Content Marketing

STRATEGIES TO HELP CUSTOMERS FIND YOU ONLINE

STRATEGIES TO HELP CUSTOMERS FIND YOU ONLINE 900 600 Maddi Koenig

Did you know that 67% of a customer’s journey happens online? More and more, consumers are doing online research before making any kind of decision to purchase products or hire services. If you’re not showing up prominently in online search results and social media, it’s unlikely that potential customers will find you. To really attract an audience, you need to make it as easy as possible for customers to find you online. Let’s go over a few strategies to help you do that.

Stake Your Claim on Your Name

Claim your name on every social media platform you might ever want to use, even if you don’t plan to use them all now – if you wait, they may not be available later. Create a custom URL for each social network whenever possible (most platforms allow this). This makes it easier for others to find you on social media and allows you to point people to a customized name that is easy to remember. Use the same name for your website domain and social media networks if possible (or choose a second name to use when the first isn’t available). Ideally, this name should include your business name.

Title case your website domain and social media URLs on all of your marketing (capitalize the first letter of each word). That way they will be easy to read and remember – you want them to be recognizable with a quick look.

For example:

facebook.com/WildFigMarketing 

is much easier to read than

facebook.com/wildfigmarketing 

Do you see what we mean? This is especially helpful if your URL is lengthy.

Note: how people enter the URL into their browser won’t matter – whether they use capitals or lower case they’ll still get to your website or social media page. Title casing just makes it easy for people to see your name at a glance.

Consistently Post New, Relevant Content 

Your website and social media accounts don’t have to be flashy but they do need to cater to your target market. Think about what your customers need from you:

  • Why have they come to your site?
  • What do they want to know?
  • Is the most important information easy to find?
  • Is your main message highly visible?

Relevant content will grab your customers’ attention and keep them coming back for more.

Another important element in your online presence is consistency. You want to post on your blog and social media networks as often as you can to keep the momentum going, but you also need to think about how often you’ll be able to consistently post. If you start posting daily, your readers will come to expect that and will see you as less reliable if you suddenly drop down to once a week. If all you have time for is a weekly post, then do that – just be consistent.

Boost Your SEO With Keywords

Believe it or not, the text content on your website is even more important than visual elements. It conveys your message of course, but it’s also how Google finds and ranks your site. Make sure all of the text throughout your website is keyword-rich. (Check out our blog on keyword strategy here). Keywords – the words people would use to search for your product or service online – are how you get noticed by Google search.

Keyword-rich content will boost your SEO (search engine optimization) and help you appear prominently in online search results. The goal is to rank on the first page of Google search, as people rarely look beyond the first page. Since it is difficult to rank on the first page for every possible thing your customers would search for, focus on a few words or phrases that reflect what’s most important to you and use those keywords throughout your website copy. You can also use keywords in page titles, meta tags, image descriptions, and page descriptions to help boost your SEO.

Stay Active on Social Media

Stay in front of your audience by being consistently active on social networks. To start with, figure out which networks your target market uses most. The most common are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, but the ones you focus on will depend on your target audience’s demographics. Regardless of which network or networks you choose, our advice is the same – stay active and use these networks to interact with your audience.

That doesn’t mean you have to post your own new content every day. Do post some relevant content of your own, but also share content you find and want to pass on to your followers, post polls and questions to gather opinions and increase engagement, respond to comments people post on your page, and comment on others’ pages and posts.

Also, keep your finger on the pulse of what others in your industry are doing online by joining groups, following other accounts whose content you find useful, following people who follow you, and subscribing to blogs in your industry. These things will all help you become an online resource in your area of expertise and get you seen by your customers.

Sprinkle Your Website and Social Media Addresses Like Confetti 

In other words, put them everywhere! Add icons or clickable links to your email signature, website, eNewsletters, ebooks, and other online documents. Add this information to all of your social media networks too, so people can connect with you on multiple sites if they want to. If you’re short on space or the platform only allows for one or two sites, include only your top ones. Don’t forget to make sure all of the links work, and if possible set them to open in another tab.

On your website, make your social media icons easy to find. Generally speaking, the top or bottom of the page (or both) is the best spot for them. Make sure the icons are big enough or spaced far enough apart to be able to easily click or tap on them.

You should also include your website and social media URLs on all printed materials, including business cards, brochures, ads, product packaging, letterhead, invoices, and more. Make sure your customers can find your accounts easily.

All of these tips will help you stand out online so your target audience can easily find and engage with you. Need help with your online marketing strategy? We can help. Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

CORONAVIRUS CONTENT TRENDS

CORONAVIRUS CONTENT TRENDS 900 600 Mindy Traylor

and Ways to Adjust Your Content Marketing Strategy Accordingly

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems like everything is changing. Three months ago, we didn’t think twice about meeting a friend for lunch, catching a Friday night movie or snatching up tickets to a show or sporting event. Now, many of us would sell a kidney for any one of these opportunities. As a result of drastic changes on the world stage, content is shifting as well. What people are searching for and engaging with is driving new trends and savvy businesses are paying attention.

Trends in content creation include:

 Content that brings joy

Inundated by countless stories of tragedy and loss and a large amount of personal and professional uncertainty, we want a breather. We want good news. So much so that, as of April,  Google searches for “good news” were up 355%.

The Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon, responded with The Tonight Show: At Home Edition, a quarantine version of his mainstream late show. And it’s a raging success. Fallon’s show fills homes around the country with late-night humor, relatable anecdotes and silliness…with a side of virtual A-list star interviews, of course.

In an attempt to offset the pervasive negative news, many social media platforms, news stations and publications are drawing attention to COVID-specific “good news,” highlighting heroes on the frontlines, recovery stories, mask and PPE drives and donations, etc.

Content that invites participation 

Spending months in quarantine is breeding a prevailing sense of boredom. In response, many of us are seeking out participatory activities.

The social media platform, TikTok – famous for lip-syncing, dance and comedy videos – has experienced a recent jump in app users. In March alone, more than 12 million people checked the app out for the first time. 

In response to social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place orders, many businesses such as gyms, art studios and dance studios are converting their classes into a participatory online format, giving consumers the opportunity to connect with others while still pursuing the activities they love.

Content that fosters connection 

Whether we are quarantining alone, with family members or with roommates, many of us are feeling cut off from important relationships and things we enjoy, causing a spike in depression and anxiety. One way people are choosing to combat this is through digital connection. Digital connection platforms such as FaceTime, Skype and Zoom have been around for a while and we were certainly using them. Now, however, usage is at an all-time high, leaving everyone with a pulse wishing we had purchased their stock. These platforms make staying in touch with family and friends much easier and help facilitate many participatory activities, including the ones listed above.

As the content consumers seek out changes, businesses are switching up their marketing approaches.

Fresh marketing strategies include:

Issuing COVID-19 positioning statements 

Whether or not you’re in the foodservice or hospitality industry, consumers want to know your business’s position on the COVID crisis. This knowledge gives them peace of mind and creates a “we’re all in this together” sense of solidarity. It also sets consumer expectations: Is the pandemic driving the demand for certain products, causing lower-than-normal inventory? Will it take you a little longer to return emails and phone calls or ship out products? Email a COVID positioning statement to your subscribers and add it to your company website.

Creating content hubs

Hopefully you’re finding innovative ways to market your products or services during this time. As you create content that intersects current consumer needs, create a hub on your website for this in-demand material. A content hub makes it easier for consumers to access your valuable information and positions you as an industry leader during this uncertain time.

Creating fresh, relevant content 

Make sure your content is relevant. No one saw a worldwide pandemic on the horizon so this might mean readjusting your marketing schedule a bit. Discover what people are searching for by checking out trending posts on Reddit and regularly consulting Exploding Topics for popular keyword searches.

Prioritizing highly relevant content 

Move relevant content to the top of your blog. Highlight it in your weekly emails and in your monthly newsletter. And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. See if you can refresh and republish old content that may intersect current events and address people’s newfound concerns and needs.

As you engage your audience with fresh, relevant content, maintain your brand image and your integrity. Don’t play off of people’s fears – there’s enough fear-mongering out there already! Meet your audience where they’re at. Address their concerns, educate them about your product or service and how it can help them navigate this time and continue to provide the valuable content they’ve come to expect from your brand. A nimble marketing strategy generates referrals and creates lifelong customers.

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

BLOGS: A MARKETING STRATEGY MUST-HAVE

BLOGS: A MARKETING STRATEGY MUST-HAVE 900 600 Mindy Traylor

Blogging is an investment in your business. And blogs don’t have to be overwhelming! In a recent study by Orbit Media Studios, it takes an average of 3 hours and 57 minutes to write a blog post. Theme Grill reports that blog posts between 300-600 words strike the balance between being highly shareable and ranking well for SEO. Let’s take a closer look at a few main ways that blogging stands to benefit your business.

Blogging helps increase your SEO

Why take the time to create content if your prospects can’t find it? SEO is a hot-button topic these days and understanding how it works is critical to marketing success. When you publish blog posts, unlike social media posts, they populate in search engines. When you leverage an effective keyword strategy in your blog post content, your posts populate more frequently and achieve higher SEO rankings. This, in turn, drives more traffic to your posts and ultimately, to your website. HubSpot reports that blogs help companies generate 67% more leads every month!

Blogging adds value to your brand while positioning you as an expert in your field

When you write a post for your business, put yourself in your client’s shoes. Answer a question they have. Solve one of their common problems. Address common sales objections. Address skeptics by highlighting customer success stories. Your goal is to provide your readers with relevant information that speaks to their unique struggles while at the same time piquing their curiosity so they stick around to learn more. Hit that content sweet spot by clearly defining your target market and developing your content around that market.

And be consistent! One piece of content isn’t typically enough to convert a reader. According to HubSpot, “47% of buyers consume three to five pieces of content before making a purchase.” When you consistently generate quality blog posts that speak directly to your readers, you build your credibility and position yourself as an industry expert. Then, when your reader is ready to make a purchase, your brand is top of mind.

Blogging creates more opportunities to engage with your prospects

As a business owner, you’re always looking for fresh ways to get in front of your audience and engage with them. Blogging checks both of these boxes. Your effective SEO keyword strategy gets you in front of your audience while your valuable content keeps you there. At the end of your posts, invite your readers to engage with you on your topic by using the comments field. Ask them to share their experiences or throw out any questions they have. (Pro tip: Reader questions make great subject matter for future posts!) And always respond. This builds a bridge between you and your audience and creates that personal connection visitors will remember down the road when they’re in the market for your product or service.

A few parting tips

  • A quality blog post includes 1-2 keywords, headings, an engaging introduction, images or video, at least two pertinent internal links, at least two high-quality external links and a clear call-to-action.
  • When you publish your blog post on your website, don’t stop there. Create a post summary and a link to your post and put it up on your social channels to attract a wider audience and send more traffic to your website. If your business has a newsletter, include a summary and a link in there as well. Then ask your audience to share your post with people in their sphere who may be interested in your content.
  • The goal is to distribute your post as widely as possible among an on-point audience (which positions you as an expert in your field and keeps you top of mind with prospects so you’re their go-to in their time of need!) And always ALWAYS invite people to subscribe to your blog so they never miss out on your valuable content!

Do you want to improve your blogging strategy but need a little help? We’ve got you covered. Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

Content Marketing for Manufacturers

Content Marketing for Manufacturers 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Sometimes manufacturers are reluctant to get into content marketing, thinking it’s more appropriate for “soft” products like food or services. Even manufacturers who buy in to the benefits of CM may fail to pursue it for a variety of reasons: budget, limited time, uncertainty about whether your efforts have an impact, or simply the ongoing struggle to create engaging content.

CM is actually very valuable across all industries and businesses. It may sound counter-intuitive, but a crucial way to distinguish yourself in the vast sea of content out there… is more (and better) content!

Benefits of Content Marketing
How can good CM help you? Lots of ways:

  • It’s cheaper than traditional / print marketing channels, offering a better ROI
  • It increases organic search traffic
  • It attracts high quality, qualified sales leads
  • It drives more conversions
  • It generates measurable, actionable data and valuable analytics
  • It distinguishes your company with consistent brand messaging
  • It boosts the power of your messages through tailored emails and calls-to-action

According to a 2018 study by the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of manufacturing marketers use CM. Of course, it’s one thing to use it–you want to actually benefit from it, and that’s where we’d like to help you in this article.

Quality Content is Crucial
CM relies on good, engaging content. It’s GOT to make readers react, and ideally, it should trigger an urge to share. If it’s not worth sharing, it’s probably not worth reading or remembering, so it’s better to have a trickle of high-quality content than a flood of content that isn’t relevant. Your credibility is on the line, so be critical and don’t waste your prospects’ time–you’ll turn them off.

You Don’t Need a Massive Budget
We won’t deny it: Producing good content requires time and money. You might hire a freelancer or a marketing firm, or you might tackle it in-house, but it will require some resources.

To minimize those resources, start small. First, be sure to leverage your existing content. Review your website, collateral materials, white papers, case studies and testimonials. These categories all contain content that can potentially be repurposed without a big investment. Pace yourself. You don’t need to post every day, you can stretch out your existing material by posting just once or twice a week when you’re getting started. Create a calendar and schedule out your CM, and utilize multiple channels. After you’ve posted a blog entry, you can share it on various social media channels in subsequent days or weeks.

Focus on creating useful, high-quality pieces that you can reuse after an interval, and expand on in the future. If it’s genuinely informative and well-written, it’s evergreen.

Simple Tricks for Creating Engaging Content
It’s common to face writers’ block, but use your imagination and mine your resources. Evaluate your existing testimonials, FAQs, and instructions. Find out what customers ask, say, or complain about, and respond.

Ask yourself “who are my prospects, what are my prospects interested in, what are their pain points?” You can share compelling related content, from other sources. It doesn’t have to be original, it just has to be useful and clearly attributed. Are your decision-making customers usually engineers? HR professionals? Chemists? Accountants? Share information that will help them, and they’ll remember you favorably.

Review existing content. Can you expand on anything or provide an update?

Evaluate what makes you different from your competition, and highlight it. Tell your origin story and the stories of your products, materials, employees, customers, community. Take readers behind the scenes.

Measuring Content Marketing Success
CM tends to generate so much data, you may be overwhelmed, so narrow down what you focus on as you measure success. Start by identifying your overarching goal. If you wish to build a robust social media audience, shares and likes measure your success. If your objective is qualified leads entering your funnel, measure clicks and conversions.

 

Would you like to know how effective your content marketing truly is? Then check out our complimentary Content Marketing Analysis Tool today!  marketinganalysis.wildfigmarketing.com/free

8 Simple Tips to Creating Content That Teaches Instead of Sells

8 Simple Tips to Creating Content That Teaches Instead of Sells 900 600 WildFigAdmin

As a business owner you are the expert when it comes to your product or service. You also know better than anyone how what your business has to offer can improve the lives of each of your customers. As opposed to boring your customers with generic advertisements and off-point information, effective content marketing that educates your customers provides immense value. Josh Ritchie, CEO and co-founder of Column Five, clarifies that this education must “deliver useful information in the right context at the right time” to maximize its impact.

Let’s take a look at some easy ways to do this!

1. Empathize
This involves getting to know your current and potential customers on a personal level. It’s easy in this technology age to maintain distant and impersonal business relationships. Instead, see your customers in their humanity and make that personal connection. Go the extra step and shoot off that personal email, give them a call or take them out to lunch. Ask them about challenges they’re coming up against, what they need help navigating and offer a genuine dose of empathy. You will begin to see common pain points that you can then address in your content marketing efforts.

2. Be transparent
It’s ok for your customers to hear about the mistakes you’ve made and the obstacles you’ve overcome. Sharing your story in a transparent manner allows your customers to more-readily identify with you and lends you their listening ear. Then, with an engaged audience at your fingertips, you are able to share how your business can help them overcome similar obstacles.

3. Embrace your unique perspective
There are likely many competitors in your field. However, you are wired uniquely and possess your own combination of life experiences and perspectives. This is both your greatest gift and your greatest offering. Quit comparing yourself to the competition. Instead, educate your customers and allow your brand to flourish from your distinctive place.

4. Create bite-sized content
Your customers have a problem and your brand has the perfect solution. The temptation can be to come in like a flood, inundating your customers with all the content your business has to offer – the equivalent of a torrential downpour! Your customers don’t have the ability to absorb and apply everything all at once and will be overwhelmed if they try. Instead, break it down. Consider providing bite-sized, easily-applicable information that can help your customers navigate their problems a little bit at a time. This may look like singular-topic blog posts, short video snippets on individual products or services you offer, insightful tweets or the like.

5. Go where your customers go
Where are your current or potential customers gathering their information? Providing valuable content across these channels or touch points keeps your business top-of-mind, highlights your expertise and encourages them to dig into more of what you have to offer.

6. Capitalize on seasonal happenings
The yearly calendar provides a plethora of opportunities for your business to intersect your current or potential customer’s journey with valuable information. What might this look like? If your business is a landscaping company in the northern part of the country you are aware that by late winter people are dreaming about spring blooms and lazy summer days relaxing and entertaining outdoors. With this in mind, you can provide both valuable and timely content for your customers. You can create a video snippet with tips for planting a beautiful garden or – because spring rain is coming – create a blog post about the importance of implementing proper drainage around the foundation of your home and ‘plant the seed’ for future business.

7. Provide hands-on education
Is your business launching a new product or service? Consider creating a live demo, offering samples of your product or step-by-step pop-ups on your website that help customers navigate new features. The more value you provide in an easy-to-access fashion the easier it is to develop a loyal customer base and generate referral business.

8. Dialogue
Instead of talking to your customers find ways to have dialogue with your customers. In addition to carving out time to make personal contact though face-to-face interaction, implement ways for your customers to engage with your brand via social media forums, a Q & A section on your website or a blog post comment section. This dialogue communicates to your customers that their opinions matter and you are listening. It also communicates that, in addition to being an expert in your field, you are a perpetual student – striving to continually grow, learn and improve.

Are you ready to learn more about the how’s and why’s of educating your potential and existing customers? Wild Fig Marketing is here to help! Schedule a free consultation call here to get started on your path to educating your existing and potential customers!

Pssst…Marketing Doesn’t Have to Suck!

Pssst…Marketing Doesn’t Have to Suck! 900 600 WildFigAdmin

“Ahhhh . . . This is so refreshing!” We’ve heard that a lot over the past couple of weeks. We’ve had several new clients who, after completing a Strategic Marketing Session with Wild Fig Marketing, have commented that they are once again excited about their marketing. More specifically, they’ve realized marketing can be fun, and it doesn’t have to suck!

Here’s what we recommend our clients do to make marketing fun again:

1. Infuse your hobbies and interests into your marketing content. If you love to downhill ski or fly-fish, think about how you could tie that hobby/sport into your business. For example, if you were a financial planner who loved to fly-fish, you could write a blog about the correlation between preparing to fly-fish and preparing for your future. What lures/financial tools do you need? How much time should you allot? How do you find the best fishing spots/right mixture of financial products?

You get the idea, right? Take something you find fun or enjoyable and incorporate it into your marketing content. It will make content writing much easier. It’ll also help you connect with your customers and prospective customers. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you land your next big client who also happens to love fly-fishing!

2. Tell a story. Stories are incredibly powerful and memorable. Think about it: How many stories have you heard already today? I consider myself a master at taking everyday stories and turning them into opportunities to educate and connect with my customers and prospective customers.

For example, a blog article I’m working on right  now is about my dog, Steve, who’s incredibly persistent and a bit naughty, too. But it’s also about  about the importance of persistence when following up with prospects. I’m going to tie it to the story about how Steve conquered our garbage due to his persistence. Stay tuned–this will be a funny one, I guarantee!

See, marketing really can be easy and fun when you tie it to your everyday stories! Think outside-the-box and use your stories to educate people in a more meaningful and memorable way.

3. Incorporate your personality and voice. This is SO important to remember when it comes to all of your marketing content. So often we forget that people do business with people, not businesses. If your marketing content sounds just like everyone else in your industry, what will set you apart? Make it easier for your prospective customers to identify with you by infusing your personality as well as your company’s personality into your content. Don’t hide your larger-than-life personality or your calm, soothing tone of voice.

EMBRACE it and USE it!

Want to test how effective this idea is? Go find one of the brands you follow or buy from on a regular basis and read their home and about us pages. Then go to their competitor’s website and read their home and about us pages. Which one drew you in? Which one would you buy from? I’d bet that you’d choose the first brand again because you connect with them and their messaging. There’s nothing wrong with the other brand. They are simply appealing to a different audience.

Marketing doesn’t have to suck. If you incorporate your interests, stories, and personality, it can even be fun! If you’re still feeling uninspired, Wild Fig Marketing can help you find a fresh perspective.  Contact us today to get started.

Every Good Story Has a Villain

Every Good Story Has a Villain 900 600 WildFigAdmin

As a business, do you know yours?

When you think of the components of a great story what elements come to mind? Plot, setting, conflict, resolution – all important elements, right? But there is one central story element that underlies each of these elements and that is the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist – the hero and the villain. Without a struggle between the two any potentially good story will otherwise fall flat. This is also true in terms of content marketing. Let’s take a look specifically at the important role of the villain and how this element of story can propel the success of your marketing efforts.

First off, why do we love a villain? David Robson, in his blog British Psychology Society, describes how when we witness the good vs. evil tension in books or film the empathy network part of our brain displays the greatest response. We long to see our hero shine brightly and triumph over his/her adversary. What is a hero without an adversary to overcome? Marketing expert Donald Miller has some thoughts on this, “Villains deepen our love for the hero of the story and captivate our attention – we keep watching because we want to see our hero take the bad guy down.”

In the same way, incorporating a villain into your marking efforts gives you the opportunity to position your brand as the shining hero that saves the day. As a business owner you are well-acquainted with the hero of your story – the product or service your business provides. In the hands of your customer this product or service equips him/her to do battle against the villain of your story. But who exactly is your villain? What is it that your brand goes to battle against and triumphs over? Is it a competitor, a nagging problem, a lack of knowledge or expertise…? Or maybe it’s crummy customer service, a confusing process or a safety hazard…? This is your story and you can tell it exactly how you want. You may even consider creating a piece of company lore about your brand’s place in the world.

One company that has knocked this ball out of the park is REI. In 2015, the outdoor gear giant took a marketing leap with their #optoutside campaign. They pitted holiday consumerism as the villain, closed the doors to all their retail stores for a day and encouraged consumers to rally against this big bad villain by spending Black Friday making outdoor adventures and hashtaging them on social media. In doing this REI discovered that there are literally millions of people out there who want to join this fight. Long after the Black Friday campaign is over consumers continue to feel a strong sense of brand loyalty to REI by choosing to #optoutside (5.5 million hashtags and counting!) in this worthwhile fight.

Utilizing “the villain” in your brand’s content marketing strategy will not only give your audience something to rally against therefore increasing brand loyalty but it will also make your brand stand out from the competition by highlighting its unique attributes. Mac pulled this off successfully in its series of Mac vs. PC commercials a number of years ago. Mac strategically pitted itself against the PC by personifying PC as boring, nerdy, clunky and irrelevant while casting it alongside of its own hip and progressive image. While the villain in this marketing campaign wasn’t inherently evil, Mac portrayed PC as something many consumers want to rally against – convention for convention’s sake. This campaign won over countless consumers who want to embrace a hip, progressive and more user-friendly personal technology experience as reflected by Mac’s 36% increase in overall sales the first year of the campaign.

Strategically incorporating a hero-villain dynamic into your content marketing strategy can ignite a passion for your brand’s cause and give consumers something to stand behind – increasing brand awareness and loyalty. If you want help clarifying the villain in your brand’s story, sign up for one of our Cultivator Strategic Marketing Sessions. One of our marketing experts will help you identify the villain you’re trying to overcome and help craft a perfectly detailed strategy to help you attract and retain more clients and generate more revenue!

Dark Social: What it is and how your business can effectively engage with it

Dark Social: What it is and how your business can effectively engage with it 900 600 WildFigAdmin

As foreboding as it may sound, dark social is something we all engage in – most of us on a daily basis. Let’s demystify the term, take a look at some challenges it poses and shed light on ways your business can address it.

Originally coined by a senior editor of The Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal, in 2012 dark social refers to one-to-one sharing of internet content through private channels such as email, text and messaging apps. It is social sharing from sources that web analytics are unable to track. According to RadiumOne, it is estimated to account for up to 84% of global on-site sharing – the vast majority! And dark social sharing is still on the rise. As of February 2016 clickbacks from dark social shares is up to 62% from mobile devices and 38% from desktops.

As a business owner dark social may strike fear into your heart. How in the world are you supposed to accurately track your marketing metrics when so much sharing happens under the radar? The reality is that this trend is on the rise so the challenge is staying ahead of the curve and utilizing dark social to the benefit of your business.

Why is dark social sharing so difficult to track? For one, tracking devices or ‘tags’ are not attached to the shared links unless the consumer intentionally copies the original tag into the link when sharing. Often through social media sharing tags become skewed and appear to originate from a given social media platform when really they exist from an outside source. In these cases referrer data is lost and marketers have a difficult time discerning who their audience is how they’re interacting with their brand.

The manner in which consumers share information – through various channels and from numerous devices – also makes it challenging for businesses to track dark social sharing.

Fortunately, there are some great ways to work with the dark social trend instead of constantly feeling like you’re fighting against it:

1. Generate quality content – As a business, the sharability of your content is in direct correlation to its quality – continue to focus on generating relevant information that provides value and people will share it!

2. Simplify the sharing process – Guarantee that the “Share” link on your website is easy for visitors to locate, ensuring that the content sharing process is streamlined through your predetermined, easy-to-track method.

3. Include a copy-and-paste button at the bottom of your content – This option encourages your audience to share your content privately therefore working with the dark social trend. It preloads a UTM URL into the bar and the UTM serves as a tattletale that captures the origin of the content sharing.

4. Shorten URL’s – They are more “sharable” and look cleaner on certain social media platforms. Ow.ly is a fantastic URL shortener and allows you to integrate images, track clicks and post to various social media networks.

5. Consider utilizing dark social tools – One fantastic dark social tool is GetSocial.io. It allows you to track dark social sharing on your website through a piece of code you insert into your HTML. Other great tracking tools include Po.st, ShareThis and AddThis.

If you are concerned about dark social sharing and would like help navigating this topic, schedule your free 15 minute consultation where one of our marketing experts can help formulate a plan that best helps your business.

Kechi Okwuchi & the Power of Story

Kechi Okwuchi & the Power of Story 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Recent “America’s Got Talent” contestant, Kechi Okwuchi, made quite the impression on the judges and the rest of the world last spring. Not only did she get a resounding ‘yes’ from each judge because of her incredible talent, but she made a lasting impact because of her story. When Kechi was 16, she was one of two survivors in a plane crash that caused severe burning and scarring on her body. However, throughout all of her painful surgeries, she has still managed to pursue her passion. Kechi is also working towards her masters degree in Economics after graduating with honors from University of St. Thomas. You can read her full story here.

Kechi made an impact because of her ability to sing, but made herself memorable by sharing her story. The power of storytelling is something that has captivated audiences since the original cave drawings were made. The human brain has an incessant need to gather information in an effort to understand our world around us. The most effective stories are relatable, inspirational, or solve a problem.

Those same types of stories can be used to make a lasting impression on your audience. For instance, imagine your end user when they are presented with your product or service. Whether they say it out loud or even consciously think it, their first question is going to be “why do I need this?”

Here’s what a good story can do:

  • Point out a problem
  • Describe the product and how it solves the problem
  • Get the audience to imagine themselves enjoying those benefits
  • Make your audience feel like they’re in desperate need of this product they only first learned about a few moments ago
  • Stories help us connect people/customers to our brand and us = more loyal customers because they understand our why
  • Stories differentiate us and allow us to be seen as something more than just a commodity (like Kechi’s example…she’s a great singer and if you simply heard her voice you’d put her in the bucket with other great singers. What sets her apart is her story…makes her different.

Think of any infomercial out there. From the Magic Bullet, to the Ninja Blender, to the Shark Vacuum; they all follow that same format as described above. I mention those products because I happen to have them all in my home! I saw a problem, found a product that solved the problem, and suddenly I couldn’t live without it. Yup, the art of storytelling even works on storytellers!

Do you have a product or service that you know many people could benefit from if they could just understand how it would solve their problem? The professional storytellers at Wild Fig Marketing can help you craft the message that will create a lasting impression so your company’s roots can grow deep and wide. Contact us today; we want to hear your story!

5 Common Email Marketing Myths – Debunked!

5 Common Email Marketing Myths – Debunked! 900 600 WildFigAdmin

With so much emphasis these days on social media marketing, as business owners we may be left wondering where email marketing ranks and what if any value it can provide for our growing businesses. We often hear snide comments about “old school email” in favor of more “modern” communication. Let’s take some time to identify and debunk a handful of common myths about email marketing.

1. EMAIL IS NO LONGER RELEVANT
Au contraire! This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although email communication predates social media by a couple decades it is still widely and effectively used as a marketing tool today. In fact, according to Litmus, email read time has increased by 6% in the past 6 years! Perhaps equally surprising, 77% of consumers choose email over any other marketing method. Only 9% of consumers prefer direct mail marketing – a very distant second place preference! Quantifying it, In 2011, email marketing was calculated as a 40-1 return on investment per dollar spent. Astounding.

2. UNSUBSCRIBES HURT MARKETING EFFORTS
This is simply untrue. In fact, when consumers unsubscribe they do you a favor by helping you tidy up your database so your email marketing efforts continue to be targeted and effective. Just take heed that your “Unsubscribe” link is easy to locate in your email so your email is properly unsubscribed and not mismarked as spam.

3. TUESDAY IS THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK TO SEND MARKETING EMAILS
Myth! Keep in mind that every industry is different and consumers for each industry have different purchasing habits. When is your subscriber likely to purchase your product or service? Or better yet, when is your subscriber likely to realize their need for your product or service? Midday midweek? On the weekend when trying to disengage from work? Statistically speaking, email volume is greater during the work week as opposed to the weekend. Perhaps a weekend email would be less likely to get lost in the shuffle and better gain the attention of your consumer? Consider each of these aspects.

4. THE OPEN RATE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT METRIC TO CONSIDER
False. Formatting across devices can vary and create barriers for your recipient when viewing your email. Depending on the device, s/he may be unable to view your email in its entirety which can skew your open rate metric. Instead consider putting more analysis into lead generation and conversion rates from a given email marketing campaign – more insightful metrics for assessing the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

5. THERE IS A CORRELATION BETWEEN EMAIL VOLUME AND SUBSCRIBER ANNOYANCE
While in extreme cases this may be true (sending an email every day of the week might put even your best customers over the edge!) what your subscribers are looking for is value – this is why they subscribe in the first place. If your emails provide value your subscribers will appreciate them and are likely to engage. According to emarketer.com, sending relevant email content results in 39% open rates and increases revenue by 24%. Make your email marketing efforts count and don’t be afraid to send out that next email – you have an on point audience at your fingertips, hungry for the value your business provides!

If you have been stuck believing these common myths and could use a little help when it comes to your email marketing, give us a call and one of our experts can help come up a with a plan to ensure the best return from your email marketing efforts!

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