Every Marketer Should Know These Content Marketing Stats in 2016

With 2016 just around the corner, one can’t help but reflect on just how much online marketing has evolved- especially as it relates to content marketing. Marketers alike would be wise to think about just what their online content marketing strategies will look like in the coming year.

Helping out with this thought, Forbes contributor, Jayson DeMers, put together an excellent list of the most recent content marketing stats. Some of these stats are re-posted here. However, we encourage you to view the original article.

B2B Content Marketing Stats

1. 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy. (source)

2. 61% of the most effective B2B content marketers meet with their content team daily or weekly. (source)

3. The most effective B2B content marketers allocate a larger portion of their budget to content marketing: 42% of their total budget, compared to 28% for less-effective marketers. (source)

image by frankieleon on flickr cc

B2C Content Marketing Stats

4. 76% of B2C marketers report using content marketing, yet only 37% say their strategy is effective. (source)

5. 37% of B2C marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy. This is up from just 27% last year. (source)

6. B2C marketers use infographics more than any other content strategy. 62% report using infographics, and 63% from this group said they were effective. (source)

General Content Marketing Statistics

7. Self-employed individuals are more likely to use blogging than large businesses (those with 1,000+ employees). (source)

8. B2B businesses are more likely to use blogging than B2C businesses. (source)

9. 45% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important content strategy. (source)

[*Information in this article was originally posted by Jayson DeMers via Forbes]

Watch Out: Digital Ad Spend Is Quickly Catching Up

While television ad spend continues to dominate the advertising landscape in the United States, a recent report published by Strategy Analytics reveals that digital ad spend is catching up…and fast.

A quick look at the numbers paints an exciting story for online marketers: While nearly $187 billion is spent on overall advertising in the U.S., digital ad spend accounts for just over $52 billion (or roughly 30%). And while this is still $30 billion behind TV ad spend, digital ad spend has been growing rapidly each year; ad spend is up by 13% this year alone! Thus, it remains the fastest growing category when compared to other forms of ad spend.

by Chris Blakeley on flickr cc

Why Digital Will Reign

Despite the overall drop in traditional ad revenues, digital ad spend will likely reign supreme as far as online advertising is concerned. Analyst, Michael Goodman, suspects that there will still be moderate growth in ad revenues for 2015, pending the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections as well as the summer Olympics. Goodman also suspects that this growth will continue for at least the next three years.

One look at how people use mobile devices lends insight into some of the trends we’re seeing with digital marketing. Simply stated, more people are online all of the time. Even while they are watching television, cooking dinner, or hanging out with friends, chances are likely that they have a mobile device in their hands. Smart marketers recognize this and are concocting more creative and innovative ways to reach target audiences as a result. And so far, it seems to be working. Why is this?

We have social media to thank, in large part. In fact, author, Leika Kawasaki , speculates that by 2018, TV ad revenue would have fallen to roughly 40% while digital ad spend would have grown to roughly 35%. Additionally, Kawasaki suspects that we’ll see a significant shift as social media pulls away from the pack to take up more of mobile ad spend – $8.2 billion versus $7.4 billion for mobile ads, to be exact.

Online marketers would behoove themselves to start planning for this shift if they haven’t already. And if you are a company that is trying to get the most bang for your buck to help increase brand awareness and ROI, it may be wise to contact an Internet marketing agency who actually not only understands these digital ad spend trends, but rather- one who knows how to put your dollars to use to make it work for your business.

[via TC]

Year in Review: 30 Online Marketing Tips to Take With You in 2015

As we welcome the arrival of 2015, the following are some online marketing tips to keep in mind.

by Images_of_Money on flickr cc #1 – Post more viral content.

Nothing catches someone’s eye like great, viral content. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, create one. Think through some interesting or unusual topics that pertain to your industry (or your client’s industry), and start wireframing. Since it’s visual, it pays to hire a professional videographer. He/she will be able to guide you in capturing the look and feel for the video.

#2 – Become an expert in your industry.

This is sometimes easier said than done. Becoming an expert means investing in time – time to hire the right staff people, time that will be spent reading and performing market research, and time actually doing marketing to figure out what works and what doesn’t. In the end, however, it’s worth it.

#3 – Segment your audience to target your content accordingly.

By segmenting your audience, you will be able to more effectively write and deliver online marketing content that appeals to specific people.

#4 – Keep an eye on global trends.

Believe it or not, global events affect your business as well as your clients’ businesses. Knowing what is going on, and what is happening in the world can help you be proactive in your marketing approach.

#5 – Write original content.

It’s been said time and again – content is king. In 2015, the same will still hold true. There is easy out. To write quality, original content, you should hire online content writers who have a track record for producing quality work.

#6 – Have a personal approach when dealing with clients.

Having a personalized approach with clients can be something as simple as checking in every few days to see how they feel about the work that you’re doing. Tailor your communication with clients on a case-by-case basis. For example, some clients may prefer email-only communication once a week versus other clients who may be more auditory and prefer a quick phone call.

#7 – Encourage original story-sharing.

One of the quickest ways to audience engagement on the Internet is giving people a platform on which to share their own experiences. Find ways to encourage online social sharing. For instance, you might write a blog post in which you feature someone who purchased or used your business’ services. In turn, that person may then take to social media to share their story, etc.

#8 – Engage in mobile marketing.

More brands are beginning to think more seriously about mobile marketing, and with good reason. The mobile industry has exploded in recent years, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. From iPhones to iPads, Kindles, and other types of tablets and smartphone devices – more people are on their mobile devices now than ever before. To engage in effective mobile marketing, you have to think about how your brand would be presented if traditional websites ceased to exist. This is especially true of eCommerce businesses.

#9 – Get more involved with online marketing in “real-time”.

Online marketing often generates fast feedback from consumers, and the feedback isn’t always positive. By being involved in online marketing in real-time (think Twitter & Google Alerts, etc.), you will be able to more quickly and effectively respond to customer complaints and compliments.

#10 – Respond to negativity in creative, more positive ways.

If you run a business, you will inevitably have to deal with some form of criticism. How you respond to this criticism is more important than the actual criticism itself. As mentioned previously, engaging in online marketing in “real-time” is crucial. Brainstorm positive, creative ways that reflect your company’s ideals. This may mean having to have at least one person whose sole responsibility is to monitor your online brand reputation.

#11 – Develop a visual marketing strategy.

What is your visual marketing strategy? Before most people have even read the words on your website, they are attracted to the visual design, look, layout, feel and/or functionality of your website. Despite being the most important aspect of a website, many companies still overlook web design as a key component of online marketing.

#12 – Research and engage with potential “influencers” in your industry.

Knowing who the influencers are in your industry is one thing; having a working relationship with them is another thing entirely. In the business world, some relationships take years to foster and just minutes to destroy. This is important to keep in mind when choosing who to build relationships with. Having a meaningful relationship with a key influencer in your industry, however, is priceless.

#13 – Minimize email distractions.

Often overlooked, your email has a lot to do with how productive or unproductive you are. It is easy to get lost in a sea of email on a Monday morning or throughout the week. Minimize email distractions by setting specific time slots to check your email. All other times, shut your email off or shut off email notifications. Set up automatic email responses and/or email notes in the footer of your email signature to alert others that you only check email during certain times. Most clients and work associates will understand this.

#14 – Create and launch your own marketing meme.

Memes can generate a TON of traffic to your website. Think creatively about which meme would most accurately represent your business or brand, and employ the help of other staff members to create a meme with viral potential. From cute cats to unicorns to something else creative, the possibilities for marketing your very own meme are endless.

by Sean MacEntee on flickr cc

#15 – Focus on specific social media.

While most people and businesses can benefit from social media, not all social media is created equal, and not all customers/clients use social media in the same way. Marketers sometimes make the mistake of thinking that they need to join every and all social media channels. However, this is further from the truth. In fact, many marketers wind up spreading themselves too thin because they are managing too many social media platforms. Do the research ahead of time to figure out where your target audience spends the majority of their social media hours, and create accounts only for the top 2 or 3 social media platforms. It will be easier to manage/track.

#16 – Create an email marketing campaign.

E-mail marketing campaigns are a great way to stay relevant with present, past, and future customers. However, you should take care to only create email marketing campaigns that truly offer something of value. Otherwise, you may be seen as a spammer. Plan ahead to determine how often you market newsletters and other information and to whom. You may have to tailor your messages accordingly.

#17 – Attend more networking events.

Networking events are are great way to rub elbows with people within your industry. It is also a great way to pick up on what other people are doing within your industry, and it is also a great opportunity to learn something new (as many networking events feature panel speakers). Want to build credibility? Apply to be a panel presenter at a future networking meeting.

#18 – Launch a Facebook Ad Campaign.

As the top social media outlet on the Internet, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be actively running a Facebook ad campaign. Besides the obvious reasons, Facebook advertising is a simple, low-cost, online marketing strategy that allows you access to potentially target millions of people in an effort to turn them into customers. Launching a Facebook ad campaign is super easy with Facebook’s step-by-step instructions.

#19 – Use LinkedIn to leverage professional connections.

LinkedIn is another under-utilized, online marketing tool. Start by creating a LinkedIn company page. Invite all of your colleagues, friends, and family members to join it. Next, start posting to your LinkedIn profile. Join other groups and actively participate in the online dialogue taking place. Finally, reach out to your connections and plan a lunch meeting or some other face-to-face gathering. Remember that you’re not just building connections; you’re building personal relationships.

#20 – Revamp your company’s website.

You’re working on creating amazing online marketing campaigns for other businesses and clients, so why is your website still stuck in the 90s? If you haven’t updated your website in the past 12 months, it’s time to consider upgrading. For instance, is your website responsive? You wouldn’t hire someone to cut your hair if their hair looked terrible, and you wouldn’t hire a personal trainer who was overweight – so make sure your website it on point!

#21 – Encourage and engage your employees/business in corporate volunteerism.

More companies are engaging in corporate volunteerism, and studies prove that it has numerous benefits:

  • Boosts employee morale
  • Boosts team building, loyalty, & productivity
  • Boosts motivation, and reduces absenteeism
  • Reaches more clients and increases sales – thus having a positive impact on profitability
  • And more!

#22 – Keep an eye on the competition.

Always keep an eye on the competition to see what they’re doing. This does several things:

  • It allows you to compare notes to see what you’re not doing.
  • It can give you bigger and better marketing ideas.
  • It prevents you from being blindsided by a potential competitor that you didn’t know about.
  • It allows you to see what others are saying (positive or negative) about the competition, thus allowing you to adjust your own campaigns as needed.

#23 – Invest in your employees.

The top reason why people hate their job isn’t because of the work; it’s because of the management. Investing in your employees goes beyond a salary and benefits. Set aside time to check in with your team members to see how they are feeling about their role on your team. Provide opportunities to educate them, and encourage them in areas where their skills shine while also being supportive as they tackle new challenges. You may discover areas of improvement or potential problems that can be remedied before they turn into larger issues. You don’t have a shot at success without being surrounded by a team you trust to get the job done.

#24 – Attend training seminars.

The Internet is constantly evolving, and online marketing changes from week to week. Therefore, staying on top of the latest happenings is crucial. Attending training seminars will not only help you to stay relevant ; it’s also important for employees to attend the same training seminars. After all, you are only as good as the weakest member of your team.

#25 – Limit your direct mail.

Direct mail campaigns, while not completely dead, should be limited as they are usually more expensive and do not have the same return on investment compared to online marketing. If you decide to do direct mail campaigns, it should be heavily researched ahead of time to figure out costs, contacts and other marketing materials. Limit the demographic and audience size if possible.

#26 – Set up Google Alerts.

There are numerous ways to use Google Alerts to your advantage. Besides brand monitoring, some quick ways to take advantage of Google Alerts include:

  • Set up Google Alerts to track your competitors’ names (use this to see what online traffic strategies they may be employing).
  • Set up Google Alerts to track influencers within your industry.
  • Set up alerts for specific sets of keywords that you are trying to rank for in Google.

#27 – Use quality images with online, written content.

Images are what draw readers into reading and digesting your awesome content, so choose your images wisely. Pay attention to things such as:

  • Image quality (pixels)
  • Image source (original image vs. uploaded from another website)
  • Formatting (ex: right, left, or center justified)
  • Size
  • Alt Tags
  • Image attribution (always attribute the image to the original photographer – even if it was you!)

#28 – Interview an influencer and feature it on the company blog/website.

Interviews make great fodder for blogs and websites. Interviewing an influencer in your industry is a great way to start or continue a dialogue about a particular topic that may be of interest to your audience. It is also a great way to spark interest among readers who will then share that story among their peers, thus lending more credibility to your business.

#29 – Follow trending topics, and create content around it.

Stay on top of trends. Doing so will help generate topical content that you can then use to relate to your audience while also increasing your chances of being found in search results.

#30 – Take advantage of marketing automation tools.

Using online automation marketing tools does two things:

  1. It frees up your time
  2. It allows you to streamline content by keeping you more organized.

Increase Your Brand’s Visibility With These 5 Tips

Estimated Reading Time for This Post: 2 minutes, 10 seconds; approximately 436 words.

Online marketing is one of the most important things that you can do to benefit your business. However, while most business owners know that they need to engage in online marketing, many are still unsure of what the best practices are.

The following are some quick tips to help you improve your brand’s visibility. All of these are relatively easy to implement on your own. However, if you don’t have the time or are simply struggling, it may be time to hire a professional Internet marketing agency to help you get on the right track!

5 Quick Tips for Better Branding Online

  1. Web Design – Your web design says a lot about you. Using color, placement of text, and high quality images, you can really draw in your audience to read more about what it is you do.
  2. Linking – Linking still rules the web. Aim to get more links pointed at you than the other way around. Search engines look favorably on websites that have high quality links from credible sources pointing at them. Think CNN, Forbes, .edu and .org websites. You should aim to build meaningful relationships with reputable sources on the web so that you can have higher quality URLs pointed back at your site. This also helps to build your credibility as a reputable source of information and expertise in your industry.
  3. Social Media – Social media is a key factor in the brand visibility equation. At the very least, you should establish accounts with some of the top social media sites, such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and even Pinterest and Instagram.
  4. Call to Action (CTA) – Does your website have a clear call-to-action (CTA)? Some businesses make the mistake of hitting people over the head with their CTA every chance they get. However, this is a mistake. If you have a rocking website design and have carefully crafted quality content on your site, you won’t need to pepper CTA’s all over a single webpage. One to two mentions is more than enough on a given page of content.
  5. Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Following in line with your CTA is your unique selling proposition (USP). What makes your business/website so much better and/or different than your competitors? Why should folks stick around on your website or visit your physical location? Before you can even think about how to execute your brand’s increased visibility, you must first sit down and think about what makes your brand/business “special”. Figure this out, and the rest will be gravy.

For more information about improving your branding or building a comprehensive online marketing campaign, contact Look to the Right today by calling: 919-926-8733.

Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior in the Digital World

Estimated Reading Time for This Post: 2 minutes, 46 seconds; approximately 554 words.

Each day, countless consumers use multiple mobile devices to engage in shopping. Interestingly enough, there are multiple touchpoint stages that a consumer will go through before a purchase is actually made. For example:

Consumer uses tablet to browse for items

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Consumer uses laptop to research item further

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Consumer goes to store, uses mobile device to research item further

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Consumer makes in-store purchase and/or uses laptop to order online

Looking at Consumer Behavior on Digital Devices

In a 2012 study by Google called, The New Multi-screen World, Google looked at consumer behavior across multiple devices in order to study how consumer behavior has (and continues to) evolve. The following are some interesting statistics:

  • We use an average of 3 different screen combinations/day (81% smartphone + TV, 66% smartphone + laptop/pc, 66% laptop/pc + TV)
  • TV is a major catalyst for search
  • Micro-moments across multiple screens offer advertisers more touchpoint opportunities to engage consumers throughout the day – ex: someone who has 15 free minutes of time will check their bank account online, etc. via their mobile device.
  • 44% of all spur-of-the-moment searches on smartphones were to accomplish a goal compared to 43% on PCs
  • 59% of smartphone users shop online in-home
  • 84% of smartphone users shop from their PC/laptop at home
  • 81% of smartphone users engage in spur of the moment shopping versus 58% of PC/laptop users
  • 67% of us start shopping on one device and continue on another

What Online Marketers Need to Understand

Because of the increasing prevalence and saturation of mobile/digital devices in the marketplace, one could definitively conclude that mobile devices will continue to not only influence consumer buying behavior; mobile devices will also continue to function as an accessory to making purchasing decisions. Therefore, businesses need to adjust their marketing strategies and pay closer attention to how consumers use mobile devices for researching, browsing, and buying.

For example, not all digital devices are created equal. Abandoned shopping carts from mobile devices (and digital devices) may be traced back to poorly designed websites, confusing checkout screens, and the inability for users to save their progress between different digital devices. Saved shopping carts, for instance, may help to keep consumers engaged with the brand/product and encourage them to come back to complete their purchase (Amazon is a great example of this).

Marketers shouldn’t limit themselves to creating conversion goals and CTAs that are targeted for one device. Rather, marketers need to understand that consumer behavior today often includes the use of multiple devices, sometimes simultaneously. For example, Google revealed that often, smartphones are companion devices to consumers while they are watching television. During commercials, or even during shows, consumers use their smartphones to research information about what they’re watching, or they may use their smartphones to browse other un-related information.

It is during these downtimes that marketers have an excellent opportunity to convey branded messages. For instance, if your targeted audience is Baby Boomers, it may behoove you to research the prime time frame and/or shows that Boomers watch, and build your marketing messages/collateral into a format that is readily and easily available to them – whether its ads on Facebook, Twitter, or some other online spot.

Final Questions

  • What sorts of digital devices is your target audience using?
  • If you’re a marketer, how can you help your clients achieve more visibility through studying consumer behavior?
  • What strategies do you plan to put into place to tie into how consumers interact with their digital devices?

[source]

PPC vs. SEO Which Should I Start with First?

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute, 24 seconds. Contains approximately 282 words.

This is a question I am often asked in sales meetings. The answer really depends on two things:

  1. Your budget
  2. The time frame in which you desire to see results

Pay Per Click = Instant Gratification Solution for Online Marketing

Pay Per Click (PPC) is your ‘instant gratification’ solution when it comes to Internet marketing. Most agencies and consultants can get your PPC ads running in a very short time – as in days.

Search Engine Optimization As A Long-Term Solution

On the other hand, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is usually a 60-90+ day range before seeing rank changing. With SEO/organic rankings, you typically receive more traffic over the short and long term. However, it takes a while for your SEO provider to get up and running, implement changes, add/edit online content, etc. Afterwards, it then takes even more time until Google indexes the completed work. Only after all of this is complete will you then see rank fluctuation.

Simplified Explanation of PPC vs. SEO

Still unsure of which to start with initially – PPC or SEO? Check out the following “cheat sheet” of bulleted items to figure out which one is right for you at this stage in the game.

  • Great Budget and Long Term Outlook: Start with SEO & PPC immediately
  • Okay Budget and Long Term Outlook: Start with PPC & Smaller SEO budget
  • *Small Budget and Need Short Term Sales: Start with PPC only. Track Results. As sales increase add budget to PPC and allocate some for SEO soon after.

*Disclaimer About Budget

Small Budget, as stated above, is relative to your competition, NOT your internal % of revenue. In our opinion most successful companies are spending 5-15% +/- of revenue on marketing/advertising. Your digital marketing budget is a percentage of this. See What Should My SEO Budget Be? for more help on budgets.