• Video and Social Media Marketing: Which Platform Will Boost Your Brand?

    I’m sure you’ve noticed it yourself. Given the choice between watching a quick video online, or reading a long swath of content, which would you choose? If you’re like 59% of the senior executives interviewed by Forbes Insight on the subject, you’d prefer the video. It’s no wonder, then, that video marketing is growing by leap and bounds. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and it’s true, as the right image online draws exponentially more eyes than a simple headline ever could, no matter how carefully crafted. But according to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. 1.8 million! That’s a pretty bold assertion, but the stats bear it out – using video in online marketing delivers a powerful ROI. Especially in the realm of social media marketing, where videos help posts rank higher in the algorithms determining who sees what in their newsfeed, as well as drawing more interest and engagement from audience members, combining the natural appeal of video with the power of social media. Online shoppers who view a video about a product are 64% more likely to buy that product from that business – and 90% of those…

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  • How to Create Epic Content: Writing Tips for People Who Hate to Write

    So you’ve just been put in charge of your company’s brand-new blog, and the director has given you total creative control. That’s exciting news, right? Except for one tiny detail: you’re not a writer. In fact, if you’re being totally honest, you don’t even like writing. Now that the written word has become such an integral part of the digital marketing plan, lots of people are finding themselves in this very situation – especially at smaller and mid-market companies, where the resources to hire a full-time content writer may not be available. This can be very tough on the person who’s been designated to run the blog, especially if there’s not much money for freelancers. When you add in the fact that the optimal length for a blog post, in terms of SEO and shareability, is 1200 words at a minimum, as MZ’s CEO Shama Hyder relates in her new book Momentum, handling a company blog as a non-writer looks even more daunting. So how do you handle your new role when you’d rather be doing…well, anything else besides stringing sentences together and worrying about grammar? How do you create a well-written, informative, entertaining blog that people want to read…

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  • How to Write Engaging Content for Even the Most Boring Industry

    If someone asked you to come up with a list of boring industries, what would you include? Lighting fixtures? Plumbing? Electronics manufacturing? Housecleaning? We get it. Writing meaningful content about plumbing issues can seem like a near-impossibility. And when you’re the one tasked with writing that content, it can lead to an uncomfortable number of hours spent staring at a blank computer screen. However, it can be done! We’re including lots of tips on how to do this below, but first you have to embrace this one, basic truth: no industry is truly boring. So how do you get at this intriguing, non-boring side of the industry you’re writing about? The tips below should help you out. Research the industry (or product, if that’s what you’re writing about) until you have a good idea of how it works, the trending issues related to it, and what customers seem to love or hate about it. If you’re someone who works in the industry you’re writing about, you already have a strong grasp on all kinds of topics that would make great blog posts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn more. In this case, it might be helpful to look at…

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  • 10 Ways to Amplify Your Brand Reach with Live Streaming

    With the entrance of Facebook into the live streaming space with Facebook Live, live streaming has suddenly become mainstream. Despite the fact that live streaming has been available for years from tools like Periscope, UStream, and Livestream, many brands weren’t taking advantage of the power of live streaming – even if they’d already fully adopted the use of video. Now that’s beginning to change. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are seeing the power of live streaming: more views, higher engagement, and most of all, higher quality engagement. Whether you’ve been live streaming for years or you’re a total newbie to the game, there are lots of ways you can amplify your brand reach using this excellent tool. 1. Just do it. With all due respect to Nike, in this case we’re not talking about running a marathon or any other feat of athleticism. Similar to adding video to your marketing strategy, the great thing about live streaming is that you’ll increase your brand reach simply by doing it – as long as you take into account certain considerations. According to Facebook numbers from earlier this year, Facebook users spend 3 times longer watching live video than pre-recorded video. This bears…

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  • The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for Product-Based Businesses

    In the olden days of marketing – like, 20 years ago – designing a marketing plan for your product-based business was pretty straightforward. Mostly, you had to show how much better your product was than its competitors. That could mean running a taste test with random consumers and then telling people about it. It could mean paying a celebrity to wear your product to a major event. It could even mean just spending tons of money on commercials in which an actor looked really happy eating/using/looking at your amazing product. That is somewhat of a simplification, sure, but in general, that was the idea behind product-based marketing before the digital age. Today, things are different. Consumers are way more savvy. They can price-shop for products just like yours across the entire internet, which basically means the entire planet. They’re wary of the hard sell, and want to feel in control of the purchasing process. On the marketer’s side, the channels through which you can reach consumers have exploded. It’s not just TV, radio, and print anymore. You have mobile ads, browser ads, mobile apps, email, social media, live chat, text alerts…you get the idea. When you add in the fact…

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  • Influencer Marketing from A to Z: A Complete Guide for Businesses

    Did you know that consumers, on average, mention 56 brands per week during regular conversation? That one in every three customers finds your brand as a result of a recommendation? That new customers referred by existing customers have a 37% higher retention rate? The common denominator in all of these figures is credibility, and it’s the name of the game in marketing for 2016. With the rapid expansion of social media, brands no longer build credibility through purely organic word of mouth marketing, but through strategic online interactions. The key to maximizing your company’s marketing campaign is to become one of those 56 brands mentioned per week by as many people as possible. By leveraging social media and influencer marketing techniques, your brand and message will be broadcast to not only your loyal customers, but to thousands more. Why Influencer Marketing? In today’s online world, there is a tremendous amount of content, from businesses, consumers and individuals. As of 2015, more than 90% of digital marketers were actively publishing content on their websites and blogs, while over 1.5 billion consumers were actively publishing on Facebook. The result is an overabundance of content that has led to a 60% decrease in…

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  • 5 Awesome Digital Marketing Strategies for Niche Businesses

    While the internet has changed marketing for businesses of every shape and size, perhaps one of the most transformed over the past couple of decades has been the niche business. Pre-internet, niche businesses had to have products or services that would appeal to enough people to support the cost of advertising – which meant that many potential niche products never saw the light of day. Today, the situation is different. Niche products still have to make enough money to support their advertising costs, like any other business, but those costs have gotten so much lower, and ad reach so much wider, that the niche product and service market has boomed. Just think about some of the niche products or services you’ve come across in the past few years. Print-on-demand T-shirts. Super-exclusive (and expensive) matchmaking services. Every subscription box service out there, from Blue Apron (meals and recipes) to Birchbox (beauty products). The reality now is that if you want to create a line of handmade journals targeting 28-35 year old mothers of gifted kids in Laguna Beach, California, you can do it – and with the right digital marketing strategy, you can probably even become profitable. If this sounds like…

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  • Facebook Marketing 101

    It’s likely that you’re no stranger to the world of social media marketing, but did you know that Facebook is one of the most powerful social media tools you can use to market your business? As it stands right now, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, boasting upwards of 1.44 billion monthly users and more than 1.25 billion mobile users. In fact, Facebook is so dominant that the social media giant has more users than the total of China’s population. How’s that for impressive? Thanks in large part to its overwhelming popularity and rapidly adaptive nature, Facebook has become one of the go-to social media platforms of choice for marketers who want to engage their audiences, build an online presence, introduce new products, or simply make their brand more visible. If you’ve been wondering what Facebook marketing is or how to break into this treasure trove of marketing gold, this post will tell you everything you need to know. Why Is Facebook so Powerful? In addition to boasting a massive user base, Facebook is also fantastic for virtually every type of content distribution – from long-form posts to images and auto-play videos. Because of this, it’s…

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  • The Ultimate Content Marketing Battle: Creation vs. Curation

    If you’re working on your content marketing strategy, you’ve undoubtedly come up against this idea of content creation vs. content curation. Which is better? Which generates more leads? Which results in higher conversions? Which should you be prioritizing? It would be great if we could give you a single, straightforward answer. Of course, since your company is different from that company, which is different from that other company, well – we can’t. However, we can offer you some helpful guidelines to follow when you’re deciding how to work out your own creation vs. curation equation. For a more in-depth exploration, you might want to check out our CEO Shama Hyder’s new book, Momentum – Content Curation is one of the 5 principles she details. First, some definitions. You might already be clear on how content creation and curation differ, but here’s a quick primer just in case. Content creation: This is what you’re doing when you’re writing blog posts, creating infographics, or developing e-books that you then market to your audience. Content curation: This is what you’re doing when you’re gathering great existing content from around the web and sharing it with your audience. Pretty simple, right? Why should you…

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  • Winning the Hashtag Wars: How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Reach and Strengthen Your Brand

    Hashtags can have a huge effect on your content and, therefore, your brand. How can you use them strategically to strengthen that brand and increase..

  • 4 Pro Tips For Using Instagram Stories To Market Your Business

    Here at Marketing Zen, our goal is to help our clients take their businesses to the next level – and one of the major ways that is accomplished is through digital marketing strategies that help build brand identity and create engagement.

  • 10 Expert Tips for Creating Stellar Email Content

    There’s nothing like staring at a blank email template to make you want to procrastinate with a few cat videos. Practically every business uses some sort of email marketing – however, it’s a tough thing to get just right. Think back to the last time you took a look through your promotions tab in Gmail. How many emails did you click on? 1? 5? Any? If you did open any, how many did you actually read? Now go one step further: Of those, did any make you actually click on a link? If you’re like most people, your engagement level goes down with each subsequent step. You might open 10 emails, read 3, and click on one or two links. Then the rest of the 150 marketing emails sitting in your inbox languish there for a couple of days or weeks before getting sent to Trash. In fact, overall click rates for companies that send 16-30 email campaigns per month range from a median of 6.3% to 7%, according to research by Hubspot. Although that may sound low, it’s not a bad number to use as a benchmark. Plus, the important  thing to focus on is not your current open…

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