Content Marketing 101: How to Drive Traffic, Win Fans and Get Sales with Your Content

How to Create Reports Your WordPress Clients Will Actually Want

If you run a blog or a website with regularly updated content, then you may not realise it, but what you’re doing is content marketing. You may be reluctant to think of it this way, thinking instead of the craft of your writing or the usefulness of your content to your customers. But if you’re […]

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Understanding Churn Rate and Five Tips to Retain Engagement

Understanding Churn Rate and Five Tips to Retain Engagement

Customer acquisition is one of the most important components of a successful business. Finding and attracting new customers is the only reliable way to sustain and expand a business’ performance. But what happens to customers after you have made a successful sale?

Customer retention is the second half of business success. Being able to retain customers can make the difference between spending all of your time and money on acquiring new customers and using your resources in other areas. It is also something that business owners can easily ignore if they are too focused on just customer acquisition.

Businesses often fail to retain customers for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the business model itself doesn’t make it easy for customers to repeat their business. Other times, a sole focus on customer acquisition leaves retention neglected.

Regardless of the reason, a lack of returning customers leads to a higher churn rate which can harm the business performance. Thankfully, customer retention is easy to manage with the right understanding and strategies.

What Is Churn Rate?

Simply put, the term “churn rate” is a measurement of how many customers a business loses over a given period of time. In other words, it’s the number of customers that fail to buy more products and services or to further engage with the business.

Measuring churn rate is rather simple. First, you have to select the given period of time you will measure. A week, a month, or a year all represent common time frames that you can work with.

For any given time frame, you have to take the difference between the number of starting and finishing customers. This answers the question, “How many customers did you actually lose in this time?”

The higher the rate, the more customers you lose over time. It is common for a business to have a churn rate in double digits. If it is over 50 percent, however, it may be a sign that improvement is required. Using the right strategies and methods, you can work to reduce this rate without harming your customer acquisition process.

Techniques

There are several techniques you can mix and match to increase customer retention over a given period of time. All of these techniques have one important thing in common: they all increase value for the customer. Customers will rarely stick around if they have no reason to keep doing business

This is the very reason you acquire customers in the first place. Something about your products, services, or overall business experience attracts new customers. After the initial sales period is over, customers will decide whether to stick around or return in the future.

Added value is the key to customer retention. Anything you can do to keep customers returning time and time again will help with this endeavor.

Strategy One: Diagnose the Problem

Before you can actually lower your churn rate, you have to determine what exactly is causing the loss of customer retention in the first place. Since there can be a plethora of reasons for a high churn rate, you have to diagnose the problem using the information you have available. Common sources of information include physical and digital interaction, customer information, and sales histories.

A customer database full of important personal, demographic, and sales information is your friend in this task. If you can keep track of the last time a customer purchased a product or service, you can immediately see how many customers you lost during a specific period of time.

Customer information may also reveal potential reasons for the high churn rate. If a certain product or service isn’t selling as well as others, sales histories will reveal this.

Communicating with existing customers can also help. Getting feedback on your business, products, and services will provide valuable information that will reveal hidden issues quantitative information alone can’t. Speak with customers through your website, social media, and physical locations if you have them.

Strategy Two: Engage With Customers

Quite often, customer loyalty is more than just finding value in the products and services of the business. Many customers are attracted to businesses that offer communities and relationships.

Just think about the last time you went into a retail store with friendly customer service. The engagement and communication can create a positive experience that promotes future business.

If you have a physical storefront, make sure your customer service is warm and inviting. Use customers’ first names, if possible. Have casual conversations to inquire about their likes, dislikes, and daily happenings.

Online, use social media and your website to engage with customers. You can communicate current store news through mediums, such as social media and email. You can also interact with customers through social media, as long as the content is appropriate for your business.

Strategy Three: Offer Unique Promotions

To increase customer retention for specific products and services, you can use the tried-and-true method of the promotional deal. Whether it takes the form of an extended promotional campaign or simple coupons, deals offer extra incentive for returning customers. This is where many businesses make a crucial mistake.

Business owners will sometimes use incentives like deals and promotions to attract new customers. For example, a certain product may be 25 percent off if this is your first time in the store. While this can be effective for customer acquisition, it can have an adverse effect on customer retention.

These types of deals often discourage customer loyalty. Over time, returning customers begin to expect greater rewards and treatment for their loyalty. Reward programs that fail to meet these expectations won’t be as successful in the long run.

Divide these incentive programs up so you can target both new and returning customers in different ways. Email marketing is a great way to tackle both groups of customers.

Strategy Four: Memberships

To take incentive rewards up to the next level, create a membership program for returning customers. This can be as simple as signing up to a subscription list or membership online or in-store.

Membership programs tend to offer extra value to returning customers through exclusivity. Particularly if membership is free or earned through customer loyalty, this will create a unique experience for returning customers. It also creates more incentives for new customers to stay on board for the long haul.

The trick to a good membership program is clarity and simplicity. Don’t bog down potential and existing members with an overwhelming amount of incentives.

Ideally, tailor the extra value they will receive to the interests of the customer. Analyze what products and services they are typically drawn to for a start.

Strategy Five: Expand Your Value

Sometimes, customer loyalty and retention can be increased through something completely unrelated to your products and services. For example, content marketing has become a popular form of customer retention in recent years.

Originally meant for customer acquisition marketing, content marketing offers potential customers additional information and stories to consume. Just like a popular website, this type of information attracts customers by offering them something they cannot get anywhere else.

Content marketing is also a good way to build your business brand. The trick is to provide content that is both interesting to the customer and related to your business.

In other words, you don’t want to provide information that is completely disconnected from the types of products and services you offer. If you have an existing brand, the content should also fit to avoid any confusion.

You can provide additional content in any number of ways. Digital channels like your website and social media platforms are common for content marketing. You can also provide this information in-store, through mail, email, or any other means of communicating with customers.

Lowering the Churn Rate

True success relies on a strategic approach to increasing your customer return rate. It isn’t enough to offer a few deals here and there without understanding the core problem. This means you have to approach the process step-by-step.

Start by understanding the problem areas. Why are customers leaving your business? Once you begin to identify these issues, you’ll have a better understanding of how to approach the problems overall.

Second, think about what types of strategies and approaches will help solve the problems. Is customer engagement an issue? If so, increase your customer service efforts online and in store.

Do customers like specific products and services you offer? If not, focus on more successful offerings or increasing the attractiveness of the problematic ones.

Finally, keep up the effort. Lowering your churn rate won’t happen overnight. Sometimes, the best you can hope for is retaining future customers.

Other times, it may be possible to bring back old customers or to keep the ones you have. The important part is to keep at it and change things that aren’t working as time goes on.

Jim Rulison serves as the CEO for Media Loop LLC (formerly the National Center for Pain Inc). Jim oversees the day to day operations for all lead generation accounts, with a concentration in the healthcare industry. Before joining Media Loop, Jim was the CEO of PME Home Health and was the founder of one of the nation’s first virtual call centers. He lives in Rochester New York area where he and his late wife raised their two children. Jim spends his free time with his family and enjoying cooking and his two dogs.

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Want A Boost In Organic Traffic? Optimize and Relaunch Your Old Content

Want A Boost In Organic Traffic? Optimize and Relaunch Your Old Content

Content marketing is not a tactic born of the online era. You can go back as far as 1895 to find John Deere producing a magazine called ‘The Furrow’ that featured content promoting the company’s range of farming equipment.

But unfortunately, the catalyst or the driver for the recent wave of content marketing was not necessarily customer engagement as it was for The Furrow. Instead, it was primarily search engine performance.

Under the guiding theory that Google loves fresh content, many marketers around the globe had routinely advised that we should publish as much content as we can.

The problem with this position is that we’re reaching a point of what Mark Schaefer calls ‘content shock.’ This is the point where there is more content produced online than the global population can consume.

On WordPress alone, 83.6 million posts are published every month!  Much of this is short-form content of dubious value. But thankfully, many agencies, marketers and freelancers now subscribe to producing longer-form content with the intention of providing more value to the reader. They consider that the longer the content, the more likely it will be to rank higher with Google.

This view is supported by various studies, including one from Brian Dean at Backlinko where they found that the average word count of results on Google’s front page is 1,890 words.

Image Source: https://backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking

But the danger of concentrating on the length of content is that we’re again missing the most important factor – user engagement.

This point is arguable though. After all, marketers and content strategists perform keyword research around trending topics and keyword volume every day, showing real concern for user engagement.

I simply make the point that this research is still being influenced by what works for search. This is a mistake. For example, there are some topics that don’t need 2,000 words to provide the reader with in-depth value. So, if you take a topic that only requires 1,000 to cover it well and stretch it to 2,000 words, what do you think will happen with your user engagement?

Optimal content length aside, if we’re going to be re-focusing our attention and commitment to the user, then we should look at our entire blog and consider all our existing posts.

You should be regularly auditing and optimizing your old blog posts to ensure they still deliver the user experience you intended when you launched them.

Auditing your content – a basic snapshot

A content audit conducted by an agency will involve a more in-depth technical analysis of your website’s content than I provide here, but let me give you a quick snapshot of how you can conduct a basic audit yourself.

1. Identify time or event-related content.

For example, did you publish a piece covering your 2015 industry awards? If you did, it will have little or no value to your audience now. But will you be covering the awards again in the future? If so, use a generic URL such as yoursite.com/industry-event/ and simply update the page each year.

But if you’re not going to feature the event again, consider deleting the page (and redirecting it) to make for a better user experience. That will also save Google the effort of indexing your low-value content.

2. Identify content with high-volume traffic that converts well.

This content is likely to be generating its traffic from search, so your main objective in optimizing these posts is to find ways of increasing the conversions that you drive from each page. Start testing your calls to action until you’re happy with the improvement. Then relaunch the posts again.

3. Identify content with low-volume traffic that converts well.

This is content that engages your audience and it drives leads/sales. Do your keyword research again. Search behavior evolves and perhaps the keywords that you used to optimize the post three years ago are not the optimal targets now. Optimize your post for the latest keywords.

You should also identify opportunities to add further value to this content. This will immediately open more search traffic for you.

The benefits of re-launching your content

Beyond simply optimizing your post when you re-launch it, you should promote it like you would a new piece. Share it via your social profiles again. Repurpose it. Use your usual paid promotion channels. Conduct your outreach.

The process of optimizing and promoting your relaunched post will give you a burst of new traffic. It will demonstrate to Google that it’s fresh content and it should re-evaluate its position within their index. If you’ve optimized the post well, it will demonstrate much-improved user engagement and will continue to improve its search position.

The beneficial results of optimizing older content can be easily found among the blogging community, including HubSpot and Backlinko.

HubSpot reports some stunning results. In their analysis, they identify that they have :
a) ‘…more than doubled the number of monthly leads generated by the old posts we’ve optimized.’
b) ‘Increased the number of monthly organic search views of old posts we’ve optimized by an average of 106%.’

Backlinko’s Brian Dean highlighted that he ‘boosted … organic traffic by 260.7% in just 14 days’.

So, I encourage you to conduct a basic audit of your blog to optimize those posts that need it. Re-launch and re-promote them, then analyze the results for yourself.

Quentin Aisbett is the founder of OnQ Marketing, an Australian-based digital agency. When he’s not knee-deep in SEO, content strategy, and analytics reporting, he is traveling or watching his beloved Australian Rules team the Brisbane Lions. If you want to get in touch with him find him on Twitter @onqmarketing or follow him on Quora.

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How to Use Blogging to Drive More Traffic to Your Site

How to Use Blogging to Drive More Traffic to Your Site

Blogging is arguably the most effective way to drive continuous organic traffic to a website for a long period of time. It’s why every business from big brands such as Virgin and Starbucks to even the smallest retail stores and startups create a business blog from the very first day of the launch of their business.

Having a business blog not only increases the chances of your website getting ranked on Google by 434 percent but it also allows B2B marketers to generate 67 percent more leads than the businesses without a blog.

Blogs also take a major part in helping customers buying decisions. According to HubSpot, 47 percent of consumers usually read 3-5 blog posts before making a purchase.

To build a successful blog, you need to create exceptional blog posts that not only attract the attention of strangers but also rank well on search engines. We’ll show you how it’s done.

How To Create Effective Blog Posts

The process of developing a blog begins with a market research to identify and understand your target audience. Explore your customers’ interests, habits, the problems they’re having, and then find what kind of content you can create to offer solutions.

A blog post is only effective if you have a strategy in place to generate leads from your blog. Bringing in lots of traffic to your website is not enough. You should convert those visitors into email subscribers and leads to make the most of your efforts.

Make sure you have an email lead generation system in place with email marketing and optin forms to turn strangers into leads. Then, follow this step by step process to create highly effective blog posts.

Find The Right Topics

Once you’ve done your market research, you should have a clear understanding of the type of blog posts you need to create to attract the right type of audience to your blog.

The next step is to find the right topics to write blog posts. The best place to begin this search is Quora. This platform is filled with all kinds of questions people are having. Surprisingly, these are also the questions people mostly search on Google.

Go to Quora and browse different categories to find a thread relevant to your industry. Usually, if a thread has lots of views and followers, then it’s worth targeting.

You can then use this thread question to come up with a keyword and a title for your blog post. In this example, you can target the keyword “business blogging” and create a title like “How to Avoid the 10 Common Problems of Business Blogging”.

Now, go to Google and copy-paste the title you’ve come up with. Visit all the links in the top search results page and see how good they really are. Take note because you’ll need to create your blog post even better than all other websites to beat your competition.

Research Long-Tail Keywords

Optimizing your blog post for keywords is the most important part of getting higher ranking on Google. There’s already plenty of competition for keywords, so choose long-tail keywords with low competition to ensure your blog posts get the attention it deserves.

Go to Google Keyword Planner and search for the keyword you used to create your blog post title.

As you can see, the keyword “business blogs” appears to be a better choice for the blog post title because it has low competition but a good number of average monthly searches. But, you can make it even better by choosing an even better long-tail keyword, like “small business blogs.”

Collect 3 to 5 of those best keywords from the list. Blog post title is not the only place you can use keywords. You can also insert those keywords in many other areas as well.

Best Practices For Keyword Placement

Now that you have a list of keywords, where should you insert them?

Start with your blog post title. Your main keyword should be included in the title as well as the first or second paragraph of the article. Use other keywords when creating subheads, meta descriptions, and alt-tags for images.

You don’t have to insert the same keywords in your blog posts. You can also use synonyms as well. According to Steve Baker, an engineer at Google, synonyms affect 70% of user searches on Google. Remember to use them throughout your blog post paragraphs as well.

More importantly, make sure that you don’t stuff your blog post with lots of keywords. Google hate that type of content and you will be punished for it. 3 to 5 keywords is the optimum number of keywords you should use in a blog post.

Build Social Signals

The number of shares and Likes a blog post receives greatly increase the chances of getting higher rankings. According to a study on 23 million shares, the top 4 ranking posts on Google are the ones with the most social activity, especially on Facebook.

Develop a marketing campaign to get more shares and Likes for your posts from different social media channels. Consider the paid boosting system on Facebook and Twitter paid tweets to get a wider reach for your links.

The more shares you have, the higher it will rank on Google.

Conclusion

Building a blog takes time and a lot of effort. Don’t expect results right away. It can take from 3 weeks to up to 6 months before you see your blog posts ranked on the main pages of Google.

Consistency is the key. Keep developing great blog posts and you will eventually see a slow but steady growth of website traffic that will last for a long time.

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of WPBeginnerOptinMonsterWPForms, andMonsterInsights.

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How To Create Killer Content And Get Noticed

How To Create Killer Content And Get Noticed

Quality content is incredibly important for any website whether you’re a travel blogger or a large enterprise company. To grow your brand, you need a way to connect with your audience on a deeper level. This is where a blog comes in. If you don’t have a blog, you are doing something wrong. In order to create a complete digital experience for your viewers, you’ll need to create many touch points by which to reach them.

However, once someone comes to your blog they better be reached with really good, quality content, otherwise, they may not take you seriously as an expert in your field and move on.

When your blog’s content is better, the results will be better. Therefore, pay attention, take notes, and make sure you implement everything you’ve learned here.

Always Know and Understand the Audience You Address

Every blogger needs to understand his target audience. The audience you’re writing for should be specifically defined and understood. By knowing what your customers think and do, by understanding their biggest issues and challenges, and by studying their desires and dreams, you will only then be able to bring relevancy into their lives.

Your content is designed to be useful. Therefore, you have to know your audience inside and out before even attempting to distribute anything online!

Be Relevant, Concise, and Easily Digestible

For content to be highly efficient, it needs to be relevant, concise, and easy-to-digest. Any writer needs to understand the art of transforming complicated concepts, details, and information into simple words and sentences, in a way that anyone could understand.

Moreover, every time you’re writing a post, you need to consider whether it’s relevant to your target persona (create one if you haven’t yet). Don’t write unnecessary words unless you want to bore your readers and witness a high bounce rate!

Have a Clear Objective

Effective content can only be called effective once it delivers certain benefits. Your business and blog’s objectives might be varied. Through amazing content, you can:

  • Improve your brand awareness
  • Generate leads
  • Improve website traffic
  • Pitch a sale
  • Acquire clients and contacts
  • Get high search engine rankings

Depending on what you want to achieve, you should plan and write your content in such a way that it will naturally lead the reader toward your desired destination. Never develop content without knowing its primary objective.

Develop and Perfect Your Unique Voice

Every writer has a unique voice. Once you become accustomed to the grammar and spelling issues and with the way you organize your sentences, you can finally start working on your writer’s voice. When we start writing, we always tend to copy other people. And it’s good – it helps us write correctly.

However, correct content is merely enough to attract remarkable results. You’ll need more than that, and one of the things you can initially focus on is your writer’s voice. This voice of yours will constantly be optimized throughout your writing journey, so don’t worry, as long as you stay consistent, you’ll define it better and better.

Craft Great Headlines

Your headlines are as important as your content. Without the initial impact of a well-written headline, your blog posts will rarely benefit from a lot of traffic. To improve your marketing campaign’s CTR’s and also to decrease your marketing costs, you should focus on your titles.

Think of it this way: in a sea of information, you need to stand out and the best way to do that is with your headline. If you see 10 white cows and one green cow on a field, you’ll probably note that green cow. It will become your main focus of attention for a while. Making your titles interesting and informative is a quick way to get noticed and stand out.

Pay Close Attention to Editing and Proofreading

If you expect impeccable results, you must deliver impeccable content. There’s no doubt that careless mistakes such as grammar and spelling errors throughout your texts will lead to negative effects. Besides the fact that your brand’s reputation will be under attack, you’ll also lose a lot of potential leads and sales.

Charles Carrey is the CEO of one of the best essay writing service reviews platform on the web. I asked for his opinion as a CEO of a service that deals with editing and proofreading, here’s what he suggests:

“Web readers never like to read text that is poorly edited and proofread. One mistake could be enough for some to simply stop trusting your authority. If you can’t handle it, take advantage of tools like Grammarly, or perhaps leverage the help of a professional editor/proofreader.”

Engage with your Readers

When you write something, try not to be boring. As you read through this article, you can probably notice that I’m talking directly to you, using a lot of “you,” “your,” and so on. Moreover, I’m also interrupting my sentences every now and then. I’m underlining the important words whenever I want to emphasize something or to capture your attention.

The reason for all this is simple: the more I engage the more you’ll stay with me. To engage with your readers means to address them like if you were talking to a friend. Make it a discussion, not a report!

Align Your Content’s Message with Your Marketing and Sales Message

Your content should have the same message as your marketing and sales material. This concept is in a close relationship with your branding. Basically, if you want to be a blog that is tough with its customers, you need to be tough throughout all your content. On the other hand, if you have a blog that speaks to people with medical issues, for instance, your message must be milder and smoother.

You don’t want people who visit your website because they’ve clicked on a relevant ad to be shocked by the differences between your ad and your actual content.

Take Advantage of Writing Tools and Outsourcing (When Needed)

Taking advantage of digital tools that are addressed specifically to writers is a smart move. For example, you can use grammar and spelling tools, SEO writing tools, and general content writing tools. Skip through these tools and see which of them would fit your business needs the best.

Considering that your blog is growing and you need help, building a professional relationship with a freelance content creator is yet another good decision that you can make. As long as your outsourcing delivers a visible ROI, you’re on the right path towards progress.

Analyze, Measure, Optimize

Lastly yet most importantly, you should consistently analyze, measure, and optimize your content development process and your content marketing strategies. The more content you create and measure the better you’ll know what works best and what doesn’t.

Testing is the key to great marketing. Now, if you can create terrific content and promote it in the most efficient way, your blogging performance will skyrocket in no time. Remember to stay consistent. You can’t become an amazing writer overnight. It takes practice, repetition, and true commitment. There are really no shortcuts to becoming a better writer, so start grinding!

Takeaways

Content writing is both skill and art. You first learn the ropes, practice for a while, test, optimize, observe, and when you’re ready, when you got it all covered, you can begin making art. There are lots of ways to develop extremely powerful content marketing campaigns that will not only make your target audience more emotional but also more prone to take action and follow your directions. That usually means that you end up with leads and customers. It’s all linked. Better content, better business!

Julie Petersen is a blogger and an editor. She works for College Paper Writing Services Reviews to help students and other people with writing assignments.

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Why Content Formatting Can Hurt Conversions (and What to Do About It)

Why Content Formatting Can Hurt Conversions (and What to Do About It)

If you’re reading this, then you’re likely not the person in charge of writing content for your WordPress sites. You may not be able to dictate how much content is written for a site or the actual words used by the writers, but you can finesse how it’s structured and presented. Proofreading your blog posts […]

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