Know the Difference, Content Creation vs Content Curation

At our Orlando marketing agency, we know we live in an era where content is key. Good content can help engage your community, keep your business relevant in the eyes of your audience and can even impact your business’s ranking in search. But, good content doesn’t come without a cost, and even within that framework, different types of content generate different types of results.
However, one of the questions we come across most frequently in talking about content is whether it’s more efficient to create content, or to curate it. First, let’s discuss the difference between content creation vs content curation.

Content Creation

Content created by your marketing team or business helps you get your own perspectives into the hands of your audience. This is typically comprised of things like original tweets, blogs, Facebook posts, infographics and all other content that someone creates on behalf of your business that you could potentially share via social media, website or email marketing.

The benefit of this type of content is that if it’s shared, it’ll directly point others back to your business. Some studies show that original content is more helpful in creating conversions. This may be because original content about your area of expertise helps to build trust with the audience who will ultimately purchase from your company.

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Don’t have the time to create your own content? Let BIGEYE‘s copywriters handle it. Contact us today, and we will set up your business for success!

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However, content creation can take significant effort to maintain. Many people start businesses and plan to incorporate blogs, only to find that blogging takes a lot of time and resources, resources you may not have if your business is working with a small staff. Still, these businesses seek to continue to create content in order to help maintain visibility and establish trust with their audience.

Content Curation

Content curation is the act of sharing content created by others. This might mean an interesting article, a great visual, an interesting tweet or even just a funny gif.

Sites like Twitter make it extremely easy to share others’ content, but even sites like LinkedIn fill their content base by relying mostly on content created by others. For companies that primarily curate content, people can come to rely on your business as a great way to seek content on a variety of relevant topics that reach your target audience.

Content curation typically takes less effort than content creation, but it’s still important to take the time to read each piece of content to make sure it’s completely on brand, and proposes an opinion you’re willing to support.

Posts linking to third-party content tend to get more clicks. Realistically, the best content on the web probably comes from large media organizations with high brand recognition, so it makes sense that links from smaller sites might not have as many clicks.

Content Creation and Content Curation: The Sweet Spot

Many effective strategies apply a mix of each of these. Businesses can supplement some original content with content from third parties in order to help keep the original content flowing. This is a solid balance between the struggles of maintaining original content and the more passive engagement of curating content.

In terms of conversions, companies that balance both types of content seem to generate the most conversions, according to Convince and Convert.[quote]Simply curating content doesn’t do enough to generate interest in your own brand, while creating all your own content comes across as self-promotion.[/quote] Companies should aim to link to others’content 50-75% of the time. This means that in additional to posting original content on your feeds, you should also be following your favorite companies, brands and influencers, and be willing to share their ideas in order to help your business become a go-to spot for the most current and up-to-date content in your industry.

The team at our Orlando ad agency can show you numerous ways to use content to help generate conversions for your business. Contact us, and let us show help show you the sweet spot for content creation and curation that will help generate the most conversions.

Cultivating Community Through an Event Based Strategy

At our Orlando marketing agency, we believe that in building your business, it’s becoming increasingly important to try to build a community around what you do. Building a community fosters engagement both online and offline, encouraging people to share their thoughts and opinions and to make their voices heard. One of the best ways to cultivate a community of people is through an event based strategy. Most of the strongest communities I’ve seen are those in private clubs and membership organizations and are hugely events-based, hosting more than 300 events a year in order to help keep their members and communities happy while simultaneously helping them grow their networks. But even if you’re not a fancy private club or a networking group, you can still take advantage of the sense of belonging that an events-based community strategy offers to your customers.

Since the era of social media, the term “community”seems to have taken on a life of its own. To older people who aren’t actively using social media on a regular basis, “community”is synonymous with “social media,”which in reality is only partially true. A community manager’s job is to engage the community, and while social media may be part of that, so is blogging, email marketing and, of course, event marketing.

In order to run an effective event-based community strategy, it’s essential to know what your community wants. Do this by requesting information via survey data, with specific questions about what you think they might enjoy. Wine stores might benefit from tasting events and private wine classes for VIP customers, while luxury hospitality businesses might want to woo their customers with formal dining events and open bar cocktail parties sponsored by popular liquor brands. Depending on your business, it’s important to know the time of day people are interested in attending (breakfast, lunch, happy hour, evening or all-day events) and which day of the week they prefer (for instance, people who have 9-5 jobs and small kids may prefer family-friendly weekend events to after-work events). Responding to their needs also shows that you truly understand your target audience, which is extremely important for any business.

Oftentimes, businesses that are faring pretty well have no desire to explore other ways to generate more business, particularly because they don’t realize how much more money they can generate by doing so.[quote]The good thing is that businesses of any size can hold events for nearly any budget.[/quote] If you have a space and a reason for people to gather, the potential is there…and things like appetizers and beverages can only sweeten the deal. If you’re using the information from the survey data and you’ve been careful to find out the types of events interest your group, then you should have no problem identifying potential guest speakers or planning leisure activities that can also help facilitate community involvement around your business or brand.

The problem for many people is that events aren’t always direct revenue drivers. Take, for example, a lawn care company that hosts a free wine and cheese client appreciation event. This may cost several hundred dollars in securing a location, providing food and beverage, and lost work hours in planning the event. It may be even more if you plan to create signage or need to purchase nametags and other supplies. But, if that small event encourages your clients to share their experiences with their friends and colleagues, and one of those referrals turns into a new client for the business, then it was well worth the time.

Events are great because they can build online and impersonal interactions into more genuine connections. From a business perspective, this makes good sense because the more people are engaged with your community, they more likely they are to hang around. We’d love to help you connect with your audience at-large – contact us to determine how we can help craft your engaging event based strategy!

Here are the Four Fun Content Ideas to Boost Engagement

Ever notice how the ads that people like best during the Superbowl are the funny ones? This shouldn’t be a surprise, because people love to be entertained (and if you don’t believe me, just take a look at how many movies you’ve watched on Netflix in the last month!).

At our Florida advertising agency, we know companies don’t have to be super serious to also be perceived as professional. Take, for example, Geico, which deals with heavy insurance matters on a daily basis, many of which involve injury or even death. The brand could have taken an approach that touted the seriousness of the business and its commitment to all things insurance, but can you deny that would have been slightly, well…boring? Instead, it opted to give in to the creative impulse, generating an Australian talking lizard that is now etched into the mind of every person in America (whether we want him to be or not).

My point is that your content doesn’t have to be stuffy, even if your industry isn’t all that laid back. As such, we’ve developed 4 fun content ideas that can help break your brand from the strongholds of thinking everything has to be all business, all the time. In looking at this list and generating your own creative content ideas, remember that people are most likely to share funny posts and uplifting content (hence, the success of sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy). [quote]By generating your own content in this capacity, you’ll be giving your followers plenty to talk about.[/quote]

1. Stop-motion Vines: Who’d have thought a company like Lowes would have been a pioneer in the land of 6-second videos? Lowes’s series of Vines give you practical home tips with a DIY aura…all in six seconds! Check out this screwdriver/rubber band tip and tell me you’re not impressed.

2. Throwback Thursdays: What started out a few young people posting photos from their childhood on Instagram and Facebook is now a full-on trend. People love to see these photos from the times when you actually had to walk two miles in the snow uphill both ways to get to a place that would print out your photos. Even if your business isn’t necessarily trendy or cool, you can still tap into this trend by showing old photos of your founders or your first brick-and-mortar location, or even a photo of an old newspaper clipping about your business that you have hanging around. Just don’t forget to tag them “#tbt.”

3. One-Second-a-Day Videos: These types of videos can be extremely fun and inspiring, and take literally, one second a day to create (plus perhaps a little bit of time at the end to edit). Try showing one second a day from your work or your office to capture just a slice of your daily work. For a slightly different variation on this, make a one-minute video featuring exactly one second at 60 of your favorite local landmarks. And, the 1 Second Everyday app makes it super simple to record.

4. Awards and Recognition: People love to be recognized, and when you offer them some form of recognition, they’ll typically share that with their social circles. Recently, a friend of mine was recognized by a small women’s group. The company wrote a blog about her and invited her to speak at a free monthly panel discussion. The cost? Perhaps a couple of hours to write the blog and plan the event, and a few dollars to provide food and beverages at the panel. However, when the recipient shared her blog, the blog post generated thousands of page views, hundreds of likes, several shares on Facebook and tons of goodwill in the community. Recognizing a strong employee, young leader or a powerful member of your community is a great way to build visibility.

Ready to chat about a few more ideas to get your fans talkin’? Contact our team at BIGEYE today to take your brand from bo-ring to bazinga!

The Importance of the Role of Design in Marketing

I recently subscribed to an email list for a friend’s business. But, when I saw the first email newsletter, I found myself very uneasy. The business deals with photography and design, and yet the email that landed in my inbox was a bare-bones, plain text email. You’d think someone like that would put more care into the message he’s trying to convey — maybe I need to tell him that the team at our Orlando marketing agency has a few ideas to help him understand the role of design in marketing.

Now, in marketing, each of us has our strengths. I understand that a copywriter at our Orlando advertising agency shouldn’t necessarily be counted on to design a document, or a strategist doesn’t need to know a ton about website development. But I do think design should permeate through all areas of business.

It’s important to have consistency in all brand assets. This doesn’t just mean print ads, but applies to internal and external marketing tools including sales decks, memos, website design, social media and, as you saw above, the email experience. The goal here is to make sure you’re telling the same story across all platforms. This will make it easier for people to identify your brand, and they can then follow along for the ride when they see your emails or your Facebook posts. And, it just looks nice!

Thinking about my friend’s photography business, he probably has a number of excellent assets to help sell the story of his business. He’s asking people to spend a lot of money to use his services, and while having an email signup list is a great first step, that list also needs to reflect the essence of the brand he wants to create. A plain text email? I see plain text emails all the time. What I want is for you to really wow me! Use these visual techniques to help entice me to choose you over competitors.

[quote]BIGEYE created a responsive web design for Arsenal Venture Partners that produced the ideal interaction they were hoping for. Check it out![/quote]

Your website should be a reflection of your business. The assets you put on your site and photos that you choose are all ways you market yourself, so it’s important to take care in what you’re presenting to the world. This even goes into the user experience of the site – you need to make sure that if you have a shopping cart feature, it’s easy to use, and that if you have a ton of content on the site, it’s easy to navigate. For some reason, people tend to overlook these essential aspects in trying to design websites —but these days, you can’t afford not to think about them because they translate to real ROI.

Recently, I heard about the Barbarian Group, an innovation agency in New York highly focused on design. True to the brand, when they moved to a new office, they emphasized the importance of design. As such, they created a massive single sharable desk as a place for people to keep ideas flowing. It’s a testament to the fact that design truly permeates every aspect of the business – even in the workplace setup.

The team at our Orlando marketing firm knows the value of design, and would love to help you create and execute design-oriented marketing strategies. Contact us to set up an appointment to learn about how we can help you!

How to Maximize Budgets with Website Testing Tools

If you’ve been working in marketing for a while, you probably understand the importance of testing, at least on a theoretical level. When it comes to all things digital, website testing can help you optimize all your processes. But in the real world, when is there ever time to test? Unfortunately, failing to test means you’re relying on blind chance that your marketing plan will work. By failing to take the time to test your strategy in order to improve it, you could be costing your company tons of time and resources.

At our Orlando marketing agency, we believe testing is one of the most important aspects of marketing, yet I see many marketers that allocate only a fraction of their budgeted resources to testing. If you’re not testing your marketing strategies, then you are missing out on chances to greatly optimize and improve your marketing and advertising activities.

If you haven’t already, I implore you to sign your business up for Google Analytics. It is incredibly easy to sign up for Google Analytics, and companies that have not already implemented this data are at a disadvantage in understanding their audiences, user activities and the effectiveness of their marketing strategy. Then, start changing things on your websites to see if you can notice improvements. Does simply changing the verbiage of a call to action increase your site’s conversion rate? You’ll never know unless you test!

Engagement metrics such as pages-per-visit, time on page and micro-conversions are great for measuring your whether people are investing their time and energy into your content strategy. Setting up goals is a great way to help track what you’re doing. This can be an email metric, an actual financial conversion or filling out a lead form. And, if you aren’t seeing results, then try making minor adjustments to the site content to see what helps.[quote]Sometimes something as simple as changing the color of a call to action button on a landing page can help to increase clicks.[/quote]

Facebook also shares data about the demographics of your users, and by pulling out the demographic data from Facebook it becomes easier to design a comprehensive content strategy. Sharing metrics can also help gage the effectiveness of individual pieces of content. Compare something humorous to something simply informative. Do you see a difference in response? If so, then perhaps you’re learning that your readers’tastes, and knowing what resonates with your audience can help improve your conversions over time.

You can also help boost the reach of your content by investing in your content marketing. Promoted tweets and sponsored stories are great ways to amplify your efforts. Extremely focused keywords can be very cheap, leading to a very cheep per-visit rate. These stories should be interesting, rather than self-promotional. As much as possible, it should seem thoughtful and organic. Test these by trying variations of different posts, and see which ones maximize results. Most platforms that offer promoted options also offer analytics to help review the effectiveness of your paid media.

In testing the effectiveness of your marketing, marketers should also plan to invest in A/B testing. A/B testing involves replicating the exact same test, with a single variable that looks different to different audiences. Ideally, it works best to try only one variable at a time, but we know that in the fast-paced world of marketing, that’s not always possible. Still, any insights you glean from A/B testing can help validate ideas about how your audience reacts to different messaging and imagery. One of the easiest places to start A/B testing is with email marketing. MailChimp.com and ConstantContact.com both make A/B testing easy.

Failure to test can cost companies thousands of dollars per year. By making sure you content is optimized for your audience, you can persuade even more people to use your product or invest in your service. At our averting agency in Orlando, we believe that if you want to be the best, you have to test! The resources it takes to test early on can help save your company money in the long-term.

BIGEYE offers a plethora of website testing services including website conversion optimization where we can help you to establish goals, launch A/B testing, deliver monthly reporting and analysis and more. Contact us today to get started!

6 things to Look For When Selecting Email Marketing Services

Recently, a entrepreneur reached out to me, seeking my opinion on the best email marketing services for his business. It would have been easy to offer up a few answers and tell him to just choose the cheapest option —but at our Florida advertising agency, we’re also strategists, and we know there’s much more to it then choosing the company that’s offering the cheapest deal right off the bat.
In this case, this business owner was in need of advice to assist his startup with a small email list. His plan: to generate messaging via a weekly or monthly email newsletter. Sounds simple enough, right? Many people would have directed him immediately to MailChimp, an email marketing service that offers its services for free for up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails a month.

And, indeed, MailChimp would be the best service had he been looking to never grow beyond 2,000 subscribers. But we’re marketers, and we know that one of the goals of initiating an email marketing plan is to gain quality new subscribers. There’s a reason MailChimp operates under a freemium business model —its team knows that once you’ve put in the work to build your email list up to more than 2,000 people, you aren’t likely to swap email marketing services because you’ve already taken so much time to learn all of MailChimp’s features.

[quote]When deciding which email marketing service works for your business, it’s important to think long-term.[/quote]Where do you expect your business to be in a year? In five years? If you’re a growing commerce business with a popular product, it’s likely that you’ll have well over 2,000 subscribers within the year.

So, which email marketing service is best for your business? Well, it depends on your business needs. Many of the email marketing services offer free trials, so it’s worth it to sign up with those and do some investigating on your own. That said, we understand it isn’t always realistic to do months of testing to choose an email marketing service.

Here are 6 essentials to look for when investigating the most appropriate email marketing service:

1. Templates: How easy is it to build a sleek, well-designed email? And, once you have that template, how difficult is it to optimize it? If you find yourself wasting valuable time trying to work out the kinks, then you might need to go with a different provider.

2. Analytics: What kinds of analytic data can the service give you about your customers? And, how easy it is to navigate the numbers? Does the tool offer suggestions to help you improve those metrics? Be sure to have a baseline familiarity with the service provider’s analytic features before you commit to the provider.

3. Mobile Optimization: How do your emails look when someone opens them on mobile or tablet? In some industries, more than 50% of email opens are on mobile or tablet (and that number is growing every day).

4. Service: How does the email marketing service support its customers? Even as a marketing pro, you probably still don’t know as much about email marketing than the team that handles your business’s email marketing. That’s why customer service is essential —an email marketing service with pro coaching can help you optimize your emails to get optimal conversion rates.

5. Pricing Plans: Which service provider can give you the most bang for your buck? Because there are so many variances in features and capabilities, it’s important to think long-term rather than going with the cheapest option. Figure out your goals, and then choose the best solution to help you reach them.

6. Ability to Grow: As your business continues to grow and evolve, you’ll become aware of the need for more and more features. Some email marketing service providers remain in close contact with their clients, adding new features regularly to keep up with changes in the email marketing landscape.

While we don’t want to advocate for any email marketing service that may not be right for your business needs, here are a few worth checking out.

Constant Contact

Boomerang

MailChimp

iContact

Aweber

Campaign Monitor

Are there other things you look for when selecting an email marketing service? The team at our Orlando marketing agency wants to know! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.