Whether you're just getting started in business, you've suddenly had marketing responsibilities dumped on your shoulders, or you've been struggling with marketing for a while, marketing effectively is an intimidating task.
Even seasoned and successful marketers struggle to follow all of the modern marketing best practices - there are so many things to think about, so many different types of content to produce, and so many channels to manage. It's not easy, but it's worth it.
Here are 10 tips from experts to help you stay on track and build confidence in your marketing strategies, your message, and in yourself.
1. Use Content to Educate, Entertain, & Inspire
"Inbound marketing relies on content to engage with prospects, so the quality of that content must be strong. You must create content that is not promotional in nature, but instead educates and inspires. In other words, you must offer content that is relevant to your prospective buyers, helping them see how they can overcome their challenges and achieve their aspirations." - Marketo's Inbound Marketing Cheat Sheet
As we leave behind traditional interruption marketing, quality content is more important than ever. Content that educates, entertains, and inspires is more likely than promotional material to increase your sales and brand awareness.
2. How to Write Better Blog Titles
"Try an experiment. The next time you read a blog post, ask yourself this question: “what about the title or headline attracted me in the first place?” The more specifically you can answer this question, the better your next title will be. It’ll afford you the opportunity to craft a more powerful title that will get people reading." - Neil Patel on How to Increase Blog Readership
Part of being a great content writer is understanding not only how people write, but also how people read. What catches your attention when you read articles online? How can you employ those attention-grabbing methods in your own writing?
3. Online Interaction & Connecting With Potential Customers
"Saying that you don't need to interact with readers is almost as bad as saying you don't need to respond to customer service inquiries. As a business, you need to understand that your blog readers are all customers or potential customers that deserve some attention. Your brand is heavily judged in the digital age by its online interactions, so the more you connect, the better." - Ramona Sukhraj, Content Marketing Manager of Impact BND
Every online interaction matters, even if it seems insignificant. Every person you talk to, every person who sees your content, is an opportunity. The most successful brands understand this and make every online interaction a great experience for their potential customers.
4. It's Not About You; It's About Your Customers
"Stop talking about you. Stop telling them how many trucks you have or how long you’ve been in business or how many people you have in the company. Stop with the capabilities presentations, the demos, the free trials, the sample programs and the company history. Your prospects don’t care about you. They only care about how you’re going to help them fix what’s wrong in their lives." - Mike Lieberman, CEO of Square2Marketing
Do you ever see marketing emails and say "Boy howdy, I hope they tell me all about their colorful company history and how many important customers they have!" Neither does anyone else. You immediately delete marketing emails (or let them pile up in your inbox, unread), or open them if they promise to help solve a problem.
5. B2B Doesn't Have to Be Boring & Stuffy
"A lot of B2Bs are boring. At least they think they’re boring to the uninitiated. Their self-perception as a boring company becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because they think they are boring, they act boring. They write boring. They do social media boring. I think that every company can be unboring — even the most “boring” B2B." - Neil Patel, Kissmetrics Chief Evangelist
"Boring" is truly a self-fulfilling prophecy. In writing for B2B companies, it's easy to fall into the trap of "this subject matter is very technical and dry, so I should write technical and dry." Nope! No matter the topic, you can get your readers and followers jazzed up about your content.
6. Usability & User Experience Increase Traffic
"Usability and user experience are second order influences on search engine ranking success. They provide an indirect but measurable benefit to a site's external popularity, which the engines can then interpret as a signal of higher quality. This is called the 'no one likes to link to a crummy site' phenomenon.
"Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience helps ensure that visitors to your site perceive it positively, encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits, and inbound links—all signals that trickle down to the search engines and contribute to high rankings." - The Moz Beginner's Guide to SEO
Happy visitors means more visitors, because they'll share your content with the world. More visitors means more traffic, more leads, and ultimately more sales. Plus - you'll see a positive effect on your SEO. (P.S. If you're curious about how your SEO is performing currently, download this free SEO checklist.)
7. Get Found Online With Business Blogging
"The more pages you have on your website, the more pages your site can be indexed for in search engines. More pages also means more opportunities for your prospects to find you in search engines and more chances to rank for your business' top keywords.
"The best way to create tons of website pages is by blogging. Start a business blog, publish frequently, and make sure each post is search engine optimized for your best keywords. The more optimized content you have, the better your chances will be of getting found online." - Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot
The more website pages you have, the higher your chances of being found online. However, you shouldn't just pump out blog posts for the hell of it - make them high-quality, relevant, and optimized. Create a great user experience by offering highly valuable information.
8. Communicate Value to Stand Out
"Everything we offer today as companies can be duplicated by someone else (think about that for a minute.) Yes, everything, even that special sauce or process you are so proud of. There is only one way to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace … to our customers. That’s by communicating differently. So easy, yet so hard.
"It all starts by communicating directly, something of value, consistently, with a point of view to a specific group of people. If we do that well, and long enough, we build an audience that knows us, likes us, trusts us, and, ultimately, buys (or buys more) from us." - Joe Pulizzi, CEO of Content Marketing Institute
It's 2016. Unless you're in a niche market or working with groundbreaking technology, there are hundreds of other businesses that can do what you do. You have to differentiate yourself from the get-go, with killer content that gives your buyers exactly what they need at exactly the right time.
9. Build Trust With Privacy Policies
"Often with new leads, the biggest barrier is trust. Why should they trust you with their contact information, not knowing if you plan to have your sales reps cold-call them at all hours of the day and night? Depending on the industry, it can be even harder to gain a lead’s trust (think legal or medical), but regardless you should always incorporate trust signals and privacy policies on your landing pages to ensure your visitors that you’re not going to make their information public or misuse it." - Margot da Cunha, Wistia Customer Success Coach
Trust is the foundation of modern marketing techniques. Some industries are lagging behind the trust wagon (remember when Walmart slapped "Made in America" on a bunch of its foreign-produced products? Oops.) but that doesn't mean you can afford to drag your heels. Make every effort to keep your customers' info private, and make it obvious that you're doing so.
10. Improve Your Social Media (And All Your Marketing Efforts) by Studying Competitors
"If you want to make an impact in your industry’s niche, one of your first steps should be to identify your brand’s major competitors and gauge their foothold and performance in your shared social space. A clear understanding of what your competitors are doing right (and wrong) will inform your social strategy." - Andrew Osegi, Social Media Manager at Kuno Creative
If you want to challenge the best, you have to study and learn from the best. If you can look at your competitors' content and say "Wow, that's working really well!" or "Ah-ha! That's not working at all!" you'll be that much more prepared to guard against mistakes or employ super-effective tactics.
Hopefully, these expert tips will give you direction in your own marketing journey. Here are some parting tips from us:
- Give your strategies time to work. You will not see results overnight.
- Experiment. Use A/B testing. Always try to find a better way to do what you're doing.
- Don't get frustrated if your marketing seems ineffective. Do more research, learn best practices, or enlist help from the experts if you're really stuck.
Modern marketing is give and take - the more you put into it, the more benefits you'll reap. Good luck!
Interested in more marketing tips for beginners? Check out these 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, and Ideas.