Online Marketing Archives - BuildFire

How to Get Started Advertising White Label Mobile Apps

White labeling is a highly profitable business model, especially in the software space. But like any other product or service, your reseller business needs a marketing strategy.

The marketing aspect of a white label business can feel a bit overwhelming for some resellers, especially for those of you who have never been through this process before.

Recently, our white label sales and support teams have been fielding questions about advertising for resellers and how to get started. Those inquiries inspired me to write this guide. 

Whether you have an existing agency and you’re white-labeling mobile apps as a new service, or you’re creating a new app reseller business from scratch, this guide has you covered. 

First, I’ll clarify the differences between agency marketing and app reseller marketing. Then I’ll explain when you should start your marketing campaigns before diving deep into the step-by-step process of white-label advertising from scratch. 

White Label Marketing for Agencies

If you already have a digital marketing agency, consulting firm, PPC agency, or agency offering similar services, you have a leg-up on those starting from scratch. I’m sure you have an existing website, social media profiles, email list, and other online marketing channels. 

Now it’s just a matter of expanding your existing channels to include your new app development services. A simple starting point here can be as simple as a new landing page on your website to showcase your services. Then you can send an email blast to your current list, share the landing page on your social channels, and leverage other free marketing campaigns. 

Aside from the existing channels in place, here’s the most significant advantage for agencies—you already have clients.  

Rather than trying to educate new people that your brand exists, you should spend the majority of your time tapping into your existing clients and contacts. 

You have a 5-20% chance of selling your app services to a new prospect. But that probability jumps to 60-70% when you’re selling to an existing client. 

Not only do you have a better chance of selling to an existing client compared to a new one, but you can also close those deals faster. Check out this graph from Marketing Charts that shows the typical sales cycle in the B2B space.

 

For existing customers, you can close those deals in less than one month 22% of the time. 38.4% of the time, you’ll close those clients in one to three months. That means over 60% of closed deals with existing clients will happen in less than three months. For new customers, expect just 25% of those deals to close in that same time frame. 

Depending on the type of services your agency already offers, there’s a good chance your existing clients will also need a mobile app. So you’ll be offering them something that they already need, and they’re likely aware that they need it. 

Your pitch will likely come with open arms.

Furthermore, if you’ve had success working with this client in the past, they’re going to be much more comfortable working with you in the future. It’s easier for them, so they don’t need to go shopping around for other options. 

If you need some guidance on how to handle these conversations, check out our guide on how to pitch a mobile app to your clients

White Label Marketing for Mobile App Resellers

You do not need to have an existing business to become a mobile app reseller. But your marketing strategy will look a bit different if you’re starting from scratch.

Early on, you’ll need to focus your efforts on establishing a trustworthy online presence. Things like building your website, creating social media profiles, and making sure your reseller platform is up and running will be the preliminary steps. 

From here, you’ll need to develop a system of getting quality leads. Whether it’s through paid campaigns, content marketing, organic search, or email list building, your top priority needs to be getting leads into your marketing funnel. 

You may even need to get some new clients signed or apps built at a significant discount. This will show proof of concept to other prospects, and you’ll have something to display in your portfolio. 

While you won’t have the luxury of an existing website with existing traffic when you’re starting from scratch, new resellers still have a huge advantage—you can focus all of your marketing efforts on mobile apps.

For example, check out this homepage from King Concepts:

It’s clear that these guys are offering an app builder and custom development services as their primary and only offerings. Believe it or not, King Concepts is a white label reseller using BuildFire’s platform. You can read the King Concepts case study here to learn more about this model and how they got started with BuildFire. 

Other agencies have to continue pitching their other services. The app development options may not even be above the fold on their homepage. But you have the opportunity to hammer home apps and nothing but apps. 

It’s also a great opportunity for you to showcase yourself as a specialist. Some prospects seeking app development solutions won’t be interested in going through a jack-of-all-trades agency. They’d prefer to stick with a mobile app agency, which is something you can brand yourself as.  

Within the app development services space, you can also differentiate yourself by focusing on specific niches. Maybe you want to offer pre-built apps to restaurants and gym owners. Or maybe you’d prefer to resell a no-code app builder to DIY entrepreneurs. The opportunities here are seemingly endless. 

But you’ll definitely want to have some idea of your desired path before you start advertising anything. This will make your life easier and give you a sense of direction for your campaigns. We’ll talk more about this in greater detail shortly. 

When Should You Start Marketing Your White Label Services?

Some of you might be wondering when it’s appropriate to start your marketing campaigns. The answer is pretty simple—it’s never too early.

Here’s why. As you’ll soon realize, the first few stages of your advertising plan don’t actually involve any marketing campaigns. So you won’t be running ads, creating content, or sending any emails just yet. The first few steps (which we’ll cover in greater detail below) are designed to set you up for success. It ensures that you won’t be wasting valuable marketing dollars, and your advertising strategy will actually yield positive results. 

If you wait until your new white label reseller program launches or your service is live on the site, then you can’t expect to get new clients on day one. But if you have a solid strategy in place ahead of time, then you might even have a waitlist of prospects by the time you’re ready to proceed. 

For those of you who have an existing agency, you should also start marketing your white label services ASAP. You’ll have a better chance of building hype and getting a waiting list started than a company starting from scratch.

If your sales are declining or your previous marketing strategies were unsatisfactory, these are also signs that you should start advertising your white label services. 

After the initial campaigns, white-label advertising will always be an ongoing process. You may ultimately switch strategies based on your goals, budget, and other factors. For example, you might start with PPC ads for the first six months to a year. But once you have a steady stream of income, you may devote more of your budget to organic content for long-term SEO purposes.

How to Get Started With White Label Advertising for Mobile Apps

Ready to start advertising the app services in your white label reseller program? Just follow the five simple steps explained below:

Step #1 — Identify Your Target Market

The best advertising campaigns are highly specific. They speak to a narrow niche, which ultimately drives higher conversions. If you’re planning to sell your app maker or custom app development services to “everyone,” then your marketing campaigns will suffer. 

That’s because your marketing efforts need to address pain points for a specific target market. A midsize enterprise looking for an internal communications app for their employees will have very different pain points than an ecommerce site trying to drive mobile sales. 

Even the difference between a B2B and B2C target market will have a significant impact on your advertising strategy. 

This can also determine the types of channels you use for your campaigns. 

So take the time to research your target market. Create an ideal customer persona, and use that as your north star for the rest of this process. 

Step # 2 — Research Your Competition

Once you’ve narrowed down your customer persona, take a look at other companies out there that are offering the same or similar services to yours. Focus on the ones who are targeting the same market as you.

What marketing channels are they using? How are they reaching their customers? What are they doing well? Are there certain strategies or campaigns that could use improvement?

There are a few reasons why this step is so important. 

One of the obvious reasons is inspiration. You can look at a competitor’s campaigns, find the best ones, and try to replicate what they’re doing well. Ideally, you want to try and outshine their top strategies. It all depends on how you want to brand yourself. 

But a somewhat less obvious reason for this step is to identify gaps in their marketing strategy. What is something that your target market needs that your competitor isn’t promoting? 

For example, maybe your top competition doesn’t offer a free trial. Or maybe they offer a really limited free trial. Then you can focus your marketing campaigns on driving conversions with your extended free trial. 

Competitive research can also help you avoid costly mistakes. Some of your competitors may already have a niche cornered. Rather than trying to compete with them, which will cost a fortune, you could adjust your niche and go after the low-hanging fruit. 

Step #3 — Identify Your Goals

What do you want to achieve as a result of your advertising strategy? 

Yes, I know you want to make money—lots of money. Unfortunately, this isn’t a goal. You can’t use this as a way to navigate or improve your campaigns. 

When narrowing down your marketing goals, use the SMART goal-setting method

Here’s an example of a SMART goal for a reseller:

I want 50 high-quality leads in my marketing funnel within two weeks of launching the campaign. Then I want to move at least ten of those leads into my sales funnel and close half of those deals by the end of the month. Within three months of launching my app development services, I want enough recurring revenue to cover my reseller platform costs. Within six months, I want to have 3x recurring revenue. 

This type of goal is highly specific, and you can use it to guide your marketing strategy. Rather than trying to expose your brand to 10,000+ people worldwide, you’d focus your efforts on a smaller group to get high-quality leads and nurture them through your funnel with varying campaigns. 

Step # 4 — Create a Marketing Budget

Now it’s time to determine how much you want to spend on advertising. The only way to do this properly is by defining a marketing budget.

Put it in writing, and plan it out for the next three, six, and 12+ months, at a minimum. 

Where you allocate those funds might change based on the results of your campaigns. But the dollar amount in your total budget should stay fixed for at least a year. 

For example, let’s say you have $25,000 to spend on advertising next year. Rather than splitting that evenly over 12 months, you could run experiments in your first month to see which channels and campaigns are yielding the highest results based on your goals. Then you can adjust your monthly spending moving forward to allocate more funds into the top campaigns. 

Factors to account for in your marketing budget may include:

  • Market research
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid advertising (PPC, social ads, etc.)
  • Content production (blogs, videos, infographics, etc.)
  • Influencer marketing
  • Website costs

This list will obviously vary a bit depending on your business model and target market. That’s why it’s so important to narrow that stuff down first. 

Step #5 — Launch Your Campaigns

Now you start to run different advertising campaigns. As mentioned above, don’t go all-in on one channel or ad type until you’ve done some experiments. 

Pick three or four channels and campaign types to target in your first month, and go from there. 

If one of those campaigns isn’t getting results, drop it, and prioritize the ones that are making the most progress toward your previously defined goals. 

Don’t think spending more money is the answer. Sometimes, a low-cost strategy like cold email outreach could be enough to get quality leads for resellers. 

If you sign up for BuildFire’s reseller program, we’ll send you a free copy of our cold email outreach playbook. This resource has 25+ cold outreach strategies that you can simply copy, paste, and customize with your own content. These proven sequences make it easy for anyone to have success with white label marketing—and they’re designed specifically for mobile apps.  

Conclusion

Advertising your white label mobile app services can be slightly different from other product or service offerings. 

But whether you have an existing agency or you’re starting a reseller business from scratch, the formula described in this guide will get you started and put you on the path to success.

If you still haven’t found a reseller platform for your advertising services, you should definitely take BuildFire into consideration. I’m obviously a bit biased here, but I think our app reseller program is second to none in this space. 
You should also check out our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide For Mobile App Resellers: Getting Started and Boosting Profits. Anyone can download this resource for free—even if you don’t sign up for our reseller program.

21 Best Marketing Blogs You NEED To Read

Which blogs do you follow and read?

If you’re into digital marketing, then you need to identify marketing blogs that will nudge you to keep at your game.

You already know there are thousands of online marketing blogs out there and it gets overwhelming for marketers and businesses to find and read the right ones.

But I’ve done all the heavy liftings for you. If you religiously follow and read the blogs below, your insights, experience, and conviction will take on wings and your business will fly.

It’s high time you stay updated on everything that’s happening in the marketing industry worldwide.

Here’s a list of 20 best marketing-related blogs that you should read and learn from:

1. Unbounce

Unbounce Blog

Unbounce is the official blog run and owned by Unbounce which is a platform that helps marketers create, convert, integrate, and optimize landing pages.

Their blog covers topics related to landing pages and conversion optimization. It publishes scientifically-proven tips and best practices about landing pages.

If you’ve always struggled to create landing pages that convert and do the job, Unbounce blog is where you’ll find all the answers.

22 Brutally Honest Landing Page Critiques is my favorite post from Unbounce blog that criticizes 22 landing pages and shows you what’s wrong and how it has to be fixed.

2. Copyblogger

Copyblogger

Are you struggling with content marketing and copywriting? Copyblogger is the place you should be.

Brian Clark and Sonia Simone are the two big guns behind the blog. You’ll get to learn the best tips, guides, and strategies on copywriting that will make you a better blogger and copywriter.

My favorite post from Copyblogger is The Ultimate Copy Checklist: 51 Questions to Optimize Every Element of Your Online Copy. This post will make you a better copywriter than you are now.

3. QuickSprout

QuickSprout

The QuickSprout is a marketing blog by Neil Patel where you’ll find guides and tips on everything digital marketing with a focus on traffic generation. If you religiously read QuickSprout, I’m sure you’ll never have to struggle for web traffic again.

My favorite article is none other than The Beginners Guides to Online Marketing. If you haven’t read anything on online marketing, this guide will be more than enough.

4. Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo blog

As a marketer, there are times when you need motivation or life-changing advice from an expert. Marie Forleo is the blog where you’ll find ideas and resources that will help you change your life.

Let’s start your journey with Marie from this vlog: What to do when you feel useless and alone.

5. Mirasee

Mirasee

Mirasee is a brand founded by Danny Iny. The purpose of Mirasee is to provide businesses with resources and education that help them impact their audience and change the world.

This is what exactly you’ll find on their blog. It covers topics ranging from businesses to audience engagement to digital marketing to case studies and more.

My favorite guide is their inspirational 10 lessons from debt to 7 figures. You’ll not earn 7 figures exactly but the lessons you’ll learn will change the way you do business and earn.

6. HubSpot

Hubspot

Inbound marketing seems to be incomplete without HubSpot. The have a massive marketing and a sales blog where you’ll find data-driven blog posts, case studies, templates, guides, expert opinions, and everything about inbound marketing.

If you cannot find it anywhere else on the web, chances are, you’ll find it at HubSpot.

State of Inbound 2016 is my favorite report by HubSpot that shares data and information that is worth millions.

7. John Doherty

John Doherty

This blog is run by John Doherty, who is an entrepreneur, marketer, and a top consultant. John mostly writes about SEO and content marketing. One of best things about this blog is that you’ll find exclusive case studies and best content from around the web. John reads, summarizes, and shares the best content on marketing with his subscribers every week.

One of the most insightful posts and my favorite is SEOs are Growth Hackers. Do read it.

8. Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

Content Marketing Institute

Joe Pulizzi founded CMI who is a content marketer, entrepreneur, author, and speaker.

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) publishes new articles on content marketing and copywriting every single day. Not just that you’ll find content marketing guides and templates but they talk about recent news and events in the content marketing space.

I love the post by Brody: 12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post. It is old but still valuable.

9. Buffer

Buffer

Buffer isn’t just an interesting social media scheduling app, their blog is even better.

At Buffer blog, you’ll find posts on social media marketing, digital marketing, case studies, and posts on news and trends. The real beauty of Buffer blog is their in-depth and detailed blog posts that cover every topic in extreme detail.

The first thing that you should read on Buffer blog is the Sidekick case study: 7 Powerful Social Media Experiments That Grew Our Traffic by 241% in 8 Months. You’ll love it.

10. Econsultancy

Econsultancy

Econsultancy is an ecommerce data-driven blog that publishes content on marketing and analytics. It publishes statistics and opinions on marketing and ecommerce. If you plan to learn more about ecommerce, econsultancy is your best bet.

My favorite blog post on the blog is: What marketers need to know about Facebook’s ethnic affinity ad targeting. If you get a chance, do read it.

11. BigCommerce

BigCommerce

BigCommerce blog provides you with some of the best and latest content on eCommerce. The blog posts regularly on the topics related to ecommerce, ecommerce design, payment processors, shipment and fulfillment, ecommerce marketing, and more.

If you want to stay updated on what’s happening in the ecommerce industry, stick to the BigCommerce blog.

My favorite recent post is: Instagram Shopping: The Future of Mobile Ecommerce + 19 Tips to Increase Conversions Now.

12. 9Clouds

9Clouds

9Clouds is an inbound marketing blog that is must for those in the automotive marketing niche. While you’ll find articles on pretty much everything on marketing but since 9Clouds is an automotive digital marketing platform, therefore, most of their content is based on automotive marketing.

My favorite article: An Excerpt From the 2017 State of Automotive Marketing Report

13. GetResponse

GetResponse

Get Response is an email marketing platform that helps businesses with email marketing, landing pages, marketing automation, and more. Their blog is one of the best in the market that talks about marketing, productivity, automation, and email marketing.

Nobody writes better than Get Response on email marketing.

My favorite article: How to Start a Video Content Campaign the Right Way

14. ConversionXL

ConversionXL

Founded by Peep Laja, ConversionXL is the leading conversion optimization blog that publishes resources, guides, courses, and case studies on conversion optimization.

If you plan to learn more on how to get better at conversion optimization and how to grow revenue, subscribe to ConversionXL.

My all-time favorite blog post is: The Beginner’s Guide to CRO. It is a collection of several valuable articles that will enable you to get better with conversions.

15. Social Media Examiner

Social Media Examiner

There is no better blog on social media marketing than Social Media Examiner.

Not just social media marketing but they publish on other marketing topics too like content marketing.

Whether it is new research, case studies on social media marketing, latest events and conferences or talk shows, Social Media Examiner is every marketer’s best resource.

My favorite article on Social Media Examiner: Essential Facebook Marketing Resources: A Complete Guide.

16. Inside AdWords

Inside Adwords

Inside AdWords is the Google’s official blog about Google AdWords. They post the latest news, best practices, guides, and updates about AdWords.

You’ll not see new posts very often but every time they post, you will learn something awesome and probably before your competitors.

Subscribe to the Inside AdWords blog if you use AdWords, you’ll never regret it.

One of the best recently published articles is: A fast start to 2017 for click-to-call ads.

17. GetApp

GetApp

GetApp is a home to more than 5200 apps for businesses. They blog about business apps including the best marketing apps, marketing plugins, marketing software, and more.

GetApp blog has several articles on employee management, business, customer engagement, sales, analytics, and more. You’ll find everything on apps and latest tools at GetApp.

My favorite article is: How to Choose Marketing Automation Software: A Handy Checklist.

18. Marketo

Marketo

Marketo blog is a leading marketing blog that publishes extremely valuable and insightful articles on marketing.

The blog covers all types of marketing topics including automation, content marketing, modern marketing, lead management, branding, etc. There is hardly anything that you won’t find at Marketo.

One of the best things about Marketo blog is that it categorizes its posts on the basis of B2B and B2C that makes it easier to find the right content.

My favorite article is: The Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing.

19. GetFeedback

GetFeedback

GetFeedback is an online survey software. They publish insightful content on topics related to customer experience, surveys, salesforce, audience engagement, and data collection and analytics. If you’re planning to create a consumer survey to collect data from your customers, GetFeedback blog will provide you with some great articles.

My favorite post is: 3 Ways to Increase Retention with Customer Feedback.

20. Wistia

Wistia

Wistia is a video platform for marketers and businesses. Their blog is your best resource for video marketing. It publishes tips, news, guides, and case studies on video marketing that will be helpful for video marketers.

My favorite article: Your Business’s Videos Should Include Faces. Here’s Why.

21. G2 Crowd

G2 Crowd
G2 Crowd’s Learn blog is an educational resource for leading marketing, sales, design and general business topics. The blog consists of ultimate, long-form guides, resource roundups, infographics and other valuable content.
My favorite post is: how to build a website from scratch.

Conclusion

Essentially, you’re what you read and who you follow. If you frequent blogs that inspires you to do your best work and impact your world, you’ll be fired up to do just that.

These 20 marketing blogs aren’t the best, but they will keep you engaged all year long, and prepare you for what lies ahead. Constantly reading new posts on these blogs will keep you updated on latest happenings in the marketing industry, and help you build a thriving business.

The 8 Essential Social Media Metrics That Matter

Most social media advice out there is about “more, more, more.”

More followers, more likes, more re-tweets, more click throughs, more ads.

So on and so forth.

And I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had enough of it.

I mean, I know social media is a great thing and is an incredible opportunity for business owners, but at the same time…. I don’t feel like it, okay?!

I don’t feel like dedicating half a day every day to my Twitter feed. I don’t feel like mapping out a Facebook strategy and then hiring a part-time virtual assistant to implement it for me. And I sure as heck don’t feel like using Pinterest for anything more than collecting delicious vegan recipes and Harry Potter jokes.

And honestly?

I really don’t think I’m the only one.

Sure, we’re all highly ambitious entrepreneurs that get a high from working hard and seeing our efforts pay off.

But we’re human, too. As much as we might like to, we can’t do everything.

We need to relax sometimes and give ourselves permission not to do things.

So, in this post, I’m not going to chastise you for using social media too much or not enough.

I’ll trust that you can find the right balance for you and your business. You’re smart enough to do that and don’t need me policing and micro-managing you about it.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the social media metrics that actually matter, so that when you do sit down to go through your Twitter feed or have a Facebook planning session, you get the most ROI for your time invested.

Because honestly?

You work too hard not to have every minute you spend working count.

 

Why Number of Followers & Likes Really Doesn’t Matter

If you want followers on Instagram, you can pay a software to do it for you.

I get a spam follow or comment from someone hoping this will work magic for them every single day, and I don’t even have a popular Instagram account.

I can feel flattered that they liked three of my posts, left a “nice photo!” comment, and followed me…. or I can just ignore them, because I know a week from now the software they’re using will automatically unfollow me and this “relationship” they tried to establish with their modern-day spam will be entirely one-sided.

Basically, if you want more followers, you can buy them. If you want more likes, you can post a motivational quote imposed on the top of a gorgeous stock image.

And those things might feel exciting and play into our natural human urges that want us to feel liked and be desired… but those things aren’t playing a part in your overall funnel or doing much (if anything) to increase your bottom line.

Instead, a social media like should only be the very first part of your funnel… and not even a necessary one at that.

It’s where people should start becoming familiar with your brand and your message… so they’ll eventually sign up for your lead magnet and enter your sales funnel “for real.”

(And, hint: you can have a wildly successful online sales funnel without social media. Really. Social media is honestly just icing on the cake.)

So let’s get into the eight metrics that actually matter, shall we?

Note: not all of these metrics will matter for every single business, either. Proceed with caution and try to take notes on only the metrics that feel like they’ve got a high level of resonance with your business.

 

1. Engaged Commenters & Number of Average Comments

Spamming aside, comments are a sign that people are actually reading what you’re posting and engaging with it on a high level.

Personally, I “like” a lot of pages that show up in my newsfeed, but that I never actually engage with besides that.

Their content is good, but for the most part, I’m not a paying customer.

There are a few brands and bloggers, though, that I follow and answer every question they ask me that shows up in my news feed.

And most of the time, I’m a proud and happy customer of these people… or probably will be in the very near future.

Because here’s the thing: just because people “like” your page or follow you doesn’t mean they’re sold-out loyal fans of whatever it is you offer or teach.

Instead, it’s usually the people who actively engage and comment on your stuff that actually matter the most to your business.

So instead of trying to grow your likes or your follower count so that maybe some of them will be the kind of people who engage via comments, strategize ways to prompt the fans you’ve already got to be actively engaged.

This way you know you’re making the most of the work you’ve already done to collect those followers, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how having an active “community” in your comments will really draw in others.

 

2. Bounce Rate

When your analytics dashboard calculates bounce rate, it’s the number of people who come to your website and leave it after only viewing that one page.

So if you’re leading traffic to a landing page with no menu—even if it has a high conversion rate—it’ll have a high bounce rate because people are only looking at that one page.

So if that’s the scenario for your social media posts and ads that lead back to your site, bounce rate is something you can disregard.

But, if you’re using social media to drive traffic to a cornerstone, evergreen blog post, for example, bounce rate is a really important metric to pay attention to.

And basically, it answers this question: Do visitors find your content exciting enough to stick around?

If not, they bounce.

If yes, they click around to check out a few more pages before leaving your site.

So if you’ve got a navigation menu present on the page you’re sending social media traffic to, the goal is to have a really low bounce rate.

By paying attention to this metric, you can see what types of content your social media followings are most interested in, what topics they don’t care about, and which topic generates the most interest overall.

With this information, you can better attune your social media strategy to what those audiences are after, increasing loyalty via those channels and getting the most bang for your buck as far as more bottom-line metrics like email subscribers, clients, and sales.

3. Visits vs. Unique Visitors

Time for some definitions:

  • Number of visits: each time a person visits your website, it counts as a visit.
  • Unique visitors: counts each person only once.

So yes, getting more and more unique visitors is important… especially for those times when you’re hell-bent on growing and scaling your business.

But if you’re only after unique visits, you’re missing out on the real potential of having a social media strategy in the first place.

(Don’t get me wrong. This metric is important because it validates your marketing efforts.)

So in addition to lusting after more unique visitors… also lust after getting them to come back, again and again.

So, for example, if you have 1,000 unique visitors and 1,000 visits every month, that means that every person is coming to your page once and not coming back.

But if you’ve got 1,000 unique visitors and 3,000 visits every month, that means that on average, each visitor is coming back to your site two more times every month, which is incredible.

Social is about driving more and new traffic to your site, but in my opinion, the real power of it lies in “staying in touch” with your target audience on the days and weeks they aren’t on your site. You stay top-of-mind so they remember you even when there’s not one of your unopened emails sitting in their inbox or they’re not going through one of your free email courses.

Because beyond using social to drive more visitors to your site, when you use it to drive previous visitors back to your site, you drive them deeper and deeper into your loyalty and engagement efforts.

They dig deeper into your content every single time they come back, and over time, become “sold” on what you do—which either means they become a newsletter subscriber or they buy something. (And we all want all of our visitors to buy something, don’t we?)

It’s probably lighter and more fun than the seriousness that you get into on your site, but it’s still really beneficial to make sure you’ve got a high-touch strategy going on.

And honestly, the more touches the better.

According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes 7-13 (or more!) touches to turn someone from a cold visitor into a viable sales lead.

 

4. Time on Site

Imagine these two scenarios of someone who “bounced” from your site:

  • A person who scrolled down the page and five seconds later closed your tab.
  • A person who spent time reading your blog post until the very end and opted in for your lead magnet at the end of it.

Obviously, there’s an entire spectrum of options and user behaviors between these two points, but I think every single one of us would favor behavior more closely resembling the second option than the first one, right?

Even if they left without visiting another page and gave us a “bounce.”

So, in conjunction with your bounce rate for traffic that comes back to your site from social media, time on site can give you a big hint about how well you’re doing.

Oh, and remember how you can’t really measure bounce rate if you’re using social media to lead traffic to a leading page with no menu?

This metric… along with actual conversions, of course… is perfect for measuring the success of those campaigns.

By asking your friends and family to read through your site for different periods of time to see how far they get, you’ll get an idea of how far your social traffic is getting down your page. (Or, you know, you could just use a heat map software to tell you this exactly.)

 

5. User-Created Funnels

Most of the time, when the word “funnel” is thrown around in internet marketing conversations, it represents the steps we design and the emails we send out so our leads and prospects consume the content we want them to consume at the moment we want them to consume it.

Usually, this helps us build ourselves up in their minds, and if we do it correctly, leads to more conversions than if we just let our site visitors take a jab at our site and our content for themselves.

And while you should absolutely construct these funnels to lead visitors through, it’s equally important to pay attention to the funnels visitors create for themselves.

Which means that when they follow a link you share on social media to an evergreen blog post, they might click on the links and call to action buttons you’ve placed within the post…. Or they might instead read the post, click on your About page, look at your pricing, and then read your team profiles before they close your tab.

Of course, plenty of people will follow the funnels you’ve set up for them.

But knowing which funnels most social visitors create for themselves tells you a handful of really helpful things:

  • How familiar the already are with your brand
  • Whether they came for just the blog post or they’re looking for more
  • What pages you need to optimize for funnel conversions if you haven’t already

These funnels are super easy to see within Google Analytics.

All you have to do is log into Google Analytics, scroll down to click on “Behavior” in the right-hand menu, and click on “Site Content” under “Behavior Flow.”

There, you can choose to filter through landing pages, all content, exit pages, or specific content pieces. In my opinion, all content is a great place to start for generic data. But if your social media campaigns are all about landing pages, check those out.

For an overview, just click on “Behavior Flow.” (I LOVE this visual and find it so helpful!)

 

6. Organic Mentions

Obviously, you want other people to share your content for you.

It’s a big reason why we so compulsively put social share buttons on our websites and actively ask for shares at the bottom of our posts.

So when people share are content via these buttons, it’s great. It means our efforts have paid off.

But what’s even better than this is when readers become so engrossed in everything you’re saying that they give you an online shout out without being prompted to do so just because one article’s social media teaser text was pre-written with your Twitter handle in it.

Particularly if you have a large audience—or dream of having a large audience—a mention tracking tool like Mention is a great way to get notified when people are talking about you without taking any of your active brain power to search for those mentions.

When you’re getting mentioned on social media—that is, in a good way—you know you’re doing something right.

And tracking these mentions is a wonderful way to engage with the people who mention you, join in on conversations about you, and grow loyalty and interest via your social media channels even more.

For example, Ecosia, a company that’s a charitable search engine focused on planting trees, uses Mention to track articles that mention their business model and to make sure that all the information that’s published about them is correct.

It’s an incredible way for them to build brand awareness, and to engage in spots across the internet where interest is building.

 

7. Subscribers, Leads & Sales

Baseline metrics, in other words.

Or in another, more explicit set of words: your bottom line.

Or, in my “humble” opinion, the only metrics that really matter.

Unfortunately, a lot of social media marketers and well-meaning business owners stop measuring before they get to these metrics because they measure click-through rates.

And actually, (again, in my opinion), measuring the click through rates doesn’t really matter for much.

So what if very few people click through on one of your ads? If you have a small exclusive audience, it only matters that the people who do click through are converting in some way, right?

I think so.

But I think the reason so many people get caught up on clickthrough rate before they ever even consider these bottom line metrics is because the companies who offer their platforms for running ads emphasize click through rates a lot.

But you know why they emphasize them?

Because they charge per click.

So, the more clicks you get, the more money they make.

(Side note: focusing too much on click through rate was how all that annoying click bait was born.)

Click through rates aren’t unimportant… after all, you do want traffic from your advertising efforts. But what’s more important is to not place the importance of a clickthrough rate over the importance of a conversion rate.

Unless you’re getting absolutely zero traffic (or close to it) from your ad campaigns, as long as you’re getting decent conversions from the traffic you do get, click through rate shouldn’t be a top-of-mind thing that you’re constantly concerned about improving.

 

8. Amplification Rate

Again, this metric is more about measuring engagement than it is about numbers for their own sake.

Basically, what your amplification rate shows you is your opportunity to “amplify” your message from the number of followers you’ve already got.

It measure shares and number of followers, yes, but it puts both of those metrics into a more meaningful context.

The way you calculate it is this:

Take a piece of content and total up the number of times it was shared during a certain period of time. The number of shares can be overall or exclusive to one social platform.

Then, divide that number by how many followers you have on the channels you counted the shares for.

So if you had an article that was shared 300 times on Facebook and you have 5,000 fans there, the equation looks like this:

300 / 5,000 = 0.06

Then, multiply that number by 100 to see your amplification rate as a percentage. So in this example:

0.06 x 100 = 6%

With this number, you know how much you can expect your message to spread just based on your followers.

If you realize it’s a number you’re not happy with, you can find ways to increase it.

But if you realize it’s much higher than you expected, you can pay more attention to that particular social platform to get your message spread even more.

 

Conclusion: Track What Matters

Alright, now with a show of hands, how many of you who were tracking Facebook likes and Twitter shares are still going to track only those things?

None of you?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

To be fair, you were probably smart enough to not only track those kinds of things in the first place, but I hope I’ve helped you re-focus on the social media-related metrics that are actually important to your business’s growth.

Right now, the most important social media-based metric for my business is what kind of website path the people are taking. What I want to know is what they (my audience) wants to know from me after they come to my site, so I check out the paths they forge after they click through from a LinkedIn or Twitter post.

From there, I know what content they’re most interested in, so I can grow my business with more of that content.

What were the best ideas on social media metrics that came up for you while reading this post?

Fast and Furious SEO Audit Checklist to Beat Your Competitors

Do you really need to be told that search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to beat out your competitors? Probably not, but it pays to be sure. If there is one thing you have probably learned as a website owner it is not to assume anything until you’ve proven it.

Take your SEO, for example. You have probably read every how-to article and tutorials out there on how to build your brand recognition and make your site searchable to your target market. You may also have implemented everything you could, and sat back with satisfaction, waiting for the horde of customers to come knocking at your virtual door. Here you are assuming again. How do you know whatever trick or strategy you implemented is going to work?

You don’t. Not until you have done your due diligence by doing an SEO audit.

An SEO audit is like pouring water into a plastic bag and checking for leaks. You want to make sure that your SEO is going to work for your particular bag, and that means plugging up the holes. You need to check quite a few things for your website to make sure your SEO strategy is going to deliver the results you expect. To make it easy for you, we came up with an SEO checklist so you can buckle up and start auditing!

 

Google Analytics

Why do you need helpful tools like Google Analytics? It’s simple. The first indication that your SEO is working is when people actually start coming to your website.

Google Analytics can tell you how many people are visiting your site along with stats on where your traffic is coming from, what pages and how long users are visiting, and tons of other insights like that. Knowing these things can help you laser-target your audience and make them stay longer on the important pages on your site (hint: it’s where you make your money.)

Installing Google Analytics on your website is easy enough even for beginners, and the tool is free, so what do you have to lose? When you want to actually use the tool to find out what’s what with your SEO, you can select the type of report you want and download it.

 

Google Search Console

While Google Analytics can help you learn about how users interact with your website, Google Search Console allows you to glean insights on how your site is interacting with search engine and its spiders.

To have access to this information, go to the Search Console after you’ve signed into your Google account, and click on Add a Property.

image00

Follow these steps to verify ownership of the site. Once your site is verified, Google may have some messages for you, or tell you about some critical issues that need your attention. Check every few days, just to make sure your site is nice and healthy. Here are some benefits of adding your site to the Search Console:

  • Decide what content you want crawled and remove
  • Minimize search performance disruptions
  • Keep your site clean by identifying spam or malware issues
  • Identify the keywords that triggered your site’s appearance in search results, and which ones brought the most number of site visitors
  • Discover if your site information comes out in rich search results i.e. contact information
  • Identify inbound links
  • Assess mobile-friendliness

 

Bing Webmaster tools

Why Bing? Most people look to Google to get their SEO boogie shoes on, but Bing actually has some kickass tools to help with SEO. These include:

  • SEO Reports – monitors on page optimization and compliance with SEO best practices, and identifies problem areas
  • Link Explorer – identifies backlinks for a particular URL, i.e. your competitor’s site (this is a good way to find out what kind of link juice they’re getting, and how)
  • Keyword Research – provides information on the number of organic search queries for a particular keyword or phrase, and suggestions for related keywords and phrases
  • Disavow Links feature – enables you to automate the rejection of links to sites with which you don’t want to be associated

These free Bing Webmaster tools are just some of the best ones for your SEO audit, but explore the other tools as well for other benefits. In order to do that, you need to open an account and verify your ownership of the site. Follow these steps to help you get started with Bing Webmaster Tools.

 

XML Sitemaps

If you have no idea what this is, well, you do have a problem.

A sitemap is what search engines look for when they visit a site. It indexes your content so the search engine can identify your content, much like a table of contents in a textbook. An Extensible Markup Language or XML sitemap helps it find any changed or new content on the site, and establish your site as the original publisher.

Huh?

It is not uncommon to find duplication of content on the Internet without a formal arrangement between the original publisher and other websites, as long as it is properly attributed. However, Google doesn’t see it that way. One of the things the Panda algorithm looks into is duplicated content. If you don’t have a XML sitemap, and another site uses your content, you risk having your content removed even if you are the original publisher.

If you want make your brand new kickass content discoverable, and keep it, you need to identify your site as the original publisher. You should create and upload XML sitemaps for your site, pronto.

An XML sitemap is really just a text file with precise codes that describe non-HTML content on your site, such as videos, images, mobile, and flash-encoded files. You can use a sitemap generator or you can create it manually. Make sure you test it before adding it on the Search Console. You also need to add this line {Sitemap: https://example.com/sitemap_location.xml} anywhere in the robots.txt file

Speaking of which…

 

Robots.txt File

You probably know that search engines send out bots to crawl your site and report back the information they get so the search engine knows when to include you in a search result. These bots or robots (also spiders) will go anywhere on your site they want, except when the robots.txt file tells them not to crawl a particular page using the “disallow” command.

Why would you want to do that?

Well, you may have something to hide. It could be a duplicate page (which if indexed could affect your SEO), a page that users should only be able access after taking a certain action, e.g. thank you page, or pages that contain private files, e.g. cgi-bin where you store your image files.

At any rate, if you want to control where the robots go on your site, you have to specify it in your robots.txt file. To create your robot.txt file, you can use a generator, or do it manually by following these steps.

SSL Certificate

One of the things that may affect your SEO is a lack of security. Google, at any rate, puts a small premium on sites that has a secure socket layer or SSL certificate, usually signaled by an “https” in the URL. An SSL certificate secures your site by encrypting all the data that passes between your site and your visitor.

While the ranking boost may be small, that can change in the future. You also need to remember that many Internet users are becoming more wary about security, so giving them some assurance that their information is safe on your site with that additional “s” in your URL may give your site an even bigger boost. If you are concerned about how changing your site address from “http” to “https” will affect your SEO, check out these moving tips.

You usually have to buy an SSL certificate (about $16 a year for a single domain), but if you are willing to wait, you might luck out on getting a free one. At any rate, once you get your SSL certificate in your email, you need to install it. The instructions will vary depending on your web server, so if you don’t know that, find out from your web host.

 

Social Media Identity

Whether you plan to launch social media marketing for your business or not (you should), you need to claim it on social networks to make sure no one else does. Not only is it confusing to your (would-be) customers when they see your brand or company name using obscene language on Twitter or Facebook, it can ruin your online reputation immeasurably.

You need to remember that your (brand/company) name is one of the most important things of your business, so you need to protect it. It also helps that websites tied with social media accounts usually rank much better than those with none.

Claiming your name on social networks is fairly easy (as long as no one has claimed it before you!). Choose one that is as close as possible to your brand or company name, and take the trouble to do it for all the more popular networks, just to be on the safe side. Even if you don’t have the time, or some networks are simply not where your target audience is, claiming your name means no one else can.

Now that you know where the big guns are, and what to do with them, you can tackle the nitty gritty of SEO. Here are some things you need to look into.

 

Meta Data

Site owners typically obsess over their content, and so they should.

Edugeeksclub writer Michael Hutton says, “High quality organic content is a key factor in SEO, which is what we do. Many of our clients come to us regularly to provide them with well-researched articles.”

However, for SEO purposes, you should know that the stuff you see on a page is not the same thing a bot sees. They check out the meta data to do their indexing, which are bits of text in the code describing the page contents. You need to make sure that you fill up those tags as well as attributes of the page when you publish your content for on-page optimization. You can check your meta data by right-clicking on the page and clicking on “View Page Source.”

 

Title Tag

It is not enough to have all the important stuff in your meta data, however. You still have to put it in a certain order for SEO. Best practice puts the <title> first, followed by <description>, and then <keywords>. Don’t worry if there are tags in between, as long as these three tags follow this sequence.

 

Character count

Search engines such as Google typically limit how many characters they crawl before indexing the page. This is called the Search Engine Results Page or SERP cut-off. You want to make sure you make the most use of these characters to compel the searcher to click on your page.

For title tags, this is from 55 to 65 characters, depending on the search engine. Description tags get cut off at 156 characters. Make sure anything important you want to say fit within those limits.

 

Keywords

For your keyword tags, make sure you put in as many as you can in the page attributes. Google doesn’t index them anymore, but it can’t hurt to put them in. You should also try to put keywords in the URL, the title, the first paragraph, one heading, and the ending paragraph.

 

Content

For SEO purposes, your article should have a minimum of 700 words, and they should be original. This should allow you to write something substantial and value-laden while allowing enough words for the spiders to crawl and index your content in the right category based on the words found in your content.

Apart from articles, you should also add other types of content such as images, videos infographics, and slides, because they can help with your ranking. However, when you upload images, make sure they are not pixelated, and rename them so they are descriptive of your content or brand.

Finally, make sure your content is easy to share by including social media buttons.

 

LSI keywords

Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI keywords are terms related to, but not the same as your main keywords. You should include LSI keywords in your content to help you rank better. You can find applicable LSI keywords using a plugin such as SEOPressor or online tools such as the Keyword Planner.

 

Segregated Codes

Your site may use two or more types of code, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It is important that you keep them in separate files to make it easier for the bots to index it. Have your web administrator look into it as soon as possible.

 

Site Performance

Your site is your place of business, so you want to make sure it works well. Search engines typically rank sites that do so higher than those that don’t. You can check this out easily enough by going to your site as a visitor and giving it a look-see.

  • Speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • 404 errors and 301 redirects
  • Broken links
  • Inbound and outbound links
  • Navigation problems
  • Social bookmarks
  • Sitemaps

Search engine optimization is a top consideration for most business site owners because they know how important it is for brand building and online success. However, you need to know if you are going about it the right way, which is the purpose of this SEO audit checklist. You might be surprised at what you discover if you go through all of it.

 

Joan Selby is a former ESL teacher and a content marketer at EduGeeksClub essay writing service. She also runs her own blog about social media and writing tips. Joan is a Creative Writing graduate and fancy shoelover. A writer by day and reader by night, giving creative touch to everything. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

7 Steps Increase Social Sharing With Content Marketing

Social sharing basically involves sharing of content from a website on a social media site or application. Content marketing on the other hand involves developing, executing and even delivering the content and related assets needed to create, nurture and even grow a company’s customer base. Media as well as published content is used to influence buyer behavior and stimulate customer relationships leading to customer relationships.

Many forms of business that aim at expanding their market employ this platform since online marketing is more convenient as compared to traditional conventional methods. Through social sharing you will be in a better position to build your brand and in turn extend your reach so that you now become more popular than before.

social-1

Placing social sharing widgets on your web as well as mobile pages is of great significance when it comes to social marketing since it allows your customers to easily share your articles, products and other content that you provide within their social networks. In this case your customers play the role of brand ambassadors since they voluntarily drive referral traffic to your website and this comes at no cost which is also a plus for you. In addition to getting more visitors to your site you also get many more links to your site owing to the huge number of people who are now aware of your business.

You can share content on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and you can also ask your friends to share the same content so that it can be viewed by more people. The only way to make people want to share and in turn read your content is to make it as great as possible. The heading that people will come across first should also be carefully crafted and enticing so that it will be able to lure them to read the content. The social media platforms provide an incredible way to glean valuable audience insights. Most social networks have some form of analytics. Social giants such as Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights which also rival even Google Analytics with their audience nuggets.

There are several tools and tactics that you apply so that you increase social sharing with content marketing which will be very beneficial to your business.

Make Sure Your Social Sharing Works & Works On Mobile

Screenshot_20160816-183013

Most people in recent times prefer accessing social media platforms via their phone as compared to the traditional methods where one would use a computer. You should therefore yearn to make your social sharing accessible so that the many mobile users will be able to share your content. The social sharing icons should work on phone as well. This will in turn have a positive effect of raising traffic to your website.

A common plugin that is used widely in phones is the Digg Digg. It has floating share buttons that will appear to the left-hand side of a blog post. Another common plugin is the Flare which also has floating share buttons that provide you with the option of putting social share icons at the top as well as at the bottom of your post. Both these plugins are great on desktop but they do not appear on your mobile device.

 

Incorporating Social Sharing Into Your Email

social-3

Those people including friends who are your email subscribers can be a good potential source of content sharing. The fact that they have already subscribed proves that they have shown belief and commitment and if you lure them with good enough content you can be rest assured that they will share it on your behalf if you make it easy for them.

You can put links so that the subscribers can be able to share your content for you just like there is an option within the email address platform for following a company on social media or even becoming a fan. Sharing your content via email is very effective since it is the platform also used by many to share a lot so if you make it easy for them to share you will be surprised at how well this works. A tool such as Mailchimp makes it easy since it has the option of ‘forward to friend’ which is done via email.

You could also make this more effective by adding social sharing icons at the bottom of all the emails that go to all your subscribers and they will be able to share more which means more prospective business for you.

 

Incentivize Social Sharing

In the case where you provide a useful guide, then instead of offering it in place of an email address you could go with a more convenient option by kindly asking people to pay for it with a tweet or just a simple share on Facebook or even LinkedIn. A wise way to do this for instance is to provide additional information to the reader of your blog posts and this will only be possible if the reader shares the posts with their friends and contacts.

Such a setup can be made possible by using Virally whereby you upload your guide and then specify which social media platforms you want to use. For those ardent Facebook users who would wish to download the guide, they may pick the option of ‘download with Facebook only.’ They will then share the guide and this results in driving traffic back to your site. This will in ultimately mean more business for you since your content will be quite marketable.

 

Click To Tweet

social-4

In the case where you have tweeted something, there is most likely a probability of very relevant tweetable content within it. Such an example is a short inspiring quote which many people will be willing to share.

Click to Tweet is a very simple application that will let you create tweetable content. It is very easy to use it and you basically go to Click to Tweet and then you paste in the content and it will then give you a link that you will be able to use within your post. In this way you will be able to be creative enough so that the next blog post on your website will be tweetable and friendly for anyone to read, the tool also assists you with the resulting analytics on the content that has been shared and soon enough you will realize that you are making good progress with your content marketing. For example, the promoters at Aussiessay used this tool to promote their business. Also it helped them to achieve their goals and to obtain the better understanding of their marketing strategy.

 

Place Multiple Social Sharing Options

If you have sharing icons for your blog posts, the fact that you have provided lots of options for dozens of different social media networks does not necessarily mean that you will get more shares. This further adds to the complexity of the situation instead of making this as simple and convenient as possible. It is advisable to share in the most relevant platforms and that is Facebook, Twitter as well as Google+.

Make sure to do enough research so that you will not overdo it and just apply the relevant sharing icons. On these platforms a lot of people will be able to see your posts and definitely traffic will come your way.

 

Automate Sharing

There are instances when you see a post uploaded and it has garnered about 200 likes almost immediately. This happens as an involuntary action from the audience since they already like all the stuff you post and they decide to automatically share all of your posts automatically. You should therefore ask your audience in a polite way to automate the process of sharing all your posts as soon as you publish them.

Such tools as Dvlr.it make this possible. You just have to indicate the source of the content which is your site and the destination which is their social media profiles.

Quuu.co operates on a similar notion to this but using a pay to syndicate model.

 

Encourage Sharing When Copying Text

social-5

This technique is adopted by some sites and it works in such a way that when you highlight a piece of text and try to copy it, it displays the option of sharing it on your social media platforms with you friends. In this way your content will be shared to many more social media channels. SumoMe helps take care of this need with a pre-baked tool called Highlighter. there are more sharing options and analytics as well so that you can keep record of people sharing your content marketing posts and how often they are doing so.

Increasing your social sharing with content marketing is very beneficial to the business especially because these platforms are very beneficial especially for a growing business in its initial stages. It is great for the discovery phase of the buying cycle and people should know about you and what you offer before they can make that decision of buying from you. This is because social sharing serves as a direct route to brand loyalty as well as engagement with your audience. The main goal of content marketing is consumption while that of social media is focused on participation. The two have to therefore work in harmony for you to achieve the desired goals.

 

About the Author: Michael Gorman is an expert blogger situated in London. Michael stays always on trend in blogging, digital marketing and social media. Feel free to contact him via Facebook

14 of the Best Email Marketing Examples That Work (and Tips to Maximize Conversions)

Do you want to experience a dramatic growth in your business?

If yes, then you need to pay attention to this in-depth article. You’ll learn amazing new things about email marketing, and how it can push your brand to the spotlight.

In this 21st century, the method of reaching out to the target audience has changed. The way to get people to purchase your products and services is taking a new turn.

Trust me, email marketing is a game changer.

It’s a great opportunity to promote your app icon.

Throughout this article, you’ll see credible examples of email campaigns that helped new and existing businesses achieve tremendous success online.

Wait, are you wondering whether or not email marketing is still reliable?

Based on how much it cost to build your app, you should be using inexpensive marketing tactics to promote it.

In my own experience and testimonials from other brands, email marketing still remains the ultimate lead generation and sales technique in content marketing.

Marketing Schools stated that email among others generates up to $40.56 for every $1 invested.

ROI by marketing tactic

Therefore, it’s very safe to invest in and leverage email marketing to expand your business – because it’ll definitely pay off.

The effectiveness of email marketing can never be over emphasized. It’s faster, convenient and easily accessible anywhere.

Though with various social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and more, many believe that if email marketing doesn’t work for them, they can easily switch.

But here’s what you should know…

Email marketing is not an option. Yes, you may decide to generate leads through Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, or native advertising, you’ll still build relationship with your target audience.

And this is where email communication comes in.

If you combine the engagement that you get from all social media platforms, I can boldly tell you that you’re 40x likely to gain new leads and increase conversions with email marketing.

laptop bullseye

Kit for successful email marketing
Download it now

Getting Started With Email Marketing

If we begin to highlight the advantages of email marketing over social media, this article will be longer than this. So, let’s try and keep it brief.

As I recount several successes that brands have achieved through email communication, you’ll have no doubt or fear whatsoever. You’ll simply do it.

These strategies work really well if you just built a mobile application.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a newbie or an established brand, all you need is the right email marketing strategy, coupled with these five focus areas to kick off your success ball.

Email Marketing Focus Areas

The right strategy gives you a step further, so that you can reach out to a massive audience.

While that’s happening, you’ll acquire new leads and retain existing customers by delivering immense value.

Make no mistakes, email provides the most direct communication with your target audience.

The sole purpose of sending follow up emails or newsletters to your audience is to build strong relationship with them, promote your products, and get new customers – since they’ve indicated interested in your offer by subscribing to your list

All these are channelled towards making sales and increasing revenue.

Before we delve into the case studies, you need to know that all email marketing software aren’t created equal. Some works better than the others in terms of user data collection and analysis, speed, accuracy, user friendliness, flexible templates, etc.

If you’ve to choose the right software, focus on the one that puts the recipient first. And aims to deliver emails that are free of SPAM.

And of course, choose a software that can handle different types of email campaigns (e.g., product promotions, newsletters, coupons and discounts for future sales).

Taking it a step further, here are the best email marketing examples from 14 trusted brands that work:

 

1. Runkeeper

This is one of my favorite examples, which inspires me at all times to keep building my email list.

First, a quick overview of Runkeeper.

Have you always wanted to keep tracks of what matters most to you? Well, we all do.

Runkeeper is a tool that helps runners keep flexible tracks. The tool helps people get out of the door and stick to it – running.

If you relate this to building an audience, then you’ll agree with me that the goal is to improve engagement with your audience.

According  to SmartInsight, 34% of marketer’s top priority in 2016 is to increase subscriber engagement.

Email top initiatives

As you can see, Runkeeper’s audience need motivation from within. They don’t necessarily need any outside force to get them out of the door – and keep running.

Runkeeper understands email communication pretty well. With every communication, the brand aims to bring its users back – by being very friendly.

runkeeper example

At a glance, you can see that Runkeeper has a friendly strategy.

The email newsletter highlights latest improvements and benefits that users will get if they return. See: it uses persuasion power to entice lost prospects.

If you’re going to use this approach, then, your email should ignite the fire in users, especially those who no longer respond to your emails. Be gentle and communicate clearly.

Runkeeper uses phrase like “Hi friend” and “You rock”. These are words that can appeal to your customers. It’s welcoming, and makes them feel valued.

Avoid any form of aggression in your emails. If your subscribers aren’t engaging with your brand or emails, being aggressive or excessively demanding will further keep them running.

When people open your emails, they should feel excited to read it. Cognique confirms that 91% of customers checks their email daily. Therefore, do not shock them with aggression when they open their inbox.

email consumption rates

If you want them to come back to your blog, store, or attend your live event, be nice to them and focus on offering them benefits. This is a lesson that Runkeeper is trying to teach you.

Ideally, you should segment your email list so that your emails get to a select group of targeted recipients. This will surely increase open rate and click-through rate.

segmentation is key

Segmentation is also important. Emails you created for the new leads should be different from that of your loyal customers.

All of your email subscribers aren’t on the same stage of the customer buying cycle. And it’s your responsibility to cater to everyone of them.

buying cycle

If you embrace and execute Runkeeper’s email campaign style, which may be informal or different from what you’re known for, but because it’s friendly and encouraging – you’ll win more customers.

 

2. UncommonGoods

To make it through email marketing, you may have to revisit your call-to-action. How your CTA is formatted determines whether or not your customers will take the right action.

One of the ingredients of effective call-to-action is a sense of urgency. Without sounding too pushy or desperate, you still have to nudge your customers to take action now, not later.

alarm clock scream

UncommonGoods, an online retail store that sells unique gifts, jewelry, and home decor and more, garnished its email newsletter with “urgency.”

The brand shows how a sense of urgency should be formatted, designed and sent to customers – in a way to prompt them to act instantly.

uncommon goods example

Humans don’t want to lose an opportunity. Psychologists call this the “Loss Aversion.”

Looking at the newsletter from above, you can see how urgent, simple, and direct the call to action is. Interestingly, this gets the recipients to take immediate action.

Unfortunately, if your email CTA lacks urgency, you have equally succeeded in fanning the hot desires of your customers to coldness. Maybe, the next time they visit, the interest may have worn out.

Which of these CTA copy is more appealing and persuasive to you:

“Don’t you think Mom would’ve liked a faster delivery?” and “Buy your Mom a present for mother’s’ Day!”

Truly, both of them are good, but when I read the first, I wish I could act now. So also will your customers.

UncommonGoods has developed a smart email strategy that convert sales faster, improves brands, get loyalty and trust. With a compelling website as this, the email campaigns need to be unique as well.

uncommon goods site

The brand understands how to use customer appreciation, effective branding best practices, and urgency-based CTA to entice customers.

Email is still making waves in digital marketing world. All you need is an effective strategy to excel.

Millions of your target audience are already engrossed to emails. Recent data from Email Monday shows that email is the most popular activity on smartphones.

app popular activities

If you ask me, I think that you should look into mobile marketing as well. Incorporate mobile into your email marketing strategy and you’ll see significant results. More so, mobile users are motivated group of consumers.

You can see how UncommonGoods uses smart marketing techniques to generate more sales and increase business revenue.

Follow the footstep of UncommonGoods, engage your customers with appreciation and urgency-based call-to-action. You’ll definitely improve open email open rate and increase sales.

3. Bonobos

If you want your target audience to be active, then you need to be interactive with your emails.

Interaction leads to action.

It gives your leads and customers a reason to stick to your brand.

Similarly, fun and curiosity are customers’ pain points that you must satisfy if you want to make impact and get more people to open your emails.

bonobos strategy

In your email campaigns, create a simple and clear call-to-action. This is a smart way of inducing your target audience to click.

Bonobos showed an interactive and simple email campaign that inspires customers to action.

bonobos email example

As you can tell from the exact email sample above, the customer is only required to select the size, with a simple click and that’s all.

Truth be told, initiating engagement is the easy way to get customer’s attention.

Look at Bonobos email campaign, it looks so simple, doesn’t it?

But it works.

Can you build your email campaign this way? You’ll not regret it.

Ambiguous messages will disengage your email subscribers and customers. Break down your message and make it plain. Use simple words and terms that people understand.

Your email will get better results if you provides enormous value to to your customers. Bonobos knows this secret. Hence, they don’t send junks that land in the trash folder as soon as the recipient gets it.

On the flip side, sending too many emails to your customers will not work. In fact, it could piss them off. Respect their inbox.

SmartInsight confirmed that 2 – 3 post per month converts higher than bombarding your customer’s inbox everyday with emails.

Email timing

Another proven email style Bonobos uses in its campaign is good-looking graphics. Of course, these graphics are relevant to the topic. In all, visuals don’t fail, no matter the platform.

4. Focus Pointe Global

Focus Pointe Global, a firm that has facilitated marketing research discussions for 25 years have a huge database of email audience.

The ultimate strategy is to convert casual leads into loyal focus group members. Because, then, 43% of them will spend more.

Loyalty program impact

And to make that happen, the firm decides to use a simple strategy, and in a few words, describe what their email campaign is about.

SIMPLICITY is key to Focus Pointe Global, and their email strategy.

See how simple Focus Pointe Global displayed its key word, “Online Survey Invitation.”

This is simple and clean, right?

focus pointe copywriting and cta email

Also, Focus Pointe Global explained to its customers what they’re getting into, what the survey is all about, the benefits of taking the survey, duration of the survey, and where to begin.

Your email campaign should be similar or even simpler.

When critical information appears in the email subject line, and are provided in simple terms and short, it catches people’s attention as they scan through their email messages.

If your information is clear only at the end of your email, it’s a deadly mistake, because your audience may not be patient enough to read through. BTW: Who does?

Therefore, from the start, tell your viewers your focus point, so that they can make informed decisions quickly.

 

5. Amazon Local

Should I be honest with you?

All right, I’ve your permission now.

If you create simple emails, and include a single call-to-action, more people will take action. After all, they’re not required to do much.

Amazon Local does it well. Occasionally, the company sends out emails, requesting for user’s feedback. The interestingly aspect of it all all is that the CTA appears natural. It flows smoothly into the short email.

amazon local email marketing

As a retail brand, Amazon Local has a simple but great strategy that you can learn from. This enables the audience to click on a simple button or link and give their feedback.

From choices made by clicking “likes” and “dislikes”, Amazon Local will know exactly what users want. Your click becomes a request – therefore, emails that will be sent to you will be filtered to suit your request.

When users click on the “telling us” link above, they’re referred to the landing page below – where they’ll either select like, neutral, or dislike.

amazon local deal preferences

More importantly, your call-to-action should agree with your landing page. And make sure that both are simple for the user.

Sadly, when CTA is clear but the landing page isn’t, it renders both useless. Let simplicity guide your steps.

But why is being simple in your emails so vital?

Well, isn’t it obvious?

Majority of your customers and email subscribers are lazy. They lack the courage to concentrate and read through. To solve this problem, draw their response by making them take simple action steps (e.g., like or dislike).

When writing your email subject line, focus on the benefit. Make it simple.

Here’s an infographic on subject line “do’s and dont’s”:

subject lines dos & don'ts

By personalizing its offers and aiming to get user feedback, Amazon Local now knows the pain points of its customers and what they want. And the emails are well tailored for them.

Don’t neglect personalization. Econsultancy confirmed that up to 61% of customers are satisfied with your marketing campaign if you personalize it.

automation & personalization

Personalization is knowing and speaking to your target audience individually because their problems will never be the same.

It’s ideal to speak to your customers specifically, based on their needs and behavior. Don’t assume they all face the same problem.

When you adopt this strategy, your audience will read the emails sent to them, because, the content is relevant to them: they can see their “likes” – because you’ve filtered out their dislikes.

6. PayPal

PayPal is the world’s most popular payment processor, used by millions of small, midsize and multinational companies. I’m sure you use it too.

For a long time, PayPal uses email marketing to build quality engagement with users. You’ll see how creative and strategic the brand, throughout this section.

PayPal is unarguably the best payment processor that gives users a lot of benefits. And the company is proud to hone it.

Since 70% of customers prefer to receive content via email than other social media sources, according to Campaign Monitor, PayPal capitalized on it.

respondent

Now, they understand that when people settle bills or receive payments, the underlying motivation or mindset is more important than the “money” itself.

PayPal documents customer’s journey before, during, and after processing payment.

PayPal Split the Check

In like manner, when you send and receive funds from friends, clients, and other people, PayPal collects their data, documents them, and begins to build relationship via email.

Hey, this is a powerful growth strategy.

In the email template above, you can see that Paypal’s email marketing campaign connects food and friends, which we can relate with instantly.

paypal

But as you already know, paying for meals for all your friends isn’t a good feeling, especially when you barely have enough to sustain you.

However, PayPal makes it easy, such that friends could contribute to pay using PayPal in 3 simple steps, with their smartphones.

Their strategy and simplicity attracts more users to PayPal to offset their bills, thereby leaving their contacts willingly but unknowingly. Great idea!

 

7. Harpoon Brewery

I can’t say this enough: email marketing success is driven by relationship. There’s a popular saying that “the money is in the list” – but the truth isn’t far fetched.

The money is actually in the relationship that you’ve built with your customers.

Come on, there is no better way to strengthen your relationship with existing customers, than to consistently send educational and inspirational emails – to show that you truly care.

Harpoon Brewery example

For instance, if you send emails to congratulate your customers during birthdays and wedding anniversary – they’ll feel honored.

Though, modern day emails are automated, yet, they’ll feel that you’re writing it to them right now. It sends a strong signal that you care.

When you send birthday messages to customers, you’re extending a hand of friendship. They‘ll respond invariably.

Make sure that your email is timely. Because you want to address the present issue (e.g., birthdays).

 

8. Rip Curl

Rip Curl is a globally recognized brand, which caters to surfers since 1969. The company values its users. With this as their main aim, they’ve worked tirelessly to ensure the satisfaction of their customers.

ripcurl website

Helping your customers find exactly what they’re looking for is an act you must cultivate, because when customers are satisfied with your service as shown in this chart, you’re likely to make more sales.

customer service impact

Rip Curl is truly a successful brand, yet, they embraced email marketing and have extremely grown their market size.

After they launched an innovative and mind blowing wrist watch, which allows the user to monitor their surfing, register their top speed and distance, and easily  synchronise data with it for easy access, Rip Curl thought it wise to leverage email marketing.

As you’d expect, they generated a lot of sales through emails, and new customers who came through word of mouth subscribed to the list, too.

Here’s a sample of Rip Curl’s email:

ripcurl email example

Although I’m not a surfer, but this email is so captivating and satisfying, if you ask me.

As a credible brand, Rip Curl is creative enough to develop an outstanding headline to power the email.

The headline is simple:

“Join the revolution.”

With this headline, it psychologically attracts the reader to read further in order to know what this revolution is about.

Nobody likes to be behind, we all strive to be in the moving train. This made a lot of people to act and purchase their own surf wrist watch.

At the end, the email campaign was successful, and generated a lot of sales. If you decide to use the Rip Curl’s email marketing example, then ensure that you inspire customers first – before asking them to buy.

9. Bonafide

Bonafide is a medical billing solutions company that assists medical practitioners, hospitals, health institutes in lead conversion. When it comes to lead nurturing, Bonafide uses email marketing to drive growth.

bonafide

Getting people to read your email is more important than sending it. It’s become a normal scenario to get not less than 15 emails in your inbox a day, and still find it difficult to read them.

According to Business Insider, it’s clear that “people either check email all the time, or barely at all.”

how often we check emails

We open emails we have no interest in, just to get them marked as read. And probably differentiate it from fresh emails that will soon come in. But we’re not engaged.

As a brand that listens to customers, Bonafide isn’t ignorant of this fact. In every email they send, there’s a section that reminds the recipients why they’re getting such emails.

bonafide guides

The first paragraph of their email reminds the customer about their previous activity with them. And further explains the specific reason, why they’re sending the email.

This makes it easier and faster for the reader to ascertain the usefulness of the email, and possibly take action.

 

10. jetBlue

No doubt jetBlue has one of the best email marketing campaigns you can ever think of. Here’s a sample of their email to subscribers. What would you do if you get such a beautiful email?

jetblue

See, the email evokes emotion. But there’s more: it’s engaging and useful. From the header to the call to action, they were able to hold the reader’s attention..

They used questions to draw the customer in. And they further made it more interesting by personalising the email.

This puts the customer at an advantage.

And finally they’re able to create a perfect call to action, by showcasing their service with a free gift that comes with it. You can glean a lot of lessons from jetBlue’s email campaign.

Gifts and discounts will always engage your customers via email. Data from Fit Small Business found that 70% of customers are more likely to try a new brand – because they offer discount or free gift.

Coupon emails

jetBlue succeeded in using the header, coupled with 3 amusing points and a strong call to action, to get recipients to act now, without forcing them.

 

11. Canva

I must confess that I’m a big fan of Canva. The most interesting aspect of their email – is its simplicity.

According to Credit Monkey, more people are likely to act, even without reading the whole content when it’s simple and clear – which is exactly what Canva did, and you can do it, too.

They also use large white spaces, which make their product well pronounced. Using an attractive color that’s different from the rest makes it more captivating and precise for readers to tell the focus point.

They always notify their subscribers each time they have a new layout design, just like the screenshot below.

canva email example

The email explains briefly the new layout and allows users to preview it. It doesn’t stop there, they further motivate subscribers to give it a try.

I got an email from them recently, when I was about going to bed. I was just rounding up with a couple of stuffs online. Even though I was so exhausted. But I managed to open up the new message pop up on my system.

I never realized how much time I’ve spent scooping through each of their layouts, till my alarm got my attention. It was definitely captivating.

12. Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed is popularly known for a lot of things like Cats, memes, funny things, technology, politics, and entertainment.

With this variety of options available to the readers, it becomes very difficult to detect specifically which topic/article a reader is interested in.

To tackle this problem, email segmentation would help. For example, Ebay used email segmentation to increase sales, according to Smart Insights.

ebay

More so, brands and digital marketers will have a need for segmentation in 2016. [source]

Buzzfeed is smart. They employed an easier and optional way: They created lots of different newsletters, which readers can subscribe to depending on their choice.

Email segmentation is easy if the foundation is set aright. As you can see, the pattern of email is clearly chosen by the readers, specifying which topics/articles they would like to receive.

Of course, Buzzfeed records consistent traffic, engagement, and sales, because their emails goes to the target readers.

Similarly, Buzzfeed has an attractive way of presenting their emails, which makes it captivating even without an image.

buzzfeed emails

They usually have a well crafted subject lines and a simple preview text, short and straight to the point. With the subject line complementing the preview text, and vice versa.

pasted image 0 2

For instance, the screenshot above shows a subject line, which is a command. While the preview text appears to be the next logical thought to come after it.

Likewise when a question is asked in the subject line, the preview text comes like an answer to it.

 

13. Cook Smarts

I was at a friend’s place a month ago during my vacation. Although she’s not a certified chef, but she loved to spend time in the kitchen.

Which I so much loved about her, because she has a perfect way of arousing your appetite with her meal, even when you don’t feel like…

But after a period of time, I noticed that she spends lots of time on her phone. Even when she’s in the kitchen.

The most surprising event, was the day I entered the kitchen unnoticed. I stood there close to half an hour, without her noticing my presence.

I became very curious to know what exactly she was doing with her phone, so I slowly tip-toed close to her, only to discover she was just glancing through a bunch of recipes.

Unbelievable!

Upon further inquiry, she told me that she receives variety of recipes on her inbox regularly. So, I decided to take a further look, and study the newsletters sent by Cook Smarts,

The newsletter was useful. But I discovered that what captivates most people in their newsletter, isn’t the appetizing recipes, but the format they’re presented.

This is key.

cooksmart weekly eats emails

Each Cook Smart’s newsletter has three separate options the subscriber can choose from (i.e., menu, kitchen how to’s, and information).

This makes it more convenient for customers to read, since they actually know the exact option that will interest them.

They also made it easy with ‘forward to a friend’ call to action, which lies at the top right side of the email.

Again, this is a good idea you should probably try in your email marketing. Statistics found that customers that are more willing to pay for your product, if it’s recommended to them by a friend.

top 3 trusted sources

 

14. Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud-storage solutions company.

They’ve been in the trenches for a long time. Before I show you their email marketing example, I’ve a question for you.

Did you observe that most often when you receive an email from a new brand or marketer, you tend to react positively to it – compared to an email from a brand you’re subscribed to, but not using their product?

This usually happens when customers get sick and tired of receiving email newsletters from their hitherto favorite brand that no longer cares about them.

These customers may not unsubscribe, but they’ll not open emails or take actions, nonetheless.

For a long time, Dropbox has suffered this plight. Hey, the company caused it.

But the good news is, Dropbox didn’t give up on its customers. Instead, the company devised a better way of reaching out to their customers with a good email. Their new found “come again to us” method, dazzled the customers.

It’s more like retargeting.

In case you’ve not heard of retargeting in marketing, this is a good example of it. Lots of business success were attributed to it.

Feel free to use it, because at times most customers will become inactive. So you use it to remind them that you’re still there for them. Dropbox does that by showing the “before” and “after” pictures.

dropbox email

At a glance, you can see that the email is brief and full of benefits. Dropbox sent the message with a very clear caption that assures the user of immense value, if they come back.

If your email subscribers are no longer active, use the Dropbox email marketing example to re-engage them and build a thriving business.

How to Maximize Your Email Marketing Conversions

If your email marketing campaigns aren’t getting good results, you might be wondering what’s going wrong. Odds are, you’re having a trouble converting your subscribers. Many people think that all you have to do is build a list, and then send that list emails.

What matters most is getting the subscribers on a list to take action. If your subscribers currently aren’t taking action, you might be interested in learning how to improve conversions.

In this post, we’re going to look at nine strategies that you can use, in order to improve email marketing conversions. We’ll look at a variety of topics, such as writing better emails and knowing when to send emails — all in the name of improving conversions. This section should give you a clear sense of what you can do in order to improve email marketing conversions in your own campaigns.

Ensure That You Have the Right People on Your List

At the core of your email marketing campaign, is going to be your list. If you don’t have a list, you don’t have the ability to run an email marketing campaign. However, just having a list, is not enough.

You need to make sure that you have the right kinds of people on your list.

If you don’t have the right people on your list, there will be a mismatch between what you’re trying to communicate, and what subscribers actually want to learn about. If you bought your list off of someone, then there is a chance that you don’t have the right people on your list. If you are looking to launch a new product, but you’re using a list from an old business, you need to be careful too. If the product being sold was completely different — your list may once again comprise of the wrong kind of people. If you want to ensure that you have the right kinds of people on your list, consider launching a fresh list building campaign.

When building this list, explicitly state what your email marketing is going to be covering.

List Segmentation

List segmentation

If you have a large list, that you think includes some people who will be interested in what you have to offer, consider list segmentation. This is where you split a large list into sub-groups. This can be a little tricky if you have a large list, though the time you spend to segment a list may save you money in the long run.

Understand Your Audience Well

Just because you have the right kinds of people on your list, doesn’t mean that they’ll devour every email you send to them.

Odds are you’re going to be sending your list pieces of content, in order to build a relationship with them, and to subsequently earn some goodwill. 82% of people open marketing emails, but if you send subscribers information that is not relevant to them, they won’t want to open your emails. Therefore, take a moment to really think about what your audience is struggling with. If your list is about webinar marketing; sure, people might want to know which platform is best when it comes to hosting webinars. Though what might be more interesting to learn, is how you can improve attendance rates.

For those looking to get started in the world of webinar marketing, attendance rates is much more pressing issue than choosing the right webinar platform. And so if you can provide a piece of content that solves a pressing issue, as just mentioned, you’ll be creating emails that people want to open!

Vary Your Content

Another way you can maximize conversions, is by varying your content. For instance, if you’re always sending people to a blog post in your emails, why not offer something else, that provides even more value?

An example of this, might be a 45 minute webinar, or a Google Hangout, where people can ask you questions, or can see live demonstrations of your product. By experimenting with other kinds of offerings, you’ll be one step closer to creating an email that people actually want to interact with. You could even survey your list to find out what kinds of content your list wants to receive more of.

Use Analytics to Study the Data

Once you’ve taken care of the fundamentals above, you can then think about studying the analytics data provided by your email marketing platform. At first, the data provided might be somewhat overwhelming.

Use Analytics to study data

But what you’ll want to do, is look for patterns, to see what is actually working in your campaigns. Here are a few of the things you’ll want to monitor.

Open rates vs. time emails are sent

What you will find, is that for your list, emails sent at a particular time receive higher open rates in relation to other times. Each list is going to be different, and so you can’t just read a blog post and expect to know what the best times are to send emails. However, by analyzing the data provided by your email marketing platform, you’ll be able to pinpoint the best time to send emails.

Now, of course, this is assuming you vary the times you send emails. But if you don’t, it might be a good idea to experiment with a range of different times. We’ll talk a bit more about split testing later, but consider sending morning emails, afternoon emails and evening emails. See which time period gets the highest open rates, and then start adjusting mailing times by the hour.

Content type Vs. Click-through-rates

Content / CTR

You’ll also want to monitor which forms of content get the best click-through-rates.

When you have this information, you’ll be able to figure out the kind of content your audience resonates with most, and hence you’ll be able to provide more of it in the future.

Image rich emails vs. Plain text emails

This of course, depends on the niche that you occupy. E-commerce websites sometimes need to send emails that are very image heavy. Either way, see which emails perform best — those with a lot of images or those that don’t have any images at all. By analyzing the data, however, you’ll be provided with a definitive answer.

Adjust the Copy

Another thing that can massively impact email marketing conversions, is the copy you use. To keep things simple, we’ll split email marketing copy into two categories — the subject line & the email body.

Subject line copy

When it comes to subject line copy, there are a ton of things that you can experiment with. However, here are a few things that you can try right now.

The first is to use numbers. Just as with blog titles, you’ll find that numbers can help increase the open rates on your emails.

The second is to use questions. Questions cause people to stop and think. If your question causes enough intrigue, recipients can’t help but open your emails.

The third is to use words that are relevant to the audience that belongs to your list. Chances are you can think of 3-4 keywords that your list really identifies with. By using these keywords, recipients will keenly open emails, because they know the email is of relevance to them. There’s data to show that for B2B companies, when the keywords ‘money,’ ‘revenue,’ and ‘profit’ are used, open rates rise.

The fourth is to use brackets. Brackets give you permission to say more in your subject line, without over complicating things. You could, for instance, use a bracket to include a call to action, or mention that there is a ‘bonus inside.’

The fifth is to use the recipient’s name. As we’ll discuss later, personalisation can greatly impact how people relate to your emails. In fact, personalized subject lines get a 22% higher open rate.

The sixth is to use some urgency.

Urgency emails on subject lines

Urgency can encourage action, as recipients will know they have a limited amount of time to benefit from whatever is on offer.

Body Copy

You can also adjust the body copy of an email. As mentioned before, adjusting the body copy of an email, can depend on the kind of emails you are sending out in the first place. If you’re sending out an email that is image rich, make sure that the ‘Alt-tags’ of your emails are descriptive. Otherwise, if the images are blocked when emails are opened, recipients won’t know what the images are about, and hence won’t enable them.

If you’re sending out plain text emails, it might also be a good idea to ensure that you’re spacing out your text properly. This means you don’t want to include massive chunks of text. Keep paragraphs short, and ensure that they don’t become longer than 3 lines.

It is also worth bolding any ‘calls to action’ you may have. This will help make them more obvious and could hence boost conversions.

Personalization

Personalization can also be used in order to maximize email marketing conversions. Most email marketing platforms will allow for you to include some personalization.

The most obvious places to include personalization are the subject line and in the bit after ‘Hi/Hello.’’ However, you might want to include personalization in the body copy of email too. Depending on the information you collect ahead of time, you’ll be able to include forms of personalization that aren’t just using the recipient’s name . You may for instance, also use location. This is something to keep in mind when setting up your opt-in forms.

Split Test

This is not to be confused with the analytics section that we covered earlier. The analytics section was about discovering what works, based on past results. Split testing is about experimenting with new ideas and going against best practice, to see if there is a better way of doing things. You can essentially take everything that has been mentioned so far, and try some wildly different approaches by doing the opposite. This is your chance to be creative, and experiment. Go against what has worked in the past to find something better.

Send More Emails

This might sound a little odd, but your email marketing conversions might be a little low, because you’re not sending enough emails. If all you’re doing is sending a welcome email, then you’re missing out on a lot of other opportunities to connect with customers. Provided that you’re always providing value, people won’t mind receiving extra email from you. The more emails you send, the better you can build a relationship with customers. This will build momentum, and hence people will begin to look forward to your mailings.

Send Emails Based on User Behavior

Another way you can maximize email marketing conversions, is by combining your current efforts, with emails sent out based on user behavior. Thanks to the advancements provided by email marketing platforms, this is relatively easy to do.

An example of this is the ‘cart abandonment email.’

This is where people are sent an email, after they abandon a cart on your website. This can be a good idea, considering that cart abandonment emails get an incredible 40% open rate. The email might ask them why they abandoned their cart, and if there is anything that can be done to fix the issue. You might even provide in the email a discount, to encourage people to complete the checkout process. You could even send this kind of email, if people didn’t attend a webinar, notifying them of a replay.

Conclusion

Email marketing allows you to reach your customers from anywhere, on any device, and help them.

It’s a proven strategy you can’t do without. Start today to nurture your leads and drive your engagement to another level.

When you communicate through email, you create a link to strengthen the relationship between you and your clients.

Show them how you truly care by sending them automated emails regularly. Don’t try to impress customers. But aim to express how much you love them, and would love to see them smile.

There’s no ideal frequency for sending emails. However, sending the right amount of emails to the right people based on their feedback is the best approach.

If these email marketing examples have inspired you, leave a comment below and share your opinion.

17 Awesome Customer Retention Strategies That Work

Leads. Customer. Sales.

These are the 3 most important goals of every business.

If you want to build a thriving business, you need to take care of your biggest assets – Customers.

Sadly, most businesses are obsessed with lead generation – but careless when it comes to customer retention. How sad?

Of course, acquiring new leads is great, but retaining existing customers should be your primary focus. Because, several studies found that 68% of sales comes from existing customers?

Don’t rely on customers who stumble on your website, places an order, and leaves immediately – without the thought of ever coming back.

You can’t underestimate the power of a loyal customer base. According to Brandongaille, 12 – 15% of consumers who are loyal to a single retailer, but they represent 55 – 70% of sales.

Value of the Loyal Customer

Trust me, retaining your customers is a key aspect of your business. Without a doubt, converting leads to customers is a hard process – but your efforts can pay off if you focus on the ultimate goal – retention.

Considering that loyal customers will always come back for your products and services, obviously, they’re your best business asset.

When GrooveHQ increased customer retention by 5%, this led to a 95% increase in profits.

If you’re unable to retain your customers; in other words, you churn and burn – you’ll be losing a lot of money.

Data from Marketing Wizdom found that about 20% of customers are lost by an average business annually, due to lack of cordial relationship.

If you lose a customer, you’ve wasted 7x the resources used in converting them. You shouldn’t allow that happen to your business.

To help curtail this problem of losing customers, I want to show you the 17 customer retention strategies that work.

Let’s get started with a “surprise.”

1. Offer customer service “surprises”

I always look forward to great surprises at my birthday.

But I’m not alone. We all love surprises.

When it comes to nurturing your customers, think of a valuable offer that you can offer them – without their knowledge.

Surprises come suddenly. They’re not planned. Surprise packages or offers don’t have to cost you a fortune.

In fact, Jawbone sends a handwritten note to its customers. Customers love it, because it shows how much the brand values them, since they could take out time to write to every customer manually. To me, that’s a big sacrifice.

Handwritten note to customer

If you want your customers to stay put and trust your brand, then you should get beyond the normal service or product that you offer.

Surprises motivate customers. It can come in the form of appreciation. And appreciation is a strong motivating factor for hard work. In other words, when you appreciate people, they feel excited about their work.

What motivates people to work harder

Psychologically, scientists say that surprise is good for the brain. It also brings pleasure. It’s the spice of life. Don’t wait until your customers make a request. Step out and surprise them.

Reciprocate good gestures. Surprising your customers will inspire them to leave honest feedback about your product, and brand. Trust me, this is priceless.

Surprising offers make your customers feel like they’re part of something bigger.

Purpose

Offer your customers free gifts and discounts when they aren’t expecting it. This will definitely change the lens through which they see your business.

If you need more ideas, Gregory Ciotti recently published a post on the 6 Creative Ways to Surprise and Delight your Customers.

2. Set customer expectations

Give your customers something to look forward to.

Customer service has gone beyond attending to inquiries and complaints, you also need to meet their expectations – even when you didn’t get their feedback.

Most important elements of the ideal customer experience

But, it’s hard to satisfy someone you barely know. So, get to know your customers intimately. Understand what they desire most, and use these pointers to set expectations.

As you set and meet customer expectations, you’re empowering them. According to the Harvard Business Review, “customers want to be empowered, not controlled. You have to act with empathy.”

One of the ways to set and meet customer expectations is to be honest when making a promise.

This is where most SEO agencies fail flat. Majority of them make unrealistic promises to website owners. They promise to rank their websites in Google #1 fast.

If you’re into search engine optimization and you work with clients, don’t ever guarantee any first page result.

If you don’t achieve top rankings within the stipulated time you promised your client, do you know what just happened?

You’ve failed as a brand.

Here’s what I advise my clients: “Don’t over promise if you know that you can’t deliver.”

As marketing consultant, Roy Hollister Williams puts it, “the first step in exceeding your customers’ expectations is to know those expectations.”

For instance, be conscious of what you promise in your response time and keep to it. If you promise to deliver product 30 minutes after order, just do that.

Better yet, you can deliver in 25 minutes time. You must not go below expectations.

Promise what you can do. Set expectations that you can meet. In the event that you’re not able to meet expectations, apologize and compensate your customers. Compensation is not enough.

Compensation vs. compensation + apology

If a customer is expecting a high quality product and service, but gets a crappy product – regret will follow. They’ll begin to regret purchasing the product in the first place with their hard earned money.

Realising that your customer’s satisfaction is key to sustaining them will help you build a sustainable business.

Once customers are badly treated, they live with it for ages. And they’ll find it difficult to forget negative experiences and undelivered promises.

3. Build trust through relationships

Successful businesses are built on trust. When two people are involved in a business, if there is no trust, the business dies.

And there are only two persons in your business:

You and the customer.

Seeing how important trust is to your business, you’ve to consciously make attempts to promote trust. As you initiate relationship with new and existing customers, you give them the opportunity to trust you.

build trust

Ideally, when you’re looking to build trust, use the customer behavior data to deliver enormous value in your product. That way, they will continually nod and accept your recommendations.

According to a new report by EY and Forbes Insights, “marketers should use data to build trust with customers.”

The moment customers discover that you’re not trustworthy, they will switch to your competitors. Nothing scares customers away like bad experience. Worse, they’ll spread the negative news with others.

unsatisfied customer effect

The commitment of your customers will be firm when trust increases.

A survey conducted by Concerto Marketing Group stated that 83% of customers will recommend your brand to others if they trust the brand. While 82% will stick to your brand if they trust it.

This means that when you build and grow trust, your customers will gladly advertise your brand – without asking for any compensation.

Lexus Sweden builds trust through customer conversations. “We communicate with reviews instead of just using traditional marketing because authentic customer commentary is more trustworthy,” explains Drakenberg.

Lexus homepage

In 2011, Lexus Sweden found that people who visited the company’s website engaged with reviews, which led to 35% more pageviews than those who did not – and spent 122% more time on the website.

4. Use automation to re-engage customers

Automation is allowing some of your routines to be handled automatically be a software. The most popular is “marketing automation.”

Monitoring and keeping your customers abreast manually is time consuming.

Because there are so many processes to be repeated daily, in order to keep your brand fresh in the customer’s mind.

Truth be told, there are still challenges of marketing automation. The most obvious is the data quality and integration. Poor marketing process is also a big factor.

Marketing automation challenges

Automation will set you on a faster pace more than your competitors. See proof below:

Marketing software use

The idea here is to use automation to re-engage your customers. Sure, you’ll see a boost in conversion rate as you engage customers manually, however, you can communicate stronger and faster through automation.

Do you promise to send useful email newsletters to your customers twice a week, as well as SMS to new customers, tell me: how can you handle all the task without automation?

You can select from the 15 best marketing automation software, if you’re ready to take your customer relationship management to a new level.

When your processes are standardized, it will give you the opportunity to deliver on the promises that you made to customers.

Through automation, you can manage your customer contacts, drip feed education emails, schedule promotional emails, text messages, and event notifications.

5. Improve KPIs around customer service

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator.

Klipfolio defines it as a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.

KPIs are equally regarded as a roadmap. Because they help you visualize what the future holds for your business, and what direction you should be taking.

By carefully studying your key performance indicators, you can tell what gets your customers excited or unhappy.

what males your customers love your business

At a glance, you’ll agree with me that delivering a great customer service and making it easy for customers to access vital information and support is critical.

And this is one of the core reasons why you need to automate marketing processes. For example, Help Desk software can help you map your customer persona, set up a campaign, and collect vital customer behavior data.

At the end of the day, whether you’re in charge of customer service or administration, you can easily tell how your customer support treats your customers. The KPIs will reveal everything.

But the essence of all these is to render good services, and meet customer’s goal at the end.

Here are the 5 essential KPIs for effective customer engagement:

i).   Response Time: When customers indicate interest in your offer, response time is a metric that measures how quickly you contact customers and interested parties with an email, live chat, or a sales call.

Time is critical here. If you delay, your conversions will be low. In the same vein, responding too quickly may not be right for your brand. You’ve got to find a balance.

Real estate experts believe that your response time should fall in between 10 – 20 minutes. That way, you’ll get optimum result, without leaving any footprint.

ii).   Conversion Rate: This measures the relative response that you get when you put the call across, send a quick email, or have a live chat with either a new or existing customer.

As you send outreach emails, how many of them were opened? Out of the opened emails, what percentage of these led to sales?

Conversion rate is a key performance indicator that’s critical to every business, irrespective of the industry. You can also measure conversion rate within your funnel – to determine how you’re attending to customer’s specific needs at every stage.

Conversion funnel

iii).  Funnel Drop Rate: Getting new subscribers to your list is awesome, but you equally want to measure how often people unsubscribe from your list. That’s what this KPI is all about.

iv).  Actions per engagement: The moment you begin to measure your customer’s response to calls, outreach emails, you’ll be amazed by the result – because, patterns in their behavior will start to emerge.

Tips for great outreach emails

With this new behavioral pattern, it’s easier to determine how many times you need to engage (e.g., call, send email) with your customers before they take the necessary action (e.g., purchase a product).

v).  Communication freshness: When was the last time you sent email, made a call, or had a conversation with your existing customers? What was the outcome of the last conversation?

Until you’re passionate your customers and dedicating time to engage with them, your business will likely suffer.

6. Leverage customer feedback surveys

Surveys are powerful tools for building customer engagement. Surveys may look boring, but people like it.

According to Fluid  Survey University, “The Average Response Rate for email surveys is 24.8%.” And there are several benefits associated with email surveys. Take a look:

Why Email surveys

Truly, hearing from customers directly to know how they feel about your products and services is a great way to cement the bond that already exist. In essence, it can help you develop engaging custom content for customer retention.

When customers are given the chance to express themselves, they reveal their minds and feelings about your brand.

In their complaints, be sensitive enough to catch the pain points. Get to know the areas they’re not satisfied about and why. Adjusting in those areas will turn things around.

Warning: Don’t frown when your customers complain. Be patient enough to hear them out. Their feedback is all you need to scale from being a mediocre or average business to a respected brand.

Remember that through feedback, you can re-engage a customer that’s about giving up on your brand.

No matter how you look at it, automation can help your business in so many ways. Most striking is the fact that it can help you engage and retain your customers.

7. Develop a frequent communication calendar

A communication calendar is what you use to keep in touch with your customers at regular intervals.

develop a communication calendar

Just the same way an editorial content calendar helps you keep track of your content strategy, content creation, publishing, and promotion in check, you can’t fail with a communication calendar.

The calendar is basically a programmed sequence of events, phone calls, special offers, handwritten notes, and so on, which you send to your customers using an automation software.

Communication calendar example

The programmed sequence of events is essential for pre-sales, sales, and post-sales processes.

Brands that keep a communication calendar usually find it easy to engage with their customers. Because, the frequent communication eliminates post-purchase doubts, improves trust level, and persuades the customer to come back again.

There are several communication calendar tools online, which allows you to send sends cards, letters on events, phone calls, special offers, and appreciation messages to customers periodically.

With this calendar, you can automate periodic communications with your customers easily. A lot of organizations are already using this marketing automation tool to communicate with their customers.

Marketing automation software

Frequent communication makes the customer feel valued and important, since you’re keeping them informed of your processes.

A recent statistics showed that organizations that relate with their customers more than 10x a year have 300% profit more than those that lost contact with their customers.

Side note: Customers’ interests could be neglected, but with frequent communication calendar tool, the processes are programmed and automated to send messages.

8. Overdeliver on your promise

Because a promise is a debt.

It’s dangerous promising what you can’t deliver.

According to statistics from Business.com, when a customer is dissatisfied, he will likely tell 20 more persons about her negative experience with the brand.

To avoid hurting your customers, the rule of business hasn’t changed: “Under promise and over deliver.”

over deliver

When you follow this formula, you’re exceeding customer expectation. After all, you’re going beyond what you promised.

That’s a great opportunity for you, too.

Only a fraction of people have succeeded in exceeding expectations. Sadly, 25% of businesses don’t even meet the expectations as shown in the chart below:

Expectations map

You know that promises raise expectations. When customers are expectant, they’re at a delicate stage – because a step could make or mar your brand. Become sensitive to your promises – and dare to exceed them.

A recent study by Manuela Vieth revealed that unkept promises provoke revenge against the organization that failed to honor them.

As the saying goes, “Don’t wake the lions in customers.”

Customers can be aggressive when disappointed. If you  promise to deliver a product in 20 minutes, be there at 15 minutes or 5 minutes before the time. As simple as this is, you’ll have succeeded in satisfying your customer.

9. Measure customer lifetime value

Do you see your customers as one of your biggest assets? Well, if you don’t know, they’re your biggest asset.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is one of such important key performance indicators that show you the worth of your customers over a period of time.

Measure LTV

For example, if you sell online courses and charge a monthly fee, you’re not really concerned about new customers, but the lifetime value of each customers who purchases from you today.

It takes a lot of resources to get a customer. As a business person, you’ll like to know the value each of your customers is bringing to your business. It’s called customer’s equity.

Some of your customers have added more value than others. Some will always come around to buy. This repeated buyers are your VIP customers.

These are the same group of customers who will refer others to your business through word of mouth.

word of mouth (WOM)

The value you place on your customers help you predict revenue and determine your budget for providing engaging content at all times.

You can use the Customerlifetimevalue.co to estimate how much a customer is worth to your business.

CLV Formula

For more information on Customer Lifetime Value, see the resources below:

10. Learn from customer complaints

Hey, you need to run away from customers who complain, right?

Wrong.

On the contrary, you should run to them. This group of customers who complain (to you or to others) are your greatest marketing asset.

It’s through complaints that you get to know the defects in your products and services. Complaints reveal what you should improve in your business and what to ignore.

It’s in the place of customer complaints that you know what your customers care about, and what they expect from your products and services.

Customer feedback

Here’s what you need to know:

A customer who complains is willing to stay. Some customers disappear without leaving a comment. This is not good for your business.

If you resolve the complaints in their favor, 70% of complaining customers will do business with you again.

70% complains will never do business again

Therefore, give attention to your complaining customers. They’re still interested in your business.

11. Train your customers with educational emails

Sending email newsletters is still the #1 customer retention strategy that works.

With the right application, email newsletter can help you train your customers – especially when you’re 85% focused on educating them with branded content.

train your customers

According to Nielsen Norman Group, “Newsletters are great for growing or maintaining relationships, even during times when people aren’t actively making purchasing decisions.

Attending to new customers and email subscribers after the initial contact is vital. With an educational newsletter that you send out periodically, they’ll trust you more – and feel excited purchasing from you.

After all, “teaching sells,” says Brian Clark

Email marketing has over the years been a major way of increasing customer conversion. But the question still remains: “what type of emails are you sending to them?”

Sending educational email is a smart method of educating your customers – and giving them good reasons to consider buying from you – and not your competitors.

If they can get valuable content from you at the earlier stages, they probably will like to remain with you.

Dare to train your new customers with educational emails. Show them step-by-step, how to use your product, the benefits, and behind-the-scenes video or pictures. And nurture existing customers with loyalty programs.

Nurture

Just the same way you nurture your new employees to understand the company’s goal & culture, you must train your customers via email newsletters, too.

Using customer’s personal experience at some point in the pre-sales, sales and even post sales stages can be very effective.

Because, it gives them the feeling that they are part of your business, as they are always informed about any change or promos associated with your business. This is a strong motivating factor when they’re making purchase decisions.

12. Use live webinars to educate and inspire customers

GoToMeeting.com and several other software have grown to become strong brands in the digital marketing space, because of the key roles they play.

They help you host your webinar from start to finish.

Webinars are powerful lead generation and customer retention strategy. It’s the best strategy to revive a dying business online.

“Based on a survey we conducted with our clients, between 20% and 40% of webinar attendees turned into qualified leads.” (source)

live webinars attendees

Webinars create impact. Successful brands online started out with webinars.

In fact, authority sites such as KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, HubSpot, LeadPages, Unbounce, Copybloggers and so on grew into multi-million dollar digital marketing businesses through webinars.

A webinar can help a business achieve all the organizational goals of content marketing. Yes, webinars are that powerful!

Webinar impact

Engaging your customers in a webinar gives them the avenue to learn more about your products/services.

And not just that, they’re also allowed to ask questions and present their challenges for every attendee to see.

In the course of discussion, they can make suggestions that will definitely redirect your focus – in the right direction.

Use webinars in your business to build trust with customers.

Trust matrix

You can actually host an event for your customers, with a bid to answer their questions in a personal manner.

It also shows that you really know what you’re talking about, when you can give a voice to your answers.

Sometimes, blog posts, articles, ebooks, and other written content limits the customer from getting to know you at a personal level. That’s why you need to consider hosting a webinar.

Podcast and videos

After the live webinar, you can further take advantage of video sharing sites, by posting the recorded webinar on YouTube, Vimeo, on your blog – in order to reach more potential customers.

13. Consistently add valuable content to your funnel

As a marketer you might have come across the word “funnel.”

Well, it’s an integral part of every content marketing strategy. Before a business can talk about conversion rate, there must be a funnel in place.

The goal is to guide the visitors and engage with them, until they’re ready to purchase your product.

bottom of the funnel

When people first visit your website, they need to be properly nurtured and engaged with relevant content and persuasion techniques – until they’re ready to buy.

Don’t try to sell to strangers.

It’s just like making a purchase on Ebay. The customer starts by logging in, searching for the product, then add to cart, before paying for the item.

HubSpot simplified this process into 3 vital stages: Awareness, Evaluation, and Purchase.

Customers stages

The Top Of The Funnel (TOFU) is usually crowded. But as people go down the funnel, the number of leads reduce, and only a tiny percentage of these leads will eventually purchase the product.

To a large extent, the more people you’ve at the TOFU and MOFU (middle of the funnel), the more customers you’ll eventually convert.

In each of these stages you should add valuable contents that will encourage the visitor to move to the next level. This image shows examples of what you can offer at each stage.

marketing funnel: Customer Lifecycle

14. Create a community and customer advocacy program

One quick way to encourage advocacy and community is by creating a discussion board or forum in your website.

It can help retain customers – because they’ll feel appreciated being in the midst of other customers. This is a form of social proof.

A community will give your customers the opportunity to discuss important topics and ask questions about your products and services.

An example is Shopify’s discussion board. It’s very active and shopify store owners use it to engage with other users.

Ecommerce University

Challenges, questions, and new ideas are raised – and with everyone being actively involved, solutions are just an arm’s length away.

This medium can further be engaged with news about new product features, promos, and acquisitions.

You can even add fun to the discussion by rewarding your most active members, and giving away access to your premium coaching courses or programs at half the price or even free.

This would inspire more active participation, and in turn build your customer’s confidence to trust in your brand.

Building trust attributes

Since building a community around your brand is an essential tool for communicating with your customers frequently, and educating them, it’s important that you moderate the threads – to avoid irrelevant discussions that would dent your brand.

You’ll definitely read negative comments or complaints. Whenever you find one, don’t ignore it or feel reluctant about it. Go ahead and address it openly. That way, users will learn, appreciate, and build confidence in your brand.

All of these discussions are working together to help your customers become brand ambassadors.

Look around and you’ll notice that successful digital companies got to where they’re, not only because the founder was smart and influential, rather, it’s because the customers participated.

Word of mouth can spread faster than speeding bullet, if you orchestrate it from the onset.

Digital marketing influencers have found that consumer word of mouth is a powerful tool in growing sales, it generated 2x the sales gotten from paid advertising.

It’s highly credible for generating new customers and retaining existing ones.

WOM most influential

Consumer advocacy is designed to nudge the customers from the inside – letting them know the need to spread the good news.

In a recent study, about 36% of US executives testified to the great increase in customer acquisition through consumer advocacy.

It’ll interest you to know that word of mouth is more effective on customers, especially when buying a product for the first time or an expensive item.

A case study by Nielsen further shows that  92% of consumers responded positively to recommendations from friends, than they do to TV ads.

top trusted sources

More so, referred customers have a 37% possibility of sticking to your brand and 50% chance of making a purchase.

15. Personalize your communications

When it comes to customer service, you can’t afford to be lukewarm. You’re either all out to help you customer, or your business will suck.

According to Eitan Fogel in an interview with BusinessInsider.com, “I don’t know of a single person who doesn’t like the sound of their own name. Personalization has long been a critical component of customer relationship management and customer service.”

Personalize your communications

Truly, personalization is the key that you need to trounce the competition.

It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the tools that your competitors are using, if you can get personal with your customers, you’ll be able to communicate clearly to and meet their needs.

For example, Banks and other financial institutions are currently using this technique.

The value of personalization is enormous. Banks want to know their customers well – that’s the reason for the endless forms you’ll have to fill whenever you need to get things done at the Bank.

Value of personalization

Personalization can be done at different levels. Yes, you can personalize your emails. That’s obvious.

You can also personalize your communications, by creating custom content that engages your customer in each stage down the funnel.

But personalization shouldn’t be done on emails alone. Even in live chat, customer service emails, or FAQ pages, you can tour the personality route – just to make your customer happy.

Take a look at the Customer Intelligence Engine, at the right side of the chart, you’ll see various channels through which you engage with your customers. Make sure that personalization is an integral part of it.

Customer Intelligence Engine

It feels good to be seated in a restaurant, a waiter comes by and calls you by your name, plus “what can we offer you,” with a smile.

I’m sure you’ll reply, “my usual.”

Few minutes after, he serves your “usual.”

That’s how customer relationship should be done. Did you know that by looking at your customer’s purchase history, you can actually personalize their experience better?

Absolutely.

According to Capgemini, more than 60% of customers finds it interesting when they are presented with their purchase history. This lets them know that the merchant or brand is trustworthy.

Unfortunately, most marketers are aware of the benefits of personalization in customer retention, but just a few of them practice it.

Learn to personalize without borders. Doing it online is pretty easy and common, but you should take it offline, especially if you’ve a local business.

Here’s a case study excerpt from Everengage:

“One example of this is when a Zappos customer had traveled to Las Vegas and forgotten to pack the shoes she had bought from Zappos. She went back on the site to buy them again but couldn’t find the same ones because they no longer had it. So the customer support team actually found the shoes at a local mall, purchased them, and personally delivered it to her at her hotel room, for free. Guess which company she recommends when her friends ask her where they can buy shoes.”

16. Address customer’s complaints on time

In this era where brands are busy chasing after new leads, the last thing they need is a complaint. Truth be told, attending to customer complaints would waste your time.

Nevertheless, complaints still remain a vital tool in enhancing the growth of a business. You’ve got to give a listening ear. Start today.

It gives you the opportunity to see things you overlooked, or probably didn’t see.

Most firms that have recorded great success all have what we call customer care departments.

Overall, 69% of customer service are rated good if customer’s problems or complaints are resolved quickly.

Good customer interaction factors

Effective customer service rely heavily on how fast the problem is resolved.

Your customer care department should be trained, flexible, welcoming, and have an open policy.

Complaints should be a priority that needs urgent attention in your business. Don’t defer or postpone giving attention to it. Answer the question now.

Your firm should be able to resolve complaints from all sources (email, offline, social media, phone calls, etc.).

17. Use unbiased customer reviews and testimonials

Use the resources that you already have to retain your customers. Period.

Customer reviews. Testimonials. Star ratings.

These are important metrics that you MUST integrate into your customer retention strategy.

Do people trust you enough to buy from you?

In a survey by Brandify, 88% of respondents said that negative reviews influence their purchase decisions.

Use unbiased customer reviews and testimonials

The truth is, there are no credible company or brand that customers will purchase from without reading reviews.

Even Apple, Amazon, Ebay, Wal-Mart. Online shoppers still read reviews about the iPhone 6, Amazon Kindle, and so on.

Generally, consumers are always cautious and curious about online products, especially digital products, like software, online courses, ebooks, plugins, etc.

This brings us to an all-important question: What do people say about your brand?

Giving an answer to that question is as important as turning profits in your business.

When it comes to purchasing products online, about 92% of consumers regularly or occasionally read customers’ reviews first.

Online reviews statistics

Both customer reviews and testimonials are powerful tools to retain your customers. If you’ve not been using them, start today.

When new customers read real testimonials, they’ll quickly come to terms with the product, and see themselves using it. The testimonial doesn’t have to be 100% positive either to inspire new customers.

Why should you use customer reviews and testimonials?

Let’s look at a few of the benefits:

  • They help to build trust with your customers.
  • They help ring the benefits of your products in the customer’s ear.
  • They speaks for you so you won’t sound salesy, since they aren’t your own words, but customers’.

Conclusion

From small startups to huge Fortune 500 companies, these 17 customer retention strategies have been implemented – and the results intrigued even the pros.

As you’d expect, none of these strategies is guaranteed to yield overnight results. You’ll need to be patient as you implement them.

There is nothing more frustrating than giving a strategy a shot, and giving up simply because you didn’t see quick results. Stay put. Don’t give in.

By the way, which of these customer retention strategies have you implemented, and how did it work for you?

How to Build and Manage a Team of Remote Content Writers

Maintaining a successful marketing strategy for your business requires a consistent stream of fresh content that offers value to your visitors. To some business owners, content creation sounds like an easy job, but many companies lack the time and motivation to do it. If you don’t have a dedicated writer in your team and your employees aren’t willing to contribute, you can profit from hiring a team of remote writers.

By hiring remote workers, you will have access to a wide talent pool of writers from all over the world. On top of that, your business will save on overhead costs and your remote writers will enjoy a better work-life balance while working from the comfort of their home.

Despite all of the benefits remote work brings for you and your employees, you might experience challenges with finding the right writers and managing your remote team. Take a look at the following advice to help you make the process of assembling a remote writing team easier.

 

Develop a Content Strategy

Before you start looking for writers, you need to create an effective content strategy that will help you decide on the type and number of writers you need to hire. The strategy will also help you stay focused on your long-term goals and not just on producing content.

You first need to decide what exactly you want to achieve with your strategy and set goals that are in line with your business plan. Spend some time researching your target audience and analyzing their needs and interests. This research will help you decide on the type of content that you’ll produce. Any type of content you decide to create should have a clearly defined purpose.

Define the style and the length of the content and estimate the number of posts you are going to publish each week. Spend some time evaluating the goals of your content marketing strategy as this will help you find the right writers for your company.

 

Determine How Many Content Writers You Need

Once you know what kind of content you are going to create and how often you are going to publish it, you will need to decide how many writers to hire. Dedicate a week of your time to creating the content you need by yourself. This will help you evaluate the time required to do the job.

Knowing how much time it takes to create a certain amount of content will help you determine how many writers you need. Being able to judge the number of writers you need is important because, by hiring an inadequate number of employees, you’ll risk burdening them with too much work.

On the other hand, assembling a team composed of too many workers can create a lot of idle time, and your writers might look elsewhere to find work when they learn that you can’t keep them busy. By hiring the right number of writers, you will ensure you always have fresh content on your blog.

 

Understand the Skillset Required for the Job

The type of writers you need to hire will predominantly depend on the kind of content that needs to be created for your target audience. Different content types require different writing skills, so keeping this in mind will help you pinpoint the right writers for your company.

You should focus on finding writers who have the ability to write for different audiences and strategies. Writers with experience in long-form journalism can help present the compelling story of your company. Those with experience working at a copy desk or for a marketing agency can deliver sharp and witty content.

It goes without saying that the main skill you are looking for is the ability to write. However, industry knowledge and a basic understanding of SEO are also important prerequisites you should look for in your writers.

Other important features you should look for include basic planning and organizational skills. Since your remote writers will be working without your immediate supervision, they should be self-disciplined and self-motivated to meet deadlines. In general, remote workers produce 13 percent more than their in-office coworkers, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about them not producing content on a regular basis.

Find Experienced Writers

Finding the right writers might not be easy and may take some time. However, patience and persistence in this part of the process can definitely pay out. Taking the time to find skilled writers will help you develop your content marketing strategy to its full potential. This, in turn, will drive traffic to your site, raise brand awareness and develop your authority.

Since you are hiring remote workers you will have an extremely wide talent pool to choose from. Try not to rely too much on low-quality freelance sites as this can leave you disappointed. At first, the pricing might seem attractive, but the quality of the writing might not suit you. Putting the word out to your network of contacts will help you find experienced writers who can deliver the high-quality content you need. You can also try finding writers by asking recommendations from your business colleagues.

Experienced writers often have their own websites, which can simplify your search. This allows you to review examples of their work and see whether their style suits your company. Look for writers who have the experience and background you need and ask to see various samples before making them an official part of your team.

You can also give potential employees an assignment to test their writing skills. Give them a topic and basic guidelines, and let them write an article. Try testing their proofreading and editing skills as well by giving them an article that needs to be checked. These simple assignments will help you decide whether the candidate is a good fit for your company.

 

Managing the Team

Once you’ve found the right team of writers, you will quickly realize that managing a remote team differs from your previous experiences overseeing traditional workers. For example, you can’t always instantly respond to questions and concerns, and it can take a long time to give and receive feedback. Also, keeping track of your remote writers’ status and progress is one of the hardest parts of managing a remote team.

You will need to compensate for the different communication requirements by using tools that can improve your team’s efficiency. Defining the writing guidelines will also help keep your content strategy on course. The following tips will help you manage your remote workers efficiently.

 

Set Up a Centralized Communication System

Focusing on regular and effective communication with your remote writers should be your top priority. Remote workers can’t stop by your office every time they need to ask you a question. That is why you need to decide on a centralized communication system every employee will use.

Using team chat apps such as Slack or Google Hangouts will enable you to limit the use of email for correspondence. This will allow your remote employees to quickly and easily communicate and share information with you and each other. It will also give you a chance to communicate your expectations, give instructions and establish deadlines and goals.

Consider using project management apps to organize your tasks and track projects. Apps such as Trello or Asana can help your team manage resources and responsibilities, and finish projects on time.

Collaborative systems such as Google Docs can enable you to work on projects in real time. Working this way removes the tedious exchange of latest document versions via email. It also allows you to check on the status of work being done by each writer.

Using video conferencing software for virtual meetings with your remote employees is a great way to brainstorm ideas and discuss projects. Solving problems and making decisions this way can also be much easier than relying on chat.

 

Define the Style Guide

It is important that all of your writers produce content that is consistent in style, tone, and voice. Establishing rules and guidelines early in your relationship with remote writers will help you avoid misunderstandings and run a smooth operation.

Create a style guide that will help your writers in creating content that is structured, organized and professional. This guide should document the preferred spelling, punctuation, grammar, terminology, formatting, and design. A style guide will help all of your writers stay on the same page by establishing the basic rules to follow.

Every member of the team should have access to the guide at all times and it should always have the latest information with recent updates highlighted so your team will easily notice them. This way, your team can refer to the guide whenever they need to and you can make sure that all of their writing is uniform.

 

Refine the Process

As work progresses, routinely ask your writers for feedback, so you can improve your processes and enjoy better outcomes. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks and failures because creating the right framework for managing remote writers takes time and effort. If you focus on consistent improvements, you’ll reap returns in the form of a team that works well together while achieving your goals.

 

Final Word

Hiring remote writers give you the ability to orchestrate complicated marketing efforts without the need for traditional in-office workers. Finding the right writers for your remote team and managing them will require a lot of effort on your part. However, with continuous work towards improvements, you will have an efficient production process that consistently hands you the content you need to build success.

 

About the Author: Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She writes about business and tech topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps

 

Key Marketing Metrics You Need To Be Tracking

Trying to make a marketing strategy work without using marketing metrics to track results is kinda like setting out on the longest road trip of your life, only without a map.

Sure, you might know where you started, and you might know where you’re going, and you might know what general direction (north, south, east, west) you should head in too.

But because you don’t have a map, you don’t know which highway is fastest, which roads lead to nowhere, and which motels you should stop at for the night. As a result, even if you do end up at your destination (which is highly unlikely), it would have taken you a long time (with a capital L).

In this post, we’ll explore the nitty-gritties of marketing metrics: what statistics you should be tracking, how you can use the results to focus your marketing strategy, and what tools you should be using.

 

The Marketing Metrics that Count

With the marketing metrics tracking tools available today, you can track just about anything and everything. As a result, it’s easy to end up wasting your time tracking the marketing metrics that don’t give you concrete, actionable information you can actually implement to improve your marketing.

In this section, we’ll take a look at the 5 major categories of analytics (see below), and we’ll investigate each one in depth. We’ll talk briefly about why it’s important to measure to see which metrics will be most useful to you.

  • Traffic
  • Email
  • Conversions
  • Customer Activity
  • Bottom Line

 

Traffic

The most popular statistics that webmasters track by far are the ones that have to do with traffic.

The Problem with Big-Picture Traffic Statistics

This makes sense, because traffic is a category of analytics that we can easily translate into money for our business. After all, it’s a simple equation:

More traffic = More people viewing my site = More people buying my products = More money

Google Traffic Metrics

 

Image via QuickSprout

Because of this seemingly simple & valid equation, people tend to focus on the big-picture traffic statistics, i.e. the number of visitors per day/month/year.

But even though the equation is valid to a certain extent (your online business isn’t going anywhere if you have zero traffic), it is by no means the end-all and be-all of marketing.

The importance of big-picture traffic statistics (e.g. number of visitors per month) is overestimated, for several reasons.

Firstly, these big-picture statistics do not indicate how well that traffic is translating into money. You might be getting 100,000 visitors per month, but if you’re only making $1000, then you’re only making a cent for each visitor.

Second, these statistics also don’t take into account how much money you’re spending to produce that traffic. If your monthly marketing budget for content, graphic media, promotion, etc. is $2000 all-in, then your business is losing a cent on every visitor (continuing with the previous scenario).

Last, but certainly not least, the big-picture statistics ignore acquisition: i.e. how your traffic performs as a function of where it comes from.

Reddit and Stumbleupon, for example, are notorious for producing high volumes of traffic, but also very high bounce rates and laughably low conversion rates.

Reddit-Traffic

That’s because most people who use Reddit and Stumbleupon aren’t actually looking to seriously engage with the websites they visit through those networks.

On the other hand, traffic from sources like Facebook ads tends to perform much, much better since Facebook allows you to target their users by age, location, interests, and more.

Facebook Ad Targeting

So while you should definitely pay attention to the overall traffic figures, don’t get too hung up on them. Also, you should realize that these big-picture marketing metrics are not going to give you information you can act on to improve your marketing. That comes when you investigate the following statistics that are much narrower in scope.

Acquisitions

As we briefly touched on above, assessing your traffic according to the channels through which it comes is a crucial step to analyzing traffic appropriately.

For starters, you’ll want to think about the volume of traffic that arrives through each source.

Is social media your biggest driver of traffic? Guest posting? Or do you get visitors the ol’ fashioned way, via organic search rankings?

Once you know exactly through which channels your traffic is coming, you can capitalize on that information by focusing your marketing efforts on the sources that deliver visitors.

For example, if you’re running a fitness blog and you discover that Pinterest and other social networks drive you more traffic than anything else, then you’d probably want to focus on building your social media presence even further.

Pinterest-Fitness

Another important metric to track with traffic acquisition is the cost of each visitor based on the channel through which it comes.

In keeping with the fitness blog example above, let’s say that you got 10,000 visitors in a month from social media. In that same month, you got 5,000 visitors through organic search. Obviously, social media seems like the traffic channel to focus on.

But now let’s add a new piece of information to the equation: cost. If you spent $500 on social media marketing in that month, then you’re spending $0.05 per social media visitor. And if you spent only $100 on SEO, then you’re spending $0.02 per organic search visitor.

Suddenly working on social media presence doesn’t seem like the best idea, does it? Pursuing more organic visitors would mean more traffic at a lower cost per visitor (which translates to more profit).

Average Time on Site

The average time on site metric is a great way to measure engagement on your site.

This slice of data measures the average amount of time a visitor spends on your site each session.

If each visitor spends only about 30 seconds on your site before hitting the back button, then you know that there’s probably something repelling about your site. Get to work on fixing that.

Bounce Rate & Pageviews per Visit

The bounce rate and pageviews per visit metrics are also important indicators of your traffic’s engagement level.

A “bounce” is a visitor that happens on your website, views only one page, and immediately leaves (there are other definitions of a “bounce”, including one that limits bounces to <30-second, single-page visitor sessions).

Therefore, bounce rate measures what percentage of your visitors view only one page before leaving.

Google Analytics Page Marketing Metrics

Image via Qualaroo

A high bounce rate is a negative result and definitely something you’d want to improve on.

Pageviews per visit is essentially the other side of the same coin: it measures the average number of website pages each of your visitors browse through in each session on your website. More pageviews per visit mean that your visitors are interested in the content on your website.

Returning Visitors

The returning visitors metric is another type of engagement metric altogether. This metric analyzes what percentage of your visitors are ones that have already browsed your website before.

This statistic isn’t black and white, like some of its predecessors on this list.

As we just discussed, a high bounce rate for instance is obviously bad while a low rate is clearly good.

With returning visitors, however, a super-high or super-low measure isn’t necessarily good or bad.

If a very high percentage of your traffic are return visitors (e.g. >70%), then that means two things: 1) your traffic is engaged with your site, but 2) you have very few new visitors.

The second result – very few new visitors – isn’t a result that you’d want to have, since that puts a ceiling on your growth.

The same is true when you apply the reverse. A very low returning visitors percentage means that even though you are getting new visitors, your traffic is never engaged enough with your site to visit it a second time.

The key, therefore, is to aim for a healthy 50/50 or 60/40 balance.

 

Email

Email marketing is a crucial element of any successful business. This fact is evidenced by a simple statistic: 44% of email recipients last year made a purchase because of a promotional email (that’s nearly half of everybody who uses email!).

And according to a 2013 study done by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing strategy: 4000%. That’s $39 profit on every buck spent on email.

Email Marketing ROI Metrics

Image via Adobe

But you won’t be getting these sorts of ROI figures by simply setting-and-forgetting an email campaign. To improve the effectiveness of email, you need to track every aspect of your campaign, and use the information you get to continually improve.

Here are a few important email marketing metrics to get you started.

Open Rate

Open rate is one of the most basic email marketing statistics, and an absolute must-know for your campaign.

This metric measures the number of people on your list who open your email. For example, if your latest broadcast got an open rate of 12%, that means for every 100 people on your list, 12 people opened the email.

According to benchmarks provided by email marketing vendor Mailchimp, open rates are notoriously low across almost every industry.

Open-Rate.png

In not even one industry Mailchimp tested did email campaigns get an average open rate above 30%.

If your open rates are significantly lower than that, then it’s time to do something about it.

Subject-Line

Test more subject lines, try a more attention-grabbing first sentence, and above all, ensure that your emails aren’t getting redirected to the spam folder.

Click-through Rate

Click-through rate (CTR) refers to the percentage of people who receive an email click one of the links in your email.

As you can see in Mailchimp’s data above, CTRs are usually less than 5%, meaning that for every 100 people on your list less than five are likely to click the links you post in your emails.

One technique you can use to increase your CTR is to repeat a specific link several times within the body of your email.

Click-Through-Rate

Neil Patel over at QuickSprout does this in every email he sends out marking the addition of a new post to the blog. He repeats the link to the new post three times from the first sentence to the last.

Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is self-explanatory — it refers to the percentage of people who unsubscribed from your list after reading a specific email.

Typically, a high unsubscribe rate means that there’s something particularly unappealing about your emails. It could be that the content feels too salesy, is properly formatted, or that you email too rarely for your list to remember why they subscribed to you in the first place.

Find out what’s causing the unsubscribes, and work to eliminate that flaw.

Delivery Rate

The delivery rate refers to the percentage of your emails that actually get through to your list’s inboxes. For example, a 99% delivery rate shows that out of every 100 emails you send, one gets stopped by the subscriber’s anti-spam/malware filter.

If your delivery rate is low (less than 95%), then one of the below two reasons are probably responsible:

  1. You have too many links (esp. affiliate links) in your email/It sounds & looks spammy.
  2. Your email marketing service isn’t doing a good job.

Spam-Email

Reason #1 warrants a review of your email campaign.

Reason #2 shows that it might be time to get in touch with your email marketing service. If the problem doesn’t get resolved, then it might be time to switch services altogether.

 

Conversions

Conversion-related marketing metrics are another highly important category of analytics to pay close attention to.

A conversion is defined as when a website visitor completes a goal action. For example, a visitor could “convert” into a subscriber by accomplish an opt-in goal or a subscriber could “convert” into a customer by completing a purchase-product goal.

Buildfire-Subscriber-Conversion

Conversion rate, therefore, is essentially a metric of how productive your traffic is. The more conversions your traffic gives you, the more your visitors are doing exactly what you want them to do.

One of the biggest drivers of conversion rate optimization is a/b testing, wherein you sent a portion of your traffic to a certain variant of a webpage and another portion to another variant of the same page to see which variant is most productive.

A/b testing is absolutely vital to increased conversion rates: without it, you simply aren’t going to make any progress on the conversion front.

Here are a few key conversion metrics you need to track.

New vs. Return Visitor Conversion

The first metric to analyze is concerned which of the following groups of your traffic converts more: new visitors who have never browsed your site before, or returning browsers who have already had multiple on-site sessions.

Typically, you’ll find that return visitors are more likely to convert — especially when the conversion in question is a big deal (like purchasing a product or becoming a client).

Buildfire-Customer-Conversion

This is a logical result: return visitors are more familiar with your site — and since they’re visiting it multiple times, they obviously find it appealing enough to want to return. Therefore, they’d be more comfortable with spending money on your site.

New visitors, on the other hand, are more likely to convert in other ways. For example, unique visitors may accomplish an email marketing conversion by subscribing to your blog after reading just one post, or they might complete a social media conversion by sharing one of your posts.

Acquisition

Just as with traffic, it’s important to keep in mind the channels through which your conversions come. You should be tracking how much this costs.

PPC and email traffic often convert at much higher rates than traffic from organic search, referrals, or social media, since they are generally much more targeted towards your ideal audience.

Cost per Conversion

Once again, cost is a major metric to track. You should be able to tell approximately how much you’re spending on each conversion.

You will probably have to look at the conversion acquisition channels data to get a good indication of this metric.

Conversion-Metrics

Image via Ryan Gum

If you spent $500 on PPC traffic last month and got 250 conversions from PPC traffic, then you’ve got a cost per conversion of $2. Obviously, your target is reduce this number as much as possible, while still maintaining conversion quality and value (see below).

Conversion Value

Another conversion statistic to keep in mind is the value of each conversion (i.e. the impact of each conversion on your bottom line).

This metric may not be so cut-and-dried as you think.

Obviously, the easiest type of conversion to ascertain the value of is a sale. If the target conversion is the purchase of a $50 product, then the value of that conversion is $50. However, you can also assign values to either types of conversions, like email list subscriptions.

For instance: if approximately 10% of your list goes on to become customers (spending $50 on your product), then each time you get a new subscriber you effectively add $5 to your bottom line.

Customer Activity

You may be a little confused at first by this category of marketing metrics, as it’s not one that gets mentioned very often, for a simple reason. Because measuring customer activity doesn’t always produce tangible results like most of the other analytics, it isn’t a very ‘fun’ one to focus on.

But nevertheless, tracking levels of customer activity is absolutely crucial to your business.

When I say customer activity, I’m essentially referring to how your customers interact with your business after having become a customer.

Now why is it important to keep your customers engaged after they’ve already become your customers? After all, they’ve already bought one of your products/produced money for your business, so they are pretty much useless now, right?

Wrong.

Two words: repeat sales.

Repeat sales — i.e. where a customer buys a second or third product/service from you — will easily be one of the biggest drivers of revenue for your business.

Repeat-Customers

Take a look at the above graph from Sweet Tooth Rewards. It shows how on average, 27% of first-time customers are likely to buy from you again. 45% of second-time customers are likely to buy again. And 54% of people who have purchased something from you at least three times are likely to spend more money with your business (and on the trend goes).

So in short, someone who’s already become your customer is far more likely to give your business more money in exchange for goods/services than some random website visitor who’s never bought from you before.

The buy-again potential of customers is largely untapped in the online business world. Many marketers forget that the most productive source of new sales is often their existing customer base.

But you won’t get very many of your customers to buy from you again if you aren’t working to keep them engaged and continually interacting with your brand.

In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at what sort of customer-brand interactions you ought to track.

Social Media Engagement

Social media is a great way for your customers to interact with your brand, for two reasons:

  1. It’s ubiquitous — nearly two thirds of the US is on social media, according to Pew Internet
  2. It’s an easy tool to use — customers can tweet, write a Facebook post, or publish an Instagram image in just a few seconds.

Track how much your customers use social networks to engage with your brand. You can monitor mentions of your social media page, brand-related hashtags, and the effectiveness of your social campaigns among customers.

BuildFire-Social-Media

BuildFire’s Twitter profile.

Of course, to keep your customers engaged on social media, your business itself must have a strong social media presence. If you don’t have one already, then Jamil’s post on strategies for social media success is definitely a must-read.

Email Engagement

Yep, we’re back to email.

When a visitor turns into a customer, they should immediately be put on an email list that’s designed and segmented exclusively for customers.

Email Engagement

For example, here’s an email from Darren Rowse at Problogger that’s sent exclusively to the customers who have used his job board.

This customer-targeted email list can typically be a little bit more salesy/promotional than your other campaigns; as we discussed above, customers are quite likely to buy from you a second time, so don’t be afraid to push for a sale.

Track how often customers are opening emails, clicking through the links, and unsubscribing.

Onsite Activity

Another important metric to keep track of is how your customers continue to interact with your site. Are they still reading your blog posts and perusing your about page as they were before the sale? Do they spend more time on your landing pages and product pages? Or are they (gasp) not visiting your site anymore at all?

If your customers are still engaging with your site even after the sale, then that’s a good sign that they still have an interest in your business and may possibly spend more money on it in the future.

On the other hand, if a customer is completely abstaining from heading to your site again, then one of the two following reasons are probably responsible for that:

  1. They got what they needed, and now have zero interest in engaging with your brand again.
  2. They wouldn’t mind checking you out again, but you haven’t given them a reason to.

In scenario #1, there’s nothing you can do except accept the fact that customer was a one-and-done type of guy/gal.

In scenario #2, you need to work harder to re-engage the customer.

Customer Social Media Engagement

Try dropping him/her a special email to check how the product is working, or send out a quick tweet directly to the customer to start a conversation (see above).

 

Bottom Line

Finally, we have bottom line metrics.

Unsurprisingly, bottom line metrics are all about your bottom line. This category of metrics is concerned with the most major performance indicators in all of business: revenue, costs, and profit.

Bottom-Line-Metrics

Image via Danube Delta Investment

Revenue

First up is revenue. As you already know, revenue is the aggregate sum of money that you make from your business.

This includes money from customers & clients, advertising, affiliate marketing, or whatever other income streams that you may employ in your online business.

Costs

The second metric is costs. Now, when most people think of costs they think strictly in dollar terms. For example, a list of costs might include things like the following:

  • Website-related services: $500/month
  • Marketing: $2000/month
  • Product development: $2000/month
  • Accountancy & bookkeeping: $500/month
  • Legal fees: $1000/month
  • etc.

However, the one cost that most people tend to overlook is time.

Time is always more valuable than money, and entrepreneurs are among some of the most time-poor people in the world.

When you’re busy growing your business, don’t forget to take into account how much time you’re spending on your work.

For this purpose, I’d recommend a time-tracking app like Toggl.

Toggl-Time-Tracking

This neat webapp (which I personally use just about every day) allows you to quickly and easily track how much time you’re spending on each part of your project in a smooth, intuitive UI.

Profit

Last, but certainly not least, we have profit, which is revenue – costs.

As the founders of startups, you’re all no doubt experienced with being in the red early on.

After all, the costs associated with building an online company — although they may be far from the costs of building an offline one — certainly are nothing to sneeze at.

The key here is to realize and accept that you may not be profitable for a while. Amazon, for example, is still be in the red. However, with its continual growth, the eCommerce giant geared to make bucketloads of money when it does hit profits.

 

Marketing Metrics Tools

Now that we’ve finished talking about what you should track, let’s get into the how.

Note that marketing metrics tools come in many different forms, perform many different functions, and are categorized in several different pricing tiers. You have tools dedicated for email stats, conversion analytics, bottom line metrics.

You have tools that cost $0 to use, and you have tools that can run in the mid four-figures every month.

In this post, we’ll cover a few tools at different price points for each of the five categories of marketing metrics that we’ve just discussed.

 

Traffic Marketing Metrics Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the undisputed king of web analytics. Used by people all over the world, Google Analytics is powerful, versatile, and as an added bonus, totally free.

There are no hidden upsells or upgrades that you need to pay for access to — everything you will need on the platform is 100% free of cost.

Integrating the platform with your website is as easy as adding a few lines of tracking code to your website. If you’re on WordPress, then that process is as simple as a few clicks with the free Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin.

Google-Analytics

Image via Content Marketing Institute

Google Analytics isn’t limited to just traffic metrics, either: it also has some neat conversion-tracking functionality built-in as well. You can track goal completions (conversions) and also assign values to each conversion so you can visualize the amount of money made in each conversion as well.

Clicky

Clicky is another highly popular web analytics tool. Unlike Google Analytics, Clicky does have paid plans — if you want to track more than 1 site and/or more than 3,000 pageviews per day, then you’re going to have to shell out at least $9.99/monthly.

However, Clicky does come with great bang for your buck. It’s real time data is much better than GA’s, and it has more detailed information about each visitor that comes across your website (see below).

Clicky-Visitor-Profile

It also features heatmaps that show you where visitors click on your pages, spam/bot filtering, an upgraded bounce rate metric, dynamic conversions (that don’t have to be pre-defined) and much more. You can see a tabular comparison of Clicky and GA here.

If you want to learn more about Clicky, read Ramsay’s full review at Blog Tyrant.

Mixpanel

Mixpanel is a fully-featured analytics tool with a lot to offer. It’s targeted at a more premium customer base (paid plans start at $150 monthly), although it does included a very limited free plan.

Mixpanel-Analytics

The tool features segmentation, retention, funnel, and engagement analytics, as well as built-in A/B testing and notifications for the front end user. If you have the budget, then Mixpanel should definitely be near the top of your list.

KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics has built up quite a name for itself in the online marketing industry with its terrific content strategy that includes a (very) popular blog, comprehensive e-business guides, and regular webinars.

KISSmetrics is pretty much on an even keel with Mixpanel. They both mostly have the same features, and both have similar pricing (KISSmetrics starts at $120/month and Mixpanel at $150/month).

KISSmetrics-Analytics

A review of both platforms by Sacha Greif came to the following conclusions:

  • Go with KISSmetrics “if you want to focus on attracting people
  • Go with Mixpanel “if you’re more interested in tracking trends and applying formulas

Email Marketing Metrics Tools

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is easily one of the most popular premium email marketing tools. It’s very budget-oriented: the tool is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. However, the free plan does mean a limitation in the available feature set.

Mailchimp-Email-Analytics

Premium plans start at $10/month. Features include integration with several eCommerce softwares, an intuitive email editor, automation workflows, and mobile options.

TJ’s review of Mailchimp at Small Biz Trends offers a comprehensive overview of the tool.

Vero

Vero is a more premium option for those who have the budget. It starts at $99/month for 12,500 subscribers and 25,000 emails/month, but the impressive feature list makes the cost worthwhile.

Vero-Email-Analytics

Comprehensive reports on every subscriber’s activity, A/B testing functionality, powerful automation ability, and a sleek UI all make for a killer combo.

Here’s a comparison of Vero with two other popular drip email marketing tools published on LinkedIn.

Conversion Metrics Tools

Google Content Experiments

Google Content Experiments is a built-in part of Google Analytics, but it doesn’t function the same way as do the other conversion optimization & tracking tools available.

Google-Content-Experiments

Image via Rich Page

Unlike traditional conversion testing tools that allow you to a/b test variations of the same webpage, Content Experiments actually sends traffic to two separate URLs to see which page converts better. This isn’t as handy as the tools that allow you to test on a single URL, but that’s the sacrifice that comes along with a $0 price tag.

Visual Website Optimizer

Visual Website Optimizer, commonly referred to as VWO, is a popular conversion testing tool with appreciable functionality. The tool comes with an easy to use website editor, detailed reporting, heatmaps, traffic segmentation, and multiple third-party integrations.

VWO-Conversion-Analytics

Starting at $49/month for 10,000 tested visitors, VWO certainly isn’t cheap, but its snazzy UI and reporting ability merit the pricing.

If you want to learn more about VWO, check out Rich Page’s review.

Customer Activity Metrics Tools

The best type of tool to use to measure customer activity is a CRM. These tools can track each visitor’s individual actions on your site, right from their first session to their post-sales activity.

CRMs also often come along with many other features, including marketing automation functionality like overall traffic analytics, email marketing, and conversion rate optimization. So if you do decide to go with a full-featured CRM, keep in mind that a lot of the above tools will be redundant.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is quite popular with small businesses, and for good reason: it packages into email marketing, automation workflows, and a nifty CRM into one affordable solution.

ActiveCampaign

The tool starts at just $9/month for up to 500 contacts (comes with a two-week free trial), and is well known for its premium customer support. I’ve used the tool extensively myself and have always found it super-simple to navigate and altogether quite easy to work with. If you’re on a budget, then ActiveCampaign is probably the way to go.

In this post, Carl Taylor details why he moved over to ActiveCampaign, and why he thinks you should, too.

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft is well-known in the online marketing space, but its high pricing point can be a turn-off to many. Infusionsoft’s cheapest plan starts at $199/month, and all plans require purchase of a “kickstart” (customer onboarding), which begin at $699. That makes the minimum spend upfront about $900, which is quite a daunting sum for many.

Infusionsoft

However, if you can afford the tool, then it’s hard to make a case against it. Infusionsoft features a full suite of CRM and marketing automation functionality: detailed analytics, close interaction with contacts, payments, multiple integrations, and oh-so-much more.

Here’s Seth Ellsworth’s take on the tool.

Bottom Line Metrics Tools

Baremetrics

Baremetrics is an affordable income tracking tool specifically for SaaS business. It creates detailed analyses of some of the most important cash flow metrics through integration with Stripe.

Unfortunately, the only thing that Baremetrics cannot take into account is cost, so you don’t end up with an overall profit/loss picture. But regardless, it’s still a highly useful tool.

Baremetrics-Analytics

As seen in the screenshot above, the founder of Baremetrics, Josh Pigford, publicly displays the company’s own bottom line figures with the use of a public Baremetrics dashboard that you can view here.

Pricing is based on your monthly run rate, and starts at $25/month for a $2500 MRR. All plans include email reports, instant notifications, goal analysis, and more.

Pulse

Pulse is a neat cash flow management app that was created by a small business, for small businesses. Unlike Baremetrics, Pulse does come with the functionality to report costs & expenses so you have a great overall picture of your business’s performance.

The app allows you to import income and expenses from external sources, choose between one-time and recurring items, and project future cash flow based on previous payments.

Pulse-Bottom-Line-Analytics

You can test it out with a 30-day free trial, after which it’s only $14/month for up to 3 accounts, 3 users, and 3GB file storage.

Conclusion

And there you have it — the beginner’s guide to marketing metrics.

This one has been quite a long read, so let’s take a moment to quickly recap the post in a few bullet points:

The five major categories of metrics:

  1. Traffic — look at the big picture, but don’t ignore the narrow-scope metrics like acquisition and engagement indicators
  2. Email — always track open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rates
  3. Conversions — investigate the best sources of low-cost, high-value conversions
  4. Customer activity — track how your customer interacts with your business through social media, email, and your website so you know how to get more value out of each one
  5. Bottom line — carefully account for your revenues, costs, and overall profit

And the best tools for each type of metric:

  1. Traffic Google Analytics, Clicky, Mixpanel, KISSmetrics
  2. Email Mailchimp, Vero
  3. Conversions Google Content Experiments, VWO
  4. Customer activity — (use fully-featured CRMs) ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft
  5. Bottom line – Baremetrics (for SaaS companies), Pulse

Remember: all of these types analytics are critical for your business. You’ll never achieve the full potential of marketing metrics without using all of the above in conjunction.

It’s time to get tracking!

How do you use marketing metrics to grow your business? Dso you have any tools you’d like to recommend? Leave your comments below!

 

diy

 

13 Easy And Effective Customer Engagement Strategies

Love your customers.

I guess you already know that. But the question is, “do you really love them?”

Or you’re just concerned about milking them dry.

Think about it. If you truly love them like you claimed, then, why are you in so much a hurry to get their money?

Don’t you think it’s more honorable and easier to engage customers first, and fan their hunger and thirst for your product?

Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Whether you sell ebooks, software, consulting, coaching, or a physical product (e.g., clothing), without loyal customers, you’ll fail.

If you’re looking for actionable “no regrets” strategies to engage your customers, this in-depth article is for you.

I’m not really here to lecture you. You already know that without engaged customers, it would be difficult – perhaps, impossible to win them.

Most brands tend to pay more attention to lead generation and customer acquisition.

They forget that until these ideal customers are motivated, and upgraded in their state of mind, they’ll likely switch to competitors – it’s only a matter of time.

The way you treat your customers matters. Are you giving them a good experience?

According to Verint, 61% of consumers would tell friends and family about their experiences, while 27% reported that they would sign up to the company’s loyalty scheme.

Positive customer experience effect

People have a diminishing attention span. Since these people (customers) come from different sources, it’s important to track engagement on both desktop and mobile devices.

According to a recent report from IMRG Calpgemini, “a total of 52% of web traffic to retail sites currently comes via smartphones and tablets.”

More so, over a third (36%) of online sales are now completed on a smartphone or tablet device.

More customer interactions across channels and devices will give them a “welcome note” to remain loyal.

Let’s explore the 13 customer engagement strategies together:

1. Use social media as an engagement tool and not simply a platform

You’re closer to reaching your personal peak, if only you can change your mindset about social media.

hubspot social media tool

Listen up: social media networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn are not merely platforms for connecting with people.

Yes, these social platforms are primarily for that, but you should use them as tools, if you want better results.

The rapidly evolving behavior of consumers in this age should impact your perception about social media marketing.

Social media is huge. As of July, 2015, the total worldwide population is 7.3 billion. And out of these, about 2.3 billion people are active social media users.

Social Media and mobile devices

What do you think that these billions of people want?

Do you think that connecting with them is all they want? If that were all, then, it doesn’t make sense – because you can connect with people outside of Facebook.

When people follow you on Twitter, or like your page on Facebook, they took that action because they trust that you’ll help them.

Make no mistakes about it, these people have problems that need urgent solutions. Through customer engagement, you can retain and make customers happier.

Customer Retention Problem

Begin to see social media as a tool, not just a platform. This means that you can use the tool to connect, share, identify questions, research influencers and other experts, and create content that your fans will scream, “Wow, ‘ve been looking for this!”

Most brands merely regard Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks as platforms.

But Lenovo, a global leader in computer technology sees social media differently. As a brand, the company uses digital social tools to deliver immense value to its customers.

Lenovo

The company uses social media to obtain user data and after analyzing it, gets ahead of its competitors – in terms of consumer trends.

For example, after listening to customer feedback, ranging from color preferences for laptops, to screen sizes, Lenovo has mastered product development.

Like Lenovo, if you begin to view social media as a new and viable means to engage with prospects and customers, you can shift your brand’s social media strategy – and begin to cater for your customers.

2. Engage customers with In-Product messaging

When it comes to product messaging (i.e., notifying your customers about your new product), there are several key channels that you can use.

Communication Channels

Out of these four channels, in-product messaging happens to generate the best conversion.

Overall, follow up emails have poor conversion rate.

But you can improve your conversions, by sending in-product messages. Because, that’s what your intimate customers are desperately looking for.

According to Wikipedia, in-product messaging means:

“Content, and related media delivered directly to a user’s internet-connected device or software application, with the purpose of informing, gathering feedback from, engaging with, or marketing to that specific user or segment of users at often-higher engagement rates than other digital marketing and online marketing channels.”

The part of this definition that you should consider critically is:

“Marketing to that specific user or segment of users.”

From the definition, you can see that when you send targeted message to a segment of your users, you’ll get higher engagement rates.

You should segment your email list. Because if you don’t, you’ll blindly send the same message to everyone.

Sadly, not everyone of your subscribers or ideal customers want your latest product or ebook.

Sending out of context emails will likely increase your customer’s email fatigue.

The ideal approach is to message a specific segment of your customer base with the exact product/offer which they’ve indicated interest.

In-product messaging is a viable strategy to adopt, because there is a market fit, which is the direction correlation between product and market.

Product Market Fit

Not all CRM software are equipped with in-product messaging feature. If you find any marketing automation software that supports it, you should grab it with both arms.

A lot of startup and software companies agree that you can leverage in-product messaging to move new customers through a seamless onboarding process and use email to engage customers who are still stuck on a step.

onboarding process

3. Nurture free trial prospects and get them to upgrade

Free trial prospects have gone beyond “onlookers.”

They’re actually customers – even if you haven’t charged them yet. By definition, a customer is someone who had made a transaction that would benefit the business.

To use your product, customers have to spend focus, time, and money.

nurture free trials

How often do you sign up to try a new software or solution but never actually upgrade or renew account?

It’s very easy for free trial users/prospects to get overwhelmed when they first signed up to a new service. The ultimate question in their minds would be similar to this: “Should I upgrade my account?”

A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found that free trial customers act differently than paying customers.

According to the author, “starting a relationship through a free trial influences usage and retention behaviour, how these free trial customers respond to your marketing messages, and ultimately how long the consumer will remain with the service.”

Sadly, companies are struggling to convert their SaaS free trial users into paying customers.

convert trials into paid users

Data compiled by Sixteen Ventures shows that users active in the first 3 days of free trial – regardless of trial length – convert higher than inactive users.

To nudge free trial users to upgrade their account and use premium features, you need to nurture them.

One of the proven ways to do that is through personalized communication. “Getting to know your customers is easier if you give them the chance to get to know you,” says Belle Beth Cooper.

As simple as this might seem, it can help free trial users know you by name, and they’ll feel more secured about your brand.

To get the full tactics for turning free trial prospects into engaged customers, see the resource guide below:

4. Communicate with VIP customers with promotions specifically for them

Simply put, VIP customers are those who have been with you for a long time, purchased your product, referred friends, family members, and fans to your business.

retain vip customers

VIP customers are not one-time buyers. But the good news is that through customer engagement, you can turn casual buyers (or one-off buyers) into loyal and trustworthy customers.

Here’s an excerpt from an article on Early To Rise:

“Think of what a VIP customer is, and what it takes to keep him. Think of his long-term value once you have figured out how to motivate him to spend five to 10 times what others will pay for essentially the same product or service. Think about the very small cost of reselling him as compared to the cost of acquiring a new customer.”

Truly, having a lot of VIP customers could mean that your business will thrive even in the midst of economic turmoil.

There are 3 types of retail VIP customers:

i).   Liberal VIP Customers: These are customers who are loyal to your brand. They usually purchase the most over a period of time. Doug Fleener says he measures spending over an 18 – 24 month period.

ii).   Community VIP Customers: These are important group of customers, too. According to Fleener, they aren’t actually big spenders, but you can’t do without them. Because, they refer qualified customers.

Social media influencers and pro bloggers fall into this category. When they tweet your post or new product, you can expect tens if not hundreds of new subscribers and buyers.

iii).   Advocates/liberal VIP customers: This are customers who make impact in your brand. They’re brand advocates as well as big spenders. They’re not only happy after purchasing your product, but they can tell others, too.

As a rule of thumb, dazzle every customer. But elevate the DAZZLE or experience, and provide a more personal touch for your VIPs.

On the other hand, if you neglect or take for granted these very important customers, you’ll lose them. Top notch customer service is what brings about VIP customers, not just great products.

According to data from LinkedIn, “68% of customers will leave your company if they believe you don’t care about them.”

Churn reasons

The keyword is “believe.”

So, it doesn’t matter what you think, or how great you claim your customer service to be, once customers begin to feel ignored, they’ll switch over to, maybe your strongest competitors.

Rachel Miller says you should treat all customers as royalty, if you want your brand to be known as a top notch service provider.

Remember to invite your VIP customers to live events and one-on-one coaching programs. You need to be closer to them.

If a customer can spend up to $2,000 with your business, you should allot more time to them.

Apple treated Dang Sung as one of their VIP customers, after he spent £12,000 for an Apple Watch Edition with 18-Carat Yellow Gold Case with Black Classic Buckle.

It all boils down to delivering enormous value in your product.

5. Obsess over your customers by delivering enormous value

No matter your niche or market, when you put customers first and think about their welfare, you’ll nurture an army of brand advocates.

Avis has one of the highest level of consumer engagement for the Car Rental market. They always go the extra mile to answer customer questions and address complaints.

AVIS

Do you know that customers are distracted?

In case you’ve forgotten, there are more businesses, products, and information online today than there was in 2010.

Information overload has become a major roadblock to engaging customers. Majority of the customers who lack focus could find themselves switching brands.

A study by Accenture found that, “46% of U.S. consumers said they’re more likely to switch providers than they were 10 years ago.”

More so, recent data shows that 72% of U.S. shoppers want to feel more in control than ever before when shopping.

Impact on loyalty

Obsess over customers, and not competitors,” says Evancar Michael

Amazon always top the chart for overall customer satisfaction among America’s largest companies.

Amazon seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company …”

And the company, which is being navigated by Jeff Bezos is committed to customer service.

“Obsess over customers, says Jeff – who’s famously a customer service leader.

Above all things, he’s passionate about the welfare of customers. He pays attention to customer questions, listens with rapt focus and delivers outstanding results.

This explains why Amazon is the no #1 online shopping site in the U.S., if not the world over.

6. Create custom content that addresses a bugging customer questions

Are you engaging your customers with custom content.

Overall, content marketing is used to drive leads and acquire new customers, whereas, custom content is primarily used to engage and nurture existing customers.

There you go. That’s the difference between content marketing and custom content marketing.

It’s important to create useful content for your customers. This engagement strategy didn’t just begin today – it’s been used by large companies in the U.S., Uk, China, and more – although, in various forms – several years ago.

b2b content marketing usage

Even in the digital marketing world, top brands such as HubSpot, KISSmetrics, Moz, Search Engine Journal, QuickSprout, and the like, have mastered the art of using content to inspire customers.

Custom content is the way to go. According to Demand Centric, “78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. And 61% of buying decisions are influenced by custom content.”

61% decision is influenced by custom content

How did Shopify acquire and nurture over 165,000 loyal customers who are billed on a monthly/yearly basis.

Yes, Shopify provides one of the best shopping cart software, but it’s more than that.

The company have also embraced content marketing – specifically, they create more custom content that shouts out to their existing customers.

Here’s one of such posts:

Shopify

Here’s what you should know:

Your existing customers have questions bugging their minds right now. What are you doing to proffer answers to them?

Time is precious. If you’ve a large customer base like Shopify, Moz, Volusion, and so forth, you can’t afford to answer every customer.

The easiest way to address that question is to create a custom content. I told you earlier that custom content is a type of content written to customers who are familiar with your product.

You could create custom to inform your customers about new features of your software, or how to install and setup a feature. KISSmetrics does that too well.

Kissmetrics

It doesn’t even have to be a new product or feature. It could be a new content that highlights an upcoming event, benefits, and how your customers can buy tickets.

Moz recently announced the MozCon 2016 and how their customers can qualify and win a free trip to the event.

Mozcon

All of these are examples of custom content. Because, the sole objective is to engage existing customers and give them a reason to stick to the brand.

7. Hold a customer-engagement summit

There are so many ways to learn today: books, blogs, articles, magazines, newspapers, journals, videos, podcasts, and multimedia.

However, attending a summit or conference will broaden your horizon, and upgrade your learning curve in a dramatic way. The benefits are enormous.

Adobe conducted a study on the impact of summit in attendees’ lives.

The company found that 98% of attendees met or exceeded their expectation. And 80% of them discovered new skills to impact their organization and their career.

Customer Engagement Summit numbers

If you’ve the resources, I encourage you to host a customer-engagement summit. You could collaborate with other businesses to make this a success.

It’s really not about the ambience, but the value you plan to bring to the table. What matters is the impact you’ll make in customers’ lives as they come.

According to the Academic Association of Contemporary European Studies, when you attend academic conferences, you’ll learn from others and dramatically improve your own skills and knowledge about your field.

As you engage with other people’s work, dare to ask questions.

In like manner, hosting a customer-engagement summit gives you the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with your customers (especially the VIP customers).

These customers can ask questions, and instead of answering via email, support system, or phone, you can infuse personality and humor while providing answers.

Brand personality

That would make a lot more sense. And your brand will stand out in the crowd.

If you look around carefully, you’ll agree with me that successful digital companies that have loyal and engaged customers all have annual or semi-annual summits/conference.

For example, CEO of Digital Marketer, alongside his inspiring team organizes the Traffic & Conversion Summit yearly.

The summit is regarded as one of the largest conversion summit in North America. As I write this article, the company is about to launch a second flagship summit, which they call, “Content & Commerce Summit.

T&C 2016

Remember that the focus of a customer-engagement summit isn’t necessarily to provide great customer support. Rather, it’s to cement the relationship that you already have with your customers.

Customer engagement goes beyond managing the initial touch points. It also cuts across understanding what your customers want and how they want it.

Yes, if your customers want you to create a digital product, have you determined the type of product that you’ll create?

Is it going to be an ebook, software, membership site, online course, email course, or a one-on-one coaching?

You should got to find out.

And it’s through engagement that you become certain. Customer engagement is your responsibility – and you’ve got to do it now. By the way, it’s not a destination, though, but a journey that never ends.

Be proactive

8. Produce interactive content to feed customer demand

What type of content are you producing?

A study by Demand Metric found that interactive content is an effective approach for educating customers.

And when customers are educated and excited, they become engaged and willing to take actions.

Content effectiveness

Content marketing is the way to do. I’m sure you don’t want me to preach about it. Do you?

In the past, traditional marketing strategies worked well. A lot of brands still use them today – although, with mixed feelings.

When you come over to online, content is king.

Your ability to produce the right content is your one-way ticket to generating more leads, more inbound links, and more sales.

But it’s easier said than done. According to Content Marketing Institute, 52% of B2B content marketers are struggling to produce the kind of content that engages. 39% do not have a budget in place to hire professional content creators.

Biggest b2b content problems

No two articles are created equal. Or should be.

Do you realize that two writers can write an in-depth article on the same topic, one of the articles could go viral – generating thousands of social shares, comments, links, and clients, while the other may not even reach a few hundred readers.

What could be the cause?

Well, there are several factors that could lead to that.

One thing you should know is that the rules have changed. Content is no longer about the quantity, but the quality.

As an example, Brian Dean writes and publishes one article per month, yet, he drives over 100,000 qualified visitors to his blog. And hundreds of social shares on every new post.

backlinko

Although, Brian updates his blog once every month, but he doesn’t sacrifice the quality of his post. In fact, he always up his game.

On the flip side, if you want to create an engagement stream that never runs dry, you need a different type of content.

Interactive content.

From the term “interactive content,” It’s simply the type of content that talks back at the reader.

In other words, there is an interaction that goes on when readers go through it. Here are some examples of interactive content:

interactive-content.jpg

A typical blog post is not really an interactive content, but it can become if you spice it up.

Generally, humans live to interact. Consequently, if your content follows that pattern, your customers will not only be engaged, but they’ll feel at home with your brand – and become motivated brand advocates.

The real measure of any form of content is action. If you write content and the right people aren’t able to take action, it means that you didn’t achieve any goal. You’ve wasted time.

To truly understand interactive content, here’s an excerpt from a post on Copyblogger:

“By its very nature, interactive content engages participants in an activity: answering questions, making choices, exploring scenarios. It’s a great way to capture attention right from the start. Individuals have to think and respond; they can’t just snooze through it.”

Interactive content is what engages the user and provides enormous value. A typical example of an interactive content is “Your Life on Earth.”

life-on-earth.png

It involves scrolling text with images and video and you get to participate in the HTML5 quiz (interactive element).

Your Life on Earth isn’t solely an integral part of iWonder guides, but it’s in the same development cycle at the BBc of “doing, not just viewing’ content. You should try and play it.

9. Create a “listening center” to drive conversation

Without communication, your customers will be lost.

Confusion sets in only when you neglect to set up systems that will aid effective communication.

A listening center isn’t just an avenue where you listen to your customers, it’s equally an opportunity to pay attention to details – as you sort all questions and make a promise to answer them – if you don’t have all the answers at one sitting.

Cisco and some of the top brands are redefining customer engagement and service. Although, these companies have come a long way, you too can create a listening center that will drive conversation.

Create engagement

There are several benefits to developing a “listening center.” For one, cisco sees and hears social media at new listening center.

In case you don’t know, here’s the truth: your customers are in a haste. It’s your responsibility to shorten response time – especially when they ask questions that’s been bugging their minds.

Knowing which questions to answer first, and how to send it across to your customers will go along way to excite them. That’s what customer engagement entails.

With a listening center, you’ve got a system that you can leverage on to further strengthen relationship with your existing and new customers.

10. Scale your customer engagement budget

Business is not as it used to be.

There are new strategies, tools, vehicles, and content types at every corner. Most companies are confused, because they can’t figure out how they can afford all of these with their limited budget.

Trust me, content creation and distribution is where the budget is mainly at. Recent data from Dcustom shows that marketers are now spending $44 billion on content marketing

Content Marketing Spend

Content marketing is expensive.

If you consider the time, research required, money, and sometimes the network that you need to build to make it work, you can’t really equate it with anything.

However, it’s important to scale your customer engagement budget. If a large portion of your budget goes into content creation and distribution, your engagement will suffer.

Ideally, you can optimize your inbound marketing budget like this:

marketing tactics

A wise marketer will always put the customers first. After your content has attracted new customers to your business, you need to motivate and fan their zeal.

If you don’t do it, your customers will likely switch – irrespective of the value that your content delivers.

When companies recognize that there’s plenty of money allocated to one aspect of customer relationship marketing, they will map out a strategic means of communication.

A means that will enable them communicate with customers more productively.

If you’re in a tough niche, then creating more content may not help you trounce the competition – but creating the right content and scaling your network.

This means that you connect with more businesses, marketers, influencers, and content curators – who can help amplify your content to reach more people.

If you look at the comparison chart below, you’ll notice that when marketing budget is high, especially towards developing and documenting a content strategy, as well as hiring a competent chief content marketer to manage every aspect of content marketing, the resultant effect is “very effective.”

impact on content for b2b

11. Improve customer support by making it your team’s duty

No matter the product you deal on, what you’re truly selling is experience.

Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos once said that his business wasn’t primarily for delivering shoes or clothing, but for delivering happiness.

As the Chief Executive Officer of a thriving shopping brand, Tony hires and fires – based on their core values.

Core values that are based on human psychology – and what makes people happy.

Zappos values

I’ve a question for you: “Are you satisfied with your present customer support system?”

I’m not talking about the latest helpdesk solution, tool, or program that you’re using to improve customer support.

Rather, I’m talking about the one-on-one communication that you once had with your customers.

Of course, you can’t possibly connect or communicate with thousands of customers one on one, but you can add personality to your voice.

Because you’re not a robot.

But a human being, with blood flowing through your veins. You understand that customers aren’t “traffic” as we call them – but real people with questions that needs answers.

To help improve your customer support, one thing I recommend for my clients is to make customer service everyone’s responsibility.

Yes, “everybody should be involved.”

It doesn’t matter whether you have a sales team (you should), or administrative team – all hands must be on deck.

Poor customer service will cripple your business.

According to Insightsquared, “$41 billion is lost by US companies each year due to poor customer service.”

Poor customer service

Your staff or team should be helpful and kind when communicating with customers. A study by New Voice Media found that about 42% of customers will switch if they’re put off by rude or unhelpful staff.

I encourage you to become customer-focused brand. It doesn’t matter your designation or profession, put customer service at the forefront.

This means that if you’re engaged with a particular task outside of customer service, and you receive complaints from a customer, what should you do?

Here’s what I advise you to do:

Pause whatever task you’re handling and address the customer’s complaints. Be kind to them. Show them that you’re not after their money, but their love and trust.

When customer service becomes your no #1 priority, customers will trust you more, and refer new customers to your business. Drive this urgency into every of your team member.

Let them understand that the customer has been crowned king – and should be treated as royalty.

According to Harvey Mackay, Author of ‘How to Swim with The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive,’ “Successful organisations have one common central focus: Customers.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s a business, a professional practice, a hospital, or a government agency, success comes to those, and only those, who are obsessed with looking after customers.”

12. Respond promptly to customer calls

How fast do you respond to customer calls?

Fast replies generate revenue. When an airline responded to a customer’s Tweet in less than 6 minutes, the customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for that airline in the future.

Fast replies generates revenue

By “calls,” I’m referring to feedback, not just phone calls or emails. The customer is the absolute priority.

Companies like Dell, Xerox, Starbucks, Apple, and several the like are leading the way – because they respond promptly to customer calls.

In case you don’t know, here’s a shocker:

Customers are impatient.

It’s estimated that humans attention span is 8 seconds – which is 1 second lower than that of a goldfish.

avg human attention span

You’ve got to understand that people are not ready to wait for 48 hours to get their questions answered, when another brand can answer within 24 hours.

Even if the question requires some technical know-how, it’s vital to up your game. You can achieve tremendous results if you have a technical team or department to handle these technical issues.

When it comes to responding to customer’s feedback quickly, don’t make excuses.

How fast you respond will help you gauge and understand the difference between customer service and customer experience. “Experience” is as a result of the service you provide.

If your service is awesome, but you are slow, customer experience will be negative.

On the other hand, if the service is great and the time it took to deliver it blends properly, customer experience will be high and positive.

Don’t wait for a customer to resend a question, or create a new support.

Although, I use GetResponse email autoresponder, but their response time is discouraging. The last time I emailed support, I didn’t receive feedback until after 2 days.

I agree that the company is good at what they do, but I can’t recommend them in terms of customer service.

Speed is critical.

13. Create mobile apps

Have you created your first mobile app yet?

If no, what are you waiting for?

It’s easy to learn different programming languages.

You can drive growth easily with mobile apps. Take a look at the average number of apps used and time per person each month, from Q4 2012 to the Q4 2014.

avg apps used monthly

Deep analytics combined with good psychology for user behavior are the defining factors that differentiates an app from a website or other software.

When it comes to customer engagement, we’ve seen firsthand how apps can turn a casual conversation into a bonded relationship that generates sales.

Having a unique app icon helps too.

If you’re looking to engage your customers, while providing unfeigned value that will remain fresh in their minds for years to come, then you should seriously consider creating mobile apps.

By the way, you can get started with your first mobile app in 15 minutes – Sign up with Buildfire.com

buildfire

Conclusion

The key learning here is that customer engagement isn’t a destination, but a journey. Because it doesn’t stop.

I’m yet to find any brand, business that can boast of mastering customer engagement 100%.

If only you can take these 13 strategies to heart and implement them, you’ll not only inspire your customers, but you’ll build a brand that thrives in the midst of market downturns.

Using BuildFire to create your app will help keep costs low.

Which of these customer engagement strategies have you used in your business?

9 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your Business Blog

Use your blog to its full potential, and you’ll find your website getting more traffic, your customers interacting with you more, and your business getting more sales.

But if you blog the wrong way, you won’t only miss out on all those benefits – you could actually hurt your brand and repel your ideal customers!

That’s because a blog is a huge part of your brand. It gives your company an opportunity to establish a unique voice that helps you stand out from your competitors.

But with that opportunity comes risk, because if you don’t establish a unique voice and put effort into creating content that is relevant and helpful to your audience, you might as well not blog at all.

That being said, don’t give up on your blog just because you aren’t seeing the results you want from it yet. It takes a lot of effort and time to nail down and implement an effective blogging strategy.

Check out the following mistakes, see which ones you’re making, and use what you learn from the advice here to improve your business blog.

 

1. Using your blog to share company news

Lots of businesses – especially in the B2B world – use their blog to share company news. To put it bluntly, that strategy doesn’t make sense at all, and it doesn’t help them build a following.

Why?

Because potential customers don’t care about company news. They care about reading content that will help them solve their problems. And company news doesn’t do that.

So, stop sharing company news and start giving your audience more of what they want – actionable, insightful content that will help them achieve their business goals quicker.

 

2. Stuffing blog posts with SEO key words

Over-optimizing blog posts by stuffing them with key words used to be an effective SEO strategy, but not anymore. Google now penalizes content that is stuffed with key words.

That’s why you need to focus more on content marketing as a whole – not just SEO. You should still use key words in your blog post content, titles, and URLs, but never add so many that it’s obvious you stuffed your content with key words.

If you do, both Google and your target audience will disapprove of your content.

 

3. Being overly corporate and formal

Let’s be honest – lots of business blogs read like they were written by a pretentious technical writing professor.

This is a major problem because people don’t enjoy reading bland content. They want to learn something useful while feeling connected to the writer, and you won’t connect to anyone using unnecessarily complex language that confuses more than it communicates.

In fact, studies have shown that online content should be written at a middle school reading level for maximum effectiveness.

So, keep it simple by writing your posts in your own blogging voice. And show some personality too! You want people to actually like you after reading something you’ve written – if they like you, there’s a good chance they’ll be more willing to buy from you.

 

4. Publishing content that is clearly self-serving

When people come to your blog, they’re going to leave immediately if your posts read like a sales pitch. That’s because people don’t want to be sold to – they want to be informed.

So, if you’re putting “contact us today!” in every post (or a similar call to action) and not getting the loyal following you’re after, it’s probably because you’re pitching too hard.

If you really want to use your blog to sell the smart way, you won’t randomly pitch your services within the posts all the time. Instead, you’ll offer free downloadable content that a customer can get by giving you their email address. Then, you can use email marketing to sell to that customer.

While it’s not an instant way to sell, it is an effective way to sell, and that’s what matters the most.

5. Neglecting to add images to your posts

Did you know that articles with images get 94% more total views?

It’s true. Plus, you can use images to improve your SEO if you optimize them correctly. So, if you’re not using images within your blog posts right now, just think about all of the engagement and sales you could be missing out on!

But maybe you’ve thought about using images before and just haven’t done it yet because you don’t know where to find them or how to make your own. If that’s the case, try one of these tools:

  • Shutterstock – Pay a monthly fee, and you’ll be able to download a specified number of images to use for your business. They have tons of images, and lots of them are high-quality.
  • Pixabay – You’ll find free downloadable images here, but they don’t have nearly as wide of a selection as Shutterstock. However, if you’re short on cash and just need some basic pictures, this is probably your best bet.
  • Canva – This free graphic design app is awesome, and you don’t even need design skills to use it. You can drag and drop different elements to create social media images, branded cover photos for social media profiles, and – of course – blog post images.

Also, you can add screenshots to explain the points you’re making in your blog posts to make them extra effective. You may also consider using charts, graphs, and infographics (as long as you have permission from the graphic’s creator). The visual learners among your readers will love you for it!

 

6. Failing to promote your blog

Don’t create content if you aren’t willing to promote it. You can’t expect to gain lots of readers just because you published a blog post – you’ve got to get active online where your audience hangs out and share your posts there!

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers even says that you should spend 20% of your time writing a piece of content and 80% of your time promoting it. So, if you aren’t prioritizing post promotion right now, make changes to your content strategy that will allow you to do so.

 

7. Failing to break up the content in your posts

Most newbie bloggers’ posts look like gigantic walls of text. And when a reader lands on a post like that, they’ll be too intimidated by all of the content to read it.

To combat this issue, write content that people can easily scan for important points by:

  • Using bulleted lists (like this one!)
  • Including images and white space
  • Keeping paragraphs and sentences short and easy to digest

Doing so will greatly improve your blog post’s readability, and you’ll be much more likely to get positive results.

 

8. Ignoring reader comments

When someone takes the time to make a positive comment on your blog post, you need to take the time to respond.

Why?

Because it’s a chance to talk to your potential customers directly and start building relationships with them. And when you build relationships with your target audience, it’s a lot easier to sell to them.

The more in-depth you can go in your responses to comments, the better.

In other words, don’t just say “Thanks!” and leave it at that. Instead, be insightful and continue the conversation. It might be a bit time-consuming and tedious, but it’s completely worth connecting to your audience. Plus, it’ll help you establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your readers.

 

9. Outsourcing your blog content creation to a sub-par writer

I get it – you might be too busy to write all of your blog content. And it’s completely okay to hire a ghostwriter or bylined contributor to handle it for you.

But what’s not okay is hiring a writer who can’t produce high-quality content that turns your readers into loyal customers.

So, don’t get on Upwork and hire the first writer you see for a penny per word. Instead, do a quick Google search to find the type of writer you’re looking for. If a writer has a professional-looking website full of testimonials and solid samples, you can feel confident knowing that you’ll get a good return on your investment.

But make no mistake – it will be an investment. The best writers often charge hundreds of dollars per blog posts because of how much time they spend writing them.

As with many other things, you get what you pay for, so set aside a chunk of your marketing budget to devote to an expert writer. Don’t sacrifice your brand and your content marketing just to save a couple hundred dollars a month, or you might as well not produce any content at all.

And make sure you don’t give up on your business blog just because you don’t see results quickly. Even if you’ve got amazing content and a solid promotion strategy, it’ll likely still take several months for you to start winning new customers with your blog. But if you’re willing to work hard at blogging, your efforts will pay off in the form of new leads for your business!

Have you made any of these mistakes with your business blog? Share in the comments section!

8 Instagram Tips for Small Businesses

What’d you see the last time you scrolled through your Instagram feed?

If you’re like me, you were bombarded with selfies, pictures of delicious-looking food, videos of people’s pets, and inspirational quotes.

And probably not too many interesting posts from small businesses.

The sad fact is that lots of small businesses aren’t even on Instagram. Often, they either don’t want to learn how to use it or they don’t think it’ll help them improve their business.

But they’re wrong. Instagram can help your small business succeed.

And that especially applies if your ideal customers are anywhere from 12 to 25 years old. Just take a look at how popular the app is with that audience:

age graph

But even if you’re marketing to an older demographic, Instagram is worth your time. After all, at 4.21%, brand engagement rates highest on Instagram. That’s right – it beats both Twitter and Facebook.

So, let’s talk about several ways you can use Instagram for your small business to effectively to engage with your audience and get better results from your social media marketing efforts.

1. Find, follow, and interact with your ideal customers

Finding your ideal customers on Instagram isn’t too difficult. The first thing you should do is look at the accounts who are following businesses similar to yours – if they’re following them, then they’re probably going to be interested in what your business has to offer too.

For example, if you’re a fitness guru who sells online weight loss courses, you’d want to follow some of the people who follow popular fitness gurus. If you’re a marketing agency, you’d want to follow some of the people who follow popular marketing agencies.

You get the picture.

Now, don’t get me wrong – not all of the people you follow will follow you back. But some of them will, and there’s a good chance they’ll engage with you if you’re posting the right content.

Then, you can start interacting with those people by commenting on their photos, liking their photos, and even sending them direct messages.

But keep this in mind:

If you spam people or write generic comments that aren’t tailored to fit the photo/account you’re commenting on, you’ll just hurt your brand and annoy people. Take the time to really form a genuine connection with your audience, and your efforts will eventually pay off.

2. Create content that appeals to your target audience

You know your target audience, but do you know what kind of content will make them engage with your brand on Instagram?

If not, it’s time to start researching. Take a look at your competitors’ accounts, and figure out which kinds of photos get the most engagement there. Of course, you don’t want to steal those photos, but you can certainly use them as inspiration when you’re creating your own posts.

If you’re not sure what kind of content to post on Instagram, here are a few ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Employee selfies
  • Blog post images
  • Product sneak peeks
  • Product arrangements

Try several (or all) of these, and see what gets the most engagement. Then, you can change your posting strategy based on what your audience likes best.

3. Fill out your bio strategically

Instagram isn’t LinkedIn – it’s much more casual. That means there’s no need for you to write a stuffy, boring bio full of business jargon.

Instead, opt for a more lighthearted feel to humanize your brand. Think about your ideal customer, and write your bio in a way that appeals to them.

As far as formatting, you can use emojis, vertical spacing, and other tricks to help your bio stand out from the crowd. Just take a look at this bio:

make your bio noticeable

See how Lime Crime uses vertical spacing and emojis? Their bio formatting looks much more interesting that it would if it were just a boring sentence about their company.

I’m not saying you absolutely need to use emojis or vertical formatting. Think about your target audience and what they might like to see in your bio, and take a look at what you most successful competitors are doing. From there, you can make an informed decision about how to format your bio.

Tip: While it’s good to be creative in your bio, you shouldn’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of creativity. Make sure your bio states what your company does in a way that allows the people who view your profile to immediately understand it.

4. Post high-quality photos

Don’t worry – you don’t need professional photography skills or even a good camera to pull this off. All you need is your iPhone camera.

Here are a few DIY photography tips you can use to improve your photo quality:

  • Use natural light to your advantage. If you’re shooting outdoors, try to take the photos in the late afternoon when the lighting is best. If you’re indoors, just open up a window (or your blinds) and you’ll be good to go!
  • Don’t use the front facing camera if you can help it. Using the back camera on your smart phone will often result in higher-resolution photos.
  • Edit your photos. Do not (I repeat, do NOT) use the default filters included in the Instagram app! Instead, download a photo editing app and make a few adjustments until your photo looks like it was taken by a professional.

If you’ve got an iPhone and would like to learn how to use it to take amazing photos, check out the iPhone photography school blog. It’s full of tips that’ll help you boost the quality of your photos!

5. Use hashtags

When you’re using hashtags, think about what words your target market might be searching for that also apply to your photo. For example, if you’re running an entrepreneurship blog and posting inspirational quotes to your Instagram account, you might try using hashtags like #entrepreneur and #mondaymotivation.

Whatever industry you’re in, use the Hashtagify tool to research and determine the best hashtags to use for your business and target audience. When you type in a tag, you’ll get other tag suggestions, like this:

use of hashtag

Experiment with different hashtag combinations and see which work the best. As long as your hashtags are relevant to the photo you’re posting and your target audience, they should be fine.

A word of warning:

Don’t overdo it with your hashtags. If you include 15+ hashtags every time you post a photo, you’ll look spammy and desperate, which will hurt your brand. Trust me – that’s not worth any amount of likes.

So, how many hashtags should you use?

Try sticking with 3 to 5 hashtags per post. That way, you can include enough hashtags to drive engagement but not so many that your account looks ridiculous.

6. Offer discounts

If your small business is an eCommerce store, you can get new followers and keep existing followers around by offering exclusive discounts on your Instagram account.

All you need to do is create a graphic that shows the discount percentage and discount code (you can easily do this using Canva), then explain how to use the code in your caption.

But you don’t have to be an eCommerce store owner to use this tip. Get creative, and figure out a way to offer exclusive discount for the products and/or services you offer.

7. Make sure your feed is cohesive

To create a strong brand on Instagram, you need a cohesive feed. Ideally, your pictures should stick to a similar color scheme (if you have a brand style guide, use it), and you should use the same filter and/or editing process for each photo you post.

Let’s take a look at a good example of a cohesive Instagram feed. It belongs to YouTuber Anastasjia Louise:

instagram cohesive feed

You can see that she sticks to a dark theme, and her pictures are mostly black and white. As a result, her feed is visually appealing and you immediately get a strong sense of her personal brand when you look at it.

But you don’t necessarily need to stick to a dark theme like her. Think about your audience and what types of photos are most likely to appeal to them. Then, create a cohesive feed by using a photo editing app like Afterlight or VSCOcam to create a custom editing process.

When you use one of these apps and edit a photo the way you like, edit all of your other photos that way too. This is one of the most important steps when you’re trying to create a cohesive feed.

You’ll also want to share the same kind of content consistently – that way, your audience knows what to expect (and they know it’ll be something they like!). Just make sure you monitor your results when you post and adjust your strategy based on which types of photos are getting the most engagement.

8. Craft some killer copy

Don’t underestimate the power of your copy when you’re writing captions for your Instagram posts. Those captions can be the difference between 1 like and 1,000 likes, so take your time while writing and make sure whatever you put there is good.

Also, keep in mind that Instagram captions can help you build your brand. If your brand is edgy, write something edgy. If your brand is positive and uplifting, write something positive and uplifting.

Whatever you decide to write for your captions, tailor the messaging based on your brand and target audience, and you’ll see better overall results from your Instagram marketing efforts.

In Conclusion

Just like anything else, the results you get from your small business Instagram account will depend on how much effort you put into it.

Follow the tips outlined here consistently, and you can feel confident knowing that you’ll soon see your following begin to grow. Keep it up, and who knows – Instagram marketing might just become one of your most powerful methods of connecting with new customers!

Which of these tips will you use to start improving your Instagram marketing efforts? Share in the comments section!

18 Essential Metrics to Measure Your Digital Marketing

Depending on where you are in your marketing journey, digital marketing is either a voodoo-like superstition or a teachable science anyone can master. If you’re in the former camp, you’re probably struggling to master your metrics; measuring results is the difference between wishful thinking and actual return on your marketing investment.

To be sure, there are literally hundreds of numbers, statistics, and analytical combinations you could track to give you insight into your marketing efforts and customer behasvior, and not every metric is relevant to your marketing plan. That said, there are a few key metrics in three broad categories (traffic, conversions, and revenue) that are universally applicable to judging your digital marketing success.  Here are 18 important digital marketing metrics to watch.

BONUS: 18 Essential Metrics to Measure Your Digital Marketing Get My Bonus

Traffic Metrics

8191245592_65e5bbd144_z

Image via Flickr by BlueFountainMedia

1. Total Site Visits

This is the big-picture number you should monitor and track over time to give you a rough idea of how effective your campaigns are at driving traffic. This number should grow steadily over time; if it drops month to month, it’s time to take a hard look at your marketing channels to identify the problem.

2. Traffic by Sources or Channels

This is useful for segmenting your traffic sources to pinpoint which ones are over and underperforming in your overall marketing campaigns. In general, you should break these down into the following four channels/sources:

  1. Direct Visitors – These are the ones who come to your website by typing your URL into their browser.
  2. Organic/Search – These are visitors who arrive at your site based on a search query.
  3. Referrals – These visitors arrived at your side from a link on another website or blog.
  4. Social Media – If you have a social media presence (and who doesn’t?), you’ll want to measure the visitors who arrive at your site from your social media platforms. Social traffic also gives you some general insight into the overall effectiveness of your content marketing and other digital campaigns, as well, since social traffic is a good indicator of engagement and awareness.

3. Number of New Visitors versus Number of Return Visitors

This is an important distinction to track; return visitors give you an indication of the usefulness and quality of your content—whether it’s “sticky” enough to attract multiple visits. Tracking this ratio week over week and month over month shows you how your new content is performing. For example, if you have a high ratio of new visitors to return visitors compared to a previous month, it’s an indication that new content is doing its job driving traffic, but the rest of your website doesn’t meet the needs of these new visitors.

4. Interactions Per Visit

This is a more detailed analysis of your website traffic, but it yields actionable insight if you know how to interpret it. You’ll want to look at variables such as how many pages a user visits, how long they stay on individual pages, and what they do on each page (leave a review, for example).

Don’t confuse interactions with conversions, although the ultimate goal is to have your interactions lead to more conversions such as downloads, subscriptions, purchases, etc. An analysis of your interactions per visit gives you the opportunity to discover which activities and behaviors are keeping visitors on your site and what you can do to encourage more of them.

4a. Time on Site

This is a corollary to interactions per visit and gives you insight into the level of interest and engagement of your website visitors. This is a good all-purpose indicator of how well your site is performing, since visitors who spend a lot of time on your site are finding useful content. Visitors who spend a lot of time on your site are also most likely to be your most committed customers; knowing where these visitors spend their time interacting with your site helps you optimize content for these customers to increase their lifetime value.

5. Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the number of people who visit your site and leave right away without performing any meaningful action. A high bounce rate can point to several flaws in your digital marketing: Poor campaign targeting, irrelevant traffic sources, weak landing pages, etc.

If you have an e-commerce site, your bounce rate is synonymous with the abandonment rate and this usually indicates problems with your checkout process. Is pricing transparent? Do you load people up with last-minute offers? Spend some time evaluating how to improve the checkout experience.

6. Exit Rate

This is a helpful metric, especially for websites that have a multi-page conversion process. The exit rate differs from the bounce rate in that the exit rate measures the number of people who left the site from a particular page as a percentage of all people who viewed that particular page. This helps you identify drop-off points in your conversion process so you can optimize accordingly.

7. Mobile Traffic

Mobile-Phone-Search-Share-2013-2015-768x457

Mobile Share of Organic Search Traffic

With the rise of mobile dominance in content consumption, it’s almost negligent not to track your mobile visitor metrics so you can understand your mobile customers and increase your conversions. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. What percent of your traffic is mobile?
  2. What devices and browsers do they use?
  3. Where are they coming from (direct, organic, referral, social, etc.)
  4. What content are they consuming?

Finally, you should take a look at your site speed because slow load times actually affects pretty much every one of your mobile marketing metrics, from SEO to conversions.

8. Cost Per Visitor (CPV) and Revenue Per Visitor (RPV)

These broad measurements give you a simple formula for the profitability of each marketing channel: If your RPV exceeds your CPV, you’re on your way. These numbers also help shape your budgets for certain types of paid campaigns.

Take AdWords, for example. Imagine that for a particular month, you attributed 10 sales with a value of $15,000 to your AdWords campaign. During that same period, AdWords generated 1,000 visitors to your site. This means that your RPV for your AdWords campaign last month was $15 ($15,000/1,000=$15). This gives you a hard ceiling ($15 per visitor or less) for your marketing budget in this channel before you start losing money.

Your CPV is calculated by dividing your total investment in a particular channel by the total number of visitors it generated. You should run these numbers for each of your traffic sources (search, social, email, etc.) to give you a rough basis to measure success for each channel.

BONUS: 18 Essential Metrics to Measure Your Digital Marketing Get My Bonus

Conversion Metrics

7460432496_a36106b720_z

Image via Flickr by SEOplanter

9. Total Conversions

One way to define conversions is the number of anonymous site visitors who become digital records in your CRM or marketing database, whether by making a purchase, downloading an asset, or subscribing to a mailing list. This is the number your financial department will be most interested in, the ultimate measure of success for a marketer. Low conversion rates are indicative of any number of problems, from poorly designed websites to unattractive offers.

10. “Micro” Conversion Rates

Pretty much all marketers track overall, or “macro” conversions, but to really drill deep into your mobile marketing metrics, it’s a good idea to track conversions at the campaign level, or “micro” conversions, to ensure that these smaller KPIs are contributing to your overall marketing strategy.

For example, if you have very high conversion rates pushing a new lead magnet such as an e-book, but an extremely small number of leads move to the next stage of the funnel, you’ve got a problem. Even though this campaign is posting good metrics, it’s really not advancing your overall marketing goals, and tracking these micro conversions can help you identify the source of the problem.

11. Conversion Funnel Rates

Rand Fishkin, the “wizard of Moz,” considers these metrics one of the three most important overall for digital marketers. He defines them as “knowing the percent of potential customers that make it through each step of a given conversion process, and which channels or behaviors predict that they’ll make it further.” Inherent in this is a deeper understanding of how each stage of the funnel affects your ultimate ROI and where to direct your resources.

12. Click Through Rates

Measuring click-through rates (CTR) is essential for email marketing and paid ad campaigns. For PPC campaigns, a higher than average CTR can dramatically decrease your cost per click (up to 50 percent on AdWords, for example), while a lower than average score can drive costs through the roof (up to 400 percent higher on AdWords).

13. New/Unique Visitor Conversions versus Return Visitor Conversions

The way a new visitor interacts with your website is very different from the way a regular visitor behaves. For many marketers, tracking these numbers yields useful information for reducing your bounce rate and increasing your return visitor rates, conversions, and customer lifetime value through upselling and marketing automation, for example.

14. Cost Per Conversion

Depending on how you define conversion, this can be called cost per lead, cost per referral, etc., but the overall metric is extremely important, because it ultimately determines your margins. Why? A high cost per conversion can turn a high conversion rate into a negative if the costs are so high they drop your net income too much.

15. Lead to Close Ratio

This is a simple metric to compute: Divide your total number of leads by your total number of sales/closes. Although this is more a measurement of your sales efficiency—and you’ll want to investigate a low close rate—you’ll also need it for your marketing ROI projections.

Revenue Metrics

16. Value Per Visit

This isn’t necessarily simply a revenue metric; it’s actually tied to your interactions numbers. It’s also a difficult value to quantify, because your visitors add value every time they come to your site or read your blog (think page views and traffic for cpm advertising). Obviously, in e-commerce, tangible value is added when dollars are spent on a purchase, but intangible value is also created if a customer leaves a review or shares a product on social media.

Many marketers assign an arbitrary value to these customer actions and then calculate a total value, including purchases, for a set period of time. They then divide that number by the total number of visits to arrive at a VPV metric.

Tracking this metric over time gives you insight into how successful you are at getting customers to perform a certain value-added action, such as writing a review, leaving a comment, socially sharing, or otherwise interacting with your site.

17. Cost Per Acquisition

Cost per acquisition (CPA) differs from cost per conversion because CPA is all about revenue; this metric kicks in once someone becomes a paying customer, the Holy Grail of marketing. CPA tells you exactly how many marketing dollars you have to spend to get someone to open his wallet.

Sometimes it’s tempting to focus on metrics like cost per click, which you must track in paid campaigns, but it’s a short-sighted metric. Imagine you’ve developed a new PPC campaign and it seems to be performing well—CTRs are up from previous campaigns and your CPC is lower.

But then you track revenue and discover you’ve only acquired three or four paying customers, meaning your entire marketing spend on that channel added virtually nothing to your bottom line. In this case, your campaign metrics look great, but your CPA is astronomical. Your CPA keeps the big picture always in focus.

18. Return on Investment (Real and Projected)

This is the ultimate measure of your marketing success: Are your marketing technologies and efforts profitable and delivering results to your bottom line? Here’s where your lead-to-close ratio comes into play to help keep you on track. If you’re spending $25 per lead and your closing rate is 25 percent, it costs you $100 to acquire a new customer. If your average customer value exceeds that amount, you’re in the black on projected marketing ROI.

Depending where you are on the digital marketing spectrum, you may or may not want to formally track each of these metrics, but doing so will give you a pretty accurate view of how you’re doing, what channels are effective, and where your efforts need improvement. Ideally, you’ll get into a rhythm that lets you easily identify trends and variances—and make rapid adjustments to ensure a steady stream of leads and paying customers.

Handy Guide To Content Marketing Ideas For Your Business

Thinking up ways to spur growth in your business?

Want to do content marketing and you’ve hit a wall on what to actually do?

If you’re just getting started with content marketing it can be hard to grasp which types of content are the best fit for your business.

Should you be blogging? Maybe you’ll get the most benefit from producing beautiful infographics?

A lot of people are listening to podcasts now, would that be a good fit for you?

Here’s a thorough breakdown of some of the main content marketing channels for your business and the different ways you can use them.

For ease of reading, I’ve broken them down into three rough categories: Written, Visual, and Video.

Written Content

Blogs:

Far and away the most popular form of content marketing. They have a great long-term impact on your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, are accessible at almost any time by your target audience, and can be produced at a relatively low cost in comparison to some of our later examples.

There’s very little barrier to entry, and a high probability that you’ll get something out of it. Companies that blog get 97% more inbound links than companies who don’t!

The information contained in your blogs can also act as a foundation for future content. If you write a blog post that performs well, consider expanding it into a whitepaper. Podcasts and videos can also be based on an earlier blog, or serve as a jumping-off point for more in-depth conversations.

blogging for content marketing

Whitepapers:

These are extended pieces of content focused on educating the reader on a specific topic.

Because they go into a lot more detail, they can be quite intimidating, but also have a much higher perceived value. Clients and prospects should be able to reference your whitepaper as a good resource for your industry.

Whitepapers work best when used in tandem with shorter, more immediately informative content like blogs and infographics. These shorter pieces convince your audience that they need a specific tool or service. Follow up on them with a whitepaper to educate the reader on exactly why that tool or service is so valuable.

Whitepapers make excellent ‘gated content’.

If you want to collect information on your audience like emails, offer a whitepaper in exchange for that information. This way, you both get what you want. The customer now knows how to maintain their own car, and you can add them to your mailing list.

Remember that the person who downloads your whitepaper may share it on. Make sure that your company information is visible so that the people they share it with are exposed to your brand as well.

 

Visual Content

Infographics and charts:

Infographics are huge at the moment, particularly on social media.

They go down very well with visual thinkers, and people who don’t have time to consume a detailed blog post or whitepaper.

infographics

Their popularity does also mean that there are a load of BAD infographics on the web as well. That’s why it’s important that before you go all-in on infographics, you memorize these rules:

★ Give it one purpose – The best infographics are focused. Want to visualize how many miles of salami get used by a sandwich shop every day at lunch? Don’t distract from that by mentioning how many miles the line in the sandwich shop adds up to as well. Focus on your key message and nail it.

★ It’s for visual thinkers – A bunch of text with a couple of images doesn’t make an infographic. Visual thinkers love infographics, but if you draw them in with the promise of an easy-to-understand graphic and hit them with a wall of text, they’ll hate it.

★ Prioritize information – They’re called INFOgraphics for a reason. If you’ve got a great idea for an image, but it’s going to confuse your message, ditch it. Your priority is to communicate information. Yes, do it in a way that is unique and interesting, but that’s secondary to ease of understanding.

 

GIFs and Images:

If you’re looking to develop a strong presence on social, creating GIFs and images that people want to share is a must.

GIFs, in particular, are hugely popular (even Linkedin has GIF support!).

If you can match a quality GIF with your messaging then you’ll see great engagement. It’s been interesting to see GIF use become more acceptable for business accounts at a similar rate to emojis. Both are now widely accepted as a way of spreading your brand quickly around the web.

(Pro-Tip: People love cats.)


Video Content

Vlogs:

Vlogs are video blogs. Vlogs will work really well for some companies, and completely bomb for others. They’re a very personal kind of content, often with a single person talking into a camera. If you want to make a personal connection with your audience, vlogging is definitely worth considering.

Tutorials:

One of the best ways to create instant value for your audience. If you have a service or product which you can do a physical demonstration of (even if it’s just writing on a board), do it. People love video tutorials because they’re accessible, re-watchable, and easily shared. Wistia (unsurprisingly) make excellent tutorial videos for their audience.

A great tutorial should be:

★ Immediate

Don’t spend too much time talking about what you’re going to do. Apps like Vine and 30 second YouTube clips mean that people are impatient with video. Get straight to the point

★ Quick

For the same reason as above, try to condense your tutorial into as tight a timeframe as possible. This doesn’t mean you should rush through the class, though. Just cut out any excess fluff.

★ Supportive

Make it as accessible as possible. Imagine that someone’s coming to your video with no background knowledge. Also, try and create videos that support one another. Just as you can write blog pieces which support and develop other blogs, you should create videos that support one another.

★ Well scripted

Take some time to script any tutorials that you’re going to deliver. It’s easy to think of a video tutorial as something you can do ‘quick and dirty’ because what you’re teaching is simple to you. Remember that the people who will get the most value for the tutorial won’t find it anywhere near as simple, and script your videos with that in mind.

Stories and other narrative content:

Pull out your writing chops and whip up a story that can show your product in action or just build up on the story of your brand. Because of YouTube and other video streaming sites, distributing content isn’t a hard science anymore, so businesses have been more willing to invest more time, money and creativity into video content that actually stands alone and tells stories.

Native content or sponsored content are also popular in the world of video content marketing. Businesses get in touch with existing popular users and influencers on sites like Vine, Youtube and Periscope, and they strike up a deal where the business produces a video that’s not overtly promotional and provides entertainment value to the channel owner’s audience. BuzzFeed has been agressively doing this and it’s been working for brands like Purina and Hyundai.

Webinars and Interviews:

Two of the longer kinds of content marketing you can produce. They are also fantastic for building community and some buzz around your brand. If you can get together with interesting people in your niche to talk about things that your audience cares about, you will create tremendous brand pull. As well as content marketing, webinars and interviews are a kind of
influencer marketing. By associating with other experts, you automatically align yourself in your audience’s mind as an authority.

Webinars and interviews are easy to host these days, thanks to resources like Google Hangouts. You can live stream a webinar from within the app, promote that stream on social media, publish it to your YouTube channel and promote it again. Video webinars and interviews can also easily be converted into audio. By doubling up your video as audio content you can reach a whole other audience.

(A word of advice— if you do start creating videos, invest in decent equipment. If you’re going to ask your audience to spend time watching a video, you want to make sure it’s a pleasant experience for them.)

Consider linking different types of content and content ideas

None of these channels exists in a vacuum. You will see the best outcome for your business if you have your different channels interact with one another:

  • Expand a great blog into a discussion point for a podcast or webinar.
  • A topic in an interview could inspire a series of blogs.
  • Consider turning a tutorial into a series of gifs or images to share on social media.
  • An animated webinar can become an extensive whitepaper

Whilst it’s best to focus on one channel at a time, always keep in the mind the ways that content from one channel could work in another future channel. You’re not only making work easier for yourself, you’re also making valuable information available to an audience who might otherwise have skipped over it because it didn’t appeal to them originally.

Finally, always keep your ear to the ground to see what’s up and coming.

Once you know what works for your audience, you’ll be able to spot opportunities to reach them much easier. The sooner you can get a foothold in new channels, the sooner you can reap the benefits and grow your audience.

Got any questions about these content types? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

How to Run App Install Ads On Facebook

Do you want more app downloads?

Facebook could help you out.

With its humongous reach at 1.4 billion monthly users globally, Facebook is one of the go-to places for business owners and marketers when promoting anything. Whoever your targets may be, chances are, they are on Facebook. 

Have you been tapping this opportunity? The opportunity to reach thousands to millions of your ideal customers?

Don’t take my word for it, though. Here are some examples of successful app install campaigns on Facebook.

  1. Facebook app install ads helped Westwing get their app some traction with ~5000 installs at 270% return on their ad spend.
  2. mySupermarket didn’t only increase their app installs, they also expanded their community by getting a 2000% jump on their page likes.

Undeniably, Facebook knows how big of an asset they are to businesses and they constantly make measures to give app publishers and business owners opportunities to succeed.

So why not get on the program and take advantage of promoting your app on Facebook? Arguably the best reason to advertise on Facebook (aside from the 1.4 billion monthly users thing) is that they allow you to target customers as narrow as possible, given you know the profiles of your ideal customers—what they like, where they are, how old they are and other information that are unique to the subset you are targeting.

promote apps on facebook

Imagine if you can promote your app directly to the people who are sure to benefit from and be interested in your app. When you cast a wide net when marketing—throwing ideas to the way and seeing what sticksyou lose money.

All you need to start advertising your app on Facebook is a good handle on which types of people would be interested in your app and some money. And it doesn’t even have to be a lot of money.

Assuming you already have a Facebook account and just want to know how to start advertising, I put together a no-nonsense guide on how to get started with app promotion on Facebook.

Ready? Follow along.

Create a page

Log in to Facebook.

Click on the downward arrowhead on the upper right corner of the page. It will reveal a dropdown menu.

Click on Create Page. 

create a facebook page

Choose a category. If you’re going to promote an app for your business, choose the category that matches the closest to the nature of your business. If you’re a local business, choose precisely that.

If you want to create a page that’s just dedicated to your app, click on Brand or Product. It provides the choice of building an “App Page”. For this tutorial, let’s choose that and use BusinessApp as the app name.

Facebook Page Category

Depending on the category you choose, Facebook will ask for more information like a more particular category, the name of your business/app/product, etc. Then, it will ask you more information to build up your profile and your business identity on Facebook. It will ask you information about your customers and a photo.

After you fill everything up, you’re done. Your new page will appear next.

You can start creating the ad for your app now that you have a page.

Create an Advert Account

From your new page, click on the same downward arrow on the upper right corner of your screen. Click on Create Adverts.

how to promote apps on facebook

You will see this loading page:

loading

The next page will ask you to choose your objective for advertising. Choose Get installs of your app then paste your app’s App Store or Play Store URL. Name your advert campaign.

Click Create Advert Account.

app promotion advert facebook

The next page will ask you to choose your country and the time zone you’re in.

create advert account

Click Set Audience & Budget next.

Define your target audience

Before you we go into modifying the settings for your ads, I just want to emphasize that the next step is for your first advert set and not the ads yet.

For this particular example, the campaign is to Get installs for your app. Now we will create an advert set which is the umbrella under which you can create multiple ads. 

The first step in creating an advert set is defining your target audience. Here is the page:Facebook ad targeting

The first thing you’d be asked to configure is the platform of your app. In this example, I chose iOS.

The next configuration is for the OS version. For example, if your app only works for iPhones with iOS 8 and above, choose 8 as the minimum operating system. You don’t want to be wasting your budget showing ads to people who can’t use your app.

Configure whether you want to show ads to people who are connected through cellular data and Wi-Fi, or exclusively Wi-Fi. Apple does not allow users to download apps that are more than 100mb over cellular data.

Also, consider that those who are on data will probably have a slower connection and limited bandwidth. For this reason, choose Wi-Fi only if your app size is close to or more than 100mb.

Then choose the age range, gender, and languages spoken of people you want to serve your ads to. It’s up to you to determine where and who your target audience is.

Generally, the more targeted your ads are, the better. If you know that certain cities will fare better than others, go ahead and target those cities.

However, you might be tempted to limit the age range setting based on your assumptions and even your initial validation. I suggest that you leave the age range broad for now. When the ads are run and the campaign starts collecting data, you will have a better idea which age groups deliver a lower cost-per-install (CPI). Then, you can set a narrower target age range.

Setting your budget and goals

Facebook ads cost money—but they work, that’s why publishers continue to run them. The success of your ad campaign relies on many factors but budget and goal-setting are arguably two of the most important next to how well you target your audience.

Budget

Choose between Daily budget or Lifetime budget.

If you choose daily, Facebook will only run ads within your daily cap. Don’t worry about Facebook running your well dry in the first few hours of the day. They make it a point to spread your spend throughout each day. Once the cap is hit, your ads will cease running and will resume the next day. If you choose lifetime, you only have to set the start and end of your campaign. Facebook will spread the ads evenly throughout the period you set.

budget facebook app promotion

Optimization & bidding

If you’ve run ads, whether for apps or something else, note that Facebook recently rolled-out major changes for optimization and bidding.

What to optimize for

For app install ads, you can tell Facebook to optimize ads either for app installs or link clicks. When you choose app installs, Facebook will show your ads to people who are likely to install the app you’re advertising.

If you choose link clicks, people who are likely to click will be shown your ad. If you’re very confident with your targeting and other factors like your app landing page, app description, and actual app function, going for link clicks makes more sense to you since clicks will have a high conversion rate if you know what you’re doing.

App installs are generally more expensive per conversion but it helps you test which way works. If a lot of people are clicking your ad but just a few are installing your app, you will have the chance to make some changes to your app landing page or listing without having to pay for the clicks that didn’t convert. Once you find the sweet spot, you can optimize for link clicks.

How much to bid

Understanding how ad bidding works can be a pain if you’re starting out. On a basic level, you need to know that ads which target the same audience go into auction—yours and other advertisers’. It’s an elaborate matter. But for now, this info is enough.

You can either choose to set a manual bid amount or you can let Facebook handle it for you. Facebook is generally trustworthy when it comes to handling your bids. Don’t think that Facebook is duping you out of your money. Going with auto-bidding is perfectly fine. Keep it simple at first. It delivers well.

When you get charged

You can either choose to pay per result (app install or link click) or by impression (when someone is shown your ad). Your choice will affect how often your ads get shown.

If you choose to pay per app install, use the manual bid option so you can let Facebook know how much you’re willing to pay for an install. If you choose to pay per impression, auto or manual both work.

Paying for link clicks doesn’t limit you—you can choose auto or manual bidding.

Nail your ad creative

After clicking Choose Advert Creative from the previous screen, you will now get the chance to “build” your ad creative.

Ad creatives are the actual ads that will get shown on Facebook. It’s the photos or video and the copy or the text you use for your ad.

How do you nail your ad creative? By knowing the people you cater to and making an add they will actually look at. It’s hard to gauge what they will all like, but you should at least know what can get your target audience’s attention.

You know what I’m getting at here! Know your audience. Know what they’ll actually relate to, what will pull their eyes in.

Ideas for photos

  • Best in-app screenshots which are shown on the screen of a phone. Show the phone to clearly shout that “this is an app!”
  • Photo still of people using the app or people experiencing what the app promises (example: AirBnB will show photos of people entering a new, quirky home)
  • Take advantage of Facebook’s carousel ad feature by using photos to show different features of your app
  • Check out ads from your competitors, app install ads and other well-performing Facebook ads

inside a phone facebook

Videos

While videos give you much more flexibility in terms of showing what your app can do, it is still a bit interruptive to Facebook users since the auto-play feature was released. It’s good that Facebook disabled the sound on auto-play. However, it is what it is, so better take advantage of this.

Take advantage of the first few seconds. Make the video visually appealing from the start. Do away with introductions. Use the first few seconds wisely as it will decide the success of your ad.

Copy—words matter

Visuals are powerful but that doesn’t mean that you neglect the text displayed with your ad.

As a straightforward guide, give the audience a summary of your app’s function. Keep it short but make sure it makes sense. It’s funny how much sense we lose when we try to be clever with words and fail at it. Catchy taglines (read: vague but WOW!) are awesome—if your app has already exploded in the market. For now, write an ad description that leaves nothing to doubt.

Don’t forget—the ad copy should be in a language and tone your target users understand.

Call to action or CTA

What’s a CTA? It’s that portion of the text where you tell your audience what it is exactly you want them to do.

It’s the text telling users exactly what you want them to do.

For games, CTAs use the word ‘Play’. For eCommerce apps, ‘Buy” or ‘Find the latest…’ are the best ones to include in your CTA.


Placing your order

After you complete designing your ad creative, you are now ready to run ads for app installs.


Monitoring your success

It is important that you monitor your success closely so you can adjust your ads accordingly. After your first batch of installs from ads, you’ll get an idea which people are the perfect fit for your app. From here, awesome tools to help you reach a better-targeted audience like Custom Audiences and Look-Alike Audiences will be made available to you.

The information from this post is enough for you to begin running ads. It’s just all up to you to start actually running them and improving your campaigns.

In a future post, we will tackle more topics on Facebook ads—so stay tuned.

Content Marketing 101

“Content is king” is a mantra that marketers have invoked for the past few years—and for good reason. Content marketing is a new breed of marketing designed to work around the inherent flaws in conventional advertising; it’s the driving force behind digital marketing channels such as SEO and social media. It’s not a stretch to say content marketing is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy.

If you’re new to content marketing, or not sure where to start, take heart. You need to have fresh ideas. This primer will walk you through content marketing in 2021 and give you concrete steps to implement a new content strategy or improve the one you already have—no matter your budget or the size of your marketing team. Ready to begin?

What Is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute gives this rather formal definition:

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

More simply, content marketing provides prospects and customers with interesting and useful information that answers questions, addresses needs, or engages emotions to help your business meet its marketing goals. Content marketing is a non-pushy, authentic way to establish relationships and share your brand’s story.

The concept has been with us for decades, actually. In the old days, a brand like Nestle might print a recipe or two on the back of a package of chocolate chips or put an ad in a magazine featuring fool-proof fudge. Today, they’ll publish an interview with a chocolatier on their blog, use a Pinterest board to share recipes and tips, put cooking demonstrations and how-to videos on their YouTube channel, and run a holiday cookie photo contest on Instagram. The concept is the same, it’s the tactics that evolve.

Here are some eye-popping content marketing stats:

  • 92% of businesses engage in content marketing.
  • 70% of marketers plan to increase their content creation this year.
  • The average company spends 28% of its overall marketing budget on content marketing; the most effective marketers spend 37% on content.
  • 55% of businesses plan to increase their content marketing budget this year.

No matter what business you’re in, you need content marketing in order to compete.

Defining Your Objectives

What do you want your content to accomplish for your business? Defining your objectives helps you align your content strategy to help you achieve them. Here are just a few examples:

  • Establish thought leadership to build credibility, respect, and influence in your industry
  • Generate new leads and prospects for sales and marketing
  • Create awareness of, and interest in, your products or services
  • Build and/or improve public opinion about your business and products
  • Develop a large following of friends and fans who engage with your brand on social media

From here, you’ll decide on how content marketing will fit into your overall marketing scheme. A sample strategy for building paid memberships might be:

Newsletter → Blog Post→ Social Media⇒ Paid Membership Site

A strategy to drive B2B product sales might look more like this:

Journal Article→ White Paper→ Case Studies→ Product Demo⇒ Sales/Estimate/Quote

An effective strategy usually combines several content tactics:

  • blog posts
  • video demos
  • podcasts
  • articles
  • newsletters
  • white papers
  • case studies
  • infographics
  • ebooks
  • webinars
  • interviews

As you craft your strategy, keep in mind the difficulty factor in creating each type of content, how it fits with your overall objectives, and if your target audience is receptive to information in that format.

Set SMART Content Marketing Goals

Every piece of content you publish should be aligned to a particular marketing goal, and those goals should be SMART:

S – Specific (It’s attached to a particular need or objective.)

M – Measurable (You have objective, not subjective, metrics.)

A – Attainable (You can realistically expect to achieve it or at least come pretty close.)

R – Relevant (It furthers an overall business objective.)

T – Time-bound (You have a predetermined deadline or end-date.)

Avoid vanity metrics such as “likes” and retweets; in themselves, they aren’t aligned with your marketing goals. Think in concrete terms like traffic, leads, conversions, sales—objectives shared across multiple teams throughout the organization.

Develop a Plan for Content Creation and Execution

Once you know the type of content you want to publish, you need to develop a plan to create it. It’s not enough to jot down a rough outline and some notes; the most effective content marketers report having a documented content plan that is shared across the organization and for which they are accountable. Take the time to complete a step-by-step roadmap that enables you to monitor your efforts and track each piece of content throughout its lifecycle.

Your plan should answer the following questions:

How often will you publish content? For some businesses, this may mean daily blog posts, twice daily social media updates, a weekly podcast, and a monthly video tutorial. Others might need a steady stream of lead magnets (e-books, white papers, etc.) and a couple of fairly evergreen product demos.

When you’ve hammered out your content needs, plug them into a content calendar you can share with your marketing team. That way, everyone is on the same page, deadlines don’t get missed, and you avoid duplication of effort.

Who is responsible for content ideas? If you’re pushing out a steady stream of content, you’ll need an equally steady stream of content ideas. In most cases, the marketing department does all the brainstorming, but this excludes some excellent sources of content ideas.

Your customer service manager, for example, could give you some useful ideas for a Q&A to address the most common questions the department handles, or a how-to video to solve a persistent challenge. Maybe your tech guru could write a monthly rant or product review. The point is not to limit ideation to a small team of marketers, but to cultivate ideas throughout the organization. Just be sure that someone has final editorial control so that your content ideas align with your marketing goals.

One thing to consider: In many cases, it’s helpful to write a creative brief for each piece of content, especially if you’re using multiple creatives or freelancers along the way. The brief should include an outline of the project and its intended purpose, the target audience, the name and role of each person involved (writer, photographer, editor, etc.), and deadlines for each part of the process.

Who is responsible for actually creating the content? Once you have your content ideas and content calendar, you need to assign responsibility for actually creating the content. Each person involved in a particular piece should know where he fits into the overall project and who is ultimately responsible for delivering the finished product.

What has ultimate editorial authority? For many, if not most, of your pieces of content, final approval rests with the marketing department itself—blog posts, social media updates, newsletters, and landing pages are usually the province of the marketing staff.

However, once you move into high-value assets such as white papers, case studies, and product demos, input and approval from other departments is essential. For these complex assets, write up a chain of command and get sign-off from relevant department heads. Have a process in place to resolve the inevitable differences of opinion and establish a single person as the final authority for the finished piece.

Identifying Your Audience

One of the reasons content marketing is effective is because it speaks to readers as individuals—if you’re writing content to address a group of people, you’re doing it wrong. To write really effective content, you need to identify exactly who it is you’re writing to, at a very granular, nitty-gritty level. At this point, it’s helpful to develop an avatar, or persona, who represents your target audience; this is the person you’ll write your content for. Start with demographics:

  • age
  • gender
  • educational level
  • income
  • occupation
  • family status and/or size
  • geographic location

Then add in intangibles:

  • values
  • personality traits
  • lifestyle choices
  • hobbies and interests

Once you’ve identified an ideal representative of your target audience, your avatar, give it a name and address all your content to him or her. Your avatar is not the same as your buyer persona; your avatar will help you write more focused, engaging content that advances your marketing goals.

Next, you’ll need to find out where your target audience lives online. Here’s a handy infographic with key demographics for the popular social media sites; you can also use paid services like Forrester to help you track the social behaviors of your own customers so you know exactly where they go for content online. This will shape your content creation choices. 

Matching Content to Your Marketing Funnel

Image via Flickr

Most marketers have some version of the digital marketing funnel that covers the four basics: Awareness/discovery, consideration/acquisition, conversion/transaction, relationship/retention. The beauty of content marketing is that it works at every level, from top to bottom.

Awareness/Discovery

Goals: Educating people, generating interest, indirect customer acquisition.

At this stage, content marketing is about understanding what customers are interested in and want to know, and delivering that information in a manner that delights them or piques their curiosity. It’s less about you (and your brand) and more about them. Educational content, viral content, shareable content—big wins at this stage of content marketing.

Content tactics:

  • blog posts
  • quizzes, games, tools, calculators
  • infographics
  • videos
  • newsletters
  • how-tos and in-depth guides
  • podcasts and webinars
  • ebooks

Real-world example:

A pet supply shop specializing in premium organic pet foods and supplements publishes a quiz about common ingredients in commercial pet food on its blog and promotes it on its Facebook page, posts photos and a recipe for homemade dog treats on Pinterest, and records an interview with a local vet about optimal nutrition for older dogs for its monthly podcast.

Consideration/Acquisition

Goals: Building trust, offering solutions, direct customer acquisition.

At this point, you are highlighting problems your prospects and customers might have and offer your products and services as trustworthy solutions. At this stage, you want to offer information that helps differentiate you from your competitors and answers questions about how you can solve their problems. You’re not really selling at this point, but you are positioning your brand.

Content tactics:

  • case studies
  • product descriptions and data sheets
  • how-to guides featuring your product or service
  • product demos and videos
  • white papers
  • ROI calculators

Real-world example:

A residential heating and air conditioning company creates an in-depth guide showing homeowners how to save money on energy costs. One section details the importance of having air ducts professionally sealed, a service the company offers. They offer the guide on their company website and promote it in their newsletter, blog, and on social media.

Conversion/Transaction

Goals: Communicating your unique value proposition, getting prospects/customers to take a desired action.

Leads at this point in the funnel are ready to pull the trigger, they just need a little nudge—something that justifies and rationalizes the decision in their mind. Now is the time to pull out the stops in your sales pitch with clear copy that emphasizes your USP.

Content tactics:

  • testimonials
  • product reviews
  • product comparisons
  • estimates/quotes
  • ROI calculators
  • detailed product descriptions

Real-world example:

A software company creates a matrix comparing the features of competing products in its particular market niche. It also produces a series of video testimonials from companies of varying sizes currently using their product. Finally, it designs a pricing calculator that gives clear, straightforward information about initial and ongoing monthly costs.

Relationship/Retention

Goals: Building customer loyalty, creating brand ambassadors, increasing customer lifetime value.

All marketers know it’s cheaper to keep existing customers than to find new ones, and this stage of the funnel is all about relationship-building and retention. It’s about creating loyal customers who tell others about your brand.

Content tactics:

  • onboarding emails
  • troubleshooting tips
  • customer help and support materials
  • loyalty programs
  • special offers
  • insider tips and how-tos

Real-world example:

An online cosmetics retailer invites customers to join their loyalty program in their purchase confirmation emails. It sends customers an email when their orders ship and sends delivery confirmation notifications via SMS text or mobile app. They use marketing automation to email customers a special birthday discount or free gift, and to alert customers when a favorite product goes on sale.

Creating the Right Content

There are three main elements in formulating a good content marketing strategy:

  1. Ideation—coming up with right ideas for compelling content.
  2. Format—matching your ideas to the appropriate channels.
  3. Creative—identifying actual content creators.

These three pieces are the same whether you’re a small business owner handling marketing on your own or a large company with a 10-person marketing team—it’s just a matter of scale.

Ideation

The first step is coming up with topics that your target customer is interested in and wants to read about. In some cases, identifying good topics is as simple as brainstorming with a co-worker or a friend or reading questions and comments from your customers to see what’s on their mind; some niches are much easier than others. For other businesses, however, a little market research is in order.

  • What topics are your competitors writing about?
  • What content is getting buzz on social media? There are free tools like Sumo to help you identify popular content.
  • What’s trending in your industry right now?

Keep this checklist in mind as you consider topics for content creation:

Format

The best content ideas can be repurposed and cross-promoted across multiple marketing channels, but it’s still important to match your content ideas to the unique characteristics of each platform. Want to write about gluten-free baking alternatives to wheat flour? A long-form article is great for a newsletter or blog post, a recipe for gluten-free hazelnut torte is a natural for Pinterest, and an infographic is an eye-catching option to tempt your Facebook and Twitter followers.

Don’t forget that some consumers prefer visual content; Google+ hangouts, Slideshare presentations, screencasting are all interesting alternatives to written pieces.

Creative

Identifying who will be responsible for actually creating your content can be one of the most challenging decisions you’ll make as a content marketer. In many cases, you have the talent in-house to create interesting content—think of an interview with your resident tech geek or an in-depth look at pending legislation by your internal subject matter expert, for example.

Most marketers will have to outsource at least some of their creative work at some point or other, however. Outsourcing offers you an opportunity to tap deeper expertise and, in the case of many guest authors, a broad social following that amplifies the impact of your posts. In the next section, we’ll look at budgeting and asset allocation for content development and when outsourcing makes sense.

5 Smart Ways to Find Content Marketing Ideas

As much as you want to put out stellar content on a regular basis, it can be tiring. Sometimes, you just run out of ideas to write about and create anything with.

Especially when you’re a small team or alone, the idea will can dry up pretty quick. But most of the time, it’s just a matter of having something trigger your brain into creativity again. Taking and sharing ideas aren’t all bad. They aren’t bad at all.

1. Use questions to spur new ideas

I think the biggest reason we run out of ideas is because we always go about the same process of creating and finding them. A great way to shake things up a bit is to ask questions to yourself. If you’re part of a team, collectively answer these questions.

This collection of questions help you to see things in a different perspective, think of your industry in ways you’ve never before, find information gaps in your content strategy and overall kick your content ideation to high gear.

� What do prospect always ask about?

� What’s a question you always prepare for but never gets asked?

� What are some unfounded beliefs in your industry?

� What are the last points of doubt of someone who’s already willing to buy?

� What isn’t being asked around here?

� What’s something we’ve always believed that isn’t really true?

� What are the common complaints in your industry?

� What’s something that can be improved in your niche, culture-wise?

2. Social media: Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are wildly popular across all industries.

Doesn’t matter if you’re from “serious” niches like executive coaching or physical therapy, there is a Facebook group that caters to your area of business.

In these groups, engagement is quite high—people are commenting, asking questions, sharing experiences and overall just being a good online community.

Now how do use Facebook groups to get new content ideas? On Facebook, type your industry or field in the search bar and click Groups. 

For example, you’re running a woodworking shop or supply store. Let’s search for woodworking.

woodworking
Join the top groups. Look at the number of people in them. I think if it’s less than 500 people, there’s not much to get from the group. That’s not a hard rule though. If it’s a Public group, you can snoop around before deciding to join. If the engagement is low, better skip the group for now. Remember, we are talking about idea generation and not community building for this post.

If there are Public groups, you can immediately get in and start scanning conversations, shared posts and links. From there, you can get an idea of mundane and common concerns on the ground level.

Let’s see what woodworkers like to talk about.

2016-02-07_02-05-03

2016-02-07_02-05-15

After a quick scan, it’s apparent that woodworkers love showing off their work.

Why not create a post for your audience teach them how to showcase their work online? Or photography suggestions for woodworking pieces?

Of course, joining the conversation is the strategic approach. Post questions, share your ideas—it will pay off when you gain the trust of this highly targeted group.

3. Online tool: Google News

Who knew? Google News isn’t just a bland Google feature. If you’ve had the chance to use it, you’ll know what I mean.

Google News is a nifty Google product that shows you the latest news. Now, when we think of news, it’s either politics, economics, or any of the more traditional topics that scream news. 

Google News is a bit forward thinking. First, it covers ALL searchable topics and will show you the latest news piece and even blog posts. Second, not all posts make it to Google news. They only show high-quality and reputable websites.

You probably know where I’m going with this: Use Google News to find out what the best of the best are talking about. From there, you’ll surely get a topic you can build on using your own perspective.

news

Of course, if your niche is politics or sports, you might get good ideas from the frontpage of Google News. If you’re from a very targeted niche though, you need to utilize Google News’ robust search algorithm.

Say you are a home care facility and you’ve run out of ideas to write about in your blog. Go to news.google.com and just type a random word that’s related to your niche. In this case, let’s use homecare. 

2016-02-07_02-34-17

 

The search will return news from your niche—latest technology, new practices, good blog posts. It’s never a bad idea to keep yourself sped up to the top tier. Synthesize the ideas and come up with something from your perspective!

4. Social Listening Tool: BuzzSumo

I love BuzzSumo.

Ok, so now that we have the bias out of the way, let me show you how awesome BuzzSumo is for coming up with content ideas.

BuzzSumo

Here’s what Noah Kagan of AppSumo said about BuzzSumo:

Buzzsumo is also a great place to see which topics related to your business get the most attention. Do more of what works.

BuzzSumo is a social listening-content marketing swiss knife. You can find out the best people to reach out to in terms of expertise and audience size, you get data as to what’s trending at the moment, and for the purposes of this post, BuzzSumo shows you which pieces of content works in your industry and around the topics you create content for.

They don’t stop at topics, they include information on the content type (articles, inforgraphics, video, etc.) that works best in your niche. They have various filters like location, language and dates so you can adjust according to what you’re looking for.

For example, we’re searching for popular posts around the coffee niche. I typed in coffee in the BuzzSumo search bar and the results page looked like this:

buzzsumo serp

Right smack in the results, you’ll get the most shared content in the last year (default filter). Just by looking at what’s popular, you can get an idea what you can create for your own business. Looks like for coffee, the newer and more sustainable practices are widely-shared. Of course, the top post is viral-worthy and quirky.

Take what you can from these top posts and transform it into your own content that fits your context.

5. Read industry blogs: Leaders, competitors, new players

With the boom of content marketing, it’s tough to differentiate yourself from your peers. Now, that has to have you wondering.

If I have to differentiate myself from my peers, why would I turn to competition to get content ideas?

Well, frankly, a lot of the content out there flat-out sucks. If there’s one business who would make improving content its advocacy, that business would make a killing.

So, here’s what you can do.

Subscribe to newsletters

Carefully choose who you subscribe to. Emails today are full of noise so make sure to vet blogs before signing up. You don’t want to waste precious minutes going over emails that just don’t add anything to your life. Blogs that send one email digest a week are generally better in my experience. They take time to curate the content they share to your personal space (inbox) and these people are carrying out elaborate email marketing funnels so you’re sure that they’re providing your value because they want you to buy-in.

 

Source: SumoMe.com
Source: SumoMe.com

Create Twitter lists

Remember, not everyone with more than 10,000 subscribers is an influencer. With so many tools out there meant to grow your Twitter following, a lot of the profile followers are just vanity, meaning they don’t bring value at all. So, what you can do is take the handful of people you already follow and whose content you trust and go over their profiles to see who they follow. Follow those people. Group them into lists based on niche/industry/specialization. When you’re running out of ideas, check the feed of the list. You’re sure to get a topic or two that can feed your imagination.

twitter list
Source: Twitter.com

Set aside an hour a day for industry-related reading

Even when you’re not in ideation mode, knowing what’s up in your industry is a MUST. Keeping your idea funnel full is the best way to escape running out of ideas ever. Make it a practice to internal brainstorm as part of this reading time. In today’s world, it’s easy for our minds to go numb because of the info bombardment. Don’t let that be you.

 

How To Create Epic Mobile Marketing Content That Works

Are you aware of the trending and growing mobile device usage by your target audience? What are your next plan of action?

In the absence or a cursor, you’re faced with the challenge of getting people to read your content on their mobile devices.

You can’t possibly ignore mobile users, considering that 77% of mobile searches are performed at work or home – and majority of these searches are likely from your ideal customers.

Mobile apps are handy for consumers, too. With the click of a button, people can access any website and learn on the go.

GateGuru reported that their mobile apps have reached a staggering 82 million users. More so, the mobile usage in the US since 2009 has experienced a steady growth.
mobile1

All these statistics are pointing to one truth: “create content that will engage your audience when and where they are.”

Trust me, what you need to increase targeted traffic to your site, acquire leads and be at the top of your game is an ‘epic’ mobile marketing strategy.

So let’s get started…

 

A case with epic content

The word epic is overused. It’s become a cliché, because most content marketers throw it about without a deep understanding of its essence.

Obviously, the first rule of content marketing is:

“Create epic content.”

But just how do you do it?

Several articles, videos, podcasts, and ebooks on mobile marketing aren’t epic. Sure, they may offer some value (which every piece of content ought to do), but epic is a level above the basic as we know it.

According to the Dictionary, epic means:

monumental, heroic, grand, long, etc.

Follow me here: content that isn’t grand in today’s competitive era will be drowned. Most digital entrepreneurs are creating content on a daily basis. According to MarketingProfs, 2 million blog posts are written and published every day.

More important, you need to spend just as much time promoting your content as you do creating it, if you ever want to reach a good number of people whose attention span is insignificant (8 seconds).

2

Without a doubt, knowing how to create and optimize your content for mobile is critical to any campaign – be it PPC, SEO, social media, email, etc.

Interestingly, creating useful and in-depth content from a mobile-first approach will give you an unfair advantage over the competitors.

Mobile content consumption is high. A study by Outbrain found that in Singapore, people consume 52% of their content on a mobile device: that’s more than half of US and Australia consumes via mobile.

3

So the entirety of epic mobile marketing content is that it should be long-form, truly useful, evergreen, practical, heroic, and better than what others have created.

You don’t have to be in a haste about this – because your prospects are tired of good-enough content. They want to read content that will challenge the status quo, dazzle their minds, invoke emotions, and give them a reason to do business with you rather than the next door business.

Can you do that? What if I walk you through the process, step-by-step, would you gladly embrace and put it work?

I know you will. So without much ado, let’s be strategic.

 

1.    Develop a mobile-first content strategy

If you care about users, then you have to be where they are. You have no option. And the more you delay, the riskier it gets.

First, mobile-first content strategy refers to planning, development, and management of content so that it can influence consumers’ buying decisions as they consume the content on mobile devices, and bring complete satisfaction that helps you (the content creator) meet your organizational goals.

4

Your content has to be relevant to a specific group of people. Trying to appeal to everyone is a shortcut to failure. Focus on your market, and your mobile-first content strategy will build your business.

A strategy beams light on your path. You don’t stumble or find yourself doing a guess work.

Certainty will become your second nature. Because you have learned from your users what their utmost desire is, and how they want it satisfied through your content.

Though human’s attention span is less than that of a goldfish, but the good news is that they spend more time on the internet.

5

This means that if you could capture their attention, you can retain them – especially with a heroic and long-form content – like the one you’re reading now.

Mary Meeker released the 2015 Internet Trends Report recently and found that “The Average American Adult spends 5.6 Hours A Day On The Internet” of which 3 hours are spent on mobile.” And each time we use the Smartphone, we spend ½ hour, time spent on Tablets is even higher.

6

This shift in content consumption via mobile devices has a dramatic impact on user behavior, and results that you see if your strategy is borne out of your desire to help people.

In summary, your mobile-first content strategy should:

i).    Leverage existing content channels: Currently, social media networks, newsletters, RSS feeds, etc., are the proven channels that you can leverage to distribute your content.

7

If you want to access tens of thousands, if not millions of people, you’ll need to step out of your house (your own site), and build networks with like-minded people.

Apart from free channels, if you truly believe in the value of your content, you should launch a PPC campaign and target mobile audience.

Free content distribution will only take you far, but when you integrate paid advertising – your results will be great.

ii).   Leverage tools to simplify content distribution: Tools make life easier. Imagine how hectic, and the amount of time it would take to find important sites/information online without Google. Just think about it.

Google is a tool, certainly not for content distribution per se, but it can become a means to an end for your content goals.

8

Do you still tweet your posts manually? You must have been living under the rock.

Live the digital lifestyle, you can schedule your posts using Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social?

Other tools such as Paper.li, Roojoom, etc., allows you to find, publish and share useful content on the web, and social media.

9

iii).  Streamline your marketing goals: A mobile-first documented content marketing strategy plays an important role in both B2B and B2C companies, because it helps to streamline their goals – their content reach.

The biggest mobile marketing challenge is measuring ROI. Although both small businesses and top brands reach mobile users – but they’re not strategic in measurement.

10

You need to measure the impact of your content. Using Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) such as page views, mobile views, leads generated, number of links generated, social shares, etc, you can evaluate your marketing programs.

Having a strategy is good, but it’s not enough. You need to document your processes, achievements, and put your goals in front of you all the time. Don’t be like the 48% of B2B marketers who don’t document their content marketing strategy.

11

So when you creating epic content to target mobile audience, it’s necessary to set milestones, and develop a ‘Plan B’ in case one content type doesn’t deliver the expected result.

Use your findings, user insights, and engagement metrics to streamline your goals. That’s how to scale and thrive in a competitive digital world.

iv).  Be dynamic: You need this in your mobile-first content marketing strategy. Who would have thought that mobile consumers will exceed desktop users. As the saying goes, “change is constant.”

12

Truly, the content that worked last month may not be what your prospects and customers are seeking for right now.

Stay abreast of trends, and adjust accordingly. Be dynamic, because concepts, ideas, tools, and people can change.

When you see a change, do you complain and give up, or you embrace it? Smart marketer adjust, learn new skills and thrive. Why not follow suit?

v).   Be consistent: In order to avoid confusion among consumers, you have to be consistent. You don’t see dramatic results when you’re inconsistent at content creation, distribution, networking, etc.

13

Popular brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Amazon, Ebay, and the like have built a solid credibility, not because they’ve the perfect products, but because they are consistent.

14

Consistency will bring you to a place of rest; a position where people trust you enough to work with you.

If you’re a freelancer, software developer, information marketer, or whatever business model you have chosen, stay at it.

You started out strong. Consumers are beginning to like you. The question is, will you still be relevant in the next 5 years? Are you after the quick bucks?

Content marketing isn’t a shortcut to living the dot com lifestyle. It’s hard work, and you have to be about your business. Stay consistent. That’s the formula.

vi).  Rely heavily on content: 95% of B2B companies use content marketing to drive leads, engagement, and sales.

Your prospects search the web because they want solid information. If the web is powered by content, so will your business.

Per dollar invested, content marketing produces 3 times more leads than PPC. Once you’ve a high-converting funnel, it becomes easier to capture attention, build interest, and nurture a relationship with leads. This ultimately leads to increased sales

15

Before InsideOut, a corporate training company embraced content marketing in 2012, they had a challenge at converting site visitors into leads.

I’m sure you know that feeling when your site generates traffic, but none of them is responding to your offer.

What could be the cause?

InsideOut figured this out. They started creating useful, and user-centered content in-house, in order to stay true to the brand values.

16

They promoted the content via email, social, PR and through their website. Good news: they saw a 20% higher clickthrough rate, and improved lead generation by 388%.

Relying heavily on content will boost your organic traffic. You know that search users are the most targeted leads you should drive to your business.

17

Brands that invest into content creation, while targeting the right keywords drive long-term organic search results.

For example, Rental History, a B2B company implemented a content strategy after launching a new consumer service, while putting mobile consumers in mind.

They set out to increase organic visitors, spend less on PPC and establish trust with new audience.

The truth is that the right epic content can meet all these goals. And that was exactly what Rental History did – and saw a 400% increase in organic traffic, reduced PPC spends, and the company generates more than half of their sales from organic traffic.

Focus on localized content

Not all content is created equal. Content that converts are created using the right ingredients based on the user behavior.

One of the reasons why you need to create a localized content is because of mobile search intent.

According to Google/Nielsen study we reviewed earlier, 40% of all mobile searches have local intent, and this number continues to grow. And 73% of mobile searches trigger additional action & conversions.

18

A localized content simply refers to content you create with the aim of appealing to local prospects and customers.

When people use their mobile devices to search online, they’re more likely to respond to a localized content. It begins with your keyword selection.

Here’s how to find some geographic keywords that will enable you create content that are most suitable for people around a specific geographical location:

i).  First step: Go to Google AdWords keyword planner. Input your main keyword (e.g. web design) into the suggestion box. Then click on the “Get ideas” button.

19

ii). Second step: Select/copy one of the keywords (e.g. web design) and plug into the suggestion box. We’re looking for keywords that contains a district, city, country or geo-specific qualifier.

So let’s add “Los Angeles” to the keyword (web design) and see the results:

20

Now that you’ve got the localized keyword phrases, it’s time to create compelling titles for your content. Here are blog post title examples that you can model:

Los Angeles Website Design: 17 Web Design Strategies That Work

The Top 10 Web Development Company: Los Angeles Agencies

As you can see, the two titles above are localized. The accompanying article, blog post, podcast, video or ebook should be relevant to local consumers as well.

Since you’re talking about Los Angeles or any other city, focus on delivering immense value so that local consumers will refer others to your site the moment they find your useful content.

In like manner, you can use Google Trends to determine the popularity of your target keyword in a given geographical area.

21

For example, input “mobile marketing” into Google Trend search box. Make sure to select United States as your region of interest. Hit the ‘enter’ button from your keyboard.

22

In the Google Trend results above, the data shows that if your target market is Utah, including “online marketing” in your title will help you reach more users in that state than in Arizona.

On the other hand, targeting “mobile marketing” will help you reach more people in Alabama, than prospects in Colorado.

One important point, though, is that you also need to find localized social media groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on discussion boards.

Any platform where you can target a particular group of people who share similar interest is important when creating localized content.

A perfect example of a localized content is found at USNews.com. The target audience is quite broad (Europeans or people interested in European tour destinations).

23

Follow your audience reading habits:

The explosion in mobile audiences has created a need in the hearts of marketers, who strongly desire to know their audience’s reading habits.

Whether you have plans to distribute content via social media, blog communities, or email – creating content based on how passionate your audience are will go a long way.

According to Email Monday, “45% of email opens occurred on mobile, 36% on desktop and 19% in a webmail client. – Adestra “Top 10 email clients” (March 2015).”

In fact, Android users spent the most time reading emails.

24

It’s easy to get carried away, and start to create low-quality content just to fill your content editorial calendar – but that should never be the case for you.

Because you want to make impact with every piece of content that you create.

Of course, there is a ready market for your content on mobile devices, but to hit a homerun, your content has to be epic (e.g., long-form, heroic, invaluable).

Convey your message with personality

Achieving success with your content all boils down to the context, not content. This may sound simple, but your writing tone makes all the difference. It creates the mood that’s required in decision making.

25

Mobile devices were invented to help people connect, communicate and share relevant information.

It doesn’t matter the content type, as long as you’re targeting iPhone, iPad, Tablet and smartphone users, you’ve to convey such message with personality.

Needless to say, if your content is all about you it may not work. Mobile marketing has evolved in the past 3 years.

In the past, you could get away with promotional content, but these mobile consumers are smarter now. Never underestimate what they can do.

Ideally, create your own custom content, and curate relevant and epic content that will help users. Promotional content should be done only when necessary.

26

Mobile audience want solid information. And they can tell from a distant your intentions.

Sure, the right content can get you qualified leads, improve your brand, and generate dramatic sales. To achieve that, use a personal tone in your content.

Don’t speak as you write, instead “write as you speak.”

Use the word “you” when creating a blog post, article, video, podcast, ebook, etc. Steer clear of the word “I,” and only use it where necessary.

Maybe when you’re sharing a case study. Aside that, it’s irrelevant to talk about yourself. Talk to them.

A personal tone is important, because it will trigger an emotional note in prospects’ minds, and nudges them to share your content willingly.

Conclusion

There you have it. The proven steps on how to create epic mobile marketing content that works. It’s worked for several businesses, both small and big. Your business will not be an exception.

People are consuming content via mobile everyday. You can’t afford to ignore this trend, because it’s not going away. A survey by Yesware Interactive reported that almost half of all email opens happen on a mobile device.

That alone is good news. But if I were in your shoes, I’ll not neglect desktop users, because no matter how trending mobile content consumption is, and will become in the future, people will continue to search the web from their PCs.

Target both desktop and mobile users who are motivated consumers. Don’t struggle to crack the mobile marketing code. Businesses who do probably don’t know their audience enough.

So the formula is to understand your target audience. Adopt a mobile responsive design, and create content specifically for mobile users.

As usual, we’re looking forward to your contribution. What’s your take on creating content from a mobile-first approach? Do you face any mobile marketing challenge currently?

How to Grow Your Facebook Fans By 58% in 90 Days (Without Advertising)

Social media is easy. At the beginning.

You invite your family, friends, and close colleagues. Then you tap the next people like your customer list. At the start, everyone’s eager to engage, comment, and click. But over time, results start to slow. And new fan growth grinds to a halt.

Once the “inner circle” is tapped and the low hanging fruit dries out… what next? How are you going to consistently grow beyond the current people you have? Keep reading to find out how to grow your Facebook fan page by 58% over the next 3 months.

 

Why “Subscriber Recency” is Essential

No matter how good you are at email marketing, people will unsubscribe. That’s just the natural law of averages and “churning” at work against you.

The same holds true for Facebook. You post once a day, or even once a week, and people will naturally begin to unlike your page.

Subscriber recency is a concept that explains why older fans are also more likely to unlike (or unsubscribe). However what’s even more important, is that it also says new fans are more likely to be engaged and take action (at a higher rate).

In other words, your newest fans tend to be the most active (and probably valuable), while over time older fans will be less and less active. (Of course, there is the exception of your “true fans”).

That means in order to be successful, you need to continually bring in new fans to not only replace the old ones leaving, but also take action to hopefully purchase, repurchase or refer you to their friends.

Reaching friends of friends is the holy grail of social media marketing, and it’s almost impossible if you’re not keeping things active and continually bringing in new people.

But… how are you going to do that? Especially if you’ve already tapped out your own ideas?

Hers’s how.

 

The Best Type of Campaign for Growth

Advertising works wonders. If you know what you’re doing. If you have the budget. And if you already have some engagement strategies in place.

Too often, companies rely on advertising when lacking in these other areas, and it falls short.

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on advertising if you’re not reaching the right people, or if you can’t get them to engage with each other and your brand.

Ideally, the best Facebook marketing strategies are also consistent. You shouldn’t have to rely on one-off success or hope for a hail mary every time. It might get you out of a jam once, but it won’t be sustainable in the long run.

The best approach is an integrated campaign that gets you multiple returns from a single investment. It should improve your brand awareness, bring in website traffic, increase social sharing, generate a few leads, and of course, get more fans in the process. All for a single investment of time, energy, and money.

One of the best ways to do this is through a promotion. But not another lame, photo sharing contest that you see time and time again. We’re talking a real world promotion that brings in partners and creates a ton of value and excitement among your customers.

For example, in the past I ran a blogger promotion that sent 4 bloggers to 6 cities in 16 days.

The result? New Likes increased by 58%, while post views and feedback were up 61% and 65% respectively.

Large campaigns like this sound daunting. But if you have a simple framework, then they’re relatively easy to pull off. And they can be incredibly effective.

Here are three steps to help you get started.

 

Step #1. Create a Bundled Package

At the heart of all successful promotions is something incredibly compelling and valuable.

For example, who wouldn’t jump at the chance for a trip across the country?

But how on Earth can you afford something like that?

The beauty, is that you personally don’t always have to foot the bill. Instead, let’s start brainstorming how you might be able to give away your own products and services (at cost).

CosMediTour, a cosmetic medical tourism company out of Australia, gave away a $70,000 trip, including a hotel, airfare and services.

When doing this, the only thing to watch out for is that you don’t overvalue your own products and services too much. While they might be amazing to you, are customers really going to go through a ton of effort or pay an enormous amount of attention to something for 10% off? Not likely.

The next tip is to go find complementary partners that can help you increase the perceived value of this package (while keeping your own out of pocket cost down). If you can get a few different partners to chip in their own products and services, then you should hopefully end up with something fairly compelling.

The trick? Find out what they value and work to provide it. For example, some companies might be interested in growing their social media fan base. Others, might be looking for content to put on their blog. Everyone has their own needs and problem areas, so if you can figure out a way to help solve them, then they’ll work with you every time.

Social Media Examiner found this great example from Mezzetta, which partnered with a few other companies to provide one hell of a picture pizza contest:

These complementary partners might be groups, organizations or companies that are similar (but not competitive). Start with local companies and associations to find potential lists of these people.

Once the ideas start rolling in, what if you have too many of them? How are you going to decide when they all seem like great ways to begin?

Rank them.

Create a simple spreadsheet and you can rank each idea in a logical way against a few different criteria.

The goal is to get the biggest bang for your buck, in the shortest, easiest amount of time.

 

Step #2. Find Content Creators

Most businesses struggle with content creation. Yours is probably no different.

But again, that’s OK! The first step is acceptance.

Excellent content is an absolute necessity for a campaign like this. So if you can’t do it, then go find someone who can!

Again, the trick (which doesn’t really like a trick after all) is finding out what they want, and then give it to them.

For example, bloggers typically want (a) increase exposure, (b) money, or (c) exclusive access to something. If you can provide at least one of those things (and ideally all three), then they’ll gladly work with you and help make sure your campaign is a success.

You could always find a local meetup, or even better, a large event that caters to content creators like the New Media Expo.

(It’s also a great excuse to go to Vegas for “work”).

But what if you don’t want to leave your keyboard?

One great tip is to use a job board like the Problogger one to help you generate interest with a larger blogging community.

It goes out to 100,000+ people. Also their 42,000+ twitter followers. And only sets you back $50.

Another great method is to use Followerwonk (which is like Google Analytics for Twitter).

Simply search for the types of people you’re looking for. Then you can vet them a huge list of prospects before reaching out to see if they’re exactly what you’re looking for.

Step #3. Make Virality Easy

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t really make things “go viral”. However you can remove friction to help the message scale on it’s own.

How do you do this?

By thinking through every tiny step, or “microconvesrion”, along a customer’s path to the finish line.

The goal is to make this as easy as possible and build in extra sharing opportunities along the way.

For example, don’t just ask someone to share something. Use ClickToTweet to actually build out exactly what you want them to share.

It gives you a link, like this one: https://ctt.ec/4hpOB

Then all they have to do is click a button and go live!

A better example? Remember all those bloggers you reached out to a little while ago? Why not run a promotion – before the real promotion – for the bloggers who are interested and the winners get picked.

That’s what Great Wine Capitals has done with their “guest blogger contest”, where they’re sending wine tourism bloggers to the big annual Great Wine Capitals Global Network event.

You’ll get a ton of exposure, again – for relatively little. And it will “pre-sell” the campaign to generate a ton of buzz and interest, helping to ensure your ultimate promotion is a success.

 

The Best Part?

If you do this right, there’s no shortage of ideas or ways you run these campaigns.

There are enough “variables”, that you can run them again and again and again.

Yes, the first one will take some time to figure out the logistics. But once the “system” is built, then you can adapt, react, and mix it up enough to keep things fresh and extremely cost effective.

There are inexpensive tools like Offerpop, Wishpond, Votigo (just to name a few) that do the heavy lifting for you.

All you need is to bring the creativity, imagination, and hustle to think outside the box while putting each campaign together.

And you know that this one investment of your time is going to bring in Facebook fans, sure.

But more importantly it’s going to grow your business through branding, partnerships, links, traffic, and ultimately, more revenue.

30 Key Tactics to Boost Your Social Media Strategy

Amidst all the hype about social media marketing, all the noise and chatter about followers, likes and content, it can sometimes be a little bit too much. While there’s no shortage of information available online, sorting the good from the bad is becoming more complex. Finding tips that are actually actionable and relate to your business can be hard, as you’re scanning through the millions of blog posts trying to find that one nugget of golden info.

To save you time, we’ve put together a list of some of the top social media tips and tactics to help maximize your social strategy and take it to the next level.

1. Use Demographics Data to Determine Key Platforms

You likely already know the age and basic demographic make-up of your ideal target audience – one way of utilizing this info is to cross-match your existing audience data with demographic info on which age groups are using which platforms. You can use research tools like Pew Research or eConsultancy, both of which regularly publish reports on social media audiences, or you can use the advertising options for each site, most of which have ‘Potential Reach’ calculators built into the ads process (which you can see without having to actually pay for ads). These will show you which platforms, in a wider sense, your target audience is present on.

2. Examine Which Networks the Social Shares From Your Website Are Heading

Understanding which networks people are using to share your existing content – or even your home page – can inform your strategy, as it shows which social networks are popular amongst your existing audience. To do this, you can use Social Crawlytics, a free app that examines your site and produces a report showing which social channels your content is shared on, for example, if 95% of your social shares are on Facebook, that’s where you need to be looking first.

Social Crawlytics reports show where your website content is being shared
Social Crawlytics reports show where your website content is being shared

3. Check Which Social Networks Are Most Popular Amongst Users Discussing Your Focus Keywords

If you know where people are discussing your key terms, chances are those are the networks where you’re going to get the most traction, as discussions around your industry are already happening. You can use BuzzSumo to do this – just enter in your focus terms and BuzzSumo will give you a listing of the most popular articles, along with social share counts for each across the major networks. You can filter the list by time, region, and even content type to get a better idea of what’s resonated and where.

BuzzSumo’s content reports show total social shares by platform
BuzzSumo’s content reports show total social shares by platform

4. Locate Key Influencers in Your Niche

Another function of BuzzSumo is the ability to search for influencers by topic (and by region). Just enter a key term in the Influencers tab and BuzzSumo will return a list of all the key influencers for that topic. From there, you can view the specific links they’ve shared as well as lists of other people who’ve shared that same content, again filterable by region. This is a great way to locate the key voices, and the people they influence, amongst your target groups.

5. Analyze Your Competition

What’s more, with both Social Crawlytics and BuzzSumo you can examine other users, including your competitors. Crawlytics will show you the most popular content from their website and where they’re generating the most shares, while BuzzSumo will highlight their most popular content and enable you to view who, specifically, is sharing it.

6. Find The Most Popular Content For Your Focus Terms

Staying with BuzzSumo, if you enter in your keywords, BuzzSumo shows a list of the most popular content, and content types, related to those topics. These are the posts that are getting the most traction amongst your audience and the questions your audience is seeking answers to.

7. Find Relevant Hashtags Related to Your Business

Using Hashtagify, you can enter in your business key terms and get an idea of the hashtags being used around those topics. Hashtagify will also produce a graph of all the hashtags most commonly associated with those terms, giving you a wider reference set to use when looking into hashtag conversations around your areas of interest.

Hashtagify shows popular hashtags, and those commonly used with them
Hashtagify shows popular hashtags, and those commonly used with them

8. Find Out What People Are Asking About Your Products

Question sites like Quora can help when trying to establish what the most common questions are around your key topics or products. You can also use Google Suggest for this – when you enter terms into Google, the search engine will suggest various, commonly used search phrases based on the terms you’ve entered. These suggestions can be a good insight into the questions being most commonly asked around your industry.

9. Use In-House Experts for FAQs

There’re no better resources on commonly asked questions than the people who are answering them every day. This is an often overlooked resource, but getting your key people to write down a list of FAQs helps give you an understanding of what your audience is asking about.

10. Discover Trending Content in Your Industry

Apps like PopURLs, Nuzzel, and even BuzzSumo have trending content functions that highlight the most popular articles within your industry or niche. Knowing what’s trending is a great way to inform your strategy and stay in-tune with what’s happening in real-time – and tools like this streamline the discovery process, freeing you from scanning through pages of blog posts.

PopURLs shows the top trending content by site and by topic
PopURLs shows the top trending content by site and by topic

11. Allocate Time To Social Media Efforts

Obviously, this will be largely dictated by other happenings and ROI, but it’s worth taking a moment to figure out how much time you can spend on refining your social media presence. The truth is it does take time, and without planning you can easily spend lengthy periods going through each nuance and setting and post, and lose hours as a result. Allocating a set amount of time will help you focus and frame your efforts in a more meaningful way.

12. Select Networks Carefully

You need to determine which networks are worth your time. There’s no point having a presence of every channel if your target audience is only on one or two, and there’s no point focussing on platforms if your target market isn’t active there. Especially when starting out, it’s more important to select your key platforms and focus on doing them right then it is to create a presence on every platform and do all of them poorly. You can’t be everywhere – and the reality is, you probably don’t need to be.

13. Create a Content Calendar

Your content will be a key element of your social presence, and it’s important to have a content schedule set out in order to build a consistent dialogue with your audience. If people expect you to send out a new weekly newsletter or post, they can build that into their reading plans – that sort of consistency builds an expectation of reliability, and will strengthen your brand as a result.

14. Understand Your Mission

Another crucial element is to understand what you’re using social media for. For most, your efforts will focus on one of three areas – sales, loyalty or awareness. Focus on which of these goals you’re seeking to achieve with each process, then align your content and social efforts with that goal. There’s no point building followers and likes if you have no further goal in mind – having a set focus and plan will help you remain consistent in your efforts and build towards the target.

15. Establish Your Voice

Understanding how you want to communicate is almost as important as what you communicate. What tone do you want your social presence to have? How do you want your brand representatives to approach each interaction? What’s the core mission behind every response and post? Answering these questions, again, builds consistency and reliability, as well as scalability, as you can ensure all members of your team are delivering an on-brand response.

16. Track Brand Mentions and Key Terms

By using tools like Hootsuite, Mention or Sprout Social, you can set up streams and alerts to monitor key terms, helping you stay on track of relevant mentions without having to be always online. You can allocate searches to specific geographic regions, ensuring you remain aware of key local mentions and trends, further filtering the process to save you time. You can also set up push notifications to keep you up to date while you’re away from your desk.

Hootsuite enables you to track keyword mentions
Hootsuite enables you to track keyword mentions

17. Schedule Content to be Sent Out Via Your Social Profiles

One of the biggest time savers, and the easiest ways to maintain a consistent social presence is to schedule your social media posts ahead of time. When you create a new blog post, you can schedule it to be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can share links to related content to go out at different times across the day. You can schedule your posts months in advance to ensure you’re active even when you’re not in the office. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are perfect for this purpose.

18. Check Analytics Via On-Platform Options

One of the greatest strengths of social media is that it’s all measurable and traceable. If there’s anything you want to track, it’s pretty likely you’ll be able to. It’s just a matter of working out what data is most valuable, then working out how you might go about it. The major platforms like Twitter and Facebook have their own inbuilt analytics tools that provide great oversight into overall page activities – ignore such data at your own peril.

19. Use Tools to Get a Better Understanding of Your Performance

There’s a wide range of social analytics tools available. Hootsuite has a range of data tools inbuilt. BuzzSumo can help you track performance by providing info on social shares and sharers. Twitonomy will analyze your Twitter account and provide in-depth data on performance while Fanpage Karma does the same for Facebook. Simply Measured has a range of free and paid tools to help rationalize and harmonize your on-platform activities. Using any, or all, of these tools, will greatly inform your strategy and you’ll move forward.

20. Use Snapchat Stories and GeoFilters

Snapchat is a huge potential market. In fact, over 100 million users watch about 10 billion snaps a day. By creating your own Snap stories and geofilters, you can tap into that massive audience.

Geofilters allow Snapchat users to add a brand’s logo or other design to their snap photos. You can create your own Geofilter for your business or event for as little as $5. Not only are they relatively cheap, but Geofilters are a great interactive advertising tool as well.

Snap Stories, on the other hand, allow you to show videos and photos to people who follow you on the social platform. This can be a great way to show off your company culture or even new product launches. For example, Pixar recently had a Snap Story where they took followers on a virtual tour of the Pixar campus in Emeryville. They also shared short interviews with some of their interns about why they became animators and what they love about Pixar.

image09

21. Get Specific with Target Audiences on Facebook

The beauty of Facebook’s Ad Manager tool is that it allows you to create an audience based on very specific criteria. One of the more useful of which is the ability to target by Life Events.

Facebook’s Life Events feature allows people to let their friends know about a new change in their life by adding it to their timeline. For example, say you own a bridal shop. When someone changes their relationship status on Facebook to engaged, it’s added as a Life Event. You can now have Facebook display your ads to these people directly. Obviously newly engaged people are very likely to be looking for the types of products and services you provide, which makes them leads.

You can also target people based on interests, recent behavior (such as going to church), estimated income, relationship status, education level, and more. Using these types of filters can help you narrow down your audience to only those who are most likely to be interested in your brand.

image03

22. Make it Look Good

When advertising on social media, visuals are very important and so is the messaging. You must remember that most users are scrolling past an incredible amount of content–your ad must stand out in order to gain their attention.

Be sure that your ad is aesthetically pleasing and feels compelling enough for the viewer to click on it. In other words, you want them to be enticed but relaxed enough to click through to your landing page.

image00

Take a look at the ad above from Slack, a cloud-based communication service for the workplace. Not only is the ad visually striking, but it also does an excellent job of explaining their product in a fun and meaningful way. Slack’s marketing department knows that most people in the workforce detest sitting through pointless meetings. Keeping this in mind, they crafted clever copy that would greatly interest their demographic: less meetings and time saved. And who doesn’t love a unicorn?

23. Rework and Recycle Your Best Copy

If you’ve ever created an ad in AdWords, you know that quality score has a big impact on where your ads are displayed. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have similar metrics for their ads: Relevance Score and Quality Adjusted Bids, respectively. These scores are important because they can either decrease or increase your cost-per-click.

If you’ve already seen success with the ads you’ve created in AdWords, try using the same or similar language in your ads on social media sites. In addition to saving you some time and effort, it’s likely that you’ll see similarly positive engagement rates.

24. Pay Attention to the Data

Once you put up a new ad on social media, you’ll need to regularly monitor its performance. For one, your ad may not perform as well as you thought it would and you may need to make some adjustments to your copy or your target audience. Secondly, sometimes even ads that were once performing very well can start to slump. This is due to “audience fatigue.”

25. Take Advantage of Remarketing

Remarketing allows you to target people who have already shown interest in your product or service. For example, say someone shops around on your site and abandons the items in their cart. By using remarketing ads on social media, you can display these items to that user and encourage them to come back to your site and complete their purchase. This technique is a great way to get a second chance at conversions you may have missed.

26. Monitor Engagement for Your LinkedIn Posts

LinkedIn Publisher allows you to monitor the people who are engaging with your content, and it’s a great way to establish professional relationships and foster conversation surrounding your brand. Simply go to the analytics page of your last post and click on “Who’s Viewed Your Posts.” This will display a selection of viewers and stats for the last week. You can also see who has liked, commented, or shared your posts. This helps ensure that you’re responding to comments and targeting people who show interest in your brand. You can even reach out to people who have shared your post.

27. Make an Impression with Facebook and Instagram Carousel Ads

While Facebook and Instagram are a great places to advertise your products and services, there’s also a lot of competition. Make your ad stand out in the crowd of other advertisers with captivating images and ad copy. There is also a relatively new feature that allows you to display a carousel or slideshow of images within a single ad. You can even add transitions, music, or narration. These types of advertisements are a great way to increase the quality and potential engagement of your content.

image05

28. Use Live Video Broadcasting

Live video has become incredibly popular across various social media platforms, including Facebook,Twitter, and YouTube. Live video on social media allows brands to reach consumers directly and create an interactive experience. For instance, you could host a live question and answer session. Because it is live, there is a sense of urgency that encourages people to log on and view.

Companies that use live platforms to market their products and services have seen much success. For example, Benefit Cosmetics began producing a weekly live show called “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!” which they air each Thursday. On the show, the hosts drink wine and try on products while they answer questions from viewers. Their first broadcast gathered 42,000 live viewers, and they have continued to see success in later videos.

image07

29. Embrace Virtual Reality

While it’s still evolving in many ways, virtual reality (VR) has begun popping up all over social media. In June of 2016, Facebook started supporting 360 videos and photos. Since then, many companies and organizations have used the feature to release an amazing and entirely unique online experience. Snapchat filters are also an example of augmented or virtual reality, and they can be a great way to reach people and generate excitement around your brand.

As far as marketing is concerned, you could use these VR features to produce interactive ads for your audience. With the right content, virtual reality ads may just sell themselves.

Check out this awesome 360 video from Coachella:

No doubt they’ll be selling a few more tickets next year.

30. Assess, Refine, Repeat

The key to social media success is outlined in these three words. Individual results will vary, what works for others may not work for you. Because of this, the only way to truly maximize your social media success is to test, to see what works and what doesn’t, then learn for the next stage. While there are many guidelines and suggested processes available, the only true rule of social is ‘your audience rules’ – your individual followers and fans, they’re the ones who’ll dictate your ultimate level of success.

So there you are 30 key strategy tips that will help you better utilize social networks for your marketing efforts. Follow these steps and you’ll get a better understanding of how social works, how your competitors and partners are utilizing the platforms, and what your audience expects from your brand via tweets and posts. The only other truly critical step is to listen, to hear what’s being said, and to respond according to what your data and insights are telling you. The rest is up to you.

4 Key Elements in Planning and Creating Engaging E-Mail Marketing Content

E-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience and build awareness of what your brand offers. To achieve this you need to have a good idea of what they want and how you’re going to provide it. For this reason, a well thought-out e-mail marketing strategy is a must. Sending out an e-mail for every new blog post or offer is one thing, but having a clear strategy with goals and targets in mind, is the ultimate way to maximise your e-mail marketing success.

So where do you start? What should you focus on? Here are a few tips on e-mail marketing planning to get you moving on the path towards success for your business.

Strategic Priorities

The first thing you need to do is define what you’re planning to use your e-mail marketing for. What does your audience want from you and what do they expect? The best way to look at this is to consider things from your customers’ perspective. What would make you more likely to open an e-mail?

There are various ways to ascertain what information your audience wants. One way is to note down the most commonly asked questions your business receives and use each with structured content  around addressing each one in your content calendar. This way each of your e-mails answers a specific question. Another method is to utilize social media to find commonly asked questions in your industry or niche. Using helpful tools like Twitter’s advanced search page you can tick the box for questions when searching. This will return all the tweets which contain questions related to your terms.

However you go about it, working out what you plan to use your e-mail marketing outreach for is a crucial first step and will often define your content calendar and strategy. Alerting subscribers to sales and new content is one thing, but building an engaging e-mail marketing plan calls for more structure than blast sends alone.

Message Relevance

So, you know what you want to say, now you need to focus on how you’re going to say it. Start by determining the language and then the delivery of your message. Remember, there’s no definitive guidelines on the best language style to use for your business – that’s largely dependent on your specific target audience but there is data on subject lines and ways in which to maximise e-mail open rates through line length.

In a study by Adestra, tracking more than 900 million e-mails, researchers found that subject lines with more than 70 characters provided the highest levels of engagement regarding click-throughs. Subject lines with fewer than 50 characters still had a positive effect on open rates and mid-length subject lines (50-60 characters) should be avoided as they add no improvement to open rates.

obama

One other element to consider in message relevance is the value of personalisation. I don’t just mean auto-inserting a recipients’ name into the opening of the e-mail – getting a message that says ‘Hey [insert name]’. That’s neither personal nor engaging. Instead, consider personalisation as how you frame the content around the interests of that individual user. Amazon does this well with their ‘Recommended for you…’ suggestions; personalisation without trying to be your best friend, but by utilising your history and data to focus the content more directly to you. Such an approach is significantly boosted by audience segmentation, which is a big part of the next element; building engagement.

Building Engagement

The key aim of any e-mail marketing plan is to build engagement, to get subscribers in for the long haul by delivering content that remains continually relevant to them. In this sense, it’s important to understand, segment and categorise your audience to ensure you’re delivering the most relevant messaging to each group. For example, a prospective car buyer is going to be far more interested in what you have on sale this week than an established customer, who’s more likely to respond to special deals on servicing and future trade-ins. Segmentation is a powerful element of e-mail list building and can significantly boost open rates by delivering more relevant and focussed messages.

You can create groupings within your e-mail lists based on a number of different data points – location, gender, past purchases, etc. The goal is to provide each group with deals and updates most likely to resonate with them – the better you can do this, the more likely you’ll maximise your e-mail marketing success. Ensure you use segmentation and update the data regularly in order to keep the right recipients in the right categories.

Content Balance

The thing about engaging content is it can’t be all ‘sell, sell, sell’. Of course, as a business your goal is to sell as much as you can, but constantly pitching is not a foundation on which relationships are built. That’s what your e-mail marketing program is. It’s a relationship between you and your customers. When thinking of it in those terms, you can see the need to balance your information and ensure you’re offering value, not just through your great deals, but also through the content you’re providing in your e-mail send.

Hubspot suggests keeping newsletter content 90% educational and 10% promotional. Yes, that relates specifically to newsletters and not e-mail marketing as a whole, but it’s a good yardstick for what’s likely to keep readers engaged in regular brand communication. The thinking on this is that by only sending out your deals and looking for the next sale, your e-mails become too pushy and people will eventually scan over them as a result. By trying to provide insight and fresh angles, you’re working to build more than just a sales relationship, but a real bond with your target audience.

Another popular example approach along the same lines is the ‘2:1:1 Rule’, or the ‘4:1:1 Rule’, depending on who tells you. The rule is that for every one hard promotional message you send, you should also include one soft promotion and two/four educational or entertaining messages. It’s similar in approach to the 90/10 approach, though obviously balanced more generously to better fit with regular e-mail sends as opposed to newsletters. The same principle still applies – you can’t just flood people with sales messages, you need to balance them out with engaging content, in order to avoid being tuned-out.

211

However you approach content balance, it’s important to consider what value your e-mail content provides to your subscribers – what do you offer that will ensure they open your emails and keep you front of mind in all related purchase decisions? E-mail marketing aims to maintain a combination of sales, loyalty and awareness. Focussing on any one in isolation, won’t deliver the best results.

How to Spend Less Than an Hour a Day on Email Marketing

E-mail marketing can be massively valuable for your business. As more and more marketers lose sleep sweating on Facebook’s next steps towards reducing organic reach to absolute zero, smart businesses are learning that there’s significant and present opportunities in the ‘rented land’ of your social media properties. Hosting discussions on your owned assets, building direct connections between your brand and your audience is often a safer and more binding arrangement.

But as with establishing an audience anywhere, building and maintaining an e-mail relationship takes effort. You need to deliver consistent value and you need to stay in constant, or at least regular, contact. If you’re not in touch with your e-mail contacts once a week or once a month, the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing can be lost. The best e-mail marketers generally stick to a very rigid routine, posting updates on a certain day, at a certain time, this consistency enables them to stay in the recipient’s mind and helps them establish an expectation of what they’ll get as a result of signing up to their updates. Post erratically, and you risk fading into the junk folder, or worse, falling victim to the unsubscribe.

So how do you manage it? How do you ensure you’re maintaining a constant content flow in order to fuel updates that will be relevant and will increase click-through rates, and ultimately, convert subscribers in loyal customers. Here’s a few tips on how to maximise your e-mail outreach efforts and do it in less than an hour a day.

1. Establish a routine

The first element of effective e-mail marketing is establishing what it is you’re looking to communicate and how you’re going to do it. This comes before you even offer sign-up, before you even consider getting people onto your lists. You need to know what you’re offering with your content, how often you’re going to send it and what’s in it for your readers to sign-up. Answering these questions will enable you to plan out how much work, and how often you need to set aside time for your e-mail efforts.

For this example, we’ll go with a once weekly newsletter, sent out every Thursday at 11am. The day and time is important, as subscribers are likely to respond better to consistency, knowing when to expect your content. Having a set send time will enable them to structure their own reading and consumption time around your information, which is the ideal scenario for holding attention.

In order to ensure our newsletter is sent, we need to set a deadline of Wednesday close of business – so every Wednesday, by the end of the day, the newsletter will be ready to go. Have this scheduled, and ensure all relevant parties are aware of their requirements in this process.

You also need to establish the purpose of what you’re doing. Obviously, you’ll want to promote your own products and services in some way, but going all in on push messaging isn’t likely to work in your favour, so it’s best to consider what it is you want to convey and what value your readers will be getting from viewing your communications each week. If you have your own blog, this is a great opportunity to promote your latest posts, but it’s also an opportunity to share industry news and information directly relevant to your subscribers and their interests. An e-mail subject line specifically related to the latest news in my industry is far more likely to compel my click than a blatant sales pitch on a company’s latest product.

Whatever approach you take, you need to note down the purpose of your outreach and have that as your guide, then ensure you adhere to that goal with each send.

2. Provide relevant content

Probably the most time-consuming element of a regular e-mail marketing routine is filling it with relevant content. If you’re a prominent blogger then it’s a little easier, as you can include your latest posts in your send, but you also need to consider how many of your subscribers are also subscribers to your blog – do they need to read your newsletter informing them of your latest post when they already got a notification of it when you published?

As with maintaining an active social media presence, finding the right content, and the right topics of interest to your e-mail subscribers is key to building a reliable outreach presence.

So where do you find trending content? There’s a range of tools and options to help you filter the web down to your topics of choice:

BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is a content discovery tool that enables you to locate the most shared and discussed content across social media platforms, based on topic, industry, or URL. BuzzSumo recently added a new ‘trending content’ feature which enables you to build your own tracking centre for your chosen key terms – so you could track ‘metal workers’ in your region and you’d get a feed of all the top stories on that subject fed through in real-time. This is a great option for keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry and uncovering the main issues of interest amongst your target audience.

Buzzsumo

Nuzzel – Nuzzel is an interesting option, as it analyses the content being shared amongst your connections on Twitter and Facebook and shows you what’s popular. You can also look at what’s being highly shared amongst the communities of friends, giving you a great overview of the main issues of discussion amongst related groups.

Nuzzel

PopURLs – PopURLs shows you the most read content from major websites, separated by industry. For example, you can click on ‘Tech’ and it’ll show you all the most shared stories from TechCrunch, The Next Web and The Verge for that day. You can customise the display to your personal preferences, giving you a quick and easy way to see what’s generating discussion and what’s likely going to be of interest to your communities.

Popurls

Twitter – And of course, you can always use your Twitter feeds to focus on specific users who share content relevant to your industry. Twitter lists are great for this purpose – you can create lists based on topics and locate the Twitter users you really need to be honing in on for each subject. Using targeted lists, you can ensure you stay up to date by keeping tabs on the most crucial Twitter feeds for your interests, as opposed to trying to keep up with every user you follow.

Using these sources, in conjunction with the content you create, you can ensure you’re staying up to date, and that you’re keeping your e-mail subscribers up to date with the most relevant information in your sector. This will keep your content fresh and give your messaging a clear purpose in the eyes of your audience – if you can make your weekly e-mail update the source for industry news, you’ll be onto a winner and on the path to establishing yourself as a trusted resource. One recommendation – always share your insight along with any news or updates you share to highlight your own expertise.

3. Allocate time

So now you have a purpose, a schedule and places to source content information from, the next step is allocating the right amount of time to get it done. And time, as we all know, is something not many of us have a lot of. This is particularly true of small to medium business owners who are often wearing many hats – for your e-mail outreach to be effective, you need to be consistent and you need to add value, so it’s important that you do set aside dedicated time to get it done.

So going with our weekly newsletter, let’s say we’re going to allocate an hour per week to getting it done – how would you divide that time?

Content Creation Re-Purposing – 15 minutes

So we’re not talking about creating a whole new blog post, but rather re-purposing your content for your e-mail. As noted earlier, many of your subscribers will also be subscribers to your blog, so you don’t want to spam them with repeat messages. It’s important to change it up for your newsletter, providing a different angle or re-framing it for this unique purpose. As it’s not creating a whole new post, this should only take around 15 minutes to add into your e-mail template.

Content Curation and Listing – 30 minutes

Using the tools noted above, go through and locate all the top stories and issues you want to highlight to your subscribers, adding your own insight on each. The more focussed you can make your content targeting in those apps, the better, as it will narrow down the field of data you need to work with. It should take around half an hour to establish the most relevant trends and info and add your own updates or thoughts.

Offers, Advice, Sales – 10 minutes

Here’s where you add in the more overtly promotional elements and ensure you’re maximising the benefits of your e-mail outreach efforts. Any sales or offers you’re putting forth, note them in the relevant sections of your template with a strong call-to-action on each. It’s also worth double-checking all the content you’ve curated to see if there’s any links to your latest offers – if there’s a discussion on new tax requirements and you’re offering a new service advising on the liabilities related to the change, it might be worth noting that specifically within your insights on the relevant update.

Proofreading – 5 minutes

Proofreading and editing is a crucial step. Poor grammar can absolutely kill your credibility and make people more hesitant to click-through on your future updates. You need to read through each line and ensure everything’s in its right place, ‘i’s dotted, ‘t’s crossed. It’s an aspect that’s far too often over-looked.

And that’s it – once you’ve determined your purpose and clarified the sources you need to utilise to build your e-mail newsletter, it should be possible to provide a valuable, fresh and informative document each week in an hour of dedicated work. Of course, this is not prescriptive, everyone will establish their own methods and process in creation, but hopefully these notes help you visualise the best way forward for you, and maybe reduce the sometimes daunting prospect of the effort required to deliver a relevant and useful resource, week-after-week. It’s totally possible, and really, the key is to just start, then you’ll more accurately work out what you need to do and how long it’ll take you. Do this before you even start sending it out and see what works best and what you can come up with – when it feels ready to go, get onto your followers and connections, build up your subscriber list, and go from there.