How to Grow Your Business Using Press Releases

In the past, press releases were meant to facilitate communication between PR and the media. However, that’s no longer the case today, where various online news sites offer an endless supply of press release content directly to consumers. In this digital age, press releases have moved from being a communication avenue between companies to a valid news source directly available to consumers all over the globe.

However, it doesn’t end there. Beyond being an effective way to distribute content straight from the horse’s mouth, press releases can be syndicated, making an easy opportunity to attract incoming links. A single press release can gain anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of unique domain name links. Market Wire, PRWeb, Business Wire, PR Newswire, and other press release submission companies make it easy to put news content into news search engines.

Nowadays, searching for news online is so incredibly popular that comScore says that half of everyone on the internet checks out a news site online every single month. With a wide range of sites from Fox to MSNBC and CNN, the top destination continues to be Yahoo! News.

If you recognize just how incredible of an opportunity this presents, then you’re not alone. However, many struggle to achieve proper exposure and get caught up on relatively simple hurdles. To help you avoid many of the same mistakes, here are some critical tips from a press release submission company for making your content as visible as possible.

  • Be interesting immediately. It doesn’t matter how interesting your content is if it doesn’t immediately catch the eye of your audience. Make sure you have a focused topic in mind, then deliver a concise message straight to your audience. You want their first impression of your content to be favorable, and the last thing you want is for them to be overwhelmed by what they feel to be information overload.
  • Know the psychology of reading. Readers of different languages look to different parts of a page on first exposure. For languages like English that read left to right, then top to bottom, you want to make sure you’re putting your best content in the right areas. Critical keywords, the main thrust, and anything to catch the reader’s eye should start in the top left, making for a perfectly natural reading experience.
  • Don’t waste effort. When distributing your news, it may seem tempting to use multiple wire services to maximize your coverage and get the most possible eyes on it, but that can often backfire. If the content is the same, then search engines will likely filter out your duplicates. Consider either using a single wire service or writing slightly different versions for each wire service. Though that involves a little more effort, it can give you the desired result of a bigger audience and appeal to a wider variety of readers.
  • Offer secondary benefits. In a world saturated with news, you usually need to provide a little something extra if you want readers to choose your news. It’s common to provide the reader with a specific and tangible benefit like a free trial, special offer, access to a podcast, or free subscription to email newsletters. These offers can come across as intrusive and unappealing if presented too aggressively, but if you manage to frame them as a net positive for the reader and superior to more irritating alternatives, then you increase reader engagement.
  • Utilize a landing page. If you want to turn first-time readers into loyal followers, you need to give them something to go on. You can’t rely on hoping that they’ll happen to find your next release in the search results or that they’ll pay attention to your emails. Instead, giving them something they can do right now to interact more with your work. Use links to direct them to a landing page they can bookmark. If nothing else, the very act of interacting with your page and clicking through will increase the chances of them following your content. If you can make them take the two simple steps of finding your initial content and then clicking through to find out more, you’ve already passed the hardest part of building a loyal audience member.
  • Use media contacts. If you can use media contacts to propagate your release, then you effectively multiply your reach. Remember that just like with appealing to your average reader on the internet, you need to provide some unique benefit. Where your average reader might be compelled by a free email subscription or a free trial, a media organization would place great value on an exclusive if you were able to demonstrate the value of your release. If you can show some level of familiarity with the individual media writer in question, you can demonstrate a willingness to go the extra mile and do your research, both qualities that media organizations want.
  • Make it simple. Though your release may require a certain degree of technicality for specialists within the field, you can’t expect journalists to understand all the jargon. Make sure you have a simple and easily understandable summary at the top of your release if you’re looking to achieve widespread appeal. In many cases, other bloggers will copy and comment on the summary, so if you don’t have one of those, you risk a bunch of articles floating around that misinterpret your work.
  • Know your audience. If you want your content to spread throughout social media, make sure you're tailoring it to your audience. A blog post with a sufficiently casual tone and simple language can go a lot further than a dry press release that restates the hard facts. Posting your press release straight to social media often ends with accusations of corporate-speak and inauthenticity.

Getting new customers finding your business will be a real possibility once you learn how to correctly utilize press releases.

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PPC CTR: What Makes People Click on Ads – Infographic

If you’re in PPC advertising and have already experienced some success with it, at some point it must have tickled you: what is it that draws people to click on search ads?

It’s a very interesting phenomenon to explore, considering the fact that it has actually been proven that most people don’t really know the difference between paid and organic search results. However, as reality in PPC success shows, there is a significant portion that does acknowledge the difference.

This acknowledgement may easily be one of the reasons why so many digital marketing agencies don’t specialise in just one discipline, but on the contrary, offer a full package for businesses that want to get into online marketing.

So what is it with paid ads that make people click? A survey conducted on over 500 people narrowed it down to a few factors.

First, ads make it easier and quicker for searchers to find the information they are looking for. This, of course, can only be true if your ads are relevant to the searches conducted by people and actually answer the search queries.

Second, people are drawn to brands they’re familiar with and click on ads simply because of the brand name in it. They don’t want to be tricked into paying for something they don’t really want. So it’s mostly the element of familiarity and security that makes people click and visit an advertiser.

Finally, people are most familiar and confident to click on search ads on Google search engine other than other types of ads such as shopping or video ads and other search engines. 

To sum it up, when starting a PPC advertising campaign, go with the easiest and safest option first: search ads on Google. People find it easy to understand and consider it safe enough to actually perform the desired action. If you’re new to PPC advertising, get familiarised with some facts and how-tos to safely get started and set yourself up for success.

PPC-infographic

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Aspects of Website Usability You Should Understand

Any business that does not have a user-friendly website will fail. Although that sounds like a bold statement, it’s the truth for many reasons. The primary reason why website usability is important is that visitors will click off a site within seconds if they are unable to navigate it with ease. There are far too many options for them to deal with an ineffective site.

Unfortunately, most users will not return to a website once they experience problems. The opposite is also true in that people respond to websites that are easy to navigate. In other words, if your website is user-friendly, you will have higher conversion rates. Given the critical importance of website usability, why are there so many websites that are difficult to use? The reason is that many brands don’t realize that a problem exists. Let’s take a closer look.

Mobile Device Optimization

It wasn't too many years ago when consumers had a lot of trepidation about accessing a website from their mobile device, especially if they were going to make a purchase. However, this is no longer the case. While there will always be some consumers that don’t feel good about eCommerce altogether, far more people use their Smartphone to access websites. More than half of the visits to sites are from a mobile device, and that number is increasing.

Ease of E-commerce

An issue that often exists with eCommerce and mobile phones is that some graphics are not visible, which means a potential customer might not be able to view a product or make a purchase. The frustration often arises because they end up navigating away from the intended page to an area that is not of interest. This often results in the user leaving the site altogether. At a minimum, it makes them less likely to visit again because of the bad experience.

Satisfying Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

The purpose of web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) is to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities, which is approximately 15 percent of the global population. Complying with WCAG means ensuring your website is accessible to individuals with the following types of disabilities: neurological, speech, auditory, cognitive, visual, and physical.

One way to ensure accessibility is by captioning all videos using best practices. Generally speaking, you’ll want to ensure adherence to WCAG standards by making your website exceptionally easy to understand and operate, regardless of a person’s capabilities.

What Visitors Expect

As it turns out, it’s not difficult to meet the needs of most website visitors because we know what they want. For instance, visitors hope you have a search bar located in the header and your contact information at the top of the screen. They also expect to see your logo, social media icons, and menu navigation. These are all elements that should be included in your website using best practices if you want it to be user-friendly.

Other Important Considerations

During the design of your website, some of the most critical elements for optimal usability are positioning, alignment, size, contrast, and color. In addition to these elements, positive user experience means the essential information is on the home page. Why? Because it builds trust and credibility. As you consider these elements, keep in mind that there must always be consistency from one page to the next.

While you could focus more on website design than website usability, that probably won’t yield the results you want and need to maintain a viable business.

The design of your website is not about how it looks, but how it works.

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5 Digital Marketing Methods to Dominate the Marketplace

 

If you don’t have digital marketing methods that work by now, you’re not going to stay competitive in today’s technology-based marketplace. Even if you have adopted digital marketing techniques, do you know how effective they are? Consumers require you to show up a certain way whether they connect with you on social media, via search or over email. Help your audience stay in the loop by showing up in the ways that they demand.

Keeping your digital marketing strategy fresh will generate the traffic that you want and convert leads into sales. Instead of making common digital marketing mistakes, hone your strategy with the following methods to keep up with the ever-evolving promotional environment.

Know Your Audience

To deliver what your audience needs, you must know what they want. Understanding that requires you to have a keen sense of who they are.

You may have an idea of who your ideal customer is. Get specific by defining how they spend their time; this will tell you how they’re likely to spend their money. Identify their passions and pains. Once you do that, you can speak to them with personalized messaging.

Determine which problems your products or services resolve. Define which needs your offerings to fulfill.

If you’ve had a digital marketing strategy for a while, you can turn to that for data. Analyze the audience that engages with you the most. Look at your competition. Once you know who is likely to buy from you, you can adapt your marketing strategy to their values.

While your target customers are often online, they don’t spend all their time in the cloud. If your prospective clients want to engage with you in person, you need to be ready. Many businesses need to attract customers at trade shows and vendor events. Customize your trade show with portable displays that are designed to capture their attention and set you apart from the competition. Use design to evoke emotion. Create interactive exhibits that invite your audience to connect with you. Your in-person marketing strategies should parallel your digital ones.

Develop Clear Goals

Once you know your buyer persona better than your best friend, you need to specify the results that you want to achieve with your digital marketing strategy.

Some common strategic objectives for digital marketers include:
• Increasing traffic
• Boosting social engagement
• Getting new leads
• Converting leads into customers
• Enhance your customer lifetime value
• Bring back inactive and absent customers

Make your goals measurable so that you can track the results. If you don’t, you won’t know if your tactics work, and you might be sinking money and time into ineffective strategies.

This goes for social media post as well. Social media algorithms are always changing. These platforms don’t favor posts by businesses unless the content is extremely relevant and meaningful. Therefore, you need a plan to add value to your target customer’s feed.

Document Your Systems

Marketing often feels like an experiment. That doesn’t mean that you should treat it like one.

Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, record what you do with your promotional strategy. Being able to analyze it objectively along with measurable data, will clue you into what’s working.

Once you have established your goals, work backward. Come up with action steps that will allow you to make your objectives happen.

You don’t have to try all the possible strategies at once. After you have documented your tactics, move through them methodically, measuring the results as you go along. You’ll be able to refine your methods as you notice the strengths and weaknesses of your techniques.

The magic lies in gaining clarity on what drives results. Once you know that, you can repeat it for optimal outcomes. Don’t stop tracking and testing, though. As the market changes, you’ll have to adapt.

Perfect Your SEO Strategy

The people who don’t find you at trade shows and via social media likely access you via your website. Effective SEO helps them find you when they’re searching for information that’s relevant to your business.

Some proven SEO techniques include:
• Updating your tags and URL with keywords
• Using keywords naturally throughout your website
• Keeping people engaged with visuals
• Placing backlinks to authority sites on your posts

Harness the Power of Case Studies and Testimonials

Social proof encourages people to make purchases. Place testimonials on your website, and consider posting case studies to enhance your authority, drive traffic and convert leads.

Stories appeal to people’s emotions. They bypass the rational mind, which can act as a devil’s advocate and convince customers not to buy from you. When people learn how your company has helped others, they’ll develop trust in you and see you as a credible solution for their problems.

Digital Marketing Methods That Work - The Bottom Line

If you haven’t implemented the digital marketing methods above, it’s time to revamp your digital marketing strategy. Measure and test the results to create an approach that you can repeat to make your business skyrocket.

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How Online Customers Make the Decision to Buy

Not everyone shopping online is an impulse buyer. A would-be consumer may scan scores of different product listings on a website before deciding. When the seller understands how the buyer plots a purchasing decision, the chances of upping sales figures increases. Millions of consumers share three fundamental buying decision traits. Here is a look at those three traits.

Moved by a Visual Image

eBay and Amazon ads most commonly feature sharp visual images accompanying a listing. Have you ever seen an advertisement with a gray box next to it showing, "no image available?" Such listings look horrible and do nothing to motivate a buyer. Now, an ad for a bicycle that is presented well-lit, properly composed photo of a bike pique a potential customer interest? Someone skimming ads for a new bike may click on the bike's product description to learn more. Choose photos, illustrations, and other images wisely. An image alone might not completely sell a product, but it could help sway a buying decision immensely.

Read Online Reviews

Reviews are enormously crucial to customers. A bad purchasing experience represents both time and money lost. Since you can't predict how a merchant will treat you, looking at past customer reviews make sense. And reviews, good or bad, fair or unfair, paints a picture. The number of venues publishing online videos is vast, so sellers can expect to hide their service quality. Google, Yelp, Facebook, and more represent venues featuring unfiltered reviews. Finding scores of published reviews won't be difficult. A framework developed by ALC combines multiple sources of online reviews and complaints filed with the local BBB or compliance organizations. Exploring the framework could reveal insights into what to expect from a seller. 

Examine Awards and Honors

Top sellers often receive special honors. Awards for consistently deliver excellent service create valuable impressions in people's minds. Customers don't overlook honors bestowed upon a business. When the Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce singles a company out for exceptional performance, something happens. Customers feel confident. Promote these awards to frequent online shoppers to draw their interest. Business owners should strive to make their enterprises stand out. And make sure your company is considered for top awards. You can't win something if you aren't in the game.

Predicting how and what customers purchase isn't easy. Different variables factor into why someone chooses to buy or pass on a product. Excellent customer service, reliable marketing, and accepting common traits among shoppers all work together to help improve the odds of making sales.

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21 Tips for Attracting Followers to Your LinkedIn Page

The value of your LinkedIn Company Page is increasing every day as LinkedIn becomes more and more important in your marketing mix.LinkedIn just published this great article on how to get more followers to your Company Page.How many of these tips are you using?
Growing the following for your LinkedIn Page is one of the most valuable marketing objectives on the platform. Increasing this total can lead to greater organic reach and more robust audience insights. It’s a critical step toward building your community on LinkedIn. And if you’re wondering about the most productive ways to work toward this goal, you’re not alone.Below, you’ll find our brand-new, definitive list of activities for LinkedIn follower growth, including tips for beginners looking to start from scratch, as well as advanced guidance for companies that want to take their Pages to the next level.

How to Get Followers on LinkedIn

The first step, before diving into any of the tips below, is to make sure your company’s LinkedIn Page is complete, and distinctly appealing to the types of members you want to attract. Pages with complete information get 30% more views, and if the content on your company’s Page is clearly useful to people within your target audience, those visiting will of course be more likely to click “Follow.” You can find pointers on completing and optimizing your LinkedIn Page here.Once you’re good on that front, it’s time to get active in boosting that follower count.

Starter Tips: How to Get Followers on Your LinkedIn Page

These techniques are helpful for building up your Page’s following from a low number, or even from zero. However, even well-established Pages with thousands of followers are encouraged to implement them if they haven’t already. You’ll find more advanced tips in the section below.

Tip #1: Optimize your Page for SEO

Did you know you can optimize your LinkedIn Page for search? Follow the guidance in the linked article to ensure your Page is fully discoverable on engines like Google.

Tip #2: Engage your employees

Your team members will be your strongest allies in growing a Page following. Encourage them to spread the word with friends and colleagues who are interested in what you do. For new Pages, this is an essential step toward getting off the ground. When employees tag your Page in updates, and share with their networks the benefits of following your Page, it can provide a big boost.Also, be sure your employees are properly mapped to your Page (by citing it accurately in their Work Experience), because every time your employee makes a new connection on LinkedIn, the new connection will be prompted to follow your Page.

Tip #3: Add a Follow button to your website

This simple addition can help turn your website visitors into LinkedIn Page followers. To compel action, you might include some messaging like, “If you enjoy our content here, you’ll love the stuff we share on LinkedIn.” Here’s an overview of how to add a Follow button to your company’s website.

Tip #4: Add a Page link to your email signature

Another “set it and forget it” tip that can pay major dividends. Edit your work email signature to include a link directing recipients toward your organization’s LinkedIn Page, and encourage them to give it a follow. If you’re corresponding with someone professionally, there’s a good chance your Page might interest them.

Tip #5: Add a Page link to your personal LinkedIn profile

Your personal LinkedIn profile is another opportunity to capture relevant members and direct them toward your company’s hub on the platform. Consider adding a shortlink to your LinkedIn Page in the “Website URL” field on your profile, or even in your headline. In accordance with Tip #2, you might invite other employees to do the same.Just like with other employees, it’s important that you associate your profile with your organization’s LinkedIn Page, so new connections will receive a prompt to follow..

Tip #6: Post content to your Page regularly

Keeping a steady flow of fresh content on your Page will give it more visibility on member feeds (Pages that post at least weekly see a 2x lift in engagement, which in turn leads to greater organic reach) and make it more appealing to potential followers. Tap into the Content Suggestions feature if you’re short on ideas.

Tip #7: Join topical conversations with hashtags

Use three to five relevant hashtags in your posts to reach new, relevant communities with your content.Also, when you associate your LinkedIn Page with relevant hashtags in your Communities Hashtags panel, you can enter a feed and react/comment on conversations from the perspective of your organization, further exposing your brand name to new, relevant audiences.

Tip #8: Enlist help from customers and brand advocates

Do you have customers who are crazy about your brand? Or people in your circle who are driven to advocate for you? Let them know that increasing your LinkedIn following is a priority, and see if they might be willing to help out by posting about your organization to their networks.

Tip #9: Adjust your content based on your Page analytics

Page admins can access a robust set of analytics, which provide demographic information about your followers and visitors, as well as engagement data for your updates. Use these insights to figure out what’s resonating vs. what’s not and align your content with what your visitors want.

Tip #10: Mention influencers and companies you admire in Page updates

Are there influential people in your industry, and non-competing companies, that you respect and wish to be associated with? By @mentioning them in your updates, you’ll have a better chance to get in front of their network, since they’ll be able to reshare your post to their followers. Just make sure not to overdo it, as this tactic can quickly become spammy in abundance.

Tip #11: Share plenty of video and visual content

Make sure your content mix includes plenty of eye-catching visuals. Unique imagery, and especially videos, tend to stand out more on feeds, helping your brand (and Page) get noticed. In particular, we find that custom image collages drive heightened levels of engagement on the platform, so don’t be afraid to upload a series from your latest event or another photo opp!

Advanced Tips: How to Get More Followers on LinkedIn

Once you’ve established a core following on the platform, it’s time to grow. These advanced tips for how to get more followers on your LinkedIn Page will help your business expand and solidify its LinkedIn community.

Tip #12: Encourage employees to participate in LinkedIn Groups

Groups feature highly engaged conversations between people who are passionate about niche topics. When your company’s subject matter experts participate as genuine members of these mini-communities, it can help create awareness for your brand while also demonstrating its authority on key topics.

Tip #13: Launch a Follower Ad campaign

LinkedIn Page growth is a popular objective for brands advertising on the platform. Run a Dynamic Ad campaign using the Follower Ad format. By tapping into LinkedIn’s powerful targeting capabilities, you can use this method to gain highly relevant followers.

Tip #14: Adopt an employee advocacy program

This is the next evolution of Tip #2, creating a formal structure around your company’s employee engagement engine. Tools like LinkedIn Elevate make it easy for your team members to share content and promote your Page authentically.

Tip #15: Encourage executives and prominent leaders to @mention your Page

The most prominent figures in your business serve as critical voices, and they often have large professional networks. When they frequently talk about and link to the company’s LinkedIn Page, it helps drive traffic and followers.

Tip #16: Encourage engagement on your posts

When members engage with your Page content by way of reactions or comments, it helps expose that content to a wider audience (oftentimes outside of your immediate following). Consider what you can do to encourage thoughtful and substantive comments on your Page posts, and remember to comment back with something equally valuable. We've seen threads with strong comment depth reap additional viral benefits.

Tip #17: Analyze your competitors’ Pages

Competitor analysis is important in all aspects of digital marketing, and this is no different. You should review what others are doing on LinkedIn, not so you can replicate these practices, but the opposite: so you can identify the white space and provide something members won’t find elsewhere.

Tip #18: Create and maintain Showcase Pages

A Showcase Page is an affiliated extension of your company’s LinkedIn Page, designed to highlight a specific sub-brand, business unit, or initiative. Creating them, when warranted, develops multiple points of discovery and entry for your main Page. Don’t dilute your LinkedIn presence by creating Showcase Pages for every product, or for different regions; it’s better to utilize this feature for broader (yet distinct) verticals or business lines.

Tip #19: Coordinate with influencers

Co-creating content is a staple for many influencer marketing relationships. When deployed on LinkedIn, you can use this tactic to mutual benefit: the influencer gains recognition with your brand’s audience, and vice versa.

Tip #20: Respond to every comment on your posts (when warranted)

Obviously not every comment merits a response, but it’s a good idea to reply to every question or thoughtful contribution to posts on your Page. Not only does this help drive higher feed visibility for the posts, but members will be more likely to follow a Page that actively engages its community.

Tip #21: Share job postings on your Page

LinkedIn is, of course, a very popular destination for job-hunting. Leveraging your Page for talent acquisition as well as marketing can open it up to new audiences.

Grow Your LinkedIn Page Following and Take the Lead

The advantages of a great LinkedIn Page with a large and engaged following are innumerable. No matter where your Page currently stands, there are almost always opportunities for further growth and expansion.For small business looking to further nail-down their LinkedIn Page presence, download the LinkedIn Pages Action Plan for Small Businesses and unlock powerful insights.For more mature enterprises looking to take their LinkedIn Page to new heights, download the LinkedIn Pages Enterprise Playbook and see how pros like Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle have built massive online communities. 
Source: 21 Tips for Attracting Followers to Your LinkedIn Page | LinkedIn Marketing Blog
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How Digital Marketing Evens the Playing Field for Businesses

Advertising on television or radio stations can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per day. This may be more than most small businesses can afford to pay. However, due to its inexpensiveness, digital marketing tools may help level the playing field and allow companies of all sizes to reach their target audience. 

Social Media

It costs nothing to create a social media account for your business. By posting quality content, your organization can amass a following of hundreds or thousands of loyal customers. Social media channels can be used to amplify blog posts or landing pages without having to spend any money doing so. Twitter is best for posting links to posts while Facebook is ideal for having conversations. Instagram can be a worthwhile platform for sharing pictures or videos. 

Local Marketing Software

Even businesses with one or two employees can find success in utilizing local marketing apps. In fact, professionals such as plumbers, doctors, and dentists may find it more effective to use local apps to market their services as they may only serve a limited geographical area. Tools such as Yelp or Google My Business can help to increase traffic to a small business website, landing page or social media property. 

Paid Advertising Costs Less

One of the key benefits of digital marketing is that you can advertise for less. You can expect to pay less than $1 each time someone looks at or clicks on your advertisement. The best part is that you can determine how much you want to spend on a campaign and how you want to allocate that money. There are several different types of paid advertising, including paid search, social media ads, and banner ads.


Most digital platforms allow you to suspend a campaign if it isn't giving you the results that you hoped for or expected. The ability to suspend a campaign gives you the ability to reallocate resources in an effort to obtain a greater return on investment elsewhere.

Let Your Customers Advertise for You

Digital marketing can also be useful for small businesses because customers can do some of the advertising for you. For instance, followers may be notified when a friend likes a brand's page or when a person leaves a comment on a company's website. When an individual shares a blog post or article to their social media pages, their friends and family members can read and share it themselves. This can extend your brand's reach without having to burn through any of your precious marketing dollars. 

Make Use of Analytic Tools

Analytic tools can help you learn more about your customers and what they say about your company. For instance, you can find out how old a site visitor is, what country they are in or what type of device he or she used to access the internet. It may also be possible to determine which search engine was used to find your website or social media post.

Furthermore, you can find out how many times a post was mentioned or shared. Having this information can help you tailor future marketing campaigns to meet the needs of your target market. For instance, if you know that most people use search engines to find your content, it may be best to advertise on search engines as opposed to on social media sites.

Digital marketing can be a boon to small businesses that are looking to maximize their brand's reach without spending too much. By keeping customer acquisition costs down, companies can improve their margins and increase profits. That money can then be reinvested into future marketing campaigns aimed at helping the business continue to grow and thrive.

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4 Digital Marketing Skill Sets That Won’t Be Obsolete Anytime Soon

Digital marketing continues to develop, and the necessary skill sets keep growing and morphing. A few key skills are here to stay, though, and you'll need them to succeed. Email marketing, analytics, videography and search engine optimization together form the foundation upon which other areas of digital marketing are built. No amount of disruption in the industry will eliminate their usefulness. Let's examine how they function and why you need them for success.

Email Marketing

You need to know the ins and outs of email marketing—not just how to write the campaign copy, but also how to effectively use email management tools. Today’s digital marketer must have skills in using Constant Contact, GetResponse and/or MailChimp. Building and managing email lists in a third-party application is also an important skill. Popular programs include Aweber and InfusionSoft.

Analytics

Big data has become all the rage. You need to know how to use it. The proliferation of social media, smart technologies and the Internet allows organizations to capture more quantifiable data than ever before. However, collection of this raw data alone does not produce the meaningful insights needed to make strategic business decisions. Once you capture quantifiable data, you need to analyze it. Analytics turns collected data from social media, smart technology, surveys and point-of-sale registers into meaningful business information that can influence business decision making.

Data must be assessed for its value and viability. This includes identifying trends within it and gleaning insights. A combination of analytical skills and expertise with the relevant tools is required to process marketing data and turn it into successful sales conversions.

Videography

The days when digital marketing meant banner ads on a website ended long ago. Today you need comprehensive videography skills. That means knowing how to write scripts, storyboard, shoot video and edit it. You’ll need expertise with video editing software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization grows and morphs regularly. The SEO of five years ago differs radically from the SEO of today. The demand for expertise in SEO analysis, writing SEO web copy, keyword analysis, integrating SEO into websites, and more grows every day. As soon as Bing and Google update their algorithms, the SEO must adapt.

If you want to succeed in this industry, you'll need these skills. Effectively marketing your company or product will require them. Professional digital marketing services can help a business reach new customers and retain current ones.

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Customer Avatar Checklist: The Definitive Guide

Customer Avatar Checklist Banner

Looking for a customer avatar checklist?

Marketing budgets are finite, and it’s important to spend your money where it’s going to be most effective. You know this, and it’s easy to say, but you’re going to need the right tools to put that into action.

That’s where customer avatars come in.

An avatar is an excellent way to illustrate a customer profile. It also gives you something on which to focus your strategy.

If you’re to be a successful marketer, you need to be a great communicator. Which means you need to know and figure out who you're trying to reach.

That’s why putting a ‘real’ personality in front of an excellent communicator works so well.

Avatars and Scalable Companies

Marketing to a customer avatar is like getting to know a customer over coffee.

In the past, you may have done far more of that sort of thing. Today, it’s impossible to get to know all your prospects on an individual basis.

As a marketer, you're operating on a global basis. Which means you will be addressing larger and larger numbers of faceless customers. You may already be selling to people on the other side of the world.

As a company scales, avatars become even more helpful.

Putting a ‘human’ face to your customer base enables your team to identify the needs of your market. Avatars can help to put things into a social context.

In this customer avatar checklist, we’re going to look a bit at why avatars are a successful marketing tool. We’ll also look at some ways you can go about drawing up your customer avatar.

We’ll examine whether you can ever have too many customer avatars for your business.

Plus, we’ll think about how to start developing avatars if it’s a foreign or new concept to you.

Start for Success – Product Development for Avatars

It’s vital for you to recognize the benefits that avatars bring to the table – the things you can’t get from data alone.

Look at it this way. You might already know that your customer base is male and aged 24 – 36, but do you know what floats their boats?

Have you got any idea what their problems are, day to day?

The more you can get into the head of a potential customer, the more you can work out what products to try selling them. We all know that if you get that part right, your chances of closing a sale go skyward. Sales are more natural if you’re selling a product that improves the life of the person who’s buying.

Demographic knowledge is always essential, but it’s broad. The beauty of an avatar is that you can use data from all sorts of sources to build it.

You can look at age and geographic data, all day long. The information is available if you want to pay for it. But, combining that data with your avatar will be huge for your business.

You can look at user-generated content from websites and social media.

Don't forget to also examine traits of customers that you know.

Getting to Know You

Everything you do developing the character of your avatar will be useful. You’ll be building up a better and more human personality that represents an area of your customer base.

All information is useful when you’re building up a picture of your avatar.

What problems they need to have solved for them, what they enjoy and hate, and what they’re very likely to buy.

Basing your marketing on a well-constructed avatar will boost your sales figures. A product tailored to a specific character is going to be a more successful product every time.

A three-dimensional ‘real’ human is a great place to start developing products to sell.

Advertising to Avatars – Know Where They Go

An avatar will provide information that makes it easy for prospects to "get" your brand.

An avatar will also enable you to develop products and services your prospects want to buy.

This knowledge extends to creating advertising and marketing, and where to place advertising.

Putting your advertising under the right noses is a massive part of the battle to make it useful. Demographics can narrow that down for you and give you a broad knowledge of the reasons people are there.

Where avatars perform better is in narrowing that down further. Avatars, done right, can narrow it down way further.

Following a customer avatar checklist also give you a better chance of getting advertising placement right. You won't need to rely on the demographic data of vendors who want you to buy their advertising space or time. Their figures are secondhand, and often manipulated and unreliable information.

Avatars are a way to develop your ideas about who your customer is and where you need to advertise to reach them.

Message Matching – Telling Avatars What They Want to Hear

You should tailor the tone and style of your marketing material to your customer avatars. Doing this makes marketing as close to writing a personal note to all your customers at once as it’s ever going to be.

You are way more likely to both find and communicate with your customers when you have an avatar.

It will help you address your prospects in a more personal way. No more shooting in the dark at blurry fast targets.

Your message is where you’re going to experience the most improvement though.

You’ll know how to speak to that market in a way they like. If you get it right – via a medium they enjoy and engage with, in a tone they love.

How Many Avatars are Appropriate for Your Business?

In some ways, this is a piece of string question, and the answer is that it’s going to vary from business to business. A large part of what will drive the need for many avatars is how many product lines your company sells.

You might be selling many products or services within one broad technical niche. For example, one of your products might sell well to small businesses. A second for startups hoping for massive and rapid growth. Another may be more suitable for established, larger companies.

Your small business prospects might be selling dress alterations out of a back room at home. Your start-up prospects may be selling a Software as a Service product while holding down a job at a bank.

For the small business prospects, you’ll need an avatar that’s interested in:

  • yoga
  • parenting young children
  • fashion
  • online training
  • healthy eating habit

Your startup avatar might be a risk taker who loves:

  • downhill mountain biking
  • economics
  • the latest tech
  • local incubators
  • startup related press and web content

Your company man avatar could have one eye on:

  • gated retirement communities
  • pensions
  • golf
  • Rotary Club
  • and more golf

Anyway, you get the picture.

The more product lines you have, and the more markets you’re serving, the more avatars you’re going to need.

You may also need more than one avatar for a single product if it crosses lots of demographic borders.

The basic principle remains the same. Each avatar you create will allow you to make decisions that better enable you to sell a product or service.

Through your avatars, you’ll learn to develop a product to:

  • make it more attractive
  • place marketing material where it achieves the highest return on investment
  • speak in the best tone that you can for every one of your customer types

Creating an Avatar – Where to Start?

A great approach to customer avatar creation is to build with layers. Start simple, then add more layers until you’re looking at a living person.

Following this customer avatar checklist will help you take care of this necessary business.

The process is more straightforward when carried out in a gradual sequential manner. That allows the avatar to take shape as you add more ingredients to the pot.

It is an excellent idea to make a mental note to revisit each earlier step in the process as your avatar matures.

You may well find that as you learn more about your avatar, you’ll change elements in it. For this reason, you should work your way through all the steps again from the beginning.

You’re developing a character here. It's okay to take your time with it.

So, what’s the first step or layer in development using a customer avatar checklist? Let’s think about the basics.

Customer Avatar Checklist Infographic

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The Avatar Basics

The best way to get started with your avatar traits is to ditch the tech.

Put down your laptop, phone or tablet and get out a big sheet of plain paper, and the all-important colored pens.

We’re going back to basics in more ways than one here (and you can always make a PDF of this later).

There’s no hard and fast rule here, and it’s fine to jump around and add where it feels right to add. So, take a deep breath – you’re about to create an avatar.

Who is this person?

  • What gender are they?
  • What’s their name (yes, give them a name)?
  • What is their age?
  • Where do they live?

Marital status?

  • Is the person married or unattached?
  • Are they in a causal relationship?
  • Do they have children?

Career details?

  • What’s their job?
  • Where do they work?
  • Are they self-employed?

Education background?

  • Are they college educated?
  • If so, what type of degree did they get?
  • Did they graduate high school?

Property status?

  • Do they own or rent?
  • Apartment or house?
  • Do they outright own a car?
  • Did they finance?
  • Is it new?
  • Or a bashed up old Ford?

Health?

  • Smoke?
  • Drink alcohol?
  • Eat fast food or quinoa?

Where does your avatar grocery shop?

  • Always online?
  • At the local corner store every night?
  • A weekly shop at the supermarket?

Start by making some headings in the center of your page and working outwards towards the edges. Add and subtract when you see fit, and when the information you’re figuring out decides so.

The avatar basics tell you who your person is. And you’ll find that they’ll begin to give you clues about what matters to them. Like what drives them and their buying decisions. What they enjoy, where they go to enjoy it – online and in the real world.

What are Your Avatar’s Goals and Problems?

Now that you’ve started to figure out who this character is, let’s begin to delve a bit deeper into the mind of your avatar.

What are My Avatar’s Problems?

  • What issues are they likely to face every day?
  • If they have a family, what issues are they affected by in their lives?
  • What impedes their business or career growth?
  • Does your avatar need training?
  • Are they having trouble gaining investment?
  • Do they feel that a lack of tertiary education is slowing them down?

Personal Problems?

  • Are they affected by relationship issues?
  • Does one or more of their children have a physical or learning difficulty?
  • Do they lack or brim with confidence?
  • Are they outgoing or an introvert?
  • How full is their circle of friends?

Financial Problems?

  • Do they have enough savings?
  • Are they stuck dead-end renting when they’re desperate to get on the property ladder?
  • Do they need a solid retirement plan?

Health Problems?

  • What sort of health challenges are they likely facing?
  • Are they likely to work out or jog?
  • How much of an influence on their buying confidence is health likely to be?

Customer Avatar Checklist: What are my avatar’s goals?

Financial Goals?

  • Where are they and where do they want to get?
  • What products will help them get there?

Professional Goals?

  • Where are they and what positions do, they aspire to become or achieve?
  • Are they interested in career development within their field?
  • How skilled or unskilled are they?
  • Is their employment type threatened or likely to change?

Emotional and Personal Goals?

  • How do they wish to develop and what makes them happy or unhappy?
  • Are they closed to new things, or quick to embrace them?

Health Goals?

  • What issues are they looking to get over or recover from recently?
  • What products might help them achieve that?

The most critical thing the basics will lead you to is what a potential customer’s fears are going to be. That information is pure gold to your business.

Why Might This Guy or Gal Say No?

If their buying decision is a work-related one, then who is their boss? You’re looking to get to a place where your avatar answers these questions for you. You don’t want to find out what he or she likes; you want to find out about what scares them and influences them not to buy.

Also, try to work out where on the curve your avatar sits on how early they’re likely to adopt innovative products.

Where Does Your Avatar Get Their Information?

What does your avatar read, and what are they’re likely to do for recreation? What types of people they’re destined to be around at work? Also, who are their heroes or trusted personalities in the media?

List the books, magazines, newspapers, and websites that you imagine they would read.

Think about:

  • where their interests are going to take them in the real world
  • the type of people they’re likely to meet
  • how those environments are likely to influence their view of your products
  • who are the writers, speakers, and influencers that affect them?
  • what sort of ‘word of mouth’ are they likely to encounter
  • how well informed will that be?
  • Are they more likely to be confident enough to rely on their informed opinions and judgments?

This step is about figuring out what sort of people your avatar listens to on a regular basis. As well as what degree they’re likely to heed that information.

It’s also going to be a tested way of finding out the type of media source they trust and view.

Customer Avatar Checklist Recap:

  • Personalities, writers, social media influencers, journalists
  • What sort of work colleagues do they spend time with daily?
  • Are they likely influenced by word of mouth? Or will they trust their judgment?
  • Where does your avatar go in the real world?

Customer Avatars – Making Them Come to You

The idea is to find out as much about your avatar as possible, and don’t be afraid to develop a few avatars if you need them. The more effort you put into avatar development, the better off you’ll be. Find out what their challenges and possible objections are. What causes your avatar problems and how can you fix that? Where do you need to be to communicate with your avatar?

There are no golden rules for building up the layers that produce your customer avatars.

If you start with the basics and work outwards, you will get a close representation of your prospects.

That information will be gold to your business and why we made this customer avatar checklist available to you.

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