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Community Futures Beaver River

Box 2678, 106 - 1st Street East, Meadow Lake, SK - Phone: (306) 236-4422

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July Newsletter 2017

  • July 4, 2017
  • Written by Beaver River Admin

The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business

Content is King in Social Media

According to a 2015 Content Marketing Institute (CMI) report, 86 per cent of B2B and 77 per cent of B2C survey respondents use content marketing.

If you don't already know it, content marketing, or as it is sometimes referred to inbound marketing, is the number one form of marketing for most businesses today. You may not realize it but your competitors are probably already using it to woo your customers. If it's not on your marketing strategy radar, it should be.

So, what is content marketing? CMI's definition is, "A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience - and ultimately to drive profitable customer action."

A majority of businesses are increasingly using content marketing; 70 per cent of B2B businesses and 69 per cent of B2C businesses surveyed are creating more content than last year. Content marketing is a massive and increasingly sophisticated topic; here is a short guide to some of the key elements to help get you up to speed.

What is 'content'?

First, what the devil is this 'content' anyway? Well it's pretty much any information you distribute to people who could potentially be interested in what you sell, or who are already customers. Be aware this content is far more than just the material you would use in a typical blog post.

Information needs to demonstrate you have a high level of expertise in the topics you are discussing. One of the aims of this content is to increase your industry and market credibility.

Content quality is rising exponentially - it's no good repurposing old material, or regurgitating material others have published. Content marketing today is about producing engaging, useful, informative, educational NEW material that is directly relevant to your market.

This content can manifest itself in eNewsletters, blog posts, videos, infographics - just about anywhere you and your company appear in social media.

This eNewsletter, for instance, is content marketing!

How does content marketing help your business?

So, you have content, but how does it help you sell more? Good content promotes brand awareness, generates leads, keeps existing prospects and customers interested, promotes loyalty, and allows you to subtly pitch to your market.

So you have great information - how do you get it to your market?

Once you have content, there are many ways to get it out to customers. In the B2B world, the most popular, and most effective, according to CMI's survey is LinkedIn; 94 per cent of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content and 63 per cent found it effective. Alternately 94 per cent of B2C businesses use Facebook and 58 per cent found it effective. Basically, your content has to appear in places your typical customers visit. Other avenues include; YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Google+ and just about anywhere your prospects are likely to hang out.

Once you have decided content marketing is a necessary part of your overall marketing strategy you need to: research how it works; which companies do it well; what your competitors are doing; and how you are going to handle content marketing for your business. If you have the budget, hire someone who has the expertise, or choose someone in your marketing department who has some knowledge of content marketing and get them trained. If you haven't got the budget find it!

Next on your agenda, develop a documented content strategy. Businesses that have a documented strategy, report their content marketing is more effective; 35 per cent of B2B and 27 per cent of B2C businesses have a fully documented strategy, with 48 and 50 per cent, respectively, reporting they have a non-documented strategy.

What are the challenges?

Evaluating success - Use Google Analytics or similar to track website visits; also record numbers of leads, sales, and customer feedback. Build these measurements into your strategy.Finding quality content - Provide diverse information that your target market will find useful, educational and engaging. Remember content is king!Budget - There's a cost to everything and content marketing is no exception. B2C businesses spend approximately 25 per cent, and B2B businesses 28 per cent, of their overall marketing budget on content marketing (including staffing costs).Keeping the hopper full of quality material - This is major challenge. Everyone starts off with best intentions, but you need to keep it up - this is a long-game strategy. That's why considering buying content is often a good idea.

A good content marketing strategy is one that makes you a magnet company, a company people gravitate to for information when looking to purchase products or services in your marketplace or industry. You need to make your company the first port of call - the go-to company.

Is this a flash in the pan, or a marketing strategy that will stick around? That's hard to say with any degree of certainty but CMI's study shows 59 per cent of B2C businesses and 55 per cent of B2B companies polled plan to spend more this year than last and only 2 per cent across all businesses will decrease spending.

Taking your place as an expert in your field has never been more important.

What's with Emojis?

They even have their own day! World emoji day is July 17th - are you ready for it?

There are about 1,900 emojis (including all sequences) in circulation.92% of the online population use emojis60% of women report using emojis frequently as opposed to 41% of men

Professor Vyvyan Evans, Professor of Linguistics, states, "Today, emoji is incontrovertibly the world's first truly global form of communication." If this is true, and it's widely held to be so, the impact Emojis will have on the way we communicate and market to consumers will be staggering.

It seems only recently that everyone was using emoticons such as, :-) or :-o and LOL - today, emoticons and shorthand are going out of fashion quicker than Gwen Stefani's dresses. Emojis are taking their place; these mostly cute pictograms are spreading across social media mediums, advertisements and promotional campaigns like crab grass in a vegetable garden.

Originating in Japan they were first created by telecom worker Shigetaka Kurita in the late 90's. They didn't become popular elsewhere until 2011, when Apple made the emoji keyboard available internationally. By mid 2013, Android operating systems also featured the keyboard and so these little characters took off like wildfire.

Why Are Emojis So Popular?

People have incredibly short attention spans, only eight seconds according to a Canadian Microsoft study, so immediate gratification is the name of today's marketing game. We used to wait several minutes for photographs to slowly load on a webpage in the days of dial-up. Today, we expect everything to be immediate. If a web page is slow, or making a purchase takes more than a click or two, we move to another site.

Emojis allow us to send messages that carry more emotion and can be a better fit for what we want to say than words. In a commercial environment, customers can quickly identify what they want to purchase, or what action they want to take. Boston based InMoji has taken this one step further and developed clickable brand icons; these InMojis reside in a message and can connect people to a company's offer via their brand icon without the user leaving the messaging app they are using. Brand messages become part of consumers' text conversations.

Emojis - Cute or Corporate?

If you're shaking your head and thinking emojis are just a cutesy way of saying you're sad, or in love in a text message or email and have no relevance to the real world of marketing your business, think again.

Dominos Pizza now allows registered 'Easy Order' customers to order pizzas by simply clicking and texting or tweeting a pizza icon. The lesson here is consumers want things easier and quicker. The days of filling out long forms and entering credit card numbers is old school. Click It - Buy It, is fast becoming the new online purchasing mantra.

Seriously? Emojis?

Without doubt, emojis, and inMojis (branded emojis) are a valid new form of communication, one that transcends languages, cultures, and generations. Put aside any negative feelings you might have about the pile of poo emoji, or the levitating man in a business suit for a moment and consider: 92 per cent of all people online are using emojis. The Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year in 2015 was the Face with Tears of Joy emoji - NOT even an actual word! It's the first time a pictogram has ever been chosen. Facebook created five new emoji 'reactions' to help users emote more accurately when commenting on someone's post.

Emojis are steadily moving beyond the basics and allowing people to relay far more meaningful sentiments without having to fiddle with the tiny keyboard on their cell phones.

Billions of emojis are transmitted daily, and in marketing terms they are not age specific although it should be noted that more women use them than men.

Emojis, the U.S. Election and More

The U.S. election saw candidate emojis, Sony is working on an emoji feature film, and many global brand names have developed their own inMojis. In the U.K. an online banking app already uses emojis in place of PIN numbers; apparently, they are more secure - not to mention easier for people to remember.

Using emojis, or inMojis in marketing is not without its challenges, especially as some have hidden, or slang meanings, but don't let that stop you checking out these emotive icons as they are infiltrating advertising and marketing campaigns everywhere.

No matter the size of your business, developing an appreciation for this new communication tool would be a wise thing to do; they are going to be an integral part of the marketing mix for the foreseeable future.

Coach's Corner - Overcome the Overwhelm!

Often, we get a feeling of being overwhelmed; of having too much to do and not enough time to accomplish everything we need to do. Here are five ideas that may help you overcome the overwhelm.

Are we really busy or does it just feel that way? Have you ever felt overwhelmed and then when you stepped back and made a list of what needed to be done, realized that you weren't as busy as you thought? Sometimes, simply making a list of what you feel needs to be done and what deadlines are involved allows you to find it less daunting. This is not always the case of course, but at least the process of making a list allows you some perspective and the ability to focus on what's important.

This leads us to my second point: Do what you can do. What's the most important thing you need to focus on? What's the priority? When confronted with the feeling of being overwhelmed, it's good to figure out what needs to get done first, to prioritize the activities you need to do and start to work on them. Sometimes it's too easy to freeze and do nothing when what you need to do is to start chipping away at the list and focus on the most important things.

Being mindful of what you are doing. Does this have to get done? What would happen if you don't do it? It's important to look at your activities and realize what's getting in the way. Being mindful of distractions, or activities that do not really matter, helps us move forward.

How can you make the most of meetings? Too often meetings are part of the overwhelm, either there's too many or they're too time consuming. It's important for us to look at each meeting and ask some questions. What is important about this meeting? Do I need to attend it or can someone else attend in my place? What will I accomplish from being at it? How long does it need to be?

Who can help you with this? When feeling overwhelmed, you need to get support. Sometimes just verbalizing the sense of overwhelm to colleagues or others will shift the feeling from feeling you are alone to having others help in some way. That help may include others sharing the burden and taking some things off your plate, or it may be a case of delegating certain tasks to others.

Being overwhelmed happens to all of us, it's how you handle that overwhelm that gets you through.

"Sometimes when you're overwhelmed by a situation - when you're in the darkest of darkness - that's when your priorities are reordered." - Phoebe Snow, musician

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach
Motivated Coaching