Most of the times, these marketers jump right in the “exciting” parts of marketing — like changing the design, creating social media accounts and posting on them. Yet, they forget the fundamentals.
My Amateur Basketball Career
I used to play competitive basketball back in the day. I was never good at it. But I didn’t suck as well.
I was never athletic. I couldn’t jump as high as my teammates; nor run as fast as the other guy; nor be able to dribble my way out of three defenders.
One thing I’m known for is defence. I can still remember the games where I have a marked man on the court. Kind of like how Bruce Bowen would always defend Kobe Bryant in the early 2000s.
Anyway, with that reference aside showing my age, I can only attribute that gameplay to one thing: I know the basics.
I know how people move based on what they do, how to look at their bodies instead of the fakes and fancy dribbling.
Even until now, when I play games with other people, I can still play with them (in short sprints because my body can’t keep up anymore). Not because I am better than them. Mostly because these players grew up watching a lot of NBA but didn’t really spend time training and developing their fundamentals.
Like drills. Running plays over and over.
When you watch NBA games, you’d see the superstars doing all these fancy stuff. So, young players often try to emulate and practice those.
Can they do it? Sure.
But can they do it in the game itself? Rarely.
Because the chances of performing spinning shots to avoid being blocked or an alley-oop to yourself don’t come often. And when it does, there are 9 other players on the court. It’s very different when you’re practicing it alone.
That’s why great players all have the basics mastered.
What Does Basketball Have to Do with Marketing
The same goes for marketing.
You can’t perform all the advanced techniques properly if you are not grounded on a strong foundation.
Optimization, A/B testing, figuring out which channels to double-down, where are leads and customers coming from, what types of content are resonating well, and many more.
All these are nearly impossible without Google Analytics installed on your website.
It’s installed using Google Tag Manager (GTM). You can install Google Analytics directly by itself or through plugins. But to keep you sane, implementing it via Google Tag Manager is ideal. Check out that article to find out why this is the best way to install Google Analytics on your website.
Without an email list that tracks all these information and interactions, you are in left in the dark. You start guessing. Make assumptions. This can lead to a poor customer experience.
The Dreaded (and Useless) Voice Prompts
Don’t you just hate it when you get asked around for the same information over and over by the person you’re talking to on the phone?
Recently, my wife got on a call with a bank to dispute some credit card charges (short story: her replacement card was not delivered to her because she was out of the country yet someone was able to use it).
One of the frustrating things here is that upon calling the customer service hotline, you get asked to enter your 16-digit credit card number. Then, after minutes of hearing the useless voice prompts, you finally got to chat with a real person. Yey!
Then, they asked you for your 16-digit card number again. They also ask a couple more questions for additional verification. I can only imagine this is a requirement before some data in the system shows up on their screens.
You know what’s even more frustrating? After all these verifications, you finally got to tell them your issue. They said another department is handling that and will transfer your call.
Stop for a moment. What do you think happens when after you get transferred to another person?
They ask the same verification stuff again.
It’s no wonder why a lot of customers shout and curse at customer service reps. They are already frustrated with an issue — in this case, someone used their credit card — then it takes them a very long time just to talk to the right person.
It’s neither their faults for this poor user experience. That’s “just the way how it’s done.” That mindset has no place in today’s fast-paced world.
And to clarify, my wife didn’t do any of those. But I was beside her. I was the one shouting and cursing in my head.
Customer Experience Matters
Customer experience matters. Period.
No matter how big your organization is, like Globe and Smart, the moment someone better comes along, people will switch.
It’s the same thing with me. I no longer have much brand affinity. I have been a Globe subscriber for more than 6 years (an additional 9 years if you count my usage under my parent’s plan).
But because of some issue they have internally that a lot of customers are already complaining about, they are passing the blame to me. I immediately switched to the next competitor — Smart.
I recently read that there’s a new telco coming to town soon.
I’ll be very vigilant when that time comes. Because if they do offer something better and Smart doesn’t reciprocate, I won’t hesitate to jump ship.
The Modern Email List
With the rise of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), the requirements of organizations from the modern marketer continuously increase.
If your email list is simply collecting information like names and email addresses, you’re at a great disadvantage.
At the very least, your email list should tell you what forms/landing pages they filled out, what pages they visited, and if you’re an e-commerce store, their purchase data — the number of times the person ordered, amount, and products ordered.
These data points allow you to segment your list further and create automation rules that trigger when certain conditions are met.
For example, you can segment people who downloaded your industry report last year and offer them to download an updated report for this year. Or perhaps invite them to answer a survey to be used in your new industry report.
Or you can segment people whose latest store purchase is twice than your average order value. You can probably give them a gift card, or maybe even a personal call or email saying how much you appreciate them.
If your email list doesn’t give you these data nor allow you to capture them, it’s time to search for a new one. And if your email list allows it, but you aren’t using it, then it’s time to start doing so.
Don’t wait until you are forced to adopt these changes. It’s always easier and less stressful to implement/change your systems when your neck is not on the line.
Segmentation is grouping people together based on similarities and/or differences.
For example, you can group people by their problems, products purchased, or their status in relation to your organization (lead vs customer vs repeat customer).
Of course, segmentation goes deeper than that. But that’s for another time.
The easiest way to segment your email list is to add fields or data points on your forms so you can start collecting this information.
Example 1: ariel-lim.com
This is a landing page on my site. If you look at the form, apart from the first name and email that we all ask, I have a dropdown field that asks the person which among these statements describe them best.
The options I used are as follows:
Works in marketing
Plans to work in marketing
Does some marketing work
Owns the business
The rationale for this is I want to know who I’m talking to.
My business is consulting. The way I communicate will be different if I’m talking to someone who owns the business vs someone who plans to shift to the field of marketing. It’s like asking for job titles but presented differently.
Example 2: Lazada
It can also be as simple as asking for gender like Lazada does in their account creation page. This allows them to tailor-fit their messages to you.
If you select male, I highly doubt you will receive any pink, cute stuff — except maybe when they send out a campaign for gift ideas Valentine’s Day. (Sorry, I’m generalizing to make a point)
Start thinking about the segments that matter to your organization and how you can gather this information through your forms.
2. Send from Your Email Address
This is probably the easiest change you can do today if you want more opens and clicks. And who wouldn’t want that, right? One email marketing statistic that you should also be familiar with is that the simple use of a person in the email address increases open rates by 68%.
This tactic had one downside: you’ll get people replying to your emails. This isn’t really a bad thing though — even if you get dozens or even hundreds.
But, as with the other tactics, the benefits outweigh the risks.
You get to hear from your email list. That’s invaluable feedback. You develop a relationship with them. They get to know you. They can put a face to your company.
Try different variations. For example, if I work at Apple. I can try out the variations:
Ariel from Apple
Ariel Lim, Apple
Ariel Lim from Apple
Once you find which one resonates most with your audience, use that. Stick with that convention. If you’re using ConvertKit, you can do this in two ways:
From the email you’re sending (e.g. broadcast email)
From the account settings itself
Option 1: From a Broadcast Email
Let’s say you’re about to send a broadcast email. Click on the who will this broadcast be from? and add a new sending address.
You’ll see a popup that will ask you to enter a name and email address. Experiment with different versions. Don’t hide behind a company. Use a real person instead.
Option 2: From Account Settings
You can do the same thing in your account settings. Click on the dropdown where your account name is, then click on email. On the screen, click on +add from address. Then, you’ll see a popup just like above.
Don’t have a ConvertKit account? You can create a free account here. No credit card required. ConvertKit has everything you need in an email marketing software—from landing pages, form builders, automation tools, and segmentation. In a matter of minutes, you can launch a lead generation campaign without having to go through any coding.
3. Work with Other Departments
Working with other departments is simple but not easy to do.
Depending on how your organization is set up, this may involve multiple departments or just one. Or it may not actually be a “department” — which holds true for smaller organizations. But the point here is to collaborate with different people so they can offer different perspectives.
For example, marketers often don’t work with their sales team. Or even their customer service department. Start with those groups.
A simple activity you can do is set a weekly 30-minute alignment meeting with your sales and customer service team to discuss and share what messages and/or problems prospects and customers have for that week.
I know what you’re thinking: 30-minutes is too long. You’re busy. Adding more work and meetings won’t help. But trust me, this has a huge ROI. Here’s what you do:
Overview of Weekly 30-minute Alignment Meeting
Create a shared Google Spreadsheet
Customize the columns to fit your organization. For example, you can have the following columns
Share the spreadsheet with everyone who has direct communication with leads and customers (usually marketing team, sales team, and customer service team).
Explain the purpose — better serve customers by aligning departments and having a unified message across all channels
Short-term objective: consensus on how to answer FAQs/customer concerns
Mid-term objective: create short articles answering these FAQs. These can be used by marketing, sales, and customer service when they encounter the FAQs again
Long-term objective: create long-form content (like marketing offers) based on a collection of these FAQs.
Let’s use my favorite example of a pet store with an e-commerce website. Based on your first alignment meeting, you realized that your sales team (in this case the staff inside the store) keeps getting asked about payment options, delivery times, and delivery fees.
In this same meeting, your customer service reps wrote in the spreadsheet that they usually get asked about how much food do they need to feed their dogs.
Here’s what you do with that information:
Make the payment and delivery information more prominent
Add to homepage;
Create a poster highlighting that information for in-store displays;
Send a one-time dedicated send email highlighting payment options and delivery times and fees;
Add an email to your lead nurturing series highlighting payment and delivery information
Create content about proper diet
3 Reasons You Should Weight Your Dog’s Daily Serving of Food
How to Determine the Amount of Food You Should Feed Your Dog
Write content about the different payment options you have and delivery information
Cash on Delivery (COD) Available at Awesome Pet Store
I live in ____ city, how long will I receive my order?
Create a feeding guide per dog food
Online — feeding guide calculator where people enter the age, weight, activity level. Then they get the recommended amount of dog food in volume and weight.
Do this for every brand as a separate page on your website; or,
Add a field to select the brand/type of dog food
Offline — create a tri-fold banner that acts as a worksheet so owners can enter their pet’s name, age, weight, etc. Then, they can easily compute for the recommended amount of dog food.
When you finished creating these content, share it with the rest of the team, and update the spreadsheet. That way, when your customer service rep received another question about feeding their dogs, they can simply provide a quick answer then link them to the interactive calculator you just made.
And this is only for the first week and on two topics alone. Imagine doing this for the next 6 months. You’ll have a lot of feedback from your customers. You don’t need to “research” anymore and simply focus on creating content.
So, What Are You Going to Do Now
These are simple examples of what you can do with your alignment meetings. Like I mentioned above, the purpose of this is to better serve your customers. This is done by making it easy for them to find information about what they need (FAQs) and their concerns.
Once you have that information, you can use them to your advantage to provide more value to your prospects and customers. In addition, because you’re getting feedback, you can quickly adjust what content is resonating well with your customers.
In the midst of all these, you will also get some negative feedback. And that’s a good thing. You can quickly act on it, change and improve.
These quick, small changes are what will keep you ahead of the market and stay ahead of the competition.
That is an example of internal linking. I link to other content on my website.
In cases where I don’t have content about a specific topic and used it in my blog post, I use a link from other websites. Here’s an example for external linking.
Four Benefits of Proper Internal Linking
1) Helps with SEO by Adding Site Structure
Other marketers refer to this as the content pillar or content pyramid or cornerstone content.
Whatever name you call it, the point is to have a single piece of content sitting at the top of your pyramid, then have another content link to it.
What this does is sends a signal to search engines that the “most linked” content is the most important one.
Having a proper internal linking strategy is important if you want to succeed in ranking your pages properly.
For example, in my site, you will find this in action. I want to tell Google that my page for Digital Marketing is the most important one. So, I link back to it from this article (among others).
I want to tell Google that my page for Digital Marketing is the most important one. So, I link back to it from this article (among others).
2) Allows You to Focus on Your Content
The other benefit of a proper internal linking strategy is you can focus on creating content about a single topic, instead of rambling on and on about other topics.
To write a “complete” article, sometimes it’s impossible not to explain some concepts or terms. Just like what I did in the previous paragraph — I linked the word “content” to my previous article called “What Is Content” so that I don’t have to discuss what I mean by content.
Because these side comments oftentimes make your content longer than is necessary. With attention spans growing smaller, it’s already hard to keep your audience engaged. Adding more to what is necessary will bore your audience.
With internal linking, you can just use the concept and add a link to it, instead of explaining it in 5 paragraphs.
3) Provides Better User Experience by Making Additional Resources Readily Available
With a proper use of internal linking, you are giving your audience a better user experience. They can read about other topics related to the post directly.
They don’t have to open up a new browser, type in the concept you’re talking about, and search through the millions of search results. All they have to do is click on that link and read it.
Which leads us to the last benefit…
4) Keeps the Reader on Your Site
Keeping your viewers on your site for as long as possible is one of the proxies marketers use to determine engagement. Time spent on the site and pages visited are the metrics you need to keep an eye out for in Google Analytics. This is especially true if you are using that as one of the goals for your website.
But the benefits don’t just end there.
If people spend more time on your site browsing your other pages, you have more chances of converting them. If you are following best practices and have calls-to-action all over your site, you should start seeing an increase in your leads and, eventually, customers.
So, What Are You Going to Do Now
Now you know the benefits of internal linking, it’s time to assess your own website.
Determine the pages you want to “rank” for which keywords. Then, create your own content pyramid with those pages at the top. Meaning, link your articles back to those top-level pages.
This will give you a boost in your SEO rankings and a more focused content.
Who knows, if you’re using a proper lead generation strategy on top of internal linking, you might see a significant increase in your leads and customers.
Early last month, I started #1MinuteMarketingVideos. It’s a daily video about digital marketing where I share everything I know about different topics. The main theme is helping other people be a better marketer in 60 seconds a day. Each video, I talk about a single topic — it could be broad or very specific — and just share my knowledge.
I’ve been putting off video content for so long, but the data is overwhelming. Everything is shifting to video and voice right now. So, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and start creating video content.
But what I really want to share is how easy it was to create the videos. If you follow the narrative I share in the description of the videos, I mentioned that it’s getting easier to make them. The last video I made took me less than 30 minutes from planning to creating to distributing.
I’ll be sharing my workflow and the tools I used in this post. But before that, there are two preparatory points I’d like to discuss.
1) You Have to Know What You’re Talking About
My topic is a one-minute daily marketing video. It’s important to know what you’re talking about.
I’m sure you already know this. But it’s worth repeating. So, if you’re going to undertake any video content projects like what I did, make sure you have a source material you can use.
Otherwise, you’ll just get stuck and be frustrated that you can’t create these video content.
2) You Can’t Improve Unless You Do Something First
One of the biggest lessons I (re)learned in 2017 is we can’t improve something unless there is something to improve on. Meaning, unless we start and actually do any task or project, we can’t improve on it.
I’m the person who usually plans and plans and plans. I take so long in planning that I always complain there’s no time to execute. Now, I just do it.
Then, I just improve along the way. I’ll share more about my journey below.
Workflow and Tools: How to Create Video Content in Less Than 30 Minutes
Since I decided early on that I’ll be doing daily 1-minute videos on digital marketing, I need some sort of plan to help me do this quickly. So, I relied on two things you’re probably familiar with already.
Mind Map. I started a mind map with digital marketing at its center. Then, I branched off to the topics and categories about digital marketing. Websites, social media, Blogging, etc. Here’s what that mindmap looks like.
WWWWWHow. This is every writer’s best friend. Who, what, when, where, why, how. To help me quickly think of specific topics, I combined this with the mind map. So for websites, I can easily come up with these topics
What is a website
Who should have a website
Why should you have a website
How to start a website
Then, I just repeat this process for the other topics.
For the mind map, I used a free program on the app store called Simple Mind. I’ve been using it since 2012. I’ve never found any reason to use it’s paid version.
For the creation of the videos, I use Adobe Spark. Or more specifically, Spark Post and Spark Video. Everything is made on my iPhone. No special program necessary.
I’ve been using Spark Post since last year. But I only started using Spark Video for this project. I also had to subscribe to the service to remove the watermark so I can add my own branding.
Here’s my workflow:
Write script (Notes App)
Create the intro image and video (Spark Post)
Record audio (Spark Video)
Add images or b-roll (Spark Video)
Add the outro (Spark Video)
Since the topics are very small (and I’ve talked about it in some of my other blog posts before), writing the scripts is very easy. How easy?
I’m in California right now writing this article in a Starbucks. This is approximately an 8-9 minute walk from the apartment where I’m staying from. By the time I stepped out and ordered a drink, I already have completed either 2 rough drafts or 1 final proof-read one.
At any given time, I can craft a couple of drafts here and there. Then, when it’s time to finally work on it, I pull out the notes and refine the words.
Intro Image and Video
The beginning of #1MinuteMarketingVideos is an animation of a Spark Post. I mainly used that as something to make it look more attractive.
I already had my “brand colors” so it was easy to set that up. In this image, you’ll see that I have yellow and black templates already (the white isn’t shown).
I just edit them, download the video and image, then I’m done. Here’s how that looks on my iPhone:
I record the audio by holding up my phone to eye level.
This ensures my speaking volume is optimal — meaning, my posture is straight. I articulate my words clearly. This also reduces the chances of me “blowing air” into the microphone, etc.
I sometimes record sitting down, sometimes while standing and even walking around. But I always put my phone in front of my face.
I simply hold the record button and start speaking.
Again, my scripts are short, straight-to-the-point. So there’s no need to read them. Sure, I refer to it. Sometimes I take 2-3 tries. But I don’t worry too much about it.
I just make sure I do it in a quiet place.
It’s also at this stage where I take a look at the length of the entire video.
The sound content determines the length. So if I’m over the 60 seconds, I figure out where to cut my words.
Add Images / B-Roll
This is the exciting part. Adobe has access to royalty-free images. Just type in some keywords and you’ll see them immediately.
But, I find that a video is more exciting than an image. So, I decided to make my own B-roll like this one.
I also searched online and started building my own folder. There’s a ton of websites out there offering free videos.
The outro image is the only “salesy” part of the video where I invite them to watch more of my videos on my website. Here’s what it looks like.
Pretty much that’s it.
My goal here is to impart my knowledge and at the same time, build more credibility and authority on the topic. I’m not here to sell. So, even my call-to-action provides more value.
Once you create content, your role as a marketer doesn’t stop there. It needs to be distributed. Otherwise, did you really create something if no one finds it? (rhetorical question).
I distribute the videos where they’ll get the most engagement:
Distributing the Videos on Instagram
This one is a no-brainer.
Instagram caps videos at 60 seconds each. Plus, Instagram is a very visual social network. It’s the perfect channel to distribute video content on.
I add captions to my post and share more information about the video. I also add tags to the first comment. Nothing new here. Here’s where the magic happens.
I follow Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 Instagram Strategy. Not to the letter but the main principle behind it. Here’s a video of him explaining that concept.
But if you’re too lazy to watch the video, here’s the rundown:
You don’t actually spend $1.80 on anything. You only invest your time and opinion — your two cents. Doing the math, $1.80 is equal to 90 bits of two cents.
Share your comments and opinions (exuding positivity, love, and warmth) on the top 9 posts of the hashtags you used.
Rinse and repeat. 3x daily – morning, noon, evening.
Like I said, I haven’t followed that routine as what he said, but do so at least daily. So I’m spending like 50c a day. I grew my followers from zero to 70+ in just 30 days.
Distributing the Videos on Facebook
I made a Facebook page for a while now. I haven’t really been active, until now. So please like the page!
Look, if you haven’t noticed already, your newsfeed mostly contains videos. Facebook puts a premium on them.
They also get the most engagement, making this another no-brainer channel to distribute your video content.
I simply publish and/or schedule the video on my page and that’s it.
Once I have enough, I’ll start promoting them via ads. But that’s another story for another time.
Distributing the Videos on YouTube
Unless you’re from another planet, YouTube has dominated online videos for more than a decade now. So there’s absolutely no reason not to put your videos there.
Simply create a channel, like I did. Then, start uploading videos.
I’m not a YouTube master because this is the first time I’m also doing this.
But, one thing I’m doing is I am creating playlists as I go along. The playlists are the categories/topics. For example, I group all videos related to websites in one playlist. Or put all videos on social media in another.
Distributing the Videos on my Website
Lastly, I also place the videos on my website. After all, it’s the only place where I can do what I want. I’m also doing it for SEO purposes.
I added a new page on my site. Then, to make things simple, I simply embed the videos in a reverse chronological order. I use Facebook instead of YouTube here.
That can be up to you entirely. I simply chose Facebook because of my plans to advertise/promote my videos there later on. So everything just ties in together.
The last part of this project is analyzing everything I did. From planning to creating to distributing.
There are a lot of data points you can analyze here. Some of them are as follows:
Design / aesthetics
For example, I have revised my process at least 4x already. I document them in an Asana project. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like.
This way, when I get stuck or if I decide to hire another person to continue this in the future, he/she can simply follow along without me having to hand-hold him/her.
This is one of the most important activities you should do when you start out any project — document the process.
Another improvement I made is on the design. If you look at this screenshot of my Instagram profile, you’d notice that some of the thumbnails don’t look good when viewed on a grid.
So, after I adjusted it, it became too small to read.
Finally, I found the perfect size. This is what I then used as the templates for the rest of the videos I made.
Again, there is a lot of analysis you can do here. I’m simply using these as examples.
But the bottom line is this: don’t fuss about the perfect shot, video, design, whatever. You can’t improve on something unless you do it first. If I got stuck in looking for the perfect color, font, size, and shape, I’d probably be still working on my first video.
And that’s my workflow for creating and distributing video content in less than 30 minutes.
What about you? Do you have your own process to create videos? Or are you just starting out? Either way, let me know in the comments and I’d be glad to answer your questions.
Content in digital marketing is any information that is seen, heard, or a combination of the two.
Some examples of content that are seen are articles, infographics, and emails. For content that is heard, these are your podcasts and music. Finally, videos fall under content that is both seen and heard.
Content is king in today’s digital world. Without it, it’s almost impossible to stand out, be noticed, and succeed. If you want to win in digital marketing, start creating content.
3 Categories of Content
Content that is seen can be further broken down into two subcategories:
Written content is the most common. These are your articles, e-books, and white papers.
Visual content is the ones you don’t normally read or if they have text, there’s not much on it. Some popular examples are simple photos, memes, gifs, and infographics.
Content that is heard is quickly becoming popular nowadays. These would be your music, podcasts, and the “assistants” (like Siri, Alexa, and Google). A traditional form of content that falls under this category is radio.
It’s quickly becoming popular because it allows you to do something else while listening to it.
Lastly, the content that uses both visual and auditory elements are your videos. These can be a simple explainer video to elaborate online courses.
Most marketers claim that video is the type of content that has the highest ROI. Approximately one-third of online activity is spent watching videos.
That’s also the reason why I jumped on this bandwagon and started creating video content.
So, What Are You Going to Do Now
Among all these different types of content, how many are you using in your marketing?
Like I said over and over, if you are not found online, you do not exist. Without content, it is impossible to stand out and get noticed.
This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. However, this does not impact my reviews and comparisons. I only recommend products I’ve reviewed, and in many instances also use, in order to help you make the best choices.