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.

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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

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

3 marketing tasks to trust to pros

wbc_diymarketing

In recent years there’s been an explosion of online marketing tools, virtual assistants, and other low-cost marketing options. They all claim to make marketing easier, either by doing it for you or making it easy to manage yourself.

These “do-it-yourself” or “do it cheap” resources regularly wreak havoc on organizations that don’t have the time or skills to do marketing work internally. It’s bad enough when marketing doesn’t get done as a result, but even worse when it gets done wrong. Either way, it’s expensive and time-consuming to fix. Continue reading

Do you really need SEO?

wbc_seobasicsThere’s a lot of hype about the ability of SEO (search engine optimization) to drive gobs of traffic to your site. But is that really what you need?

The ultimate goal of SEO is to show up at the top of a Google search when a user types the phrase or keywords most important to your business, such as “Portland plumber,” “discount software” or “local wineries.”

Play your cards right and that could happen — at least in theory — but competition is making that increasingly difficult. In short, the game of SEO is different than it was even just a few years ago, so it’s important to have reasonable expectations. Continue reading

measuring your marketing effort

Like any other tool you use to promote your business, online marketing needs to be accountable so that you can calculate the return on your investments of time and money.

The tools you need to do this are readily available, and many of them are free.Unfortunately, they’re also relatively new, and many organizations are still learning how to take advantage of the technology that tracks online results.

common challenges

Many of my clients who use online marketing are concerned that they’re just proceeding blindly. They feel like they’re doing what they “should” be doing, but aren’t really sure why. Almost every day I hear comments like these:

  • “We don’t know how to measure the results of our online marketing.”
  • “We don’t even know what we should be measuring.”
  • “How can we justify the cost of online marketing if we can’t tie it to a measurable outcome?”
  • “We’ve got reams of analytics data, but we have no idea what it means or what to do with it.”

If these sound like questions you’ve been asking, you’re not alone. Many businesses and other organizations are asking them every day, and are losing patience with fans of all things digital who can’t tie activities to outcomes. Continue reading

how a free download generates business

case study of a successful free download

In the last two months we’ve covered strategies for generating new business with free downloads — everything from digital coupons to white papers. If you need to catch up, use these links to check out what makes a great free download and how to maximize their effectiveness by industry. This month we’ll wrap this three-part series with a closer look at a successful promotion.

the LinkedIn solution

Sometime in late 2013, I started noticing that a lot of my clients were talking about LinkedIn, and commenting that they really didn’t know how to use it. They didn’t understand why they needed to be there, what the advantages were, or what to say about themselves. Continue reading