explainer video

5 Simple Reasons Your Business Needs an Explainer Video

What if –

  • You could increase your email click-through rate by 200% to 300%,
  • Raise the understanding of your product or service by 74%, or
  • Condense 1.8 million words of a marketing pitch into 1 minute?

Chances are, you would – and you wouldn’t be alone.

All three of these statistics describe one of the most important mediums around – video. At Resourceful Business (RB), we’re big fans of explainer videos, in particular, videos that cleverly explain or grow the understanding of your product or service. But, don’t let the animations or whimsical drawings of an explainer fool you. They are powerful marketing tools and much in demand.

Here are 5 simple reasons your business needs an explainer video:

1. Explainers work hand in hand with social media

Businesses continue to push into social media, now an essential part of multi-channel marketing. Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular social networks with 1.71 billion and 500 million active monthly users, respectively. On Facebook, videos can be up to 120 minutes in length, and Instagram permits videos up to 60 seconds. Explainers often run about one minute, and therefore, work well on both platforms, and the statistics are mind-boggling.  The amount of average daily video views doubled on Facebook from 4 billion to 8 billion between April and November 2015.

2. Videos can amplify your brand and define your value proposition

While a host of facts and figures can make a pretty tedious article, sprinkled into an explainer, they promote a company’s strengths and brand in an engaging and memorable way. Key points can be weaved into the script, and in fact, we believe there are four must-haves in an explainer video script:

  • A clear description of a problem or pain point
  • The value proposition – how your product or service solves the problem
  • Differentiators – strengths which make the product, service or approach unique
  • A compelling call to action

With these components in place, an effective explainer video can get the desired message across, boost a company’s brand recognition, and define the value proposition in a persuasive way.

explainers simplify difficult concepts

3. Explainers can simplify difficult concepts

In any industry, there are complicated ideas, workflows, and products. Explainer videos are an excellent way to help customers visualize what a product or service can do. They can take the viewer from point A to point B without large chunks of text, and explainers have an added benefit – people remember video. According to the Online Publishers Association, 80% of Internet users recall a video ad they watched in the last 30 days.

video increases engagement

(Image Source)

4. Videos give websites an SEO boost

If your business has a website, no doubt you are familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), strategies used to drive visitors to a site. Explainer videos give websites an SEO boost in several different ways. As examples, video increases the amount of time visitors spend on a website, and it also lowers the bounce rate because people often visit other pages beyond the original landing page. Multimedia content such as video can also be viewed by search engines as indicative of content quality, so varying the types of content on a website to include video is a helpful optimization strategy too.

 

Age matters in online video consumption

5. Video has massive audience reach

YouTube has over a billion users, and the demographic profile of video consumption in the US skews towards Millennials and Generation X, peak consumer spending years. The advantage of an explainer video is that in addition to being on a company’s website, it can be hosted on video-sharing sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. Video-sharing sites have an expansive reach and even extend to international audiences; 70% of Vimeo users, for example, are outside of the United States.

So, don’t underestimate explainers; they are powerful digital marketing tools. Video can tell a brand story or simplify complicated concepts, broaden audience reach and help boost website page rank. Engaging to watch, sometimes animated and playful, explainers are nevertheless a must-have digital marketing asset for business.

 

CMS

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Content Management System For Your Startup

Every business strategy, from marketing to manufacturing, is spun around improving customer satisfaction. This truism is no news to us, but the notable fact is that it applies to even our business website and content. Why? Because if you wish to build a customer-centric company, your website – the face of your company, should reflect the same.

You need a strong content management system (CMS) which makes it possible for your website to adapt to and evolve with your customers’ ever-changing tastes and preferences. Especially if you are a startup, you have to make sure that you are picking the right CMS for your company since, for most startups, the major conversion point from a lead to a customer is the website.

A content management system can indeed help you effectively create and manage your digital content, and it can provide an interface for all your employees to collaborate within; some of the most famous ones include WordPress and Joomla (see more). The type of content management system you choose for your company can make or break your whole marketing setup, which makes it absolutely crucial to select the right CMS.

Here are a few basic questions you need to ask yourself to ensure that you pick the right content management system:

1. Can you edit the content easily?

Before investing in a tool, it is paramount that you find out how easy the CMS is to work with, especially for content editing. Check to see if you can easily insert images, update texts, upload documents etc. It is also important to check if it’s easy to add new web pages. Why? Your website needs to change with the demands, requirements, and trends, and the CMS should make that easy for you. Ask your web partner to give you a thorough demo of the CMS so that you can get firsthand experience before investing in it and thereby make an informed choice to purchase.

Here’s the takeaway: Make sure that the CMS is very intuitive and friendly to use for both the tech and non-tech employees.

SEO-friendly CMS

2. Is it SEO-friendly?

One of the most important points to remember is don’t choose a CMS which can negatively impact your efforts to search-optimize your content.

Here are some things you must keep in mind:

  • The CMS must allow you to add unique titles and labels for your post, tailored to suit the content of the page and also SEO optimized.
  • The URLs the CMS generates for your web pages should be neat and simple, instead of www.abc.com/page189$XZ2–that’s not good for your SEO.
  • Your platform must be able to integrate with other SEO optimization tools.

3. Did you check to see how secure the platform is?

Hire a web designer or a tech expert to analyze the potential security issues and see if your CMS can address them or can accommodate tools that can address them. For example, if someone hacks your website, what actions will the CMS company take? To clarify the security issues, you should also take the time to read the online reviews about your CMS company, get in touch with previous users and get a first-hand opinion if possible.

For example, if the existing users tell you that they are having to constantly upgrade their system with security code patches, that’s not a very good sign and you probably should consider a different CMS company.

CMS licensing fees

4. Does the CMS require any licensing fees?

There might be some costs you are neglecting, and for a startup, that might not bode well.

For some CMS platforms, a one-time fee or a licensing fee may be required to use the product unconditionally, which in many cases is reasonable. But for some platforms, you might incur additional charges whenever you want to update or upgrade, and you must keep such costs in mind before picking out a platform. In some cases, even adding additional plugins and extensions might cost you. Make sure you know how much cost the CMS platform might incur now and in the future too.

5. Will the CMS work with your server or technical configurations?

Not all website hosters are compatible with all content management systems. You must make sure that your CMS will work perfectly with your IT configurations. If you are not adept at doing so, hire a freelancer to help you check whether the CMS is compatible with your web server, because obviously you shouldn’t end up spending your dollars on a tool that might not even work for you.

In many cases, your IT configurations block out a number of websites, especially those that seem like personal blogs.  Check to see these limitations first. For example, some IT departments block-out the majority of the WordPress blogs and in such cases, you won’t be able to access the platform using your office IT configurations. Not good!

tracking web analytics with your CMS

6. Can the CMS accommodate web analytics?

If you are running a business, you need metrics to measure your progress. That makes it extremely important to ensure that your CMS will accommodate the tracking and measuring of your performance. You must check to see if it can integrate with analytics tools like Google Webmaster and Google Analytics.

To measure your lead generation and lead activity and understand how you are doing and what changes you might need to implement, your CMS must also be able to integrate with lead generation tools.

Final Thoughts

Here’s the takeaway. Selecting the right content management system requires two things:

  • List your needs, requirements and business goals
  • Strip down the CMS feature by feature and review each one to understand how well it fits with the above list

About Niraj Ranjan Rout

Niraj is the CEO and Founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. Read more about Hiver in Business Insider, Inc., Hubspot, and Lifehack.

Follow Niraj on Twitter @nirajr

search-friendly blog

What are 10 Ways to Make a Blog More Search-Friendly?

It’s no wonder almost everyone seems to be blogging these days. WordPress.com estimates that there are 56 million new blog posts and almost 47 million new comments on those posts hosted on its network every month. The numbers would be larger if they included blogs outside the WordPress.com network. Even more staggering – these blogs are reaching 409 million people every month.

As if writing compelling blog content wasn’t difficult enough, the sheer number of blogs being written have created a monumental challenge – writing a blog people can actually find. In the midst of 56 million other blogs posted each month, businesses are struggling to position their blog so it can reach more people. Luckily, there are a few search marketing tips that can help.

Here are 10 ways to make a blog more search-friendly:

1. Create a blog title that “speaks” to your audience

Bloggers know to craft blog titles which incorporate keywords used in the content. However, voice search is starting to change the rules of search engine optimization (SEO) and may impact the way blog titles are written. A recent Google blog reported, “…mobile voice searches more than doubled in the past year,” and when people use voice search, they typically ask questions as if they are having a conversation. So, keywords are still important in a blog title, but the title should also be conducive to how someone might ask a question and use key prompts such as what, when, where, why and who.

2. Ask a question in the blog title

In the title, if you can capture a question your audience is asking, natural next steps for them are to want the answer to that question and read the blog. For this reason, blog titles with questions get a higher click-through rate than titles without questions. This format also gives the blog practical utility; in other words, it fills an information void for the reader and becomes a must-read blog, not just a nice to read one.

blogs with a number in the title

3. Put a number in your blog title

People are more inclined to click on a blog title with a number. Why? Hubspot suggests three reasons:

  • Readers perceive the content to be more actionable because it has a list of steps, actions, lessons, or tips.
  • The blog is more easily scanned, and readers know they can jump in and read just part of the piece.
  • Numbers in the title also give the reader a clue as to the length of the blog.

4. Keep the blog title length within guidelines

Although it may be tempting to write whatever title suits the blog, ultimately a lengthy title will be truncated in the Google search snippet. When the title is too long, Google algorithms will cut off some of the text and put ellipses, the three dots at the end. Write a short, punchy title that includes your keyword(s), and when possible, leave room for the business name which WordPress will add in for you. Edit your title in your content management system and use a handy tool to help, such as the one offered by Moz. I have amended the title tag for this blog, for example, to show:

What are 10 Ways to Make a Blog More Search-Friendly?

Left unedited, it would appear:

What are 10 Ways to Make a Blog More Search-Friendly? | R…

5. Segment the blog using subheads

Segmenting a blog is essential. It is visually easier to read a blog that is broken into smaller, more consumable pieces. Most people are short on time, so they scan a blog and read the subheads first to see if anything piques their interest. They provide different points that may entice the reader to jump in partway through the blog.

Subheads are also key elements of the blog hierarchy and are searchable. They provide another opportunity to use keywords. So, well-written subheads allow readers and search engines more chances to find essential aspects of your content.

6. Use tags to give the blog content hierarchy

Some content in a blog is more important than others. The blog title is more important than the subhead titles; the subhead titles are more important than the paragraph text below them. Hierarchy is a slightly technical aspect of blogging, but both essential to understand and easily accomplished! Tag the blog title as Heading 1 or H1 if your platform does not automatically do so, and tag subhead titles Heading 2 or H2 in the content management system to denote their importance in the blog. You can find the Heading 1, Heading 2 tags in the Paragraph drop-down menu in WordPress.

7. Add alternative text to your images

Images are an excellent way to break up longform content like a blog. They can also help make the blog search-friendly and optimize SEO. Content management systems have an image field labeled “alt text,” which stands for alternative text, and it allows you to write a few words that describe the image. Alt text is shown if someone viewing the blog utilizes a device which cannot show the image. It is also picked up in search and provides another opportunity to use relevant keywords that bring people back to your blog.

tags and categories in a blog

8. Label a blog with carefully considered categories and tags

Blogs should be assigned relevant categories and tags. Both are organizing systems, or taxonomies, which allow the reader to search for blogs by topic. My favorite explanation of the difference is by Morten Rand-Hendriksen. He describes categories as the broad system that allows the grouping of similar types of content, and there can be hierarchical relationships between categories. Tags, on the other hand, have no relationship to other tags but rather can help identify content areas covered in the blog. An example he uses is a person’s closet. Jackets, pants and skirts are the equivalent of categories. You probably group your clothes in this way in the closet. Information such as dry clean only, 100% cotton, or made in the USA would be tags. People wouldn’t organize their closet by the tags, but tags represent useful information nevertheless.

9. Err on the side of simplicity for the blog writing style

By some estimates, the average reading level in the United States is equivalent to that of a 7th or 8th grader, and it’s a statistic worth keeping in mind when writing a blog. In an interesting article that looked at the effect of complex writing on readership, Shane Snow found that simpler blogs get more reach and argued, “…we should aim to reduce complexity in our writing as much as possible…. Our readers will comprehend and retain our ideas more reliably. And we’ll have a higher likelihood of reaching more people.”

Some SEO plugins include a reading ease score for exactly this reason. Readability is a ranking factor in search, but it is unclear that simplicity just for simplicity’s sake has distinct advantages, especially if the content really is about a complex topic. Therefore, align the writing complexity to the content and err on the side of simplicity for more widespread reach.

10. Use bullet points in your blog

In 2015, Google confirmed that for the first time in the US, more Google searches were done on mobile devices than computers. The shift means that more content will be consumed on mobile devices as well, and that content includes blogs. Bullet points are an important construct in the new mobile paradigm because they:

  • break content into easily consumable bits
  • can be formatted to highlight keywords or concepts
  • are viewed favorably in search algorithms
  • can be easily scanned by the reader
  • are mobile-friendly
  • visually break up paragraph style longform blogs

So, in addition to creating well-written content, take the time to learn how to structure your blog in a way that can be more easily picked up in search. There are beginner’s guides to get you started, and as the WordPress.com statistics show, blogging is well worth the effort and a viable way to reach your audience. Follow our 10 tips for a more search-friendly blog and one that can stand apart in a very crowded field.

If you’re struggling to write a monthly post or have no idea how to optimize it, we can assist you! Contact us at (973) 218-6558 or email team@resourcefulbusiness.com. We can help you with your blogging and make it search-friendly too!

Leverage the Inbound Marketing Traffic from your Blog

Motivating companies to organize a blog for their website can be challenging. Often the management of the company do not see the value of it, there is no one who really wants to write it, and the cost of an outside blogger can be expensive. It’s hard. The true marketing power of blogging begins with creative, original content. A great blog can drive visitor traffic back to your website, especially if you understand a little about on-page search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is the ideation, creation and sharing of content with the goal of increasing traffic to your website. Both the content and the target audience should be strategically planned. Inbound marketing only works when you figure out the right content and get it to the right people. There is no better vehicle than a great blog. You wonder whether traditional marketing campaigns can achieve the same results? Not if you know how to leverage the inbound marketing traffic from your blog. Here’s how.

social media

1. Send your blog link out with social media

Use social media to get the word out about your blog. Keep the headline short, around 60 characters. Link the headline to your blog so that people can click-through to your website blog page. If you are using WordPress, make sure to choose a Featured Image for the blog and upload it so that the social media networks populate the picture along with your blog. See our recent blog on the importance of imagery, Why You Must Fix Your Company’s Social Media Imagery and How.

email

2. Add a link to your email signature with your blog

Each time you send an email, take the opportunity to share your blog. Throw in your company name as well and then link it back to the blog on your website. You can place the blog link right below your regular signature.

Name
Title at ABC Company
Contact Details at ABC Company
ABC Company is blogging about Really Neat Topic

 

long tail keywords

3. Include keywords and long tail keywords in your blog

In the main copy of the blog, include keywords or tags, which best describe the important concepts in your blog. Think search. What themes are you talking about and what words might someone use to search for these topic areas? Find long tail keywords, or longer phrases that are specific to your topic, and include those as well as they can attract a more targeted audience. There are several free keyword suggest applications like Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool, which you can use to research the best keywords and long tail keywords.

4. Use image tags

Images are a powerful tool that can drive engagement for your website. Website pictures have image tags. After choosing great photos for your blog, ensure that you have written alternative text or “Alt Text” for each image used. Alt Text is read by text bots, and image tags identify your picture, which increases the chances of it being displayed in search. The effective use of Alt Text is often overlooked, and it can drive traffic back to your website by optimizing images in search.

5. Segment with Subheadings

Partition the blog into core points or themes and use subheads. Each of those subheads can include keywords and phrases that explain the main points of your blog. The phrases should be identified as Heading 3 or Heading 4, a technical attribute which gives the headline more weight in search. When your blog is shared in social media, the subheadings can be used as talking points and sent out as separate headlines on social media with links back to the blog.

Hopefully, you have been persuaded that a blog is not just a digital platform to put your thoughts in writing. Rather, it is a powerful inbound marketing tool that can leverage traffic back to your website where you can share your expertise. You can educate potential customers on common questions and showcase the services of your business. In the call to action, you can encourage a dialogue and hopefully gain a new customer!

If you are ready to leverage the inbound marketing traffic of your blog but feel you could still use some assistance, email us, or call (973) 218-6558 today.