Humans have been sharing stories for as long as there have been humans. Stories are a natural, effective way to not only convey important information, but also to inform, educate, and both build and strengthen social bonds.
Since informing, educating, and building bonds happen to all be excellent ways to gain and retain customers - smart, successful businesses are usually good storytellers. What’s your story? Are you able to communicate it effectively to prospects and customers?
With the volume of content available on any given topic, consumers are necessarily choosy. They don’t want sales-speak, they want to learn enough to make the right decision. They want answers, insight, and perspective. Your content (your story) has to speak to your audience and convey the message that your firm and your offerings are worthy of consideration.
Your story can (and should) take many forms. Case studies are certainly an obvious way to share a story. But blog posts, thought-leadership pieces, press releases, and even email campaigns when combined with a compelling landing page, can be effective storytellers. While the tone of voice and style will vary to fit the medium, you’ll want to keep the messaging consistent to reinforce your brand.
Need help finding your voice and getting your story told? We’re ready to help.
For many of us, the term “outbound marketing” conjures up nightmares of cold calling potential prospects and the inevitable ‘click’ as they hang up on you. But “inbound marketing,” now that sounds nice. I just sit at my desk and the calls come to me – right? Wrong. While inbound marketing (when done right) doesn’t seek to interrupt its audience, it’s far from passive. In fact, inbound marketing involves more thought, more effort, and more skill than outbound marketing ever did.
What Is Inbound Marketing
Here’s a great description of inbound marketing. To summarize, inbound marketing is the art of helping interested prospects find you, rather than you trying to flush them out by interrupting them where they’re at.
Here are some examples of inbound marketing:
Sounds like work, doesn’t it? It is – but help is nearby. Let Ocean Planet Publishing help design and execute your organization’s inbound marketing strategy. We can help with keyword selection and site optimization, website content, social media marketing, blogging, case studies, industry papers, and much more.
Content Marketing refers to any content - newsletters, white papers, case studies, videos, how-tos, and yes, even this blog post, where the intention is brand awareness, reputation building, and ultimately, customer acquisition. It differs from traditional forms of advertising where the primary goal is to sell something now.
You may already be building your Content Marketing library without calling it that. If you have not started, don't wait. It's an ongoing effort and requires time and expertise (yours or someone else's) - but unlike the banner ad - the effectiveness continues to build over time. Here are three of the main reasons why Content Marketing should be part of your overall strategy:
1. It Helps With Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The content marketing you place on your website, in the form of a blog post, PDF documents, image gallery, or an FAQ page can all contribute to your visibility to the search engines. You should definitely include keywords and phrases in your content marketing, but do not make it the primary goal. Your primary goal is to provide something of value to your readers. The keywords just help them to find your words of wisdom.
2. Permission Based Marketing Is Where It's At
It only makes sense to market to the people who want to hear your message. And, when you know the people who are listening to you, you can tailor your message to give them more of what they want to hear. That's where Content Marketing comes into play. It is ideally suited to permission marketing because it is topic-oriented, targeted, and relevant. Give your audience plenty of opportunities to opt-in to your newsletter, your blog updates, and your how-to guides. Build your audience, and your customer base, by providing content that people would miss if it went away.
3. You're Selling To A Discriminating Audience
Unlike consumers, who might be incented to buy the latest whatever by a catchy ad, businesses are more discriminating. The sales cycle is longer and more sophisticated. Businesses only spend money to solve problems. When you demonstrate that you understand the challenges your prospects face - and that you have solved similar challenges for other companies - your credibility soars. Content Marketing, in the form of testimonials, white papers, and blog posts, provides an ideal venue for demonstrating you are the go-to firm.
So, build your library of content and leverage it across platforms. Portions of your newsletter make a great Twitter feed. And expand on the idea in your blog post to form a longer topic paper downloadable from your website. Content Marketing - giving your audience something of value and building your business at the same time. It's a winning proposition.
Ocean Planet Publishing is proud to announce a new offering, Sage product newsletters, designed for Sage Authorized Partners to send to clients and prospects. DIRECTIONS for Sage 100 ERP, Sage ERP X3, and Sage HRMS will launch June 1, 2013.
The newsletters will include relevant, current, and useful product information, news, and tips as well as general business news of interest to small- and mid-sized enterprises.
Each newsletter is customizable with partners' logos, colors, and contact information and includes space for announcements or messages.
DIRECTIONS is an ideal way to nurture your client relationships by delivering content of true value on a regular basis.
I'm reading a fun, inspiring book given to me by a friend. The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin is a quick read, and one that packs a lot of punch. The book came to me at a providential time, the launch of Ocean Planet Publishing.
In Greek mythology, Icarus, the son of Daedalus, was warned by his father not to fly too close to the sun, else his wings would melt. Overcome by the power of flight, Icarus ignored his father and flew too close to the sun. His wings melted and he fell to the sea. Over ambition and over confidence kills, the myth teaches us. Follow directions. Stay on course. Do what you're told.
The Icarus Deception seeks to debunk this myth. No longer does it work to play it safe, stay in your comfort zone, keep your head down, and stay out of the sun.
We need to connect in real and meaningful ways. We need to challenge our comfort zones, put our egos on the line, make a difference, risk failure, and create art. Godin advises that the new truth is that it's better to be sorry than safe.
Maybe there's something to that. After all, the Icarian Sea was named after our precocious hero, Icarus.