Motivational Monday: Outsmart Your Competition

Analyze, Learn, Grow

“Successful people never worry about what other people are doing. Instead, they analyze, learn and grow.” —Cultivate Communications

When you were in elementary school, did you ever try to look at your neighbor’s paper? Were you ever (way too) concerned about what your peers were doing, instead of focusing on your own work?

Unfortunately, some of us never got over the need to constantly compare ourselves to others. But you’re all grown up now, so you have a choice: you can constantly worry about the competition and how they’re doing, or you can learn from your competition, then focus on the road before you and successfully navigate from your own lane. It’s not easy (especially when your competition wins an award or shows up in a great news story).

Yes, know your industry and understand what’s happening around you. But instead of copying or constantly comparing, peek over and learn from your competitor’s mistakes. Constantly comparing ourselves to those around us won’t help us be innovative or the best. However, awareness, knowledge, and analysis of your competition helps level the playing field.

When you’re feeling hyper-focused on dissecting your competition, it might be time to take a healthy step back…

First, focus on your customers. How do you help your customers solve problems? What are you bringing to your customers that no one else can deliver? How do your customers feel about your products and services? What is your brand story and why does it resonate with your prospects? What values do your customers associate with your business?

Next, focus on your business. Your business is unique! Just as each person is unique, there’s literally no other business or organization exactly like you. (Cool, hey?) Understand what makes you special and play off your strengths. Keep an eye on your analytics; keep your project plan strong and your goals ambitious. Present your story to your customers with more authority than the competition and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, already!

Learn about your competitor and analyze their mistakes to keep your business on the forefront of innovation in your industry. Don’t worry when you think they’re outperforming you. Instead, arm yourself with knowledge, focus on your customers and your business, and power through with smarts, strength and determination.

To discover new ways to celebrate your unique business while outshining the competition, follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

 

Get Motivated Every Monday!

Marketing creativity is the ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, information, insight, stats, examples — and combine them in unique ways. The larger the library of creative building blocks, the more visionary your ideas will grow to be.

Motivate your mind. Subscribe now to get full Motivational Mondays posts in your inbox every Monday morning:

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3 Reasons Why an Active Blog is Necessary for Long-Term SEO Success

 
Way back in 1996, Bill Gates declared, “Content is King.” In his essay, Gates predicted that content would be where “much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” In 2010, when blogging really started to gain traction, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals took that phrase to heart.

At first, we saw an uptick in plain ol’ content—mostly words tossed together in a fashion that appealed to search engine bots, but not people. Meh. As Google’s algorithms became smarter and the masses flocked to the Internet, marketers came to understand that only quality content (content that appeals to BOTH bots AND people) is the only content that will do.

Today, high quality website content has become a major force powering SEO. Why? Because Google LOVES quality content—and if you care about getting found online: when Google talks, you LISTEN!

 

How an Active Blog Helps SEO

So what about blogs? Blogs have become a turn-key content solution used to capitalize on today’s top SEO tactics. When you create a blog and update it regularly with content that attracts your target market, you’ll be edging your way to the number 1 spot on page 1 of Google.

active blogBlogs have only become more and more powerful over the years. They’re simply a must for any business these days, as a great blog has proven to be a major sales-generating tool.

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand the meaning of SEO. Search Engine Land defines SEO as, “the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on search engines.” Put simply: search engine optimization is what you do to your website to bring in more web traffic.

Why bring in more web traffic?
Because your customer’s purchase starts with search.

When you add a blog to your website (following current content marketing and SEO best practices), you’re giving the search engines what they want, which can really pay off.

 

#1. Fresh Blog Content Can Influence Search Engine Rankings

You may be asking, “Why do I need to update my blog?” Fair enough. There’s a great answer for that, and it’s the key to propelling your content up the search ladder.

Each time you update your blog, the search engines send out a little crawler that reads, then indexes your webpages. When this happens, the chance your content will achieve a higher search rank increases. When creating fresh, new content, keep in mind: Quality Beats Quantity. So “refreshing” an existing blog post won’t always cut it—instead, start new often and tell stories whenever you can. Stories sell.

 

#2. Blog Posts = More Backlink Opportunities = Higher DA

Every website has something called Domain Authority (DA). Developed by Moz, this is a score (on a 100-point scale) that predicts how well your website will rank on search engines. While DA is determined by a lot of different factors, authoritative backlinks pointing to your website can help boost your rankings.

To get those high quality backlinks, you need to give people a reason to want to link to your content. Typically backlinks happen when:

  • Your content is unique and engaging.
  • You have fans (not necessarily customers) who are passionate about your brand.
  • People feel some type of emotional connection to your company and/or your products and services.
  • Your content is quote-worthy and people see a reason to cite you.

 

#3. More Opportunities for Keywords

Keywords are an important part of a complete SEO strategy. With every new blog post you create, you have the opportunity to use new or existing keywords, all of which…you guessed it…get that great content of yours FOUND.

There are two types of keywords: long-tail keyword and short-tail keywords.

 

Long-Tail Keywords:Short-Tail Keywords:
  • Longer (include 3 or more words)
  • More specific
  • Include phrases
  • Target a specific audience

Examples:

  1. Find an SEO Agency in Wisconsin
  2. Hire a Content Marketer in Waukesha County
  • Shorter (1 to 2 words)
  • Less specific
  • Include single words
  • Target a broader audience

Examples:

  1. SEO Agency
  2. Content Marketer

 

Before getting started with blogging for SEO, do understand: it can be a large undertaking. But when it’s done right, an active blog can generate loads more leads and tons more sales. When done wrong, it can end up being a big waste of time and money.

We recommend hiring professionals, so give us a shout at Cultivate Communications!
 

Motivational Monday: Failure is Part of Success

failure creates success

“Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington

No one likes to fail. Failure hurts. Failure stinks. …but failure is also universal to our human experience. Every person, from the top CEO to the entry-level intern has failed at some point along the way. Hey, no one’s perfect—we all make mistakes now and again.

The best things derived from mistakes? Opportunities for learning and growth. Every success comes because we didn’t quit or give up. We kept going—even when we stumbled or when it got difficult. We picked ourselves up when we fell down; we brushed ourselves off and got back up on the horse.

Success isn’t about perfection; it’s about determination.

Every professional athlete, marketing genius, or industry titan you know has failed at some point. They’ve made an attempt and it went horribly wrong. They’ve had to redo projects. They’ve probably missed deadlines. They’ve lost business or upset their customers. At some point, someone absolutely hated something they did or created.

The common thread? The resolve to keep going. Every great leader regularly learns from their missteps; the opportunity to adjust, learn, and move forward is what drives them. Their resolve is why they’re successful.

So the next time you experience a stumble or a failure, realize it’s a natural part of the growth process. Pick yourself up and look at what you can learn from the situation.

Head off mistakes as much as possible, but when you do stumble, look at it as a learning opportunity. Learn new ways to think about your future and move past mistakes by following Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribing below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

 

Get Motivated Every Monday!

Marketing creativity is the ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, information, insight, stats, examples — and combine them in unique ways. The larger the library of creative building blocks, the more visionary your ideas will grow to be.

Motivate your mind. Subscribe now to get full Motivational Mondays posts in your inbox every Monday morning:

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Online Personalization 101: WHAT it is, WHY You Need to Use it & HOW to Get Started

 
online personalization photographingtravisYou see it all day, every day. You open your inbox and there it is: your name in the subject line. You get home from work after a busy day, kick up your feet and flip on Netflix—and there it is again: your name. You sign into Facebook and you see an ad pointing you to a website you recently visited.

Coincidence? Never.

WHAT is Online Personalization?

The aforementioned examples are all instances of online personalization (sometimes called content personalization). BusinessDictionary defines online personalization as “tailoring the presentation of a website’s content to match a specific user’s instructions or preferences.” This form of custom-tailored marketing is achieved by collecting data about prospects and customers, then using that data to tweak online experiences to perfection.

WHY You Should Care About Online Personalization

Online personalization has become a key part of digital marketing strategies. As humans, we crave customized experiences. A study from the University of Texas at Austin attributes this to our desire for control. Google searches 30 trillion pages, 100 billion times a month. 60 hours of video is uploaded every minute on YouTube. More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month on Facebook.

Get the point? There’s A LOT of content out there! Online personalization helps you break through the noise and improve your marketing ROI.

HubSpot reported:

  • Personalized emails improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%.
  • In-house marketers who personalize web experiences (who are also able to quantify that improvement) see a 19% uplift in sales, on average.
  • 40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels.
  • Leads nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities.

And the list goes on. Hey, online personalization works!

HOW to Get Started with Online Personalization

Not every business can be a giganto expert at online personalization like Amazon.com (constantly pulling data and signals to personalize their users’ shopping experiences). However, there are a few basic things you can do to hop aboard the online personalization train, today.
 

1. Segment Your Email Marketing

Online personalization in email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient methods. Don’t always send the same email to everyone on your list. Break your lists down into various segments and tweak your messages accordingly.

Examples:

You’re in the staffing business and you work with companies looking to fill positions in marketing and IT.

  • Segment out the companies that have a need to fill marketing positions into one list. Then, send a monthly email featuring your top marketing candidates.
  • Likewise, create a separate segment for companies looking to fill IT positions. Send a separate monthly email featuring your top IT candidates to this list.

Sending a monthly e-newsletter? Most email marketing software (like MailChimp and Constant Contact) offer the option to insert a ‘receiver name’ field. Use it!
 

2. Segment Your Social Media

Facebook uses data in ad targeting that’s fairly easy to implement. Let’s say you offer computer repair services to small- and medium-sized businesses and you’re only able to offer those services within 50 miles of Brookfield, Wisconsin. You’re not going to want to run a Facebook ad that will be seen by everyone and anyone in the entire United States. Determine what your target audience looks like and set up your ad accordingly.

Here’s what your targeting might look like…

online personalization

Online personalization is not only a great way to break through the marketing noise and improve your marketing ROI—it’s also a really fun way to get creative with how you market to your audience! Give it a shot and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Need some help getting started with online personalization? Contact Cultivate Communications.

 


Image “Hello My Name Is” courtesy of Flickr user Travis Wise licensed under CC by 2.0.

Motivational Monday: Be BOLD

Be-Bold-MM

“Be BOLD or italic, never regular.”- Cultivate Communications

When it comes to getting your customer’s attention, you need to be creative and brave. It’s more than just picking a different font (although it never hurts to ensure you stand out visually). The idea is to get noticed—to do something bold and daring that ensures your business, your products, and your services stay fresh in the hearts and minds of your customers.

It’s even okay to be a little weird (puppymonkeybaby, anyone?), but it’s best if you aim for what truly makes your brand stand out. Know your audience and tailor your communication to really speak to them.

Don’t forget: You are your brand. What do you have a reputation for? What makes you unique among all the other brands out there? What do you do differently than others in your industry? There’s one thing you do better than everyone else. Find it and convey it in every message.

Just like your customers, no two brands are identical. Even if you provide the same services as six competitors in town, at the exact same price, find what makes you special and distinctive and shout it from the rooftops! Be bold with your message—make yourself stand out, and be remembered for what you do best!

Ready to BOLDLY go forth and share your brand story? To learn more ideas on how to move past the “regular,” be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

 

Get Motivated Every Monday!

Marketing creativity is the ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, information, insight, stats, examples — and combine them in unique ways. The larger the library of creative building blocks, the more visionary your ideas will grow to be.

Motivate your mind. Subscribe now to get full Motivational Mondays posts in your inbox every Monday morning:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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