The value of implementing content marketing campaigns as part of your overall digital marketing strategy cannot be overstated.
Traditional advertising is costly, impersonal, and frankly, going out of style.
Digital content marketing is economical, highly personal, and wonderfully conversational in a way consumers love.
But in order to quantify the real value of content marketing, business owners must first understand what it is.
As the name suggests, content marketing is a form of digital marketing that uses content—both written and visual—to attract internet users to a business’ website for the purposes of converting visitors into customers.
Generating successful content involves pairing excellently written content with stunning visuals, such as intriguing photos, engaging graphics, entertaining videos, and impactful multimedia.
Examples of content used for digital marketing include:
web pages, product & service descriptions,
blog posts & email newsletter content,
in-app notification content & SMS text message content,
podcasts & webinars,
e-books & educational articles,
and even social media promotions!
Once the finalized content is published online, the content’s built-in SEO keywords will prompt Google and other search engines to recommend the published content web pages to consumers who type those very keywords into the search bar.
There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between publishing quality content online and gaining loyal customers, which is why content marketing has quickly become one of the most popular digital marketing strategies around.
But popularity spawns competition. As more and more companies discover the value of using dynamic content marketing strategies, the higher the “bar” rises in terms of quality. What does this mean for business owners who want to stand out from the competition and win loyal customers using content marketing specifically?
Shape up or ship out.
If that sounds severe, it should. The competition is cut-throat and consumers have short attention spans. The next website, eCommerce store, hashtag thread, YouTube channel, or podcast is only a click away, and if you do not hook your visitor the moment they land on your page, they aren’t going to stick around.
But there’s good news for all you ambitious entrepreneurs who want to roll your sleeves up, throw your hats into the ring, and fight to gain loyal customers before your opponents do!
In this article, we’ll lay out exactly what you can do to up your content marketing game so that you can take advantage of all the benefits that content marketing has to offer!
By implementing content marketing strategies, a business can differentiate their brand from their competitors and stand out within their industry marketplace. Content marketing, as a method of communication, develops customer trust and improves brand credibility within online communities, social media circles, and even major search engines like Google.
Talk about value! If you can convince Google you’re the leading expert within your industry, the sky will be the limit in terms of how much web traffic will funnel to your site!
You might be tempted to err on the side of caution and only dip your toe into the content marketing waters, but if you want to make a big splash, engage your audience, and earn big bucks, we recommend you dive headfirst and implement these four content marketing initiatives:
● Website Content
● Product & Service Descriptions
● Blog Posts
● Email Newsletters
Let’s take a look at each…
For businesses of all sizes, increasing web traffic is an integral aspect of growing a solid customer base. This is especially true for eCommerce stores and other companies that rely on web-based platforms. A company’s web content, whether intentional or blissfully accidental, contains SEO keywords, which essentially magnetize Google users to the company’s website, which is great!
But did you know that your website is in danger of aging? Websites containing stale content that have not been updated in a year or more actually slide down Google’s ranking system. Just because your website is on the first page of Google’s search results today, doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. If you don’t revamp your website and publish brand-new, SEO-rich content periodically, it will only be a matter of time before your site slides down to the 5th, or 50th, page of Google’s results!
Keep the high ranking you’ve earned and stay on the first page of Google’s results by updating your entire website with fresh content at least every six months.
A great way to publish updated website and eCommerce store content without investing in a major site design overhaul is to frequently update the descriptions of your current products and services, and also publish new products and services descriptions on your site as soon as they’re ready for purchase. Even short, well-written descriptions of only three sentences can provide enough trending SEO keywords to keep your website relevant.
The trick is to first research and select the best keywords for your products, audience, and industry. If your descriptions are going to be a strict 30 words, don’t attempt to plug too many keywords into the verbiage or you’ll run the risk of sounding awkward. Try using only three keywords, or one longtail keyword phrase plus one keyword. Once you have those, be sure to compose the content using an expressive “voice” that captures the tone of your brand.
Customers naturally connect with content that is written in a personable, expressive manner, because the conversational tone helps them relate to your brand. As opposed to customers that don’t connect with your content, you will always forge deeper, longer lasting relationships with customers that relate to your brand.
One smart way to regularly publish SEO-rich content that will drive traffic to your website or eCommerce store is to launch a blog on your site. Blogs are a cost-effective way to promote your company and build your online presence. Best of all, blogging can validate your business and establish your brand as a leading authority within your industry.
The one caveat that you must respect if you want your blog to succeed at keeping your website ranking high on Google and other search engines is that you must commit to a publishing schedule and stick to it. Be realistic. Know your capabilities and limitations. Can you commit to drafting, editing, and proofreading one blog per week? Will that leave you enough time to also create stunning visuals such as graphics, photos, and multimedia images to go along with each weekly article?
When it comes to blogging, it’s better to post once a month without fail—or once every two weeks without fail—than it is to post once a day for two weeks and then not post again for two months. Consistency is everything. If you can maintain a consistent publishing schedule, offer an e-newsletter opt-in, and begin collecting subscriber contact information, the value of your blog will soon become immeasurable.
Consumers love content marketing, as we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. When a brand puts out content for customers to read and engage with, those customers feel a sense of personal connection with the brand. And nothing gets more personalized than email marketing. With email marketing, you can analyze CRM data—Customer Relationship Management Data—to segment your customers into highly specified groups, and customize the campaigns you send out to each group.
Create individualized content for your segmented customer groups that’s based on their unique interests, product favorites, and the informative subjects they’ve “liked” on your blog, social media, and other platforms. Email marketing can be used for many different campaign types. Retailers can use email marketing campaigns to alert customers to personalized sales they might be interested in. Law and accountant firms can use email marketing to educate and empower their recipients about important laws, rules, filing dates, and regulations, ending every email newsletter with a CTA. Educational institutions can use email marketing to promote their classes, courses, and special events. Email marketing can also be used to conduct surveys and collect valuable feedback from customers!
In short, the greatest value of email marketing is that this marketing strategy builds relationships with customers. Every email is an invitation to that recipient to engage in a one-on-one conversation with you!
Smoke shops, cigar retailers, vape stores, hookah lounges, and even hemp wellness retailers within the CBD industry have one major challenge in common—severe advertising restrictions.
The US Food & Drug Administration has controlled tobacco and nicotine product advertising for decades, but it wasn’t until June of 2009 that the FDA clamped down hard on tobacco industry advertising, including advertising that fell within the scope of digital marketing.
These new FDA rules and regulations were imposed on secondary industries that carried nicotine, tobacco-related, and tobacco-simulated products, namely the vape and CBD markets. Can vape stores run TV ads? Nope. Are cigar retailers allowed to place paid ads on Instagram? Not at all. What about CBD stores, can this type of hemp wellness retailer buy a half-page magazine ad? Not even for a million dollars.
With extreme advertising limitations, how can smoke shops, vape stores, and similar retailers actually promote their tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and smoke-simulation products?
How will these businesses reach customers, sell products, and grow?
Though challenging, marketing tobacco, vape, and alternative nicotine products is not impossible. In this article, we’ll show you how to maximize lawful strategies while staying in compliance with the FDA.
Here are the dos and don’ts of marketing your store.
There is a critical distinction to be made between “advertising” and “marketing”. Just because you, as a tobacco retailer, are prohibited from freely advertising your nicotine products does not mean you’re prohibited from marketing your nicotine products. You can think of “advertising” as directly promoting a product to a consumer audience. By contrast, “marketing” raises brand awareness using indirect methods of promotion. Understanding the difference and sticking strictly to marketing is imperative.
Do: Focus on Marketing
Don’t: Invest in Advertising
First, you must educate yourself about the specific search engine and social media platform policies, and obey those policies. Familiarize yourself with Google’s products promotion rules. Pay particular attention to their prohibited content, restricted content & features, and dangerous products & services. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook each have their own policies and restrictions on nicotine product promotion that you should take a look at.
You might be wondering, if marketing isn’t advertising, then what is it? For smoke and vape retailers, examples of effective marketing include maintaining a Google My Business account, using social media to passively and indirectly attract consumers, and launching a blog, all of which we will cover in this article, so keep reading!
Ready to get started with implementing focused marketing campaigns? Take these next steps:
● Identify your marketing audience
● Research the best marketing strategies for your industry
● Consider marketing automation solutions
FACT: In 2019, the global e-cigarette and vape market size was valued at USD $12.41 billion, and this figure is projected to rise 23.8% between now and 2027! This means that consumers want to find your smoke shop, so make it easy on them by focusing on strategic digital marketing! This according to Statista.com.
As we mentioned in the previous section, it’s essentially impossible to advertise your tobacco, nicotine, and vape products via traditional search engine and social media ads, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the internet. Never discount the importance of your internet presence! Even if you own a brick-and-mortar retail store without a corresponding eCommerce site, you still must promote your brand online using digital marketing strategies that include SEO.
Do: Implement an SEO Strategy
Don’t: Discount the Importance of Your Internet Presence
For the purposes of expediency, we’re going to assume you know what SEO is, but if not, check out our blog What Is SEO? Go ahead, we’ll wait… it’s only a 5-minute read. Keywords are the backbone of effective search engine optimization. Choosing current, “hot” keywords as you build your digital content will cause search engines like Google to recommend your site to consumers who are looking for retailers like you.
Yes, as we touched on earlier, even physical retail stores need to invest in expanding their online presence. You don’t have to go so far as launching an eCommerce site, but if you have a website, we strongly recommend you launch an associated blog. Even if you start a simple WordPress blog, you can then create “posts” on your Google My Business account, sharing the article links. This is a great way to get your blogging feet wet while utilizing effective SEO that will communicate directly with Google.
Ready to get started integrating powerful SEO into your marketing strategies? Take these next steps:
● Launch a scalable, mobile-friendly blog
● Focus on Google My Business & building customer reviews
● Invest in professional SEO solutions
FACT: Popular SEO keywords for tobacco, vape, and CBD industry content are constantly shifting and changing as new products are introduced to the market. Regularly publishing blog articles is the best way to keep up, use current keywords, and ensure search engines recommend your store’s website to consumers. This according to Forbes.com.
Want to hear something excruciatingly unfair? Years ago, Big Tobacco tried to game the social media marketing system using paid influencers and basically ruined the concept for the rest of us. What really happened? In May of 2019, roughly 125 public health organizations issued a “cease and desist” order to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to immediately end the promotion of cigarettes and e-cigarettes from Big Tobacco companies. The resulting ban included prohibiting promotions from social media influencers. Then, in epic Big Tobacco fashion, the biggest names in the nicotine business straight-up ignored the order.
Do: Partner with Social Media Influencers
Don’t: Rely Solely on Influencers
So, why in the world do our digital marketing strategists include “partner with social media influencers” as a “do” on this list rather than a “don’t”? Because of our tenacity! We would never advocate trying to game the system. Our clients are small businesses that don’t possess the kind of legal teams that can defend Big-Tobacco-caliber violations.
When it comes to partnering with social media influencers, you have to think waaaaay outside the box, like we do, and like one of our clients has been since they started working with us. We’re referring to CBD Source, the leading cannabidiol retail chain across Pennsylvania and New York State. In April of 2019, CBD Source launched the CBD Podcast, which expanded their customer reach so much that they had to create an eCommerce store just to keep up with the demand. Naturally, their podcast developed into a YouTube channel, and that’s where the real social media influencer strategies took off like a heat seeking missile!
Ready to get started with social media influencers? Take these next steps:
● Contact influencers to plug and review your products
● Launch a podcast, vlog, or YouTube channel
● Test out a professional SSM strategist and analyze the ROI
Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses of all kinds. When implemented strategically, email marketing campaigns incentivize customers to visit a retail location or eCommerce site, which directly impacts revenue increases. Why is email marketing a definite “do” on this list? Because you can say and promote whatever you want within this private method of communication. That’s right, you can directly advertise your tobacco, nicotine, CBD, and vape products to your recipient list!
Do: Include Email Marketing
Don’t: Spam Using Generic Offers
No two of your customers are exactly alike, however. Don’t spam generic emails to every email address on your list. Effective email marketing campaigns are all about “personalization”. The trick is to only recommend the most relevant products to each of your email recipients. Succeeding at personalizing your email campaigns will depend on the CRM software you’re using. You can’t achieve personalization without having collected data about your customers personal browsing and buying histories.
Whether you collect customer data at the POS system within your retail location or have integrated CRM solutions on the backend of your eCommerce site, you can build a quality sales pipeline as a result of personalized email marketing campaigns. First, analyze your customer data and group your customers into segments according to their likes and interests. Then, tailor personalized email campaigns to each customer segment, informing them of sales, deals, and discounts on items they have a history of loving and buying.
Ready to get started launching an email marketing campaign? Take these next steps:
● Provide shoppers with opt-in subscription methods to join your email list
● Develop concise written content that takes recipient personalization into account
● Use email marketing software solutions with CRM capabilities
FTx 360 can help. Our digital marketing strategists have extensive experience working within the tobacco, vape, and CBD industries. If you have concerns about FDA restrictions, we know the law. We know how to stay in compliance. And we know how to grow businesses using marketing automation, SEO solutions, SSM strategies, and email marketing solutions to build awareness for your brand and expand your loyal customer base.
Ready to get started with our tobacco industry marketing strategies? Contact us today!
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The entire marketing industry was forced to make a huge shift when the coronavirus pandemic changed how consumers shop. Companies, both B2C and B2B, needed to quickly implement innovative marketing initiatives in order to retain their customers while accommodating sudden governmental mandates.
Consumers had new habits, and businesses that didn’t develop new marketing strategies took a big financial hit throughout 2020.
The timeless adage holds true–necessity is the mother of all invention–and the digital marketing sector certainly birthed a wealth of inventions that companies could use to survive. These innovations evolved swiftly and not all of them worked. But those that did, thanks to advances in marketing technologies, were tested and thoroughly vetted during 2020.
Marketers now have a fresh arsenal of digital marketing tools to use in 2021. Here is a list of all of the tried-and-true marketing strategies that resulted from the most tumultuous year in modern history. These marketing trends are here to stay, which is why you should implement them at your company as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Considered the best location-based marketing strategy for online marketers, Google My Business, or GMB, has been around for a few years now, but it has dramatically evolved over the course of 2020. If you’re unfamiliar, GMB is an online directory that provides Google users with a map of relevant businesses whenever they search locally. Since 46% of all Google searches are for the purposes of finding local businesses there is no downside to creating a GMB profile, especially because having one is completely free. For more on GMB, check out Making The Most Out Of Google My Business.
The number one reason that consumers abandoned certain brands, retailers, and businesses throughout 2020 was because of product availability, or rather, the lack of available products at a particular store. In other words, retaining customers boiled down to keeping shelves stocked, and more importantly, keeping customers informed about product availability, online order turn-around times, and how long it would take a retailer to replenish popular items. Communication goes a long way with today’s consumers, and retailers will have a better shot maintaining customer loyalty if they inform their customers of fluctuations in product availability.
Google Ad’s automatic bidding feature has been around since 2016. However, this automated advertising method gained real traction in 2020 when businesses had to downsize and modify their operations due to COVID-19 shutdowns in certain industries, especially the retail and service industries. Google’s auto bidding allows Google, rather than the marketer, to assess your ad campaigns for you and adjust your bids accordingly in real-time. By permitting Google’s A.I. to handle these adjustments, the marketer is freed up to optimize other aspects of their PPC campaigns’ performances. The ultimate outcome is that companies will end up spending less for their targeted advertising campaigns.
Shocking as it may seem, Google’s algorithms cannot yet pick up voice search SEO. But that doesn’t mean that marketers and business owners should hold off on implementing voice search as part of their overall digital marketing strategy. There has been a steady rise in Google users opting to speak, rather than type, their searches into Google. A whopping 45% of consumers have used a voice assistant on a smart speaker, whether using Alexa at home or their smartphone while out-and-about. Simply put, if there is an increasing number of consumers using this feature, then marketers should cater to that demographic.
When interactive content is offered on business websites and ECommerce stores, visitor engagement dramatically increases, which leads to rises in brand awareness and sales. Interactive website content includes dynamic product images, short videos, active blogs with an open comments section below each article, and the list goes on. What 2020 showed marketers was that static, text-heavy online content no longer holds web visitors’ attention. But when that same text content is broken up with graphics, GIFs, memes, info-tisements, and graphs, visitor engagement shoots through the roof. One of the heaviest hitters among all interactive content is the blog. By adding a blog to your website or ECommerce store, you will easily drive traffic to your website. For specific pointers, take a moment to read Creating A Remarkable Business Blog.
In recent years, “chatbots” have become a buzzword in the digital marketing community. Despite the fact that chatbots have technically been around longer than P.C.s, their current level of artificial intelligence far outshines what it used to be, and their modern-day capabilities put their former ones to shame. If your website or ECommerce store does not have a chatbot, you should seriously consider adding one. The A.I. that the average chatbot possesses in 2021 has been optimized for functionality, and can handle evolved levels of responsibility, from engaging in simple conversations to recommending products to completing complex transactions.
Does that conclude all of the marketing trends you can expect in 2021? Not at all! We’ve only scratched the surface, which is why we invite you to subscribe to our blog. We publish weekly articles on helpful topics such as Marketing Tricks That Can Help You Go Viral and Social Media Marketing Strategies.
All business brands, whether B2C or B2B, must implement a solid digital marketing strategy in 2021, and you can’t go wrong if your company’s strategy includes the forward-thinking trends we laid out in this article. But that doesn’t mean you should stop researching newly emerging trends.
Businesses that remain on the lookout for the next big marketing tools keep themselves ahead of the technology curve and a cut above their competition. Digital marketing is a constantly developing industry, which means that business owners should stay in the know, research new technologies, watch trends, and launch marketing initiatives that have been proven to work.
But don’t get intimidated if you aren’t tech savvy. You can always hire FTx 360 to manage your digital marketing. Our full suite of marketing solutions includes all of the creative services you will need to launch effective digital marketing campaigns that drive website traffic, increase revenue, and expand your brand’s digital footprint online.
The marketing strategists at FTx 360 have experience working with businesses of every industry. To discover all that our agency can do for you, check out our digital portfolio or contact us today.
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Every business needs to invest in marketing, but for start-ups and small businesses with limited budgets, finding enough capital to finance traditional advertising campaigns might not be possible.
Digital marketing, however, is a cost-effective option for smaller companies that can’t afford to go the traditional route. Content marketing, social media marketing, and even low investment PPC marketing can build brand awareness, drive website traffic, and increase revenue for businesses of all sizes, especially small businesses.
One brilliant way to implement an effective digital marketing strategy that will provide all the benefits of content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing combined is to launch a blog on your business website.
Business blogs are a cost-effective way to promote your company and build your online presence. Blogging can validate your business within your industry, and help you develop a trustworthy reputation among consumers who appreciate the expert information your articles provide. And most of all, when you regularly publish concise articles, you will organically improve your website’s search engine ranking on Google, which can lead to rapid business growth on the whole.
If you’re considering starting a business blog or if you’ve already launched one but need a bit of direction, here are some practical blogging tips to help you take full advantage of this powerful content marketing tool.
Successful blogs are informative and engaging. They hook readers with magnetic headlines, offer compelling content, contain useful subheadings, and above all, they provide readers with information, inspiration, and CTAs, or calls-to-action. We’re referring to the body of the articles themselves.
Each blog post, no matter how long or short, must impart value to those who visit your website, which means that the content itself has to provide what the visitor is looking for–information or inspiration. When you sit down to develop the topics for your articles, ask yourself, what information can I provide readers that will also reflect positively on my business, products, and services? Alternatively, if you’re about to draft an inspirational blog post, ask yourself, how can I stimulate creativity and influence readers to model the content I’m presenting?
For example, a pet supply retailer could publish the following articles on their blog:
Whether you write an informative or inspirational blog post, be sure to end it with a call-to-action. CTAs invite readers to connect with your business. A CTA can prompt readers to subscribe to your newsletter, which will enable you to collect valuable email addresses for your email marketing efforts. Or a CTA could direct readers to the Shop tab of your ECommerce site. Always include links to your social media accounts, which will serve as their own set of passive CTAs. Whatever action you would like readers to take after reading your blog, just make the CTA concise, clear, and clickable, and you can’t go wrong.
Now that we’ve addressed the meat-and-potatoes of the articles themselves, i.e. what kind of content you should aim to provide readers, let’s take a look at the practical tips you can implement to ensure your blog and its content are successful.
The goal of launching a business blog is to elevate your company’s search engine ranking, drive traffic to your website, increase awareness about your brand, expand your business’s digital footprint, and ultimately grow your client base. So, how do you get people to actually read your blog posts?
Believe it or not, how you format the content you’ve written plays a big role in whether or not a visitor will begin to read the post, and read it all the way through until the end.
In a nutshell, the most effective tip we can give you is this: make sure there’s more white than words on the page. What do we mean by that?
You’ve come up with awesome blog topics. You’ve written informative or inspiring content. You’ve even formatted your posts so that they’re easy to read. Now it’s time to make sure search engines like Google do all the heavy lifting of directing users straight to your business blog. It’s time to insert your keywords.
We’re going to assume you’re familiar with the term SEO and why it’s important, but in case you aren’t, be sure to check out our article What Is SEO?
Improving your website’s ranking on search engines is, in large part, what digital marketing is all about, and you’ll need to use SEO keywords in order to increase the chances that search engines like Google will recognize your blog posts as worthy of recommending to Google users. Choose the right keywords, and your blog will market itself.
What keywords and longtail keyword phrases should you use in your blog posts? That depends on the topic of the blog and the type of visitor you want to attract. You will need to do a little keyword research for each of your blog posts.
Research boils down to identifying user intent. For example, let’s look at the article “5 Proven Ways to Calm Your Anxious Dog”. There’s a specific type of Google user who is going to appreciate the information in this blog post–people with anxious dogs. Consider what that Google user might type into the search bar. Whatever words or phrases that person types into Google, those are your keywords and longtail keyword phrases:
Depending on the length of your actual blog post, three keywords should do the trick, but for longer articles you could include as many as ten. Just make sure the keywords don’t stick out like sore thumbs or overwhelm the content itself.
Simply start typing your keywords and longtail keyword phrases into Google, one at a time. As you do, Google will automatically begin to suggest precise phrasing, which can give you insight to popular keywords you might want to use.
And finally, the most important tip we can give you that will ensure the success of your business blog is this: decide how frequently you’re going to post blogs, plan a schedule, and stick to it.
If you’re still on the fence about starting a business blog on your website, consider the following benefits that companies enjoy when they regularly post articles on their blog:
What else can a business blog do for your company?
Still not convinced? If you’re hesitating to launch a business blog yourself because you’re not sure you have the skills to pull it off, don’t worry. You don’t have to be a content writer, graphic designer, SEO expert, and all-around marketing extraordinaire to create a successful blog that drives website traffic and boosts sales. Let the pros at FTx 360 handle it!
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