Marketing

  • Why Quality Content is the Backbone of Any Inbound Marketing Strategy

    Many brands that are new to inbound marketing struggle to understand just why content creation is such an invaluable element in any inbound marketing strategy. Why do we need blog posts? What real value does this ebook provide? How do we know when the content is working? We get these questions all the time, and we understand how difficult it can be, at first, to “get” content marketing. So we decided to put some of our answers into a blog post. Here are the reasons why quality content is the backbone of any inbound marketing strategy. First: what’s “inbound marketing”? Inbound marketing involves using tactics that help potential customers find your brand. In other words, you’re not expending energy and resources sending marketing messages out to people who may not even be interested in your what you have to offer. Instead, your focus is on strategies that attract customers to your website. That means creating great content, sharing relevant posts on social media, optimizing your site and content for SEO, etc. This is a fundamental change from the way that companies used to understand marketing. Today, people don’t want to be interrupted. They don’t want banner ads advertising something they’ve…

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  • Mapping the Social Media World with 5 Incredible Infographics

    If you were tasked with mapping the social media world 10 years ago, you’d have a pretty simple job on your hands. You’d have a few social networks, like Facebook and MySpace, that people mostly used to share pictures of their college-aged selves and sound clips of themselves playing guitar. There would be Twitter, which most people didn’t really get until users started updating it during natural disasters. Add to that LinkedIn, and a few blogging sites, and you’d be pretty well covered. Today, however, the social media world has exploded in both size and complexity. Now, most of us digital marketers won’t need to know every social network, of course. Many won’t be relevant to our work. Some may be gone for good next year or next month, with new ones to take their places. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent exercise to take a look at how these networks and platforms are being mapped by some of today’s top digital strategists. For one thing, you might find a new platform that’s just perfect for your brand. But just as importantly, you’ll be able to see how these various social networks are fitting together, and what role they’re playing in changing…

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  • Creating Stellar HTML Emails – Tips from Our Email Marketing Pros

    When it comes to designing effective HTML emails, even the most competent designers and marketers can find themselves feeling frustrated. While it’s true that email clients like MailChimp and Constant Contact have made it much easier to design nice-looking, readable emails – even if you have absolutely no HTML skills – there are plenty of tips you can follow that will help you take your emails to the next level. Here are a few from MZ’s own email marketing gurus. Don’t go wider than 600 pixels Making your readers scroll side-to-side is the kiss of death for your emails. Not only will it make your brand look amateurish, it will also prove really annoying to everyone who gets your emails, making it way more likely that they’ll just send them straight to the trash. To avoid this, 600 pixels is a good standard to stick to. In addition, keeping things consistent will make it more likely that your emails will show up well across all email clients (and there are hundreds, even though most people only use one of the few big ones). Keep important stuff on the left side Eye-tracking studies have proven that people tend to focus more…

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  • 50 Pro Tips for Boosting Your Reach and Converting More Customers

    We digital marketers set all kinds of goals every day – get more Facebook likes, increase our Instagram followers, achieve a guest post on this or that influencer’s blog. But the big goal – the one that all those small goals are helping us work toward – is to convert more customers. In the end, that’s what we want for our brands. We want more people to purchase our product or sign up for our service. With all those smaller tasks on our hands, it can be easy to lose sight of how each individual goal supports the bigger one. That’s not to mention how easy it can be to lose sight of what should come next. To help you out of your digital marketing rut, here are 50 pro tips for boosting your reach and converting more customers. Content 1.Start a blog. A blog is really a non-negotiable in today’s digital marketing landscape. Why? Because fresh, shareable content is what will give people a reason to come to your site. Once they’re there, hopefully they’ll become a customer. 2. Write a whitepaper. Whitepapers, in case you’re not familiar with them, are authoritative reports detailing important issues, policies, features of…

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  • 10 Medium Accounts Every Marketer Should be Following

    Whether or not your own brand posts on Medium, there’s a lot that this unique social media platform can offer marketers. If you’re not familiar with Medium, it’s a platform for individuals and businesses to post long-form content. That could be anything from a short story, to an opinion piece, to a deeply technical blog post complete with graphs and charts. For whatever reason, Medium isn’t always the first place we marketers think of to look when we’re searching for the latest and greatest writing about our field. However, the platform is home to some excellent users, as well as publications, that every marketer should be following. All Things Marketing and Entrepreneurship The name says is all – this publication is all about marketing and entrepreneurship, although a quick skim over the most recent posts shows that it definitely leans more toward the marketing side of things. Larry Kim, the founder of WordPress, is a prominent voice here, writing about content marketing, mobile digital marketing, and offering advice on building and running startups. A bonus: You’ll also find plenty of unicorn memes. Another solid contributor is Joei Chan, whose pieces on SEO and email marketing are great reads. Rand Fishkin…

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  • How to Take Your User-Generated Content from Good to Great

    If you’re on the fence about purchasing a new product, whose word are you going to trust more: the brand that’s trying to sell you the product, or a regular person who’s already made that purchase and loves their item? Yeah, we’d trust the regular person too. That right there is why user-generated content, or UGC, can be so powerful. Used correctly, it can be the content marketer’s best friend – but only if you know how to make that content great. So how do you inspire your followers to create content that grabs users’ attention? That turns those on-the-fencers into loyal customers? Just follow these tips, and you’ll see your UGC go up in both quality and quantity. Commit to building a strategy. Tons of brands share what their followers post, but not nearly as many have a clear strategy that helps them decide when, where, and how to share that content. Engagement, of course, is key to a successful social media strategy, but engagement by itself isn’t a strategy for encouraging user-generated content. Instead, think of your UGC strategy like any other marketing campaign. First, you need an objective: do you want your UGC to inform, or to entertain…

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  • Why You Should Up Your Paid Social Ad Spend This Year

    Google’s been announcing some major developments in the past few months. In November, they announced that the search engine would be moving toward mobile-first indexing. Then this June, Google’s Senior VP of Ads and Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, posted an announcement that the search engine had joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an organization that works to improve the online ad experience. The Coalition released a report recently detailing guidelines for creating better ads – in other words, ads that people don’t find annoying. Google pulled some of these guidelines for a post on their DoubleClick blog, which you can read here. And while we won’t go into all the details, suffice it to say that what people find least annoying are ads that blend the most seamlessly with the content they’re consuming. Maybe it’s just us, but that sounds like paid social ads, in our opinion. Now, it’s important to note that the DoubleClick post refers not to paid social ads, but to the more traditional digital ads that we all see, on content publisher sites, especially. However, the takeaway is highly relevant:  Internet users today want ads that don’t interrupt, that are relevant to their interests, and that are immersive. …

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  • What Google’s Move toward Mobile-First Indexing Means for Your Digital Marketing Strategy

    In November of 2016, Google announced that it was moving toward a “mobile-first” system of indexing, after using what could be called “desktop-first” indexing for its full history. It’s a huge shift – but it’s one that reflects the way users are searching the web today. As early as 2015, Google announced that it was getting more searches on mobile devices than on desktop devices. That trend has continued, and while the growth is hardly explosive, the numbers – and your own usage, if you pay attention – don’t lie. The stats: mobile vs. desktop web searches According to a Google blog post from May 5, 2015 , “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” The company declined to share specific numbers. It’s important to note that at this point, at least, Google was grouping tablets with desktops – so those mobile searches don’t include the number of searches coming from tablets. It’s unclear whether Google has changed its grouping since then. Either way, mobile searches are outnumbering desktop searches across the board – and especially in certain industries. As you can read about in a great article…

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  • Want Killer Marketing Videos? 5 Keys To Writing Scripts

    There’s probably nothing as sleep inducing as a boring video. Just think back on all those clunky, dry-as-dust videos you had to suffer through in school. And how about those painful orientation and training videos you had inflicted on you at your first job? Remember what a struggle it was to stay awake? That is exactly what you can’t afford to have happen with your social media marketing videos. The competition is getting much keener and the marketing video arena is getting more crowded. Out of all the B2C companies in North America that engage in content marketing, 82% use videos. So your online marketing videos have to stand out, and it all starts with the script. Content Marketing Institute Here, then, are the 5 keys for writing knock-’em-dead video scripts for online marketing – scripts that will keep viewers engaged and will rise above the competition. Know Your Audience and Address Them Directly One reason the videos we mentioned just above were so ineffective is that they weren’t produced for a specific audience. Because they were aimed at everyone, they didn’t really appeal to anyone. So the first key to writing an effective video script is to consider your…

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  • Social Media Must-Haves: Proactive and Reactive Social Strategies

    If you’re just starting out with your social media marketing, you’re probably spending a lot of time planning out your social media calendar, posting images of your products, and finding other influencers in your industry to follow and chat with. Although you may not have stopped to consider it – you’re just trying to build a social media presence, after all – this is called proactive social community management. As you might have guessed, there’s an inverse of this strategy, too: reactive social community management. And while the balance between them will differ for every brand, you do need to incorporate both tactics as you put together your social strategy. What is proactive social media strategy? Proactive social media strategy involves a lot of the elements of social media that you probably think of when you think of “social media strategy.” The daily, weekly, or monthly posts that you put up just to let your followers know what’s going on with your brand – those are proactive. via @5Gstudio In this tweet, for example, Yen Ong of the Dallas-based 5G Studios architecture firm is sharing a snapshot of a new project the firm is working on. Ong and 5G are…

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  • 5 Reasons Huge Brands are Turning to Micro-Influencers – with Massive Results

    Call it the next advance in the evolution of authenticity in marketing. Instead of automatically turning to Instagram’s biggest celebrities to promote their products, major brands are beginning to enlist users with much smaller, but more loyal, followings for their influencer marketing needs. According to some industry experts, these “micro-influencers” – social media users with fewer than 30,000 followers – are turning out to be a more effective choice for many brands looking to use the power of influencer marketing. Here’s why. Some consumers, especially in Generation Z, are growing wary of celebrity product endorsements. Influencer marketing has been around long enough now that consumers know how it works. We’re wary of the idea that Khloe Kardashian actually uses Express Smile Atlanta’s teeth whitening kit, for example. You know I love staying GLAM and @ExpressSmileAtlanta helps me keep my smile bright. If you want whiter teeth you should try it too. Tell them I sent you! 😘Use code: KhloeSentMe Follow @ExpressSmileAtlanta #ad #NoYellowTeeth #Smile #TeethWhitening #TeethWhiteningKit A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on May 9, 2017 at 11:01am PDT I mean, sure, maybe she does. But it’s a lot more likely that she just posted about it after receiving a…

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  • 9 Harsh Truths About Your Social Media Marketing – and What to Do About Them

    Social media marketing has too often been portrayed as the silver bullet for the challenges brands regularly face. Need to improve your customer retention? Post more on social media! Need to expand your customer base? Post more on social media! Want to grow your business by 5,000%? Post more on social media! You get the picture. And while social media is certainly something that you can’t afford to ignore, we’re sorry to tell you that it’s not going to instantly – or even eventually – solve all your business problems. It’s a bummer, we know. But all is not lost. When you know the truth about social media, you can figure out how to best put it to work for your brand. With that in mind, here are 9 harsh truths about your social media marketing, and what to do about them. Some “guaranteed” social media tricks just won’t work for you, no matter how much they work for other brands. You can find all kinds of information online about social media tricks that are “guaranteed” to get you more leads, to increase your reach, to get you noticed by top influencers, etc. While there’s likely at least a grain…

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