Aug 28
Reading Time: 3 minutes

   Marketing Strategy - The Hub and Spoke Model - BMT Micro

Content marketing as a digital marketing strategy has really taken off in the past few years. As we mentioned in our Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends Expected to Grow in 2015 post, the idea behind content marketing is as companies deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers they will ultimately be rewarded with business and loyalty. If you are serious about growing traffic to your site and becoming a thought leader in your industry, content marketing is a must. In order to connect with your prospects, get them to your site, educate them in their buying decision, and convert those prospects into customers – you will need a strategy for your content marketing.

Online marketing strategies are much more complex than they use to be. For a strategy to be effective, it can easily take a team of specialized professionals to run a content marketing campaign. But not every company has a team or the budget to hire a team for this. Fortunately, using a hub and spoke approach to content marketing makes it a little easier to plan and manage your campaign efforts.

The Hub and Spoke Model
The hub and spoke model is not a new concept, but when it is applied to a content marketing strategy, it ties everything together. The idea is to create and publish one main piece of downloadable or significant content that will become the hub, and then create a series of content to support, promote and drive substantial traffic to it (which are the spokes). The spokes could be blog posts, press releases, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. The spokes should also include a call to action that relates and leads prospects to the downloadable hub content.

 

hub-spoke-model-bmt-micro

 

How to Use the Model
The hub is published first and the spokes are published continuously for 3 months or longer afterwards. The spokes should be published in many different formats and on various supporting channels. The spokes are published to drive traffic to the hub, while the hub helps drive conversions to the spokes.

The hub can be a case study, free guide, white paper, your website, etc. The content of the hub needs to be rich and high in quality. This is important if you decide to use downloadable content for your hub (like a case study or white paper), because it is a good idea to keep this content behind a lead capture form. A lead capture form is a marketing form used to gather personal data. It allows marketers to acquire new names from web forms, landing pages, and email campaigns to begin lead-nurturing and developing stronger relationships. But people aren’t just going to give up their information on a whim, they want a piece of content that they would be happy to trade their email address for.

The hub and spokes need to be done in tandem. The hub is important because without it the spokes would just be miscellaneous content that is not tied to any specific content marketing goals or strategy. But without the spokes promoting and distributing, the hub would not receive enough traffic to be successful.

[Hub and Spoke Model – Example Schedule]

Using the hub and spoke model is not easy and does take a considerable amount of resources to deploy. Despite the difficulty, there are many benefits to using this model. If you combine the hub and spoke model with paid, owned and earned media it can help spread your marketing message using tools that are free or relatively inexpensive. If you are new to content marketing, start by learning the basics and get your production resources covered. Once you have all the fundamentals in place then you can dive into using the hub and spoke model for your content marketing.

 

Aug 21

Online Reputation Management

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Online Reputation Management - BMT Micro

Media is changing and companies are now left having to deal with a variety of publications from traditional print and broadcast media to social media and review sites. So what does this mean? A “one size fits all” approach for bad publicity or simply ignoring these publications will no longer suffice. Reputation is what establishes your brand and drives revenue growth. Word-of-mouth has now gone global with online review sites, blogs, and social media marketing. It’s easier than ever for customers to learn about brands and what others think about them as well. Although some people think that online reputation management is just social media monitoring and others believe it has something to do with public relations, many still have no idea how it can impact business and sales. Your reputation is made up of many things ranging from how your audience perceives you, your brand, your products, and your actions. To a large degree your online reputation is a measure of trust and unfortunately a bad one can stick around.

Managing Your Reputation
Managing your online reputation is possible. It is all about having a plan to deal with fallout when something goes wrong. Good online reputation management consists of monitoring your public reputation on a regular basis, not just when a customer has a complaint or problem. Having a plan in place is critical due to the change in customers’ expectations and their demand of an immediate response. To help with this there are many practices you can undertake to manage your reputation:

Social Media Monitoring
Using social media is a great way to build your online reputation, engage with current and potential customers and build a community. Providing customer service on social media is also no longer an option for businesses anymore. Your customers now have various channels that they can communicate with you through and you in turn can respond. Developing a comprehensive social media strategy is a key tool in helping you manage your online reputation effectively. A social media strategy will also ensure you are using the right platforms, engaging with your target audience and monitoring your account properly. Keep in mind it is also vitally important to monitor social media for any indirect mentions of your brand name. Studies have shown that 31% of tweets containing company names do not include their Twitter handle.

Blog
Blogs are extremely easy to start and use which makes them an ideal platform for a business to publish quality content. A blog can be a great way to maintain a positive brand image. Having a blog also builds your profile as an industry expert and leader, allows you to connect with your customers and share information, and will attract more SEO traffic to your site.

Your Community
Encourage your fans to interact and promote your brand. Thanks to YouTube, Vine, Instagram and other social platforms it has become incredibly easy to develop creative relationships with your followers. Engaging with your community will help drive loyalty, create brand ambassadors and show how community focused you are.

You cannot stop someone from posting a bad review about your company online. Dissatisfied customers are quick to express any disappointment with your brand on online review sites, their social media profiles and through other online channels. However, user reviews work to a business’ advantage because they increase conversion and eliminate doubts other customers may have. Studies have also shown that customers are more likely to purchase from a site with reviews. Criticism can actually add creditability, especially if you have a customer service team that responds in a respectable fashion. Showing your customers that you are actually listening and responding to complaints or problems can go a long way. If you have negative reviews, do not ignore them. It is okay to have some negative reviews as it adds legitimacy to a business’ page and creates a conversation that raises brand awareness.

Understanding that effective brand reputation management is an ongoing relationship with your community is the key to success. Listen to what your customers have to say and take action. Always be accessible and stay connected with your community. Your customers can be one of the best low-cost advertising investments you can make and if you create a customer experience that actually adds value it will ensure a positive reputation with them going forward.

If you are a vendor of BMT Micro, an analysis of your digital reputation management results and ways to improve is currently available with our Marketing Analysis. The Marketing Analysis also includes an analysis of your current website and ways to improve, SEO and Social Media performance, Target Market, what your competitors are doing, and ways to improve Advertising and Branding. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, please contact our Marketing Specialist via email at leah@bmtmicro.com for more information.

Aug 14
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How an Online Business Can Build Customer Trust - BMT Micro

There are still plenty of consumers out there who aren’t comfortable sharing their financial information while shopping online, no matter how secure the transaction may be. One small glitch in your checkout process could turn some potential customers away from shopping with you for good. So, how can you get your site visitors to trust you enough to convert to customers? Here are a few tips:

Design
We mentioned in a previous blog post that your website is often the first impression potential customers have of your business. If you have not updated your website design in quite some time, it can be a big turn off to potential customers. It is also important to keep in mind an unattractive, out-of-date website reflects poorly on your brand and having a strong online presence is no longer optional. Customers may even wonder if you’ve updated your security lately or if your company is even in business anymore if you do not consistently update your site.

Spelling & Grammar
As we mentioned in last week’s blog, there is nothing worse than blindly publishing something that has a ton of grammatical errors. Poor spelling, inappropriate phrases and improper grammar can make your website look unprofessional and untrustworthy. Also keep in mind that Google does not support grammatical errors either and your search engine rankings could suffer.

Social Media & Social Proof
If a potential customer is unfamiliar with your brand, chances are they will seek out your social media accounts to learn more about your company. To gain the trust of these customers, they want to see healthy and active social media accounts. Customers need more reassurance from online businesses and they would rather hear from previous customers before making a purchase. You can help potential customers with this by including various pieces of social proof on your website. Social proof can come in the form of testimonials, product reviews, endorsements, or by specifying the number purchases made for a product. Whatever you decide to use, the most important thing is that you simply make it available to your online visitors.

Payment Options
Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their sensitive information online every time they make a purchase. Today there are so many different payment options available that it would be unwise to only offer one because people like to have control over which payment they use. If you limit customers to only one option, it can reduce your chance of selling and increase your cart abandonment rate. The last thing you want is for your customers to abandon their shopping cart due to lost trust and lack of payment options available. This can be hard for individual developers, as setting payment options up usually involves a long and complicated process of compliance with banks. Therefore, using a company like BMT Micro who offers multiple methods of payments is beneficial.

Security
It is essential for online businesses to protect their site, and more importantly, their customers sensitive information. Most online customers will look for valid security seals to know how secure a website is. With this additional security proof, you can give you customers comfort knowing their financial information is protected. Using a payment processor like BMT Micro can also save you the time and the expense necessary to keep fraud to a minimum and your customers information safe.

Contact Information
Having your contact information available for customers is one of the easiest ways to gain trust. Customers want to know they can reach out for support when they need it. Some customers need reassurance that your online business is run by a real person and take comfort in knowing they can contact you whenever they need to. Customers come with high expectations of seeing their needs met. If they do not receive help or if their questions are ignored, chances are they will take their business elsewhere. It is also likely that they will not recommend you to other potential customers looking for the same type of product or service that you are selling.

It is very important for companies to understand the wants, needs, and behaviors of their buyers in order to gain their trust. This is not always easy to uncover nor is it an exact science. However, the more you focus on knowing your customer, the more likely you are to continue your success. As always, you will need to test different approaches to see what works best for your company and continue to improve.

BMT Micro handles orders for a multitude of developers worldwide. We are proud to partner with you all and to be your choice of payment processor. BMT Micro strives for an excellence in service and is always working towards timely and adept transaction procedures, all the while making sure that online security measures remain a priority. BMT provides more than just the items discussed and you can learn more about what we offer at www.bmtmicro.com!

Aug 7
Reading Time: 3 minutes

TIPS FOR WRITING A SUCCESSFUL BLOG POST - BMT MICRO

Are you struggling with creating engaging content for your company blog? Or do you want to start a blog but you do not know where or how to start? Blogging is an easy and inexpensive way to enhance your Marketing efforts, drive traffic to your site, and attract more customers. But for your blog to be successful you need to create content that your readers will want to read. The content you create for your blog matters in an infinite number of ways, from search engine optimization to the quality of your content and more. A successful blog needs to solve problems and answer powerful questions that your audience has or inform and empower them with tools to succeed. So how can you set your blog up for success? Follow the tips below:

Understand Your Target Audience
Before you begin writing a blog post you need to ask yourself this question: Who is your target audience? It is important to have a clear understanding of this so you know what your readers want to know about. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and make sure your blog is interesting, engaging, and well-organized.

Grab Your Audience’s Attention With the Title
Your title needs to tell enough to intrigue potential readers. Your title is important for your readers but also for search engines. Titles should be around 50-60 (max) characters long and include your target keyword phrase for optimal search engine results.

Your Introduction Needs a Hook
Your title needs to intrigue potential readers to click on your blog post, but your introduction needs to hook them immediately. If you lose your reader’s attention in the first few sentences, they will not stick around long enough to make it to the end of your blog. A great way to create a sense of suspense is to ask a question because your audience is more likely to keep reading to find the answer.

Organize Your Main Points
Start with creating an outline to ensure that you cover everything you want in an organized manner. Keep in mind that your audience’s attention span is very short so you need to get right to the point because most of your readers are skimming. Organizing your information is the trick to make sure your readers are not intimidated by the length of your content. This means using section headings, short paragraphs, bullets, and other formatting elements in your posts.

Looks Do Matter
Make sure you choose a visually appealing image that is relevant to your post. Images will help to expand on your main points and are now more responsible for the success of your blog on social media. Also, choose an easy to read font for your post and make sure your text is large enough so it is easy to view on any screen size. Images are not all that make a post visually appealing – your formatting and organization of your post play an important role in this too. This will help make your content and brand look more professional and it will be easier on your reader’s eyes.

Have a Call-to-Action
At the end of your blog post, you should incorporate a call-to-action that tells your reader what you want them to do next. Your call-to-action can ask your readers to subscribe to your blog, link to another blog post, and so on. Overall, make sure your call-to-action is relevant to your blog topic.

Proof Read, Proof Read, Proof Read
Don’t overlook this step – it is one of the most important parts of blogging. There is nothing worse than blindly publishing something that has a ton of grammatical errors. If you are able to, write your posts a day or two in advance and read over them with fresh eyes right before you are ready to publish.

Remember creating content for your blog is only the beginning, it is important to promote your blog too if you want it to get the attention it deserves. We also mentioned in our blog last week that the holiday season is quickly upon us and you don’t want to be stuck realizing you never prepared a promotion for it. As things get busy and the holidays get closer, writing content for your blog will be the last thing on your mind. You may think that planning your blog is going to take a ton of time. However, if you follow our tips, prepare, and write your blog posts ahead of time you can ensure the success of your blog and marketing efforts. If you are a vendor with BMT Micro and you still have questions, we may be able to help. We now offer Marketing services, so please feel free to contact our Marketing Specialists via email at leah@bmtmicro.com for more information.