What is the Inverted Pyramid?

19 Jul

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The inverted pyramid style of writing is a simple guideline to creating content that engages and consistently brings in leads. With all of the different ways you can go about formatting your content, why should you consider the inverted pyramid–and what is the style anyway? Let us give you a better description of this style and show you why it is a great option for much of your content–especially blogs and less formal articles.

What is the Inverted Pyramid?

Put simply, the inverted pyramid approach is a writing style that means that the most important information is used as your lead. You build a strong base, fill with facts and figures and follow up with the least important details (or fluff, if you will.) The style is meant to pull visitors in and catch them quickly. It’s excellent for short, punchy pieces that need to make an impact quickly.

Why Use the Inverted Pyramid?

Consider these benefits to this writing style:

  • Quick facts draw readers in and keep them engaged.
  • Anyone scanning the document will get the most important facts from the piece.
  • It’s easy to formulate.

One worry that you may have about using the inverted pyramid style is that it takes away your personality when writing. The reality is that this simply isn’t the case. It is possible to put just as much personality and zing into any piece as you want–you’re just changing the way you format it.

Getting familiar with the inverted pyramid method takes a little time, but it can be well worth it. Why not experiment by writing your next piece in this “conclusion-first” method and see how it works for you? You may be surprised by how effective it can be!

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Making Customer Surveys Great Again

17 Jul

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Learning more about your customer base may be the number one way to grow your presence in the market and zoom ahead of your competition. However, those same tired customer surveys from years ago are simply not getting the job done anymore. We’ve put together five tips to help you supercharge your surveys and “make them great again!” What could be better than that?

  • Do Your “Pre-Search” – Instead of asking your customers for all the information, dig into that information you already have on file (big data, anyone?) and utilize it. When you already know the basics about your customers, you have a better idea about the right questions to ask and you’ll get better, more useful responses.
  • Avoid the Yes or No – Yes and no questions are no fun to answer and really don’t give you a lot of insight. Ask questions that give your customers a chance to share their feelings and beliefs. You’ll get deeper insight and avoid boredom.
  • Offer an Incentive – While you can’t always give a big reward for completing a simple survey, sometimes a small incentive is all it takes to make your customers feel good about participating in your research project. One bonus is that if you offer a discount code, for example, is that you may gain some extra business from your survey too, so it becomes a win-win scenario.
  • Make the Survey Easy to Access – Don’t choose a survey program that requires the user to download an app or a specific web browser. Instead choose something that is easy to access from phone, tablet or computer. When you do this, it is much more likely that your user will follow through and complete the survey while it is on the brain.
  • Make Things Light Hearted – While you want to take things seriously, don’t be afraid to be a little light-hearted too. Don’t take things too seriously and your customers will respond with their willingness to participate.

Surveys may not be anyone’s favorite thing, but they are a very important part of the marketing cycle. By utilizing them carefully, and only as needed, you can get that much-needed data and build your future marketing campaigns in a way that allows you succeed—even in a highly competitive marketplace.

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Is There Video Beyond YouTube?

12 Jul

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When you’re hosting video, especially with monetization as your goal, Youtube is probably the first place that crosses your mind. However, there are certainly other video hosting websites that exist. In fact, there are certainly occasions where an alternative site may make more sense for a certain video or series of videos. If you’re looking at video hosting platforms, you’ll want to check out these Youtube alternatives. As of mid summer, 2018, these are all active and viable options.

  • Vimeo – Founded in 2004, Vimeo is a long-standing video sharing site. You can monetize through Vimeo and you may be surprised to find that Vimeo was actually the first site to offer HD video. While not quite as large as Youtube, Vimeo is a big site with many different alternatives including paid and free options. If you’re looking to pull away from Youtube, but you don’t want to mess with anything too small and unreliable, Vimeo may be a good alternative.
  • Wistia – Wistia boasts that it is the simplest video platform. For companies just getting into video sharing, Wistia may be a good choice. There are not nearly as many options and features on Wistia as there are with Youtube (or even Vimeo) but there are plenty of options to help you get started. You can get started for free, and there are options for monetizing your content.
  • Facebook – Yes, Facebook is a possible place for hosting content. However, there is not currently an option for monetizing your content. However, if you just want to share a video now and then, without any worry about monetization, Facebook may be a simple solution for business owners.
  • Vzaar – Vzaar is a “high-end” video hosting site. They offer paid options to help you protect your hosted videos. While this may not be the best choice for small businesses just getting started, it can be a good choice for companies that are tired of losing content to competitors or overseas thieves.

No matter which host you choose, just remember–video is a great option for marketing and customer outreach of all types today. Make sure you take advantage of this excellent way to connect with your customers, employees and even the world at large through social sharing.

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Five Smart Tips for Choosing a Winning Domain Name

10 Jul

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Have you considered how important your domain name is or will be for your business? It could be the first thing a customer sees when he or she encounters your company. In addition, you’ll use that domain name as part of your advertising campaigns for years to come. So, you’d better like what you choose! We’ve put together five smart tips to help you choose a winning domain name.

  • Be Brandable – Your domain naming system is more than just the address for your website—if you have a strong online presence, it becomes a recognizable part of your brand. Think about companies like eBay and google—they likely would have had a more difficult time gaining a foothold in their niches if their domains were not ebay.com and google.com, but were instead ebayonlineauctions.net or googlesearchtheweb.biz. While it may be a little harder to get those short, punchy .com domains today than it was in 1997, it is still important to make it brandable.
  • Make it Easy to Spell – When you’re sharing your domain verbally, imagine spelling your domain to someone over the phone—would it be easy, or insanely hard? That’s something to keep in mind. While adding extra ZZZ’s or changing a C to a K may make the name look clever, it will have you constantly correcting spelling and may inadvertently send your customers to a competitor.
  • Go Short (But Not too Short) – Shorter can be good, but if you go too short pointlessly, it can be confusing. For example, if your company name is Chicago Building Supply, the domain ChicagoBuildingSupply.net might be a great choice, but CBS.info not only probably isn’t available, but it likely would not resonate with your customers as having anything to do with your company.
  • Choose .com if Possible – There is nothing inherently wrong with a .net or .org, but .com extensions are the preferred option. If you can find something you like, that “checks all the boxes” in a .com, go that route. You’ll find your visitors find it much easier to find you this way.
  • Think Keyword Savvy – While it’s not necessary, remember that if you’re struggling for domain ideas you can incorporate a valuable keyword into your domain. For instance, if your company name is Smith Plumbing, you may not be able to obtain smithplumbing.com, but perhaps you can get smithplumbingchicago.com. In doing this, you still have a memorable domain, and you added the local keyword that may help with your search rankings.

While domain names are important, remember that many of your customers will simply be typing your “domain” into Google anyway, so as long as they get close, they will find you—so having something unique and memorable is best. Spend some time finding the ideal address for your site but realize it is just one of many things that goes into making your website a success.

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Creative Digital Marketing Ideas to Help You Appeal to Contractors

28 Jun

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The world is continually evolving into a digital sphere. We all now reach for the internet through our digital devices to search for information or to get things done. Most professionals rely heavily on the internet for information and socialization, and building contractors have not been left behind by this wave.

In the past six years or so, building contractors have had a dramatic shift in the way they source for building products information, purchase construction materials, and interact with manufacturers as well as building products’ distributors. More and more contractors now prefer to research information about construction products online, as well as make purchases through the channel.

Therefore, as a product manufacturer or distributor seeking to appeal to contractors, your brand must have a powerful digital presence. You must provide a wide range of online connection points for interaction, including social media, website content and digital advertising.

Here are a few ideas to help you develop a marketing plan with creative digital marketing ideas that appeals to them:

  • Learn as much as possible about your target

Do comprehensive research on the contractors and what they look for online about building products. Find out details such as the size of their businesses, what information they regularly look for, where they go to look for that information, and what they expect from you either as a manufacturer or distributor. All these details will help you know exactly how to tailor your digital marketing plan to appeal to the contractors.

  • Establish yourself as a reliable knowledge source

Building contractors are professionals in their field, but they are constantly looking for information to boost what they already know or solve emerging challenges. They want ideas on how to perform their job better and more effectively. They are also looking for information on new industry techniques and products that can grant them a competitive edge.

And where do they go to look for this information? Online! So, build a digital marketing program that seeks to establish your brand as a reliable knowledge source for this information. Provide written content and videos demonstrating the use and benefits of new products or techniques. Make sure that your digital platform answers most questions that contractors often ask on search engines.
If you succeed in establishing yourself as an expert source, you will be one step closer to converting potential contractors into customers and building your brand’s loyalty.

  • Build strong connections with the contractors

Building strong, long-lasting relationships with contractors is critical. Not only will they provide you with constant return business, but also refer you to many other builders looking for a reliable business partner. The best way to connect with them is through your website, social media, email marketing, content that establishes you as an expert or industry leader, and many more digital channels.

You can offer contractors regular offers on products through social media channels. You can also easily engage them to talk about your products; how they help them in the field, the challenges they face when using them, and any improvements they would suggest to make them better. This engagement makes the contractors feel recognized and hence develop a strong connection to your brand.

  • Provide technical support

Contractors will also visit your website to resolve issues and challenges they face in the field. If you can provide this information to them consistently, they might just become your customers for good. Provide illustration videos on products’ application and installation on social media, your website, or channels like YouTube.

If possible, give a contact to a professional with immense experience and expertise in your products. Contractors can call them to request for advice on how to resolve issues.

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