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      How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

      Content marketing is one of the primary means of getting your brand noticed online. However, without a well-developed marketing strategy, you may struggle when deciding where to begin, see your conversions sink, or launch an unsuccessful campaign.

      The good news? We’ve got you covered when it comes to creating your content marketing plan. There are 10 easy steps you can follow to not only get yourself started on the right foot but also set yourself and your material up for success.

      In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at what content marketing is. Then we’ll outline 10 steps you can follow when formulating your own content marketing plan:

      1. Define Your Marketing Goals
      2. Identify Your Target Audience
      3. Run an Audit
      4. Choose a CMS
      5. Brainstorm Ideas
      6. Determine Your Content Niche
      7. Map Out Publication Roles
      8. Build a Content Calendar
      9. Create Value-Add Content
      10. Measure Your Results

      Ready to create the ideal content marketing strategy for your site? Let’s dive right in!

      An Introduction to Content Marketing

      The concept of content marketing is pretty simple. You create material — think blog posts, social media posts, videos, infographics, white papers, case studies and beyond — which provides real value to your audience. This work then acts as a means of marketing your business.

      According to the Content Marketing Institute, the key to doing this effectively is by producing great content. To accomplish that, you must provide people with something that they genuinely need, is unique, and engages with your target audience.

      Of course, before you can start developing content, you’ll need to begin with a solid strategy. This means following a few steps:

      • Creating business goals for your content marketing
      • Finding your audience
      • Knowing what will make your content unique
      • Picking a formula that works for you to create content
      • Deciding where you’ll publish the results and which channels you’ll use
      • Managing the content creation and publication process
      • Determine how you’ll track key performance metrics to measure success

      This all requires a good deal of planning, but that’s the origin story of most marketing techniques. In case you’re not convinced yet, however, let’s take a look at why your business needs a content marketing strategy.

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      Why Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategy

      The benefits of marketing are relatively self-explanatory, but what about content marketing in particular? It’s a relatively new focus, and you may not see why going to all that effort to make high-quality content is worth the time.

      First of all, whether you’re a small or large business, it makes sense to have a website. It’s a fantastic way to find customers and raise awareness of your brand. What’s more, your website needs plenty of inbound traffic to be as effective as possible.

      Content marketing can help drive people towards your website and into your sales funnel. Plus, producing informative and quality content to feature on your site and elsewhere can increase awareness of your brand and build trust by cementing you as an expert in your field.

      Even better, you can use content marketing to establish (and grow!) relationships with your customers. Once you know who your ideal audience is, you can hone in and focus on content that benefits them. For example, if you sell stationery and office supplies, you can curate articles about office life or write tips for professionals who work from home.

      Plus, you don’t have to be an already-established mega-company to benefit from this type of marketing. Have a vegan bakery? Write about subjects vegans care about and branch out into articles about clean living. Run a dog grooming business? Produce blog posts about pet care, how to train dogs, and so on.

      When it comes down to it, most businesses can use content marketing to great effect. You just have to find the right angle, and that’s where creating a top-notch content marketing strategy comes into play.

      How to Create a Strong Content Marketing Strategy (In 10 Steps)

      First and foremost, don’t get overwhelmed by the number of steps ahead. Each one is crucial to set yourself and your business up for success, but all of them are approachable no matter what your marketing background (or lack thereof) might be. Let’s walk through the process of getting started with content marketing, one step at a time.

      Step 1: Define Your Marketing Goals

      You may have done your fair share of work on coming up with a marketing plan in the past. If so, then you might know that your first step should be to sit down and decide on your goals. After all, you have to know the “why” behind what you’re doing to see success.

      Without purpose, you may find yourself creating content that lacks coherence or doesn’t provide value to your target audience. Alternately, you may not be able to come up with a fixed schedule that ensures new content is being pushed out regularly.

      To start making goals for your new content marketing campaign, you can ask yourself a few questions.

      • Why are you engaging in content marketing?
      • What are you going to offer to your audience or customers?
      • How will your content improve their experiences?
      • What do you want to gain from the content you’ll create?
      • How will you measure your marketing efforts?

      You may want to consider writing down your answers and bringing in other perspectives from within your company or even outside of it. These questions can help map out your focus and connect it back to the overall vision for your company. Plus, having clear goals makes it much easier to know when you’re achieving them.

      Step 2: Conduct Market Research to Identify Your Target Audience

      As you create your marketing plan, figuring out who your audience is can be just as vital as deciding on your overall goals. If you don’t know who is most likely to engage with your products or services, creating content that helps to drive conversions will likely be a challenge.

      To start your market research, it helps to first determine the demographics of your target audience. Your buyer personas should include characteristics such as your audience’s typical age range, gender, family status, education level, hobbies, interests, etc.

      Once you know the “who” you’ll be focusing on, you can then hone in on the “why” and create a “target customer profile” or “buyer persona.” In other words, you need to figure out what the needs of your target persona are and what may convince them to try your products or services.

      One valuable starting place is to reach out to past customers. You can ask them why they were interested in your business, and what “pain points” it helped to address for them. You can even ask about what makes them feel frustrated in your particular industry, and if they have any specific feedback for you.

      You can take this information and use it to determine what people in your audience are looking for and who might be searching for your business in particular. This can be an excellent blueprint to use later on when you’re coming up with content ideas.

      Step 3: Run an Audit to Determine Your Most Popular Type of Content

      Next up, it’s time to run a content audit. This involves taking a close look at the content you’ve created and shared in the past and determining what pieces have been the most popular and successful.

      “Performing a content audit.”

      This isn’t a quick process, but it’s a necessary one. Once you know what has worked well in the past, you can build on that success. Otherwise, you may end up repeating mistakes that made past content less useful. This way, you can compare those missteps with what worked and figure out how to correct them.

      There’s no need to be overwhelmed, however. Completing a content audit really only requires four major steps:

      • Create a spreadsheet of all your past content (or at least a large portion of it).
      • Decide what kind of data you’ll focus on when evaluating that content (was it functional, readable, relevant, etc.).
      • Gather and record that data for each piece of content in your spreadsheet.
      • Analyze the information as a whole in order to create an action plan for future content.

      Often, the part that takes the longest is gathering all of the data in one place. However, once you have everything at hand, you can make direct comparisons, see where you encouraged high conversions and lots of click-throughs, and identify areas where you can grow. This is your best chance for setting future articles, blogs, and other material up for success.

      Step 4: Choose a Content Management System (CMS)

      If you already have a website that you’re happy with, you can skip to the next step. If not, however, your business’ site will play a pivotal role in your content marketing strategy. Therefore, it’s critical that you get a high-quality and branded website up and running now.

      The first thing you’ll need to do is select a Content Management System (CMS). This is the software that will enable you to create and display content on your website. Fortunately, most of the big CMS names are free to use and relatively easy to navigate. They also come with plugins and themes to make content creation easier and assist you in designing your site.

      “The WordPress home page.”

      Some examples of CMSs you can try include:

      • WordPress. One of the most adaptable platforms, especially if you want to host blog posts or articles and still have a storefront
      • Joomla!. A popular choice that’s fairly approachable for beginners
      • Drupal. A more advanced system for those who have a bit of website-building under their belts
      • Magento. A solid option if you want to have an online store, as it supports e-commerce websites

      Every CMS has its strengths and weaknesses, but each one makes website creation more attainable to those with limited programming knowledge. In fact, with the right CMS, you no longer need to be a computer expert (or even know how to code) to build yourself a successful website. Plus, this will enable you to fully own all of your content.

      After choosing your CMS (we recommend WordPress!), you’ll need to choose a domain name and seek out a quality hosting provider. With those elements in place, getting your site up and running is a piece of cake.

      Step 5: Brainstorm Ideas to Guide Your Future Path

      At this stage, you will likely have a rough idea of where you’ve been successful in the past and where your content might have needed more work. Now’s the time to brainstorm!

      Based on all the information you’ve gathered, especially during your content audit, you’ll want to come up with some general ideas of where you’d like to go in the future. Of course, any practical strategy should point you towards attaining the goals you set in the first step.

      When brainstorming, you may want to focus on coming up with keywords, particularly long-tail keywords, to give your content a competitive edge. If you understand which keywords are being used by your competition and by potential customers, you can use them to ensure that your content is visible in search engines.

      It’s also useful to understand the different types of search queries, so you can better optimize your content for them. For example, there are:

      • Informational search queries
      • Navigational search queries
      • Transactional search queries

      Depending on what your business’ niche is, you may rely more heavily on one or two of these searches than the others. For example, referring back to our earlier example of a fictional vegan bakery, we might focus on both transactional and informational search queries (“Where can I find a vegan cupcake?” and “Best ways to make your own vegan milk substitute”).

      Understanding these queries and which ones your audience prefers can help you with your next stage of planning. If you know what your audience is looking for, you can create content that meets those needs.

      Step 6: Determine Which Types of Content You Want to Create

      When it comes to the material you’re going to produce, you have a lot of options to choose from. To name only a few, you can try blog posts, informative articles, e-books, case studies, templates, infographics, videos, how-tos, podcasts, online courses, and various forms of social media.

      “An example of a blog post.”

      All those choices can be overwhelming. However, each avenue has its own unique benefits.

      For example, blog posts offer a way to grow your audience and attract new clients. E-books can be a means of generating profit time and again, case studies can demonstrate the proven successes of your company, customer spotlights can create social proof, and infographics are easy for visitors to consume and share.

      Yet, of all the mediums you could hone in on, video still reigns supreme online. Videos are the most popular way for most people to pass time on the internet. Fortunately, you can depend on websites such as YouTube to host your content (and you can even turn a profit from it if you like).

      [Embed Craftograph Video Here]

      Using those pre-existing platforms can keep your website from being bogged down with heavy media files. Best of all, you can still feature those videos on your website, simply by embedding YouTube videos on your pages to save precious space.

      Once you know what kinds of content you’d like to focus on, you’ll be ready to move to the next step. Remember that variety is key, but you don’t want to overextend yourself. So you may want to choose two or three types to pursue at the beginning.

      Step 7: Map Out Publication and Management Roles

      No human is an island, and no content-creation team is complete without publication and management roles. Once you know what you’re going to create, it’s time to determine who will be responsible for which parts of the process.

      Unless you’re working alone, you’ll likely have to discuss with your team to decide who’s going to do what, including publishing and managing. To be productive, each role will need to be clearly defined. What will each role entail? Who will be accountable for responsibilities such as meeting deadlines, idea generation, editing, and more?

      When you have those basic roles sorted out, you’ll know who is in charge of the decision-making process and who is in charge of the execution. However, these positions don’t end with the content itself. You’ll also need to look at your website and decide who will do what there too.

      For instance, if you have a WordPress site, you may also plot out what you’ll allow various users to do. As the website owner, you’ll likely distribute tasks (such as writing and editing posts, controlling plugins, and managing other users) so you can keep your site orderly.

      To divvy out these duties, you can create different roles. WordPress’ basic user roles include:

      • Super Admin — Manages multiple websites on one network.
      • Administrator — Manages one site, and can do everything from deleting pages to creating posts and adding plugins.
      • Editor — Can create posts, edit pages, and moderate comments, but cannot touch the site’s infrastructure.
      • Author — Can upload files, delete posts, and edit posts, but has less authority than an editor.
      • Contributor — Can only write and manage their own posts (but not delete them).
      • Subscriber — Can simply read content and manage their user profile.

      If you want to give your team some further guidance, there are additional tools you can use to assist with workflow management, such as:

      • Oasis Workflow, which enables you to create easy-to-use templates for assigning, reviewing, and publishing content.
      • CoSchedule, a global calendar that lets everyone view the status of each project and who’s responsible for what.
      • User Role Editor, which lets you not only assign roles but also add and block specific tasks within those roles.

      Having clear roles established from the get-go can make the whole process of content marketing smoother. You won’t have to make decisions on the fly, and people will already know what is expected of them.

      Step 8: Create a Content Calendar to Maintain Your Schedule

      The day-to-day work of managing and organizing content can become hectic and quickly overwhelming. With a content calendar, you can map out your content production and delivery, and then track each piece’s progress over days, weeks, or even months. This type of editorial calendar can help you streamline and coordinate your content marketing strategy.

      That level of coordination can be particularly advantageous for ensuring there’s a consistent voice and identity that transcends the different types of content you’re distributing. These might include blog posts, social media updates on Facebook and Twitter, and other off-site content. After all, with the overview your content calendar provides, your team will know exactly what everyone is doing.

      With that in mind, your choice of platform is up to you. For instance, you could use Microsoft Excel, Google Calendar, or Google Sheets. You could also opt for a WordPress plugin to manage your content calendar, such as Editorial Calendar or PublishPress Content Calendar and Notifications.

      "The PublishPress Content Calendar and Notifications plugin.”

      Once you’ve made your decision, your next step is populating the calendar with data. That will likely include dates and topic ideas. However, it might also incorporate suggested titles for articles, relevant SEO data (such as target keywords), and any helpful notes that can benefit your team’s content creation.

      Calendars can also be used to schedule content updates and conduct audits, so you can identify older posts that are no longer encouraging conversions and click-throughs. You can even maintain individual calendars for each user or team.

      Finally, you should color-code your editorial calendar to avoid any confusion. This can be as simple as blue for blog posts, red for editorials, and green for proposed ideas. This way, no one gets confused, and your calendar is easy to understand at a glance.

      Step 9: Create Content That Provides Visitors With Valuable Information

      Long gone are the days where you can simply hammer out a blog post chock full of keywords and hope to find quick SEO success. In today’s world, you’re going to have to invest time and effort into each post and other pieces of content.

      That means juggling all of your new posts, repurposing or reusing old content, curating content from other sources, making use of user-generated content, and even atomization. If you haven’t heard of atomization, it involves taking well-written work and implementing it in multiple ways.

      Fortunately, there is a recipe of sorts to creating successful blog posts. This includes ingredients such as dedicating a significant amount of time to each post (on average, four hours) and adhering to your mission statement with every piece.

      “DreamHost’s mission statement.”

      You may also find it valuable to create a schedule and stick to it, thoroughly edit your work, and maintain credibility through following certain best practices. Those include proper sourcing for facts and data, following reputable citation standards, and even integrating testimonials.

      Doing these things, and sticking to who you are as a company, can assist in improving brand awareness. Other considerations to look out for when blogging include focusing on quality rather than quantity, using a web host that can keep up with your needs, and dedicating as much (if not more) time to promotion as you do to creation.

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      Step 10: Measure Your Results to Improve Your Content

      Keeping track of your successes and failures can help you quickly course correct when it’s most necessary. This may help prevent you from continuing down a path of content and revenue stagnation.

      To guide your efforts in this area, you might want to look out for a few signposts when measuring your content’s performance. These include bounce rates, conversions, overall time spent on your site, and subscriber numbers.

      Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can enable you to measure these metrics, such as Google Analytics for tracking your bounce rate. You can also monitor other statistics, such as return rates, where your visitors are coming from, and more. It’s also free to use, which is an added bonus.

      However, there are many other web analytics tools you can try as well. Some, like Google’s platform, are free. Others, such as Crazy Egg, are more comprehensive and come with a price tag attached.

      It might also be a good idea to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Doing so will help you answer some very pertinent questions, such as:

      • Do you have more visitors now than you did a year ago?
      • Are they staying longer on your site?
      • Have your search engine rankings improved?
      • Has there been a sales revenue increase, if applicable?
      • Have you experienced social media traffic growth?
      • Has your email (or your newsletter subscriber) list grown?

      Once you’ve analyzed your successes and shortfalls, you can then reinvest in what worked well and alter what did not. As with many marketing strategies, that’s what really can help growth take off.

      Digital Content Strategy Made Easy

      As you can see, it takes work to develop your content marketing plan. However, the time you invest upfront can pay off through increased conversions and lowered bounce rates.

      Are you ready to get started? By having a professional WordPress website, you can start your content marketing off on the right foot!

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      12 Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Local Business

      Capturing new customers in your local market can be a challenge. Not only can people be set in their ways and routines, but local marketing channels can also be expensive and scarce. This means that creativity is a must when developing a strategy to promote your local business.

      The good news is that there are lots of ways business owners can maximize both high-tech and low-tech options to promote their business.

      What’s more, local promotion doesn’t have to break the bank! Understanding where you’re most likely to find success with your customers will be the key to success in this area.

      In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive list of ways to promote your local business. We’ll also take a quick look at what the statistics say about marketing locally. Let’s get started!

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      Why Your Local Business Needs a Marketing Strategy

      Succeeding in the local business market can be tough, so having a solid marketing strategy is vital for building up your revenue and clientele. When small businesses succeed, it’s good for everyone.

      In fact, small and local businesses have a huge impact on the national economy and employment rates. In that regard, it’s important to understand the local business landscape when it comes to online search and customer habits.

      For example, it’s useful to know that online reviews definitely matter in this business category. In a recent survey, 82% of consumers said they read online reviews before visiting a local business.

      This means you’ll want to focus on tools that will help with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Additionally, it’s smart to encourage customers to leave positive reviews for others to see.

      Of course, this is just one digital marketing strategy. Throughout the rest of this post, we’ll look at others marketing ideas — such as leveraging tools like online listings, getting involved in your local community, improving customer care, leveraging social media platforms, creating blog content, and more.

      How to Promote Your Local Business With These 12 Marketing Tactics

      Promoting your local business effectively can require a multifaceted approach. This list of 12 marketing ideas will give you a place to start.

      1. Tidy Up Your Online Listings for Greater Visibility

      Creating a free online listing for your local business can be the most effective way to get its information out there. An online listing is essentially any place you can list your business and its relevant information for potential customers to see.

      With options such as Yelp and Google My Business, you can make sure the right information about your business is on the web.

      The Google My Business login page.

      Getting started with the latter platform simply requires you to search for and claim your business. Your account is free and enables you to manage all of your information on Google. Therefore, it’s vital to keep these details up to date.

      2. Revamp Your Website or Start a Blog to Engage Customers

      If you’re looking for new ways to engage with customers online, revamping your website and starting a blog are both worthwhile approaches. WordPress is an ideal platform for doing this, as it is both beginner-friendly and flexible. If you’re looking to make over your site or begin blogging about your business, we can’t recommend WordPress enough.

      To help you customize your site, you’ll find themes and plugins for all niches. Of course, to get started with a website for your business, you’ll also need a reliable web host and some interesting content to promote your shop!

      3. Work on Your Local SEO Tactics to Boost Search Visibility

      It’s been shown that local search has the highest conversion rates of all local advertising channels. This means that it’s important to fine-tune your site so it ranks well on every major search engine.

      We mentioned Google My Business previously, but it comes into play here as well. Some of your local SEO work can be done through that platform. You’ll want to aim for becoming a listing in the “3-pack.” This is the list of three businesses that appear under the Google map in a search with local intent.

      Three search results under a Google Map.

      Another way to boost your local SEO is to build up as many local citations as you can. A citation is anywhere online that your business’ name, address, phone number, and website URL appears.

      4. Launch a Mobile App to Boost User Engagement

      Mobile internet usage accounted for nearly half of all web traffic early in 2019, and researchers predict that it will continue to rise. With that being said, it makes sense to create a way to engage with your customers on their mobile devices.

      If you have the resources to hire a programmer, that’s the simplest solution. However, there are other ways to create an app that don’t require too much technical know-how. Apps can include handy features such as loyalty rewards, coupons, business news, and more.

      5. Run a Contest to Keep Users Engaged and Interested

      Everyone loves to win stuff. That’s why running a contest can help you draw in customers. Whether you run your contest online (via social media or your website) or directly in your store, it’s something your audience is highly likely to share.

      What’s more, online, users are 99% more likely to share a contest with others if it improves their chances of winning. You could invite your customers to help you design a new logo or a piece of branded gear.

      An example of a design contest.

      Running a contest in your physical store can be as simple as collecting business cards for a monthly drawing or highlighting a customer of the month. Either way, this is a fun and popular option that’s great for any kind of local business.

      6. Form Local Partnerships With Influential People

      Collaboration can be the key to success in many business situations. If your community has a need that your business can help meet, why not partner up? Joining forces with organizations or even other businesses will show customers that you’re community-minded and trustworthy.

      Just as influencers make an impact on social media marketing, you can use your local influencers in the same way, whether they are online or in-person. This might include inviting them to host an event at your business, or asking them to endorse your product. Word-of-mouth marketing works!

      7. Host an Event to Benefit the Area

      Local company owners have the unique opportunity to use their businesses for the good of the community. Not only can you add to the local economy, but you can leverage your brand to help raise funds or otherwise benefit your area.

      When implementing this strategy, you’ll want to choose a cause that aligns with your brand practices and values. If you can partner with a local organization, that’s even better! In fact, hosting an event in your shop or organizing a volunteer day to help out in your community are all ways you can be philanthropic while also promoting your business.

      8. Get Involved in the Community by Joining Chamber Groups

      Almost every community has a local chamber of commerce. These groups are designed to help support the growth of local businesses and joining them is a highly-recommended practice to build brand awareness. Checking your local chamber benefits is a good first step.

      Local chamber of commerce benefits.

      As a member of your chamber of commerce, your community will see you as a trusted member of the local economy. Second, most local chambers offer a number of discounts to helpful resources for local businesses (such as printing and marketing services). Additionally, you can offer discounts to chamber members to encourage support of your business.

      9. Build Up a Newsletter and Subscriber List for Enhanced Communication

      An email list is a valuable tool for keeping your customers updated and engaged. You don’t want to overdo it, but regular communication with your customers can lead to valuable word-of-mouth recommendations.

      You can use both online and in-store techniques to attract subscribers. There are many tools available for building your newsletter and email lists. If you don’t have a branded, custom email for your business, that’s also a smart step to take before you start sending out messages.

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      10. Encourage Loyal Customers with a Rewards Program

      Loyalty programs are a common option for many small and local businesses. It builds good connections with customers when you’re able to offer rewards for their loyalty.

      There are plenty of examples out there to work from, such as Dunkin’s “DDPerks” program.

      Dunkin’ Donuts reward perks.

      Whether you create an app for loyalty rewards or simply print punch cards, your customers should appreciate the gesture.

      In fact, 69% of consumers report that their choice of retailer is impacted by where they can get the best rewards. Businesses also report that even a 5% increase in customer loyalty can have a big impact on their annual profits.

      11. Maintain Regulars With Improved Customer Service

      When you are a frequent patron of a business, it’s likely due in part to the way you’re treated. If you employ staff at your local business, it might be worthwhile to tackle your overall customer service as a group and establish some goals and norms.

      Holding a training session and providing professional development materials for your employees are two ways you can start building a culture of customer care. Additionally, you can involve your customers in the process by asking them for feedback or creating a recognition program for your employees.

      12. Offer Seasonal or Themed Discounts to Boost Sales

      Shoppers tend to be creatures of habit. So you can take advantage of many holiday-related and seasonal opportunities throughout the year. This might mean getting creative and hosting a Christmas in July sale or latching onto fun, quirky occasions such as “Pi Day.”

      Newegg’s Pi Day sale.

      This enables you to promote your business outside of run-of-the-mill shopping holidays. You can appeal to bargain shoppers, and keep sales up during the times of year when you might otherwise see a dip in profits.

      Small Business Marketing Made Simple

      Mastering the skills needed to effectively promote your local business can take effort. However, there are many ways small business owners can get creative and engage with regional customers. Mixing and matching the items on this list can help you build the perfect toolbox of local promotion techniques.

      Above all, remember to tidy up your online listings and create a Google My Business account, brush up on your customer service, and connect with your community through events and partnerships. All of these strategies can help boost those vital online customer reviews for your brand.

      If you’re looking for more ways to grow your business, we’ve got you covered! Check out these helpful posts for tips and tricks to get your local business on the map.

      Are you ready for a big rush on your local business? Implementing these promotional techniques and showcasing your hard work with a professionally-hosted website should have customers lining up down the street!

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      How to Warm Up Your Website This Winter: 9 Hot Marketing Ideas

      Hard truth: If you don’t keep trying out new marketing angles for your website and business, you run the risk of losing your audience’s attention. That’s why it’s a smart idea to always be brainstorming fresh ideas. And at no time is this more relevant than at the beginning of the year.

      Every season brings new marketing opportunities along with it. By paying attention to the latest trends, you can find plenty of ways to bring in more traffic to your website. That way, you’ll start the new year with your best foot forward and avoid a winter lull in conversions.

      In this article, we’ll go over nine marketing ideas to help you revitalize your website for the new year. We’ll talk about why each one works and how to go about implementing it. Let’s get right to it!

      1. Hold a Product or Service Giveaway

      The easiest way to get people’s attention is to give them something for free. That holds true both in the physical world and online. The only difference is that giving away digital products or services can be a lot easier and cheaper.

      One very common (but effective) approach is to give away a free e-book in exchange for visitors’ emails.

      A free e-book offer on Salesforce.

      This is an excellent strategy because it doesn’t cost you anything to distribute an e-book as many times as you want. On top of that, you can easily automate the giveaway process using a modern email marketing platform.

      However, it may not always be feasible for you to put together an e-book, depending on what your website’s niche is. For example, if you run an online store, it might make more sense to give away products instead.

      In that scenario, you can lower the expense involved by holding a giveaway for a limited number of users. This lets you drum up enthusiasm, without having to give out a lot of free items.

      An example of a website giveaway.

      Regardless of what type of website you’re running, giveaways are a great way to get more sign-ups or to encourage users to share your pages. Here’s a quick breakdown of the process involved:

      1. Come up with a product (digital or physical) that you can give away.
      2. Determine the logistics of distributing the product.
      3. Put a time limit on the promotion so there’s a sense of urgency to drive conversions.

      In our experience, you can even get amazing results with e-book giveaways. This brings us to the next technique.

      2. Compile Your Content Into an E-book

      As we mentioned before, e-books are a fantastic way to drum up interest and conversions for your website. However, writing a book (even a short one) is never easy. It takes time, patience, knowledge, and at least some talent to create a product people will want to read.

      The good news is that if you run a website with a lot of published content — such as a blog — you might already have a book on your hands. If you’ve written a lot of WordPress tutorials, for example, you could compile them into one e-book divided into chapters, to create an ultimate resource.

      A WordPress e-book guide.

      With this type of e-book ready to go, you can launch new marketing initiatives, such as:

      • Publishing about the new resource on all your social media pages.
      • Holding a giveaway for new email sign-ups, as we covered in the last section.
      • Publishing the book to digital channels, such as Amazon, and including links back to your site.

      In fact, nothing is stopping you from doing all of the above, since we’re talking about a digital product. With that in mind, take a look and see if you can repurpose some of your existing content into an e-book on a particular subject. While you’re at it, you might even add some new content as well, to increase the e-book’s value for your long-time readers.

      3. Target Seasonal Keywords Within Your Content

      As the new year gets started, with it comes the perfect opportunity to publish targeted content. Just to give you an idea, here’s what comes up if you look for “best smartphones” using Google at the beginning of the year.

      A Google search for “best smartphones”.

      As you can see, all the top results are time-based. This is the time of year when people are looking for the best products and content from the past year, and the most exciting newcomers for the upcoming year.

      Therefore, this is the perfect chance to publish a roundup of the best smartphones for 2019 or whatever fits your specific niche. Of course, the rest of the year also comes with plenty of opportunities for this kind of content. Here are some quick examples:

      • The best new backpacks for going back to school
      • Top 10 flip-flops to welcome the summer
      • 8 heated toilet seats to stay warm during the winter

      Feel free to steal one of these ideas, and if you can make it work, kudos to you! In any case, you can apply the same formula to any season of the year, and even to special events in your area.

      4. Ask Visitors to Donate to a Charity (Or Do It Yourself)

      These days, it’s become common for people to donate to charities or individuals online. That’s the entire concept behind sites such as GoFundMe and GlobalGiving. If you want to earn some karma points while also getting more eyes on your website, one great way to do so is by raising money for charity.

      DreamHost partnered with Charity:Water to raise money in 2017.

      Usually, you’ll do this by picking out a specific charity to support — something that’s relevant to your niche and audience. Then you reach out to your site’s visitors, your email list, and so on, asking them to donate money and explaining why it’s worth their time.

      Along with simply being a good thing to do, this kind of initiative has the potential to spread and raise awareness, as people are more likely to share it on social media. That, in turn, can bring new visitors to your website (and improve the effectiveness of the charity drive)

      Just remember that whatever approach you decide to take with your donation drive, make sure to include social sharing icons. That way, visitors will be able to share your post or the donation page with just a couple of clicks.

      5. Offer Special Deals for the New Year

      The holiday season is packed with special offers and discounts. However, there’s no reason you can’t keep the party going in the new year, so to speak. In fact, many people will appreciate special deals more once the holidays are over, and they can focus on getting ready for the new year.

      On top of that, ‘new year deals’ are perfect if you run a store and need to get rid of extra stock from the holiday rush.

      A new year’s offer at a chicken restaurant.

      This same approach can apply to many other types of sites. If you sell services online, for example, you might see a lull in business around the new year.  However, you can counteract that effect by offering a discount to bring in new business.

      If you want to take things a step further, you can even offer discounts for referrals. This approach not only keeps your existing users happy, but it can also help you market your business to new clients.

      6. Retarget Your Ads

      Targeted ads can be relatively expensive. However, if you sell products or services online, they can also be highly effective at driving conversions. These days, you can even ‘retarget’ people who have visited your website but didn’t convert, so you get a second shot at convincing them.

      If you run ads on Facebook, for example, you can use the Facebook pixel to target users who visited your website but didn’t add items to their shopping cart or failed to go through with a purchase.

      A shopping cart with a camera.

      That’s just one type of retargeting, however. You might also focus on cross-checking users who have signed up to your email list, and sending ads to them through social media.

      This may sound invasive, but as long as your ads are tasteful, retargeting enables you to market your website to people you already know are interested. That means all you have to do is persuade them to follow their instincts and give you a chance.

      7. Create Videos to Accompany Your Content

      Not all people like to consume content in the same way. You might be more partial to written posts, for example, whereas others prefer to watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, and so on.

      This means that if you focus your website on a single type of content, you could be losing out on a much broader potential audience. To avoid that scenario, you can create complementary content in a different format — in this case, video.

      Creating video content from scratch isn’t a walk in the park, of course. However, there are some simpler approaches you can take, such as:

      • Creating video versions of existing posts, either by recording yourself or using stock graphics
      • Developing video summaries of some of your latest or most popular content
      • Doing video interviews that might not translate well as regular articles

      No matter how you do it, putting together high-quality videos for your website does require some work and budget. However, the upside is that you can post the finished videos both to your site and to third-party platforms. If you add them to YouTube, for example, and include links back to your website, you’ll be opening up a whole new marketing channel.

      8. Consider Creating a Podcast

      If you’re not interested in creating videos to market your content, there are other mediums you can dip your toes into. Podcasts, for example, have never been as popular as they are right now.

      Millions of people listen to podcasts weekly and most of them follow several. If you’re up to creating your own podcast and committing to releasing new episodes periodically, then you can tap into a huge potential source of traffic.

      There are several upsides to going with the podcast approach instead of video, such as:

      • There’s a lower barrier to entry since you only need basic recording equipment.
      • Podcast listeners are used to long-form content, so you can do more in-depth takes.
      • You can launch your podcast on multiple third-party platforms, such as Spotify.

      To be fair, creating a podcast isn’t as easy as just picking up a microphone and talking your listeners’ ears off. If you want to sound professional, you’ll probably need to work out a script in advance for each episode. Plus, you may need to invest in better recording equipment than just a headset, if you want to maintain a high level of quality.

      9. Talk About Hot Topics in Your Industry

      One of the most effective ways to market your website to a broader audience is to become a go-to source for news within your niche. Let’s say, for example, that you like to blog about WordPress. If that’s the case, you’ll know that writing about the new Gutenberg editor was a great way to attract traffic during the past year:

      A Google search for Gutenberg.

      Trends change, of course, and what’s a hot topic right now might not be relevant in a couple of months. This means that if you want to stay relevant, you always need to be on the lookout for new stories and content that will interest your audience.

      To do this, you’ll want to keep up-to-date with the latest news in your site’s niche. That means following competitors’ sites, subscribing to journals, keeping an eye on feeds, checking up on social media profiles, and so on. The more up-to-date you are with the latest happenings, the more marketing opportunities you’ll be likely to spot.

      Buh-Bye, Winter Blues

      The new year always brings change with it, and that should apply to your website as well. In other words, this is the perfect time to try out some fresh marketing initiatives. That way, you’ll have an easier time keeping old visitors engaged and bringing in new ones at a faster rate.

      Will you be making any changes to your website over the next few months? Tell us what you have planned on Facebook and Twitter!

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