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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8 Great SEO Basics For Small Business Owners

SEO BasicsWant to learn to DIY SEO? Well, turns out SEO is a complicated subject. Figuring out how each new Google algorithm impacts search and how to deal with all the new changes are subjects of endless debate.

However, SEO Basics are well within your reach—even if you’re new to SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of strategically tweaking all the elements of your website to earn the highest possible placement in search engine results. Higher search results = more customers = money for you.

Searchers tend to click on websites that show up on page one, so that’s where you need to be.

Check out these SEO Basics to help you capture and keep that top slot.

1. Avoid Duplicate Content

Copying content is a fairly common practice, but it’s bad for SEO. You can avoid getting penalized by using special tags that identify the content as duplicate. But, for non-experts, a better answer is: don’t do it. Your website should be bursting with your own unique content. Multiple websites? Even if you own other domains, each one needs unique content. To play it safe, ensure each page and every post is different.

2. Gather Intelligence

Monitor social media and document customer service calls to learn what your customers are asking, what they’re complaining about, and what they like most. Your customers are your key to SEO success.

3. Focus Your Content

Unless you’re running a pet blog, you should probably keep your Pomeranian off your website, no matter how adorable he is. Keep your content industry and product focused—but don’t oversell it. Provide informational, helpful and relevant website content for best results. It’s not only great for SEO, it’s a great way to turn your site visitors into customers.

4. Include Keywords

Semantic search has taken the place of simpler keyword search, but keywords still have a place. Instead of using the same keywords repeatedly, make a list of words and phrases your customers might be searching for. To get started, write down your top 5 customer FAQs. Write content that answers those questions, using your keywords and phrases naturally throughout the content.

5. Understand What Your Audience Wants

When your content answers questions asked by your customers, you’ll naturally earn more traffic. If you’re not seeing more site traffic, it’s time to get back to brand basics. Create buyer personas to get to know your audience better. (Check out this free buyer persona template from Hubspot!) Consider how your products or services make your customers feel. After all, even B2B customers respond to emotional connection.

6. Change Up Your Content Delivery Method

Don’t stop at what your customers want to know, discover how they want it delivered. Trying to deliver complicated technical knowledge or dense statistics to a general audience may serve only to alienate them…unless you present it in a way they can understand. Kick-ass infographics and fun, yet informative videos are great ways to show complex information in an easily digestible form. Step-by-step photos are a great way to walk even a novice through a recipe or repair project. When you find a way to help your customer be successful, they’ll come back for more.

7. Go Mobile

Mobile search is becoming more important every year. Did you know that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it won’t show up in mobile search? Yikes. That’s a huge chunk of business you could be missing out on. Your website content must be optimized for mobile.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

8. Build Authority

How do you outrank your competition? You produce all the information your customers need to rank you as the leading authority in your field. No matter how crowded the field, a voice speaking from a new perspective can shine through. Find gaps in knowledge and fill the holes. Talk about what every other expert isn’t talking about. Make it personal and always about the customer. Build out your authoritative content over time for even more SEO juice.

Today, SEO is more about content and customer relationships than about tricks and shortcuts. You can’t game the system, you just have to be that good. These tips are low-tech ways to bump your SEO by improving your content and building your audience.

Have a question about SEO Basics? Let us know in the comments!

Motivational Monday: Envision More Repeat Customers

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Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you. –Tony Hsieh, Founder & CEO of Zappos

A clear vision helps you, your team and your company maintain focus. What’s your vision? Are your employees and your customers on board with it? Know what your customers want, define your vision, then define how their vision aligns with yours.

When everyone is working toward that common vision, you’ll be able to keep steering your company toward success. The first step? Getting in your customers’ heads. Next? Working to retain that customer for the long haul. Here’s how…

  • We weren’t kidding about step one. Get. Inside. Their. Heads. Not sure where to start? Try these 12 Books to Read If You Want to Understand Customers Better.
  • Understanding your customers is also one of the most powerful things you can do for retention. This goes beyond simply offering up something shiny to get them in the door. It’s about getting to know your customers SO well you intuitively know what they want. But don’t forget the icing on the cake: you need to continue to deliver what they want—consistently. Read these 5 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid to learn how to get there.
  • What’s all this about retention? Truth is, repeat customers are your goldmine. They’re less expensive than new customers, they spend more, they’re loyal, and if they REALLY love you, they work FOR your business as your brand ambassadors.
  • Still not convinced customer retention should be your focus? Hey, it’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em—repeat customers literally pay for themselves.
  • If you feel like something is missing in your customer relationships, trust might be the key. Learn all about it here: establishing customer trust, building it, and measuring it.
  • Want to Win the War on Customer Churn? While 55% of current marketing budgets are spent gaining new customers, there’s only a 5-20% chance of making a new sale. Yet there’s a 60% chance of a repeat sale—so WHY does customer retention only account for 12% of most marketing budgets?!
  • How do top B2B companies ensure retention and repeat business? These 3 important ways they wow their customers.
  • Want to learn more about wowing your customers at every stage in the buy cycle? Download this FREE guide: Side Door Thinking for more suggestions on how you can use content marketing to build customer loyalty.

 

For ongoing ideas to help you hold on to more customers, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

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Fertilize Your Mind Weekly Marketing Updates

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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Motivational Monday: Doubted & Tested

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If you want to be successful, be prepared to be doubted and tested.

How does a brand “prove” itself? Flashy marketing tools? Backing claims with metrics? Customer analytics and retention data? A/B testing every communiqué? Customers who walk around smiling all the time?

Truth be told, it’s a combination of all of the above with a healthy dose of consistency. Customers need to know what to expect and how your value is delivered, plus they should be able to rely on you time and time again…and few good surprises and the occasional wow factor doesn’t hurt either.

So how do you get there? Build your reputation by doing what you do best, time and time again. Offer your customers stability. Grow your brand and company steadily, in a trajectory you can support and maintain. Have an infrastructure to support your needs and keep customers loyal to your brand by monitoring their happiness and satisfaction.

  • Customers can see through buzzwords and jargonese. Show your relatability by avoiding internal language—it drives away customers.
  • Improve your website by monitoring traffic and getting a handle on what’s drawing in customers and what isn’t. Use a heat map to discover what’s working on your site and what’s being ignored.
  • Knowing your customers can help you understand what’s important to them and how to best hold their interest over time. To be successful, pay attention to these 10 customer metrics.
  • Help your customers, and you will stay top of mind. This means sending them information they find relevant, avoiding digital pollution, and being there for each customer when they need your services.
  • Believe it or not, price isn’t necessarily the deciding factor when it comes to brand loyalty. Engage your customers, offer value and keep your reputation for quality. Showing your appreciation to your customers and making personal connections will keep them coming back time and time again.

For ongoing tips for passing your customers’ tests and doubts, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

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Fertilize Your Mind Weekly Marketing Updates

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.

Fertilize your mind. Subscribe now to get a weekly digest of our latest blog posts delivered directly to your inbox:

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Pro-Tips: How to Keep More Customers

It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.

It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.

Great customer service. It’s a buzz phrase we hear all the time—but are you really making the most of your customer relationships? Of course most of us are constantly thinking of ways to gain new customers, but holding onto existing customers (and wowing them!) can be even more important.

Not convinced? Harvard Business School notes that increasing customer retention by just 5% increases profits 25% to 95%. Whoa. Plus, 80% of companies proclaim they offer excellent customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed. Yikes.

Here are a few ways to get on the same page with your customers and ensure you aren’t missing the customer retention boat.

  • Repeat customers are your goldmine. They’re less expensive than new customers, they spend more, and they’re your brand ambassadors.
  • Great customer service goes beyond simply offering something shiny to get them in the door—it’s about intuitively knowing and deeply understanding what they want, then delivering that consistently. To help you get inside your customers’ heads, here are 12 Books to Read If You Want to Understand Customers Better to add to your reading list.
  • Understanding your customers is one of the most powerful things you can do for customer retention. Do so by avoiding these 5 marketing mistakes.
  • If you feel like something is missing in your relationship, trust might be the key. Check out these great ways to establish, measure and build customer trust.
  • Still not convinced customer retention should be your focus? It’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em—repeat customers literally pay for themselves.
  • Win the War on Customer Churn: While 55% of current marketing budgets are spent gaining new customers, there’s only a 5% to 20% chance of making a new sell. Yet there’s a 60% chance of a repeat sale…so WHY does customer retention only account for 12% of most marketing budgets?!
  • How do top B2B companies ensure customer retention and repeat business? These 3 important ways they wow their customers.

For ongoing ideas to hold onto your customers be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn.

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Growth Cycle Marketing: A proven process for growing and attracting more customersToday, the decision to buy is no longer a moment–it’s a process. Are you truly connecting with your prospects? Are you engaging with your customers before, during, and even after the sale? Download our FREE White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing and you’ll learn:

  • 14 ways to engage your prospects to drive home the sale
  • How to influence your customer’s decision to buy
  • Why your current customers are your biggest asset
  • The exact type of content your prospects and customers want
  • How this proven, 5-stage process attracts new customers and grows your business
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