Motivational Monday: You’re Doing Great. Keep Going!

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No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.”

Now that we’re a month into the year, how many of our resolutions have started to fade? Statistically speaking, after the first month, almost half of us will break our resolutions—but those who succeed know slow and steady wins the race. Smart goal-setters realize the path to achievement is revealed by checking off milestones and watching for success markers along the way. Run a marathon by August? Sure, but first try to get to a 5K by February.

February is a great month for refocusing on your goals and keeping your momentum going. It’s a short, but often a productive month as employees are back in gear and energized after the New Year and holiday break. Clients are implementing their own New Year strategies—which means new business opportunities for you!

Examine where you are with your 2016 goals. What goals are you making headway on, and where do you need to double-down your efforts? Now’s the time to reevaluate your strategic plan for the first half of the year and wrap up any year-end loose ends that might be holding you back. Look at your marketing goals and strategy, and keep the ball rolling.

Make 2016 your best year ever. Remember to keep going. You’re already doing better than everyone who already gave up!

  • One way to keep your resolutions from fizzling out? Turn them into powerful goals. Use smart strategies to keep both yourself and your company on track.
  • If you need a refresher, try these 10 Business Goal Setting Tips. Be sure your powerful goals cover your marketing strategy as it relates to your company’s overall strategic plan.
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  • Examine your content and your website. If your website is over 5 years old, it’s as old as a rotary phone! How did your website help you convert leads to reach your sales goals last year? Don’t know? Then it’s time for a new website.
  • What does your 2016 Marketing Strategy look like? Blindly fumbling toward creating content is no more of a strategy than “running” is to completing a marathon. You must have milestones and markers to help keep you on track.
  • Understanding trends can help shape strong strategy and act as a guide. Are you mobile-optimized? Check out these 5 BIG Reasons You Need to Be Mobile Ready in 2016 or review these Mobile Marketing Trends for 2016 to get up to speed.
  • What drives us to get things done? A call to action! Unfortunately, it’s one of the often-forgotten parts of our website. Craft compelling CTAs to ensure your customers are helping you turn leads into sales in 2016.

It’s time to get off the couch and lace up your sneakers. Work toward those 2016 resolutions and turn them into goals! If you’re ready to kick ass in 2016, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive full Motivational Mondays posts in your inbox each week.

 

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Here’s Why CEOs Are Choosing Content Marketing in 2016

In the past, content marketing has been a hard sell to busy executives. It’s hard to sell a theory, and harder still to explain benefits measured in “engaged audience.” Not so long ago, many CEOs were more invested in sales numbers than in the long-game of building trust and authority online—and that’s proven to be a mistake for many.

Who’s In?

content marketing in 2016Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report revealed some interesting information. Of the 88% of businesses using content marketing, only 30% feel they’re using it effectively. Given that, it’s not surprising that only 32% said they had a documented content strategy. Should that be discouraging? Not at all. CMI’s Joe Pulizzi pointed out that, “companies that report being clear on what success or effectiveness looks like also show a higher effectiveness rate (55 percent).”

So, while most businesses have opted in to content marketing in 2016, most of them don’t really have a plan, and therefore, aren’t satisfied with returns. However, those with a content marketing strategy had a very clear picture of their successes.

The Takeaway: CEOs and other C-suites who went “all in” ARE seeing the long-term results we expect from content marketing. To understand the value of content marketing and take it seriously (read: dedicate sufficient resources to make it work), your content marketing plan should be documented and focused, and it should outline exactly what success looks like.

Content Alone Is Not Enough

Successful marketers understand one thing better than their competitors: It’s not just the content. Great content is useless without distribution and promotion. When we say “all in,” we mean a budget that includes stellar content, plus social media investment to give it legs.

If you think making noise in 2015 was tough, brace yourself. It’s going to be even harder to get attention in 2016. But: It’s also going to be more rewarding if you do it right.

You start with great content. No matter what your industry, this will include product and industry knowledge, an intimate knowledge of what your customers are looking for, reviews and testimonials, and engagement on all levels.

Neil Patel recently revealed he’s invested $30K in high-quality, in-depth guides, which he gives away for free. He then promoted them via free channels. To date, Patel’s ROI is 10x what he’s invested. Wow.

He is the definition of “all in.” He’s also a CEO at the very top of the game, one of the most trusted names in the business. He did not get there by accident. He invested, remained consistent, published the most informative content in the digital marketing industry, and understood the long game.

Can You Get There?

Certainly. Believe it or not, few industries have strong leading voices. Even today, businesses are flooding the web with low-quality content and terrible social media fails. They’re not earning enough real traffic. In other words: they’re wasting their marketing money.

To make content marketing work for your business, go “all in.” Here’s how…

  • Budget for extraordinary content, social media, and promotion.
  • Understand what your audience wants and where they hang out online.
  • Invest in SEO.
  • Build relationships with influencers to help spread the word.
  • Create your own unique content, using data and customer surveys. (Ask the right questions—you want other people to reference your data.)
  • Include case studies in your content.
  • Test and measure your results.

And above all, start with a plan. Every year, marketing studies say the same thing: Companies that start with a content marketing strategy see much higher returns. Once you start seeing more traffic, double-down. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Then, keep expanding your reach and answering audience questions. You’ll see your content marketing pay off.

 
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Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
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Motivational Monday: Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

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“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” –Zig Ziglar

Let’s get 2016 off to a great start! As business gets underway after the long weekend of New Year celebrations, it’s time to make your resolutions, revisit your strategic plan, and see if you’re on track for your 2016 marketing strategy. Prepare for the challenges that may come up this year, but expect the best—it’s time to figure out how you can make the most of what’s on the horizon.

What challenges did you face last year? No one has a crystal ball (we wish!) and crisis can arise from out of nowhere, but there are a few certainties. We know 2016 is an election year. We know the market just experienced a rate hike for the first time since 2008. We know people are increasingly turning toward mobile technology and customers are responding more strongly to personal connections and tailored messages.

Aside from trying to predict where things are headed based on current trends and trajectories, we should approach 2016 with an understanding of our strengths and weaknesses in 2015. Let’s apply what we’ve learned this past year. Let’s do better. Examine your strategic plan. Rely on what’s working and resolve to change the things no longer propelling you forward.

Let’s work together to make 2016 your best year ever! For more ideas on how to create a kick-butt 2016 marketing strategy, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

 

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Motivational Monday: Happy New Year!

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job to make the customer experience a little bit better.” –Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com

happy new yearHAPPY NEW YEAR! As you get ready to head to your New Year’s Eve soirees and ring in 2016, work might be the furthest thing from your mind. However, we can all learn a thing or two from the way we interact at cocktail parties.

A great conversationalist at a party isn’t just a good talker, they’re a good listener. They keep things easygoing and they show interest in the person they’re speaking to. Treat your marketing like a great conversation—frame your message around what’s interesting to your customers!

Keep your message easy to follow and add some fun! As you go into the New Year, steer your content toward your customer and show them all the ways your brand is cool and exciting, makes a difference, or appeals to their unique needs. Help raise their intrigue and interest and you’ll be the most popular brand at the party!

As you’re having fun at your New Year’s Eve festivities, take a few mental notes and get ready to apply them in the New Year. For more ideas on how to ring in 2016 with a bang, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

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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.

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