You’re going to want to read this…

Woman reading

“no one reads anymore.”

While America’s shrinking attention span is well documented, the claim that “people don’t read anymore” is not.

According to the Pew Research Center:

  • the percentage of adults who have read a book in the last year is holding steady at over 70 percent; and,
  • the average number of books a person reads per year is 12 (and younger adults are actually reading more than older adults).

what does this have to do with marketing? more than you might think.

For marketers, the fact of the matter is that people reach a certain point in the buyer’s journey when they need more information in order to make a purchasing decision. Many times, that information can be effectively delivered in a piece of long-form content. Before you think, “Long-format content doesn’t apply to us,” consider the following:

  • for an ag manufacturer, an eBook that explains various techniques for maximizing crop yield;
  • for a brewer or vintner, a free download that explains the nuances of beer or wine tasting;
  • for a martech company, a case study that demonstrates return on investment for custom technology implementation;
  • for a local government, a white paper that shows how sustainability initiatives save taxpayer dollars;
  • for a paving company, an article that explains how new paving techniques can significantly reduce maintenance costs over the life of the structure; and,
  • for a financial services company, a blog post on how to make smarter choices about year-end philanthropic gifts.

None of these are about selling—they are about educating your customer and helping them to be more successful. And, these pieces are “evergreen,” in that they will remain relevant for a considerable period of time, giving you more opportunities to extend their value with minimal additional effort. Long-form content can easily be repurposed as:

  • Social media content
  • E-mail content
  • Direct mail content
  • Website content for lead generation, or even monetization
  • A reason to reach out to a new prospect and offer some helpful information with no obligation

Long-form content positions you as an expert in your field, and it can also improve the performance of your website. According to inbound marketing platform Hubspot, online content of 2500-plus words earns the most backlinks and social shares, and online content of 2250 to 2500 words earns the most organic traffic.

Most importantly, long-form content shows that your first priority is to help your customer—not get them to buy something from you.

I hope you find this helpful—that’s always my first priority.

Extensible, relatable, shareable, demonstrable: Why the case study is a perfect marketing tool.

Several months ago, a client contacted me to write a long-form case study on a major project she’d just completed with great success. I hadn’t written too many case studies before—I’m guessing because it’s a labor-intensive marketing tool that takes a bit more effort than shorter pieces of content like e-mail campaigns, social media posts or website landing pages.

After completing Stephanie’s case study, however, I’m convinced case studies are something all of my clients should be doing.  Continue reading

How do you measure up?

we marketers are a critical bunch.

With our industry evolving at a breakneck pace, being a marketer is tougher than ever before. And we’re hard on ourselves about it.

A survey conducted by e-mail marketing company Emma asked marketing professionals how often they meet work expectations:

88 percent say they meet expectations “occasionally”, “rarely” or “never.”

Now, it’s unclear whether these expectations are set by the marketers themselves or they’re sent down from above—but from where I sit it doesn’t matter. Regardless of who holds the measuring stick, when you’re a “pleaser” like me, it’s a big morale buster to go home each night feeling like you’re falling shy of the mark. Continue reading

Big Ideas from Mirren Live: the Top 3 Takeaways for Agencies

I learned so much from my first trip to Mirren Live–”the agency conference”–in NYC this May that I was inspired to distill my notes and share my top three takeaways. Download them here in an easily printable and shareable PDF, and find out more on:

  • How agencies can defend their turf from increasing encroachment by consultancies, Martech, and in-house teams;
  • What’s important to clients right now; and,
  • Common-sense tips for pitching your agency (this advice can actually be applied to any B2B).

Thanks much, and happy marketing!

Keeping your client when your contact disappears

Phone receiver

“i’m just calling to let you know that I’ll be leaving…”

We’ve all received that call—the one from your primary contact inside a client company. The contact you’ve worked hard to develop a relationship with over months or even years of service. Then one day—poof! They’re leaving the company next month, next week, or maybe even tomorrow, and you realize your relationship with the company may be over.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Continue reading

Win more customers with these six tips that make your website content stand out from the crowd

content is just as important as design

When people are searching online to buy a product or service, they’re looking just as much at which companies to consider, as which ones to eliminate. They’re trying to narrow their options, and dig more deeply into a few possibilities instead of several. If your website content doesn’t tell them what they need to know, guess what? Another company’s content WILL, and yours will be out of the running.

All too often, companies focus so much attention on a website’s design that their messaging strategy and content suffer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important for a site to have great design. But if it’s all style and no substance, all you’re left with is a pretty site. And that’s just not enough to make the sale.  Continue reading

Automated marketing means auto-delivery, not autopilot

The term “marketing automation” is a bit misleading, because the only thing that’s actually automated is the delivery of content. Automation systems can send messages at a scheduled time, respond to customer requests, or trigger an e-mail in response to certain conditions (such as a prospect signing up for an event, subscribing to an email list, downloading a report, or making a purchase).

But all of this doesn’t happen as magically as “automation” might suggest. Implementing marketing automation requires you to develop buyer personas, know where to find the right prospects, and create lots and lots of content that’s tailored to each persona and what they want from you at various points in their customer journey. Continue reading

Get more bang from your conference buck with social media

As I make final preparations for my annual spring conferences, I’m thinking about how social media has changed the entire conference-going experience—and how what’s happening online at the event can be as valuable as what’s happening face-to-face.

Case in point: a single LinkedIn connection after a five-minute face-to-face conversation at an industry conference led to a new client who spends five figures annually with me. Had I not taken those few minutes to connect, I likely would have ended up as just another business card at the bottom of his computer bag.

Continue reading