How many emails do you get a day? If you’re like the average American worker, your answer is in the low triple digits; if you’re a business owner or C-level executive, that number’s probably grown with every step you’ve taken up the career ladder. In that daily avalanche of email, how can anyone spot the few beautiful snowflakes you want your messages to be? If you want your cold emails to get noticed, the first thing you have to do is make them warmer.
People, not Prospects
Everyone who receives an email from you is more than a title or a position. You’re writing to people with names, busy jobs and a lot of other concerns that seem more pressing than another cold email. To get a chance with them – and remember, you only have about three seconds before they decide whether to delete your mail sight unseen or open it – respect their individuality and their time. Use the data your marketing automation and CRM team has compiled to address recipients by name. When they choose to open your introductory email, they’re giving you a gift; repay it by being direct and friendly.
Content is king. You hear it all the time, and every Google update supports this benevolent monarchy. What’s less talked about is how much content you need. Is it enough to have a few pieces of SEO content, a blog and a Twitter feed, or do you need an extensive website and a constant presence in industry journals? Is there an ideal amount of content to attract visitors without overwhelming them? There isn’t a magic formula to tell you how much content you need, but you can get an idea of what you need to keep your readers and the search engines invested in your content.
It’s Probably More Than You Think
Content is a catch-all term. If you’re thinking about how many blog posts you need per week or which images you’ll add to your lone landing page, you’re leaving off a great many key aspects of a complete content marketing strategy. When you distill content to its most essential element, you’ll see that most of it serves a single purpose: answering your visitors’ questions. Everything from FAQ pages to product images to price listings answers a question viewers have for you – sometimes the very question those visitors typed into the Google search bar.
Some questions can be answered with a single paragraph or image, but others need more explanation. It’s easy enough to answer a customer who needs to know your business hours or phone number with a few lines, but what about the one who wants to know how your new and improved product differs from its original version? When you start thinking of your content in terms of the answers it supplies for your prospects’ questions, you get an idea of the scope and depth of a full-on content strategy.
Anyone can publish a blog, and as a quick look at B2B blogs will show, just about anyone will. Poorly maintained blogs that get new posts only once or twice a year, rambling posts about the blog owner’s pet and blogs that are nothing but another ad delivery system are everywhere. Professional blogs are more than just a collection of posts; they follow a cogent strategy that fits with your overall content marketing plan.
Make It a Part of Your Site
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make with their blogs is squirreling them away somewhere far from their websites. Creating a blog that isn’t directly linked to your company website is like advertising a New York business on a billboard in Saskatchewan. No matter how amazing that billboard looks, few customers are going to make the drive. Place a prominent link to your blog on your main menu and use a URL that echoes the main site’s in some way. The design of the blog should also be consistent with your site; it’s jarring to visitors when they go from the sedate maroon and navy color scheme of a law firm’s site to a bright yellow blog. A blog that isn’t closely associated with and fully integrated into your site is doing you no favors.
Google’s development team is constantly engaged in the Red Queen’s race, running as quickly as it can to keep pace with the spate of low-rent content that gets published constantly. Occasionally the Google team pulls ahead; when the search engine giant releases a new algorithm change, the SEO world scrambles to see what it needs to do to keep up.
The latest update to Google’s Panda changes that upended the SEO content industry, Panda 4.1 follows in its predecessors’ pawprints, targeting thin or duplicate content for harsh penalties to page rankings. By punishing low-quality content, Google in effect pushes high-quality sites to the top of the search engine results pages. De-indexing spam-filled sites and blogs stuffed with scraped, spun or plagiarized content stops the flow of traffic from Google to these pages, so it’s imperative not to be confused with them to avoid unwarranted penalties.