Should I Use Banner Ads? Learn the Pros and Cons

The internet has changed the world of advertising.

Research shows that 28% of U.S. adults are always online, meaning digital marketing is a primary platform for advertising campaigns. And advertisers continue to identify ways to engage their audience with positive experiences.

One of the most common forms of online marketing is the use of banner ads. While this method gets mixed reviews, it can be an effective tool in generating leads and creating brand awareness.

Wondering whether banner ads are beneficial for your email marketing strategy? Campaign Monitor can help.

Banner ads and why marketers use them

Banner advertisements, or display ads, are rectangular graphics of various standard sizes. They’re placed in high-visibility areas on quality websites. The location across the top of a webpage attracts the most attention and is preferred by 57% of advertisers. Other high-traffic locations include across the bottom or along the sides of a site.

Banner ads use images rather than text to catch the viewer’s eye. The purpose of banner ads is to promote a business and generate traffic to that company’s website. Banners are clickable, linking directly to a landing page or home page.

Marketers use banner ads because they promote brand awareness. They’re also great lead generators. When viewers click on your ad, they arrive at your website because they’re interested in your offerings. With this method, you’re able to capture lead contact information and follow up for future communications.

As with any marketing channel, there are advantages and disadvantages to banner ads. Decide what’s best for your campaign. Choose the option most likely to help you generate leads, increase revenue, and boost your ROI.

Pros of banner ads

Banner ads offer numerous benefits. Here are three advantages associated with this form of display advertising.

They’re cost-effective.

The cost of banner advertising is determined by ad size. The smaller the ad, the smaller the fee. The number of clicks and impressions also has an impact on the cost. The average cost per click (CPC) for banner ads will vary based on your industry and the medium.  Rates can be as cheap as 50 cents per 1,000 impressions (CPM). So for just 50 cents, your ad can be displayed 1,000 times.

Between size flexibility, CPC, and CPM, you’re able to set your own guidelines for your ad spend. A limited budget can still yield positive results. This enables businesses of all sizes to promote their products on quality websites.

Ads are easy to create.

Marketers can create banner ads with ease. About 97% of marketers are likely to design their ads themselves. Banners are simplistic in design, so nearly anyone with computer skills can create a basic ad. Sizes are standard, and specifications are straightforward. It’s simple to build a layout that meets basic requirements. They’re easy to upload and, if not yielding desired results, they’re easy to change.

They’re highly targetable.

Studies show that 71% of consumers prefer more personalized digital ads. Banner ads achieve this by effectively targeting your audience. Qualifiers like demographics and online behavior help identify your optimal consumer. With this information, you can develop relevant ads that will resonate with specific people. You can then use transactional emails to deliver a consistent brand experience to newly engaged prospects.

You can further segment your ads by topics or interests. Choose from a list of categories to ensure your ads appear on relevant websites. Use banner ads as a remarketing tool to contact previous website visitors who left before completing a transaction.

Cons of banner ads

While it’s clear banner ads can be beneficial for marketing efforts, there are also downsides to display advertising. Here are three disadvantages to using banner ads in your campaign.

They have a lower click-through rate.

Click-through rate (CTR) measures how frequently a viewer acts on an ad. While search ads average about 2% CTR, display ads average about 0.06%. This is because search ads use a pull approach. They’re sought by people with the intent and desire to make a purchase. Banner ads use a push approach. When people see your ads, they may not be ready to buy.

Banner ads also have a lower CTR because more than 56% of display ads are never seen. Reasons for this include placement or position on a web page and ad size. Banner blindness is another contributing factor. Web users encounter thousands of digital ads a day. Some will subconsciously ignore the banners on the sites they visit. Others will intentionally avoid them with ad blocker software.

They yield lower conversions.

A lower CTR equates to lower conversions. Conversions are any action a user takes once they’re on your site. They can be completed forms, registrations, or sales. If people aren’t clicking through your banner ads, they’re not arriving on your site to act.

Banner ads are often the first impression people have of your brand. If your ad isn’t compelling, viewers may move right past it. If users do click on your ad, they’re usually directed to a separate website. This can lead to distrust and a high bounce rate. Banner ads can reach too broad an audience. This results in an influx of unqualified prospects who aren’t interested in your brand.

There are limitations.

Before they can be approved, banner ads must meet several guidelines. To ensure ads are functional and clear, marketers must adhere to technical requirements. Banners have specific size guidelines, leav You have a small area in which to deliver your content. There are limits on headline character count. You can only include so much text per image. These standards minimize the amount of content that can be included in your ad.

Advertising policies restrict certain types of content. Topics ranging from gambling to healthcare have stringent regulations. Sometimes content is approved, but only to a limited audience. This means fewer people will see your ad, further lowering the likelihood of click-throughs.

Additional marketing tools

While these ads are easy to make, distribute, and manage, they are most effective when supported with other forms of advertising. Consider supplementing your banner advertising campaign with one of these three marketing techniques.

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is the promotion of another company’s products by a third-party source. If someone purchases through the affiliate link, that third party receives a commission. Affiliate marketing is scalable. A traditional salesperson sells products for a single company. Affiliates can sell products from a variety of companies and profit from all.

Affiliate marketing is beneficial to merchants and affiliates alike. 81% of brands use affiliate marketing to promote their products. The process is simple. Companies provide affiliates a unique link to track sales. When a user clicks the link, data is stored on their device. This “cookie” lets the merchant know who was responsible for the sale. When combined with banner advertisements, affiliate marketing can drive sales and generate significant revenue.

MoneySavingExpert fills its page with quality content. Moreover, it’s all relevant for their audience. Affiliate links are the site’s only source of revenue, so they must be effective.

affiliate marketing example

Source: MoneySavingExpert

2. Blog swaps

Blog posts provide businesses a dynamic vehicle to promote their brand. They attract attention and build brand awareness. They have a massive audience potential, as 77% of internet users read a blog regularly. Blogs help businesses increase revenue, build a relationship with readers, and gain credibility. An easy way for blogs to increase visibility is through cross-posting.

Blog swaps involve the exchange of content with compatible organizations who have like-minded target audiences. By sharing posts on each other’s pages, brands gain new readership with people who are already interested in similar information. They also foster networking relationships with other organizations.

TopBlogger.com featured a guest post from an expert on developing and selling products online. The audience found the information so valuable that the original blog owner received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

blog swap example

Source: ProBlogger

3. Content marketing

Content marketing is the distribution of valuable and relevant information that educates your audience. Content marketing doesn’t push the sale of a product. Instead, it shows people how your brand provides a solution. It’s an ongoing strategy that builds a relationship with your audience.

Content marketing comes in the form of infographics, videos, podcasts, and web pages. It’s consistently useful information that readers seek and want to digest. Because you’re offering value, you give readers the impression that you care about them. This builds brand loyalty and increases the chance of future purchases.

In this example, McDonald’s Canada offered an open forum for their audience. The company answered nearly 10,000 questions with transparency. Customers valued the authenticity of the information provided in this campaign.

mcdonalds canada open forum

Source: McDonald’s Canada

Wrap up

Banner advertising can be an effective form of marketing. Like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to its use. You’ll have to consider what makes the most sense for your specific marketing strategy and budget.

Like all forms of marketing, the success of banner ads can be enhanced by using multiple forms of digital marketing to enhance and amplify your efforts.

Consider supplemental marketing tactics such as affiliate marketing, blog swaps, and content marketing, but don’t forget about social media marketing, customized landing pages, and more. By combining any of these advertising methods, you can build brand awareness, establish customer loyalty, generate leads, and drive sales.

For more information about incorporating banner ads into your email marketing campaign, contact our sales team today.

The post Should I Use Banner Ads? Learn the Pros and Cons appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

7 Content Upgrades You Can Use to Grow Your Email List

Today’s marketers are faced with a variety of ways to communicate with their audience. The advent of digital marketing has allowed businesses to reach a broader target audience more cost-effectively.

Most consumers prefer email as their primary source of information from businesses they follow. Blog posts are also an effective way to increase ROI. In fact, 57% of marketers claim they’ve acquired customers through their blog posts alone.

Blogs serve several purposes. They allow you to post quality content on your website, which can increase SEO and boost your business in search engine rankings. They also enable you to expand your contacts. Provide more value and grow your email list with content upgrades. Not sure how to work this into your email marketing strategy? Campaign Monitor can help.

Why content marketing is a valuable asset

Blog posts fall under the category of content marketing. It’s digital material that builds interest in a product or service but doesn’t necessarily promote a brand. It necessitates a strategic approach focused on distributing relevant, useful content that resonates with a target audience. Its goal is to convert contacts to profit.

Content marketing can be anything from educational articles to instructional videos answering specific questions and providing information not found elsewhere. It’s a great way to help your product stand out from the competition, as well as portray your business as an authority on subjects that are important to prospective customers. This helps build customer loyalty and assists in strengthening your brand.

People are looking for information online. By answering their questions through content marketing, you’re providing valuable information that equates to improved search engine rankings. This leads to the right people finding your products and, ultimately, generates revenue. According to 74% of companies surveyed, content marketing has increased their number of quality leads. It’s clearly an invaluable tool for improving SEO and turning leads into profit.

How to use content to grow your email list

Your email list is crucial to the success of your digital marketing campaigns. These subscribers are individuals who’ve already alerted you, stating that they need your product. They consist of quality leads who are now easy to reach. The more quality emails you have on your list, the better.

Content marketing generates three times more leads than outbound marketing. The idea behind it is that people will share their contact information in exchange for valuable information. If viewers see a compelling resource on your website, there’s a chance you can get permission to contact them again. This enables you to gather quality email addresses that can be converted into customers.

Visitors are ultimately subscribing for free content, which enters them into your funnel. Determine your prospects’ needs and create content that fulfills those needs. The free content you offer should be useful and increase your credibility. By building trust, people will be more likely to leave their information with you for future communications. The more people whose needs you meet, the more quality email addresses you’ll acquire.

7 ways to upgrade content to grow your email list

Content upgrades are additional giveaways on your website that viewers can access in exchange for their email address. These materials meet a specific need that people are already exploring on your site. Here are seven ways to upgrade the content on your website to help grow your email list.

1. Gated content

Gated content is a way to gather qualified leads on your website. Its online material that’s locked behind a form readers must complete before gaining access. It could be guarding a video, the entirety of an online article, or a blog post. However, even though the information is locked, content continues to be available to search engines, so SEO isn’t impacted. Research shows 80% of B2B content marketing materials are gated.

Gated content gives material a higher perceived value and tempts visitors to complete a lead capture form, so they can see the information hidden beneath. Forms could require basic contact information. They could also offer more insight by asking in-depth questions like interests and behaviors. Once you’ve obtained this information, use it to strategize a marketing plan to grow your revenue.

Example of gated content

Source: The Times

2. How-to guides

When presenting complex information, sometimes it’s best to provide an abridged outline. People don’t necessarily want to invest a lot of time in learning new information. They often want to jump right in and get started. Provide a simplified guide that’ll save readers time while delivering valuable information.

For readers who are looking for more in-depth guidance, consider a comprehensive guide that walks readers through each step. Use images, infographics, and diagrams to offer visual interest and help to create digestible material for which people would be willing to trade their email address.

Content upgrade of a how-to guide

Source: Backlinko

3. Mini ebooks

Maybe you’ve written a series of articles that all discuss the same topic. Or perhaps you have several articles that could be categorized into themes. Either way, consider combining several previously written articles into mini ebooks that readers can download, once they’ve offered their email address.

Use analytics to choose popular posts on a related subject. Package them together as a PDF and offer these as bonus material. Promote them on each of the book’s original blog posts. The final product should be manageable, concise, and easy to digest. Overwhelming material won’t entice people to leave their contact information with you in return for eBook access.

Content upgrade with an eBook offer

Source: InstaPage

4. Checklists

Part of the appeal of content upgrades is that they make the execution of your article’s strategies easy for your readers. Checklists are great because they’re usually something people want to print and keep handy. This means you’re reaching your audience when they first download the material and every time they reference the printed copy.

Checklists are ideal for longer educational posts that cover several steps. Ideally, they could easily be divided into simplified, actionable points. Think step-by-step instructions, project materials, or bullet points taken from a more in-depth guide. The beauty of checklists is that readers love them, and they don’t take a lot of time for you to create.

Content upgrade offer of a checklist

Source: StartupDevKit

5. Printables

People are busy and often multi-tasking while online, so offering a downloadable PDF version of your articles will likely be more enticing to your website visitors. Repackage the posts with full-color graphics and easy-to-read formatting. Seventy-five percent of content marketers experience higher ROI when visuals appear in their content.

Printable files offer users a chance to display the information where they can reference it as needed. You might include an uplifting message or motivational quote, something to give even more value to the material.

Content upgrade offering a downloadable .PDF

Source: RazorSocial

6. Video or audio recording

Video is engaging, informative, and entertaining, and 64% of B2B companies cited podcasts as valuable content when beginning their buying journey. When writing a blog post, review past files to determine whether you’ve recorded a webinar, podcast, or another informational multimedia file relevant to your current post and offer the recording as bonus material.

If you don’t have something in the vault, consider creating a how-to video or an audio recording of yourself reading the post aloud. A multimedia summary is a great way to give visitors the freedom to absorb your educational information at their own leisure. It wouldn’t take you long to do, and it’d be an invaluable tool to encourage visitors to leave their contact information.

Content upgrade offering a webinar

Source: Kissmetrics

7. Reports or case studies

Conduct a survey, do some research, or learn more about a topic that’d interest your target audience. Share a case study about your own success and use your findings and experience to write a report that’ll further educate your readers about their interests. This process will also benefit you as you become known as an expert in your subject.

Content upgrade offering a downloadable report

Source: Lithium Technologies

Content upgrade best practices

Content upgrades can help grow your email list. Whatever content upgrade you choose to add to your website, you’ll achieve more success by answering these three questions.

Is it relevant?

Site-wide upgrades can certainly assist in capturing contact information. However, an upgrade that relates directly to the blog post a reader is exploring at that time will result in better conversions. Target your audience thoughtfully and create offers that’ll be the most useful.

Does it have value?

Remember, these offers are considered an upgrade. If someone is willing to provide their contact information, they expect worthwhile materials. Anything less will damage your credibility and lose their trust, so create materials that are high quality, useful, and provide a real solution to a problem or answer to a question.

Is it appealing?

Go the extra mile to make these giveaways something special. People value their contact information and don’t give it away to just anyone, so be sure what your visitors are getting in return is something attractive, professional-looking, and a true upgrade.

Wrap up

Content marketing is an effective way to drive traffic to your website and help gather contact information. Any email marketer can encourage email signups by incorporating these easy content upgrades into their website:

  • Gated content
  • Guides
  • Mini eBooks
  • Checklists
  • Printables
  • Video or audio recordings
  • Reports or case studies

By offering bonus materials that are relevant, valuable, and appealing, any business can grow their email list with quality content.

The post 7 Content Upgrades You Can Use to Grow Your Email List appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Fresh Content Marketing Campaign Ideas for 2020

You already know the value of marketing, but do you know the value of content marketing?

It’s one of the most effective and cost-efficient marketing strategies you can take, but you need to have a solid plan in place to get maximum value.

Before you decide on your next marketing approach, review these fresh content marketing campaign ideas for 2020 and tips on how to implement them effectively.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is an approach to marketing that focuses on creating and sharing valuable information to drive new business. This approach is different from traditional tactics like direct mail and pay-per-click advertising.

Common forms of content marketing include:

  • Blogs
  • Case studies
  • Checklists
  • eBooks
  • How-to guides
  • Influencers
  • Infographics
  • Testimonials or reviews
  • User-generated content
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers

You can use each of these individually or you can create comprehensive content marketing campaigns that utilize several types of content to reach a broader audience.

What is a content marketing campaign?

A content marketing campaign is a goal-oriented approach to creating content. You’ll put together content around a specific topic or product and share that on several platforms.

For example, you might create a landing page around a new product, then write a blog post about different ways to use your product. You’ll be able to share that post or landing page across various social media channels to boost its potential audience.

There are infinite approaches to how you create a content marketing campaign, but a few common examples of campaigns include:

  • Blog series about industry news: this is a particularly great approach if you’re in the B2B space. You can take advantage of changes in the industry by creating a blog series around the updates. Try to find ways to relate your products or services to the industry changes.
  • eBooks about relevant topics: marketers that have more expert advice to share than is appropriate for a blog will appreciate eBooks. With an eBook, you can dive deep into topics that your audience will value. Make it downloadable and require your readers to submit an email address for access.
  • Video tutorials on new products: if you have a new product or service, a video tutorial is an excellent way to communicate critical information to your customers. You can highlight key features and show unique, out-of-the-box ways to use your product or service.

These are just a few ways you can create content marketing campaigns. One of the great things about content marketing is how flexible it is: You can create a completely custom campaign and share it across multiple platforms.

How can content marketing benefit your business?

At this point, you might be wondering if content marketing is worth the time and effort. Do you really want to spend time creating long-form content or crafting video marketing campaigns?

The short answer is yes.

Content marketing is an effective way to drive new business and boost your marketing ROI. If you still aren’t sure about creating content, check out these stats highlighting the importance of this marketing tool:

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing tactics and it generates about three times the number of leads.
  • Content marketing drives 2.9% conversion rates, which are six times greater than the conversion rates of companies who don’t create content.
  • Content marketing is preferred by 80% of business owners and executives who want to know more about a brand or product.

You can start with one type of content and explore more options from there. Blogs are a great place to start because it’s simple to host them on your own website, which is crucial to building an online brand.

4 Fresh content marketing campaign ideas for 2020

If you’re just starting to invest in content, it can be challenging to know where to start. Review these fresh content marketing campaign ideas for 2020, and you can put together a solid action plan.

1. Record compelling videos that propel your brand.

Your brand is your business, and content marketing is one avenue that allows you to expand on the things that make your brand unique. You can create videos on practically any topic, including product highlights, upcoming events, and even a message from the CEO. This email campaign from Filmsupply is a great example of using your brand’s aesthetic:

 Video in an email is one effective way to create content marketing campaigns.

Source: Really Good Emails

Pro tip: you should host video content marketing campaigns on your website if possible. That’s the most effective way to drive traffic to your site. If that isn’t an option, you can host videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. You can also host them on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram.

2. Write eBooks that offer critical industry advice and information.

If you have extensive content on a specific topic, you might prefer an eBook. Long-form content on blogs generates nine times more leads than blogs that are “short-form,” and eBooks are one option for expanding on content in long-form and short-form blog posts. They also help establish your authority in the industry. Review this example from Flywheel:

eBooks are an excellent option for sharing extensive insight about a topic.

Source: Really Good Emails

Pro tip: make your eBook a downloadable piece of content. This will allow you to share it with others on your website through either purchases or email subscriptions. Of course, you can write an eBook without trying to collect information, but you’ll be missing out on a prime opportunity for new leads.

3. Craft tutorials that drive traffic back to your site.

Driving traffic back to your website is the key goal for most marketing efforts. Tutorials are an effective way to build trust with your customers and get them back to your site. Host a tutorial on your website, then share it in email and social media campaigns for maximum impact. Get creative; tutorials are a great opportunity to generate video content for marketing campaigns.

 Tutorials make it easy for you to connect with your customers about your products.

Source: Really Good Emails

Pro tip: the most effective tutorials start with a plan. You want to write instructions that are clear and concise. That means you need to go step-by-step and include images or demos, if possible. If you’re a one-man team, run the tutorial by current customers or your network for feedback.

4. Generate how-to guides that spark your audience’s interest.

Similar to a tutorial, a how-to guide is content that provides value to your audience. Generally, a tutorial is something you’d write about your own products or services, where a how-to guide is something you can write on virtually any topic that’s relevant to your industry. How-to guides can give you opportunities to link back to other content on your site too. Check out this example from Crew:

How-to guides can be a strategic way to share relevant content.

Source: Really Good Emails

Pro tip: how-to guides should be part of your blog strategy or hosted on a page on your site. While you can certainly share them in emails, these are evergreen pieces of content that you want people to be able to access easily. Your website is the best place for them.

How to implement content marketing campaign ideas in 2020

With at least a dozen content options and numerous ways to share it, putting together fresh content marketing campaign ideas in 2020 can be tricky. Sometimes it can seem like everything’s been done once, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create unique content that drives traffic.

Before you craft your next content marketing campaign, follow these three tips for implementing campaigns that are cost-efficient and highly effective:

  • Ask your customers for feedback: Your current customers are a great source of feedback. You can create a survey to see what type of content they find most valuable. This is also a great time to ask them what topics they’d like you to cover.
  • Analyze your marketing trends: Your recent marketing campaigns are another opportunity to see what type of content you should create. Review which landing pages and blogs have the most interaction and highest conversion rates.
  • Check out your competitors’ content: Your competitors might already be using content to attract new customers. Read through their webpages and blogs to see what type of content they’re creating and how they’re sharing it with their customers.

Your content marketing plan is critical to success, so spend extra time crafting it. If you already have one, consider updating it to reflect these new trends.

Wrap up

You want to create content marketing campaigns that drive new growth and build your brand. With the right approach, you can put together a marketing plan that utilizes the most effective types of content. Remember these key takeaways before you launch your next campaign:

  • The best type of content for your business will vary depending on your industry and audience.
  • You should host content on your website when possible to grow your site presence.
  • Content marketing needs to provide value to your current and potential customers.

Creating content marketing campaigns takes a little bit of time, but it’s worth it to generate new leads and improve your ROI.

Looking for a platform that’ll help you manage your content marketing campaigns? Campaign Monitor has the tools you need to create and share the most valuable insight.

The post Fresh Content Marketing Campaign Ideas for 2020 appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

5 Ways Public Relations and Content Marketing Support Each Other

Public relations and content marketing are two very different departments that do very different things—or so you think.

Although each department has different responsibilities, it’s essential to note that the two can create an unstoppable marketing powerhouse.

While both public relations and content marketing deal with the creation and distribution of information, they do it in two very different ways. When combined, each of these methods can be used to solidify your marketing efforts across multiple channels. Read on to discover how.

Marketing channels

Source: Smart Insights

Public relations focus on building mutually beneficial relationships, while content marketing focuses on building relationships between a brand and its audience. When compared, they share one crucial job: sharing content.

Public relations and content marketing aren’t mutually exclusive.

A public relations specialist is very different from a content creator. Neither one can adequately replace the other. However, they can work together to help create an unstoppable marketing powerhouse.

Public relations and content marketing aren’t mutually exclusive. However, they’re very different areas of expertise and deserve to be defined independently of one another.

Defining content marketing

Content marketing is a specific marketing approach. It focuses on the creation and distribution of relevant, valuable content that’s put out consistently. This consistency helps to both attract and retain a defined targeted audience. Content marketing drives a customer to take action, like clicking a link in an email or downloading a report.

Content marketing process

Source: Content Marketing Institute

Defining public relations

According to the Public Relations Society of America, Inc., public relations is defined as a strategic communication process that helps to build mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its audience.

 The difference between public relations and advertising

Source: Forbes

Public relations and content marketing: better together

Public relations and content marketing are two very different strategies in business. They both have massive potential in helping a brand reach its goals. However, to create that marketing powerhouse mentioned earlier, they need to play well together.

While you won’t be able to combine these strategies all the time, there are many ways in which public relations and content marketing can support one another.

Public relations and content marketing have shared goals.

Public relations and content marketing have very different methods; however, they share many of the same goals. When done right, both departments share goals such as:

  • Reaching a precisely defined target audience
  • Creating/sharing media that captures the attention of the public
  • Amplifying a brand awareness
  • Generating new leads
  • Fostering relationships between industry experts/influencers

To reach these goals, public relations and content marketing should work together. Not only to come up with valuable, sharable content, but create a list of possible partners that your brand can work with. These can include businesses that share your values, and industry influencers that can help you expand on our reach.

Public relations can help validate your current content.

Marketing teams often overlook the fact that you can use your public relations outlets to help validate your current content.

Public relations specialists have access to media outlets that the standard marketing team doesn’t. A press release is defined as an official, written statement that communicates specific, brief information about a product, event, or other circumstances. News outlets use these statements to formulate news stories and get them out to the public.

When it comes to receiving information, people tend to trust their favorite news outlets more than they typically trust a brand. When trying to build brand awareness, not only is sharing information via your site vital, but it’s also essential to get these news outlets and media influencers sharing your news as well. This way, your audience feels as if the information you’re sharing is valid and worth knowing.

For example, eMarketer recently published a post stating that the brand Target finally made it onto the top U.S. ecommerce ranking list. In their report, they included several stats and graphs to help prove standings. Now, this blog was shared on their website on February 23, 2020. The very next day, they published a press release that not only shared the same title as their blog, but included the same text as the initial article.

Top 10 U.S. Companies ranked by retail ecommerce sales share 2020 Press Release

Source: eMarketer Newsroom

So why share the same information in the form of a press release? Once the press release was sent out, more outlets started printing similar stories. To prove credibility, those outlets must link back to the original source, which helps eMarketer to build authority on the subject.

The right content can help generate press.

Just like the right press can help you produce great content, the same is true of the reverse. Say you have a new product launching and you excitedly share the news on your website’s blog. From there, a few different things can happen:

  • You take your blog content and turn it into a press release
  • Someone reaches out to you to share your big news

For example, Campaign Monitor recently announced that it joined forces with Conversio. They also announced that they worked side by side to create an all-new product: CM Commerce. Excited to share the big news, officials took to the brand’s blog to announce the purchase of Conversio and the new CM Commerce platform.

Campaign Monitor CM Commerce Blog

Source: Campaign Monitor

From there, not only was an official press release sent out, but multiple other blogs and other media outlets began sharing the big news.

Campaign Monitor CM Commerce Announcements

Source: Business Wire/CM Commerce(formerly Conversio)

As the news continues to spread, your brand awareness potential starts to skyrocket. Again, the more sources that report on your content, the more backlinks are created.

Creates a shared platform for sharing ideas

Now, we mentioned that both public relations and content marketing share several different goals. The primary shared goal between the two is the creation and distribution of content, so it’d make sense that, by working together, public relations and content marketing could create a platform for sharing ideas.

For instance, when it comes to creating new, shareable content, your public relations and content marketing teams could get together and create an idea board or editorial calendar of sorts. This would be a place where the two groups could brainstorm content ideas and see where they’d be best suited to go:

  • Marketing content
  • P.R. content
  • Content that falls under both

Some great content ideas could include:

  • Social blog editorial calendar
  • Infographics
  • Webinar announcements
  • eBooks
  • Industry reports and more

Once the ideas have been put onto an editorial calendar, teams from various departments can pull which ones they’re most suited for. When there’s information that can be shared in multiple ways, such as an industry report, then teams will have to take turns pulling information from the final piece.

In the example of the eMarketer report from earlier, the content marketing team had to do the research and create the piece. Once the article was complete, the public relations team could pull the share-worthy fragments of information from it. The final piece would be a trending piece of industry news.

Can help boost your search engine optimization

Finally, one area that many brands neglect to notice is just how vital search engine optimization is, for both their public relations and content marketing materials. And, while marketing teams understand that sharable content needs to be properly optimized for search engines, not everyone has caught on to the fact that press releases can and should be optimized as well.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing a piece of content not only to be found on search engines, such as Bing and Google, but to increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to a brand’s website through organic search engine results.

Now, most marketing teams understand how to do this for their landing pages and blog content. However, it’s essential to understand that press releases have gone digital as well.

That means your public relations team needs to properly optimize their press releases with the right keywords to be found by the right audience members.

In the example press release below, we automatically see that it was optimized for those searching for the keywords digital marketing and marketing.

Example of an SEO optimized press release

Source: P.R. Newswire

Public relations specialists are great at putting together the facts. However, they may not understand all that goes into SEO optimization. This is where teaming up with your content marketing team can help. They know exactly what goes into the optimization process.

Wrap up

Public relations (P.R.) and content marketing are two very different areas of work. While they can both function independently of one another, combing the two can prove extremely beneficial to any brand. Not sure how these two areas can boost one another? Here are just a few ways:

  • Public relations and content marketing have several goals in common
  • P.R. can validate current content
  • Content marketing can help generate press-worthy content
  • Public relations and content marketing can create a shared idea platform
  • Combining the two can help boost your SEO

Curious what other areas work well together? Why not combine your content marketing and email marketing efforts? In this guide, we tell you how to do just that.

The post 5 Ways Public Relations and Content Marketing Support Each Other appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

The Most Efficient Content Marketing Tactics to Use in 2020

This is a guest post from Anna Konovalova at FlippingBook.

How much has changed in content marketing over the last few years? Well, for one thing, more and more marketers have started to invest in creating and promoting powerful content.

In fact, content marketing is more important than ever: 88% of B2B content marketers believe creating content encourages audiences to view their organization as a credible and trusted resource.

content marketing 2020 infographic

Source: PointVisible

So let’s look at the new trends and tactics you can take with you in 2020 to stand out in today’s online landscape.

Create epic and long-form content.

You’ve probably heard the term “epic content.” It’s so overused that the meaning is almost lost. But what is it exactly?

Epic content refers to something that’s impressive, highly engaging, and that can’t help but get attention.

And it’s the best representation of long-form content. Articles that have long headlines and contain more than 3,000 words perform better in all respects (traffic, backlinks, and social shares). This may be related to the great value they deliver, compared to bite-sized content.

Let’s check out the main types and characteristics of epic content.

  1. Longreads: not all longreads are epic content, but every piece of epic content is long (minimum, a thousand words and, usually, two to five thousand). Such articles are more likely to become popular among readers and bring you new leads.
  2. In-depth articles: a long post isn’t necessarily an epic article. But a long post that goes deep into a topic can mean epic content. An epic post doesn’t give you general information; it offers you thorough research on a certain topic. After reading such an article, you should feel like you’ve gained expertise.
  3. Step-by-step guides and lists: these types of epic content are educational at their core. Their main goal is to teach you how to accomplish a task or to give as many tips as possible. These epic articles thoroughly address every aspect of a certain challenge and everything you’ll likely need. Such an epic content gives you the confidence to overcome your problems and challenges.
  4. Brand storytelling: This one takes more imagination and creativity than the above. But it’s totally worth it because storytelling will more important than ever this year. Using narrative to connect your brand to customers allows you to tap into the basic human love of stories to build an authentic connection with your audience.

Invest in original research.

Research-backed pieces of content that contain new, interesting data aren’t something you can find everywhere. In an age of interpretations and opinion pieces, the importance of integrating accurate info into your content can’t be overemphasized. And data that you’ve gathered yourself is so much more powerful than someone’s opinion because it’s been tested and proven.

Using proprietary data to create long-form content with graphics has been an effective 2019 strategy for many brands, resulting in backlinks from thousands of high-authority publications. And it’ll become even more popular in 2020, when people will be resorting to trustworthy and expert sources.

See our original research by checking out our resources.

Update and repurpose your content.

When you create great content that evokes emotion and keeps people glued to their PC or mobile device, don’t miss out on a chance to promote it as much as it deserves. It’ll be catching attention, bringing you new leads, and raising your search rankings.

First of all, update your content from time to time, so it’s always relevant and fresh. Making simple updates and tweaks and, most importantly, changing the date of the article to represent the newest revision, will result in your rankings increase. It’s no wonder because Google likes fresh content.

Repurposing content is another amazing opportunity to scale up your content marketing and give it a nice boost. It’s the practice of reusing some elements of existing content to expand its reach. Repurposed content is usually transformed into a new format—for example, turning a blog post into an infographic, a video into a blog post, etc.

You can also create interactive brochures from your popular content. Add images, GIFs, links, and videos to your digital documents to drive engagement and boost SEO. This way, you’ll be able to share your content via all your marketing channels: email, social media, or website. They’ll look nice and neat everywhere.

FlippingBook, software and cloud service for creating professional online documents, can help you with making such digital flipbooks, brochures, catalogs, magazines, and reports in a fast and easy way.

FlippingBook is a software and cloud service for creating professional online documents, which you can use for your 2020 content marketing goals.

Source: FlippingBook

Thus, you can use a piece of new or ever-green content as the basis for posts, videos, social media posts, and webinars. It’ll allow you to get your content in front of a wide audience and reach as many clients as you can (because some people just read emails, some only watch videos, etc.)

Expand your guest blogging opportunities.

How can you expand your reach even more? Guest blogging. It’s a powerful tactic for raising your brand awareness and developing a link-building strategy.

The best way for a company to start guest blogging is to reach out to other websites in your industry and offer to exchange blog posts. This type of strategy is ideal for both parties, since you get backlinks, wider outreach, a lot of organic traffic, and promising new leads.

And it’s an amazing opportunity to research fresh topics and write about them. When you’re excited about your writing, people feel it and get excited about it too. Plus, you can connect to your fellow marketers and exchange views on your field.

Wrap up

When people feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive every day, they start looking for content that can bring value to them, that has unique opinions and findings, and that can be trusted.

And, even when we say that people have a short attention span nowadays, we mean that they overlook all the ads, marketing, and sales paraphernalia and are only ready to dive into deep content. The one that can help them with their challenges.

So 2020 will be a year when you, as a marketer, go for meaningful content and honest interaction with your audience. I’m sure it’ll play out great and will help you create a connection with your audience and grow your business.



Anna Konovalova is a Content Marketer and Translator at FlippingBook, software and cloud provider. When Anna isn’t writing, she enjoys going to the theater, listening to music, and finding inspiration in the world around her. You can find her on LinkedIn.

The post The Most Efficient Content Marketing Tactics to Use in 2020 appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How to Craft a Platform-Agnostic User-Generated Content Strategy

This is a guest post from Kate Lynch at Workamajig.

What others think about your brand and your products matters, especially to would-be buyers.

Positive reviews from existing customers act as digital word-of-mouth, mitigating fears and prompting action. A sound, user-generated content strategy can help you leverage this word of mouth to turn window shoppers into customers.

Think about the last time you bought something online.

Unless you were a repeat buyer, you likely scrolled down the “buy now” page to read reviews from other customers.

Reviews, testimonials, customer images, social media comments—all of these are clubbed under “user-generated content” (or UGC for short).

UGC has a massive impact on moving conversions and building your brand, yet far too many retailers don’t have a clear strategy to acquire and use it. They either focus on a single platform or fail to use content correctly.

Read on to discover how to create and implement a platform-agnostic user-generated content strategy. You’ll learn how to identify opportunities, capture content, and use it to move the conversion needle, regardless of the platforms you use.

Why user-generated content matters

Seventy percent of consumers check UGC ratings or reviews before buying a product and 64% actively seek out reviews when making a purchase decision. Campaigns with UGC see 29% higher conversions than those without it.

There are stats aplenty when it comes to user-generated content and its importance. But, beyond these numbers, UGC fulfills a crucial role in any online campaign: enabling authenticity and building social proof.

UGC and authenticity

Authenticity is one of your core challenges when it comes to selling online. In the absence of a physical, hands-on experience, how do you convince customers that you’re the real deal?

You can punctuate your marketing with messages of authenticity, but sticking a “100% genuine” sticker on a product can only go so far. You’re essentially asking customers to trust your word, which, if you don’t have an established brand, is a tall task.

This is precisely the problem UGC solves. Well-crafted UGC confirms and even adds to your claim of authenticity.

You might say that your leather bags are built to last, but the claim becomes far stronger when you can share pictures of customers showing their decade-old, perfectly usable bags.

Saddleback Leather Co.'s user-generated content strategy on Instagram

Saddleback Leather doesn’t just say that its products are tough; it also shares images of customers using them in tough conditions. (Image source: Facebook)

Ninety percent of customers even say that they seek authenticity when buying online. By corroborating your claims with UGC, you can make your marketing much stronger.

UGC builds social proof.

Social proof is one of the six pillars of persuasion, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini. It’s a natural drive—we consider the already popular to also be good.

UGC is a fantastic ally in building social proof. When quantified in the form of ratings and review counts, it gives customers an objective measure of your popularity.

Beyond ratings, UGC also helps would-be customers see how your product looks in the real world. Fancy studio photography is great for showing products in their ideal state, but buyers also want to see them in the context of real-world usage.

A customer sharing pictures of her living room with your sofa or cabinet gives a much better real-world understanding of the product.

Customer reviews, like those on Amazon, are a great user-generated content strategy

Amazon focuses heavily on customer reviews and images to improve authenticity perception. (Image source: Amazon)

This is a critical tool in building consensus and bringing in conversions.

Creating a platform-agnostic UGC strategy

As effective as user-generated content can be, it’s also difficult to implement. Platform barriers can make it hard to figure out what, where, and when to source content from customers.

The solution is to develop a truly platform-agnostic UGC strategy. Your goal should be to capture and catalog content from users on channels you own or control.
This gives you far more freedom in how and when you use the UGC in your marketing.

But, before I share this strategy, let’s address a question most of you are probably asking: Why does being platform-agnostic even matter?

Why it pays to be platform-agnostic

UGC is often tied to specific platforms. You might run a contest on Instagram to collect user images or you might tweet out a request for testimonials to your Twitter followers.

Depending on individual platforms, however, can be a recipe for disaster for these reasons:

  • Usage bans: unless you own the platform, anything that infringes on the Terms of Service can put you at risk of being banned or restricted. This endangers your entire UGC strategy—you’re essentially at the mercy of the platform.
  • Content restrictions: most platforms place restrictions on how and where you can use content sourced using it. In some cases, they also retain copyright over the content, limiting its use outside the platform.
  • Quality restrictions: the quality of your UGC will depend on the quality of content allowed by the platform. You might want 1080p video for a UGC-driven video campaign, but the platform might compress all videos to 720p.
  • Popularity changes: the popularity of a platform changes over time. Users might move from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat. When a platform’s usage declines, so does the effectiveness of any UGC that sits on it.
  • Communication limits: how and how often you communicate with fans and followers depends on the platform’s internal standard. You might want to message your fans directly, but the platform might prohibit you from doing so. This affects the flexibility of your UGC campaigns.

Detaching your UGC efforts from any specific platform gives you far more freedom in how you use it. You’re not dependent on the whims and fancies of ever-changing ToS and popularity trends. Instead, you own the platform and the content.

So what’s the platform that you can control completely?

You guessed it: email!

An email-focused UGC strategy

Email counters so many of the challenges retailers usually encounter in creating UGC campaigns. It’s a platform that you own and control entirely. There are no restrictions on how often you communicate with customers or what you share in each message.
Creating an email-focused UGC strategy has three parts:

1. Segment your audience.

Not every customer is an equally good candidate for sourcing user-generated content. Even if they’re happy with your product, many users are simply averse to sharing.

Your strongest candidates for sourcing UGC are people who:

  • Are enthusiastic sharers and content creators
  • Are “superfans” who love your products

Thus, step one is to segment this audience.

Start by segmenting all customers who:

  • Have ordered your product multiple times
  • Have been with your business for more than 2 years (change this limit based on average purchase cycle for your product)
  • Have previously had positive interactions with your brand, preferably over email

This should give you a healthy list of your starting “superfans.”

Expand this list further by using a simple NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey to spot all your “promoters.”

For the uninitiated, NPS is a system created by Bain to find your best customers. The survey works by asking users to rate the likelihood of recommending your product on a scale of 1-10.

Anyone who scores between 9-10 is called a “promoter.” Scores between 7-8 are labeled “passives,” and anything below 7 is a “detractor.”

This is a graph providing stores with the info they need to judge customers' promoter status.

(Image source: Bain & Company)

Users are also given a chance to explain their reason for these scores, though this is entirely optional.

An NPS survey works wonderfully well for spotting your superfans and enthusiastic sharers. Anyone who gives you a score of 9-10 has shown that:

  • They like your product/service and don’t mind recommending it to others
  • They’re receptive to your marketing emails and are willing to act on them (since they did complete the survey)

The latter point is particularly important. You can have the happiest of fans out there, but, unless they’re willing to open your emails and share their content, your UGC strategy will go nowhere.

Combine this NPS survey segment with the email list you created above to kickstart your UGC campaign.

Read this article to learn more about implementing NPS surveys with Campaign Monitor.

2. Plan your campaign.

What do you want your UGC campaign to accomplish?

If you don’t have a clear answer to this question, your campaign will go nowhere. The best UGC campaigns have a very targeted ask. They request customers to share a specific piece of content for a specific purpose.

Some common UGC campaign targets include:

  • Sourcing reviews and ratings for a recent purchase
  • Collecting testimonials for the brand or company as a whole
  • Collecting customer images or videos
  • Asking for content to be used in blog posts, FAQs, etc.

Each of these campaigns requires different degrees of effort from customers. Leaving a rating or a review is much easier than sharing a product picture.

What you offer in exchange for this content, thus, will have to change accordingly.

Similarly, not all UGC is equal in quality. If you’re sourcing content that can be used in an ad campaign, you’ll have to set minimum quality criteria to be acceptable. But, if you’re simply sourcing reviews, you’ll have to allow all content—even the negative ones.

Before you start the campaign, figure out the following:

  • Your “ask” and its difficulty or effort requirement
  • Whether you have any quality criteria for the content
  • Where you’ll use the content (and if the platform has any content guidelines)
  • The reward(s) you’re willing to offer for an acceptable UGC

3. Ask for UGC.

With your plan in hand, start the UGC campaign.

This doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need are these three ingredients:

A. An email asking for content

Your UGC collection email should be clear and specific. After reading it, customers should know the following:

  • The purpose behind the campaign
  • What kind of content you’re asking for
  • Whether there’s a reward for sharing content
  • Where the content will be used
  • Who’ll own the copyright to the content
  • Whether the content will be shared anonymously or you’ll tag the customer

It’s also a good idea to refer to past UGC campaigns to show customers what acceptable content looks like and how it can be used.

For example, Chaco sends this email to collect UGC for its Instagram campaign:

You can use a hashtag as part of your user-generated content strategy, like the #spiritofsummer hashtag from Chaco shown here.

Contests are typically the best format for collecting high-quality UGC. They pose a barrier to entry which often deters low-quality submissions.

However, for a contest to be effective, you have to offer a convincing reward, which brings us to the next section.

B. A reward for sharing content

Rewards are crucial for successful UGC campaigns. While a few superfans would be happy to share their content with you for free, most will want something more than a pat on the back.

The kind of reward you offer will depend on the difficulty of the ask, your brand, and the purpose of the campaign.

If you’re sourcing travel photos that’ll eventually be used in a brochure, you want high-quality images. Running a contest that rewards the best shots, thus, would be the right move.

If you have a prestigious brand or a large social following, simply offering exposure (in the form of shares/retweets) might be enough.

For example, BMW used its brand prestige to “reward” users by sharing their car images on its massively popular Instagram account.

BMW uses real photos of customer cars as part of their user-generated content strategy

Your rewards will typically fall into three categories:

  • Exposure – i.e., promotion through social channels
  • Discounts – i.e., coupon codes for sharing content
  • Prizes – i.e., physical or digital prizes for acceptable shares
    The bigger the ask, the bigger your reward should be.

C. A way to collect UGC

The final step is to collect your UGC.

Again, how you go about this will depend on what kind of UGC you’re collecting.

If you’re asking for reviews, it’d be best to collect these reviews on your website.

On the other hand, if you’re asking for high-quality photos, it’s best to ask for image links or attachments.

There are plenty of tools for collecting and curating UGC from different sources, including email, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Some of these include ShortStack, Yotpo, Curalate, Stackla, etc.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of everything in a spreadsheet or a project management tool. You can even consider creating a project dashboard so that you know where you currently stand in your campaign.

Once you’ve collected your UGC, it’s time to start using it in your marketing!

Over to you

UGC is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal for winning over customers. Depending on a single platform for collecting it, however, exposes you to significant risks and usage limitations.

By adopting a platform-agnostic user-generated content strategy, you can not only collect high-quality UGC, but also retain complete control over customer interactions.


 

This is a headshot of Kate Lynch, writer at Workmajig and guest poster for the Campaign Monitor blog

Kate Lynch is a digital marketing blogger who spends her entire day writing quality blogs at Workamajig. She is a passionate reader and loves to share quality content, keeping a keen eye on the latest trends and news. Follow her on twitter @IamKateLynch for more updates.

The post How to Craft a Platform-Agnostic User-Generated Content Strategy appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Check out These 5 Myths About Using Video in Email

This is a guest post from Kevin Jan at Animoto.

Video is an effective tool for driving brand awareness, engagement, sales, and traffic. And it’s become more and more popular across all marketing channels, including email.

Research shows that marketers who’ve incorporated video in their campaigns have seen a 66% lift in qualified leads. In addition, video in email marketing can double your engagement rates.

Even with these impressive stats, incorporating video into an email strategy is still met with a fair amount of concern and trepidation. This post will debunk five myths surrounding video-based email marketing.

Check out our in-depth guide on using video in email

Myth #1: You can’t include video in email.

It’s true that most native clients won’t play an embedded video in your email. It’s one of the biggest reasons why more email marketers haven’t embraced the medium. But there are plenty of workarounds to use video to increase the effectiveness of your campaign.

Here are some ways to start delivering video content via email.

Link to a landing page.

Linking to a landing page that hosts a video is a quick and easy way to start using video in your email campaigns. As an added bonus, websites and landing pages that include a video are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google.

Including an image from your video in the email with a play button overlay is a nice way to let people know they can click through to watch. This example from Oribe illustrates this technique.

PRO TIP: Don’t have the time or resources to build a landing page to host your video? You can link out to the video on YouTube or on your business Facebook page.

Use an animated GIF.

Bring the illusion of motion associated with video into your emails by using an animated GIF, created from a short section of your full video. With tools like Ezgif and Giphy, you can turn a snippet of your video into an animated GIF to embed in your email.

GIFs are a great way to grab a reader’s attention and entice them to click through to learn or watch more. Remember to include a clear, CTA so people know there’s more to watch if they click.

Cinemagraphs

Similar to GIFs, cinemagraphs are another way to get your message across effectively. Unlike GIFs, cinemagraphs only have one or two moving components, while the rest of the image remains static.

Source: Really Good Emails

If you’re on the more technical side, you can use HTML5 to embed videos in your email. Currently, it’s the best and most robust option out there, but make sure to check the list of clients that support it. Depending on your subscriber base and where they’re engaging with your email campaigns, it may or may not be the right way to go.

Myth #2: Video marketing is just for lead generation.

If you think video marketing is only good for lead generation, think again. It’s an effective tool at every stage in the customer’s journey.

Studies have shown that including the word “video” in your subject line can boost open rates by 19% and decrease unsubscribe rates by 26%.
Here are some ways to incorporate video into your email marketing strategy, outside of lead generation:

  • Tutorial videos: use video to teach customers about how your products or services work. These types of videos can be incorporated into onboarding or used as part of new launch campaigns.
  • Educational videos: share video education related to news or trends in your industry. These types of videos give you an opportunity to showcase your expertise while helping your customers feel like they’re in the know.
  • Teaser videos: get your customers excited about something that’s coming soon. Build a buzz by including a sneak peek video in your emails that goes behind the scenes to show what you’ve been working on.
  • Product launch videos: celebrate the launch of something new with a video. These videos can also be shared on your social media channels to let your followers know about your latest release.

Myth #3: Video requires a lot of resources.

Eighty-three percent of marketers say they’d increase their reliance on video if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget. But, with new tools hitting the market each day, video creation has never been easier or less expensive.

Looking to create videos without time, resources, or a big budget? Here are a few tips for getting started.

  • Use a DIY video solution: You don’t have to spend a fortune to hire a video producer. Today, there are many options out there for creating videos on your own. You can also save money by shooting on your phone and using natural light.
  • Repurpose photos and videos you already have: There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with every video. String together photos you already have of your products, services, or team. Then add text to tell your story and set it to music.
  • Use stock imagery: If you don’t have photos and video clips of your own, you still can create a video without taking out a camera. Stock images and video clips have come a long way, and there are lots of free stock options to choose from.
  • Use internal talent: Rather than hire actors and actresses, use your team. Today’s consumers are craving authenticity, and using your real employees is a great way for viewers to get to know the people behind your team.

Myth #4: Video is hard to scale.

Adding video into your email calendar and workflow can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

You don’t have to create a brand new video for every email. In fact, you can repurpose a lot of your existing marketing materials and content that you’re already sharing on your social channels.

Plus, as a rule of thumb, you should only use video in your campaigns if it adds value. Don’t include it just for the sake of using it; it’ll have a greater impact when used appropriately. Always be testing to see what works best for your audience and incorporate video accordingly.

Myth #5: Video is a waste of money.

Another common misconception about video is that it’s only effective for building brand awareness. Videos highlighting the benefits of your products, how they’re made, and demos help customers learn more about you. But creating announcements, product update videos, and testimonials can help turn prospects into paying customers.

Ninety-three percent of businesses using video said it led to a new customer and 57% of consumers also said that videos gave them more confidence to make a purchase online. So, rather than being a waste of money, video can be an effective tool for helping drive sales.

Wrap up

We hope that debunking these myths has made video a little less intimidating. Ready to get started? Start experimenting with some of the ideas in this post. And, remember, always be testing to see what videos resonate most with your audience. Happy video making.

Kevin Jan is an email marketing professional with 8+ years of experience across several industries. Currently, as Animoto‘s email marketing manager, Kevin is helping others unleash the power of video.

The post Check out These 5 Myths About Using Video in Email appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How Small Businesses Can Utilize Content Marketing

This is a guest post from Elizabeth Walker at Meegle.

We all know how important it is to market your local business online. But what exactly is content marketing for small business?

Read on to discover what content marketing is, its numerous advantages, the goals it can to achieve, and how to get started for your own small business.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

In other words, it means marketing your business with the use of relevant content. This helps you attract your target audience and bring in more traffic to your business online.

On an essential note, the content you create should be in line with your company and relevant to your target audience’s needs.

You don’t need to concentrate on your products and services constantly. Instead, curate content that targets your audience’s problems.

Content marketing methods

As a smart entrepreneur and marketer, you always have the task of keeping your budget in check and making wise decisions for the growth of your small business.

But, thanks to technological innovation, content marketing strategies for small businesses are available and ready for you.

Under this section, you’ll find five powerful content marketing ideas for small businesses. There are a lot of marketing methods, but we believe these are the first tactics you should use for your small business content marketing.

Blog posts and articles

small business content marketing

Source: Campaign Monitor

In everything you do, there’s always the question: Where do I start? And, for content marketing strategies for small businesses, the written content is your obvious starting point.

Make use of your blog posts and articles to boost your small business marketing. With the data you have at your disposal, aim to curate content that presents new information to your audience or that solves their issues.

However, if you’re having problems coming up with fresh content to write about, you always have the option to ask your customers what they’d like to know.

The internet is incredibly vast, meaning your content has to be specially curated for your audience. In other words, aim to write content for every niche that buys from your store.

It may be hard, at times, but with proper data and SEO research, you can begin to understand what questions your customers have and how you can help.

Not sure where to start researching? Use our Resources Hub to begin your data dive.

Infographics

If you’re tired of showing statistics and numbers on your blogs and articles, you may want to try another one of the available content marketing ideas for small businesses: infographics.

This type of content makes statistics easier to digest. Infographics make numbers appear more colorful and enjoyable to read and are more manageable to share than a bunch of texts.

What’s great is that you don’t have to do all the hard work with the design. Either you let your resident graphic designer come up with the idea or do it yourself with the help of hundreds of free infographic templates available online.

Your infographic works best if you give it a searchable title incorporated with relevant keywords and remember to cite your references for the data you used.

Don’t forget to include your business name and website within the infographic, as content marketing for small businesses requires branding content.

Need examples? Check out our custom-made infographics.

Interactive forms

One way to keep your potential customers stick to your website is to create interactive forms and tools within your content.

Doing that helps you generate more leads for your business. While your web content should always contain a CTA, your content works better when it requires development or urges potential customers to do something, and interactive forms help you achieve that.

Even though contact forms on landing pages are proven effective, they still don’t keep your website visitors engaged with your content for a very long time.

If you happen to be an online booking site, a calculator helps your visitors know how much they’re going to need to spend buying with your business.

That way, they don’t have to leave your site to pull up their calculators. Or worse, look for another business website with better content.

Podcasts and videos

For small businesses to survive in today’s fast-paced industry, marketers must adjust their content marketing strategies and come up with innovative ways to produce and distribute content to their target audience.

With the rise of the popularity of mobile devices, you should consider creating content that’s as portable as they are.

You can do just that with the use of podcasts and videos. These two can bring you more followers and increase engagement with your fanbase. You can make these files available on on-demand sites like iTunes or Spotify for podcasts, and Youtube or any social media website for videos.

Tips

Below are tips that some of the successful small businesses of today are applying to their content marketing.

Know your target audience and understand their needs.

As a business owner, it’s your job to understand your target audience. Your small business won’t taste success in the industry if you don’t know who your target market is and what they need.

The same goes for content marketing, knowing your target audience is crucial in creating a solid foundation for your content. It prevents you from wasting time coming up with content that’s irrelevant both to your line of business and your audience.

Conducting in-depth research on your target audience is a great idea to make sure you understand them and their needs.

Once you get a hold on understanding your target audience, it’ll be easy for potential customers to find you. That’s because you figured out the content you’re going to produce that hits home to your audience.

But always remember to avoid being hard-selling in tone with your content, as it’ll undoubtedly turn your customers off.

Give them what they want.

small businesses content marketing

Source: Campaign Monitor

After you’ve come to understand what your target audience needs, the next best step is to give them what they want. As a small business owner, you know that it’s not about you.

Doing small business marketing means making it more about the customer and their needs.

Thus, you have to give them solutions to problems and answers to questions that are relevant to your business, and they’ll likely come back for more and do business with you again.

Originality is best.

Producing content can be hard at times, but keeping it original can take you miles ahead of the competition. Take pride in everything that your business does and show it to your target audience through your content.

Formulate a sound small business marketing strategy that would allow you to showcase everything you could offer to the market, and be original as you can be.

Create well-crafted content.

Source: Campaign Monitor

In every blog about how to do content marketing, it’s always preaching about creating a well-crafted content: It’s part of what makes customers interested in your brand.

Quality content means being original, informative, honest, thought-provoking, and actionable. If you lean on these five qualities when you’re in the process of curating content, then keep going—you’re on the right track.

Wrap up

A wise small business owner and marketer should always remember that there are a lot of ways that you can utilize your content and come up with various content marketing ideas for small businesses.

You have to dig deep and show everyone what your business is made of. It’s also essential to curate meaningful content that keeps your brand attractive to your target market.

Never be afraid of trying out new ways and innovate your content marketing strategies like making infographics, podcasts, and videos, as opposed to doing everything in text only.


Author Bio

Elizabeth Walker is a Marketing Outreach Specialist for Meegle and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Management. She writes articles with essential tips on digital marketing and helps small businesses achieve their business goals through their SEO and social media campaigns.

The post How Small Businesses Can Utilize Content Marketing appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Identifying Underperforming Content: A Guide To Content Analysis

This is a guest post from Deana Kovač at Point Visible.

How many times have you heard that tired old “content is king” adage?

Probably a few too many.

But when it comes to content, you really can’t ignore its effectiveness, especially when it comes to growing your strategy.

How we produce content might change, but audiences everywhere want to absorb new information quickly and efficiently. In other words, content is here to stay, and all you can do is work on improving your own.

The benefits of having well-crafted content in place are clear: Quality content marketing drives visits, increases conversions, boosts brand awareness, improves email campaigns, and allows your brand to develop a personality.

See the best content marketing examples of 2019 here.

The one downside of content production? It requires you to invest resources like time, creativity, and money—especially if you have underperforming content.

What is underperforming content?

Underperforming content is anything that isn’t achieving the ROI you’d hoped. If your blog isn’t getting traffic, or your videos aren’t being watched, or your emails are lacking engagement, you’re experiencing underperforming content.

Naturally, there’s a way to circumvent the costs we discussed above and improve your numbers, and it comes in the form of content analysis and content upgrades.

Read on to discover how you can pinpoint your underperforming content and make it work for you.

How to identify underperforming content

First, let’s dissect what underperforming content actually looks like.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll divide it into three categories:

Content that once performed well, but no longer does:

Your blog might host several articles that were once popular, driving traffic and sales. But for some reason, you’re now seeing that these once-popular posts have dropped in both rankings and visits.

This is the type of content that lends itself well to upgrades and revamps.

Content that never performed well:

On the other hand, you might also have pieces that are dead and have never actually had much potential.

These could be pieces about obsolete topics that no one is searching for anymore, pieces about obsolete tech or tactics, etc.

You’d do best to remove this content from your blog and redirect any links it may have acquired over the years to pages with more potential.

Content that hasn’t been successful but that has potential:

This is content that can work very well, if you spruce it up a bit. (We talk more about this below.)

How can you tell which content isn’t performing but could? Here are some of the metrics you should be keeping an eye on, to ensure your content is doing the best it can:

  • Pageviews – If they’re low, not many people are seeing what you produce. This is clearly an issue you want to fix—but only for pages that meet other criteria.

This is an example of how you can see pageviews on underperforming content using SEO sites.

Source

  • Time on page – If this number is low, site visitors end up leaving fast. This often means that what you have to say doesn’t answer their questions. The way to remedy this is to write a more in-depth piece, going into more detail and providing actual value to the reader.
  • Keywords the page ranks for – Most pages will naturally rank for many keywords, and you don’t have to focus on adding specific words to the text anymore. What you should be paying attention to is the anchor you use when building links to your pages.

This is an ahrefs screengrab showing organic keywords.

Source

  • Social shares – If your content was once shared a lot, this can be a great sign that you can use the same piece again and give it a facelift.
  • Backlinks – If a piece of content is acquiring backlinks on its own, it’s a great sign. You’ve done something well, and people are linking to you as a resource.

This referral path screen grab shows which sites are backlinking to your content. If it's underperforming content, you'll want to redirect the links to new links.

Source

  • Organic visits – If this number is low, people aren’t finding you in search. In other words, it’s time to bust out your SEO toolkit and upgrade your page and try to revamp the content.

There are several tools you can use to acquire these metrics: Google Analytics and Google Search Console are the obvious candidates, but you can also buy an Ahrefs subscription to gain access to some additional insight.

You might also keep your data in a spreadsheet, where it will be easy to access and understand.

Make sure you analyze data over a period of time (e.g. month after month). This will give you insight into the trends and potential trends you can tap into.

Curious about email benchmarks data and how you compare? Our guide can help.

What causes content to drop?

Once you have access to all of your data, you can start asking the fun questions: Why is something performing well vs. why is something underperforming?

We’ll only be looking at the latter case. Here are some of the more prevalent causes for underperforming content:

Outdated information

Search engines love fresh information, as do users. If you have a post that was last updated several years ago, all you need to do is add in fresh information and numbers and republish at today’s date.

Better content published by another source

There are literally millions of blogs being written right now. It’s likely content is being published about something you’ve already covered, and it’s possible that it’s more relevant to users.

If so, it’s possible that post will perform better. When looking to upgrade a post, look at the posts that are performing best in Google for said topic.

Wrong choice of keywords

If you’ve tried to rank your post for a certain set of keywords and succeeded, you might still be facing a high bounce rate.

This will most often mean that visitors don’t see the point in your post and aren’t looking for what you have to say.

The solution to this is venturing into your Search Console and Analytics, taking a look at what you’re ranking for, and what brings in the best traffic.

Use this information to curate content to the visitors you already have.

Grammar errors

There’s nothing worse than trying to read a post that’s informative but poorly written.

Make sure you always fix any errors and typos. You can use any number of online tools available, and even Google Docs has automated fail-safes for grammar.

Poor formatting

Humans are visual, meaning a blog post without some visual variety (e.g. short paragraphs, subheadings, images, etc.) won’t likely be read.

How you format your post is half the job, so make sure you use subheadings, bullet points, reputable links, and high-quality images.

The video below discusses how you can balance content in your emails: This also applies to how you format content on your webpage.

What content can you save?

There are three main choices to consider when it comes to cleaning up underperforming content.

Delete a post completely and redirect all links pointing to it to other posts; write a brand-new piece from scratch and replace an existing post; upgrade a piece you already have in place.

Delete what can’t be saved: no traffic, very poor rankings, and no interest in the subject.

Write new pieces on topics that are popular on subjects that interest your target audience, but which have been done poorly before.

Upgrade well-performing pieces that have shown potential.

Here’s what can help you make the best choice:

  • Keyword potential: Ahrefs has a great feature, which allows you to determine how easy it’ll be to rank for certain keywords. If you have a post you can rank easily, the choice is simple.

This is a graph showing search volume for underperforming content.

This is an Ahrefs screen grab showing search volume.

Source

  • Search volume: if certain keywords are often searched for and you already have a post on the subject—no brainer.
  • Trending and viral topics: this one is a bit tricky, as we can never actually guess what will go viral. On the other hand, you can use Google Trends to gauge the potential of certain topics, and try to direct your own work in a relevant direction. On the other hand, be warned: evergreen topics perform better over the long term than viral posts, so don’t chase a trend merely for the sake of it.

This is a screenshot of Google trends.

  • Time and effort: creating great content takes a lot; you can’t expect to do it in one sitting. Focus most of your energies on posts with the most potential, and those that could bring in the best ROI.

Repurposing content vs. remaking it

Another point we should discuss is repurposing content (as opposed to updating it) and how beneficial this process can be.

Turning a blog post into a video, a video into a podcast, or a podcast into a blog post can be a great way to create something new, without spending too much time and effort on the project, especially since you already have the data.

The choice will largely depend on what your audience likes and how easy it is to reshape a topic.

Some topics won’t work well in different formats, but will greatly benefit from an upgrade of the same format.

Let’s illustrate this concept with an example.

At one time, this post on web hosting didn’t rank for anything. It was a chunk of text with plenty of info but not much digestible content.

Once they changed the layout, added in a table of contents, implemented a box with pros and cons, and updated their outdated information, it began ranking.

This is an example of an updated post that was previously underperforming content.

Think about how you can do the same: Improve user experience by making it easy for visitors to get the information they need from the page.

Add useful links for further reading; improve the images; write new meta descriptions and titles.

In short, try to make it both informative and accessible.

A caveat on blog performance

Finally, we need to mention that there’s no hope for great content to rank if it’s hosted on a bad website that isn’t performing well.

What this means is:

  • Your domain name needs to be in line with your brand. Try not to have any numbers, superfluous interpunction, etc. in the domain name.
  • Choose a reliable host.
  • Ensure all of your on-page elements are up to snuff.
  • Be careful where you promote your blog. Don’t build links on shady websites and don’t use content farms.
  • Think of the user first, and the search engine second. UX is gaining traction as a ranking factor, and you need to ensure visitors have a pleasant experience with you, rather than trying to outsmart an AI.

Wrap up

We may roll our eyes at the “content is king” cliche, but cliche or no, content is still pretty important.

In order to do well online, useful and interesting content is crucial.

What those two terms mean will differ from user to user, from brand to brand. Your task is to match your voice with that of your target audience.

And, yes, producing content is expensive—which is why you can turn to your existing posts and work on them, rather than invest in something new.

Performing a content audit once a year will allow you to not only to make the most of what you have, but it will also allow you to gain a new sense of the direction you need to be going in the future.


This is a headshot of Deana Korvac, a marketer at Point Visible.

Deana is an internet marketing specialist at Point Visible, a digital agency providing custom blogger outreach services. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and singing karaoke. Also, her day just can’t start without a hot cup of coffee.

The post Identifying Underperforming Content: A Guide To Content Analysis appeared first on Campaign Monitor.