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5 Reasons Why You Need to Create a White Paper

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5 Reasons Why You Need to Create a White Paper

A white paper is a key document every B2B business should have.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the B2B businesses that need a white paper, any kind of business of any size can have a white paper as a tool for better engagement, leads, and customer acquisition.

A white paper is an authentic document that addresses an issue of your target customer and presents a solution most creatively.

Historically, the white paper has been recognized as a powerful tool by governments because of its authenticity. In a modern world, it is a guide or report that concisely keeps your audience informed about a complex issue and then presents a solution to that.

Academic Paper of Marketing Content

First introduced in the 20th century by the British government as a legal tool, the white paper has been trending in the market, particularly among B2B clients. IT companies are more likely to use white papers as content marketing tools because they have expensive products. Due to the in-depth research that’s included in crafting a white paper, it is called an academic paper of marketing content.

Write a white paper for your business frequently to reap its benefits. If you are new to it, you can choose white paper templates to create professional white paper with ease and flow.

In this article, we will be talking about the core reason why you need to create a white paper for your business.

1. Sells a Product or Service

First thing first, a white paper does not sell a product or a service directly. However, it contains both direct marketing material and informational content. That’s the reason a white paper often has high conversion rates. It is created in a way that combines persuasion with the conversion which makes it one of the powerful content marketing tools.

Although a white paper is not a selling tool, it can be used as a marketing tool to create awareness about your product/service. As a result, it helps prospects through the buying journey and moves down the buying funnel. Avoid selling your product right away. The core idea behind creating a white paper is to bring about a solution to any problem that your audience is facing. As a result, your target audience is more likely to buy your product or service.

Consider a white paper as a long-form of content, where you can explain the problem in detail. Once you do that thoroughly, you can present a solution. Don’t focus on selling, if you do so, you are already at a loss.

The high-level solution that you present should explain how the reader can solve the problem by investing in the product or service. The last section fully outlines the benefits and key features that will help them make decisions that are the right fit for them. Avoid empty claims. Don’t just tell them, show them by carefully addressing each problem they face.

2. Establishes you as an Industry Expert

As a business, you need to put in a lot of hard work to establish yourself as an industry expert. Showing up on each medium, conducting seminars, creating content, making value-driven videos are the few things that you have to do. Together this increases brand awareness and helps you build a brand reputation among your target audience.

In a similar pattern, a white paper does not always have to be a tool for generating leads. It also strengthens the brand image and spreads expertise. Showcase your expertise to address the specific problems your audience is facing to position yourself as a trusted advisor with industry expertise. As a result, your prospects will have confidence in your brand and skill.

A professional white paper should be value-driven. It should keep the audience nodding as they read through it. A white paper must stay the audience informed about the problem they face and give them the confidence to fix it easily. It must be educational and value-driven that creates help to establish as an industry expert. The goal of the document must be to enable your readers to decide with confidence.

3. Assists to Convert Potential Leads into Customers

In contrast to the general white paper, you need a technical white paper to convert your leads into customers. The one that could answer all the technical questions of your customers and convince your leads to turn into the customers.

Unlike a lead generation white paper, you need to do far less research for a technical white paper. You can get all the information within your organization. Leverage the knowledge of product experts within your company to craft a technical white paper. Include all the features of your product and the technical details to fill in the gap.

Providing a technical white paper will help you move the customer into the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, and facilitate the buying process. Make sure you add the customer concerns in the clear, simple, and concise way possible.

4. Improves SEO Ranking  

A white paper is a long-form of content that establishes you as an industry expert. They are often PDF documents created after thorough research and are well designed. It is a great tool to demonstrate your expertise and showcase you as an industry expert.

A white paper is not a selling tool, and it delivers value to address the customer’s problems. Since search engines give an extra edge to the businesses that have helpful resources that can be searched, crawled, and indexed. The great news is, a PDF form of white paper can be crawled and indexed. If you follow all other SEO best practices, your white paper will also boost the search engine ranking.

Make sure you add relevant keywords to the white paper and add subheadings headings that are optimized. The document should be readable and all the images must have alt texts. In short, follow all the rules of SEO optimization when publishing a white paper. Write a meta description and use your target keyword phrases. Avoid keyword stuffing.

5. Allows you to Showcase Original Research

Today, the internet is inundated with duplicate content, and you will see a paraphrased version of someone’s content on others’ blogs/websites. We rarely get to see original ideas that are backed by original research. Since a white paper includes original research, it allows you to cut through the noise, elevate your brand awareness, and get a competitive edge.

Unlike the shallow content for the short blog posts that speak about user experiences rather than relying on the data statistics, a white paper has an in-depth study of the market and includes original research that makes it one of the most credible resources at your company.

Original research speaks volumes when it comes to the B2B marketing tactics. A white paper gives you a great opportunity to showcase the original research with creative visuals, and proven strategies that present solutions to customer problems.

As an endnote, a white paper is a powerful tool that results;

  • Increased traffic
  • Strengthen relationship
  • Improved social proof
  • Generate leads
  • Establish you as an expert

How often should you write a white paper?

It’s great to write and publish a white paper once in six months for most B2B businesses. However, it also depends upon the business goals you want to achieve. A white paper is a great content marketing tool that contributes to the long-term success of your business, so make sure you write it well.

Do you think we have missed any significant reasons why you need to create a white paper? Let us know in the comment section below.


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Digital marketing evolution: New approaches and channels

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Digital marketing evolution: New approaches and channels



Marketing evolution has entered a new realm by going digital. And with that, abundant choices for reaching your target audience. What are the latest approaches and channels? Which ones are right for you?

Since 85% of Americans say they are online daily, leveraging the latest digital marketing strategies is worthwhile.

First, let’s recap what digital marketing is and why it’s crucial.

Key takeaways:

  • Digital marketing uses electronic means to connect with buyers to sell a product or service or raise brand awareness.
  • You’re able to reach a wider audience with digital marketing, which means building brand recognition, acquiring more customers and increasing revenue
  • Omnichannel marketing uses various channels and digital platforms to present your brand, product or message. Your message is consistent yet fine-tuned for each channel.
  • Aside from customers feeling valued, personalized experiences build brand trust and promote customer engagement.
  • Micro-influencers tend to hold the highest engagement rates across multiple social media platforms.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing uses electronic means to connect with buyers to sell a product or service or increase brand awareness. This type of marketing occurs regardless of whether the users are online on the Internet. Digital marketing is over 100 years old, beginning with the invention of the radio. Other forms of digital marketing include TV, telephone and digital billboards.

However, online marketing is the most popular form of digital marketing. Online marketing is the simplest way to reach your target audience in the right place and at the right time. Examples of online digital marketing include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing (blogs, videos)
  • Social media marketing (SMM)
  • Email marketing

Why digital marketing matters

Digital marketing has many advantages over traditional marketing (e.g., an ad in a newspaper or handing out flyers):

  • You reach a broader audience since the Internet is a global tool. You can, however, filter your audience to your niche market.
  • A larger audience means building brand recognition, acquiring more customers and increasing revenue.
  • Digital marketing is measurable, meaning your campaigns contain metrics that you can use to evaluate which methods are more successful.
  • Digital marketing is also very cost-effective. Some strategies cost nothing (e.g., creating a blog or posting on social media). Also, there’s no paper to print.

image source

Four digital marketing evolution trends

Successful businesses understand that they must meet or exceed the needs and expectations of customers. Therefore, the customer drives marketing evolution. Let’s look at four strategies that are emerging.

1. Omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing uses various channels and digital platforms to present your brand, product or message. Your message is consistent yet fine-tuned for each channel. Whichever way your customers access your business, you’re there.

Omnichannel marketing is an evolution of multichannel marketing, where you make your brand available across multiple channels. Omnichannel marketing takes it further by seamlessly integrating the user experience across all digital channels. This method allows the customer to move from one platform or device to another and not just have a similar interaction but also retain their shopping and purchase history.

To devise an effective omnichannel marketing strategy, you need at least four things:

  • Ensure that your website displays well across all devices, like computers, tablets and smartphones.
  • Consistently present your content across all relevant channels, including your offline ones, like in-store.
  • Customize the call-to-action for the specific channel. For example, an email campaign may require a button click, while a TV ad may need to display a web address.
  • Keep customer data in a central location, facilitating the forward movement of the customer journey.

2. Personalized experiences

Customers want to feel valued by a company, and personalization creates that feeling. For example, if a customer bought laundry detergent from a particular brand, they may like an email reminder with a link to the product on the site when it’s time to replenish. 

Aside from customers feeling valued, personalized experiences build brand trust and promote customer engagement. How can you know your shoppers to create personalized marketing experiences? Here are a few tips:

  • Conduct an opinion poll or a customer survey
  • See what customers are saying on social media about your business
  • Read online customer reviews
  • Trend buyer history

3. Influencer marketing

Why has influencer marketing grown so popular? Consumers see influencers as authentic. Furthermore, people can engage directly with influencers. Many influencers respond to comments and chat with followers. This meaningful connection tends to make influencers held in high regard.

When dipping your toes into this marketing strategy, you may wish to start with a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers are individuals with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers. Micro-influencers tend to have the highest engagement rates across multiple social media platforms.

How do you find and partner with an influencer? Here are some things to try:

  • Understand your target audience. Knowing your customers’ demographics, core values and social media platforms will help you select an appropriate influencer. 
  • Look at your customer base first and see if there is an influencer that uses your product or service.
  • Use the hashtag #sponsored on social media to see a list of influencers.
  • You can contact the influencer with a direct message (DM) on the platform or through email. Propose the campaign along with suitable compensation.

4. Responding to social issues

Following the event of 2020, more than ever, customers need to trust the brands they choose. One survey showed that 50% of individuals would become loyal customers of brands they trust. 

How does a business earn the trust of its customers? The same survey provided further details. Customers look to see:

  • How well the company treats the environment
  • If they use materials and ingredients that are local, sustainable and ethically-acquired
  • How well the company treats its employees
  • How well the brand responded to the COVID-19 pandemic

You may think, “Is this a digital marketing strategy?” The answer is yes because you would advertise your company’s initiatives on your website. For example, the following are excerpts from Nike’s Impact Report on its website.

Digital marketing evolution New approaches and channels

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The key to this marketing strategy is to be authentic. You must either back up or follow through on the statements made online.

Taking leaps in the digital marketing evolution with Optimizely

Today’s marketing strategies require innovation, insight and evolution. Optimizely’s digital experience platform (DXP) and the team of experts are here to help you attract and retain customers so your business can grow.

 

If you’re ready to take your marketing approach to the next level, get started with Optimizely today.


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How to Use WhatsApp as an Effective Marketing Tool

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How to Use WhatsApp as an Effective Marketing Tool

WhatsApp has become one of the most widely-used messaging apps in the world. With over 2 billion committed users, it has become a platform where people communicate with family, friends, and even the companies they buy from. WhatsApp Business, a version designed solely for businesses, allows companies to communicate with their customers and vendors. In this article, we will show you how you can use WhatsApp Business Accounts as a crucial marketing and customer service tool.

What is WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business is a free messaging app made for business use. It allows companies to have a presence on theWhatsApp business platformand relay messages to their customers.

WhatsApp Business has many useful features for businesses, such as automated messages, quick replies, and labels. This can make communication more efficient and save time for busy companies. It can be especially helpful for small and mid-sized businesses that don’t have the budget for a large marketing and customer service team.

Why use WhatsApp Business?

Using WhatsApp Business can give you a competitive edge. Many of its features are great for businesses. For one, it allows businesses to reach a large audience. With over 2 billion active users, WhatsApp provides a platform where businesses can communicate with their customers on a one-to-one basis. This personalized approach can help businesses build strong relationships with their customers and improve customer satisfaction.

Secondly, WhatsApp Business can improve customer service. By using features such as automated messages and quick replies, businesses can react to customer concerns quickly and efficiently. This can help businesses provide better customer service and increase customer loyalty. It can also be a great tool for sending large file transfers to customers, such as detailed invoices or product information.

Third, WhatsApp Business can be an effective marketing tool. By using features such as broadcast lists and group chats, businesses can reach a large audience with targeted messages. This can help businesses promote their products and services and increase sales. For example, if you are having a big Spring sale, you can send a mass Whatsapp message to all of your followers without worrying about incurring large data fees. You should always be sure to include your WhatsApp contact details on your digital business card so that you can build a following on the app.

How to use WhatsApp Business for marketing and customer service?

The benefits of using WhatsApp Business are clear. Now, let’s learn how to use it effectively for marketing and customer service.

Create a professional profile

The first step is to create a professional profile for your business. Be sure to include your business name, logo, contact info, and description. This will ensure people recognize your business and make it easier for them to contact you. You should feature your WhatsApp on your social media and e-commerce websites so that prospects can easily reach out for more information.

Use automated messages and instant replies

Automated messages and quick replies can be a time-saving, life-saving feature for small and large businesses alike. Automated messages can be set up to greet customers and provide information about your business. Quick replies can even be used to respond to frequently asked questions. This can help businesses provide better customer service and improve response times.

Use labels to organize conversations

Labels can be used to categorize conversations and make it simpler to find specific messages. This can be especially important for businesses that receive a high volume of inquiries. Labels can be used to organize marketing conversations, such as new customers, existing customers, and inquiries. Labels can also be used for customer service-related inquiries, such as a “refund,” “complaint” or “general inquiries” labeled folders.

Use broadcast lists to send targeted messages

Broadcast lists can be utilized to send targeted marketing messages to a wide audience. Businesses can build marketing lists based on customer preferences or interests and send them highly targeted and/or personal messages. This can help businesses promote their products and services and increase sales. It can also help add a personal touch to your business when you can directly send an intimate message – such as a Happy Birthday text – to a single customer.

Use group chats for customer support

Group chats can be used for customer support and provide customers with a platform to ask questions and receive support. Businesses can create groups for specific products or services and provide customers with information and support.

Provide personalized support

Providing personalized support can help businesses build long-lasting relationships with their consumer base. Businesses can use features such as personalized greetings and messages to provide a custom-tailored experience for their customers. This can help businesses improve customer satisfaction and increase brand engagement. You can also use WhatsApp to have customer service phone conversations with your customers by dialing their WhatsApp number.

Use WhatsApp Business API for automation

WhatsApp Business API can be great for automation. It can also save businesses time and optimize response times. It enables businesses to automate messages, set up chatbots, and integrate with other systems. This can aid businesses that aim to provide better customer service and improve response times.

Conclusion

WhatsApp Business can be a vital marketing and customer service tool for businesses. By using features such as automated messages, quick replies, broadcast lists, and group chats, businesses can reach a large audience, and provide better customer service while also saving time and money.

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Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4 Questions

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Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4 Questions

Driving organic traffic from search often requires attaining high Google rankings. Often, I see marketers creating content with that goal but without keeping keyword research in mind. They expend valuable time and effort creating a piece that ultimately falls flat.

Marketers often mistakenly create #content to draw organic traffic without keeping keyword research in mind, says @JohnHall via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

However, when you target the right keywords for your business, SEO can be one of the most valuable and highest ROI channels. But how do you identify and prioritize the right keywords? A consistent keyword research process can make your job easier.

Answer these four questions to qualify and find keywords that will deliver for your brand.

Is your site deep enough?

Just because a keyword has low competition doesn’t mean your site will easily rank for it. If you have not written much publicly about the subject, you do not have the necessary topical depth authority. In Google’s eyes, your site – even if your business has decades of experience on this topic – still falls into the newbie category.

To break out of newbie status, make sure you have published at least six articles on that same general topic in the last three months.

Gain topical depth authority by publishing at least six articles in the last three months on the general subject, says @JohnHall via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

Is the keyword really valuable?

Possessing topical authority for a keyword doesn’t necessarily mean you should pursue it. Targeted keywords should relate in some way to your business revenue.

For example, a calendar platform site might rank well for the keyword “time management.” But people who search for that phrase are likely looking for information about the topic. They will read the article on the site, but they won’t convert into customers. (I use this example from my knowledge as an investor in Calendar.com.)

However, if the calendar platform site ranks for the keyword phrase “alternatives to Calendly” on a listicle or internal page, the readers of this content would be 100% interested in the platform’s business offering and convert much better since they are looking for a solution in the space.

A successful SEO strategy should tie to your company’s offerings for maximum ROI. Otherwise, the content won’t really benefit the business in the long term. Choose keywords that have both your topical depth authority and relevance to revenue.

A targeted keyword for which your business can rank but isn’t likely to convert into revenue is not a smart choice, says @JohnHall via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

How authoritative is your site?

While topical depth authority grows in importance to Google rankings, general site popularity remains a factor. Your website’s domain authority (DA) indicates how well your pages are likely to rank for the targeted keywords. Use a tool like Moz domain authority checker, Domain Rating from Ahrefs, or Authority Score from Semrush. Compare your site’s score to the sites already ranking for your target keywords. If your score isn’t close to their scores, you won’t find it easy to rank for that keyword.

In general, companies with high domain authority scores or ratings will have an easier time ranking for competitive keywords. If you’re a smaller company with a low domain authority, spend your time focusing on lower-volume search terms.

How do you spot content competitors’ weaknesses?

The secret sauce to a winning SEO strategy is capitalizing on the weaknesses and problems you find on the search engine results page. Among the weak signals that could indicate positive opportunities to pursue:

  • Page title misses terms in your target keyword
  • Page word count is less than 1,000 words
  • Page takes more than three seconds to load
  • Page was published over six months ago
  • Page is a forum site such as Quora, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn
  • Page’s Moz spam score is above 10%
  • Page reading level is at least ninth grade
  • Page mobile user experience is poor

Find a keyword with a few of these weakness indicators in the results for which your company already has the topical depth and domain authority. Then, you can capitalize on them to create content that delivers better for the audience and the search engine results page.

Putting it all together

It can be helpful to start your keyword search using a tool like Ahrefs to get insights into monthly keyword search volumes and competitor domain authority to get a baseline understanding of ranking difficulty. But you still must evaluate the search results to find weaknesses to capitalize on.

A variety of tools can help in that process. TopicRanker shows how to use the data to make better decisions around keyword research. Enter your website’s URL and a topic relevant to your business expertise. (Avoid using generic keywords.)

In this example, I input www.salesmessage.com/ as the URL with the keyword “sms for marketing.” The results indicate it has a medium keyword difficulty with a search volume of 18,100. It includes the Moz domain authority for the site along with the missing number of words in the meta title, word count, readability score, load time, and spam score.

1679368005 495 Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4The TopicRanker tool can:

  • Analyze your website and inputted keyword
  • Crawl search results for thousands of keywords related to that topic to find specific weaknesses and problems in the SERP
  • Uncover all the search results where the content does a poor job of helping the reader
  • Suggest keywords your company should be able to rank for (usually between five and 10).
  • Break down the SERP results for each suggested keyword, showing competitor weaknesses on which you can capitalize and create a better piece of content

1679368005 766 Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4

Making SEO progress

With so much competition for attention, you can’t simply create content based on gut feelings. It requires knowing which questions to ask and, more importantly, which answers will lead to the creation of an effective SEO strategy. Failure to do that means you’ll exhaust resources creating content that doesn’t impact your company’s bottom line. But by following this process, you can create winning content that ranks high and brings customers organically.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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