So you’ve written a new blog post or created a piece of content that you think could really make a splash, or at least generate some traffic and business around your website. You hit publish, run through your usual share sites, but the needle doesn’t seem to move. In fact, a week later, your post is far from going viral. You think, alright, but I’ve quoted some experts in here, and this other company has a similar market that might enjoy what I’ve created, maybe I’ll ask if they can share it too!
But they probably get bombarded daily with tens or even hundreds of requests – so how can you stand out?! Well, here are a few ideas:
Have multiple targets. The fact of the matter is, even the best of pitches can fall on deaf ears, so it’s in your best interests to play a numbers game. If your goal is to have 3 influencers share your content, then you’re much more likely to meet your goal if you approach 15 influencers than just 3. Everybody wants to bad 1.000, but that’s just not how this play works.
Engage them first in a more helpful way. Do you know how much more likely most people would be to give their change to a homeless person on the street if they stopped and talked with them for a bit, found some common ground, and began to empathize? We naturally have better opinions and perceptions of trustworthiness of those we know better, so use this bit of psychology to your advantage! Never ask an influencer for a share straight up. Instead, share their content first, let them know in a tweet how much you like it, ask if you can help them with something they’re working on. In this way, you’ll warm them up before going for an ask, and be much more likely to get the answer you’re looking for.
Follow-up without the nag. This is a tough balance to strike. Sometimes, however, people just don’t have time when they receive it to open your mail and it gets lost in the bottom of their inbox. Or perhaps they don’t really use email and another form of communication is way more likely to get their attention. Make sure that you have a follow-up plan for those who don’t respond to your messages the first time around, a sequence of 2 or 3 messages that you can try on different platforms, just to see if you can get a response. Funny enough, the “breakup email” (alright, I won’t message you anymore you clearly aren’t interested!) is the one that generally gets the highest response rate!
Be thankful. If someone is so kind as to share what you have to offer, make you thank them and ask what you can do for them in return. For every relationship you build here, you’ll have one less ‘random’ person you have to ask next time around.
Remember, even the most popular of people are just people, so being nice and treating them as such will go a long way in influencer marketing.
It happens all too often: You stumble upon a product to promote, or someone’s personal website and it looks like it was created in 1999. You cringe and move on, and you know what sucks for that person?
Their potential buyers and leads do as well. Everyone may think that their site is the special snowflake exception, and that it has a sort of old fashioned charm, but then everyone would be mistaken.
Landing pages change in effectiveness with consumer trends and buying habits, so it’s important to make changes to your own pages to reflect these. Here are a couple of major changes that have happened in the last 5-10 years, which affect how people buy online:
1. People are more sensitive to BS. Every landing page used to begin with a giant claim:
“WHO ELSE WANTS TO BE ABLE TO DO X IN ONLY Y HOURS WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR BED!”
In short, headlines were sensational. They sounded exciting, but people have been let down enough to times to want to avoid them. In general, as customers got more comfortable online, they realized that anyone could say anything they wanted about themselves, and that they often did. While this increased aversion to sensationalism may or may not have affected your target market to a large degree yet, it’s coming, so make changes accordingly: Honesty beats sensationalism in many markets now.
2. People expect more of design.
Websites now generally look a lot better than they did even just a few years ago. Design software that’s suable by just about anyone has meant that it’s become increasingly easy to not have a sucky page, and people have come to expect this.
If someone lands on a page with the standard sales letter formatting with non-flat elements and giant, multicolored text everywhere, they’re going to bounce and never come back. Often times, seeing one of these pages makes people think that it has been abandoned or is no longer relevant, why else would the owner have left it looking so poorly?
3. Text isn’t your only option.
Remember when everyone started using video landing pages? The buzz of their effectiveness would soon spread like wildfire. The reality is that using different types of media on your site helps to engage different kinds of users, and accommodating all of them can help you achieve higher conversions. While you want one intended path through a page to be clear, it’s a good idea to still give users who want to learn about your product or offering in a different way the option to go somewhere and do so.
Finally, let’s stress something that hasn’t changed: Benefits vs features. Yes, the old adage holds true, people are much more likely to respond to specifics about how their life will be changed by making a purchase decision than they are to hearing about all of the bells and whistles your product has.
Of course, it’s a good idea to avoid that sensationalist trap here as well. Honesty and value win in 2016.
When it comes to marketing in the online world, it’s easy to get caught up in the sale. After all, we run our businesses to make money, right?
But that’s just the thing: Too many of us don’t really run businesses at all. Instead, we run sales machines, with the sole purpose of optimized conversion rates, email open rates, click-through rates, and the list goes on. While that’s all part of the process, it’s not everything. And what it certainly is not is sustainable in the long-term.
The markets we exist in will always change, so it’s important to be preparing yourself and your company as a brand that can shift with the market and continue to be sustainable even if the exact products or services you sell need to change. Here are a few ways to work on making sure that happens.
1) Be the one giving more, always
People establish brand loyalty through a number of interactions and factors, but many of them (if not all) can be aggregated into one overall measure: how much value you gave them. In general, you can always be the one giving more and still end up making more money in the end. This will help to endear people to your brand.
For example, a few years ago, everyone and their mother was attacking the affiliate marketing with techniques that might not have been sustainable. The ones who didn’t always shout me me me were probably able to make a fairly smooth transition to a new product. Those who failed to build real trust and value, however, probably started over at ground zero.
2) Have a brand!
Okay, admittedly, this should have been number one, but too many people focused on a web of microsites, etc. don’t have an actual central brand that they can move with over time – they have a number of independent sales machines, and that’s it.
If you find yourself in this position, start making a plan to ensure you actually are able to transition into having a brand that you can grow with throughout your career. If you don’t have a separate site for yourself or your company, don’t have a logo, etc., it might be time to think about these things.
3) Built more than a list.
Not long ago, just the fact that you were building an email list meant that you were ahead of the general online marketing crowd. Now, however, you’ve got to go even further to standout. Email open rates have been steadily declining, and while the platform is far from useless, it makes sense to be building a larger, more interactive community. Social media is certainly a place to pull this off, especially if you’re confident in your ability to pull off consistent, engaging content (or at least curate it).
It may be that some of these are more applicable than others when it comes to your own business, but it’s also probably likely that all 3 can be applied for just about anyone. Keep this in mind when you evaluate how you’re going to take your personal brand forward!
Copywriting is one of those easy to learn, hard to master essential skills of online marketing that is dogged by so many small mistakes that can add up and bring down even what seems like the most incredible piece of content upon first inspection.
This is specifically about uncovering some of the weak points of many sales letters, and squashing them out of your own. Let’s jump right into it.
Your traffic is misaligned
Alright, curveball, this doesn’t have to do with your copywriting exactly, but it is a reason why your sales letter isn’t pulling the weight you wanted it to. Sometimes, people craft an amazing piece of copy only to find out (if they’re luck they find out, at least), that what they’ve made isn’t striking a chord with the people who are actually visiting the site.
In fact, it’s all too common to find that the traffic sources feeding your cite are the root of your conversion problems.
Your customers are smarter than you give them credit for
More and more often, it’s not just career marketers who cringe at cheesy headlines and too-good-to-be-true testimonials and claims. As most markets become more educated and used to doing research and business online, there’s an increased level skepticism that needs to dictate how you write your copy. Namely, you can’t make the same claims you did in 2005 unless you’ve got some really kickass, indisputable evidence to back them up. Even then, you’ll have to be good to make them believe that evidence is as real as you say it is. Just look at the outrage over various election and voter fiascos this election cycle â€“ people are paying more attention, and social media makes it exceedingly easy.
Your design is detracting from your words
If you can’t write you content like it’s ten years ago, you can’t design your site like it either. It’s absolutely insane the same kind of longform, cheesy, over the top sales letters exist right now for products that are still relevant and could still be selling extremely well, if only their approach was changed.
Sometimes having bad design on a sales letter page is just the result of too much DIY spirit or of a poor designer hire, but more often it’s that people have gotten comfortable with a working sales funnel, even as it slowly declines over time, and haven’t gotten around to reworking and testing all over again.
Your pricing is too low
Interestingly enough, it’s been shown that people tend to think that a lower case indicates a lower quality, and when people have more skepticism of the online marketing world in general right now, it’s not hard to see how they might not see your $27 ebook as the epitome of quality and complete solutions. This is especially true if the price has remained constant over a long period of years where other goods have inflated and increased in cost.
Of course there are other issues – plenty to go around! – with sales letters, but these are a few that more than a few people have forgotten to consider, and have ended up losing out on sales for it.
Collecting customer feedback can provide you with invaluable insight into the customer process. These are insights that you can assume or guess out on your own, and can go a long way toward shaping your business in a way that sets it up to be more successful in the future. Unfortunately, information on how to gather feedback so that it is accurate, unbiased, and actionable, that is, leading to actual tangible steps you can take to improve, is sparse. Many who go the DIY route with their customer satisfaction surveys fall into common pitfalls of question writing and end up with data that doesn’t do them a lot of good.
Tip #1) Know what you want to know Seriously, before you start writing your customer feedback survey, narrow down what exactly it is you hope to come out more knowledgeable about. For example, it’s not super helpful to gauge overall “satisfaction.” Instead, think of a specific question like “What is stopping customers who have items in their cart but don’t proceed to checkout?” or “How can I improve my support options to make customers happier?” Having a guiding topic like this will help you make sure you have a consistent purpose through your questions.
Tip #2) Share where your customers are Sometimes, sharing a survey with your customers or trying to reach them in the wrong place can make it difficult to get a high response rate. For example, you could email your survey out to those on your customer email list, but what if you embedded the survey right on your website, on crucial pages, as well? Or if you have a physical store, maybe you setup an ipad with a survey to catch people as they leave the store instead. Try to get creative and reach your customers where they are actually most likely to actually be and respond.
Tip #3) Keep your brand voice in mind Remember, when you’re asking your customers to give you their feedback, your survey acts as a branch of communication for your brand. If the language or phrasing or tone of your survey seem to deviate too extremely from your brand tone of voice, it could come off as odd. Worse yet, customers could assume that you care so little about their feedback that you’ve hired someone externally to do your satisfaction research. Remember, that survey itself is a brand touchpoint, so treat it as such!
Tip #4) Avoid words and phrases that could push responses toward a certain bias Too often, surveys word their questions in a way that leads respondents toward offering up a certain opinion. While it’s nice to hear that you’re doing well or that customers love a certain feature, it’s better to make sure that your feedback is genuine and honest. Avoid framing questions in any way that hints at something being good or bad before you ask the respondent for an opinion of it.
Below we’ll take a look at some more advanced techniques for guaranteeing your surveys yield actionable results.
Advanced Tip #1) Avoid agree or disagree type questions When surveys give a statement and then ask respondents whether they agree or disagree with it, they may intentionally be biasing their responses. According to Harvard University’s own guidelines for sharing surveys, these questions often result in a bias toward more people choosing ‘agree’ than actually would rate themselves as being aligned with the statement.
Advanced Tip #2) Keep your survey to 10 questions, max When people bother to give you the time it takes to fill out your customer survey, you should appreciate that decision, not disrespect it by keeping them on the hook for longer than necessary. Plus, keeping your survey short is actually to your benefit as well. Research has shown that the longer a survey gets, the less time people spend on each question, because they get frustrated with the survey dragging on and speed up their responses on the later questions. It’s best to keep things more manageable and get to the point quickly both for your sake and for that of your customers.
Advanced Tip #3) Use question logic In the survey industry, question logic refers to the ability of a survey software to change which questions a respondent gets asked depending on how they’ve answered something previously. For example, if a customer answers that they have never purchased a teddy bear from your store, it makes little sense to ask them followup questions about the quality of the bear they purchased. Question logic lets you have the people who tell you they’ve never purchased a teddy bear skip right over the questions that pertain to that product. This can help you keep your questions as relevant as possible, which will also increase the chances that your respondents stick around.
Advanced Tip #4) Limit your use of open-ended questions. When it comes right down to it, it’s great to offer your respondents open-ended text fields that let them give a detailed opinion on a topic. That said, relying on these types of questions too much over more quantitative, measurable rating scales, etc. can make it hard to get data that’s easy to pick apart. Being able to tie comments and explicit suggestions to your business is great, but so is the ability to see where average highs and lows lie with your customer group as a whole. It’s a good idea to mix in quantitative and qualitative questions as your survey progresses, to get a nice balance of information coming in.
Finally, you should be striving to follow-up personally with every person who bothers responding to your survey. First, you should thank them, then you should dig into the specific answers you got and make sure you understand what actions you should take next to improve – this applies to those who had both positive and negative input for you!