Aztek Blog
Aztek is a web design, web application development, and digital marketing agency in Cleveland, Ohio who blogs about those very same topics.

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4 Ways to Keep Your Email Marketing List Squeaky Clean

Email marketing can be one of the most effective (and cost-effective) digital marketing activities. But like anything else, email marketing requires constant maintenance. On average, 25-30% of your email list will "churn" every year. Churn means subscribers that have disengaged, left their company, changed their email address, and unsubscribed.

The scarier part? If it appears that you're sending to too many invalid or disengaged email addresses, you risk harming your sending reputation. Or even worse, you're labeled as a SPAM mailer by many email clients and email firewalls. And that means your emails never reach the inbox.


7 Reasons Why Blogging is Important for Business

Educational and valuable content is the cornerstone of every digital marketing campaign. In many cases, agencies recommend companies to create dynamic content through their blog. However, business owners are a little bit skeptical about blogging. Questions such as "does blogging really work" are so common that we have decided to share the benefits of blogging as an answer to this question.

Blogging has many benefits and here's data to back this up:

1) Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.

The end goal of all marketing campaigns is to reach goals while providing a return on investment. This statistic should motivate you to create valuable content on a regular basis.


What Is Digital Marketing & Why Do I Need It?

People in an office

You've created a product or brand that you know your core audience will love. You made sure to update your website, your products have been beautifully photographed and your checkout process is easy. Now, you sit back with a smile on your face, proud of all the work you've just done and wait for orders to roll in. Except, the orders don't start rolling in.

Where are your customers? Why aren't they buying the product you've created specifically to solve their problems?

In the era of digital marketing, this is a problem that is seen far too often. Creating a product for your customers is only beneficial if the customer knows that you and your products exist. Now, most industries are saturated with similar companies, products, and offerings. The quality of your digital marketing is the key to improving your brand presence and making your company stand out from the crowd.


Why the time is now to invest in B2B E-commerce

Predicting the next trend or technology to hit the B2B digital landscape is a fun and sometimes overwhelming task. As we become familiar with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), it's hard to imagine how different the digital sector could look within the next decade.

Although we're not sure how things could evolve, one thing that won't change is the importance of providing an engaging customer experience. An experience that relies less on sales teams, and more on personalized digital marketing strategies. In turn, these strategies engage leads, educates and make sales online. Yes, you read that correctly. Make sales!


Chat Tool Tips: How to Get Started With Live Chat

You may have seen or considered using a chat tool to help visitors turn into potential customers. And there's data to show how chat tools can help. According to VentureBeat, over 45 percent of consumers say they would rather contact a business through messaging than email. Nearly half (49.4 percent) would rather contact a business through messaging than the phone. Messaging continues to grow and be an expected form of communication for many customers.


Why Is Marketing Automation Important? 97% of Visitors Don't Convert.

On average, 97% of website visitors won't ever identify themselves. They won't fill out a contact form, call you, or give you any form of information.

Let's think about that in perspective. If you're a small business with a limited web presence (let's say you have 1,000 visitors to your website each month), you're missing out on 970 opportunities to engage with prospects. Even scarier, if you're a larger business with a steady flow of visitors, you could be missing out on tens- or hundreds of thousands of opportunities each month. Yikes.

So how do you take advantage of these missed opportunities? Using marketing automation, you can leverage the power of lead nurturing and website prospecting to convert more of these anonymous visitors into actual leads or customers.


3 Things You Need to Know When Marketing to Millennials

According to Pew Research Center, the Millennial generation is defined as people born between 1981 and 1997. We've got Gen X as our older siblings and the good ol' Baby Boomers for parents. Yet, Millennials now make up most of the workforce. Chances are, you're reaching out and signing deals with a room full of millennials and maybe they're even holding the pen. Here are 3 things you need to know about marketing to millennials. 

(Full disclosure: written by a 26-year-old millennial and it is generally frowned upon to generalize a group of people based on their age, etc.)


How to Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts

You did it. You wrote an insightful and interesting blog post for your company. And honestly, that's the most important, and sometimes most difficult, step. However, many times businesses feel they wasted their efforts writing a great blog post to find hardly anyone read it. Making sure you keep some SEO best practices in mind can help ensure your great content is seen.

Below are eight steps to write an SEO-friendly blog post.

1. Define your target audience.

As simple as it sounds, it's sometimes easily forgotten. We see too often people who write about what they know or about their company news. If they truly knew their target audience, they would know that these topics don't resonate with them. Defining your audience before you start, will keep you focused on the right content. As a starting point, learn how to create personas then make these even more specific to your blog.


4 Traits of a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

The numbers show that the amount invested in content marketing strategy is projected to rise to over 300 billion dollars by 2019. Once again proving that content marketing is here to stay.

To help make sure you are on the right track, we put together four traits that every successful content marketing strategy has. With these, you’ll better understand how to engage your target audience, how to measure success, and how to communicate this approach with your team.

1. You become a target market expert.

In a survey completed by the Content Marketing Institute, research stated that only 9% of B2B marketers believe their organization's use of content marketing is "very effective."

If you are one of those marketers looking to take your content marketing to the next level, it is important to make sure you have done the following for your own content marketing strategy:

  • Outline a business case
  • Establish target audience and objectives (what are you helping your target audience achieve)
  • Develop a content strategy (voice, types of content, site, and channels)
  • Define goals and set up proper tracking

Putting something like this together at first may not come easy. But, the time and money saved long term is well worth it. More importantly, having the ability to understand your target audience, their needs, and pain points is vital.

2.You now look at data differently.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, states it perfectly when talking about the importance of data: "Data really powers everything that we do." Yes, it is important to know demographics and develop personas. But, what about those bottom line hard numbers? Metrics like:

  • How many people are searching for your product or service online?
  • Of those people, how many are you actively engaging with?
  • When engaging with them, how many convert to leads?
  • Finally, of those leads, how many become customers?

If you are struggling to answer any of these questions for your business, this is a big problem. When your goal is to impact your target audience through relevant content, you must start with understanding what they are searching for. Fortunately, with awesome tools like Google AdWords, Brightedge, etc., you're able to analyze high volume keywords that align well with your business.

It's important to also note how these numbers affect goals and tracking within a website. Understanding search volume for keywords allows you to set realistic goals when it comes to engagement and traffic. Over time, if you stay persistent with tracking these numbers, you will set your business up to see consistent results month after month.

3. You start to realize that conversions are not the end all be all.

Let's be honest. In the perfect world, a business would be able to provide value, promote their product or service, and complete a sale all within one touch point. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons (hint: the internet), these types of sales are becoming harder and harder to come by. Nearly 60 percent of the customer journey being completed before wanting to speak with sales. This means the content you provide before your customer is even looking to buy is more important than ever. Staying top of mind takes mapping out your buyer's journey. This will allow you to then select channels to promote your content and start to track each channels' success.

After having a better understanding of which types of content you need, you must also track its impact. Not all content is created to produce sales or qualified leads. This is especially to keep in mind when establishing tracking metrics.

Take, for example, a company blog or industry-broad YouTube video. This should be measured on engagement and conversation, rather than sales or lead generation. Reason being, these are created to provide industry knowledge, not necessarily to generate sales or leads. On the other hand, client testimonials should be heavily measured on qualified leads or conversions. To give you a more in-depth understanding of how this can work for you, learn more about creating a predictable lead generation model.

4. You now understand the importance of sales and marketing alignment.

I never quite understood how sales and marketing, who align around the same goals, could struggle to work together. Whether it deciding what content to create or what a qualified lead is, there is one thing for certain. If you want to maximize growth through content marketing, it’s going to take a team effort from sales and marketing. Having this conversation can, at first, be a little uncomfortable. To show proof why sales and marketing alignment is important, look no further than a study called "Sales and Marketing Alignment: A Primer on Successful Collaboration" by the Aberdeen Group. It found that marketing and sales teams who are organized and aligned see an average of 32% year-over-year growth, compared to less aligned groups who see a 7% decrease. This further proves the impact aligning these two parties can have on your content marketing success.

So how do you go about fixing this for your business? For starters, Content Marketing World wrote an article underlining a few key guidelines companies should consider addressing a lack of sales and marketing alignment. They are:

  • Set clear overarching goals
  • Have transparency in regards to expectations one side has for the other
  • Create content that aligns with those goals
  • Make sure to follow-up on qualified leads in a timely matter (cough...sales)

After looking at these goals, it's easy to see how putting together a solid content marketing strategy and communicating in the process can improve alignment between sales and marketing.

The reward is in the process

It is important to reiterate that this process takes time and constant collaboration. But if you are a business that wants to be a thought leader, it's crucial that you make content marketing a priority. Happy writing!

Defining Your Core Customer: The Key To a Successful Digital Presence

Image of magnet attracting people

The most important thing that you need to do when designing a digital presence is to determine and understand your core customer.

If you do a quick Google search you'll see references to core customers that typically tie to customer or buyer personas. Personas are a standard way of trying to help define your core audience. Everyone has their own version of personas, but typically they consist of demographic information, goals, challenges, etc.

More Than Demographics

Just knowing the gender, age, and income of your audience will not help you get more sales. There's something more to making a purchase that goes a little deeper.

In The Inside Advantage: The Strategy that Unlocks the Hidden Growth in Your Business by Robert Bloom and Dave Conti, the authors suggest looking at your audience from a slightly different perspective.

Companies should describe their audience in a way that will enable them to really get to know them and their ultimate needs. The authors believe that knowing your customer - fully understanding his or her needs, preferences, and prejudices - is vital to creating a robust and effective growth strategy for your business. Since your digital presence is a part of your growth strategy, this naturally translates on how you go about creating your digital presence.