites Apps Social Media - Eminent SEOPeople are getting more and more comfortable with learning about the news through social media, and in many cases, they won’t even need to click through to a separate website to have a basic grasp of what the news of the day is. News websites are still a big part of that conversation, but no one organization has a monopoly on click-throughs and reader trust.

An early 2016 Pew Research Center study found that 62 percent of U.S. adults get news through social media, with 18 percent saying they do so “very often.” That means only 38 percent of American adults aren’t on social media or don’t come across news through this medium.

Compare this to four years earlier, when only 42 percent of adults reported using social media to consume news.

In the same Pew survey, 35 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said social media was the “most helpful” source of information about the then-upcoming presidential campaign. Despite the rise in online and social media usage, there were still more people in the survey that said they would rather watch news (46 percent) than read it (35 percent) – although the TV news watchers trend 50 years old or older.

Also worth noting is a 2015 Pew survey in which 49 percent of people younger than 35 years old who come across news on either Twitter or Facebook reported that these platforms were either their most important source or “an important source” of news.

The news industry looks like it is becoming a cutthroat contest of which media outlet can collect the most scraps off the table in social media. Likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. are all good and well, but the goal is to entice a social media user to click through to the full article (and then to a few other articles), especially if that person doesn’t regularly visit said website.

Where the User Experience Is Lacking

Not every website is guilty of the following user experience deficiencies, and I’m not going to call out any specific website, but I want to elaborate in general on what news sites can and should do to enhance their UX. I’ve identified four major areas that media outlets should consider regarding the online user experience they offer readers.

1. Subheaders

Subheaders aren’t just good for SEO. They help break the article down into digestible pieces for the reader.

Newspaper journalism was already big on short paragraphs. When news outlets started producing online content, they were already ahead of the game when it came to paragraphs that eschewed the traditional five-to-seven-sentence structure.

Shorter paragraphs became even more critical when users started consuming content on mobile.

So, most media outlets were positioned well in that department, but many are still following the school of thought that the article only gets the one headline, followed by paragraph after paragraph until the report concludes. That’s going to become more and more of a problem as readers’ attention spans continue to decrease.

Check out the second half of this article for example:

NPR Article Screenshot - ESEO

Although examples like this are aplenty, many news websites are starting to get the hint and have begun breaking up their longer articles with full-width images, charts, pull quotes or even (gulp) ads. But shouldn’t they time to add subheaders in addition to these images or ads?

It’s time to embrace the H2s and H3s that content management systems afford the publisher. The New York Times has done so, but others are lagging behind. News organizations’ web teams should utilize subheaders and work in keywords of notable individuals or heavily searched topics: These will give their articles a little more staying power in the search engine results, especially long after the publish date.

Highly descriptive and enticing subheaders will also help with keeping readers on the page longer and hopefully getting them to the bottom of the article, which is where the next two suggestions come into play.

2. What the Reader Should Do When Finishing the Article

As copywriters within a marketing agency, the death knell for us would be allowing the readers of our clients’ websites to reach the bottom of a page and ask, “OK, what do I do from here?”

This is why we put a lot of time into our final calls to action (CTAs), trying to leaders visitors to a strategic place after they’ve finished reading any page on the site. We don’t always direct readers to call the client. Sometimes we link to another page on the site, or we may encourage the visitor to subscribe to the blog or just leave a comment on the page at hand.

I’ve noticed many websites are lacking in this area. You get to the bottom of the article, and it either has limited or uninspiring options for where to go next. Many media websites have those spammy Outbrain articles at the end of the page. I get it: You have to pay bills. But even if that stream of advertising is something you must keep, you still need to have ways to entice the reader to visit another page or area of the site.

If all you offer are outbound articles or even unrelated articles from elsewhere on your site, it will leave many readers with a hollow feeling once they reach the end of an article. They might consider clicking on the homepage to start over, or simply flee from the website at that point.

Some news websites offer related articles once the user reaches the end of the page, and I think this is a good direction to go in. However, I think this area needs to be highly visual and carefully curated considering the article at hand. For example, a straightforward news report can lead to an opinion piece on the very same topic, or vice versa. Or if the article at hand is an update on a previous report, the earlier article could be the featured related article.

3. Comment Sections

I know moderating comments is probably the bane of existence for news web teams, but it’s undeniable that these user messages spur interaction and discussion. Having comment sections is one way to solve the “what do I do from here” question that comes up when reaching the end of an article. Comment sections certainly can keep readers on the site longer, and they sometimes encourage the reader to revisit the same page several times over.

Interestingly, I saw many news websites ditch their comment sections over the last couple of years, but they’re starting to make a comeback on many sites – particularly after the last presidential election concluded.

Web teams seem to have realized that they can still offer the commenting experience without making it a fixed and indelible part of a particular article. There’s nothing worse reading an article then immediately seeing a trollish, irreverent and easily visible first comment as if it’s a permanent part of the page.

This is why most websites now keep the comment section hidden until the user manually clicks to open it up. Nothing wrong with that.

Building a Productive Commenting Experience

Yes, comment sections have the potential to devolve into a sea of hostility or fruitless conversation. This is why it’s important to employ third-party tools like Disqus that can help cut down on some of the spam and trolling. Or even better, make users sign in with their Facebook account so they have to put their name behind whatever they post.

Such commenting tools won’t be a fail-safe solution to ridding all spam, bullying, etc., but they can automate at least part of this process for web teams. That being said, it would still be worthwhile for news orgs to assign at least some level of comment-moderation duties to employees.

Even with the potential drawbacks, user comments have a chance to enrich the news-consumption experience for readers. You’ve probably seen some comments that add to the background of the article at hand. Or maybe they discuss another side of the story that the article failed to mention. Or maybe they point out a spelling or factual error that the web team can quickly correct.

Most media outlets will find that allowing users to comment on any article, even if the option is hidden at first, will enhance the user experience for their audience and far outweigh any disadvantages that comment sections harbor.

4. Too Many Gimmicks

Better User Experience Equals More Page Views - Eminent SEOThankfully, many media sites appear to be abandoning the practice of having a separate story load as soon as the reader reaches the end of a particular article. Nothing more annoying than a website assuming you’re going to want to read whatever it spoon-feeds you next.

While this practice might have helped certain websites gain artificial page views, it must not have been working well: Many organizations seem to have fallen out of love with this tactic. I would imagine that high bounce rates and negative feedback influenced the decision.

Other gimmicky practices need to be reevaluated: Pop-up ads and prompts are a good place to start. If the website lives off a paywall model, then it makes sense to deliver a pop-up to a new user to tell them to either sign up or how many free articles they have left for the month.

In almost any other case, however, pop-ups need to be evaluated to see if they’re returning any reasonable ROI. If not, it’s time to 86 them. It’s not as if they make the user experience more enjoyable anyway.

Auto-play videos are another potential annoyance to consider. If a television news station has them on its website, fine. That makes sense. But in most other cases, it’s going to aggravate much of the user base.

Who’s Your Audience

Ultimately, user experience is going to come down to identifying and understanding your audience and then delivering the content they crave. This will get the page views moving in the right direction.

Readers will likely forgive the lack of subheaders and such if their favorite news websites continue to cover the stories that they want, and if the sites provide insight, images and/or interactive multimedia that competitors can’t offer.

What do you enjoy most about your favorite site for news? How do you think it could provide an even better experience as a user? Let us know in the comment section below.

Avatar for Andrew Gilstrap

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Director at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. My goal is to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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