Prioritizing Your Inbound Marketing Strategies for 2021

Marketing is a continually evolving landscape. You know this. We know this. But 2020 presented a different challenge than previous years, leaving marketers to dig deep into what they need to do to attract and nurture leads and customers.

2021 will be no different – which shouldn’t make you panic! Part of marketing is doing your due diligence, and we’ve combined resources to come up with some powerful strategies to consider prioritizing in 2021.

SMS Marketing

The popularity of SMS was already accelerating pre-COVID, but the pandemic made the importance of quick, timely, relevant messages more necessary than ever. People needed fast updates on everything, from closures to switches to remote learning. And SMS marketing provided that, plus an average 98% read rate.

SMS marketing is also useful for both leads and customers in non-COVID-related campaigns, as you can implement various campaigns that are engaging to both audiences. For example, for current customers, you can send them text reminders of appointments or meetings. For leads, you may consider sending them branding awareness campaigns or coupons that may encourage them to buy from you.

The best part? With a platform like SMSZap, getting started with SMS marketing is a breeze. You can set up your account in a few minutes, link up with your contacts in HubSpot, and send personalized and engaging messages.

Content Marketing

COVID restrictions sent most people home at one point – to shop or work, or both. This made the demand for digital consumption skyrocket. What does that mean for your efforts in 2021? Your content needs to be high-caliber and plentiful, as well as:

  • Interactive
  • Emphatic
  • Engaging
  • Relevant to current events (2020 saw everything from social change, major elections, and COVID)
  • Made for the diverse crowds

That translates to creating and sharing educational, quality content about your products, services, and your company to your prospects and customers. You can use various resources like blogs, ebooks, infographics, social media, and videos to deliver your messages. No matter what type of content it is, it should address your target audiences’ specific pain points at every stage of their buyer’s journey, including the awareness, consideration, decision, and delight stages.

Video

Video can technically be considered a part of your content marketing – but its importance in our “new normal” isn’t something to shrug your shoulders. People longed for some human connection that they couldn’t get in person. Think about how you can use video in your previously “typical” marketing efforts. Are you switching to more online conferences, events, or webinars? These remote types of content are not going anywhere soon.

Similarly, video is just proven to be a useful tactic. In fact, 79% of consumers reported that a brand’s video convinced them to buy a piece of software or an app. A whopping 92% of those viewers also said they shared videos with others. That alone should help you realize the value of investing in video creation and distribution.

Chatbots and Customer Support Automation

When COVID initially hit, people scrambled to cancel flights, hotels, concerts, trips, appointments; you name it. The importance of a quick and solid customer support experience was integral. But customers weren’t the only ones dealing with the consequences of such an uncertain year. Support agents were hit with an influx of tickets to their helpdesk. Fortunately, chatbots and other customer support automation helped and will continue to in 2021.

Chatbots automate specific tasks and conversations by speaking with a customer or prospect through an easy-to-use interface. They lighten your teams’ workloads by tackling more straightforward conversational functions that are necessary but can eat up time. Advanced customer service automation can offload a large portion of support tickets with a high degree of accuracy. These resources also delight users because more and more people want information as quickly as possible and don’t mind speaking over a chat application.

Social Media

2020 certainly had a prevailing theme, and it was that a lot of people were at home for a good portion of it. Because of this, more people were also on their phones searching for news and updates from their favorite brands. One of the most common places to find this is generally a company’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Brands recognized this too. In fact, social media budgets accounted for 24% of all marketing budgets during the second quarter of 2020. And the momentum kept. There’s tremendous opportunity to ride these coattails and continue engaging and re-engaging with new and existing customers through fun, engaging social media campaigns or advertising.

SEO

When the pandemic subsides, businesses with brick and mortar locations will likely want to send as many people as possible back into their stores. Local search engine optimization (SEO) can help. Try:

  • Optimizing your “Google My Business Page”
  • Including local keywords throughout your website content
  • Strengthening your social media presence and including location-specific content

Position Zero, or Google’s featured snippet, should also take precedence in 2021. As humans become more reliant on technology, they expect the best answer as fast as possible. Position Zero has the most relevant information that answers that user’s question without clicking on any link. Some advice on getting a featured snippet includes:

  • Figure out what your company can get a snippet for
  • Writing out the exact question you’re trying to answer in your website or blog content
  • Use lists or tables
  • Research related questions and answers – any question can lead to another!
  • Create high-quality content that isn’t stuffed with keywords .

Another vital thing to consider when tackling SEO is to remember that people are searching for things differently now. People are asking more questions or phrases rather than just words. They’re also using devices like Alexa or Google Home. Search engines recognize this more nuanced context, meaning, and intent to deliver results, so keep it in mind for 2021. 

By: Kelly Groover

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Clwyd Probert

https://www.whitehat-seo.co.uk/ This presentation was made my Karen Rafferty from HubSpot as part of a seminar at the London HubSpot User Group in London. This video will show you the best tips for implementing a great inbound marketing strategy. You can download the free eBook here: https://info.whitehat-seo.co.uk/tips-… The full transcript of the video can be found here: https://blog.whitehat-seo.co.uk/inbou… Slides can be downloaded here: https://info.whitehat-seo.co.uk/londo… A summary article covering the main points is available here: https://blog.whitehat-seo.co.uk/tips-… We propose is to start to deploy a strategy to both your sales and marketing activities in your business.

It’s important just to reiterate here that with inbound marketing what we’re essentially doing is trying to focus on attracting good fit leads or opportunities for your business. And we do that through producing meaningful content that can enable you to have meaningful interactions with potential customers. It’s about just having good social etiquette. I’m, it’s not about interrupting people, it’s about actually being helpful, being responsive. Being very human in the way that you employ your marketing and your sales strategy. Which of the strategy from the video works best for you in 2018. Let me know by leaving a quick comment below. Details of the next London HUG event #LondonHUG can be found here: https://www.whitehat-seo.co.uk/hubspo…

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How Exactly Does Content Marketing Help in Building Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is more than people simply recognizing your business name or your logo.True brand awareness entails your audience getting to know the personality behind your brand and what makes you different from your competitors.

It’s vital to build brand awareness because consumers are much more likely to buy from a brand they know and trust than one that’s new to them.A research study found that over 80% of people searching for a product on Google chose to click on websites they were already familiar with, regardless of their position in the results.

Content marketing can be a highly effective way to build brand awareness. With every piece of branded content an individual sees, they become more familiar with your brand. But while exposure is important, it’s not the only factor at play. Content can help to build your brand in several different ways.

Quick Takeaways

  • Content marketing is an excellent way to demonstrate knowledge and expertise and build trust with your audience.
  • The more content you publish, the more exposure you give your brand. Every piece of content has the potential to widen your audience.
  • Your content is an important part of your overall brand and can be used to amplify your brand voice and reinforce your commitment to your brand values.

1. Demonstrating Authority and Expertise

By regularly publishing informative and educational content that helps to solve your audience’s problems, you demonstrate the fact that you know what you’re talking about as an expert in your industry.

For example, take a look at the blog published by marketing and CRM software company, HubSpot. HubSpot publishes a lot of detailed and useful articles on subjects such as content marketing, web design, email marketing, SEO, and customer experience.

Most of these articles are not written with the aim of selling more software licenses. Nor, indeed do they even mention the products and services that the company sells.

This informational content is not published with the aim of making more sales, but rather to share knowledge and cement HubSpot’s position as an authority in the area of digital marketing.

The audience reading HubSpot’s blog may not immediately be looking for a marketing software solution. However, with each piece of content they read, they’ll build a stronger association between the HubSpot brand and marketing knowledge.

If at some point in the future they are in the market for a CRM or marketing automation software, they’ll already have HubSpot in mind and be confident in the brand’s experience and knowledge.

2. Building Trust

Consistently publishing helpful information for your audience not only helps to demonstrate your expertise and authority but is also vital for gaining the trust of your target audience.

People don’t like to feel like they’re being sold to or that brands only have an interest in gaining their business.

Content marketing means publishing content that’s not sales focused and demonstrates you care about your audience and their problems, rather than just making the sale.

The more content your audience reads and the better they get to know your brand, the more likely they will be to trust you. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to spend money with you in the future.

Source: Marketing Charts

3. Fleshing Out Your Brand Personality

Many brands offer very similar products and services, often at similar prices. Your brand personality is what distinguishes you from your competitors and builds relationships and loyalty with your customers.

Your content should reflect your brand values and mission. It should demonstrate what you offer beyond the products and services you sell.

Every piece of content you publish should also reflect your brand tone and voice. Whether this is fun and friendly, creative and quirky, or confident and informative depends on your audience, the industry you’re in, and how you want to position your brand.

Source: EndeavorCreative

To get this all right, it’s important to have a clear and defined brand, mission, value, voice, and content strategy that pulls it all together. Skipping over any of these steps will result in content that doesn’t have a clear voice or personality, and your brand will be weakened as a result.

4. Increasing Brand Exposure and Mentions

Every piece of content you publish gives you a new opportunity to expand your audience and reach more eyes.

Publishing content around the topics that your audience and customers are interested in is a highly effective way to boost your SEO. This means your site is more likely to come up in searches for keywords related to your business. The more content you publish, the more chances you have of showing up in search results.

Source: Oracle Modern Marketing Blog

Good content can help you to attract traffic from many other sources apart from search engines.

People share high-quality content on social media. Social media mentions are doubly effective because they not only help you to reach a wider audience, but a social share acts as a vote of confidence and demonstrates that others trust in your brand too.

This is increasingly important these days where 83% of consumers say they are more likely to buy a product or service if it is recommended by a friend or family member.

5. Building Customer Loyalty

Content marketing is not only important for attracting new customers but also to keep the customers you already have.

Strengthening relationships with your customers is also important for building your brand. When customers are loyal to your brand, they are more likely to recommend it to others.

Consistently publishing new content is a great way to stay in touch with your existing customers, keep your brand on their mind, and give them more opportunities to share your content and products with others.

6. Engaging Your Audience with Brand Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. So it’s no surprise that much of the most successful content on the web involves some element of storytelling.

Likewise, some of the world’s most successful brands have a great story behind them. Just look at Apple (founded by college dropouts out of a garage) or Toms shoes (inspired by the travels of the founder and the barefoot children he met along the way).

If you can use content to tell the story of your brand in an engaging way, you’ll build an emotional connection with your audience that will make them want to read more, interact more, and buy more from your brand.

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today–and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

By Michael Brenner

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Marketing Insider Group

The Marketing Insider Group provides content marketing workshops and content development services. Scale your content and start showing Content Marketing ROI today. Free Consultation

Services

Hinge

The number one criteria prospective clients use when they’re selecting a firm is expertise. In this video, Liz Harr shares the top 3 ways to demonstrate your expertise for greater visibility and marketplace reputation. For more content just like this, connect with Liz & Hinge: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eharr/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElizHarr LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/153024/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/HingeMarketing Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HingeMarketing Professional Services Executive Forum: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3828540

What Does Your Content Say About Your Company Culture

It’s more important than ever before to build a positive and inspiring company culture. The culture of your organization affects the talent you attract, how engaged your employees are at work, and also the customers who choose your brand over others.

Your company culture is a reflection of your core brand values and mission. And those values can be an important factor in the decision-making process when someone chooses to spend their money or do business with you.

According to a 2020 survey of consumer behavior, over 70% said it was important that companies they bought from aligned with their values.There are many factors that go into your company culture. It’s important to mold the working environment and the sort of business you do around the type of culture you want to cultivate.

But have you considered how the content you are publishing affects how your company culture is perceived?

Quick Takeaways

  • Expressing your true company culture is critical for attracting the right talent and the right customers.
  • The content you publish can be a valuable way to demonstrate your brand culture.
  • Get your brand values and mission statement set in stone to create a solid base for all your content marketing efforts.

Why Your Content Is a Reflection of Your Culture

Have a think about the brands you regularly consume content from and how the content has a unique personality that affects how you would describe the brand.

For example, take a look at this tweet from smoothie company Innocent Drinks:

Even if you’d never heard of the company before, you’d probably start forming an impression of their company culture just from seeing this small piece of content.

Some things that spring to mind include:

  • Young and fun
  • Friendly
  • Caring about the environment

A quick look at the Innocent Drinks page shows that this first impression aligns pretty closely with the brand’s stated values.

How about another example?

Social media automation tool Buffer actually dedicates a whole section of its blog to the importance of “open” culture.

You can see that Buffer values transparency, sustainability, and work-life balance from their blog articles on subjects including calculating the carbon footprint of remote work, moving to a four-day workweek, and why their transparent email policy stopped working.

Buffer is a brand that really understands the importance of content marketing and makes the effort to ensure that all content reflects its core values:

  • Default to transparency
  • Cultivate positivity
  • Show gratitude
  • Practice reflection
  • Improve consistently
  • Act beyond yourself

Does Your Content Promote Your Company Culture?

Take a look through some of your existing content online with fresh eyes. Does it really reflect your brand and values? If your content was all someone had to go on, would they have an accurate picture of what it might be like to work for your company?

Some brands naturally do a great job of creating values-focused content. The ones that do succeed not only because they have a talented team of marketers and content creators working for them, but also because they have a clear idea of the company culture they want to cultivate and promote.

So if you don’t yet have a clear handle on how to describe your company culture, or you’re waiting for it to develop organically, you must focus on building a positive culture first.

Your people are one of the cornerstones of your company culture so make sure they’re involved. Getting together to officially nail down your brand values or mission statement can be a great starting point for an official company culture to flourish.

But when it comes to brand culture, actions matter more than words. There’s no point in claiming you have an open and honest culture and care about the environment if this isn’t true.

Developing your true company culture will take some time, but it can be helped along by working with people who share your values.

Hiring the right people is essential, of course. But marketing to the right audience is equally as important. If you can create content that attracts an audience that shares your brand values, you’ll be well on the way to success.

Creating Content Around Your Culture

Once you’ve put the hard work into building a great brand culture, you can use your content to show off what a great company you are.

If you’ve come up with a list of official brand values, this can be a great way to get started with your content plan, as you can make sure any new content you create falls into one of these “buckets”.

Make sure to take advantage of content to tell the story of your brand. When working through your content strategy, it’s natural to want to make sure that each piece of content is fulfilling a specific purpose and aligning with the customer journey.

But not all content has to or should funnel a potential customer toward a sale. Your content should also work to build your brand slowly but consistently with each piece you produce.

Great authors don’t have to work to market their books. People eagerly anticipate them and buy them automatically because they know they like their style and subjects.

If you approach your marketing content in the same way romance novelists tackle their books, you’re sure to be well on the road to building a dedicated audience that is interested in what you have to say.

Activating your employees to create their own content is another fail-safe way of creating authentic, engaging content.

Nobody knows your company and its culture better than your employees. Utilizing their knowledge, expertise, and passion is often the most effective way to tell the world about your company culture.

At the very least, make sure your employees are involved in your content process, whether that’s by brainstorming ideas for content topics or sharing your content on their own social media accounts.

Ready to Tell the Story of Your Brand Culture?

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today–and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

By Michael Brenner

Marketing Insider Group

The Marketing Insider Group provides content marketing workshops and content development services. Scale your content and start showing Content Marketing ROI today. Free Consultation

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What Content Marketing is NOT

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Before we delve a little deeper into what content marketing is not, we will first answer the question of what content marketing is.

What is Content Marketing?

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”. This is quite different to the usual marketing techniques of pitching services or products – rather, you are producing relevant and useful content for your audience and customers in order solve their problems and answer their questions.Any forward thinking marketer – and businessperson – can see that content is the future of marketing. The difference between content marketing and the other “informational” pieces you see from some companies (read spam!) is that content marketing is useful and targeted – and valuable!Regardless of what marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be an integral part of your process, not a separate element. Content marketing is used in social media marketing, SEO strategies, PPC campaigns, and inbound marketing.

Content Marketing is not (only) storytelling

The common idea about content marketing is that it is “storytelling” – if you reread the definition mentioned above, you will see that storytelling is not mentioned once, and for good reason! The point of a content marketing strategy is to demonstrate the value of your service or product, not just to tell a story effectively. Visitors to your site are drawn to your content not because it tells your brand’s story, but because it builds on theirs. Content is not about sales, but rather it is about perpetuating an idea, and the brand behind that idea. When you build an audience, the idea should inform and intrigue the audience, rather than being a tired and overused sales pitch. However, aspects of storytelling should not be eliminated from your content – using emotions such as happiness, anger or sadness in your content can influence a customer’s actions or drive them to an action, such as purchasing your product or using your service.

What Content Marketing is NOT – Myths Busted!

Although content marketing is not a new concept, there are still a huge number of myths regarding it, from what it is to how easy it is to do (side note – not just anyone can create top tier content), but many of these myths are not true, and below are some of the most common explained and disproved.

It only works for certain businesses

Content marketing is not industry specific – any business can produce content that is relevant, valuable and useful for their audience, once they understand what that means. The most important thing to remember is that content marketing is not about sales, but about promoting the value of your product or service with articles, media and visuals that are relevant and valuable.

It’s just writing, it can’t be that hard!

There is a common belief that content marketing is easy, and that anyone can do it. The reality is that, while the basics of content marketing are easy to handle alone, when you start reaching the more complex issues, it is best to hire a professional. Aside from creating compelling and valuable stories – which is a skill in itself – you will have to deal with the constant creation of content, and there is the fact that the content has to be done well.

Our customers probably aren’t online, and don’t use social media

This is highly unlikely, regardless of your industry. Studies have shown that in South Africa alone, there are 13 million Facebook users, 7.4 million Twitter users and 2.68 million Instagram users – which means that there is a huge pool of people who are online, including your customers!

All content should focus on my business

This is from the older school of marketing, where traditional marketing campaigns spoke at people, rather than with them, like content marketing campaigns. It is vital to avoid content that is too promotional, or reads too much like a sales brochure as this is will reduce the traffic to your site and negatively affect your customer’s experience. The purpose of content marketing is to engage with your audience, so aim to provide valuable content rather than speaking exclusively about your business and products.

Text-based content is enough!

This belief is most common among first time content marketers, and is understandable, as when most people hear the words “content marketing”, they are liable to think of blog posts or articles. However, the industry is changing! While the copy is vital, there is the visual component to consider, (this means more than just a cover image) which can be images or a video. Humans are visual creatures, so including creative and relevant images or videos with your copy can work wonders for your rankings and site traffic.

Text-based content pieces need to be long

While it is true that longer content pieces perform highly, with better rankings and more engagement, is it not always necessary to create long pieces of content – and it could be counterproductive. Shorter content can still rank very well, and it is important to think about a vital aspect before creating that impressive 2000+ word article: your customers. Longer pages work well when you are trying to encourage customers to buy a “big ticket item”, but can overwhelm customers. Rather try out different styles to optimise conversion rates.

Simply creating content means people will find it

It is a common thought process that simply creating the content and putting it onto your business’s site or blog will allow people to find it, but one of the most important steps in your content marketing strategy is to devise a distribution plan of your content. This could (and should) involve syndicating the content onto your social media platforms, which is an effective plan to implement, as it can contribute to higher volumes of site traffic.

We’re too late to the content marketing game!

Never has a statement been more untrue! The world has yet to hit the peak of content marketing, and it remains one of the most effective marketing tools in the industry. If your brand, business or company has yet to use content marketing as part of its strategy, it is not too late to start, and you are sure to find experts who are chomping at the bit to help you implement an effective content marketing strategy.

Why content marketing works

In today’s information age, customers are highly likely to research a product or service before making a purchase or signing up for something, which is why it is vital for businesses to have content that is valuable, relevant and consistent for their customers. This hunger for valuable information is why content marketing works! By using content marketing as part of your business’s marketing strategy, you are building trust between yourself and your customers. One of the major aspects of successful marketing is establish a sense of trust with their consumers, and content marketing is an effective way to do so.

GM-980x120-BIT-ENG-Banner

According to a recent study, owned media (which is the website of a business, the social media profiles and emails) and earned media (reviews and recommendations) are two of the most trusted forms of advertising.One of the major reasons why content marketing works is because it solves problems. People are not searching online for content so that they stumble on an advert or learn something new about a brand – they are looking for content that answers a question or solves a problem. When creating content, be it a blog post, a video or an infographic, try to place yourself in the mind of your consumer, thinking about what they are searching for and what they want to find.

Content marketing is successful because it is backed by data. This data allows you to see what content was popular, which was unsuccessful and what could use a bit of tweaking. You are also able to customise the metrics you use to track your content marketing campaigns, allowing you to see more clearly what needs to be done to achieve your goals or where your brand may need help.The value of content marketing is high, and while it is often said that “content is king”, the customer is the real one in charge when it comes to content marketing. If your brand isn’t implementing a content marketing strategy, it’s not too late to start!

By: Craig Hoggins

Source:https://onlinemarketingguys.co.za

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I am a HUGE believer in content marketing, I think it is THE KEY to growing a business online but what is content marketing? Learn how to put out content that markets your business for you.
Be sure to subscribe for more awesomeness! https://www.youtube.com/jessicastansb… The equipment I used to film this video: http://jessicastansberry.com/my-favor…
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