How and Why You Must Do Competitive Research

How and Why You Must Do Competitive Research written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Competitive Research

The term competitive research often conjures up notions of spying and espionage, but the fact is, you must commit to ongoing competitive research as a way to grow and evolve.

When I talk about the concept of competitive research as a core practice, I sometimes encounter some pushback from business owners. The reality is many people can’t identify direct competitors in part because they aren’t paying attention.

Competitors come in all shapes and sizes and, in some cases, aren’t in your town or even in your industry.

You see, when it comes to digital competition a core competitor might not be someone who gets the job you just bid on, it might just as likely be a business you’ve never heard of that ranks well for the type of terms you need to rank for. Or, it might be an advertiser that does such a great job with the relevance of their ads that they are forcing your ad bids higher than they should be.

If you think of competitive research not simply as a way to get one up on a competitor, but as a way to grow and learn and discover, you might make it a priority.

For me ongoing competitive research contains a few of the following benefits:

  • It helps you learn new ways to serve your customers
  • It helps you understand why other sites are ranking higher than yours
  • It allows you to use data to spot new opportunities
  • It helps you seize opportunities to gain customers
  • It gives you a roadmap for finding link building potential
  • It helps you spot mentions of your brand for relationship building
  • It shows you the exact content you need to be producing
  • It unlocks new tools and practices for serving your clients

The key to consistent competitive research is to equip yourself with both a routine for conducting it and a set of tools that make it easy for you to do – sometimes even on the fly.

Below you’ll find the four primary categories of competitive research along with a few of my favorite tools for setting up and conducting your competitive research plan.

Alerts

The ability to receive an email alert when any company, brand,  or person is mentioned online had made it very simple to keep up on your mentions and opportunities as well as mentions of a competitor. I get a daily digest of mentions and quite often find ways to engage sites that are doing the mentioning.

As a competitive research play, you can set up relevant alerts and know when a competitor makes an announcement or what someone points out an opportunity related to a competitor

  • BuzzSumo – is one of my favorite tools for a number of things and currently my favorite for alerts.
  • SocialMention – is a search engine with real-time emphasis and can turn up some gems not found by BuzzSumo.

Online Advertising

To get the biggest bang for your online ad spend you have to target the right keywords with the right message. Using tools that help you understand what keywords and messages are the most profitable, is a great way to maximize your online ad budget.

  • SpyFu – is a competitor analysis tool that helps you research and download your competitors’ most profitable keywords.
  • AdEspresso – this is actually a Facebook Ad tool, but they have a searchable Ad Examples section that can help you find ads that are performing well on Facebook

Content

Content research is an awesome habit to get into! It helps you build a plan for your content that is based on reaching certain traffic objectives. One of the easiest ways to find content ideas is to understand what content is already ranking for search terms you covet and then find out why.

  • BuzzSumo – shows you the most shared content from any site (your competitors perhaps) or for any search term. It also reveals who shared the content making it a useful tool for both identifying ideas and influencers.
  • SEMRush – is one of the most versatile tools for keyword research and competitive rankings

SEO

If one of your goals is to figure out how to get more organic search traffic, then you’ll benefit from understanding how sites that rank above you are doing so. If you can understand how a page that ranks is optimized and what other sites of authority link to a site then you can stand a chance of matching them for your important keywords. Sure, you’ll still have to work at it, but at least you’ll have the roadmap.

  • Monitor Backlinks – is a great tool for monitoring your backlinks – and something called negative SEO – and it’s a great way for you to zero in on the links that other competitive sites are acquiring. In many cases, there’s a chance that you can go after the same links, particularly if the link comes from a site in your industry.
  • Ahrefs – is another useful tool for monitoring backlinks and claims to use their own database so you’ll likely find some links that don’t show up in other places.

All-in-one
There are some all-in-one type of solutions as well. One that we love to use is called RivalIQ. This is a great tool if you have a need to show clients a competitive landscape. And, of course, MOZ Pro and Raven Tools are great all in one tool with some nice local tools.

Google Operators

I love Google Operators as another handy search power tool. There are many useful ways to refine your search through operators, but the following three are the ones I use the most.

  • site: Get results from certain sites or domains. – Find content on a specific site
  • info: Get information about a web address, including the cached version of the page, similar pages, and pages that link to the site.
  • filetype: Add this + doc or pdf and find only content in Word docs or PDFs. Great for finding ebooks and checklists related to a topic

Chrome Extensions

Finally, while many of these tools are great when doing research intentional, there are some great Chrome Extensions that keep competitive research front and center as you surf. When you add any of these tools to your browser you can get quick competitive data for every page you visit. Here are my favorites.

  • MozBar – is a tool that gives you access to the MOZ domain authority data for every page in your search engine results
  • Similar Web – is a tool that gives you some brief data on the traffic, keywords, and links for any page you visit
  • Email Hunter – this isn’t a research tool, but it can help you find an email address for people related to any site or business you visit
  • Wappalyzer – is a tool that gives you a rundown on the technology associated with any site – so you can see if they are using WordPress with Yoast SEO and Lead Pages – and that might just prove useful.


Source: Marketing

Weekend Favs June Twenty-Five

Weekend Favs June Twenty-Five written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from online source or one that I took out there on the road.

Beach.

Good stuff I found this week:

Stencil – Ridiculously simple image creation for social media marketers, bloggers and small businesses

LinkedIn ProFinder – A new professional services marketplace from LinkedIn that will help you find the best local freelance professionals

Lead Flows – All-in-one conversion pop-up from Leadin that will drive conversions, gather insights, and target site visitors – for free


Source: Marketing

Maximizing Your Mobile Marketing Results with Search and Beacons

Maximizing Your Mobile Marketing Results with Search and Beacons written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Maximizing Your Mobile Marketing Results with Search and Beacons - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Shutterstock

In October, Google confirmed that mobile searches had passed desktop searches worldwide. An effective mobile strategy is now essential to effective marketing. Here are some ways marketers are adapting to the new mobile marketplace by implementing mobile search optimization and beacon marketing strategies.

The Challenge of Mobile Search

One of the toughest challenges mobile marketing presents is the fact that many users start searching on mobile devices but finish elsewhere, says Web Talent Marketing. Additionally, mobile searches are typically auto-completed after the user enters two or three characters, frustrating long-tail keyword strategies. Another factor is the shorter attention span and smaller viewing screen of mobile users, making it difficult to be competitive on search engines if your page doesn’t show up within the first two results.

Targeting Mobile Search Users

To address these issues, Jumpshot VP of Sales Eli Goodman recommends implementing a number of best practices. Use Google’s AdWords interface to determine what percent of your traffic and conversion is coming from mobile devices, and if you find it’s 10 percent or more, consider targeting mobile separately. Use device, operating system and carrier information to tailor your marketing campaign to mobile users. Employ Google’s mobile keyword selection tool to pick the optimal character string for your campaign. Shorten your copy as much as possible, using mobile-friendly tools such as clickable phone numbers and geo-targeted maps. Optimize your landing pages for mobile users and for your call-to-action goals. Finally, bid aggressively on keywords to ensure top search results.

The Emergence of Beacon Marketing

For brick-and-mortar retailers, mobile also presents the opportunity to deliver personalized offers to in-store shoppers by using beacon technology. Early beacon devices such as Apple’s iBeacon were mounted on store ceilings or walls to broadcast locating information to in-store mobile users via Bluetooth signal, recounts VentureBeat. Once the user’s device detected the signal, an app transmitted the signal to the app’s server via Wi-Fi or cellular data network. The server then sent back location-customized texts, such as welcome messages, coupons or sales information.

This early beacon marketing method depended on stores having expensive Wi-Fi networks or on users having access to cellular data. Additionally, beacon transmissions could only be managed for a particular store location via paired Bluetooth or physical connection. More recent mesh beacon marketing leverages the capability of the Bluetooth 4.1 upgrade on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Mesh beacon marketing enables two-way signals without pairing, and also empowers beacon networks to communicate with the Internet. This lets beacons send customers dynamic, internet-updated product and pricing information without the need for customer Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Mesh beacon marketing methods are still being refined, but pioneering efforts have met with some success. For instance, Energizer boosted post-engagement purchase intent for a new product release 3.8 times by using a beacon campaign to raise product awareness.

Beacon Marketing Best Practices

To optimize beacon marketing campaigns, MobStac Senior Marketing Associate Devika Girish recommends a number of best practices that are emerging in this growing field. She recommends that stores implementing beacon marketing begin by collecting data on customer in-store behavior, such as how often a customer visits the store and which departments they shop. This in-store information should be integrated with other available sources of information, such as customer relationship management databases. Stores can then analyze behavior patterns to make strategic decisions, such as placing popular complementary items near each other on shelves. Stores can then begin running first-use test studies, for instance by sending welcome messages and analyzing customer reactions, before launching personalized marketing campaigns. Successful campaigns should engage users with relevant content, such as demonstration videos of products a customer is standing near in the store. Creating rules which match customer profiles to triggered offers will further enhance campaign effectiveness. Finally, campaign results should be measured in order to make improvements before scaling up.

Roy RasmussenRoy Rasmussen, co-author of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.


Source: Marketing

5 Reasons Why Your Brand Should Have a Following

5 Reasons Why Your Brand Should Have a Following written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

5 Reasons Why Your Brand Should Have a Following - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Very Pixel

Have you ever noticed how so many major corporations produce commercials that focus more on their brand name rather than an actual product? At first, this might lead to some head-scratching—after all, isn’t the product what they’re selling?

Yes and no.

The reason you see so many of these branding efforts is because a recognizable brand with a following is an incredibly valuable asset. Consumers who trust and recognize a brand tend to stick with it and recommend the brand to their friends and family. Even in the digital age and highly competitive industries, word of mouth is still one of the most elusive-yet-powerful marketing channels available to any business owner.

If your organization hasn’t yet established a solid brand following, here’s a few reasons why you should start today:

#5 Your Customers Will Become Your Tribe

If you’ve heard of the concept of a “tribe” in business lingo, then you know that this refers to the behavior of your most loyal customers. This demographic are the ones which are most fiercely loyal and who will sing your praises to anyone who will listen—but without a strong brand identity, this won’t be possible. One of the main purposes of a brand identity is to answer the questions “who are you?” and, perhaps more importantly, “why are you better than the other guy?” Once you have a following, your tribe will answer these questions for you happily.

A good way of looking at it is how sports teams operate. Sports fans are incredibly loyal to their teams of choice. They wear team logos, discuss news about the sport, and follow their team’s games religiously—to the point of saying things like “we won.” Sports teams trade players and change administrations and coaches relatively frequently. As one stand up comedian put it, “you’re cheering for a jersey.” This is the power of a loyal brand following, and this kind of fervent dedication is possible for your business too.

#4 Customers Are More Likely to Engage With You Positively

Have you ever struggled with getting positive reviews or good word of mouth? Do your customers never send you referrals? A strong brand presence can inspire your customers to interact and engage with you more positively. Remember, your brand followers will be your strongest advocates, so when someone needs a recommendation for the kind of product or service you provide, they’ll be the ones out there providing you with “free” advertising.

A good way to gauge how strongly your customers feel about your brand is through a customer survey. If you don’t get positive results from the survey—or worse, few results at all—odds are you need to focus on explaining to your customer who you are and why they should choose to work with your brand—and only your brand.

#3 A Strong Brand Image Isn’t Just Good for Your Customers…

…It’s also good for your employees. When you have a strong brand image, your employees will likely feel more inspired about the work they’re doing. Feeling as though they’re part of something “bigger” and that they’re impacting some kind of positive change in the world—even if it’s just making the best hamburgers in town—can affect they way they think about their work in a relatively dramatic way.

When an employee is proud of the brand they help to create, they’re more likely to behave in such a way that promotes the success of the brand. As a result, you’ll have happier customers—and perhaps new customers too, since your employees will also provide a word of mouth advertising. And why wouldn’t they? They’re proud of where they work.

A strong brand image can inspire employees to stay with your company longer, and this can help to alleviate the high turnover rate that many businesses suffer from. If an employee knows that the brand they’re working for has a strong future—and possibilities for upward mobility in their own career paths—the likelihood that your employees will look for “greener pastures” will be significantly reduced.

#2 Strong Branding Generates Long Term Financial Value

Even if your company never offers an IPO, having long financial value is one of the most positive aspects of good brand recognition. A strong brand can practically guarantee future business and sales—even if the economy is currently in a downturn. A strong brand can also act as leverage in the event that you need a business loan or funding. The more your focus on presenting your brand in a positive light, the better the odds are that your business will have future value, whether that’s for financial leverage, to enter a merger, or to sell it later.

You’ll also find that having a strong brand will help you find potential business partners should you ever decide that you need them. Working in joint ventures can be a major asset to any business, but without a strong, recognizable brand it can be far more difficult to find partners of this kind. A strong brand can help you get the right people on board to work with—whether they become your partners or just other businesses that you work with. Neglecting your brand image reduces trust in these kinds of situations.

#1 Strong Brands Build Trust

This is the most important reason why you should focus on building your brand recognition. A strong brand promotes trust from everyone involved. Most importantly, of course, are your customers, but your employees will also find more motivation and will be more likely to stay loyal to your business for years to come. You’ll have trust from other companies with which you do business, you’ll have trust from potential lenders, and you’ll have trust from all involved financial parties concerning the future of your business and your brand.

Strengthening your brand and developing a loyal following isn’t just about making more sales—it’s about making a strong future for your company. These are the reasons why building a strong brand identity is more about just advertising a product or service, it’s about ensuring the future of your business.

Josh MacDonaldJosh MacDonald is an internet entrepreneur and software develop best known for his development of marketing automation software. Check him out on Twitter or his blog.


Source: Marketing

Mastering Lean Metrics for Growth

Mastering Lean Metrics for Growth written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Podcast Banner Template

Marketing Podcast with Ash Maurya

When building a marketing plan for a client we often start with things like core message and ideal client. While these are certainly core elements of any effective marketing strategy, the place we should start is with metrics.

Understanding what you plan to measure and how you plan to collect the necessary data is often left to last if it’s given any thought at all.

This, as much as any other business dynamic, is what leads to chasing your tail from one idea to the next. When you lock down your goals, objectives, and priorities and make measurement a fundamental activity, you start a far greater chance of reaching your goals.

The key, of course, is to figure out what actually matters when you try to create your core set of metrics.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Ash Maurya, CEO & Founder of Lean Stack and author of the newly released book Scaling Lean: Mastering the Key Metrics for Startup Growth. We talk about “measuring what matters” and the essential metrics applicable to any small business.

Having been an entrepreneur for more than a decade, Ash knows all about building successful businesses.

Questions I ask Ash Maurya:

  • How does your “startup” book wedge its way into a crowded field?
  • What do you say to a business owner whose one metric is revenue?
  • When you mention and describe “new business models,” are there any new ones?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to build the connection between a great idea and a great execution.
  • How “removing waste” can help you build the products that people want.
  • The 5 essential metrics needed to acquire customers and increase revenue.

Learn more about Ash Maurya and Lean Stack, a collection of tools, content and coaching resources used by thousands of entrepreneurs, universities and organizations. Click here to find out more about his book Scaling Lean: Mastering the Key Metrics for Startup Growth

This week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by our friends at Hover. Do you need a great domain name for your great business idea? Hover makes this quick and easy. Go to hover.com and use the promo code AshDTM for 10% off of your first purchase.


Source: Marketing

Is it Possible to Eliminate the Need to Sell?

Is it Possible to Eliminate the Need to Sell? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Do LeadershipIf the idea of leveraging your expertise to skyrocket your position in your industry while also virtually eliminating the need to sell ever again – all without spending big money – sounds appealing to you, then you need to read on.

About six months ago I launched an initiative to help members of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network write and promote books they have written – this initiative is called Duct Tape Publishing and today I get to announce the launch of a new book written collaboratively by four Duct Tape Marketing Consultants.

The book is call Do Leadership: A Step by Step Guide to Doing Thought Leadership.

Thought leadership is such an abused term these days, but it’s certainly the goal of many a “so-called” leader.

In Do Leadership, you’ll get the exact roadmap for putting the idea of thought leadership into action in your business, career or life.

This practical guide is specifically written for Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners.

You can read all about it at Duct Tape Publishing.

Act fast and you can also grab a collection of book bonuses including templates and forms for putting the book’s lessons into action and a copy of another book written by a group of Duct Tape Consultants called Renewable Referrals.

Take action today!


Source: Marketing

The Local SEO Playbook – Your Guide to Local Rankings

The Local SEO Playbook – Your Guide to Local Rankings written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Look, if you’re a local business, meaning most or all of your business comes from customers living in your community, you must get very serious about local SEO.

Don’t worry, ranking locally for the kinds of things your prospects are looking for isn’t rocket science, but it does take a serious commitment to a handful of things.

In case you’re wondering if it’s worth the investment in such a commitment, let me share a few survey tidbits.

  • 98% of searchers choose a business that is on page 1 of the results they get.
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 77% of smartphone users contact a business after looking for local Information

And, I could go on, but I’m guessing you see the point – if you don’t rank well locally for the things people are searching for marketing will be a lot harder and a lot more expensive.

Here’s the good news – focus on these five elements and you can expect great results from local search. (The competitiveness of your industry may dictate your ultimate results.)

Optimize Google My Business

Google has a bit of a naming crisis when it comes to their local directory listings, but for now, you must pay attention to, claim, and optimize your Google My Business Listing.

Google My Business

If this is news to you go immediately to Google’s Free Business Listing page and find out if you can claim your current listing.

Many people created or had created Google+ listings and Google made a mess of how this became Google My Business so you may have some cleanup to do to make sure that you only have one listing for your business and it’s the one Google thinks is your business.

Once you claim the right listing you need to make sure you take full advantage of all of the real estate and linking options available to you.

This, by the way, is essential if your business is to ever show up in the coveted Google 3-pack for local searches shown above.

Make sure you have the right business category and subcategories chosen for your business.

Make note of the exact way your business name, address and phone number (NAP) appear. Exact meaning is is Street or St., is it Heating & Cooling or Heating and Cooling. Whatever you show listed as the NAP on your Google My Business Page, you’ll want to use consistently on your own website and across all directories. (More on this in a bit.)

Get markup right

Search engines are busy trying to adopt a consistent markup protocol to help use HTML code to properly identify things like businesses, reviews, addresses, books, movies and the like.

 

You can learn about the current popular markup for local businesses by visiting Schema.org.

Using proper markup for your address is kind of like handing Google your business card on a silver platter. It doesn’t look like anything to the naked eye, but Google spiders can be 100% certain what they are looking at when it comes to identifying an address on your web pages.

The good news is that you don’t really need to know anything about the underlying code to get this part right. Simply visit Schema.org’s Local Business NAP generator and fill in the blanks – The tool will produce the HTML code you need to add to your site in place of your current address.

schema

There are other things you can do with structured markup and you can read all about it here.

Clean up citations

So, you might very well be familiar with a few directories like Yelp! and Google Local, or maybe even an industry specific directory or two like Houze or Angie’s List, but you probably didn’t realize that Google relies on hundreds of data aggregators and directories to help them sort out and keep straight all of the local businesses out.

So, getting your listing straight on Google is essential, but if you’ve moved, or changed your phone, or just listed your details in all sorts of ways in business filings or Chamber directories, there’s a good chance Google isn’t sure which listing is correct and that’s not a good thing.

local_search_ecosystem_us

Google use many data sources to try to get the most accurate picture. The image above from MOZLocal shows the interrelation of information sourced between data agrregators, directories, and search engines in the US.

The last thing Google wants to do is send someone to the wrong address when they search for a local business.

directoryissues

Above is an example of a local business that has multiple inconsistent citations online. The name is spelled out differently, there are three different phone numbers and at least two different addresses.

I’m certainly not picking on this business – In my experience, some sort of inaccurate data is out there for most businesses.

Use a tool like MozLocal and see just how bad this problem is for your business.

Once you determine there are a few inaccurate, inconsistent and incomplete listings use MozLocal, BrightLocal, WhiteSpark or Yext to clean listings and suppress inaccurate duplicates that often occur.

You might also want to check out this list of other local directories by city and this list of industry specific directories.

This step alone can do more for your local listings than any other aspect of local SEO.

Create local content

This one should be obvious but it kind of isn’t.

If you think about it, when you create a brochure and hand it to a prospect that pretty much know that you work in their city. But, when you create content online, you need to go over and above to spell out where you do your work.

Now, it’s easy to get spammy listing lots of local content and that can hurt you as much as help you, but you certainly should talk about where you work and in some cases have specific pages with case studies for specific trade areas, suburbs, and neighborhoods.

Don’t forget to blog and post about local events and happenings. Using your blog to take about community, customer, and employee related local news is a great way to spice up your local content in very authentic ways.

If you have multiple locations you may want to learn about and adopt what many SEO folks refer to as content silos for each location – here’s a great primer on local content silos.

Focus on reviews

Reviews have become another important form of content. As the statistic cited at the beginning of this post suggests, people increasingly rely on reviews to make decisions about the products and services they purchase.

So, while you need positive reviews for social proof, you also need them as a pillar of your local SEO efforts.

Google factors review activity as one of the elements that helps determine what businesses show up in the 3-pack.

No, it’s not the only factor, but it’s an important one.


do-you-read-reviews1

 

The graph above from a BrightLocal survey demonstrates just how important reviews have become in the purchase journey for local businesses. Just a few years go nearly 30% admitted they didn’t use reviews – today that number is 8%. Meaning – 92% of buyers regularly or occasionally rely on reviews when making a local buying decision.

Take a look at the businesses in the image above. Reviews are displayed and play a large role in what businesses are shown and for the consumer, what business are clicked. You must have at least 5 reviews for Google to display the review stars as a highlighting feature of local results – that alone makes it important to acquire reviews.

Reviews are harder to get than they should be. Even a business with raving fans must work to get those reviews from happy customers.

The key is to ask often and make it as easy as possible for your happy customers to log in to the sites that matter and leave a review. Sure you’ll take a glowing email testimonial from a customer, but far better to push for a Google, Yelp, Facebook or industry review. (Check out this list of important industry review sites.)

You can always repurpose these reviews in email newsletters, on your site, or even hanging up in the store.

Many businesses are finding that they need to make review collection a process rather than leaving it to chance. Tools like GetFiveStars and Grade.us can help automate the process of review collection.

Take some time and make each of the five steps above a priority for your local business and you may find that local leads drawn from organic search can become your most potent lead generation channel.


Source: Marketing

Weekend Favs June Eighteen

Weekend Favs June Eighteen written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from online source or one that I took out there on the road.

smokies

Spent some time in the Smokies this week.

Good stuff I found this week:

Cloudo – One place to search through all of those online apps and services you use.

YouTube Director – Create polished video ads right from your phone for free

Ludwig – Interesting set of advanced writing tools in one suite


Source: Marketing

The Benefits your Business Gains from Donating to Charity

The Benefits your Business Gains from Donating to Charity written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Benefits your Business Gains from Donating to Charity - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pexels

When you donate to charity via your business, you will soon discover an array of benefits that come with the territory. There are so many reasons you should apply this tactic to your company.

Most importantly, you’ll be assisting worthy causes and helping make real change. That’s the whole purpose of doing your bit for charity, but so many business owners worry that this will then put a huge dent in their profit margin. As much as we may wish to donate and contribute to organisations, it could ruin a business that has barely taken off. Well, you can now unravel some of the brilliant benefits of being involved with charities and how it could help your business growth.

Employee Morale

What better way to rally up your team than fighting for a good cause? This is such an underrated aspect of running a business, team morale is imperative to success. It’s no good having everything else in place without this. Well, one of the fantastic pros to running a conscious business looking for change is that you will be injecting enthusiasm into your staff. Give them something worth working for.

Team Purpose- Give your staff a bigger purpose than just money-making.
Give Them a Say- Allow them an active role in picking which charities you will be involved with.
Team Building- Take part in team-building events that focus on raising money and awareness, enjoy fun-runs, events and other sponsored tasks.

You’ll be sure to expand your worker’s morale tenfold, so this is a fantastic bonus to donating. Your staff and their philosophy is the foundation, so build appropriately and everything else will follow.

Consumer Perception

When a customer arrives at your store, website, garage or office you are instantly being judged on your service and how your business generally runs. People don’t like to invest their hard-earned money in any company. When you are a charity based business or one with a giving process, then you have put into the good books right away. Contributing some of your profit shows the type of business you are and separates you from the others, this sits well with consumers.

Positive Image- You will gain credit from the customer the moment they see you are involved with charities.
Association- You will also be associated with the charities you involve yourself with.
Build Strong Customer Relationships- It will go a long way to creating a bond between your business and consumer.

There are many ways to do this, you can enjoy brand activation as they interact in polls. Customers will feel a direct effect and will be more likely to get involved in your process. Take a look at My Favourite Voucher Codes, they donate 20% of their profits to a chosen charity each month whilst saving customers money. This way consumers get a say without having to pay a penny, in fact, they actually save money.
Marketing Opportunities

You’ll be astounded as you discover how easy marketing becomes. This is one of those grey areas where some people invest more than others. It’s a department that needs a lot of care and the right tactics. This element combined with the previous one, ‘consumer perception’ will go a long way to increasing your popularity.

Self Promotion- The word will get out and your company will be shared through word of mouth.
Press Releases- You can enjoy the press, newspapers and online articles that come your way. It’s all good press for your company. Newspapers love reporting about charities.
Social Media- Your charitable endeavours can be photographed, shared and spread. This means more attention to your business and of course, a great way to spread the word on a worthy foundation.

Networking

An important part of any business! Networking is so tough and it can be hard to know where to start. When it happens naturally is when it has the biggest impact.

Common Ground- Being a charity raising business means you are likely to find an ice-breaker with something you are both interested in.
More Likely to Interact- Those elusive contacts are easier to find as they know you are standing up for a good purpose.
Passion- It is far more likely to be natural, with you both being passionate about what you are doing for charity.

Bigger Profits

When a business is doing everything right, they will reap the rewards. Everything listed before this can only help your profit margins. You can donate a percentage of your profits. There are even ways to deduct tax as you are actively being involved with foundations.

Advertising- The above points showcase how your business will be advertised without additional expense.
More Customers- Enjoying a positive perception means more willing consumers.
Strong Taskforce- Your team will be working towards the same goal.

All these elements will take you a long way towards your bigger profits. So be sure to start making positive changes and in turn embrace the positive karma sure to come your way.

Chloe ClarksonChloe Clarkson is a feature writer for My Favourite Voucher Codes, a money saving voucher code website that helps consumers save money on their online shopping while donating 20% of their profits to good causes each month at no extra cost to the consumer. Chloe has a strong interest in fundraising, ethical trading and runs her own small business during her spare time.


Source: Marketing

5 Ways to Incorporate Your Community into Content Creation

5 Ways to Incorporate Your Community into Content Creation written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

5 Ways to Incorporate Your Community into Content Creation

photo credit Pixabay

There’s a simple truth that many marketers come to understand as they build up a brand: a company’s brand belongs to the community. Yes, we work to build it up and spread awareness, but ultimately it lives and dies in their hands.

We constantly seek to create new and engaging content that grabs the attention of our online communities and followers, but what if we were to not only accept, but encourage the community to help in the content creation process? It’s time we started working with our audience, and today I’ll show you five ways to do just that.

5 Ways to Include Your Community in Content Creation

As human beings, we crave personal connections and storytelling in our marketing. Your brand is a story that has many different authors. Content creation should become a cooperative effort, not something exclusive to the writers on your staff.

Here are five ways to bring people into your content creation process:

1. Crowd-Sourced Solutions

There’s an art to asking for a referral from a member of your community, but think about it like this:

You are an expert, as are the people on your staff, but there are also experts within your online following that can also provide assistance and solutions. Many of them would be happy to do so! If you have any particular questions or issues that seem to appear more often than not, try asking experts in your community to weigh in on this process:

  • Pose the question on your social media channels
  • Compile the accurate answers
  • Write a round-up style blog post and give credit to those who helped out.

These types of knowledge-heavy posts can be compiled into a huge base of information for your audience members to easily access when they need it. Not only that, but you’re also harnessing a powerful social media strategy to create engaging posts.

2. Engage Your Community in Real Time

When a breaking news story hits, we often scramble to produce something before the opportunity to capitalize on the trending topic is gone. Using a tool like Storify, you can quickly curate trending news and post within the heat of the moment.

You can also use moments like these to source additional content from the community. Much like the point above, these responses work great in a post where you highlight the most insightful comments.

For 51% of brands, creating real-time engagement is their largest challenge. Here are some ways to create this type of engagement for your brand:

  • Ask for your community’s opinion on hot-button topics
  • Encourage people to share photos from events or business gatherings associated with your brand.
  • Announce an upcoming deadline for your company and let your community know how they can help.

3. Harness The Hashtag

While it was born on Twitter, the hashtag is spreading to other platforms like Instagram as well. This method of categorizing posts and tweets offers you the ability to join and involve your community in any conversation taking place in real time.

It could be a hashtag related to an event or news story, but utilizing it in your tweets, and retweeting other messages within the same conversation will allow you to not participate and monitor the developments.

Retweeting your community’s messages offers another avenue for involving them in the content creation process as you can also curate these tweets into a future post on your blog.

Start this process by looking through tweets associated with a certain hashtag. Retweet the useful ones and save them for later if you want to incorporate them into a full post.

4. Show Interest in Their Opinions (Ask for Feedback)

Sometimes, all it takes is the right question in the right place to immediately involve your community in your content marketing. Social media, newsletters, surveys, these are all touch points you can utilize to engage your audience members.

When you have their attention, ask questions that show an interest in their opinions and values, like these:

  • How can we improve in the coming year?
  • What do you like most about our product/service?
  • Where is your dream vacation?
  • What are your new year’s resolutions?

Focus on simple questions with simple answers to maximize your response rate.

5. Incorporate Music

Regardless of what industry or theme your audience encompasses, music is a universal language that works each and every time. Try thinking out of the box with this one by using services like Spotify and SoundCloud to create community-created playlists that fit your theme.

As an example, let’s say you’re a travel agency. Why not ask people to submit their favorite tropical-themed songs one month and publish the playlist on one of the aforementioned services? This a fun and unique way to incorporate more than just text or video content into your marketing.

Final Thoughts

Our communities are what define the brands we try so hard to grow and nurture. By incorporating them into our content creation, we’re not only fostering better content and engagement, but we’re also strengthening the brands we know and love.

How do you incorporate your community into your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments below!

Matt BannerMatt Banner is the owner and author of On Blast Blog, a resource for both beginners and seasoned veterans in the world of online blogging. Contact him via email at matt (@) On Blast Blog (dot) com or on Twitter @BlastYourBlog.


Source: Marketing