For many of us, New Years Resolutions likely include less social media, more time with friends, or a renewed focus on health and wellness (which is probably why my gym is packed throughout the month of January … ).
And, as it turns out, there’s another popular New Years Resolution for many people in 2020 — a career shift.
In fact, a new study from Fiverr and YouGov shows over half of American workers (59%) want to make changes to their careers in the new year.
Among other things, these changes include location shifts, industry shifts, the ability to work remote, or a desire to pursue a passion.
If you’re one of the 6 out of ten interested in a career shift, you’re in luck. Here, we’ve interviewed top Fiverr freelancer Charmaine Pocek — who’s made over $3 million on Fiverr helping people with career moves — to determine her five tips for drastically changing your career in 2020.
Tip #1: Think long and hard about what you’re passionate about.
“Our likes and dislikes change a lot over time, whether it’s the food we eat, the music we listen to, or even the people we choose to hang out with. That’s why before making a change, it’s always a good idea to reflect on what you feel strongly about in your life and career. Think about what you like to do outside of work. But, also, think about the things you like about your job and how those could transfer elsewhere.” Pocek advises.
She continues, “Do you travel a lot, does your company give you the opportunity to work remote, or do you get to pursue passion projects? Even if the company you work for or the work you do isn’t something you want to continue with, maybe there are aspects about it that you enjoy and want to hold onto.”
“It’s also important to have a clear and meaningful purpose that you find emotionally engaging. What do you really
need from your work? To make a difference? To become financially independent?”
“You should be able to answer these questions before pursuing a career change.”
Think you might be interested in marketing? Take a look at HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Marketing Jobs.
Tip #2: Meet people, network, and ask for help.
Pocek says, “After you’ve identified your passion and thought about what you really need from a job, it’s time to network, network, network. But it’s not always about going to meet-ups and expensive conferences. For instance, let’s say someone has decided they want to move into the world of photography. A great way of networking for them would be to direct message influencers they follow on Instagram, and ask them how they got started.”
Alternatively, if you’re interested in pursuing a career in marketing, Pocek advises, “Reach out to someone that works at your favorite company on Linkedin, or via email, and introduce yourself. In many cases, people will appreciate the extra effort you’ve put in to connect with them 1:1 and are more likely to be willing to share advice, tips, etc.”
Tip #3: Set small goals for yourself and reward yourself when you meet those goals.
Pocek suggests, “Let’s use the photography example from above. You may not be able to quit your job and travel the world taking photos just yet — but that said, if that’s what you’re looking to do, make an effort to travel more and take photos on the weekends. Whatever your end goal is, whether it’s to change the company you work for, increase your flexibility at work, or work remote more often, every time you muster up the confidence to ask your boss to work from home, or every time you send out your resume to a new company, reward yourself.”
Additionally, Pocek adds, “One thing I did for myself this year was to buy myself a Pandora bracelet. Throughout the year I have set small goals for myself and whenever I meet a goal, I will buy a charm for that bracelet. It might take me years to fill it up, but once I do I can tell you, it’ll be the most rewarding feeling.”
Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and just do it.
“You do or you do not. There is no try. Those words were spoken not by Socrates or Aristotle, but rather Yoda (or, really, George Lucas). Ultimately, this quote reminds me that you can prepare yourself all you want to make a change, but you’re not going to know how it will turn out until you just do it.”
“That’s always the hardest part. Whether you’re starting a new diet or writing a book, it’s always the first day, the first page that’s the hardest. But you did it. You committed and you need not try, you just have to do.”
Tip #5: Always remember why you wanted this change in the first place.
Pocek concludes, “I realized that something needed to change in my work-life / financial situation when my husband and I decided to adopt. We wanted to grow our family but didn’t have the means to do it. That’s when I started working on Fiverr helping people with their resumes. I remember this daily and am so grateful (and proud) of the family we became.”
“Remembering why you started something or opted for a certain change can revitalize your passion in what you’re doing, and save you when you’re feeling down. I work just as hard now as I did when I started working in this field, if not harder, to make sure this little family that we’ve built creates more memories that last a lifetime.”
Tips and tools to combine content marketing and PPC
- Many businesses opt for content marketing because organic traffic is free. But, this strategy makes them miss a great opportunity to grow fast because combining SEO-optimized content with PPC speeds up the lead generation process.
- Online businesses need to know specific use cases for content marketing and PPC to assess the value of the strategy.
- Less than half of small businesses (45%) invest in PPC.
- PPC and SEO content marketing can bring in more leads by capturing more quality traffic with more effective keyword optimization of blog content, lead magnets, and landing pages.
- To get the most value from content marketing and PPC, businesses need to master keyword research, searcher intent, and the consistency between the landing page and ad optimization.
As someone who primarily engaged in SEO and content writing for small businesses, I didn’t really care about PPC advertising.
Maybe because of people like me, only 45% of small businesses invest in PPC.
I thought that the best way to bring high-quality leads was with super optimized content, so paid advertising was the realm of bigger companies. That’s the mindset of many small business owners. With teeny tiny marketing budgets, they have to choose between SEO/content and PPC.
SEO/content often becomes their choice, especially of those with interest in content creation and a lack of real marketing experience.
SEO was my preferred choice, too, and I saw PPC as something secondary.
Boy, was I wrong about this!
After a couple of projects involving PPC promotion, my view of the strategy completely changed. No, they didn’t change how I thought about SEO, but they showed how amazing the results could be if you combine the power of both strategies.
To all SEO specialists still not using PPC and the other way around, here’s what you’re missing.
1. More effective content thanks to PPC-tested keywords
Developing a content strategy is one of the most complex and important tasks for any SEO specialist. They use keyword research tools, PPC tools, Google Search Console results, and other methods to find those precious keywords used by customers.
When they find the keywords they think are good for targeting SEO/content marketing, they begin a slow process of creating content. I wrote oh-so-many blog articles, eBooks, checklists, reports, and other content to find out the keywords that attracted the most conversions.
All of this takes a lot of time.
In fact, to write a super effective blog post, you need more than six hours.
When you’re done with writing the draft, there’s also proofreading, editing, making visuals, and keyword optimization. To cut a long story short, you might need a few days to complete a good article that can bring quality organic traffic.
But that’s not the end of that road.
Google, too, needs some time to index the article and rank it. In fact, it might take between two and six months to rank in the top 10.
That’s a bit much, agree?
To top it all off, the keywords you’ve chosen for your content might not the best ones to target. If you make this mistake, you’ll have to learn your mistakes and start all over again (welcome to the world of SEO content writing, folks).
Is there a way to speed this time-consuming process up? Yes. It’s PPC.
It can get you in front of the audience and allow you to test your keyword ideas much faster. If you have content to test, use PPC ads, and equip them with the keywords.
Get them out there and see what people respond to best. You can have some great results as early as a few days, which is pretty much impossible with SEO/content marketing.
Another great news is that you can run A/B testing. This means running ads featuring different keywords for the same content piece. If one performs much better than the other, update the content with the more popular keywords.
So, the takeaway here is that running PPC campaigns for content is a much faster way to test keywords. Start by finding keywords with research tools and make some ads, and you’ll be more likely to discover how your customers look for businesses like yours.
2. More leads from lead magnets
In content SEO, we often create lead magnets.
They are content pieces like reports, white papers, eBooks, webinars, videos, and other valuable content that people need to sign up to access.
You’ve seen tons of them before. A common example is a banner promoting an industry report with an irresistible CTA on a blog. It says that you need to provide your email address and name to access it instantly.
Click on that CTA, and you’ll go to a landing page with the lead capture form.
Like this “The Ultimate Agency Guide to Video Marketing” landing page, where everyone can download a guide with helpful tips on video marketing.
As you can see, the content is offered in exchange for some data. Not a bad deal of a guide packed with useful instructions for businesses.
Unsurprisingly, many content producers often turn to lead magnets for quick lead generation.
Ozan Gobert, a senior content writer at Best Writers Online said,
“Lead magnets work well for both B2B and B2C businesses aslong as they have some value for customers. You can generate some high-quality leads with them, as they typically attract those interested in insights and tips inside.”
If a blog has thousands of visitors every week, then there might not be a need for PPC promoting lead magnets. But is that true for your blog?
Many people think they can manage without the ads (I was one of them). Basically, it’s because they think that great content will “sell” itself.
Despite what they might think, not so many blogs are that successful in attracting visitors. In fact, more than 90% of web pages don’t get any organic search traffic from Google.
As you can see, only about 1.3 percent of web pages out there get decent traffic. Just for that tiny share, promoting a lead magnet with PPC advertising might not be necessary every time.
Obviously, the situation is very different for the rest.
If your website doesn’t have a lot of visitors, too, then creating lead magnets might be pointless. They’ll just sit there only to be discovered by a few people per week.
Not good because you need more leads.
If you wish that there was a way to get more people to pay attention to, there is actually a way.
And it’s PPC, of course. To get some emails, you need a well-crafted PPC campaign that leads people to the landing page where they can sign up to receive the content.
You can try to bring people with keyword-based ads promoting the lead magnet. If you choose the right keywords, the ads have a much greater chance to attract leads than SEO alone.
This is how it works: PPC does the job bringing in visitors, the content converts them into leads by having them complete the capture form.
To increase the chance of people signing up, the value of content is critical. But, the visual appeal is also a major consideration. You need tools for creating visual content like images, graphics, and infographics to add to your lead magnets.
3. Better marketing campaign performance thanks to a smart keyword use
Many businesses out there don’t realize they can bring much more quality traffic to their websites if they focus on best-performing keywords in both SEO, content marketing and PPC.
Much more traffic.
When an SEO/content marketing specialist and a PPC marketer share a list of relevant keywords, they can decide how to divide them to:
- Target the most promising keywords together to bring the most traffic
- Identify the keywords that are the most difficult for SEO and target them with PPC and the other way around
- Define which search queries to focus on with each lead acquisition strategy
Ultimately, the cooperation between the PPC and SEO teams can result in a much more effective keyword strategy. In turn, this strategy could attract more traffic to your websites.
To make content keyword optimization work, you need to master searcher intent or purchase intent. Put simply, searcher intent is the reason behind a search query.
For example, the query “Samsung a10 review” implies that the searcher is looking to do some research but has not made the decision yet. If they search Google for “buy Samsung a10 cheap”, then they might be ready to buy.
Each intent defines how you should create content. It matters a lot for SEO because Google’s goal is to provide its users with the most relevant results.
Dive Deeper: Tapping into Google’s Algorithm for Searcher Intent.
4. Create landing pages that convert more visitors
A landing page is the heart of any PPC marketing.
But, in many cases, PPC specialists aren’t the best persons to write the copy for it. By engaging content and SEO specialists and having them work with PPC folks, you can create a keyword optimized copy that also appeals to the readers.
For example, PPC specialists can provide keywords and ideas for optimized headings and subheadings for attracting traffic. In turn, content writers contribute by creating a copy that’s easy to read and entices the visitors to act.
So, the collaboration of PPC and SEO/content teams can result in campaign landing pages that generate clicks and converts.
A good way to start doing PPC campaign landing pages is to create a checklist to cover all bases. This checklist can include images, copy, sign up options, etc.
SEO and PPC: Two are better than one
I’m not exaggerating when I say that SEO and PPC are a marriage made in heaven. I am positive that these points described in this article prove that.
Don’t make a mistake I made by neglecting the power of PPC advertising. Combined with SEO and quality content, you can greatly increase the quality of your traffic.
If you’d like to try them together, feel free to start by doing PPC ads for your best-performing blog articles. The results you’ll see will definitely impress and inspire you to try more. Thanks to this article, you’ll know your next steps.
Ana Mayer is a project manager with 3+ years of experience. She likes to read and create expert academic materials for the Online Writers Rating writing review website.
The post Tips and tools to combine content marketing and PPC appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
What’s the Difference between IMPACT’s Fast Start Program vs Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching
Leading an organization in a time of uncertainty creates analysis paralysis. However, one thing is for sure: we are not living through a period of business as usual. The old way of hunting and disrupting customers to get them to buy your product or service is long-gone.
My marketing career grew up in an era of lead generation, pop-ups, TV ads, and disruptive tactile efforts where we lived for the sheer number of leads. We got excited seeing the top of the funnel fill up! However, we disregarded the quality of those leads. By doing so, we spun our wheels, time, and valuable resources trying to keep them, when, in fact, they weren’t a fit to begin with.
The truth is customer acquisition is drying up, and the real money lies in repeat purchases. Creating a sustainable business occurs through loyal customers, obtained via customer-centric marketing.
How can we do that?
We can do that by harnessing the simplicity and yet impactful methodology of the They Ask, You Answer core philosophy: trust.
They Ask, You Answer is the belief that success in every business is based on trust. And to win that trust, businesses must obsess over the questions, concerns, and problems their buyers have, and address them as honestly and as thoroughly as possible—just as much online as they do offline. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s a belief that buyers have changed, and sales and marketing must evolve with them. And at IMPACT, this is precisely the vision we help companies realize.
As one of the Digital Sales and Marketing Coach at IMPACT, I work with clients to take ownership of their customer-centric digital sales and marketing efforts.
We help you build the skills in-house and own your digital sales and marketing destiny. The way we do that is by guiding you through the They Ask, You Answer journey. My job as your coach is to help diagnose problems before they become problems by staying many steps ahead of you on this journey, developing solutions, and moving you to action.
We do this work through our two coaching programs, the Fast Start Program and the Digital Sales and Marketing Coach Program.
Fast Start Program vs Digital Sales and Marketing Coach Program
Being a coach for both programs, I have intimate knowledge of which types of clients fit for which program.
What is the difference?
These two programs are run by the Digital Sales and Marketing Coaches and are, at their core, similar. The main difference is that the Fast Start Program has an end date, and the Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching program is ongoing.
The Fast Start Program is when you get to work with a Digital Sales and Marketing Coach to uncover the challenges your organization faces — maybe it’s a dip in revenue or sales, or your team is feeling the need to pivot, or you’ve heard of the They Ask, You Answer methodology and want to dip your toe in the water. Instead of jumping into a long-term relationship with no real end date, both you and your coach get the opportunity to understand each other better, creating a better fit and thus more chance of success going forward.
During this time, for both the Fast Start and DSMC program, your Digital Sales and Marketing Coach can assess your business and find out where your challenges are and what success looks like for your company. Within a short space of time, they will provide you with a set of customized digital sales and marketing recommendations and a one-page strategy for the next 12 months.
This is where the Fast Start Program ends — with the delivery of the one-page strategic plan.
In addition to the above, the Digital Sales and Marketing Coach program is an evergreen arrangement between you and your coach, and you will work together on the challenges associated with digital sales and marketing ownership.
This arrangement ends when your business has fully implemented the tenets of the They Ask, You Answer methodology and are seeing a growth in revenue.
To reach that point, based on our clients who are seeing that success, it typically takes between twelve and eighteen months from the first engagement.
However, the length of success depends entirely on you and your team’s commitment to the principles of They Ask, You Answer, such as organizational alignment between the sales and marketing leadership, having the right person in the right position, hiring a full-time content manager and videographer, and, most importantly, an obsession to serve and answer your customer’s questions thoroughly and honestly.
The core of success we see with the most successful clients that see exponential growth in revenue and their customers satisfaction is the organization’s learning mindset and willingness to adopt a different way to approach and serve your customers because they know that this is a time where it isn’t business as usual.
To give you an idea of how clients choose which program is best suited for them, let’s look at two real-life examples of the outcome from these two programs so you can have a better picture of how each company’s outcome differs and how these clients went through their decision-making process.
A Tale of Two Clients
I chose these two examples because of the similarities and yet very different situations their businesses were in. Both came with the same enthusiasm in embracing the They Ask, You Answer methodology. Each started their journey in different programs, and the milestone and trajectory of success of the clients differ significantly.
There is no right answer. The right answer is the right one for your business.
The Fast Start Program Client
The first client caught the vision and with much enthusiasm wanted to get going but wasn’t sure how working with a Digital Sales and Marketing Coach versus just reading the book would get them where they needed to be.
They told me, “We are bought into They Ask, You Answer because we saw Marcus speak and we chose the Fast Start Program because it’s a way to dip our toe into working with a Digital Sales and Marketing Coach at the beginning of the They Ask, You Answer journey with a strategic plan in hand.”
By the end of the Fast Start Program, armed with recommendations and a They Ask, You Answer strategic plan and roadmap, the client had a choice to make. They could use that plan and run with it on their own or they could continue with IMPACT in the Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching evergreen program.
After contemplating and discussing with their team for a week or two, they concluded that the They Ask, You Answer methodology was the right methodology for them. And they understood that dipping their toe into the They Ask, You Answer wasn’t going to cut the mustard.
Their business ethos rallied around pleasing and easing their customers and they wanted to stand out in their traditionally transactional industry. They realized that they were doing that in person already, but they felt it was the right time to scale up the philosophy because of how their buyer’s habits have changed.
However, without a full-time content manager, no real marketing manager, or a website with any content on it, they realized that they didn’t have any of the right tools, people, and strategies to move things forward fast! Rather than take a long-route to figure it out, they opted to go for the Digital Sales and Marketing Coach evergreen program with additional content training.
Today, still early in their journey, they are well on their way to shifting their culture where Sales and Marketing are becoming more aligned, and how their sales team speaks and connects with their customers, through virtual selling strategies. And creating They Ask, You Answer the Big 5 content as well as streamlining and being able to track their success harnessing HubSpot.
The Digital Sales and Marketing Coach Program Client
Another client, a small business owner, had also caught the vision, read the book twice, and created a book club with people in his industry. When presented with time and the opportunity, he decided to go straight into an evergreen Digital Sales and Marketing Coach bi-weekly engagement.
Without the know-how or support, he wanted his company to grow fast and to implement They Ask, You Answer the right way. As a testament to their seriousness, they hired a videographer and a content manager in the first week of the engagement. This has led to additional services with IMPACT such as video training and content training.
This client didn’t want to take the long route to figure things out and quickly understood that by working with a coach, and trainers at the same time would bring them to be able to work on the business, not be too in the business. This means they could have structure, and focus on growing revenue and uphold the trust they have already built over the many years being in business.
Today, they are still on the journey but have already seen themselves change how they think about their customers. They identified which customers were not a fit and uncovered the endless hours spent on qualifying those leads, wasting time, energy, and money. They have also learned how to harness the power of their website to do that filtering for them.
Currently, IMPACT is working with them to create a self-selection tool. Opting for a self-selection tool on their website will help them qualify leads before a salesperson speaks to their prospects. Furthermore, we are doing this while building out content, both written and video, for assignment selling.
Both businesses caught the vision and bought into the Thay Ask, You Answer philosophy. Yet, they chose different programs initially.
Hey, you do you… but make sure to do something. Your future customer certainly won’t wait.
Whether they are B2C or B2B, buyer’s behaviors are changing. Not only are they making their purchasing decisions BEFORE they come to you, but they’re also more careful about the decisions they make.
What’s the difference between Fast Start and DSMC engagement?
Now is the time to act, but which program is right for you?
Every company has its specific challenges to overcome. And the companies that are willing to commit to becoming the most trusted company in their industry will withstand the test of change in consumer buying habits.
Considering taking the first step in making your business the trusted voice in your industry?
We are here to help. Even though we are a marketing agency, my goal for you is to be as informed as possible about our two different Digital Marketing Coaching services that best fit your goals.
“Customers have all the power in the buying process,” says Dave Gerdhardt, who is the VP of Marketing at Drift, a conversational marketing platform for businesses. “As a result, whichever company makes it easier to buy is going to win. That’s how we make decisions, today, as consumers.”
Let’s take a side by side look at these two programs.
How long do the programs last?
The Fast Start Program lasts four to six weeks, consisting of four 45-minute meetings with unlimited access to your coach during regular business hours through our online communication platform Basecamp. Although the meetings themselves last 45-minutes, there is required homework prior and after each session. Homework can take anywhere from several minutes to several hours, depending on what the homework is.
Homework consists of exercises and prompts focused on understanding a buyer’s first mindset. Then we collaborate to evaluate if you have the right people in the right place, which includes guiding you to hire a content manager or a videographer. These two roles are essential to the success of the They Ask, You Answer methodology. We will also review and collaborate on business plans, objectives, sales processes, buyer journeys, and metrics to measure the success of your business.
The Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching Program is an on-going engagement where you meet with a coach every two-weeks for 45-minutes. You will also have unlimited asynchronous access to your coach during regular business hours through our communication platform, Basecamp.
Overall, working with a Digital Sales and Marketing Coach should become part of your daily work routine as it will ensure the culture in your organization will stick for years to come.
What deliverables will I receive?
The value of working with a Digital Sales and Marketing Coach is that we work with you to develop the sales and marketing skills in-house, which can generate revenue for years to come without needing to outsource that skill set. Companies continuously pay agencies a monthly fee in many cases because they haven’t been trained to do what the agency does.
Imagine if you could bring that skill in-house?
We also teach, coach, and guide you and your teams to become the They Ask, You Answer experts. The result is your organization’s culture starts to shift from a company-first mindset to a buyer-first mindset. In that, the buyer is shared throughout the organization, which creates a seamless and delightful customer experience.
You also save your business’s valuable time to reach your goals faster in becoming the trusted voice in your industry. What you gain through the coaching process is invaluable and allows you to drive this process after learning it.
Both programs deliver a one-page strategic plan used to map out your They Ask, You Answer strategy.
The difference is, with the Fast Start Program, the engagement ends with the one-page strategic plan. Where in the Digital Sales and Marketing Program, it’s then taking that one-page strategic plan and guiding you and your team (sales and marketing) to continue to implement and execute those strategies on an on-going basis.
If you were in an evergreen Digital Sales and Marketing Program, we would work through the strategy and the pillars of the They Ask, You Answer methodology (found in IMPACT+ under the scorecard), such as:
- Company Alignment and Buy-In
- Team Training
- Assignment Selling Strategies
And simultaneously work with a content trainer, video trainer, and Hubspot trainer.
Who from my team needs to be involved?
In both the Fast Start and the Digital Sales and Marketing programs, key leaders should be present at a minimum, along with the sales, and marketing teams. Because They Ask, You Answer is a sales-driven initiative. Marketing supports sales efforts.
Also, They Ask, You Answer is a philosophy that doesn’t work when the rest of the company isn’t on board. When internal teams don’t communicate, customers receive inconsistent service. This unpredictable experience will drive them away. In a world of instant gratification, there’s a level of expectation that customers expect — and they won’t wait for you to solve your internal differences.
Involving the rest of the team in a Fast Start Program, which consists of four calls, isn’t possible because there isn’t enough time to complete that work and do it properly.
However, in an evergreen Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching Program, we can rearrange one or two of the evergreen monthly calls focused on specific groups. There is an opportunity to increase the number of meetings from twice a month to four times a month.
What is the time commitment?
How much time you commit to this effort becomes irrelevant if you shift your priorities and think about the possibilities of what is to come if you put your all into it. Does the time then matter if it means unblocking the boundaries of your business? If the team is bought in, then the time spent on this is irrelevant.
But ok, I get it, you still want to know how much time you’ll be spending on this.
Both the Fast Start Program requires dedicated time to take weekly calls for four weeks that last 45-minutes. It is the same for the Digital Sales and Marketing program; the difference is the cadence of the calls that happen two times per month.
The other time commitment is the time needed to complete homework: the building blocks of They Ask, You Answer. It might take a few minutes to several hours per week, depending on if your business has the information handy.
Pros and cons between the two programs
The pros of the Fast Start Program are that in a short period, you will have a clear understanding of what you and your team need to work on to be successful in the They Ask, You Answer methodology. You will walk away with recommendations and a strategy on how to do that.
The cons of the Fast Start Program are that you may not know how to execute on the plan because you and your team may not understand the nuances of They Ask, You Answer. You and your team end up not moving forward because there is a lack of accountability. We have also found this to be the case because leaders are operating with a different mindset and putting the company first, not buyers.
The pros of the Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching Program is you and your team are on the They Ask, You Answer journey and are working through a more extended period, which creates a space to build habits and cadence that increases the adoption of the They Ask, You Answer methodology. The build-up is incremental, and the pace is, what my clients tell me, easier.
The cons of the Digital Sales and Marketing Coaching program is the perception that this investment is to move your business forward is infinite. There is no set end date to the budget. The unknown is unpredictable, but the goal of IMPACT training is to ensure you are bought in and learning. We get it. However, learning is an investment. If we didn’t invest in learning, how could we ever learn?
What is the cost of inaction?
Marcus Sheridan talks about the risk to businesses if they choose not to act:
Those willing to shift their mindset and do the work can make a quantum leap in their industry and bypass their largest competitors. Those who refuse to listen to buyers and how they’ve changed experience tremendous frustration and potential financial ruin.…
[D]on’t ask, “Can we afford to do this?” Instead, I challenge you to answer these hard questions: “What if we don’t do anything?” “What is the cost of inaction?”
What is the cost of inaction? Is it a negative impact on their business of not changing and instead of coasting on proven successful formulas? If it’s not broken, why spend the time and money to fix it? If it works, it works; don’t rock the boat. Right?
That mentality is the problem: a fear of not wanting to rock the boat, not change something that has proven to work so far, lures businesses into complacency that ends up doing more harm than good. Just because what you’re doing now meets your goals doesn’t mean it always will. The changing nature of buyers, markets, and industries guarantee it won’t. Constant inputs don’t yield continuous outputs. As buyers and markets change, regular data result in declining outputs.
The cost of doing nothing: failing to refocus the business – towards building trust with customers by answering their questions and needs – is a recipe for your position in the market to shrink and become less relevant.
Because we live in an unprecedented time of COVID-19, the way we work and how businesses operate is forever changed. According to McKinsey & Company, more than 50% of consumers are increasingly proactively researching the products online and getting referrals from their friends and families on what products to buy.
Therefore, focusing on the buyers’ behaviors is a must, as they increase the number of items they purchase. Because they are now staying home longer, there is a shift away from necessities, and business products are rising.
Shoppers are also asking more questions. According to Marketing Week, consumer question submissions — where a shopper submits a question around a particular product, such as asking for dimensions or whether they can use it in a specific way – is increasing year-over-year, with an increase of 54% in April.
This increase in review and question counts shows that brands, now more than ever, need to engage with their customers. They can do this by answering any questions that they are submitting and taking the time to analyze their reviews to help improve their customers’ overall experience.
And to do so, your team must understand the what, how, and why of They Ask, You Answer, to allow what is a “program” in many people’s eyes to eventually become a culture.
How fast you get to this point is up to you, you can read the book and take a slower and bumpier ride, or work with our team of coaches and trainers to get you there and know that you are doing it the right way.
What are you waiting for?
How to Start Your Content Cluster Strategy
When you think of content clustering—what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?
Yeah… we didn’t think about internal links and pillar posts either . Clustering sounds like it’s better left to chocolate and nuts, but it’s actually a content marketing strategy that can garner better rankings and conversions.
Content clustering uses pillar posts to drive conversions. We learned the ins-and-outs of content clustering from Aja Frost, the Senior Content Strategist on HubSpot’s SEO team. Thanks to Aja, we’ve been able to use content clustering to boost our own conversions, making us confident that this is a strategy you should know about.
For each pillar post in your cluster strategy, you’ll create several cluster posts that link to it. This creates a cluster of content on a specific topic and all links to the bigger, pillar post. The pillar post holds the weight of the team and is designed to be so awe-strikingly amazing that it boosts your conversions. The cluster posts are there to get more views on that pillar post and drive up its ranking in Google.
Let’s look at an example we can all get behind—puppies. An animal rescue could create a pillar post on “Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Dog.” Then, they could create cluster posts on, “What to Buy When Adopting a Dog,” “Where to Adopt a Dog,” “How to Adopt a Dog,” and “What Kind of Dog to Adopt.” (For this example, we’re going to assume these are all high-ranking keywords.)
Each of those cluster posts are going to link to the larger pillar post of “Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Dog.” That pillar post is going to have calls to action, like showing images of dogs that the shelter has for adoption—because who can resist puppies?!
That’s how you create a content cluster that drives conversions through your pillar post.
If this sounds like a good idea for your marketing strategy, here are the 5 steps to starting your own content cluster.
#1: Choose your pillar post topics
Your content cluster strategy starts with pillar posts that you’ll create content around. For example, a pillar post could be about content marketing, and then you’ll publish content that supports that pillar post. (For example, an article on content clusters .)
To figure out what your pillar topics should be, you want to look at the keywords that work best for your business. You want terms that are searched often and directly correlate to your products.
For example, if you’re an interior design decorator you’d consider keywords like “interior design for kitchens”, “decor for bathrooms, and “designing outdoor spaces”. These keywords would be your pillar posts and then you’d create your cluster content around it.
#2: Figure out your cluster post topics
Once you know what your pillar post topics are, you’re going to figure out what content can cluster around each post. For example, our interior designer can create content clusters like “decor for small kitchens” and “marble accented kitchens” around their pillar post for the keywords “interior design for kitchens”. Each of these clusters can point to the pillar post as a comprehensive post on everything someone needs to know about interior design for kitchens.
At DigitalMarketer our pillar post Everything You Need To Know Content Marketing has content clusters like:
- What is Content Marketing?
- 6 Easy Content Marketing Tips That Will Save You At Least an Hour This Week
- How To Figure Out What Content Your Customer Avatar Wants
For each of your pillar posts you want to create at least 3 related articles that point back to it.
#3: Write your pillar post
Now comes the fun part! Put pen to paper (or outsource) writing your pillar post. Since your content clusters are going to point to this post through internal linking, you want to make sure that it’s seriously valuable content and a great representation of what your business has to offer through their products.
For example, we want our “Everything You Need to Know About Content Marketing” post to be exactly that—everything you need to know. We don’t want to sell you short by not coming through on the promise of our headline or by writing a subpar article. Your pillar post is going to drive the conversions, so you want to make it one of your best posts.
Since pillar posts tend to be longer than your cluster posts, make sure that you’re structuring them so they’re easy to read.
Use headers (H1, H2, H3, and H4), bold and italics, bullet points, images, emojis, and anything else that will help break up all of the text into something that’s easier to read. Feel free to reference our content marketing pillar post for an idea of how to do this.
#4: Write the cluster posts that surround it
With your first pillar post done, you can start writing the posts that will cluster around it. These don’t have to be as long as the pillar post and are generally more niched. You can still use the same structuring strategies (headers, bold, italics bullet points, etc.) to make sure these posts are interesting and engaging to read.
You’ll want at least three cluster posts and you need to make sure they all have internal links to your pillar post for that topic. For example, for our “Everything You Need to Know About Content Marketing” post, we want to hyperlink the word “content” or “content marketing” 1–3 times in our cluster posts.
You can still hyperlink to other posts (and even cluster posts for other topics) in your cluster post, but you want to make sure the link to the pillar post is there—that’s kind of the whole point .
And just like that, you have your very own content cluster.
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