See you over at Step By Step Online Business

You may have noticed things have gone a little quiet on the Content Content blog. That’s because we’ve been a bit distracted with other things – but hey, what can you do?

Recently we’ve been spending a lot of our time on our new-ish Step By Step Online Business, which is a blog about setting up an online business for the first time.

There are thousands (if not millions) of websites out there on how to do this, but if you have ever spent any time looking at these websites, there’s a few things you’re probably thinking.

“Great. I’m more confused now than when I started. “

That’s why this website has been set up using a step by step, numbered approach. Most of what is out there is hard to follow or just downright confusing. So let’s try and fix that – together – with this website. If you read about something on this blog and you’re more confused than before, this website has failed. Tell us if we’ve failed. Preferably on one of our social channels. Seriously, go public. That way, we’ll be quick to act and try harder to solve the problem (which, incidentally, is what you should when you get feedback – of any kind – on your social channels).

Another thing you’re probably thinking is:

Can I really trust this advice or information because they appear to be selling a service

You should always query anything you read on a website. Literally everything. Especially when the website has lots of ads for e-commerce or marketing services on it. Always ask – what’s your angle? What are you selling?

Quite rightly, you should take anything you read on this website with a pinch of salt too, but know this – it’s intended to provide helpful, useful tips and discussion points around the questions people usually have when they’re setting up an online business for the first time. That goes for your first ecommerce website, your first eBay, Etsy or Amazon store. And remember, nothing you read on here is gospel. We’re always learning too. Granted, there’s some advertising on this website which helps with basic running costs, but seriously – given the financial returns on banner ads these days, we really aren’t in this for the cash (something like £0.02 per ad clicked, if that), so we’re in it for the love of sharing knowledge (also when it comes to advertising, we’ve added the odd promotional banner ad for ecommerce website tools like Shopfiy or BigCommerce or useful books, but we don’t always have control over the other ads you might see – like some of the strange dating websites we sometimes see on here).

Here’s another thing you may have been thinking about other online business’ or ‘make money online’ websites:

Why are there lots of pictures of fast cars, holiday villas and attractive people sitting on piles of money or sitting in a jet?

You won’t ever see any references to fantasy lifestyles on this blog. And if you do – leave and never come back. It would serve us right. That also goes for any posts titled ‘Make money from home’ or ‘Make money online’. Why? Setting up and running a new website or business is hard. We know that – we’ve built them. It’s takes graft. And most fail. Or they don’t make much money – at first. Any website or ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘sales guru’ that promises £/$10,000 a month after little or no effort should probably be avoided. But hey, that’s your call. You might just enjoy looking at pictures of nice cars.

Hopefully you’ll find this website useful.

If need help with your digital marketing, have a specific question about your email, social media or search engine marketing, get in touch. Even if you just fancy a quick chat. We’re nice like that.

Which customer insights help steer your content marketing?

So you’ve got an editorial team. But what on earth do you write about?

Kraft is said to monitor 22,000 different attributes of their audience, so I thought I’d put together a (slightly smaller) list of suggested insight sources / metrics that could help steer the content creation process as part of an organisation’s wider content marketing strategy.

In no particular order, they include:

  • Customer complaints data by theme (quant) with the ability to drill down into sample of complaints (qual)
  • Shares of visits across product areas > specific product pages > examples of referring search keywords and websites to get to that product > top 10 list of next pages visited after viewing these products / key drop off points (this may be covered in monthly SEO reports)
  • Shares of visits across FAQ areas > specific FAQ pages > examples of referring search keywords and websites to get to that FAQ > top 10 list of next pages visited after viewing these products
  • On-site search terms, grouped by theme or product
  • Sales team feedback – top questions, queries, barriers etc
  • Social sentiment monitoring tool insights – to determine key needs / wants / shortfalls
  • PPC insights / reports to identify keyword, popular ad themes and conversion rates
  • Display / banner ad insight – determine popular content themes by reviewing which banner themes work on which referring websites
  • Email marketing insights – determine popular content themes by reviewing open / click / conversion data of campaigns in regular email reports
  • Competitor insight / analysis – any insight into competitor performance for all of the above(!)

Obviously this list excludes external data points – eg search trends of customers around your key products areas and sectors).

What other insights / metrics do you regularly review to help steer the content marketing creation process? Feel free to add them to the comments below.

Mailchimp for Agencies – unique banner ad approach

Mailchimp is famous for its ‘ker-azy’ approach to marketing (well it is in our house anyway). But I’ve just seen something from them which puzzled me.

See below an example of a strange skyscraper display ad for Mailchimp which takes a leaderboard image and rotates it 90 degrees to make a skyscraper.

Mailchimp malarkiness – or an example of lazy web design in action?

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My Mailchimp maverick idea was then scotched somewhat when I clicked on the banner and was taken to a dedicated landing page (below).

Mailchimp home

Okay, coffee cups. Agencies drink coffee. And desks within agencies are usually looking a little funky by the end of a hectic day. But what am I expected to do with the cups on this page? Rolling over them or clicking them does nothing.

I’m a little surprised by this unusually non-amusing and less than intuitive user experience. What’s the idea behind this Mailchimp?

Werner Vogels, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at Amazon.com

Great article in the Guardian about the future of cloud computing trends for 2014.

In true Guardian style, here’s a digested, digested read of the article:

Cloud will enable your content to follow you wherever you go and cloud based analytics enhances the offline world in the form of sensors monitoring stuff going on in the home. Cloud allows everyone to become a media company so a football club can offer content outside of the two hour fun on the pitch.

Faster and faster, cloud moves data processing to real-time

Perhaps the most interesting area is big data and how it helps real-time recommendations like ‘other people in your network are reading X’ but also that Channel 4 is using second-screen data (ie twitter trends etc) to augment TV watching and that Netflix processes over 40bn events *a day* using real-time analytics.

Source: Guardian

RSPB Digital Marketing & Remarketing for ‘Giving Nature A Home’

Not quite content marketing but just had to say hats off to RSPB and their digital marketing team of late.

Why? Remarketing.

For whatever reason, I visited a RSPB website which offered a free bird spotting kit for children (think I learned about it via a ‘free stuff’ type website / email alert). Ever since then, it feels like I’m being stalked by nature. I go on a blog, I see an offer for a free guide on ‘Giving nature a home’. I visit a cloud based calendar tool and I see a banner about saving nature while I shop at the RSPB e-commerce store. All part of the Google Display Network no doubt.

The RSPB’s remarketing could have been really annoying, but thanks to some varied offers in banner ads (and some great nature photography – the Gannet is my favourite so far), I’m now seeking them out and looking at what other animals I’ll soon be able to spot.

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Great stuff.

I’m assuming the new strategy has something to do with the RPSB’s new Fundraising and Communications Director, Beth Thoren.

***UPDATE***

Just seen this new ad – an RSPB lottery / raffle?!

rspb4

Inbound Marketing Infographic – Salesforce

Marketing departments up and down the nation are slowly realising the potential of inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. Put simply, tactics which improve your chances of being found by your customers are just as important – if not more so – than simply broadcasting your sales message to prospects. Well, that’s the idea anyway. Of course, it’s important to pursue a strategy which observes the importance of both inbound and outbound.

Anyway, if you’re in need of a good infographic which explains this balance and which tools to use, then you’re in luck: those helpful chaps at Smart Insights have flagged up a nice infographic by Salesforce pardot.

Inbound marketing infographic - Salesforce

Source: Smart Insights

Killer B2B landing page examples

Finding it really difficult to get a good list of search landing page examples for B2B? Me too. I’ll post more examples when I find them (or someone helpfully posts them in my comments below) but here’s a good starter for 10 case study from the Conversion Rate Experts called ‘Secrets of the Million Dollar Landing Page’.

Okay, so the claim is a little controversial, but it’s nonetheless a good walk-through of the landing page / conversion rate optimisation process.

Best B2B landing page

Source: Conversion Rate Experts – seomoz case study