Monthly Archives: February 2014

Content RULES when you create a Website

ImageThe reason people come to your website remains the content. Regardless of how eye-catching the design and how easy to navigate your interface is, if the quality of your content is poor, then users won’t care about your design or whether you’ve built your website in Drupal. Content remains king.  There are two types of content: text and multimedia. Multimedia includes Animation, Images, Sound, and Video.

Search engine rankings too are no longer about using keywords effectively alone. The quality of content you put up on your site plays an important role in ranking high in search engines.

Trust has become an important factor in search engine rankings. Trust is increasingly about brand recognition and author recognition. Hiring trusted influencers to write for your company blog is a good way to start. Having one content expert put up articles regularly on your company website is also a good way to build credibility rather than have different voices speak out on your blog. As a content expert, there are certain things you can do to make your web content stand out.

Here are a few basics. If you have them covered, you’re well on your way to owning a content-rich website. Include relevant multimedia content and you’re golden.

  • Provide catchy titles – Come up with catchy titles that summarize and describe the content below so that it is appealing to the reader.
  • Use first person voice – Address the reader as “you” and make it seem like you’re having a casual conversation while seated across the person. This is a great way to reach out to your audience.
  • Write bite-sized chunks of content – Rather than long paragraphs with details, break up your content into small digestible chunks with one central idea in each chunk. Make it easy for readers to scan your page and come across the parts they want to read more in detail.
  • Use simple, clear language – The key is to avoid too much jargon or expressions that are not easily understood by an international audience.
  • Provide a summary – After you’ve explained something, provide a useful recap of everything that’s been said.

Planning your information architecture is an important step in designing a website.  That is the art and science of organizing websites. Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld aka the information architecture gurus have defined the ‘three circles of information architecture’ as content, users and context of use.

What’s the kind of content you should feature on your site? What about menu structure? What are the first-level menu items? Should you have one menu or two? What should you call the menu links? These are some of the questions you should have answers to before you build your site. Helping readers navigate through the volumes of information on offer requires considerable thought and research. The website won’t automatically be intuitive unless you make it so. Before you begin to build your website, think about how you want to feature your content, what kind of content you will feature, where you will source your content from and go on to build a great website!

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7 ways for startups to market themselves

Your-Startup-Needs-MarketingStartups need to market themselves aggressively. There are numerous cost-effective ways to do it in this age of technology. Some methods work better than others depending on your product or service. The key is to adopt the method best suited to your offering. What you need to remember is that it is not the size of your marketing budget but your creativity in getting your ideas across that counts.

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Produce an Infomercial  – Produce an infomercial. An infomercial is a relatively long commercial in the format of a television program. The infomercial can give out information about your product or service and result in a spike in sales!

 

Portsmouth-City-Council-Charity-FundingFund a Charitable Cause – You could tie up with a charitable cause and donate proceeds of the event or show to charity. That way, you get to help with a cause and also get your name in front of new clients.

Limited-EditionCreate Limited Edition Products – Create demand for your product by making it scarce. Make it a collector’s item so that people will vie for it. And watch the sales soar. This works best with fashion accessories and apparel.

14-creative-ads-pepsiBillboards and Hoardings  – Place your billboards and hoardings where there are maximum footfalls, like outside a mall or a crowded junction. This traditional way of advertising still works. The more people that see your hoarding, the more top-of-mind your product or service remains in the mind of the potential customer. This works well for property and residential houses on sale.

Conferences_02Give talks at conferences – The more you put yourself out there, the greater are your chances of success. So present papers, write articles, white papers, give talks at conferences and trade shows. Be seen and heard.

200412179-001Go on a road trip – Drive across the country to different places and meet with prospective buyers and customers. Tweet about it, share pictures on Facebook and document the journey on social media. This will build a buzz around your road trip and serve as marketing in itself.

print-FRAS-beautiful-newsletter-designSend creative mailers – Choose your target audience and send them creative mailers showcasing your products and services. Be original and let your flair for creativity shine through. Watch the responses flood in.

Cut no corners when it comes to content

Content-MarketingWe read about how content is “king” . Here are some tips to help you rule the roost with your content. They are known as the 5 C’s of content marketing.

1.     Context – Identify pain points of your customer and then offer solutions

The most crucial element in effective content marketing is the context in which content is created for the audience. Without context, content is just words and might not hold meaning or relevance for the reader. The idea is to identify the pain points faced by customers and then offer solutions through your content. Let the content do the talking, so to speak. Treating your content like coaching advice for the audience would be the right approach to adopt. Great content can help you differentiate your product or service in a “me-too” market and position it in the mind of the consumer.

2.     Cornerstone – Include basic information that customers need to know to do business with you

A cornerstone is the foundation upon which your content marketing strategy is built. The basic information that customers need to know to do business with you or avail of your service should be included here. An FAQ section could do the trick. You may also include SEO-content to make your content searchable and feature on top in search engine rankings. Creating compelling content that users will want to share is the goal. What’s important to remember that it’s not about tricking an algorithm into ranking your content high on the internet, but about creating value through your content and making it “share-worthy”.

3.     Connection – Strike a chord with customers through engaging content

The connection aspect of content is about simply making a connection with the audience. The audience must find your content engaging and be interested in what you have to say.

It should have meaning for the reader and relevance, too. Letting your creative juices flow in making your content appealing is all part of the game. Stop trying to please everyone and reach out with specific messages that will captivate your audience. It’s better to bond strongly with some, rather than bore everyone.

4.     Conversion – Convince people to do business with you

This is not merely about content that will result in lead generation. It’s about convincing people to do business with you, getting into their minds and making them believe that your product or service is essential to make their lives better. Conversion content will help differentiate your product in the market in more substantial ways than just price comparisons.

5.     Copy – Woo your customers through your storytelling techniques

Copy must have a “pull” approach to entice customers rather than “push” information or a message out to them. It’s wooing customers through what you have to say and it involves strategy. What you’re really aiming to do is tell a story over time with the customer as the protagonist. Human beings are storytelling machines and we love to tell stories and be a part of them. So what’s your story going to tell?

Email marketing — Then and Now

email-marketing-statsEarlier, emails were one of the only digital means of communication. Today, consumers interact with marketers on social media, web chat, and a host of other digital tools. It remains a challenge for the marketer to ensure a seamless experience across all the channels.

The key word is “communication”. A few years ago, the “batch and blast” method of email marketing was popular, where consumers received mass mail from marketers, which was barely personalized. Today, it’s all about personalization. Data regarding a consumer’s buying habits and preferences, likes and dislikes, is easily available from their use of social media. Marketers can get hold of this data and use it to customize mails. Consumers are more likely to open and read mails that seem tailored to them and which talk “to” them rather than “at” them.

Segmenting consumers according to common parameters and then targeting them with email messages is a far better method than sending untargeted mails to a large consumer base. The message has to be relevant to the consumer and answer the question “What’s in it for me”. To ensure a consistent experience across all channels, your emails must be coordinated with interactions that your consumer might have on other channels. This multi-channel challenge is a key differentiator between email marketing then and now.

Today, automated marketing platforms are designed to engage and convert your subscribers into buyers.

  • There are currently 3.3 billion email accounts in the world. (Source: Mashable)
  • Email generates nearly a 2X return compared to other channels. For every dollar spent on email marketing in 2011, there was a $40.56 return. Compared to other channels, search engine marketing is the next closest at $22.44. (Source: Direct Marketing Association and Smart Data Collective)
  • Email is the consumer preference. In a recent survey, a staggering 77% of consumers reported that they preferred to receive permission-based marketing communications through email —and email was the number source for all age groups including 15-24. (Source: Waldow Social).

These figures speak for themselves. Email marketing still holds an important place in communicating with the consumer.

Claims that email marketing is dead are not reflective of the current scenario. With the proliferation of tablets, mobile devices, and social media, the role of email marketing remains crucial. The need of the hour is an integrated multi-channel platform that can manage online marketing and optimize, track, and aggregate ongoing cross-channel consumer engagement. What’s needed is marketing automation. It’s time to think in terms of engagement marketing rather than email  marketing.