More evidence that you need video in your marketing

image of video for marketing
Syndacast’s “Video Marketing Statistics and Trends 2015” report concludes that 74% of internet traffic will be video in 2017. It also found that more than half of marketers worldwide now report that video marketing has the best ROI. Lots more convincing statistics in their infographic.

Interestingly, video isn’t just good on its own. Syndacast also found that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.

Meanwhile, Guillaume Delloue (@willthefrench) has a guest blog on Hubspot with some great suggestions of how to use produced video early in the sales cycle and live video later in the sales cycle to increase conversions.

Are you using video in your marketing yet? Need help getting started? Lewis Studios can help.

Why add a glossary to your site?

A glossary can be a powerful feature for your website by adding value for visitors, enhancing search rankings, empowering keyword marketing and increasing engagement. How you add a glossary depends on your platform, your business and your goals. Let’s look at an example of a service company that wants to leverage being an authority in their industry as part of their marketing plan. This example is for a WordPress based site. There are glossary modules or plugins for most CMSes.

For our service company, a good way to add glossary functionality is to start with a plugin. I like, and recommend (as an affiliate) the CM Tooltip plugin for WordPress by CreativeMinds. This plugin let’s you define your terms (or import them from a CSV file with the paid version) and will generate a glossary index page with letter selectors. Each term gets a post of type “glossary”. You decide whether to add tooltips for defined terms on all pages and posts or only on full posts. You may not want the tooltip glossary functionality on a very visual home page, for example.

By itself, the plugin gives our service company a way to add value for site visitors that may not understand all the terms used in their posts. It also has SEO value in that the pages now have the text of the definitions, or shorter excerpts, in context and the glossary index page adds organic search value in that it is pretty relevant to a lot of relevant keywords.

If this was all a glossary made possible, it would be a valuable addition to any site that needs to convey or reinforce subject matter expertise. You’re probably thinking “but wait, there’s more”. You are correct. With a little work, we can ratchet up the value from a glossary / tooltips solution. If our service company is doing paid search and buying keywords that match terms in their glossary, they might want to show the definition from the glossary on the landing page to increase relevance and raise conversions. By adding a simple function in the functions.php file for their child theme (everyone is using a proper child theme, right?), they can establish a WordPress shortcode that displays the post content for a term based on its post id or title. Using the shortcode in the landing page adds the definition to the page alongside the call to action or other content. Better yet, build a landing page template (in the child theme) that includes the function to show the definition based on parameters from the paid search or ad click and you have a dynamically relevant landing page for a slew of ads or paid search results based on the terms in your glossary as keywords. While you’re at it, why not add the terms the visitor searched for to their cookie and or your CRM system for future sales or marketing use?

Our service company knows that a visitor that landed on their site because they were searching for a definition of a term isn’t necessarily shopping for their services that day. In order to engage the visitors and nurture them as potential future prospects, our service company can leverage the glossary itself. A “term of the day” or “definition of the week” mailing list can be an effective offer to capture an email address. If the program emails the excerpt version of the definition with a call to action to “see a real example of this term in use” that leads back to the full definition on our service company’s site, they get on-going engagement and a reasonable chance of a recipient coming back to the site. Whether this leads to a visitor eventually raising their hand as a lead or increasing brand awareness with a novice in their industry, the services company is establishing themselves as an authoritative source of information and promoting their services in a scalable, measurable program.

Lewis Studios built such a program for a client recently. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, we found this approach to be valuable for clients that are just starting to do content marketing. By mapping out the development of the glossary content over time, the beginning of an editorial calendar was in place and more content ideas started to surface. A little structure and the spark of an idea can catalyze a general feeling that “we really should be doing content marketing” into the start of an actionable plan. Hopefully sharing stories like this one help you move to specific ideas and actions!

Who are you attracting?

Searching for information on digital marketing might leave you with the impression that the point is to generate as much traffic as possible. That may be true if you’re marketing a consumer product with a target market of, well, everyone. What if you’re a business marketing to other businesses in a narrow category of products or services? The answer is widely shared but, oddly, rarely stated in the negative. Many inbound marketing and content marketing experts and vendors promote knowing your audience and targeting them precisely with both your marketing selections (pyscho-demo-geo graphics, placements, etc.) and your content (writing for someone is more powerful than writing for everyone).

Should your content purposely drive away visitors that are not your target market though? Some say no because you never know who may become a prospect. If your offering has sufficiently broad potential uses, then you may well want to be inclusive. If your product or service is for very specific buyers for very specific uses it is worth considering how you can use content to qualify prospects in and others out. For one thing, you don’t want to pay for paid search or digital advertising clicks from non-buyers. Equally important, you want to develop a relationship with target buyers through conversation in their language, with examples of customers like them, for uses like theirs. Content that specific will inevitably leave others out as they fail to find themselves and their needs in your content. The alternative of making your content so broad that it invites more visitors in but leaves them unsatisfied when they get there is not a great way to win conversions and sales.

When you evaluate your traffic through analytic data, are there signs that your content strategy may need adjustment? Analytics can’t tell you in quantifiable terms. You need to compare different content with your knowledge of meaning. Experiment, measure, adjust, repeat. Does more specific content consistently have greater engagement than broader content with your audience all else being equal? Do two ads that lead to the same landing page draw equal traffic but very different bounce rates and conversions? What’s different about the ads?

Less is more, a cliche that never gets old

Cardinal-in-flight
When I edited this photo, my task was to take away, not add to the image. It was surrounded by other birds, trees and branches, a bird feeder and the snow’s color didn’t capture well. Cropping solved most of the challenge. A little Perfect Photo Suite eraser and some white balance adjustments, a little more detail for the bird and a lot less for the background. To me, it says more by having less distraction. Does your marketing say what it is supposed to say without distracting? Do you engage your audience or drown them in detail before they’ve chosen to engage with your brand / product / service?

Inbound Marketing Rx for success

Outstanding inbound marketing is not possible until you can wrap your head around the audience’s point of view and needs. It is that simple. Break away from your company and your products long enough to understand what your prospects need to find and engage with your brand and products.

There is an overwhelming amount of content available to help you be a good inbound marketer. David Meerman Scott’s “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University are great resources. There are loads of books in paper and electronic formats. I’ve found something to learn in every thing I’ve looked at even if a few of those lessons were what not to do. I didn’t find as much information about actually making the shift from me-out thinking to you-in thinking. It is harder for some of us than others but we can all do it.

Here’s my prescription for starting to shift your point of view:

For a day, a week or longer, keep a log of the websites you find. These are new to you sites that you find through search, links or even offline ads. In the log record:

  • the site name and URL
  • what you were looking for when you found it or whether you didn’t know you were looking for it until it found you
  • whether you stayed on the site or left pretty much right away
  • if you stayed, what made you stay; be specific as to phrases, style, images, etc.
  • if you left, do you know why?
  • what you clicked on while you stayed

After you have a reasonable list in your log, go back to the sites and examine them more deeply. Do your notes still make sense or can you discover more or different reasons why you stayed or left?

Next I will tell you what you’re looking for and why this is important but please don’t keep this in mind while you do the exercise. You might even want to leave this site right now and come back after you do the exercise to read the rest of the article.

When you review the log and consider the reasons you left or stayed are there any common reasons? Did some sites seem to speak to or even with you while others spoke at you? Were some written for you and your interests while others were all about the company and the product with no regard to what you’d use the product for or why you might need it?

Ideally these are the kinds of differences that appeared to you when you reviewed the log and re-examined the sites. If so, congratulations, you’re on your way to the kind of perception about visitors that leads to good content marketing and enables inbound marketing. If not, evaluate the sites further and review some of the sites in your existing bookmarks thinking about how you found them originally and what made you bookmark them. Be conscious of who they seem to be speaking to.

The journey is far from over. If the site speaks to you and those just like you but no one else, it isn’t a great site. Think about who the buyers and other influential people are for their product, service or activity and try to identify several personas that they need to address with their content. Is there something for each persona on the site? Is it easy to find based on how each persona would search for it? Does each page lead into the buying process?

This exercise was really about making the mental adjustment to try to see as the buyer sees. There is much, much more to inbound marketing, content marketing and social marketing. As Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s John Dragoon likes to say, “it’s all about the conversation”. Inbound marketing only works when you know who you are talking to, what they need and where to take the conversation.