Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

7 Ideas to Improve Brand Loyalty Through Email Marketing

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Using Email Marketing to Create Brand Loyalty

Email marketing serves a number of purposes, integrating multiple separate marketing channels and funneling your audience into one place. However, most email marketers end up narrowing their focus to only one email marketing goal: click-throughs. It’s certainly important to optimize your emails for click-throughs, as more traffic to your site usually translates directly to more revenue.

However, there’s another dimension of email marketing strategy that could lead to an even longer-term return on your investment: brand loyalty. This is how you can generate repeat business on a consistent basis. If you can facilitate greater brand loyalty through your content marketing campaign, you’ll generate customers who are willing to buy from you over and over again—and not from your competitors.

Using Email Marketing to Create Brand Loyalty

Here are seven strategies to help you do it:

1. Important updates and reminders. Your first job is to use your email strategy as a way to keep your customers informed, with important updates and reminders. For example, if your company is planning to have a major sale in the coming months, you can announce it to your email subscribers first, giving them a sense of exclusivity, and then send them periodic reminders as the date gets closer so they can adequately prepare. This helps your brand stay top-of-mind with your subscribers, and demonstrates value to them. Just make sure what you’re announcing has some real value to your subscribers or you’ll end up annoying them.

2. Free gifts. Offering a free gift is a common tactic used to attract people to subscribe to your email newsletter in the first place; it’s an exchange of value that prompts them to hand over their personal information. This is good for attracting initial subscribers, but it won’t prevent them from unsubscribing if their only interest was getting the free gift. If you want to show them recurring value, and keep them subscribing for the long term, consider offering them free gifts periodically, reminding them why they’re subscribed to you in the first place. These don’t have to be expensive; in fact, you could even stage a free gift as a giveaway for similar results.

3. Discounts and special offers. It’s also a good idea to offer discounts and special, email-exclusive offers to your subscribers. For example, you might give your email subscribers early access to one of your upcoming sales, or you might distribute a coupon code to only your email subscribers; this gives them a feeling of value and of exclusivity, bonding them more deeply to your brand. You could even encourage them to share these special offers; the feeling of exclusivity will remain, they’ll get to show off their rewards, and you’ll probably get some new subscribers out of the deal, too.

4. Circulated content. One of your greatest tools for encouraging brand loyalty is your ongoing content marketing campaign; By providing value and answers to real questions, anyone familiar with your brand will be more likely to stick around in the future. Email is a perfect tool to enhance the effectiveness of this campaign; for example, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your most recent content, pick out some top performers, and promote them via email blast to get even more recognition for them. Your subscribers will enjoy having the top-tier content delivered straight to their inboxes.

5. Email-exclusive content. You can go another route in the content marketing frame by offering email-exclusive content. This content is only distributed to your email subscribers—at least at first. For example, you might give them early access to download an eBook you’ve written, several weeks before it’s available to the general public. You could also distribute smaller pieces of content, such as fact sheets or digestible “quick guides” that have some kind of practical value for your readers. The key is to give them something valuable that nobody else is getting.

6. Participation bonuses. You can also give your users opportunities to engage with your brand—and rewards for doing so. For example, you could host a competition that encourage your users to write testimonials for your products or your brand in general, and enter participants in a giveaway for a hot item. Alternatively, you could ask for feedback in the form of a survey or user comments, and personally thank or reward anyone who participates. When users engage with your brand, in any way, they’ll feel closer to it, and they’ll be less likely to go to a competitor in the future.

7. Social integrations. Though somewhat simple, you can also encourage more brand loyalty by integrating your social media platforms with your email marketing strategy. This mode of cross-pollination encourage some of your already-loyal social media followers to subscribe to your email list, and encourages some of your interested email subscribers to get more involved on the social media front. Either way, you’ll be encouraging more user participation with and exposure to your brand, which will foster a stronger sense of cumulative loyalty over time.

Note that the effectiveness of these seven strategies will depend on the nature of your business and the type of users you’re trying to target; they won’t work equally well for every business. Take some time to develop your other marketing strategies in unison with your email campaign, and sort out the tactics you think are most effective. If you’re in doubt, simply try them and see what happens; your results will indicate whether your chosen tactic was a success.

Email Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “7 Ideas to Improve Brand Loyalty Through Email Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends


United Airlines Leggings Controversy Shows Need to Change with the Times

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

United Airlines Leggings Controversy Shows Why Businesses Need to Change with the Times

If you haven’t changed any of your company’s policies in a while, it might be time to revisit them.

A Lesson in Why Businesses Need to Change With the Times

United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) just learned this lesson the hard way. The airline denied entry on a flight to two girls wearing leggings who were flying using its employee friends and family pass program.

Activist Shannon Watts, who has a sizable Twitter following, witnessed the incident and shared it with her followers. This led to plenty of online criticism toward the airline from passengers who value comfort when flying and those who were concerned about an unfair policy. Even actress Patricia Arquette got in on the conversation.

@united Leggings are business attire for 10 year olds. Their business is being children.

— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) March 26, 2017

For its part, United explained that the passengers were not in compliance with the dress code for pass holders, who the company claims are to represent the airline when they fly.

The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel.

— United (@united) March 26, 2017

But the policy still didn’t sit well with a lot of people, especially travelers who feel the company needs to change with the times. Leggings have become more common and acceptable in recent years. And many simply don’t see the need for such a policy, especially since air travel isn’t as formal of an occasion as it once was.

In fact, competing airline Delta even took the opportunity to highlight its more up-to-date and accepting policies in a tweet.

Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings. ?)

— Delta (@Delta) March 27, 2017

This incident highlights the potential for backlash over any policies that might be construed as unnecessary or outdated. Even if they don’t impact the customer experience to a large degree, people want to know that the companies they support upholds their values.

United Airlines Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “United Airlines Leggings Controversy Shows Need to Change with the Times” was first published on Small Business Trends


Millennials and College Students Prefer Snapchat to Facebook, Survey Says

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Millennials Prefer Snapchat over Facebook

According to a survey carried out by online marketplace for student loan refinancing LendEDU, 58 percent of college students are checking Snapchat (NYSE:SNAP) before Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook combined.

Millennials Prefer Snapchat over Facebook

During the poll, 9,381 current college students were asked the following question: “You open your phone and have a notification badge on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn … which do you click first?”

Normally, you would think that the world’s most popular social media network Facebook would come in first. Not this time! Snapchat came in first with 58 percent followed by Instagram at 27 percent and Facebook at 13 percent. LinkedIn had a measly 2 percent. And even so, the total percentage of the three socials only gets to 42 percent, which is still way lower than Snapchat’s 58 percent.

Should this survey impact your social media strategy? The average number of Snapchat daily users’ stands at 150 million. While you can’t compare this number with Facebook’s one billion active users, clearly 150 million daily users are hard to ignore. This can be a huge target audience for your small business marketing. You could use the platform to share events, products, demos, flash sales, feedback and a lot more.

Clearly though, you need to make sure your marketing tactics are appealing to this audience.

You will also need to put a little more effort into growing your Snapchat following — if you don’t already have one. Unlike Instagram, which smoothly integrates with Facebook, Snapchat doesn’t integrate with any other platform.

Don’t have a Snapchat account? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Snapchat Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Millennials and College Students Prefer Snapchat to Facebook, Survey Says” was first published on Small Business Trends


Nearly All U.S. Exporters are Small Businesses (INFOGRAPHIC)

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

An astonishing 97 percent of all U.S. companies that export products are actually small businesses.

That’s according to new research by SCORE, a nonprofit association for small businesses.

International Export Has Clear Benefits for Small Businesses

Data gathered by SCORE reveals U.S. companies that export grow faster and are nearly 8.5 percent less likely to go out of business than non-exporting ones.

And that’s not the only reason to consider international trade. About 26 percent of companies that trade internationally significantly outperform their market.

Small Business Concerns Regarding International Trade

Despite the obvious benefits of trading internationally, less than one percent of America’s 30 million companies export. That’s probably because they have a few concerns. Data reveals thirty-nine percent say their goods are not exportable and 37 percent don’t know how to start.

A large number of small businesses (63 percent), however, would like to export their goods and services.

Exporting is Easier Than Most Businesses Think

According to SCORE data, becoming an exporter is easier than most businesses might think.

Forty-eight percent of businesses say it took them just a few months before they started exporting. In other words, there’s no reason for small businesses to not consider exporting, especially when the benefits are there for the taking.

For more insights, check out the infographic below.

97 percent of all US exporters are actually small businesses

Infographic: SCORE

This article, “Nearly All U.S. Exporters are Small Businesses (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends


Animaker Introduces First Animated Vertical Video Platform

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Animaker Vertical Video App

While you may have been accustomed to watching videos horizontally thanks to the TV and movies, the next video marketing wave is vertical videos.

Vertical videos were historically shunned by creative agencies, marketers and video creators because they did not fit the aspect ratio of established moving image forms.

However, the rise of apps like Periscope and Snapchat that use the mobile-friendly “vertical” or portrait format have led to an explosion in vertical videos. And to help you easily create the vertical, animated marketing videos to fit this news trend, video platform Animaker is leading the way.

The company claims it is also first to create a vertical animated video format too.

The Animaker Vertical Video App

Animaker is a cloud-based DIY video animation software that comes in handy when you seek to create studio quality professional video.

In a blog post, the company says that they decided to upgrade their platform to allow the creation of vertical videos after 73 percent of of the 10,000 people asked in a targeted survey indicated a preference for vertical videos as the next big thing in video marketing.

So why the high demand for this type of video? “Living in the smartphone era, it is only a matter of time when vertical videos completely crush other formats,” Animaker’s content marketer Arvind Kesh stated. “There has been a tremendous spike in vertical videos online from a mere 5 percent to a whopping 30 percent in just five years!”

Kesh also went ahead to mention that vertical videos might be the right format for businesses that want to make marketing videos for Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and the like.

Animaker has three pricing plans: Personal, which is $9 per month billed annually; Startup, which is $19 per month billed annually; and Business, which is $39 per month billed annually.

Image: Animaker

This article, “Animaker Introduces First Animated Vertical Video Platform” was first published on Small Business Trends


How to Use Slack for Your Small Business Team – Free!

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Getting Started With Slack for Free

Slack is a messaging and collaboration system on steroids. The app brings all your team’s communications and files where they are instantly searchable.

You can pretty much do everything in Slack — from keeping tabs on your business finances at a glance while tracking how your customers use your app to getting a daily digest of top news from around the web.

For businesses, Slack offers three packages: Free, Standard and Plus. The last two are paid options. However, you can get started and try Slack for an unlimited time for Free.

Getting Started with Slack for Free

Click on Pricing > Slack for Teams and then choose “Create New Team” under the Free option.

Getting Started With Slack for Free

Enter your email address and click “Next.” A confirmation code will then be sent to your email address. Enter it and once it is confirmed you will be asked to enter your first and last name, followed by your preferred password.

Slack will then ask you to enter your team details. This includes what you intend to use Slack for, your business type as well as the size.

Getting Started With Slack for Free

Enter your business name and Slack will automatically create a URL for your business.

Getting Started With Slack for Free

Invite your Team Members to Join

At this point you can invite your team members to join your Slack team. You can however skip this part until after you are done with setting up.

Getting Started With Slack for Free


The free Slack version provides you with a variety of features including:

  • 10 apps or service integrations
  • Searchable message archives, up to 10k of your team’s most recent messages
  • Native apps for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows Desktop
  • 5GB total file storage for the team
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Two-person voice and video calls

However, if you want group voice call functionality, extra storage space per team member and features like real-time Active Directory sync with OneLogin, Okta, Centrify, and Ping Identity, then you should consider upgrading your account to the paid Standard or Plus plans.

The Standard package starts at $6.67 per month and the Plus begins at $12.50 per month. Both include enhanced features not available in the free package. But they might be useful as your business grows.

Images: Slack

This article, “How to Use Slack for Your Small Business Team – Free!” was first published on Small Business Trends


Where Should Food Businesses Advertise for Biggest Impact? (Infographic)

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Like every other small business, companies in the food sector want to lower costs. One way to do that is to be smart when spending advertising dollars.

New research by Condiment Marketing, an Aurora, Colorado-based firm, provides detailed information on food marketing costs in 2016.

According to the infographic below, online advertising and local marketing provided maximum opportunities for customer engagement.

Food Advertising Statistics

2016 Food Marketing Costs

The report reveals a full-page print ad in a leading food magazine may cost in the range of $2,055 to $8,379. Web advertising in the same magazines ranges from $2,500 a month to $105 CPM.

As far as local marketing is concerned, the research provides a comparative analysis.

Using Denver, Colorado as an example, it shows businesses spending $1,000 a month on Yelp will be exposed to 10,000 of the review site’s users in the area. The Denver Post, on the other hand, will cost a minimum $500 a month for online advertising. Cost for a full-page full-color ad in the Sunday full circulation edition will cost $8,430.

Online Advertising Costs

Social media is of course a channel no small business can afford to ignore today. The report shows Instagram ($5.68 CPM), Facebook ($6.28 CPM) and LinkedIn ($2 CPM) are the most viable means to promote food businesses.

In 2016, food businesses also spent money on Google Adwords. For average cost-per-click (CPC) on the search network, they spent $2.32.

For the study, Condiment Marketing researched media kits published by media sources.

Check out the food advertising statistics in the infographic below for more information.

Food Advertising Statistics

Image: The Condiment Marketing Co.
Food Advertising Featured Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Where Should Food Businesses Advertise for Biggest Impact? (Infographic)” was first published on Small Business Trends


Good News for Franchises? Joint Employment Regs Appear Doomed

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Shot Fired Across The Bow Of Obama-era Joint Employment Regulation

Labor Secretary designee Alexander Acosta’s views on a controversial Obama-era joint employer regulation that business leaders have accused of stunting job creation came to light during his confirmation hearing recently.

His use of the term “untraditional” is being seen by some small business/franchise advocates as the first shot fired across the bow at the expansion of the joint employer standard that has been the subject of extensive debate in the House and Senate.

Groups like the International Franchise Association (IFA) have long argued the expansion allows for a potentially unlimited liability standard that’s widely applied by labor unions and class action attorneys at the cost of job creation by franchises and other small businesses.

Joint Employment Rulings

Two rulings were instrumental in setting the precedent.

In 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) recommended McDonalds USA LLC be named as a joint employer.

Then in 2015, the NLRB ruled that even an “indirect relationship” between two companies was enough to make them both joint employers and therefore liable for a variety of legal actions like human rights and wrongful dismissal violations and overtime and wage class actions.  This relationship extended to franchisees, temporary employees and franchisors.

The rulings signaled a departure from a more traditional view in labor law. The view suggests only a direct employer is responsible for these issues and opened the door for liability that could cascade upward from franchisees to parent companies.

When Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, mentioned the regulation during Acosta’s confirmation hearing, the result sent ripples through the business committee.

Acosta, former member of the National Labor Relations Board and first Hispanic to hold the rank of assistant attorney general in the Justice Department, said the NLRB’s  approach was “untraditional.” The remark has been widely interpreted  to suggest Acosta has a more pro business definition of employer relationships which had existed for decades — before the Obama Administration.

Matt Haller, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the International Franchising Association, applauds what seems to be a more traditional view by the latest Trump administration appointee.

“Franchise owners around the country are facing a great deal of regulatory uncertainty as a result of the wreckage created by the previous administration’s out-of-control Department of Labor,” he said. ” Acosta’s views regarding joint employer during his hearing is an encouraging first step for small business owners everywhere who have faced perpetual uncertainty due to this new, destructive and contrived joint employer standard.”


This article, “Good News for Franchises? Joint Employment Regs Appear Doomed” was first published on Small Business Trends


How to Deal With High Turnover at Your Store

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

How to Reduce Employee Turnover at Your Store

Turnover is part of life in retailing. After all, this industry tends to attract young employees, part-time workers and others who may see retail as a stepping stone rather than a career path. Still, when turnover is higher than usual, it can leave you struggling. If your store is suffering high turnover, here are some steps you should take to reduce employee turnover.

How to Reduce Employee Turnover

Conduct Exit Interviews

When employees quit, find out why they’re leaving. If they’re honest, you’ll learn whether employees are quitting for reasons that have nothing to do with management, such as moving or graduating from school, or whether dissatisfaction with your workplace is driving them away. Do employees consistently quit to get higher pay or more flexible hours elsewhere? Do you have a “bad apple” among your store managers that you don’t know about? When you know a problem exists, you can work to solve it.

Make an Extra Effort to Boost Morale

When employees leave, your remaining workers have to carry extra work for a while — and they may miss their former co-workers, too. Lift their spirits by bringing in donuts or pizza, organizing fun activities or rewarding employees for their hard work with praise or prizes. Feeling appreciated is a huge morale-booster.

Find Out What Your Remaining Employees Want

Make time to talk to your team and see what would make them happier in their jobs. Do they want more responsibility, more recognition or more opportunities for advancement? Retail work can get boringly routine, so offering employees new challenges, such as managing your store’s social media account or training other team members, can renew their enthusiasm for their jobs.

Schedule Better

Last-minute schedule changes, constant miscommunications or inflexible hours can drive retail employees away. Try to give employees their schedules at least one week in advance (ideally, two). Cloud-based employee scheduling apps make it easy to switch the schedule around and instantly tell everyone affected, instead of playing endless rounds of phone tag.

Develop a Backup Plan

Think about what would happen if some of your key employees decided to quit. For example, if your store manager left, is there anyone on staff who could quickly step into the role? If you don’t have a “bench” of qualified employees ready to fill key roles, start developing one. Cross-train your employees so they can perform each other’s jobs. (This is also invaluable when somebody calls in sick.)

Be Prepared

Turnover is inherent to the retail industry, but you can make it easier by being prepared to move quickly. Create job listings you can place at a moment’s notice if someone quits. Know which employees you can call on to work overtime when needed. Have a system in place for bringing new employees on board efficiently and getting them up to speed right away.

Revolving Door Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Deal With High Turnover at Your Store” was first published on Small Business Trends


7 Tips for Telling Content Unicorns from Content Donkeys

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Most of your content is DOA: Dead on Arrival (or maybe Donkey on Arrival).

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

Individuals, businesses, and brands are producing a ridiculously enormous amount of content every minute. That means your content is getting lost in the noise.

But wait. Every marketing expert ever agrees that the secret to content marketing success is creating quality content. And you’re creating quality content, right?

So … why is most of your content still failing?

Simple: Your definition of “quality content” is completely wrong.

Most marketers have bought into some fantasy that it’s about attributes rather than statistics. They evaluate content “quality” based on traits like:

  • Length
  • Visual appeal
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Formatting
  • Readability
  • Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness
  • Overall “value”

No, no, no!

Although these content qualities are important in their own way, they don’t actually define quality content!

Identifying High Quality Content

So what really defines quality content? These seven things.

1. Quality Content Is Defined by Data

Always base your definition of quality content on data. Any other definition will be based on your biased views of your own work.

Data is the only objective way to tell whether your content is a unicorn or a donkey:

  • Unicorn content: This is your best, most magical content, performing among the top 3 percent of all your content. Unicorns rank well in Google (Position 1-3) and drive the most traffic, engagement, and leads.
  • Donkey content: This is your average and below average content. It makes up the remaining 97 percent of your content. But a donkey is still just a donkey — no magic here! Donkeys will never achieve unicorn status.

What’s the difference between high engagement unicorns and low engagement donkeys?

Well, in SEO, it looks like this:

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

The unicorns (the top 10 percent) have 6 times higher click-through rates (CTR) than donkeys (the bottom 10 percent).

On Facebook, it looks like this:

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

The unicorns are 10 times more engaging than the donkeys.

If you look at the most popular pages on your blog or website, you’ll see something like this:

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

For the WordStream blog, 10 percent of our stories generated more than 60 percent of our traffic in 2016.

You’ll also see the difference between high engagement unicorns and low engagement donkeys with search conversion rates:

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

The top 10 percent of offers convert at least 5 times better than donkeys — 11.45 percent or higher vs. 2.35 percent or lower (based on WordStream customer data).

You may have heard of the 80/20 rule (AKA the Pareto principle). It’s been interpreted in marketing to mean that 80 percent of your profits come from 20 percent of your customers or 20 percent of your efforts lead to 80 percent of your results.

Well, here’s a new law you need to know.

The Unicorn Power Law: most of your value comes from a tiny fraction of your content.

Your data will reveal that fraction of your content — the true top quality content.

2. Quality Content Achieves Marketing Objectives

You should define content quality based on how much you get out of it, not how much time and money you put into it.

Imagine you own a baseball team and need to add a hitter to your lineup. Are you going to sign a player based on his height or how handsome he is? Or how well he speaks? Or maybe how many social media followers he has?

NO! You want to score runs!

You would look at things that matter, like statistics — hits, home runs, on-base percentage, etc. You know, how the player actually performed on the field.

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

Great baseball players come in all shapes and sizes.

The same is true of quality content.

Unicorn content can be long or short, have zero images or 10, and have a couple spelling errors or totally perfect grammarization.

Ultimately, it’s about whether your content achieves its marketing goal, whether that’s generating traffic, rankings, engagement or conversions.

3. Quality Content Ranks Well in Google

Google uses machine learning as part of its RankBrain algorithm, which is used on every search. One thing all machine learning systems have in common: they reward high engagement.

How does Google measure engagement? I believe it’s through a combination of click-through rate (people are clicking on your content) and dwell time (people are spending time and/or engaging with your content).

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

CTR is important for SEO because, for every three percent increase or decrease in CTR you experience, your position can go up or down by one spot.

Meanwhile, data reveals how Google is slowly eliminating traffic to pages with low dwell time (the amount of time people spend on your website after clicking on your search result listing). We can’t measure dwell time, but time on site is proportional to dwell time.

Look at WordStream’s top pages before RankBrain:

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

Eight of our top 32 pages had below average time on site.

Here are our top pages after RankBrain:

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

Now only two pages are donkeys? Wow!

Google SERP positions used to be mainly determined by who had the most/best links and most relevant content. While those remain important ranking factors, now it’s equally important that people engage with your content if you want to rank well.

4. Quality Content Has Remarkable CTR

Before Google used machine learning as an organic search ranking signal, Google used machine learning in AdWords (they also use it for the Google Display Network, Gmail Ads, and YouTube ads).

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

If your AdWords ad has a higher Quality Score, you pay less and your ad appears more prominently; if your ad has a lower Quality Score, you pay more and your ad impression share is much lower.

What is the most important AdWords Quality Score signal? A remarkable click-through rate.

Facebook and Twitter both copied the AdWords idea. These social advertising platforms also reward high engagement content with much lower costs per engagement and more visibility. Low engagement content is penalized, which makes promoting junk content very expensive.

Google, Facebook and Twitter incentivize high engagement content. If your content doesn’t make lots of people click, then it isn’t quality content.

5. Quality Content Has Lots of Social Media Engagement

We just briefly covered social media ads, but what about organic engagement on Facebook? Well, Facebook also uses machine learning to reward engagement. It works like this:

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

This is why fake news thrived on Facebook. It was all about engagement.

People clicked on, shared and commented on the fake news because it validated their existing biases, not because it was “quality content.” Facebook’s algorithms favored content popularity over authority, which helped the stories spread to more peoples’ news feeds.

Obviously, fake news = bad. We’re totally against it. But you can learn from it.

To capture the attention of social media users, you need content that triggers an emotional response. Only content that achieves high engagement on social media can truly be called quality.

6. Quality Content Converts

Quality content has higher conversion rates. If you can get people to click, it’s more likely they’ll ultimately convert, whether it’s signing up for a webinar, filling out a registration form, or buying a product or service.

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

If you want more people to click, increasing brand affinity is the best way to do it. People who know your brand are more likely to choose you over brands they’ve never heard of.

7. Quality Content Does Well on Every Channel

Unicorns are the pinnacle of quality content.

Some content might do well on one channel. But unicorns do well on every channel, whether it’s SEO, CRO, PPC, social (paid and organic), or email.

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

Unicorn content does well on social media and tends to rank and convert well; content that ranks well in organic search tends to have high engagement on social media and convert well, and so on.

Conversely, content that fails in one channel is likely to fail in another. Content that fails to rank well in organic search won’t have high engagement on social media and it will have a terrible conversion rate.

At the heart of unicorn content is a truly remarkable, engaging and inspiring idea. So if you want your marketing — and your company — to be more successful, you need to come up with better ideas.

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

Promoting a donkey won’t turn it into a unicorn. You’ll only waste time and money.

Instead, focus all your efforts on promoting your powerful and valuable unicorns. Promote your unicorns on every channel when you find them to amplify their impact by 100 times or even 1000 times and drive even more traffic, engagement and leads.

What REALLY Defines Quality Content

What Does High Quality Content Look Like? 7 Hallmarks of a Site Unicorn

Content marketing is an unfair game. If you want to win you need to stop relying on your gut (which is really just your opinion and, by nature, biased) and look at unbiased statistics.

Content marketing is about output, not input!

Stop looking at content attributes. Start looking at data to find your truly high-quality content. Start optimizing for engagement and you’ll find huge content wins.

When you find that super rare unicorn content, capitalize on it! Leverage the heck out of it on every channel to maximize your marketing ROI.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Images: WordStream

This article, “7 Tips for Telling Content Unicorns from Content Donkeys” was first published on Small Business Trends