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2017

Online marketing is an ever-changing ecosystem. What was true six months ago is probably not anymore – and what worked two years ago certainly won’t work today.

 

The constant changes in everything from social media platforms to search algorithms, means marketing strategies need to be continually reviewed and tweaked to ensure they’re current. It’s all too easy to hold on to outdated ideas about marketing, especially if they worked well in the past. But in the always-evolving landscape of digital marketing, that approach can cause businesses to miss new opportunities and even hurt their bottom line.

 

Content marketing is no different. Its evolution in recent years has been dramatic, so it’s understandable that many business owners still subscribe to outdated notions about how it works or even if it works at all.

 

Let’s look at the five most common content marketing myths and dispel them once and for all.

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  • Content marketing is optional

This is arguably the most damaging myth– that having a blog isn’t a hard and fast necessity. Not only is it necessary, but your blog should be at the heart of your entire online marketing strategy.

 

Search engines prioritize websites with regularly updated, keyword-rich blogs. Facebook gives higher reach to organic posts that link out to quality blog content. Linking to a blog post from any social media platform, or from your email newsletter, draws traffic to your website – traffic you already know is your target audience, because they were interested enough to click. Content marketing is not just a vital part of online marketing – it is online marketing.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT SHAMA HYDER

 

  • Content marketing is too time-consuming

Yes, writing high-quality content takes time. But sitting down to write is not the only way to create a blog post. You can email interview questions to industry influencers or clients, and post their responses. You can post transcriptions of podcasts or videos or webinars you’ve done. You can create lists – lists of other industry influencers’ helpful blog posts, lists of relevant quotes, lists of helpful TED talks or books. You can invite influencers and others to write guest blog posts. You can even speak your blog posts, using speech recognition software to transcribe them. The possibilities for creating quick but quality content are endless.

 

  • Content marketing must be company-driven

Sometimes, the most effective content marketing is crowd-sourced. User-generated content produces an especially high rate of engagement. People are interested in seeing what other people like them have to say, or they check to see what others are contributing before adding their own voice. And it goes without saying that whoever contributed the content will share it like mad within their own networks. From asking for stories to testimonials to images on a given theme, crowdsourcing content can be time-saving and effective.

 

  • Quantity counts more than quality in content marketing

Sadly, this was once true – when Google was in its infancy. But now, thankfully, quality is key, both on social media and in search engines. One solid blog post per month is better than one hastily thrown together post a day because it’s about providing your audience with valuable information, not just satisfying a checklist of SEO guidelines.

 

  • Content marketing doesn’t produce ROI

Nothing could be further from the truth. The key is to begin by developing a strong content marketing strategy, and then execute consistently. Content is the engine that drives traffic to your site from search, social and email, so regardless of where your actual conversions are coming from, it all begins with content.

 

If any of these five myths have been holding you back in your content marketing efforts, now is the time to rethink your strategy. You might just be surprised at how much the right content can do for your business.

 

RELATED VIDEO: How to Scale a Content Marketing and Social Media Strategy

 

About Shama Hyder

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Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group–a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015.LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

 

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Your e-commerce website faces stiffer competition every day. Does it have what you need to convince customers to buy? Here are 10 essentials to e-commerce success.

  1. Fast loading: Online shoppers are impatient. More than half (53 percent) of mobile site visits are abandoned if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load, according to a Doubleclick study. Make sure your site loads quickly, not just on desktops but on mobile devices too. Google penalizes sites that load slowly on mobile devices so it will also hurt your search engine results.
  2. Mobile optimized: While shoppers still primarily make purchases on desktop computers, they frequently start shopping on mobile devices.  It’s a good idea to design your site with a mobile-first approach, ensuring that customers can easily take action and get information no matter what type of device they’re using.
  3. Clear navigation: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the layout of your e-commerce site. Sticking with formats that online shoppers are familiar with will help customers accomplish what they need to do quickly. Try having users unfamiliar with your site see how easily they can navigate, shop and check out. This will help you spot confusing areas that need improvement. 46650892_s.jpg
  4. Details, details: The more information you can provide about your products, the better. That means multiple product photos with different angles, the ability to zoom in on details, informative descriptions and videos of the product in use. Be sure to include relevant information such as product dimensions, fabric content, care directions, shipping weight and whether the product needs assembly. Use the manufacturers’ descriptions as a starting point and create your own—to personalize your website copy and differentiate yours from other websites selling the same thing.
  5. Transparency: Never hide key information such as shipping costs or sales taxes. Online shoppers hate getting to the checkout process, only to find you’re charging exorbitant shipping rates. Include a shipping and/or tax calculator that customers can use early in the process to estimate additional costs, or include this information where it's easy to find.                

     

     

    CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

     

     

  6. Free shipping:  What makes online shoppers choose one e-commerce website over another? Often, it's free shipping. In a Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 study, nine out of 10 consumers say free shipping is the number-one factor that would make them shop online more often. If possible, offer free shipping—and it doesn’t have to be for everything, just for purchases over a certain amount. You can also use free shipping codes as an enticement to buy.
  7. Good search functionality: If a customer’s search is likely to return hundreds of results, you need a way for customers to sort and filter them. Customers expect sophisticated search functionality so be sure your site provides it.
  8. Trustworthiness: Include a privacy policy explaining how you secure and use customers’ personal and financial data. Prominently display your SSL certificate and any other trust or compliance certifications on your home page and checkout pages.
  9. Simple checkout: In general, three pages is the sweet spot for a checkout process. Streamline checkout for regular customers by asking them to create an account and store their information for future orders. However, don't require customers to create an account in order to buy—this is a big turnoff.
  10. Great customer service: Even when shopping online, consumers want to feel help is close at hand. Offer multiple ways customers can contact you, including phone numbers, email and online chat, as well as an FAQ page. Finally, make sure that your post-sale customer service lives up to its promises. That’s the best way to keep e-commerce shoppers coming back again and again.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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