What Millennials Want From Brands & Businesses – It’s Not Always Obvious

If you haven’t heard any heated commentary on the nature and plight of millennials, you’ve evidently been living under a sound-proofed rock, because it’s very much a hot-button topic. Some argue that this particular generation is rife with apathy and entitlement, while others contend that it faces unique challenges and is more responsible than its predecessors.

 

The truth, of course, is nowhere near simple enough to be captured in a sweeping statement, and people should recognize that the millennial generation isn’t all that different from any other. However, when it comes to marketing, setting the generalizations aside isn’t an option — segmentation demands a kind of stereotyping, aiming at group identities to maximize return.

 

So when you’re trying to market your business to millennials, what should you focus on? With all of the overblown statements being made about them, it can be hard to figure out what’s actually going to have an impact. Well, to that end, this piece is all about what millennials want from brands and businesses, all based on reasoned argument instead of hyperbole. Let’s get to it.

Transparent business dealings

The days of people trusting that corporations have their best interests at heart are probably dead and buried. It’s now the default for the discerning consumer to assume that any business targeting them is ready and willing to exploit them however possible to make profit. While this isn’t exclusive to millennials, they’re in the position of having grown up with internet access granting them a window into a world of major economic collapse and uncertainty.

 

Because of this, it’s extremely important to millennials that the businesses they buy from and advocate for are transparent in their dealings. They need to feel secure in their monetary and emotional investments, confident that they can trust the companies they use to say what they mean, mean what they say, and diligently protect their data (GDPR would likely never have been formed had companies not done such a poor job of this).

 

When you’re trying to earn trust, you can’t fake transparency for long — you must legitimately commit to doing it properly, and even then it will take quite a while for people to actually become convinced that you’re reliable. Don’t lie to customers, admit mistakes when you make them, and provide some insight into how you operate. It will show the humanity of your staff and position you in a more empathetic light.

Rapid high-quality support

Having grown up with the rapidly-maturing option of online search, millennials know how to efficiently consult the astonishing database that is the internet. Inevitably, having the ability to almost-immediately find the answers to their questions has raised their expectations when it comes to customer support and resources.

 

In addition, someone who mightn’t think to bother a brand with a phone call would readily send an email, so younger people are far more likely to submit multiple queries and subsequently expect prompt replies. Any business that doesn’t have a solid system in place to handle a significant level of support traffic is going to struggle. You need to not only answer your customers but actively engage with them.

 

Brands that want to impress millennials need to embrace complex and automation-rich support methods, providing multiple communication channels, using social media platforms effectively, and implementing helpful tools such as knowledge bases, live chat systems, or chatbots. Tools are particularly vital for ecommerce businesses, especially since they’re so easy to provide today — any mainstream ecommerce store host can work with a free tool such as tawk.to.

 

But as they use complex systems, businesses must maintain a strong focus on good UX: all the functionality in the world won’t help if customers find it frustrating. For instance, if a support ticket ever requires the customer to provide their details multiple times, it will likely lose them.

Consistent moral codes

Millennials likely care more than any preceding generation about business ethics, and it’s easy to see why — their collective adolescence has been rife with questionable dealings placed prominently in the limelight (Goldman Sachs, BP, etc.), and through a combination of worsened conditions and increased online exposure, they’ve been left strongly invested in causes such as recycling and improving working conditions.

 

So on top of being transparent, a business must be ethical in some sense to really capture the interest of millennials, or at the very least not clearly unethical. In ideal circumstances, a company might maintain charitable efforts, but if that isn’t viable, it should be incredibly careful to avoid doing anything that might attract the ire of a passionate, powerful (particularly through the force of social media) and vocal generation.

 

After all, there are so many businesses around (and there’s such little diversity in exclusive products) that a millennial unhappy with a certain company can do a quick online search and find another company to serve the same role. It simply isn’t financially justifiable to push away customers who could prove very loyal if kept happy.

 

Ultimately, millennials have higher expectations than previous generations because they’ve grown up with quickly-advancing technology and a strong sense of skepticism about brands. If you don’t meet their expectations with the service you provide or the image your project, they’ll abandon you — so don’t disappoint!

 

Kayleigh Alexandra writes all about startups and small businesses for Micro Startups, a site committed to supporting great charities and helping them grow. Check out the website for some informative articles, and head to our Twitter account @getmicrostarted to follow our updates.

 

 

Using Digital Marketing Strategies To Engage, Not Advertise

We’ve all heard it: the Internet has changed the way that businesses must market themselves to customers. Today’s online customers are more active, discerning, and questioning than in any other era. They expect you to come to them and show that you really care about their needs. 

But how do you approach online leads?

Just like any normal conversation, you engage in dialogue.

So, the next concern is, how do you keep the interaction alive? Just like a regular conversation, you just don’t talk — you listen. For many consumers, brands that win their business are the ones that focus on interactions, listening, and responding appropriately.

Therefore, simply having a presence in social media isn’t enough. Whether you are writing blogs, creating a Facebook page, posting Monologues, maintaining a Twitter feed, submitting photos to Instagram, or using any of the other many social websites available, you must focus first on creating good rapport with your customers by engaging and listening.

How do you get them to like you so they’ll buy from you? We have some simple yet often overlooked tips to accomplishing this.

Give customers information that they want via blogs

People go to the Internet to learn for themselves. Blogs are a great way to create a portal for these consumers seeking information.

A blog can begin by telling consumers about the details of a product and the usefulness of it. However, when you talk about a subject, don’t make it a sales pitch. Talk openly and accurately about it. If you can slip in a small plug for your product, that’s great, but if you present your product as the one and only possible solution, people will tune out and consider you disingenuous. Make yourself useful to them with simple, informative content, no strings attached.

Start a conversation on social media

The Internet is interactive. Customers today want to have a dialogue. Post questions on your Facebook page and your Twitter account. Ask for advice. Find out what they want from you. Maybe even chat about the latest football scores, or entertainment news, but just to show that there are real people behind the scenes.

Accept online criticism with good grace

As part of any dialogue, some customers may have problems with your company. Don’t attempt to bury or cover up these criticisms. Address them openly and make sure it’s clear you care about what they have to say. See message board criticisms as an opportunity to show your best face. Disgruntled customers can be turned into fans just by treating them fairly.

Be honest in your digital marketing presence!

This is the single most important aspect of good digital marketing engagement strategies. Internet users are extremely savvy. Lies will be caught immediately, and users can spot “weasel words” a mile away. Don’t hyperbolize or exaggerate, except in jest. Admit to faults, if necessary, and explain how you are correcting them. This, more than anything, will build trust among your customers and convert them into fans.

In short, the best social media strategies are those that help endear your company to your customers. For success in today’s wired world, businesses must truly market themselves to their potential customers before they can market a product. Make new friends and new fans first, and then they’ll look to see what your business can offer.

 

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92 Formulas for Creating Click-Worthy Blog Titles

We’re going to share with you 92 different formulas for creating blog titles that people will notice and click through to see your blogging content (the quality of your article is still up to you!)

Yes, 92. You’ve got this.

98toGo marketing and business consultant Matthew Bivens is a blog-writing machine. How does he keep his blog titles engaging and creative, even when he’s not feeling especially engaging or creative?

Coming up with creative blog titles is one of Matthew’s least favorite recurring tasks. We asked him for ways to keep blog titles compelling, and holy cow, he gave us 92 ideas.

“Personally, I extremely dislike writing blog article titles (also referred to as headlines). When that task pops up in my calendar, whether it’s for my own blogging efforts or my clients, I cringe and go to a dark place. I’m just being honest here. I find it difficult, tedious, and at times creatively frustrating,” he says.

“But instead of moaning about it each week, I set off to find the most helpful and immediately actionable information online about writing effective blog article titles.” Thank heavens. Now, with his blessing, let’s steal all of Matthew’s ideas.

The Magic of Using Formulas for Blog Titles

In his research, Matthew found about a dozen different articles citing and sharing blog title formulas, and he synthesized his findings here.

Using the formulas is simple: just fill out the [brackets]. Because one size doesn’t always fit all, plan on tweaking the formula/title to best suit your needs. These formulas should not replace your own creative thinking, rather they should be used as a jumping off point to inspire your title creation. Each formula has a few examples so you can see how the formulas can be used.

How-To Formulas (16)

How to [Blank]

Examples:

How to Read

How to Write Headlines That Work

How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254%

How to Be [Desirable Quality]

Examples:

How to Be Interesting

How to Be Creative

How to Be a Savvy Investor

How to [Blank] (Even If [Common Obstacle])

Examples:

How to Lose Weight (Even If You Can’t Stick to a Diet)

How to Make Money Online (Even If You’re No Good with Computers)

How to Be the Life of the Party (Even If You’re a Closet Introvert)

How to [Blank] Without [Objectionable Action]

Examples:

How to Find Your Prince Without Kissing Any Frogs

How to Take Your Family to Disney World Without Spending a Fortune

How to Work at Home Without Quitting Your Job

How to [Do Something] While You [Do Something Else]

Examples:

How to Get Smarter While You Watch Television

How to Be Productive While You’re Waiting in Line

How to Create Dreamy Content While You Sleep

How to [Engage in a Leisure Activity] and [Achieve Result Associated With Labor]

Examples:

How to Work from Home and Get Twice As Much Done

How to Do Less and Get More

How to Eat Junk Food and Still Lose Weight

How to [Do Something] That Your [Target Audience] Will Love

Examples:

How to Pick a Movie Your Date Will Love

How to Give a Toast Your Boss Will Love

How to Build a Treehouse Your Kids Will Love

How to Use [Blank] to [Blank]

Examples:

How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business

How to Use Food from Your Freezer to Make Cleaning Supplies

How to Use the “Rule of Three” to Create Engaging Content

How to [Blank] in [Year]

Examples:

How to Write an Ebook That Sells in 2017

How to Meet Your Soulmate in 2018

How to Dress like a Rock Star in 2019

How to [Blank] — The Ultimate Guide

Examples:

How to Attract Links and Increase Web Traffic — The Ultimate Guide

How to Conquer Writer’s Block — The Ultimate Guide

Speech Recognition for Bloggers — The Ultimate Guide

How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb [Group]

Examples:

How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Drivers

How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Shoppers

How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Investors

How [Your Field] is Like [Blank]

Examples:

How Social Media Marketing Is Like “Dungeons and Dragons”

How a Restaurant’s First Year is Like the NFL

How PR work is like Middle School

How [Someone] [Did Something Unbelievable]

Examples:

How One Non-Profit Is Raising Millions Using Facebook

How I Bought My First Home by Investing in Light Bulbs

How Our Gym Revolutionized Cardio for Women

How do you do [Activity]?

Examples:

How Do You Balance Your Checkbook?

How Do You Ensure Your Architect Knows What They’re Doing?

How Do You Use Twitter Lists?

How [Blank] Made Me [Blank]

Example:

How a “Fool Stunt” Made Me a Star Salesman

How an Obvious Idea Made Me $3.5 Million

How Moving to Iowa Improved My Sex Life

Numbers Formulas (16)

[#] Warning Signs That [Blank]

Examples:

5 Warning Signs That You’re About to Get Audited by the IRS

10 Warning Signs That You Chose the Wrong Blog Topic

7 Warning Signs That You’re Drunk on Your Own Words

[#] [Blank] for [Event/Cause/Process]

Examples:

101 Hors D’oeuvre Ideas for Your Next Dinner Party

21 Traffic Triggers for Social Media Marketing

72 Home Remedies for Curing Insomnia

[#] Killer Resources for [Audience/Process]

Examples:

72 Killer Resources for Modernizing Your Kitchen

87 Killer Resources for Incoming Freshmen

101 Killer Resources for Making Money As a Stay-At-Home Mom

The Top 10 [Blank]

Examples:

The Top 10 Beaches in South America

Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2018

The Top 10 Anniversary Gifts Your Wife Will Adore

[#] [Blank] Secrets Every [Audience] Should Know

Examples:

7 Heart Health Secrets Every Patient Should Know

14 Bedtime Secrets Every Parent Should Know

5 Secretarial Secrets Every Salesperson Should Know

[#] Surprising Reasons [Blank]

Examples:

7 Surprising Reasons You Feel Depressed During the Winter

11 Surprising Reasons Cops Pull You Over (and Not the Guy Beside You)

21 Surprising Reasons Why Your Teenage Son Won’t Talk to You

The [#] Laws for [Blank]

Examples:

The 10 Laws of Super Bowl Parties

One Dad’s 7 Laws for Dating His Daughter

The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging

[#] Steps to [Blank]

Examples:

7 Steps to a Seven-Figure Restaurant Business

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

3 Surefire Steps for Beating the Boring Content Blues

Get [Blank]! 10 Ideas That Really Work

Examples:

Get More Traffic! 10 Ideas That Really Work

Get a Great Man! 10 Ideas That Really Work

Get Rich from Home! 10 Ideas That Really Work

[#] Things Your [Target Audience] Needs to Hear You Say

Examples:

7 Things Your Teenage Son Needs to Hear You Say

Want a Promotion? 6 Things Your Boss Needs to Hear You Say

5 Things Your Wife Needs to Hear You Say on Your Anniversary

[#] Ways to [Improve in your Role]

Examples:

10 Ways to Make You a Great CEO

50 Tips to Maximize your Marketing Ability

10 Rules-of-thumb to Make you an Accounting God

48 Tweetable Stats To Make You An Online Marketing Smartypants

Do You Recognize the [Number] Early Warning Signs of [Blank]?

Examples:

Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of High Blood Pressure?

Do You Recognize the 6 Early Warning Signs of an Employee Meltdown?

Do You Recognize the 5 Early Warning Signs of Internet Addiction?

[#] Ways to [Blank]

Examples:

101 Ways to Cope With Stress

21 Ways to Live a Better Life With Less

5 Ways to Write Killer Headlines

[#] Lies About [Something Common]

Examples:

12 Lies Real Estate Agents Are Telling About the Housing Market

8 Veterinarians Tell About Canine Heartworms

9 Lies About the Job Market from Your Career Advisor

[#] Ways to [Do Something]

Examples:

73 Ways to Become a Better Writer

10 Effective Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers

5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post with a Bang

10 [Things You Need to Know in Order to Succeed at You Job]

Examples:

10 Social Media Facts, Figures And Statistics You Need To Know

10 Strategies for Surviving a Call Center

10 Examples of Failed Cafes (and How you can Avoid their Fate)

Simplicity Formulas (13)

The Minimalist Guide to [Aggravation]

Examples:

The Minimalist Guide to Twitter

The Minimalist Guide to Cooking a Nutritious Dinner

The Minimalist Guide to Homework (Keep Your Good Grades!)

[#] Shortcuts for [Completing Tedious Process] in Record Time

Examples:

10 Shortcuts for Becoming an Authority in Your Field in Record Time

7 Shortcuts for Building a Company Website in Record Time

21 Perfectly Legal Shortcuts for Finishing Your Taxes in Record Time

Get Rid of [Recurring Problem] Once and for All

Examples:

Get Rid of Your Yellow Toenails Once and for All

Get Rid of That Squirrel in Your Attic Once and for All

Get Rid of Comment Spammers Once and for All

How to End [Problem]

Examples:

How to End Your Fight with the IRS

How to End Writer’s Block Forever (And Make Readers Fall in Love with You)

How to End a Dating Disaster Without Being Rude

How to [Blank] in [#] Minutes

Examples:

How to Reduce Your Junk Mail in 5 Minutes

How to Write an Article in 20 Minutes

How to Knock $127 Off Your Phone Bill in 15 Minutes or Less

[#] [Blank] Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for [Blank]

Examples:

101 Headline Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Writing Headlines That Explode Traffic

21 Homework Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Doing Your Homework in One Hour or Less

37 Income Tax Hacks: An Insider’s Guide to Hidden Deductions

Here’s a Quick Way to [Solve a Problem]

Example:

Here’s a Quick Way to Get Over a Cold

Here’s a Quick Way to Potty Train Junior

Here’s a Quick Way to Backup Your Hard Drive

Give Me [Short Time Period] and I’ll Give You [Blank]

Examples:

Give Me Five Days – And I’ll Give You the Secret of Learning any Subject!

Give Me Three Minutes a Day – and I’ll Give You a Better Complexion.

Give Me 3 Minutes and I’ll Make You a Better Blogger.

The Lazy [Blank’s] Way to [Blank]

Examples:

The Lazy Woman’s Way to Riches

The Lazy Dad’s Way to Quickly Getting Dinner on the Table

The Lazy Blogger’s Way to Write Great Post Titles

See How Easily You Can [Desirable Result]

Examples:

See How Easily You Can Learn to Dance This New Way

See How Easily You Can Own a Lamborghini Miura

See How Easily You Can Increase Traffic With Social Media

You Don’t Have to Be [Something Challenging] to be [Desired Result]

Examples:

You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Retire on a Guaranteed Income for Life

You Don’t Have to Be a Geek to Make Money Online

You Don’t Have to Be an A-Lister to Be a Kick-Ass Blogger

Get [Desired Result] in [Desirable Time Period]

Examples:

Fix Your Poor Eyesight With a Simple 2-Hour Procedure

How To Become Debt-Free in 90 Days or Less

Master the German Language in Record Time

Can’t Keep up? [#] Ways to Simplify Your [Blank]

Examples:

Can’t Keep up? 11 Ways to Simplify Your Gmail Inbox

Can’t Keep up? 21 Ways to Simplify Your Search for New Clients

Can’t Keep up? 7 Ways to Simplify Your Wardrobe for 2018’s Trendiest Looks

Mistakes Formulas (9)

Do You Make These [#] [Blank] Mistakes?

Examples:

Do You Make These 9 Parenting Mistakes?

Do You Make These 7 Mistakes When You Write?

Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking?

[#] [Blank] Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

Examples:

7 Email Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

Five Grammatical Errors That Make You Look Dumb

9 Silverware Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb at a Fancy Restaurant

[#] [Blank] Mistakes That Make You [Look/Sound] Like a [Blank]

Examples:

5 Grammar Mistakes That Make You Sound like a Chimp

7 Resume Mistakes That Make You Look like a Loser

10 Overreactions That Make Moms Look like Maniacs

[#] [Blank] Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Examples:

11 Fashion Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

21 Accounting Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

5 Cholesterol Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Don’t Do These [#] Things When [Blank]

Examples:

Don’t Do These 12 Things When Writing Headlines

Don’t Do These 5 Things When Passing through Airport Security

Don’t Do These 7 Things When You’re with a Guy You Just Met

Are You Making this Mistake that’s [Leading to a Bad Result]?

Example:

Are These 6 Stupid Blog Mistakes Costing Your Business Leads?

Have you Fallen into the Shoe Store Trap?

Is Your Revolving Debt Lowering Your Credit Score?

Get Rid of [Pain/Problem] Once and For All

Example:

Get Rid of Your Unproductive Work Habits Once and For All

Get Rid of That Carpet Stain Once and For All

Get Rid of That Mullet Hairdo Once and For All

Do You Make These [Kinds of] Mistakes?

Examples:

Do You Make These Mistakes in English?

Do You Make These HTML Coding Mistakes?

Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Blog?

Fear Formulas (12)

How Safe Is Your [Valuable Person/Object] from [Threat]?

Examples:

How Safe Is Your Marriage from Your Husband’s Secretary?

How Safe Is Your Family’s Land from Developers with Powerful Friends?

How Safe Are Your Shoes from These 10 Types of Dogs?

Warning: [Blank]

Examples:

Warning: Use These 5 Sure-fire Headline Formulas at Your Own Risk

Warning: These Over-The-Counter Medications Can Kill Your Dog

Warning: Testimonials Without Proof Can Land You in Jail

Can We Really Trust [Person/Company/Product]?

Examples:

Can We Really Trust the EPA?

Can We Really Trust PayPal?

Can We Really Trust Tylenol? 7 Things You Should Know

The Shocking Truth About [Blank]

Examples:

The Shocking Truth About Facebook

The Shocking Truth About Wells Fargo

The Shocking Truth About Tiger Woods

The Great [Blank] Hoax

Examples:

The Great Achievement Hoax

The Great Botany Hoax: What Are Scientists Really Hiding?

The Great Income Tax Hoax: Proof That Taxes Are Unconstitutional!

How [Blank] Gamble with Your [Blank]: [#] Ways to Protect Yourself

Examples:

How Doctors Gamble with Your Life: 7 Ways to Protect Yourself

How Clients Gamble with Your Reputation: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself

How Banks Gamble with Your Money: 11 Ways to Protect Yourself

[#] Lies [Group of People] Like to Tell

Examples:

9 Lies Telephone Con Artists Like to Tell

14 Lies Cheaters Like to Tell Their Dates

7 Lies the Media Likes to Tell About North Korea

13 Things Your [Trusted Person] Won’t Tell You

Examples:

13 Things Your Financial Advisor Won’t Tell You

21 Things Your Website Designer Won’t Tell You

7 Things the Teacher Won’t Tell You about Your Child

[#] Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your [Blank]

Examples:

5 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Divorce Settlement

7 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Search Engine Rankings

9 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Baby’s Intelligence

[Your Audience] Alert: The New [Blank] Scam to Avoid

Examples:

Mom Alert: The New Daycare Scam to Avoid

Home Buyer Alert: The New Financing Scam to Avoid

Traveler Alert: The New Airline Scam to Avoid

If You Don’t [blank] Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Examples:

If You’re Out of the Market Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later.

If You’re Not at SXSW this Spring, You’ll Hate Yourself Later.

If You Don’t Start Medication Now, You’ll Hate You Later.

[Threat] + [Promise of a solution]

Examples:

Keep SIDS Away: Put Your Baby to Sleep On His Back

Avoid a Leaky Basement In 5 Easy Steps

Don’t Let Democracy Crumble: Volunteer in Your Nearest Swing District

Insider Advice / Expert Advice Formulas (9)

New [Never-Before-Seen Thing] [Does Something Revolutionary]

Examples:

New Phone App Makes Home-Delivery a Breeze

New Micro-Durable Fiber Changes Winter Jackets Forever

New Technology Makes your Blueprints Obsolete

Exclusive Strategies from [a Sector Expert]

Examples:

23 Pay-Per-Click Lessons From Marketing Masterminds

10 Tips for Keeping You Looking Young (from the Health Guru)

A 25-year Middle-Manager’s Guide to Staying Sane in your Cubicle

The Secret Trick to [Achieve a Goal]

Examples:

4 Journalist Secrets Every PR Person Should Know

The 10 Secrets For Keeping a Non-Profit Afloat

15 Corporate Law Secrets you Weren’t Taught at School

Who Else Wants [Desired Result]?

Examples:

Who Else Wants a Higher Paying Job?

Who Else Wants More Fun and Less Stress When on Vacation?

Who Else Wants All Desserts to Taste This Good?

The Secret of [Specific Subject Matter]

Examples:

The Secret of Successful Podcasting

The Secret of Protecting Your Assets in Litigation

The Secret of Getting Your Home Loan Approved

Here is a Method That is Helping [Specific Person(s)] to [Get Desirable Result]

Examples:

Here is a Method That is Helping Atlanta City Councilmembers to Connect With Residents

Here is a Method That is Helping Children Learn to Read Sooner

Here is a Method That is Helping Bloggers Write Better Post Titles

Little Known Ways to [Get A Result]

Example:

Little Known Ways to Save on Your Heating Bill

Little Known Ways to Hack Google’s Gmail

Little Known Ways to Lose Weight Quickly and Safely

Now You Can Have [Something Desirable] and [Another Desirable Outcome]

Example:

Now You Can Quit Your Job and Make Even More Money

Now You Can Meet Sexy Singles Online Without Spending a Dime

Now You Can Own a Cool Mac and Still Run Windows

[Undesired Result] + [Mysterious Solution]

Examples:

How To Avoid Public Embarrassment: A Professional Speaker’s Secret Revealed

17 Little Known Email Hacks That Keep You Out of Productivity Hell

A Misunderstood Home Remedy For Reducing Heart Disease

Do Something Great Formulas (6)

[Do Something] Like [Famous Person]: [#] Ways to [Blank]

Examples:

Launch Like Steve Jobs: 7 Ways to Build Buzz for Your Next Product Reveal

Eat Like Oprah: 20 Ways to Be Your Own Celebrity Chef

Run Like Adrian Peterson: 10 Ways to Be the Back They’ll Never Bring down

[Famous Person’s] Top 10 Tips for [Blank]

Examples:

Meghan Markle’s Top 10 Tips for Finding Your Prince

Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well

David Bach’s Top 10 Tips for Saving for Retirement After Age 50

The [World-Class Example] School of [Blank]

Examples:

The Tony Soprano School of Leadership

The House M.D. School of Torturing Your Employees

The Yogi Berra School of Persuasive Writing

The [World-Class Example] Guide to [Blank]

Examples:

The Pixar Guide to Storytelling

The Hasbro Guide to Winning at Scrabble

The Warren Buffet Guide to Responsible Investment

Secrets of [Elite Group]

Examples:

Secrets of NFL Hall of Famers

Secrets of the Fortune 500: 22 Tactics That Keep Them on Top

Secrets of Hollywood A-Listers: How to Look like a Movie Star

What [World-Class Example] Can Teach Us about [Blank]

Examples:

What The Great Depression Can Teach Us About Resilience

What Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Can Teach Us About Marriage

What the Watergate Scandal Can Teach You About Opposition Research

Powerful Results Formulas (11)

How to Take Charge of Your [Unruly Problem]

Examples:

How to Take Charge of Your Credit Card Debt

How to Take Charge of Your Junk Mail Folder in Microsoft Outlook

How to Take Charge of Your Blog’s Comment Section

[Amazingly Awesome and/or Sexy Things] you Should Read About

Examples:

3 Awesome Ways To Identify Your Biggest Fans & Collect Customer Testimonials

10 Amazing Strategies to Ensure Your Pet Store Succeeds

5 Life-Changing Choices to Help You Run Without Pain

The Zen of [Blank]

Examples:

The Zen of Rush-Hour Traffic

The Zen of Writing with Kids Around: 11 Ways to Quiet Your Mind

The Zen of Team Meetings: How to Never Lose Control Again

[Do Something] like [World-class Example]

Examples:

Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat

Direct Like Spielberg

Lead Like Lincoln

Have/Build/Create/Get a [Blank] You Can Be Proud Of

Examples:

Build a Body You Can Be Proud Of

Have a Smile You Can Be Proud Of

Build a Blog Network You Can Be Proud Of

What Everybody Ought to Know About [Blank]

Example:

What Everybody Ought to Know About Diabetes

What Everybody Ought to Know About Adjustable Rate Mortgages

What Everybody Ought to Know About Writing Great Headlines

Are You [Blank]?

Examples:

Are You Ashamed of Smells in Your House?

Are You Ready to Learn Chinese for Your Next Job?

Are You a Courageous Marketer?

If You’re [Blank], You Can [Blank].

Examples:

If You’re a Non-Smoker, You Can Save 33% on Life Insurance

If You’re an Accountant, Our Frequent Flyer Program Really Adds Up

If You Love Scuba, You Can Dive Belize This Week for only $199!

[Provide Social Proof] [Ask a Compelling Question]

Examples:

Millions of Dollars Refinanced: Can You Afford To Ignore Changes In Mortgage Rates?

Good Enough for the Queen: Do You Know Why Corgis Make the Best Pets?

Do You Know Why Thousands of Cancer Survivors Gather In Central Park Every October?

The [Previously Untrusted or Unproven Product] That [Authoritative Person/Group of People] Now Endorse

Examples:

The Emerging Trend In Skin Care That Julia Roberts Swears By

A New Way To Talk Business: Why Every IBM’er Is Now Using Android Mobile Phones

The Water Substitute Thousands of Fitness Trainers Are Using To Hydrate

[Respected Person/Group of People] + [Exclusive/New Information]

Examples:

Tim Cook Reveals All About Apple’s Revolutionary Security Process

A Fresh Look At An Ancient Problem: How Los Angeles City Planners Overcame The Energy Crisis

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Latest Film Technology from Walt Disney Feature Animation

Creative Ways To Use These Blog Title Formulas

There you go! Ninety-two blog title formulas that you can use today to fill out your editorial calendar!

Not only do I want you to have these formulas, but I also want to give you some clever ways to make the best use of them. Here are some ideas:

  • Do a “How-to” series that you publish once a week for a set number of weeks, then repurpose those blog articles into an ebook!
  • Focus on each category for a week/month. Let your subscribers know that you’re doing an “Insider Advice” month or a week of “Simplicity” themed articles.
  • Customize one title from each category and produce a blog article for each. Start over when you reach the end.
  • Write your own versions of all 92 titles, and have enough content for months!

 

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Is SEO Dead in 2018?

Back in 2016, we checked in with an array of marketing experts to see if they thought SEO still had a place in contemporary marketing strategy by asking them to complete the statement, “SEO is not dead, however…”

Though everyone agreed that SEO was alive and well, a lot has changed in those two-and-a-half years. As we move into fall of 2018, we wanted to check in on our experts, dig back into those answers, and see if they still hold up for 2018, 2019, and beyond.

These guys are the best of the best in SEO, so see whether their SEO advice and predictions in 2016 held true into the future.

Garth O’Brien

@garthobrien

Back in 2016, Garth told us:

“SEO is not dead, however … if you believe the opposite get ready to watch your competitors take all your organic traffic.”

Garth is still spot on: Not only does SEO still reward the diligent, it punishes those who ignore it. Pay attention to all three pillars of SEO because they are all equally important: Code and Structure, Content and Keywords, and finally Authority (Links and Social engagement).

Here in 2018, Garth is still evangelical about SEO… In fact, he’s been touring the country with workshops with titles such as “Why You Need an SEO Evangelism Program.” It’s safe to say that Garth hasn’t changed his tune.

 Jordan Kasteler

Jared Kasteler

 @jordankasteler

At the time we last engaged him, Jordan told us,

“SEO is not dead, however… bad SEO is. Adapt from a strict-SEO skillset to a broader marketing skillset. Be a Swiss-army knife of marketing with knowledge and experience in all facets, but be an expert in one area still.”

This one’s an awesome tip from Jordan because it’s actually more true in 2018 than it was in 2016! Google and other search engines have been working for decades to encourage higher quality from publishers in order to improve user satisfaction. Back in 2016, we had already seen Google punish low-quality links from spammers and intentionally bad readability being user to stuff in extra keywords. 2018 has seen our search engines get even better at separating content created for readers from content made for the search engine crawlers.

We’ve also seen’s Jordan’s prophetic words on specialization in SEO come true in 2018. There are so many things to learn in SEO that it’s mostly been divided among the other roles in web publishing. For examples, copywriters and editors are mastering content keyword optimization and on-page SEO, and developers and designers are using better alt tags, page titles, and other backend SEO. In many ways, we’ve seen a decline in the strict SEO expert role where one person knows everything about optimization but lacks a non-SEO specialty.

In 2018, Jordan is still all about SEO. We noticed that his focus this year is specifically on the importance of creating a steady stream of high-quality content in order to boost SEO. For more from Jordan on this, check out this tutorial on 7 Ways to Turn a Webinar into a Stream of Link-Attracting Content.

 Anum Hussain

 @anum

A lot has changed for Anum recently, but her advice is still solid:

“SEO is not dead, however … how we think about SEO has changed.”

It used to be that we focused solely on a specific keyword and on-page SEO. But now, optimizing for general search is far more about content marketing and themes than a specific keyword.

It’s not just about using a phrase, but owning that phrase by building topical authority. Our team picks the subjects that are tied closely to our audience and product, and then tackle those topics by building a campaign centered around that topic. You can learn more about this “topics over keyword” strategy here: http://www.anumhussain.com/presentations/topics-over-keywords

Since we spoke with her, Anum has moved away from her role at HubSpot as a growth marketer to become the cofounder of acciyo, a product that lets readers understand the news. Her presentations are still cited as some of the best in the industry for growth hacking.

 Debra Mastaler

 @debramastaler

In 2016, Debra said,

“SEO is not dead, however … if you think SEO is only about gaining links, you will have a harder time than if you looked at it as a way to market your site.”

Real content with a sincere promotion cycle including email, partnerships, sponsorships, and targeted advertising will win the day. Smart content and smarter promotion are what webmasters need to be thinking about going forward from 2018. It’s not just about collecting keywords and links as data points, although it’s simpler to view it that way.

Today, in addition to offering her own services through Link Alliance, Debra is a terrific broadcaster of SEO best practices from all over the field. Check out her Twitter feed for thoughtfully curated articles on the most current applications of SEO.

Andrew Shotland 

 @localseoguide

“SEO is not dead, however … it does sometimes stink like a fish.”

Yes, there are bad behaviors that can sometimes boost SEO and good behaviors that crush it, and that what stinks (like a fish) about some SEO. Of course, that’s no reason to abandon SEO, but it’s worth noting that not all SEO is perfect.

One thing Andrew continues to excel at in 2018 is keeping his advice current. If you don’t follow Andrew’s blog, you really should. He’s still passionate about the optimal use of SEO in 2018, and he’s quick to fire up the content management system when news hits of a corporate rebranding stunt being the stuff of an SEO marketer’s nightmares.

 Angie Schottmuller

 @aschottmuller

“SEO is not dead, however … expect a zombie pulse CTR if you’re not optimizing organic search/social snippets like a paid ad.”

Angie’s still right in 2018: with publishers relying more than ever on social media like Facebook and Twitter for their exposure, it’s all about optimizing snippets to get the coveted click through. Without it, your reader never leaves Facebook, and your content is DOA. It’s also still best practice to think of punchy, complete content like paid ad snippets.

Angie is still singing the song of SEO, and her Twitter feed pulls back the curtain on when SEO is used for both good and evil. Have a look, if you dare, about how things you may think are private are being indexed.

Adam Audette

 @audette

When we spoke with Adam about SEO, he said,

“SEO is not dead, however … it’s getting more complex and more fun.”

Focus on how you can leverage your user data and deeper audience understanding to create richer digital experiences. It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding for both the user and the business.

Bonus tip: complex and fun technical SEO matters more than ever in 2018: ASO, app indexing, deep linking, JavaScript and dynamic sites, social media indicators, personalized content…the list goes on.

Adam is currently the SVP of Organic Search (a.k.a. SEO) at Merkle, which keeps a fairly active blog about marketing practices.

Craig Wilson

 @mediahunter

Here’s another piece of SEO advice that’s as true for 2018 as it ever was:

“SEO is not dead, however … your business might be if you don’t rank for searches that solve customers’ problems.”

Advice:

Write for humans first, Googlebots second. If you consistently publish great content that solves your potential customers’ problems, then optimize it for search, you have the potential to generate ridiculous amounts of traffic and leads.

This will certainly be true in the future as well. How often have you searched for information online only to find a piece of content that just repeated your keywords back to you without conveying anything useful? Hopefully, you haven’t encountered this much. But if you have, you know first-hand the frustration of being a human looking at content that was written for a robot. Always write with your human audience in mind first, and hopefully the robots will follow.

Nick Eubanks

 @nick_eubanks

“SEO’s need to be realistic when it comes to aligning the rankings they are going after and the assets they are proposing to rank. If you are targeting an information keyword with 50,000 searches per month, you’re not going to rank a page on your commercial website without SIGNIFICANT promotion and amplification. And I mean significant, like negative ROI significant (seriously), in order to go after that term with a strategy that makes financial sense you need to consider building or leveraging other assets to get onto that SERP: is there a YouTube result? Is there a Wikipedia result? Is there a Quora result? (could there be!?) You need to come back to return on your SEO investment, and use sound financial reasoning to figure out how you’re going to attack the keywords that make the most sense for your website.”

Lest you think Nick has thrown in the towel on SEO, rest assured that he’s still going strong. In fact, check out his article, “How to Do Keyword Research in 2018,” for his freshest analysis.

The face of SEO is still changing but…

The intent of the top content marketing companies is still the same: get the right content to the people who are looking for it.

Whether this means optimizing for the technical stats under the hood, or just making the content better for human readers, major search engines are figuring out what makes searchers happier, so you should too!

The new tools, tactics, and tweaks all fit snugly into any good inbound marketing strategy. There’s no reason not to use them! Adopt these practices and you will soon be an inbound marketing expert too.

 

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Social Media Management or SMO: Which is Right for Your Brand?

Social media can be hard to keep up with in order to stay relevant, especially when managing multiple accounts for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and beyond.

For larger companies, entire departments are devoted to relentlessly monitoring the company’s social media presence, with different teams dedicated to posts, likes, reposts, shares, and comments. But for small and medium businesses, you might not have the staffing resources or budgetary abilities to monitor this behemoth, and a third party with expertise to focus on social media strategy might be the way to go.

For brands looking to find a way to stay relevant without straining their staff or pocketbook, there’s two choices: social media optimization or social media management. Which option is best for your company? Let’s take a look and see what path best fits your company’s strategy.

Social Media Management Platforms

Social media management platforms are software tools that reduce the time and energy required to produce social media posts. This option is great for publishing a large volume of content and having the most activity on your channels.

Some organizations set up social media management platforms to tackle posts on all social media apps at once. This method is great for small companies that have small budgets or brands who can’t dedicate entire teams to the social media beast.

With so many management companies and softwares out there, it can be hard to decide which to select. This is a case of diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. Hootsuite might offer more growth than Sprout, but for others, TweetDeck blows MeetEdgar out of the water. Check the plans each company offers and find which fits your budget and your strategy plan for creating an effective social media presence.

SMO

Social Media Optimization (SMO) is when you measure, analyze, and learn from the few social media posts you create. This option is ideal when you want to maximize the impact and quality of your posts at a lower volume.

SMO is an option for brands that prefer a more hands-off approach. An SMO service is the SEO of social media, used to attract new customers to your website and ultimately, your business. And much like SEO, SMO (also known as social SEO) is pretty important. So, how can SMO help you?

  • Creating shareable content. SMO takes a closer look at your content and making sure people like it and want to share it.
  • When optimizing, your content can go further through the power of social media, especially now that sharing through social media affects content greater than traditional backlinking.
  • Inbound links turn into engagement and a reward. We all like getting rewarded for our actions, which a Social Media Optimization Service can help.
  • Keeping tabs on analytics and other fancy-sounding charts to make sure your social media campaign is working becomes easier with SMO. Or, if you don’t keep tabs and just wish for the best, SMO can start a foundation of free or cheap analytic tools to start with.

Finally, ever heard of HubSpot? Social media strategies all over, regardless of tactic, use this software to see significant boosts in both social media management and optimization, but, just like individual SMO or social media management softwares, there are plenty of players to choose from.

So, how has social media changed your company? Are you utilizing SMO, a social media management software, or just winging it and hoping for the best?

 

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IHOP to IHOb: Marketing genius or just gimmicky stunt?

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) recently temporarily changed their name to IHOb to promote their new line of hamburgers (‘b’ for ‘burger’ instead of ‘P’ for ‘Pancake’).

For all intents and purposes, the just inverted their capital P to a lowercase b on one store sign and on their Twitter account, but it caused quite a stir. We’re tackling whether the move was a smart one, and we’re doing it before the dust settles on whether it helps or hurts their bottom line.

Is IHOb really about marketing, or just publicity?

When IHOP released the teaser that they would be changing their name, most people assumed it would be the International House of Breakfast or Brunch, but to the public’s surprise, ‘B’ stands for ‘burgers.’ If you’ve been on the internet recently, you’ve possibly seen the plethora of jokes over the name change, mostly negative towards this marketing move and making fun of the breakfast diner.

Without a doubt, this name change has brought attention to the company, but is all publicity good publicity? “Changing the name, even if it’s a little bit gimmicky, does bring traffic and attention to the stores,” said Stephen Anderson of the Maxim Group, according to CNBC. He may be operating from an assumption, and it’s an assumption that isn’t grounded in what we know about the target audience.

While some truly believe that store traffic will increase, this silly, time-sensitive move makes IHOP the target for jokes that may damage the overall image while the economic benefit is yet to be seen.

Who is the IHOb name trying to reach?

The current target audience for IHOP includes largely college students and senior citizens, both of whom want access to breakfast food all day and the diner experience that IHOP offers.

Seniors aren’t very likely to see the twitter uproar or the marketing effects of the name change so this campaign doesn’t affect them, but the college student age demographic has made uproar in disappointment, turning IHOb into an internet joke and meme.

One twitter user @_kaicealea even said “I have never. Not once in my life, gotten a burger from IHOP. And I never will.” This brings up the point of brand confusion. Existing customers visit iHop for their trademark items like pancakes (among other breakfast food), so even with a publicity stunt, it can be argued that IHOP will still be seen as a breakfast venue and that this will not affect buying behavior, and existing customers will seldom try the new marketed item.

Another thing to consider is that the name change will very unlikely cause people who aren’t already customers to want to travel to IHOP for a burger. While we’ve discussed the issues of existing customers for IHOP increasing burger-buying behavior, those who don’t already dine at IHOP are very unlikely to go to the restaurant to eat a burger when there are several other places known for their burgers, not their breakfast food. Activating new audiences with IHOb is very unlikely to come from this stunt.

Maybe IHOb is about low perceived risk, high possible reward

In all likelihood, the need to market the burgers probably came from one of the bosses, and marketing simply had to come up with a plan to promote the change. One team decided to add burgers to the menu, the boss said to market that menu change, and the marketing team had to deliver.

They did what they had to, and they chose a publicity stunt. As some argue, though, is this marketing stunt possibly brilliant?

Granted, this is just a temporary change that they aren’t actually spending millions of dollars on rebranding. Before launching this campaign, there’s a good chance that IHOP marketers said to themselves, “It’s low cost, and we’ll be in on the joke even if it goes viral. Best case scenario, we sell more burgers because people think it’s fun, worst case scenario, nobody notices.” Some analysts agree that this change is bringing more attention to the specific menu item itself, but we argue branding is far more important for a national chain.

The problem is that IHOP underestimated the risk. This marketing maneuver has a very good chance to hurt IHOP’s brand, as customers and the public won’t even take them seriously anymore as a breakfast diner. Without a doubt this has caused major buzz, however, all publicity is not good publicity for long-term success.

It is yet to be determined if there is actual financial benefit from this marketing stunt, but it has given a clear view of the new public image of IHOb. Whether they stay the butt of the joke, or evolve into a new go-to burger joint, IHOb surely became a hot-topic of conversation.

4 Ways To Be Savvy with Social Media Accounts

Social media apps aren’t just communication outlets — they’re also great for directing traffic to your website. Today’s savvy inbound marketers have used social media to take their online presence to the next level, whether engaging directly with customers on Twitter or advertising the latest services to target markets on Instagram.

The numbers increasingly show that shrewd brands utilize different techniques on social media to bolster followers to their accounts. And having plenty of followers pays off, with more traffic linking to your website, as well as better search engine placement. Let’s examine how savvy marketers make the best out of their social media experience with four techniques that turn social media accounts into inbound traffic magnets.

I. Social Media As Distribution Channel

All of your content should be announced and distributed through all your social media outlets, and formatted for each app.

This can be as simple as sharing a headline and link on Facebook, but Instagram doesn’t hyperlink in posts, so unique consideration needs to be made for video- and photo-centric posts there.

And on LinkedIn, there’s two different posting options, Status Updates and Long-Form Publishing. HubSpot suggests status updates should be published two to three times a day (which can be a lot of work), while long-form posts should be limited to one to two per week.

Also, make use of automation tools when possible, such as YouTube’s auto-post function to other social media apps.

Using social media gives you extra oversight and control over the resulting conversation. It’s a distribution channel that can produce immediate feedback, giving you a much better view of your market’s attitudes. And if you see an increase in activity on your page, use the momentum to create a Call to Action and link to your site.

II. Encourage Engagement

This cannot be stressed enough: connect with your audience. Responding to users in your posts is a must, but go a step further and join the conversation! Use the myriad social media platforms to show what you know and to educate those asking questions. In doing so, you form a level of trust for your company.

Also, there’s nothing wrong with asking for action from your visitors, as long as you’re friendly. Feel free to ask for shares, comments, retweets, or likes as part of your material.

Some helpful suggestions:

  • Upload media and encourage followers to do the same. Sharing videos and images is the bread and butter of Twitter, Instagram, and the #1 activity on Facebook.
  • Caption contests are great for a quick boost for your media, since they’re easy for your audience to enter.
  • Humanize yourselves in your online persona, as followers respond well to the human angle.
  • Offer exclusive pieces of content, such as videos or slideshows, that are only available to social followers.
  • Ask questions! There’s often no simpler way to get people talking.

An engaged social media audience is one that’s going to be clicking on the links you post up through your various channels. So, keep looking for new ideas to keep them active.

III. Make Sharing Easy

This one’s simple: Pretty much nothing you upload to the Internet should be without sharing buttons built-in.

Your sharing buttons should be plentiful and easy to find. Ideally, you want one-click sharing to as many sites as possible within reach of each piece of content you upload. Look for a space near the content that’s convenient while not getting in the way of the material itself.

IV. Follow The 80/20 Rule

If you’re looking for guidance on how to work in promotional posts without appearing too sales-y, remember the 80/20 Rule. 80% of what you post should be audience-centric; entertaining material that’s thought-provoking, funny, interesting, or informative. The remaining 20% can be directly self-promotional.

It’s more of a rule of thumb, but it does seem to generally hold true. If more than about 1/5 of your material is directly sales-related, it starts driving people off rather than attracting more readers.

Links to your own current blog posts, eBooks, contests, and promotions are great to include on your Facebook page, for example, but if all your posts are promotional, you’ll be lost in your audience’s news feed in no time.

So, post effectively, and remember to know and understand your buyer personas. A well-built buyer persona will give you all of the information you need to know:

  • What topics your audience is interested in.
  • What content your audience enjoys (blogs, videos, infographics, etc.).
  • Where your audience goes for information.
  • What tone and style your audience likes (educational, comedic, etc.).

Remember that social media is expected to be a give-and-take, and online communities reward those who make solid contributions that go beyond sales pitches.

Keep Up The Quality On Social Media

No matter which social media outlets you’re using, remember that quality and compelling content is what drives traffic to your website.

If you keep up a constant pace of interesting material that touches people emotionally or intellectually, you’ll be giving your followers a lot of reason to remember you the next time they’re in the market.

Behind the scenes of the new 98toGo corporate video

A lot of corporate websites, intentionally or not, become ways for businesses to mask their identity and create distance with their audience.

At 98toGo, we want our website to bring us closer to the people we help and work with, and out of that commitment, we created our new 98toGo corporate video.

The video is big on authenticity; what you see is the real deal. We hope that your viewing helps start a working relationship with us, or at least shows what makes us tick in a way that isn’t possible without the power of multimedia.

Watch the video now, and then read more about how our candid presentation became a reality.

Making the 98toGo corporate video

The team behind the camera was Todd Pringle and Kevin Greene of Atlanta Idea Studio, one of 98toGo’s strategic partners in corporate video. They both did a great job of moving the project forward and bringing out our best creatively and technically. We also applaud them for putting up with a couple of marketing strategists who lack professional acting experience!

We also want to thank Kelly Sims of predictive analytics firm Intalytics for appearing in the video. While a number of actors could have portrayed a client, we asked ourselves what an ideal client is really like, and Kelly (an actual client) immediately came to mind. That said, Kelly was more than willing to participate, and we’re pleased that her lovely presence became a part of our video!

We shot the video at Cornerstone Coworking in Lawrenceville, Georgia, where our office is located. The look and feel of the space was as good for video as it is for productivity, and team member Samantha from Cornerstone even made a special guest appearance.

From the 98toGo roster, Fred, Kevin, and Addison all participated with support from team members Brenna and Kate. And while Addison was the first to receive the video, team members Ashley and Megan watched it first.

atlanta-corporate-video-marketing-2

What the 98toGo corporate video communicates

We identified a few key points that are best communicated through video that just don’t come out very well with written words or still images alone.

  1. 98toGo is a team of fun, passionate, creative, talented people.
  2. We solve our clients’ painful marketing problems with strategy first, then execution.
  3. We deliberately manage our company and methodology to offer something you can’t find anywhere else.
  4. We’re thoughtful about the type of client we work with because what we provide is special and can’t be mass produced.

It’s one thing to read those statements; it’s something entirely different to feel that they’re true. And now that our video is out there for the world to see, we hope it resonates with you too.

atlanta-corporate-video-marketing-1

Everybody Needs a Podcast: Atlanta HubSpot User Group 3/14/18 Recap

Matthew Bivens, long-time 98toGo partner and consultant, recently presented at the Atlanta HubSpot User Group on his core competency: podcasting. And while not everyone has the interest or resources for creating a podcast, Matthew busted a lot of myths around podcasting and revealed some creative but easy applications of podcasting.

One idea in particular stood out as relevant to marketing agency clients, especially content marketing clients sold on HubSpot and its core philosophies.

Podcasts as marketing

As marketers, we often see podcasting as a product that can be marketed or monetized with someone else’s advertising. But as Matthew made clear, podcasting can be an excellent channel for marketing itself. For example, inviting certain guests onto your podcast becomes a way to build relationships and trust, which can essentially “market” who you are and start a great business relationship.

You can also talk about your own products and services in your podcast. We’ve worked with clients whose podcasts provided enormous value the audience, and all they did to monetize their podcast was attach their brand to the show. Other marketing clients who podcasted went a step further, injecting a short testimonial advertisement about their product, just like they would do for a sponsor.

Do I market the marketing podcast?

The whole idea of using a podcast as marketing can be difficult to wrap your head around when podcasts typically have to be promoted in the first place.

It seems like there can be an extra barrier between you and your audience when you have to sell listeners on the idea of your podcast and then on the idea of your brand and products. You might ask: Why not just cut out the podcast and promote the brand and products right away?

There are several ways to slice this. One, using a podcast to market your brand can be much easier if you have a built-in audience already. For example, if you have ongoing clients for a subscription-based product, or an enormous and engaged newsletter list, those can become a built-in audience at launch. It will take minimal promotion to engage those listeners, but they’ll help boost your podcast’s popularity as early adopters.

They may also respond with higher retention, upsells, and referrals depending on the value of your podcast.

Plus, there’s nothing wrong with marketing your marketing. Consistent with the HubSpot inbound marketing methodology, you could think of your podcast as a premium piece of content. You could market your podcast with blogs, paid advertising, emails, social media, or anything else. The podcast then becomes a re-engagement piece, conversion prompt, or brand filter (or whatever marketing funnel step you need.)

In a world where only a small percentage of your audience will convert to customers right away, podcasts make an amazing piece of your marketing funnel that can actually fill multiple marketing gaps at once.

If you’re interested in learning more about podcasting and creating your own show, reach out directly to Matthew Bivens at his website. If you’re interested in other strategic marketing built around podcasting, feel free to reach out and ask us anything.

Why Facebook Ads Will Be a Big Win For Your Business in 2018

On January 11, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the platform will refine its focus, with preference given to relevant content that helps people have more meaningful social interactions. He explains that, “recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

With a new vision and algorithm announced for brands, businesses, and media posts on Facebook, people who rely on the platform for marketing and advertising are rethinking their digital communication strategy for the remainder of the year. What does this mean for your brand? In short, if you want your content to be seen by your desired audience, it’s no longer enough to post to your page. Does this mean that people who use Facebook posts to market their business should start to panic? Definitely not. In fact with better targeted ads, brand managers who take advantage of the new Facebook Ads features will not only see their reach grow in 2018, but they can expect their investment in the platform to convert to profit.

Better Than Organic: 9 Ways Facebook Ads Deliver

Ideally, the content of your ads will align with Facebook’s new aim for the user experience. When ad campaigns are designed to bring interesting and meaningful information to your target audience, everyone wins. Make the most of your content with these features.

1. Hyper-targeting

Not only does Facebook give you the ability to target specific segments of your existing audiences, it refines ads to bring in brand new audiences. Knowing who you want to reach is fundamental to everything we do at 98toGo, for both ourselves and our clients. Where keyword-based marketing is about knowing your brand, targeting through Facebook is about knowing your community. This is how you can truly connect and make an impact.

2. Engagement and Community Building

It’s crucial to build not only engagement with your audience, but a feeling of community as well. Implementing a strategy that incorporates Facebook Ads and private Facebook groups is an effective way to increase retention and engage audiences while building a strong community around your brand values.

3. Effective Retargeting

The buyer’s journey for your audience can be long and will most likely take them to several places: from your website, to social media channels, to other websites, and back. Facebook Ads lets you retarget those potential customers who explored your website early in the buying stage. If you nurture them as they go through the journey on their own time, they won’t feel you’re trying to speed things along with premature sales messages.

4. Tracking Offline Conversions

Proving ROI is key for marketers. Facebook’s ability to attribute offline sales to online ads is a huge benefit for brands in 2018. You can know where every dollar is going and how each dollar is performing.

5. Messenger Revolution

As Messenger evolves, Facebook continues to explore its boundaries. Now is a great time for brands to take advantage of the ad capabilities within Messenger, which are are expanding to make it easier to accept payments.

6. New Budget Optimization

To make sure your ads succeed, Facebook rolled out a new campaign budget optimization feature for 2018. With this tool, when you create an an AdSet and an overall budget to go with it, Facebook automatically allocates more of the funds to the ad that’s performing best. Basically, it becomes an A/B(/C/D) test that you don’t have to analyze and adjust on your own. Even though running an A/B test through Facebook ads has never been difficult, from a technical standpoint, it’s been one more task for your marketing team to put on their to-do list. We’ve all been guilty of bypassing the A/B test feature, at one time or other, in favor of “just being done with it.” Now you can test a full AdSet and just be done with it.

7. Amplify Your Current Content

Get the most out of what you’re already doing. Use Facebook Ads to expand the reach of content that resonate with your audience. There’s no reason to publish and simply move onto the next piece of content on the calendar. When you amplify that content using Facebook Ads, you see the return on that content increase.

8. Embrace Cost-Efficient Advertising

Compared to other digital realms (AdWords, influencer marketing, content marketing), social media platforms (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram), or traditional media (billboards, print, TV, radio), Facebook’s hyper-targeting advances, ease of use, and low cost of entry makes it the efficiency leader. (Read more about Facebook’s ad cost from AdEspresso.)

9. Facebook is (Nearly) Universal

With more than 2 billion monthly users, Facebook hosts over a quarter of the world’s population. For many of those users, Facebook is, in practice, represents the entirety of their online experience. Though they may go looking for other specific things, they default to Facebook. The platform provides advertisers with an unparalleled opportunity to reach an otherwise unreachable audience. And frankly, with the current adoption rate, most businesses can’t afford not to advertise on Facebook.

The key to success for your brand on Facebook in 2018 is to cut through the noise with content that’s meaningful to your target audience. How will they connect personally with what your company offers? Why is it something they want? Keep the same principles of authentic engagement that you would use for organic posts, or even your personal channels, and let the functionality of Facebook Ads do the rest. Happy marketing!

Grab The Infographic!

Pictures speak louder than words, and we created one pretty sweet infographic to go along with this post. Click here to get the infographic.

 

Want to take your Facebook ads to the next level?

We put together a behind-the-scenes webinar showing you exactly what you need to be doing on Facebook to get the best results with your Facebook ad campaigns. These are the same exact items we take each of our clients through, and you get them for free in this webinar. Click here access the webinar.