Creating High-Value Content for Your Sales Team

Creating High-Value Content for Your Sales Team

Creating High-Value Content for Your Sales Team

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Content Marketing Can Fill Gaps in Your Sales Cycle

The digital marketing landscape is ever-changing, constantly challenging marketers to learn new ways to reach their audiences. Most businesses that are determined to succeed incorporate some form of content marketing. An often overlooked benefit to creating compelling content is equipping your sales team with the right resources to fill gaps in the sales cycle and increase their close rate.

Your Content Must Be Worthwhile

Getting the most out of your content means not only is your target audience able to find value, but so is your sales team. The relationship between sales and content is so closely interlinked that 95 percent of buyers choose a service provider who delivers the content to help them navigate through each stage of the buying process. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that just any piece of content will work; the content needs to provide genuine value to the audience otherwise, it may have damaging effects.

Most of your content marketing strategy should focus on client-facing content such as blogs, videos, podcasts and webinars. Internal content such as pre-call sales checklists and sales manuals have their place in a content strategy, but this article focuses on client-facing content.

Why Don’t Sales Reps Use Content?

In a perfect world, sales reps can use provided content during outreach, lead qualification and to help support proposals. Perspective clients can walk away well-informed and ready to make the right decision. However, this isn’t necessarily the reality because sales teams repeatedly miss the opportunity to provide prospects with the valuable content your marketing team has created.

Some reasons that sales reps don’t use content are:

  • They don’t know if the content is up to date
  • Finding the right content among the waves of existing content is time-consuming and daunting
  • They’re unsure what content is best for the specific stage of the sales process (in some cases, the content could be too “high-level” for initial discovery meetings.)

Pro Tip: As of 2020, 70 percent of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, which means it might be time you did the same to stay competitive.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

How Can Sales Teams Start to Incorporate Content?

Every great organization requires effective communication to be successful. For sales reps to start utilizing the appropriate content during their pitches, the marketing department should educate them to ensure they are aware of what’s available. Organizing content according to type, audience, and objectives will help sales teams find what they need to bolster their sales. In addition to better organization, consider the steps below to help facilitate good communication and collaboration among internal teams.  

Meet with Your Sales Team

They are on the front lines, fielding common concerns and questions which means they have a slew of pain points your clients are constantly facing. Frequently connecting with your sales team will enable your marketing department to better understand what content can help increase overall sales. 

You’ll also better understand:

  • Prospect feedback on your products/services
  • Common objections sales reps face
  • Find gaps in sales strategies that you can fill with helpful content

Audit Existing Content

After meeting with your sales team, you should have a better idea of what is working well, and where your content can be improved. As marketers, we also have access to massive amounts of data. Have you tracked the metrics on the content your team has already created? The internet is constantly moving, which means the shelf life for pre-existing content doesn’t last long and may need to be re-optimized. Additionally, sales teams can’t use out-of-date content during their sales calls, so it’s equally important to create content and revitalize old content.

Set Clear Goals

Working with your sales team, you can establish clear goals that promote a harmonious relationship between the marketing and sales departments. While you might have an overall sales goal that’s driving your plan, also consider smaller KPIs related to engagement that can indicate if a piece of content is in fact helping prospects through the buyer’s journey.

Creating High-Value Content

When it comes time to create content, pulling a topic out of a hat or an online topic generator is no longer enough. Marketing departments have many different areas of their organization they need to evaluate before deciding on content topics. Remember that creating content takes time, and unless you’re bootstrapping, it will require an investment of time and money. It can take upwards of 50 hours per month to create high-quality content, which is why many organizations opt to partner with a content agency.

Bringing It All Together

If your sales team isn’t using the content you’ve created, then both the company and the sales reps are losing out on substantial growth. Content marketing is not only meant to attract and inform prospects but also to arm sales teams with more tools to have a well-rounded sales process.

 Keeping content current and filled with value will enable sales reps to increase close rates by providing prospects with a clear picture of the products/services your organization offers. Over time as the sales and marketing departments continue to work together, they’ll learn how to maximize each other’s gains and promote overall company growth.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your content marketing campaigns. Have more questions about partnering with an agency? Reach out to us directly.

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Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

read more

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How to Hire an SEO Agency

How to Hire an SEO Agency

How to Hire an SEO Agency

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Find the Right Partner for Your SEO Strategy 

Building a strong online presence is now standard practice for any organization. Internet visibility drives website traffic and can help you reach your business goals. There are many components to internet visibility including organic reach, paid placements and earned media.

Organic reach or organic SEO involves strategies to increase your website traffic and improve your site’s presence in non-paid search engine results. The world of search engine optimization is incredibly complex. Improving a website’s rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) involves technical and creative expertise, and they work in tandem to create a positive site experience and encourage repeat visits.

If SEO isn’t in your wheelhouse, you’ll likely want to partner with an SEO agency who can help you effectively navigate the search engine playing field. It could take years to acquire the internal bandwidth to build and implement successful SEO campaigns yourself. Having experts in your corner will support online visibility and will naturally assist with lead acquisition.

What Are the Goals and Outcomes of Your Organization?

To get the most out of any SEO agency, you need to determine the goals and outcomes you wish to achieve. Do you need more website traffic to help fill your sales funnel? Do you want to create more traffic-generating pages? Do you want to improve your brand’s reputation and credibility during the sales cycle?

Search engine optimization is not just about search results; it also entails how your company is detected as a whole. These campaigns are most effective when integrated into a larger marketing strategy, so you’ll need to get clear on your goals and how you are measuring success.

Think through how an SEO campaign will support content marketing, public relations and other social media marketing activities. Make sure you have the right internal team members at the table during these discussions.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

What to Look for in an SEO Agency

Although hiring an SEO agency might seem like a daunting task, you certainly don’t need to be an expert yourself to find the right partner – but you do need to ask the right questions. Here are six questions to consider when interviewing potential partners.

What is your SEO philosophy?

SEO isn’t just about keywords and content, and the best agencies know this. There are many ways to utilize search engines, algorithms, and other processes to improve visibility. There are three types of SEO you need for a well-rounded organic strategy: on-page, technical and off-page.

Ideally, you want a partner that’s well versed in all three areas. There are many consultants that only specialize in one or two, but modern SEO requires a holistic approach and experienced execution.

What SEO tools do you use?

Legitimate professionals invest in the tools required to do their work. The exact tool isn’t as important as listening for how and why various tools are used. A good partner will be able to explain why they use specific tools and the impact they can have when used properly.

What is being measured and reported?

SEO agencies who value the relationship they have with their clients know that they need to measure and report metrics that both parties find useful. They find specific details in their reports and use the data to make informed decisions. Avoid companies that cannot get specific about the metrics they used to measure success.

Who is doing the work?

When it comes to the above fundamentals, is the company you are interested in doing the work in-house, or are they outsourcing? Will you have English-speaking writers creating content? Search engine optimization is both an art and a science. You need the right minds working collaboratively if you want to move the needle.

How do you remain up to date on trends?

SEO is a constantly evolving discipline that requires education and first-hand testing. Keeping up to date on Google’s Webmaster blog is just one step to understanding the latest trends. The best SEO agencies also do their own research and testing and have a set of best practices that build on common knowledge.

Do you have sample case studies?

Case studies often tell a very clear story of how effective your potential partner will be. SEO companies who know what they are doing and want their clients to succeed use case studies to clearly demonstrate what they can deliver.

Partnering With an SEO Agency is a Smart Move

Hiring a reputable and results-driven SEO partner begins with determining the goals and outcomes of your organization. Organizing these goals and outcomes will determine what kinds of SEO services you might need. By asking the right questions, you’ll be well positioned to partner with an agency that can deliver long-term success.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your organic SEO campaigns. Have more questions about partnering with an agency? Reach out to us directly.

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Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

read more

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What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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2022 Trends Guiding Marketing in Manufacturing

2022 Trends Guiding Marketing in Manufacturing

2022 Trends Guiding Marketing in Manufacturing

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The pace of change requires marketing teams to stay agile 

The last several years have been dynamic and disruptive for manufacturers, forcing many to embrace more digital marketing tactics to compete and survive. Yet maintaining a sense of relevance with your audience has never been more challenging. Supply chain challenges and radically shifting buying behaviors requires organizations to be agile.

Marketers who can quickly adjust strategies and tactics based on the shifting landscape can generate measurable results, remain ahead of the competition and deliver an experience that aligns with customer expectations.

With that in mind, we’re sharing three trends that marketers in manufacturing should focus on: creating an amazing customer experience, using brevity in your message and incorporating personalization.

Customer Experience

B2C industries embraced a strong customer experience (CX) years ago and manufacturing is finally catching up. Today’s business buyer wants a consumer-like experience. In fact, in a Salesforce survey, 74% of manufacturers said they believe customer experience to be a key competitive differentiator. Delivering a superior experience creates operational efficiencies and generates more revenue.

 Developing a strong CX isn’t solely the responsibility of the marketing department. But given our access to various tools and data, we play an integral part in determining the right time for engagement. We can understand when sales and marketing teams should swiftly engage qualified buyers, or when we can turn a steady customer into a true promoter of the business.

By partnering with other internal teams, manufacturers can create an amazing CX throughout the entire customer journey.

Brevity

Content marketing allows for an extensive explanation of any product or service. Most marketers want to pack as much information into their content or ad space as possible. But let’s face it, our audience doesn’t want to power through a 2,000-word white paper. According to Microsoft, human attention span has dropped 25% in the last several years. 

The more succinctly you can convey your message, the more likely your audience will engage with you. Say what you need to say but do it effectively and concisely.

Explore where you can incorporate brevity into your marketing — whether that’s simplifying your website to focus on the essentials or crafting content that hits directly on pain points and solutions without the unnecessary fluff.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

Personalization

The days of relying on generic sell sheets and one-size-fits-all catalogs are over. Manufacturing companies need to adopt more B2C marketing tactics to maximize revenue growth. Today’s business buyer wants marketing and advertising that speaks directly to them.

Account based marketing, although not new, offers a chance to get closer to your prospects and customers by taking time to understand their needs, tailor the outreach and connect on a more personal level. Investing in a more personalized content strategy can lead to greater payoff.

Another trend in manufacturing is foregoing print catalogs in favor of interactive online catalogs that can simplify quoting and ordering. Sales teams can communicate with prospective customers more efficiently during the sales cycle, better understand their needs and ultimately sell more.

Your Next Steps

Marketing teams must continually remain ahead of the curve, and manufacturers still have room to engage B2B decision makers with personalized messaging and an amazing experience.  By taking a proactive approach that incorporates key trends, organizations can position themselves to meet the ever-changing needs of their buyers.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your digital marketing. Have more questions about developing and implementing an effective marketing strategy? Reach out to us directly.

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Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

read more

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Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis: Best Practices

Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis: Best Practices

Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis: Best Practices

As supply chain issues create out-of-stock scenarios across industries, brands are missing the opportunity to better align their marketing, sales and supply chain leaders.
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Marketing Can Support Supply Chain Management 

As product shortages and long-lead times continue, both customers and employees are feeling the strain. Between the lack of dock space for cargo ships and a shortage of truck drivers, experts predict that we’ll continue to see shortages until 2023. So how is this affecting brand loyalty? And how can brands improve customer experience during this crisis? 

Supply Problems Affect Brand Loyalty

New research from McKinsey reveals that product availability is the single most important purchasing factor. Only 13 percent of respondents who faced out-of-stock products in the past three months say they waited for an item to come back in stock. A whopping 71 percent switched retailers or brands.

As consumers develop new shopping habits, it’s time for marketers to re-evaluate their approach:

  1. Marketers need to better familiarize themselves with their company’s distribution and supply chain.
  2. Internal teams need to work together to help alleviate this crisis.

Here are several key steps brands can take ensure brand loyalty remains strong.

Do Not Cut Ad Spend

It’s no surprise that the brands with ongoing advertising campaigns are the most successful. While some brands are cutting their spending, others are taking advantage of the opportunity to snag new customers, shift loyalty or promote other products and services. Be flexible but keep your eye on the long-term goal of building customer loyalty. Brands that continue to run campaigns can experience several benefits:

 

  • Continue to collect first-party data which will support data-drive marketing decisions.
  • Continue to test and optimize ad copy while keeping existing customers away from competitors.
  • Test new opportunities like loyalty programs or allow shoppers to pre-buy.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

Maintain Open Communication

You have numerous communication channels available. Use email, SMS or even advertising to tell customers when items are back in stock. If delays occur, use these channels to provide updates. Customers won’t be thrilled about delays, but they will appreciate a thoughtful update.

Internal communication is imperative as well. By working collaboratively, you’ll avoid overpromising and under-delivering which can be a detriment to brand loyalty.

Create Contingency Plans

A crisis scenario has the potential to interrupt business and significantly damage your reputation. But crisis planning is not just for your PR team. Work together to determine a Plan B for every scenario ranging from raw materials shortages to closures due to variant outbreaks. Effective communication during a crisis can be the difference between a positive outcome and irreparable damage.

Your Next Steps

Our supply chain issues won’t disappear overnight. Now is the ideal time to update your response strategy across business units. Use this opportunity to explore how to build stronger relationships and keep loyal customers happy.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your digital marketing. Have more questions about marketing during times of crisis? Reach out to us directly.

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Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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You Have More First-Party Data Than you Think: Here’s How to Use it

You Have More First-Party Data Than you Think: Here’s How to Use it

You Have More First-Party Data Than you Think: Here’s How to Use it

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Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Gain A Better Understanding of Your Customers 

Reaching customers without intruding on their privacy continues to be a priority for marketers in 2022. Google, Apple and Facebook have taken steps to reduce the amount of third-party tracking on their platforms, which translates into less data for marketers to leverage. This information historically has been the cornerstone of effective marketing, helping to shape marketing content, advertising strategies, and more.

A Shifting Reliance on First-Party Data

First-party data is information a company collects directly from its customers. This data is collected firsthand without an intermediary between you and the information.  First-party data can only be accessed via platforms that you own and control. As a company, you can gather information about digital interactions, purchase history, social behavior or profile preferences to create content, ads and digital experiences that cater to an individual’s interests.

Third-party data sources can be incredibly helpful, but as we’ve seen, these sources are becoming less reliable and more expensive. Which is why it’s more important than ever to focus on collecting and using data that you own.

Benefits of First-Party Data

By relying on actual interactions with your brand, you’re building a strong foundation to understand your customers. The results can translate into a superior product or service without the “creep factor” that is associated with third-party tracking. First-party data is readily available and much easier to collect than you might think.  It’s about knowing what’s available and using it to shape your business strategy.

So, how can you effectively get the most out of your data without the help of third-party tracking?

Pro Tip: Use first-party data to create highly personalized messages and increase the effectiveness of your marketing.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

Sources of First-Party Data

Website

Digital interactions via your website are a primary way to collect data. Traffic sources, visitor behavior and even names and email addresses collected through website forms are valuable data points. Consider how users respond to your website and the pages they visit the most. 

Email and SMS

Your subscriber list is another valuable data source. Open rates, click rates and bounce rates all shed light on how these individuals interact with your brand and your content. Both email and text messaging are considered intimate forms of communication and can shed light on how customers view your company.

Call Centers

If your company runs a call center, you likely have access to call records and transcripts. This information can be used to understand patterns, keywords or other quantitative data that can help shape your strategy.

 Survey Data and Customer Feedback

Simple online surveys can yield plenty of information about your customers and what they want from you. More formal surveys conducted by a third party are still considered essential if you want unbiased feedback from customers.

Common Challenges with First-Party Data

Despite access to a wealth of information, there are challenges to collecting and leveraging this data. 

Poor Strategy  

Do you know what sources you have? And are they properly configured to collect data? It might take several weeks or months to understand what information is relevant to your brand and how to go about collecting it. And don’t forget to consider how you plan to map the data to your customer journey.

Integrating Data from Multiple Platforms

It’s challenging to pull data from different sources into one cohesive system or report that will give you a true sense of the big picture. Even though you own these data sources, the technology across platforms may or may not integrate easily. Consider partnering with an agency with the technical experience to guide the strategy and implementation of this piece. 

Taking Meaningful Action in Real Time

Your data is only valuable if you use it in a timely matter. Customer behaviors are ever evolving which means companies need to move efficiently when they recognize valuable trends. And always be ready to shift your strategy as the landscape evolves.

Your Next Steps

Using first-person data to guide your marketing campaigns is no longer optional – it’s a must do for every brand. Invest the time in understanding what data sources will be valuable to you and build the necessary system to collect and distill the information in a way that’s actionable. Over time, you’ll be able understand what data points are key success metrics for your brand.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your campaigns. Have more questions about data driven marketing? Reach out to us directly.

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy. Discover how to achieve business objectives with a content agency.

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Achieve Your Business Objectives With a Content Agency 

Online sales channels have become increasingly important and digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of digital platforms.

Between basic website maintenance and supporting your sales team, it’s likely you don’t have the necessary resources to produce thought-leadership content in house.  

If your manufacturing firm wants to gain more market share or cultivate better brand awareness, an increased content marketing effort may be exactly what you need. The right agency can be an invaluable partnership, ensuring the right customers find your business. However, hiring a content agency isn’t as cut and dried as you might think.

Here are several steps and considerations to discuss before you hire an agency.

Consider This Before Partnering with a Content Agency

The objectives of your business can be achieved through a focused content strategy, but only if you are clear on your goals and how you are measuring success.

Before hiring a content agency, discuss items such as sales goals, creating awareness for your brand, and positioning your organization as a leader in the industry. Content plays a role in all of these.

You also need to ask yourself a few tough questions about your existing content.

For instance, when was the last time you updated your website content? When was the last time you published or shared something new that provided real value to your target market?

Chances are good that you’ll need an agency partner if you are still relying on print materials that haven’t been updated in several years.

As I’ve mentioned, your internal bandwidth will also play a major factor in outsourcing your content. It can take 50+ hours per month to produce and promote high quality content, and most brands don’t have the capacity to do this in-house.

Pro Tip: Developing meaningful content is built on a strong understanding of your target market so make sure you have detailed buyer personas to reference.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

Understand the Content Landscape

There are dozens of different kinds of content that you can use for your manufacturing brand – blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks, infographics or webinars are all viable types of content you might consider incorporating into your strategy.  

The sheer number of content opportunities means you’ll need to evaluate each potential partner carefully to understand what’s in their wheelhouse. Large, full-service agencies can provide a full suite of services, but they understandably come with more overhead and higher rates. Smaller agencies, on the other hand, often have several niche areas. Most of these specialize in one or several types of content production and are generally friendlier to your budget.

What to Look for in a Content Agency

The content agency you hire should do more than just churn out content for you. Think of this as a long-term relationship and an extension of your in-house team. Here are a few items you can use to evaluate potential partners. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Does the agency have experience creating content for manufacturers? And are they comfortable writing slightly technical content as your strategy evolves?
  • What types of content do they excel at?
  • What is the agency’s breadth of expertise? Are they strictly copywriters? Or are they familiar with related concepts such as keyword research and search engine optimization?

Who is Doing the Work?

  • What specific services are handled in-house, and what services (if any) are outsourced?
  • If any services are outsourced, how is quality controlled?
  • Will you have an account manager supporting you?

Measuring and Reporting

  • Does the agency have a solid track record of success? And will they actively measure and report on their content marketing efforts in relation to your business goals?
  • Does the agency make an effort to understand your business and its goals?
  • What tech tools or other reporting tools are used? How often do you receive reports?

Remember that mistakes with outsourcing can be costly. While content creators can quickly familiarize themselves with your brand, you’ll want to make sure it’s a long-term creative fit for both of you. Starting from scratch is a massive drain on company resources and you will lose momentum that you have built, which can be frustrating.

Next Steps for Your Marketing Team

Creating content for your brand, making sure that it is optimized and sharing it across multiple channels takes a considerable amount of effort. If you’re ready to commit to a content strategy to achieve your business goals, hiring an agency is a smart move. Content comes in many different forms, styles and voices, so do your research on each potential partner to ensure that they are the right fit for your brand. 

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your digital marketing. Have more questions about hiring a content agency? Reach out to us directly.

Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Read 
More Articles.

Read 
More Articles.

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

Join The List

Request a Consultation.

Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
goals with a 20-minute introductory call.

Contextual Targeting in 2021: Here’s What You Need to Know

Contextual Targeting in 2021: Here’s What You Need to Know

Contextual Targeting in 2021: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Remain Relevant and Visible with Contextual Targeting 

Advertisers see the best results when they showcase their brand alongside relevant content that their target audience pursues online. However, in today’s environment, this also means balancing concerns over third-party data and reaching consumers without intruding on their privacy. You probably know what this entails. How many times have you gone on a social media platform and seen advertisements related to your recent internet searches?

While cookie-based advertising has been the norm over the last decade, concerns over data privacy have led to contextual advertising making a comeback.

What is Contextual Targeting?

Contextual targeting isn’t new. In fact, it’s an approach used by marketers for decades. Think of vendors in a trade magazine, make-up in a fashion publication or a sporting goods manufacturer at a sports event.

In the realm of digital advertising, contextual targeting means that you’ll be selecting where your ads appear, or dynamically adjusting your ad creative to better align with the content and keywords on a website.

Contextual Targeting vs Behavioral Targeting

For the last decade or so, behavioral targeting has been the industry standard. This approach selects ads for users based on past purchases, browsing behavior and even in-store movement from data captured by mobile phones. Behavioral targeting allows organizations to “purchase” intent via cookies, mobile/location data, purchases on third party websites, payment processors and other shared data sources.

Behavioral targeting isn’t going away, but it will be more difficult to accomplish with recent changes to cookie policies and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For this reason, contextual targeting holds several benefits over behavioral targeting.

Benefits of Contextual Targeting

Companies can protect their brand, enhance their favorability, and engage more consumers with contextual targeting.

Relevancy: This approach places advertisements that are relevant to the content, making it much more genuine than behavioral targeting. Remember that behavioral targeting utilizes cookies and other stored data to push advertisements, which is not the case with contextual targeting.

Remain Privacy-Friendly: Because you are creating and placing ads yourself in contextual targeting, it values the privacy of the buyer much more. The content of the website is used for targeting rather than past behavior.

Pro Tip: The better you can understand the context of a page, the better your ad matching will be. 

How to Get Started with Contextual Targeting

One of the reasons many marketers turned away from contextual targeting is because requires a little more effort than behavioral targeting. While both forms of advertising aim to serve relevant ads to audiences at the right time, behavioral targeting leverages data to select most, if not all, ad placements and bidding strategies.

Here are some initial steps you can take before you engage with an agency. Unless you’re extremely familiar with the nuances of digital ad campaigns, you will likely need a trusted partner to guide you.

Review/revamp your buyer personas: Contextual targeting is successful if you know exactly who you want to target and what their exact interests are. Remember, the goal of this kind of targeting is to marry content with advertising to make sure that the visitor’s problems will be solved. Every organization should have a clear and concise description of their target audiences.

Understand your buyer’s journey: It’s also helpful to understand the various stages a buyer will experience prior to purchasing your product or service – from education to consideration to decision. Organizations should focus on creating a consistent experience for potential customers, ensuring all channels work together to bring customers through the buyer’s journey across different touchpoints on different platforms.

Brainstorming topics and keywords: To place your ads on relevant websites, you’ll need to tell your advertising system what topics and keywords are important. Topics are broad categories like “sports” or “yoga”. Keywords are for more precise targeting within your broad topics. Together, topics and keywords will help determine where your ads should be placed.

Your Next Steps 

If you want to keep your brand visible and relevant, then contextual targeting is an ideal option. It’s about making sure that the right product/service is shown alongside the right content of any given website or social media page — without intruding on privacy.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your digital advertising. Have more questions about contextual targeting? Reach out to us directly.

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

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SEO for eCommerce: Keyword Research and Why it Matters

SEO for eCommerce: Keyword Research and Why it Matters

SEO for eCommerce: Keyword Research and Why it Matters

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic
Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Keyword Research is the Foundation of Your SEO Efforts 

Businesses currently exist in an environment that is driven by two things: Visibility and internet traffic. These elements are necessary for generating leads and moving merchandise. 

Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, will improve both elements. When the content on an eCommerce website is optimized, it is more likely to appear on the first page of search results for a set of search terms, which will improve visibility and traffic.

Keyword research is the X-Factor when it comes to the overall success of an eCommerce business. While keyword research requires extensive knowledge of search engines and industry tools, there are several basic concepts that every entrepreneur should understand to quickly evaluate their current situation and understand where there’s room for improvement.

Understanding User Intent

To understand keyword research, you need to understand that user intent drives Google searches. Some users will be looking for general information about a topic while others are looking for very specific information related to their keywords. 

Search engines are getting better at understanding user intent, but it’s also incumbent upon the business to test keywords and understand what delivers results. Transactional queries are important to eCommerce websites because a user might be looking for a specific item, color, brand or style. Over time, retailers can begin to understand the journey a customer takes to learn about their product and eventually make a purchase. 

Tools for eCommerce SEO Research

Of the dozens of SEO research tools that are available, there are two that stand out as being highly reputable and effective: Moz and Semrush.

These two tools are what most agencies use for eCommerce keyword research to ensure that products and services appear on the first page of searches. Here are a few ways they support keyword research:

  • Conduct audits: In-depth audits take time, but these tools automate the process to help quickly identify SEO issues.
  • Identify keyword opportunities: Find high-converting opportunities or keyword variations that can be beneficial.
  • Dissect competitor SEO strategies: Use this insight to formulate your own strategy.

Although anybody can use Moz and Semrush, it does take a significant amount of time to learn the full capability of these tools which is why SEO and keyword research is typically outsourced to an agency partner.

Pro Tip: Explore your competitors top-ranking pages to discover phrases you may have overlooked. 

The Importance of Keyword Mapping

Keyword mapping is an important step in the process. This is where you connect a specific keyword to a specific product or category page. This step brings structure to your strategy, and if your document is organized properly, it will help you track what keywords/pages are performing optimally.

We typically evaluate and select keywords based on monthly search volume and keyword difficulty, but you might identify niche keywords or longtail keywords that provide value. Research tools can provide valuable insight, but the best way to discover what works is to test and evaluate!

Your Product and Category Pages Matter

An eCommerce site is generally only as good as its best performing product pages. Identifying what products are performing well and further optimizing these pages can yield results. 

Optimizing pages that already rank while working on new phrases/products is a balancing act that takes time. The key here is to demonstrate to search engines that you have relevant products and you’re consistently updating your website.

As you continue to work your strategy, you’ll begin to rank for more search terms. And remember that pairing an organic SEO strategy with paid advertising is an effective way to begin generating traffic while you build trust and credibility with search engines.

Getting Started with Keyword Research

Effective SEO keyword research is a process. It takes time to determine which keywords will place your products and services on the first page of any given search engine. Doing the necessary research involves an understanding of your products, buyer intent and third-party SEO tools. This combination of expertise is why many eCommerce retailers opt to partner with an agency. Make sure this partner not only has a proven track record of SEO research, but can show demonstrable results.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your eCommerce conversions. Have more questions about keyword research? Reach out to us directly.

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

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10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic
Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Use Email Automation to Improve eCommerce Sales 

There is no denying that automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers.  When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate repeat conversions with minimal ongoing effort.

Your email list is the backbone of your eCommerce business, and making sure you are sending the right kinds of emails to those who have signed up for your list is incredibly important.

Why Automate Your Emails?

The savviest eCommerce companies understand that consistent communication with an email list generates web traffic and sales. By automating these emails, you’re freeing up time to spend on other areas of the business.

Automated emails are carefully planned emails sent to subscribers at a specific time or as a response to the actions of users on a website. Automation allows eCommerce companies to save time, boost sales, warm up leads, and create highly targeted offers.

Think of automated emails as a function of your business. Just as your business contains different departments that take care of each aspect of the business, the same can be said for automated emails.  Make them a regular part of your communications and marketing, and you will understand what a game-changer this can be for your business.

Transactional Emails

The purpose of transactional emails is to confirm that your customer has completed a purchase and that their order is on its way. Obviously, this matters because you need to let your customers know their order has been received and is being processed. We consider these to be standard transactional emails:

  • Order confirmation
  • Shipping notification
  • Delivery notification

As straightforward as this may seem, there are a few other things that you can do with transactional emails:

  • Provide an offer for their next purchase. It could be a fixed discount or free shipping.
  • Remind customers of products they might have been interested in purchasing.
  • Obtain feedback on your ordering process.

New Subscriber Welcome Email Series

The first major step in any prospect’s buying process is to subscribe to an email list. After they have subscribed to your email list, we recommend initiating a new subscriber email series.

This series matters because if a prospect is interested enough to subscribe to your email list, it turns them into a hot lead who is more likely to buy from you.

Emails in this series should be sent out immediately. Consider including content such as your most popular videos or blogs, more insight about your company and your mission, or an offer exclusively for new subscribers. The intent is to keep them engaged and encourage frequent visits to your website.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to activate all 10 of these automated emails at once. Start with what you can and expand as your company grows. 

New Customer Welcome Email Series

Once a customer has bought something from your organization, they need to be reassured that not only did they make the right decision, they also need to be assured that they are valued. The new customer welcome email series does this.

The emails in this series need to do two things. They need to cement that you provided a seamless buying experience and they need to encourage new customers to make a second purchase.

Start these emails off with a strong brand statement to establish credibility and trust. You can follow that up with information about social media channels and support resources if necessary. We also suggest including a request for product feedback, just make sure that email will arrive only after the order is delivered!

Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned cart emails in your campaign have the potential to be some of your most profitable emails. These need to be taken seriously.

Potential customers abandon their carts for various reasons, and the goal of this email is to get them to complete the purchase. These emails should be sent about a half hour after the cart is abandoned. Focus on helping the customer more than selling to them. They may have abandoned their cart due to technical issues so consider including contact information for customer support.

Back in Stock Notifications

Items that are out of stock are inconvenient for everybody involved and it can be a legitimate reason why a customer doesn’t buy anything. This is where the back in stock notification comes in handy.  It will let customers know that what they wanted is back in stock, which will hopefully lead them to buy.

Most of the time, back in stock notifications can take the place of an abandoned cart email in that it makes more sense for your customer to receive this email instead of the abandoned cart email if anything in your catalog is out of stock.

Showing pictures of the product that was previously out of stock, linking the email to a regenerated session of their cart and making alternative suggestions if the item has been discontinued are the best ways to use back in stock notifications.

Product Education Emails or Evergreen Blog Articles

Content in the form of information that provides infinite value is known as “evergreen” content.

If executed properly, these can be very profitable emails in your campaigns. These messages can convert followers into buyers and they can convince buyers to purchase more. Product education emails can vastly improve a buying experience and give you loads of opportunities to cross sell.

Product education emails should be part of your new customer or new subscriber email series, as they can provide information that those on your email list will appreciate tremendously.

Cross Sell Emails

There are two steps you should take when somebody buys one of your products.

First, make sure that the customer’s buying experience is as perfect as it can get. Make sure there is product education content attached to the purchase if necessary, and make sure any questions about the product can be answered easily.

The second thing you should do is send a cross sell email. This is where you send an email that sells something that is related to what was just sold to the customer. Cross sell emails are important because they will help your customers find something else that is useful for them as well as help you generate more sales.

Pro Tip: Test different variables like subject lines, delivery times and workflow spacing to determine what generates the best response. 

VIP Emails

Your most valuable customers ought to be treated differently than customers who just come and go. When your VIP customers remain happy, they will keep buying from you and you won’t have to work as hard to generate conversions.

This is where the VIP email comes in. VIP emails target the top 5 to 20 percent of customers, giving them an incentive to continue making purchases.

Executing these kinds of emails means you need to know who your VIP customers are. When it comes to determining your VIP customers, consider how much your customers have purchased and how frequently they have ordered from you. You can even take this a step further by creating a formal rewards program with different levels based on how often someone makes a purchase.

Win Back Emails

When a customer has not purchased something from your website for a long time, you’re going to need to win them back.  These emails are important because once a website visitor has bought from you, the chances of them buying from you again are very high, and a well executed win-back email campaign can accomplish this.

Executing a solid win-back email campaign is done by determining when customers lose interest. One way you can do this is by tracking how much time has passed between purchases. The average time between orders will vary from one online retailer to the next. Determine what makes sense for your business and build an automation with an offer they can’t refuse.

Date-Based Emails

Everyone can relate to important dates and milestones, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, or another similar event. Your customers and subscribers will appreciate anybody who remembers their birthdays or the date of their first purchase.

Executing date-based emails is as easy as collecting a subscriber’s birthday or anniversary, then putting those emails into your campaign. You’ll then be able to offer anything you want to them within your date-based email.

Your Next Steps 

Having one email campaign for everyone who visits your website is simply not enough if you are serious about acquiring and keeping customers for your brand.

Ten different email campaigns may seem overwhelming, but given that most email campaign software allows you to easily build automations with different kinds of triggers and parameters, this is much easier than it looks.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your eCommerce conversions. Have more questions about setting up successful email automation campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

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Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

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7 Marketing Metrics Every Manufacturer Should be Tracking

7 Marketing Metrics Every Manufacturer Should be Tracking

7 Marketing Metrics Every Manufacturer Should be Tracking

Don’t waste time on meaningless metrics. Learn how your company can measure goals and track performance with these KPIs.

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic

How to Use Data to Run More Effective Campaigns 

What gets measured gets not only managed, but improved.

Of the dozens of marketing metrics that you can track, we’ve identified seven lead generation metrics that will ensure your organization runs more effective campaigns. In order to set the right goals and prove returns on your marketing spend, you must have a handle on these metrics.

The best part is that most of these can be easily tracked using Google Analytics or similar tracking tools. Sure, there are more advanced tools available, but you won’t need to spend a lot of money to obtain insight on these basic data points.

#1 Website Visits/Traffic Sources

Site visits are a basic but very important metric. Every campaign should have a “visits” goal because traffic is often the early indicator of how effective your message is — or if it’s time to update a campaign’s creative. If clicks to a landing page are lower than expected, then the message, graphics and/or the call to action needs tweaking.

A closely related metric is traffic sources. Within Google Analytics, there are several primary “sources” you need to be aware of:

Direct Traffic: Visits that comes from those who directly typed or copied the URL of your website into their browser, clicked on a bookmark or clicked a link in an email/SMS chat.

Search/Organic Traffic: Visits to your website from an unpaid search result on Google, Bing or Yahoo.

Referral Traffic: Traffic that comes from a third-party website rather than a search engine. This could include links from press releases, guest articles, business directories or social media websites.

Paid Website Traffic: These are visits to your website from people who have clicked on a Google paid search ad or display ad. This only applies to businesses running advertising campaigns, and you’ll need proper tracking set-up within Analytics.

All four of these are equally important in that search engines like to see traffic coming from each source. There aren’t any hard and fast rules about the ideal breakdown in traffic, but direct traffic and organic traffic are still highly coveted. Take steps to improve traffic from all sources and you’ll be moving in the right direction.

Pro Tip: Use your existing data in Google Analytics to create a baseline. Understanding your baseline is critical to developing an effective marketing strategy.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

#2 Time Spent on Site

Do visitors to your website leave after quickly scanning your home page? Or do they spend time digging into the content and your services? Most website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on any given website, and that’s not enough time to demonstrate your thought-leadership.

The first step to increasing time spent on your website is making sure your strategy includes a client persona that focuses on pain points as well as content that addresses their challenges.

Publishing original content such as blog articles, case studies, podcasts, videos or white papers gives visitors a reason to explore your website. Plus, when you create thought-leadership content, you demonstrate to search engines why your website is relevant.

Tools like Crazy Egg and Lucky Orange offer more advanced insight into what your visitors are doing with heatmaps and recordings.

#3 Bounce Rate

Related to time spent on a website is something called Bounce Rate.

A “Bounce” refers to the act of a visitor getting to the website and then leaving said website without any further interaction.

Ideally this rate should never rise above 60%. You need to make some serious adjustments to your message, homepage design, and some of your CTAs if your bounce rate is this high.

If your campaign message aligns with your landing page and you give visitors the information they want, you’ll begin to see your bounce rate fall. This is an iterative process that takes time. Systematic tweaks over time can yield results. Use your existing data as a baseline and start tracking your progress. 

#4 Number of Pages Ranked

Website success will always be related to search rankings, and the number of pages you rank for represents the number of chances for your potential customers to discover your content as well as your website.

Ideally you want this number to be the majority of pages that you have on your site. You can use a free tool like Google Search Console to track ranked pages. If you are ready to invest in a paid tool, you’ll get a little more insight on your ranking pages as well as those of your competitors.

Blogs, case studies or podcasts with specific key phrases are opportunities for your website to rank. These individual pages will begin to rank over time in searches, generating more visits and leads.

#5 Number of Leads Generated

Leads are generated by what is known as a call to action, or CTA.

Determining how many leads a given CTA in your content generates is one of the most useful marketing metrics you can track. Optimizing for leads (and quite often the goal is better qualified leads) is also an iterative process, involving incremental tweaks over time.

If you are running several campaigns and testing multiple CTAs, then you’ll be well on your way to understanding what is most appealing to your target customers.

#6 Lead Conversion Rate

Related to the number of leads is the conversion rate, the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal out of the total number of visitors.

A high conversion rate is ideal. Traffic doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t convert into leads who could possibly benefit from your services.

Think of conversion rate as a journey that a buyer takes that leads them to pursuing your product or service. You can segment this journey into three phases and track your conversion rate for each phase: The awareness phase, the consideration phase, and the decision phase.

By tracking your conversion rate through this journey, you’ll understand how far your visitors get into the conversion cycle. You can then alter your strategies and campaigns to improve conversions.

#7 Return on Investment (ROI)

Probably one of the most important metrics to measure is ROI because it shows you directly which tactics work and which ones do not.

ROI is best expressed in a percentage. For example, a $1000 investment that generated $1200 in revenue would have an ROI of 20% since 1200 is 20% greater than 1000.

Determine your target ROI during planning and strategy conversions. Then work backward to further define the resources required to achieve this goal. Consider all of the resources you have at your disposal when doing this with the understanding that successful marketing campaigns don’t come together over night!

Next Steps for Your Marketing Team

Digital marketing strategies are a marathon, not a sprint. And as the world becomes more and more digital in its communication, it’s necessary to have an understanding of these unique metrics. You’ll find that your internet visibility is stronger, and your expertise is in much higher demand, especially in the world of manufacturing where there is a lot of competition.

The same principles of traditional marketing apply to web-based marketing campaigns. You need to build trust and authority with your digital audience, using these metrics as indicators of your progress.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your digital marketing. Have more questions about running successful marketing campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Read 
More Articles.

Read 
More Articles.

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

Manufacturers: How to Hire A Content Agency

In a world where online sales channels have become increasingly important, digital content is a necessary part of your marketing strategy that you cannot ignore. But creating quality content takes time, creative energy and a strong understanding of search engines.

read more

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