You may wonder how you can use content marketing – which is meant to be more informative than sales-focused – during the more sales-focused time of the year. In fact, the holidays are a great time to share content that helps people celebrate the season. And you don’t need to wait until December to start sharing holiday-themed informational content. People this time of year are stressed about getting ready for parties, buying gifts, being with family, the weather – all kinds of things. You can endear yourself to your audience by providing content that will help them ease their stress. This could include things such as:
Ways to organize a home get together
Lists of gift ideas
Techniques to create calm
Money saving tips
Ways to show gratitude
Now that you have some ideas to start your planning, here are some tips for your strategy:
Start planning now! Decide what kind of content you want to create around the holidays (e.g., recipes, gift guides, DIY projects), then brainstorm ideas.
Create a calendar of events to help you plan your content strategy. Space your content out and make sure that your content formats are appropriate for the channel you are using and the preferences of your audiences on those channels.
Use social media to spread the word about your content. Share links to your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. You don’t have to share every post on every channel. The content should be appropriate for the channel.
Don’t forget to add a call to action at the end of each post. What do you want people to do after reading or watching what you have posted? Visit your website? Tell a friend? Your calls to action should be determined when you set your goals.
Make sure your web content is optimized for search engines. With Google’s new Helpful Content Update, they are putting more emphasis on content that is helpful for the people visiting your site. Write for humans, not robots.
Include images in your web content. Images make your blog posts more visually appealing and engaging. And be sure to include Alt Text on your images for accessibility compliance.
Write compelling headlines. Headlines are the first thing visitors read when they land on your page. If your headline isn’t compelling enough, readers may leave your site without getting the information you want to share.
What helpful content do you plan on sharing with your audience this holiday season? Leave a comment below or tag me on social media @hijinxmarketing with your answer.
*Note: the first draft of this article was created using Frase.io AI content generator. If you are interested in the new frontier of using AI for content generation, give it a try!
We tend to get stuck in the same routines, using the same tactics, formats, and channels. I am starting a series that will showcase examples of types of content that you might want to consider adding into your marketing mix.
This month, let’s focus on quizzes. They can be fun, educational, or functional. They also serve a dual purpose. Not only are they a good engagement tool, they provide you with information about your audience. Some examples of quizzes include:
Ask your audience to choose from a list of possible challenges to accomplishing a task.
Have your audience choose from 3 – 4 icons to identify their favorite item.
Take people through a personality quiz to determine which of your products would be best for them.
People love to show off their knowledge. Let them tell you how smart they are on a particular topic through a series of fun questions.
Be clear that you are collecting their answers for marketing purposes.
Don’t have too many questions in your quiz. If it is too long, your audience will check out without completing it.
Make sure you have a call-to-action at the end of the quiz that takes your customer closer to a product purchase.
Provide people a way to share their results!
Check out these examples below 👇
Red Lobster created a quiz that encouraged users to discover their “Endless Shrimp flavor” and shared it on social media. This was visually appealing (and mouthwatering if you like shrimp) and fun for people to take.
People who are passionate about a topic usually want to show how much they know about that topic. The Chicago Bulls created a fun quiz where people could test their trivia knowledge about the team. The results were shared after answering each question and users could see if they were correct.
Beauty subscription brand Birchbox created a quiz where their audience could answer questions to find their makeup brand spirit animal. After the quiz was completed, Birchbox would recommend makeup for the user based on their answers.
Yes, there are such things as bad goals. How can that be? Take these two examples:
Goal 1: Increase sales of my widgets.
Goal 2: Increase sales of my widgets by 20% by the end of the year.
Can you tell which one is a good goal and which one is a bad goal? Of course, you can. The second goal is more specific and precise. It gives you something to measure your success by. This is because it uses components of a framework called SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound ). Sometimes it is a little harder to tell a bad goal from a good goal. How about these examples:
Goal 1: Increase our email database by 500 recipients by the end of the month.
Goal 2: Increase our email database by 5,000 recipients by the end of the month.
These both have measurable goals – both in number and in timing. So, which one is good and which one is bad? It is a trick question. Either one of them could be good, depending on your business. If your business currently has 2,000 names in your email list, maybe 500 new recipients is a good number. However, if your business currently has 100,000 names, 500 is probably a bad goal. Why? Your goals need to be proportional to your current situation. The company with 100,000 names on their email list should set a more worthy goal of adding 5,000 recipients.
Another consideration is the potential audience pool. If you are in a very niche industry and your email list already contains 90% of the potential pool of possible targets, then perhaps a small goal number is warranted. You also need to match your goal with your potential resources. If you create goals that will require a $1 million marketing budget to achieve, but your budget is only $100,000, you aren’t going to meet those goals. You are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t match your goals with all of these factors.
This may not be what you want to hear, but it is what you need to understand in order to be effective at any type of marketing, let alone the specific niche of content marketing.
No matter what your small business sells, you have a lot of options for your marketing. But have you ever thought about Pinterest as a marketing channel?
Do you think that Pinterest is just for people to post recipes and crafts? Yes, it is used for a lot of that type of content. But that is not all that is pinned on that site. Did you know that the site is the 3rd largest social media platform globally with 322 million users?
You can take advantage of this large audience for your business marketing, particularly if your core audience is female with disposable income. You can use Pinterest for product marketing, but it is also ripe for your content marketing initiatives. Here are some ideas for you to try:
Pin links to each of your product pages
Create boards for each of your product categories
Create ‘how-to’ content on your website and pin those on Pinterest
Interact! Follow boards that are relevant to your business or influencers in your industry. Respond to comments on your pins.
Pin content from third-party sites that backlink to your site
If you are using Pinterest a lot, add your Pin code to printed marketing materials (brochures, business cards)
Add Pinterest save buttons to your website
There are a few things you will want to think about when using Pinterest:
Have a plan. Don’t just create an account without having an idea of what your content plan will be. Lay out your goals for your account just like you would any other channel.
Google does search Pinterest for content, so make sure you are aligning to your SEO goals and using keywords in your pin titles and descriptions
If you are linking to your website, make sure you are using ‘pin-worthy’ high quality images
Don’t forget to measure your results!
Do you use Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy? Add your tips in the comments!
Business owners talk to their customers all the time, right? Well…not always.
I am continually surprised by how many large companies do not respond to their customer or potential customers on social media. WHY? If a customer walked into your store or called you on the phone, would you ignore them? I would hope not! If you are not going to engage with your audience on social media, then maybe that is not the right channel for you to communicate.
Don’t be like those big companies. You are in a unique situation as a small business to engage with your customers at a personal level.
Here are some common queries that customers ask and how to respond to them:
Logistical questions: What time are you open? Do you carry a certain product?
Response: Always, always answer these type of questions. As quickly as possible. If you use Facebook, you can even set up standard responses. Or develop a list of answers to common questions so you can easily respond to your customers. These are no-brainers.
Compliments: They love your products, had a great experience with an associate or want to share your generosity.
Response: Some businesses think they don’t need to respond to these type of messages. But that is wrong. By responding (particularly to a public comment), you elevate these brand-boosting messages. If it is a really good comment, you might even think about asking the person who made it if you could use their comment (or image) in your marketing. This is called UCG, user generated content.
Complaints: They had a bad experience with you, your staff or your products.
Response: It may not be comfortable, but you need to acknowledge complaints. Do not just leave them hanging out there without responding. Show empathy. Make it right (if you can). There is no excuse for not responding to a complaint, particularly when it is public. Responding shows everyone else that you are paying attention and make things right if there is a problem.
Does it matter if the messages are direct to you or public comments? In most cases, no. If you don’t respond to public comments and questions, everyone will see that you are not engaged with your customers. If you don’t respond to direct messages, you are ignoring customers who are actively seeking you out. They took the time to find you online to ask a question. You should take the time to respond.
Have more questions about engaging with your customers, contact me for a free 30-minute get acquainted call.
These days we are all moving a million miles an hour. For small business owners, you don’t have time to worry about creating a ton of content to feed your various marketing channels. Between social media, your website, possible newspaper or magazine ads…it can be a full-time job. And if you don’t have a full-time creative team, you need to find ways to make the most of the content you are creating. And how in the heck to find more great content?
There are ways to get the most bang for your content so that you can spend more time running your business and less time tracking down and creating valuable content.
What is the use in creating content that won’t resonate with the correct audience? As a small business owner, you should know who your customers are. What do they like? What are their pain points? What makes them happy? How do they get their information? Are they digital savvy or prefer traditional media? Large organizations with full marketing teams often create personas for their target audience. If you don’t have the resources to go through this exercise, one good way to know is to just ask your customers. Use this information to help you focus your content – the topics, the channels, and the design.
You have spent the time to make sure that the content you are sharing will appeal to your audience, that is it on brand, accurate and looks good. Then what do you do with it? Throw it on your website? Create a social media post to promote it? Send it out in an email? You have to think about what surrounds your content. If it is on your website, are you putting alt tags on your images? Are you using keywords to help with SEO? For social media, are you using hashtags that will help your content get seen by more eyeballs? For email, make sure your subject lines make your customers want to open your communication.
The best part of different types of content is the ability to take large amounts of content and chunk it up into smaller pieces. Did you write a blog post (like this one!)? Take different pieces and parts to make into graphics or separate social media posts. If you have a whitepaper, use the various graphics within the document to create a one-page infographic. Take one fact in an article and create a podcast or quick video on that one particular topic.
Just producing content doesn’t mean that it is good content. An essential step that many people miss is to go back and track the content that they publish. Do you even know how many people interacted with your content? Are infographics getting more traffic than long articles? Are you getting more traction from Twitter than Facebook? There are a lot of tools that can be purchased that would give you a full picture of your analytics, but you can do enough using the native platforms, whether that be social media or your website platform.
It is not only good for the planet, but it is also good for your content. After you have measured the content you have published, make sure to re-share the best evergreen content again. Share it on another platform. Or tweak it slightly and share on the same platform. With the way social media moves these days, only a small percentage of people actually see your content the first time. (Yes, this is sad but true, fact.) For example, I typically recreate my blog posts on LinkedIn and include a link back to my website.
All of this can be overwhelming, but good content marketing will be noticed by your customers. And it will pay off when people become more loyal to your business because you are providing information that they find valuable.