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lead generation

Internet Marketing Lead Generation Ecosystem

GUEST POST: Brad Shorr, Director of Content Strategy at Straight North

The lead generation component of your Internet marketing efforts is the engine that drives that campaign to greater success. What’s more, like any other kind of engine, that lead generation component is built from many moving parts that all need to be working together to deliver the best results. However, too many Internet marketers today go out into the marketplace with lead generation campaigns that are missing crucial elements. This causes them to miss essential opportunities because their lead generation campaigns aren’t operating at their highest efficiency. Many times, the reason these campaigns don’t function the way they should is simple — they were constructed without knowing how all of their pieces should fit together.

Here at professional SEO agency Straight North, our team members have spent a lot of time examining successful lead generation campaigns to understand what makes them work. After putting so many of these campaigns under the microscope, we’ve identified all the elements that these campaigns need to have in order to appeal to each of the unique types of visitors websites attract. For example, including case studies is an effective way to connect with website visitors who are serious about buying and conducting research; while highly sharable social media posts help attract people who may not even be thinking about a product or service until a friend shares the content.

These and many other components are essential for a lead generation campaign. Yet because there are so many of them, it can be difficult for Internet marketers to build their lead generation campaigns without forgetting anything. Just like building any other kind of engine, having a blueprint or schematic can be very important. That’s why we at Straight North have created the infographic you see below. Using it as a type of blueprint for your lead generation campaign can help ensure that you don’t leave anything out when building or revamping your campaign.

created by Straight North a professional SEO agency

Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing company in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. With more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, Brad has been featured in leading online publications including Forbes, Moz and American Marketing Association

engage

How To Best Engage With Your Social Media Audience

Social media marketing is an opportunity to publish relevant content, grow your follower base, generate thought leadership and to engage with your audience. Engaging with your online community is a key part of your social media strategy. An audience who is engaged, likes and trusts you. Engagement builds relationships, relationships ultimately lead to sales.

Engagement is a key part of growing your online community.Click To Tweet

Here are some suggestions on how you can engage your audience:

Make Connecting Easy.

For years we’ve seen social media buttons popping up everywhere.  These buttons can be used strategically. Use them to draw attention to platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter. Do you have a presence on Instagram that you want to direct a particular audience to? Or a platform where they can get customer service? Be sure to always provide a valuable reason they should connect with you. Don’t just tell them to follow you, tell them what’s in it for them.

Humanize the brand.

No matter what you do, you’re marketing to a person. People are much more comfortable talking and connecting with people rather than entities. They are more comfortable talking to a face as opposed to a logo.  Show you’re “human” in these ways:

  • Show the faces and names of people behind the brand.
  • Sharing behind-the-scenes moments.
  • Use less jargon and more conversational language
  • Use your sense of humor!

Don’t worry about the numbers.

Having a huge following is great, but you want to do it the right way. The tried and true method of sharing consistent and valuable content, responding timely, and being authentic, is what works best. There’s no point in having a huge number of followers who don’t engage you. Building relationships online is no different than offline – it takes time.

Help make your audience a more informed one.

You know a lot about your industry. And your audience is probably following you to gain some of that knowledge and insight. Share with your community and help them become more informed and educated. Pay attention to questions your audience asks and answer them in a blog post or on your website in a FAQ section and provide resources they can use to learn more.

Listen.

There are conversations happening on the internet all the time among your target audience that relates to your brand. To engage this audience, you have to know where to find these conversations, and figure out how to engage with them. This is called social listening. If you can find relevant discussions within your industry, adding thoughtful information and value without selling is a great way to engage. You can find those conversations through keyword searches and listening tools.

Create a schedule.

Creating a content calendar and posting schedule will help you maintain consistency. These days, we all have a lot on our plates.  Your audience will appreciate consistent, clear, concise communication.

Think about some of your favorite brands on social media. What keeps you engaged? Please share in the comments below.

 

periscope

How To Use Periscope For Your Business

Every business is looking for more ways to get its message out there: to connect with more customers and build a stronger network of new and repeat customers. That goes for the one-person shop who is selling handmade goods to the global enterprise that ships orders to a multitude of countries. One of the easiest ways to strengthen that reach is to strategically use social media platforms, and one of the newest platforms to try is Periscope.

What is it?

Periscope is a live-video streaming service that is owned by Twitter. But, it’s completely different from Twitter in the way information is shared. While Twitter is all about short, 140-character length posts with photos or videos on various topics.
Periscope enables users to share live videos. Like other social media platforms, the key is 'shareability.' Click To Tweet

Make Connections

Using Periscope to connect with your audience allows your community to ask questions, make insightful comments, as well as share the content you’ve created. It allows you to connect with your viewing audience in a personal way.  Humanize your brand by offering your community an up close look at your business and what you have to offer. Doing this helps you establish a “human” emotional connection.

Live Events

You have probably considered hosting some sort of live event at some point. Live streaming has become such a useful marketing tool that most brands think of ways they can stream an event, announcement or demonstration.

Getting Started

So what exactly is this live video sharing platform? How do you use it and how do you participate? What are some strategies and ideas on how to use it to market your business? I have a simple way for you to learn the basics and get some content ideas of your own. Learn more about Periscope and live video sharing by using the tips in this graphic:

Click to Enlarge Image

Peer into Periscope: How Periscope Can Help Your Business

marketers

5 Awesome Marketers To Follow On Social Media

There are many smart, talented marketers online who offer valuable, useful content. This list happens to be a list of five marketers who I know and respect.

We can all use content that is insightful and relevant, and these marketers offer just that. Click To Tweet

There are definitely more I could mention. I may need a follow up list! For now, here’s round one! Check out their articles I reference and be sure to follow them online.

Sherron Washington – The Marketer’s Marketer

Sherron is a well rounded marketer who knows how to simplify the concepts of marketing. She is a marketer with graphic design, public speaking and social media marketing skills. I once described her content as “putting it where the goats can get it.” It means that’s it’s super easy to understand. In 2017, Sherron will host an annual conference for the third year called, “Market Simple: The Summit.” She also writes for both Black Enterprise and Smart CEO.

Check out Sherron’s website and follow her on social media.

 

Mandy Edwards – Social Media Advertising 

Mandy was one of my first virtual colleagues in the social media marketing industry. We started off in private Facebook group of small business owners, then continued on as contributing writers with Social Solutions Collective blog.  When I first started seriously implementing social media advertising into my strategies, I sought out the person who in my opinion had the experience and knowledge that could help get me started by answering my many questions and who could understand where I’m coming from simply because we are both in the business of social media marketing, and that was Mandy. Grab her Facebook Advertising Workshop Guide. Also, a BONUS: Mandy’s ME Marketing Services employs Jenn Hanford, a superb writer who lends her skills to Mandy’s blog. Check out her posts here for tips on such things as starting an e-commerce business and creating a digital marketing strategy 101 for boring brands.

Robin Strohmaier – Website Design, and Maintenance 

Wanna know what’s new with the latest WordPress update? Need some SEO tips? Do you need a great resource for WordPress plugins? You should follow R and R Web Design, AKA Robin Strothmaier. Not only does she specialize in website design, marketing and SEO, she’s a superb writer. Check out this blog post on Chrome’s Non-HTTPS Not Secure Warning and follow her on Twitter where she curates important content on website marketing and maintenance.

Brooke B. Sellas- Marketing Through Conversation

When I think of Brooke I think conversation!  That has become synonymous with her brand. Her website explains that successful social media means conversation, back and forth dialogue, and an ongoing exchange of ideas. Adding, “A simple hello can lead to a million things.” Brooke is a marketer I respect for her smart, savvy approach to marketing.  One of Brooke’s latest blog post gems talks about rethinking your Facebook strategy. “If you’re looking for your Facebook strategy to garner results and ROI, you’ve got to pay to play.”

Dorien Morin – Video Content

Do you know how powerful video content is but still haven’t gotten in the game? (Kinda like me.) Are you still trying to figure out Facebook live and how you can use it for your business? I’ve got you covered. You need Dorien Morin of More In Media. She’ll teach you how to incorporate video in your marketing strategy by shortening the learning curve, teaching you the tools you need and the tips to get you to lights camera and action.

Check out her post 3 Unique Facebook Live Uses To Grow Your Business.

Who are some of your favorite marketers that you follow on social media? Please share in the comments below.

instagram marketing

4 Instagram Marketing Tips To Get You More Reach

Instagram launched on the scene in 2010 and never looked back. The social network continues to be wildly popular with increasing growth now boasting over 500 million users.

Experience tells us that platform growth brings about change. Instagram is no different. This year, Instagram announced many changes from the ability to switch between accounts with ease to a completely new algorithm. Add to that Instagram advertising and the soon to come business accounts, and Instagram is not going to be the same.

Whether you’re a newbie to the social network or you’re already there, and want to maintain or have success, you can benefit from these Instagram marketing tips to maximize your efforts and extend your reach.

HAVE A HASHTAG STRATEGY

One thing I notice about successful Instagram accounts is that they’ve mastered the hashtag.Click To Tweet

On Instagram, you have a 30 hashtag limit. While that sounds ridiculous for some platforms, it’s perfectly fine here and should be a major part of your Instagram marketing strategy. Why? Because people search hashtags on Instagram. If you want your niche specific content to be seen, you need to use the hashtags associated with your content. These hashtags will help you reach your intended audience.

Content hashtags are hashtags you use in your posts. They help improve the SEO of your posts. They get your updates seen by your consumers who are searching for and/or using those hashtags

Some of the content hashtags I use are #socialmedia, #marketing or #Snapchat, #Instagram or #SMM (social media marketing.) Because I use certain groups of hashtags often according to my content, I have them saved in bundles. I keep them in my notes app to copy and paste easily.

TRACK YOUR LINK

Using Bitly or another URL shortener will allow you to be able to see how many people are clicking on the link you’re allowed in your Instagram bio and optimize it’s use. You can check the metrics on Instagram marketing with this technique. The metrics will help you determine if you’re reaching your audience and which content does it best.

If you’ve published a new blog post or you’re running a promotion or new campaign, use that link to announce it and have a call to action in your caption with a “click the link in our bio” to drive people to your link.

BE CRYSTAL CLEAR

With Instagram marketing, your images need to stand out. Make them look their very best with the maximum resolution. Use this guide:

Square images: 2048 x 2048

Portrait images: 1638 x 2048

Landscape: images: 2048 x 1536

ALWAYS PRACTICE BEST PRACTICES

Maximizing success requires best practices. Sprout Social offers a solid infographic outline 7 Instagram Best Practices:

Understanding your audience and brand are essential to promoting, advertising and even engaging on Instagram. Again, you can’t walk into your strategy blindly, so first try to ask questions that define you and your audience. These questions can include:

  • What does our audience like most about our brand?
  • Who are we trying to ultimately reach?
  • Are our competitors successful on Instagram?
  • What marketing strategies have worked in the past?
  • What do customers expect with our brand? Is that good enough?

Check out the Infographic here:

7 Best Instagram Practices To Build Your Audience

instagram marketing
Photo by Sprout Social

 

events

How To Promote Your Events With Social Media

Social media has many great uses. Promoting events is one great way to use social media. My experience with social media includes many non-profit organizations, and often with that comes events. Social media marketing is a very effective way to inform people of your event, your cause and to help meet your goals for those events.

As with any marketing effort, you need a plan.

Marketing your event with social media requires some important steps to ensure optimal success.Click To Tweet

PRE-EVENT STEPS

Set Your Goal.

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you looking to build awareness, increase attendees or sell tickets? Whatever that goal may be, define it and create a strategy around accomplishing that goal.

Be Social Friendly.

Create a hashtag that is brief and easy to remember. Include it in all your promotions so that your audience can follow the conversation online easily. You should also use tools like hashtracking.com or keyhole.co to track the metrics of your hashtag to gauge the performance of your marketing efforts.  Prepare for event day engagement by creating a Snapchat geofilter for attendees to use at the event.

Optimize Your Messaging and Images.

Creating the right content is key with social media marketing. Create copy that will tell people what they need to know about the event with key details and builds excitement. Educate, inform, excite and create calls to action. You’ll want to create images consistent with your brand that are eye-catching, memorable and shareable.

Host An Instagram Contest.

Contests are an easy way to get content for your Instagram account and generate buzz around your event. Have a giveaway where attendees take photos to post on Instagram, use the event hashtag and tag your account. Here’s a great contest that Ford used for it’s annual Ford Freedom Fireworks event.event

Drive Your Visitors.

Make sure that your social profiles are updated with the link that drives them to information about the event and/or where they can purchase tickets or RSVP. It is a good practice to use a customized link shortener so that you can use metrics to track your performance.

Leverage Influencers.

A sure way to help amplify your message is to leverage the audiences of people and organizations who are involved or have a personal interest in your event. That would include guest speakers, special guests, honorees and sponsors. Using Twitter mentions and tags on Facebook and Instagram of people and organizations alerts them to your online social media promotion efforts and in turn prompts them to share that message with their respective audiences.

Pre-Event Events.

Showcase your upcoming event by hosting a Twitter chat or Facebook Live event. Twitter chat’s give you an opportunity to allow your audience to interact with one of your special guests before the event, ask questions directly and learn more about what to expect at the event. Facebook Live events broadcast to audiences who are already engaged currently online. This will give them a chance to hear from your or your guest about why they should attend. You can use these events to also give a call to action.

event

EVENT DAY ACTIVITIES

Your event promotion doesn’t stop the day before your event.Click To Tweet You’ll want to showcase what’s going on at your event to create buzz for your brand and interest in your upcoming events.

  • Make sure you make announcements at your events encouraging people to use the hashtag and geofilters on social media and share their own stories.
  • Engage with your attendees! Follow the hashtag at your event and retweet, comment and reply to what your audience is sharing

POST EVENT ACTIVITIES

FACEBOOK:

Wrap up your event by sharing photos albums to Facebook. Attendees will look for photos they were a part of or their favorite highlights to share.

TWITTER:

A great tool to use post event is Storify. It allows you to highlight and arrange tweets from your events that is shareable. It will event notify people mentioned in the tweets when you post it.

SNAPCHAT:

Download your Snapchat story and include it in a blog post to share with your readers. You can also download individual snaps to post on other social media sites. This will help build your Snapchat audience as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media is an incredible tool to help spread your message, reach your audience and attract new followers. Create buzz for your event with the features that make social media marketing the powerful tool it is.