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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

snapchat

Is Snapchat Good For Businesses?

Is Snapchat good for businesses? Is it good for YOUR business? As with any other social media platform, you have to do what makes sense for your business. Without question, you need to be where your audience is. Did you know that as of June 2015, there are 100 million daily users and 86% of it’s users fall into the 13 – 37 age range?

Your target audience just might be there.

So why should businesses be on Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile app that lets you send public or private snaps of images and video to people from your smartphone. Because it’s a unique social network in comparison to others, it offers you a unique way to connect with your audience.

Being connected socially is a strategy that cannot be ignored, and Snapchat is no exception. Click To Tweet

In addition to it being unique, it is:

  • low cost
  • allows for creativity (with doodles, emojis, video enhancement)
  • Users are buyers with 76% of users buying a product online in the last month

The infographic below from SurePayroll and Ghergich & Co breaks down:

  • What Snapchat is
  • How it works
  • Statistics
  • How to use it
  • Why you should be using it
  • How to build your following

Check it out and see why a a social platform of vanishing content boasts 9,000 photos shared every second.

 

Leap Into 2016 With These Social Media Best Practices

Leap Into 2016 With These Social Media Best Practices

It’s the first Monday of 2016. You can’t get a fresher start than that! A new year means ditching bad habits and starting good ones. That includes your social media marketing practices. Towards the end of the year, you probably knew there were things you could do better and should do better but lacked the motivation to make changes. But it’s the new year and now you’re ready. Maybe you’re not sure where to start. Here’s are some key steps to get you going on the right path in 2016.

Have a strategy.

Hopefully you have a social media marketing strategy. If not, you absolutely need one. It’s mandatory. You should start by answering some important questions that will shape your strategy. What am I trying to accomplish? What are my goals? What are the KPIs? What key measures will be used to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? Who is your audience?  What are the demographics of your current or ideal customers? Where are they? What sets you apart from the competition? What makes you unique? What platforms will you use and how?

You have a social media strategy, right? It's MANDATORY!Click To Tweet

Don’t be content. You need content.

Once you’ve established your strategy you need to plan your content. When it comes to creating content, go with what works! Share the type of content that gets the highest engagement. What does your audience respond to? Tailor your content for each social channel. What works on Facebook may not work on Twitter. Make sure your content stands out.

Plan your work and work your plan.

Social media marketing requires planning, otherwise it’s chaos. Having a content calendar can make your life a whole lot easier. A social media content calendar organizes how you curate and create content, and helps develop your editorial strategy. It saves your time and and helps distribute your resources wisely to ensure your brand consistently publishes qualify content. Your social media content calendar should be easy to read and not require a lot of explanation. It should include the information you have outlined in your content strategy. Break it down month to month and with activities further broken down by the day. You can include social media icons to represent which social media channel the content should be published to accompanying the post title for streamlining purposes.

Have a daily task list.

Social media marketing is a huge job. Tackling something big requires consistent small daily steps. Having a daily task list helps you take on all that social media marketing requires. Those tasks start with simply showing up, and include relevant content and engagement. I dedicated a post to daily task lists that outlines what your daily task list should consist of: Your Daily Social Media Task List. 

Be More Social.

All this planning is awesome and necessary but don’t neglect what’s most important with social media: being social! Make new connections, start conversations. Create content that is engaging and be sure to respond timely when your audience comments and asks questions. Share content from other brands. Build relationships with genuine interest in others. Be engaging.

Always be consistent and focus on your goals. Analyze your efforts and make necessary adjustments. What are you doing differently in 2016 with your social media marketing? How are you improving your efforts?

3 Things You Can Do To Prep Your Social Media Marketing For 2016

3 Things You Can Do To Prep Your Social Media Marketing For 2016

Another holiday season, another new year approaches. A new year is a chance for new beginnings, changes, improvements and a fresh start. The same holds true for your business. The new year is an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve been doing and decide what you can do to improve upon it. Here’s 3 things you can do to improve your social media marketing in 2016:

ANALYZE.

Take a deep, careful look at your social media analytics. What content has been working the best for you? What does the analytics reveal about posting times? Which social sites are driving the most traffic to your website? How is your engagement from site to site? If your audience is engaging with your content more on Instagram but not engaging on Facebook, perhaps you should put more effort into Instagram. Analytics are key to improving your content. They tell you what you need to know to improve your efforts and tell you more about how your social media audience is responding and what changes you need to make or what you should do more of.

EXPAND.

Expand your reach by finding new audiences. One way you can do this is by repurposing your blog content with LinkedIn. Take a look at your content that is still relevant or evergreen and repurpose it to post with LinkedIn Publisher. LinkedIn Publisher gives you an opportunity to freshen up the content a bit with new information and share it to a new audience. LinkedIn Publisher is easy to use and gvies your older but still valuable content new life while exposing you to a potentially new audience.

STRETCH.

Some content is just more popular than others. Visual content is generally more engaging, eye catching and shareable. If you haven’t embraced it yet, you probably should. If you’ve incorporated photos but haven’t tried video, make it a point in 2016 to give it a try. If you’ve done video but haven’t experimented with Infographics, this may be an opportunity for you to add a new type of visual content into your social media marketing that your audience can appreciate. Trying something new can be scary, but it can also be the key to taking your business further. This is known as stretching. Stretching for me is initiating conversations at networking events. Although scary, it could be mean more opportunities or more business.

A new year gives us the opportunity to try new things, the inspiration to be better and the motivation to go to the next level in our business. What do you plan to do to improve your business in 2016? If you haven’t already done so, connect with me and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

A Gift For You: My Favorite Online Marketing Tools

A Gift For You: My Favorite Online Marketing Tools

If you ever wonder how social media professionals seem to always be online, how they keep up with the latest updates and trends, how they’re able to consistently publish content, the secret is: marketing tools!  Keeping up with online marketing is near impossible without them. So in the spirit of the season, I’m sharing my favorite online marketing tools to help you be a better online marketer in 2016.

BUFFER

Buffer is my favorite online marketing tools period. It makes my life as a digital marketer so much easier. It was great when I first started using it and it’s even better now. It’s the easiest tool for scheduling and sharing social media updates. What it does is very simple.  You add updates to your Buffer queue and it will be posted for you at the times you choose or use preset times. You can use anytime to fill with great Tweets, Facebook stories or LinkedIn updates. I prefer to use the chrome extension. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Click the buffer chrome extension while you’re on a blog post you want to schedule and up pops a window for you to select where and when you want to share it along with the text to accompany it. It’s a beautiful thing.

COSCHEDULE HEADLINE ANALYZER

Your blog posts won’t get read if the headline isn’t interesting enough to click. That’s why I use an analyzer to help determine if my headline has what it takes to pique the interest of social media users combing through their newsfeeds. My tool of choice is the Coschedule Blog Headline Analyzer. This free blog post headline analyzer will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value. It’s one of the marketing tools that is a must for my blogging. Don’t click publish without it!

TWITTER LISTS

Is a Twitter list a marketing tool? You bet it is! It’s an awesome content curation tool and I use it almost daily. A list is a curated group of Twitter users that you can create and follow. For example, I have created a list of the best sources of content for social media marketing. I use this list to curate content for my own social media sites to share relevant content to my audience. I use similar lists for my clients to share relevant content on their social sites for their audiences. Twitter is a great resource for many things, especially content. But because it’s has such a busy newsfeed it can be difficult to sort through without creating lists. Leverage your lists for content creation needs.

I hope that you can use at least one of these to improve your productivity in 2016. These are just a few of my favorites. What marketing tools do you use that help you work more efficiently? Please share in the comments below.

 

 

 

How To Create Amazing Visual Content

How To Create Amazing Visual Content

Marketing experts are touting the wonders of visual content and with good reason. These days, it is pretty much standard operating procedure. Visual content on social networks has grown significantly, along with storytelling with pictures.  The need for visual content and images seems to only be getting more prominent. It uses different forms of content marketing based on visual elements. Visual content is often more effective than text based content because images are faster and simpler to apprehend, more attractive and more shareable. Images evoke emotion and are entertaining.

According to a study from Skyword, content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without. Tweets with images get 150% more engagement. This just further emphasizes that images are an important factor in online marketing success.

So what exactly is visual content? Here are some of the most common pieces that marketers create:

  • Photos— this can be great looking stock photos or original photos such as ones you see on Instagram.
  • Infographics— visual snackable chunks of information in a unique and attractive layout
  • Video— YouTube, or Vimeo embedded or shared directly to social media
  • Screenshots— helpful images that explain, highlight or help send a message.
  • Data visualization— charts and graphs
  • Memes— memes designed to fit the context of your messaging
  • Notes— a layout of ideas in text form with supported images.

Not all of us have graphic design skills or have the resources to hire a graphic designer for all of our visual content images. Here are a few simple to use tools that you can utilize to create your own stunning images and keep your visual content looking good.

CANVA

Canva helps you to easily create beautiful designs and graphics for online marketing and other documents

Canva’s simple to use drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts yield professional looking graphics.

SKITCH

Skitch is a screen capture and annotation tool. It lets you take an image and snap it, mark it up with simple tools, and send it. Use skitch to highlight

PHOTOSHOP

The “godfather” of image creation tools is Photoshop. It’s easily the most popular tool available. If you’ve got the time and resources to learn, you have many options to design whatever you want.

SNAPPA

Snappa is a super simple easy to use tool to create images for social media posts, blogs and ads.

PIKTOCHART

Piktochart Helps you create great looking infographics and presentations.

Here are a few helpful tips when creating your visual content:

  • Choose an exceptional stock photo
  • Don’t be afraid to use your own photos

Good visual content should be attractive and eye catching to effectively convey your message.