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We don’t take shortcuts when it comes to planning & strategy.

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Content Marketing Tactics Infographic Feature

Best Content Marketing Tactics for 2016

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Are you planning for 2016 yet? We’ve got a series of infographics to show where you’ll see huge content success stories in 2016. And first up are your content marketing tactics.

Beyond the obvious, what formats have you looked at for your content? There’s a proven format to suit any business’ strengths. But the best ones might surprise you.

Unsurprising however is the number of Australian businesses that plan to create more content in 2016. Of course, that means that we all need to lift our game. With more content out there, the more yours needs to stand out among the noise. Planning is everything.
Content Marketing Tactics Infographic

 

Plan next year’s content with a tried and tested bag of tricks. Get the complementary series here.

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content-marketing-featured

What is Content Marketing?

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Before I answer this question, let’s make the case for online content marketing specifically. Those who still feel that digital should be playing second fiddle to the traditional marketing channels need to read on…

FACT: Australians Love Hanging Out Online

Nielsen reports that in June 2015 18.1 million Australians have hit the internet. That’s right – nearly 75% of all Australians. Each of these Australians spends on average spent 37 hours online each month, each session lasting about 35 minutes. And guess what? These numbers just continue growing across the board (from 17-70 year olds).

Every part of life is now being connected to the web. It’s where we go to ask questions and find answers. It is not just used for entertainment purposes but also to inform upcoming buying decisions.

Question is – what is the most effective way for a company to join the prospective customer during their online travels? The firm answer to that is Content Marketing.

What Exactly Is Content Marketing?

To answer that, let’s first take a little trip down the memory lane. Traditional online marketing very much revolved around interrupting the prospective customer with advertising. With more and more interruptive media barraging the consumer from all directions, the trend is very much to turn off and opt out from all unsolicited marketing messages. As advertisers we are seeing fewer ad clicks, more people using AdBlocking software, and heavy criticism of businesses with intrusive advertisements.

Content Marketing flips traditional marketing on its head. Rather than interrupt it aims to educate and assist on the consumer’s terms, not on marketer’s terms. The Content Marketing Institute defined it as follows:

Content Marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

The important part here is valuable and relevant. Content Marketing takes advantage of how customers WANT to use the internet and consume media. They want to be informed, helped and entertained, and most often they want it quickly and easily.

Your company, as a specialist in your specific industry, has all the relevant content to provide to prospective customers: tutorials, guides, how-tos, research, opinions, stories, examples, in video, audio written, photo, illustration, graph or spreadsheet format. You get the point. It can be any form of written, visual or audio-visual content, essentially anything that will provide value to your target audience. If your prospective audience doesn’t know your company, you can establish awareness and a relationship by offering a helping hand. If they already know who you are, then your knowledge and expertise will set you apart from the crowd.

The key here is providing value at the right stage of the prospective buyer’s journey.

Intersecting the Buyer’s Journey

While we don’t always know exactly why individual people make individual choices, we know what influences them. What influences them is mostly based on the available information.

The internet has brought about a shift in power. Before the “information age” consumers had to rely on the information they were given by the brand, or could find nearby. Now when customers are looking for answers, search engines like Google are the central hub for information gathering. Customers now have the power to find out whatever they need to know, with or without the business’ involvement. Customers have a choice and freedom. Business needs to acknowledge that.

We also know that when a purchase is risky or significant, customers spend longer researching and assessing their options. You’re more likely to research your next car than your next sandwich.

Especially for high-value or technical purchases, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to be a part of that search for information.

Let’s have a look at some examples of how other brands employ Content Marketing.

Content Marketing Examples

Unbiased Expert Voices – Property Update

Metropole property buying group has created an entire online resource with tens of thousands of articles, and over 90,000 weekly subscribers to its online publication. All content here is obviously complementary and serves as a fantastic way to introduce the Metropole brand but in a very unbiased, educational way. As a result of valuable, relevant and consistent stream of content, both Property Update and Metropole rank on page 1 of Australian Google results for hundreds of popular search terms such as ‘property development’. A neat Content Marketing machine, considering there are 174 Million Google results for just ‘property development’.

content-marketing-how-to-property-development

The takeway for you:

Think about the prospective customer andf how you can add value to their information hunt. Don’t always create content with your branding all over it. You can market your services AFTER the trust has been established, when the prospect sees you as an authoritative expert voice. Property Update did not happen overnight. It took consistent effort over a number of years. Plan for long term success with Content Marketing and don’t expect miracles tomorrow. Think of it as dating. Did you earn the trust of your partner overnight or did it take time? I bet its the latter.
CTA-blog-post

Infographic Content – The Business Insider India

This infographic from the Business Insider India promotes an existing article in an informative and visually engaging manner. They have essentially created a visual summary as a both a Content Marketing piece and a short guide that can be printed out and used offline. It is not a highly complex graphic from a visual standpoint, rather it is about key content in this case.

infographic-content-marketing-best-mba-schools

The takeway for you:

Content Marketing does not always need to involve long articles and expensive productions. This is a great example of a short valuable piece that can not just work online but also offline. Also note the branding – it’s not in your face, but is there when someone is looking for the source.

Curated Pinterest Galleries – Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House (a book publisher) has used Pinteredt to create a Content Marketing visual story for various classic literary titles. For example this one “What would Jane Austen do..” displays Jane Austen themed photos with photo annotations made by Random House. A fantastic combination of digital era tools and curated content in the book publishing space that is struggling for revenue and ideas right now. It is no wonder that Penguin Random House has nearly 1.5M followers on Pinterest.

pinterest-content-marketing-random-house

The takeway for you:

When it comes to social media, entertainment is key. Penguin have been able to marry Pinterest and linear narrative in their books to create a new way to consume Pinterest content. That’s very share-worthy and has huge viral appeal. Don’t be boring when it comes to social media Content Marketing. Have a distinct voice that’s never dry.

Behind the Scenes – The White House

This shows that even the most boring of organisations can create entertaining and engaging content. Staff have been taking behind the scenes photos, which I’m sure have been approved by the right channels first, but the result is both engaging and informative. Certainly provides a different face to the usually strictly official body. Several photos are below, but there and more than 150 more are available at the White House Website. A fantastic Content Marketing photo gallery example.

The takeway for you:

Even the most serious of organisations can be fun. Make it about people, not companies. People want to relate to people. Be real, be humble and consistent in your Content Marketing.

So How Do You Get Started In Content Marketing?

You don’t need to have million dollar budgets to create valuable content. What you do need is a consistent and sustainable content strategy that will allow you to plan, create content, distribute it and measure the effectiveness of your efforts.

No strings attached. Just enjoy and spread the word

Get started & get our free series of Content Marketing ebooks.

Here’s the answer. In this free series of ebooks by the Grid Concepts AU marketing team we lay out the foundation of our own Content Marketing system. In these practical, high-impact guides we expose what works and how to do it effectively.

Get Your Content Marketing eBook Series

It’s valuable content and it’s free. We practice what we preach, so go and check it now!

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Study: When Should You Market to Mobile Users?

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It’s pretty clear that businesses need to be accessible on the go. Mobile-friendly websites provide an improved user experience, better Google search rankings, broader accessibility and the branding value of being up-to-date. Google is now seeing more than 50% of searches come from mobile devices. It’s pretty important to cater to mobile browsing.

But when are people likely to have their eyes on their phone? If you want your customers to take a mobile-specific action, you need to know when they’ll be ready to act. In preparation for launching a new mobile app, we needed to know when most people will be prepared to download it, use it, and rate it. So we ran some tests, and the results are below.

These results are taken from a website that publishes daily content, aimed at the Australian consumer market. The site averages 110,000 sessions per month and publishes a newsletter each day at 10am. These findings use data taken from January 1 to June 30, 2015.

Mobile Behaviour 1: Mobile Browsing is Strongest in the Early Morning.

It’s the modern morning routine. You wake up in the morning, grab your phone, and check what you’ve missed while you were unconscious. From the above trend-line, you can see that this behaviour is common among Australians. There’s a major spike in mobile browsing between the hours of 6am and 9am, during wake-up, breakfast and the commute to work. Desktop browsing takes over at 10am, while many of us are sitting behind desks. Then at 5pm there’s a switch back to mobile dominance, on the train home and in front of the TV.

It’s often discussed anecdotally, but we have some compelling evidence here that people are indeed waking up and going to sleep with phones in their hands. This of course validates the common rule of thumb that you should either post to social media at 6am or 6pm. It also lends some credibility to the idea that mobile is the preferred format for recreational browsing.

Mobile Behaviour 2: Mobile Browsing is Strongest on the Weekend.


We’re also more likely to use our mobile phones over the weekend. Our data shows that desktop is king during working days, with roughly 20% more traffic than mobile Monday to Friday. However this statistic is then flipped, with nearly 20% more traffic on mobile during the weekend, though with less browsing overall. Nevertheless, we’re still accessing the web while we’re enjoying a family brunch.

Implications

While we can only speculate at the reasons behind these trends, there are some clear messages to take from the data.

1. If you want to reach mobile users, aim to be ready for them when they’re waking up. Otherwise, wait for the evening.
2. You’re much more likely to be reaching consumers through their phones on the weekend.

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Customers are Changing

Customers Are Changing. Reach them in new ways.

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Customers are changing. You just can’t reach them in the way you used to.

Interruptive advertising is losing its influence. You want to capture the attention of people who are already interested in your product category.

Inbound marketing intersects with the decision-making process by exposing customers to your brand when they’re open to information.

Customers are Changing

References:

52% of Australian 14-29 year olds don’t watch free or pay TV AT ALL. (Ipsos 2015)

36% of companies identify their biggest challenge today to be producing engaging content. (Marketo 2015)

The average consumer identifies that product websites are more influential on their purchasing behaviour than any form of print advertising. (Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2014)

Consumers identify search engine advertising to be the most influential online advertising form (Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2014)

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The big online change – is your website mobile-ready?

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People love their smartphones. Every year the percentage of internet usage from mobile devices increases significantly.

In 2014, over 50% of online searches were from mobile devices. By the end of 2015, this number may be close to 60%!

This means that for many businesses, the mobile version of your site is used just as much as the desktop version. It’s important that these mobile viewers get a usable, visually appealing experience.

Google’s mission is to deliver the most appropriate and relevant search results to its users, to ensure they find what they are looking for. Naturally, people aren’t looking for websites that they can’t use. Having to pinch the screen and drag along in order to read text is a negative user-experience, and unless the user is specifically looking for your company, they will hit the back button and try one of your competitors instead.

To prevent this, your website needs to adapt itself to fit whatever screen is being used to view it. This is known as “responsive” design. A responsive, mobile-friendly website is a great user experience; the text is large enough to see and clickable links are separate and large enough to tap.

Google search results are recommendations. Google wants to send people to websites that they can properly use, as it wants them to find what they need quickly, and keep trusting the search engine’s judgement. Its search algorithm has been taking the design of your site into consideration for quite some time already. But it’s about to ramp up the emphasis of mobile friendly search results.

Infusionsoft-Ecommerce

Google’s next update

In February Google finally made an official announcement: From April 21st 2015 they will be “expanding use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”. Functionally, this means that any non-responsive websites will start ranking very poorly for those 60% of searches conducted from mobile devices.

In other words – any website that is not mobile friendly has a chance of getting penalised heavily & no longer prioritised in Google search results.

This means a noticeable reduction in traffic and sales for many businesses. The pressure is on.

A lot of people probably don’t look at their own company’s website that often and may not have even noticed whether their website looks good on a mobile phone. Here are a couple tests you can do to see if your site is mobile friendly:

1. See for yourself

Get out your mobile phone and Google your own business name. Before you click into your own site, look under the name and URL and see if the words “mobile friendly” appear like they do for our website.

Infusionsoft-Ecommerce
Next, click into your website and see how your website looks. If it looks like tiny version of the website you’d normally see from a computer, with tiny text that you can’t read without zooming in, you have a problem.

2. Google’s Mobile-Friendly test

If you are still unsure, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. Let Google’s own tool tell you if your website is mobile-friendly, so you can know for certain if this new update will affect you. You can use the tool here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Infusionsoft-Ecommerce

What to do if your site is not Mobile-Friendly?

If you rely on visitors to your website to generate sales or disseminate information, you’ll need to act soon. Depending on the state of your current website, you might be able to have changes made that improve mobile use. However it may be the case that you need a new website designed and developed. Fast action is important, because search rankings will be affected from April 21st 2015.

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site after this date you can expect to lose traffic and sales. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it could be to recover.

We can help

We have already upgraded most of our clients’ websites to be responsive. Their search rankings are protected from this update, and some have improved dramatically. Website bounce rates and session duration have also seen significant improvements. We can do the same for you.

Contact us

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infusionsoft-review2

Should your business invest in InfusionSoft?

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So you’re thinking about investing in marketing automation software and decided to take a closer look at InfusionSoft. You probably run a Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) and want to know if Infusionsoft ticks all of the boxes. And, if you’re like many SME business owners, you already have a marketing process that partly works, but you know it can be more efficient. The catch is, spending the time to implement new marketing processes is likely to be relegated to the last place on your TO DO list.

Marketing Automation

Based on this common experience, it is understandable that the ‘automation’ part of the InfusionSoft offer can be very appealing. It brings the promise to dramatically reduce the amount of time required to perform mundane sales and marketing activities such as follow-up calls, lead qualification and on-going nurturing. InfusionSoft’s offer goes on to describe that licensing of its product will enable you (or your sales team) to focus on the ‘hottest leads and prospects’. Once again promising to save time.

InfusionSoft enables you to ‘digitise’ your sales process by nurturing your leads until they either completely drop out of your funnel (unsubscribe) or develop into a prospect.

Now, here is one very important thing to consider for all new or potential InfusionSofters – “in order to digitise and subsequently automate your sales and marketing processes using InfusionSoft, you must first HAVE, a sales and marketing process defined. It is impossible to improve the effectiveness of something that doesn’t yet exist. You first need to create it – but that is a whole new post.

 


For the uninitiated, InfusionSoft offers the following areas of functionality:

Segmentation

InfusionSoft uses a fairly flexible tagging system to segment the contact database. Tags are then used as the main segmentation tool for performing marketing activities and reporting.

Infusionsoft-Tags

Email Marketing

Ability to send email broadcast to a particular segment of your contact database.

Campaign Manager

A graphical flowchart tool that allows certain sales and marketing functions to be automated. It is based on scheduling activities that get triggered by other specific conditions being met (e.g. if contact opened email A – send email B)

E-Commerce

A rudimentary online store that can integrate with most global merchant gateways such as EWay or SecurePay. You can also connect your PayPal account to it if you don’t have existing merchant facilities.

Infusionsoft-Ecommerce

Sales Management

A sales team planning and management tool that allows the business to either manually or automatically assign leads and prospects to particular individuals for follow-up. This is especially useful with a bigger sales team where you need to make sure that you are tracking all opportunities and not letting anything drop through the cracks.

 


There is also a plugin Marketplace provided by InfusionSoft where you can find plugins to replace, fill or improve your specific functional or integration needs. The majority of these plugins are authored by third party developers.

Some of these are even stand-alone systems. For example InfusionSoft acquired CustomerHub a number of years back. CustomerHub is basically a Content Management System which reveals certain content as the users pay for it. Subsequently, it works well for business wanting to publish and sell Informational Products.

 


Pros & Cons

Next, let me quickly cover InfusionSoft’s key positives and negatives:

The Campaign Manager

This has always been a highlight for me. It’s simple, visual and easy to use (if only the rest of InfusionSoft’s UI had the same amount of thought put into it). You can easily add goals, sequences and conditions to your campaigns just by dragging them onto a canvas and then connecting them to define a process. These can get fairly elaborate.

Having used dozens of CRMs over the last decade I can comfortably say that InfusionSoft’s Campaign Manager is one of the best I have seen/used. It is just fun to use.

Designed for SME’s

The theory here is that after completing the InfusionSoft KickStart program most individuals should be able to use InfusionSoft confidently. However, my experience is that the coverage of the KickStart program is not great and isn’t reinforced or put into practice during the training. Which means users constantly need refreshers and professional support.

In saying this I still believe that for the amount of functionality and components that InfusionSoft offers it does a fairly good job of being focused on tailoring its functionality and UI to the SME market.

Support

I have seen a lot of InfusionSoft users from Australia (where we are) complaining about the poor support that InfusionSoft provides. However, my experience has been very positive. On average we are supporting half a dozen clients that use InfusionSoft Australia. The on-line chat queues are short and can answer almost every question we fire at them.

For those who don’t like to on-line chat you can call their support line at a cost of a local phone call.

All in one package

This is actually both an advantage and disadvantage. It is an advantage because all your contact data such as:

    • web forms they filled out
    • emails you sent them and they interacted with products they bought

 

Based on this data you can easily figure out what type of message resonates best with a certain audience. This certainly makes it easier to market into that audience. InfusionSoft makes it easy for you to market in this way.

However, if you have multiple data sources such as multiple CRM systems or regional offices that manage their own data and occasionally send it through to the ‘head office’ a lot of operations become more difficult.

For example the way InfusionSoft handles duplicates is extremely complicated vs. something like MailChimp, and almost requires a Computer Science graduate to perform effectively (this may be a slight exaggeration).

For our clients we generally use a SQL enabled database system to first import and cleanse the data before importing the clean list into InfusionSoft. However, not every business has such resources at their disposal and therefore this is a definite negative.

Lack of Localisation

Until a week ago, you couldn’t set your time zone in InfusionSoft, therefore everything had to be recalculated into EST (New York) time. For example if you wanted to send a follow-up email on a Monday morning at 9am Australia Eastern Standard Time – you would have to calculate what time it would be on the east cost of the United States. This was painful and unnecessary.

There are many other examples of this – for example when setting up your E-commerce store in Australia it will always show AUD before the price of the product instead of dollar sign ($). Naturally, if the patrons of your store are ALL Australian this becomes very silly, very quickly. The list of these little idiosyncrasies is fairly long.

Absence of A/B Testing

This one actually surprised me the most when I found out about it. The key advantage of marketing digitally is the ability to better test, measure and subsequently iterate your marketing message. Why InfusionSoft decided to leave this one out is very disappointing. Hell, some CRM businesses exist to solely provide A/B Testing, it is that important.

 


Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe InfusionSoft is a solid performer and will certainly offer a significant improvement for most SME organisations that are looking to enter the world of digital marketing.

InfusionSoft can fill most roles such as a CRM, Email Broadcast Tool or an online store with ease. Yet, you will not be able to do everything by yourself and sometimes you will need to call in an expert to help you with that really complex project. I believe this to be acceptable at a time when the complexity of all such services is growing exponentially. What is your time better spent on – keeping up with your CRM’s functions or running and growing your business?

I know which I would choose.

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The Grid Advantage

Commited

A long lasting partnership. Some of our clients have been with us for over a decade

Multi-disciplinary

A team of marketers, designers & engineers under one roof

Experienced

Combined experience of over 50 years in the digital space

Focused

We care more about your bottom line, rather than winning design awards

Transparent

If you want detail, you will get it. Just let us know where to stop

Innovative

We keep you ahead of the curve & your competition

Management Team

Val Melamed <span>Marketing & User Experience</span>

Val Melamed Marketing & User Experience

A digital marketing strategist & creative thinker. Direct experience with some of Australia’s largest brands (Myer, Mercedes-Benz, NAB, World Vision, Microsoft & many more). An Arsenal (EPL) & a St Kilda man. A weekend coffee warrior, with a love for new hangouts.
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“Know your ideal customer & the value proposition to them. The rest will fall into place.”

Dimitry Rybkin<span>Technology & Operations</span>

Dimitry RybkinTechnology & Operations

Dimitry is the resident technical guru. He heads up Grid Concepts’ Technical & Operations teams.  As an immigrant from Soviet Union & a keen traveller, Dimitry has a colourful story or two, which he is always willing to share.
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“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.”

Louise Bedford

Louise Bedford

Director / The Trading game

I wanted to say that the site looks fabulous! The design, the layout, the ease of use, and most importantly the results!. Well done!

Ashley Churcher

Ashley Churcher

Marketing Director / Niche

Val & the team are great to work with and experts in the field of Digital strategy and User Experience. Working with them on a variety of projects has been a pleasure. They have consistently gone above and beyond to deliver projects that exceed stakeholder expectations and enhance their reputation in the industry. I highly recommend engaging Grid Concepts to assist with your upcoming digital projects!

Stephen Foxworthy

Stephen Foxworthy

Group Account Director / DTDigital

Val and I worked closely on a variety of projects. He has always a pleasure to work with, with a great outlook, capacity for work and team ethic. Under sometimes difficult circumstances, Val & the team managed the delivery of some very high profile projects, including the massive re-design of the Myer.com.au website.

Some of the brands we’ve helped

Some of the brands we have worked with

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every business understands the importance of new customers, but it can be challenging to understand how to consistently atrract them. We can certainly help here.

Using the expertise, systems & data at our disposal we can show you how to increase existing revenue, without a significant increase in effort.

Keeping the existing customers happy is the easiest way to protect your bottom line. We have some fantastic tactics in our arsenal to help you retain better.