Recently, content marketing has been all the rage. It isn’t that it’s only now that content marketing is starting to be effective, but more so that larger, more traditional media and advertising powerhouses are finally starting to take the trend seriously.
Content marketing, for several years now, has been the true language of the blogging community, and the businesses who were smart enough to narrow in on and take advantage of these networks.
Content marketing itself rests on one of the founding principles that most of you reading this will understand: providing value before asking for it.
Content marketing also has major crossover with “relationship marketing,” which is what we’re going to get into today. Specifically, those who have worked with content marketing have also found value in maintaining a blog or similar platform to regularly share content with and grow their audiences through.
Guest blogging is the act of posting on someone else’s blog, largely in the hopes of getting some attention and exposure for your own web property. The problem, however, lies in how to reframe that goal in a way that it becomes mutually beneficial.
If it’s your first time trying to land a guest blogging gig, you need to understand that these relationships are all about leverage: What can you offer someone else? What are you getting in return? In order for your offer to write a piece for another blog (even if it’s really good) to be tempting, you need to make sure you frame it in the right way. Here are a few steps you can take to massively boost your chances of successfully integrating guest blogging into your content marketing strategy.
Identify blogs in your weight class or just above it. Look for blogs in your market than have similar audiences and are getting some social engagement and shares on their posts, but who are not yet massive.
Make contact in a helpful way. Do not just blurt out that you want a guest post and try and pitch cold via email. Instead, leave insight comments over a few days and interact with the blog owner on twitter or another social platform. Share their content to show you like it.
Make a careful pitch by asking permission via one of these platforms to reach out via email. Once you have the greenlight, send an email with your idea, and highlight why it would be well-received by their audience and what you will do to help share the piece and grow their blog.
Write something truly amazing. If you get the honor of having a guest post pitch accepted, do it justice and get invited back by really creating something special. Whatever time you put into researching and creating your own posts, double it. Go above and beyond and make an infographic or embedded slideshare to help out – that kind of thing.
Promote like your life depends on it in order to get the blog you’re working with the biggest return possible and show that partnering up with you was worthwhile.
Simple, yep. Easy? Well, you’ll be putting in some work, but it’s nearly always worth your time.
Do you have a Tweet pinned to the top of your profile on Twitter? Wait, wrong social media network, right?
Not really. Twitter will actually let you “pin” a Tweet to the top of our Twitter stream so that people visiting your page will always see that particular Tweet first, as opposed to the default setup in which your most recent posting appears on top.
What are the benefits of this? Well, first you have more control over what visitors see when they land on our Twitter feed (uh, duh!). But that means that you can create whatever kind of image you want to project, something that can be extremely helpful if you use your Twitter feed primarily to support your other Internet marketing platforms or offers.
There’s also a social benefit. For example, if you want to attract members of the opposite sex or people with similar interests to yours, you can “pin” the most appropriate Tweet so that it’s always present at the top of your page – such as the photo where you appear most buff, or something related to your hobby or interests.
If you use Twitter a lot, not everything you post is going to be something you want to represent who you are to other Twitter users. For example, you may Share something you found funny but that other people might find offensive. Or you could Tweet something off the cuff that could be taken out of context later.
This is something that happens to sports starts and celebrities all the time. Who’s to say you are immune to it, especially if you are prone to “Tweeting under the influence”.
Setting It Up
Setting up the Tweet you want to pin to the top of your Twitter feed is super easy. All you go to the Tweet you want pinned, then click on the “…” icon at the bottom right hand corner. (You probably never noticed this before, did you?) Then all you have to do is simply click on the “Pin to your profile page” option and there you go.
Make sure you pick a Tweet that truly represents the image you want to project. In other words, don’t just arbitrarily pick some Tweet you think is pretty funny or an okay picture of you. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good impression. Twitter is worldwide and your profile could potentially be visited by thousands of different people, so you want to make sure you get it right the first time.
And if you don’t, well, you can always change it later anytime you want!
The biggest drawback to this is the pinned Tweets on your profile can’t be seen by people who access the social media site from their smart phones. And, let’s face it, Twitter and mobile phones were made for each other. When was the last time you accessed Twitter from your PC or laptop? It was probably at least a couple of years ago.
So will posting your best Tweet to the top of your Twitter profile actually make a difference? Let’s put it this way: It couldn’t hurt. You can’t control how people what kind of devices people use to access your Twitter profile. If someone does happen to stumble upon (oops! Wrong site again) your Twitter feed from their laptop or PC and they do happen to like your great Tweet enough to re-Tweet it, well, then that’s bonus!
The bottom line is that if you want to increase your popularity on Twitter and do a better job of managing your reputation, why not pin the best Tweet possible to the top of your profile?
The standard call to action has become far too recognizable for the Internet savvy masses who know a hard sell when they see one. They know when they click “Sing Up Here” that they are likely going to receive spam. They know that when they click “Buy Now” they are going to have to spend money. And while these will still work for products and services that customers are actively looking to purchase or sign up for, it becomes a harder sell to pull off when you’re marketing niceties rather than necessities.
Writing a More Actionable Call to Actionable
When you have a product or service that you’re marketing which can best be described as “nice to have but not something I can buy on a budget,” you have to really think smarter about your pitch. This all culminates in the call to action, a place where you should be removing the final friction in the prospect’s mind, getting them to click on that button.
To illustrate the best way to accomplish this, let’s look at three great strategies:
1. Illustrate Product or Service is Risk Free. If you are offering a service or product that is risk-free to try, show this through your call to action. A great example of this is Crazy Egg who uses the very successful CTA, “Show Me My Heatmap.” The prospect knows that they can get a sample of the service at no cost with no pressure to buy unless they like what they see. This works best with products or services that provide an ongoing report. Seeing your heat map for your website is going to help you, yes, that’s the point. But imagine seeing it constantly and with increased tracking statistics and analytics. That’s the selling point after the CTA.
2. Demonstrate Customization. Another way to really capture a lead with your CTA is to let them have some fun within the system before asking for the sale. For example, Manpacks is a website that allows users to bundle up their own “manpacks” consisting of manly things like razors, condoms, shirts, etc. Their CTA is very simple and very effective: Build Your Manpack. It speaks the language of men, mainly to “building” and the idea of customizing your own “manpack” before you have to part with your money at the POS further engages the prospect.
3. Give Actual Action. Finally, a great way to really get your CTAs more clicks is to actually put the action right into the wording. Perhaps the most widely-known use for this is with the eCard industry. Instead of saying, “Sign Up for an Account” or some other common CTA, the biggest eCard suppliers use some variation of “Send an eCard Now.” The CTA doesn’t bring up the costs or any mailing lists, it simply says to send the card now. This works well with any type of service where you can send a gift to someone, but is translatable across the boards. What is the final action that will take place? “Get Your…Now.”
Language and Results
As you can see, the CTA is more about how you word things and less about what the client is actually doing, at least, that’s how the client should perceive things. There should be a tie in with emotions through the language wherever possible. The “Manpacks” CTA does an amazing job with this, build something and feel more manly!
Unfortunately, not enough marketers spend enough time on their CTAs, instead just slapping up the standard “Click Here” bit.
Welcome to part two of this series on reducing churn rate. Let’s jump right into a few methods for keeping customer retention high and making sure no one is jumping ship!
Savvy businessmen and women know that keeping an eye on the competition is key, and nowhere is this more important than in customer acquisition and churn rate assessments. Take time out of every day, week, or month – depending on the cycle time and speed of your market – to research what your competitors have been up to. Are they doing something that you aren’t? If so, is it something that you, as a customer, would want and benefit from? Be honest here. If the answer is “yes,” think about how you could not only implement something similar, but how you could improve on it.
This is simply part of the process of continuously adding value to a business, and keeping an eye on competition helps you to gauge the rate at which you should be doing so. Rather than trying to slowly dole out new goodies to your customers, challenge yourself to give away new value as it comes about in real time. This also means that you won’t be able to rest on your laurels, and will have to constantly innovate in order to have bigger and better offers for your customers. Seem like tough work? It is – and it’s also how industry leaders get to the top.
Get Personal, Don’t Automate
Automation is one of the trickiest things to master when your business begins to grow. You want to be able to manage everything at once, but losing the personal touch you may have begun with can be detrimental to your relationship with leads and customers.
As a rule of thumb, it’s ok to automate, but don’t fake it. This means that things like post-purchase emails, etc. can be automated, and are expected to be. By the same token, don’t fake communications so that they are automated but are actually canned, pre-written, and going out to 5,000 people.
For example, let’s say you write an email for your list to announce a new offer. Don’t use silly name tagging to fake personalization. People see straight through that, and it is (rightfully) perceived as phony. People understand that they are part of a mailing list, so don’t try to convince them otherwise.
If they write to you, however, respond personally. If that becomes logistically impossible, then make it clear that a support team is the one helping to field questions and concerns. Also, keep in mind that “impossible” should mean something different to you as an entrepreneur. You should be a time management ninja, and also realize that your work day might be 10 12, or 16 hours, not eight.
Ride the Wave, Don’t Chase It
Even more important than watching the competition is to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and the context within which it exists. Recently, Facebook noticed (and has helped champion) the bringing of rudimentary mobile internet to new countries that have never had such services. The company launched a stripped-down, Facebook Lite app to better accommodate these low-bandwidth markets. As soon as new mobile plans hit these countries, Facebook will be one of the first apps available.
Be the Facebook of your industry. Sound like big shoes to fill? They are! But the point is that you should be looking to ride along with new trends as they crest, and leave everyone else to chase after you. That is, of course, the mark of an industry leader after all, isn’t it?
The last thing we want to hear from our leads is one simple word: No. No is the death of a sale, the end of a funnel, the loss of a lead. So while it might seem pretty obvious that you want to give your leads more chances to say yes, some internet marketers don’t follow through with this. For example, think about the classic website that you land on after a Google search. You read through the content and at the bottom, there’s a link that you can click to learn more, or in reality, make a purchase.
But why is the only option to say “yes” all the way at the bottom? What this essentially means is that every other spot on the page is a chance to say “no.” That’s bad marketing. You never want more chances to opt-out than to opt-in. So what’s the solution? Make it harder to say no by giving more chances to say yes!
Increased Calls to Action
First up is the obvious: increase the number of CTAs you have on your site and in your copy. Now, this doesn’t mean simply put links at the top, bottom and middle of your content, get creative with it. Opt-ins and other calls to action can be placed all over your site, in the banner, on the side scroll, in a pop-up. The more chances you give your leads to say yes, the more likely it is that they will. If you make them search for a CTA, chances are you’ve already lost the sale by that point.
Remember, the three tenets of every good website are that the viewer should get there and immediately know:
1. Where they are
2. What they can do there
3. Where and why to do it
The third tenet is the one to be concerned with here, if they don’t know where to click or why, your page has failed. Which brings us directly to our next point, the why.
Back in the simpler days of online marketing, having one reward would be enough. Give me your email and I’ll send you a free eBook. Sign up for this newsletter and you’ll get 15% off your next purchase. But with so many different avenues of traffic, it only makes sense that you should have multiple levels of rewards. Yes, get the free eBook by joining my mailing list but also get 15% off by liking me on Facebook and get a free website health report by entering your website URL here.
The more points of contact you wish to produce and maintain with your leads, the more rewards you should offer to increase the viability of those contacts. Remember, most people are fairly savvy about what happens when they give a like on Facebook or a follow on Twitter, as savvy as they are about the spam that occurs when they give out their email address. Prove to them that there is value attached to each of these channels by giving them actual value for connecting.
Make the Choice Clear
One of the most effective CTAs out there right now include a combination of a pop-up, a reward and making it very difficult to say no. You’ve likely already seen it on QuickSprout or WordStream, when you’re surfing the site, a seemingly random pop-up occurs with a question that has a very pointed answer. You then have the option to say yes or no, with no being a fairly ridiculous choice so that you have to mentally admit that’s your intention.
For instance, a website about money investment might have a pop-up that says, “Do You Want to Learn How to Invest Like a Pro?” The two choices would be:
Yes, I want to retire early
No, I’m fine living paycheck to paycheck
Which would you choose?