Sustainably Yours, Tim King. Marketing Writer | Communications Specialist

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How to Create Great Content That People Will Love (and Share) | via Inc.com

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this “How To” article wasn’t full of fluff…but rather had some real, concrete ideas and real-world examples (written in plain English) that made it both fun and informative to read (and share). So I guess this guy knows what he’s talking about AND who he wants to talk to.

~TK

Jeff Haden is a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer, and contributing editor to Inc. 

He says that the actual content you create is important…but not nearly as important as the reason why. Read his latest post here:

Source: How to Create Great Content People Will Love (and Share) | Inc.com

You’ll never guess why ‘The Best SEO Strategy’ can still fail | repost from Vital Design

Another informative post by the SEO content and design folks at Vital Design in Portsmouth, NH.

From where I sit, here are a few of the key takeaways from the post:

  • SEO is a fluid, not static practice.
  • Effective SEO writing must be treated as both art and science.
  • Meta descriptions matter – to search bots and people too.

Lastly, content creators must always keep their customers in mind and create content that people will actually want to read. As I wrote about in a blog post earlier this year, many time-tested marketing fundamentals still apply when it comes to communicating online with customers and potential prospects.

If you’re not speaking the ‘right’ language that people (and search engines) are able and willing to engage with, you can have the best-est, most innovative product/solution ever invented…that no one will ever want to learn about.

Content creators would do well to develop what Ted Levitt calls The Marketing Imagination , otherwise they risk wasting too much time writing words that will never be read – let alone Liked, Shared or Tweeted   – increasingly, the currency and most important standard of measure for anyone born after 1984.

So it seems that just like love and oxygen, when you try to stuff too many SEO keywords into a page, you’ll get too high (to the point where the Google gods will penalize you because you appear desperate for visitors), still, install too few and your web presence will surely wither and die on the vine.

As with all things, finding balance is the only winning approach.

~ TK

Source: Why the Best SEO Strategy Can Fail | Vital Design – Chuck McMahon, Director of Communications at Vital Design.

View more blog posts written by Chuck here.

Should Creating a Strong Brand Architecture Trump SEO Best Practices? 

In a word, YES. Hugely, actually.

The first step in any SEO project should be to explain to the client that SEO will be the last step in the process.

Learn how – and why – you should (1) personify both Google and your own website and (2) consolidate different business segments, products or services online under a single umbrella. Then use SEO best practices to guide visitors to the specific landing page that best matches their needs at that moment.

~ TK

Check out Vital Design’s How Brand Architecture Can Lead to Better SEO and Search Engine Results

“…look at Google as you would a consumer….this is really how Google sees itself anyway. Google tries as best it can to support sites where it feels user experience will be the most informative and consistent across the board.”

Looking to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine ranking for your company? Here’s what happens when you lack strong brand architecture.

Source: How Brand Architecture Can Make Better SEO & Search Engine Results | Vital Design

The benefit of paying attention to the World around you.

Awareness is a virtue. You just never know what you’ll be able to see that so many others may not.

Photo from a SoPo parking lot

Staying alert to random instances of marketing brilliance has been a lifelong hobby of mine.

~TK

 

Throwaway Branding Lessons From Starbucks

image

Say what you want about them, but Starbucks really knows how to be Starbucks. On my last visit I remembered to ask if they had any used coffee grounds that I could use at home in my compost pile. One of the baristas gleefully said “absolutely” and scurried off into the back room.

Moments later she reemerged with nifty, heavy duty bag stuffed to the brim with spent grounds. Then, folding the top over (paper lunch bag style) she tossed a handy dandy oversized sticker / label on the front to hold the closed.

Now, could they have sent me home with a generic white plastic trash bag? Of course. Would i have been just as happy to dump it’s contents onto my compost? Probably.

Will I compare the Starbucks bag with whatever container some other coffee shop sends me home with the next time I ask THEM for their old.grounds. Absolutely, and forever more.

The Lesson: There are NO small opportunities to reinforce your brand in the minds of your customers and prospects….only small-minded marketers who refuse to believe that it’s the little things – done right – that can have the biggest effect on a companies brand.

What opportunities do you take to remind your customers of why they do business with you ?

TK

A Social Media S.O.S | Why Marketing Fundamentals will ALWAYS Matter

On the surface, the use of Social Media as a new way to influence buyer behavior may seem positively revolutionary. Sadly, it’s not…and the content creators that realize this will be the only ones who will succeed in making a name for themselves, and the products/services they hawk.

While it can be said that Social Media marketing is a faster, flashier and more intuitive way to communicate with customers, it’s only one part of the equation…and believe it or not, it’s not even the most important part. [Gasp!]

Yes, today’s consumers are purchasing different products, from different places, in different ways than in the past.

However, the reasons WHY they buy ‘Brand X’ or ‘Brand Y’ have remained constant for as long as people have been buying and selling things from each other.

Marketing - Same as it ever was.

Marketing – Same as it ever was.

OK. So why DO customers buy?

Anyone walking into The Apple Store (or going online) to buy the latest and greatest iPhone 6,7,8… has very likely gone through the same internal, emotional decision process that my parents did when they bought their first microwave oven.

….which is the same emotional decision process that my grandparents used to buy their first color TV.

….which is the same emotional decision process that my great-grandparents used to buy their first car.

Someday, my kids will go through the same internal process when choosing their first virtual-reality vacation package.

To be effective, all marketing – meaning everything that a customer reads, hears, experiences, shares and believes – must tap into something more than just whatever the functional purpose of the product or service is. In the past, this meant paying attention to the packaging and the promotion of a product in newspaper and magazine ads.

Today, those communication channels may have shifted from paper to pixels, but the marketing messages that successful brands are using to connect with their customers online have not.

 

Instead of newspapers and magazines, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and dozens of other online social media services are where people turn today for information and entertainment.

The good news (for marketers) is that because of social media, there are now more opportunities than ever to communicate directly with customers and prospects.

The bad news is that there are also many more ways companies can screw that up, including by not having an online presence at all.

(Coincidentally, it would appear that this dilemma is nothing new. Check out – New Ways to Reach Your Customers – Harvard Business Review, July 1981) 

Marketing Motivators: Learn them, know them, live them.

Customers make purchased based not only on what the product can do (rational) but also because of how it makes them feel (emotional).

marketing-schools.org

It’s what’s inside the customers head that really matters.

The proportion of one to the other depends on the person and the specific product.

For example the emotional appeal of one brand of cooking oil over another is probably much less than it would be for one type of car, article of clothing or brand of cell phone that one chooses over another.

Marketing pros have labeled these emotional triggers as the “5 Marketing Motivators” and they include (1) Fear, (2) Greed, (3) Guilt, (4) Exclusivity and (5) Need for Approval.

Here are few well-known examples of ad copy that set these motivators into action.

The 5 Marketing Motivators 

  • Fear – “Supplies are limited. Call now!”  “Don’t leave home without it.” “For a   limited time only.” “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
  • Greed – “You deserve a break today.” “The best a man can get.” “Don’t just buy a car, invest in a Volvo.”
  • Guilt – “Every Kiss Begins with Kay.” “Choosy moms choose Jiff.” “It’s 8 pm, do you know where your children are?” “Juicy Juice. All natural.100% Juice.”
  • Exclusivity – “Membership has its privileges.” “Custom made.” “Limited edition.” “Hand crafted.”
  • Need for Approval – Fueled by celebrity endorsements, expert reviews/recommendations, peer pressure, word-of-mouth and the ‘wisdom of crowds’.

But…doing business is different today, isn’t it?

There’s no doubt that many aspects of running a business today are very different than they were just five or ten years ago. If you were ask anyone walking down the street today, they’ll tell you that “things change” all the time and that “the world is a different place now” – they are right.

Holding on to a customer’s loyalty today – and ideally encouraging them to bring you more customers – requires more than just providing a good quality product or service. Customers today want, and often expect, to be treated with common courtesy before the sale, respect during the sale and appreciation after the sale.

Check out the McKinsey paper on customer lifecycle management  (CLM) best practices.

Successful companies are accomplishing this by communicating with their customers on a regular basis. And social media channels are allowing them to do it more effectively than ever before.

These businesses are educating customers about the benefits of buying their products, congratulating them when they do buy, reminding them when it’s time to buy again, rewarding them for doing so and encouraging them to tell all their Friends along the way too.

Are you talking with customers or @ customers?

Thanks to the speed and power of mobile devices and the Internet, this truly is the age of “what have you done for me lately” when it comes to keeping a customer happy and coming back for more.

Remember, its called Social Media not SELLING Media. Here’s Hubspot’s take on ‘Social Selling’ during the Buyer’s Journey.

The bottom line: If all you ever say to your social media audience is BUY-BUY-BUY, be prepared for them to say the same thing to you:

Attention All Online Marketers: Act now…or it’ll be Bye Bye Bye! for you.

The sooner that companies not only accept, but also engage withByebyebye their customers’ praises and complaints, the sooner they will be able to understand what their customers really want – and what they really don’t.

If not, the competition is only a click away.

~ TK

 

 

The last word –

File this little nugget of wisdom away into the back of your mind. When you’re struggling to decide whether or not you should be engaged with customers on social media, ask yourself “Do my customers want me there?”

The Purpose of ANY Business is to create and keep a Customer. To do that, companies must do the things that make people want to do business with them. All other truths on this subject are merely derivative.

Ted Levitt, author, editor and professor at the Harvard Business School penned these words in his book, ‘The Marketing Imagination‘ way back in 1983. IMHO, truer words have yet to be published on the subject since.

Marketing imagination book cover

 

Real Life ‘Road Runner’ Tunnel Crash : FALSE, says snopes.com

Dang it. I SOOO wanted this story to be true…as long as no one actually got hurt of course. It just goes to show that if you put your message in front of people who are already receptive to hearing what you have to say – they are more likely to go along with it, without giving its validity a second thought. As communicators, we have to understand how powerful tool that is…and remember that with great power, comes great responsibility. BEEP-BEEP!! Now where did that FREE! pile of bird seed disappear to?

~TK

 

A viral story about a car crashing into a Road Runner cartoon-style painted tunnel seemed too humorous to prompt any fact-checking.

Source: FALSE: Road Runner Tunnel Crash : snopes.com

75 Content Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without

 

OK, so I generally dislike “Top XYZ” articles of any kind…primarily on principle rather than because of what they may or may not offer in terms of information. My nonconformist tendencies make it very difficult for me to get excited by any writing that limits its scope right from the start.

I know it’s a “Best Practice” and all that, I just think it limits creativity and I find myself always looking for the illusive Tip #6, #11 etc. that (I imagine) has been relegated to the cutting room floor. “The one tip that we didn’t want you to know about.” suggests my conspiracy theoried brain.

However, I will say that this recent post struck me as being different.

“75 Tools” ?? I mean, that’s got to be just about EVERYTHING that I’d want to consider using to be more creative and productive at the same time. THAT my friends is the Holy Grail of content marketing, right?

So give this list a looksee. I’m sure you’ll find something cool and new to add to your tool belt. I’m planning to basically bookmark everyone of these sites so I can call them up the next time I’m stuck or wondering “how can I do what i need to do, faster…so I can do more of the other stuff too.”

TK

 

Are you seeking ways to take your content marketing strategy to the next level? There are thousands of tactics to consider, but you have a limited supply of amount of time…

Source: 75 Content Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without

Got Powerball on the brain? Read ‘The Winner’ and think about the consequences.

I read this a few years ago. A real ‘page turner’ that presented a plausible possibility for us conspiracy minded folks. Check it out:

David Baldacci The Winner http://davidbaldacci.com/book/the-winner/ (Share from CM Browser)

Sustainably Yours,
~ Tim

Keep the heat: Enjoy more comfort and spend less on fuel this winter | The SunriseGuide

Efficiency is making the most out of whatever resources you have.

In colder climates, the resource we are most concerned about at this time of year is heat – and improving how efficiently our homes either generates and/or consumes it.

Forget solar, geothermal, electric, oil or gas…the absolute cleanest type of energy is the type that never has to be produced!

Source: Keep the heat: Enjoy more comfort and spend less on fuel this winter | The SunriseGuide

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