If the internet is that crowded downtown bar, the chatter that fills it is often about marketing best practices. Frequently, it’s dedicated to defining the difference between inbound and outbound efforts. This hubbub applies opposing descriptors to inbound and outbound: old vs. new, imminent vs. fading. Unlike other sources, we believe that both inbound and outbound marketing have a rightful place in effective strategy, with two caveats: they must be well-balanced, and work together toward your brand’s objectives.
In other words, inbound is gin and outbound is dry vermouth. Apart they’re fine, but when they’re shaken or stirred? You craft the perfect mix.
Continue reading The Master Mixologist’s Guide to Inbound and Outbound Marketing
Ten years ago, Bridget opened a yoga studio in her small, Midwestern hometown. Back then, yoga’s popularity was on the rise and she was among the first to introduce it to her community. Before long, she had a waiting list of students.
Flash forward to today …
There are dozens of yoga studios and other places to attend classes. Moms in yoga pants are everywhere you look, and Bridget is far from the only yogi in town. Lots of people saw the same opportunity, and even though the potential customer base for yoga has grown, her market is oversaturated. Bridget needs a way to differentiate her business from the competition.
I bet you think we’re about to suggest content marketing as the solution? Nope. In fact, digital content creators have the exact same problem as Bridget.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a coffee shop, commercial construction, or your content marketing plan, when you’re not the only player in the game, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Digital marketing strategies often fall flat because companies fail to analyze the competition’s efforts before jumping in. You must look for ways to add value and break through the noise. But how?
Continue reading How to Create Content that Cuts Through Clutter and Crushes the Competition
Picture this: you live in a small town where everyone knows everyone and nothing’s a secret. One day, Nancy has a bad experience with a clerk at the grocery store. Tales of the rogue clerk spread through book club and golf league like wildfire, and the grocer soon sees his sales plummet.
In this digital age, the web is much like that small town. Rumors take root on sites like Google Places, Yelp, and Angie’s List, and, if left unmanaged, spread and endure, damaging sales like Negative Nancy’s comment did to our poor grocer.
What to do? Some may tell you to ignore the haters and focus on what you do well. We’ll argue the opposite. The first step to effective online reputation management is embracing the negativity that comes with a digital presence.
Continue reading Online Brand Reputation Management: The Good, The Bad, and the Trolls
Today’s buyers don’t want to hear from you until they say so. That’s why, at Element, we preach the gospel of permission-based marketing. The content marketing programs we run on behalf of our clients aim to ease buyers along the journey to purchase with the right materials at the right time. We’re successful when customers get what they need to inform themselves, decide our client is the solution, and, only then, initiate contact. Information is the oil that keeps the modern buying process running. And, make no mistake: buyers are in charge, not you. If you aren’t providing a great buyer education experience, someone else will.
To help your customers learn about your brand, culture, products and services, follow the three rules of buyer education: Continue reading Are You Following The Three Rules of Buyer Education?
When you think about what makes up an effective content marketing program, a lot of moving pieces come to mind:
- Blog posts
- Video and animation
- Branded graphics
- Social media
- eBooks, case studies, and other premium content
…And so on. The workflow goes like this: get a great idea, create content around it, and publish. You get your content finished and you’re good to go, right? Not so much.
There’s a very important step missing above that can slow down even the most incredible content marketing: Continue reading Six Ways to Accelerate Your Content Marketing Approval Workflow
Growing up in Oklahoma, we had a common saying: “I’m fixin’ to get ready.” In other words, I’ve got somewhere to go or something to do, but not quite yet – so in the meantime I’m doing something else, which may or may not have anything to do with what I’m doing later. The buying cycle for your customers is a lot like that today, too.
According to SiriusDecisions, as much as 70 percent of the buyer’s journey is complete before they reach out to sales. So, a lot of your future customers are fixin’ to get ready – but how would you know, unless they call or email you every time they’ve made progress towards making a purchase. The more complex the purchase is, and the longer the sales cycle, the worse this situation gets for sales and marketing departments. Sales may spend time calling a visitor over and over who filled out a form on your site. If the visitor is only in the initial research stage of their buying process, it’s a waste of time for your sales teams, and irritates potential customers. Continue reading The Automation Advantage: Is Your Marketing Working For You 24/7?
One of the most common client concerns we get when launching a new content marketing program is, “How are you going to write for us? You don’t know anything about our industry.”
It’s a legitimate question to ask. They’re wondering if a copywriter, digital marketer, or maybe even a blogger who doesn’t work in your industry can really write complicated content and explain technical topics.
Doubting an advertising agency’s ability to represent the expertise of your company is understandable. However, when it’s done right, you’ll end up with relevant, highly-targeted content marketing campaigns that help you reach your business goals.
Here’s a look at how Element’s content marketing teams takes on the challenge.
Continue reading Content Marketing – How to Write Like an Expert for Any Industry
As this article is being written, we’re nearing the end of what can easily be called the craziest, most frustrating presidential election in recent U.S. history.
The Republican and Democratic party nominees are so unpopular, supporters spend most of their time talking about how terrible the opposition is while making excuses for the downfalls of their chosen candidate.
A lot of voters feel like they’re being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. They have to vote for the person they dislike the least instead of someone they truly believe in.
The worst part is, it seems like no matter what the election results are, we’ll still end up with a mess.
Sometimes your options for marketing feel that way, too. However, when it comes to choosing how to reach your target audience, there is a very viable alternative.
Let’s take a look at the marketing candidates …
Continue reading Do You Have to Choose the Lesser of Two Marketing Evils?
Far too many B2B companies have blogs they’ve neglected, mismanaged, and left to rot. They go month after month without updates, and when a new post is finally published, no one reads it anyway.
So, management decides blogging isn’t even worth the effort. Don’t let that happen to you and your company’s blog!
A good blog can be a cornerstone of a powerful content marketing program, but only if you know how to do it right.
It seems so much easier to create content for a business-to-consumer company while business-to-business marketing seems like it is supposed to be dry and dull.
Here’s how some marketers assume the formula works:
B2C Content = Fun! B2B Content = Bored to death.
But, that’s just not true!
Continue reading 6 Ways to Make Your B2B Content Marketing Better
Can an ancient Greek philosopher teach us how to be better at marketing?
Just about everyone comes across Aristotle’s writings Poetics and Rhetoric at some point during high school or college.
If you were like me at that age, you probably didn’t appreciate the subject matter, but Aristotle literally wrote the book on using stories to persuade people.
Smart marketers can learn a thing or two from Aristotle, especially when trying to create compelling and convincing content for your target audience. And, you don’t have to be a literature or philosophy major to understand how it all works.
Continue reading Advice from Aristotle on Better Brand Storytelling