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    A best practice in clear communications is the “rule of three.” In math, the rule of three suggests that if there are three known numbers, the fourth unknown number X can be solved. Application of this idea is found in “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Musketeers,” and The Bible (e.g., Father, Son and Holy Ghost). In marketing, the principle posits that content written in three’s is memorable and pleasing to the audience.

    Communicating three ideas resonates with a target audience. When strategically focusing on a client’s messaging, we always try to distill three core concepts that clearly differentiate them from the competition. This helps our client stand far above the sea of marketing clutter and clearly defines their value proposition to their target audience. These three core messages shouldn’t relate to an audience’s built-in expectations such as on-time delivery, high levels of service, or 1,000 years of combined experience. They should uniquely communicate how you serve customers, and they should inspire action.

    Here are some questions to help you form your own rule of three:

    1. In one sentence, what does your company do best?

    2. What three things, in order of importance, do you want the market to know about your company?

    3. What differentiates your company from the competition?

    An introspective thought process to answer these questions is the genesis of a solid strategic branding campaign for your company. Using your own rule of three helps your message become more meaningful and memorable to your desired audience. The results are better ROI, strengthened brand recognition and sales growth.

    If you need help, we specialize in building strategic inbound marketing programs for a diversity of clients. We would be happy to discuss how you can define and communicate your unique rule of three. Contact us at info@x-factormarketing.com.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_three_(writing), https://calcuworld.com/math/rule-of-three-calculator/

    Born in 384 BC and often referred to as “the father of Western philosophy,” Aristotle contributed an abundance of important concepts to our society. His interests and prolific studies covered physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, music, poetry, theater, psychology, politics and more.

    Perhaps his greatest contribution to the marketing world were insights into persuasion: a foundational aspect of any results-based marketing campaign. Aristotle believed that “ethos,” “pathos” and “logos” were necessary for effective persuasion.

    Ethos is what is often preached in today’s “artificial world” of social media. It is the Greek word for “character” and the root of the word “ethic.” Ethos enables the audience to view you or your message as authentic and credible. Ethos can be created through tactics that create trust such as articles, success stories, case studies, testimonials, personal videos, resumes and more.

    Pathos deals with appealing emotionally to an audience. Aristotle understood that humans are emotionally driven, and therefore, that their purchasing behavior is based in emotion. Pathos is the Greek word for “experience” – strong emotional hooks that appeal to a person’s value system inspire action. These emotions can be reached through persuasive messaging and visuals that makes the audience feel like they need a product or service.

    Logos is an appeal to the analytical decision-making process through logic or reason. The word “logic” is derived from the Greek word “logos.” This is the fact-based dimension of Aristotle’s persuasive success manual. This includes communicating historical or product-based data that are true and believable to the target audience. Audiences who are analytically driven such as engineers and architects tend to prefer more Logos in the content they consume.

    Make sure your marketing contains all Aristotle’s elements for increased response. If it’s all still Greek to you, contact us at info@x-factormarketing.com. We’d be happy to discuss building a highly persuasive inbound marketing program for you.

    Sources: https://pathosethoslogos.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

    If you are a business owner, tough choices are likely an everyday occurrence. Assembling all the right pieces to ensure your business is running like a well-oiled machine is critical. When it comes to marketing, the ideal scenario is a steady flow of interested and educated prospects for your products and services. Following up on prequalified leads requires less persuasion because the prospect has advanced midway through the purchasing behavior cycle by the time you contact them.

    To achieve this level of marketing synergy, a business owner can do the following:

    1. Hire a person internally to run the inbound marketing program. This might consist of social media and pay-per-click management and reporting, analytics reviews and written content that achieves high search rankings. These staff positions range in salary from 40K+ (plus benefits), depending on experience.

    2. Outsource to a team of inbound marketing experts to handle all of the above.

    The benefits to hiring a person internally are (a) their focused oversight of the program, (b) their ability to meet in-person and on-demand and (c) their access to the day-to-day events at your company for social media posts. The limitations include that (a) they are only one person, (b) they are probably limited to a single skillset and (c) they are likely not holistically knowledgeable about inbound marketing best practices. A prominent negative is: Recent studies show that 50% of all new hires quit or are fired within 6 months (Source: Humetrics)

    For the same (or less) money required for a marketing associate’s annual salary, an experienced team of inbound marketing specialists can be retained to create, execute and measure the marketing program. The main benefit of this approach is that it builds a multidisciplinary team of content writers, SEO experts and web designers who apply best practices they learned from inbound campaigns for other clients. You’ll receive a subjective appraisal and suggestions for necessary modifications of your company’s marketing message. To prove the results, review analytical insights of the key performance indicators of your campaign monthly. All of this without vacation pay and benefits!

    It is helpful to have an internal person as a messaging conduit to the external marketing team. This could include providing current information regarding your company and/or shooting candid photography and video within the company. However, none of this requires a marketing degree or formal training.

    To substantially move the marketing needle, an outsourced marketing team will make a greater impact over a single internal hire. For more information on outsourcing your inbound marketing campaign, or to request a quote, contact info@x-factormarketing.com.

    It is easy to assume Google dominates search, and rightly so. In 2018, Google Search made up more than 90% of all worldwide searches. Looking at those figures, why would any business invest in advertising in Bing Ads? Below are a few compelling reasons why advertising on Bing should be part of your inbound marketing strategy to maximize your business’s online visibility.

    Look at these stats from Microsoft in 2018 for all industries searched:

    • The Bing Network audience spent 36% more online when shopping from their desktop computers than average internet searchers.
    • 137 million unique users searched on Bing.
    • There were 6 billion monthly searches on desktop.
    • Bing owns 34.7% of the desktop search market in the US.
    1. Bing focuses on desktop users who are older and have more wealth and buying power. If you are a distributor or manufacturer of industrial products, Bing might be a good fit for you. If you are selling the latest electronic gadgets with a short shelf life, Google may be more effective. You simply need to understand your target audience, demographic, and user behavior.
    2. Bing Ads are cheaper. The average cost-per-click on Bing Ads can be up to 70% lower than AdWords. Noting this significant cost differential, consider the audience size of Bing and the cost to market your products in that channel. Selling and promoting your products and services using Bing could have an effective reach at an economical price.
    3. There is simply less competition for visibility on Bing. With Google owning the majority of search inquiries, it is much harder to stand out among the competition. Microsoft states that ignoring Bing for paid search is alienating over 60 million users per month that Google does not reach. You are not only ignoring Bing but also Yahoo and AOL. All three search engines are owned by Microsoft.  What if you could capture that traffic without competing against dozens of advertisers?

    Ignoring Bing in the US is tantamount to ignoring 34% of the search market. It’s important you do your homework on your target users’ search behavior and determine whether you would gain more reach using Bing for paid search. X-Factor Web Marketing can help you determine if your business is right for advertising on Bing. We can also help you design a paid search program for both Bing Ads and Google Adwords that will provide measurable results.

    So you’ve created a YouTube channel, yet you have no views on your videos? There are several easy things you can do right now to increase your channel traffic. First things first, add a YouTube icon on your website to link viewers from your website to your YouTube channel and influence more traffic. YouTube remains the leading source for video file-sharing and can be a powerful business-to-business networking tool. An added benefit of hosting videos on YouTube is that every channel is free and offers unlimited bandwidth, which saves you money by not using extra memory and bandwidth on your paid hosting site.

    If you want your YouTube channel and videos to stand apart from your competitors’, start using Annotations – a unique way to add text, links to other videos, playlists and channels right into your video. This is a good way to engage your audience and create a call-to-action, feedback requests and clickable links. Adding annotations to your videos also gives viewers something to do once the video is finished. You can direct viewers to another video, your channel, or just ask them to subscribe to your channel.

    Having a custom YouTube channel is another way to make a great first impression. How better to show off your logo and products than with a custom background and themes and colors that better match your brand? To see examples of custom YouTube channels designed by X-Factor Web Marketing, visit www.youtube.com/southernglove and www.youtube.com/muratamachinery.

    When creating your YouTube channel, use specific keywords on your video’s title and description to maximize the opportunity for them to be easily found in search-engine searches. Keywords can and should include anything within your niche.

    Just like Google, YouTube has analytics that can give you valuable information about your visitors. By simply checking your insight data once a week, you can determine how your videos are performing, how people are finding your content, and who is watching. Explore ways to increase your channel-discovery and viewership by adjusting your keywords, video titles and descriptions every month.

    Add your URL to your profile and videos. By doing so, you allow viewers to learn more about your company by giving them a quick link back to the website.

    Review your comments. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your comments, delete any spam and always follow up on questions being asked or positive reviews.

    Just a few hours a week can make a huge difference in your online marketing efforts and keep visitors coming back.

    By Mary Lou Yelton

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