How to Grow Your Small Business with Marketing: 6 Quick Tips

How to Grow Your Small Business with Marketing: 6 Quick Tips

How to Grow Your Small Business with Marketing: 6 Quick Tips

You’ve already done the hard work. You started a small business!

Whether you’re a manufacturer or a home services pro, you did the work of developing a business plan, finding the right people, and putting your plan into action. 

Now, the challenge is getting people to your business. And that’s where marketing comes in. 

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How to Grow Your Small Business with Marketing: 6 Quick Tips

The big thing to remember when you’re asking “how can I grow my small business with marketing?” is you get out what you put in. 

Marketing, and especially targeted digital marketing efforts, will work to grow your small business, but you do have to put in the work (or hire someone to do the work for you) to see results. 

Each of these 6 quick tips I’m going to mention today will help you grow your small business according to your unique goals. They’re all manageable tactics you can tackle on your own. But, it’s important to remember that these are all ongoing efforts. The trick with marketing is it’s never one-and-done. It’s always: implement a strategy, see how it works, refine, and keep trying. 

That’s the key to consistent small business growth. Okay, lecture over. Let’s get to it!

01. Define your small business growth goals

If you only have time to sit down and do one thing, please let it be this. 

Define your small business’ growth goals. 

It’s really hard to implement small business growth strategies if you don’t know the why behind them. 

Are you looking to sign with two new big buyers? Want to find a distributor in a new region? Hoping to open a new location? Thinking about expanding into another product or service line? 

Whatever it is, give it a name, and give it a timeline. 

When you know why you’re marketing, you’ll know how to grow your small business with marketing. 

Just defining your goals can have a massive impact on how you’re finding customers, how your sales team is selling projects, and more. So, before you even get to the work of marketing, decide what your goals are and share them

Even if you have a small office of 5 people, when everyone knows what the goals are, they’re much easier to work towards. 

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02. Identify your ideal audience or target market

Once you know what you want, it’s a lot easier to figure out who can help you get there. 

For example, if your small business growth goal was to expand into another product line, now you need to figure out who buys that product. 

Who is your ideal market for that product or service? (Also known as a buyer persona.)

Ask these questions:

  • What do they do? 
  • What’s their job title? 
  • Where do they work? 
  • What are their hobbies outside of work? 
  • How old are they? 
  • How do they find their information? 
  • Do they prefer to contact people on the phone or by email?

Again, this is another tip that will inform everything about how your small business works. When you have identified who you’re marketing to, even when you’re not actively blogging or creating email campaigns, you’ll be making more informed choices about how you’re selling, how you’re doing business, and with whom. 

03. Get serious about your website

When you’re a small business, people will judge you on your online presence. 

Big companies can get away with having a less-than-stellar site. Sure, the Craigslist website looks pretty lame, but it’s Craigslist. Who’s gonna complain?

As a small business, your website is likely the first interaction a potential customer will have with your company. Even if you have a brick and mortar location, people are likely to look you up online before they actually stop in. So, your SMB website has to look good, and for the purpose of growing your small business, it needs to work well too. 

There’s a lot to say about how to grow your small business by marketing through your website, but the basics are: 

  • Make it functional
  • Make sure it works on any size screen
  • Highlight your contact information — a visitor should be able to contact you from anywhere on your website. 
  • Identify your services. What products or services do you offer?

Of course, there’s much more that goes into a great website, but those four essentials should get you started on the right foot. 

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A quick note: If you’re a busy small business, and you don’t have time for many marketing campaigns or tactics, these first three steps are the best places to start. When you have answers to both what you want, and who you want to work with, you can develop a solid website. And if there was one marketing tool you needed to grow your small business, it’s your website.

Once you get your website up and running, you should focus on continuously optimizing it. That’s still much less work than many other marketing tactics, and when done properly, it can deliver significant results. So, if you absolutely only have time for one thing (and you’re not lying 😉) make it your website.

04. Focus on the marketing tactics you have time for

The crux of marketing a small business, as I’ve already mentioned, is making time to put in the work. 

If you’re like many other small businesses, you’re short-staffed, and most people on your team wear many hats. No one has time to learn how to set up a complex Google Ads campaign, or figure out the inner workings of Instagram Reels. 

Take whatever time you have, whether it’s 5 hours a month or 5 hours a week, and put it to the tactics that will deliver the greatest results.  

For example, if you’re setting aside 5 hours a month to your marketing efforts, building out a complex email workflow is not the best use of your time. 

That’s a great marketing tactic, and it would do a lot to help you nurture leads who are already in your system, but: 

  1. You might not even finish that workflow in 5 hours, and 
  2. It’s not going to deliver the best bang for your buck.
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There are a ton of SMB lead generation tricks and marketing tactics available to you: 

The list goes on and on. You can’t do them all at once. 

Think back to your small business goals. How did you want to grow your small business? 

Okay, now which one of these tactics will best help you get there?

Identify the tactics that are most aligned with your goals and your audience, and start there. It’s not worth it to spread yourself thin and burn out. Instead, choose one or two tactics you know are aligned with your goals, and focus your efforts there until you start to see results. Which brings me to the next tip…

05. Be consistent

Sure, you can invest in all kinds of flashy ad campaigns, a bright and shiny new website, and cute imagery for your social media accounts, but none of it is going to work if you don’t put in the time, and seriously stick with it. 

If you’ve decided that all you have time for right now is to focus on your website, that’s great. Now put in a set amount of hours per week, month, or quarter, on your website. 

  • A/B test your buttons. 
  • Develop new conversion-focused landing pages. 
  • Focus on technical SEO. 

Just don’t redesign your website and forget about it. 

If you want to know how to grow your small business with marketing, the best advice I can offer is to pick something, and stick with it. 

The more consistent you are about your marketing efforts, the faster you’ll get a good feel for what works and what doesn’t. And when you know what works, you can keep using it to grow your small business. 

06. How to grow your small business with marketing: try new things

This blog on how to grow your small business with marketing has given you a lot of practical, hard-truth advice. And that’s what you’re going to need to succeed. But I’d also like to leave you with one fun tip for your small business: try new things!

Marketing is a fun industry!

There are new things popping up everyday from TikTok and Reels to new information on how Google ranks your website.

As long as you consistently put effort into those few marketing tactics you’ve identified earlier, you should also give yourself the freedom to try new things. 

As a small business, you’re agile. You have a close team who can get things done quickly. You don’t need to get 15 approval signatures to try out a new ad campaign. So, when you’ve got a handle on the basics and your marketing efforts are starting to deliver the growth you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to try out some new things, too. 

Every business is different — what works well for some companies, doesn’t work for others. The only way you can get to the bottom of some of that is to let yourself try new things, and be okay when something doesn’t work. 

Marketing a small business is no joke. You’re already busy with your actual job, and now you’re adding on a consistent marketing workload on top of it. Your team is stretched thin. If you’re not sure you want to handle marketing, too, talk to the Evenbound team. We’d love to help!

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5 Ways Manufacturers Can Increase Channel Sales

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Increase Channel Sales

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Increase Channel Sales

Channel sales are a uniquely challenging sales process. As a manufacturing company that works with channel sales partners, you create a product, but you’re indirectly responsible for selling it. It’s a weird way to sell, no matter how you look at it. How can you increase channel sales if you have little to no control over the actual sales themselves?

Luckily, the channel sales process has been around forever. While it is a unique — and sometimes frustrating for you, the manufacturer — process, there are plenty of actions you can take to increase channel sales, even when you’re not the one making the sales. 

Let’s look at 5 ways manufacturers can increase channel sales by improving relationships with channel partners, and making it easier for them to sell your products: 

01. Develop a Solid Onboarding Process

First impressions are important. Channel sales are all about relationships, and that starts with your manufacturing company’s first impression. How you onboard new channel partners has a big impact on your bottom line. How, you ask? 

  • Well-onboarded channel partners start selling faster
  • Channel partners who understand your products sell them better
  • A quality onboarding process sets you up for a quality relationship with that partner 

The more supported your channel partners feel, the more comfortable they will be asking questions and learning about your products. In turn, they’ll take all of that knowledge to their customers. The bottom line? More channel sales for you

Start developing an onboarding process that makes it easy for channel partners:

  • To get to know your product
  • To contact their local representative with any questions
  • To get selling!
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And remember, channel sales are all about relationships. While a solid onboarding process gets you off on the right foot with new partners, make sure you have plenty of resources to support them once they’re fully onboarded. Which brings me to my next point:

02. Make Resources Available and Easy to Find

As a manufacturer, you probably develop a technical product. It does something great for someone, and you know how great it is, but your channel partners might not. 

Make it easy for them to learn and understand the difference your products make in the lives of their customers. 

I wrote a blog on Channel Sales Strategies for Manufacturers that offers some in-depth suggestions on how to develop and promote resources that will help you channel partners sell better. 

If you haven’t yet, or don’t want to check that out, let me summarize here: 

Create marketing and sales enablement content that make it easy for your channel partners to promote and sell your products. When you’re spoon-feeding them beautiful social media graphics or helpful pricing sheets, it’s hard to say no. 

Imagine a customer is asking your channel partner for a pricing sheet.

They could create their own, or they could just hand over the one that’s already been completed and beautifully designed — yours.  

The easier it is for your channel partners’ marketing and sales teams to talk about you, the more likely they are to do it. If it looks good, and it makes them look good to their customers, they’re going to want to use it. And all of that great content you’re creating — sales resources, marketing collateral, etc. — is working to promote your brand and close more channel sales. 

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03. Build Solid Relationships with Channel Partners

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? 

The more involved you are with your channel partners, the more invested they will be in your products. 

I like to use a term I call “pleasantly persistent.” 

You don’t need to bug your partners constantly asking for status updates, but do what you can to check in regularly.

Ask how their day is going, how those new resources you sent over are working, and if there’s anything you can do to support them. 

The more helpful you are, the more likely your partners are going to want to help you, and the more likely they are to remember your products the next time they’re talking to a customer. 

I’ve already said it a few times in this blog — channel sales are all about relationships. The more supported your partners feel by you, the more they feel like, “yeah, those guys over at X Manufacturing rock!”, the more likely they are to sell your products. 

Do what you can to build solid relationships with channel partners. Sure, that might be an appreciation dinner or conference every year, but it’s also equally —  if not more — effective, to just reach out and see how they’re doing.

04. Help Them Help You With Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotion helps to get the word out about both of your companies. For manufacturers specifically, cross-promotion is a great way to increase channel sales. Let’s take a look at how it works: 

You, a manufacturer of a product (and likely a big name) agree to do a combined marketing campaign with one of your channel partners. 

Your channel partner gets a big brand boost from being associated with you — the industry-leading manufacturer of whatever it is you manufacture. 

ZL Channel Sales example
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They want to be associated with you because you’re the best at what you do. 

You get the benefit of promotion from that channel partner, as well as every other channel partner you’re running a cross-promotion campaign with. 

Since it’s likely that these channel partners all work with slightly different people in slightly different markets, you’re expanding the reach of your brand exponentially. Depending on your products and your partners, you could be reaching entirely different industries and markets of consumers who may have never heard of you before. 

It’s a win-win for both you and your channel partners. You get the expanded reach (which means increased channel sales), and your partners get the clout (which also means increased channel sales for you). When they do well, you do well. 

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05. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Especially when you’re in the manufacturing industry and working with channel partners, it’s so much more cost-effective to retain your existing partners than it is to find new partners.  Manufacturing is a small world. It costs a lot to find a new partner, and there aren’t actually all that many of them out there. So, when you get good channel partners — invest in them

This isn’t too much different than what I’ve been preaching through this entire blog, but it bears repeating: supply the resources and the support your channel partners need to feel successful. 

The easier you make it for them to learn about your products, get excited about your brand, and ask questions when they have them, the easier it will be for them to sell you to their clients. 

Talk to your channel partners and ask them what they’d love to see from you. 

  • What would help them sell more? 
  • Are there resources or content that would make it easier for them to close deals?
  • Is there sales support your team could offer?
  • Are there marketing materials they’d like to reuse or reproduce? 

The more you deliver for them, the more they’re going to want to sell you.  

Channel sales is easily one of the most challenging sales processes out there. For manufacturers especially, it can feel like you have little control over where your products are going, and when they’re being sold. But by playing an active role in the lives of your channel partners, by getting involved and truly supporting them on a personal level, you’ll start to gain back some of that control, and see the increase in channel sales you’re looking for. 

If you’re struggling to increase channel sales at your manufacturing company, Evenbound has worked with a number of manufacturers and industrial companies to improve and streamline channel sales. We’d be happy to help you too.

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5 Real Estate Marketing Tools That Help You Sell More Homes

5 Real Estate Marketing Tools That Help You Sell More Homes

5 Real Estate Marketing Tools That Help You Sell More Homes

If you’re looking to sell more homes in 2021, we’d suggest that instead of looking for more real estate marketing tools, you start looking into using a smaller number of real estate marketing tools more efficiently. Let’s take a look at 5 basic real estate marketing tools you can use to sell more homes.

Each of these tools is an essential component of a successful marketing strategy, and when you get really good at each of them, you’ll find yourself doing a whole lot less work and selling more homes. Sounds good, right? 

Let’s jump in. Our top recommendations for 5 real estate marketing tools that help you sell more homes (with less work) are: 

01. A CRM to Manage your Real Estate Marketing Tech Stack

It feels like every time anyone talks about real estate marketing tools, social media is the first suggestion. And I’ll get to social media, but there’s one thing that outranks Facebook and Instagram when it comes to real estate marketing. That’d be a CRM. 

A CRM or customer relationship management software is a tool that brings all of your marketing tools — your email marketing platform, your social media accounts, marketing and sales documents, and workflows — into one place. 

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Each of those tools — combined, your tech stack — has a specific and important purpose for your real estate marketing strategy. But, when you’re managing social media in one place, your website in another, and email in yet another, it’s difficult to align your marketing efforts, and harder still just to keep track of what’s posting or sending out when.

A good CRM brings all of those tools into one simple, easy-to-use platform, with the added benefit of tracking every single lead that comes into your real estate development or agency. 

Never drop a warm lead or forget to send an email again. If you’re serious about boosting your real estate marketing strategy, it’s time to get serious about a CRM.

There are a ton of options out there, but we always recommend HubSpot. They offer a free version (not a trial, a totally free version of their CRM), that’s a great way to get started and see how much a CRM can do for you. 

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When all of your marketing tools live in one place, it’s so much easier to make the most of all of them. 

02. Social Media

Alright, now that we’ve got the CRM out of the way, let’s get down to what you expected to hear: social media. 

I’ve said it, and so has probably every other content marketer out there. Social media is one of the best marketing tools in any real estate company’s toolbox. 

Platforms like: 

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Houzz
  • Twitter

And more, are great places to get the word out about your real estate development or agency.

Since you’ve probably heard most of this before, I won’t go too in-depth. The gist of it is that social media is an amplification tool. No matter what platform you choose, it’s a way to share homes, new developments, beautiful imagery of your property, and reach a broader audience. 

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When you put effort into developing a social media strategy that is consistent and shareable, you’re boosting brand awareness, and getting your name out there to a wider range of potential leads. 

Check out some of these resources if you’re looking for suggestions or advice on beefing up your social media marketing strategy. 

And don’t forget about paid social either. When used properly, it’s a remarkably effective tool that can deliver serious leads for a relatively low expense. 

03. Your Website

Most real estate agencies and developments don’t think of their website as a marketing tool. 

It is. 

If you use your website like the robust marketing tool it is, you can see serious returns. Your website is the only digital space that you actually own. If you optimize it the right way, you’ll begin to pull in more of the right visitors, who ultimately convert to qualified leads, prospects, and then customers.

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How to use your website as a marketing tool? Get started with tactics like: 

  • SEO  — to help your site rank higher for relevant keywords
  • Blogging — to draw in more of the right traffic
  • Content offers — to convert that “right traffic” into qualified leads who are ready to buy

By creating a website that’s optimized for search, and building it out with quality content that answers key questions homebuyers in your area are asking, you’ll start to see your rankings rise. As you rise through the SERP rankings, you’ll see more of the right traffic, which means more of the right leads converting into prospects and then sales. 

04. Email Marketing

Your website and social media platforms are tools that draw in new leads. But what do you do with those leads once you’ve got ’em?

Email marketing is a powerful tool, especially for real estate developers and agencies. If you’ve ever searched for a home on an app like Zillow, you know that once you’ve completed a search, Zillow will keep sending you updates with new homes and properties in that zip code. 

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While those updates help you to find a home in your area, they also do a great job of keeping you on Zillow. (Big points for Zillow)

Email marketing can work in much the same way for your real estate development or agency. 

As you collect the email addresses of qualified leads, you can begin to send them targeted emails that keep them engaged. 

  • If you’re a real estate developer, send them updates about new happenings with your development. Have you released new lots? Have just a few properties left? Introducing a brand new development? All of these will keep qualified leads interested and engaged with your company. 
  • If you’re a real estate agency, send prospects newly listed properties that fit their search criteria, or that you think you might be interested in. You can work to segment your email lists so you don’t have to manually send out updates but can add new prospects to specific lists that fit their interests. 

Email marketing is one of the best ways to keep new prospects engaged, helping ensure you never lose a lead just because they’re not quite ready to make a decision. 

05. Chatbots

Chatbots are an amazing real estate marketing tool. 

Why?

Let’s think about your homebuyers. 

When are they most often actively browsing for homes? While some people might browse on their lunch hour, or on late Friday afternoons when they’re ready to be done with work, the majority of your leads are scrolling through virtual home tours at night and on the weekends. 

And while you like to be available as much as possible, most prospects aren’t going to call you up on a Thursday night at 11pm to ask about a house or property. 

That’s where chatbots come in.

These handy little real estate marketing tools work for you 24/7, helping you engage with leads around the clock — whenever they’re most interested in a home, lot, or property. 

Real Estate Marketing Tool Chatbot
Real Estate Marketing Tool Chatbot

Chatbots work in a few different ways — you can set them up to message you directly, you can give them a few questions to ask, or you can build them out to be fully interactive. 

No matter how you start, any chatbot does a great job of making your real estate company available to your leads whenever they’re most interested in you. That creates some serious lead generation potential.

If you’re interested in adding chatbots to your real estate marketing toolbox, this article on conversational marketing is a great place to start. 

There are hundreds of real estate marketing tools out there. There’s always a new app or a new website pushing for your attention, telling you it’s the next big thing. But, when it comes down to it, the most successful real estate marketing tools are the ones you own

You can do as much work as you want on Redfin or Zillow, but the fact is that you don’t own those marketing tools. 

Any of the work you put into a third party can all be gone in an instant should the website go down. What’s more, you don’t have control over those third-party real estate marketing tools. It’s important to have a presence on something like Zillow, but you can’t control when, where, or how your listings or properties show up.

When you invest in real estate marketing tools you own, like your website, your email marketing strategy, and even chatbots, you’re future-proofing your digital presence, and selling more homes while you do it. 

But, there’s a reason many real estate professionals don’t have robust websites or email marketing campaigns — it’s hard work, and it can be tough to get started on your own. If you’re looking to take control of your real estate marketing strategy, and want a little help getting it going, the Evenbound team is here to help. We specialize in digital marketing for real estate developers, and would be happy to help you get started too. 

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New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021

New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021

New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021

The world of digital and inbound marketing is fast-moving. What was best practice one year is often outdated by the next. There’s a lot to keep track of with changing search engine algorithms, new privacy policies, and changing consumer habits. One marketing tactic you can’t afford to fall behind on is content marketing. 

What is Content Marketing in 2021?

It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that in 2021, content marketing remains an integral component of any successful marketing strategy. When it comes to digital and inbound marketing, there is no tactic more successful or compelling than content marketing. 

Why?

Well, think about your daily routine. I’d bet that no matter who you are, or what your job title, you spend a good portion of your day consuming content. 

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  • Maybe it’s a video tutorial that teaches you how to use that new tool at work. 
  • Maybe it’s a newsletter from your favorite news outlet that keeps you up-to-date with all the goings-on in the world. 
  • Maybe it’s your best friend’s Instagram story. 
  • Maybe it’s your family group chat, where you share funny videos, interesting articles, inspirational quotes, and more. 

It doesn’t matter what it is, we are all consuming content in some way, shape, or form, every day. That makes content marketing a powerful, successful tool for any company. 

In 2021, content marketing has some similarities from the past, but it’s changed quite a lot too. Whether you’ve been blogging for years or are just stepping into digital content marketing, here are Evenbound’s New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021. Take a look, and implement something new. All of these rules are meant to help you create more compelling, more successful content. 

What are the New Rules of Content Marketing in 2021?

Let’s take a look at what’s changed, what’s the same, and where you should be focusing your content marketing efforts in 2021 for the best results. 

Content length doesn’t matter. Content quality does. 

From Google’s John Mueller himself (via Twitter), the best way to write content has nothing to do with content length

In 2020, content strategists were obsessed with word count. If your blog didn’t reach 1,500 words, we all thought it wouldn’t have a hope of reaching that first page. 

Luckily, Google is saying we’re wrong. The concept of “comprehensive” content threw us all for a loop, but upon further clarification, we’re learning that comprehensive does not equal long. 

Google has made it clear that it prioritizes the best content for the query. 

For example, if you want to know how many feet are in a mile, Google is going to prioritize the results that answer that question. And it’s probably not a 10-page blog. 

mile content marketing short keyword

If you want to know how the concept of a mile was invented, or what makes a mile, you’re going to get a longer answer. Here, Google has prioritized Wikipedia’s result for Mile. This page gives you the whole history of a mile, different types of miles, and more. 

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Search engines are always trying to match the best answers to every query. And Google has made it clear that achieving a certain word count doesn’t affect that. While you can still enforce a word count to ensure your team is putting out good, comprehensive content, your writers should never be writing just to add length. 

This point flows very well into this next rule of content marketing in 2021:

To develop high-ranking content, you have to consider search intent

Search intent is another topic that will dominate content marketing in 2021. Search intent refers to the objective a searcher is trying to accomplish when they type in a query. 

An example I love to use to illustrate search intent is this blog I wrote about “the breakup email.”

Just looking at the keyword “breakup email” you might assume it’s an email you write to break up with a romantic partner. 

But, when you type that keyword into a search engine, all of the results that pop up are related to sales. A breakup email is the last email you send a prospect — it’s a last-ditch effort to get them back before they break up with your company. 

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Understanding the search intent behind a keyword is essential to writing content that ranks for that keyword. If I had written a blog that was actually about breaking up with a romantic partner over email, it would never see the light of day for that identified keyword because it didn’t match the query’s search intent. 

To write content that ranks well, you have to understand what searchers are looking to learn when they type that keyword into the search bar. That’s their search intent. 

When you understand the search intent for your identified keywords, you know exactly what you need to write to give those searchers the information they’re looking for. 

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In 2021, good content marketing is focused on topical relevance and authority, not just SEO

Topical authority and topical relevance were new trends in 2020, and they’re going to take hold in a big way in 2021.

The term topical authority refers to a company or website’s perceived authority in a subject or subject area. For example, a site like Runner’s World would have huge topical authority when it comes to the topic of running shoes.

They have content about how to pick a running shoe, different types of running shoes, how to choose a running shoe for different weather conditions, how to tell if your running shoes are too old, and more. They have content on virtually any question you might have on running shoes. They are the topical authority for running shoes. 

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Why does this matter? 

Websites with more topical authority are given preference, both by other content strategists in the industry and by search engines. If you’re writing a blog about finding a running shoe, you’re likely to link to Runner’s World because you know their content is trustworthy, useful, and correct. 

Since everyone is linking to Runner’s World, and they have pages and pages of content related to that topic, site visitors are likely to remain on their site to learn more about finding the perfect running shoe, rather than navigating away to a different website. 

And when Google is looking for an answer to a question on that topic, Runner’s World will have it. Because they have so much content that people on the internet are engaging with and appreciating, they will end up at the top of those search results. 

(Not just the first two organic search positions either, they also managed to grab the People Also Ask. That’s serious authority.)

Runners world SERP
Runners World PAA

Building your website’s topical relevance in 2021 should be a primary focus of your content marketing strategy. The greater your authority in your specific industry or service niche, the greater your digital presence. 

You can build your website’s authority in a few ways, but topic clusters are always a good place to start.

Good traffic beats empty traffic every time

Take a look at your website’s top-performing content. It’s drawing in traffic, that’s for sure, but is it converting leads? 

If it’s not, you might have content that’s pulling in “empty traffic.”

Empty traffic is traffic that comes to your site for a great piece of content, but that has no converting potential. For example, let’s say your manufacturing company ranks #1 for the keyword “oranges.” Even though holding the first position for that query might pull in a ton of traffic, none of it is relevant to your manufacturing company. Since none of those visitors have an interest in what you’re manufacturing, they’re not qualified, and are considered “empty traffic.”

They are, well…

In the past, content strategists have been obsessed about grabbing that #1 ranking, but in 2021, it’s important to consider which #1 rankings you’re trying to grab, and why. 

You don’t want to beef up your organic traffic with a bunch of empty, unqualified leads. That would be putting effort into content that doesn’t actually do anything to grow your company. 

Avoid empty traffic by taking a strategic approach to content development. Every piece of content you develop should be: 

  • Written for your ideal audience
  • Focused on a keyword that’s relevant to your business
  • Aligned with that keyword’s search intent
  • Designed to draw in qualified traffic

And if you have pieces of content that are drawing in empty traffic, take a look at how you can optimize or adjust them to pull in more relevant, qualified traffic. 

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Invest in optimizing your old content

In May of 2020, Google started rolling out a “core” update to its algorithm. There are a lot of takeaways from the update, but for content marketing, one of the biggest changes is how Google ranks fresh new content. 

This article from Neil Patel does a great job of explaining how this core update impacts us all and offers a few great tips about how to effectively optimize your old content.

The big takeaway to keep in mind is that optimizing old content is an easy way to boost your rankings for relevant keywords. Optimizing and refreshing old content is a lot easier than starting from scratch, and it offers a lot of ways for you to get creative. 

  • Can you add an infographic?
  • What about a step-by-step instruction section?
  • Could the article benefit from some accompanying video?

These additions are easy to make since you have the bulk of the content already created. Sprucing up old content and going through it to check for broken links and outdated information is simple enough to do, and can deliver serious results. 

Search engines prefer fresh, relevant, and recently updated content. Schedule time in your monthly content calendar to optimize older blogs that used to perform well or that could perform better. 

Video is more relevant than ever

Video only continues to increase in popularity. In 2021, short-form video is taking over. With the rise of video-sharing platforms like Tik Tok, shorter, more engaging videos are the way of the future. 

The benefit here for you is that short videos are highly shareable. Their shareability means you can get the brand awareness you’re looking for by putting effort into short, compelling videos. 

This isn’t to say that longer video tutorials and webinars aren’t still amazing content marketing tools. Just make sure you have balance, and consider maximizing what you get out of those longer videos. Is there a section you can pull from the longer video into a shorter clip? That’s two videos for the work of one. Can’t beat that investment. 

Focus on voice search

Voice search isn’t new, but trying to rank for it is. 

In the past, it’s been difficult to nail down voice search trends. Do search engines prioritize different types of content for voice search? Is there a different query pattern to write towards? There are a lot of questions surrounding voice search, but 2020 gave us a lot of answers. 

This Voice Search SEO Guide from Search Engine Watch is particularly helpful if you’re working to boost your voice search rankings. If you’re not into reading their whole guide, I’ll break down the basics here: 

  • Optimize for long-tail keywords. People completing voice searches are likely to ask their mobile device or home assistant a full question. Develop content that’s focused on that entire long-tail keyword. 
  • Give a direct answer. Mobile phones and digital assistants want to be able to regurgitate a simple, one-sentence answer. Then, they’ll ask if the searcher wants to learn more. You’ll capture a top position for those voice searches if you answer a question directly. If the searcher is interested, they’ll keep reading what you have to say. 
  • Create a FAQ page that’s crafted for voice search. Question keywords are the most popular for voice search. You can capture a lot of those queries by creating a high-quality, voice-search-optimized FAQ page.

With more and more people investing in home assistants and adopting voice-to-text, voice search has become a small but significant portion of all search engine queries. If you can work to capture voice search traffic in 2021, you’ll position your company ahead of the competition for the future. 

Content marketing is a huge portion of any digital marketing or inbound marketing strategy. There’s a lot that goes into it, and while these new rules of content marketing in 2021 should help you position your company well for the new year,  there’s no single blog that can cover the whole topic in one go.  Feel free to check out some of our other blogs on content marketing, content development, business blogging, and content strategy if you’re looking for more content marketing best practices. 

And if you’d like a little help getting your 2021 content marketing strategy off the ground, chat with the Evenbound team. We’d be happy to help you develop a content marketing strategy that gets you more of the right leads. 

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Why & How to Use HubSpot Buyer Personas

Why & How to Use HubSpot Buyer Personas

Why & How to Use HubSpot Buyer Personas

Buyer personas, ideal buyers, target customers — all of these words talk about pretty much the same thing. Your company’s perfect customer. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to digital marketing or if you’ve been doing it for years, you’ve probably heard about buyer personas. 

Just about any marketing expert will tell you that your buyer personas are the first stop on your trip to a successful, targeted, and cost-effective marketing strategy. 

But, what about HubSpot buyer personas?

Are they different from regular buyer personas? Why should you use HubSpot’s buyer personas over what you already have, and how do you even use them in the first place?

If you’re new to HubSpot services, or if you’re looking to get more out of your existing HubSpot platform, this blog is going to dive into the why and how of HubSpot buyer personas. Let’s start with why you really should use them in the first place. 

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Why Use HubSpot Buyer Personas?

It’s good to know that HubSpot buyer personas are just your existing buyer personas, brought into the HubSpot CRM. Here’s a little background on why you should care about them at all:

For your inbound marketing strategy

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. And so has just about every other inbound marketing expert on the internet. 

Your buyer personas are the building blocks of your inbound marketing strategy. 

guide to defining your buyer persona-digital-marketing-for-manufacturers

It’s hard to create a targeted, successful inbound marketing strategy if you don’t know who you’re marketing to. 

Your buyer personas — semi-fictional representations of your ideal clients — give you the clarity and the focus you need to develop an inbound marketing strategy that draws in the right leads. That means you’re only spending money on marketing efforts that produce legitimate, actionable results. Without buyer personas, you’re spending a lot on a marketing strategy that may or may not deliver qualified leads. 

HubSpot buyer personas aren’t any different than your regular buyer personas. They serve the same purpose of guiding your inbound marketing strategy to draw in the right, qualified leads.

New to buyer personas? Here’s a Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona.

For more detailed, relevant data in your HubSpot platform

When it comes to using HubSpot buyer personas, the why is data. 

HubSpot buyer personas give you greater insight into how your marketing efforts are performing on a persona-by-persona basis. You can see which buyer personas respond best to your email campaigns, newsletters, specific landing pages, CTAs, and more. 

You can also create entire marketing campaigns around a specific HubSpot buyer persona. Let’s say one of your buyer personas is Home Builder Bob. You can create nurturing email workflows, content offers, and more, and tie them all to that specific buyer persona in HubSpot. Using HubSpot buyer personas gives you better data, but it also makes marketing to your target buyer personas a lot easier. 

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How to Use HubSpot Buyer Personas

Now that we’ve got a better idea of the point of HubSpot buyer personas, how do you use them? Let’s take a quick look at how you can create your buyer personas in HubSpot, and then what you can do with them once they’re created. 

Creating a HubSpot Buyer Persona

HubSpot has a handy tutorial on exactly how to create your HubSpot buyer personas. Check that out, or follow along in the step-by-step below: 

  1. Navigate to the HubSpot buyer persona tool. 
    • You can find this in either your “Top Personas” dashboard block or
    • By navigating to Settings > Properties > and then typing “persona” into the “Search for a Property” bar. 
  2. Click “Add a Persona”
  3. Give your persona a name and description
  4. Fill out any internal notes about their roles, goals, and challenges
  5. Write their story! This helps give a little context and life to this person you’ll be spending a lot of time creating marketing strategies for. 
  6. Click “Save”

Once you’ve created your HubSpot buyer personas, you can use them to seriously streamline your marketing tactics within the CRM. 

If this is your first time building out buyer personas, HubSpot has an entire Make My Persona tool dedicated to helping you create excellent buyer personas.  

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Using your new HubSpot Buyer Personas

There’s a lot you can do with your HubSpot buyer personas. If you’re familiar with HubSpot Properties, that’s how your HubSpot buyer personas save. So, every contact can be associated with a specific buyer persona. That opens up a lot of possibilities for your marketing strategy. 

  • Connect forms to buyer personas. You can associate certain form responses to a specific buyer persona. For example, let’s say your contact form includes a drop-down that asks, “what industry do you work in?”. You can set up your forms in a way that depending on what answer that lead chooses, they’re automatically assigned a buyer person. 
  • Create segmented email lists. Since your contacts are associated to specific HubSpot buyer personas, you can create lists of contacts that are segmented by those personas. This allows you to develop email campaigns that are hyper-specific to just that particular persona.
  • Create buyer persona-specific marketing campaigns within HubSpot. You can create entire workflows and marketing campaigns that are tied to certain buyer personas within HubSpot. 

Once you have a handle on the HubSpot buyer persona tool, the possibilities are endless. Segment your data by buyer persona, develop highly-targeted email campaigns and workflows, and so much more. 

The Hubspot buyer persona tool is all about helping you deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. And it gives you all the data you need to make sure that’s exactly what your marketing efforts are doing!

HubSpot is a robust platform that offers a vast range of tools and features that make your marketing process easier and more effective. All of those tools are helpful, but it can be tough to figure out what you’re using and what you’re not, especially when you’re just starting on HubSpot.

If you’d like one-on-one support getting your HubSpot buyer personas (or any other HubSpot tool!) up and running, Evenbound is here to help. Talk to one of our Certified HubSpot Trainers for personalized support.

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