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Friday, June 08, 2012
I Dream of Conny: A Good Marketing Strategy Has the Right Persona in Mind

I Dream of Conny: A Good Marketing Strategy Has the Right Persona in Mind

When a marketing plan is targeted at a general audience, your story will likely be all too general as well. A technique to avoid that is to visualize a specific individual, a persona.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Everyone on Social Media Is a Lead, so Use Them in Your Marketing Strategy

Everyone on Social Media Is a Lead, so Use Them in Your Marketing Strategy

Small businesses that are new to online marketing often misunderstand the concept of ‘audience’. You have more leads than you may think!

Editor's Note: This post is part of a series on developing an effective Online Marketing Strategy. It tells the story of John, a small business owner, who creates his first online marketing plan, using the Audience Creator. Content Marketing Wizard Tim coaches him along this journey.

Last episode: A Good Marketing Strategy Uses the Past in the Future


Wizard 2 - Audit
Tim introduces an novel idea about who your audience is.



Wizard 2.2 - Current Audience Circle


Current Audience Circle Content Marketing Wizard
'Audience circle??' John asks, when he reads the header above this chapter.
 
'Aye,' Tim tells him, 'keep in character, please. You're supposed to be a character in the story. I’ll get to that later.'

'Sorry,' says John, grinning.

Tim goes on: 'what about your online marketing? You said you have a newsletter? And a form on your website, so someone can subscribe to that newsletter?'

'Let me think,' says John. 'Yes I have one, everyone who subscribes is added to the mailing list.' He adds it to the marketing efforts that work.

'Good,' says Tim, 'and how many people do you send the newsletter to?'

'Hmm,' John thinks, 'around 300 people.'

'And are they all paying customers?' Tim asks.

'I wish,' John replies with a wry smile, 'only about half of them are.'

'What else?' Tim asks. 'Do you have other online activities? Are you active on Social Media? Do you use Twitter? Google+? LinkedIn? Facebook? Have you done online advertising? Do you know how many people visit your website? And how they found it?'

'Hey, wait a minute,' John stops him. 'No I don’t. And that’s just what the problem is: too many things to think of. That’s why I hired you, didn’t I?' he exclaims.

Tim grins. 'Just teasing you,' he says. 'And you’re right. There is a lot to think of. Most importantly, you have to make a change in mindset. The Internet, and especially Social Media have added a new dimension to the marketing process. First of all, they are a new channel for word-of-mouth. You can either publish your content on social media directly, or you can use social media to notify people when you have told a story somewhere else. Whatever story you tell, share it on social media. Sharing content on social media means it can get repeated and shared by others, so more attention is brought to your business.

It doesn't stop there. Through social networking sites, you can have conversations and interactions with individual followers. It isn't just a one way street. This personal interaction can instill a feeling of loyalty into followers and potential customers. Building trust is an important aspect of content marketing.

All people you interact with I collectively call your Audience Circle. Leads, prospects, customers, friends, followers, connections together form your Audience Circle. Content Marketing is about drawing people into your Audience Circle. But I’m getting ahead of myself, we were reviewing past marketing efforts.'

John enters in the Audience Creator:

Leads:
300 leads on e-newsletter mailing list.
Prospects:
LinkedIn 223 connections, Twitter (no account)
Customers:
5 corporate customers with a total of 150 participants


In the next episode, John enters wizard 3, that starts out simple enough...


The entire story of John and Tim is also available for reading on your computer or mobile device. Get it from Amazon or Smashwords.

Looking for more information and instructions on how the Audience Creator wizard can work for you? Learn more.

About the Author(s): This article was written by Arno van Boven and Ronald Kloots of Content Marketing Wizard.
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Monday, June 04, 2012
A Good Marketing Strategy Uses the Past in the Future

A Good Marketing Strategy Uses the Past in the Future

Even when you start your marketing strategy from scratch, it is recommended that you take into account any previous marketing efforts you have put in, if any of course.

This post is part of a series on developing an effective Online Marketing Strategy. It tells the story of John, a small business owner, who creates his first online marketing plan, using the Audience Creator. Content Marketing Wizard Tim coaches him along this journey.

Last episode: Does Your Marketing Strategy Know How Big Your Goals Are?


Wizard 2 - Audit
Where has John been doing?



Wizard 2.1 - Past and current marketing efforts


Past and current marketing efforts Content Marketing Wizard'Where have you been,' Tim asks.

'I beg your pardon?' John answers with a puzzled look.

'What marketing have you done in the past, I mean,' Tim clarifies. 'What have you done already, and did it work for you?'

'I see, John says, let me think for a minute here. And I send a newsletter every 3 months. In the past, we did some cold-calling, but to be honest I hated it and it didn’t do a thing. A while back I put out some ads in a magazine, but that yielded nothing either. And lately, I have been networking more frequently, you know, good-old in the flesh. It takes a lot of time but it does give me new contacts I can send our newsletter to.'

'I see,' Tim says. 'Let's record that in your document.'

John enters in the Audience Creator:

Worked: 
E-newsletter sent every 3 months to 300 people on the mailing list; Webform on website yields 5 new subscribers a month; Visit networking events once a month. 
Didn’t work:
Intensive cold calling of 40 HR executives in a period of 2 months. Only 3 contacts added to the list; Advertising in three editions of a health magazine; Two direct-mailing (print) sent 9 months and 4 months ago to leads and customers on the mailing list.In the next episode, John learns a new way of looking at his audience.


In the next episode 2.2, John learns a new way of looking at his audience


The entire story of John and Tim is also available for reading on your computer or mobile device. Get it from Amazon or Smashwords.

Looking for more information and instructions on how the Audience Creator wizard can work for you? Learn more.

About the Author(s): This article was written by Ronald Kloots and Arno van Boven of Content Marketing Wizard.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Can we be friends? Why Google Plus is different.

Can we be friends? Why Google Plus is different.


We at Content Marketing Wizard use Google+ as one of many Social Media platforms available to us. In my personal life, I am more used to Facebook. Getting used to Google+ took me a while.

Having been an avid Facebook user for years, when Google+ launched I could quickly identify the similarities. I have often mockingly told my business partner, who isn't much of a Facebook user, that Google+ is an almost exact clone of Facebook. And similar to Linkedin a host of other social platforms. Sharing status updates, sharing pictures, sharing links, responding to posts, grouping people into lists or circles, the whole sha-bam, all similar to the Facebooks of this world.

However, as I started using Google+, just to get a feel for it really, I noticed it didn't quite 'fit' me. I did not feel at home at first. It took me some time to figure out why that was.

Google+ has a very simple and elegant way of connecting to other people: you just click and add them to a Circle. Either directly in Google+ or via a button on some page. Things could hardly be more simple.



Still, somehow, I didn't quite 'get' it. Sure, you can click a button on some webpage to 'connect'. Or search for someone and add them to your circles. In fact, Google+ offers a host of ways to find and connect to people. But then what? What happens if you've Circled someone?

Think about that for a minute.

That's right. Nothing happens! At first, anyway. Except that that person will be able to see what you have shared with that Circle *when* they visit your profile. Well, that's great! But that person will have to visit your profile first! Sure, he (or she) can tell that you added them to your Circle. But unless that person acts upon that, nothing happens! It is only after that person has put *you* in one of their circles that they will be able to see you in their stream. Only after both parties have added each other to their circles you are truly connected.

I suppose when you are a seasoned Google+ user, this is all bloody obvious. To me, it wasn't. And still isn't. I get how it works now, but my intuition tells me something isn't quite right.

Why does my brain misfire? Or rather, why does my gut disagree with my brain? It took me a while to realize. It is because there is no introduction! You never introduce yourself to the person you add to your Circles!

My gut tells me that any real-life social interaction starts with an introduction of some sort? But my brain tells me it may not. Now.

Let's consider an analogy. You are in a bar. You introduce yourself to someone and buy him a drink. He buys you one back. From that point on, you are connected. This is similar to the Facebook way of connecting. (I'm ignoring the 'Subscribe' feature here)

Google+ works differently. You are in a bar. You see a person. You simply buy this person a drink. You hope that person will buy you one back. If he does, you are connnected. This is similar to the Twitter way of connecting.

My point is, that Google+ has done away with the introduction part of a 'relationship'. You add someone to your circles and from then on share with them. Only, the other party does not see that until they explicitly  circle you back.

So, in effect, in Google+ you don't make 'friends'. You gather 'followers'. Some of your followers may also be friends. You decide. An intriguing concept, I think.

It makes me very curious about how Google+ will develop as a social platform. Will it move in the Facebook direction? Or will it be more similar to Linkedin? Or will it evolve into something different altogether? Will it take off at all? I don't know, but I intend stick around and find out.


About the Author(s): This article was written by Arno van Boven. Arno is co-founder of Content Marketing Wizard.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Does Your Marketing Strategy Know How Big Your Goals Are?

Does Your Marketing Strategy Know How Big Your Goals Are?

When developing a marketing strategy, it is very helpful to be specific about your goals. ‘More’ and ‘higher’ are not enough. It is much better to define how much more or how much higher.

Editor's note: This post is part of a series on developing an effective Online Marketing Strategy. It tells the story of John, a small business owner, who creates his first online marketing plan, using the Audience Creator. Content Marketing Wizard Tim coaches him along this journey.

Last episode: Is There a Market in Your Marketing Plan?


Wizard 1 - Goals
Tim makes John come up with numbers



Wizard 1.3 - Measurable goals


Content Marketing Wizard 1.3 Measurable Goals'Right,' Tim replies, 'so how are you going to reach those people?'

'Well,' says John, 'we have our website and a newsletter, and we could start using a blog, and twitter, and then we’ll see.'

'I see. Not recommended!' says Tim in a casual way. 'Sure, you can and should use all those ingredients, but there is more to our recipe! What is it you want to accomplish? How are you going to tell if your recipe was successful? Have you thought of that?'

Tim thinks for a minute here.

'Well, it would be nice if we had a few new customers next year.'

'How many?' asks Tim. 'Well, 25 would be great, John says smiling, but I’ll settle for 3, provided they bring in enough participants, say 30.'

'Okay,' says Tim, 'so your goal is 3 new customers by next year. Now we’re getting somewhere. The actual numbers aren’t that important. And we will be dealing with this in greater detail later on. What is important is that we established measurable goals.'

John enters in the Audience Creator:
This year:
Three organizations that each bring 30 participants who train on a weekly base; 10% increase in annual revenue; 
Increase brand awareness of our outdoor corporate fitness program by increasing website views by 50% in next 6 months.


In the next episode 2.1, John recollects marketing memories.


The entire story of John and Tim is also available for reading on your computer or mobile device. Get it from Amazon or Smashwords.

Looking for more information and instructions on how the Audience Creator wizard can work for you? Learn more.

About the Author(s): This article was written by Arno van Boven and Ronald Kloots of Content Marketing Wizard.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Is There a Market in Your Marketing Plan?

Is There a Market in Your Marketing Plan?

Marketing has the word market in it, yet a common mistake is being insufficiently clear on what market your strategy is targeting.

Editor's note: This post is part of a series on developing an effective Online Marketing Strategy. It tells the story of John, a small business owner, who creates his first online marketing plan, using the Audience Creator. Content Marketing Wizard Tim coaches him on this journey.

Last episode:  Do You Set the Right Goals for Your Content Marketing Plan?


Wizard 1 - Goals
Where John has to think about his market



Wizard 1.2 - Market


'So,' asks Tim, 'who do you want to know about this service?'

'Let’s see,' says John, 'we think that by offering outdoor programs for business groups, we can create a win-win situation. They get exercised, so their company benefits from healthier employees, and we increase our sales. So our focus is business to business.'

'Mostly a local affair, not international, I presume?,' Tim asks.

'Yes, local but eventually country-wide,' John replies, 'I have talked to several colleagues in the field about it. In the future, we could cooperate.'

'Right,' says Tim, 'but for now, it’s local?'

'It is,' John says.

'Any particular kind of businesses you would like as customer?' asks Tim.

'Oh, I have no preference there,' says John. 'But I believe our initial chances to be bigger with governmental and non-profit organizations, and they should have a fair amount of employees, say 50 to 500. We welcome everyone of course, but the service is for groups.'

'Aye,' says Tim. 'Have you thought about who you want to reach in those organizations?'

'Indeed I have,' John says, 'I would like to reach the executive level. I believe "Move your business" should best be part of a company-wide policy on health, raising health awareness and reducing sick leave'

'Okay,' Tim summarizes, 'now we know who we will be talking to in general. We’ll be more specific about this later on, but let’s enter all this in the wizard for now.'

John enters in the Audience Creator:
Characteristics:
B2B with focus on groups; Large companies with 50 to 500 employees in profit and non-profit sector; Organizations that want to raise health awareness and reduce sick leave. 
Locations and languages:
Local area; English

In the next episode 1.3, John will set himself some goals.


The entire story of John and Tim is also available for reading on your computer or mobile device. Get it from Amazon or Smashwords.

Looking for more information and instructions on how the Audience Creator wizard can work for you? Learn more.

About the Author(s):  This article was written by Ronald Kloots and Arno van Boven of Content Marketing Wizard .
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Do You Set the Right Goals for Your Content Marketing Plan?

Do You Set the Right Goals for Your Content Marketing Plan?

Unsurprisingly, every marketing strategy revolves around getting attention for a product or service. John has to decide what he wants to achieve for his service.

Editor's note: This post is part of a ongoing series telling the story of John, a small business owner who creates his first online marketing plan using the Audience Creator with the help of Tim, a Content Marketing wizard.

Last episode: Introduction of the players


Wizard 1 - Goals 



The First Simple Step


Content Marketing Wizard 1 Goals
'Nice to meet you, Tim,' John says to Tim.

'Aye,' Tim replies, 'nice to meet you too.'

Tim, you should know, just likes to say ‘Aye’ for dramatic effect.

'Right,' says John, 'have a seat. As you can see, I have already hooked up my laptop to the beamer, so we can both have a good look.'

On the wall, the starting page of the Content Marketing Wizard is displayed.

'Aye, that is my system,' Tim says. 'What you see there is a wizard to generate new leads. It comes with a manual, examples and template documents. Both the cooking utensils and the recipe, so to speak. It is up to you to come up with the ingredients, and that is why I am here. I am here to coach you along the way.'

Tim wiggles his eyebrows in what he considers to be a wizard-like fashion.

John at this point just nods.

'I can see you are hesitant,' says Tim, 'but not to worry. When we are done, you’ll have a better understanding of what Content Marketing is about, and a system to do it with. You will have created a general marketing communication plan, and have a system for creating effective content.'

'Alright,' says John, 'let’s be bold, I’ve never gone there before.'

Excellent, Tim says. The first part of the Content Marketing Wizard is about the plan. We will figure out what it is you want, and how to get it. In other words: we will create a Marketing Communication plan. This we do with the Audience Creator. If you'll open the Audience Creator template*, we can get started.

Wizard 1.1 - Product or Service


'Okay,' says Tim, 'tell me first, what is it you do?'

'Well,' says John, 'we have all the regular activities you expect from a fitness center but we also do outdoor activities, which is not that common in our line of work. We have developed an outdoor program especially targeted at business groups, so employees can exercise together.'

'Aye,' says Tim, 'you’ve taken the first step. Your services are outdoor activities for business groups. We have established what your content, you stories will be about. Enter that in the document.'

John opens the Audience Creator template*, and enters:

Service: 
outdoor corporate fitness program for employees (local)


In the next episode 1.2, John decides his market.


The entire story of John and Tim is also available for reading on your computer or other mobile device. Get it from Amazon or Smashwords.

Looking for more information and instructions on how the Audience Creator wizard can work for you? Learn more.

About the Author(s): This article was written by Ronald Kloots and Arno van Boven of Content Marketing Wizard.

*Audience Creator template is only available in the Wizard Circle.
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