10 Blogging Tips for Better Customer Engagement

You run a successful blog, but are you really reaching as many potential audience members as you’d like? If not, what are some strategies to better engage with your customers?

1. Email Newsletter.

It sounds simple enough, and it is. With an email newsletter, you cut out any middleman, such as social media or an advertising company and connect directly with your audience. Giving them updated information and directing them to your new blogs will enable you to see a spike in traffic nearly immediately.

2. New Content.

Again, it’s one of the easiest solutions to being at the top of a search engine feed. Make sure you’re writing and creating new and relevant content weekly. Let your customers know about any changes or new products, and push them to sign up for your newsletter. Want new content? Trade your existing content for new content from marketing partners who already have an audience of your best potential customers.

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3. Social Media Tools.

Use your social media sites as a bridge to your blogs. Social media should be a tool, not a destination. Direct your audience to your blog through links and small excerpts of the article’s information to get them hooked, but to also ensure that they make the jump to your personal site.

4. Post When It Matters Most.

Make sure you’re posting your blogs on your site and social media at the peak times of engagement. Most studies show that Thursdays and Fridays between the hours of 12pm-3pm are peak audience hours, but for more in-depth studies you can visit sites such as Track Maven for complete breakdowns.

5. Humanize Your Brand.

You need to create a kinship with your customers that will help establish brand loyalty. One of the best ways to do this is to let the customers see a little of your “behind-the-scenes.” A post about the process you’re going through for a new product or a funny antidote from the last staff meeting lets your audience know you’re human and want to include them in your “brand family.”

6. Encourage Customers to Interact and Share Their Experiences.

Consider creating a message board for your site, and encourage people to post there at the end of each of your blogs. A place where your audience can interact with each other not only creates a sense of family, it also offers you a candid look into how your audience feels about your brand.

7. Keep Your Audience Happy.

Find out what your audience likes about your blog by keeping track of the traffic and comments, and create more blogs that focus on similar subjects. If your traffic decreases on certain blog postings, investigate why and steer the blog 180 from there. A happy audience returns for more and helps strengthen your brand by word of mouth.

8. Surprise Your Audience.

It’s simply not enough to post lackluster updates when competing for your chunk of internet real estate. Consider including humorous photos or timely reactions to an event gone viral. Having your finger on the pulse of what is happening in social media will allow you to stay current and surprise your readers with funny and inventive blogs.

9. Give Constant and Exceptional Service.

Regardless of what your blog is about, your audience should be free to engage in a comments section, and you should be able to respond accordingly. If someone has a question regarding the way in which you reached your conclusion in the blog, you should be able to respond in a timely and informative manner. By doing so, you promote brand loyalty by letting your audience now know you care.

10. Deliver Great Content.

Above all else, make sure you are producing the best blog content in your power. Consider letting an editor look over what you’ve written, or a have friend give you feedback. Making sure that what you post is relevant and insightful will help establish a connection between you and your audience and make future engagements much easier.

You now have the tools you need to find, connect with and keep your audience. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and create something amazing!

daniel smithDaniel Smith is the co-founder and CMO/COO for BoostSuite, the co-marketing tool that helps small businesses run successful online marketing programs in less than an hour a week.

Finding the Balance Between Offer and Content

Your communication cadence and the quality of the content your share quickly determine the quality of your customer’s journey. As marketers, we strive to fine-tune this journey to deliver results.

HFinding-the-Balance-Between-Offer-and-Content_V3 (1) (1)ow can you ensure that your marketing messages are effective, without shoving your clever copy and limited-time offer down your customers’ sometimes-open throats? In this newish paradigm where content is king, is it possible to generate direct response results while delivering great information?

Here are some of our favorite ways to help you find the balance between offer and content:

1. Establish a Rapport

Every great relationship grows over time. Building a great relationship with your customers is no exception. Try to speed up the process, and you may end up burning the bridge before safely traversing into the magical land of higher repeat purchases and customer lifetime values.

Plan the customer journey with a gradual increase in communication frequency including sales, special offers and re-engagement messages. You can always increase the pace in the future, but once the customer disengages there is no easy reset button. Protect your business from high bounce rates and unsubscribe rates by taking it slow, Tigger.

2. Earn Their Trust

A critical part of crafting a rewarding experience is earning your customer’s trust. Your customers know that you are a business and understandably aiming to maximize sales, but this does not mean that they will respond to or appreciate deceptive tactics, lack of transparency in prices, or being inundated with empty deals four times a week.

Show your customers that you respect them by continuing dialogue with them when you aren’t expecting anything in return. Take the time to express your appreciation for their business without trying to sell them a single thing. Make responsive product improvements based on customer feedback. These gestures will win trust and show just how much you value your customers.

3. Deliver Relevant Offers

Have you ever noticed that when a commercial or ad plays to your interests or needs, you are less likely to fast forward, turn the page or click the “close” link in the top right corner? (Hello Electrolux commercials on Food Network!)

Amazing how some of the basic principles of advertising still hold true, even with the targeting luxuries that big data and tracking pixels have afforded us in the last decade. Consider the context of your offer and make sure it is relevant and targeted to your audience. Take advantage of any available segments within your customer list and send them tailored messaging. What you lose in quantity via segmentation, you will make up in conversion rate quality and the strength of your customer relationships.

4. Sandwich the Offer with Real Advice

Just as your customers appreciate relevant offers, they are looking for real, candid, applicable advice. Whether it is the best brand of paint to coat the walls of a new kitchen or how to build your brand around a logo design, consumers are savvier than ever and have heightened expectations of content quality from the brands they use and love.

Leverage the compelling thought leadership you can give them that no one else can. Perhaps you have a few untapped experts on your team who can be the faces behind the advice, providing a more human touch.

5. Inspire Engagement Through Symbiosis

The best customer relationships are rooted in symbiosis. Their increased engagement and participation drives your company growth, and you truly believe that purchasing your products or services will benefit them. Dedicate ample space in the customer journey to explaining the benefits of your products or services – put it on your product detail page, transaction page, your remarketing emails and more.

Consistent reminders of how the customer’s quality of enjoyment or productivity will improve simply by adding to cart will pay off long term for both you and the customer.

dena enosDena Enos is the Vice President of Marketing for LogoMix, a self-service branding and marketing platform for small businesses, featuring the easiest and most powerful logo maker online. She has scaled global teams in customer acquisition, CRM, brand marketing, public relations and social media. She draws on more than ten years of senior leadership experience, from start-ups to publicly traded companies.

Produce Native Content For Each Social Media Platform

A lot of small businesses are turning to social media for marketing purposes. It’s a great way to give your brand a voice on a small budget. The potential for reaching your audience is impressive because of the large user-base that these platforms have.

In 2014, the Pew Research Center reported that 74% of online adults use social media sites.

Another advantage of social comes from its core benefit to its users: being able to interact. Traditionally, marketers relied on static campaigns that involved continuously pushing their brand on to consumers with call-to-actions. With the arrival of social media, consumers expect brands to give them a lot of valuable content before pushing their product.

The challenge now becomes producing content that your audience actually wants to consume in a format that works for each platform.

Why does the platform matter?

You can spend countless hours creating content on a topic that is highly interesting for your audience. However, it may never get consumed if your delivery is not right. Every social media platform has its own culture. There are certain norms that must be followed in order to get your voice heard.

Let’s take Instagram for instance. Your success on this platform depends on the quality of your photography and your creativity.

Alternatively, a similar approach would not work as well on LinkedIn. You could post beautiful and creative picture, but the setting is not the same. The people that go on LinkedIn are looking to connect to others in a professional manner. The content you’d want to produce for this platform is usually long-form and educative articles.

While the contrast is clear between these two platforms, much smaller differences exist between others. Failure to understand these nuances can render any social media campaign largely ineffective.

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Social Media Buzz via photopin (license)

Here’s a quick and easy way to use four of the most popular platforms in the US:

  1. Facebook: Post highly shareable content that interest your target market. You should include links to articles, pictures, or videos.
  2. Twitter: Can be used to share your content from other platforms. However, you should focus on joining the global conversation. Interact with your market directly by tweeting at them or using the appropriate hashtags.
  3. Instagram: Upload pictures that give your brand a personality. Like Twitter, you should interact with your current and potential customers. Using appropriate hashtags also helps a lot with gaining exposure.
  4. LinkedIn: Post professional content that will educate your audience on what matters to them. As I mentioned before, long-form content works very well on LinkedIn. Most successful for B2B audience.

Keep in mind that there are many other platforms that you should try out. Since they are less popular, you might need to do some additional testing to see what works best. Also, you don’t need to be active on every platform to have a successful social media strategy. Just make sure you choose the ones that your audience are using!

How do I get all of this done?

Being consistently active on all these platforms takes a lot of dedication and hard work. You’ll need to spend a lot of time on social media if you decide to make it an integral part of your marketing strategy. Since creating new quality content isn’t always the fastest process, it’s normal that businesses sometimes post the same thing on different platforms.

What I recommend is instead of reusing content, start repurposing it. In other words, start building new content based on old content. This way one idea can be used to generate many pieces of content. You can easily do this is by elaborating on certain aspects of past content. Following a theme also helps because you will eventually become an expert on the subject. The more you know on a subject, the faster you’ll produce!

UntitledMatthew Peladeau is a product specialist at CalendarSpots. He helps SMEs manage their time more effectively by implementing online appointment scheduling software.

How To Use Analytics To Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

Have you heard? – Content is King!

Of course, you’ve heard – it’s what all the experts tell us. “More content” may even be what your visitors are clamoring for. For a small business where initial awareness is key, creating great content allows you to earn search visibility, build trust with potential customers and to establish yourself as the in-market leader and go-to resource to answer your prospects questions.

IF you’re creating the right content – content your audience wants to read and will find useful. Before you invest more money into content, use your analytics to improve your content marketing strategy by providing insight into what you should be writing.

Meet Your Audience

You can’t create content your audience will love if you don’t know who is consuming your content. Who are they, what are they interested in and what do they do when they land on your site? If you don’t know, your analytics can tell you.

The Audience Reports within Google Analytics provide insight into important characteristics of your audience, looking at five different dimensions:

  • Age identifies users by six categories: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and 65+.
  • Gender identifies users as either male or female.
  • Affinity Categories identifies users in terms of lifestyle; for example, Technophiles, Sports Fans, and Cooking Enthusiasts. These categories are defined to be similar to TV audiences.
  • In-Market Segments identifies users in terms of their product-purchase interests.
  • Other Categories provides the most specific, focused view of your users. For example, while Affinity Categories includes the category Foodies, Other Categories includes the category Recipes/Cuisines/East Asian.

You can access this information by going toAudience > Demographics or Audience > Interests.

affinityUse this information to refine content ideas, messaging and even the images you use to accompany your content marketing.

If you know that the majority of your users identify as Movie Lovers or as being interested in Employment, then you can start experimenting with themes or visuals they’ll find interesting.

Identify Your Best Content

You know who your audience is; now uncover what it is they like. The Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report provides overall engagement metrics for the most popular pages on your site to give a clear insight into what your audience is most interested in.

dt1For example, in the screenshot below we see that much of the most popular content on this site relates to vegan recipes or posts about overall wellness. This is a good sign these topics are of high interest to our audience. Looking further, we can also see that many of the most popular posts were video content and had high Avg. Time on Site numbers – with users often spending 4-5 minutes on each post. They’re not only landing on the page, they’re spending time there consuming the content. This is a great indication that our audience really enjoys watching video, and we should produce more of this.

Another way to identify what your audience wants to read is to look at your top pages and your top keywords. While Google has removed much of our keyword data (thanks, “not provided”), we can still use the keyword information found in Webmaster Tools data, AdWords search queries and internal site searches to understand what visitors are searching for.

[By linking your Google Analytics account with Webmaster Tools and/or Adwords, you can get these reports directly in your analytics.]

For example, after linking to Webmaster Tools, to see the keyword data, look under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.

Below, you can see that we are getting a high number of clicks for “iron rich foods,” “best juicer” and “alkaline diet.”
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This is great information to know as we build out our next editorial calendar.

Identify Your Worst Content

It’s important to know what content your audience loves, but it’s equally important to know which content they wish you’d stop producing.

To identify the site content your audience is less than impressed with, revisit the All Pages report and look for pages with an unusually high bounce rate. While a high bounce rate isn’t always something to be alarmed at (if a user lands on your site, finds what they need and then immediately leaves – that’s good), it can raise a flag that this is a page you should examine further.

For example, maybe our health site above finds they see a lot of traffic for “best workout techniques,” but that visitors aren’t sticking around to learn about them or to watch our video. We can examine this page and see if additional content is needed or if we can improve upon this content in an upcoming post.

Identify Your Money Pages

Sure, it’s nice to know which pages on your site attract visitors, but you really want to know which pages earn you money. Did you know you can easily find this information in your analytics?

The Page Value metric in Google Analytics is perfect for e-commerce sites looking to understand which pages on their site drive the most revenue. Google calculates Page Value by adding up all revenue from the sessions in which that page was viewed prior to a purchase or goal conversion, and then dividing it by the number of unique pageviews. For values to show up here, you must have set up a conversion that includes a Goal value or have ecommerce tracking on the site.

To find this information, go to Site Content > All Pages, then click the Page Value column to sort highest to lowest. To find pages with low page views, click advanced and specify “exclude,” “page views,” “greater than X.”

moneymetricsOne way to use Page Value is to identify current content receives a low volume of traffic but has a high Page Value. This is a good indication that if you were able to create new content to drive people to this page, you could directly increase revenue.

Creating Better Content

Successful content marketing is about giving your audience the information and the resources they need to help them be better and to solve their problem. But you can’t do that without understanding who your audience is and what they’re already engaging with. The reports outlined above will give you the consumer insights you need to create a more successful content marketing strategy.

lisa baroneLisa Barone is VP of Strategy at Overit, an integrated digital marketing agency specializing in content marketing, social media, video production and other aspects of digital marketing. You can connect with her on Twitter at @lisabarone or by following @Overit.

How To Recognize a Great Content Writer

Okay, so we all agree that for a successful online presence, you need to produce outstanding content. Right?

Content that will keep your readers attention, address their concerns, build loyalty and will convert readers into customers. It seems straightforward, but what if you don’t have the time or inclination to learn how to write compelling content yourself?

The obvious answer is to hire a great content writer. But who do you hire? And how do you know that the writer you hire is going to produce the top-notch material necessary to meet your goals?

Well, to help you find the best possible fit for your small business requirements, we’ve compiled the following points. A great content writer:

Has a Strong, Confident Voice

When you’re searching for a writer to address your content particulars, look for one who writes with a naturally strong and confident voice.

Not that you necessarily want their voice for your product. Rather, you want the qualities embodied in their strength and confidence to transfer to your particular brand.

Look for a writer whose voice is one that appeals to you – their wit, insights, perspective and conviction. These are the attributes you want conveyed. A good writer will be able to take these qualities and apply them to the particular angle, or slant, most appropriate for your product or service. This then becomes “your” voice, and it’s this voice that will best connect with your audience.

Is Fundamentally Sound With the Basics

Successful content writers are very well versed in the basics. They’ve invested the time and effort to build a solid understanding of the fundamentals – spelling, punctuation and grammar, proofreading and editing all fall into this category.

If you’re going to pay someone to do your writing, you shouldn’t have to proofread, edit or correct. Your material should arrive ready to copy and paste, as is. And, of course, fluency in English (or the language of your business) is mandatory. Reading samples of their writing will help to determine their relative strength in the basics.

Understands Strategy

Great copy is much more than a collection of written words. It needs to inform, educate or entertain. It needs to have an emotional impact for the audience to relate to. And it needs to seamlessly lead the reader through the copy and into the sales funnel, for eventual conversion to revenue – in other words, it’s well structured.

A great content writer has a sound understanding of marketing and the principles of influence, and how they apply to writing. They need to know how to craft blistering headlines, how to propel a reader through to the conclusion of a piece, and how to get them to take action. They need to create the desire for more, without giving everything away. And, they need an understanding of the value of a landing page, SEO best practices and the steps involved in providing follow-up material.

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Photo via pixabay.com

Is Professional

They have a professional-looking website with samples of their writing. They’re easy to get hold of with an email address, Skype ID or a phone number, and reply to correspondence promptly. The material is delivered on time, on topic and with a minimum of revisions.

Has Strong Research Skills

A professional content writer will be transparent with their research and provide all the necessary supporting information for your content. Citations, references, quotes and interviews will be included with each piece.

Stays on Topic

Each piece of content written for your business should have one point, and one point only. Related information can be expanded upon in new articles, as a series, via newsletters, videos, podcasts, etc. But, to keep readers engaged, your content needs to be clear, concise and on topic always.

Writers for Pennies a Project?

Sure, you can hire writers for pennies per project. But don’t expect to be taken seriously if your material is rife with mistakes or reads as though it’s been composed by someone who translates for B-grade horror movies.

A great content writer can take your material from bland to dynamic, generating reader loyalty, shareability and, finally, an increase in sales. A worthwhile investment for your business, don’t you think?

cari bennetteCari Bennette is a freelance writer, active blogger and content manager at http://jetwriters.com/. She enjoys writing most of all and provides assistance to those who need help with content writing, essay proofreading or resume crafting. You can find her on Google+ and check out her articles.