4 Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing
BrandTraditional marketing is changing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to effectively market your brand. In order to do that successfully, you need to know where the audience is and how to speak to them. We know the majority of the audience has gone social and we know content marketing has morphed into the official language for brand communication. So here are a few content marketing tips that can be helpful when executed correctly. 1.  Know your brand Your brand is the heart and soul of your company, and in order for the audience to understand who you are, you have to understand yourself first. When an audience sees your work, they should know what you stand for. For example, Martha Stewart is seen by her audience as a home expert. The media she posts relates to her brand because she consistently shares recipes, home improvement ideas, and DIY projects. People relate to her brand because it has a strong and clear stance. To do this, give your audience a focus on what you stand for and effectively continue with this same stance in all of your media. When an audience is well educated on who you are, they are able to believe in your brand and look at you as the brand expert. If there is not enough information circulating about your brand, then your audience will be just as lost as you are. 2. Keep them interested Providing your audience with information they yearn for will keep them informed, interested and most importantly, satisfied. A strong title and introduction are crucial to keeping your readers hooked. The introduction should explain why you are writing about this topic, as well as demonstrate a strong knowledge on the information. 57% of marketers report custom content was their top marketing priority for 2014 (source: http://www.altimetergroup.com) so make sure you are able to write in your own style with a strong voice. If the article does not sound like you or your brand, the audience won’t be able to connect with it. If there is too much fluff in your words, you won’t be taken seriously. There are a lot of little things to think about when writing, but when looking over your post think about these three questions: is this our brand’s voice? Will my content be interesting to my audience? Is the article original? 3. Be consistent and post regularly You want your audience to know your brand and to read your content, but it’s not useful unless you are consistent with your marketing. The more information being posted about your brand, the more likely your audience will see it. If you are sporadic with your posts, then they will be sporadic with reaching your whole audience. Simple things can connect people to your brand and help them stay interested. Come up with weekly posts that you can schedule on your social media sites that link to your website, blog or correlating site. According to the Huffington Post Tech “Tweets that include links are 86 percent more likely to be retweeted.” The more you reach out to your audience, the better chance you have for them to reach out for you. 4. Keep up with trends and come up with new ideas Keep your marketing strategies fresh and trendy. Do your research so you know what the newest content marketing strategies are and to see what your competitors are doing. If it’s working for them, make your own twist and showcase your brand, in your way. To read more about content marketing, check out our article on 4 Content Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid.
4 Content Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid

Content

We all make mistakes in life and unfortunately, it’s the only true way to learn. The same goes for our content marketing strategies. The space grows, and simultaneously, so do our mistakes.

Below is a list of what we know hurts brands rather than help them, and how to avoid these four content mistakes in the future.

1.  No Goals.

A strong foundation is needed to achieve a goal, and that strength comes from asking questions before you begin writing your content. First, what are you trying to achieve? Is it quality leads? Is it to engage new buyers and introduce them to your brand? Or is it simply wanting to let the audience know who you are, not what you do? If you can ask and then answer your own questions you have a better chance at providing value and gaining results.

2.  Not Providing Quality Content.

Can you list the top 50 burning questions your audience would really like an answer to? If you can’t, then you need to find out. Throwing trivial information at them, rather than information they yearn for, will not help to gain their attention or keep them engaged. For example, if you are a bridal shop and you’re writing a piece on how to lose weight before the big day, it may not be as effective as if you provide tips on how not to trip down the aisle. Which according to Brides.com is one of the most popular concerns a woman has. Your content marketing strategy should simply answer your customers’ questions and most general concerns.

3.  Not Posting Enough.

This one is really simple. The more quality content you publish, the more website traffic gained. Hubspot recently reported that brands that published 16+ blog posts per month received about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.

4.  Manipulation.

Content Marketers are not in the business of manipulating their consumers. They know their audience can sniff out a sales pitch instantly. Today, nobody wants to be sold or bombarded with shameless plugs, they want to be educated or entertained. When you provide compelling content, you draw in engagement and social media shares, which is key. So don’t be a salesperson, it just doesn’t work.

 

Stop the Unsubscribes – Image Marketing Consultants Share Some Tips

We all know a solid email list becomes a powerful sales tool for a lot of companies. On account of that, we never want to lose one subscriber. Besides, most of us do not do well with goodbyes. We usually want to know why it’s happening and how we can stop it.  Sometimes, there is just nothing you can do, but often times you can stop the customer before that dreaded click. We say keep fighting the good fight and never surrender!

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Show a fun, lighter side of the company. You don’t have to grovel, just use a playful tone that your customers can relate to.  For example, your unsubscribe message can be something like – Was it something we said, Nancy?
  • Always use the customer’s first name in any unsubscribe message to make it personal to them. It’s more impactful and will make the customer feel more important overall. It’s surprising that one simple psychological technique can make the customer think twice, but studies show it does.
  • Offer alternatives on your unsubscribe page or form. For instance- stop daily emails, only monthly emails, only coupons, etc. The customer may want to stay on board but just change their preferences.
  • This one is bittersweet, but make sure you ask for feedback when they leave. It’s a great opportunity to learn and see what might be going wrong.
  • Last, have the founder of the company create a short video that will make the customer laugh. This provides an opportunity to humanize your brand and show the company’s personality.  You can even hire a comedian like HubSpot did. Take a look.

B2B Brands Drive More Emotional Connection Than B2C Brands

Seems impossible, right? Apparently not.

A study by Google, the CEB, and Morista reported out of hundreds of B2C brands researched, most have emotional connections with 10%-40% of consumers. Meanwhile, B2B brands elicit an emotional connection with more than 50% of their buyers.

This means we can crush the misconception that clients need “corporate” content and provide practical information to help businesses make decisions they can feel really good about.

Take a look to see how emotion impacts the purchase decisions of B2B buyers.infographic B2B

 

 

Discover the I-Park Foundation – A Beautiful Nature Preserve in Connecticut

ipark1I-Park is a non-profit artists-in-residence program located in East Haddam, CT.

Since 2001, I-Park has hosted over 600 artists from around the world on this 450-acre site.  The preserve serves as both an open-air and closed-studio laboratory/workshop for creative pursuits in a variety of fields. These include: visual arts, music composition/sound art, creative writing, moving image, architecture and landscape/garden/ecological design.

Each month, beginning in April and ending in November, seven artists, who have been selected by way of a highly competitive jury process, arrive at I-Park for a 4-week, fully-funded onsite residency to develop new projects or work on existing ones.  Additionally, every 2 years, I-Park hosts an Environmental Art Exhibition preceded by a 3-week residency.  For this year’s Environmental Art Program, 12 artists will create new works that respond to the landscape: sculptures, sound art and performance art.

A free public exhibition will be held on September 20, 2015.

The public is also invited for OPEN Studios on August 9th, 2015.  Meet the artists-in-residence in their studios, view their works-in-progress and walk the grounds.

To learn more about I-Park, donation opportunities and their calendar of events, please visit www.i-park.org, call 860.873.2468 or send an email to info@i-park.org.

Image Marketing Consultants Advise You To Get On YouTube Today

Thinking about creating a “how-to” video? If not, you should be. The company reports over 100 million hours watched in 2015.

YouTube “how-to” views are continually growing, in fact 70% year over year. It’s an opportunity for brands big and small to get “seen”. Millennials are the key drivers of this growth and Google cites that 67% state they can find a YouTube video for anything they want to learn. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s at their fingertips.

The most popular “how-to” searches are related to home-improvement, beauty and cooking videos. However, don’t let that discourage you if your business or product does not fit into one of these categories; video is still a powerful SEO tool that all brands should be using.

Watch this short video on the best way to create your own video. Enjoy!

 

Image Marketing Consultants Explains 5 Web Trends You Cannot Ignore
Image Marketing Consultants Explains 5 Web Trends You Cannot Ignore

Every year you should update your marketing plan and continually be on a mission to maximize your results. As you know, results increase your dollars and dollars increase your growth. It’s an endless loop, but one every company should be on.

If you want to be in the loop, start implementing these items immediately. These marketing trends won’t be fading anytime soon and they are more than significant, they are necessary.

Mobile – embrace it.
Your website should be accessible via mobile or tablet with optimal functionality for great user experience.  This shows your company is current and relevant. Statistics show that 66% of mobile users read their emails on smartphones so having mobile-responsive messaging that matches your site’s functionality is important.

Content, content and more content.
The quickest way to your audience’s heart is through valuable content. Content marketing through social media, blogging, email, and video helps you establish authority and gains trust with prospects, plus it’s a great SEO boost.

Personalize your content.
Content creation has become a major marketing trend and people are on overload. This creates a very selective audience as to what they will read or watch. Personalizing your information for prospective clients is key for building your brand and for building relationships.

One size does not fit all.
When you create and share brand content (a video, image, blog post, article, etc.) on different social media platforms you’re bound to get different results. It’s important to evaluate the type of engagement on each platform so you can customize your content for each one. This helps strengthen your brand with a new, targeted approach.

Be a human.
Stop the pitch and try to connect on a real, human level. People are looking for honesty, education, and clarity and never truly want to be “sold”. When you take this approach, it will be recognized and your brand will naturally expand along with the bottom line.

3 Steps for Handling Complaints & Negative Reviews Online

Social Media is an incredible tool for many businesses. It is a great way to connect with your customers, target audience, and potential clients in somewhat of an informal setting. Unfortunately, it also provides opportunity for those who find themselves dissatisfied with your product or service, a place to vent. Specifically on sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp.

While it’s wonderful to receive positive reviews, many times negative posts tend to outshine and ultimately weigh heavily on your new & impressionable, visitors.

Seeing as there’s no way to prevent negative reviews, we’ve come up with three easy steps to help your business to handle them.

1) Do not delete the comment. Many times, your instinct will tell you to delete – but that often causes more harm than good. Ignoring & banishing the complaints of your customers will only aggravate them further. To be sure that their voice is heard, they may enlist friends and family members to spam your social accounts with negative comments as well, thus creating a much larger problem than initially intended.
2) Respond, but choose your words wisely. You’ve made the smart decision to keep the comment public, now it’s time to respond…and fast. Take the time reply to the individual(s) as promptly as possible. Your response should first and foremost always be professional. Do not get defensive or aggressive with your words. It is appropriate to apologize for whatever may be angering this customer; be sure to let them know that you sympathize and understand their frustration.
3) Fix it. The last step in this process is to make an effort to rectify the situation to the best of your ability. Sometimes people simply want to speak to someone – put them in touch. If they want a refund or replacement – do your best to adhere to that request. If all else fails, offer a discount, coupon, free additional service, etc. We may not always be able to make everything 100% better, but giving it your best effort will hopefully leave the customer with a less bitter taste in their mouth, and prevent them from further posting negative comments about your company on the internet.
The best part about social media is that it allows people to interact directly with brands and companies – use this opportunity to your advantage. Do your best to converse with those who are singing your praises, as well as those who are doing just the opposite. Either way, your attention will be appreciated.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.
Networking 101 – Tips from Image Marketing Consultants

‘It’s all about networking’ is very quickly becoming a cliché, but don’t forget: clichés become clichés because they’re expressive and usually hit the bull right between the eyes (which, of course, is a cliché).

 

Networking is good for business, for individual advancement, for all manner of projects, promotions, plans and initiatives—good for just about everything. But as with most other forms of marketing, there are good ways and bad ways, right ways and wrong ways, useful ways and useless ways of doing it. Here are a couple of good, right and useful ways:

  • Always carry business cards with you—but don’t throw them out to everybody you bump into. Successful networking is about engaging the right people.
  • Listen as much as you talk. Sometimes, listen more than you talk. Figuring out what some of the specific needs of a potential client may be—which you can only do by listening—can result in valuable business. Just talking about yourself may not.
  • Help connect others. Introduce professionals who share common interests, businesses or industries. That can always work its way back to you in some positive way.
  • Be friendly and helpful. Share some professional insights and stories, or pass along relevant articles or blogs. Just as importantly, don’t necessarily expect anything in return.
  • Be proactive. Seek out individuals you would like to connect with and arrange to meet them. Decisiveness and intent, as long the self-serving nature of it takes a backseat to friendliness, helpfulness and sharing, can go a long way in letting people know what you’re looking for.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Website Management Responsibilities

Should large companies with dozens of departments, divisions or units allow employees within those separate entities to be in charge of their own sections of the corporate internet or intranet? It’s actually one of the tougher questions, only because there are legitimate pros and cons on both sides of the issue.

Pro: No one knows a department as well as the people who live inside that department.

Pro: Departmental employees know better than anyone else when important changes need to be made to their particular web page.

Pro: If a department has a certain ‘personality’ that makes it special and different, who better to communicate that than the people who give it that personality?

Con: Not every department, division or unit has a writer skilled enough to write appropriate web copy. Every page of every corporate site must be concise, effective and error-free.

Con: Departmental employees may just be too busy to take the time necessary to make web page changes and modifications. That’s not in their job descriptions—and they may even come to resent the responsibility.

Con: Just because a department has a personality, it doesn’t mean that personality should be part of the corporate site. There is often much more value in a corporate site having a singular, professional voice.

Of course, many large companies have a professional copywriter on board who is skilled at maximizing every department’s web page while maintaining cohesion on the overall corporate site. Other companies hire a full-service marketing communications firm that has expert writers, designers and project managers on staff to do it for them. After all, the larger the company, the more pros and cons need to be weighed.