5 Ways to Generate Content Easily

Sometimes even the most experienced writers hit content roadblocks. Authoring new and original content is hard work, and after a while, the inspiration stops coming. So when your well of words dries up, and you’re desperate for new content, try out a few of these painless content generation ideas:

Get your audience to create content for you
Ask your audience to take selfies with your product or tell a story about your brand’s impact on their lives. When they share these moments on social media, it will reach your network and theirs.

Recycle old content into something new
Take an old post and rework it into something that’s relevant today. When you add #TBT to an engaging post from back in the day – voila! – You have a brand new piece of content.

Develop case studies
When you can’t think of anything new to say, go to your customers. Ask them about past experiences, and retell their stories online. Case studies help you build transparency, and are relatively painless to create.

Curate content from other trusted sources
Go to trusted news outlets or trade publications for relevant content that makes sense for your target audience. Curating content from respected sources helps build credibility, and all you have to do is post a link and your take on it.

Respond to your audience
Whether it’s on social media, in comment sections, in blog posts or through contact forms, customers are always reaching out. It takes very little effort to respond to these comments, and personal responses could help you build lasting relationships with your audience.

Trust us, these content generation techniques are painless, and they will offer a lot more value to your customers than a silly meme or cat picture. (But, we like those too. Sometimes.)

5 Business Advantages of Responsive Design

responsive design

In online marketing, there has been a serious behavior shift toward mobile and tablet browsing. With readers increasingly accessing websites on their smartphones, tablets and computers, responsive design has become an important part of the online user’s digital experience.

Check out our list of the 5 major business advantages you can achieve by switching to a responsive website design:

Builds tablet and mobile audiences

Traditionally, when mobile audiences would access a website, they would be re-directed to a device-specific site. But with responsive design, one site can be developed and implemented across all devices. As tablet and mobile sales continue to grow, responsive design will become increasingly important for reaching these growing audiences.

Enhances user experiences

Responsive design allows site owners to deliver quality content to audiences across multiple devices. On responsive sites, pictures are proportional, text is readable and buttons are large enough to click – no matter what device your visitor is using.

Improves SEO

When you switch to a responsive site, all of your efforts can be focused on a single set of hypertext links and a single SEO strategy. Consolidating your efforts will save you time, money and make your site more popular among major search engines.

Increases sales and conversion rates 

As your audience becomes familiar with your site’s navigation, the improved user experience could positively impact your conversion rates. Responsive design removes some of the functionality and performance issues that multiple sites can create, so users are more likely to see their conversions all the way through.

Streamlines development and site management

Developing a single responsive site takes a lot less time and effort than creating a traditional site and a standalone mobile site. But responsive design is not only a time saver in the development phase; it also makes sites easier and more cost effective for clients to manage on the back-end.

Interested in responsive design, but don’t have the tools to develop a responsive site yourself? Don’t worry. Contact the development experts at TKG, and see how we can help you achieve your business goals.

And don’t miss our Breakfast Bootcamp on Oct. 16, where we will talk in depth about the benefits of responsive design.

Congratulations to Bonita Eberhart, our new Office Manager!

Bonita EberhartBonita comes to TKG after almost 15 years in the interior design industry. In her new role as Office Manager, Bonita will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the efficiency of TKG’s front-of-office operations. She will draw from her broad experience working in administration, sales and interior design to keep the TKG team in check and the office running smoothly.

Join us in congratulating Bonita in the comments!

Hilary Stephens Promoted to Online Marketing Specialist

Hilary StephensCongratulations to our very own Hilary Stephens, who was recently promoted to Online Marketing Specialist.

Hilary has proven to be a valuable asset to The Karcher Group in her time here so far, and has always accepted the challenges presented to her and we’re sure she will thrive in this new role. She started at TKG in 2012 as Administrative Assistant.

As a Specialist, Hilary will now be supporting our Online Marketing Strategists on tasks such as page optimization, link building, content marketing, research and documentation.

Join us in congratulating Hilary in the comments!

Don’t Delete Old News Articles From Your Website

SEO TipWe sometimes get questions from clients who are considering removing old news articles from their websites.

The quick answer: Don’t do it.

Why would someone want to delete an old news article? Here are some situations we’ve heard:

  • It announces an event that has already taken place
  • It mentions a person that no longer works for the company
  • It features a product or service that is no longer available or has changed
  • It features external links that contain broken links
  • It is old and therefore no one cares about it

Here’s why we do not recommend deleting older news content:

Part of the Company History

This is our response to the first three bullets. Just because the tradeshow is over doesn’t mean the article about the show needs to go away. As long as the date of the event is prominently represented in the article, there is no harm keeping the article on your website. If your news archives contain quite a few pages about tradeshows you’ve attended over the years, potential clients/customers will see you attended major industry tradeshows in the past which can help position your company as a major player in the industry.

Regarding articles featuring employees that no longer work for the company; embrace the fact that they were part of the company at the time when the article was originally written. More than likely, they helped your business and may have even interacted with your customers. If they won an award while they were working with your company, it’s okay to leave that accolade on your website. If they were part of a group of employees that volunteered in the community, the overall spirit of the article is still intact whether or not the individual is currently with the company. The exception here, of course, is if the individual left on terrible terms and could be a threat to the business. If you have legal concerns, we always recommend deferring to your legal department for guidance.

Regarding articles containing product announcements or service offerings that are no longer new or available; this is another good piece of your company’s history that should be represented online. Rather than removing the article completely, why not keep the article and add a brief note in the introduction stating that the product is no longer available and has been replaced with a new model? A link could be added to direct users to the current product which ultimately helps satisfy their need.

In research reports we have completed for clients, we’ve seen examples of users searching Google, and even a website’s own internal site search, for older product names that are no longer offered by the company. If search activity is taking place for a branded term that your company developed, your website should be the one ranking first in search engines for related searches. If it’s not your site in the search results, you’re opening the door for your competitors and others sites to occupy these valuable results.

Content Is Important for SEO

As we’ve mentioned time and time again on TKGenius, content is vital to the success of a website. Not just a few good quality landing pages, but lots of pages about a variety of topics relevant to your business. Websites with lots of valuable pages are typically viewed more favorably in search results than similar websites with fewer pages. One of the most logical locations on a website to build up content is the news section.

Let’s look at some basic numbers to further illustrate this point.

If your website contains 500 unique URLs and 200 of them are news articles, making the decision to remove the oldest 100 articles would make your website 20% smaller in terms of total pages. This would effectively reduce your website’s ability to bring organic visits by 20%. Now, we know that not all articles are going to bring in substantial traffic to a website, but a quick look at Google Analytics landing page traffic often shows a surprising number of organic visits landing on particular news articles. A really strong article written several years ago could be responsible for bringing a large amount of traffic year after year.

Content is Hard to Produce

We understand that developing a content calendar and continually writing good content is a lot of work. The best content is unique and often taking lots of planning, research, revisions and approvals to make it onto a website. Deleting an older news article cancels out all that work with the simple click of a button.

This rule expands beyond news article as well. Think long and hard about all the work you put into creating a page on your website before making the decision to delete it. Search engine algorithms are complex and if one of your news articles is relevant enough to rank on the first page of a search engine results page, it would be a shame if one day that page disappeared.

3 Reasons Pinterest is Good for Business

If you’re like me, Facebook is where you go to creep on people you went to high school with, Twitter is where you go for news and current events, Instagram is where you go for cute pictures of cats and dogs, and Pinterest is where you go to get inspired.

pinterestWhat makes Pinterest so unique is that it creates a desire to explore and engage. When users see a delicious recipe, they want to eat it. When they see a DIY project, they want to try it. When they see a nail polish color they like, they want to buy it. Pinterest is visual, product-focused and interactive, and if you use it correctly, it can be a marketer’s dream. Here’s why:

  1. Pinners have purchase intent – When pinners browse product boards, they are actually looking for things they want to buy. Pins that incorporate pictures, prices, availability and reviews typically do well because they offer all of the information pinners need to make a purchase.
  2. Pinterest helps you understand your audience – Pinterest boards tell hand-crafted stories about what pinners care about. When you know what users have pinned in the past, it’s easy to target them with similar products moving forward.
  3. Repins connect you with new audiences – Pinterest connects people through shared interests. If a user repins your product, it instantly gets visibility from an entirely new audience that might be interested. It’s like word of mouth marketing, but this word of mouth connects directly to your e-commerce site.

Although it may have a reputation as a crafter’s dreamland, Pinterest is a serious marketing tool that can lead to very real business results. Try it out, and see for yourself!

Advanced Google Analytics: Understanding Conversions: Multi-Channel Funnels

When looking at conversion data, it is easy to forget that many visitors may explore and research for awhile before they buy or even fill out a form. In Google Analytics it is easy to see the conversions organized by the source or medium or even campaign. But this assumes that the only visit that matters is the one where a user converts.

What about the visitor that clicked a link from Twitter and then came back later from a bookmark? Or the user that clicked a Google Ad, looked around, clicked a link to your Facebook page, and Liked it. Then 2 weeks later clicked a link on Facebook and made a purchase? This is where Multi-Channel Modeling comes in.

multi channelThe Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer lets you see at a glance how many channels contributed to conversions by looking at previous visits from a user that eventually converts. When paired with the Top Conversion Paths report we can see what visit came first. In this case many users that eventually converted on a direct visit initially found the site via organic search.

pathsIf your eyes are starting to glaze over at the thought of attribution modeling, maybe it is time to bring in an expert. We are just a click away.

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? See my previous post on conversion funnels or join us tomorrow (September 18, 2014) for our Advanced Google Analytics Bootcamp. Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

Delivering the Right Message to the Right Person: The Importance of Data Driven Marketing

The concept of data driven marketing is simple – know your customer – and not just the basic demographics either. Knowing and understanding the types of messages that your customers want to receive will greatly enhance your customers’ experience. And research proves that customers will spend more based on a great user experience. Let’s look at two recent examples from my inbox.

Exhibit A – Don’t Advertise Dog Food in Cat Fancy

A few years ago at a carnival, my son won a fish. This was a big deal because it was the closest thing to a pet my son would ever know (as long as he was living under MY roof). So off we went to one of the larger chain pet stores in our area for fish supplies. After spending the better part of a car payment, we were all set. I even joined a rewards program to help us save on things like fish food and tank filters in the future…or so I thought. About a week later I received an email boasting huge savings on dog food. The following week it was cat food, then bird seed, then ferret foot; you get the gist. I attempted to update my email preferences but my only option was to receive weekly, bi-weekly or monthly emails. Because I didn’t want to miss out on a potential gold mine of savings on fish filters, I agreed to keep the emails coming. In the years since, the fish has died, new fish were purchased and new fish have died. Apathetically, I haven’t adjusted my email preferences, mostly because it is easier to delete the email simply based on the sender.

If I had the chance to opt-into emails about fish supplies, I’d be a happy shopper, but as it stands, I am a data marketer’s worst nightmare…or am I?

Exhibit B – Did the Foundmodclothers of ModCloth Just Send ME an Email?

I’m a BIG fan of ModCloth. I love their clothes, I love their culture, and I even love their behavioral retargeting (you know, that ad for a cute dress that follows you around to other sites you tend to visit). ModCloth does such a great job following me around that sometimes I don’t open their emails when they arrive. So when I received a message directly from the co-founders of ModCloth expressing concern for my lack of response to their emails, I was surprised (although as a marketer, I was happy). Has it really been three months since I opened an email, certainly not, but maybe? Initially I selected the “Don’t change a thing” option regarding my preferences, but the curious marketer, who recently sat in on a presentation about data driven marketing, wanted to see the options.

Fortunately for me, my preferences were set just as I wanted them. But I appreciated the options. Frankly, I appreciated the email asking me if I still wanted to receive emails.

modcloth preferences

The Importance of Data Driven Marketing

Knowing and understanding the messages your customers want to receive is paramount. Engaged customers are repeat customers.

  • Don’t trap your customers into receiving emails they don’t want.
  • Make updating preferences easy for your customers.
  • Skip the step that requires users to sign into an account with a username and password that was created three years ago.

Learn more about the five steps of data driven marketing or leave us a comment with your questions!

Advanced Google Analytics: Understanding Conversions with Funnels

Conversions are arguably the most significant aspect of Google Analytics – if you aren’t measuring conversions, why do you have a website? But that is a sermon for another day. Let’s assume that you are measuring conversions, what is the next step to understanding the flow of traffic on your site? Funnels.

goal funnelsFunnels or Goal Steps are a way to identify not just the goal or conversion, but the steps that lead to a conversion. For example: let’s say your have a 3 part form that you use to collect leads. The goal is to get people to complete the form, but equally important: why aren’t people completing the form? By adding goal steps for each section of the form it becomes easy to see how many people are lost at each step in the process. This can be very helpful in deciding which steps in your process are worth keeping and which ones should be eliminated – or at least improved.

Another use for funnels can take advantage of the “Required First Step” setting. If there are two goals that share a final step, for example you use a single form for quote requests, but it is accessed from two separate page, each targeting a different industry. By setting up separate goals, each with a required first step of an industry page, Google Analytics would divide the form completions based on which industry page they came from, helping to align your reporting with your goals.

And now for the clever combo move: in my last post I talked about virtual page views, specifically as a way to track forms that open in a lightbox. By adding the virtual page view as a funnel step, it is easy to see what percentage of visitors completed a form after opening it.

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Advanced Breakfast Bootcamp on September 18 . Click here to register for this FREE session!

The Five Steps of Data Driven Marketing

data driven marketingYep – I’m eeking out as much as I can about my recent visit to the Interaction Marketing Summit hosted by The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron. We heard from experts in the field of content marketing, creative design, and data. The event was kicked off by marketing super-genius Lisa Arthur, CMO at Teradata one of the largest data warehousing & marketing firms in the country. Arthur not only kicked off the event with a keynote address that inspired attendees to “…lift up marketing to new heights,” she was also the recipient of the event’s Direct Marketer of the Year award. So, long story short, she knows her stuff.

Long ago I had a boss who used to tell us, “Don’t try to sell vinyl siding to a brick house.” The optimist in me says that many brick houses have a small amount of siding, but I knew what he was getting at. His words were spoken to a team dedicated to outbound call campaigns. Fortunately, 12 years later, the message still rings true. Whether you are making phone calls or designing marketing campaigns that cross over multiple mediums, knowing your audience is the key.

During Arthur’s presentation, she provided some insight from her recent book Big Data Marketing, and shared the importance of collecting and using customer data to provide a great customer experience.

The Five Steps of Data Driven Marketing

  1. Get Smart: Get Strategic: Plan your campaigns appropriately. Know your audience and make sure you aren’t wasting your marketing dollars targeting the wrong audience.
  2. Tear Down the Silos: The relationship between Marketing and IT is crucial. Your IT department can help you track and report on important customer data. Your marketing team should have a dedicated IT liaison who can help to communicate the information that is needed to
  3. Untangle the Data Hairball: This sounds gross but it really needs to be done. Only 18% of marketers believe that they have complete and useful data. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to update their preferences or go a step further by having them request the specific types of messages they want to receive from you. Don’t try to sell vinyl siding to a brick house.
  4. Make Metrics Your Mantra: Find a good method for collecting and categorizing your customer data. Use your CRM system to its fullest potential – use your newly-broken-down silo approach and ask your IT contacts for customizations of your CRM so you are able to report on and use your customer data. Track your open and click through rates. Take advantage of Google Analytics by adding UTM tracking codes to your campaigns.
  5. Process is the New Black: Make a list, check it twice and all that jazz. Create a process for each of your campaigns and stick to them. If you want to be able to respond to your customers in real-time, process is the way to succeed.

Do you have any other advice for data driven marketing? Share it in the comments!

Image Credit