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13 Essential Content Marketing Strategies to Drive More Prospects to Your Website

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The key to success in any business is to adapt and evolve.

If you don’t change with the times, then you’ll eventually lose relevancy with your customers. Just look at Microsoft — they were a dominant force in the 1990s, but have been surpassed by Google and Apple who recognized that smartphones and tablets were the future of computing.

To remain relevant, businesses should change their approaches to keep up with the changing times. If driving traffic to your website is important to your business (and it is, by the way), then you’ll want to adapt your SEO practices.

Any company that has failed to modify their link-building strategies, or has hired employees that utilize old strategies, will suffer as a result.

The good news is that the damage they are doing is not beyond repair. In order to change they simply need to change the way they think, and be more aware of Google’s linking strategies.

The Importance of Links

In addition to my regular job, I own my own eCommerce business. I nearly had to close my business due my lack of knowledge of scalable link building. That was until I started my job at AnnexCore which helped me to gain the insight I first needed about scalable links.

Leveraging my experience and consistent action, I brought my business back to life. How did I do it? Let’s take a look.

The first step in turning around things was recognizing that getting links were the essential to appearing on search engine results.

The former head of the web spam team at Google says they use sophisticated text matching strategies when results are displayed. This is to ensure that the content being displayed is relevant for the person using Google. They use the anchor text and the location of the source link to calculate if a website is relevant to your search.

Over the course of doing research on link building, I learned a great deal. I learned that links are important for maximizing your online presence, and that they are also important for SEO reasons. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best and most successful link building strategies that are out there.

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On-Site Content Creation

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines suggest that the owners of websites have unique high quality content on their sites. Making the content relevant to the business and the industry will help the website become poplar and develop trusted links over time.

When you create unique high-quality content, stuff that tells a story, you’ll have a better chance of getting a response than those who use inferior content. This means that the first step in your link building process should focus first on creating great content because this will offer the first scalable link-building technique.

Tips for Creating Scalable Backlinks

Do Your Research
When I first got started I didn’t realize how important real research was. As I realized that I needed to do research, I ran into the problem of getting started and where to look.

Granted this was nearly 5 years ago, and now there are great resources like Inbound.org, GrowthHacker.com and of course 60 Second Marketer’s Blog.

The good news is if you’re getting into the industry now, you are not alone because there are tons of resources out there. It’s good news because they have already done a lot of the legwork, and made a lot of mistakes for you to learn from.

You can use their work as an example of how to attract readers, and then base your website upon this. This industry needs to reveal its secrets to gain more clients, and thus establish their credibility.

Developing Content
After you have determined the challenges for your industry or important topics, start brainstorming content ideas. The following is a list of some well known types of content that have proven to generate a high level of traffic.

Lists
Lists are the easiest of the following techniques to create because they are simple, to the point, and provide the needed information. Check out this SEO Tools List or this list of Marketing Tools, you can get the attention of your readers by offering them an increasing number of list numbers.

Videos
Recently the internet has been making a major shift toward featuring more video content. Today is the perfect time to jump in and try to get ahead of the curve. There is a huge amount of opportunity here, and you can use YouTube to help get a lot of traffic to your website. The great news is that there are even tips and suggestions you can follow in order to get your YouTube channel ranked higher!

In Depth Guide
When you’re knowledgeable about certain subject matter, then you should talk about it in depth and share your expertise. Although doing this will open you to criticism and you must be willing accept it since it will show you’re open minded and willing to grow. It’s always a good idea to create an introductory guide such as a heatmap guide, or an ultimate guide which you can turn into an e-book.

Pillar Pages
Pillar pages refer to resource lists on your website about a certain subject matter. You can put many different articles about one topic on a single pillar page, and then invite your readers to look at them. This will show your readers that you are very knowledgeable, and also help you to earn links. These are of course than landing pages.

Industry Reports
Create industry reports for your readers that they can go through at their leisure. Make sure that if you take this approach that you include demographics to help validate and authenticate your words.

Content Promotion
Don’t think your work is done because content creation is only half of the battle. In order to attract readers you need to focus on promotion. If people don’t know about your website or content, they can’t visit it.

Try some of these methods out:

Guest Blogging
If your main goal is to generate links, don’t start sharing them on various social media sites or through email marketing. Try something different, and use other sources to reach out to people such as genuine emails reaching out to people or by giving them a call for guest blogging opportunities.

Most people have the wrong impression of what guest blogging actually is. You need to approach the right types of people, with the right concept, at the right time.

If you want to create quality links, then you need to guest blog on the top publications in the field of your website. You also need to ensure that you are getting exposure through social media. To give yourself more credibility, you can also apply to become what is known as a regular contributor instead of just being a guest blogger. After you’ve started to publish content, contact them and connect them with your Twitter or Google+ profile. This will help to further your reputation as an expert in the industry.

Social Bookmarking
If you’re looking for automated ways you can also use social bookmarking sites such as Delicious or use paid social book options such as StumbleUpon paid discovery. That said, these won’t yield the same types of results as guest blogging will.

Using Media
If you can find a way to become a credible source for journalists with good reputations, then this can go a long way to helping you. Journalists are always in need of good sources in the fields they report in, so this can be a mutually beneficial relationship. Be sure to visit Help A Reporter Out for opportunities.

Sponsorships
Donate to charities, be a sponsor, and bring attention to your business and its website. This will help you to gain quality back links by influencing readers. It also has the good net effect of positive branding!

I know many of you may be excited to get into enterprise linkbuilding and my single best piece of advice would be to just start now! I gave you enough tips to put you on the road to success. Whether you’re trying to create a lean digital marketing agency, linkbuilding for your website, or for your company’s website it is important to start implementing these tips!

Ryan Chester

About the Author: Ryan Chester is a digital marketing connoisseur. Part of the Enterprise SEO Team at AnnexCore. He has helped many multi-national companies achieve success with their digital marketing endeavors.

 

 

Does Content Marketing Work? Here’s Your Answer.

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One of the big questions marketing directors ask their advertising agencies or digital marketing firms is whether content marketing (and it’s cousin inbound marketing) actually works.

We all know the story of HubSpot, the Boston-based marketing software company that practically invented inbound marketing. They generate about 50,000 leads per month for their business by developing and distributing e-books, infographics, blog posts and other pieces of content marketing designed to drive new leads to their website.

But driving a lead to a website is one thing. Actually converting that lead into a customer is another.

So the Question Remains — Does Content Marketing Actually Work?

Our friends at Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm MLT Creative have answered that question in the infographic below. The data was gathered at the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Conference and compiled by the good folks at MLT.

Here are just some of the facts and figures about content marketing and inbound marketing that you’ll find in the infographic:

  • Growth: Marketers using inbound marketing have grown from 60% of those surveyed in 2013 to 80% of those surveyed in 2014.
  • Cost Per Lead: The average cost per lead for B2B companies using inbound marketing was typically less than half of what the cost per lead was for those not using inbound marketing.
  • Improved ROI: 37% of those surveyed reported improved ROI for their inbound marketing programs vs. the previous year.
  • Prioritization: Marketers prioritizing inbound marketing are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI than those not prioritizing inbound marketing.

There’s a lot to learn from the infographic below. As an extra bonus, MLT Creative has done a terrific job with the design, which makes digesting the data even more enjoyable.

Infographic

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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10 Secrets to Improve the Results of Your Next Advertising Campaign

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Are you interested in improving the results of your next advertising or marketing campaign?

If you work at an advertising agency or digital marketing firm, or if you’re a marketing director at a large corporation, then keep reading. We’ve done some research about consumer behavior that should be of help to you. And we’ve distilled our research down into 10 secrets outlined below that can help you improve the ROI of your next advertising or digital marketing campaign.

Ready to dive in? Great, here goes:

Marketing Secret #1: People Buy for Emotional Reasons, Then Rationalize Their Purchase with Logic

Do you think people buy Rolex watches because they’re reliable? Of course not. And while some people may rationalize the purchase of a $50,000 Corvette by talking about the hydro-formed suspension or the pushrod engine technology, the real reason they’re buying the car is because of how it makes them feel. Oh, sure, there are some purchases that are based on logic, but most purchases start with an emotional intent to buy, which brings us to our next point.

Marketing Secret #2: The Path to Consumer Purchase Starts in the Right Hemisphere of the Brain

Recent studies have shown that people must engage with a product before they form an intent to purchase that product. When people engage with a product, the event is stored in short-term memory.

But if a fact or event has emotional significance, it shifts from short-term memory to long-term memory. Once it is stored in long-term memory you’ve taken the first critical step towards building a relationship with a customer, which is one of the secrets behind relationship marketing, a topic we’ll talk more about later.

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Marketing Secret #3: People Lie to Researchers

Well, they don’t intentionally lie. They just say they’re going to do one thing, then behave differently. For example, studies have shown that people who want to be perceived as health-conscious will under-report their alcohol consumption in focus groups and surveys. Some of the more recent marketing research techniques are designed to overcome these barriers to truth. But overall, it takes an experienced practitioner to draw the proper conclusions from any research.

Marketing Secret #4: As Much as 95% of a Consumer’s Thinking Occurs in His or Her Subconscious Mind

This is why your brand is such a critical component of what you’re selling. What is a brand? It’s all the verbal and non-verbal components of your product or service, such as graphics, characters, logos, product names, customer interaction, etc. A well-developed brand helps your consumers feel something about your product – and helps you tap into the 95% of a consumer’s thought that happens on a subconscious level.

Marketing Secret #5: Consumers Don’t Think in Words

Brain scans indicate that the neurons in our brain responsible for conscious thought light up before there’s any activity in the parts of our brain that involve verbal language. This, too, supports the idea that people engage with a product based on how they feel, not what they say.

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Marketing Secret #6: If Your Employees Can’t Explain What Makes Your Product or Service Better, What Makes You Think Your Customers Can?

Try this exercise – walk down any hallway in your office and ask five different people what your brand stands for. You’ll get five different answers. Why would someone buy a product from a company that its own employees have trouble differentiating? Increasing sales and revenue will be a difficult challenge as long as everyone in your organization can’t articulate what your brand essence and points of differentiation are.

Marketing Secret #7: Understand What it is Your Customers are Actually Buying

If you ask people what they look for in a bookstore, they’ll almost always say good selections and low prices. But if those were the only real criteria, Amazon.com would be the only bookstore. What are people really buying when they go to a bookstore? The experience of buying a book. Do they feel at home while they browse? Can they flip through a couple of books while they curl up on a sofa? Does the coffee smell good? All of those experiences are important to the success of any bookstore.

When you understand that customers aren’t buying your product as much as they’re buying the experience of your product, you’ve unlocked one of the keys to increasing sales and revenue.

Marketing Secret #8: If You Want to Increase Sales Tomorrow, You Need to Build a Relationship Today

Unfortunately, the days of running a commercial on prime time network TV to reach the vast majority of your audience are over. Today, consumers are fragmented over a broad spectrum of media some of which are virtually advertising free. If you want to encourage someone to buy your product, you need to build a relationship with him or her over the entire lifecycle of his or her involvement with your brand. Content marketing is a great way to build and grow a relationship with prospects so that you can eventually convert them into customers.

Marketing Secret #9: Most Consumers Would Be Willing to Pay a 25% Premium for their Favorite Brand Before They’d Switch to a Competitor1

Other studies have indicated if a purchaser is buying an over-the-counter medication for their child or spouse, they’ll almost always buy the name brand2. Subconsciously, the buyer believes the national brand works better, even though on a conscious level, they admit that the ingredients are the same.

Marketing Secret #10: The Longer a Prospect Engages with Your Brand, the More Likely it is They’ll Buy Your Product or Service

This blog post is a case in point. A certain percentage of the people who are reading this will email me to find out more about 60 Second Communications. Why? Because over the course of our (short) relationship together, they’ve established that 60 Second Communications represents a level of talent, brains and experience that they’d like to utilize to increase sales and revenue.

Who are we? We’re an advertising agency that creates mobile marketing, social media, digital and traditional campaigns that help companies get new customers, win repeat business or increase their marketing ROI. We have staff experience working with some of the best-known brands in the world (including Motorola, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, AT&T and CNN) and would be happy to use that experience to help you win new customers, get repeat business or increase your marketing ROI.

The Bottom Line

No matter what kind of company you work for, all businesses have one thing in common — they’re trying to get more customers to buy buy more of their products and services more frequently than they did in the past.

The 10 secrets outlined above should give you plenty to work with. And once you’ve digested those, send me an email and I’ll show you several more ways you can use consumer behavior secrets to grow your sales and revenues.

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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  1. S. M. Davis, Brand Asset Management for the 21st Century Study (Chicago: Kuczmarski & Associates, 1995).
  2. Gerald Zaltman, How Customers Think, (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press; 2003).

Laying the Foundation for A Successful Mobile Marketing Strategy

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If you work at an advertising agency, digital marketing agency or as a marketing director at a corporation, you may have come across our post from a few days ago called How to Think Strategically About Social Media.

That post proved so popular that I thought it might be a good idea to upload a similar post that outlines how to think strategically about mobile marketing.

The following is an excerpt from my #1 Amazon best-selling book called Go Mobile, which I wrote with Jeanne Hopkins, who was Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot at the time.

It outlines several key concepts about mobile marketing that are important to understand. By wrapping your mind around these now, you’ll be poised for success the next time you set-up, launch and run a mobile marketing campaign.

How to Think Strategically About Mobile Marketing

The growing importance of mobile marketing has made developing a mobile strategy almost a prerequisite for a successful campaign.

Simply sending out mass text messages or mobile display ads to customers won’t act as a silver bullet to increase revenue. To be absolutely positive that your mobile marketing campaigns are a success, you’ll need to design, plan, and implement a mobile strategy that meets your objectives.

Let’s begin by reviewing a couple of important concepts before we get started on planning your mobile marketing campaign:

In it’s simplest terms, mobile marketing involves connecting and communicating with the consumer (B2C market) or customer (B2B market) via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The purpose of your mobile marketing campaign may be to send a marketing message, offer new products and services, drive prospects to a mobile website, or ask for feedback in the form of simple surveys or polls.

You can accomplish these goals by using some of the following methods:

  • SMS or MMS: Send text messages or multimedia messages to customers to inform them of special offers, new product releases, and other information.
  • Mobile display ads: Use mobile banner ads to send customers to a website specifically designed to be viewed on a mobile device.
  • Social media: Use services like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ to share content with mobile customers.
  • Mobile paid search: Use Google, Bing, or Yahoo! to drive prospects to your mobile landing page.
  • Location-based marketing: Connect with prospects and customers via location-based services, Beacons or location-based advertising.
  • Mobile apps: Feature apps that can be downloaded and installed from an application store (such as the iOS App Store or Google Play), and that customers can use to build interest in a product or learn more.

What Are the Benefits of a Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign?

To understand the benefits of mobile marketing, it’s a good idea to explore the unique ways consumers use mobile devices as the “connective tissue” between marketers’ online and offline consumer touch points.

Here are several ways mobile devices are different from other forms of marketing:

  • The mobile device is personal and rarely shared with another person.
  • The mobile device is always carried by the consumer.
  • The mobile device is almost always turned on.
  • The mobile device can have a built-in payment system.
  • The mobile device allows for accurate audience measurement.
  • The mobile device captures the social element of media consumption.
  • The mobile device has a physical presence in a specific location.

Tracking the effectiveness of mobile marketing campaigns is easier than doing so for traditional programs. It’s a simple process to follow an individual with a unique phone number attached to every action; plus, you can instantly communicate with your audience.

In addition, your audience is most likely carrying their mobile devices with them, which means they can always receive messages. This is superior to other forms of marketing, whereby the audience has to be in a specific place to see a billboard or view an advertisement.

Marketing through mobile devices is also very efficient. Producing content for mobile view, such as audio or video, can be inexpensive when compared to producing content for desktop computers. However, the smaller screen sizes, lower resolution, and lower data transfer rates on mobile devices mean the content has to be simpler in design and execution.

Imagine the efficiencies of mobile marketing to customers who always have with them promotional coupons, vouchers, and other incentives, because the incentives are sent as part of a mobile campaign.

For example, customers who receive a text message coupon offering them 20 percent off a food item at a restaurant are more likely to bring their mobile phones with them to the restaurant and actually use the coupon than customers who have to clip something out of a newspaper.

But Wait, There Are Some Disadvantages You Should Know About.

Mobile marketing has many benefits, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also alert you to its disadvantages. Here they are:

Difficult navigation: True, smartphones today are better at navigating the Internet than other mobile devices in the past, but navigating online is still more cumbersome on a mobile device than on a PC. That’s why it’s so important to design your mobile content so that it can be easily navigated on a device without a standard mouse and keyboard.

Differing operating systems: The two most popular operating systems in use on mobile devices today are iOS and Android. Both behave and display content differently, so make sure you test your content on every OS your customers will likely be using.

Privacy: Customers are very attached to their mobile devices and you have to respect their use preferences.

You’ll experience other advantages and disadvantages as you develop and test your mobile marketing strategy, but for now be aware of the ones listed here as we move forward to developing a mobile marketing campaign.

How to Develop a Mobile Marketing Campaign

Now that you have the essential background information about mobile marketing in mind, you’re ready to start thinking about planning your own mobile strategy. Here are the steps to creating and developing an effective mobile marketing campaign.

Do some background planning.

When starting any marketing campaign, you should begin by asking the following questions:

  • What is the objective of this campaign?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How long will this campaign run?
  • Are you using other media to support or supplement your mobile media plan?

Define your objectives.

What do you want your campaign to accomplish? Are you trying to increase awareness of your company, boost sales of a certain product or service, establish your branding, or something else? Clearly identify what it is you want to accomplish with your campaign before moving forward with further planning.

Identify your target audience.

Immediately after defining the objective(s) of your marketing strategy, you should identify your primary target audience. This will help to ensure that you tailor all elements of the marketing strategy specifically to this audience, enabling you to communicate with these customers as effectively as possible.

A good way to identify a target audience is to create a profile of a sample member of this group.

Answer the following questions to get started:

  • Who would have a need for the specific product or service you are trying to market?
  • 
What is the ideal, manageable size of your primary target audience? Avoid being either too specific (e.g., “31-year-old male businessmen living in Manhattan”) or too vague (e.g., “teenagers”) to find an audience that is the right scope for your campaign.
  • Which methods of communication would work well in connecting with this audience? Look at demographic information about which age groups and types of people use mobile devices, and how they use them.

Different groups of people respond variously to what they see and read. Their tastes and preferences will affect how well they respond to the type of communications they receive, so make sure to research your target audience thoroughly before making other plans.

Devise your campaign strategies.

Now that you have clearly defined your objectives and identified your target audience, you can start planning campaign strategies. Even though you are planning a mobile marketing campaign, you should decide which methods of mobile communication you want to use (audio? video? mobile websites?). You should also choose whether you want to push information to customers, or pull them to your company to start a dialog.

Push-based campaigns mean you send information out to customers and hope they respond by purchasing your product or service. Push can include sending text messages to everyone on a mailing list or informing them of, say, an album release or new promotion.

Pull and dialogue-based campaigns will require more planning and effort, but they also tend to be more effective at turning potential buyers into actual sales. Pull-based campaigns focus on “pulling” customers back to your company, such as by using SMS to send out a link to your website, or building an application customers can download, which will inform them about your product.

There are several other factors to consider when you’re in the strategic planning stage of a campaign.

Is your campaign intended to be brand-oriented or promotion-oriented? A brand campaign is designed to create a connection with your customer over the long term. A promotion campaign is designed to give your customer a reason to buy your product or service immediately.

The diagram below illustrates how several different kinds of companies might explore the nature of their campaigns.

 

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The Y-axis indicates whether the campaign is brand-oriented or promotion-oriented. The X-axis indicates whether the campaign is location- centric or non location-centric.

For example, if your company is a brick-and-mortar retailer, your campaign will be location-centric, because you want to drive people to your location. If you’re a non- profit organization, your campaign won’t be location-centric, because you don’t usually need to drive people to a specific brick-and-mortar location.

Determine the length of your campaign.

Once you’ve specified strategies for your mobile campaign, the next step is to decide how long it will run.

Will your campaign be a one-shot action, or will it be a series of actions? The length and duration of the campaign will affect how you design it. If you want this campaign to run for an extended length of time, be sure to repeatedly “inject” it with advertising activity. Otherwise, customer response will grind to a halt.

Incorporate other media.

Finally, determine what other media you will be using to promote your mobile marketing strategy.

Are you going to inform customers about a mobile application through e-mail and web advertising? Will you tell people to sign up for text message updates through radio commercials?

How you use other media should have a profound effect on how you design your campaign. Likewise, your campaign objectives and your target audience should affect your selection of the types of other media you will use.

The preceding are basic considerations, and may even seem obvious, depending on your marketing background, but they are worth addressing here because they are so important.

Without clearly defined answers to these preliminary questions and considerations, your mobile marketing campaign won’t set off in the direction it should, to succeed.

Budgeting and Scheduling

Now that the preliminary background planning phase is complete, you’re ready to move on to budgeting and scheduling. Ask these questions to help you determine the budget you’ll need to produce your campaign, and how to schedule it:

  • When do you need the campaign ready to start?
  • How much money do you intend to spend on mobile media?
  • How much do you intend to spend on other forms of
  • media?
  • How many messages are you planning to send?

Set the start date.

Choose a date you want the campaign to start and work backwards from there to draft a preliminary schedule. For example, if you want your campaign to start on June 8, and you need to have advertising materials ready to deliver a week in advance, set the deadline for advertising material to June 1.

Work backwards in this way for all campaign components until you have established all the dates for your campaign. Don’t forget to include the dates for other forms of media (if you are using them).

Assess the cost of mobile media.

There are several cost considerations to make when planning mobile media for your campaign. Creative, promotion, and messages all have their own costs. How much will it cost to set up a mobile website or to develop a mobile application? Determine these line items before moving forward.

Calculate the cost of other media.

If you are incorporating other media into your mobile marketing campaign (such as print ads, Internet ads, radio, etc.), factor in those costs as well. Mass media is very expensive. Make sure supporting your mobile media campaign with other media is worth what you’ll have to pay to do so.

Determine the number of messages.

Finally, determine how many messages you intend to send as part of your campaign. This will depend on your campaign strategy, as dis- cussed earlier.

Are you focusing on a push, pull, or dialog-based campaign? Deciding that will help you figure how many messages you need to send and how frequently you need to send them.

Note that the cost per message decreases the more you send. For example, the cost per message to send 5,000 messages might be $0.055 per message; but if you send 20,000, that cost would drop to $0.035 per message.

After you have lined up your budget and schedule, you can begin planning the actual message of the campaign.

Content and Production

With the background information, budgeting, and scheduling completed, and with a good idea of the scale of your campaign in mind, you can start planning the types of message(s) you will send.

It’s important to wait until this phase to plan the details of your message so you can accurately assess whether to deliver it all at once or in waves, whether you want to target it to a large or small audience, and other considerations.

Answer these questions to help direct you as plan the content and production of your campaign message:

  • What kind of message do you want to use in this campaign?
  • How will you distribute your messages?
  • Who will produce the message content or mobile application?
  • Who will test the campaign?

Choose your message type.

Decide on the type of message you will use as part of your mobile marketing strategy. Will you send out SMS? Mobile display ads? A mobile app?

Examine your target audience and background information before deciding on the method(s) of communication that would be most effective for connecting with your customers.

Make sure to consider the strengths and limitations of each type of message. For example, SMS messages are inexpensive, and are read by customers almost 100 percent of the time, but they are limited to 160 characters. Examine the benefits and drawbacks of each method of communication.

Decide on Distribution

Decide who will provide the platform necessary to implement your campaign. Are you going to do everything in-house, or will you outsource the implementation of your campaign to another firm?

Look at your resources, with particular focus on the time frame and skills of your marketing team, to determine whether it would be more cost-effective to do it yourself or to have someone else take care of it.

Choose a production strategy.

Once you’ve decided who will distribute and implement your campaign, you next need to choose how you will produce the messages you send out. If you are using a mobile app, will you produce it in-house, or will you hire an outside group to develop it? Who will design the SMS campaign or mobile website? Again, evaluate all your resources before making this decision.

Test Your Way to Success.

Testing your campaign is probably the most important step. Simply put, all of your other planning will be wasted if your campaign doesn’t work. You must leave sufficient time to conduct exhaustive testing before launch, to work out the bugs in the technology. You must test each and every aspect of your mobile campaign (SMS, mobile application, mobile website, etc.).

After you’ve taken these steps, you are ready to move on to the final stages of planning for your mobile campaign.

Other considerations to keep in mind.

At this juncture, you understand essential background information about mobile marketing, you’ve established a budget and schedule, and have taken care of content and production. Now you’re ready to plan the final elements of your campaign.

  • Who will organize and coordinate multiple media implementation?
  • Where will you get your customer contacts?
  • What will be measured?

Coordinate multiple media implementation.

If you are going to use multiple forms of media, decide who will coordinate how your media works together. Have the activities for other media been properly planned? If your mobile marketing campaign relies heavily on other media forms to support it, it’s very important to make sure this has been addressed.

Collect customer information.

If you plan on using SMS or other push methods to communicate with customers, how will you get their information? In the United States, selling opt-in lists is prohibited by law, so how else can you collect customer information?

You might consider directing customers to a website where they can sign up for updates, or provide a phone number where they can text a keyword to sign up.

Take measurements.

Another very important part of any marketing campaign is to determine how you will measure the success of your campaign. Many metrics are available for mobile marketing, such as number of messages sent, number of messages actually delivered, number of “stop” messages, number of customers who follow through with a message, and others.

Establish the metrics you will you so you can evaluate accurately how effective your campaign is.

Why Think Strategically?

Mobile marketing can be very effective, for three important reasons: (1) It lets you connect with customers through a medium that is always on; (2) It is always available; and (3) It is very personal.

Moreover, a mobile marketing strategy can easily implement other forms of communication and media to reach a target audience and turn prospective customers into sales. Today, almost every man, woman, and child has his or her own personal mobile device, making it easier than ever before to reach both current customers and new prospects.

Why not implement a mobile strategy for your next marketing campaign? See how effective using this new technology to reach customers can be.

Excerpted from Go Mobile, by Jamie Turner and Jeanne Hopkins.

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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How to Think Strategically About Social Media

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When I first sat down to write How to Make Money with Social Media with Dr. Reshma Shah from Emory University, we agreed that one of the biggest challenges advertising agencies, digital marketing firms and marketing directors have with their social media campaigns is that they think tactically first and strategically second.

This, of course, is backwards. A good social media campaign starts by laying out objectives, which is followed by strategy, then tactics, then an executional roadmap.

Given all that, we devoted one of the early chapters in the book to the concept of social media strategy.

I’ve included an excerpt from that chapter below. Of course, if you want the full experience, I encourage you to buy the book at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon — it provides a step-by-step roadmap on how to set-up, launch and manage a social media campaign.

To get a feel for the content in the book, read on.

How to Think Strategically About Social Media.

One of the biggest challenges with social media is that most people run their campaigns in reverse order.

What do we mean when we say people run their campaigns in reverse order? They start by thinking tactically before they think strategically, which is backwards.

A typical approach is to kick things off by saying, “We need a Facebook page. And a Twitter profile. And a Pinterest board!” But that’s the wrong way to go about it. The right way is to say, “We need a goal. And an objective. And a strategy.”

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Think of it this way — if you wanted to drive from Atlanta to Austin, you’d start by establishing your goal (to get to Austin), then think through your objective (to get there within 5 days without running out of gas) and then settle in in on a strategy that’ll help you achieve your goal and objective (to break the trip into 5 bite-sized chunks with stops every 3 hours to refuel and use the rest area).

Does that make sense?

We’ll cover the specifics about goals, objectives, strategies and tactics in a later chapter, because there’s a lot more to it than what we just mentioned, but for now, let’s shift gears a little bit and explore how to think strategically about your business, your customers and, ultimately, your next social media campaign.

A great place to start this exercise is by examining the motivations that drive your customers to buy your products or services in the first place.

On the surface, you probably believe that your customers are buying the features of your products or services. So, for example, if you’re Maid Brigade, a national home cleaning service, you’d say that your customers are buying a clean house. After all, when someone calls Maid Brigade, that customer doesn’t ask them to mow their lawn – they ask them to clean their house.

But is that really what they’re asking for?

Oh, sure, a clean house is an essential element of what Maid Brigade is selling, but there are plenty of businesses that clean houses. So the question really becomes, “In addition to a clean house, what is it that a Maid Brigade customer is really buying?”

For starters, they’re buying a brand they trust. For some companies (such as Coca-Cola and Apple), the value of the brand is one of their most important assets. For perspective on the value of a brand, consider this ­— in your neighborhood there are probably several local restaurants that sell pizza. And many of those restaurants sell better pizza than Domino’s. But Domino’s almost certainly sells more pizzas per store than any of the restaurants in your neighborhood.

Why? Because Domino’s has a national brand that people have grown to love and trust. And, when it comes right down to it, love and trust translates into big bucks. And more pizzas sold.

Now that we’ve talked about the value of a brand, let’s jump back to the Maid Brigade case study. People don’t hire Maid Brigade simply because they’re a trustworthy national brand or because they do a good job cleaning houses. It goes much deeper than that. When you drill down into what prompts someone to buy their services, you start to uncover some of the unspoken reasons why people gravitate to their brand.

For example, Maid Brigade was the first national chain to go green with their cleaning materials. So a certain percentage of people hire Maid Brigade because they like the green aspect of their services. For most people, “green cleaning” isn’t the very first thing they’re looking for when they do research on home cleaning services, but it’s certainly a key differentiator for their brand.

But we’re still just scratching the surface — you can go much deeper.

For example, what is it that people really get when they get a clean house? People get more than just a clean house – they also get time. In other words, they free up several hours a week that they would otherwise spend cleaning.

What do they get in those several hours? Initially, you might say they get time to play more tennis, time with their grandchildren or time to work with a charity. All of those answers are correct, but when you examine it further you realize that they’re actually getting the opportunity to have more fulfilling lives, to have deeper relationships and to get to know themselves better.

See how that works? What people are actually buying in a product or service goes much deeper than you might imagine.

If you were to write down a list of the features and benefits of using Maid Brigade, many marketers would just scratch the surface. But by getting inside the mind of the customer and thinking about what truly motivates them, you come up with emotional hot buttons that resonate with their prospects and customers.

Again, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t lead with “green clean” or “spotless counters” or “freshly-vacuumed rug.” Those aspects of the Maid Brigade brand are all important, but when you overlay those benefits with the deeper, more meaningful emotional hot buttons, you connect with your prospects and customers on a more lasting basis.

Here’s an Exercise to Help You Think Through Your Social Media Strategy

Grab a sheet of paper and write down a list of all the reasons someone buys a cup of coffee from Starbucks. We’d like you to think about what motivates someone to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee.

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First on your list, of course, is that customers simply want a cup of coffee. That’s reason enough. But what else are they buying? Aren’t they also buying the “cool” factor at Starbucks? Aren’t they buying the fact that Starbucks is often populated with young, trend-setting professionals? And aren’t they buying the way the Starbucks environment makes them feel?

What else? You can go even deeper. Some people are buying the friendly smile from the Barista. Others are buying the trendy music playing in the background. And still others are buying the cushy sofas that are perfect for people working on laptops.

Going deeper still, you realize that some people are there because they feel lonely. And, interestingly, some people are there because they want to be alone.

Others are there because it helps them think. Or daydream. Or clear their minds.

And, of course, eventually we come full circle and realize that some people are at Starbucks simply because they want a darn good cup of coffee.

Our point, whether you’re talking about Maid Brigade or Starbucks or any other company, is that the foundation for any successful social media campaign is to explore the motivations that are driving your customers to buy your products or services in the first place. The odds are pretty good that they’re buying much more than just the features and benefits — they’re buying the hidden value of your products and services as well.

Wrapping Your Mind Around Social Media.

Now that we’ve talked about how to gain a deep understanding of your prospects and customers, let’s lay the foundation for how to think about social media. The easiest way to do that is to draw comparisons to other things you might be familiar with, so let’s start with social media in general.

What is social media? You can find dozens of answers on the Internet, some helpful and some flat wrong. But for our purposes, social media are the digital tools that prompt a dialogue between your customers and your business.

Unfortunately, many businesses use social media for one-way monologues instead of two-way dialogues. This brings us to an important point:

Social media is more like a telephone than it is a megaphone.

Businesses that use social media as a megaphone are using it incorrectly. You know the kind of businesses we’re talking about. They can’t stop talking about themselves and what makes their products or services special. But have you ever been on a date with someone who can’t stop talking about how wonderful he or she is? Have you ever been out with someone who constantly bragged and never once asked you about your interests?

We’re guessing here, but we imagine that if you went on a date with someone like that, it was probably the last date you had with him or her.

So back to our analogy—when you’re running your next social media campaign, think of the platforms you’re using as tools that are more like telephones than they are megaphones.

Key Social Media Platforms

Now let’s take that analogy a step further. If using social media is similar to using a telephone, then what is Facebook like? Or LinkedIn? Or Twitter?

We developed some analogies to help frame your thinking:

Facebook is like a pub. It’s a casual place where you can go to talk about what you did over the weekend, tell a joke, or tell people what you did at your high school reunion.

Google+ is like a country club. Despite the fact that Google+ is one of the fastest-growing social media networks on the planet and has a wide-ranging user-base, it still has an exclusive feel to it because it remains clean, uncluttered and (for the moment) advertising-free.

LinkedIn is like a trade show. You wouldn’t tell people at a trade show what you did in Vegas last weekend, would you? Okay, maybe you would, but the average businessperson wouldn’t. Limit LinkedIn to your professional side. Talk about business. Talk about interesting articles in the Harvard Business Review. And use plenty of phrases such as “value chain” and “business model” in your profile. That should do the trick.

Twitter is like a cocktail party. Cocktail parties are great places to mingle, share information, and make new friends — just like millions of people do every day on Twitter. It may be a bit of a challenge to pack a lot of information into 140 characters, but if you can master that aspect of Twitter, you’ll be able to use it quite effectively for business.

Pinterest is like a bulletin board. The whole idea behind Pinterest is that it’s a place for people to share thoughts, ideas, photographs, favorite quotes and other pieces of information on a series of digital bulletin boards that can be seen and shared by others. Most businesses use Pinterest as a branding tool to deepen their relationship with prospects and customers, but others are using it (quite effectively) to provide information about special promotions or product offerings.

YouTube is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Times Square on New Year’s Eve is packed with people clamoring for attention, which illustrates the problem. Just as it’s hard to stand out in Times Square, it’s hard to stand out on YouTube. Too much competition exists. So if you want to use YouTube to make money, you need to build awareness for your YouTube channel first.

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Other Social Media Platforms You Should Know About

One of the more common mistakes people make when thinking about social media is to think that social media is about only Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. In reality, social media is about much more.

For our purposes, we’re including the following categories on our list of tools you can use to grow your sales and revenues using social media:

Blogs and Digital Magazines—These are quickly becoming many people’s primary source of news and information.

Bookmarks and tags—Similar to digital yellow stickies that let other members of the online community know that you like an article or a Web page.

E-mail newsletters—Digital flyers that let people know about your products or services.

Widgets—Online gadgets that help you crunch numbers, check the weather, or find out how much money you made (or lost) in the stock market.

Content aggregation sites—Sites that effectively cut out articles from other online newspapers and repost them in one central location.

Wikis—Sites that enable large groups of people to contribute and edit content.

Voting—Provides people the opportunity to express their opinion on a product or service.

Crowdsourcing—Uses the talents of many people in different parts of the globe to contribute to something (such as the development of an open-source software program).

Discussion boards and forums—Places where people can digitally thumbtack their thoughts, comments, or suggestions on a digital corkboard hosted on your Web site.

Backchannel sites—Places where people at trade shows and conventions can comment on the event or the speaker on stage.

Tweetups—Meetings or casual get-togethers that are organized via Twitter (such as “Meet us as Bob’s Tavern at 6:00 pm. We’re getting together to discuss the top social media campaigns from this year”).

Photo-sharing sites—Digital photo albums on sites such as Flickr, Instagram, and Snapfish where people can upload their favorite photos.

Podcasting—A way for small and large organizations to broadcast their thoughts, comments, or perspectives on a wide variety of topics.

Presentation-sharing sites—Places where you can upload your latest and greatest PowerPoints.

Virtual worlds—Places where (young) people go to create second lives.

Ratings and reviews—Enable people to rate your product or service and write reviews. (Believe it or not, negative reviews can actually help your brand because they give you instant customer feedback.)

Social Media Models Used by the Fortune 500

Whether you work as a sole proprietor or at a Fortune 500 company, it’s a good idea to know how others are using social media so you can incorporate those models into your own campaigns.

With that in mind, here are five social media models that are used by the Fortune 500:

Branding. Some companies use social media strictly as a branding tool. Typically, this means running a YouTube campaign that (hopefully) gets a lot of buzz around the water cooler. In our opinion, using social media only as a branding tool is a twentieth century mindset. If you really want to supercharge your social media campaigns, you’ll incorporate one or all of the next four highly measurable approaches.

e-Commerce. If you can sell your product or service online, then you’ll want to drive people to a landing page on your website where they can buy your goods. How can you accomplish this? Just do what many e-commerce companies do and post special promotions available only to the people who follow them on social media. The promotional links are easily tracked so they can see how many people went to the landing page and how many converted from a prospect to a customer.

Research. Many companies are using social media as a tool to do research. Sometimes, this involves building a website to track the results. Starbucks has done this famously with their MyStarbucksIdea.com website. Other times, using social media as a research tool can be as simple as doing a poll on LinkedIn, SurveyMonkey, or via email.

Customer Retention. A good rule of thumb is that it costs three to five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Given that, wouldn’t it be smart to use social media as a tool to keep customers loyal and engaged? That’s what Comcast and Southwest Airlines do—they communicate via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms to help solve customer service issues.

Lead Generation. What do you do if you can’t sell your product or service online? Then you’ll want to do what many B2B companies do—that is, they use social media to drive prospects to a website where they can download a whitepaper, listen to a Podcast, or watch a video. Once you’ve captured the prospect’s contact information, you can re-market to them via email, direct mail, or any number of other methods.

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

Book by Jamie Turner