Friday, March 25, 2016

6 content marketing tips for every entrepreneur

By David Ronald

Content marketing can play a significant role in helping your business to grow—it is one of the best and most effective ways for you to connect with your prospects and differentiate yourself from competitors.

The problem is, however, that when it comes to developing and implementing content marketing strategies, it’s not always easy to know exactly where to start.

(Click here to read our white paper on content marketing:

Here are the six tips that will help you use content marketing to grow revenues.

1. Tell better stories

Your words are your ambassadors and convey to your customers and prospects who you are. Many companies still don’t differentiate themselves enough through their writing voice. A compelling brand story gives your audience a way to connect with you, one person to another, and to view your business as what it is: a living, breathing entity run by real people offering real value.

Make truth the cornerstone of everything you create. Your marketing content should feature real people, real situations, genuine emotions and facts. As much as possible, it should show, not tell. It should explain—in terms people can relate to—how your company adds value to the lives of your customers.

2. Answer questions that people are asking
Remember and apply the most important tenet of content marketing: answer the questions your prospects ask. When buyers of any kind begin their journey, they fire-up Google ask a question, and will find an answer. As a marketer, the question becomes: will it be your answer they discover?

This idea should drive the content on your blog. Ask people to leave questions and use them as the basis for your blog posts.

3. Learn the skill of writing headlines

Headlines were the key tactic to make people buy newspapers, buy books and magazines. Now they make people click and share on the web and your mobile phone. Bloggers, publishers and content marketers are always on the lookout for attracting attention to drive traffic, engage with their readers and customers and make money. No clicks and you have no traffic. It’s that simple. So where do you start?

Nothing has changed. The headline is still the step and tactic that attracts attention and drives action.

4. Maintain a consistent narrative
Early in my career a marketing leader told me to “tell your story in three ways”—and that make me see the power of integrated marketing campaigns. Think about select 3-5 themes that tell your story (eg, product, company and industry) and evangelize theme across “integrated” campaigns consisting of blog posts, white papers, press releases and so on. This should increase the probability of them moving through your sales funnel.

5. Think about content promotion first 

Content promotion is the difference between brands with fans and anonymous content. Most people create content first, then think about content promotion as an afterthought. You’re better off flipping this on its head—plan out how you will promote your content before you create it.

If, for example, you want media coverage for your business, produce content that you think they want to cover, instead of trying to get media to cover things you want to talk about. This approach is much more likely to get the results you need, especially in the longer term

6. Use employee-generated content

Content is an ongoing activity, never a one-off campaign. Building your content funnel with employee-generated content will make it more varied and more likely to attract viewers. Best of all, employee-generated content is more often trusted by prospects—studies have highlighted that company advertising is trusted 47% of the time while company experts are trusted 66% of the time.

Thanks for reading. Do you agree with everything on this list?

Did we leave anything off?

Leave us a comment or question.

Friday, March 11, 2016

What is the relationship between good branding and price?

By Sharon Lee

Good branding enables you to charge more for your product. The fundamental rule of pricing tells us that the price charged for a product must match the value consumers perceive they are getting from that product. Great branding enables businesses to sell their products at premium prices. Why? Because buyers will pay the high price tag because they perceive the product to be worth it.

If all brands were new and they all launched new products on the same day, all of those products would have the same value perception in buyers’ minds—there hasn’t been time to build brand value perceptions.
Of course, each brand has its own unique tangible differentiators, but the intangible ones that lead consumers to become emotionally connected to brands take time to communicate and demonstrate consistently and persistently.

With that said, it’s easy for brands to price products according to tangible differentiators. For example, a high-definition television will have a higher price tag than a television without HD capabilities.

These types of tangible differentiators can cause price differences across different brands in the same category as well as across different products under the same brand umbrella if that brand has launched extensions within the same category. For example, an iPad with WiFi and 4G connectivity costs more than an iPad with just WiFi connectivity.

Think of pricing strategy as it pertains to brand value in terms of buyer “reference prices”—each consumer views a brand and its associated price tag in comparison to other brands and products available to them. Those other brands and products create a frame of reference for the buyer, and the buyer tries to fit each brand into a comfortable position in her mind, based on that frame of reference.

Brands and products with pricing that doesn’t fit well into that frame of reference are typically not even considered when it comes time for the consumer to make a purchase because they don’t make sense.

When creating a frame of reference for brands in a specific category, buyers consider a variety of factors to fit each brand into a position such as competitor prices, past experiences with brands in the category, past pricing experiences in the category, tangible differentiators (ie, features), and perception—it’s the perceptions part of reference prices that gives brands the opportunities to set prices based on intangible differentiators. In other words, buyer perceptions enable brands to compete on more than price alone.

Let’s face it. If price were the only factor that mattered in purchase decisions, everything we buy would be a lot cheaper and everyone would buy the same brands and products.

Price is just one part of brand value and purchase decisions. The challenge for marketers is finding the right price point to achieve maximum sales without damaging buyers’ perceptions of the brand’s overall value. Any brand can compete on price. Successful brands don’t rely on pricing alone, but that doesn’t mean pricing strategy isn’t important. On the contrary, striking the right balance between profits, brand value, and consumer perceptions of the brand is an ongoing process.

Thanks for reading.