8 Digital Marketing strategies for Small Businesses to Follow

8-digital-marketing-strategies-for-small-businesses-to-follow
It’s a new year and the upcoming trends in digital marketing will change the way small businesses reach target audiences. Digital marketing resonates with consumers when real-life stories, shared CEO moments and technology are used differently when compared to your competitors. Content marketing is all about the customer and what he or she needs. Thanks to this, it is here to stay and will continue to be king in the industry despite whether you sell food, clothing, real estate or pet food. Corporate and personal branding will continue to be a significant part of the customer experience. Digital marketing is important to help corporates build their brand (small or big). It is for this reason that professionals with a digital marketing certification are valued everywhere.

Here are some great digital marketing strategies for small businesses to follow. You can use them the next time you schedule a meeting with your marketing team.

  1. Online TV Advertising Marketing

The first step to implementing a strong marketing strategy is communication. It is vital to get your team together and understand what the essence of a campaign is. Fortunately, there are several cloud software to help you and your team plan these projects without much hassle. Once, you’ve got the communication down pat, then you determine what kind of marketing strategy you should opt for.

Where do you want to invest – video or print? Once you’ve decided in which direction you are headed, then you must set the budget for marketing. YouTube is a fraction of online TV although it is the second most used search engine on the internet. Amazon, Apple TV, Netflix, and Hulu will be in the comfort of people’s homes, and if you have the budget to buy product placement on these platforms, it is worth the investment, provided you research the demographics of viewers.

  1. The Year of Apps

Most consumers survive in life with the help of an app. There is an app on the market for meditation, weather, a restaurant finder and more. How does it benefit you? Advertising your products or services on a popular app is the gateway to reaching consumers through innovation.

Before you get started, pay attention to Google’s new strategy to remove mobile advertisements from favorite apps. To ensure your ad remains, ask your marketing team to provide high-quality graphics and content that will not be flagged for posting a ‘shady ad’.

When you think about advertising on mobile, make sure you advertise in the right apps. Think about who your audiences are, their likes and dislikes. If your app is about fashion, will advertising in gaming app help? Probably, but chances are, you’ll be spending more than you get.

  1. Virtual Bots: The New Employee

Automated technology opens an opportunity for a team to focus on time-sensitive responsibilities as a bot communicates with customers on a web chat platform in the form of an app. It can offer products and services to solve customers problems. The bot works for you while you sleep. In turn, it can prevent loyal customers turning to competitors to meet their needs. Of course, many smaller businesses may shy away from this option because they think it’ll cost them money, but a small investment in this direction could just increase your profits in the (not so) long run.

  1. Unique Device ID Tracking

The cookies in internet browsers on smartphones are about to help businesses advertisements pop up at convenient times. It is called Unique Device ID tracking that posts ads based on where a smartphone user is located. For example, a person that is in a shoe store might notice an advertisement for a favorite shoe brand while browsing the internet.

Imagine the time a marketing team can spend developing strategies and reviewing analytics as a Unique Device ID does the hard work.

5. Photography in Moving Images

louboutin-shoes-sparkle-gif

Image Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/agency/cinemagraph-facebook-ad-format

Graphic design and photography can capture a still picture with a touch of moving element innovatively using a series of images. The technology is called cinemagraphs if you haven’t noticed it in Starbucks or Coca-Cola marketing. It brings life to a photo and is rarely seen on the internet; an opportunity for you to hone in on an image that can be shared by customers on social media.

  1. Artificial Intelligence through Machine Learning

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will do the job of the market analyst to scan software and the internet helping businesses discover what the next customer need is in their niche. As a result, content marketers will be prepared with real data to craft content that piques the interest of potential clients searching the internet for products. It is essential for you to provide training to employees on SEO content to write the keywords that rank high on Google to help it turn into closed opportunities.

  1. 360 Degree Video Footage

The days of a Realtor showing a 360 video of a new house on the market is forecasted to inspire organizations to use it as a marketing platform to attract top talent by showcasing company events to help people understand a company culture.

Imagine a short video of a product being developed at your manufacturing facility. An inside scoop to show your customers products are made of the most excellent material and most importantly, with care by employees on-site. Some brands might be hesitant about this strategy, but transparency is the key to winning the confidence of consumers.

  1. Employees as Brand Influencers

Who are the cool people on the team? The go-getters with a bright personality to show customers and job applicants your organization is genuine. Digital marketing starts from within the organization. Word of mouth is powerful and encouraging employees to post a product launch at your retail store, a non-for-profit live donation event or employee’s given a free product that has not been released to the public is an efficient way for them to post the experience on social media.

It is important for brands to construct their marketing tactics strategically. This is more important if you are a small brand. With limited resources, you’d have to make every penny count. The tips given above may include some investment that could put you off, but don’t ignore them; they could just be the game changer for your brand.

Disclaimer:
This article was written by one of our guest writers. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not be indicative of the views of Market Motive.

Makeda Waterman is a professional writer with clips from CNBC Make It., Huffington Post, Glassdoor.com, Elite Daily, Fast Company, among others. She is passionate about helping people excel in business or their career.

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A Complete Guide to Email Marketing

email-marketing-overview
80% of all retail professionals signify that email marketing is one of the greatest tools in customer retention. A 2016 DMA survey indicates that email marketing has a median ROI of 122% when compared to other marketing formats. While these statistics are promising, most people are unaware of what email marketing is and what it entails.

Email marketing is a risky marketing format. It is risky, not because it’s a gamble, but because it is easy to overdo it. Do it right and you could reap the benefits of high returns; do it wrong and you could just get blacklisted. Of course, the tricks of the trade can be learned easily through a good email marketing course. With this course, marketing professionals could learn to reach their customers’ inboxes without seeming spammy.

What is email marketing?

Fundamentally, email marketing is the use of electronic mail (email) to promote and sell products and services. Through email marketing, the goal is to build a relationship with a potential customer by paving the path with useful information to aide a transactional process.

More specifically, email marketing is one arm of digital marketing that involves directly marketing to customers or potential customers. When done properly, it can yield amazing results that can lead to long-lasting relationships. When done poorly, it can result in annoyances in people’s email inboxes more popularly known as ‘spamming’

Email marketing usually involves the following actions:

  • Sending an email to a customer or potential customer to convince or convert them to take immediate action and purchase or buy into something on offer.
  • Sending an email to a customer or potential customer to enhance a relationship or encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Sending additional email advertising by other companies to current customers

What are the benefits of email marketing?

Now that you know what email marketing is, you are probably wondering, ‘aren’t there more sophisticated methods to market today?’ Answer. Probably. But… the numbers don’t lie.

According to HubSpot, 86% of professionals prefer to use email for business communications and 75% of companies agree that email offers ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ ROI.

Also, WBR Digital, a demand generation and content services provider, carried out a survey of retail professionals in the US and found that 80% of them said that email drives their customer acquisition and retention.

Basically, Email marketing is very successful and is still very widely used as a marketing channel even today. Some of the reasons for this are as follows:

  • Inexpensive. Compared to other marketing channels, email is very cheap especially when marketing to large numbers of targeted audiences.
  • Great ROI. Low cost coupled with targeted campaigns often means that email marketing has great ROI over other direct marketing strategies.
  • Great Analytics. Email responses can easily be tracked and measured which means that email marketing campaigns can be adjusted and modified for better results.

What are some of the benefits that you can expect from a well-organized email marketing strategy?

If you use the right approach to email marketing, you can benefit in several diverse ways. However, according to marketer ratings of the top benefits of email marketing 2017, the top benefits of email marketing according to priority are as follows:

  • More Leads

Email marketing done right is direct targeted marketing, this means that it allows you to reach the right person at the right time with the right offer. As such, it often translates into a higher ROI since email marketing is inexpensive while at the same time allows you to talk to individuals on a more personal level.

There are several ways you can target interested individuals including through email list sign-ups, or through requesting or encouraging email subscribers to forward emails or share emails on social media.

  • Boost sales

The right email campaign directed at the right people means that you have an audience that is interested in receiving information and offers. This will, therefore, mean that it is much easier to boost your sales through email marketing.

The secret sauce to such a targeted email campaign is email list segmentation, which allows you to nurture your email list subscribers with the right message at the right time and therefore move them through your sales/marketing funnel towards becoming a customer.

  • Better conversion

To convert visitors into eventual customers, you need to nurture individuals to trust you and help them to realize that what you have to offer is in their best interest. The cornerstone of this nurturing process is providing useful information or content that will allow your audiences to make informed decisions. As such, choosing the right content at the right time is vital. To choose the right content at the right time, email list segmentation can again be very important in this process.

  • Low cost

Not only is email marketing inexpensive when compared to other digital marketing strategies but you can even find high-quality tools for free. This can allow you time and access to explore the best tools for your specific needs and upgrade as and when you need to.

  • Better quality leads

Your email list is sometimes going to capture bad leads. The great thing about email marketing is that it is in itself a lead qualifying system and can be used as a tool in your sales qualification system as well. Through email, you can weed out bad leads by demonstrating a prospect’s interest based on the following facts:

  • That a prospect signed up to your list
  • That a prospect opened your email. And,
  • That a prospect clicked on a link in your email
  • Integrated marketing

Through integrating different forms of marketing and specifically content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing, you can incredibly boost response to your marketing campaigns. Email marketing can boost or drive social engagement which can lead to more awareness and therefore higher effectiveness as a marketing medium.

Some ways to integrate email marketing with other media to boost response include; using shareable content, announcing contests and winners, making exclusive offers that users can share and creating feedback loops.

  • Expedient sale cycle

Through several of the techniques mentioned in the benefits above including; targeted email campaigns, better segmentation, integrated email marketing and so on, you have the ingredients to convince a prospective buyer, in the shortest time possible and by providing convincing information that you are the right match for them.

How to get started with Email marketing

If you want to experience and appreciate the benefits of email marketing, it cannot be understated that you must use the right approach or else you risk annoying your audience instead of engaging them. So, with that said, how do you choose the right approach?

Before highlighting the best way to get started with email marketing, it is important to consider some ‘critical’ success factors. Dave Chaffey, of Smartinsights.com fame, appropriately highlights the success factors of email marketing in an easy to remember mnemonic, ‘CRITICAL’.

  • Conversation: Create emails that prompt dialogue and encourage social sharing.
  • Relevance: The email should meet the needs of the recipient from the perspective of both the offer and creative/copy used. Separate your email from SPAM by making it tailored and personalized to the recipient’s needs.
  • Incentive: The email recipient should have a compelling reason to open an email and thereafter click on a link or call to action. In short, consider the ‘What’s in it for me’ (WIFM) factor for the recipient.
  • Timing: Time, day, week, month and even year when an email is received can make a dramatic difference.
  • Integration: Other aspects of your marketing mix should reflect in your email campaigns as well to reinforce communications.
  • Copy: When considering the copywriting for your email, consider using language, structure, style, Call-To-Action, hyperlinks and so on that will capture the attention of the recipient right away.
  • Attributes: Consider email attributes including; From address, subject line, e-mail headers, and email format (HTML or text) etc.
  • Landing page: Design a landing page that is easy to complete after the email recipient clicks on a link in the email.

Considering the above success factors for email marketing will allow you to optimize to your specific needs the following step-by-step approach to getting started with email marketing:

  • Choose the right tools to use

There are several tools that you can use to aide your email campaign ranging from tools for harvesting emails to automating the process of sending targeted emails. There are also tools that cater to distinct aspects of the email marketing process including; monitoring, analysis, and management of email marketing campaigns.  

  • Start harvesting email addresses

Of course, the emails that you harvest should be relevant to your campaign so that you can only target those that are most likely to take up your offer. Furthermore, the people that you target should preferably already have a predisposition towards your offer to become worthy leads for your email marketing campaign, your specific SEO niche and for your sales/marketing funnel.

  • Choose an appropriate template

There are several highly optimized email templates that have been proved to be extremely effective in their purpose of attracting attention and appropriate action. Instead of reinventing the wheel, start off by choosing an appropriate template that closely meets your needs and then optimizes from that point after gathering data.

  • Plan your email content/copy and schedule

The last thing that you want to do is to send random emails simply based on your gut feeling. Instead, plan and schedule topics that you wish to discuss and inform the email recipient about, with key milestones in mind. Consider the specific section of the sales/marketing funnel that your email recipient is in as well as the time or season you are sending the email, holiday season, product promotion, shopping season etc.

  • Send emails and monitor/measure results

Send emails according to your plan and schedule. Thereafter, track and monitor your emails to appropriately adjust future emails/copy/content according to the recipient’s needs and according to the effect that you require. The top email metrics to monitor the progress of your campaigns include: Click Through Rate (CTR), Conversion rate, Open rate, and ROI.

Email marketing tools

Email marketing tools make it a lot easier for you to manage and succeed with your email campaign. Fundamentally, you want to look for an email service or tool that will ensure that your emails do not end up as spam in your recipient’s folder.

When looking for such a service, you want to optimize the features you need and the features you get vis-a-vis the cost of the service. Certainly, in some cases, the features you get for some services can be free of charge.

Some of the more popular email marketing tools that you will find today include the following:

  • Constant Contact

This is a user-friendly email marketing service that is mainly used to start with an email template, customize it, manage contacts, automatically send the email at the right time and analyze email responses. They are one of the largest and fastest growing email marketing services.

Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial and thereafter costs as low as $20.

  • Drip

Some of the features that Drip boasts include; Automating up to 18 triggers and 16 actions, a best in class visual workflow builder, intelligent Facebook ads, tagging your email list based on actions, identifying best leads, sending targeted emails, tracking performance, integration with other apps.

You can try Drip for free for the first 100 subscribers and thereafter plans start from $41 per month.

  • ConvertKit

This email marketing tool is tailored for authors, professional bloggers, and marketers. It is easy to use and yet very powerful. Some of the features that Convertkit boasts include: integration (with landing pages, membership site providers etc.), growing your audience through simple but powerful automation and tracking of data, increasing conversions through well-timed and targeted content, a better understanding of your subscribers through segmentation and sending the right content to the right person based on location, interest, and other data.

Pricing starts at $29 per month with a 30-day refund policy.

There are several other useful email marketing tools that are widely discussed and used on the internet including:

  • MailChimp
  • GetResponse
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Litmus
  • Mad Mimi
  • Target Hero
  • FlashIssue
  • Mailjet
  • LeadPages etc.

Email marketing campaign examples

There is plenty of inspiration online for businesses that have successfully used email marketing for their marketing campaigns. You can find 15 of the best Email Marketing campaign examples in HubSpot’s 13-minute read.

Here are three more examples that highlight how to effectively use email marketing.

  • Bonobos email campaign provoking a ‘YES’

Essentially, this email marketing campaign asks questions that most people will answer Yes to. The idea is that after answering Yes several times, you will most likely accept the call-to-action (CTA).

    email_marketing_bonobos_screenshot

  • Overstock email campaign motivating recipient to add more information

The email campaign sought to motivate email recipients to provide more information, specifically their birth date, by offering them a gift or special coupon on their birthday.

    email_marketing_overstock_screenshot

  • Topshop email campaign to remind customer to complete their unfinished order

This email campaign reminded customers that had abandoned their shopping carts to go back and complete the purchase.
email_marketing_topshop_screenshot

Conclusion: The ball is in your court…

Through direct email marketing, you can not only closely target your customers/potential customers and lead them rapidly through your sales/marketing funnel, but you can also find ways to have your target customers share your email campaigns and become your ambassadors as well. Now that you know where to start with your email marketing, the ball is in your court.

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Inbound Marketing – Connecting Content Strategy and the Marketing Funnel

inbound-marketing-connecting-content-strategy-with-your-marketing-funnel

Inbound is one of the first things you will come across when you do your research into digital marketing. Despite its apparent popularity, very little is known about inbound marketing. While this is a topic usually covered in a good DMCA course, not all digital marketing specialists can explain how inbound marketing can help you.

So, what exactly is inbound marketing?

Is it just a marketing gimmick? Will it help your brand or business?

These are some of the questions we aim to answer in this article.

What is Inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a practice and methodology that focuses on nurturing strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, leads into customers and finally customers into promoters of products and services. Inbound marketing does so through content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and branding.   

Essentially, inbound marketing seeks to deliver the right content in the right context, in order to aid a prospects decision-making process. The emphasis is on sending a message (CONTENT) that is targeted to an individual in a specific stage of the marketing/sales funnel and sending the message everywhere that the target or prospects can be found.

How do you link your marketing funnel to your content strategy?

The marketing funnel

If you have had any experience with marketing or sales for that matter, then you will be aware that quite rarely will a visitor actually come to your website and then immediately purchase a product or sign up for a service.

Ordinarily, a visitor will need some convincing before they are ready to take the necessary action to ‘buy-in’ to what you have on offer. In marketing jargon, this is what ‘converting’ visitors is all about. A potential customer starts their journey with you as a stranger and slowly but surely finds out more about you by engaging with your content as they decide whether they are going to ‘buy-in’ to what you have on offer.

The main stages of the funnel are:

  1. Awareness: The potential buyer seeks information or a solution
  2. Consideration: the potential buyer evaluates what you have to offer
  3. Action: When they decide to ‘buy-in’ or not

In reality, the marketing funnel is not always standard or clear-cut. Basically, depending on certain factors including; your target audience, conversion goals, industry/business etc., you will have to adapt your marketing funnel accordingly. For example, ‘buy-in’ on one hand could mean signing up for a subscription while on the other hand, it could mean purchasing a physical item. Your funnel may be different in either case.

With that said, essentially, your job as a marketer is to align a ‘buyer’s’ journey through the marketing funnel by providing the right content, to the right person and at the right time, when they are looking for it. The content should definitely be relevant and captivating and should be served in the most user-friendly manner or else you risk losing your visitors attention and motivation to take your desired action.

Content strategy

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 82% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their overall inbound marketing strategy. There is, therefore, no doubt that creating engaging content is the fuel behind inbound marketing techniques whether it is SEO, Email marketing, Social Media Marketing(SMM), Paid Search marketing or Conversion Rate Optimization(CRO).

The benefit of a content strategy is that unlike SEO, SMM, CRO, email marketing etc., the focus in on unifying all digital marketing communications to support gaining customers, growing the customer base, while retaining customers as well. With SEO, CRO email marketing etc., the focus is generally to improve each channel in isolation.

With this in mind, what does a content marketing strategy entail? Well, it basically boils down to taking 7 key steps:

  1. Running a content marketing capability audit and setting goals.
  2. Defining personas and audiences
  3. Creating your content marketing strategy.
  4. Editorial management.
  5. Create compelling content
  6. Distributing content
  7. Evaluating and measuring ROI.

Just in case you are wondering, a content strategy and content marketing are used interchangeably when in actual fact they are not exactly the same thing.

With a content strategy, the focus is on the vision or the ‘how’ and ‘why’ content is created, managed, updated or archived. Content Strategy, therefore, focuses on governance and internal guidelines. Content Marketing, on the other hand, focuses on tactics and execution or actions of creating, curating, promoting, iterating and editing content meant for marketing purposes. They are different but they most certainly complement each other.

With that said, for argument’s sake, when we talk about the content strategy you can assume that we are discussing content marketing strategies, or where content strategies and content marketing overlaps.

Linking the marketing funnel to an appropriate content strategy

  • Awareness

The top of the funnel is the where you begin to build a connection between the topic and your brand. Your audience has a challenge or issue they are trying to resolve and they are looking for answers. You want to provide the answers by gently nudging them towards your solutions. The answers can be in the form of opinions, research data, education, insights and other resources.

The types of content that you would use at the awareness or top of the marketing funnel would include:

  • Using keywords and key phrases in blogs to draw people to your content hub.
  • Using longer content including e-books, white papers, and reports
  • Using social content to share the above content

At this stage, the content should be visually engaging and shareworthy. This can be done by integrating a psychological appeal to the content. Also, remember that content should be specific to your different audiences. If your audience finds the content useful, then they will continue their journey to the middle of the funnel or the consideration stage.

  • Consideration

Once you capture the person’s attention from the Awareness stage, this stage is where you can actually educate and engage them. At this stage, you are already building followers and subscribers. Essentially, your audience is more aware of the problem or challenge that they have, they are aware that there are some solutions and they are trying to look for the best solution.

Content that is often suitable for the middle of the marketing funnel includes:

  • Create detailed content to demonstrate your proficiency and capabilities but leave your audience wanting more. Webinars, live interactions, and Guides are great at this stage.
  • Partner and collaborate with influencers or people that your audience trusts.
  • Respond to comments or queries from your audience and make sure that you have a strong brand voice.

Your job here is to engage your audience, nurture them and build a relationship based on trust. As such, if your solution is not the right one for them, then you should let them know this. If it is the right one for them, then they can confidently move to the next phase of the funnel.

  • Action

At this stage, your audience will often make a purchase decision so that they can become your customer or not. You should still provide the right content at this stage in order to cement trust and therefore greatly impact the conversion rate.

The type of content at this stage should include:

  • Compelling content to seal the deal including; demos, downloads, trial offers, etc.
  • Additionally, content to prove your brand values and the value of your products and/or services will also be very appropriate at this stage, for example, testimonials, product literature
  • At this stage, your website should be guiding visitors to pages that lead them further down the sales funnel. For example, call-to-action content,

Step-by-step guide to starting an Inbound Marketing strategy

In as much as content marketing is the fuel behind inbound marketing, there is definitely a lot more that needs to be addressed for success in inbound marketing. Having a step-by-step plan that integrates all the important components of an inbound marketing strategy is critical.

As such, below are the most important steps that you should have in your inbound marketing strategy:

  • Understand and absorb inbound marketing

Since your inbound marketing strategy will be specific to your needs you need to have a thorough understanding of what inbound marketing is all about. This will allow you to take a more intuitive approach that is tailored to your needs.

Resources that could be used here include;

  • Build a team

It is unlikely that you will do all that is required by your inbound strategy by yourself. You will, therefore, need a team to help you plan and execute. Tea members may include; content copywriter, marketing strategist, web developer, designer.

  • Audit your current marketing strategy

Assessing your current marketing strategy will help you to understand and acknowledge current and future; budgets, tasks and activities, resources and assets.

  • Outline your marketing goals

Your inbound marketing strategy should at this stage have goals that are defined by two main criteria:

  • First, they should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).
  • Secondly, the goals should be aligned with your overall business objectives.
  • Target audience and buyer journeys

At this stage, you need to define your target audience by developing a buyer persona of your ideal customer. It should describe important aspects like; demographics, role, desired outcomes, problem, pain or challenges, the rest of their story or background.

You then need to document the buyer’s journey describing their process from when they found you to when they decided to buy or not buy and why they chose to do so.

  • Develop your marketing plan

Essentially, this will involve bringing together your tools and resources required to have a complete inbound marketing strategy. Some of the tools and/or resources will include;

  • Putting your content plan in place
  • Defining conversion paths; e.g. specifically describing how to generate leads
  • Technology required including; marketing automation, CRM, CMS
  • Build a website around your marketing plan

AT this stage you should build a Launchpad website that reflects your inbound marketing strategy and lead generation efforts. The website should also reflect your goals.

Some important website features include; intuitive navigation, appeal to persona, responsive web design, optimized lead generation (landing pages, CTAs, forms etc.)

  • Put your content strategy into action

Essentially, at this stage, you need to publish your content. The content that you publish may include; blogs, social media content and engaging in conversations, offering premium content (calculators, eBooks, videos, and toolkits), webinars and other guest appearances.

  • Promote and support your content

Once you publish your content you need ensure people are consuming it. You can promote your content or landing pages for your content in the following ways; social media, emails, make use of influencers, paid advertising, distribute your content in relevant forums and online communities.

  • Monitor, evaluate, report, test and improve!

Track different marketing metrics to gauge your performance. Generate insightful reports and seek to improve based on your findings.

Tools that’ll help with your inbound marketing strategy

If you have the right tool to back the right inbound content strategy, the sky’s the limit for what you can achieve.

There are many different inbound and content marketing tools available for free and for a price. In order make sense of the many tools, here are some of the more useful tools grouped into six main groups:

  • Social media and community management

If you have several different social media or community accounts or profiles managing all of them individually can be an overwhelming task. Tools in this category address tasks like; scheduling posts, creating content, repurposing content, engaging followers and interlocutors.

Some tools in this category include:

  1. HootSuite: A paid tool for content marketing tool used to launch marketing campaigns and manage social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WordPress. The tool costs $19 and upwards per month for different packages.
  2. Inbound.org: This content tool helps marketers create their personalized content feed according to certain predefined tags like; keywords, location, category and so on.

Other tools in this category include Quora, BuzzSumo, and Trapit among several others.

  • Content collaboration and creation

Creating captivating content on a regular basis can be a full-time job. This is why it is important to have content collaboration and creation tools to help you to create and manage the content easier.

Some tools in this category include:

  1. SnapApp: This is a content creation and marketing tool that allows that allows users to build dynamic and interactive experiences in order to improve the quantity and quality of the content they produce. The tool is offered at different monthly packages starting from $1,650
  2. CoSchedule: With this content management tool, you plan and queue social posts and other content months ahead so that is intelligently sent out at the best time for each network. The tool is offered at different cost levels from $9 a month to thousands of dollars a month.

Other tools in this category include: Copify, ClearVoice and Hemingway Editor

  • Paid promotion

If you are struggling to get discovered or if you are a new business trying to gain traffic as you continue to build your inbound strategy, then paid promotion and paid promotion tools can be of great help. The tools mostly help to better target audiences and to quickly grow an audience base. Some tools insert content into relevant social media conversations while others promote sponsored content.

Some tools here include:

  1. Taboola: This promotion tool helps build brand awareness, build audiences and boost sales. Pricing for this tool is upon request.
  2. Outbrain: An advertising tool that helps publishers find interesting content. This content discovery tool also helps publisher’s carter to their mobile audience and monetizes their mobile assets. Pricing for this tool is upon request assessment.
  • Marketing automation

This is a tool that basically automates repetitive tasks. Repetitive tasks can include; website tasks (e.g. publishing), emailing, and social media activities among others.

Some tools in this category include:

  1. MailChimp: An email marketing tool that easily integrates a lot of other popular services and apps including SurveyMonkey, Eventbrite, SalesForce, Twitter, Google Shopify, Facebook etc. The cost of this tool starts with a free package and increases to $10 per month and as much as $200 for comprehensive packages
  2. HubSpot: This is an all in one inbound marketing tool that integrates a content management system, email marketing, blogging, marketing automation, publishing and analytics, social analytics and so on. It’s offered for free but offers starter packages for as low as €46 per month and as high as €2,200 per month.
  • Conversion optimization

These tools analyze and compare the performance of web pages and measure how audiences respond or behave towards content. Some other tools in this category provide solutions for Call-To-Action (CTA).

Some tools in this category include:

  1. BrightInfo: A content personalization tool that uses algorithms to learn individual behavior, measures it against crowd behavior and then presents the individual with relevant content in real time. Pricing for this tool is on request.
  2. Optimizely: This visual editing tool allows the user to edit content by clicking instead of coding. It also allows the user to generate variations of a web page and then tracks how customers respond to those variations. Pricing for this tool is on request.
  3. Sniply: This content tool adds a call-to-action (CTA) on any page then monitors how audiences engage with the CTA. Cost of this tool varies from $29 to $299 per month
  • SEO analytics

One of the most important categories of tools is the SEO analytics tools. SEO analytics is important for defining a good content strategy since it manages the demand while the actual content fulfills the demand. Tools here include tools that define keywords for blog posts.

Some tools in this category include:

  1. Yoast SEO: This SEO tool is considered to be the most popular SEO tool for the large WordPress community. It is a very useful tool for internal linking among other useful features. The tool costs $79 per website it is used in.
  2. Google Keyword Planner: This PPC tool combines what used to be two different tools offered by Google; AdWords Traffic Estimator and Google Keyword Tool. The tool helps users find relevant keywords for pay per click campaigns as well as find keyword trends, retrieve historical data, bid for keywords and so on.

Other tools in this category include Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, Moz, Majestic, SEranking.

Conclusion

There you have it, a simplified consolidation of inbound marketing. This form of marketing is extremely successful owing to just one basic principle – Give customers what they want. The focal point of inbound marketing is to focus your strategy and content on the needs of the customers and not the other way around. Keeping this mind will take your brand far. Reach out to us in the comment section in case we forgot something or just to say hi.

 

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A Complete Overview of the Google Adwords Certification: The What, Why, and How

how-to-become-google-adwords-certified-professional
Virtually everyone in the digital marketing field has heard of Adwords. However, there is a vast disconnect between knowing the term and truly understanding it. While learning how the Google Adwords platform works is vital for every paid marketing specialist to know, there are few people trained in this. Of course, this is simple enough to fix; plenty of Google Adwords certification courses are available out there in the market for people to learn.

Want to learn how to use the Google Adwords platform? Take our Complete Google AdWords Professional Certification Training today.

What does Adwords do? Who is it intended for? Do you need it?

These are some of the questions we will try to answer in this article.

What is Google Adwords?

Adwords is the advertising service that Google provides to users who want to promote their website or brand. In this system, smaller websites can pay Google to give them visibility. People can ‘bid’ for selected keywords and based on their quality score (we’ll get to that later), win the bid and feature at the top of the page. Given that less than 25% of all people go beyond the first page of the search engine, it is no wonder that people pay big money to stay at the top.

Let’s say you own a travel website that allows people to book tickets and leave reviews on your site. This is a great site, with excellent content and an interface that gives users a great experience. However, you face a hurdle. You’re a new player in the field and you will have to compete with industry giants who have been around for years. Google loves well-established websites and Google takes time to trust you. However, you can’t get Google to trust you if you don’t get people to visit your site. A vicious cycle that requires inhuman effort to break – we get it. This is where Adwords comes in. Sure, you might be a brand new player in the field, but if your content is great and your site is optimized, you could actually pay Google to feature your site on the first search engine results page.
Think of it as ‘leveling the field’. Google Adwords can help small brands compete with the more prominent names.

 

How is Google Adwords different from Adsense?

Google Adwords is primarily for people who want to advertise their sites, while Adsense is for people who want to use their website to run advertisements.

Adwords is for site owners that want to direct traffic their way, while Adsense is for people who want to monetize their site.

Another way to differentiate these two is – Adwords refers to ads that pop on the Google SERP, while Adsense refers to ads that turn up on a website.

Types of Ads on Google Adwords

Google lets you choose between various advertising options when creating a campaign.

  • Search Ads – These are ads that turn up in one Google search pages when you look for a particular keyword. These are the most common ad format and are text-based. Search ads are relatively inexpensive when compared to other ad formats.
  • google-adwords-search-ads

  • Display Ads – These are ads that usually occur on web pages; they could be in the form of text, banners or rich media ads.

The types of advertisement formats that feature in this campaign are:

  1. Image Ads – These ads refer to banners or graphics that display your product on various websites and blogs.
  2. Rich Media Ads – These ad formats allow users to interact with them by running your mouse over them. Most of us have seen ads on blogs which say “roll your mouse over the ad for more information.” These ads tend to have a high engagement rate, given their format.
  • YouTube Ads – As the name suggests, these are ads that turn up on Google’s partner site, Youtube. This is well-suited for players who deal with products that benefit from viewership like clothing or food.
  • Universal App Ads – These are ads that have been adapted to suit all of Google’s properties. This includes Google search, Google Play, YouTube and Google Display Network.

What is Google Adwords Express?

Google Adwords Express is the newest offering from Google. In this section, users only have to set their ads, business category, and a monthly budget and Google takes care of the rest. In this mode, Google identifies search phrases for a business based on its type and adjusts the budget to target keywords automatically. This is an excellent option for small business owners who don’t have the time or the knowledge to set up and monitor a manual Adwords account.

Benefits of Using Google Adwords

  1. Gives you faster results than SEO

It is common knowledge that the older the indexed age of a website, the higher its chances are to rank on the top of the SERP. This often spells bad news for the young guns, who have great things to offer their audiences but no way to reach them. SEO is essential (and shall remain so) in the long run. However, Google Adwords helps new business owners put their names on the front row and gives them a fighting chance.

  1. Returns are measurable

You can monitor precisely which campaigns work and which aren’t. In this way, you won’t have to waste money on campaigns that aren’t working for you. You can even connect your Adwords account to your google analytics account and see how well your leads are converting. If an operation is doing well, you can transfer budgets from another failing campaign.

  1. Allows you reach customers in their inboxes

Most marketers know that email marketing is a hugely successful marketing strategy.  Unfortunately, getting people to subscribe to your email list when you aren’t a well-established player is a heartache. With Google Adwords, however, you don’t have to worry about getting people to subscribe. Text-based ads from Google Adwords allow you to reach out to customers who have subscribed to related websites so that you can entice them with your products or content.

  1. Retargeting and remarketing are possible

One of the best features of Google Adwords is its capability to retarget your audiences. If someone came to your site and signed off without converting, then you could use Adwords to remarket to them.

How?

Adwords lets you create a remarketing list in which you could advertise banner ads to people who have interacted with your content earlier. The targeting is extremely precise and you can even promote the exact product they were looking for.

Machine Learning and Adwords

In May 2017, Google unveiled its latest innovations at Google Marketing Next, an annual event hosted exclusively for Marketers. The primary topics in this affair were better methods of measurement and an increased role of machine learning in the Google Adwords platform.

So, what does this mean for marketers?

It means that with the new rollouts, marketers will be able to:

a). Identify the real success of a paid campaign. 

b). Target in-market audiences better

More Accurate Campaign Measurements

Let’s start with measurement. One of the biggest problem marketers using Adwords face is to identify the actual value of their ad campaigns. What does this mean?

Up until recently, marketers were only able to measure the success of their Adwords campaign based on a customer’s last-click, i.e., the link that the customer used to arrive at a website and make a transaction. However, marketers can now use data-driven attribution models to correctly credit each link a customer clicks in a conversion path.

With the new data-driven attribution model, the journey a customer makes to land on your converting keyword is what Google aims to map. Thanks to the use of machine learning, Google can now analyze the actual contribution of each keyword in the path of conversion.

Say you own Vegan by ROSS, a restaurant in New York that serves vegan food. You run 3 ad campaigns to attract more people to your restaurant. These ad campaigns are for the keywords “vegan restaurant in NY”, “vegan by ROSS”, and “Vegan by ROSS Restaurant in NY.” If a customer booked a table on your website by using the “Vegan by ROSS Restaurant in NY” ad campaign, then in the last-click attribution model, the success of your ad campaign would be attributed to those who clicked this ad to arrive at your website.

However, the data-driven attribution model aims to give you a deeper understanding of your customers and how they arrived at your site. In this model, Google will use machine learning algorithms to determine how much credit should be given to each of your Adword campaigns.

So in this model, you can see exactly how much each keyword contributed to converting your customers.

Data-driven attribution is nothing less than divine intervention for marketers. With this tool, you will be able to see what your customers did to get to your site (thereby determining what you did right), how they think and how to adapt your campaign to your customers. Of course, data-driven attribution is only available for those sites that have approximately 15,000 clicks and about 600 conversions in over 30 days. If this data is not present, then you will not be able to see the option to use data-driven attribution in your Adwords campaign.

Target In-Market Audiences

For years now, Google has offered in-market audience targeting on Youtube and the Display Network. Now, it is making the same feature available for the search network. In this feature, Google uses a person’s browser history and identifies those who are ready to make a purchase. You can use this data to target your ads at these customers.

Say, you own a plant nursery in New York, for example. With this feature, you can increase your reach among people who search for terms like “How to grow Basil in NY?” and “Can I grow orchids in NY?”

Step-by-Step Guide to set up an Adwords Account

Step 1: Sign into your Google Account! This goes without saying, you cannot operate an Adwords account if you don’t have an account with Google. In this page, you will be required to login with your email address and your company website.
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Step 2: Fill in your account details. This includes your email, time zone, country, and currency. Please note that this cannot be changed later, so fill it with care.

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Step 3: Once you fill the necessary details, you will be automatically directed to the page that will help you create your first campaign. This is the Google’s guided version and isn’t as scary as it sounds, we promise you.

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Step 4: Fix your Budget: How much do you want to spend in one day on this particular campaign? This is what you’ll be choosing here. Remember, start small until you get the hang of things. Your budget could be as little as $1.
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Step 5: Decide who can see your advertisement. In this tab, you can include or exclude specific countries or go global. You can even target local customers by specifying regions.

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Step 6: Choose where your ads get displayed. Depending on your site, you can choose between search, search and display or shopping ads.

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Step 7: Decide which keywords you want your ads to target. Remember, don’t make it too broad, your ad will turn up for unrelated sites. This could negatively impact your budget and may just decrease the SEO value of your site (A high bounce rate is never appreciated).

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Step 8: How much are you willing to pay for your ad. Now, this is important. This determines the position in which your ad will be placed. The highest bidder with positive quality scores will be placed on the top of the first SERP. The lower your bid, the later your ad will show up. Often, it is better to place a higher (and fewer) bid on your ads than place lower (and more frequent) bids.

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Step 9: Create an ad copy. This is what shows up on the SERP when people look for your keyword.
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Step 10: Choose your payment method. This could be manual or automatic. In the automated process, you will be charged every 30 days by default. In the manual mode, your payment account gets deducted each time a cost is incurred. If this account does not have any funds, then the campaign stops (this makes this an automatic favorite for us).
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Google Adwords Certification – What is it?

The Google Adwords certification is given to you by Google when you clear the requirements set by them. To become an Adwords certified professional, you need to clear 2 of the Adwords certification exam; the Adwords Fundamentals exam, which covers the basics and the intermediate concepts of online advertising and Adwords.

Why should I get certified?

A Google Adwords certification is a seal of approval given to you by Google. By getting certified, Google ratifies your abilities in dealing with the Adwords architecture. What this means for you is that your employers can gauge (to an extent) how well you know the Adwords platform. Keep in mind that gaining knowledge in Adwords is not the same thing as knowing PPC.

A Google Adwords certificate is also great to earn yourself some ‘credibility’; no other certificate can match the validity of a Google certificate (given that, you know, they created Adwords).

A certificate from Google is like hearing from the horse’s’ mouth that you do know what you are talking about.

Comprehensive guide to getting certified

So, how do you get certified?

Well, first sign up for a Google Partners (soon to be moved to Academy for Ads) account.

Then, you’ll have to take a couple of exams. Google allows you to take the certification exam multiple times if you fail. However, if the thought of not clearing your papers rattles you or if you don’t have the time to take the exam multiple times, you could take our Complete Google AdWords Professional Certification Training that is designed to all but guarantee your Google certification. 

Now, getting to the Google exam format.

The first one is mandatory, and everyone must take this exam to get certified.

Google Adwords Fundamental Exam, which covers:

  • The primary and intermediate concepts of Adwords and online marketing
  • How to set up, manage and optimize a Google Adwords campaign

One of the following topics needs to be taken to get certified. Take care when choosing which subject you want to study for; not all topics are equally suited for all industries.

Search Advertising

  • Covers the basics and advanced search network concepts
  • Includes creating, managing and optimizing search ad campaigns
  • Great for people whose website or company operates on a small Adwords budget and wants people to learn about them when they search for a particular keyword

Display Advertising

  • Covers the advanced display campaign topics
  • Tests you on the best practices to be followed when developing ads for the display network
  • Well-suited for anyone practically anyone who works with companies that have significant Adwords budgets.

Mobile Advertising

  • Covers the basic and advanced aspects of Mobile advertising
  • This topic is more technical than others and tests you on the concepts of bidding and targeting, campaign measurement, and optimization
  • Great for people who work with apps and other mobile-optimized platforms

Video Advertising

  • Basic and advanced concepts of video advertising, which includes ads featured in video format on Youtube and other video platforms
  • Tests your ability to manage and optimize video ad campaigns
  • For people who would benefit from displaying their ads on Youtube

Shopping Advertising

  • The exam is intended for beginners and experienced professionals.
  • For people who work with e-commerce sites and need to advertise their products using the merchant center, this certificate is for them
  • The exam tests you on the concepts of inputting information into the product feed and how to create and run a merchant account.

There you have it. This is all you need to know about Google Adwords and its certification. It is extremely easy to get certified in Google Adwords and there are no reasons for you to not get certified. Reach out to us in the comments section below and let us know if we have forgotten anything or just say hi!

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Sentiment Analysis – All You Need To Know About It

sentiment-analysis
As the adage goes, ‘it takes 20 years to build trust, but a day to destroy it’.

Brands have to care about what people think about them to stay on the top of their field. This is where the overly technical field of sentiment analysis connects to social media.

A ton of companies and brands now use sentiment analysis to find out what people are saying about them on social media. A bad review on social media can destroy a brand’s reputation if ignored or poorly handled.

Take United Airlines for example. After they dragged a man out of their overbooked flight, the airlines then proceeded to dismiss the event as nothing but an issue of overbooking. It was not just an issue of a brand’s reputation that takes a hit in situations like this. United’s stocks plummeted, and the company lost 250 million dollars in one day.

There are plenty of descriptions out there of what sentiment analysis is all about. Most definitions agree on one thing. Sentiment analysis includes opinion mining. While, sentiment analysis cannot be over-simplified to mean just opinion mining, this aspect plays a large part in the analysis process.

What is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis seeks to understand a subject’s attitude or emotional reaction toward a specific topic (or brand). Sentiment analysis uses particular tools, techniques, and methods to understand what people say about a matter.

Sentiment analysis does not have to be complicated and technical. It could be something as simple as getting a person in your team to find what is being said about your brand on social media and identify how much of it is good and how much of isn’t. There is no need for a big budget and investment into complicated software (it’s great if you can afford it, but if you can’t, that’s fine too).

You can apply the principles of sentiment analysis to:

  • Product reviews, surveys, and responses
  • Individuals and organizations
  • Issues, topics, events, training
  • Online and social media content including Facebook posts, podcasts, Tweets, blog comments, forum posts, videos, graphics, and images.

Tools, techniques or methods used in sentiment analysis vary widely and may include social media monitoring, keyword/text processing tools, biometric tools, computational linguistics, Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools, or a simple assessment by another person.

How does Sentiment Analysis Work?

Sentiment analysis has evolved quite a lot over time. From the birth of verbal communication, people were always interested in other people’s opinions. The opinions were used by leaders to help prepare for opposition or increase popularity.

For example, in democratic politics as far back as ancient Greece, voting was used as a measure of public opinion about policy. More recently, in the first decades of the 20th century, questionnaires were used to capture, measure and quantify public opinion.

Sentiment analysis is continually evolving from being mostly one dimensional in its perspective (good, bad or neutral) to being more involved in its assessment of the nuances in emotions and the differentiation of those feelings (for example distinguishing anger and grief).

When we speak of computer-based sentiment analysis, data is at the core of all topics. The data can include social media feeds, music, images, videos, email, microblogging, chat and so on.

Sentiment analysis consists of 5 broad steps to analyze sentiment data and convert it from unstructured data into meaningful information. These measures include:

  1. Data collection: Involves collection of data from user-generated content on social media networks, blogs, and forums. Such data is often disorganized, expressed in different ways using different; slang, vocabularies, languages, and contexts, etc.  
  2. Preparation: involves cleaning the collected data by identifying and eliminating irrelevant content before it is analyzed.
  • For example, text analysis and text mining can be conducted on Twitter.
  • sentiment_analysis_twitter_screenshot
    sentiment_analysis_twitter_screenshot_2

These are examples of tweets that would be counted, if McDonald’s conducted Sentiment Analysis.

  • Sentiment detection: Subjective expressions including beliefs, opinions, and views are retained, and objective information including facts are discarded.
  • Sentiment classification: subjective expressions are classified. For example, likes, dislikes; good, bad; positive, negative or neutral; joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust surprise, etc. Classification can also be made using multiple points including:
    • At the document/topical level, e.g. considers a product review as an information unit
    • At the sentence level, e.g. classifies a particular aspect of a product review as positive or negative
    • At the aspect level where different opinions on the different aspects of the same product are considered. At the aspect level, the focus is directly on the opinion and not on the language structure.
  • Presentation of output: The analyzed information is then displayed in a visually impactful way including through; graphs, charts, sparklines and such. Additionally, time and sentiment can be analyzed to construct a sentiment timeline with chosen values like percentages, frequency, and averages.
  • In the sentiment classification step (c), subjective expressions can be distinguished or classified according to sentiment classification approaches based on techniques used and according to the tools used for different approaches.

    Sentiment classification based on approaches include:

    1. Machine learning approach; used to predict the polarity of sentiments based on trained and test datasets.
    2. Lexicon based approach; uses predefined lists of words that are already associated with specific sentiments. This approach mines data without prior training.
    3. Hybrid approach; uses a combination of both machine learning and lexicon approaches to improve sentiment classification performance.  

    Further types of classification include:

    • Manual processing; where human interpretation is used.
    • Keyword processing: where algorithms are used to determine polarity (negative or positive) and the degree of polarity
    • Natural Language processing/text analytics/data mining/computational linguistics: where computer systems are used to process human language meaning.

    Where do Semantic analysis and Sentiment analysis meet?

    Sentiment analysis and semantic analysis have similarities and differences. Semantic analysis basically studies the meaning of language and how the language can be understood. It can be used to extract relevant and useful information from large amounts of text and thereafter analyze the information. Sentiment analysis basically measures emotions behind the information studied.

    Why is Sentiment Analysis Important

    According to a research conducted by the Social Media Examiner in 2015,

    “96% of small business owners/marketers use social media marketing, and 92% of those agree or strongly agree with the phrase, ‘Social media marketing is important for my business.’”

    Sentiment analysis can be very useful because it can help businesses to differentiate themselves in certain ways and therefore stand out from the crowd of competitors to vie for the attention of customers.

    Different applications of sentiment analysis in business include: determining consumer voice, e-commerce, brand reputation, online advertising.

    Sentiment analysis could also be used in politics and public actions for example in voting applications, the clarification of political positions, real-time event monitoring, policy proposals and so on.

    What are the Benefits of Sentiment Analysis?

    The utility of sentiment analysis in different fields comes to fruition when large amounts of data can be analyzed and drilled into to provide a macro view and a micro view of sentiment. Results of the analysis can then be prioritized according to relative importance.

    In a business environment accurate sentiment analysis can be beneficial in the following ways:

    Optimize product quality

    Companies have been trying to use consumer feedback to improve their products for decades now. For the first time, they don’t have to chase customers for feedback; thanks to social media, feedback now comes to them. They can use this data to understand what their customers want from them and adapt themselves accordingly.

    If your company is one that makes cookies and you can see people tweeting that they don’t like the new flavors or packaging, you can immediately fix the issue before you lose any customers.

    Products are not only analyzed according to functionality but also according to other factors such as packaging, colors, build quality and so on. By paying attention to sentiment analysis product quality can be refined in several ways beyond functionality by paying attention to opinions or reviews about different aspects of a product.

    Optimize marketing strategies

    Through social media, customers can talk about how they perceive brands they like or don’t like. By listening to what customers say through the lens of sentiment analysis, marketing strategies can be optimized or adjusted to meet target customer’s needs.

    Take Expedia Canada for example. They realized that people hated the music in one of their ads and it impacted their approval ratings. They not only removed the ad quickly, they also replaced it with another one which mocked the annoying ad. In this way, they redeemed themselves in the eyes of their audiences.

    Marketing campaign effectiveness can be measured

    Through sentiment analysis, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns can be measured qualitatively and quantitatively. Not only can the number of likes, dislike be measured, but also the quality of the negative and positive discussions can be measured as well. All this easily translates into accurately measuring the ROI of a marketing campaign.

    Sentiment analysis is extremely valuable for measuring campaign effectiveness. It adds depth and an additional layer of understanding your metrics. Sometimes, it gives you answers to why your metrics look the way they do.

    For example, say you have an online store for people to buy clothes. You’ve started new marketing tactics to help increase sales. You’ve introduced a pleasant video playing in the background while they shop and have started using augmented reality to help them choose their outfits better.  

    There is a sudden jump in the number of people who signed off without interacting with your products. You have no idea why this happened. You’ve run all the tests on your pages and they seem fine.

    You go on Twitter and see that people are tweeting about your brand. They love the augmented reality feature but are annoyed by the video that keeps playing in the background, a problem you didn’t anticipate, but one which can be fixed with ease.

    Most people go on social media to bring attention to a problem they face. And why not, these platforms give their problems visibility and bring accountability to companies. In cases like this, it would be foolhardy to ignore the importance of social media in tracking campaigns.

    Crisis management

    Real-time monitoring of conversations among interlocutors can help to mitigate damage caused by negative communication. Brands that do not handle social media crises well usually pay a high price for it. On the flip side, brands that do handle these crises well, develop new loyal customers.

    British Airways are notorious for their incompetent use of social media. Whether it involves lost baggage or grounded flights, British Airways is almost always the last one to react. This has cost them a fair bunch of loyal customers.

    On the other hand, the Royal Dutch Airlines has had a ton of happy customers thanks to their quick social media use. When they are faced with crises, they respond quickly to their customers and try and fix the problem.

    Why is crisis management important?

    Crisis management is important because it tells your customers that you care. More importantly, active crisis management indicates to your clients that you as a brand are committed to staying accountable for the problems they face.

    Companies that hide are deemed less trustworthy than companies that go out there and face the crisis head-on.

    Sentiment Analysis Tools

    There is a wide variety of tools that are used in sentiment analysis. These tools can be classified in several different ways. One way to classify the tools is through the different techniques that are used for sentiment analysis.

    Some of the commercial tools and services used include:

    Brandwatch: It provides tool or service based on machine learning. 500 classifiers are used across different languages to ensure accurate automation of the sentiment categorization process.

    Laxalytics: It provides several different tools and services for sentiment analysis mostly focusing on NLP and text analysis tools.

    Sentdex: It uses a bot to pull data or news from the internet through NLP. The data is analyzed and sentiment is derived from the text.

    Clickworker: It uses a mix of human and machine learning for a variety of tasks related to sentiment analysis including; web research, keyword assignment, and categorization, product data management etc.

    Other open source sentiment analysis tools based on the technique used by the tool are as shown in the table below:

    TOOLS FOR SENTIMENT ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES USED BY TOOLS
    EMOTICONS Emoticons contained in the text
    LIWC Dictionary and sentiment classified categories
    SentiStrengh LIEC dictionary with new features to strength and weak sentiments
    Senti WordNet Lexical dictionary and scores obtained by semi-machine learning approaches
    SenticNet Natural language processing approach for inferring the polarity at semantic level
    Happiness Index Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW) and scores for evaluating happiness in the text
    AFINN Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW) but more focused on the language used in microblogging platforms.
    PANAS-t Eleven-sentiment psychometric scale
    Sentiment140 API that allows classifying tweets to polarity classes positive, negative and neutral.
    NRC Large set of human-provided words with their emotional tags.
    EWGA Entropy-weighted genetic algorithm
    FRN Feature relation network considering syntactic n-gram relations

    SOURCE: Researchgate Tools for sentiment analysis

    Sentiment Analysis and Influencers

    One of the big benefits of sentiment analysis in understanding customer feedback. This feedback is understood by closely observing social media monitoring tools, to then bridge the gap between insight and action/engagement.

    Since social media produces a lot of data, social media analysis tools used to analyze and prioritize this data continue to be very useful.

    Additionally, the right influencers can draw attention to your different relevant topics or products. Essentially, having the right influencer can not only help bring attention to your topics or products but it can also pave the way for your audience or target market to take action.

    In order to get the best response through influencer marketing, it is critical that you choose the right influencers. Sentiment analysis can be used to vet an influencer and ensure that they are the right one for your promotions.

    Furthermore, the social media reputation profiles of influences can be created using sentiment analysis to create a sentiment index that can be used to prioritize or determine the usefulness of an influencer towards a particular cause.

    Essentially, you can find out more about an influencers reputation by how much their reputation crosses over from one social media channel to the other.

    Additionally, the intensity of emotion or opinion that an influencer draws should also be an important data point of interest that can be informed by sentiment analysis.

    Case Study

    In a case study of the automotive industry, Twitter sentiment analysis was used to determine preference, emotion, polarity and opinions about three key luxury vehicle brand; BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.

    Data in the form of 3000 Tweets were collected through the Automatic sentiment analysis of Twitter feeds collected using R. 1000 tweets for each of the three vehicle brands was collected and filtered to all be in English.

    Text mining preprocessing techniques including Tokenization, Filtering, Stemming, Lemmatization were then used to clean up the tweets and to get rid of unnecessary retweets, hashtags, numbers white spaces, HTML links and so on.

    A machine learning approach to sentiment analysis, Naïve Bayes (NB), was used to classify the polarity of emotions. Additionally, a polarity lexicon approach and an emotions lexicon were also used in the sentiment analysis classification step.

    The polarity classification was found to be as follows:

    • BMW: 72% positive, 8% negative and 20% neutral.
    • Mercedes: 79% positive, 18% negative and 3% neutral.
    • Audi: 83% positive, 16% negative and 1% neutral.

    The conclusions drawn from the sentiment analysis study were that, Audi’s positive polarity was higher than for the other cars and the negative polarity was also a lot less. The insights drawn were that offers on the Audi page would ‘circulate to a higher number of satisfied people than in BMW and Mercedes.’

    Conclusion

    It needs to be mentioned that sentiment analysis should of course not be used in isolation because it is just one metric that should be used in tandem with others. Additionally, using it in the right context is critically important as well.

    When monitoring feedback, going through just a few data points including Tweets, comments, reviews and so on, can be most effectively done through simply reading the comments. However, if you have thousands and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of data points on a consistent basis, reading all the feedback can be difficult if not impossible. This is where sentiment analysis can be of great help in providing directional insight and for paving the way for further analysis, insight and appropriate action.

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    4 Free Social Media Tools To Streamline Your Posting Schedule

    4-free-social-media-tools-to-simplify-streamline-your-posting-schedule.

    When it comes to boosting your brand’s online reach, social media is critical. It’s one of the most direct ways to engage with potential customers. Appearing in your followers’ news feeds (and the news feeds of their friends) on a consistent basis is very important in building brand awareness. 95% of adults aged 18-34 are likely to follow brands on social media—that’s a statistic you can’t ignore.

    The importance of social media marketing continues to grow, even within B2B industries. Social media is now a legitimate source for potential customers to find information about your business. In fact, 55% of B2B marketers claim to search for a product or vendor on social media before making a purchasing decision.

    A mere presence on social media isn’t enough—you need to be utilizing it regularly.

    But setting a chunk of time aside each day to post to social media can be a challenge, especially when the best time to publish varies between platforms. While weekends may be great for Facebook, Tweets thrive during the middle of the weekday. Figuring out what content to post is enough of a challenge without worrying about when to post it.

    Enroll in our Content Marketing course and learn how to create compelling social media content

    Luckily, there are plenty of free social media tools to help content marketing managers simplify their social media strategies. The right tool can help you plan posts ahead of time, so you never have to worry about missing prime publishing hours.

    Given below are four social media tools that content managers must take advantage of.

    1. Buffer

    buffer-social-media-tool-to-simplify-streamline-your-posting-schedule
    Buffer is one of the simplest social media management tools out there. It lets you set your publishing schedule across each of your channels, and it will post only according to the schedule you’ve established. Just select the days and times you want to publish to each of your accounts, and you’ll be set. And if you’re not sure when to publish—don’t worry. Buffer has an optimal timing tool that shows you when your audience is most likely to view your posts.

    Buffer lets you build up a queue of posts to share as scheduled. It even comes with an optional browser extension, so that you can add content to your list as you come across it while browsing the web. The free version of Buffer works with one account per platform, and it lets you store up to 10 scheduled posts at a time. If you’re managing multiple accounts for your business, or want to schedule more posts at a time, you’ll want to upgrade to a premium version.

    1. HootSuite

    hootsuit-social-media-tool-to-simplify-streamline-your-posting-schedule
    HootSuite is a must for marketing managers, thanks to its simple platform that allows publishing across all social media platforms. HootSuite lets you set specific parameters around your posting schedule (such as three per day between 12 and 5 PM on Wednesdays) and will auto-schedule the posts you’ve saved in your queue.

    Whereas Buffer limits the number of scheduled posts you can queue up even in its paid versions (though those limits are pretty high), all paid versions of HootSuite come with unlimited scheduling. The free version limits you to three linked social accounts and 30 scheduled posts at a time—which is probably plenty of bandwidth for smaller businesses or those new to social media scheduling. If you’re looking for one platform to simplify your multi-platform social media strategy in one place, definitely check this social media tool out.

    1. Tweetdeck

    tweetdeck-social-media-tool-to-simplify-streamline-your-posting-schedule
    The best thing about Tweetdeck is that it is entirely free and is automatically set up for all Twitter users. To access Tweetdeck, simply make sure you’re logged into Twitter and then go to tweetdeck.twitter.com. You’ll be able to schedule as many tweets as you want on the user-friendly platform. You can even edit scheduled tweets before they are posted. Also, Tweetdeck provides in-depth analytics of your tweets and Twitter audience.

    You can also link up more than one Twitter account at a time. If you’re managing multiple Twitter profiles, Tweetdeck is a simple way to keep them all in one place. The only downside of Tweetdeck is that it only works with Twitter—but since that’s what it was made for, who could blame it? If your brand is extensively active on Twitter, it’s well worth your time to utilize Tweetdeck, and perhaps use one of the other scheduling tools for your other platforms.

    1. MavSocial

    mavsocial-social-media-tool-to-simplify-streamline-your-posting-schedule
    MavSocial is an excellent social media tool for brands that are more image-focused (which should be many of them—for example, Facebook posts get 2.3X more engagement when they include images). Not only does it allow you to schedule posts across multiple platforms, but it also allows you to store pictures and other assets directly on the platform for you to re-use in the future. MavSocial also features a stock photo library of over 129 million high-res images, many of which are free. Thanks to this feature, it is very easy to make your content visually without having to leave your scheduling application.

    The free version of MavSocial lets you link up a Facebook and Twitter profile with a limit of 10 scheduled posts per network per day—you have to upgrade if you want more than that. MavSocial may not be as widely known a name as Buffer or HootSuite, but it’s certainly well worth checking out.

    Of course, the paid versions of each of these social media tools (minus Tweetdeck) will offer more in-depth analytics and greater scheduling capabilities, but start off with a free version. You’ll quickly be able to tell whether a premium version is worth the investment. Regardless, you’re sure to find that scheduling social media posts ahead of time can give you peace of mind that you’ll never miss an optimal posting time.

    And, once you’ve started incorporating social media into your overall marketing strategy, you’ll quickly see how valuable it is—and that there’s so much more to utilize.

    Be sure to check out this Advanced Social Media Certification Training to learn tips and tricks for the most popular social media tools on the web.

    Disclaimer:
    This article was written by one of our guest writers. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not be indicative of the views of Market Motive.

    About the Author:

    Ryan Gould is the VP of strategy and marketing for Elevation Marketing. His articles are featured on websites like CrazyEgg, KunoCreative and Mailigen.

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    SEO and Content Marketing: Everything You Need to Know about Them


    Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing are two aspects of the larger field of digital marketing. Digital marketing experts take opposing positions about where these topics stand. While some experts believe that Content Marketing has replaced SEO, others believe that Content Marketing and SEO are almost the same things. One thing is true, every good SEO specialist worth their dime knows the importance of good content in drawing attention to a website.
    So, what is the truth?

    Let’s start from the beginning.

    What is SEO?

    SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a communication process between a person and search engine bots that crawl and index a website. When a website is optimized for search engines, bots understand what the content is about.

    Three parties are included in the process of SEO –
    1. A search engine user – This refers to a person who looks to the internet for answers. This person uses the search engine to access information that could potentially help solve his or her problems. Chances are, you are reading this article because you used a search engine to answer your questions about SEO or content marketing.
    2. The Search Engine – This is a program that connects people with questions to people with the right answers. The goal of a search engine is to provide users with the most relevant answers to their questions.
    3. A website owner/SEO /Content Creator – Since the goal of the Search engine is to connect users to the most relevant answers, it needs to understand what your content is about to lead users your way. The best way to do this is to use words relevant to your content’s topic while writing.

    Components of SEO

    Search engine optimization includes multiple components. They can be broken down into 2 main categories. These categories are –

    1. On-site Optimization – Also known as On-Page Optimization. This is a major aspect of SEO that deserves its own post. It is also a passive marketing strategy where you follow the rules set by Google and optimize your web pages meeting all the webmaster’s guidelines to rank well.

    i. Site Navigation – This refers to a roadmap to your website. It is important to structure your website properly, so it is easy to follow and categorize. Sitemaps are important because Google ranks web pages and not Websites. So the better the relation between different web pages on your website, better the chance of getting ranked well in Google.
    ii. Relevant and Sufficient Content – Without relevant content, none of the SEO tactics you employ will work. Keep your content unique and relevant and people will come flocking to it. Add both target and related keywords to your articles. This way search engine bots know what to make of your article.

    2. Off-site OptimizationOff-site Optimization refers to actions taken outside your website to improve your website’s search results. This type of optimization is an active marketing strategy where you take steps to increase the number of people who could potentially read your content.
    This includes:
    Backlinks acquisition, where an external website provides a link to your website. This helps your website establish its authority in your field.
    Social media marketing, where you distribute your content through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and expose your article to a large number of readers.

    What is Content Marketing?

    Content marketing refers to the creation and the dispensing of materials that are meant to provide valuable information to your audience.

    Enroll in our advanced content marketing course today and develop engaging content for your target audience

    Components of Content Marketing

    While it is easy to do so, it is important to remember that content creation and content marketing are not the same.

    There are 2 components of content marketing:

    1. Content – Creating material that is of use to your audience. This could mean anything from an ebook to a listicle. The point of creating content is that your audience learns something new about your field.
    2. Marketing – Ok, so now you’ve written a great article. But how do you tell your readers you’ve written articles. No one is going to read it if they don’t know it exists. This is where marketing comes in. Marketing techniques are used to distribute your content, i.e, getting your content to your audience. You could inform your patrons through email, post it on Facebook or Tweet it out to people.

    Relationship between Content Marketing and SEO

    seo-content-backlink-leads-growth-rocketman

    SEO Boosts Content to Increase Your Website’s Leads

    At this point, it is important to remember that both SEO and Content Marketing are smaller pieces of a larger Digital Marketing jigsaw puzzle. You cannot get the whole picture if you don’t use all the pieces.

    So, what is the difference between Content Marketing and SEO?

    Well, the truth is, the two components of digital marketing hold a symbiotic relationship. One cannot survive without the other.
    Search engine optimization without content is near-impossible, while content without SEO gets buried under a rubble of unindexed pages.

    Keywords
    Search engines act as middlemen between your audience and you. They direct the right readers to the right content. This is where keywords come in. Keywords help search engines categorize your article correctly and bring people to your site.

    Keywords are terms that define what your content is about. For example, if you write an article about SEO tips that increase traffic, then using the keyword “SEO tips” within your article would help Google (a) identify what your article is about and (b) list your article as a response to the query “What SEO tips can I use to increase traffic”.

    So, if I want to search engine optimize my article, I would have to include the keywords a couple of times in my article, right?

    Wrong!

    After Google’s Panda update in 2011, low-quality content is penalized by Google. This includes articles that use the same keyword excessively as well as shallow, low-quality articles.
    There are ways to right this wrong of course – Using LSI and Long-tail keywords help here.

    What is LSI?

    LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing refers to a Google algorithm that looks for words related to an article’s main topic. This is used by Google to derive context, i.e. understand what the article is about. For example, If your article is about the Chicago Cubs, then it helps to use baseball-related terms in the article. This way Google can categorize your article as baseball talk, rather than animal talk (if there is such a thing).

    What are Long-tail Keywords?

    According to Wordtracker, long-tail keywords are three to four keyword phrases which are very, very specific to whatever is being sold. If your article talks about apple pie, for example, a long-tail keyword that could be included is “easy online apple pie recipe”, or “online vegan apple pie recipe”.
    Using these keywords have multiple benefits for your article –
    (a) The competition for long-tail keywords is lesser – More people will try to rank for the word “apple pie” than they will for the term “easy apple pie recipe”
    (b) The right audience will turn up at your doorstep – Using long-tail keywords will help filter out uninterested people right at the start, so people who are looking for something else (say, people looking to buy, not make, apple pie) will not be directed toward your site. While this may seem counterintuitive, bringing the wrong people to your site is a sure-as-hell way to increase your site’s bounce rates and reduce your site’s SEO value.

    Does SEO Impact Content Quality?

    Yes and No…

    Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is intended to improve your article’s quality. When used correctly, it does. Using related terms does give you a chance to add context to your content and make it more informative and relevant to your readers. But sometimes, it backfires.

    Every SEO content marketer has at, one point or another, inadvertently forced a keyword when not required, decreasing the readability of the article and making the sentence seem a little forced.

    For example – Including the sentence “Use this SEO checklist free” in my article would probably add SEO value to my article, especially if I am trying to rank for the keyword “SEO checklist free”. But from the content perspective, this could be really disastrous for your article. It could reduce your credibility and make your article seem salesy.

    What are Backlinks?

    Simply put, backlinks are links from one website to another. When website A includes a link to website B, then Website B is said to have a backlink from Website A.

    Backlinks and SEO – Impact of Backlinks on SEO

    Backlinks are an important aspect of search engine optimization. Backlinks increase the authority of your website and help raise your website’s ranking. Not all backlinks are created equal of course. Backlinks from authoritative sites are more beneficial than links from irrelevant sites. This means a backlink from a trustworthy website is more beneficial than many backlinks from irrelevant websites. In fact, getting a backlink from a blacklisted website could actually hurt your site (even if you have nothing to do with this).
    Thanks to this, it is important to perform a backlink audit to understand where your site is getting its backlinks from and get it removed.

    SEO-content-relationship-cycle

    Content and SEO have a symbiotic relationship


    Content and SEO have a symbiotic relationship

    Impact of Content on getting Backlinks

    So, how are backlinks related to content?

    Content is key to getting quality backlinks. Without interesting and informative content, no website will send natural backlinks your way. The only way to improve the authority of your website, in this case, would be to buy backlinks. This could prove disastrous for your website and could result in getting blacklisted by Google.
    Without quality content, the bounce rate of your website will skyrocket. Bounce rates are high when more users leave your website after reading just one page.


    Conclusion

    SEO and content marketing are the two hands of digital marketing. Believing that one can exist without the other is like saying that your right hand is more important than your left. As a digital marketer, it is important to make use of every tool in your kit. The right combination of SEO and Content Marketing can help take your site places. Don’t use them well and you could just end up in the much-dreaded 3rd or 4th page of search engine result pages.

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    15 Content Calendar Templates to Help Your Content Strategy

    Cover Image for Content Calendar Template List
    Do you struggle to keep track of your content?

    Grappling with keeping up with content requirements of your team?

    A content calendar will help. The right editorial calendar will help you keep an inventory of your content and will help track your requirements. For content marketing professionals, posting blogs and other content consistently is extremely important. Being disorganized can actually reduce the SEO score of their site. When you have all the nitty-gritty taken care of, your team can focus on churning out creative content and enhance your content marketing strategy.

    Enroll in our Content Marketing Course today and discover new ways to improve your company’s marketing strategy.

    1. Hubspot
    2. Hubspot Calendar Template

      How to get it
      All you need to do is fill out a contact form with your name, phone number and company website and email address. Not too bad, just takes a minute to get access to the calendar template.

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      The content editorial calendar template is detailed and insightful and is provided in an excel format. Easy to customize, this template can be used by most content teams with a little tweaking. However, the contact form does not seem to work for individuals who are not affiliated with any firm. Thanks to this, this template may not be accessible to freelancers. One potential problem with this template is that its excel format might make coordination between team members a tad difficult.

      Should you get it?
      Absolutely, the template covers the basics of every content team’s requirements. Moreover, they won’t cost you a dime, so if they don’t work for you, you’ll have nothing to lose.

    3. Curata
    4. Curata Content Calendar Template

      How to get it
      A contact form that is simpler than that of Hubspot needs to be filled.

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      The template is completely customizable! The template comes with 13 columns including the date, name, content type, funnel level, author and the article status. Quite detailed for any content team, if you ask us!

      Should you get it?
      If your content is closely connected to customer experience, then yes!

    5. Convince and Convert
    6. Convince and Convert Content Calendar Template

      How to get it
      This template comes with ungated access, which means you could go over to the website, just click and download it.

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      This excel content calendar template is detailed and revolves around your articles, important company events, important dates (like Christmas/Black Friday) and supporting social media activities. It is great for retargeting and remarketing efforts. A company email address is not required to download this template. It is adaptable and can be altered (to some extent) to meet your team’s requirements. As it stands, a potential problem your team could face is that it cannot be shared, which can be solved easily if you just copy the template onto Google spreadsheets.

      Should you get it?
      Yes, if you are a freelancer or an in-house content manager, you could benefit from this simplistic template.

    7. Trello
    8. Trello Welcome Board Image

      How to get it
      Sign up for a free Trello account. Just your name, email, and password does the trick. This tracker has a free as well as paid subscription. You can choose the one that works best for you. You will have to verify your email though.

      Cost
      Free and Paid subscriptions are available. The paid version costs about $9.99 – $12.99 for every person who is part of your team. The paid version lets you gain access to admin privileges and priority support that will not be available to you in the free plan.

      What we love
      Vibrant, easy-to-use and super organized. If you have a limited budget, then the free account is quite substantial and lets you perform all the necessary tasks without burning a hole in your pocket.

      Should you get it?
      This is one of the best content calendar template out there (even though it is not a content calendar template per say). We love the ease with which you can use it. Go for it, if boring excel sheets aren’t your friend and your team would prefer a more lively board in its place.

    9. Content Marketing Institute
    10. CMI editorial-calendar-template

      How to get it
      This editorial calendar template from the Content Marketing Institute comes in an excel format. For content teams that want to work together on one sheet, it is possible to replicate this template using Google spreadsheets. However, it isn’t really a go-to template for all your needs. The template as it is can be used for just basic content tracking

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      The template is easy on the eyes and is simplistic. It is perfect for those who don’t like fuss. Its no-frills design allows marketers to focus on the nitty-gritty instead of the glitz. A separate sheet is given in the template for you to store all your great content ideas.

      Should you get it?
      Yes, especially if you have a tendency of getting distracted. This is perfect for those who want a tracker to keep of their writing and nothing else.

    11. Co-Schedule
    12. coschedule-2017-content-calendar-template.jpg
      coschedule-content-calendar.jpg

      How to get it
      Coschedule sends you a comprehensive package to your email address when you sign up for their template.

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      The package is exhaustive. It includes:
      -A 2017 Content Calendar Template
      -A printable Calendar Template
      -A Social Media Editorial Template
      -A Blog Post Schedule Template
      -An Email Schedule Template
      -A Social Media Schedule Template

      The templates are also available in a pdf format so you can print and make a physical copy of it if you prefer the old-school method. The needs of an entire marketing team are taken care of by this package. Whether you blog or tweet, this package has something for you and your team.
      However, it can be confusing for someone who has just started. There are so many templates that it is a bit difficult for a newbie to keep up.

      Should you get it?
      Get it if you want a tracker that takes care of all your needs in a compartmentalized manner.

    13. Edit Flow
    14. edit-flow-content-calendar-1.jpg

      How to get it
      This wordpress plugin must be downloaded using your wordpress account before you can use it.

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      This WordPress plugin lets you collaborate with your editorial teammates and build a worthy content arsenal. The editorial calendar includes custom statuses that can be modified to suit your needs.
      With this plugin, you can receive notifications about important content, create budgets for your content pieces and identify which stage of creation your article is in through the custom statuses.

      Should you get it?
      If you have a wordpress.org account. Definitely!

    15. Shape+Sound
    16. shapeandsound-content-marketing-planning-calendar.jpg

      How to get it
      The template is given in a jpeg image format. You just have to right-click and save it into your system.

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      Shape+Sound has thought of everything. This free calendar template includes the buyer stage, the buyer’s consideration at that stage, content topic, author, sales expert, content type and CTA. This template is designed to integrate inter-team efforts in meeting company’s bottom line.

      Should you get it?
      If you are trying to integrate your content marketing efforts with your sales efforts, then yes! This template is multifaceted and will help you plan content according to the needs of your target audience.

    17. Vertical Measures
    18. vertical-measures-content-calendar.jpg

      How to get it
      This content calendar from Vertical Measures is ungated. A link is provided for you to download the template in an excel format.

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      Simplistic, yet detailed. This content calendar is also a business-oriented template. With an annual and a monthly view, this template lets you get a bird’s eye view on your company’s goals and tasks and also lets you coordinate your content strategy with your company’s peak seasons and other important dates.

      Should you get it?
      Get it if your content is highly dependent on product launches and other important dates.

    19. Bob Angus
    20. bobangus-advanced-tools-marketing-professionals.jpg

      How to get it
      This editorial template is ungated and is available in an excel sheet format as well as in a google docs calendar template format

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      The Bob Angus content calendar template is a simplistic excel sheet that lets you keep track of your content, its release date, priority level and its status in one go. The template can be modified with ease to adapt it to your team. The template has been updated and now includes a spreadsheet for you to insert your ideas that are not in the schedule yet. It is a great space for you and your team to brainstorm ideas (even bad ones!).

      Should you get it?
      You should get it if you are looking a sensible, in depth content calendar template

    21. Airtable
    22. digital-content-calendar-airtable.png

      How to get it
      Sign up for a free account

      Cost
      Free as well as paid subscription ($12 per user on the “Plus” plan and $24 per user on the “Pro” plan)

      What we love
      Airtable has a collection of templates you could use anywhere. While this site provides templates for a vast collection of tasks, its digital marketing template is one worth mentioning. The headline, sub-head, status, cover image and draft/publication date columns are given so you can keep track of all important events related to your content.

      Should you get it?
      One of the most well-organized templates we have seen, this template definitely makes it to the top of our list as the one to have.

    23. Buffer
    24. buffer.jpg

      How to get it
      Sign up for a free account and access this social media tracker

      Cost
      A free and a paid subscription are both available

      What we love
      Buffer is more of a social media editorial calendar template than a regular content calendar template. This tracker allows you to queue your social media content and pre-schedule its release. With this social media calendar, you can queue your social media content, plan how your social media marketing efforts complement your content marketing strategy and analyze the performance of your social media efforts

      Should you get it?
      A great platform to track and pre-schedule your social media efforts. This app is great for those who like to stay ahead of their social media schedule.

    25. AXZM
    26. axzm-calendar-template.jpg

      How to get it
      This template is ungated and can be accessed through a link given on AXZM’s page. It pays to mention that in order to access their calendar, you have to pay with a tweet. A small price for a large gift, if you ask us!

      Cost
      Free

      What we love
      The AXZM content calendar is designed to meet all the requirements of your digital marketing team. This calendar is not just limited to content development. It has 8 tabs and includes SEO audits, 301 redirects, and logins. This calendar is well suited for those who lean more towards the business side of digital marketing and provides teams with all-round support.

      Should you get it?
      Yes, if you are looking to integrate your SEO effort with your content marketing efforts.

    27. BlueWire Media
    28. template-2017-by-bluewire-media.jpg

      How to get it
      Just enter your name and email address into their access form and you are good to go

      Cost
      Gated but free

      What we love
      BlueWire Media’s content calendar is available in the form of a google spreadsheet. This template is detailed and allows you to keep track of day-to-day content marketing efforts. The template has a spreadsheet for each month and each spreadsheet has an exhaustive social media and content tracker.

      Should you get it?
      If you love a micro perspective of your content marketing efforts, then yes!

    29. Brett Snyder

    bretta-snyder-editorial-calendar.jpg

    How to get it
    The excel content calendar template is ungated and is available without any access form.

    Cost
    Free

    What we love
    Brett Snyder is quite clear about the dos and don’ts of content strategy. Snyder’s content calendar is comprehensive and precise. Columns are provided for focus keywords, reference sources, complimentary features like images and video clips and for a supporting social media plans. This editorial calendar is perfect for writers and using this calendar template means that you don’t have to run around a headless chicken for information when you publish it.

    Should you get it?
    Get this template if you should like maintaining content information in an organized form.

    Conclusion,

    Don’t ever use a content calendar template that isn’t for you. It is just as bad as not using one at all. Before you use a template, make sure that it has all the categorize you need. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different templates to get the best match for you, but make sure you don’t add too many details.

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    5 Pillars for Scaling Your Digital Marketing Agency

    Let’s think back to how agencies were doing marketing decades ago. It was all about direct mails, radio, print, and TV ads. To go head-to-head with the competition meant pulling out all the stops in the creative department.

    Today’s marketing requires more than just a play on creativity, though. Professionals who want to offer their services to agencies and websites need to have more than just Don Draper’s smarts. Today, to carve a niche for themselves, marketers need to be trained in digital marketing. They need to understand algorithms, pixels and more. Technology has caused a profound digital transformation for agencies – from the platforms available to the structure of the digital marketing business itself.

    Agencies that know how to utilize the right tools, platform and strategy in the most cost-effective ways are often the ones that emerge victoriously. On the other hand, agencies that have been too comfortable with the old approach to marketing neglect one aspect of their business: scalability.Because how else can you boost your business and keep up with the competition if your process is prehistoric?

    Change and growth go hand in hand. To scale your agency, you need to learn how to mold a strategy that forgoes traditional models, adapts to the evolving digital landscape, and provides long-term value. You need professionals who can seamlessly blend the digital platform into your sales strategy.

    How do you achieve this? Scaling your Digital Marketing Agency requires you to look at five pillars: process, people, platform, product, and performance. In this post, you’ll learn how to develop these pillars into strategies that make your digital agency scalable.

    1. Process: Fix What Needs to Be Fixed

    First things first, you need to have a good look at your agency’s functions. What are your internal processes? Do you have an in-house team doing all the heavy lifting? Are you targeting the right audience? Do you have a killer agency website? Is your current strategy driving results for your clients?

    Before you invest money, time, and effort, you need to determine what requires improving. Cover all the basics from the get-go, so it will be easier to align your marketing efforts and internal processes with your agency’s goals. More importantly, this eliminates any wasteful use of resources associated with implementing strategies that fail to yield results and impede your agency’s capabilities.

    If you scale your agency without tying up the loose ends, you’ll only hit a wall.

    1. People: Gauge Your Digital Capabilities

    Your go-to marketing initiatives should match your digital capabilities. Ask yourself, “Can you handle the work to meet your agency’s and your client’s goals?”

    One of your options is to outsource work if you don’t have the capacity to handle it. If your bread and butter is SEO but wants to dive into web design as a new offer to clients, you can outsource web design services until you have the team and technology to do the work yourself.

    Enroll in our DMCA course today and diversify your Digital Marketing skills!

    While outsourcing can fill in the gaps, it’s still important to develop your team’s core competency and expand your digital capabilities. Digital marketing is constantly changing, and these changes come with a learning curve that your team can embrace. Don’t shy away from opportunities that help you expand your digital marketing knowledge. Attend digital marketing conferences, sign up for webinars (you’ll find a lot of free webinars out there), and subscribe to industry newsletters to stay updated about the latest trends.

    1. Product: Extend Your Agency Offerings

    Most agencies identify themselves as either a full-service or a specialized one. But, sticking to either one type means limiting your offerings to clients. Don’t put yourself in a box. If you want to scale, you have to be open in enhancing your agency’s offerings.

    The most effective way to do this is by partnering with a white label service provider. Think of them as an extension of your team. Working with them gives you access to their expertise, technology, and methodologies. In turn, you can manage other projects that you’re unable to handle, but still, package it with your agency’s brand and pricing.

    The point here is to not reinvent the wheel but to maximize the available resources, so you can provide clients with a more holistic solution.

    1. Platform: Streamline Your System

    All the back and forth between your agency and clients take up time, which could be better spent on growing your business. You need to automate.

    Automation is an important aspect of scalability, as it allows you to allocate resources more efficiently, which saves you plenty of headaches down the road.

    White label service providers offer custom dashboards to help agencies automate their systems – reporting, client onboarding process, and even creating proposals and audits. Some providers have different dashboards for specific digital marketing services. The best thing about this? You can brand the platform as your own and show them as proof that your agency is both an expert at what you do and you’re technologically advanced from the others.

    1. Performance: Be the Agency They Trust

    You don’t pull results out of thin air. Part of your work as an agency is to show that your marketing initiatives are measurable and can deliver results. This is a proof of trust and reliability, which are major factors in getting more leads and preventing client churn.

    There are different ways to achieve this:

    • Reviews and testimonials – Leverage reviews and add testimonials from clients to your website, social profiles, and other online properties.
    • Case studies – Showing case studies provides your clients with validation that your strategy works.
    • Audit reports – Audit websites of potential clients and integrate your findings in an easy-to-understand report.

    The Bottomline

    Your agency should have the flexibility to accommodate changes in the digital landscape. Focus your efforts on two things: addressing the needs of your clients and finding the best leverage for your business to adapt. It should be a win-win situation. Otherwise, you’ll only be selling yourself short instead of providing a better service to clients and being more profitable.

    AUTHOR’S BIO

    Itamar Gero is the founder and CEO of SEOReseller.com, a White Label SEO digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies—and their local business clientele—all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).

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    MOZ: Why is it the Ultimate SEO Tool?

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    Why is your website not ranking well in SERP?

    How can you improve your website’s quality?

    Are you struggling to find backlinks for your website?

    Make use of Moz to help identify weak spots in your SEO strategy. With Moz, you can keep an eye on your competition identify which competition’s content has worked successfully and how you can counter their backlinking strategy.

    The Moz tool is an ideal analytical software that brings all inbound marketing statistics onto one platform. Instead of many tools that shows you isolated pieces of information, Moz gives you the whole picture to drive your strategy effectively. This means that you know exactly what is working for your site, what isn’t and what your competition is doing right. In today’s market, these inputs are priceless.

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    Google’s algorithm updates have been known to keep the SEOs on their toes. At one point in time, these ranking shifts could drastically impact the SEO of any website. From Hero to Zero, in no time! It isn’t like the Big G has become softer. Google’s algorithmic updates are now real time and shifts are more gradual. .

    Hence, a tool like Moz helps a webmaster to tackle issues ranging from Local SEO, where you can assign the right category to your business and thereby optimize local listings and bring the right people to your business to social media.Using Moz, you can identify users who are likely to convert and target them systematically.

    Moreover, Moz also helps you enhance your site’s domain authority by keeping track of unlinked mentions. Tracking unlinked mentions can help you discover new opportunities to build backlinks for your site.

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    For example – Your website may contain broken links that aren’t taking readers to the page they are looking for. Using the Moz Crawl Test feature, you can fix the links that are hurting your site’s rankings.

    For content developers all out of fresh ideas – Moz helps them too. Using the fresh web explorer option, Moz helps track unlinked mentions and fill keyword gaps. The fresh web explorer feature also lets you check web mentions of your competitor’s site as well. This way, you can identify their marketing strategy and stay one step ahead at all times.

    Moz is every marketer’s best friend and lays a large arsenal of tools at your disposal. The tool takes care of all most all aspects of your website. Its no wonder that we consider this as the ultimate SEO tool. When used correctly, it can help you take your website places in the SERPs.

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