/Marketing Your Business

How to Conduct a Digital Marketing Audit

AuditAnother year has come and gone — well, it’s not gone completely, but it is going. Back in January, I posted about the possibilities of the new year and encouraged readers to take time each month to focus on building stronger content marketing skills. The great news is that if you started the journey with me 12 months ago, then you’ve grown in unimaginable ways. The good news is that if you didn’t start or didn’t keep up, the information lives on, here on CorpNet, and you can follow along at your own pace in the way that works best for you.

Over the past months, I’ve delved into how to improve your social media presence, best practices for promoting your brand, and the best way to develop steady content for your blog in addition to many other strategies. This month I’ll examine some of the most important approaches to use when conducting a digital marketing audit. If your body tensed up when you read the word ‘audit,’ stay calm. This method is straightforward. The most important thing is to have a sharp eye and be honest with yourself about which efforts are working and which are not.

1. How much interaction are you getting on social sites?

Your brand has a presence on all the appropriate social media sites and you’re creating consistent and custom content for each channel, but how many new followers are you amassing? It definitely takes some time to build an audience, but if you aren’t seeing a growth pattern, you probably need to make adjustments to your strategy.

Are your posts getting retweets and shares? If not, your posts may be missing something or you may not be posting enough to get on the radar of your followers. What do your direct comments look like? If it’s part of your strategy, are you engaging followers in a one-to-one approach? At its essence, this question asks you to analyze whether or not your social media posts are hitting their marks. If not, it may be time for an overhaul of your game plan. Continue reading “How to Conduct a Digital Marketing Audit” »

By | December 10th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

5 Reasons You Can No Longer Ignore Video Marketing

Video Marketing Advertising Concept BackgroundWhile a year or two ago, video marketing was still cutting-edge, it’s now become one of the more popular ways to reach an audience.  In fact, there are 55% more people watching mobile videos around the world than there were in 2013, and you can bet that some of those people fit your customer demographic.

Here’s why you need to add videos to your content marketing plan in 2016.

1. Videos Engage More People

We already know that sharing images on Twitter results in 18% more clicks and 150% more retweets. Video has that same power…and more. Hootsuite found that videos are shared 1200% more than text and links combined!

A video included in email can get 20% more opens and 2-3x the clickthrough rates as an email without video. It’s such a small tweak to what you’re already doing in marketing, but with really fantastic payoffs.

2. Everyone Else is Doing It

If you think you can wait to hop on the bandwagon, don’t: 96% of B2B companies plan on using video marketing in 2016. If you’re not using it, you’re basically handing market share over to your competition that is leveraging video marketing. Continue reading “5 Reasons You Can No Longer Ignore Video Marketing” »

By | December 8th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

6 Last-Minute Marketing Tips for Black Friday

ShoppingThe clock is ticking and the holiday hurrah is building up to one of the biggest shopping days of the year. If you haven’t jumped on your holiday planning just yet, all is not lost. You still have some time to build a sweet, little Black Friday marketing campaign. With 25% of shoppers (that number jumps to 56% when you include online shopping) already planning to hit the streets on Black Friday, you can take advantage of this unofficial holiday, even if you’re a procrastinator.

1. Produce a Holiday Gift Guide

 

Your holiday gift guide can be thematic, “Gifts for Him,” “Gifts for Her,” “Gifts for Entrepreneurs,” etc. or they can be product oriented, like “Best Cosmetics of the Year.” Either way, they should be centered around a concept that ignites enthusiasm in your target customer. If you provide a service, you can still make a gift guide. Just make sure your service is front and center.

2. Create a Tie-in Promotion That Complements Your Business

 

In order to build on the Black Friday excitement, you can use a tie-in promotion that kindles more loyalty to your business. A spa could offer a discount on products for customers who buy gift certificates for holiday presents. A life coach might offer special 15 minute coaching sessions for those who purchase coaching packages that customers can use or give away to family and friends. There are various ways to appeal to your intended audience that build your brand and bring in customers who are ready to shop. Continue reading “6 Last-Minute Marketing Tips for Black Friday” »

By | November 19th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

6 Tips to Rocking Content Marketing with an Ebook or Whitepaper

ebook (electronic book) - a word in grunge letterpress metal type on a  digital tablet with a cup of coffee

Does the thought of writing something longer than a blog post make you stop and catch your breath? Blog posts are just the tip of the content marketing iceberg, so pull up a chair and let’s talk about whitepapers and ebooks. In general, the agreed definition of a whitepaper is a longer document, usually in the 8-20 page range, that addresses a problem or challenge, provides a solution, and demonstrates the expertise of the author (you!). Ebooks are longer, more thorough, and cover slightly bigger territory.

This month on your 12-month marketing calendar, it’s time to consider ebooks and whitepapers as a way to reach your audience.

Your ebook or whitepaper is a great way to connect with your audiences, grow that audience by sharing the wealth of your expertise, and provide a way for potential clients to test drive your your methodology prior to doing business with you. They are excellent opportunities to develop your professional brand and absolutely worth all the effort. Remember you won’t be giving it away, so the production efforts are an investment in your future. Here are 6 tips for rocking your whitepaper or ebook right out of the gate.

1. Define Your Audience.

Just as an emerging business must define its target customer before drawing up a business plan, your ebook or whitepaper needs a defined and specific target audience. Who is the manuscript for? You will be tempted to skip this step and think “It’s for everyone!” You will save yourself substantial trouble if you avoid this temptation and hone in on your ideal audience member. Draw firm lines that elucidate your audience. This will help tremendously with the next step.

2. Formulate an Outline.

Did you hate it when your high school English teacher asked for an outline with your essays? I used to write my outline after I wrote my essay, but this is not a five paragraph essay! You will save yourself so much wasted effort when you adhere to this step. Your outline is the blueprint that will help your writing stay tight and give you direction when you don’t know what to do next. You may end up moving things around later for clarity. That’s okay. At this stage, you want to prepare to write to the best of your ability. Continue reading “6 Tips to Rocking Content Marketing with an Ebook or Whitepaper” »

By | November 12th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Are Clearance Sales a Smart Marketing Strategy?

clearance designTraditionally, clearance sales are a way for businesses to clear out merchandise that is out-of-date or selling slowly to create room for new and updated stock. There are many ways to incorporate sales such as buy-one-get-one deals, coupons, and even bulk discounts. You can use these tactics in a multitude of ways to build sales, but what should you do with goods that are hard to move?

Unfortunately, inventory that is not selling is inventory that is costing you money above and beyond your initial investment. Those costs may be not be as blatant as the original invoice, but if products are sitting on a shelf instead of shipping, they are reducing your sales per square foot whether they’re in a warehouse or on a sales floor. So are clearance sales a win-win marketing strategy? It depends on many factors, but done well, clearance sales can help businesses strengthen sales, develop steadfast customer relationships, and clear they way for more suitable stock. Here are some tips to make sure that your clearance markdowns create value:

  1. Keep your clearance section spruced up.

Whether you’re an online retailer or have a physical location or find yourself with both types of storefronts, make sure that your clearance section is organized, tidy, and appealing. Shoppers will develop confidence in your offerings when they see noticeable care and concern in maintaining a well-kept presentation regardless of the price point. In addition to displaying your merchandising skills, an attractive virtual or physical display increases the allure of your offerings.

2. Stay consistent with your strategy for determining what is a clearance item.

As noted above, there are many types of promotional sales that can help your business sell more commodities. Many of those kinds of sales are temporary or promotional while the markdown on clearance items should be final and substantial. Seasonal items or items that are dated or unpopular are merchandise that can be put on clearance posthaste. Some stores use post-holiday clearance discounts to continue to boost sales during traditional declines. Develop a system that works for your niche and use it to identify items that are obvious candidates for your clearance sales. Continue reading “Are Clearance Sales a Smart Marketing Strategy?” »

By | October 22nd, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

How to Use Holiday Marketing to Your Benefit

holidays shoppingIf you haven’t had the time to start planning your holiday marketing for the year, the time to start is now. The holiday season is not just a time of celebration and relaxation; it is also time when your marketing efforts can build customer confidence and rapport; all while strengthening your brand and increasing your sales base. Your holiday marketing strategies should serve your business and your customers. Here are five ways your holiday marketing efforts can benefit your company:

  1. Use Promotions to Build Customer Satisfaction

Customers are the core of your business. Without them your company would not exist, so what holiday promotions can you come up with to thank them for their trade? It can be as simple as free gift wrapping, entry into a contest for commenting, or a discount on select items with purchase. Use your imagination and your market research to help you find the promotion that perfectly aligns with your clientele. Make sure that your campaign communicates how much you value your customers and demonstrates your dedication to their satisfaction.

2. Improve Your Shipping Strategy

 

If you have products to ship, this is the perfect time to tighten up your shipping procedures. Are you getting your products to your customers in a reasonable time? In the age of Amazon Prime shipping subscriptions, your customers might have a different notion of “fast” than they did even a few years ago. Examine your shipping game plan to suss out where and when you can tighten it up and then promote the heck out of it. If your shipping deadline improves, make sure your customers know about it, but stick to it no matter what. It harms your relationship with customers when you drop the ball. Consider participating in Free Shipping Day: a solo day where merchants offer free shipping during the holidays.  Continue reading “How to Use Holiday Marketing to Your Benefit” »

By | October 14th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Get More Out of Content Marketing with Infographics

Infographic digital design, vector illustration eps 10

Infographic digital design, vector illustration eps 10

Now that you’ve been using content marketing to build a better relationship with your audience and make it easier for potential customers to find you, you might be wondering how you can make your appeal stronger and provide more captivating content. As part of our 12-month analysis into how to improve your content marketing, we’ve looked at how to write engaging titles, boost social media strategies, and utilize email to connect with your audience. This month the focus is on infographics and how they can help grab your audience’s attention.

Infographics are a fusion of strong visuals and key ideas. They take information and create an easily digestible, portable way of compressing content. Think about the last time you flipped through a news magazine. You may have disregarded articles that did not grab your interest, but as you fanned through the pages, was your glance captured by a chart or other means of data visualization? If so, you’ve experienced the allure and power of infographics. You should think about using infographics for many reasons, but here are the most compelling:

 

1. They Tell a Story

 

Infographics digest a narrative into a small chunk of intelligence, but they are still masterful at conveying a story. You can use them to share a product’s path to market or talk about variances in your customer base, or even the types of products or services you offer. Their power is that they transfer information to your audience visually. Continue reading “Get More Out of Content Marketing with Infographics” »

By | October 7th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Bone Up on Podcasting

podcast word in metal typeAs you learn how to run a business, it’s always a good idea to add variety to your content marketing strategy. Podcasting, or an episodic series of digital audio broadcasts, is another way of distributing content to your audience. People may argue the specifics of what makes a podcast a podcast, but the only thing that is not disputed is that the audience for podcasts grows each month. Meanwhile the experts argue about whether the medium is in “the middle of a long boom or a short bubble,” but everyone agrees that podcasting is an emerging way to nurture an audience.

While the term initially referred to “pod” devices (remember those?), now all you need is an Internet-connected computer with some sort of speaker or a smartphone to quickly and easily download and listen to podcasts. The draw is that you can listen to conversations and dialogues on a wide variety of topics, involving passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated storytellers and thinkers whenever you have the time.

In this installment of our twelve month series focused on improving and developing your content marketing skills, we’ll investigate the ins and outs of podcasting as a marketing tool and how you can explore this emerging space for interesting content.

 

  1. Investigate podcasts that focus on your industry.

You have your work cut out for you this month. If you’ve never listened to a podcast and feel like you’re bumping around in the dark, you should be able to use a simple query in a search engine to find your way to a curated list. Some smartphones offer a “Podcast” app that you can use to find suitably themed podcasts. Focus on casting a fairly wide net which helps you find a broad variety of voices and perspectives. Continue reading “Bone Up on Podcasting” »

By | September 30th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

11 Steps You Should Take to Improve Your Q4 Marketing

Businessman drawing ROI (return on investment) with graphs

Businessman drawing ROI (return on investment) with graphs

As of September 30th, there will only be about 90 days left in the year and Q4 will be a reality. Rather than worrying about what you haven’t done, take time right now to research, prepare, and launch your Q4 marketing. So what do retailers need to be doing now to be ready for Q4? Here are 11 things you can do to to get your business ready:

 

  1. Look at last year’s campaigns and repeat what works.

 

Study last year’s Q4 trends to see which tactics worked and which failed. Be tough in your evaluations. Why waste your time on efforts that don’t produce results? If your business is more recent, you can use tools like Google Trends to investigate the what and when of relevant keywords in your field.

  1. Build campaigns around the products you want to push.

As a retailer, you may have a special or innovative product that you are excited to share with your customers. Use these distinctive products as the centerpiece of your Q4 campaign and build your efforts around this offering.

  1. Start your social media efforts now.

This is the prime time to develop your Q4 social media push by making Pinterest boards featuring your products, developing a unique Twitter contest or creating a Facebook ad to attract your target market. Continue reading “11 Steps You Should Take to Improve Your Q4 Marketing” »

By | September 2nd, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Marketing From the Ground Up

962_4076598I meet a lot of small business owners who are frustrated because they try one or two marketing strategies like email or blogging, and then don’t understand why those techniques don’t send them traffic.

What I tell them — and will tell you — is that you have to start with the right foundation and have marketing goals if you want to actually move the needle and get results.

Why Goal-Setting is Key

Any marketing technique you could do — from having a strong online presence to sending promotional emails — needs a tether. That tether is your plan, along with your goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish can help you measure results.

Making SMART Goals

There’s a popular strategy for setting goals that I’d like to apply to creating marketing goals. It’s the SMART strategy, which says to make your goals: Continue reading “Marketing From the Ground Up” »

By | August 26th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments