Monday, December 14, 2015

Content Marketing Doesn't Work



This may seem like an odd article coming from someone who makes their living in the content marketing world. But when I say that content marketing doesn’t work, it’s true. It doesn’t work for many companies because they either have the wrong expectations or the wrong creation and promotion strategies. And when content marketing isn’t deployed correctly, it doesn’t work.

Content marketing is a bit of a buzz word. The idea has been around for a long time, but it’s recently garnered attention as social media and SEO have started valuing content more and more. Add to this the fact that customers are doing more research before they make a purchase, and you can see why content marketing is getting more attention than ever before.

In the chart you can see that content marketing has actually surpassed search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) in search popularity. In fact, of the big four digital mediums, it trails only social media marketing in current interest.
Marketing Interest over Time
But What Is Content Marketing?

The dangers of trends is that there is a lot of misinformation around what the trend really is. Because of this, I’ve seen definitions of content marketing ranging from native advertising to blogging to social media. Technically these are all forms of content, and yes they are also forms of marketing, but does that make them content marketing?

For this article, let’s limit the definition of content marketing to this:
Content marketing is the act of a company, business, or organization producing and promoting informative content to engage and interact with their target audience.

Why Doesn’t It Work?

Simply put, content marketing doesn’t work because it needs two attributes to be successful, a long-term commitment and high-quality content. And both of these requirements have high demands in terms of time and effort. Because of this, they are often ignored in an attempt to make content marketing more scalable and easier to deploy.

But unlike SEO and PPC, you’re not dealing with an algorithm when it comes to content marketing. You’re dealing with the reactions and emotions of your living, breathing customers. And that can’t be gamed, hacked, or exploited. Instead, you need to plan and deploy a content marketing campaign with the same care and attention that you would any other major company initiative.

Consistency

Content marketing requires time and effort. And these are two things that are usually in short supply in most growing companies. So, how do you find them? You democratize your content creation. Instead of trying to shoulder the burden of content creation with one person or one department, the responsibilities should be spread around the company. This accomplishes two things. First, it allows the workload to be shared and ensures that there is always someone fresh ready to step up and produce content. Second, it gives your message many different perspectives and voices. This is great for keeping the content from becoming stale and tired.

Another great trick to remain consistent is to have a well-established plan going into your campaign. This means that you sit down and write up your content calendar and your promotion strategies. And you need to make these as specific as possible. Ambiguity in your calendar will open the door for dropped initiatives and forgotten tasks. So assign hard due dates and make sure that everyone sticks to them.

Finally, in order to stay consistent you have to make sure your content doesn’t become a chore for you, the producer. To do this, mix in many different types of content so you’re always working on something that challenges you in a new way. Here’s a short list of a few types of content that work great:

  • Blog Posts
  • Infographics
  • Slide Decks
  • Case Studies
  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Quizzes
  • Audits
  • ROI Calculators
  • Memes and Images
As you can see, content marketing isn’t dependent on having a blog. Yes, a blog is a great tool for content marketing, but it’s only one piece of the larger puzzle.

Once you have a consistent plan, you now need to focus on the quality of the content.

Quality

When it comes to the quality of your content, I like to liken it to the d├ęcor of your home. You want to produce content that you’d be proud to take home and hang on the wall. If you wouldn’t be caught dead with your content adorning your house, then you shouldn’t be using it to try and engage with your customers.

For the penny pinchers out there, it’s an unfortunate fact that you often get what you pay for when it comes to content creation. This doesn’t mean you can’t outsource your content creation, but you should expect to get what you pay for. That’s why for smaller companies it’s usually a better idea to create their content in-house.
So, whether you’re outsourcing your content creation or taking care of it internally, you need to ensure that you’re producing content on the right topics. To do this, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. At our firm we use in-depth buyer personas and customer journeys to give us an idea of who our target audience is and what we should produce.

Once you know who they are you want to help them. You do this by solving their problems. So, instead of producing content that’s all about you and your company, you should produce content that answers questions and helps them solve the challenges they face. As I’ve stated many times before, no one wants to download your brochure.

And don’t scrimp on the details. There have been many studies that the content that’s shared and engaged with the most is long-form, in-depth pieces that are supported by research and statistics.

This means you shouldn’t be killing yourself to produce new content every single day. But rather, you should focus on producing high-quality pieces. As long as you’re doing that consistently, then arbitrary cadences don’t matter as much.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

A friend of mine, Jake Baadsgaard, who owns a conversion optimization and PPC company called Disruptive Advertising, realized early on how much impact content marketing had on his marketing efforts. And we’re talking about a guy who works with PPC every day. Be that as it may, he knows that his PPC efforts are much more effective when they’re supported by content marketing.

“We have one of the most active and informative blogs in the PPC industry. And it produces great results for us in terms of traffic and customer engagement. But the temptation to short-cut the content production and promotion was a major challenge I needed to overcome. But a dedication to writing and planning has allowed us to stick to our guns and produce content that we’re proud of and that we know our customers want to engage with.”

Jake is not a natural content marketer. He would rather spend time on marketing activities that can be easily quantified and graphed in an Excel sheet. But his blog has been active for over a year and the posts they publish are long-form with great insights and research. This has led to syndication of the content, speaking opportunities, and interview requests. But without that commitment to quality and consistency, he wouldn’t have experienced those fringe benefits.

Put It All Together

So the next time you hear someone tell you that they don’t see the value in content marketing and that they never saw results for their efforts, they’re probably right. Because as I’ve outlined in this article, content marketing won’t work unless you focus on what’s important and have a long-term plan for success.


DeliveryMaxx has the answers and tools you need to successfully create the content you need to work for your business.  For more information visit http://www.deliverymaxx.com 

Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 Best of Rockwall Awards DeliveryMaxx for Management Consulting Services

DeliveryMaxx is one of the most talked about digital marketing companies in the country with their patent pending digital solutions program.  In short, DeliveryMaxx has discovered a way for businesses to provide an opportunity for all of their customer to share their great experience with their friends and family through a digital network that is the strongest on the World Wide Web.  Not only has DeliveryMaxx developed a unique program that separates its clients from their competition, the program also increases Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Online Reputation Management (ORM), Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Content Management (CM) all utilizing one simple app.

The great thing about DeliveryMaxx is that they use common sense business principles combine with today’s technology creating excellent results for their clients.

DeliveryMaxx started a little over five years ago as a customer retention program and quickly adapted helping business to take advantage of marketing and advertising on the internet.  “When DeliveryMaxx made the conversion to digital marketing, we saw a need for businesses to be able to advertise and market on the web.  There were too many companies taking advantage of their clients not knowing or not understanding the proper way to navigate advertising on the internet.  Unfortunately, these companies actually harm businesses more than helping them and we quickly decided to help companies work digital media correctly” states James Schaefer, Chief Operating Officer of DeliveryMaxx.

The app can be downloaded by anyone, but will only be able to be utilized by DeliveryMaxx customers.

“DeliveryMaxx was created methodically filling in all of the gaps that dealerships were unable, or did not know how to fill to complete the circle of attracting a new customer, providing great service or products, and having them share their experience immediately with friends and family” explains Schaefer, thus providing automotive dealerships and other organizations with a unique ability to increase CSI Scores, Sales, Customer Loyalty, Service Revenue, Online Reputation, Search Engine Optimization, and Branding.

Industries served by DeliveryMaxx includes automotive dealerships, real estate agencies, youth sports teams, churches, celebrities, service, doctors, hotels and attorneys.

Recently, DeliveryMaxx was chosen for the 2015 Best of Rockwall for Management Consulting Services due to the program meeting all of their client’s marketing and advertising needs.

DeliveryMaxx is a privately held company providing social media marketing, web-based solutions, customer retention, and other advertising services and is based in Rockwall, Texas.  Founded in 2009 DeliveryMaxx is the preferred provider for companies needing to improve web presence, online reputation, customer satisfaction, sales, and innovative strategies that enables them to confidently deploy their mission-critical products and services in today’s competitive environment for market share.

For additional information about the company or its products and services, visit www.deliverymaxx.com.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Marketing 101

Source: SBA

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In order to successfully grow your business, you’ll need to attract and then work to retain a large base of satisfied customers. Marketing emphasizes the value of the customer to the business, and has two guiding principles:
  1. All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs.
  2. Profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume.
To best use these principles, a small business should:
  • Determine the needs of their customers through market research
  • Analyze their competitive advantages to develop a market strategy
  • Select specific markets to serve by target marketing
  • Determine how to satisfy customer needs by identifying a market mix
Marketing programs, though widely varied, are all aimed at convincing people to try out or keep using particular products or services. Business owners should carefully plan their marketing strategies and performance to keep their market presence strong.
Conducting Market Research
Successful marketing requires timely and relevant market information. An inexpensive research program, based on questionnaires given to current or prospective customers, can often uncover dissatisfaction or possible new products or services.
Market research will also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Population shifts, legal developments, and the local economic situation should be monitored to quickly identify problems and opportunities. It is also important to keep up with competitors' market strategies.
Creating a Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy identifies customer groups which a particular business can better serve than its target competitors, and tailors product offerings, prices, distribution, promotional efforts and services toward those segments. Ideally, the strategy should address unmet customer needs that offer adequate potential profitability. A good strategy helps a business focus on the target markets it can serve best.
Target Marketing
Most small businesses don’t have unlimited resources to devote to marketing; however, the SBA wants you to know that you can still see excellent returns while sticking to your budget if you focus on target marketing. By concentrating your efforts on one or a few key market segments, you’ll reap the most from small investments. There are two methods used to segment a market:
  1. Geographical segmentation: Specializing in serving the needs of customers in a particular geographical area.
  2. Customer segmentation: Identifying those people most likely to buy the product or service and targeting those groups.
Managing the Market Mix
Every marketing program contains four key components:

  1. Products and Services: Product strategies include concentrating on a narrow product line, developing a highly specialized product or service or providing a product-service package containing unusually high-quality service.
  2. Promotion: Promotion strategies focus on advertising and direct customer interaction. Good salesmanship is essential for small businesses because of their limited advertising budgets. Online marketing is a cheap, quick, and easy way to ensure that your business and product receive high visibility.
  3. Price: When it comes to maximizing total revenue, the right price is crucial.  Generally, higher prices mean lower volume and vice-versa; however, small businesses can often command higher prices because of their personalized service.
  4. Distribution: The manufacturer and wholesaler must decide how to distribute their products. Working through established distributors or manufacturers' agents is generally easiest for small manufacturers. Small retailers should consider cost and traffic flow in site selection, especially since advertising and rent can be reciprocal: a low-cost, low-traffic location means spending more on advertising to build traffic.
The aforementioned steps combine to form a holistic marketing program.
The nature of the product or service is also important in citing decisions. If purchases are based largely on impulse, then high-traffic and visibility are critical. On the other hand, location is less of a concern for products or services that customers are willing to go out of their way to find. The Internet makes it easy for people to obtain goods from anywhere in the world, so if you’re worried about reaching a certain market, selling your product online may do wonders for your business.