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Is Industry Knowledge Important in Content Creation?

Are you wondering if industry knowledge really matters when it comes to content creation?

If you’re looking for someone to help with your content marketing – be it an content marketing agency, or a writer – it’s not uncommon to worry about whether they have enough experience writing about your industry. The good news is that your worries are probably unfounded. The bad news? Well, there are other things you should probably be more concerned about. As an experienced digital marketer, I’m going to explain why, along with what you should really be looking out for when hiring a content marketing agency, or writer.

Why industry knowledge shouldn’t matter

Don’t get me wrong, industry knowledge can have a slight advantage to begin with when hiring an agency or writer. However, you should never let that be the decider when choosing someone to help you create content. Otherwise, you could be losing out on some amazing content. Here’s why: It really comes down to the way the content is being produced. Most good content marketing agencies or writers who have experience writing for inbound will get the basis for your blog posts, ebooks, emails etc. straight from the best source of all; you. They can do this with interviews, either via phone or email. After all, you’re the one who has the experience, passion and knowledge of your industry. You know your customers inside-out, so who better to contribute to content than you? The content should be written in your voice, to best reflect your values and thought leadership. And when you’re the source for the research, industry knowledge becomes secondary in content creation. Besides, just because someone has experience writing about your industry, it doesn’t necessary make them a good writer. Or know how to best lay out an article to get the best results for content marketing. So, if you shouldn’t really be looking for industry knowledge, what should you be looking for? Well…

Vital things to consider when outsourcing content

You may not be a content expert, or necessarily know what to look out for when choosing the right content solution for you. However, if you’re looking for a content marketing agency or copywriter who can really hit the mark, ask to see samples of their work. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the content written carefully with the relevant buyer persona in mind?
  • Is it easily scannable and well-written?
  • Does it contain relevant headings and sub-headings?
  • (And most importantly of all) Does it answer real questions people are asking? Is it helpful? Does it help them solve a problem?

Your content should always be based about specific questions your best customers (or in other words, buyer personas) are asking. Not what YOU think your customers are going to want to read about. Next, you should ask how the content is going to be produced. How much input will you have? If a writer or agency just plan to go away and create your content based on what they can find on the internet, this is bad practice (although sadly not uncommon). As mentioned above, the best content should come from you. Finally, certification can also be a good indication of a good content marketing agency. For instance, the Buyer Persona Institute is a great sign that they’ll know how to write for your buyer personas and create detailed buyer persona research. Other things to look for can include HubSpot’s inbound certification, which at least shows they understand the basics.

Content marketing must serve a purpose

Content marketing has to first and foremost serve a purpose. It should always be performing and getting you results in order to justify its existence.  And, it needs to have a strategy behind it in order to give you the results you need. Without a strategy, it simply won’t work – which is why it’s always best to come up with a strategy first, rather than just hiring a writer. For instance, I see websites all the time, where I think: “That’s a nice bit of content, but what’s the point?” It’s either going on about a new product or service the company wants to promote, or it’s talking about a trade show or conference they’ve been to. Newsflash:  customers don’t care! They want to read something they can actually take value from, so that after reading, they can go away and feel like they’ve learned something. Otherwise, you might as well just create another sales page, or send out a self-promotional press release. Instead, you should want to make the readers’ lives easier in some way. Perhaps help them understand why your solution is a good fit, or answer a question that they just can’t find the answer to anywhere else. Content creation for the sake of it isn’t an option, so you shouldn’t just throw any old topic at the wall and see what sticks. Saying that, like a hit record, sometimes you’ll be surprised which content performs best. TIP: You can use platforms like Google Analytics to measure performance and write similar content around your best performing topics.

Advice from an experienced digital marketer

So, by now you’ve probably figured out you need a strategy for your content marketing to succeed. Hiring an agency is probably your best bet, as most writers (unless they have agency experience) simply aren’t geared up to write for buyer personas, or the web. When finding the best inbound or digital marketing agency for your content marketing, ask them about the types of results you can expect, and their experience in getting these results for previous clients. Ask to see case studies, and examples of content they are currently producing for clients. And like I mentioned above, don’t forget to ask how involved you’ll be when it comes to producing the content. If the involvement is minimal, I’d recommend looking elsewhere. TIP: As for how much you can expect to pay for content marketing, it can vary from anywhere between £1,500 – £4,500 when hiring an agency. But you’re paying for so much more than just content – such as a holistic strategy that covers content, SEO, email marketing, automation, conversion optimisation and more. Finally, always remember that the reason you’re doing this is to get more business. Your content needs to tie back to your goals in some way, and whoever is in charge of your content creation should have methods in place to be able to do that.

The next steps

I hope this blog has helped to give you a better idea of what’s really important when it comes to content creation and content marketing. For your next steps, I challenge you to go away and think about what you really need to achieve with your content marketing. Then, shortlist a few inbound or digital marketing agencies to speak to about these goals. They should be able to advise you further.

How to Establish Market Presence For Your Business

Are you struggling to establish market presence for your business?

Whether you’ve been going for a while, or you just started your business a few months ago and are still finding your way, it can be tough trying to establish yourself in the marketplace. Trust me; as a digital marketer, I’m approaching by businesses experiencing this issue ALL THE TIME.

But what can you do about it? I could list strategies all day, but I know you’re busy.

That’s why I’m going to give you some tips to help you establish market presence for YOUR business, below.

The best way to establish market presence

In my opinion, it’s always best to go to the pros – that is, an experienced digital marketing agency. They should be able to talk to you about your business, and the buyer’s journey your customers tend to go through. They’ll also be able to devise a strategy for you based on the goals you want to achieve for your business.

But let’s go back to the buyer’s journey for a second. The first thing most agencies will say to a business looking to establish presence, is to go backwards. After all, it’s great to be able to engage with customers who are ready to buy right there and then, but unfortunately, most of the time it doesn’t work that way.

Instead, an agency will help you consider how people initially find out about you online – what do they do first? They take their search to Google, of course!

Now, I’m sure I don’t just speak for myself when I say that all I want is for everybody who may want to use my services to know about me. However, achieving that is often easier said than done – and getting people to know you exist is only half the battle.

TIP: Here’s an exercise for you. Try typing in your products or services into Google and see if you show up. Can you see any results for your business? If not, it’s not exactly great, but it’s not the end of the end of the world, either – that’s because I’m going to give you some tips on how to fix it, below.

Look deeper into the buyer’s journey

Your customers go through a journey when they discover they need your product or service. They’re looking for a solution to a problem, and trying to find help. Any agency will tell you that’s when you want to put yourself in front of them; when they’re about to need/buy what you’re offering. This is also known as the bottom of the sales funnel.

Think about it; when you increase your presence by selling a product, you’re increasing that presence for just one person. Even if the person didn’t necessarily buy your product, they might tell someone else. You might stick in their mind because you helped them out, and answered their biggest questions.

A reputable digital marketing agency will help you get to your customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey; not just when they’re ready to buy. They’ll do this by creating quality content that answers their questions about your product or service, from the moment they know they have a problem, right up to deciding which solution is best for them, and making a decision.

And the best place to publish this content? A blog, of course! An agency will help you match the language and phrases your customers use when they first contact you (a bit of SEO comes in handy, too!).

And remember, not everyone will be ready to buy, but the leads who are only just beginning their research are arguably just as important as the ones at the bottom of the funnel.

Nurture your leads with clever emails

With the right digital marketing approach, an agency will even be able to help you grab the attention of a lead who is only just beginning their buyer’s journey, and isn’t even aware you can help them yet. You can then help nurture these leads into becoming customers with clever email marketing – something that your agency will be able to set up for you.

So, when your customers are ready to buy, who will they go to? Probably the person that helped them by giving them lots of helpful information!

In other words, they’ll go to you.

At this point, I cannot stress the importance of your email database. For instance, did you know that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter? And 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.

Any good agency will be able to help you keep your email database up-to-date, fresh and segmented as much as possible. They’ll also ensure your customers opt-in to your emails; that way, you know you’re sending them to people who actually want to hear from you.

TIP: Here are some great email automation tools I can highly recommend to get started with nurturing those all-important leads, but your chosen agency might use something very similar.

How this strategy works in real life

I’ve used the exact same logic to help one of our most successful customers; Superwarm. They initially started with only 1,000 visits to their website every month. And now? They’re getting 137,000! That’s 1,644,000 visits per year – and the leads and sales just keep on coming.

Because Superwarm got in there relatively early and started publishing helpful content that their customers would be searching for, no-one can catch up to them – they’ve essentially left their competition in the dust. A lot of people in Edinburgh have now heard of their brand, despite not all of them necessarily buying boilers.

Think of it this way; a homeowner reads just one blog about how to fix their faulty boiler, and it helped them. They didn’t buy a boiler, but they kept the name of the company in mind, so that later down the line, when they do need a replacement, Superwarm is the one they’ll go to. They’ll also recommend them to friends!

Next steps

By now, you should have a much better understanding of how to establish market presence for your business. A digital marketing agency is your best friend, and above I’ve highlighted some of the key aspects they’ll be able to help you with.

The most important takeaway here is this: In order to get in front of the people who need your services, you have to be generating traffic from Google – and a digital marketing agency will help you with that.

The alternative is spending a fortune on ads when you don’t know are working.

So, what comes next? Well, here’s a suggestion.

I challenge you to start thinking about the different stages of the buying cycle your customers go through. Make a list of some of the questions they ask at each stage, and think about how you can answer those questions. And for the best results, contact a digital marketing agency to discuss your options, and how they might be able to help you.

Do you have any specific questions about establishing market presence that I haven’t answered above? Please let me know in the comments’ section – I promise to reply!

8

5 Essential Email Marketing Tools for Your Business

Are you looking for email marketing tools to help manage your business email list?

Email marketing tools make maintaining and building your email lists so easy, allowing you to separate them into different categories, and send relevant content, updates and offers to the people who will actually want to read them!

The good news is, there are so many affordable (and even free!) tools out there, however, the bad news is that you can spend all day looking at various email clients and still be none the wiser.

If you’re feeling a bit puzzled by all the different email marketing tools out there – and you don’t have time to look through them all whilst trying to run your business – don’t worry.

As a digital marketer, I’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of different email marketing tools, and so I thought I’d give you the benefit of my experience and list the best five here.

After all, it could end up saving you time and quite a few pennies!

1. WordPress

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First thing’s first; there’s no point in getting software to help you manage and engage with your email lists when you have no great content to send them!

Did you know that WordPress now powers 26% of the web? So many users depend on it to put out their blogs and articles, and integrating a WordPress blog on your website is actually surprisingly easy!

Once you have your blog ready to go, you should be using it to answer your best customers’ questions, challenges and concerns. A good place to start is to think about some of the questions you hear from customers every day, and then answer each in a detailed blog post!

And there you have it; you’ll already have some helpful content to send to some of the people on your list!

2. MailChimp

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With lots of great, easy-to-use features and integration with various apps such as WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and Google, MailChimp is a popular tool used by small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike.

It’s perfect for automating email messages based on what your visitors are doing on your website, and even better, you can sign up for a free plan which allows you to send up to 12,000 emails for as many as 2,000 subscribers each month. This is great if you’re a small business and just want to try things out.

However, if you have more subscribers, or want to take advantage of all of the features this tool has to offer (such as autoresponders) then you’ll have to sign up for one of the paid plans, which start at around $10 per month.

3. Autopilot HQ

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I personally really like Autopilot HQ, as it allows you to send very personalised messages, and add people to various different lists in such an easy-to-use platform. You can also connect various apps to automate tasks and monitor your data.

Autopilot HQ allows you to track your open rate, clicks and conversions in one visually pleasing dashboard, and it takes very minimal effort to make adjustments and watch your revenue go up. Even better, there’s a free trial, so you can try it out without any risk!

Another advantage of this tool is that you won’t necessarily need landing pages, because it will collect all the data you need from your contact form – however, I’d highly recommend using dedicated landing pages to increase your conversions.

However, the one problem with Autopilot HQ is that it doesn’t allow you to send a block of emails out as soon as one of your blogs is published, whereas MailChimp does, so unfortunately you need both. It also doesn’t allow for RSS-to-email, which is a bit of a problem.

4. GetResponse

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Next on our list is GetResponse, which in my opinion is the best all-rounder when it comes to email automation and just doing everything you need in one package – you can even create landing pages!

It’s also worth mentioning that they are the first email marketing service to actually help you create your own webinars, for even more engagement with your email lists – I just love the idea of this, and it looks really easy to use!

You also have slightly more to choose from in terms of pricing options compared to the likes of MailChimp, and GetResponse also comes out slightly more cost-effective.

5. HubSpot

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Finally, if you want a good end-to-end enterprise solution, and can afford to spend a minimum of £6,000 per year on a marketing platform that can give you email automation, detailed reports and analytics, landing pages and various other tools, HubSpot is the solution for you.

I’ve personally been a HubSpot partner in the past, and not only is it a great platform to use, but the team are really helpful and will be on-hand to give you lots of help and advice with your marketing efforts.

TIP: If HubSpot seems a bit on the pricey side, another option is LeadSquared, which does a lot of the same things at just a fraction of the cost.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found my insights useful when it comes to choosing good email marketing tools for your home services business – it’s really so important to keep your email lists engaged with great content, and these tools just make life so much easier!

If you have a question about any of the tools above, please feel free to leave a comment below, and I promise to do my best to help you out!

B2B Content Marketing Strategies and Ideas That Get Results

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Are you looking for content marketing strategies and ideas to help you grow your business?

Like SEO and social media before it, B2B companies are beginning to understand that they need content marketing to help them generate more business online – however, not everyone’s sure of exactly what it entails, or how to get it right.

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According to the Content Marketing Institute, 48% of companies say they have a content marketing strategy, but it is undocumented. Out of those companies, only 32% rated their strategy highly in terms of effectiveness, compared to 60% of those had documented strategies.

In this blog post, I’m not only going to explain the ins and outs of content marketing, but also: Continue reading

Why Content Marketing Should be a Team Effort [To See the Best Results]

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Are you considering a content marketing approach for your business?

As an inbound marketer, I get a lot of enquiries from businesses nowadays that have heard content marketing is one of the best ways to get more leads and sales – and with 46% of people reading blogs more than once a day, they’d be right.

But you may be wondering, whose responsibility is it to create this content? Do you partner with an agency, hire a copywriter, or try and find the time to do it yourself?

In this blog post, I’m going talk about why not only you, but your entire team should be coming up with great content for your website’s blog. Continue reading

How to Create Content That WON’T Go Viral but WILL Get Leads

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Do you think going viral is what makes a good piece of content successful?

You may have read the title of this post and are now thinking: “Kevin, have you lost the plot? Is it not a GOOD thing for my content to go viral?”

Because surely if a blog post or video gets a lot of attention over one day or week, it’s going to get you more leads, and isn’t that all that matters?

Well no. Continue reading

What Makes Your Content Marketing Fail? [Free Tips]

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GET YOUR FREE ESSENTIAL WEBSITE CHECKLIST FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANIES

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Subscribe to the Stargazer blog and get your free copy right now →

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content-marketing-strategyWant to get the most out of your content marketing?

By now, we know that creating content is an essential part of a successful inbound marketing campaign, but unfortunately it takes a lot more than simply writing a few blog posts and hoping for the best.

A good strategy is an essential tool to help us achieve our goals effectively and efficiently – without it, things can easily drift off-course despite our best intentions. Continue reading

Thinking of Trying a Copywriting Service? Read This First

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GET YOUR FREE ESSENTIAL WEBSITE CHECKLIST FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANIES

Discover the 25 most important points your website must have to maximise the number of qualified leads you receive.
Subscribe to the Stargazer blog and get your free copy right now →

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content-millsContent marketing is absolutely vital for any successful inbound marketing strategy, but it can also be pricey.

It’s easy for big companies to allocate 30% of their budget on content marketing, but what do you do if your small business simply can’t afford it? Continue reading

The 7 Cardinal Sins of Content Marketing

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GET YOUR FREE ESSENTIAL WEBSITE CHECKLIST FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANIES

Discover the 25 most important points your website must have to maximise the number of qualified leads you receive.
Subscribe to the Stargazer blog and get your free copy right now →

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content-marketing-sinsWriting is an art form. That’s true whether you’re writing a 150,000-word novel, or 450 words of content marketing.

You may think the latter is less important, but certainly not where your customers are concerned.

After all, a well-crafted blog post could make all the difference between pulling in a steady stream of leads and sales, or just sitting around hoping for a miracle. Continue reading