How Real Estate Companies Can Reevaluate Their Digital Marketing Strategy

How Real Estate Companies Can Reevaluate Their Digital Marketing Strategy

How to Re-evaluate Your Digital Marketing StrategyIt’s never pretty when a company has to reevaluate their marketing strategy. The key words here are “has to”. It’s entirely reasonable to change things from time to time, to grow or change with the times.

However, if a company has to reevaluate, that’s because the current strategy isn’t getting results. It goes double for real estate since all the deals are important.

We’ll keep both situations in mind. Before that, I’d like to point out that we wrote an article about creating a strategy in the first place, so if you don’t yet have anything to reevaluate, check it out.

Start with Your Goals

If you’re doing well and it’s time for an upgrade, the first thing you should do is think about your goals.

Otherwise, you’ll see that the business is growing slowly or not at all because the strategy wasn’t efficient. Even worse, you could lose track of what’s important and end up doing more harm than good.

Real estate companies should always make customer service a priority.

There will almost always be several companies competing for the same clients. The one that gains the customers’ trust will win.

When competition is big, gain your clients' trust by providing outstanding customer service. Click To Tweet

Another pitfall is having the wrong expectations.  Maybe the strategy didn’t do much because you didn’t expect much of it. In this case, your lack of faith is actively limiting your results.

Alternatively, the strategy seems ineffective because you expected too much from it. Maybe it doesn’t even need changing, but the standards are too high. You’d be wasting time and resources by reevaluating it.

Make sure that the goals you’ve set are doable. Then, go from there and start changing aspects of the strategy that don’t fit with what you want.

Review the Results of the Strategy

To improve anything, you have to know how well the strategy has worked for you up to a certain point. It’s rare that a plan is just faulty. The likelier case is that some aspects are good while others need improvement.

More often than not, the ideas themselves aren’t bad. However, the execution is.

I’m not saying that anything you’ll come up with will work out. Just remember that most companies base their strategies on previous examples and results. The reason it might come out differently for them, though, is because of the execution.

There is software that can help you check the traffic you get. Google Analytics and Hubspot are two examples that come to mind.

The execution of the strategy is just as important as implementing every single detail of it. Click To Tweet

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If you do identify an aspect of the strategy that needs changes, take a look at the execution first. If you feel that the implementation went well, the idea itself needs improvement.

Otherwise, it’s much harder to tell where the problem stems from. Remember that digital marketing is pretty different from other tactics. Maybe you’re approaching it the wrong way.

Consider asking an expert to check the strategy you have so far and point out the weak spots. You can talk to our content strategists and see how they can help you with that.

In real estate, most difficulties stem from the way the company interacts with the clients. Maybe they weren’t friendly or invested enough. Maybe they had a slow response time or didn’t offer reliable information. It can take a long time and a lot of attention to detail to work out all the kinks

Think of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Real Estate Company

I’m not talking about how good your coffee is. I’m referring to what you and your coworkers excel at in the industry.

If you like talking to people, consider investing more in social media. It’s the easiest and fastest way to interact with clients over the Internet.

If the coffee is really good though, don't forget to share it with the clients. image source: pixbay

Obviously, you want to consider the weaknesses too.

If you’re terrible at writing but can’t do without it, the best solution is to have someone else write for you. Let me tell you; everyone can write, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should write.

The idea is not to waste potential. Use your strengths and avoid weak points or delegate better-suited people to handle them.

An Excellent Strategy Needs a Good Amount of Attention

Some people like this kind of work and some don’t. That’s the way life works.

You have to be invested in reevaluating a marketing strategy. Read reports and studies so that you know what’s ahead of you, and get involved.

There’s nothing wrong with having others come up with the strategy for you. Still, you have to think about it yourself too. There might be better-suited people to come up with ideas for the plan. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your part as well.

At the very least, make sure that the new strategy will have the right goals in mind, and that no errors occur.

Keep in mind that marketing is crucial to the success of a company, now more than ever. Since it’s vital, you have to dedicate yourself to the process.

Changes Aren’t Irreversible

It might seem obvious, but a lot of people tend to forget this fact. It’s not the end of the world if the strategy doesn’t end up being perfect. That means you have quite a bit of freedom to experiment, and you shouldn’t let the chance go to waste.

For example, let’s say you have two ideas, and you can only use one. The first is less likely to work, but it could offer a tremendous boost. The second one is more reliable but has a smaller positive effect.

If you have the time and resources, you should try both of them to see which one works best for you. It might take a bit of time to get the results, but once you see them, you’ll know very well which idea to continue using.

When it comes to digital marketing, it’s exceptionally easy to change directions. Since there are so many approaches, you should try to experiment with as many of them as possible.

I hope these guidelines were useful for you, and that they will help you improve your strategy.

We’ve also written an article about how you can enhance your digital marketing strategy. Make sure you check that out as well. It’s full of tips on how to be more efficient

Tested Content Tools: 10 Experts Share Their Winning Tips

Tested Content Tools: 10 Experts Share Their Winning Tips

Tested Content ToolsYou know that content marketing is the king, the queen and all the other members of the royal marketing family all wrapped into one. So let’s take a bow, and move on to something you might not have (seriously) considered until now.

Whether your content strategy will be successful or not highly depends on the nature of your content and on the content tools you use. 

In other words, on how well you manage the content creation process for your blog’s posts.

Delivering high-quality, targeted (preferably EPIC) content is super hard. Doing it consistently is even harder.

In many ways, creating content is a lot like running an obstacle course. Let me elaborate on that: 

 

  • Just like in a race, there are many obstacles you’ll have to overcome when creating content. Lack of time, lack of ideas, costs, too much competition, inability to get traction, finding the best content tools.  These are just some of the barriers that can make you lose the race.
  • In all cases, success means constantly pushing yourself, and always training to be better.  
  • Professional athletes spend more time preparing for the race than actually taking part in it. In the context of content creation, that’s called research.

 

In many ways, creating content is a lot like running an obstacle course.

It’s a competition, and we want to help you “steal” the start.

So we’ve asked ten PR experts and marketing specialists about the steps they never skip when creating content.

We’ve pitched in, and included some of the best content tools out there that can make the process easier.

So here they are, the best tips straight from the fingertips of content marketing specialists, combined with our selection of “walkway” tools – all wrapped up into a single post to help you be a better marketer, and create excellent content for your readers.

Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll get to learn by reading this article.

  • Don’t Go in without a Strategy
  • Know Your Audience Better than You Know Your Pockets
  • Keyword Research Is a Must
  • Topic Research
  • Writing EPIC Content
  • Proofreading And Editing: It Might Not Be Sexy, But It’s Necessary
  • Make it Picture Perfect
  • Content Promotion

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Don’t Go in without a Strategy

Starting to create content without a coherent strategy and clear goals you want to achieve is like running in circles. It won’t get you anywhere.

Andrew Boer, Founder and President of Movable Media, an agency that recruits influencers to create original content for brands, says there are three crucial questions you should answer before you can start putting together the bones of your buyer persona. 

Creating content without a coherent strategy and clear goals won’t get you anywhere.

 

1) Who (besides the reader) does the content really serve?

Content doesn’t thrive with many masters. When it is supposed to serve the Branding team, the Sales team, and the PR team, it becomes very difficult to build a coherent strategy because the function is ultimately unclear. 

There are huge differences between the constituencies of a 30-second Super Bowl and a 30-minute infomercial, and the form follows the function. Content Marketing, on the other hand, becomes a catch-all with many masters, and ultimately winds up serving no one.  

 

2) Identify a single metric (choose one) that defines success. 

If you can identify a single metric that constitutes success (email sign-ups, awareness, leads, engagement), then it is far easier to have a coherent strategy. Many metrics trade off with another one; content that is frequent and attracts an audience (click bait) for example, is likely to be thinner and won’t improve your brand’s reputation for deep, thought leadership.  

3) Identify the metrics that define failure.

Everyone has goals for success — but what about failure? Content strategies don’t tend to die; they just wither away. And one of the key problems with content creation is that companies tend to be short-sighted; they treat content marketing like a campaign.

If you can have a discussion around what constitutes failure upfront, then what you are really doing is setting a timeline for the experiment: if we don’t see this kind of engagement after 12 months, we should consider a different approach.

 

How to Do It Faster:

Here are some tools you can use at this stage of the process:

 

Know Your Audience Better than You Know Your Pockets

Repeat after me: “I must resist the urge to cast a wide net!” In other words, take the targeted approach when creating content.

Target research is a crucial step in the content creation process. It will weigh heavily on how much impact your strategy will have.

Daniela Arango PR at Doitwiser.com said that:

To create great content you need to know who you’re writing for. It’s important to understand what content would catch your readers’ attention. A content creator must know the main likes, dislikes, and interests of their readers. It would be useless, for example, to create a blog post about child safety on a business focused site

How to Do It Faster:

 

Keyword Research Is a Must

Keyword research is fundamental to your SEO efforts.

Daren Low, the founder of Bitcatcha.com, says approaching content creation from an SEO perspective is paramount.

What keyword am I targeting and what content is achieving a high ranking for that keyword? This ensures that my piece is congruent with what Google thinks is meaningful for users.

Of course, you should NOT focus only on the keywords. However,  “it is still important to use them in written content, at key “locations” in your piece: the headline, the first paragraph, the sub-headlines, and so on, “ says Alexander Grosu, a Digital Marketer at inSegment, a Boston-based digital marketing agency.

Approaching content creation from an SEO perspective is paramount.

How to Do It Faster:

 

Develop Strong Research Proficiency

Don’t wait until the very last minute to come up with content ideas.

A step of the creation process that can never be skipped is the research phase. Great, relevant content doesn’t just come from brainstorming – you have to be informed.

You want your content to be informative and cutting-edge, and the only way to achieve that is by staying consistently aware of what’s happening with both your customers and your competition.

There is no substitute for thorough research on industry news and trends as part of the creation process.

–  Simon Slade, the CEO and Co-founder of SaleHoo

Procrastinating until the last minute can prove to be a disaster. Do your research.

Angela Stairs, Content Marketing Specialist at seoplus.ca, recommends looking at industry news sites and reading the blogs of competitors in the industry.

That will help you “get a feel for the current ‘hot topics,’ and [you] may even find opportunities for great content where there seem to be gaps in readily available knowledge and tips online.”

How to Do It Faster:

 

Creating EPIC Content

You’re already better equipped to devise excellent content and be more efficient by going through the steps above.

Now it’s time to pump up your creativity muscle.

Once you actually sit down in front of your computer, ready to face that dreaded white page, it would help if you remember these words of wisdom.

 

Here’s what works for the best in the biz:

  • Include outside resources; supplemental content users can benefit from. These resources add a fantastic benefit to the reader that not only provides a source but allow another viewpoint on the topic to be considered.” – Elizabeth Jenkins, the Marketing Manager for Source Capital Funding, Inc. and Texas Hard Money
  • Promotional content is lame. Do not make your content too promotional or else the user will skip over it.”  – Elizabeth Jenkins, the Marketing Manager for Source Capital Funding, Inc.  
  • Think about an example to support your ideas. Whether it is an example from [your] own experience, or an abstract use case, it will help to illustrate [your] statements and to make [your] text more actionable.” – Anastasia Sidko, the Senior Public Relations Manager at SEMrush
  • Segmenting your text. After I’ve created the initial draft, I reorganize it to make it more skimmable and easier-to-read. I try to keep paragraphs and sentences shorter and follow the rule “one sentence – one idea.” – Anastasia Sidko, the Senior Public Relations Manager at SEMrush. 
  • Format use: Tapping content format additives. Today’s content creation process must take readers’ short attention spans and social sharing habits into account. Choosing an engaging format to add to editorial content or even sponsored content campaigns can do just that.” – Nogah Senecky,  Content Marketer at Playbuzz. 
  • Try not to make the headline too complicated or too lengthy, Keep it about 50 characters long. It can also be practical to make up few headlines and then choose one that seems most effective. ”  Anastasia Sidko, the Senior Public Relations Manager at SEMrush.  

How to Do It Faster:

 

Proofreading and Editing

It might not be sexy, but it’s necessary. You content should be flawless. Noticed that typo? I’m sure you did. There’s nothing that can distract readers from the content you post faster than a misspelled word.

Proofreading errors:

Make your work look sloppy and unprofessional.

Undermine your credibility and authority.

Lower the value of your ideas.

 

Ouch, right?

Double, triple check your content before you put it out there.

At Playbuzz, every piece of content is being edited by at least one content professional, who very literally makes sure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. It would be a shame if our message were lost due to poor grammar and silly typos. – said Nogah Senecky, Content Marketer at Playbuzz

Double, triple-check your content before you put it out there. It’s necessary.

How to Do It Faster:

 

Make It Picture-Perfect

Here are some stats for thought:

  • Researchers found that colorful visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.
  • Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without corresponding images.

Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without corresponding images.

 

No wonder professional make visuals a priority when it comes to content creation.

Once a post is written, our graphic designers create custom images for it. These images give our content a recognizable, original style that’s totally unique to our site.

– said Vladimir Gendelman CEO of Company Folders.

How to Do It Faster:

 

Content Promotion

The final step of this entire process should be promoting the content, as “there would be no point to creating content if no one were to consume it“, says Elizabeth Jenkins at Source Capital Funding, Inc.

It’s a smart idea is to promote your content to influencers and bloggers in your industry, not just your followers on social media. “Email Outreach is best in this scenario,”  says Muhammad Asfand Yar,  a tech blogger at listenthusiast.com.

There would be no point to creating content if no one were to consume it’.

How to Do It Faster:

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Ready, Steady, Content Creation!

Treat content creation like an Olympic event – and not a last-minute project – and you’ll get that gold medal. And make your business’s anthem be heard.

These tips and content tools will help you cross that finish lineand feel unstoppable doing it. It will be worth it every single time, even if all the muscles in your body will ache the next day.

Because, when done right, creating content is highly addictive. And highly effective.

Acting on this information will turn you into a professional content creation athlete. So are you ready to put your race face on?

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out our blog. You’ll discover plenty of information-rich articles to get you ready for other “events” within the marketing competition.

We like to keep our subscribers constantly informed on the latest marketing tips and tools to help them work smarter, not harder.

If you like working inefficiently and coming in last, DON’T click here. I’m serious, don’t do it.

On another note, I’d like to know: what content tools do you use?

 

Let me know down in the comments.

The Excellent Results of Content Marketing as Told by the Big Companies

The Excellent Results of Content Marketing as Told by the Big Companies

There is no denying that content marketing became a worldwide known trend over the last decades. That is not only because it is clean, clear and easy to use, but it also has amazing results as all the big companies have shown us.

Some of them turned to online marketing sooner rather than later. Others just went with the flow.

But how and, most importantly, why do the results of content marketing make such a big fuss in the online community? We wondered about that and during our search for the answer we stumbled upon these amazing stories from big companies.

Strategy is everything in the online system

Before you start blogging, you need to know who you’re writing for and if there is potential growth with your target audience. For example, if you own a corner supermarket, it is obvious that content marketing is not your answer and you need to turn to more traditional forms of advertising.

But if you own a tech company or a PR company, you can start brainstorming about your target public TODAY!

Take a page from Procter and Gamble. Throughout the years, they built a strong customer base by distributing a wide range of products, from batteries to deodorants or washing powder.

Having gained the trust of their audience, they started a blog designed especially for pet lovers, called Petside. By using this blog, they promoted training and behavior advice, pet products news and adoption resources.

“But we’re not all Procter and Gamble”, you might say. That’s true but the results of content marketing will not delay to appear if you have a well-known reputation. Being an established company will help you use online advertising to get your business to its fullest potential when it comes to publicity and recognition.

results of content marketing

Image Credits

Plan ahead, like way ahead

…just until you reach the end.

It is very important to have a clear image about exactly what you want to do because otherwise you risk to lose yourself on the way. Then, you’ll just start going down and taking your business with you.

Just imagine everything. Even the black marker you’ll write your strategy with.

The first step is finding a big idea that will fit the domain of activity your business is specialized in.

Every big company succeeded with a big idea. Let’s take KRAFT for example. It is one of the first leaders in content marketing. And that’s because they saw potential where no one was looking.

Starting kraftfoods.com was the decision that changed the course of the company. By the time they were writing about recipes and the food industry, most of their competitors didn’t have a website to begin with. Not to mention that the term “content marketing” wasn’t even a thing.

Another example of the effective results of content marketing is Colgate. Colgate started an online platform based on Oral and Dental Health Resource center. It has videos, interactive guides and over 400 articles. If you think about it, they were very smart people.

They used their knowledge in the field to give people valuable information about their products and how to use them.

Now, everyone of us has a Colgate toothbrush. Click To Tweet

Bottom line, even a small but professional company can use its experience and expertise to create blogs and eBooks in an organised and effective way that reaches a target audience.

Step 3: Blitzkrieg!

Please, don’t pull out a knife. We’re talking about an online context here. This means figuring out exactly what your public needs and then giving it to them by using a very effective surprise element.

It’s all about Supply & Demand.

Most tech companies adopted this strategy, starting with Intel and IBM. Of course, it’s amazing to buy a new computer, but wouldn’t it be more fun to actually know what it does and how many things you can use it for?

This is the question which the people at Intel asked themselves. The result was IQ, a blog where employees use their knowledge to help the general public.

Don’t worry, you won’t find the next Relativity Theory in there, but they turned an ordinary blog into an awesome marketing tool by giving something useful in exchange.

Marriott did the exact same thing. Launching a new global platform, the hotel company intends to publish relevant entertaining content for its clients and for the general public that is interested in tourism.

results of content merketing

Image Credits

Of course, being Marriott they want to become the best. The thing is, they might actually pull it off.

Let’s think about it for a second. Is there anyone who’s not thinking about travelling to a beautiful country at least 365 times a year?

If you do decide to pack your bags and go, you need to do some research first. Click To Tweet

You know Marriott hotels are the best, you look up their blog on Google and that is how they gain another visitor. Now ask yourself, how many people are out there, thinking just like you?

Analyzing the results of content marketing

When the war is over and you’ve played all your cards, it’s time to analyse the results. What you did good and what you did wrong. Did you meet the Supply & Demand or did you fail?

And here comes our last story: Udemy.

Udemy is a teaching platform. It has courses about everything. From Java Programming to Yoga. It is a big success story because it came at the right time, at the right place. Some of its courses are free. Some are not. But that doesn’t stop millions of students to log in everyday.

Udemy is the perfect example of how content can be recycled. You write something really good, you put it out there and then you wait. When the right time comes, you could reuse the information.

But big brands like Udemy had to make the decision weather or not to outsource content creation. Let’s find out how they got the best answer.

Content is yours to recycle. Click To Tweet

Think about it just like Oscar Wilde did, “with age comes wisdom”.

Words to live by.

In the end, whether or not you want to go into online marketing is entirely up to you. But like with anything out there, we know it’s better to have someone to work with. This is why we here at Squirrly offer support for content marketing. We also take all the needs of our customers into account.

results of content marketing

And don’t worry about failing. It only makes us stronger. It’s just like one of my favourite movie characters once said:

“The act of losing can elicit great wisdom. Not least of which is how much more enjoyable it is to win. It’s inevitable to lose now and again. The trick is not to make a habit of it.”

How Successful Entrepreneurs Set Business Goals and Objectives

How Successful Entrepreneurs Set Business Goals and Objectives

How many times have you set out to implement specific business goals and objectives and solemnly sworn you’d accomplish them? You start out really strong and then end up losing all your motivation quickly.

Pretty soon your aspirations fade away before any results are experienced. Have you ever asked yourself why this happens?

Most likely, it’s because you set your business goals and objectives based on how others view you instead of your own beliefs. In the online marketing world, if you’re not authentic, your objectives won’t be attainable.  Especially if you’re basing your goals upon pleasing society instead of on who you really are.

You set a goal and immediately take action toward that goal, never giving a second thought to what your subconscious believes.

You’ll go through the motions of the steps that are needed to accomplish that goal for quite a while. Pretty soon, because of these forced actions, people start seeing you differently.

From there, you base your identity on what people believe. This isn’t the real you and eventually, because your true beliefs don’t match the actions you’re forcing yourself to take, you’re going to slack off.

Consequently, your goals will fall by the wayside. Click To Tweet

So when you set your goals and objectives, set them based on your identity…the identity that YOU feel best represents yourself. This is how goals actually come to fruition. They have to be born from identity-based habits.

business goals and objectivesPhoto Credits: herlitz_pbs‘s Flickr

How to Reach Business Goals and Objectives

Successful entrepreneurs set business goals and objectives centered around identity-based habits. Identity-based habits and goals are set based on the type of person you believe you truly are on the inside and outside.

This is followed by actions or habits that reinforce those inner core beliefs. Click To Tweet

As a result, people view you based on your beliefs and your actions. When you set up habits based on your inner beliefs, you’re able to reach your business goals and objectives successfully.

Example:

1)  Set Your Goal:  To spend time marketing on social media outlets every single day.

2)  Establish Your Belief:  I’m the type of marketer who spends at least 45 minutes a day on social media marketing.

3)  Make a step by step process for social media marketing.

4)  Designate a specific time to do it every single day.

But What If I Don’t Believe I Can Do It?

If you spend your energy not believing you can meet your business goals and objectives, you won’t. This is why you establish the beliefs that help you attain them.

Telling yourself repeatedly that ‘you’re the type of person who…’ stimulates the subconscious into action.

You begin developing habits that support this ‘established’ belief. Each day, when your actions back up this ‘established’ belief, your subconscious gradually begins to believe that you really are this type of person.

It becomes your identity. Thus, you're able to attain your business goals and objectives. Click To Tweet

One of the most difficult business objectives to reach is producing powerful and consistent content. Our team of writers is professionally trained to provide unique content specifically designed for your audience.

If you’re looking to fulfill your business goals and objectives surrounding content we can show you how to get 300 readers per article for free.

Learn how to do this right now and don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. Click To Tweet

We’re here to help.

Kickstarter vs Indiegogo. The crowdfunding gunslingers.

Kickstarter vs Indiegogo. The crowdfunding gunslingers.

The battle begins: Kickstarter vs Indiegogo. Fight!

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular donation-based crowdfunding platforms. Go and take a look at  our infographic: Top 5 crowdfunding platforms, and you’ll convince yourself. They were founded in 2009 and 2007 respectively, and since then they’ve been leading a battle of their own in the online Wild West, wielding their ammo of donors and funders, fighting for the first place.  Well, what defines their success or their failure? Is it really Kickstarter vs Indiegogo or do they get along just fine?

kickstarter vs indiegogo

kickstarter vs indiegogo

And the winner is…

Round 1. Traffic and visitors engaged

Zach Eberhart points out that in terms of traffic and market recognition, Indiegogo is second best. Indiegogo only sees half the traffic of Kickstarter, but they could beat Kickstarter if their consistent traffic increased, because the two platforms provide similar engagement. Zach Eberhart further on analyses the two sites’ conversion rates, the rate of visitors and data trends, showing that although the layout of the platforms’ projects available for funding is identical, Kickstarter has a conversion funnel rate  28% higher than Indiegogo. Kickstarter has twice more traffic than Indiegogo.

Round 2. Policy and rules.

In the rivalry Kickstarter vs Indiegogo, you need to take sides, and in order to do this you should learn a few defining rules about the platforms. Most users agree that Kickstarter has an appealing, user-friendly interface, while Indiegogo is less structured, more cluttered. Even so, when opting for Kickstarter you’d better know that your project must have to conform to Kickstarter’s guidelines, while Indiegogo is “available to anyone to raise money for anything”. On Kickstarter everything has to be a project of which you set a goal, that is to make a product, and the project has to belong to one of the categories: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. Indiegogo, on the other hand, is very broad and diverse, and the majority of projects seem to be ‘indie’.

Round 3. Goals and deadlines. Fees. 

In both cases you earn something and you pay something. With Kickstarter you have a deadline to reach your goal, of 30 to 90 days, while with Indiegogo there is no limit of time fixed, though the average time is about 45 days. If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected and the processing fees, while if it fails all funds are returned to their original donors. On the other hand, Indiegogo offers more funding choices. You can go for a Flexible Funding, where you keep all funds you raise, even if you don’t meet your goal, or a Fixed Funding, where all gifts go back to their donors, if you fail. In case of a Flexible Funding, you pay 4% if you meet your goal, and 9% if you don’t.

Round 4.  Success or failure? Harmony or rivalry?

Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo seem to be in a class of their own. Kickstarter impresses with great numbers (look at this infographic), strict structure and fair rules, while Indiegogo stands out for its variety, permissiveness and active community of donors. In the online Wild West there is one person who can acknowledge the winner. The crowdfunding gunslingers await for your decision.

Tell us who do you think won the battle: Kickstarter vs Indiegogo. I can’t wait to hear your opinion on these great crowdfunding platforms!

9 Hassle-Free Ways to Promote Your Blog Post Like a Pro [Infographic]

9 Hassle-Free Ways to Promote Your Blog Post Like a Pro [Infographic]

According to some bloggers, it’s better to spend 80% of your time promoting content, and only put 20% of it intro creating it. That’s definitely one school of thought we can get behind, as there’s no point to creating excellent content if nobody is going to see it.

That’s something we can actually help you out with. Our lessons are designed to help anyone attract 300 readers per post , so that they really feel like their effort was not in vain.

We’ll even throw in a little extra, namely these 9 excellent ways to promote your blog post fast and easy.

Free Ways to Promote Your Blog

Why Do People Want to See Active Social Media Accounts for Your Start-up?

Why Do People Want to See Active Social Media Accounts for Your Start-up?

Social Media and the Monkey See – Monkey Do Effect

Monkeys are known for copying what they see others do. Social media is the antagonist for every single thing that trends. People see other people talking, ‘liking,’ and sharing, so they do it, too. This is what starts trends, builds momentum, and establishes authority.

It is true that the key to content marketing is engagement. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms are an essential tool for new start-ups. When others see your name on various platforms, you become ‘top of mind’ and your products become a topic of curiosity and discussion. If you follow these aspects, you should be able to generate buzz and excitement for your start-up.

social media

Human Powered

It’s a psychological fact that human touch is vital for growth and survival. Business sustainability is no different. Knowing, seeing, and feeling a human presence behind all the state of the art technologies that many start-ups utilize is still essential. This is because the key to content marketing is engagement. Incorporating a human touch behind your new brand enables your future customers to relate to you.

You cannot effectively engage with computers. Human engagement holds one powerful tool that technology cannot touch…EMPATHY. Engaging with clients and leads through social media drives home the fact that your start-up was built to specifically meet their needs, solve their problems, and grow their business. Promoting a human touch to your new brand commands a real time presence behind the name.

Rapport Meets Authority

Engagement leads to building relationships. Start-ups need to build a rapport with people. It’s essential to share your knowledge and how you can help people with their business through various platforms so that you begin to attract the audience your business caters to. When you engage your audience and provide them with solutions that will benefit them, you’re establishing your authority. Social media outlets are the fastest, most powerful way to establish your authority.

The key, however, is establishing a relationship with personalities and authorities who agree and thus confirm your authority. This means looking for ways to help people without blatantly promoting your products or bragging. People are drawn to entrepreneurs who are knowledgeable, but humble at the same time. If your focus is on helping people, instead of helping yourself, the impression you leave is one of authority and authenticity.

Authenticity and Vulnerability

People who need their oil changed don’t take their cars to a dentist. Social media enables your new start-up to reach the audience it needs to grow.  You do this by stating clearly who you are and what you do. This way, you attract the right target audience. Be honest and vulnerable. Tell stories of your struggles, triumphs, and failures so that people relate to you. You probably started your start-up because you know you have a product or idea that can make a difference. Explain your ‘why’. Demonstrate your passion because passion generates excitement and hope.

social media

Likeability Establishes Trust

How you interact on social media either leads people to like you or to turn away from you. New start-ups have to put themselves out there and prove that they want to make a difference, and that what they do does, in fact, help people. You don’t have to do this by disagreeing with other authorities or by insulting their products. Develop a format of adding to what they’ve already proven and marketed. Speak of their developments with respect and humbly add your knowledge in with theirs.

What you’re doing is gaining the attention and respect of authorities who are already established as well as building trust with anyone who reads. When you’re well liked, your posts are shared more. Your articles have comments because people are engaged in your content. You have their attention. You also have social proof of your knowledge. LinkedIn alone, with the use of their ‘endorsements’, provides substantial social proof that you are who and what you say you are.

Calls to Action

Thus far, you’ve shown your ‘human’ side, engaged with like-minded personalities, related and helped solve others’ struggles, been vulnerable in sharing your mission and your passion, and built respect and trust with influencers. You’re now in the position to begin initiating calls to action. Content marketing is all about the call to action but they’re only effective if your audience has trust and respect for you.

If you don’t ask, they’re highly likely not to act. So continue building rapport, helping and being vulnerable, but weave in calls to action for sharing your content, signing up for your mailing list, and for purchasing your products. When you’re established and trusted, the calls to action are pretty much what seals the deal of conversion.

Social media is the beginning, middle, and end of all start-ups. People must see active accounts because if others are engaging, they’re ten times more likely to engage with you, too. It truly is the ‘Monkey See – Monkey Do Effect’.  Start-ups can use monkeys to their advantage.

Does your start-up need help implementing the ‘Monkey See – Monkey Do Effect’?  Squirrels can help, and in the case of social media, they’re the monkey’s best friend.

Contact us today with any questions you may have. We’re here to help your start-up get the start it deserves.

Domain Age: What It Is And Why It’s Important For Search Engines

Domain Age: What It Is And Why It’s Important For Search Engines

If you’ve been working in the digital marketing field for a while, with focus on SEO strategies, you most likely know some basic notions about the term domain age. Even if the term does not have a complicated definition, not everyone is familiar with how it can influence their website’s success and how it ranks in search results.

So in this article, we will explore three major aspects of this Google ranking factor: what it stands for, its importance and how you can make sure it won’t influence your ranking position.

What Is The Domain Age?

As the term implies, domain age refers to how long your domain has been active and accessible. Basically, the age of a domain is calculated from the first day Google has seen its link, indexed it or crawled it.

A domain could be around for 10 years even and there is a chance that Google hasn’t even crawled it. This is particularly true for domains that don’t have any activity.

This might also happen if no one has linked to that site, not even on social media, or if the site owner hasn’t pinged Google with any of its pages.

Here is a video featuring Matt Cutts explaining how Google determines the domain age of a website.

The age of a domain is also one of the factors which influence how your website ranks in search results. That’s the main reason I want to discuss it today, so let’s dwell more on this topic.

Is Domain Age That Important?

The age of a domain matters to a certain extent and newer domains generally struggle to get indexed and rank high in search results in the first few months.

An older domain is one that Google has been crawling for some time. It also means that Google will be trusting it more. That’s because the search engine has seen its pages before. It can consider that the published content of that site is useful for visitors based on the data and also external links it has.

So yes, domain age is important. But all I’ve mentioned here has been compared to a fresh new site. That’s why it’s a good idea to share this article with anyone you know that is creating a new site.

After the first few months after launching your site, the age of your domain won’t matter as much if your site proves to be trustworthy in the eyes of Google.

If you commit to creating content regularly for 2-3 months straight, the domain age will be far less important than these criteria:

How many pages you have with unique original content
Backlinks to your pages
Meta data duplicates and information for your content
Optimization for specific keywords.

How Can You Make Sure Domain Age Does not Represent an Issue for You?

There are only two workarounds that you can use when you have a fresh new domain:

01.

Buy a domain that has been around for a few years. Make sure the content published on the domain used keywords which are related to your business and for which you want to rank for. If you buy a domain that Google already knew but for a completely different portfolio of keywords, it will not help you in the first few months. Additionally, if you purchase a domain which is a few years old, but nothing has been published on it, then its value will be the same as the one for a domain that you’d purchase today. Google will still see it as brand new.

02.

The second option may take more time to develop but it will be worth it in the long run. Establish a clear content marketing strategy for your site. While everything is being set up for your site from platform to design, security and other important aspects, you can start creating your content marketing strategy.

Quite curious to know which one of these do you consider a better option. You can let us know your own choice in the comment section below.

Now, I’m going to show you a step-by-step strategy that I recommend to use if you have a new domain.

A Content Marketing Strategy for New Domains

There are a few aspects you should start working on after buying a domain in order to have a competitive advantage in ranking.

Here are the steps I recommend:

1. Research

You should do your research at any moment during the strategy, not just in the beginning. First of all, you should know what are the best keywords you can rank for. Start with the general audience you will focus on. Then, if your business will target a local audience make sure the keyword research is tailored specifically for them.

domain age

Also, research what questions people ask regarding the topics that you can tackle. You can use social media to find discussions on those particular subjects. Also, you can check these handy tools for the research process.

Suggested tools:

2. Create unique awesome content.

Before starting to write content, you need to create an editorial calendar based on your research and the list of topics you can talk about. Include these main types of content in the editorial calendar:

Blog articles
Infographics
Landing pages
Social media curated messages
Videos.

I’d recommend starting writing the content, even if your site is not up. It will help you launch your site faster once the structure and the security are done.

Make sure the content answers the most common questions you’ve found in your research.  Focus on the benefits your audience will have, especially when it comes to your landing page copy.

Suggested tools:

3. Optimize your site.

First, you’ll have to take care of SEO settings for the overall site. This will include tasks:

Establishing a Sitemap Structure
Including the JSON-LD information
Home Page Optimization
Add the Site icon image
Validate your Twitter Card, Open Graph, and Rich Pin,
Connect your Google Analytics ID to your site.

The good part is that all of these can be easily done with the Squirrly plugin for all WordPress sites.

Second, you need to make sure that the content will rank in the first pages of Google. When optimizing your pages, you’ll need to focus not just on on-page optimization, but also on meta data, open-graph and making sure that the URL is Google friendly and has the keyword in it. You can simplify this part of the process by using the Squirrly SEO plugin in case your site is on WordPress.

Suggested tools:

4. Promotion and backlinking.

After launching your site, make sure to publish the content according to your editorial calendar. But simply pressing the publishing button won’t bring you any traffic, leads and neither will it boost your rankings magically overnight. You’ll have to establish a clear social media promotion strategy and start posting on your social accounts.

Consider a backlinking campaign early on, as well. One strategy you can take advantage of is finding broken links on other sites which can be replaced with your newly published content. Reach out to the site owner, give them a heads up about the broken link and ask them if they would consider including your link instead of the broken one.

It’s a great and simple way to get your first backlinks.

Suggested tools:

Conclusions

To sum it all up, the domain age is considered from the first time Google saw a link to your site or crawled it for the first time. And YES, it is taken into account in the ranking algorithm, especially in the first few months after you start using the domain.

But there are many other more important factors you can focus on. This way, you’ll get over those first months faster than expected and your site will have more to gain from quality content, then loose from the initial “domain age”.

Don’t forget to share this content with anyone you know that is starting their own site.

How to Choose the Best Content Marketing Agency for Your eCommerce Company

How to Choose the Best Content Marketing Agency for Your eCommerce Company

Content marketing is a business strategy that’s rapidly becoming one of the most often used methods of promoting a brand.

Naturally, it has also spread to eCommerce businesses, and since it’s a relatively new way of handling marketing, it’s understandable why many business owners don’t know how to pick the right agency for the job.

In this article, we will clear the air a bit, and create a helpful guide for those interested in working with an agency, but unsure about how to choose one.

The Deal Breakers Associated with Choosing the Best Content Marketing Agency

First of all, let’s cover the things that a content marketing agency must have. If any of these things are missing, then it’s not even worth to consider hiring them. Not everyone takes their job seriously, and if they don’t, why should you do it for them?

1. A blog and some social media accounts are the most basic requirements

Being a content marketing agency without those is like being a taxi driver without a driver’s license.

Talent doesn’t even come into discussion at this point. No amount of talent or experience will make a blog out of thin air.

Even if the agency is at its start, they should have created the blog before talking to you.

If they don’t even have that, you should just walk away.

A digital agency that doesn't have an active blog is like a taxi driver without a driver's… Click To Tweet

2. An understanding that content marketing isn’t just text

This is another important matter even though it’s not as obvious as the first. Otherwise, it would’ve been called just “content”.

Although most content is written, it can also be images or videos or audio files. I’m not saying that you’ll necessarily need those in your campaign, but it’s important to keep an open mind.

There are different strokes for different folks, and that also applies to businesses.

An agency that doesn’t know that is like a taxi driver who doesn’t know the city he’s working in.

3. Writing skills are a must

I know I just said that writing isn’t everything, but it’s still going to, most likely, be the bulk of the campaign.

There are a lot of aspiring writers out there, but you can’t bet the success of your business on an agency that has high school level writers.

An agency without good writers is like a taxi driver who doesn’t know how to drive.

4. Applied search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge is the last thing to be on the lookout for

An agency that doesn’t take care of SEO is pretty shady by today’s standards. Maybe they are in a partnership with some SEO software, but if they don’t take care of this at all, it generally means they’re unprepared.

An agency that doesn’t use SEO software is like a taxi driver without a car. He can still work, but you can’t really count on them.

This is the king of taxi you want image source: inautonews

This is the kind of taxi you want.
[ Image Credits: inautonews ]

4 Questions you should ask Content Marketing Agencies before you start working with them

Now that we’re past time wasters and, hopefully, taxi drivers, we can focus on ways to help you better decide which agency is best for you. When talking with them, these are a few good questions you can ask to really understand what they’re all about:

1. How much experience do they have?

This is a question that anybody should ask when thinking about hiring someone. The problem is that they might not give you a 100% sincere answer, but the question, as basic as it is, can give you a lot of insight.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hire an agency that’s just starting out. What I’m trying to say is that the agency should have a satisfying answer to such an easy and predictable answer.

2. How have they helped other clients?

This question is similar to the first one, so I won’t get into too much detail. The idea is that experience doesn’t necessarily mean success.

If they’re serious, they should be able to prove their competence and show the results they’ve had in the past.

You should ask to see some case studies.

3. How will they nurture leads?

The goal of marketing is to bring in more clients. Find out how they’ll do that. This question is great because you find out two important things.

The first is if they understand your business well enough to produce content for it.

The second is if they have a clear and structured strategy for bringing in leads.

In my opinion, if the answer to any of these two points is “No”, then you should move on. Don’t expect every agency to be on point with what your business needs.

4. How will they promote the content?

Producing content is only half the battle. Promoting it is the other half.

Make sure that they can get people to see the content they make. Then, they also must have strong calls to action to bring people to you.

If the agency can’t do that, then it can’t help you either. Make sure that they are competent when it comes to promoting content, and that they work out a plan that would be effective for your business.

choose the agencies

Getting a feel of what’s important

You want to work with an agency because they should know how to handle the job. That means that they shouldn’t be afraid to tell you when the ideas you propose aren’t good.

If the agency you’re working with just goes with everything you say and does exactly what you tell them to do, they’re probably just trying to please you rather than getting the results you need. They are the experts, so let them tell you what their vision is for your marketing strategy.

A glaring issue with very many eCommerce businesses is that they don’t think about anything other than offering products.

If you know that you’re not the only one who can provide that kind of product or service, you have to find a way to stand out.

Otherwise, your website is just another seller instead of the witty, unique and insightful vendor you can be.

Original content doesn’t go just on blogs and in social media posts.

If you’re selling the same thing as the competition, the difference will be decided by which one presents it better. Dry and boring nine-word descriptions just won’t cut it.

Content marketing agencies can help you spice it up.

I’ll be more specific.

If you’re selling jewelry, for example, have someone write an original description for it, not what everyone else is saying. If you provide clowns for parties, maybe have a bio for each. Pokey the Balloonmancer sounds much better than Clown #5.

At the end of the day, remember that the agency has to feel right for you. If you think that they’re the right fit, I say go for it. Also, remember that the content you want to provide is meant to be interesting and enjoyable. Don’t turn away a good pun just to seem more professional.

I hope that you now feel more prepared to choose an agency and that the taxi driver comparisons weren’t too unbearable. To find out what Squirrly, bring to the table, take a look here.

6 Reasons Why Your Business Will Succeed And Fail with Social Media Ads

6 Reasons Why Your Business Will Succeed And Fail with Social Media Ads

When coming up with ideas for the business marketing strategy, social media ads are always brought into the discussion. From a far distance, it seems natural.

They are a simple straightforward way of letting the target audience know about you.

But do ads actually bring the results you want? Click To Tweet

There has to be a bump in the number of clients when you advertise discounts on social media. But are the orders constantly growing after a few campaigns? Or maybe it’s just a short-lasting success.

social media ads                               [ Image Credits ]

Let’s explore the 6 main reasons why Social Media ads can turn the sweet success of your business into a bitter waste of time:

1. Understand How Social Media Ads Work for Businesses

When the subject comes up, you talk about it unknowingly. Unfortunately, in many business meetings you come to decide whether to use one platform or another based on the information you already have.

“I’ve never heard of LinkedIn. Let’s not waste time on that platform.” Sounds Familiar?

But the sad truth is that a big part of the general population has not heard of many of those platforms and that shouldn’t be a concern for you.

2 (1)

Research and find out on which platforms you’ll find your target audience. They might not be part of those 7% of Americans that haven’t heard of Facebook or those 41% that had no clue LinkedIn existed.

The people that will buy your products might already know the platforms better than you think.

If your Social Media ads don’t respect the needs of the users of this platforms, your business might not understand how to use these channels to achieve success.

People spend time on platforms to get in touch with friends, be informed or even for… Click To Tweet

Keep in mind that people won’t buy your product if they have their life invaded by messages from your company that constantly tell them they need to make a purchase. Don’t forget that when you plan your campaigns.

2. Ads Are Seen by Fake Audiences

As proven by a recent study from the Association of National Advertisers, most online ads are mostly seen by malware software.

As the article states: “Eleven percent of display ads and almost a quarter of video ads were ‘viewed’ by software, not people.”

How does this all work? Quite simple. Your company pays for ads on different sites. The main idea is for those ads to reach the target audience when they need your product.

Then the companies that own the sites your ads appear on pay other companies to boost their traffic.

Some pay people who are not particularly interested in that subject to watch videos or visit websites, but others just use bot software to prove that they have more traffic.

This pretty much proves, for a good part, that the “audience” that sees your ads is not targeted or human.

3. Fading into the Overflow of Content and How to Overcome It

The attention span people have on the Internet is getting more scattered each minute. You check out a website and after 5 minutes you forget why you are there.

Sponsored ads want to get you to buy some products. Pops change your screen to let you find out about the latest updates on the platform and then the native content of the platform catches your attention.

In the end, the Social Media ads you created are lost on the page. Or they are simply disruptive information that people can’t wait to skip over.

social media ads                                [ Image Credits ]

But you have other options. Create inbound content that will make the audience be interested in what you have to share, thus making them come on their own to visit your website.

Some types of eye-catching content you can create today are:

  • Articles that solve the audience’s problems with the products you offer.
  • Videos that show people how to use the product to get the best out of it.
  • Infographics that present the steps your clients have taken in their own success story with your service.
  • Interviews about the main subject in the fields you work in.

Your audience wants to be informed and they need to know they are making the best decision when buying.

4. Creating Consistency so Your Social Media Ads Will Achieve Marketing Success

When you decided to start the Social Media ads campaign, make sure that what your profiles and website represent a clear connection with what the ads say.

Create supporting content with the details of the ads campaign. Click To Tweet

Let the design of the home page help them find the campaign as well. Also, make sure that the landing page the ads takes them to refers to the same campaign mentioned in the ads.

5. The Wrong Infrastructure for Interdepartmental Communication

One big internal issue regarding how long-lasting success connects with social media ads is that not all departments know how to relate to it.

Most of the times, marketing takes care of it and, for them, it’s clearly connected to some ongoing campaign. However, that isn’t enough.

All the Social Media campaigns should be aligned with the Business Goals. Click To Tweet

That way, each department knows the purpose of the campaign and knows how to relate to it. Social media is a communication channel like any other. Paid ads can generate tasks for sales, PR and other departments that need to have a fast way to respond.

6. Small Technical Issues That Can Cause Big Problems

Beyond the ads, you need to make it easy for your audience to find you. Small tasks like a Content Marketing Strategy for your profile can cause a major problem in converting leads.

Also double check that all the landing pages work properly. Click To Tweet

You might lose lots of possible clients who click your ads just because they don’t manage to use your website, since various errors keep them from doing it.

How do you make sure that you are still winning after 6 months?

Social Media ads might be the best channel you have right now to get clients. But make sure that this is the solution that will help your business constantly grow.

To ensure that your company is not investing money on non-human content, make sure that the approach you are taking creates incentives for the audience.

Here are a few tips you can use:

  • Consider Platforms based on your Target Audience, not your Team’s Experience.
  • Always take into account why people are using Social Media.
  • Make sure that your Profiles and Website send the same messages as the campaign.
  • Remember that all departments need to understand the purpose of Social Media Ads.
  • Check that all the relevant pages work properly.

This presentation can make you see how ads can be a great idea, but how they also need to be backed up by content in order to bring long-lasting success.