Tag Archives: content marketing

Eyetracking study reveals enlightening online tactics

Enlightening eytracking study

Enlightening eytracking study

Want to know whether your homepage layout is effective? Or if readers prefer short paragraphs over long ones? And if your ads are in the best place to be noticed by your audience?

Take a few minutes out of your day and read over the latest findings from Eyetrack III (via ProBlogger and the Direct Creative Blog). Their research could give your team a better idea of where to start and what to fix when it comes to your Web site design.

You can check out the full article for a complete overview of their findings, but here are some of the main points:

Headlines first, then pictures. When people first land on a page, they tend to look at dominant headlines before looking at pictures. Headlines located in the upper left of the page got the most attention.

The first few words in a headline are most important. A headline will grab less than a second of a visitor’s attention and it appears that the first few words need to be the most eye-catching. People scan the first couple words before deciding to read on.

Use large type for scanning, small type for closer reading. Smaller type is harder to read, so visitors have to focus when they want to find out more. As always, large type should be used for headlines to allow for easy scanning.

Short paragraphs have a better chance of being read than longer ones. Long paragraphs, especially on the Web, look difficult to read. Short paragraphs are more appealing.

Ads in the top and left portions of a homepage get the most attention. Our eyes tend to look at the upper left of a page when we first arrive on it.

Bigger ads are better. Bigger ads have a better chance of being seen. When ads are also placed next to popular content they’ll generally get more attention.

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Don’t drop the price, fatten the offer

Yes, everyone is well aware that we’re in a recession and customers everywhere are looking for a great deal. But relying on that fact alone is the wrong reason to start reducing the price of everything you sell.

Instead, during these lean times it’s best to fatten your offer, according to Judy Kirkland from Echo Point Marketing partners in a Business Management Daily post.

The problem is, she says, is that when you “only focus on price you’re vulnerable to any competitor who undercuts you by a couple dollars.”

When you “fatten your offer” with something extra, you’re giving customers an added reason to buy from you.

Don’t have the money to add anything extra to the sale? No problem. It’s easy to find “extras” in things you’re already doing for your customers.

For example, the Wyndam hotel print ads offering to make sure your favorite snacks and beverages are in your room when you arrive. Since the hotel already stocks mini bars with a variety of snacks, allowing guests to make requests requires little to no extra effort on the hotel’s part.

Or the kitchen remodeling company that offers an added concierge service to help clients clear out their cabinets. The company had been doing it for years until they started positioning the service as an added bonus for signing a contract promptly.

Whatever your product or service is, odds are you can find something “extra” to help fatten the offer.

Think about giving customers added content with their purchase, such as a white paper or tip sheet. And what about offering free customer service for the life of the product?

In what ways does your company “fatten the offer” when selling their product or service? Any ideas to share with the rest of us? Leave a comment and let us know.

Know your content marketing priorities

If you’re a business-to-business marketer, you probably create a variety of content to promote your product through direct mail, email, Twitter and blogs, just to name a few. Sometimes, the trigger behind making a change in content can be motivated by the wrong reason.

MarketingSherpa recently surveyed a group of content marketers to find out what was the typical trigger that sparks a change in content. They compiled the results and created their latest Chart of the Week, titled “You’re a Publisher, Like it or Not.”

Content marketing: You're a publisher, like it or not

Content marketing: You're a publisher, like it or not

If one of your goals is to become a thought leader in your industry, you have to start thinking like a publisher, according to the gurus at MarketingSherpa.

“Above, we see that it’s often the wrong trigger. To be a thought leader is to think like a publisher – to think about the people at the other end of your white paper, Web event, blog or podcast. They’re not necessarily interested in your new product or feature (unless you happen to work for Apple); they’re interested in what’s happening in the industry or economy that’s inspired that product or service.”

The best reasons to update content fall in the middle of their survey results, including news, trends, events and research. Each of these reasons are focused on the reader.

Of course, the Sherpas also advise to take a look at the performance of each form of content to determine if you should make a change.

“Newspapers may be dying, but the need for compelling niche content is growing every day. To fulfill that need and sell your products, remember that you’re asking for the time and interest of your customers, and make it worth their while.”

B2B’s bread and butter: The white paper

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

InformationWeek recently released an insightful report on how to maximize the power of white papers in B2B marketing.

Researchers surveyed 542 IT decision makers and how they use white papers. The survey results show that white papers are still considered an important tool in persuading and engaging customer decisions.

You’ll have to register with InformationWeek to download a full copy of the report, but here are some highlights:

  • 76% of respondents use white papers for general education on a specific technology topic or issue
  • 74% percent use white papers to investigate possible technology solutions
  • 83% use white papers just as much or more than they have in the past
  • 93% pass along information they find in downloaded white papers to colleagues

While the survey dealt specifically with IT buyers, the results of the survey are easily translated across all areas of business to business marketing.

The survey also asked for feedback on what readers want from white papers, information that anyone within the IT industry or not can put to good use. Respondents revealed the top features of a good white paper include:

  • A concise abstract
  • Transparency/minimal marketing
  • Case studies
  • Product information with specifications
  • Technical diagrams
  • Downloadable PDF version

Survey respondents also revealed some eye-opening statistics on the impact white papers have on readers. Among the survey respondents:

  • 54% contacted a vendor for more information as a result of reading a white paper
  • 36% made a purchase after reading a white paper
  • 32% included a white paper in a case to support a purchase.

As new media struggles to show its growing value, the tried-and-true methods like business to business white papers prove that they still can have powerful results.

We’re all in the media business now

Whether you realize it or not, your company is a media company.

There’s a new media landscape emerging and no matter what industry you’re in, you’re a part of it. Slowly, but surely, more “businesses are becoming media companies,” according to Rick Burnes at Mashable.

While “most business blogs are still boring monologues about products,” many are changing with the tides and producing content that is less focused on the product and more about topics that interest their customers.

For example, the Whole Foods supermarket chain isn’t only providing their customers with the latest information on the food they carry. They’re also creating added value for the customer on their website by sharing recipes and cooking videos.

“Media production is simply becoming a skill that separates mediocre businesses from great ones. Companies that have the creative skills to attract an audience with quality, independent content are excelling.”

Businesses that take the traditional route (i.e. buying newspaper ads) are spending a lot of money on short-term exposure. By creating your own content, housed at your own site, is like putting money down on a long-term investment.

When you first create a blog, the lack of exposure you get at first may not seem like it’s worth the investment, but in time it will pay off. Produce articles, grow your content and keep working on adding more content and watch how your search traffic grows with it.

Content is king. If you provide added value for your customer, in more than just a product description, it will pay off in loyalty.

Read the full article here.

Your 2009 content marketing to-do list

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again … content is king. To achieve online success in your organization next year, you will have to learn how to deliver relevant and valuable content to your audience.

“If 2008 was the year social media went mainstream, 2009 should be the year of content marketing, the corporation as media company, the brand as publisher and broadcaster,” according to at Junta42.

He recently put together an awesome content marketing to-do list for 2009 at Junta42 that is more than worthwhile to check out. Here are just a few of our favorite content marketing tactics to include in your plan for next year:

  • Tell the story differently using different media. Don’t just take the print version of a marketing piece and throw it online somewhere. Change the story when your media outlet changes.
  • Tweet. It’s time to get on Twitter. At first it may look and sound pointless, but it’s one of the best ways to connect with anyone and everyone in your industry.
  • Manage your reputation. With simple tools like Google Alerts, you can stay on top of who is saying what about you and your brand. It’s an easy and free way to stay on top of your reputation management.
  • Hire a “Conversation Agent.” Whatever title you choose, put someone in charge of listening to customer conversations through blogs, Google Alerts, and Twitter. Listen to your audience’s needs and deliver as best you can.

Check out the full list of content marketing tactics to add to your plan next year at the Junta42 blog and have a happy New Year.

6 ways to work video into everyday marketing

With the release of their first Video Marketing Benchmark Guide, the gurus at Marketing Sherpa got to thinking about the increased role video will be playing future marketing.

When most B2B marketers decide to use video in a campaign, it usually comes to life in the form of a TV spot or viral video. Marketers are limiting themselves by only using video in these two areas, because video has proven to work in other types of campaigns, including lead generation, product launches, employee recruiting and raising brand and product awareness.

By looking to the past, the Sherpas were able to find proven video tactics that worked in past campaigns and will work in the foreseeable future. Here’s their list of six successful video tactics to work into your everyday marketing:

  1. Edutainment. The information in white papers and webinars can be very helpful to a lead generation campaign, but all the content and offers you present may be distracting your audience. Create videos that grab prospects’ attention by creating “edutainment” videos that deliver educational content in an entertaining context.
  2. Compliment live events. Don’t keep seminars and conferences a secret, share them with your online audience. Use streaming video to compliment a real-world event to reach a larger audience, acquire new leads or back a product launch.
  3. Email. Embed informational videos in email to support other campaigns. This one may take some extra time and testing, but marketers who have overcome the technical hurdles have had great success.
  4. Recruit. Create employee recruiting videos to attract the perfect job candidate. Recruiting videos give job candidates a clear picture of your company’s work environment and gives prospective employees more detail on what qualities an ideal worker would possess, improving the quality of job applications.
  5. Product tours. A video tour of your product or service can provide much more information to customers than a simple product page or FAQ. Walk customers through the features and functionality of your products to give customers a better picture.
  6. Organize. Put together a library of your company videos on a popular content-sharing site, such as YouTube or Blip.tv. Using third-party sites as your video archive can provide you with more valuable lead generation, brand marketing and search engine marketing.

It may take some time and a lot of testing, but working video into your everyday marketing is a proven way to boost the success of your campaigns. Read the full MarketingSherpa article for more information and links to case studies where each tactic was successful for businesses just like yours.