Mobile Wallet Marketing: Offers, Coupons and Loyalty at the Center

US consumers probably won’t be replacing their leather wallets or designer purses with mobile phones or smart watches any time soon, but that doesn’t mean brands—especially retail brands—can afford to ignore the burgeoning marketing opportunity mobile wallets offer. As people grow accustomed to using devices to pay at the point of sale, the mobile wallet will become an important hub that will enable marketers to provide customers with more context as well as greater convenience, according to a new eMarketer report, “The Mobile Wallet: Six Things Marketers Should Know.”

Offers, coupons and loyalty programs are nothing new to marketers and advertisers seeking to engage with customers and drive demand. But by connecting these tactics to mobile wallets, they’re starting to provide more convenience and context to consumers while they shop, as well as providing real-time insights that marketers can harness immediately to improve performance or meet specific objectives.

“I think the first use case [for marketing on mobile wallets] is more relevant offer that is specifically targeted to a consumer in a mindset to make a purchase,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast. He elaborated that past purchase history could be triangulated with real-time location information to deliver compelling contextual messages and offers to individuals at the perfect moment to provoke a desired action.

Julie Bernard, CMO of Verve Mobile, agreed that sale messaging, coupons and promotional offers currently dominate the conversations related to marketing on mobile wallets. “While it may
 not be terribly exciting from an advertising industry perspective, it remains enormously relevant from a consumer point of view,” she explained. When consumers take advantage of a coupon, deal or promotion, it makes them feel like a savvy shopper, Bernard said. “Delivering those coupons and offers to the consumer in a manner that makes life easy for them is a hugely advantageous opportunity for advertisers and marketers,” she noted.

More often than not, brand-specific mobile wallets are tied in with loyalty programs to incentivize and hopefully habituate usage with offers and rewards.

Context will be key to keeping consumers engaged, and better analytics from mobile wallets will be one element to help inform how to provide that context. Marketers “actually have that information available to know what [customers] bought last and how frequently they’ve been in,” said David Luther, chief business officer at Mozido. “You can create that segment, then give them a pretty valuable discount to get them to come back,” Luther noted.

Michael Puffer, director of mobile solutions and strategy for HelloWorld, explained that a main advantage of mobile wallets is the deeper level of customer data and instant feedback loop they can provide campaigns and programs. “We’re really excited about this as a way to kind of quantify [what] really wasn’t as readily available and much more difficult to implement previously,” he said.


15 marketing experts to follow on social media

Sharing helpful content marketing, search engine marketing and/or social media marketing tips, as well as information about the latest digital marketing trends, these 15 marketing pros are worth following.

There is no shortage of marketing advice, or marketers, on social media. Indeed, it often seems that on Twitter everyone is a marketing expert (or has something they want to market or sell). So who can you turn to, or follow, on Twitter (and elsewhere) for trustworthy online marketing advice that can help you better market your business? Check out these 15 marketing experts (listed in alphabetical order).

1. Danny Brown, author/blogger. “Danny is a digital veteran and isn’t afraid to change with the times,” states Amy Vernon, cofounder & CMO, “His blog is chock-filled with great posts that cover important topics with a no-nonsense attitude. Danny’s never rude, but also doesn’t take any guff,” she adds. “He responds to everyone and really thinks things through before writing or responding. I never stop learning from this man.”

2. Jeff Bullas, blogger, author, strategist and speaker. Why is he a marketer to follow? “His blogs on social marketing and advertising provide a wealth of information,” says Robert Hake, founder,, a provider of custom t-shirts. “There are so many success stories throughout his articles that give business owners like me a clear understanding of best campaign tactics,” he explains. “Whenever I read one of his articles, I have at least ten different ideas that I’m excited to share with my team in the office the next morning.”

3. Brian Clark, founder, Copyblogger. “Every online marketer should follow Copyblogger founder Brian Clark,” says Tracy Mallette, founder, Content Newsroom. “He not only practices what he preaches by creating and sharing a ton of free digital marketing content, he also builds the tools that help you succeed in online marketing,” she explains. “He teaches you how to do digital marketing right through free blog posts, in-depth ebooks and podcasts, as well as more in-depth paid means, such as online content marketing certification training.”

4. Contently. “My absolutely favorite marketing pro would have to be Contently, a company dedicated to sharing the best and most creative approaches to content creation for brands,” says Vanessa Labi, a digital engagement specialist at Creative California, a digital marketing firm. “Their main focus, regardless of medium, is storytelling. The articles they publish on this subject matter are consistently written in a conversational, yet authoritative tone, and are presented on social media with engaging visuals and can’t-not-click-on-it headlines,” she explains. “In other words, they practice what they preach! I would recommend to digital marketing pros that they follow Contently to not only get the latest marketing news, but also to stay focused on elevating content and engaging your audience with excellent storytelling.”

5. Andy Crestodina, Web strategist and cofounder, Orbit Media Studios. “Andy has a knack for simplifying complex content marketing, Web analytics and marketing technology topics and sharing them in an easy-to-understand and actionable manner,” says Steve Susina, marketing director, LyonsCG, an ecommerce digital agency. In addition to sharing “his own content, he curates and shares great ideas from others across the marketing ecosystem. And he regularly engages with others on social media.”

6. Rand Fishkin, founder, Moz. “Rand Fishkin has been a thought leader in the SEO world for a number of years and whilst no longer CEO of Moz, he is still very active in the search marketing community,” explains Simon Ensor, managing director, Yellowball, a digital marketing agency. “Thankfully, he is also forthcoming with advice and latest news as well as being particularly active on social media. This in turn makes him an incredibly useful source of contemporary information on all things SEO.”

“The reason I like following Rand is because he gives, or directs people to, great insights that are easy to digest and understand for the everyday marketer or business owner,” says Patrick Delehanty, a digital marketing specialist with Marcel Digital. “He’s [very good at responding to] questions or comments on Twitter and also is fantastic at engaging in honest dialogue about business and marketing issues or news. The content he puts out on Moz and his presentations are great for anyone that is either just starting in digital marketing, or a seasoned veteran.”

7. Ahna Hendrix, CEO & lead social media specialist, ARCH Digital Agency. “I believe good content and value are the premier services you can offer on a social media platform, and Ahna does it well and with flair,” says Dan Sotridge, a motivational speaker, writer and life coach. “Her bubbly personality shines through in everything she posts, and gives the follower a reason to ‘buy in’ to what she is talking about. I am always looking for new ways to use social media to drive my business, [and] Ahna takes the work out of business-related social media and makes it fun!”

8. Kevan Lee, content crafter, Buffer. “Kevin shares the best writing tactics for blogging and social media – and has a [helpful] newsletter,” says Jeff Lizik, director of Digital Marketing, C-leveled. “If you follow Kevin, you’ll learn [about] the best tools out there that save you the most time.” For example, “he recently posted about the science and research behind hashtags. It answers questions like, ‘Should we be using them and how many should we use in one post?’”

9. MarketingProfs, “MarketingProfs provides great tips on content ideas, writing and creation,” says Katie Bisson, marketing & public relations manager, Technology Seed, a managed IT services company. “Along with providing tips in blog or article format, they host an abundance of webinars all geared toward content creation. This is, by far, my favorite site to turn to.”

10. Katie Martell, CMO, Cintell. Why is Martell a “must follow”? “This Boston-based marketer-turned-entrepreneur has created buzz, built brands and driven growth at B2B tech organizations,” states Ann Handley, head of Content at MarketingProfs. “As a millennial CMO, she proves that life as a digital native has prepared her well to be part of the next generation of marketing leadership,” she continues. In her role at Cintell, Martell helps “marketers across the world better understand their buyers, and become truly customer-centric (which is what a lot of companies say they are, but few truly are).”

11. Neil Patel, an entrepreneur (cofounder of analytics companies KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg and Quick Sprout), angel investor and consultant, “is a must-follow on social media,” says Valerie Jennings, CEO, Jennings Social Media Marketing. “Not only does he provide excellent original content every week and insights into marketing, but he also is great about engaging with his followers, even though he has over 150,000. You can gain insight and extend brand reach by engaging with Neil Patel.”

“Neil is fantastic with everything from SEO to social media and everything in between and outside of it from a digital marketing perspective,” says Delehanty. “He shares fantastic content that helps business owners and marketers make the best of their Web experiences, and [he] engages [with] audiences,” he adds. “He’s a great mix of science, common sense and accessibility, and he never gets too in the weeds.”

12. Holly Pavlika, senior vice president of brand strategy at Collective Bias. “[Holly] blends a good amount of authenticity with subject matter expertise in the area of social media and product marketing,” says Anthony Onesto, vice president of human resources, Razorfish, a marketing agency. “She also is one the few high profile bloggers and Twitter personalities that actually engages with their community,” he adds. “Most are in a ‘push content out’ mode, [but] Holly is different. She engages and thanks you for sharing content.”

13. Christopher Penn, vice president, marketing technologies, SHIFT Communications. “Christopher Penn [is] one of the industry’s leading innovators and social media influencers,” states C.C. Chapman, a writer and consultant. Media outlets regularly search him out “for his leadership in new media and marketing. [And] in 2012 and 2013, Forbes named him one of the top 50 most influential people in social media and digital marketing,” he notes.

What, in particular, makes Penn a marketer to follow on social media? “He is very smart in only sharing the best and most informative links,” says Chapman. “Every morning his #The5 are a must read for anyone, no matter what field they are in.”

14. PPC Hero, blog and online resource for all things pay-per-click. “They are, in my opinion, the number one source of trustworthy news and best practices for PPC marketing,” says Kirk Williams, founder, ZATO, a search engine marketing agency.

“PPC Hero is a go-to source for insights about the paid search community and what’s going on across the search engines,” says Christi Olson, director of Search, Point It, a digital marketing company. “They are great at sharing the most relevant and up to date blog posts, not just on their own site, but across the PPC community. They are one of my go-to sources to stay in the know for what’s going on.”

15. Laura Ramos, vice president & principal analyst, serving B2B marketing professionals, Forrester. “For me, Forrester’s Laura Ramos is a must follow,” says Norman Guadagno, vice president, marketing strategy, Wire Stone, a digital agency. “Her Twitter feed and blog are full of sound and often surprising advice for B2B marketers. She delivers takeaways that are always fully baked and ready to put into practice, with insights that are, of course, backed by Forrester’s reliable research,” he adds. “I recommend her as required reading to anyone in the B2B marketing space.”


Best Practices: Three Ways Marketers Can Go Back to Basics to Regain Market Share

How to Address the Dazed and Confused Marketing Landscape

When Led Zepplin wrote its iconic rock anthem in 1970, “Dazed and Confused,” it could’ve been describing today’s marketing landscape. I believe many marketers are simply scratching their heads about the right ways to reach consumers today. Billions of ad dollars are being thrown at a wide variety of digital platforms, websites and search engines, often with disappointing results.

Joining the dazed and confused are many of the major consumer packaged goods brands, which are seeing their market shares tumble. In speaking with a number of marketers and those on the media side over the last several months, it’s apparent that brands are redirecting ad dollars to all things digital, in an attempt to gain favor with the ever-elusive and alluring millennial audience.

But taking dollars away from magazines, for example, and putting them on Facebook, simply isn’t going to solve the market-share erosion conundrum. And moves like this explain the recent rash of media agency reviews. An alarming number of CMOs just can’t seem to find the holy grail of effective marketing anymore.

So what should a smart marketer do to turn the tide and clear up the confusion? I believe it is all about going back to basics, and here are a few thoughts:

1. Listen to millennials. The fundamentals of our business are all about listening to consumers, gaining a unique insight, and developing a plan and messaging around that insight. Yet I believe much of that planning has been tossed to the side in the rush to be online, procure low online media rates via programmatic buying, and reach young consumers where marketers think they want to be reached.

However, ask a 27-year-old if he or she has ever clicked on a Facebook ad, and the answer is likely “no.” Same with Instagram and other ads on websites and social media platforms. It’s important to better understand how today’s young consumers are consuming media, and where and how to motivate them. They’re spending money, will respond to the right advertising, and will be brand-loyal, but many marketers are whiffing on their efforts to connect.

2. Evolve early. We’re in an industry that is dynamic and changes fast. Are marketers and their agencies keeping up with the pace of change? It’s important to evolve thinking, products and execution sooner in order to stay relevant.

Comcast, for example, recently rolled out a product for cord-cutters called Stream. It’s a low-cost option that provides access to content on a Comcast platform, while delivering it on mobile devices and laptops. Comcast is the first of its industry competitors to solve this problem with a market-relevant solution. Smaller and mid-size agencies, which are typically more nimble and can more easily pivot to better figure things out, are also in a position to stay ahead of change.

3. Peer-to-peer selling. Most 18-to-33 year-olds aren’t dazed and confused about how and why their friends buy things. So why aren’t more millennials in high-level positions, calling the shots about marketing to their peers? Plenty of smart ones are out there, who deserve a chance to re-engineer how their peers are marketed to.

But this is not just about millennials. I believe agencies and clients should have teams dedicated to various target audiences, based on their age groups. Selling today is about specialization and knowing audience nuances. In this scenario, baby boomers would be selling to baby boomers, GenXers selling to GenXers, etc. You’d likely see brands growing again.

The irony of the confused marketplace is that it really isn’t all that complicated to figure out. If a more thoughtful approach were taken — one that goes back into the fundamentals of what makes good advertising and PR campaigns work — then marketers and their agencies would have clarity in their direction. And results that encourage reinvestment.


Why Design Is Important for Content Marketing

Design has become ingrained in our culture in recent years. Visual storytelling is now more prominent because of social media and mobile browsing, and it’s forcing brands to up their content marketing game. But design is also everywhere and user experience influences us all in our everyday lives – from navigating through museums or malls through signage or watching that Toyota commercial that gives you all the feels, to simply navigating a website. Design is a broad term and has many definitions, but there is a science to it, too. There are psychologies and strategic principles that good content designers follow to ensure a comfortable yet engaging experience for the intended audience.

One such principle is “Gestalt.” It is a psychology term that means “unified whole.” The gestalt principles are established laws of visual perception developed by German psychologists in the 1920’s. These principles help define how we see and group different objects. Many designers follow these principles to better design and execute their message.

Gestalt Design Principles


So, what does good design and psychology have to do with content marketing? Everything. It plays an extremely important role. So important that it could affect your results and conversions. Here’s why…

Human Emotion

The better your designer understands core design principles and psychology, the better they can connect with your audience and your potential consumers. They can build off of these core principles and create content designs that evolve and connect with the intended audience. This is possible because every font, color, and shape each communicate a subconscious message evoking different human emotions and possible connections.

Psychology of Shape, Color, & Space

According to a Quick Sprout survey, color influences 90% of subconscious judgements.

Based on the associations above, next time you see a logo, think about what that logo is conveying about what that company does. For example, The AT&T logo is a blue sphere representing trust, dependability as well as community and unity. This fits well with their services that bring people together via telephone.


Once a consumer connects with a brand on an emotional level, their trust is earned and you can engage with them on an intellectual level.


Content drives people to your website and design enhances that content. UX design, when done well, helps the user find that content easily and quickly. Design can organize content giving visitors a pleasant experience, keeping them on your site longer.

The connection on an emotional level is important for your audience, but design has to also be functional. Though subjective, design can be bad and completely fail. It’s all about effectively communicating the right message. A successful designer will establish a strong emotional connection and simultaneously communicate the intended message that can be easily digested by its intended audience.

A great designer will go above and beyond those basic principles learned in school. He or she will not only establish an emotional connection, communicate the message effectively, but they will understand human behavior and ques by engaging and entertaining the viewer.

Put It Into Action

We have reviewed the basic psychology behind color, shape, gestalt design principles, emotional connections and communicating a message. Now you can understand the true importance design has over your audience, consumer actions, and overall brand experience. These principles can be applied to various mediums, so work with your designer to establish the goals and the intent of your project, whether it be a logo, website design, infographic, video, or just content customized for social media. If you know the message you want your brand to convey to your audience, this will only help you find the right design direction that will be the most successful.


How content marketing can improve clickthrough on personalised ads

Build-trust-with-content-marketingOver the past five years, content marketing has taken centre stage in Australia and New Zealand.

Creating, publishing and sharing content used to happen on the periphery, but now it is at the heart of how local brands connect with their target audience.

Brands are using their own content as the primary tool for finding potential customers and beginning to build a relationship with them.

Content marketing can hook people in and provide regular touch points to keep them interested. When they’re ready to buy, it can provide the detailed information about products and services that modern consumers now expect.

Providing genuinely useful and helpful content that offers more value than simply plugging their own products is helping brands in Australia, New Zealand and around the world to build trust with their existing and potential customers.

The trust dividend

Research has shown a strong link between trust and purchase behaviour. People are more likely, for example, to buy from brands they follow on social media.

A recent example of this trust dividend came in the form of a study that looked at how people interacted with personalised online ads.

The practice of serving up ads based on the websites you’ve visited previously is well-established. Most people will be quite used to seeing ads from familiar brands as they navigate around the web.

Research published in the Journal of Retailing revealed that response to these ads was heavily influenced by trust levels. If users already knew and trusted a brand, they would respond more favourably to a personalised ad promoting that brand’s products or services.

“For the more trusted retailer in our field study, we find banner clickthrough rates to increase by 27 percent,” the study’s authors said.

The study also revealed that personalised ads risks freaking people out if they were too detailed, as they prompted concerns about privacy. Participants in the study said they preferred ads that showed just one product they had looked at rather than all of them.

Separate research has shown that when brands fail to address trust and confidence they pay the price with lower conversion rates. Simple issues such as a checkout process that takes too long or a form that asks for too much information can scare off potential customers.

How content marketing builds trust

Brands can use content marketing to build trust with their audience in a number of ways, such as blogging or creating dedicated content for social media.

A blog is the starting point for most content marketing strategies. It provides a platform for you to talk about yourself, but also create the kind of content that will reach out to a broader pool of potential customers, including people who don’t yet know they need what you sell.

Your blog content can touch these people through search, social media, email and paid promotion to establish familiarity with your brand and develop that familiarity into trust.

Dedicated content for your social media profiles is another excellent way to build trust. While most online journeys start with a search, social media is accounting for an increasingly large share of eyeball time.

Facebook, for example, is second only to Google in both Australia and New Zealand, according to, which tracks the popularity of websites. Globally, Facebook has 936 million users who access the site every day.

And while Facebook won’t be the best social platform for every brand, its popularity highlights the powerful reach of social media sites. Creating social content either for organic campaigns or paid promotion is a great tactic for connecting with more of the right people.


Your Direct Mail Marketing Checklist


Direct mail marketing can be an exceptionally effective choice for many types of businesses, used alone or in conjunction with other marketing techniques. Postcards are particularly popular with small businesses for their affordability and impact, although sometimes a brochure-mailer can sometimes also be appropriate.

Whether you’re just now discovering direct mail marketing or it’s been a mainstay of your local business promotional efforts for years, it’s handy to have a checklist you can reference from time to time, to ensure your mailers produce consistently excellent results.

1) Audience

Which of your marketing personas is this mailing for? Most businesses have more than one type of customer or patient or client, and you can target either current customers or prospects. Knowing who you’re talking to and what’s most important to them drives everything else about your direct mailer – the design, the content, the mailing list, the timing.

2) Mailing list

Direct mail works only if it’s delivered to people who are very likely to be interested in what you have to offer. And it’s cost-effective only if the delivery rate is very high. When you rent or purchase mailing lists, are you taking full advantage of your targeting criteria options to zoom in on your hottest prospects? Are you scouring your internal database(s) regularly to ensure addresses are still accurate? If not, you’re wasting precious resources and getting less than you’re paying for.

Are you using your inbound marketing and other techniques to continually add new names to your mailing list? Have you evaluated whether the post office’s Every Door Direct Mail option makes sense for your business or certain campaigns?

3) Creative design

Are you presenting key elements on your postcard or brochure so they produce maximum impact? Generic postcards do your business a disservice rather than setting you apart. A custom, professionally designed postcard is crucial so your mailer looks its best and clearly reflects your business and its personality.

Mailers that perform best include:

  • A can’t-miss, straight-to-the-point headline – if you short-change this element you could lose readers before they get started.
  • Photos that tell your story better than words.
  • Color and layout to instantly grab attention, with consistent branding that reinforces name familiarity.
  • Content that is brief, using bullet points or short phrases that deliver your message succinctly.
  • “Finishing touches” that add legitimacy and give your recipients multiple ways to contact you – name, address (and possibly a locator map or other helpful details), hours, website URL, email address, social media icons. Each of these details is small but mighty powerful in helping people make the decision to choose you.
  • Beautiful, crisp printing that says you’re a professional and care about quality.

4) Content

Is it clear who you are and what you do? If you’re prospecting, you need to introduce your business and tell people what separates you from the competition. Why should they choose you as their new dentist, try your restaurant or gym or tax service rather than going somewhere else? How will they benefit – a problem solved? An emotional or psychological need met?

Content should build trust and a personal connection with your recipient. Are you adding testimonial quotes and other credibility-builders like logos or lists that show your professional affiliations, accreditations, awards, etc.?

5) Offer

The purpose of direct mail marketing is to make sales or attract leads you can nurture and convert later on. Merely telling people about your business is rarely enough – you may spark interest, but you probably won’t spur action. Are you giving people a solid reason to respond? An incentive/reward such as a discounted price or percent off, a gift with purchase, an exclusive early-bird preview or introductory offer will seal the deal.

6) Call to action

Does your mailer clearly tell recipients what to do next? Should they call, email, visit your website or stop by in person? You can’t make a tempting offer and then just leave them hanging. If you expect people to figure out for themselves how to follow up, they won’t bother. Or they’ll set your mailer down, intending to deal with it later, only to forget about it. You want them to take action while it’s top-of-mind.

Are you imparting a sense of urgency that propels prospects to act fast? You can limit quantities or set an expiration date, but don’t make the quantity so limited prospects will think they have no chance or make the deadline so close people don’t have time to respond (or so far away there really isn’t a sense of urgency after all). Learn more about creating an irresistable call to action.

7) Timing

Are you scheduling campaigns for times when prospects are most likely to respond? Are you scheduling enough repeat mailings to assure maximum response?

8) Tracking and analytics

Your goal isn’t response, it’s making sales so you get a great return on your marketing investment. The only way to know how well your campaigns are performing is by tracking results and calculating your ROI. This also helps you see which offers or other elements are working best for you, so you can refine your marketing over time. Consider using a special phone number you can track and also record to study and improve phone sales skills. If you do, be sure it looks local, because your prospects want to buy from a local business.

Use this checklist to create and review your direct mail marketing, and you’ll:

  •          Know exactly who your audience is, so you can precisely target your mailing.
  •          Know what they want most, and your content can reflect that.
  •          Give recipients a compelling incentive to act now.
  •          Set a campaign-appropriate mailing schedule.

That’s the path to success whether you’re prospecting for new leads or looking to sell more to existing customers or renew your relationship with inactive customers.


Should my startup invest in content marketing?

“We’re thinking about marketing for our startup but we’re not sure if content marketing is the right way to go. Do you think there’s enough ROI there to make it worthwhile?”Content_Marketing_Slider

I get asked questions like this all the time by startups who want to bring in more customers, but are apprehensive about the cost, involvement and the ROI.

They’re usually surprised by my response.

They don’t expect me to say that not only is content marketing one of the most affordable methods of traffic and lead generation – it’s also got long-term value, residual benefits that play into SEO, social media, customer satisfaction, conversion rate optimization and so much more.

If you’re one of those startups sitting on the fence, I want to give you five really good reasons why investing in content marketing is going to pay you huge dividends.

1. Content builds credibility

Your customers need to know three critical things about your business:

  • You’re competent
  • You’re credible
  • You’re likeable

Content marketing gives you the chance to address all three.

When you share content that outlines your expertise or digs into a topic they want to learn about, you’re playing the role of the authority, giving them faith in your ability to do the job you’re promising to do.

This gives your customers a clear understanding of your competence; they can see for themselves the way that you think through problems and address issues, and they also learn to see you as a trustworthy information source – that’s the credibility part.

The voice and tone you use to write the content also gives your customers a sense of your brand’s personality and values.

They learn what you’re all about and how you communicate. If you can entertain them while they’re learning from you, you’ll grow to be seen as a likeable brand – and that positive emotional connection makes it more likely they’ll buy from you and stay a loyal customer.

2. Content fuels social engagement and exposure

Social media without content marketing is lifeless.

If you want to have something to talk about with your customers (other than answering their questions and handling their complaints), you need to be either creating or curating content that’s interesting to them.

Content marketing gives your brand the ability to steer the conversation in whatever direction you choose. You can showcase your competence in a specific area, give customers a conversation point, or educate your following on an issue you know they care about.

Your content can be repurposed on social media in a multitude of ways, too – whether it’s turning statistics into clever snapshots and infographics or adding quotes to images for a visual impact.

Content marketing gives your customers a point of entry into your website and a sense of familiarity with your brand that makes it more likely they’ll buy from you over time.

3. Content marketing is a powerful SEO tool

If you want to rank well in search, you need two important things:

  • High-quality links from trusted websites
  • Original content that pertains to the keywords you want to target

Content marketing gives you both.

You can create content that surrounds certain keywords or phrases you want to rank for – phrases that it might be more difficult to work into your primary website due to constraints or on-page conversion funnels.

This gives Google lots of unique content to chew through and improves the topical relevance of your entire domain, improving the likelihood that you’ll rank well in search.

Then, when that content gets shared and talked about, you’ll earn quality links naturally – the way Google loves.

You can be deliberate about your content marketing and target specific hubs, interest groups or audiences who have the ability to give you a link back.

The result is a much more powerful website that’s able to outrank your competition and earn links that they can’t copy.

4. Content creates and captures new customers

Even if you’ve got the greatest landing pages and website copy on the planet, you’re still missing out on customers and conversions if you’re not using content to generate leads.

For example, a guide or ebook on a subject your audience is interested in can be used to generate leads by giving it to them in exchange for their email address – empowering you to remarket to them and send offers on an ongoing basis.

Blog posts and articles, as I mentioned, improve your credibility and competence – but can also be used to hit on customer pain points and help them realize their need for a product or service like yours.

And you can use content to target keywords that show clear buyer’s intent, getting more qualified leads on your site in the moments they’re considering options and solutions.

The more relevant content you create, the more lines you’ll have out in the water to potentially hook an interested lead.

  1. Content marketing is affordable (really!)

None of the benefits above would be worth it if content marketing cost a fortune to implement – but the honest truth is that it doesn’t need to.

Yes, you will need to pay for someone to research, plan and edit the content if you are unable to do this yourself. And yes, you will need to invest in a promotion strategy for the content. But there are ways to make both of those options incredibly efficient:

  • Set a content schedule you can manage:Don’t listen to anyone who says you have to publish “X” amount of content for it to be effective. Just commit to producing what makes sense for your budget and resources; anything is better than nothing
  • Repurpose content to get more bang for your buck

    A huge part of the cost of content is the planning and ideation phases, where you generate and research ideas. Instead of coming up with new ideas every time, it makes much more sense to choose one big idea, research it in depth, then produce multiple pieces of content based around that same theme.

    For example, you could create an ebook, then turn that ebook into smaller posts and guest posts for sharing on your own site (and pushing people back to download the ebook, which gets you their email). Any stats in the ebook could be turned into tweetables, images and infographics.

    You can stretch one piece of content a very long way – and once you have it, you can market it over and over again.
  • Produce some content yourself

    You don’t have to love to write or be an expert designer to create content. You can lend your abilities to video, podcasts, webinars, Slideshares and much more. There are plenty of mediums you can create on, and the ability to create on your own can bring down the overall cost – so long as you’ve got the time to manage. If you don’t…
  • Source work from the same people repeatedly

    Instead of working with a huge group of different writers or designers, finding just one or two who you trust to deliver can be more cost effective as they’ll save you time on the research and editing end. They’ll get to know your business, and by doing so, get used to producing content in your style and to your preferences.

So, yes – you should invest in content marketing. Put aside those fears and trepidations – there’s a lot to love about content marketing, and a ton that it can do for you. If you want to build your brand, engage your customers, improve your SEO, capture more leads and keep customers coming back, content really isn’t optional – and it’s time you started reaping the benefits.


5 Reasons Why Content Marketing is Getting Harder and More Important


Content marketing is obvious. If you’re here reading Small Business Trends, odds are that you’re engaged in content marketing.

Your websites, apps, and updates probably try to offer something of value — information, humor, tips, advice, how-to instructions, or even well crafted opinion — that people actually want to read.

Obvious, however, doesn’t mean easy. Of course, creating a useful blog post, comment, update, or article doesn’t take the millions of dollars the big brands typically spend on 30-second television ads. But if it’s really good content, it takes expertise, thought, editing, time, and effort.

It doesn’t just happen.

Why Content Marketing is Getting Tougher

Millions of experts, writers, and information workers create free content because they want to.

That could be called post-and-hope.

I run several blogs and get regular emails from people who want to get guest posts published. Blogs like this one, Huffington Post, Amex OPEN, and thousands (maybe millions) of others encourage free content from experts.

The old system of editors as curators and gatekeepers has been replaced by a new system of crowds – readers – as gatekeepers.

Millions of individual experts and businesses create free content for business advantage.

That’s post and promote.

The business advantage is credibility and visibility in a topic area. When it works, it’s like earning a voice by sharing insight and expertise, instead of buying a voice by advertising.

Small Business Trends, where I am posting this, is a great example of how that works. Posts here can’t sneak hidden advertising disguised as content; they have to have real value. Anita Campbell, founder of this site, has created a successful business built around content that’s free, useful, valuable, and not infomercials.

For individual experts, as examples, look at the careers of Anita here with this blog, or Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, John Jantsch, Susan Solovic, Guy Kawasaki, Joel Libava, Ramon Ray, Jim Blasingame, and so many others. There is such a thing as the expert business, and creating content helps with that business.

Here’s a hard truth.

Things that a lot of people like doing, and especially things people will do for free, generally pay less than things that most people don’t like doing, especially work.

I discovered this general truth four decades ago when I was night editor for Northern Latin America for United Press International, working six nights a week, for $115 per week.

Why so cheap? Because I was young and eager and easily replaceable by somebody else young and eager if I didn’t like it. If I quit (which I eventually did – I was married and we had kids) they could find somebody else (which they did).

It became clear to me after a few years of it that because journalism was fun to do, it was hard to make a great living at it. I ended up getting a fancy MBA degree and starting businesses – but that’s a different post. And that’s a fact of life with content marketing, too.

The big brands are getting it.

Good content – stuff people actively want to read – works in ways advertising doesn’t.

For example, Time Inc.’s DIY home site for mobile millennials, The Snug, is a collection of tips, articles, and pictures on a new kind of interior style. And not by coincidence, IKEA is happy to engage there. And CBS built Viewers to Volunteers as a connected digital giving platform.

All of which comes down to this.

There is a whole lot of noise in the content business. We live in an information-rich world in which the good stuff isn’t a needle in a haystack. It’s a needle in mountains of needles mixed in with mountains of haystacks.

A few decades ago content was controlled by gatekeepers called editors or budgets for advertising. Fast forward to now, and the gatekeeper functions have disappeared.

Experts who do it right can rise on the value of good content, alone. Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin are self-publishing their books even though several business publishers would love to publish them. My own brother makes a several thousand dollars via Amazon in a good month on short stories he wrote and published himself.

Anybody can start a blog for free. Everybody is publishing all the time now. Facebook alone includes more than a billion accounts, all of them publishing, a couple hundred thousand of them not even people, just bots. Every tweet, no matter how useless or stupid, is something published.

But It’s Also More Important Every Day

No, we can’t give up on content marketing because it’s working. The business landscape is shifting. The classic methods of advertising – shouting, or buying a voice – are clearly threatened. The leading big brands aren’t going there because they don’t have anywhere else to spend money. They are looking towards content because it works. And it works better every day.

What do we do? At least these two things:

First, acknowledge the challenge.

Too many experts are telling too many business owners that we should all just jump into content marketing as if suddenly every owner is a writer. It’s not that simple. Quality content is content people want. They choose it, in a cornucopia of available options. Content marketing is driven by quality content.

Second, consider that curating can be as valuable as creating

The museum curator chooses what in a subject area is most important, gives it order, and makes it accessible. The modern web curator does the same thing with content. That’s what made Huffington Post and Buzzfeed successful. The traveler heading out for a new destination appreciates a selection of recent reviews and recommendations – curated content. The small business owner appreciates a selection of existing articles, well chosen, more than a flood of undifferentiated content.



2015 is going to be a mobile year! Yes, everyone believes it and that is why they are paying much attention on responsive web designs. In this mobile era, the importance of a Responsive web design is undeniable.

The adoption of smartphones and tablets is increasing rapidly and so does the importance of responsive and mobile friendly web designs. These mobile devices have simply changed the attitude of developers towards web design and user experience. With more users browsing the website from mobile devices, it has become essential for everyone to have a responsive website. Before looking into potential benefits of getting your simple website converted into responsive one, I would like to briefly explain what responsive web design actually is?

What is responsive web design?

A responsive web design is basically a process of coding and laying out a website in a way that it provides an optimal viewing experience to the users across different browsing machines including laptops, desktops, mobiles, tablets and iPads. It reduces navigation, eases up the reading process and it has the capacity to adapt to the screen size of the user.
A responsive web designer makes sure that the end product will be able to readjust its audio video, visual effects, text alignment, screen layout and UI elements on a variety of devices without any discrimination.

Pro’s of Responsive web design:

Super Flexible:
Responsive web design sites are made with a concept in mind:fluid. Yes responsive web design sites are fluid as content moves freely across screens of all devices. You don’t have to pan, zoom in or out while working with a responsive web design site as the content itself becomes fluid and takes its place over screen. The concept of fluid is linked with water. Just as water drops on a surface move freely to make their place across the surface, the same is the case with content on the site. The content quickly and freely moves according to the screen size of the device and present a perfect user experience.


Improved sales & conversion rate:
One best thing about responsive web designs is that they provide consistent user experience across different devices which makes it easy for the users to get familiar with the navigation of site. This increased familiarity with the interface of a site or store often results in an improved conversion rate which in turn brings more sales. Responsive web design also improves performance of your site by getting in shape according to the screen size of the browser which makes it easy for the users to navigate through your site and make purchases.


Low cost solution:

The advantage of having one single responsive web design site is incredible. We all know that maintaining one site costs less than maintaining two different sites and that is why we prefer going for responsive web design. A responsive web design site meets demands of users coming from different devices with varied screen sizes and that is why it becomes quite easy for the owner to maintain one site instead of two. Having two separate sites for desktop and mobile users will simply cost you twice in terms of maintenance, SEO and everything else. One single responsive web design site also enhances SEO efforts by directing all your users to one single website without discrimination of the device they are using.


SEO friendly & recommended by Google:

With more than 67% shares of online marketing world, Google is considered the king of everything that goes online. And when Google speaks, search marketers listen to it with great attention. According to Google, responsive web design is the best practice of the contemporary mobile era.

Google says so because a responsive site has only one URL and one HTML which makes it easy for Google to crawl, organize, index and manage content. Google also prefers one responsive site design because it becomes easy for the users to find content on one site, share it, interact with it and link to it from one site. Imagine the same practice with multiple sites and imagine the trouble of interacting and sharing with it too. Having two separate sites of your company will simply reduce USER experience and Google seriously hates it. User Experience plays vital role in ranking sites and that is why responsive design sites are more likely to rank higher in search engines.

Simple & easy to operate-manage & control:

Working with two separate mobile and desktop sites will require you to run two different SEO campaigns. While on the other hand, having on responsive site will require you to run only on SEO campaign with faster results. The advantage of responsive site is that it allows you to run multiple mobile specific SEO strategies on your site by setting particular keywords that are searched while users are on mobile devices. Although a separate mobile site helps you in performing more mobile specific tasks but still you cannot deny the leisure of maintaining a responsive design site. A responsive site cuts down the maintaining costs, SEO campaign costs, saves time and brings more reliable results as compared to having two separate sites.

Let us know what you think?
Responsive web design is an emerging field and we know that our users also know well about it. share your experience with us in comments, let us know other benefits of having a responsive web design.


Benefits of Google Adwords

Who does not know about Google Adwords? If you don’t, then note it down that it’s a Pay Per Click (PPC) or paid advertising on Google that allows you to boost your sales while working with the world’s leading search engine.
Google AdWords works in a simple and straightforward way as described below:
1-Potential users search keywords related to their target product
2-If your chosen keywords match with what people are searching for, Google will advertise your paid ad in its Organic search results
3-Customers/visitors click your ad, visit your website and 70% of them end up buying your products

Marketing your business in 2015 is not an easy task. With diverse traffic and increased competition in online world, it is quite hard for a business to manage and utilize their advertising campaigns. Luckily, Google AdWords makes it easy for you to market your business online. In this blog post I have listed down 5 potential and amazing benefits of using Google AdWords to market your business. Check them out now:

1-Measure your success rate:

What makes Google AdWords a perfect PPC platform is that everything is measurable. You can measure the success rate of your online marketing campaign by looking at the exact conversion rate. You can always check number of impressions, number of clicks, (CTR) click through rate, conversion rate, exact number of conversions, cost per click and CPA (cost per question rate). If you are working with a fully dedicated team that keeps on optimizing your ads on a daily basis, then you can expect amazing results from this pay per click advertising service.

2-Increased Relevance:

Google is famous for its mysterious ways of ranking sites and presenting ads. With a complex algorithm, it often becomes quite difficult for us to explain how actually Google ranks keywords and ads on basis of relevance. Ad marketing is all about bidding over different keywords and claiming the clicks whenever a query is entered into Google search bar. We have seen companies with huge marketing and PPC budget not getting the desired results while their competitors were enjoying more conversions in low budget. The reason for that is Google does not only focus on who is bidding higher on a keyword but it also takes into account the relevance of ad. Moreover, Google takes other factors into account like click through rate of your campaign and conversion rate. If your click through rate is higher than your competitor with a high bid then chances are that your ad will be clicked by the user. Similarly if the quality of your landing page or website content or products is better than your competitors then too you will get the pleasure of being clicked.

3-Cheap & effective:

Google AdWords is amazing when it comes to setting your budget on daily basis. It is extremely cost effective and it offers you with unlimited budget solutions. With Google ADWords, it is entirely up to you to decide how much you want to spend on daily basis. You can set your budget from $10 to $5000 per day (whatever suits your business). One best thing is that you pay only when you get a click (pay per click). And while working with a professional team of skilled optimizing experts, you can expect a certain decline in costs of per click over time.

4-Right Time-Right People-Right Place

Google AdWords campaigns are fully targeted which means you are going to appear in potential searches in your target location. Google AdWords offers you sophisticated ways to control and operate your online marketing campaigns while targeting the right audience and location.

-Location targeted:

With Google AdWords, you can choose the physical location where you want your ad to be displayed. It is often called as local search where you target the areas of operation for your company. You can also target a particular city, country, the whole world or merely a town. Google AdWords also allows you to set your target location as a place name so that users looking for particular services in that particular area may also come across your ad.

-Mobile Targeted campaigns:

Enhanced pay per click campaigns make sure that you are targeting the most emerging mobile traffic niche. In 2014, more than 50% of online traffic came from mobile devices and 2015 is fully going to be a mobile year. In such a scenario, targeting mobile device users becomes easy when you are working with AdWords. It’s enhanced marketing options allow you to target the ever increasing mobile traffic and display your ads to more potential users.

-Time & Language targeted marketing:

AdWords allows you to target users in a particular time period as well as in 40 different languages. It means with AdWords, you have endless possibilities to reach your success zone.

5-Start-Stop-Evaluate and keep going:

Google AdWords offers you an easy and simple to manage platform where you can easily look into what is going on with your marketing campaign. You can pause your marketing campaigns any time and start them again whenever you want to. It also allows you to evaluate your marketing campaigns by measuring the performance of target keywords and location. In other words, we can say that Google AdWords is all about possibilities.

What you say?

I know there are lots of other benefits of using AdWords, but I rated these 5 higher than all others. If you have got something to share about AdWords then do it right now in comments.

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