Improvise Then Take Your Chances
Growing your company gets tougher all the time. But, since marketing your business requires blasting your company’s unique story, it’s wise to frequently re-examine your marketing content. If you expect to be competitive and grow your business, you gotta plan for success … it’s just not optional. Businesses that ‘wing it’ - with no strategy or plan – will always be disappointed. And, creating a plan, yet not using it is worse!
Nominal Basics You Should Already Know:
- Goals & Objectives: The most common goals include increasing website traffic, growing social audiences, and increasing contact form submissions or newsletter signups. It’s not all that hard.
- Audience Segmentation & Characteristics: Know your target audience - their motivations, pain-points and what they’re searching for: keyword researches, website analytics and a sales team that already knows the customer’s profile.
- Brand Message: Content marketing strategies must define and tell your brand’s story - the message you want to communicate to your audience. TELL THEM what sets you apart from your competition.
- Multi-Channel Connections: Customer relationships include multi-touch points on multiple channels (social media, search, digital ads, news posts, customer review sites, etc.) Select your channels based on how it specifically helps you most effectively reach your audience. Then define your specific objectives for each channel.
- Content Types: From blogs and ads to podcasts and videos, define the content types and tactics you plan to use for each. Always consider whether you’re trying to attract, engage or convert in a target’s buying cycle.
- Content Topics: Content marketing must provide the best answer to what your audience seeks, and when and where they search for it; then determine whether your content fulfills those needs.
- Measure Results: Measure the effectiveness of your content marketing and the channels where you promote. Doing so highlights whether you’re hitting your objectives, and if not revise as needed.
To find your balance, experiment and improve, measure conversions and tie activity to revenue. Doing so identifies which metrics to focus on; and if yours don’t, begin using the steps defined above NOW.
AND NOW PHASE 2:
Since 66% of companies use paid methods to distribute content (meaning that a third of marketers rely on organic reach and existing subscribers as the resource for placing their content) it’s critical to at least evaluate paid social media and paid search ads to incorporate comprehensive content promotion.
Build A Community
Only about 20% of B2B marketers use community building and audience participation to nurture followers; but it often helps to participate in forums through social media by encouraging 2-way conversation.
Get / Use Customer Intel
Marketers rely on good data, yet customer conversations aren’t mainstream for most research (only 50% of companies talk directly to their customers.) First-hand knowledge from real customers in real-time is invaluable, so implement steps for your sales and customer service teams to collect customer data then share it with you!
Tie Content to Buyer
The buyer’s journey should trace everything from keyword and topic selection to final purchase. Focus on blending the ‘Attract’, ‘Engage’ and ‘Convert’ content stage, with the emphasis on “Attract”.
Invite Influencers In
It’s good to develop relationships with influencers who can help promote your content. Through co-creating with influencers you’ll see a boost in motivation, amplification, and attraction to the new message. Just keep it simple.
Own Your Audience
Social media sites own your audience on their platforms and you just pay them for access to those customers. So, it’s crucial to bring your audience to your own universe – which occurs by building a subscribed audience that allows them to opt into your content (and likely into your community).
Measure Your ROI
Proving the value of your work via ROI matters because you get larger budgets for the next planning cycle. And, effective measurement and reporting matters to management since it benefits any organization looking to improve their bottom line.
Tactical content marketing management has to happen, and yes it is risky but the steps help you get started or fine tune your marketing strategy ... stimulate customers or prospects. If you wing it again your results won't improve. That's why your next step matters!
HQZ Experts assists clients in creating effective B2B marketing tactics to manage, track and refine content marketing approaches. Let's talk about your approach
3 Examples of Rebranding Approaches
Sit up straight now, breathe deeply, and relax. Then let’s talk about product rebranding. Yes, changing your brand’s icon is a frightening venture, but often it just makes sense to take the plunge.
When contemplating a brand refresh, you never know how your loyal customers and the consumers will react. That is why a brand refresh is so ominous and often avoided. Always remember your buyer’s passion for consistency ... they like routine. And, when done well, the results can be financially and emotionally rewarding. The examples of three famous company’s rebranding efforts below portray different motivation, approaches and outcomes.
Approach Backfire: Tropicana
Tropicana learned the hard way when they decided to change their look - Tropicana orange juice cartons with the fresh orange stuck with a straw on the front convey ‘refreshing.’ But when parent company Pepsico announced their plan to “simplify” the design to something entirely new, the unexpected happened. Consumers revolted. A 19% decline in sales ($33M loss after refresh launch) was immediate and certainly unanticipated for their brand refresh plan.
When asked, Tropicana consumers called the new design a generic “store brand” and ugly. With such a significant reaction, the fallback prompted Pepsico to roll back its brand refresh plan and return to their original logo and packaging.
The moral of this example is to always trust your consumer’s passion for consistency and sticking to what they know and trust. Some upfront research also provides real market insights. Understanding what keeps consumers coming back to you rather than your competitors is your starting point! Don’t gamble until you do solid research.
Deliberate Approach: Starbucks
Starbucks coffee drinkers are very brand loyal. So, when Starbucks removed the words “coffee” from their logo, the company couldn’t know what the reaction would be. Well, the new brand wasn’t all that dramatic. People immediately recognized the original central design girl-with-crown which automatically prompted immediate association while remaining traditional yet a fresh new look. Their rebranding was a smash; their brand is
Whenever you’re considering rebranding check your data before making any big moves. While trusting your consumers, also follow your intuition since rebranding includes instinct, and in this case, Starbucks chose to do just that.
One of the best brand “refreshes” was from IHOP. One reason to embark on a brand refresh is to regenerate interest in your company and remind people that you’re still around, still relevant, and have something new to show them. When you offer pancakes … but that’s working now … you announce that you’re more than a pancake house.
IHOP’s new message “In My Feelings” sparked an intense media surge. IHOP’s online draw grew more popular than it has ever been in the company’s history. Millions of posts about IHOP’s new slogan struck a chord with social media enthusiasts. The hype translated from just posts about the refresh itself to a meme later on, keeping IHOP in the news for months. They also gained a 30% rise in stock during the campaign.
We can learn a lot from IHOP in this case. Sometimes, unexpected ideas drive the greatest change. The old slogan … “Change is constant, Change is Good” really fits IHOP’s decision. Remember, just because you’ve been doing one thing for years, doesn’t mean it’s working. And if you add new elements to your offering, you must reapply lipstick to your story!
Consumers may disagree that these companies made “good” or “bad” choices, but we always have to be prepared for some heat, because some folks won’t like the changes you make during a rebranding period.
Again, do your homework. Ask a lot of questions. Do some trial testing. Once you decide to leap and have the strategy in place, stick to your vision and HIT GO!
Rebranding is an adventure. Some win, some lose, some get rained out. But when – not if – your brand begins to sag, or your competitors are taking market share from you, give your brand some thought. As you see, rebranding is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.
New can be fun, try it.
HQZ Experts has worked with clients through re-branding planning and look forward to helping you explore your product or company rebrand journey.
Check My Headline - See How This Works!
Recent studies show that 33% of email recipients open them based on subject line alone. And, since everyone is inundated daily by tons of emails, catching folk’s attention and getting them to stop and read your email … is your objective.
So how do you write email subject lines that cut through the noise? Creating headlines that work takes knowing how to construct it. One researcher in this field has cracked the code for writing the perfect subject line. After hundreds of subject line tests, he filtered proven data to the following five tips that will greatly improve your subject lines and increase your open rates.
1. Important Words First
What makes your email more important than all the others in their inbox? Just get to the point! Simply changing the leading structure of the headline text with the important keywords can increase open rates by 10-20%. As an example, a recent email headline from Chase to their Sapphire Preferred cardholders said: “Earn 10K bonus points – Invite a Friend”. Rather than asking recipient to do something first, Chase front-loaded the subject line with the benefit the reader will receive. Boom.
2. Ask a Question
Since people love to talk about themselves and their interests, asking your addressee a question right away piques their curiosity. And, as a result, they’re likely to respond positively by opening more of your emails. One email from a fitness instructor phrases her subject line as a question to engage her recipients: “Need Motivation to Work out? Watch This” The call to action is right there in the headline!
3. Numbers Often Help
Numbers are easy to read, help us make sense of complex concepts, and set up the expectation (e.g. 5 Things Your Subject Lines Are Missing). Godiva used numbers to do both in this headline idea: “2 DAYS LEFT: Up to 40% Off Flash Sale”
4. Personal Names Work
People really like to see their own names or pronouns - “you” or “your” - for a more a personalized touch. A study by Experian finds that using emails with a personalized subject line is 26% more likely to be opened (depending on industry.) Oddly, 70% of companies do not personalize emails. One SiriusXM recent email about MY free trial ... by adding the recipient’s name to the subject line. Clearly SiriusXM sees them as a person and are truly interested in them. “Michael, Your SiniusXM Trial Just Got More Awesome!”
5. Rhymes, Alliteration, & Puns Now and Then
Writing a subject line that rolls off the tongue, will get a higher open rate. While it’s not easy to come up with these crafty word plays very often, when you do, they work. Here are two very good examples: “Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands and Fans” and “An Unusual Arsenal: Tech Tools to Topple a Tyrant.”
Writing appealing email headlines takes practice. You can stop writing clunky or boring email subject lines. Writing them shorter and sweeter works better, so why not take the time to practice. Write several, send them out and watch the responses.
Have some fun. Check My Headline - See How This Works!
The More Concrete Your Research - The More Sensible Your Plan Is
Homework Makes You Smarter … Well, Dah! Knowledge gained from research offers stability and provides objectivity to any plan. So, the more concrete your research … the more sensible that plan becomes since it gains strength as your wisdom improves. You get there by using the following tactics:
- Product or Service: Learn what makes your product/service different, better and more desirable. Find ways to improve and add value to it.
- Benefits: Research the benefits offered by the product should be reflected in your marketing plan.
- Market: Plans occur in conjunction to an entire marketplace, so be wise and become expert in your market before starting your planning.
- Industry: Viewing your industry as a whole helps you see both vulnerabilities and opportunities by highlighting both learned successes and failures.
- Competition: Realistic marketing plans are created according to dreams adjusted to proven competitive dynamics.
- Customers: Your customers and your competitors’ customers provide a rich source of data so figure them out and pay attention to them.
- Prospects: Marketing plans specify who your prospects are since your research identified and included them in the plan creation.
- Media: Identify the best ways to reach your target prospects and incorporate what you've learned about the media in your marketing plan.
- Internet: Vast information is available on the Internet so dig into your niche for sound marketing intelligence before writing your plan.
- Technology: Utilize all of the technology available to disperse your effective marketing programs.
Now summarize your results; they should point you in the right direction with more than enough momentum to hit your targets.
HQZ Experts can assist you in researching and writing your next marketing plan.