Why Business Services Need Managed Services Marketing

Managed services marketing providers can help business service vendors achieve cost savings and access the latest marketing innovations and technologies.

Many business service vendors are familiar with managed service providers (MSPs). For years, they have used them to meet IT needs. But MSPs can be useful for core business functions that go beyond just technology. That’s why so many business services companies are exploring the benefits of managed services marketing.

ROI and cost savings

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business services company is or how many years you have been open. All companies run their operations with the goal of achieving the best ROI for the money they spend.

The largest expense on the balance sheet of most organizations is labor. It can account for as much as 70% of total business costs when you factor in salaries, benefits, taxes, and other expenses. Companies that want to achieve better ROI and cut down on labor costs must find ways to limit the number of full- and part-time hires on their payroll.

Most business services companies only ever consider two rather limited options:

  • Hire more internal employees and build an in-house marketing team. But as marketing expands to encompass more specialized skills, it gets harder to keep costs down and still get the experience you need.
  • Hire a marketing agency. Most traditional marketing and advertising agencies charge high fees and you lose some control. They may also only have a limited understanding of what you do as a business services provider. This makes it hard to target the right audiences with the right messaging.

Managed services marketing is a middle ground. These services can augment your existing marketing team. You won’t need to hire an expensive agency or more employees. The end result is a better ROI for your limited marketing budget and better marketing services.

Access to newer technologies

Marketing MSPs can also help your company access the latest technologies in digital and content marketing. As a business services company, you have to be able to leverage the latest technology and innovations to both keep up with competitors and appeal to the changing needs of your customers (who are also adapting to new tech).

Fortunately, MSPs have invested in tools for creating and publishing exceptional content. This gives you more precise targeting in marketing and advertising efforts. With the right managed services marketing providers, business services get access to:

  • Robust content management and reliable production of new materials.
  • Optimization for targeted B2B customer profiles with unique takes on each.
  • Marketing project management tools and related CRM integrations.
  • Accurate B2B reports and data analysis on all campaign segments.

It would be costly for business services to invest in marketing technologies that aren’t part of their core business. Managed services marketing still allows you to take advantage of the latest technological trends. Moreover, it helps you save on set-up and ongoing costs.

Expertise in marketing

Finally, marketing MSPs give business services companies access to a larger pool of expertise. There are more than 10 different specialty areas of marketing today. If you plan to do all your marketing internally, you will need to hire in some or all of these areas in order to target all of your customers’ preferred platforms and unique needs:

And these are just the broad areas to cover — within digital marketing or content marketing, there are dozens of subspecialties. Hiring a marketing generalist doesn’t help with in-depth experience and specialized skill sets. It’s harder to run your campaigns without the right talent and skills.

A managed services marketing partner can connect you with talented professionals experienced in the business services industry. You won’t need to hire more internal marketing staff. Successful MSPs work in conjunction with existing marketing team members to supplement the work you’re already doing. This allows your team to focus on strategic initiatives that help your business grow.

The bottom line for business services marketing

Whether you’re a small business services provider with no marketing team or you have a team that could use some help, MSPs provide you with the expertise and technology to build effective marketing campaigns. Plus, it can save you money and offer a better return on investment than hiring additional employees.

Find out more about Tempesta Media’s MSP solutions and how much of a difference they can make for your business services company. And download our 100 mistakes e-book to discover common pitfalls companies can make in their programs so you can set yours on the best path forward.

Top Content Marketing Solutions for Scaling Business Services

Leveraging content marketing solutions can help you scale your online presence. Here are some strategies to explore to increase the outreach of your business services.

Business services need a strong online profile to connect with audiences. Decision-makers consume digital content before making any purchasing decisions, so being a part of that journey gives you a competitive advantage.

However, producing content and promoting it can be time-consuming. As you keep growing, the following content marketing solutions will become a necessity to help you scale your online presence.

Content marketing development

Content marketing development is all about strategic approach. The point is to turn content marketing into a process. It’s a key practice for publishing fresh content regularly, which helps SEO rankings and provides your audience with the best available information on any given topic.

Approaching content marketing as a process is the first step of scaling up. With the help of a partner, you can:

  • Put together a content strategy targeting your main style guide(s). Automate the production of outlines for blogs, social media, videos, and so on.
  • Use an editorial calendar. Your calendar helps you set topics in advance and follow a schedule.
  • Outsource writing, editing, and preparing content for publication. This allows you to focus on other tasks, and if needed, you can easily order more content to scale up.

You can get more value from your content marketing solutions if you have control over the variables involved.

Social media

Did you know that there are 63 million decision-makers on LinkedIn?

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with B2B buyers. You can use it to establish your business services company as a thought leader. Moreover, shares can help you scale up by reaching out to a broader audience.

Content marketing solutions can help you produce content that will generate shares, clicks, and engagement. Besides, you can get help with growing an online community.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO helps you get more from existing content. You can scale up and get more traffic by optimizing new publications.

Content marketing solutions can help with on-page SEO optimization by:

  • Auditing your existing content and updating it to improve how it ranks.
  • Conducting keyword opportunity research to identify new trends.
  • Optimizing navigation to facilitate content discovery.
  • Crafting SEO-friendly titles, headers, tags, and more to tell search engines what your content is about.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO can bring more traffic to your site. It signals that you have quality content that deserves a spot among the top search results.

Content marketing solutions can develop inbound link campaigns. The goal is to get more relevant pages to link to you. Quality content will result in more inbound links, but you can also use guest posts. In addition, business services get a fast track to scaling from free PR provided by republished articles – anything from interview requests to direct client referrals.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a crucial channel for business services. In fact, 87% of B2B marketers use email for nurturing leads.

The B2B journey tends to be longer and more complex, and email tends to hold attention for longer. It’s direct and personal, often providing specific information that is relevant to the receiver.

Besides connecting with new prospects, you can use emails to boost repeat sales from existing clients. A managed services provider can help run your email campaigns and get better results.

Influencer marketing

Scale your online presence by working with B2B influencers. These partnerships can increase awareness for your business and give you more credibility. Some influencers have quite considerable followings among entrepreneurs and decision-makers, giving you access to new growth opportunities.

However, finding the right partners in your specific business services niche can be challenging. Choose content marketing solutions that can connect you to the right influencers for your goals.

Final thoughts on content marketing solutions

It’s possible to scale up your online presence by leveraging the right solutions. Look for a provider with a holistic approach to combine content marketing, SEO, social media, and other strategies.

Tempesta Media is a managed services provider that can help with content development, SEO, and the other areas mentioned above. Get in touch with us to learn more, or download our 100 mistakes e-book to learn more about how to develop an efficient content marketing program.

Google Algorithm Update 2021 – Guide for Business Services Companies

Google will release an algorithm update in May 2021 to add Page Experience as a ranking factor. Business services companies can prepare for this Google algorithm update 2021 by reviewing their SEO best practices.

Google is about to implement a major change to its algorithm. The search engine will release an update in May to introduce a new factor called Page Experience. Is this Google algorithm update 2021 going to change your rankings? Business services companies can continue to rank high for relevant searches by preparing for this change.

What are the main components of this algorithm update?

Google currently uses an algorithm that looks at hundreds of factors when determining which web pages to show first, and Page Experience will soon be one of the hundreds.

Google launched its Web Vitals tool to help you measure Page Experience. This tool looks at three of the parameters that make up your Page Experience score:

  • Does your website load quickly?
  • Is there a fast response when users click on an element?
  • Are there unexpected movements of your page content?

Page Experience includes other factors, like:

  • Is your website mobile-friendly?
  • Do you offer a safe browsing experience?
  • Does your site use the HTTPS protocol?
  • Do users have to close intrusive interstitials?

Google has revealed that Page Experience is a factor that can make a difference when comparing pages that are equally relevant for a query.

How business services companies can prepare for the Google algorithm update 2021

Don’t let this new update set you back. You still have plenty of time to fix Page Experience issues before Google rolls out this algorithm change.

Improve website health for a better Page Experience

Because safe browsing is one of the criteria Google will look at to assess Page Experience, a website with hacked pages, malware, and other issues will get a low safe browsing score.

For instance, a weak, broken, or outdated authentication system can put your clients at risk for account takeover. Attackers can inject malicious scripts that launch attacks when a user visits the compromised webpage.

Thus, safe browsing is crucial for business services companies – you need to come across as trustworthy and reliable. Start from offering a safe website. You can use Google’s Security Issues report to check for problematic pages and improve your website health.

Showcase your expertise with quality content

Remember that Page Experience will only come into play when comparing pages with similar quality and relevancy. So, although the Google algorithm update 2021 is adding a new factor, quality content will continue to remain one of the determining factors for your rankings.

Business service leaders can position themselves as thought leaders by creating niche content that supports B2B buyers in their journey. Focusing on thought leadership allows you to develop the kind of sophisticated content that brings value to your audience while crafting a professional image for your brand.

Showcasing your expertise through quality content will help you move from a push to a pull strategy. Instead of pushing your products, your content will pull the right audience in with valuable information that reflects the concerns B2B buyers have in the current stage of their journey.

Optimize your business services website with these SEO strategies

Audit your existing content to look for ways to optimize it. You should also review your best SEO practices for the content you develop in the future.

Here are different SEO strategies you can use to prepare for the Google algorithm update 2021.

Create a keyword sitemap

A keyword sitemap is a document that assigns a target keyword to each page. It helps you create a logical structure for a better navigation experience. Also, it allows you to use more relevant keywords in your URLs.

Look at how keywords are connected to create keyword clusters. For instance, let’s say you offer training services to businesses. One of your products is a customer service training program.

Some users will look for the service you offer with a keyword like “customer service training.” Others will use different wording, like “customer satisfaction training.” You might even see more precise searches for “customer service training online class” or users who are looking for a solution with a search like “how to increase customer satisfaction index.”

Instead of creating four different pieces that could end up competing against each other, consolidate all these keywords into a cluster and develop a long-form guide that goes over the benefits of your program while explaining how it works.

Developing longer articles based on keyword clusters will pay off. Indeed, articles over 3,000 words get three times more traffic, four times more shares, and 3.5 times more backlinks compared to shorter pieces.

Focus on local SEO

With 46% of Google searches asking for local information, you need to reach out to local B2B buyers with the following strategies:

  • Optimize your Google My Business listing.
  • Use social media to get traffic from local users.
  • Participate in local business events for online mentions and backlinks.
  • Add location-specific keywords to your content.

Identify long-tail keywords

The B2B buyer journey is becoming longer and more complex. A Gartner study found that 77% of B2B buyers considered their latest purchase to be very complex.

Users are more likely to issue very specific queries that are more sophisticated as they progress in this journey. Long-tail keywords allow you to capture these searches and target users with a precise intent.

Consider the frequency of long-tail keywords, the level of competition, and their relevancy to identify content creation opportunities.

For instance, “IT support” is a short-tail keyword that leads to broad results. B2B buyers will likely refine their search with long-tail keywords like “IT support cost comparison,” “why should I outsource IT support,” or “what to look for in an IT support provider.”

Optimize page content and metadata

You can boost your rankings by auditing existing pages and following a few simple strategies to optimize them. Proper optimization will give you a competitive edge and help you target the right B2B users by indicating what your content is about.

Here’s how you can optimize page content and metadata to prepare your business for the Google algorithm update 2021:

  • Create descriptive page titles with keywords.
  • Keep your URLs short and descriptive.
  • Add title tags with keywords.
  • Write compelling meta descriptions that will increase clicks.
  • Use alt tags to describe your images.
  • Break up your content with headings that use supporting keywords.
  • Keep the keyword density natural in your copy.

Nurture your network of backlinks

B2B marketers who have blogs get 67% more leads than those who don’t. So, nurturing a network of backlinks for your blog is perhaps the most important thing business services should focus on, with guest posting and other strategies that get your content more visible.

Developing strong partnerships will drive traffic to your site from qualified leads and contribute to establishing your business as a thought leader.

We recommend seeking the following opportunities to nurture your network of backlinks:

  • Launch a backlink campaign to get more links to your content.
  • Publish quality content that brings new ideas to the table.
  • Invest in market research so other sites can link to your statistics.
  • Participate in local events to get backlinks from local news sources and organizations.
  • Identify key professional publications for your niche and write for them.
  • Target news publications with content that discusses the latest trends in your niche.
  • Partner with influencers to build links on social media.
  • Leverage your professional network to exchange backlinks with your connections.
  • Partner with popular business podcasts or YouTube channels to explore other formats and get backlinks.
  • Use analytics to identify your most valuable backlinks and look for ways to get similar ones.

Final thoughts on the Google algorithm update 2021

Business services companies should prepare for the upcoming Google algorithm change. Things like website health and quality content are important, and you can maintain or improve your rankings with proper optimization.

Tempesta Media is a managed services provider that focuses on performance. We have experience with business services companies and can help you prepare for this Google algorithm update 2021. Get in touch with us to learn more!

And while you’re at it, download our e-book on 100 mistakes companies make in their content marketing programs to further optimize your strategies.

How Can Insurance Brokers Adapt Their Content Marketing Programs to a Post-COVID-19 World?

Post-COVID-19, insurance brokers face a content marketing environment with new challenges like a higher claims volume, high rates of policy cancellations, and customers with new concerns and priorities.

Insurance brokers have been affected by COVID-19, just like their customers. Thus, brokers need ways to address new expectations and help their customer base navigate a slew of new challenges. Here’s how content marketing can become a powerful tool to create connections and make your business more resilient.

How is the post-COVID-19 world expected to change for insurance companies?

Brokers face major headwinds:

  1. Major portions of the U.S. economy have been shut down (with another lockdown expected in the winter of 2020-2021). Additionally, a significant number of small businesses have either temporarily or permanently closed. As a result, they are either reducing or canceling their insurance policies, which is reducing premium revenue for brokers and commissions.
  2. Brokers are running into difficulty with their offline marketing programs. Those programs are not as effective as they were before COVID-19, and it’s making many brokers scramble.

What unique challenges do brokers face?

Brokers are also facing some specific challenges. Prior to COVID-19, they traditionally relied on word-of-mouth marketing, personal networking, event attendance and direct mail for most of their customer acquisition marketing or policyholder upsell programs. But many of those options have been impaired or completely put on hold.
This poses a difficulty: How can you attract new policyholders and expand the existing customer base? The solution is digital marketing.
However, for many in the industry, digital marketing is new territory. It’s not that these brokers don’t have social media accounts or websites. They do. Where they’re having trouble is with leveraging these resources in a manner that consistently drives engagement, leads and revenue.
Just as insurance requires deep, specialized skills and experience, so does launching, optimizing and scaling content, as well as running social media and influencer marketing programs. The bottom line is that most brokers don’t have these capabilities in house. So, they’re struggling to take advantage of their marketing channels.
However, if brokers can’t push into these new areas, they will be forced to over-rely on their existing impaired programs. The result is higher costs and stagnation in policyholder acquisition.

What are insurance brokers’ worst fears?

worst fearsUnfortunately, higher policyholder acquisition costs are only half of the problem. Brokers are also rapidly losing commercial customers because many companies are, indeed, going out of business.
As these businesses shut down, their policies get canceled. If you have a significant amount of policyholder churn and not enough new customer acquisition, you risk going out of business too.
To put it simply, your risks align very closely with how the overall economy performs. If you haven’t transitioned to digital, you’ll see little new business coming in and an increasing amount of churn — a recipe for failure.

Turn the tide: Implement an action plan now

Take a moment here, step back and understand something crucial: The world has changed permanently. While the economy will eventually bounce back over the long haul, customers are canceling in droves right now. So, to be proactive and best prepare yourself for success in this new landscape, take a look at these strategies.

New questions and priorities

Customers are asking new questions about their policy and wondering whether their coverage is an expense they can justify and whether it still fits their new situation.
At a time when every dollar counts, there is more scrutiny that goes into picking a new policy. Some customers might consider new products like life, health, event cancellation and business disruption insurance. Others may reevaluate perks and find new value in things like telehealth coverage.

How to address these new prioritiesHow to address these new priorities

Pivot your messaging to reflect these new concerns and emphasize value. Your content marketing campaign should feature new products and perks your customer base could benefit from during the pandemic. As a broker, you are uniquely positioned to help people find the best fit for their budget. It’s something you could emphasize in your content.
Start by researching your audience to understand how COVID-19 is impacting them. Also identify their top priorities and pain points. You can then create an editorial calendar to address new topics and update existing content to stay organized and prepared.

Example: State Farm and the emphasis on value

State Farm recently updated its homepage to adopt a message that is primarily about value. Customers can now use an interactive tool to get a quote. The quote request is next to copy about “surprisingly great rates,” a message that anticipates a rebuttal about cost concerns.
If you keep scrolling, you will find more concrete information about savings in terms of percentages. This focus on value helps users make a decision when shopping for a policy on a budget.

A digital-first experience

Many insurance brokers rely on traditional marketing methods like word-of-mouth marketing or networking to find new customers and upsell. COVID-19 has disrupted these traditional channels and calls for a digital-first experience.
Brokers should prepare for an increase in claim volumes and customers who might seek assistance via digital channels. Specialty lines of insurance, including travel, short-term disability, event cancellation and business interruption, are expected to see high volumes of claims.

Rethink your digital presence

Here are some strategies you can use to adapt your marketing program to the digital landscape:

Your website is your company’s digital foundation. From it, you can then build your company’s online presence.1. Assess your current online presence

Is your current online presence adapted to a digital-first approach? Making your website more professional help your audience feel more comfortable with your capabilities and relevance.
Additionally, review the different channels you have been using to connect with your audience. Ask yourself how switching to a digital-first communication strategy changes which channels your audience will prefer using, as well as what kind of content prospects and existing customers will expect to find on each channel you use.

2. Identify new channels

You can extend your online presence by identifying new channels. Determine new platforms to use to reach out to prospects and make content easier to access for existing customers. This could include joining new social media platforms like LinkedIn for B2B marketing or Facebook and Twitter for retail and commercial policies.
Making your content mobile-friendly can also help you deliver a better experience for smartphone users who research insurance-related matters on the go.

3. Focus on nurturing leads and relationships with existing customers

An insurance policy isn’t something a customer buys on an impulse. You can use different methods, including social media and email series, to stay in touch with leads and turn them into customers.
The key is to keep delivering content that reflects current concerns and pain points. Periodic emails and social media posts with messaging centered around value and relevant perks in a post-COVID-19 world will feel especially helpful.
However, remember that nurturing shouldn’t be limited to prospects. You can use these strategies to nurture relationships with existing customers as well. Focus on content that educates them on their current policy and informs them about other products they could benefit from.

top, mid and bottom of the funnel4. Rethink your sales funnel

Find a way to capture new leads on your website. This means gated content.
As the name implies, gated content provides something of value, like an e-guide, e-book or other information, in exchange for personally identifiable information (PII). Examples of PII are names, phone numbers and email addresses.
Gated content gives insurance brokers like you the ability to convert website visitors into leads. When you couple this approach with a lead nurturing program, those leads can quickly become new policyholders.
A digital-first approach means you need to capture leads, upsell or renew policies with online forms. Use strong calls to action to encourage people to use these forms, and expand your content campaign to include new formats like e-books and webinars so that you can offer something valuable in exchange for PII.

5. Measure your results with content analytics

Use content analytics to measure how well you meet your audience’s new expectations, identify new bottlenecks, and get a better idea of the topics and content formats your audience is most interested in.

Example: Social media nurturing with Farmer’s Insurance

The Facebook profile for Farmer’s Insurance contains messaging that informs people about policy perks. Also, they display inspiring posts about the company’s philanthropic efforts. Facebook users will also find content about challenges linked to COVID-19.
This social media campaign uses relatable messages about the pandemic without letting this topic dominate the conversation. Posts about policy perks always include a link and call to action to help users progress in their journey to learn more about the policies offered.

Diversification

The effect of COVID-19 isn’t uniform across the insurance industry. Thus, it’s crucial for insurance brokers to carefully assess how the pandemic is affecting their customer base to develop a resilience strategy.
Diversifying your customer base can protect you if one of the industries or customer profiles you typically work with is severely affected by the pandemic (or some other disaster in the future). Diversification options include developing a B2C marketing campaign if you mostly sell insurance to individuals or working with a wider range of industries or business sizes.

How to use content marketing to diversify your customer base

The following strategies will help you build a diverse customer base for a more resilient business.

well-defined voice1. Adopt a consistent voice

Now is the perfect time to reflect on your branding and the tone that you feel is most representative of who you are. A well-defined voice will help you remain consistent as you publish content on different channels and reach out to different niches.

2. Look for partnerships

For B2B content, partner with experts in the niches you want to target. There are plenty of opportunities to develop content about how an industry is adapting to a post-COVID-19 world through interviews or guest posts.

3. Find alternatives to word-of-mouth marketing

One of the downsides of switching to a digital-first approach is that you can no longer rely on word-of-mouth marketing for client acquisition.
You can solidify your presence in new niches and keep acquiring new customers in existing niches by using alternatives like shareable content on social media or referral incentives. You should also keep an eye on reviews published on Google, business directories and social media. Managing your online reputation by making things right when a customer leaves a negative review or thanking the users who leave positive reviews can help with customer acquisition.

4. Segment your audience

The risk of diversifying your efforts to make your business more resilient is that your content might not feel relevant to all your prospects or existing customers.
You can remedy this problem by segmenting your audience. A logical way to do so is to have a group of prospects who have yet to purchase a policy and a second group of your existing customers. You can also segment your audience by industry, business size or needs.
Most importantly, structure your site to help visitors find content that is relevant to them. In addition, segment your email list to always send content that feels personalized.

content personalizationExample: Willis Re and audience segmentation

Willis Re uses a simple and modern design to present its different services and help users find content that is relevant to their unique needs.
This Willis Re page uses text blocks with noticeable headers to describe different industries or pain points. The text blocks sum up challenges unique to each segment and connect these problems to the solutions offered.

In summary

While you must recognize that there are some very real threats to your insurance business, you can take steps to keep it running smoothly. You can take action and build a resilient business by replacing traditional marketing methods with a strong digital presence anchored in content.
In conclusion, focusing on content allows you to meet the needs of customers who are facing new challenges due to COVID-19 while also allowing you to deliver the best experience possible as you replace traditional marketing methods. Content marketing for insurance brokers can also unlock new possibilities in terms of customer acquisition and diversification.

Need help?

If you have a content program that you want to update, download our e-book 100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.

How does the education industry preserve engagement with prospective customers?

Although the education industry is spending more time on customer retention, many do not use every available tool out there, and more than a few lack good content to drive their marketing strategy.
But colleges, universities and trade academies are businesses, and to survive they must attract new customers (prospective students), engage those prospective students, and convert them into enrollees.
Here are three strategies that can help educational institutions accomplish these goals:

Use newer technology methods

Technology can either be a tool or a weapon depending on how it is used. For the education industry, there are two tools that can be valuable toward engaging prospective students: gaming and adaptive learning activities.
Remember, content as it relates to the education industry is not just about blog pieces, videos and podcasts; it is also about the type of learning content that students can enroll in online.
One way to engage prospective students is for institutions to offer more game-oriented or game-based learning, which boosts motivation, helps students retain more information and does wonders for their problem-solving skills.
Gamification is hands-on and interactive – two huge ways to boost user engagement. Adaptive learning follows a similar path.
Adaptive learning refers to online learning that is customized to match a user’s learning curve based on previous lessons he or she has completed.
That helps students learn at the appropriate level based on their existing understanding of the material. A one-size-fits all approach may not benefit students who learn at more measured rates.

Keep content updated and fresh

The “buying” process for an educational institution is far longer than for a traditional business. In this case, buying refers to a prospective student who decides to enroll in some type of class or program at the school.
And because this process is so much longer, the content that educators offer must remain relevant and constantly updated.
This does not just refer to website content that may include helpful blogs and guides. Educational courses must also incorporate the most up-to-date information, theories and concepts.
Educational institutions may have to update their online textbooks and manuals to reflect the most recent and accepted information pertaining to a subject matter.
Schools should also update their sites several times per week and ensure that there is at least one new blog post every week. This will make users feel as if they are engaging with a site that is relevant and in tune with current events in education and society.
Remember, quality of content is much more important than quantity of content, so having two fresh pieces a week that are outstanding and valuable is far more important in engaging prospective students than 10 pieces of mediocre or throwaway content.

Focus on e-learning

Although many colleges and universities offer online learning, most do so at a loss to the bottom line.
But some marketing services are helping schools monetize online learning by opening up the subject matters that prospective students can “buy,” including courses in health sciences, business, computer technology, engineering, sciences, art, design, writing and sustainability.
There are three elements to focus on when schools attempt to sell online courses to the public, including:

  • Branding – Schools must communicate their culture and what makes their approach to learning unique.
  • Quality courses – Schools must offer high-end instruction and certification to prove the value of the course.
  • Target the audience – Schools must identify the ideal customer for each course, which will help them create content that this audience would find attractive.

Schools that take advantage of the growing trend toward online learning can attract new, motivated students; they can also make money doing so.
There are many services out on the market that offer course packages, marketing services and online course management, so schools interested in this new avenue of engaging prospects should investigate this further.

Engagement requires constant evaluation

Engaging prospective students is a full-time job that requires constant evaluation of existing content and existing technologies that can excite prospects and make them more likely to become “buyers.” Educational institutions must think like entrepreneurs because there is fierce competition and limited resources.
If you are interested in a review of your content marketing strategy, please contact us today.

Embracing a B2B manufacturing marketing strategy mentality

The way businesses of all shapes and sizes go about marketing their products and services has changed drastically in the past few years. This is also true in the manufacturing world. Today, more and more marketers in the manufacturing arena are focusing on a B2B manufacturing marketing strategy. Here are some things businesses should know to determine if they should embrace this mentality.

Understanding e-commerce trends and predictions

At one point, e-commerce consisted of simple communication between the buyer and the seller. However, in recent years, this is no longer the case. Today, many manufacturers are selling into new industries, developing new products and utilizing the internet to increase their business in a number of ways.
One of the biggest trends that seems to be affecting e-commerce the most is that consumers are now expecting a different type of shopping experience. E-commerce focuses on providing consumers with an engaging experience that allows them to interact with their favorite products and services on a unique level.
Naturally, there are several benefits to adopting e-commerce in manufacturing. For starters, doing so opens a business up to a whole world of consumers and business partners. It is also a very cost-effective approach to business. Since much of the marketing strategies require very little in the way of budget, businesses can accomplish quite a bit while receiving a huge return on investment.
There are also savings in the way of resources. For example, businesses can cut down on the paper and resources they use when they focus on an e-commerce marketing strategy. With these benefits, it is easy to see why more businesses and manufacturers are starting to change their strategies to fit with these trends.

How do e-commerce trends affect the manufacturing industry?

Due to all the trends and predictions, e-commerce is changing the way the manufacturing industry works. One of the most important items to understand is that e-commerce is changing the way buyers buy. Sales in the e-commerce arena are expected to hit $1.1 trillion by 2020.
More and more consumers are completing all of their research and purchases online than ever before. What better person to fill consumers in on products and services than the manufacturer? Providing consumers with detailed information that will lead them to buy certain products is crucial. This means business will need to ensure the right amount of accurate information can easily be found about their products online.

Face-to-face selling opportunities on the decline

It is also important to realize that many consumers will not ever be interacting with a sales team at all. Face-to-face selling opportunities are on the decline, and businesses no longer have the same type of power to say what they want to say about their own products. Consumers will now be learning the information about products on their own without relying on the company to give them the information.
Today, it is much more common for businesses to communicate with consumers via email, social media, text messaging and other forms of communication other than face-to-face. While this does take the personal factor out of the selling process, it is a great way to save money and resources, and it frees up time for marketers to focus on other facets of the company.

Consumer culture of convenience in manufacturing

Consumer culture has also changed in the world we live in. Consumers are no longer willing to wait and are impatient. They also know what they want and know how to find it. Most consumers can utilize the internet well and can quickly find the information they need.
For this reason, manufacturing companies are being forced to cater to a culture of convenience. Shipping times and methods must be fast and high-quality ones. The goal is to bring products closer to the consumer so that they are the obvious option when it comes time to make a purchase.
In the world of manufacturing, e-commerce is quickly becoming a huge part of the equation. Manufacturers of all types are starting to realize the impact e-commerce is having on their sales and are adjusting quickly.
These are just a few of the things businesses will want to consider when they are considering focusing on an e-commerce marketing strategy. Learning everything possible about this form of marketing strategy is one of the best ways to ensure a manufacturer is successful.

Why content is the golden ticket for higher education marketing

One of the most effective ways for higher education institutions to attract new students is by creating valuable content. And for many institutions, identifying a target audience may not be a question of segmentation as much as it is a question of motivation.
In other words: What drove a prospect to arrive at an institution’s landing page? And once an institution can answer that question, then they can target the content to a wide group of prospects.
Here are some important content strategies that can drive higher education marketing and help institutions develop a plan for content management.

Create good, updated content to attract quality students

Higher education marketing begins with a website that has attractive landing pages, bold headlines and call-to-action (CTA) buttons that compel a user to seek more information about the school or to apply online for enrollment.
The website should also be responsive, which means that when users access that site on their mobile devices, the images, colors, text and font all shrink to fit those devices, without affecting the site’s ease-of-use.
And colleges and universities can create valuable content by answering the question mentioned earlier: What drove a prospect to arrive at the school’s landing page?
A list of reasons why a user would land on a university’s website:

  • Finding affordable education.
  • Seeking flexible ways to pay for higher education.
  • Seeking information about the value of an advanced degree.
  • Seeking information about diversity at the school.
  • Seeking information about quality of education.
  • Seeking information about transfer requirements.
  • Seeking information about admission requirements.

This is just a place to start, but even with this short list, administrators can begin to craft informative and entertaining content about subjects such as the value of a college degree versus only having a high-school diploma, social activities available on campus, the school’s latest rankings that speak volumes about its quality education, and the types of jobs available for students who want to earn money while attending school.

Ensure that administrators and faculty are on the same page regarding content

As with any business, content is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and that is why it is so important that administrators and faculty are on the same page regarding content creation.
School administrators are often more concerned about how to attract new enrollees and retain existing students, so their content ideas are going to be skewed toward that goal.
Faculty, on the other hand, is more likely to want to promote the educational aspects of the institution, which means their content ideas are going to lean more toward orientation sessions, online academic conferences, educational forums and classroom dynamics.
But guess what?
Colleges and universities need both of these types of content to ensure that they are servicing as many prospects and as many existing students as possible.
Summer is a great time for administrators and faculty to meet to explore what content to create because there is time for everyone to take a look at web analytics to identify what users searched for on the school website.
Web analytics also sheds light on what content did not quite hit the mark, especially via social media comments that can illuminate trending topics that are engaging students.

Set measurable goals for developing content strategies

Many people think higher education marketing is something abstract that cannot be measured, but that is not true.
Administrators can set measurable goals by tracking the following information after a marketing campaign:

  • Number of requests for information.
  • Number of requests for an application.
  • Number of online applications started.
  • Number of online applications submitted.
  • Number of mailed applications submitted.
  • Number of contact forms completed.
  • Number of people attending live chats and online information seminars.
  • Number of social media comments after new campaign launched.

These can all give provide a quantifiable way of analyzing the success or failure of a campaign, which also helps administrators set new goals.

Content is about more than just blog pieces

Relevant, updated and valuable content is one of the keys to higher education marketing, but administrators should not forget that content is not just blog pieces; it includes videos, webinars, live streaming and podcasts.
If you need help with a content marketing strategy, please contact us today for a consultation.

Generating more customer acquisitions for the manufacturing industry

Manufacturing is on the rebound after the industry’s tough times over the past decade. Manufacturers know they must continually seek new ways to decrease costs, optimize processes and generate leads.
Customer acquisition is a top priority for manufacturers, which is mainly due to the limited pool of potential clients. Manufacturers must fiercely compete to acquire and expand their base of customers.

Tapping into the right audience

How do manufacturers tap into their audience while staying on the cutting edge of an ever-changing landscape? Not long ago, manufacturers utilized a basic mechanization of tasks followed by specialization and the assembly line. Later, automation forever altered manufacturing.
Today, there is yet another revolution as cybersystems, robots, industrial internet, smart factories, and cloud computing transform the industry. And, although manufacturing processes have changed dramatically, two constants still remain: sales and customer acquisition. A manufacturer can make the best product in the world, but it is doomed to fail if the customer can’t find it.
Today, consumers shop and interact with companies across digital channels, and manufacturers must target these customers in real time. More than 100 billion people search Google each month. In 2014, Google identified that B2B researchers, on average, perform 12 searches before engaging with a specific brand’s website.
A manufacturer’s custom marketing program must consist of valuable, relevant and consistent content. This will help attract and retain a clearly defined customer base and ultimately drive conversion and sales. The program must promote a product’s performance, its advantages over the competition and its producer as a trusted authority in the sector. After all, new technologies aren’t only for manufacturing; they are for marketing and customer communication. The intent is to attract a solid and loyal customer base.

Inbound marketing strategy

Identify opportunities and goals. Update an outdated website. Build a robust SEO strategy. Create a comprehensive and focused content strategy. These are all vital pieces to the inbound content marketing puzzle.
An inbound content marketing program will facilitate:

  • Quality leads
  • An increase in sales revenue
  • Opportunities for long-term sales potential
  • Customer loyalty and trust
  • Customer retention
  • Brand awareness

To accomplish their in-bound marketing goals, manufacturing marketers are turning to videos, newsletters, illustrations and photos, podcasts, case studies and white papers, blogs, social media and online presentations to inform and educate their customer base. Then, through research, cost-benefit analysis and which channel produced the most customer leads, marketers can determine which marketing outlet(s) returned the highest ROI.
Take a look at the numbers:

  • B2B companies that published 16 or more blog posts each month saw nearly 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published less than four posts per month.
  • Forty-seven percent of customers viewed three to five segments of content before connecting with a sales rep.
  • Ninety-six percent of B2B customers want content with greater input from industry thought leaders.

Content marketing strategy

About 86 percent of B2B manufacturing marketers said they use content marketing, and more than 44 percent increased the amount of content generated this year over last year. When companies were asked what their top marketing priorities were over the next 12 months, 70 percent said converting leads to customers was their top priority. This is followed by growing traffic to their website (55 percent), increasing revenue from customers (45 percent), demonstrating ROI (39 percent), sales enablement (29 percent) and reducing the cost of acquisition (24 percent). Two percent didn’t know. Companies can accomplish much of this with a compelling and persuasive content marketing strategy.
Another way manufacturers are accomplishing their goals for sales and customer leads is with referrals. According to a report by Cultivate, 62 percent of manufacturers rely on referrals. This may be through product reviews and sharing experiences with others on social media or other digital channels.

Content marketing drives customer experience

But, most likely, the most impactful marketing trend for manufacturing marketers will be a tighter focus on the customer experience throughout the buying process. Concentrating on what customers want and value most can lead to higher revenue and stronger customer loyalty. However, customers’ needs and preferences change over time. Therefore, it is necessary to update marketing content and invest in several marketing channels to understand what works now and what will work into the future.
Companies are likely to generate more customer acquisitions that lead to sales when marketing and manufacturing functions operate in a shared atmosphere of cooperation. They must realize that each has a role to play and a need that must be filled. Tempesta Media, a leader in outsourced content marketing, empowers a company’s marketing strategies with compelling and practical content that drives inbound marketing initiatives and generates customer acquisitions.
Lead generation for manufacturers has evolved beyond traditional methods. Embracing technology to drive customer acquisition will help manufacturers boost market share. Tempesta Media can show you how.

How manufacturers are staying abreast of consumer behavior

Once upon a time, consumers flipped through catalogs and the yellow pages for retail purchases. They browsed through stores like Radio Shack and KB Toys for all their shopping needs. Sadly, the days of renting videos at Blockbuster and walking the aisles at Kmart are long gone. Like it or not, most modern consumers – more than 80 percent – search for products and services on the Internet prior to making a purchase. Some consumers still visit a local Best Buy, but many of them have stopped strolling the aisles. Now they log into Amazon to compare pricing.
Unfortunately, many manufacturing companies haven’t stayed up-to-date with consumer buying habits. Outdated marketing mechanisms, such as catalogs, mailers and brochures are much less likely to resonate with present-day consumers. Now, consumers rely on online reviews and ratings to make purchasing decisions. Case in point, in a recent study by Moz.com, 67 percent of respondents indicated online reviews were “fairly, very, or absolutely important” when making online purchasing decisions. That’s a very high percentage of consumers that trust both good and bad reviews. These consumers use online reviews to form an opinion about a company, reach a decision about a purchase, or commit oneself to a service provider.

Devising a marketing strategy

So, how do manufacturers devise a marketing strategy that will resonate with their customers? After all, finding buyers for a lift truck attachment is much different than marketing a new cell phone to millennials. There are tremendous amounts of demographic information on consumers that can help identify customer market segments and consumer profiles. There is much less information on manufacturing niches. Additionally, this information is harder to acquire and usually requires industrial or manufacturing experience to compile. It’s also fairly easy to advertise the latest and greatest cell phone. Advertising a complex piece of machinery is much more difficult. It can often take months or even years for the consumer to make a purchase.

B2B blogging increases lead generation

Even so, one highly successful form of marketing that has taken flight over the past several years is B2B blogging. It has become one of the best ways for manufacturers to build prestige and introduce products to interested buyers. However, just because a company writes and publishes a blog doesn’t mean customers will see or read it. Blogging must be part of an overall marketing strategy. And just as consumer buying behavior is changing, so are trends in blogging. For example:

  • B2B and business blogging is steadily on the rise.
  • Those companies with blogs tend to receive more leads
  • Blogging frequently tends to be more effective
  • Manufacturing blogs have longer ROI than most other marketing efforts
  • B2B blogging is shown to have considerable SEO benefits and attracts higher quality leads. In fact, websites that offer a blog can have as much as 434 percent more indexed pages. Why is that important? In SEO, providing large quantities of content that search engines use to index helps search engines recognize that your site is a great source of information.
  • Besides great content, blogs that utilize visual content, such as graphs and charts or product photos seem to attract greater numbers of return visitors. One source suggests that blogs with images receive 94 percent more views.

Achieve a rise in conversion rates

It’s a little-known fact that B2B businesses are actually more likely to blog than their counterparts: B2C businesses. This is true in part because there seems to be more of an emphasis on lead generation for B2B companies. Another important consideration to think about is that Millennial consumers trust their peers (and peer reviews) over display ads. This is key because blogs set companies up as an authorities in their industries. A well-written blog promotes the brand and builds, and maintains customer relationships. It can set a business apart from the competition, encourage direct customer contact, and disseminate information to a huge number of people. Companies may even ask authoritative bloggers, especially those with a trusting fan base, to feature product reviews on their blogs. Doing so may drive traffic to the company website and secure sales.
One more very important reason for companies to consider implementing a blogging strategy is ‘conversion rates,’. This is the percentage of customers who browse a site or read a blog that convert to paying customers. Conversion rates provide actual results and show how many people visited the website as a direct result of a blog post. These rates can tell which posts generated the most activity, and which lead to sales. But, it’s important to keep in mind that to accurately track conversion rates, companies must give blog posts, promos, or ads enough time to see real results.

How to incorporate blogging into your marketing strategy

Maybe your business doesn’t have the time or personnel needed to write a customer-winning blog successfully, but you know the time is NOW to add a blog into your overall marketing strategy. Tempesta Media, pioneers in performance content and ROI-driven influencer marketing programs, is eager to help brand your manufacturing business with a top-rated blog that engages your customers, cements your stellar reputation, and drives sales.

A targeted content strategy helps build a better manufacturing buyer

Engineering, logistics, and time-tested processes drive the quantifiable foundation of manufacturer success. However, content strategy also plays a role in manufacturer success.
Marketing strategy leverages data points to reveal niche buyer profiles. This data showcases future customers who are in the research phase of their path to conversion. Previously, less targeted traditional advertising, aimed at too broad an audience. Inbound marketing focuses the message toward users who are actively searching for your services.
Carefully curated content is the core of an effective inbound strategy. Engaging content speaks for your company as the first point of contact. It educates new leads, answers questions and becomes an organic pull strategy that generates new leads at scale.

Inbound marketing content helps you build a better customer

Manufacturing buyers want the best: quality, rates, service. A 2015 Forrester survey found that 74 percent of business buyers use digital media for over half of their research before making first contact with a company, bypassing the awareness stage of the sales cycle to compare value and verify results.
Engaging content positions your organization as a progressive industry leader by educating your customers and fostering better lifetime relationships.
Creating content at scale lowers risk as optimized knowledge permits future personalization, reflecting customizable solutions to competitively innovate.

Content is perfect for long sales cycles

Content strategy speaks to the buyer at each stage of the sales cycle, informing, messaging promotions and supporting back-end Google searches. A variety of content maximizes the opportunity for a right place, right time approach.
White papers, case studies, eBooks and webinars are the most popular content types, supported by a combination of other evergreen and topical pieces. Properly executed, they unite your company voice and messaging by focusing on conversion targeting.
Ultimately, you should build a user-friendly educational hub to house all content for when the buyer needs information. This allows you to build a reputation as an authority in your industry.

Awareness marketing creates better visibility through scalable targeting

Manufacturing has an advantage over other industries where the majority of future business begins in the consideration phase.
Rather than a new prospect challenge, your outbound marketing messaging benefits by targeting a smaller audience, minimizing investment in favor of qualified reach.
Awareness content includes press releases, seasonal campaigns and thought leadership pieces published on a strategic schedule, with efficient distribution based on past buyer response behavior.

Content thrives and excels within the consideration stage

As top manufacturing players separate from the rest, buyers compare key competitor differences to inform their business partnerships. It is to your benefit to provide their education.
Within this comparison stage, listening to the conversation within your industry is vital to content creation. Stepping in at the correct time with the right answer is almost as good as answering a question before it is asked.
When your hub of educational content becomes evergreen, established as gospel, with only infrequent content updates, your investment will continue to pay off and cement your reputation.

Content speeds conversions

Inbound content accelerates the time it takes to close. A thoroughly informed buyer will feel confident in making a decision. If your buyer is already speaking your language and has an understanding of your capabilities and those of the industry, they are prepared to convert.
And through their word-of-mouth recommendations, your investment in targeted content will continue to provide returns.

You already have the digital indicators to inform your content creation

Inherent trackability directs the production of effective content. If you know where to look, you can harvest keywords. Keywords are terms and phrases that drive buyers to your business from a number of existing sources to attract customers.
Web analytics provide keyword data from the terms users enter into the search bar on your site. Similarly, referral traffic categorizes organic searches, indicating terms users entered into a search engine to discover your company. Content site views, bounces, and time on site also color the customer engagement picture.
Hashtags are useful as a discovery tool within social media, specifically on LinkedIn to engage with a B2B audience.
Understanding what buyers will be searching for, when they are looking, and how long they are willing to read turns proper content execution into new business wins. Using this information, a manufacturer could publish a 600-word white paper on how new regulations limit future delivery before they go into effect and establish authority on the subject.

You as the industry authority

Ideally, your content should establish you as a trusted authority within your industry and place your evergreen pieces near the top in future searches.
Further, you can strategically repurpose foundational, quality content to recover investment costs and strengthen your industry authority. The cornerstone content that makes up your educational hub become your brand ambassador if it is well-written and delivers what future buyers need before they ask.

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