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You know the stats. 75% of content gets no links. 91% of content earns no Google traffic. 85%+ of content earns fewer than ten social shares. And we’re not even talking about all web content — just those pieces creators produced specifically to earn shares, links, rankings, and traffic. Tragically, much like the US economy, content marketing is a winner-take-all world.

IMO, when high-quality, well-produced content fails, three big forces are to blame:

1) There’s more competition than ever before: literally hundreds of millions of publishers, brands, and individuals are creating and amplifying content in attempts to earn attention. Simultaneously, the content bar has been massively raised: what stood out from the crowd in 2010 would be lucky to get 1/10th the attention 10 years later.

2) A tiny handful of monopolies control most web traffic (Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram, etc) and they are working hard to keep visitors on their platforms rather than sending them out. Less than half of Google searches result in a click. The median Facebook page post reaches <0.1% of followers. On Instagram it’s <1.6%, on Twitter <0.05%.

3) Most content creators target the wrong audience.

There isn’t much marketers and creators can do about #1 or #2, but we can do something about that third force: shift our efforts to reach the people and publications able to amplify our work and send real traffic.

At the core of the problem is how so many companies establish the wrong incentives for content creators:


Exec: “We need more customers, but we’ve exhausted our advertising opportunities, so I want you to invest in content marketing.”

Marketer: “Got it. Content’s a slow, flywheel-based investment, but over time we can create a great channel if we earn awareness, trust, and amplification from a broad community.”

Exec: “Let me be more specific. I want you to write blog posts that will convert visitors into customers. You’ll be measured by the expense of your team’s time vs. the conversions we can directly attribute to your posts. If it’s better than the dollars we put into Google & Facebook ads, you can keep the program going.”

Marketer: “Wait… but that’s not… you can’t compare content against the built-in, designed-for-attribution-so-you’ll-buy-more measurability of ads when they intentionally obfuscate organic…”

Exec: “Good talk! Look forward to seeing your progress.”


Ugh. We’ve all been there.

But let’s assume you have some buy-in. Perhaps the nightmarish economic picture presented by a global pandemic has opened your organization’s eyes to the value of building future demand and reducing dependency on expensive advertising? If so, you’ve still got a strategic beast to slay.

Most content, right from conception, still adheres to a vastly over-simplified notion: reach potential customers with content so we can convert them into paying customers. In a zoomed-out view of marketing, this is technically accurate (the worst kind of accurate). But, the zoomed-in view looks way different.

Content can nudge some people who see it to check out your products or services. It might even nudge some of those people to buy. Usually, it does those things as part of a long, complex journey that starts with discovery around a space, moves to awareness of your brand, then into realization-of-a-problem and, finally, evolves into seeking out your solution. Try to rush that process, and you’ll turn most of the audience off. Create content exclusively for those who already know they need your solution, and you’re cutting off your best chance to make content a valuable channel.

In the graphic above, the “Discovery” and “Awareness” groups will always be 10-1,000X larger than the “Problem-Experiencing” or “Solution-Seeking” groups. So, if your content continually targets bottom-of-the-funnel audiences, you’ll quickly run out of newcomers, and often be perceived as a brand outlet that’s merely pounding a limited attention-span begging for sales.

But, it’s not just the funnel; it’s the individuals in that funnel.

Content Audience: The Four Groups -- current customers, potential customers, potential amplifiers, and the broader community.

Your content audience is and should be fundamentally different from your product or sales audience. You’re not (and shouldn’t be) trying to sell everyone who consumes your content. You should, however, be trying to earn amplification and engagement from everyone who consumes your content.

That doesn’t always mean links or social shares. It could mean a private reference, an email, a “hey what was that great cartoon show you told me about last time we hung out?

But, if you want to earn amplification, the kind you’ll need to build a true content flywheel, you need to appeal to an audience that has both the ability to amplify and channels on which to spread the word. Years ago, these people were called “influencers,” but that noun’s come to mostly refer to a specific kind of Instagram or YouTube creator that’s far too narrow and often irrelevant to what most brands outside swimwear, fitness gear, travel, and a few other often-superficial consumer product companies care about. So, instead, let’s call them “potential amplifiers.”

These potential amplifiers are one of several audiences you should be targeting content toward in the creation and conception phase. They’re the group with the greatest ability to help build your content flywheel, and thus, I often recommend making them the biggest target for your content efforts. If you’re writing or making videos or podcasts for your existing audience or fans, the rate of new-fan attraction will naturally be lower than if you’re also making those things for potential amplifiers.

Maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe some of the things you create for your existing audience or even for potential customers will end up being things that also appeal to potential amplifiers. But why risk it? The far wiser move is to recognize this reality, and intentionally create content meant to get industry publications, potential niche evangelists, customer evangelists you already have, and mainstream press interested.

The most successful content — the stuff that earns amplification, builds your brand in content, gets you subscribers and followers, and eventually leads to future conversions — that stuff sits at the intersection of appealing to both potential amplifiers and potential customers.

But, honestly, if I could only choose one… I’d take the amplifiers. Because once people know, like, and trust you, the path to conversion is wide open.

Sourced from SparkToro

By Jason R. Rich

The following excerpt is from Jason Rich’s book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

Everyone who uses YouTube to promote themselves or their company has their own goals. The following is information about six popular ways YouTube can be used as part of your overall online strategy to achieve your company’s goals.

1. Promote Yourself as an Online Personality and Entertain Your Audience

One strategy small businesses use effectively to personalize their brand and build a rapport with the audience is to use YouTube videos to introduce their company’s leaders and position these people as spokespeople who appear in videos. Some company spokespeople have even achieved celebrity status from starring in YouTube videos to promote themselves, their products, and/or their companies.

If you’re a small-business owner with a big personality, consider starring in your own YouTube videos to help build your company’s brand, tell its story, and promote its message. Featuring the actual leader of your company can help personalize your business and build its credibility. You could also demonstrate products, speak authoritatively, and boost your company’s brand recognition and reputation.

2. Share Your Knowledge, Commentary, or How-to Information

One reason YouTube has become so popular is that in addition to watching countless hours of entertaining videos, people can quickly find informative and easy-to-understand how-to videos about any topic imaginable. As a business owner, chances are you have expertise that other people could easily benefit from.

YouTube offers an informal yet powerful way to communicate directly with your customers, in your own words, in a forum that gives you absolute control over the content. Using a bit of creativity, chances are you’ll come up with a handful of ideas about how your business could benefit from communicating directly with its customers (or potential customers) using YouTube. For example, you could create a product demonstration or product comparison video. Other options might be to showcase customer testimonials in a video or to create how-to videos that explain how to assemble, operate, or use your products/services.

One popular trend on YouTube is for companies or individuals to produce “unboxing” videos. Basically, someone takes a new (still packaged) product, then films themselves opening and using the product for the first time, as they share their initial impressions. These videos are watched by people interested in the product, but who haven’t yet purchased it.

In addition, many companies have dramatically cut costs associated with offering telephone technical support by supplementing printed product manuals and product assembly instructions (which people hate to read and find difficult to understand) with informative how-to videos that are highly engaging.

3. Introduce a New Product or Service and Direct People to Your Online Store

Showcasing products on YouTube is a low-cost yet highly effective way to demonstrate products to your customers, showcase features, and explain how to best use a product especially if you’re operating an online-based business or there’s an online component to your traditional retail business. In addition to showcasing a product’s features or functions, you can use YouTube videos to answer commonly asked questions.

Keep in mind, people who use YouTube don’t want to watch blatant commercials for your products or services. Consumers are already bombarded with advertising in their everyday lives. While your videos can certainly promote a product or service, and build awareness or demand for it, take a soft-sell approach that’s entertaining as well as informative.

4. Teach People How to Use a Product or Service

Many businesses have discovered that producing YouTube videos as an instructional tool can help improve customer loyalty, reduce returns, and allow a business to enhance its customer service efforts without putting a strain on resources.

How-to videos for a product offer a different approach than a product demo, yet both approaches can benefit businesses looking to promote and sell products. While a how-to video is designed to teach someone how to do something, a product demo simply showcases a product’s features or functions, and gives the viewer a chance to see a product in action. Either type of video can be used as part of a business-to-consumer or business-to-business sales and marketing strategy.

Instructional videos can help to reduce incoming customer service (and tech support) calls. You can produce instructional videos to teach people how to assemble and/or use a product, for example, plus help customers easily discover the true potential of a product, while eliminating their potential frustration. Your videos can also be used to highlight lesser-known features of or uses for a product that your customers might not otherwise consider.

5. Share Video Footage of Business Presentations You’ve Given

If you’ve presented a lecture, workshop, or some type of presentation, consider uploading the edited video footage of it to YouTube for your customers, clients, and the public to see. This will help establish you as an expert or authority, allow you to convey valuable information to potential customers and clients, plus help you build awareness of you and your company.

This information can be supplemented with an animated and narrated digital slide (PowerPoint) presentation that you post on your YouTube channel, and/or include a recorded one-on-one interview with you talking about something in which your (potential) customers or clients would be interested.

6. Provide Background Information about Your Company and Tell Its Story

Every company has a story to tell, as do the founders or current leaders of that business. By telling your story, chances are, you’ll be able to enhance your customer loyalty and brand awareness, while also educating the public about what your company does and its core philosophies.

Any type of behind-the-scenes videos can also be useful. For example, you can produce and publish a video that focuses on how your product(s) are made, provide a tour of your company, and introduce some of the people who work at your company within the video(s). If you’ve invented a product, you can explain where the inspiration for the product came from and why you’re personally passionate about the product.

Feature Image credit: wundervisuals | Getty Images 

By Jason R. Rich

Jason R. Rich, based in Foxboro, Mass., is author of more than 55 books on topics including ecommerce, online marketing, digital photography and interactive entertainment, as well as the Apple iPhone and iPad.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

 

By .

In this digital space, businesses are increasingly relying on advanced technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and mobile apps to scale up and grow their brands. With this advanced shift, marketers strive hard to satisfy their customers in order to get better user engagement.

Obviously, your customers want your products and services you offer at fair prices, but that doesn’t good enough to create a meaningful experience. Providing a consistent amazing experience needs planning and structure far beyond the desire of many brands.

How Can Brands Delight Customers?

But here is a question, how can brands delights customers if they are not your customers yet? Obviously, you can’t delight your customers if they are not customers, but you can offer an amazing experience to users that focuses on interests, desires and needs that makes them so satisfied. Smart marketers know that delighting potential and existing customers from their very first interaction with the brand can ensure success and greater sales.

Delighting your customers in the right way by creating an intuitive experience is the key to promote your brand. The better the user experience, the happier your customers are, and more likely they repetitively come to your website and tell their friends about the great experience your website offers.

The goal of providing positive experience throughout the customer’s lifecycle will help your brand to stand from rest and improve your bottom line. As happy and satisfied customers stick around longer than those who have a bad experience.

Successful organizations don’t simply focus on attracting qualified leads, converting into leads that their sales team can close. Instead, these brands aim to offer an amazing user experience for potential and existing customers.

Here are a few points that help ensure your brand is doing things right to delight your potential and existing customers.

  1. Solve Users’ Problems

The first and foremost thing your brand needs to do is to offer products and services that solve the problems your potential and existing customers are facing. Offering your customers a quick, easy and reliable solution to the problem they face or make it easier to perform their tasks or meet their goals, can make them to stick around. Provide your customers with the solutions that best fit their needs, preferences and requirements is the key to success.

No matter if they are not paying customers, it is important to solve your potential customers’ problems. Focus on the rule: help people and in return they’ll help you. If your brand can prove to your potential customers that you are reliable and trustworthy even when they are not paying, they’ll be more likely to want your products or services down the road.

  1. Educate Them

Okay, so you are focusing on solving your customers’ and prospects’ problem, but what’s next? What will happen when they face a similar problem in the future? Going beyond just offering solutions to their problems and offering useful information helps them deal with the similar challenges they might encounter down the road.

Empowering your potential and current customers with knowledge, making recommendations and helping them accomplish their goals are essential to build a remarkable user experience. The perks of enabling people to solve their problems and meet their goals instead of providing them with facts are far reaching for users and your brand. If your potential customers get a positive reminder of your brand every time they use information, advice you provide, your brand will become known as a reliable organization that customers want to do business with.

  1. Compelling Mobile Presence

Customer delight and customer retention is the primary goal of your business, but it’s not that easy, especially in this digital space when brand loyalty among users is rare. However, a comprehensive mobile strategy can help retain customers. Since people have access to high-speed broadband through a smartphone in their pocket, and these days they are much more familiar with the online shopping process, making them to buy everything from their favorite gadget to groceries.

So, if you want to delight your customers, your brand must have a mobile presence through mobile apps and mobile optimized websites. Mobile apps are used more often as for consumers, accessing a brand online matters most more than the price and product range of a brand. If truth be told, mobile app users are more loyal to a brand than those who visit a mobile-optimized website. Mobile apps can be an extraordinary effective tool for delighting customers, meeting their desires and eventually turning them into brand’s micro influencers. Mobile apps have changed the way users interact with brands, there are many companies who offer mobile app development in New York and help brands to create a compelling experience users, which ultimately results in long-term relationships.

Conclusion

Brands that invest their energy and time in these strategies will be the winners. Do it now to drive business growth, brand loyalty and engage your customers in a more immediate way.

By .

Sourced from Tech Insider Journal