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Posts Tagged ‘best practices’

Style GuideA style guide is a document that provides guidelines for the way your brand should be presented from both a graphic and language perspective. The purpose of a style guide is to make sure that multiple contributors create in a clear and cohesive way that reflects the corporate style and ensures brand consistency with everything from design to writing.

Why is Brand Consistency Important?

As discussed in a previous blog post, “The Importance of Brand Consistency”, consistent branding allows marketers to differentiate their product, deliver key messaging, and encourage loyalty by driving authority and trust in their product or business. By keeping a tight rein on brand consistency, marketers can drive customer perception from the onset of the engagement all the way through the buyer decision making process.

Visual Style Guide

Visual style guides are used to define the way the brand will look and to keep corporate graphics consistent and uniform across materials. The rules for graphic style guides typically include applications and variations of the logo, design standards in terms of look and feel (minimalist versus abstract or modern versus vintage), corporate color palettes, and white space usage. This guide also includes typography details (font families, sizes, kerning, and line height/spacing), layout specifics in terms of how elements are positioned on a page, and information on website navigation and visual hierarchy.

Editorial Style Guide

Editorial style guides generally include specific rules around the company voice (active versus passive and first person versus second/third), tone (casual or formal), and grammar conventions (regional dialects, spelling, punctuation, words to avoid, and abbreviations). Many companies choose to follow a specific widely known style guide (such as Chicago Manual of Style or Associated Press Stylebook) whereas other organizations elect to build their own individual set of standards.

Comprehensive style guides define the company image from a visual and editorial perspective to ensure a unified brand. We recommend implementing both a visual style guide and an editorial style guide to keep branding consistent across all corporate materials.

If you need help building a style guide or with your marketing strategy, contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

Image via www.slavisaristic.com

Marketo Summit Content Marketing

This is my third time attending “The Marketing Nation Summit”, Marketo’s annual user conference focused on the latest Marketo features as well as content marketing trends and best practices.  I’m excited to share that this year’s conference taking place in San Francisco’s Moscone Center is bigger and better than ever. The highlights from the event will help you to rethink your content marketing and determine whether your content needs a makeover today.

Bringing a Publisher’s Perspective to Content Marketing

One of the highlights from today was the opening breakout session by Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. Ann started her career as a journalist at the Boston Globe and began the session by sharing the importance of bringing a publisher’s perspective to content marketing. Many marketers can relate to the challenge of creating content marketing pieces that seem to go nowhere. As Ann said with the rapid growth of content marketing today “We’re all publishers. All of a sudden.” But what can we do to improve?

Ann shared some ways that marketers can put on their “publisher’s hat” when it comes to developing quality content including defining our mission, telling stories about people and telling these stories well.

Five Ways to Generate Quality Content

Ann expanded upon this by diving into five key ways marketers can go a step further and generate content beyond this publisher’s mindset including:

1. Think about  “experience” not just the narrative (Ann used a website for app developers as an example that provided a calculator for determining how much it would cost to build an app)

2. Have empathy (hint: use the word “You”)

3. Place lots of small wagers and maybe get a little crazy

4. Have a can do DIY attitude

5. Real time. Look for what no one else is talking about.

These are all great reminders to focus on what matters when it comes to content marketing – creating quality content that provides solutions and stands out from the crowd. Remember who you are writing for and place yourself in their shoes. Would you read your content pieces?

Need a content makeover? Contact Launch Marketing today. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

We’ve said it before: content marketing is an important aspect of any integrated marketing campaign. But for content marketing to work, you have to have plenty of… content. It can seem daunting to produce enough content to support your marketing team’s needs; however, there are a few steps that can make this process easier.

1. Use content pieces already written.

Writing new content from scratch is not always necessary. Instead, look at content pieces that you already have. Do you have a white paper that you can split into a couple of articles? What about related blog posts that you can combine to create an eBook? Repurposing content is not only cost-effective, it also helps to drive traffic to all pieces within a campaign.

One of my favorite ways of illustrating this technique is the Thanksgiving turkey analogy from Rebecca Lieb of the Altimeter Group:

“You cook up this giant bird to serve up on one glorious occasion and then proceed to slice and dice this thing for weeks on end. If you are like most families you are going to be repurposing this bird as leftovers for quite some time creating everything from sandwiches, to soups, and more. Your content marketing strategy can be thought of in the same way.”

Content Marketing Repurposing

2. Partner with other organizations.

The phrase “two heads are better than one” is also true in content production. Consider using the resources of another organization in conjunction with your own internal resources. In addition to assistance with creating content, partnering with another organization expands the potential audience for your content piece to include your partner’s audience.

A successful example of this is the partnership between MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute. These organizations partner to produce an annual industry report, which is then used to generate countless content pieces such as webinars, blogs, SlideShares and infographics that are used by each organization.

3. Use all internal resources.

Don’t think that marketing is the only department responsible for creating content. Your sales team, for instance, is often those who have the most contact with your prospects and usually have insights into common pain points or issues they may have. By leveraging your sales team, you can work together to develop content that will address these pain points and can better reach your prospects. Likewise, your engineering team has an in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of your product and would be a great resource for technical content.

When working with other departments, make it as easy as possible for them to participate. Instead of asking them to write an entire article themselves, consider scheduling a short meeting to interview them and then draft content based on what you learned.

4. Make it easy for prospects and sales/marketing teams to find them.

In addition to building out a library of content, it is important that these pieces are actually seen by your prospects. Otherwise, your efforts to produce them are wasted. Since most prospects will visit your website early in the sales process, you should make it easy for site visitors to find your content. Many organizations have a dedicated “resource center” housing multiple pieces of content.

Separate content by topic areas. This will allow someone to easily find content relevant to their interests. Also, adding a search functionality helps the usability of your resource center.

Final Thoughts on Content Marketing

By following these four steps, you can build out your content library quickly. Once you have a solid content library, you can then develop a plan to integrate your content into your overall marketing plan. Do you have any content creation tips? Share them below!

Need help with content marketing? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

In today’s fast-paced technology industry, data-driven B2B marketers turn to industry statistics as a way to benchmark their current marketing efforts and plan ahead for future campaigns.  Additionally, these type of statistics can help validate marketing recommendations and budget requests to the executive team. Below are ten must-have B2B marketing stats around email marketing, SEO and blogging that every data-driven marketer will want to keep in their back pocket.

B2B Marketing Stat #1: Organic Links are Clicked on Most Often

70% of search users click on organic search results first, compared to only 25% who click on paid search results first.

B2B Marketing Stats: Organic Clicks

B2B Marketing Stat 2: The Top Three Organic Search Results Get the Most Traffic

60% of all organic clicks are on links in the first three positions.

B2B Marketing Stats: Top Organic Results

B2B Marketing Stat 3: Blogs Help Your SEO Efforts

Companies that have a blog have 97% more inbound links, on average, than companies that do not have a blog.

  B2B Marketing Stats: Blogs Help SEO

B2B Marketing Stat 4: Blogs Increase Website Visitors

Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors than companies that do not blog.

 B2B Marketing Stat: Blogging Increases Visitors

B2B Marketing Stat 5: Blogs Increase Leads

B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than companies that do not blog.

 B2B Marketing Stats: Blogs Increase Leads

B2B Marketing Stat 6: Email ROI is High

Of all the marketing channels, email has the highest ROI per dollar spent, with an average of $28.50 in sales generated per dollar invested, compared to $7 in sales generated per dollar invested in direct mail.

B2B Marketing Stats: Email ROI is High

B2B Marketing Stat 7: Email Subject Lines and URL Placement are Critical

33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone.

In addition, recipients often only read the subject line or the first few lines of an email. Include your CTA early on in your email. 

Source: Convince & Convert

B2B Marketing Stat 8: Email Subject Lines Need to Be Engaging

The word “exclusive” in email promotional campaigns increases unique open rates by 14%

B2B Marketing Stats: Email Subject Lines

A good way to test an email subject line is to ask yourself “Would I open this email?”

B2B Marketing Stat 9: Email Click Through Rates Vary By Region and Industry

B2B Marketing Stats: Email Click Through Rates

B2B Marketing Stat 10: Email Send Time-of-Day is Important (Varies by Industry)

According to data from HubSpot, emails sent in the early morning typically receive higher click-through rates. This is likely because there are less distractions at that time, compared to emails sent toward the end of the workday.

 B2B Marketing Stats: Email Send Time of Day

As with all statistics, take these as a starting point for your marketing recommendations and continually test what works best for your industry.  There are many varying characteristics between audiences and industries, so you may find that what works best for your industry may differ from the industry standard.