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Referral Marketing

Top 35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular

Blogging with a purpose increases market share, consumer engagement, revenue growth, and ROI. Of course, you want to do that.

I mean, just look at this:

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But a lot of people I know are still stuck on the fundamental question:

What do we blog about?

For brands, the question is easy enough to answer.

You need to understand: 1) what you’re selling, 2) to whom you want to sell, and 3) what blog topics are relevant to both.

For individuals or other organizations who want to start a blog to monetize, the question can be a bit trickier.

About a year ago, I came up with an idea. I wanted to show you how to generate $100,000 a month from a new blog.

I picked a topic and have been making progress toward that goal.

But what if you haven’t picked a topic yet?

That’s why I wrote this article. A great blog has to start with a topic.

These are the types of articles, topics, and approaches that have demonstrated massive success in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

1. Listicles

Marketers have a love/hate relationship with listicles.

They’re among the most popular articles online, used by Buzzfeed, defended by the NY Times, and even discussed at this year’s SXSW tech conference.

Some people think listicles lack quality. And that could be true for some of them. Listicles, like any form of content marketing, have their pros and cons.

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But let’s face it, people love to read listicles. It’s not just a trend. It’s scientifically proven!

That’s why the article you’re reading right now is a listicle.

2. How-tos

People generally hate reading instruction manuals. When was the last time you snuggled up with a glass of wine and the instruction manual to your toaster?

How do people figure out how to do stuff?

They Google it.

WikiHow became insanely popular based on how-to articles alone.

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You might be surprised to see the kind of things people are Googling.

If you can find your niche audience, cater to their curiosities, and give them some helpful answers, you can’t help but create a popular blog.

3. Politics

Politics are popular during every election year. Whether national or local, find a political topic to discuss, and join this conversation.

Politics can be dicey, however. People tend to get really polarized around political topics, so be prepared to handle some controversy.

4. Bacon

Everyone loves bacon.

Huffington Post is one of the most popular blogs online, and it has an entire archive of bacon articles.

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It’s not a trend going away soon, so get on board.

5. Recipes

Recipes are a great way to draw traffic to your blog.

There’s always a new diet fad, e.g., today’s Whole30 is yesterday’s Atkins, so there’s always new recipes to be discovered.

6. Beginner guides

Before you can convince someone that you know the advanced stuff, start with 101 beginner guides.

My own beginner guides have been very popular.

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Everyone has to start somewhere. Beginner guides are often the way bloggers build organic search traffic at the start, and they can even be done using infographics like this guide to Sharepoint.

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7. Ultimate guides

Subject matter experts, on the other hand, are always seeking out the most credible ultimate guides for their areas of expertise.

The term “ultimate guide,” however, is a bit overused. You can use some alternate terms if you want, such as these from Business Casual Copywriting:

  • Essential Guide
  • Complete Guide
  • Uncensored Guide
  • Last Guide to ____ You’ll Ever Need

If you’re an expert on something, creating an ultimate guide is an ultimately awesome way to do some ultimately popular blogging. 1f609 Top 35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular

8. Frequently asked questions

Be warned that posting answers to frequently asked questions online won’t stop people from asking anyway.

They do, however, serve as a resource for people, and they are often featured on e-commerce websites—but overlooked on blogs. FAQs are blogging gold in any age.

Google’s algorithm uses FAQs, questions, and other popular topics as part of its Knowledge Graph. If you’re lucky, you might score a top spot in this coveted place.

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9. Interviews

The best way to set yourself apart from the ocean of bloggers is to gain insight from industry experts.

Whether it’s with people on your team or from other companies in the industry, set up interviews on websites like helpareporter.com to gain valuable knowledge from a professional.

10. Personal stories

While personal stories may not be the keyword-filled anchor pieces you want, they’re still valuable additions to any blog.

Through sharing personal stories, you give readers a chance to relate to your business on a personal level, which helps build brand affinity.

11. Charity and activism

Any type of charitable actions, events, or activism you support should be blogged about.

Crowdfunding sites such as KickStarter, IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, and the like appeal to the good in people, and showing you’re active in these communities can build your readership. Even an occasional Change.org petition can help the brand image.

12. People features

Featuring select people—customers, professionals, authorities, leaders, etc.,—is a great way to add personality to your blog and create a sense of connection.

One of the most popular blogs doing this today is Humans of New York.

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Occasionally featuring a real person—including photos, quotes, and other personal information—is a great way to produce strong engagement with your audience.

13. Product reviews

Not only are product reviews a trusted resource online that will draw traffic, but they are also a revenue stream for bloggers.

If you want to monetize your blog instantly, this is a smart move.

By linking to product pages through affiliate links like Amazon Affiliates, you can monetize a blog almost entirely on product reviews. Make sure you go niche, since this provides the greatest platform for credibility and expertise.

14. Sourced news

A great way to get media attention is to report on any type of sourced news. Long before the Internet, newspapers ruled the roost, and sourced news is still appreciated by news junkies.

With the right type of curation, selection, and commentary, this is a niche you can dominate.

15. Gifs and memes

It wasn’t just listicles that made Buzzfeed so popular.

Memes and gifs are widely used on the site too.

Gifs give people the experience of a video and usually provide a ton of entertainment.

16. Myth-debunking

Every industry has facts and fiction, which is why shows like Mythbusters got so popular.

We love learning what we’ve been doing or thinking wrong this whole time, so popular bloggers debunk myths.

17. Virtual reality

VR is a growing industry that’s only going to continue getting larger as time goes on.

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Analysts predict it’ll reach $3 billion in investments by the end of 2016, so jumping on the bandwagon now could drive early adopter traffic.

18. Internet of things

Smart and connected devices are everywhere these days, and IoT experts blogging about IoT topics draw readers.

If you choose an IoT niche, you’ll have to prove your mastery of the subject matter. The niche is full of people who know what’s up.

19. Automation

For B2B businesses, automation is the buzzword of the day, so any posts regarding ways to automate something is Internet gold.

Automation, of course, is broad. You’ll need to select a type of automation in order to drive truly valuable traffic.

20. Troubleshooting guides

I’m always on the lookout for reliable troubleshooting tips.

Troubleshooting guides speak to the pain many content seekers are looking to eliminate. They want to solve a problem, which is exactly what a successful troubleshooting guide will do.

21. Contests

A great way to draw interest in a blog while rewarding readers is by holding a contest.

Contests once got a bad rap as being scammy or cheap, but they are on their way back as a valuable traffic-driving technique.

24. Advice

Both Lifehacker and Lifehack rose to prominence by featuring valuable advice to readers on just about every subject.

Life advice, regardless of the subject matter, is a valued commodity.

25. Productivity tips

People want to do more faster and are always on the lookout for tools, technology, or tips to help them get more done. Productivity tips are the bread and butter of many online blogs.

26. Travel

No matter how connected we get, travel will always be a popular topic for online searches.

With 126 million passports in circulation in the U.S. today, you know people are traveling—or at least they want to.

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We all want to travel somewhere exotic and new. Any advice on how to do it cheaply is always appreciated.

27. History

History lessons are a great way to fill a blog with useful information.

Long-time bloggers often get caught up on current events, so occasional forays into history help create consistent content.

28. Funny stories

There will always be a place for humor in this world.

Posts that make people laugh get shared on social networks. There’s a reason why Buzzfeed, The Onion, Clickhole, and BoredPanda are among the world’s most popular websites.

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29. Parenting tips

There will always be parents around, and any parenting tips are appreciated.

Blogging moms have conferences and conventions around the country, teaching people to follow in their footsteps and growing a sustainable industry.

Dad bloggers are also coming into their own as popular and respected places of information.

30. Upcoming events

You can always tell when an event is coming up by the buzz in the blogosphere. Whether it’s global events like the Olympics or local events like a concert or book-reading, events saturate many of the most popular online searches.

31. Internet stars

Partnering with and featuring the biggest Internet stars helps grow your following, so many content creators are partnering up in order to stay competitive. If you don’t know who PewDiePie and The Fine Bros are, it’s time to do some homework.

32. Tech support

Companies that offer technology services, hardware, or software will often include technical support within their blogs.

Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have extensive knowledge bases online, and they’re only growing along with everyone else’s.

33. Gift ideas

Right about now, blogs around the Internet are preparing holiday gift guides to help guide consumers to the right presents to buy for their colleagues, friends, and family during the holiday season.

Affiliate links can help create revenue for these cornerstone articles.

34. Best-ofs

The best ____ of 2016, the 2000s, this century, and of all time are all great articles to read.

WatchMojo built an entire business on top 10 lists, and many others are following suit. Including best-of lists focused on everything within your industry is a great way to draw reader attention.

35. Respond to readers

People have always been interested in getting advice from publications, whether it’s from old-school advice columnists such as Ann Landers or new-school ones such as Dan Savage.

Responding to readers makes you a real person having a real conversation and allows you to address individual concerns to prove you care.

Conclusion

Popular topics come and go.

You might pick a technique today only to find it went into disfavor the next day. That’s part of the excitement and drama of blogging. You’ll deal with it, pick up your traffic, and move on.

The topics, techniques, and tactics listed above are virtually guaranteed to make you the world’s most popular blogger.

Maybe you’ve got all the traffic you need. Maybe you have the audience you want. Maybe you’re content.

But if you want to see some improvement, it couldn’t hurt to try a few of these.

What blogging ideas will you be using that have the promise to be popular?

 Top 35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular  Top 35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular  Top 35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular

 Top 35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art

10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes

writing 10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes

You’ve probably faced this before.

I know I have.

You’ve run out of ideas.

Maybe you’ve been blogging along for, I don’t know, maybe three or four years. Maybe it’s only three or four months.

And now you’re done. Why? Because you’ve written everything there is to write about the subject.

You’ve exhausted all possible avenues, topics, approaches, angles, possibilities, and techniques. It’s over. Your blogging career has to die because you don’t have anything else to say.

It’s no use trying to fake it and continue to post recycled fluff just to keep your audience placated, because they will wise up fast.

If you’re out of ideas, you’re out. You can’t just—boom!—make yourself write new stuff on demand.

What do you do?

It’s time to step back and strategize.

I’ve been blogging for a long time. Ten years is a long time, right?

And I still haven’t stopped. I’m not just blogging here, on Quick Sprout. I’m also posting a lot of articles on NeilPatel.com, maintaining columns on Huffpo, Forbes, and Inc., and sharing guest articles with other marketing sites.

Yes, I deal with the same topics, but I have to provide fresh and unique content all the time.

Here are some of the ways I come up with interesting topics in order to keep readers engaged, informed, and coming back for more.

1. Don’t just read. Analyze all angles of the news

Staying up-to-date with the latest events in your industry is not always a matter of a quick Google search.

Google News only indexes a limited number of websites for its web searches and even fewer for its News aggregator.

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Start with the most basic search, and compare your SERPs and headlines to other news sources.

It helps tremendously to research the demographics of your favorite news websites and determine some of the most recognized brand names in the industry as well as well-known commentators associated with that industry.

Take note of the movers and shakers of your business, and follow their movements.

Follow them on social media to see not only what they are posting but also what they’re reading and what they’re sharing and retweeting.

You’ll see what’s on their minds, and knowing the thought process of influencers in your industry, you’ll be able to anticipate tomorrow’s news.

2. Stay tuned into the voice of the people through social media comments

Don’t stop looking for ideas after reading the most respectable and popular publications. Why? Because some of the best conversation starters are trending on social media.

They may not come from a reliable news source, but do these topics generate interest? Absolutely!

More Americans actually get their news from Facebook and Twitter than they do from network programming.

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Some of the most absurd “guilty pleasure” posts trending on Facebook (you know, ridiculous headlines like “Child Sues Mother for Deleting All Her iPad Apps” or whatever) are great places to collect ideas.

Have you seen this meme that says, “I just came here to read the comments?”

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Well, sometimes I do visit websites just to read the comments!

Why? I gauge what people are thinking about trends, the questions they ask, and what’s inspiring them to comment.

People really speak their minds, holding nothing back! I’ve been shocked by the things I’ve read.

Ask questions about the stories and articles you read.

  • Why did this inspire controversy?
  • What made people comment?
  • What was the biggest issue people commented about?
  • Who else might this event or trend affect besides the person interviewed for the story?
  • What might be the long-term result of these new trends?
  • What does this show us about how people’s attitudes have changed on a given subject over a period of time (several years, for example)?

Maybe the story you encountered on Facebook will spark an idea for a post on “How many parents admit to using iPads to keep their children quiet?”

It’s a related discussion to the original story you read, and yet if you’re an app developer or iPad seller, it’s also more relevant to your audience.

Ideas come from unexpected places. The more you constantly feed your mind, the more ideas will come to you. Write them down as soon as inspiration strikes.

Keeping up with social media news—and just as importantly, the comments of users and how the news makes them feel—is a great place to spark your creativity.

3. Visit some Q&A sites, and borrow their questions

Most questions on Q&A sites are public domain. Your answers can prove to be invaluable.

Industry leaders are always ready to answer a customer’s question, and frankly, it’s just the polite thing to do.

Now, guess where these people go to get a professional opinion on a question they have?

They certainly don’t go directly to your office or your website, do they? They may not even run a keyword search.

No, they just ask whoever is nearby.

The current generation is used to asking questions and getting answers in 30 seconds.

If their friends don’t know the answer, they’ll ask random groups of people. And guess what? Eventually someone answers.

That’s why you have sites such as LinkedIn, Yahoo Answers, and Quora, which discuss thousands of industry-specific questions you can browse.

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Searching these sites is a double advantage for you. You can answer the questions on the site (getting some attention from the mainstream) and then write a new blog post or article by turning that brief Q&A into an entire 500-1000-word discussion.

Expand on the answers already given, and provide more insight on the issue.

Judging from the growing databases of these Q&A sites, you’ll never run out of questions to answer—very often, even with niche topics.

4. Create your own database of customer concerns and questions

Chances are you’ve sold at least a few products, if not hundreds, by now. That means you have plenty of cases to study for your own marketing purposes.

What did your customers say in the reviews? What questions did they ask? Reviews matter, so pay attention.

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You can generate ideas from their statements, survey information, emails, or testimonials.

I jump on the reviews customers leave to see tomorrow’s trends.

I immediately read all posted reviews to see whether the customer is satisfied or not and whether they left any suggestions for improvement. I use their enthusiasm, positive or negative, to fire up discussion on the web content.

If you have never taken the time to learn your customer’s personality and demographic, start now. Send a survey form along with every product delivery, and give them an incentive for taking the time to fill it out.

This will give you insight into your customer’s mind, and it’s the most direct and effective way to keep producing the content they want to read.

5. Research what your competitors have already done

There’s no shame in learning from someone as equally ambitious and dedicated as you are. Make a list of your closest competitors—for industry as well as for local or long-tail keywords—and take notes on what they are writing about and why.

Now, you don’t want to blatantly copy their entire article. Rather, analyze their topics, and determine ways to expand upon the story.

For example, for a broad topic such as food safety, ask yourself if there is a way to narrow it down to something more specific, like recent changes in the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act.

If the topic is too niche and you can’t think of a way to adapt it to an original article of your own, broaden the topic to your area of expertise.

There’s no sense, however, in rewriting something that’s already successful and niche-specific.

Coming up with fresh ideas is one-half researching other people’s great ideas and one-half brainstorming ways to make your rendition better.

6. Research the history of your profession and all related professions—offline!

It may surprise you to know there is far more information in book form than there is all across the seemingly infinite Internet.

The Internet makes research easier, but the information found there is not as comprehensive as we might think.

Libraries and bookstores are an underrated source of information, particularly in exploring forgotten or lesser-known histories and studies.

The quality of paperback or hardcover books is generally much higher and more in-depth than that of Internet e-books or articles, which are really scratching the surface of what we know.

Consider quantity alone. According to a very conservative Google Books estimate, about 130,000,000 books are still in existence throughout the world, though the number could be higher than that.

In contrast, Amazon—a place many people consider the definitive source of books—has less than a million e-books and lists 1.8 million print titles for sale (according to a Quora discussion).

Libraries offer access not only to books but also to newspapers, journals, encyclopedias, and archival documents that are simply not online because there’s no interest in them. In these records, though, there is enough research to power up a blog for years on end.

If you really want to establish yourself as an expert in your field and produce thoroughly original content, take your search offline and bring back a gem of knowledge.

7. Interview an expert

Content writers sometimes ignore the option to interview an expert because quoting press statements are easier to use.

If, however, you are in need of a series of interesting blogs or articles, reaching out to a professional in your industry (or related industry) for an in-depth discussion can generate enough information to write a number of individual posts.

Many experts will give interviews free, provided you have a popular blog or are reporting on a niche subject with little available information.

Many experts are eager to give online interviews either to correct what they think is inaccurate information on their subject or to build their reputation and make their name Internet-famous on a given subject.

I remember interviewing a number of leaders in my earlier days, and the issue of payment never came up. Sometimes these experts really love to share their knowledge and have someone listen.

Since they know you’ll publicize the interview, it’s a win-win for them, especially if you keep the interview brief, using phone or video chat.

Profnet, a subsidiary of PRNewsWire, is a site that matches writers with experts (or usually their representatives) in a number of fields.

Some will do brief interviews online or on the phone for free. Some experts might charge a fee, and if it’s a niche in which you can produce a lot of content and get some highly targeted traffic, it may be worth the exchange.

8. Hire young blood

Fresh perspectives are the best way to think outside the box. If you run out of ideas, brainstorm with more members of the team. Owners will oftentimes hire new blood to help in brainstorming sessions.

Even as an individual web content writer, you can tap into young creativity by simply starting conversations with acquaintances in the office or in your circle of friends online.

Many of my websites, such as Crazy Egg, have content from multiple contributors. That’s one reason why the content stays fresh.

Featuring writers from multiple backgrounds and demographics helps bring diverse, and sometimes even opposite, views on the same events we cover.

Another thing that can spark your imagination is hearing personal experiences of your colleagues or friends. People probably tell you stories about their lives all the time, e.g., an exciting commute to work, a weekend adventure, etc.

Do you actually listen and say to yourself, “You know, this would make a great blog topic!”?

You can tell their stories, with permission, or adapt their stories to start a discussion with your readers.

9. Learn to read the work of your enemies

It’s amusing how reluctant we are to listen to our enemies or, in some cases, the “quacks” of a field who we believe are spreading anti-advice.

This is why some people completely block news sites they deem biased or ignore social media users that irk them.

But I think some of the most interesting revelations about any industry come from disagreement. When someone disagrees with you, it’s an opportunity for you to sharpen your debating skills. You brush up on your knowledge of history and science so you can make an accurate rebuttal.

This is actually standard protocol in college when you write a dissertation. By learning the opposing side’s viewpoint, taking into account their objections and their research, you strengthen your own argument.

It doesn’t really matter if you believe the viewpoint or not. Whether spoken or written, it’s a part of your industry. Maybe that means you must correct the misconceptions with your web content.

Be open-minded to new evidence. Test new and outside the box ideas, even if they seem ludicrous.

This is just a part of the brainstorming experience. By spending some time investigating wrong ideas about your industry, you can find the right idea. You will also have greater passion for your industry.

I make it a point to read both sides of an argument before concluding what each side got right and wrong. It doesn’t hurt to play “devil’s advocate” in your industry blog either.

Sometimes, I can come up with a topic after reading someone else’s story that I feel is utterly false and misleading. And guess what? It stirs a great conversation, which gives me ideas for three more posts.

As you can see from this Pew Center graphic, many brand name news outlets are associated with biased viewpoints:

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Bias isn’t a bad thing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid a biased outlet.

Objectivity is not your concern. Rather, you can generate fresh ideas for new topics by reading opposing points of view on the same subject.

10. Stay on top of industry news

Social media is not the universal channel for industry news.

While social media is important to review so you can learn the voice of the consumer, blog writing it really its own entity.

If you don’t move beyond social media, you’ll frequently pass over some really good stuff because of poor hashtags, too much competition, and bad scheduling.

On the other hand, using a blog news app will help you stay up-to-date with relevant industry blogs as soon as they are updated.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for fast updates, or you can use a website such as Bottlenose, which is a data discovery program that gives you real-time insights about the trends in your industry.

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This goes beyond just bookmarking and actually allows you to get analytical insights about drivers of brands, consumer trends, emerging risks, and what the competition is doing.

Alltop provides a free service and, a bit more to the point, shares the top business blogs and the most trending news stories.

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You can also create your own virtual magazine rack of top websites, magazines, and blogs. Better yet, you can even share your rack as a URL for easy interaction.

Conclusion

Lastly, remember that your brain is constantly working.

Even during sleep, it can subconsciously give rise to new ideas.

If you’re feeling drained and out of fuel, take a break and sleep on it.

Let your mind dwell on the idea over time, and make subconscious connections while you attend to something else. Before you know it, inspiration will strike you.

As long as you keep taking in information, you’ll always be capable of generating great content.

What are your techniques for coming up with interesting topics?

 10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes  10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes  10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes

 10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes
Source: QuickSprout

The post 10 Content Writing Tips That Will Help You Find Interesting Topics in Minutes appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data-Driven Formula

A few years back when I first started NeilPatel.com, I spent $66,372.09 on paid advertising through LinkedIn, Google AdWords, Retargeter, Perfect Audience, and StumbleUpon ads.

You might say that’s a lot of money.

It was. But I learned some valuable lessons.

I learned which platforms and networks work best for targeting which audiences with which ads.

Some of my takeaways?

LinkedIn, for example, provided an excellent return on B2B ads, while Google still reigned supreme for B2C. StumbleUpon’s conversion rate for paid products was woefully low.

The top three paid ad spots on Google’s SERPs, for example, get 41% of the clicks. Even the best SEO techniques will only expose you to 59% of the viewing audience, and Google’s knowledge graph and infoboxes are quickly cutting into that as well.

Marketing professionals across the board agree that pay-per-click advertising works. The hard part is getting set up with a solid PPC plan to serve as your foundation.

We need to know how much to spend, when to spend it, where to spend it, and how to spend it correctly.

Those are tough calls to make, especially if you’re a paid advertising newbie. The paid platforms can be complicated and confusing. What do you do with all these options, data, and metrics?

image04 2 How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data Driven Formula

To answer these questions and be successful, instead of playing a guessing game, we need information and cold hard data.

How PPC works

First, a quick lesson in PPC, which you probably already know. I’m including it for the newbs (and a refresher for the pros—it never hurts!).

Google and other search engines allow you to purchase ad views on their platforms on a pay-per-click pricing model. The actual price is determined by the number of searches and ads running for a particular keyword or phrase.

A popular search term, such as “insurance,” can cost $59 per click to advertise, meaning you’ll have to pay Google $59 for every lead it gets to your website by displaying your ad at the top of the search results for the terms you bid on.

This isn’t your typical example, however, as “insurance” is actually the most expensive PPC keyword by a large margin.

These costs can be mitigated (and conversions improved) by targeting specific demographics, affinity groups, geographic locations, and mobile devices, which are generating more and more search traffic.

image01 1 How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data Driven Formula

Of course, search engines aren’t the only platforms for paid ads. Social networks and video ads are rising in popularity, as explained in this Search Engine Land article by Pauline Jakober.

Video ads in search results aren’t a reality yet, but with Alphabet owning both Google, the world’s largest search engine, and YouTube, the world’s largest video platform, it’s only a matter of time.

Determining CAC and LTV

CPC isn’t the same as your customer acquisition cost (CAC). What ultimately determines your CAC is your website’s conversion rate.

If each web visitor costs $59 to obtain and you’re only converting 50% of your visitors, the customer acquisition cost for your PPC campaign is actually double your CPC, or $118 in the example of insurance.

This doesn’t take into account the rest of the marketing budget either, which also includes radio, print, television, social media, billboard, event marketing, and other customer outreach initiatives.

The CAC is calculated by dividing all marketing expenses by the number of customers acquired in the same period. For example, if a company spent $10,000 on marketing in a year and acquired 10,000 customers as a result, its CAC is $1.00.

Balancing the CAC with the customer’s lifetime value (LTV) is how you create a successful business model.

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So long as the LTV is larger than the CAC, your marketing efforts are working, and you have a sustainable business model.

When the CAC rises above the LTV, you’re in trouble.

Because understanding this concept is critical, here’s a graphic to help make the lesson sink in:

image03 2 How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data Driven Formula

To calculate the LTV of a customer, you need to know how much each customer spends in an average purchase, how many purchases the average customer makes in a certain time period (day/week/month/year), and how long the average customer sticks around.

Profit margins, discounts, customer retention rate, and gross margins are all factored in to the final formula, which you can find here.

In the case of an insurance company, if an average policy costs $1,000 ($100 is profit), and the average customer is retained for 3 years, you’re making $300 for every $118 spent on your PPC campaign, which is close to the actual average.

Businesses make an average of $3 for every $1.60 they spend on AdWords.

I’m sure you want to double your money. We all do. But if everyone is advertising for the keyword “insurance,” they’re missing quite a bit of traffic. You need to check associated keywords.

Extending keyword searches

There are millions of searches for insurance every month, but you have no idea whether those people are looking for medical, life, business, home, phone, or auto insurance.

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It’s still worthwhile to advertise on a single keyword, but with such a high CPC, you shouldn’t pour all your budget into that one highly competitive keyword.

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“Car Insurance,” “insurance quotes,” “auto insurance,” “compare car insurance,” and “car insurance quotes” all have different prices for different search volumes. Spreading your budget across all these keyword phrases increases the chances that your ad is seen by people searching the web in different ways.

At this point, your overall CPC will be determined by the cost and frequency of each individual search term. You can afford to buy some traffic for “insurance” and “auto insurance” so long as it’s balanced out with “compare car insurance,” “insurance quotes,” and “car insurance quotes.”

You now have a potential pool of customers that’s three times the size of your original pool, which maximizes the reach of your ads.

Continue this research into five- and seven-word long-tail searches for the best results. For example, phrases such as “Best car insurance company in Arizona” or “Cheapest car insurance for 2005 Ford Mustang” are great ways to target specific regions or car owners.

The longer a search term, the more specific information a customer is typically looking for. While searches may be lower, bids will also be lower, allowing you to obtain some customers for $5 and others for $50 while still maintaining a low CAC.

Portioning budgets for each keyword is critical as this is one of two places where smart marketers maximize their ROI. The other is targeting specific customers using Remarketing lists for search ads.

Targeting the right customers

A few years ago, Google moved beyond focusing on just keyword searches to looking at contextual information about customers.

The most valuable result from this change was RLSA—remarketing lists for search ads.

RLSA lets you target customers who have visited your website previously.

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Bounce rates are high on websites, but just because a customer leaves doesn’t mean they’re not interested. Shoppers may visit a site 9 times before purchasing, so the more they visit, the further down the conversion funnel they may be.

Take a look at this sales funnel:

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For every 5,000 visitors, only 100 inquiries are received, so why waste ad money on those 100 when you should be focusing on converting the other 4,900?

Using RLSA, you can optimize bids to increase your ROI. Tirendo Tires, for example, increased sales by 22% and conversions by 163% simply by raising their bids on previous homepage visitors.

World Travel Holdings increased ROI by 30% by using RLSA to target previous site visitors for broad search terms (like “insurance” in the example above).

By adding the remarketing tag to your website, you allow Google to further segment your visitors and hyperfocus your PPC ad campaigns.

Of course, the downside to these PPC ad platforms is you can’t determine who is already a paying customer. I constantly receive ads for products and services I’ve already purchased, which I know is wasting the advertiser’s money.

You also have to be wary of disgruntled customers and employees who may purposefully click your ads without making a purchase. (Seriously, people do this in order to drive up the cost of your ad spend.)

Segmenting and targeting ads in any way is an essential step toward optimizing them and getting the most bang for your marketing buck.

Conclusion

PPC is still one of the most popular methods of advertising, with over $500 billion spent annually on it.

It can be exciting to envision massive ROI and all the extra sales you’ll be able to make by simply toggling some ads and letting them run.

Before spending any money on a campaign, however, it’s important to understand what keywords and searches have the best conversions for your site. Targeting these searches with ads moves you to the top of the search results, giving you optimal visibility.

Beyond just search terms, it’s also important to target customers at specific points in the sales funnel.

The actual cost of your PPC campaign isn’t as important as the ratio of CAC to LTV. It’s okay to spend a little more if you are marketing a more expensive product or a company with higher retention rates.

So long as your overall marketing budget doesn’t outweigh the lifetime ROI from customers, you’ve built a sustainable business model.

How much are you spending on paid search? Are you getting a solid ROI?

 How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data Driven Formula  How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data Driven Formula  How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data Driven Formula

 How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data Driven Formula
Source: QuickSprout

The post How Much Should You Spend on Paid Ads? Here’s My Data-Driven Formula appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions

I’ve been watching Facebook closely for a long time.

I’ve tested hundreds of ad iterations.

I’ve worked hard to build organic reach for myself and my clients.

Here’s what I’ve concluded: Facebook is awesome. But it’s also tricky.

Why? Because the algorithm is constantly shifting, forcing marketers to up their game, readjust their techniques, and reorient their strategies.

Here’s the thing. If you have a social presence for your business, Facebook has decided that your organic reach needs to shrink.

Again.

You know, of course, that this isn’t the first time the social giant tweaked its algorithm.

In June, Adam Mosseri, VP, Product Management for News Feed at Facebook, shared a post that detailed how Facebook was updating the news feed.

The core of the update is to prioritize posts that come from friends and family while reducing the onslaught of content from businesses and other publishers. Facebook wants users to see more posts from actual people, not businesses doing marketing.

The gist of the algorithm remains the same.

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But the variability is increasing. Mosseri explained:

It will vary a lot by publisher mostly based on how much of their referral traffic or their reach is based on people who actually share their content directly…

If you’ve got strong engagement from your audience and they’re shouting your name from the rooftops as they share your content, or generate content around your brand, you’ll be far less impacted by the update.

But most of the businesses I work with aren’t enjoying that level of stellar engagement.

This is what it boils down to. If you want to improve your reach and engagement, you’ll need to find ways to leverage user-generated content (UGC) since that’s what friends and family will see first.

What I want to communicate is pretty simple: User-generated content is one of the most effective forms of content marketing available today.

User-generated content is the future of content marketing.

UGC will act as dynamite to your social media presence, accelerate your onsite content efforts, increase engagement, boost conversions, and build up a wall of defense against any algorithm the world throws your way.

Let’s talk about where the rubber meets the road—your fans helping your site become a conversion-generating machine.

Why you should put your money into user-generated content

There are a lot of benefits to UGC, and those benefits can be significant. And that’s primarily because you’re not limited to social media when it comes to working with customers to acquire and leverage it—though that’s where a bulk of your gains can come into play.

Consider for a moment that more than half of the adult users on Facebook have around 200 people in their immediate networks, according to Pew Research.

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That social network graph looks something like this:
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If the algorithm wants all those people to see content from their connections first, it’s in your best interest to get your audience producing or creating content about you.

And that’s not just for the sake of a little (or even big) boost in visibility.

Consumers fully admit they find branded information from their peers trustworthy—85% of consumers, to be exact.

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That’s because the vast majority of them find that kind of content to be helpful when they make a decision about whether or not to make a purchase.

Nielsen’s study on this subject showed that 92% of consumers trust content and the opinions of their peers over any other kind of advertising.

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UGC also has influence over that trust, according to data shared by Yotpo:

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UGC is the best way to beat an algorithm that wants to topple and bury your promotions amid pictures of babies, beards, and breakfast platters.

But you’re not limited to Facebook in leveraging it.

With variations in engagement time across different social channels, you can see where there are opportunities to use user-generated content to drive up engagement as well as increase consumer trust.

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Some brands are having a lot of success on other social channels and digital properties with UGC.

Below are a couple of examples of brands that leverage UGC using different channels.

A touch of wanderlust

National Geographic asked users to capture unforgettable people, places, and experiences that have impacted their lives from their travels around the world. The hashtag campaign (#wanderlustcontest) brought in tens of thousands of submissions branded to NatGeo.

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And, of course, among those public submissions were some truly breathtaking and awe-inspiring photos people were all too happy to continue sharing.

Ignite user creativity

Nissan’s luxury car brand, Infiniti, ran a campaign promoting its Q30 model, aiming to leverage the content of its fans to help promote the vehicle. The New Heights contest had users print out a marker card that would display the vehicle in 3D when used with their mobile app.

Fans were encouraged to show off the vehicle in unexpected places by snapping pictures and sharing them with a branded hashtag via different social channels.

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These two great examples of building campaigns and visibility from user-generated content had a couple of things in common:

  1. They both revolved around contests. While this is a good way to encourage action among your followers, it’s not always necessary to give something away in order to source user-generated content.
  2. These two campaigns were actively asking their fans to provide the content.

This aspect—the asking—is the most important part you need to remember.

Why? Because the majority of brands simply don’t ask. If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.

It’s just that simple.

So, what’s the simplest and most effective way to get UGC?

Ask your users to provide it.

If you want UGC, ask your followers to provide it

Brands don’t want to be pushy, but with UGC, you’ve got to approach it like you approach a call to action (CTA).

With a CTA, you’re telling your audience explicitly what you want them to do. It’s been proven time and again that without a clear call to action, you lose conversions.

But only about 16% of brands take the same approach with UGC, expressing to fans just what kind of content they want to see. Without that kind of direction, consumers aren’t sure what’s okay to share.

In fact, 50% of consumers want brands to tell them what they should include when creating and sharing content.

You don’t need to give away a luxury or big-ticket item when you make the ask, but you do need to ask.

Don’t sit and wait for your fans to provide you with gold.

Here are some of the best ways you can start sourcing and leveraging user-generated content for your brand and social channels.

1. Curate user-generated content with Yotpo

I’ve long felt that Yotpo is an impressive platform for sourcing reviews, engaging customers, and utilizing customer feedback to promote growth.

Now, it’s even better than ever.

Yotpo has stepped up its game with the recent launch of the Yotpo Curation tool.

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This tool allows you to collect relevant Instagram photos from fans and influencers, displaying them on a single dashboard.

From there, you can tag products and handle rights management (including engagement with the original user to say thanks), inject the photos into your product pages, and even sell from your timeline.

This simplifies the tedium of trying to manually source user-generated images and lets you quickly benefit from the social proof tied to UGC.

In one survey conducted by Yotpo, 77% of consumers admitted they preferred to see consumer photos over professional shots:image03 5 5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions

That’s a clear indication of what you should have on your product pages.

Imagine the impact of having quality reviews alongside images showing off your products being used by actual customers.

It would provide a significant lift in conversions when you consider that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site displaying user reviews. A study conducted by Reevoo showed that reviews alone, without any other UGC, lift sales by 18%.

The Yotpo tool turns your customers into brand ambassadors right on your product pages, plus you can create your own shoppable Instagram galleries or post that UGC to other social channels.

2. Build a community

When I talk about building a community, I’m referring to a gathering of people. Literal people in online gatherings.

You may view your social channels as individual and separate communities, but they’re really not. At least not without some kind of organization.

There are a lot of ways to build communities, e.g., Facebook groups, subreddits on Reddit.com, or communities built into your website.

A community you create and manage can give your fans a sense of belonging and make them feel connected to your brand. They’ll share a mix of personal content as well as content related to the brand as they engage with one another.

Through this engagement, you’ll see things like images, videos, and testimonials crop up that are ripe for the picking.

That user-generated content feeds back into the community, encouraging others to generate more of it, and it helps anchor prospective customers who were on the fence about making a purchase.

Giant Vapes is one of the largest online retailers of e-liquid for electronic cigarettes. It also operates a Facebook community, roughly 25,000 members strong. Members regularly share the products they’ve purchased, industry news, their opinions about interactions with the company, praise over shipping and deals, and more.

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3. Give them customization and unique experiences

Customization provides your fans and customers with a sense of real ownership. They’ll naturally want to share with their friends and family what they’ve created, and you can play on that desire by asking them to do so.

Whether it’s a customized piece of clothing, a bag, or a vehicle, customization often leads to some great user-generated content.

And sometimes you don’t even have to ask.

Scores of people got excited about the announcement of Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker. Players create their own Mario levels to play on their own or share with the community. Fans, new and old, went crazy when it launched, and YouTube was flooded with the creations of streamers, generating a lot of visibility for the brand and the game.

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This video has almost 12 million views to date.

In the same vein of creating unique experiences, Hello Games is seeing images and videos of their game No Man’s Sky showing up all over the web, including a subreddit devoted to the game (a user-created community).

No Man’s Sky features a universe boasting over 10 quintillion procedurally (randomly) generated planets, each with creatures and alien plant life different from the last. That guarantees unique content, and fans have been quick to share images and videos of their discoveries since its recent launch.

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When you give your audience something they’ve never experienced before and the chance to create something unique they feel they own, they’re more likely to share that experience far and wide. That builds a lot of trust and provides a lift in conversions.

4. The UGC contest

I touched on contests above with a couple of examples, but in recommending this approach, I wanted to add one more because of the success of the campaign.

Back in 2014, Starbucks invited fans to decorate their white cups with customized art. Fans were asked to submit the images through Twitter with the #whitecupcontest hashtag for a chance to win. There were thousands of entries, and, of course, a constant stream of buzz that drove customers to their local stores.

I’m mentioning this contest specifically because it pulls in elements from my last point: let users customize and do something unique.

You don’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to add customization to your product line.

Sometimes, you just need to give your customers a blank canvas and set their creativity free.

5. Use videos on product pages

Yotpo can strap a rocket onto your conversions with user-generated images, but don’t let the rocket run out of fuel.

If you can get your fans and customers generating videos of your products in use, those should be added to your product pages as well.

Explainer videos are great, but there’s nothing that sells a product faster than a video showing real, happy customers, who are 100% satisfied with their purchase.

Here are some quick stats that show how effective product videos really are:

  • 90% of users admit that seeing a video about a product helps them make a purchase decision
  • 36% of customers trust video ads; imagine the trust you gain from earned media
  • 64% of visitors are more likely to buy a product after watching a video online
  • Product videos can increase conversions by as much as 20%

Conclusion

Aside from those five tips, it goes without saying that you should absolutely be using product reviews on your website and social channels such as Facebook.

Leverage that social proof, and find creative ways to team up with your customers.

A large portion of your audience are happy to create and share content for you—they just need to know what you’re looking for.

Tell them how to help, inspire them to get creative, and watch your conversions climb steadily as your collection of UGC grows.

Are you using user-generated content right now to build trust with your audience and increase your brand’s visibility? What techniques are you using, and what’s the most successful?

 5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions  5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions  5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions

 5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions
Source: QuickSprout

The post 5 Ways Your Fans Can Help Optimize Your Site for Conversions appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

9 Psychological Insights I Use When Designing a Pricing Page

Let me be upfront with you.

I’m not a web designer.

I work with some amazing web designers. I know a few things about web design. But when it comes right down to it, I’m not a designer.

What am I? I’m a marketer.

Why am I talking about designing a web page, specifically a pricing page?

Here’s why. Web design and marketing overlap. A lot.

When you get into a discussion about web design, you can’t help but talk about psychology. And when the page being designed is a pricing page, psychology plays a huge role.

What kind of psychology? Customer psychology.

Customer psychology is the study of the way people think, act, decide, and make purchases.

It has everything to do with motivation, mind tricks, color, placement, filtering, eye tracking studies, and, yes, web design.

That’s why I’m confident in my ability to design a great pricing page.

I constantly A/B-test my pages to make sure I’m choosing the most optimal design, and most of the design choices you see throughout my web properties is based on simple psychological principles.

Psychology is common in marketing and design, regardless of the industry. Look at a casino, for example.

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Every inch of that building, from the carpet and floor designs to the signs and turns was designed to psychologically keep people in the building spending money, not focusing on time and outside responsibilities.

Web design is the same way. And when it comes to the pricing page, these psychological principles are extremely important.

Here are a few of the tactics I use when designing pricing pages—one of the most important steps in your conversion funnel.

1. Devalue money in the viewer’s eyes

Since we’re on the subject of Las Vegas… Another trick casino owners use is the idea of mentally devaluing money.

When you step up to a table, they exchange your money for chips.

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Why? There are several reasons. One is that it makes it easier for dealers to count, but it also detaches people from the value of their money. It’s easier to gamble away two chips than $2,000.

A lot of people are in debt, and, while it’s great that you run a business, you need to get people to stop thinking about their bills.

The average user who looks at your pricing page might have in the back of their mind their consumer credit card debt.

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Maybe you’re not running a casino. How do you get people to stop thinking about their debt problems and instead focus on the value of your product, regardless of the price?

Let me give you an example.

Cornell researchers recently partnered with the Culinary Institute of America to research this concept of devaluing money on restaurant menus. Two different study groups were given two different menus, one with a dollar sign next to the pricing and one without.

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The group given the menus without the dollar sign spent more money. Why? Because they weren’t put off by the high $ price.

One example I’ve shown elsewhere is this pricing page. Notice the small dollar signs?

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That’s not a mistake.

The same thing is happening here:

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The dollar sign serves as a trigger to remind people of the value of money. What they should be thinking about is the value of your product.

A simple removal or minimization of the dollar sign will make your pricing page more compelling, more powerful, and more psychologically potent.

2. Color-coordinate everything

Research from the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health indicates colors are perceived in different ways by different people based on experiences, genetics, context, and other factors.

Still, there are brands of every kind that use specific colors within their logos.

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If you’re at the beginning stage of building your company, choose a color scheme that matches the emotion you’re trying to evoke.

There was a time when Geocities ruled the web and websites commonly looked as though they were drawn by crayons. Thankfully, we’ve progressed, so basic black text on a white background is considered standard for text (with a few exceptions).

Headers and buttons, however, can vary greatly. Amazon uses a yellow color for the “Add to Cart” button on its pricing pages.

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Walmart uses a red-orange.

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Best Buy utilizes bright blue and yellow for different options.

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Whatever you choose, make sure it speaks to your brand and is consistent all the way through to avoid confusing customers at a crucial step.

3. Size matters

Size does matter when designing a pricing page.

Here’s the simple truth. You want people to see the important parts first because that’s what needs to stick with them the longest.

Let me go back to this pricing page to show what I mean:

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What’s the first thing you look at when you see this page?

Probably the center column, focusing on the “Growth” package at $400 a month.

Why? Because it pops with a vivid blue against a very light gray backdrop.

Plus, it’s bigger than the others. Size is important. It’s also centrally located.

All of these are key differentiating features that psychologically emphasize the importance and superiority of that plan.

Where exactly does size matter?

  • Headlines
  • Call-to-action buttons
  • Price boxes (as pictured above)

As explained in Psychology in Action, larger fonts make messages enter our brains faster as we don’t have to struggle to see them.

This split-second difference of time and attention puts the page into a logical and cohesive, Feng Shui-like, order for browsers.

4. Limited time offers

If someone thinks their time to act is limited, they’re more likely to take action quickly rather than delay it.

Several studies have looked at how limited time offers affect our brains. Sites such as eBay and Groupon have practically built empires on the concept.

Essentially, it boils down to supply and demand.

When you create scarcity, the perceived value of an item goes up. It’s called a theory of psychological reactance, which explains why we hate to miss out on a golden opportunity when presented with it.

You’ve probably heard of fear of missing out, or FOMO, right? Same idea, different angle.

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Amazon uses this technique to great effect with constant inventory reminders on every item: “Only 10 left in stock – order soon.”

It’s a great call to action.

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Even though we know one of the world’s largest fulfillment centers will definitely replenish its supplies of literally everything, will it happen soon enough? Can we wait and will it be more expensive next time?

Dr. Eldar Shafir, from Princeton, and Dr. Sendhil Mullainathan, from Harvard, explored how people’s minds work when they feel they’re lacking something. The perception of scarcity leads them to make mistakes or bad financial decisions, spending more money than they should.

Psychology Today’s author Shahram Heshmat notes,

Scarcity orients the mind automatically and powerfully toward unfulfilled needs.

It also motivates us to prioritize our choices, e.g., we’re more frugal with toothpaste when the tube is close to empty, and we rush to purchase a product or service to obtain a deal.

5. Discounts and VIP membership

People love feeling like they belong. Costco, Sam’s Club, and AAA are just a few of the memberships you can get these days to feel like you’re part of a country club.

Everyone wants to be a VIP, so offering VIP membership bonuses and discounts encourages customers to keep spending money at your business. Instead of buying just one roll of paper towels, you can subscribe and save.

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Or buy 10 and get one free.

These promotions increase clicks because, as Ian Newby-Clark explains in Psychology Today,

We are social creatures who yearn to be included. We want to be a part of the group and strive for goals set for us.

It’s like a drug: belonging to something bigger than yourself provides a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives.

Marketing Profs has a great article describing how the inclusion of fans into a community motivates them to support a brand both as customers and ambassadors. I suggest you take a look at it as it’s a great read.

As psychologists point out, our social identity is defined by the groups we belong to. This is why Xbox and PlayStation fans, for example, are so prone to debating their platform’s superiority.

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The NFL, along with all other major sports organization in America, uses this psychological principle to its advantage.

Fans show up sporting their team’s colors and mascot costumes because it makes them feel like they belong.

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Above: Seattle Seahawks fans surround a Cleveland Browns fan Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003, at Seahawks Stadium in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

6. Offer tiered pricing

As Talia Wolf points out,

Tiered pricing opens the door to all sorts of psychological techniques.

Hyperbolic discounting occurs when different pricing models provide different benefits, allowing us to personalize our shopping experience. Companies such as BuzzStream and CloudFlare employs this technique:

BuzzStream pricing plan
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CloudFlare pricing plan

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Choice-supportive pricing, anchoring effect, and the decoy effect can also be employed to your advantage. With tiered pricing, anything is possible.

Amazon has about a dozen varieties of Prime combined with rewards cards, affiliate bounties, and subscription services to give you payment options beyond just “cash or credit.”

Tiered pricing is becoming even more popular these days with the growth of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model.

By subscribing for longer terms, people know they can often save money and thus seek out these types of deals.

Rational choice theory is a framework to model social and economic behavior. It states individual actors choose the option that maximizes their interests and provides the greatest benefit.

A tiered pricing model provides customers with purchasing options that are all, ultimately, with you.

7. Doorbusters work

Retail has long utilized doorbusters to get people in the doors. These savings are responsible for Black Friday leaking further into Thanksgiving every year. Once you have people in the door to buy a low-priced item, you can upsell them better, more expensive products.

Any pricing page should also have a “recommended” and “similar” section. These personalized offers help lead consumers to buy the right item for them, increasing trust in your e-commerce brand along with the ROI.

It should be noted, however, you should avoid the classic bait-and-switch scam that will get you in trouble with the FTC and ruin the reputation of both you and your brand.

It’s also worth mentioning that many analysts think Black Friday is about more than just the doorbusters.

image08 9 Psychological Insights I Use When Designing a Pricing Page

Professor Jane Thomas at Winthrop University says:

It’s more of a tradition than anything else. People ritualistically line up at brick-and-mortar stores the Friday after Thanksgiving while a growing number wait for Cyber Monday the following week online.

There’s also a psychological difference in the way we perceive prices such as $13.99 vs $14.00. The item priced at $13.99 is more likely to sell because even though it’s only a penny short, it’s $13 and change instead of $14.

Although consumers initially hit a website looking for a cheap deal on SEO services, soon they realize they’re also missing social media, video, CRO, PPC, and many other aspects of marketing.

They want more.

That’s the value of the doorbuster.

The initial doorbuster brings them to you for a killer deal. You get them in and then convert them to buy more stuff.

8. Get smaller yeses first

Much like with the doorbuster sale, you want to lead people by convincing them to agree to smaller things before hitting them with the big ask.

Zendesk does a great job of leading customers through smaller yeses first:

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While the option is there to buy, Zendesk wants you to try the free version first because they’re confident you’ll come back as a paying subscriber once you’ve experienced the platform.

Who doesn’t like free stuff?

By convincing customers to say yes to the smaller ask first, you make saying yes to the bigger ask much easier.

It’s all part of the psychology of negotiation,

explains Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD.

Making the pie bigger for everyone increases the maximally efficient outcome 79% of the time.

You don’t have to necessarily give out anything for free either. As explained above, even month-to-month subscriptions are a smaller ask than a year-long contract, so providing different levels of the same offer will do the trick.

9. Provide choices

As explained above, offering both payment and product choices is a great way to improve revenue on pricing pages.

A customer is buying a TV, do they need a warranty? Cables? A stand or mount? A DVD Player, home stereo system, or Chromecast?

Give people options for bundles, add-ons, and other available sizes, colors, and brands. But don’t give them so many options that they get overloaded.

In 2000, researchers S.S. Inyengar and M.R. Leper conducted a study allowing supermarket shoppers to sample the different flavors of jam available for purchase. The test compared the impact of having 24 jam flavors to choose from versus having only 6.

Only 3% of those who sampled the 24 flavors went on to purchase the jam, compared to 30% who sampled only 6 flavors.

Too many options will inhibit your customers’ ability to make a clear decision.

Conclusion

Psychology is important in web design and marketing. How people perceive a brand is directly impacted by the appearance of every landing page, including the pricing, checkout, and confirmation pages.

By A/B-testing different versions of those pages, while implementing the psychological principles discussed above, you’ll be able to optimize conversions and revenue streams from your online marketing.

What psychological techniques help you design your web properties?

 9 Psychological Insights I Use When Designing a Pricing Page  9 Psychological Insights I Use When Designing a Pricing Page  9 Psychological Insights I Use When Designing a Pricing Page

 9 Psychological Insights I Use When Designing a Pricing Page
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art

How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

socialmedia How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

Have you ever used paid social media? I know some people who completely avoid it. They think it means cheating, or it’s somehow inappropriate.

In my opinion, paid social media traffic is an excellent tool.

Obviously, I’m not talking about illegitimately purchasing likes or shares from spammy businesses (more on that below).

I’m discussing legitimate paid methods.

If you use them properly, you can quickly grow your audience, your brand, and your revenue.

However, if you use paid traffic without first educating yourself and deliberately seeking out the best tools and information, it will lead to huge financial losses.

Knowing how to use paid social media traffic is important. But what’s even more important is determining when you should use paid social media traffic.

I think that’s where a lot of the confusion starts for some people. Maybe you’ve wondered the same thing.

When should you start spending on social media traffic, impressions, or clicks?

For paid traffic, like for many aspects of business, timing is everything.

I’ve already written many articles on how to use paid social media traffic to effectively grow your business and increase the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

But today, I want to cut through the noise and help you make an educated decision on whether or not you should be using paid traffic at all.

Ready?

Let’s begin.

First, a definition

Before we dive into the deep end and discuss the ins and outs of paid traffic, I want to start with a definition.

When I talk about paid social media traffic, I am not talking about buying likes or fake followers.

This is an absolutely terrible business tactic!

It leads to a poor quality audience that has no interest in you or your company and will result in large followings that do not help you grow your brand.

image06 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

Not to mention, it’s also a very sleazy and unethical approach to social media marketing.

By paid social media traffic, I mean the practice of investing in paid ads and marketing for the purpose of delivering your content to relevant audience members—audience members who are actually interested in what you are selling.

Instead of paying some kid with a computer in a foreign country to “like” your photos, you are actually putting your content in front of someone whose interests genuinely coincide with what you are offering.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

When should you pay for social media traffic?

Let me answer this question with four statements. If any of the following is true of your business, paid traffic may be your best approach.

1. When you are building an audience from the ground up

One of the first situations in which you should pay for social media traffic is when you are building an audience from scratch.

If you are just getting into the game of social media marketing, paid traffic is critical.

Think about it.

  • If you have no audience, no one is going to see your content.
  • If no one sees your content, no one shares your content.
  • If no one shares your content, your following cannot grow.
  • If your following cannot grow, your social media efforts are completely irrelevant to your business.

Such is the struggle of the social network newbie.

Is it possible to grow your social media accounts organically when you are starting from scratch?

Of course.

You can reach out to other similar brands, link your accounts to your blog or YouTube channel, and use friends and family to help your content get off the ground.

But that is life in the slow lane.

Using the organic methods, you could reasonably expect to have a decent social following (3,000 – 5,000 followers) within about 18-24 months.

However, if you use paid traffic, you could cut that time in half while doubling your traffic.

2. When you are diversifying the demographics of your audience

A big problem many brands have is that they get caught in an endless cycle: they target the same type of audience over and over and over again.

image03 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

For example…

Let’s say you own a local business.

You run a chain of unconventional gyms with your primary locations on the East Coast.

In addition to your traditional marketing campaigns, you use social media and content marketing to grow your brand and increase your company’s exposure.

Over the years, you’ve built up a reputable following on Facebook, but your audience is primarily located in your hometown and the surrounding cities.

Now, you want to open another location on the West Coast so that you can enjoy sunny beaches and fruity beverages while helping people get fit.

The only problem is, your entire online following is located about 2,000 miles away from your new location.

Not exactly ideal for building a new customer base, is it?

This is where paid traffic becomes a life saver.

With paid social media traffic, you are able to target new demographics and promote your brand in new locations.

You can get really specific, like this:

image02 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

Using social media in a geotargeted way like this is especially useful for brick and mortar stores looking to relocate or for online business looking to tap into a new audience.

3. When you are looking to scale your social platforms with a similar audience

If you’ve already built up a healthy social media following and you are looking to make your social media platforms even more profitable, paid traffic is the way to go.

While organic traffic is great, it doesn’t generally work well with large followings.

This is because of the law of diminishing returns.

image01 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

Source: vibhavagarwal.com

Let me explain.

Imagine you are an aspiring bodybuilder who is just starting to lift weights. After the first couple of months, you are going to see humongous gains.

You will pack on muscle, shred fat, and improve most of your lifts by close to 100 lbs. But after about 6-12 months of doing this, you’ll see that your improvements start to slow down.

You will still be gaining muscle and losing fat. You will still be increasing the amount of weight you can lift. But it will not be as drastic.

Then, as you continue training on a regular basis, you will start reaching a point where even marginal gains are difficult to achieve. You will start approaching your genetic potential.

And then, you have one of two options:

  • You can continue training naturally and understand that you are close to your peak and improvements will take a long time.
  • You can decide to use steroids or some other performance-enhancing drug to beat your genetics and achieve even more gains.

Now, this is not an ethical or health-based argument for steroids, but it is a pretty effective analogy for paid traffic.

You see, whenever you first launch your social media campaigns (if you really know what you are doing), you will probably see some pretty quick growth.

You will go, as they say, “0 to 100, real quick.”

image07 1 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

0 to 100,000 anybody?

After the first year, you will likely have several thousand followers across your various channels.

In the second year, growth may continue at an even more rapid pace.

But eventually (and this typically happens around the 10,000 followers point), you will hit a wall.

You will still be adding to your followers, but, unless you are willing to start using the “performance enhancing drug” of paid traffic, it will take you years to hit your goals.

However, if you are willing to invest into paid traffic, you can beat the law of diminishing returns and skyrocket your social media following in a very short amount of time.

Luckily for us, there are no ethical, legal, or health concerns related to paid social media traffic like there are with steroids.

You have little to lose and much to gain.

4. When you want to increase your organic reach

I know that using paid traffic to increase your organic reach sounds like an oxymoronic statement.

And it is. But hear me out.

Just because someone follows you or “likes” your content does not mean your content is actually showing up in their newsfeed.

People simply follow too many different brands and individuals for all of them to show up in their feeds.

I, for example, follow dozens of other influencers and tech blogs across my various social channels.

But I rarely see any of the new content posted by the people I am following.

image04 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

It’s not because I don’t like the content or because I have no need for what they are sharing.

It’s simply because of the volume of content published each and every day.

If you want to grow your organic reach and get your content in front of people who already like and follow you, you need to invest in paid traffic.

It will increase the frequency with which your content is seen by your followers, and your audience will be more likely to actually find out about a new product you are offering or a promotion you are running.

When should you not pay for social media traffic?

Now that I’ve covered some of the situations when you should pay for social media traffic, I want to touch on one of the biggest reasons why you should not pay for social media traffic.

It’s about quality.

If you are looking for super high quality traffic, paid ads may not be your best approach.

The current stage of your business will determine the type of traffic you want to generate.

For those of you just getting started, the single most important thing to focus on is simply generating more traffic and getting your content in front of new eyeballs.

For others, especially if you already have a strong social media presence, your focus should be on generating high quality traffic.

The quality of the audience you build with paid traffic will generally be lower than the quality of the audience you build with organic traffic.

This is due to a variety of factors.

First, we have to acknowledge the unfortunate reality of social media. There are hundreds of thousands of bots and fake accounts.

Whenever you use paid traffic, it’s much more likely that you will attract more of these automated accounts than you would if you were growing your reach 100% organically.

The second factor is that people who seek out and find your brand organically are typically much more likely to purchase than someone who simply “liked” your page because your ad popped up on their phone.

If someone has taken the time to find your social media pages without the persuasion of advertising or paid marketing, it means you are solving a problem they have.

These people will be much more likely to share your content, be engaged in your discussions, and invest in your products.

Now, using paid traffic obviously does not preclude you from generate organic traffic.

However, you have to remember opportunity cost.

image05 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

Source: quickmeme.com

Every hour you spend and every dollar you invest in paid traffic is a dollar and an hour you could have spent optimizing your social platforms and website to generate high quality organic traffic.

With that in mind, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of the current stage of your business and your goals with social media.

Next steps and measuring your success

Now that you are a little bit more informed about the times when you should and should not use paid social media traffic, I want to discuss one last thing before I leave you to it.

Measuring your metrics.

While tracking your metrics is extremely important whether you utilize paid traffic or not, it is doubly important whenever you are investing your hard earned dollars in social ad campaigns.

You need to have clear business goals for your paid traffic campaigns.

Whether it is to generate new leads, increase sales, or simply increase brand exposure, you have to have clearly defined objectives for your investment.

Once you’ve defined that objective, it is imperative that you track your metrics to ensure your investment is actually getting you closer to your goal.

image00 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

Source: moz.com

Are the individuals you reach on social media buying your products? Are they joining your email list? Are they reading and sharing your content?

If you are not tracking these metrics, you will never be able to effectively run paid traffic campaigns.

You’ll end up spending thousands of dollars that could’ve been better spent elsewhere, and you’ll end up with a negative ROI.

Conclusion

Paid social media traffic is a phenomenal tool.

If you use it in the right situations and in the right way, it can accelerate the growth of your business in a way that few other investments can.

But the key here is you have to use it at the right time.

If you are using paid social media traffic in the wrong situations, you’ll end up losing money and damaging your brand.

Take the above advice to heart, and decide for yourself whether paid social media traffic is a worthwhile investment in your current circumstances.

How have you used paid social media traffic in the past? What were the results?

 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic  How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic  How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic

 How to Know When You Should Use Paid Social Media Traffic
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art

4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

opportunity 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

Digital marketing.

To some, it’s merely another fancy buzzword. To others, it’s the backbone of their entire business.

In my life, digital marketing is almost everything I do.

For most entrepreneurs, however, it is a highly underutilized and misunderstood tool.

Most people think digital marketing has to be an expensive endeavor that takes thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to see any success with.

This is simply not the case.

There are a number of free tools and opportunities within digital marketing that most entrepreneurs are missing.

Here are just a few of them to help get you started.

1. Use the power of blog commenting to build links

Blog commenting has become a practice synonymous with spammers and sleazy online marketers.

image01 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

Because of this, most entrepreneurs do not take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

Despite the negative connotation, blog comments are a fantastic way to promote your business and build a very natural link profile.

It’s only when blog commenting is used improperly (like in the image below) that it’s damaging to your Google ranking and personal reputation:

image04 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

So, how can you use the power of blog commenting to market your content in an authentic, natural, and non-spammy way?

The first and most important step is finding the right blogs to comment on.

The best way to do this is simply to use blogs you regularly read or blogs that show up in your social media feed.

This practice ensures that you are posting on sites relevant to your niche.

It also increases the authenticity of your comments since you are an actual reader and probably have gained real value from the content you are commenting on.

However, if you already comment on your favorite blogs on a regular basis and are looking to expand your reach, there are other ways to find places to comment.

An easy way to do this is to utilize the Google Search Console and Advanced Search Operators.

Let’s say you are running an online fitness clothing store for women.

You could enter any of the following search operators into Google:

  • Women’s athletic wear “comments”
  • Women’s athletic style “leave a reply”
  • Women’s athletic clothing “leave a comment”

For example:

image07 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

The search operators you are using clearly specify to Google that you only want search results that have the option to comment on the page.

After you’ve compiled a list of potential blogs to comment on, you can check their Ahrefs ranks to determine whether or not they are worth your time.

Now that you are done with the easy work of finding high quality blogs to comment on, it’s time for the hard stuff.

And that’s getting your comment approved.

This basically comes down to writing a non-spammy comment that still includes a link to your site.

Since most high-quality blogs have a pretty heavy moderation policy, this is not an easy task.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Always fill the name field with your name—not the name of your site. Comments that have URLs in the name field are deleted most of the time.
  • Leave the website field blank. Since you are going to include a link in the body of your comment, leaving the website field blank will help improve the odds of your comment passing the moderator.
  • The best way to comment is to pick a relevant point from the blog content and then expand on it in an authentic and genuine way.

Take a look at some of the examples below to see the right way to do this:

image00 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

image05 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

2. Don’t overlook press releases

I know, I know.

“What the heck, Neil? Press releases?! We are in the 21st century here!”

And I get it.

But press releases, when used properly, can actually be a pretty fantastic tool.

If you time the article right, a press release can generate a load of views and shares for your content.

When you have a large number of people, especially journalists, reviewing your content, it is more likely that your work will be picked up by major publications.

This can be a pivotal component of getting your content to go viral.

Press releases can also help your link-building campaigns in a big way, but you have to be intentional about the content.

Here are a few of the benefits, if you can ignore the not-quite-accurate benefits of “rankings” and “links.”

image02 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

Links and rankings do happen, but only indirectly.

If a journalist or blogger sees your press release and decides to cover your content or include it as a part of a major story, the keywords you’d use would be key.

Make sure your content is filled with keywords you want to rank for.

This way, if a journalist takes a quote from your work, you’ll be able to build up links to help boost your rankings.

The most important thing to keep in mind when running a press release, however, is your message.

Unlike with a regular blog post or YouTube video, when you run a press release, you and your content are now in the spotlight.

If you have any incongruency in your messaging, any incorrect data, or serious errors within your release, the PR will do more harm than good.

With a press release, you are shouting your message from a mountaintop.

Make sure you are shouting the right message.

While press releases are typically very expensive endeavors, costing anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, there are tools online that let you generate press coverage for free.

Here are a few of the best:

There are certainly drawbacks to press releases.

They do not directly improve SEO; they are difficult to track; and if you make a mistake, you can do more damage to your brand than good.

However, if you know your way around, you can actually market your content quite effectively using free press release sources.

Just make sure you consider the pros and cons before filing for a release.

3. Get on Google+

With the prevalence of social media in today’s marketplace, it surprises me that more businesses do not take advantage of the Google+ platform.

Google+ is a fantastic free way to market yourself, your business, and your content.

Getting started on Google+ is simple.

Because I’ve already written extensively on how to use Google+ for your marketing campaigns, I’ll give you only a brief synopsis in this article.

The first step is to claim authorship with your personal Google+ profile.

Basically, this makes it easier for readers to identify your content, and it will allow you to position yourself as an authority within your niche.

Here’s how you can do this as simply as possible, courtesy of Social Media Examiner:

image06 e1471392871757 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

Once you’ve linked your content to your Google+ account, it’s time to start utilizing the power of the Google+ apps.

The first thing I recommend is using the +1’d Content app.

This allows people to recommend a website or a post. It will increase your click-through rate and will allow people to share and comment on content outside of Google+.

Next, you need to set up YouTube integration with your Google+ account:

image10 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

Source: youtubecreator.blogspot.com

Let me share a little statistic with you.

People spend almost 6 billion hours—a month (!)—consuming YouTube content.

By integrating your Google+ and YouTube accounts, you will expand your reach on both platforms simultaneously and increase the number of eyes viewing and sharing your content.

And finally…

The big one.

Google Hangouts.

Google Hangouts is by far one of my favorite marketing tools.

image09 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

If you have any degree of authority within your niche, running regular Google hangouts is one of the fastest ways to engage your audience and improve your sales.

When people get to interact with you in a raw and unedited form, they tend to connect with you on a deeper level.

This will build engagement with your audience, transforming them from casual readers to raving fans.

Using a Google Hangout to host a webinar is also a great way to boost sales, especially whenever you are releasing a new product.

However, be warned.

If you are using webinars solely to promote new products, users will leave, and you will damage your online reputation.

You need to offer massive value while hosting webinars before you even mention a new product.

4. Do link outreach (the right way)

When digital and content marketing first started to take off, the tactic of link outreach became very common.

Link outreach basically looked something like this:

image03 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

And the thing is…

…this used to work.

However, in the modern business world, the above strategy will probably have a 1-3% success rate, likely with lower tier websites and blogs.

But.

The core strategy of connecting with other influencers and having them promote your content (either by replacing a broken link or just sharing it outright) still works.

If you do it the right way.

What is the “right” way?

Focusing on relationships first and link building second.

Here is the deal.

A lot of Internet marketers are a pain in the butt.

They are constantly seeking to gain value from other people—those they have no relationship with—and rarely offer anything in return.

If you want to stand out from this crowd and actually succeed in your link-building efforts, you need to try a different approach.

The first step is to find companies you want a link from in the first place.

I once again recommend you select blogs and websites you are already familiar with and read on a regular basis.

But if you’ve already worn out all potential opportunities with your “regulars,” you can try another approach (shout-out to Ryan Stewart of Ahrefs.com for introducing me to this).

If you want to find great places to get potential links, then fire up Google, and input one or more of the following searches:

  • [Your keyword] + “Top posts of the week”
  • [Your keyword] + “Friday link roundup”
  • [Your keyword] + “Best posts of the week”

image08 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

This will allow you to find blogs and websites already curating great content.

Trust me: it’s a lot easier to get a link from one of these resources than from a blogger who only promotes their own content.

Now that you’ve found the blog you want to get a link from, it’s time to connect.

This does not mean you immediately email them, asking for a link to your content.

The first step you need to take is to start following the blog/website/influencer on social media.

Once you are following them, drop them a line with something simple:

Hey, this is so-and-so. I read your piece on XYZ and really enjoyed it! Keep up the great work!

Once you have broken the ice and made the first contact on social media, start commenting on their posts and on their blog.

Do this for about a week, continuing the conversation you started above, if at all possible.

Once you’ve established good rapport and the influencer is aware of you, it’s time to ask for the link.

While this tactic works great for broken links, it works even better if the blogger regularly posts a “Best of the web” article or something similar.

You will end up getting more traffic from a weekly roundup than you would from a broken link.

And, if your content is good, you may end up getting a repeat “customer” who will continue linking to your company for months or years to come.

Conclusion

Digital marketing can be a lot simpler (and less expensive) than people think.

But you have to be willing to take an “outside the box” approach to it.

Equipped with the above four tips and tricks, you’ll be able to market your company more quickly and effectively than ever before.

None of the advice I’ve given here is easy, but it’s simple and doable.

Take the time to educate yourself on these four opportunities, and learn how to capitalize on them to grow your business.

And invest your time in uncovering the wealth of other free digital marketing opportunities available in today’s marketplace.

You may be surprised at how effectively you can market your company and your content without a big budget.

What is your favorite free digital marketing opportunity?

 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing  4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing  4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing

 4 Free Digital Marketing Opportunities Most Marketers Are Missing
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art

How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

stats How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

Back when I was an Internet newbie, I had no idea what numbers to focus on.

I would look at Google Analytics. I would see lots of numbers. And I would be confused.

So, what did I do?

I did what most people do. I focused on vanity metrics.

What are vanity metrics?

image05 6 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

Vanity metrics are numbers. That might sound all data-driven and growth-hacky.

But vanity metrics are numbers that don’t lead anywhere. As Eric Ries said,

…they don’t offer clear guidance for what to do.

Examples of vanity metrics:

  • Raw number of pageviews or site visitors
  • Number of downloads
  • Number of subscribers

I’m not knocking these metrics completely.

After all, if you are involved in the world of Internet marketing, metrics are one of the single most important things you can learn, understand, interpret, and act on.

If you’re not tracking your metrics, you’ll never be able to figure out how you can improve your marketing performance and, by extension, your revenue.

But you have to choose which metrics to focus on.

This is why establishing specific KPIs, or key performance indicators, is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself, your team, and your bottom line.

But which metrics should you be tracking? And more importantly, which metrics should inform your marketing decisions?

This is the question I faced early on in my Internet marketing career.

What metrics do I focus on?

Eventually, I came around to the right perspective on things.

Here’s how it happened.

  • First, I realized that revenue was my single most important metric.
  • Then, I worked backwards to find out what numbers most impacted my revenue.
  • I used those numbers—my KPIs—to track my progress toward revenue.

With so much variability in marketing techniques, it’s easy to get bogged down in minutia and focus on metrics that do not significantly affect your revenue.

To help you on your quest for maximum revenue, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most important KPIs you can track for maximum performance, maximum ROI, and maximum revenue.

Each of these metrics should be tracked on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis so that you can see the complete picture with regards to your marketing efforts.

Tracking them is only the first step.

Acting on these metrics is the real deal.

1. Traffic

If you want to be able to develop effective content and digital marketing campaigns, you have to track your web traffic so that you can understand what’s working and what’s not.

Unless you are tracking your web traffic, you will never be able to truly gauge the effectiveness of your different marketing methods and increase the amount of traffic your website receives.

For example, by tracking your web traffic, you may find that when you are consistently posting on Facebook and LinkedIn, your traffic soars, but whenever you focus on Instagram and Twitter, your traffic plummets.

Luckily, tracking your web traffic is fairly straightforward.

By using Google Analytics, you can track the number of sessions and page views you get each day as well as the details such as bounce rate, demographics, and source.

image02 7 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

“Traffic” is, of course, a pretty broad term.

Traffic can encompass a lot of the more detailed features of your website audience, all of which are important to pay attention to.

Your website traffic tells a story—a story of how engaged and active your audience is, how frequently they visit you, and how likely they are to purchase from you.

The better you know your traffic, the better you’ll be able to achieve your revenue goals.

2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

This is one of the most important metrics any company, especially startups, should know.

Chase Hughes wrote about this metric on Kissmetrics. He called it “the one metric that can determine your company’s fate.”

I’d say that’s a pretty important metric.

So, what is the customer acquisition cost?

Here is a simple definition:

CAC: The price you pay to convince someone to purchase your product or service.

Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of that definition.

The CAC should include the cost of market research, software, team salaries, paid analytics platforms, and, of course, the price of any paid advertising.

If you want to be able to effectively grow your company through your marketing efforts, you have to know how much it costs to acquire a new customer.

In spite of its complexity, this is actually fairly easy to calculate.

All you need to do is add up the monthly marketing budget and then divide that number by the number of new customers you acquired that month.

For example, let’s say you spent $2,000 a month on marketing and acquired 5 new customers. This brings your total cost of customer acquisition to $400.

You can calculate the number on an annual basis, as in this example:

image09 4 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

With this knowledge, you now know how to effectively budget for marketing, depending on the number of customers you wish to acquire.

Using the above example, if you wanted to acquire 20 new customers in a month, you would need to spend roughly $8,000 in marketing efforts.

While this number may vary month to month based on how effective your marketing campaigns are, averaging the cost of acquisition over three months will give you a good idea of what you need to spend on marketing to attract your desired number of new customers.

To better understand your CAC, it’s helpful to break down the specific channels you’re using to acquire customers.

For example, you may be using several marketing methods: paid search, social media, and email marketing.

Each channel has a different associated cost. Knowing how much you’re spending per channel gives you a more accurate assessment of your CAC.

image03 1 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

Every industry will have a different method of tracking CAC. In some industries with a long sales cycle and more “touches” for customers, the CAC will be higher and more complex.

image10 5 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

While it’s important to know your CAC, it’s just as important to know how to act on it.

If your CAC is too high, for example, you have a problem. The customer’s value must exceed the CAC in order for the business to function.

image00 7 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

Navigating the delicate balance between CAC and LTV is something that marketers need to understand and take action on.

image01 5 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

3. Social media reach

Social media marketing has become one of the most popular methods of marketing your content and your company.

With more than 2 billion people using social media around the world, there has never been—in the history of the human race—a platform that could allow you to have as much reach and influence as social media can today.

image06 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

In addition to their massive reach, most social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, provide you with the tools to track your reach within the applications.

If you want to maximize the amount of revenue you generate each week, month, and year, you need to track the effectiveness of your social campaigns and understand the ROI of each platform.

How do you do this on Facebook?

Simple.

  • Go to your company Facebook page.
  • Click on “Insights” at the top of the page.

image08 10 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

Facebook Insights provides you with data to help you fully understand what your audience is doing, how it’s interacting, and how it’s impacting your business.

When you know this data, you can develop a rock-solid social media strategy to maximize your reach and revenue.

4. Landing page conversion rates

If you truly want to maximize your revenue and send your conversion rates through the roof, you have to make sure that each of your landing pages is fully optimized.

You need to know which landing pages are leading to conversions and which ones are underperforming so that you can effectively craft landing pages that will increase your revenue.

You may find that one landing page has a high amount of traffic while another—with a lower rate of traffic—actually has a higher conversion rate.

For this reason, it’s crucial to track at least four major metrics on landing pages specifically:

  • Bounce rate
  • Exit rate
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate

Each of these numbers contributes to the overall picture of your conversion rates and keeps you from being locked into a skewed perspective.

One way to help broaden your perspective is to understand what an “average” conversion rate is. It’s hard to nail down an “average” because of the variety of industries, channels, and types of conversion that exist.

When you start, don’t expect to instantly explode with a 5% conversion rate. Most of us are lucky if we can get a 2% conversion rate.

image12 1 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

Again, conversion rates vary a lot based on the channel. Here’s a breakdown of the range of variation of conversion rates by channel:

image11 6 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

By monitoring all the important metrics around your landing page and combining the best working elements, you can create high-converting pages.

5. Email marketing metrics

Despite the growth of social media, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to acquire and keep customers.

Email marketing allows for a more personal and targeted style of marketing, and if you are willing to pay attention to the metrics, it will lead to more sales and revenue than you previously thought possible.

It’s important to track all the metrics related to email marketing. Here are the ones I suggest you track:

  1. Delivery rate
  2. Open rate
  3. Click rate
  4. Conversion rate

What kind of expectations can you have for these metrics? Here’s Ciceron’s research:

image04 6 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

Depending on the complexity of your email marketing, you may wish to analyze your metrics even further:

  • Unique open rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • List growth rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Inactive user rate
  • Forwarding rate
  • Earnings per email
  • Earnings per click
  • Complaint rate

How do you take action on this kind of data?

If you see that you have a low open rate but a high conversion rate, you should probably work to improve your headlines or cut back on the number of emails you send.

Conversely, if you notice a high open rate with your emails but a low click-through or conversion rate, you should probably improve your copywriting within the email to incentivize readers.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing methods. Plus, it’s one of the easiest:

image07 6 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

It makes sense to use email marketing and then act on the data you glean from analyzing its performance.

Conclusion

If you can learn to effectively track the important metrics of your business, you’ll be able to see how your marketing efforts are affecting your revenue and have a better understanding of how you can improve and optimize your marketing efforts.

But like with anything in the business world, this is something you have to track proactively. You cannot just set it and forget it—track one or two metrics and then leave it for months at a time.

If you can be consistent with tracking your metrics, focusing on how every decision you make affects the bottom line, you can maximize your revenue and take your business to new heights.

Keep in mind that you are focused on one top metric: revenue.

When you lose sight of revenue, you’ll easily get distracted by meaningless metrics that don’t show you where you’re actually going. Worse, those metrics may fool you into thinking you’re making progress when you aren’t.

To be truly effective, your marketing metrics should show you a path forward—how to earn more revenue.

Metrics really are the magic key that can unlock marketing success. But they are a double-edged sword.

Read them wrong—and your marketing is doomed.

Read them right, act on them—and your marketing will push your business forward.

What are the most important KPIs you currently track?

 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics  How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics  How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics

 How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics
Source: QuickSprout

The post How to Become a Marketer Who’s Obsessed with Metrics appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

Have an App? The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Apps are huge.

But you already knew that. But did you know just how big apps are?

Did you know that as of June 2015, more than 100 billion mobile apps had been downloaded from the Apple App Store alone?

Google Play? 65 billion.

These are pretty insane numbers. And get this: the world’s app obsession shows no signs of slowing down.

These numbers go up. And up. And up. And up.

image04 6 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

The world uses mobile devices.

And mobile devices use mobile apps.

Which makes mobile apps big business.

The estimated worldwide app revenue is predicted to hit $77 billion by 2017—more than double the $35 billion it reached in 2014.

image15 5 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

What does this mean for you?

If you’ve created your own app, you’ll want to claim your piece of the pie and cash in on it. (And if you haven’t created an app, you may want to give it some thought.)

Apps don’t sell themselves. In fact, app marketing is one of the hottest and most contested marketing battlegrounds of the marketing era.

With millions of apps, how do you stand above the crowd? How do you distinguish yourself in a crowded marketplace in which your innovative idea has already been iterated a thousand times? How do you get your app to the front of the crowd, to the top of the search results?

And harder still, what’s the best way to go about promoting it if you’re on a tight budget?

Most app creators I know are startups—a few smart people with a killer idea but not much cash to show for it yet.

Is it possible to market your app free?

Thankfully, yes—it is.

Notice, however,

  • I didn’t say “easy;”
  • I didn’t say “quick.”

But free? Yep, I’ve got you covered.

Here’s a step-by-step formula I’ve found to be incredibly effective and that can get your app the exposure it needs to get major downloads.

If you’ve created an app, good for you. But that’s only the start. Once the app has been fully developed, you have a new full time job. Your job now is to market your app.

What’s my focus here? I want you to earn more money with your app.

Heck, I want you to create the next Instagram or Pokémon GO!

It’s all about the marketing.

Let’s dive in.

Start with app store optimization

App store optimization (ASO) may be somewhat of an overrated buzzword these days, but it’s an essential first step for promoting your app.

Because 63 percent of apps are found through app store searches, you’ll want to make sure that you’re adhering to some basic ASO principles.

image07 5 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

The story becomes even more intriguing when you look at these 2014 stats from MobileDevHQ. They asked survey respondents where they found the last app they downloaded.

image01 4 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Boom. App store wins.

Obviously, when it comes to viral apps such as Pokémon GO, people usually hear about them online or through social networks. I don’t expect very many people to be searching for “virtual monster game” in the app store.

Nonetheless, the vast majority of app downloads happen because people are finding them through app store searches.

How do you “do” app store optimization?

Fortunately, the process is pretty straightforward and similar to standard SEO.

Some elements include:

  • choosing the right keywords
  • using a keyword in the title of the app (“apps with keywords in the title ranked on average 10.3 percent higher than those without a keyword in the title”)
  • creating an awesome description that’s catchy and fully encapsulates what your app is about
  • including a series of detailed screenshots so that potential users fully understand the features.

Optimizely advises you to address these five points:

image00 6 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

If you need a little direction, I recommend checking out this guide on ASO from Moz.

App store optimization is the process you should follow for both Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

There are, however, some significant differences between the two:

image02 4 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Whatever you do, start with app store optimization.

It’s free. And it’s effective.

Get reviews

Social proof is the lifeblood of online marketing.

You can use it to enhance the perceived value of your app and to encourage more people to download it.

I know that I personally like to look at the overall rating as well as three or four user reviews before I download a new app.

If I see that it has an overwhelming number of positive reviews, it probably means that it’s worth my time, and I feel much more comfortable clicking “Install.”

If your app has little to no feedback, I suggest you ask for app reviews.

Ratings and reviews are huge factors in the success of your app. Just take a look:

image06 4 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

If your app has a one-star rating, only around 10% of consumers would consider downloading it. If, by contrast, your app has a five-star rating, 100% of consumers would consider downloading it.

The brutal fact of app marketing is this: If you have low rankings, you won’t get ranked, and you wont’ get downloads.

image03 7 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Be sure to provide notifications to app users, encouraging them to review the app as they use it.

There are numerous websites where you can obtain legitimate reviews, many of which are free. Check out this list for an overview.

Create an app landing page

Once you’ve got the nuts and bolts taken care of, I suggest building a landing page specifically for your app to add to your site.

This might include a few screen shots, some positive reviews, or even a brief video tutorial of how it works. It doesn’t need to be anything over the top. Quite frankly, it’s best to keep it simple.

Below are some examples of app landing pages.

This landing page showcases the functionality of the app while conveying the mood and sense of the app through colors and images:

image16 2 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Vonage’s app download page allows you to “learn more” but also gives you an easy way to download the app for your specific country.

image08 1 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Foursquare’s app provides that simple interface with the same SMS download option that Vonage provides.

image11 3 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Some of the best mobile apps usually display a picture of a phone with a screenshot of the app in use. This kind of imagery sends a message. It says “this is an app” and “this is what the app looks like.”

If you create a landing page for your app, I suggest you follow that example—a phone with a screenshot of the app in use.

Here’s the landing page for Everest:

image12 7 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

I like the simplicity and functionality of this weather app:

image14 4 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

If you’re already generating a considerable amount of traffic, you can turn casual visitors into app users without going to a whole lot of trouble.

Place download links on your website

You can capitalize on your site’s traffic by simply creating download links to your app and placing them on your site.

A logical location would be right next to your social media links. Above the fold is ideal.

With hardly any effort, you can bring some considerable attention to your app by leveraging the existing traffic you’re generating.

Make sure you use the standard download images. Most users have been conditioned to recognize these icons. When they glance at your website, they’ll instantly notice these buttons and click and convert.

image10 4 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

Reach out to tech publications

In my opinion, positive press is one of the best ways to jumpstart a company or, in this case, an app.

Imagine if your app could get a positive mention on a place such as Mashable!

image09 7 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

If you want to take your app from relative obscurity to a global audience, tech publications are just the ticket.

But to be totally honest, this is by no means a cakewalk, especially if you are targeting big name publications. But it’s definitely feasible with a little persistence.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Research tech publications and any other media outlets relevant to your niche. This post has some examples.
  2. Develop a pitch for an article that will feature your app while providing value for a publication’s target audience.
  3. Contact editors.

I will say that most editors are incredibly busy, so it may take some time to get a response (a week or more isn’t uncommon).

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get an instant response. Just keep at it until you break through.

Keep sending emails, and keep following up.

If you can get your app featured on a site such as TechCrunch or Mashable, the effort you put in can pay handsome dividends.

image13 7 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

For starters, I suggest you use this list from Spacechimp as a source of places to get reviews and mentions.

This method is totally free. But it does take some serious time.

Reach out to influencers

While guest blogging may not have quite the same impact as a write-up in a tech publication, this route tends to be easier and can still get significant results.

The key here is to perform some research and find a handful of blogs that are related to the niche your app is in and that have an audience that would be interested in it.

For instance, a productivity app might reach out to Lifehacker to see whether they can get featured in the annual Lifehacker Pack.

image05 5 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

You’ll want to follow the same basic formula that you would for reaching out to a tech publication and develop a quality pitch that a blogger can’t say no to.

Just make sure you fully familiarize yourself with their style and tone first.

Promote on social media

If you’ve already got a sizable audience that’s dialed in, you should be able to gain some decent exposure.

In this case, simply promote your app directly, or post links to articles featuring your app.

If your audience isn’t large enough to help you promote the app, I recommend contacting relevant influencers to see if they’d be willing to share your app with their followers.

Sometimes, this is all it takes to crank up your exposure exponentially.

However, I’ve found that this is usually a numbers game, so you’ll want to reach out to at least five influencers.

Conclusion

With “smartphone users spending 89 percent of their mobile media time using mobile apps,” there’s plenty of opportunity.

Even if you’re on an extremely limited marketing budget, you can still promote your app and bring it to the mainstream.

By following these steps, you can successfully reach your demographic and maximize your number of downloads.

Can you think of any other effective ways to promote an app on a shoestring budget?

 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free  Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free  Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free

 Have an App? The Step by Step Guide to Marketing It Free
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art

What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

blogging What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

I’ve been blogging for longer than ten years.

Ten years! And I haven’t quit.

That’s a long time.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. I simply want to make a point.

Why haven’t I stopped blogging? After all, I get tons of traffic from old blog posts that I wrote two, four, and even eight years ago.

Why do I keep at it? Writing is punishing work. It’s tough, and it takes a long time. Don’t I have better stuff to do like binge-watching Netflix or just relaxing?

Why am I so devoted to blogging?

I’ll let you in on a secret. I actually love what I do. That’s one reason. I blog because I like to do it.

But there’s another reason. It’s a business reason. And it’s built on data.

If you know anything about SEO, you know that Google values fresh content. Fresh content is a significant factor in positively influencing ratings. The logic here is that the more frequently you update your site, the more frequently Googlebot (Google’s crawling bot) visits your site.

In turn, this gives you the opportunity to achieve better rankings.

Although you can update your site in several different ways (not to mention all the different types of content you can create), writing new blog posts tends to be the simplest way to generate fresh content.

So let’s go back to my question: why do I keep blogging? Why are you blogging? Should you quit? Should I quit? Are there better ways to do marketing, gain traffic, and grow conversions?

Is blogging truly all it’s cracked up to be? More specifically, just how big of an impact does it have on SEO?

In this article, I’m going to do away with niceties, guesses, and “best practice” advice. Instead, I’m going to dish up the data so you can get the cold, hard facts on what happens if you decide to stop blogging.

Some key stats

First, here are just a few statistics from Kapost to put blogging in perspective:

  • Brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month.
  • Blogs give websites 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links.
  • Blogs on company sites result in 55 percent more visitors.
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that do not blog.

These are some legit numbers. They show just how monumental of an impact blogging can have.

But what would happen if you stopped blogging?

You pull the plug. You quit. You’re done. No more publishing.

What would happen?

Would it have any catastrophic consequences, or would it merely be a mild impediment?

Let’s take a look at a study that put this to the test.

251 days of no blogging

WordPress developer/social media manager/SEO expert Robert Ryan conducted a simple yet enlightening experiment.

In 2015, he refrained from posting any new content on his blog for 251 days. That’s eight months and seven days.

Here are some of his key findings:

  • Overall traffic to the site saw a major decline as it fell by 32 percent.
  • Organic traffic dropped by a massive 42 percent.
  • Traffic to the contact page was down by 15 percent.
  • Overall site conversions fell by 28 percent.

What can we take away from these stats?

Blogging affects overall traffic

When Ryan quit blogging, his traffic rapidly fell by 32%.

The image quality is low, but here’s the chart that he posted:

image11 5 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

The fact that Ryan’s overall traffic dropped by nearly a third during this time is tangible evidence that there’s a correlation between your blog output and your overall traffic volume.

Quite frankly, I find it a bit alarming to see such a dramatic drop just because of not blogging.

Of course, we should keep in mind that his experiment lasted for over eight months.

If you stopped blogging for only a month or two, the consequences probably wouldn’t be this extreme.

However, it still wouldn’t do you any favors.

This brings up a good point. What if your business runs into trouble, you get sick, or something else happens that prevents you from blogging for a time?

I suggest having a backlog of articles to publish at all times. I like to have several posts scheduled ahead of time. If something unexpected comes up, at least I know my posts will go live according to the schedule.

Organic traffic can take a massive hit

A 42 percent drop in organic traffic is colossal.

For some businesses, that kind of drop could make the difference between making money and losing money.

An organic traffic loss of that magnitude is similar to receiving an algorithmic penalty.

Most websites earn most of their traffic organically.

image03 3 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

If you’re in the “business services” industry, you earn a disproportionate amount of organic traffic.

image05 6 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

Where does all this organic traffic come from?

It comes from content. More specifically, it comes from blogging.

Organic traffic is nothing to wink at. This is the lifeline of your business. This is your audience.

It’s hard to dispute that Google does indeed show preference to sites with consistently fresh content.

As Moz explains,

“Websites that add new pages at a higher rate may earn a higher freshness score than sites that add content less frequently.”

image00 6 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

It’s all theoretical, of course. No one knows exactly how Google’s algorithm works.

But we can’t dispute the fact that quitting a blog leads to an organic traffic nosedive.

By having a dynamic site (publishing content) as opposed to a static one (not publishing new content), you provide Google with new content to crawl and index. In turn, this keeps you on Google’s radar in a positive way.

You also have to consider the fact that each new blog post presents an opportunity to generate more backlinks and rank for additional keywords.

I imagine that you want to see an uptick in traffic like this:

image01 3 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

The fact is, you can’t get traffic like that unless you blog like you mean it.

When you stop blogging for an extended period of time, your stream of organic traffic can dry up, which can obviously have some undesirable consequences.

More blogging equals more leads

The stat from Kapost, stating that brands with 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month, and Ryan’s stat—stating that traffic to his contact page fell by 15 percent—show us just how intertwined blogging and lead generation really are.

This makes sense when you think about it.

No blogging means much less organic and overall traffic. In turn, fewer visitors are landing on your website, which means fewer leads.

Blogging, quite obviously, leads to more leads.

image06 7 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

Notice this data from MarketingCharts.com. Their data shows that a higher blogging frequency is positively correlated with higher customer acquisition rates.

image10 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

Quitting blogging is a conversion killer

The final and perhaps most alarming of Ryan’s findings was the drop in overall site conversions (28 percent).

I can connect the dots to see how this could happen.

Few people blog just for the heck of it. We blog because it makes a significant difference.

We blog because it builds conversions.

But how does this work? How is blogging so inextricably linked to conversions?

From my experience, I’ve found blogging to be an incredibly effective way to build rapport with my audience and get them comfortable with the idea of buying.

For example, before a prospect would want to go ahead and purchase Crazy Egg, there’s a good chance that they would first want to explore “The Daily Egg,” which is the accompanying blog.

I don’t sell anything on that blog. I just provide value, value, value.

image09 6 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

In fact, two stats from Aabaco found that “60 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.”

It’s about fostering positive feelings, as vague as that sounds.

Furthermore, “78 percent of consumers believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships.”

Good relationships are built one blog post at a time.

Basically, blogging builds trust.

If you blog the right way, you can demonstrate transparency.

image04 5 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

Transparency, in turn, creates trust.

There’s no secret here. If you want to truly influence purchases (conversions), you should be blogging.

Customers look to content to grow and sustain positivity and goodwill towards the brand.

This positivity and goodwill influences conversions. You’ll earn more conversions because you are blogging. It’s that simple.

image02 6 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

I would also make the point that stopping blogging out of the blue can make you look a little flaky in the eyes of customers. Some may even wonder if you’re still in business.

No one wants to do business with a place that seems quiet and untended. You might still be in business, but if your blog isn’t buzzing with new content and activity, users might get the idea that you’re not around to serve them.

This will kill your conversions.

For these reasons, you can see how a lack of blogging can slowly trickle down to hurt conversions and eventually result in a considerable decline in customers.

Jeff Bullas provides an excellent explanation of how blogging builds credibility in this infographic:

image08 9 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

These aren’t just random stats. These are concrete data-driven signals that your blog builds your credibility.

And your credibility as a business influences whether or not people will buy from you.

The takeaway

While I can’t say for sure that you would experience the same level of backlash that Ryan did, it’s fair to say that quitting blogging for an extended period of time isn’t going to help you.

Even going a single month without an update could throw a wrench in your SEO.

For this reason, I can’t stress enough just how important it is to be consistent with publishing blogs.

Everyone has their own opinion on what the bare minimum is, but most bloggers would agree that you should strive for at least one per week.

But to determine the ideal frequency, I would suggest checking out this post I wrote about determining how often you need to blog.

A blog such as the Huffington Post (yes, it’s a blog) publishes an article a minute. They can do that because they have a ton of semi-free and syndicated content being pushed out.

If you’re Forbes, you might publish more than 1,000 articles a month.

image07 4 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

Obviously, you won’t be able to keep pace with Forbes or Huffpo, especially if you’re blogging for your personal brand.

Instead, you should focus on consistency. As this article shows, when you quit blogging, your traffic and conversions tank.

If you stay consistent, you’ll win.

Conclusion

Blogging accomplishes much more than simply demonstrating your expertise and building trust.

It plays a major role in SEO, and the frequency of your blogging can determine how much traffic you bring in, how many leads you generate, and ultimately how many conversions you make.

If you want to win at the game of online marketing, you’ve got to be publishing content.

And you can’t stop.

Internet marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. As a ten-year veteran of this sprint, I can attest to the fact that it gets ugly and tiring, and there are times when you want to quit.

But I can also attest to the fact that your hard work pays off.

Sure, at times you might feel like you’re banging your head against a wall, but all that work is doing something. It’s growing your audience. It’s building trust. It’s pushing up conversions bit by bit, day by day, month by month.

Don’t quit.

Have you ever tried a similar experiment, and if so, what were the results?

 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?  What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?  What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?

 What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging?
Source: QuickSprout

The post What Happens to SEO When You Stop Blogging? appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

brand 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

If you run an online business, you are probably aware that building a strong personal brand is one of the most powerful tools in your entrepreneurial arsenal.

While most entrepreneurs understand the power behind effective branding, very few understand how to effectively execute and build a reputable personal brand.

If that’s you, don’t worry.

With a few simple tweaks and hacks, you can ramp up the power behind your brand and build a bigger fanbase than you ever thought possible in a few short weeks.

Here’s how.

1. Use professional profile photos

If you want to be taken seriously in the online world, you need to present yourself with an air of professionalism.

I know it may be tempting to use that cute avatar as your profile picture, but it comes off as adolescent and unprofessional.

Invest the time and money into a professional picture, and it will be worth its weight in gold for your personal brand.

Make sure you smile. Why? Because a smile can build trustworthiness.

image20 2 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

image04 5 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Here’s how MedicalDaily.com summed up the research on this subject:

Psychologists specializing in facial expressions are still unsure as to whether a human smile is a tool used for communication or an involuntary expression that conveys our emotional state. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön and the Toulouse School of Economics have confirmed that putting on an honest smile that is genuine can influence people to cooperate with you by perceiving you as trustworthy.

image14 3 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

The professional photo I use on this blog is simple and effective. Shirt. Suit. Tie. And…smile!

image15 4 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

In the photo above, I’m wearing a suit. That helps, of course, but it’s not absolutely necessary. To look professional in a photo, you don’t need to be wearing a business suit.

By “professional photos,” I mean the quality and subject of the photo.

I was browsing LinkedIn recently and came across a guy I know to be really professional. He does top-notch work and is the president of his own company.

But his profile photo doesn’t shout professional! In fact, it’s kind of hard to figure out what’s going on in his picture. The quality and subject of the photo don’t speak to his professionalism.

image10 4 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Isn’t there a place for fun photos? Sure, but make sure you’re using them in the right place and at the right time.

I’ve discovered that fun or casual photos can grab people’s attention—like this one on my blog NeilPatel.com.

image07 3 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Here are a few key things to remember:

  • When it comes to your profile photo (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), make sure it’s a headshot. No one else needs to be in the picture—no kids, pets, or significant others.
  • Smile.
  • Don’t wear sunglasses.
  • Wear something that’s appropriate to your job and position.
  • If possible, use the photo services of a professional.
  • Use a high-quality photo. Pixelated headshots aren’t effective.

Look, you don’t need to be a good-looking person to have a really high-quality headshot that brings in the leads. All you need is a sharp, crisp, professional photo of your face.

2. Present content authentically

We live in an era of frauds and fakes. If you are not intentional about your presentation, even high quality information may be disregarded or come off as disingenuous.

Whenever you write an article or record a video, speak or write authentically, from the heart. Don’t worry about what people will think.

Whether you swear like a sailor or are as clean-cut as they come, whether you are reserved and quiet or as intense as a Navy SEAL instructor, use your own personality and style whenever you share your message.

People will appreciate the authenticity. Your polarizing nature will create more loyal customers and fans than you can imagine.

3. Create and share killer content on a regular basis

The world is so full of new and exciting content that it’s easy to get left behind (even with an established brand) unless you are regularly creating and marketing high quality content.

A guy like Brian Dean has a strong personal brand:

image08 8 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

He needs to be publishing really great content on a regular basis in order to generate leads for his business.

As expected, his content is always top-notch:

image03 6 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Whether you are creating YouTube videos, podcasts, or blog posts, you need to keep your head in the game and crank out killer content on a regular basis.

What’s “killer” content? Here are a few pointers:

  • Well researched—back up your claims with data.
  • Unique—don’t repeat what everyone else is saying.
  • Longform—lengthy content gets more social shares, more backlinks, and higher search engine results.
  • Genuinely useful—solve problems; relieve pain; provide answers.
  • Grammatically correct.

4. Stay consistent on social media

The average person in the Western world spends around 3 hours on social media each day.

If you don’t build and maintain a high profile social presence, your brand will suffer a slow but certain demise.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s social media presence is on point. He’s always publishing content, and it’s always good.

image02 5 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Social media is so prevalent in our modern culture that it’s become an absolute necessity for any aspiring entrepreneur to master the art of social media branding.

How do you remain consistent on social media? Here is a schedule you can follow:

Twitter: 5 times a day

LinkedIn: 1 time a day

Google+: 1 time a day

Facebook: 2 times a day

Branding isn’t complicated. It’s simply a matter of deciding what your jam is, knowing it, and being all about it, everywhere you are.

5. Tell a compelling story

People love stories—it’s part of our DNA.

We have a neurological response to storytelling:

image23 1 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

The effect of a story is so powerful that it’s impossible to ignore.

James Clear, a popular blogger, explains his take on stories:

In the end, my work ends up being one-part storytelling, one-part academic research, one-part personal experiment. It’s a colorful blend of inspirational stories, academic science, hard-earned wisdom.

His stories are now part of his personal brand. He uses storytelling to introduce the lessons he teaches on his blog.

A story? About a tough job? And the Tour de France? Yes, please.

image12 6 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

And while the days of listening intently to tribal leaders tell tales of struggle and victory while huddled around a campfire on the savanna are over, we still connect with stories in the same way we did thousands of years ago.

If you want to effectively build your personal brand, you have to center everything around a story.

And not just any story, your story.

One of the quickest ways to grow your brand and your business is figuring out how you can craft and share your story in a way that’s as relatable and authentic as possible.

6. Be intentional in positioning yourself

How do you want to be known in your niche?

Are you the friendly expert? The sarcastic a-hole? The mentor full of tough love?

Think about people with strong and recognizable personal brands such as Tucker Max (the sarcastic a-hole), Tim Ferriss (the friendly expert), or Garrett White (the tough love mentor).

All of them decided how they wanted to position themselves within their niches and then built their brands around that.

If you want to succeed in your entrepreneurial endeavors, you’ll do the same.

You have to own it. Stick with it. You’re building an identity.

Maybe Tucker Max likes his identity. Maybe he doesn’t. But he made the bed, and now he has to lie in it.

image24 1 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Selena Soo positions herself as a publicity and business strategist for experts, authors, and coaches:

image00 5 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Every email, webinar, ad, and update is focused on that one point.

Brendon Burchard is a passionate coach who has positioned himself using the “Live. Love. Matter.” slogan. His positioning has allowed him to create a powerful presence that people don’t forget.

image11 4 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

7. Host hangouts and reply to comments

One of the quickest and most efficient ways to grow your personal brand is to connect with your audience.

Whether you are responding to comments on your blog, hosting weekly AMA Hangouts, or annual live meetups, getting involved with your audience and building rapport will put you on the fast track to a massive and recognizable personal brand.

8. Create a recognizable logo

The human brain processes logos in around 13 milliseconds, faster than the blink of an eye. I bet you recognize these logos:

image13 6 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

image16 3 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

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image06 3 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

A recognizable and high quality logo is essential to your visual marketing and personal brand.

Think about brands like Pepsi, Amazon, Google, and PayPal.

All of them have established strong logos people instantly recognize. Whether you love them or hate them, you cannot look at the Pepsi logo or see the colorful letters of Google without immediately acknowledging the brand:

image19 1 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeksimage09 3 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Use the power of the human brain to your advantage, and craft a high quality logo that will increase your recognition.

A personal brand logo creates a visual hook for people to pair with your brand. If you are trying to brand yourself using only a title, your name, or a slogan, it won’t be as effective.

The human brain uses a variety of sensory inputs to create a lasting memory—sound, motion, color, smell, and imagery.

By creating a colorful and unique logo, you’ll be able to develop visual imagery that sticks in people’s minds.

Think about Jimmy Fallon for a moment. He has a strong personal brand and uses his circular logo and blue moon imagery to reinforce this in people’s minds:

image22 1 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Rachael Ray, the celebrity cook, has a fun, light, and memorable logo featuring her name:

image21 1 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

9. Create a brand tag line

Another great way to build your brand recognition is to create a powerful and easy to remember tagline or mission statement.

“Open happiness.”

“Stay fresh.”

“The few, the proud, the ____.”

“Let’s go places.”

Even without me telling you the brand names, you’ve probably recognized the brands of Coca-Cola, Subway, the U.S. Marines, and Toyota.

Brands try to harness a feeling, an emotion. That’s why a brand that makes automobiles can have a tagline with a visceral and deep-seated impact.

image01 2 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

That’s the power of a well-written tagline.

Even in a so-called “boring” industry, Microsoft tries to be inspirational.

image17 2 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

A personal brand has even greater potential for inspiration and motivation.

10. Start a podcast

If most of your work is centered around the written word, starting a podcast is a fantastic way to build a stronger online personality and establish a more powerful brand.

Podcasts are a rawer and unfiltered medium for sharing information, and if you can grow them and market them well enough, they can also be a fantastic strategy for monetizing your brand.

11. Start speaking at events

One of the best ways to establish authority of your personal brand is to speak at events or conferences:

image18 2 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

Although speaking at TEDx or The World Domination Summit may feel out of your reach right now, start with smaller gigs, and build from there.

Getting up in front of a live audience, while being vulnerable and not having the ability to edit mistakes or correct your speeches, is a powerful way to build more authenticity into your brand.

Speaking takes practice. Many people are afraid of public speaking, but I think everyone should try it at least once.

Who knows? You may find that it’s something you love and are good at!

Conclusion

You’re now equipped with 11 powerful tips. These hacks work.

If you are willing to take action, you can grow your personal brand at an obscene rate, earning more customers and building a loyal following quicker than you ever thought possible.

It will take hard work and sacrifice on your part, but I promise that if you do what you need to do and use these 11 tips, your brand and your business will never be the same.

A personal brand is a powerful thing. How have you used your personal brand to gain more clients and customers?

 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks  11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks  11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks

 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks
Source: QuickSprout

The post 11 Personal Brand Building Hacks That Will Earn You More Customers Within Two Weeks appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

To some, email marketing can seem antiquated and even prehistoric when compared to more cutting-edge tactics such as SEO, social media, and mobile optimization.

Although it may not be the sexiest of strategies, there’s no denying that it still gets results.

In fact, “email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.” Just take a look at how it compares with other methods:

image08 7 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

Also, you are six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.

What about ROI?

For each dollar spent, email has an average ROI of $38. Impressive. Here’s how Adobe paints the picture:

image04 4 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

And it gets better.

Email marketing is easy.

Check out this data from MarketingCharts.com:

image01 1 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

Email tops the list of “most effective” digital marketing tactics. But look! It’s also easy!

Results? ROI? Easy? Effective?

Email marketing is killer. It works. It’s awesome. You need to do it.

But in order to truly harness the power of email marketing, it’s important to understand the psychology behind it and to know how to write emails that get results.

The statistics say that email marketing is effective. But statistics tell only part of the story. Statistics can’t predict whether your email marketing efforts will be effective.

In order to create a successful email marketing campaign, it’s crucial to know the tricks of the trade. Getting people to notice your emails, open your emails, click on the stuff in your emails, and respond to your emails is tricky.

Here are the fundamentals of what I’ve learned over the years.

1. Getting emails opened

Half the battle is getting prospects to open your emails.

Research from HubSpot found that companies with 1-10 employees typically receive a median open rate of 35.3% and companies with 26-200 employees receive a median open rate of 32.3%.

Here’s another look at the stats from SmartInsights. Find your industry in the list, and see how your open rates compare:

image10 3 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

These numbers aren’t exactly staggering.

I’ve found that the key to maximizing my open rate is making my emails as personal and interesting as possible.

For instance, I suggest using your first name as your from address.

Why do I suggest this?

The data says so. In one survey, researchers asked “What most compels you to open a permission based email?”

I know what would get me to open an email: the from line!

Do I trust the sender? Do I want to hear from them? Do I like what they write? Is it going to help me in some way?

The best way for me to find that out is by looking at who sent the information.

Just take a look at these numbers. The from line is leading the subject line by double!

image02 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

Most people are already drowning in emails and don’t want to open something from some questionable corporate entity. But many are willing to open something from a real person, who is reaching out to them one-on-one.

If you are signed up to receive emails from me, you expect to see “Neil Patel” in the subject line.

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I wrote the email, so I might as well be the one sending it.

Besides, it gives you, the reader, the authentic sense that you’re hearing from me as a person, not some disembodied email marketing software.

2. Writing a captivating subject line

If your subject line is uninteresting, uninspiring, or mediocre, your email is likely to get passed over. Also, if it gives off a spammy—used car salesman—kind of vibe, it’s probably going in the trash.

How do you grab attention with the subject line?

I’ve found that addressing a common issue or concern works well.

For example, you might promise that the contents of your email can help solve a problem, provide readers with valuable information to improve their lives, or make them happier.

Buffer knows that their audience wants to hear about social media tips. That’s why they use subject lines like this one:

image13 5 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

Throwing in some power words that stimulate readers and appeal to their emotions can have a tremendous impact as well.

Here are just some of the power words you can use:

  • amazing
  • mind-blowing
  • jaw-dropping
  • blissful

You get the idea. I recommend that you check out this list of 317 power words from Smart Blogger for more ideas.

Here’s something I do to save time and effort and increase effectiveness of my email campaigns: I use or repurpose my blog article titles as my email subject lines.

This doesn’t work for every industry or email marketing campaign, I know. But it works for me. The goal of my email marketing efforts is to help people with great content. That content, of course, lives on my blog. So, I might as well use the title of my article as my subject line.

3. Pique their curiosity

Finally, you’ll want to make it so that readers are so intrigued by the subject line that they can’t resist opening your email.

You’ll want to pique their curiosity and leave an information gap that can be filled only by clicking.

For instance, a B2B company might use a subject line such as “How to Double Your Sales in Just 30 Minutes.”

One of my highest open rates came from an email I sent asking for people’s help. I genuinely needed and wanted the response of my readers.

When I asked for readers’ help, it created an information gap between my request and the point of my request. Why did I need help? The result was an insane level of open rates.

I’ve seen other great marketers do the same thing. Jayson DeMers, for example, created this email subject line that caught my attention:

image03 5 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

He even used a smiley face.

4. Writing a killer opening line

Now that you’ve gotten readers to open your email, you need to draw them in deeper with an awesome opening line.

This is probably more important than you might think.

Why do I say this?

Because the subject line isn’t always the first thing that people see!

GASP!

Yeah, I know you’ve been told that the subject line is the most important element of an email. As I explained above, however, the from line seems to have a higher level of impact on whether or not the email gets opened in the first place.

But is that all? The from line and the subject?

No. The first line of the email is important too.

Most email browsers today display a portion of the message directly in the email browser. You don’t have to open the email to read a small section of it.

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Depending on the length of the subject line (and the viewport of the browser), the body of the email has two or three times as much visibility!

It’s not just desktop email programs that do this, though. Don’t forget about mobile devices!

Most mobile email apps show the opening line.

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So, what do you write in your opening line?

I like addressing each reader by their first name. This comes across as being personal and authentic, which is key for getting them to read on.

I also like to avoid the classic “Hi, my name is…” routine.

Instead, I prefer to opt for something like “I noticed that you…” or “I saw that we both…”

This approach helps the reader relate to me better and faster. I gain their attention by drawing upon a shared experience.

Make sure you get to the point of your email from the get go. Preliminary chatting might turn off people who simply want to find out what the email is about.

Just get right to the point so that you can make an instant connection.

Notice how Jacob McMillen did this in his email:

image09 5 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

Writing like this will earn the respect of your readers. You value their time. You give them what they need. They get on with their lives.

5. The body

This is where it’s time to really connect with your reader. It’s your opportunity to show how your product/service can provide them with real value and improve their life.

I suggest keeping it short and simple and not overloading your reader with extraneous information.

Remember, the point here is to gain their attention and build some initial rapport. You’re just looking to warm them up to advance them through the sales funnel.

You’re not necessarily going for the jugular right away.

Be sure to break up text into short, digestible paragraphs.

I also suggest speaking in second person and using you when speaking to readers.

Ask personal questions to give your email an intimate feel as if you’re talking face-to-face.

I think HubSpot gives some good examples of this:

  • Do you have unanswered questions about [topic]?
  • How, if at all, would you like to improve your strategy?
  • Is [benefit to them] a priority for you right now?

If you’ve ever read Ramit’s emails, you know he does a great job with this. The paragraphs are short. The tone is personal. And the whole point of the email is spot on: it’s filled with helpful, actionable information.

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6. Nailing the closing

Besides the subject line, the closing is arguably the most important part of an email.

It’s the point where a reader will decide whether or not they want to act on your offer and proceed any further.

The goal here is to wind down and transition into a well-crafted call to action (CTA).

What do you want them to do next?

Maybe it’s to check out a landing page, sign up for a course, download an e-book, or straight up buy a product/service.

Whatever it may be, your CTA needs to be crystal clear.

Tell them exactly what you want them to do next, and make sure there’s no guessing what that action is.

Some of us have the mistaken idea that we need to sneak in the CTA or somehow hide it in the email so it’s not so obvious. Please don’t make this mistake.

Your CTA is the money of your email—the reason why you’re sending it in the first place. Make it strong, unmistakable, and absolutely clear.

This email from StackSocial, while not exactly personal, does have a great CTA. You can see it directly in the body of the email—the place where my eyes are first going to look.

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7. Creating urgency

Here’s another thing I’ve learned.

Many people have a tendency to procrastinate. Maybe they’re wrapped up in something at the moment or just aren’t in the mood to complete your desired action right now.

This is no good because once they close an email, the odds they’ll come back to it are slim to none.

That’s why it’s vital to create urgency so that they feel compelled to take action right away.

Most marketers complain that the “most challenging obstacle” to their email marketing is getting people to take action by clicking on the call to action (or whatever the click goal of the email is).

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I’ve found that setting a tight deadline tends to work well for this.

For example, you might say that an “offer expires tomorrow,” or “get it before it’s gone,” or “only 10 spots left.”

This is essential for getting a prompt reply.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that email still matters and can be just as effective as many of the newer marketing tactics.

It’s easy to get distracted by creating a sizzling-hot Twitter strategy, building a Facebook group, or starting your live video channel.

Those are all great things, and I don’t discourage you from implementing them.

But email still works—although not on its own.

To truly get results, it’s necessary to follow the right formula and understand the mindset of your readers.

By following these techniques, you should be able to increase both your open rate and response rate.

How does email marketing stack up against your other primary marketing channels in 2016?

 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results  How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results  How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results

 How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results
Source: QuickSprout

The post How to Write Marketing Emails That Get Results appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

wordpress 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

You already know WordPress is the easiest and most SEO-friendly CMS in the world.

Maybe you’re pretty excited about it. You’re glad you chose WordPress. All you have to do is publish a few blog articles and wait for the jacked-up SEO of WordPress to do its thing, right?

Sorry to burst your bubble. If you think that choosing WordPress as a CMS is all you need to do, think again.

Look, I’m as big a fan of WordPress as you are. It’s an amazing CMS with high-octane potential, ease of use, and unlimited optimization possibilities.

But notice I say potential. And possibilities.

Kick-ass SEO isn’t guaranteed. It takes effort to make WordPress truly SEO-friendly, and I am here to help.

If you are expecting WordPress to deliver search optimization right out of the box, you won’t be disappointed. It’s not terrible. It’s just not optimized to the level that it needs to be in order to be truly powerful.

We’re going to make it powerful.

Here are 16 SEO tactics you must deploy immediately to rank your website higher on the SERPs and get more traffic and leads.

1. Generate plain English URLs

How do you want your URLs to show up on search engines?

Like this?

yoursite.com/wpsamp/?p=123

Or like this?

yoursite.com/how-to-write-plain-english-URLs-in-WordPress

By default, the WordPress CMS generates URLs that contain special characters such as the question mark, post number, and maybe other horrific unspeakables (see the image below).

image04 3 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

You want search engines to be able to see your post titles because they contain valuable-SEO keywords. To ensure your titles show up in your posts’ URLs, do this:

  1. log in to your Admin area
  2. click “Settings”
  3. select “Permalinks”
  4. check the radio button next to the “Post name.”

You’re all done. Your URLs will now be in plain English.

Big caution here: Don’t go changing all your existing URLs. Doing so will produce an SEO nightmare. Instead, make the change for all your future articles.

2. Convert your HTML and JS to AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) HTML/JS

AMP is the new golden standard created by Google for mobile pages.

AMP lightens pages and makes them load faster. Faster-loading pages are manna from heaven for mobile browsers.

The logic is simple: The faster your pages load and the more AMP-ready they are, the higher they’ll rank on Google. You will find your place on Page #1, Position #1 right in the Google AMP carousel.

Here’s how AMP pages are delivered by Google:

image00 5 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

The deal is to convert your regular HTML/JS to AMP HTML/JS.

You can do this in two ways:

  1. Install this AMP plugin. It’ll help you generate AMP posts, but it won’t convert archived posts into AMP pages.
  2. Hire a coder to convert your HTML pages. AMP is not usually a major coding headache, so your developer should be able to quickly get your website AMP-ready after reviewing these instructions.

If you have the choice, my advice would be to hire a developer. The plugin is new, and the developers need to do some work on it to get it into shape.

3. Write optimized meta titles and descriptions

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Yoast SEO Plugin.

The Yoast SEO plugin is a terrific tool that allows you to write titles and descriptions and focus on a keyword by reporting on your keyword’s appearance in the page title, article heading, URL, meta description, and content.

Yoast’s developers are smart, and they keep updating the plugin based on the latest SEO standards. For example, Yoast has modified the number of characters in the title from 55 to 70, keeping up with the latest Google changes.

image03 2 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

Just install Yoast, and you’re set.

Almost.

Yoast is a tool, but it doesn’t do the work for you. In order for Yoast to be effective, you need to work through each of the optimization sections for every blog post you publish.

4. Add a title and alt-tag to all images

You don’t need a tool to do this. Just log in to the WP admin area, and select “Media.”

Once there, choose the images or open the media library, and start adding titles (if you haven’t already), alt tags, and captions to images.

The text must be keyword-rich and relevant, but make sure you don’t keyword-stuff.

Use captions wisely. If the image doesn’t require a caption, don’t add one. Captions provide only marginal SEO benefit and may negatively impact the usability of your site.

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5. Install rich snippets

Rich snippets help Google serve rich results that appear meaningful and make more sense to users.

You’ve seen rich snippets before. They appear often in the SERPs:

image01 8 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

Notice that the top two results have star ratings, upvotes, prep time, and calorie count. Not bad, huh?

These extra SERP features make the top two results, and even the fourth result, a lot more interesting and clickable than the third one.

The ratings and other rich data contained in the results showed up there because the websites have programmed rich snippets into their HTML codes.

How do you implement rich snippets?

Here are a couple of options:

  • Install this rich snippets plugin—no coding required!
  • Hire a programmer to build rich snippets into your code.

Again, I recommend hiring a programmer because it gives you more control over the coding. Besides, you don’t have to worry about a buggy plugin or plugin updates.

You can ask your programmer to build in rich snippets (and rich cards) for reviews, events, articles, people, video, recipes, and software tools.

7. Secure your website

WordPress may be the friendliest CMS ever, but it’s also the most vulnerable to hackers, malware, and trojans.

Why? Not because it’s inherently shoddy, but because it’s insanely popular. As the most popular platform, it’s also the biggest target for nefarious hackers.

Your WordPress theme, plugins, databases, and file permissions are all open to attacks.

Securing your website is one of the best SEO practices. It makes search engines view your website positively and rank it higher than other non-secure sites in your niche. A secure website also comforts users and customers when they realize their data is in good hands.

I recommend you install WordFence, an open-source enterprise-class security plugin.

It will build a Fort Knox around your website, monitor it in real time, receive and upgrade threat perceptions automatically, and generally keep your website humming on securely.

8. Add caching

Cache plugins work by caching (storing) pages, databases, database queries, etc. and then serving them on the fly without executing PHP code or database queries.

A cache plugin can help you significantly reduce the loading time—a good thing for both search engines and users.

I recommend you install the most popular and efficient WordPress caching plugin, W3 Total Cache. It’s backed by a community of avid users, years of improvements, and a solid track record.

9. Control spammy comments

Spam showing up in comment sections of WordPress sites is distributed by automated tools. If you are not careful, you will find that piles of comments with backlinks to pharma or adult-themed websites have sneaked their way into your blog posts.

You don’t want search engines to notice and possibly penalize you for spammy comments, do you?

To get rid of all evil comments, you absolutely must install Akismet or a similar highly-ranked comment blocker.

Akismet checks all comments, catches the spammy ones, and reports on comments that contain misleading links. You can then browse the comments caught by Akismet and delete the ones you consider spam.

Akismet is a free plugin for personal blogs, but business blog owners have to purchase a key.

10. Keep visitors engaged

When visitors hang around your website, flipping through posts, it lowers the bounce rate and increases the browsing time per user—both of which are significant SEO factors.

Aside from writing great content, you also should display related posts to pique your visitors’ interest further.

There’s no coding involved. All you have to do is install the Contextual Related Posts plugin:

image05 4 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

This feature-rich plugin generates thumbnails and supports shortcodes, widgets, and CSS styles. Go for it!

11. Make your posts socially shareable

You already know that posts that can be shared can help increase traffic, leads, and sales.

You also already may have installed social sharing icons on your blog. If you haven’t, install this nifty Social Media Share Buttons plugin.

Gaining social shares is a huge SEO benefit and one that you don’t want to neglect.

12. Back up your website

Can you imagine what will happen to your content, SEO, databases, leads, reputation, brand, hard work, and more if your website crashes or vanishes for reasons known or unknown?

Yeah, it’s horribly frightening to imagine such a scenario.

So, why even think about it?

Because it happens. And when it does, you’ll feel like your world has come crashing down.

Buy and install the Backup Buddy plugin, set it up, and sleep soundly, knowing that your website is indestructible.

13. Optimize your database

If you do not maintain and optimize your WordPress or WooCommerce site’s database from time to time, chances are it will bulk up and go belly up.

That’s because WordPress keeps creating a revision of a post every time you create or edit it. Aside from that, comments and other junk keep regularly collecting in the database, slowing down your website and cannibalizing your server space.

To optimize your database, download and install WP-Optimize—a free database optimizer—and clean up your database regularly.

14. Generate a dynamic sitemap.xml

An XML sitemap helps search engines understand your website fully and index it efficiently.

You already may have installed a sitemap.xml, but is your sitemap dynamic? Does it keep updating every time you add content?

If the answer is no, install Google XML Sitemaps—a very popular and helpful plugin that either generates dynamic sitemaps or allows you to create one manually.

image02 3 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

After creating one, upload it into your root folder (yoursite.com/sitemap.xml).

15. Secure your forms

Are your contact forms secured by CAPTCHA?

If they are not, you are inviting trouble.

There are hundreds of thousands of hackers and spammers who own bots that crawl the web looking for unsecure contact forms. Such forms are quickly stuffed with spammy and useless comments, designed to bloat your database, eat up disk space, and slow down your site.

I am not talking about just one or two annoying comments. Unsecured forms can get hundreds of comments every day.

The solution is to add CAPTCHA. Here is one plugin that can help: Really Simple CAPTCHA.

16. Guide search engines

Search engines typically crawl and fetch all pages unless you restrict them from indexing some areas on your site.

For example, you don’t need search engines to crawl and index your WP-admin area, CSS, and Javascript files.

Therefore, you need to upload a robust robots.txt file that tells search engines where to crawl and where not to.

If you haven’t written an efficient Robots file yet, use Virtual Robots.Txt to create one. After creation, upload it into your root folder (yoursite.com/robots.txt)

Conclusion

Keep in mind, technical optimization alone won’t help you succeed in SEO.

To be truly successful, you need to populate your WordPress site with content—amazing content. Lots of content. Optimized content.

Technical SEO only gets you so far. It’s a crucial building block, but it’s only that—a building block that allows you to do the next steps such as off-page SEO, content optimization, and content marketing.

Follow all the tactics above to make your website more SEO-friendly than ever before.

How’s your WordPress SEO? What tools or methods do you use to improve it?

 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now  16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now  16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now

 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now
Source: QuickSprout

The post 16 SEO Tactics You Need to Do To Your WordPress Site Right Now appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long-tail Keyword

seo1 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

So you want to write an article that ranks on the first page of Google for a long-tail keyword?

Fine. So does everyone else.

Ranking on the first page of Google for well-selected long-tail keywords remains one of the fastest ways to get your content in front of thousands of people.

But how do you do this?

One option is to sign up with one of the shady SEO agencies that promises “first-page ranking in two weeks!”

I think we can all agree, you don’t want to do that. The days of fly-by-night-snake-oil-salesmen SEO agencies are long gone. If anyone promises first-position rankings, run the other way. There are no guarantees in the world of SEO.

Unfortunately, as a result of these con artists, some people think that first-page ranking is still a myth. I can’t say I blame them.

Maybe you’ve wondered too: is first-page ranking even possible today?

With the search algorithm changing so frequently and millions of pieces of new content being released on a daily basis, it could seem like a fool’s errand to try to create top-ranked content in Google.

But it’s not impossible.

To be completely transparent, you won’t rank for the term “Apple” or “Google” anytime soon. Those are head terms, not long-tail keywords. They are also trademarked, talked about, and dominated by large and established businesses.

But we’re not talking about head terms. We’re talking about long-tail keywords—the kind of terms you want to rank for in order to get more eyeballs, clicks, and sales.

After all, someone has to rank on the first page of Google. The sites that are ranking on the first page of Google right now had to do something in order to earn that rank.

What did they do to get it?

Today, I’ll show you the simple and proven method for ranking on the first page for any long-tail keyword.

This isn’t some shady trick, hack, tweak, black magic, or programming voodoo. In fact, this requires quite a bit of hard work, time, and effort. If you’re expecting “one sneaky trick that Google doesn’t want you to know about,” you’ve come to the wrong site.

This is the honest, no-BS method for truly outranking your competition, authentically gaining rank, and staking your claim in the most valuable digital real estate on the planet—the first page of Google.

1. Do your research

While many people believe that keyword research doesn’t matter anymore, it’s just as important now as it’s ever been.

In fact, the only way you can hope to rank highly for a keyword is to make sure you do your research.

And that’s where we need to start with this whole effort—researching the correct keyword.

What should you look for when researching the right keyword?

Length

The first thing you should always do whenever you are trying to rank for a long-tail keyword is to make sure the keyword is long enough.

I always suggest a minimum of four words.

Take a look at the type and length of searches that constitute a long-tail keyword.

image02 2 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

Don’t go overboard and write content for a 10-word phrase, but anything fewer than four words, and you’ll likely face too much competition to get your article ranked.

Competition

Whenever you are trying to find a great keyword to rank for, you want to look for something that’s not highly competitive but still has a respectable number of monthly searches.

Long-tails don’t have a lot of search volume. But you shouldn’t worry about this. You’re not going for high volume—you are going for focused intention.

It’s better to have a few searches and rank high than to have tons of searches and not rank at all.

Run your selected long-tail keywords through Google’s Keyword Planner tool to find out how much competition you’re facing:

image07 2 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

The good thing about long-tail keywords is that there are many of them. In fact, 70% of all search traffic today comes from the long-tail.

image00 4 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

The key to this is to look for more descriptive keywords, ideally keywords that will convert well.

User Intent

Something that’s more important than the keyword itself is the intent behind the keyword.

For example, when someone searches the keyword you are trying to rank for, are they searching because they want to browse, shop, or buy?

The good thing about long-tail keywords is that it’s fairly obvious to figure out what the user is searching for.

Take a look at these queries:

image08 6 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

The head terms—”camera” and “digital camera”—aren’t very descriptive. You might not be able to get a focused understanding of what the user is searching for.

But the long-tail keywords are valuable. Someone searching for “sony digital camera 7.1MP with 3x optical zoom” is looking for a specific product.

With a few additional variables, you can create and deliver precisely the kind of content the user is seeking:

  • Buy sony digital camera 7.1MP with 3x optical zoom
  • Compare sony digital camera 7.1MP with 3x optical zoom
  • Research sony digital camera 7.1MP with 3x optical zoom
  • sony digital camera 7.1MP with 3x optical zoom features
  • sony digital camera 7.1MP with 3x optical zoom accessories

If you can figure out the long-tail intent—and it’s not that difficult—you can masterfully craft content that will match that intent. As a result, your content will quickly rise to the first page.

2. Write keyword-rich headlines

One of the keys to ranking in Google is to ensure you write keyword-rich headlines.

Headlines matter. They matter to people, and, therefore, they matter to SEO.

image03 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

Most people will only pay attention to the first two words of their search phrases to decide whether or not you have the content they are looking for.

So make sure you play with variations of your headlines to include the necessary keywords and grab the reader’s attention as quickly as possible.

For example, let’s take the search phrase “make money online.”

Here are a few headline variations you could use to rank for that keyword:

  1. How to Make Money Online in 3 Simple Steps
  2. The Proven Method to Make Money Online in Any Niche
  3. The No B.S. Guide to Make Money Online This Weekend
  4. How to Make Money Online TODAY Using Skills You Already Have
  5. How to Make Money Online Without Any Marketable Skills

These headlines include the keyword, are clear in their purpose, and let readers know what they are in for right from the start.

When you use your selected long-tail keyword in the title of your article, you make the keyword stand out in the SERPs.

image01 7 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

Remember, Google is smart. It can figure out what people are trying to search for even if that person isn’t doing a very good job of actually searching for it.

3. Pay attention to user intent

I mentioned this in the first section: align your content with user intent.

In other words, focus on the why behind a user’s search query.

image09 2 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

For example, if someone types in “Buy 43” Panasonic TV,” you can safely assume the user intent is to make a purchase.

However, if the keyword is “43” Panasonic TV Reviews,” you can assume the user intent is to gain information.

You can think of these various types of intentions as concentric circles that correspond to the stages in a marketing funnel:

image10 2 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

You can take this a step further on your quest for keyword domination by looking for key phrases that have top-ranking, highly-shared articles you could improve.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say you are trying to rank for the keyword phrase “content marketing strategies for your blog.”

You plug this keyword phrase into Buzzsumo and get these top three results:

“The Worst Content Marketing Strategy Mistakes You Don’t Know You Are Making”

“How to Do an Audit of Your Content Marketing Strategy for Your Blog”

and

“Advanced Content Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Blog 10X”

Here’s the thing.

Most people who are looking up the phrase “content marketing for your blog” are probably content marketing newbies, not looking for mistakes, audits, or advanced strategies.

This gives you a fantastic opportunity to write content that better addresses the user intent for that keyword and will, therefore, rank higher in Google.

For example, using the above long-tail keyword, you could write articles titled:

“The Best Content Marketing Strategies to Rapidly Grow Your New Blog”

“Simple Content Marketing Strategies for Your Blog to Double Your Traffic”

Or

“Proven Content Marketing Strategies to Double Your Blog Traffic in 90 Days.”

These titles are much more focused on the user intent behind this keyword search and will quickly rise to the front page of Google.

Why will they quickly rise to the front page of Google?

Because they meet the user’s intention.

Google’s algorithm is focused on providing the best possible search result for user queries. If you can successfully meet those intentions, you’ll be rewarded.

4. Write, write, write

I always tell people that if they want to rank in Google, they’d better get used to writing—and writing a lot.

Let’s face it. If you’re blogging once a month, you’re not generating enough content to get ranked.

image05 3 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

Articles that rank in Google are typically 2,000+ words and filled with pictures, embedded videos, and internal links.

image06 5 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

Whenever you write an article you want to rank, you should treat it as more of an “Ultimate Guide” than just a normal post.

Make the content so good that you could sell it as a standalone product if you wanted to.

Also, be wary of stuffing your article with keywords. Instead, focus on providing massive value to your audience, not pulling one over on Google…because you can’t pull one over on Google.

5. Market your new article like crazy

Now that you’ve written your article, it’s time to market the living crap out of it.

Ramit Sethi sums it up in his unscientific graph:

image04 2 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

Putting it on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is a given, but there is a lot more to it than that.

What really matters is telling the right people about it.

Reach out to influencers to see if they’d be willing to link to your content; create a YouTube audio version of your content with a link back to the article in the description; or even create a podcast with a summary of your article.

Use every possible avenue to get your article in front of as many eyes as possible.

The more times your article is seen, shared, and commented on, the better your odds of higher ranking on Google.

Conclusion

Most people think that ranking on the first page of Google for a long-tail keyword is impossible, but most people are wrong.

If you put in the effort, write quality content that offers real value, and market your content effectively, you can expect to see your article on the first page of Google in no time.

I’m going to say it one more time: You can’t trick Google.

Instead, you’ve got to put in the long hours. You have to feel the sore fingers and the exhausted brain. This is hard work. There are no shortcuts.

Delivering real solutions to real people is the key to success. Your content must be better than everyone else’s. That’s all there is to it.

By following this process, you are guaranteed a spot on the traffic-scoring, conversion-boosting A-list of marketing power: the first page of Google.

Do you have any Google first-page success stories? How did you do it?

 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword  The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword  The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword

 The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long tail Keyword
Source: QuickSprout

The post The Proven Method to Ranking on the First Page of Google For Any Long-tail Keyword appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately

outsourced 78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately

If you’re like me, you stay busy.

Running a business is a tall order in and of itself. When you throw marketing into the mix, things can quickly become overwhelming.

If you haven’t felt this way yet, you’re going to feel it soon: There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Here is one thing I learned early on in my business: outsourcing will save your life.

I speak from personal experience. There’s no way I could have done what I’ve done without strategically and carefully outsourcing a lot of the day-to-day marketing tasks that took up my time and kept me from focusing on other goals.

Why I’m a fan of outsourcing

Outsourcing has tons of benefits.

image00 3 78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately

Most businesses rely on outsourcing because they want to “focus on the core.” That’s another way of saying “we want to do what we do best.”

For you, the reasons may be different. You might have 29 things you have to do for a client, but you only have time to do 18 of them. You can outsource the rest.

I’m a major proponent of outsourcing a lot of the day-to-day tasks that are laborious and only hold me back from focusing on more pressing matters.

I’m probably different from other business owners, though. While some people have a top-down or hands-off approach to running their companies, I prefer to be in the thick of it.

You’ll see me personally interacting on Facebook, jumping into blog comments, and working on blog articles.

I like to be involved in these aspects of my business because I feel like they are one of my important business tasks—connecting with and learning from other marketers.

That’s one of the great things about outsourcing. You can be as involved as you want or as hands-off as you want. It’s up to you.

A lot of people I talk with are concerned about the cost of outsourcing. “But doesn’t it cost a lot to outsource these tasks?” they ask.

The answer is yes and no.

Yes, you have to pay for quality work.

But no, it doesn’t cost a lot because of the time you’re saving. If your time is worth, say, $50/hr, doesn’t it make sense to pay someone $35/hr to post to Facebook, create a video, proofread an article, or respond to blog comments?

If you can be doing your $50/hr work while your outsourcer is doing their $35/hr work, it’s a win-win-win. You win. They win. Your client wins.

image01 6 78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately

And it’s not just time you’re saving. You’re also creating efficiency and increasing your quality. So maybe it’s a win-win-win-win-win.

Are there risks to outsourcing?

Sure, there are risks to anything.

I’ll admit that outsourcing has its fair share of risks. You can risk hiring the wrong person. You risk an outsourcer going AWOL. You run the risk of poor work standards. You even risk your brand being tarnished when an outsourced worker gets shoddy with their work.

There’s a flip side to this.

Most entrepreneurs and marketers are concerned they’ll get low quality work if they outsource.

What I’ve discovered is that you can actually improve the quality of work if you outsource.

Let’s say you need to create an explainer video for a new product. You can do it yourself with your iPhone and feeble editing skills.

Or you can outsource it to an explainer video professional.

If you outsource it, the quality will be a million times better than the quality you’d get if you’d tried to do it yourself.

See what I mean?

Besides, you don’t always need perfection when it comes to marketing. Although I tend to be a perfectionist, I’ve realized that done is better than perfect.

But I believe the rewards are greater than the risks. Besides, part of being a good marketer is being a good manager to other marketers.

The great thing is that there is a wide array of virtual assistants and marketing professionals available who will ensure that your campaign runs like a well-oiled machine without you having to hold their hand every step of the way.

Here are some specific tasks you should outsource right away.

Blogging

I always strive to maintain high quality standards on both NeilPatel.com and Quick Sprout. I’ve found I’m consistently able to do so without it devouring my time by outsourcing.

And I’m not alone. In fact, 64% of B2B marketers outsource their writing in some capacity.

Here are some of the ways you can improve your blog quality through outsourcing:

  1. Moderating blog comments and filtering spam
  2. Responding to the comments your readers leave
  3. Performing research for upcoming blog posts
  4. Generating new ideas and pitches for blog posts
  5. Scheduling blog posts
  6. Finding images and videos for blog posts
  7. Adding meta descriptions, tags, and images to blog posts
  8. Finding statistics to incorporate into posts
  9. Proofreading for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and awkward phrasing
  10. Making adjustments to older blog posts as new data is unveiled
  11. Creating internal links to existing posts
  12. Keeping an inventory of posts and the keywords used
  13. Corresponding with your team of freelance writers
  14. Hunting down guest blog opportunities
  15. Coming up with pitches for guest posts
  16. Reaching out to influencers in your industry

Social Media

In my opinion, social media may be pound-for-pound the easiest area of marketing to outsource.

One of the biggest challenges of social media is curating the content you plan to share. It can take an enormous amount of time simply to find good, relevant articles that your audience will benefit from. Outsourcing this task is an instant way to free up several hours a week!

Think about the importance of visuals in your social media content too. Adding images to individual posts is a massive time drain…unless you outsource it!

A lot of tasks don’t require an immense amount of experience. Most virtual assistants are fully capable of handling them with minimal supervision:

  1. Managing and approving friend or follow requests
  2. Inviting followers to attend events
  3. Sending out personalized birthday greetings to key contacts
  4. Sharing your blog content across social networks
  5. Finding and editing images to use in posts
  6. Curating quality content from relevant sources
  7. Scheduling posts across all social platforms
  8. Keeping track of brand mentions
  9. Uploading new videos to YouTube
  10. Creating questionnaires and surveys
  11. Engaging with friends and followers
  12. Ensuring all profiles are updated on a consistent basis
  13. Sending out thank-yous to new followers
  14. Commenting, retweeting, and interacting with interesting content
  15. Designing and occasionally redesigning profiles

SEO

While you don’t want just anyone handling the more complex aspects of SEO, there are several elements of SEO that virtual assistants are fully capable of looking after. Many freelancers have the skill to perform keyword research, create a 301 map, or generate a thorough sitemap.

If you’re looking for someone to deal with the nuts and bolts of SEO, you’ll want to go with a highly qualified SEO firm who has a track record of success.

This post from Kissmetrics discusses what to look for in an SEO firm and how to tell if they’re helping or hurting you.

These are some of the SEO tasks that can be outsourced:

  1. Performing keyword research
  2. Creating catchy headlines
  3. Setting up a sitemap
  4. Building and editing landing pages
  5. Performing off-site optimization such as commenting on other blogs
  6. Analyzing the SEO campaigns of competitors
  7. Tracking the position of your content in search engines
  8. Researching cutting edge SEO trends
  9. Submitting content to directories
  10. Handling social bookmarking
  11. Monitoring site speed
  12. Performing an occasional SEO audit
  13. Keeping up with Google algorithm updates

Content marketing

Did you know that 72% of large organizations and 33% of small companies outsource their content creation?

Content marketing is my jam. I love it. I do it. And I’ve experienced incredible success with it.

As experienced as I am, I feel completely comfortable outsourcing numerous aspects of content marketing.

Let’s face it: content marketing takes serious time. As content marketing grows, you’ll discover there are more and more tasks you need to—but don’t have time to—do.

You’re left with a single choice: outsource or drown.

Here is what you can outsource:

  1. Creating offsite content that links back to your website and blog
  2. Interviewing sources
  3. Finding statistics to add
  4. Repurposing content, using a variety of mediums such as infographics, videos, slideshows and webinars
  5. Creating and managing your editorial calendar
  6. Establishing deadlines for content
  7. Building spreadsheets for your editorial calendar
  8. Backing up content in the Cloud
  9. Finding and editing photos
  10. Converting files
  11. Working on increasing post engagement
  12. Keeping track of your content marketing budget
  13. Ensuring all content is mobile-friendly

You can learn more about the process of outsourcing content marketing on one of my previous posts. In it, I discuss some important questions to ask to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Analytics

Every good marketer makes decisions based on analytics.

But analytics can be tricky. You have to set up your analytics, configure the analytics, generate reports from your analytics, monitor these analytics, analyze the analytics, determine takeaways from the analytics, and then make strategic marketing decisions in light of these analytics.

Thankfully, there are parts of the analytics maze you can outsource:

  1. Monitoring trends with traffic, acquisition, conversions, etc.
  2. Spotting long-term patterns
  3. Generating daily, weekly, and monthly reports
  4. Analyzing engagement
  5. Determining how cost-effective your marketing techniques are

Reputation Management

Knowing what the public perception of your business is at all times has never been more important than it is today. In fact, 97% of consumers say they read reviews about local businesses.

Due to the fact that reputation management can be inherently time-consuming, I’ve found outsourcing it to be a smart move:

  1. Handling social listening across the web
  2. Monitoring reviews on sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List
  3. Getting consumer feedback
  4. Paying attention to negative press
  5. Responding to negative comments
  6. Managing trolls

Email marketing

Email marketing matters more today than ever before.

As old-school as it sounds, email marketing is one of the best methods of attracting and retaining high-value leads for your B2B or B2C.

But, as with any area of marketing, things can get tricky here too. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to set up email, integrate it, create updates, format newsletters, and take care of the nitty-gritty of mailing lists and scheduling.

It’s one of the first things you should consider outsourcing:

  1. Creating newsletters
  2. Proofreading and editing emails
  3. Sending out bulk emails
  4. Responding to questions

WordPress

WordPress could be considered the universal blogging and publishing platform.

In fact, 26% of all websites on the planet use WordPress. If you run your site on it, you can make your life a lot simpler by outsourcing a few key tasks:

  1. Monitoring and managing plugins
  2. Installing new plugins
  3. Providing WP support
  4. Tweaking templates
  5. Handling coding

Conclusion

We’re living in a globalized, digitized world with a surplus of professionals who can handle nearly every aspect of your marketing campaigns.

As a result, outsourcing many marketing tasks makes complete sense and has never been easier to do.

I’ve had a lot of success with outsourcing, and I know I’m not alone. Many of my industry colleagues and clients have told me the same thing. If it weren’t for outsourcing, they wouldn’t be in business!

Once you start outsourcing, amazing things will happen to your business.

You suddenly find yourself with more time to focus on high-level strategy. Instantly, you encounter new opportunities for growth and expansion. Your vision becomes clearer. You open up new channels of engagement. Things simply improve.

Outsourcing is a small move that starts the cascade of great benefits.

If you haven’t been taking advantage of outsourcing, I would recommend first identifying which tasks are hurting your efficiency and then hiring others to handle them.

Here’s my challenge: This week, outsource just one marketing task. That’s it!

Use Fiverr, Upwork, or Craigslist. Find someone who’s skilled. Give them a task. See what happens.

Have you outsourced any other areas of your marketing efforts that I didn’t cover?

 78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately  78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately  78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately

 78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately
Source: QuickSprout

The post 78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

writing A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

Wouldn’t it be great if every single person who clicked on one of your articles read it from start to finish, unable to pull their eyes away from the screen?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

To achieve this goal, however, you must master the art of writing intriguing introductions.

Wait a second, you’re thinking. Writing introductions? Isn’t that kind of a small detail of a 2,000-word article?

Your article intro is not a small detail.

The introduction to your article is often the difference between engaging readers and having a bounce rate high enough to make a click-baiter cringe.

Think about it. If you don’t grab your readers right away, you’ll lose them.

You went through all that work of writing a killer article, right? You worked hard at it. You spent a lot of time on it. You did a ton of research.

But if your introduction sucks, your efforts will be all for nothing.

You lost before you even got started!

If you want to write great content, improve the success of your marketing campaigns, and increase the loyalty of your fans, you must master writing introductions.

Let me show you how.

1. Master the opening line

To have a strong introduction, you need to open with a strong first sentence.

The millisecond your reader hits the page, they have an extremely high likelihood of leaving the page.

image08 5 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

Data says so.

The first sentence has one single purpose: to entice the reader to read the next sentence. In doing so, it sets the tone for the rest of the article, hooking the reader in, one step at a time.

If you fail at this, you readers won’t scroll.

image04 4 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages. Each bar represents the share of people who stopped scrolling at a particular spot in the article. (An article is assumed to be around 2000 pixels long; if the top of your browser window gets to the 2000-pixel mark, you’re counted as scrolling 100% through the article. The X axis goes to 120% because on most pages, there’s usually stuff below the 2000-pixel mark, like the comments section.) This graph only includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at all (users who “bounced” from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented.) The graph shows that many Slate readers do not scroll at all. That’s the spike at the 0% mark, representing about 5% of readers. Most visitors scroll about halfway through a typical Slate story. The spike near the end is an anomaly caused by pages containing photos and videos—on those pages, people scroll through the whole page.

And if they don’t scroll, they won’t engage.

Check out this article by Dilbert author Scott Adams to see how the first sentence is done.

image10 3 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

He writes this:

I went from being a bad writer to a good writer after taking a one-day course in “business writing.”

That’s a great opening line.

Why? Because it makes me want to know more!

  • How did he become a good writer?
  • What did he learn?
  • Could I benefit from it too?

Adams nailed it. He drew us in by making us ask questions.

If you don’t know how to craft an intriguing first sentence, the remaining 980 words of your article will be a complete waste.

Luckily for you, with a few simple tricks, writing a phenomenal first sentence can be quite easy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep the first sentence short. This makes it easy for the reader to digest the first bits of information and prevents them from losing interest quickly.

But there is more to it than that.

You have to make sure that the first sentence grabs the reader’s attention and holds it for the rest of the article.

Here are a couple of tried-and-true tactics that make for super compelling first lines.

Ask the reader a question

This is an easy way to get the reader’s attention and get them engaged without a whole lot of effort on your part.

For example, if you are writing an article on quitting your job and starting your own company, you could open with the question: “Did you know that almost 70% of Americans report being actively disengaged from their careers?”

Why does this work?

It has to do with the brain’s “limbic reward system.”

image07 4 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

When this system is activated, dopamine is released. And dopamine gives us a sense of reward and pleasure.

When we are intrigued by a question, i.e., experience a sense of curiosity, the limbic reward system lights up. And that’s why we want to keep reading—it’s rewarding to satisfy curiosity.

Writer Olga Khazan asks a question that’s on everyone’s mind, causing the reader to be instantly interested.

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We want to know the answer to that question, so we keep reading.

That’s why a question is a great opening line. You can even use the question as the article title.

Tell a story

The brain also lights up when it encounters a story.

According to the theory of neural coupling, certain portions of the brain are activated when a reader thinks about the same mental and physical activity that a character in a story is doing.

image03 4 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

James Clear usually starts his blog articles with a story, often a true story.

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The story makes his readers interested in the article and keeps them reading to the very end.

Use a shocking quote

Another great way to start your article is to use an attention-grabbing quote.

Let’s say you are writing an article on world travel. A great way to introduce the article would be with the quote from Helen Keller:

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Tell the reader to imagine

Sparking the imagination is an instant way to draw the reader into the experience of the article.

Notice how this article from Wired For Story begins:

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The reader tries to obey the imperative by imagining. This effort compels the reader to read further, drawing them into the article.

Writers for The Atlantic are experts at their craft. This writer does the same thing—asking the reader to imagine.

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Share an interesting fact

In a day and age when the Internet is so rife with crappy information and fraudulent “gurus,” people are skeptical. They have every reason to be.

Opening your article with a relevant fact or statistic is a great way to establish trust and authority from the first sentence and let readers know you’ve done your research.

2. Have something unique to say

Okay, so you’ve crafted an excellent first sentence, and you have your reader’s interest.

Now what?

Now, you have to hold that interest by having something interesting and uncommon to say.

Very few people take the time and energy to regularly produce new, thought-provoking content. If you do, you’ll set yourself apart from the herd in a big way.

Forget re-purposing of old articles or rewriting stuff from other people’s websites. If you want to have the reader’s respect and attention, you have to say something they’ve never heard before.

Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff you read today has been regurgitated 28 times before.

Let’s imagine you run a travel blog. Based on my advice, you write a number of 3,000-word comprehensive “How-To Guides.”

Whenever a reader opens your guide on financing their first around the world trip, they’ll expect to read all about airline rewards programs, frugality, and credit card points.

And that information is great, but it is also very generic.

A better introduction would be something like this:

How would you like to save up enough money in the next 6 months to spend all of 2017 traveling the world?

That would be pretty epic, right?

Well, this is entirely possible, and in today’s article, I am going to show you how you can do this.

It’s not by skipping your morning latte or spending thousands of dollars with your credit cards on a few hundred miles either.

I am going to show you how you can create a life of mobility and freedom by leveraging the skills you already have, tactically selecting your destinations, and using a little known tax secret that will save you thousands of dollars!

Sound good? Let’s get to it.

It’s hard to be different. I realize that.

Sometimes, in order to create unique stuff, we simply have to work harder, think longer, and research more than our competition.

Here are some ways you can develop that unique voice in your article introduction:

  • Share a personal story or fact. You’re the only you there is. You can share a story or experience no one else can. One way to tell such a story is to write, “If you know me…”
  • Get your emotions in it. People have an emotional reaction to emotions. When we convey our emotions in our writing, people tend to respond. Besides, emotion is also a unique and personal thing. How do you communicate this in an introduction? Easy: “Want to know how I feel about it? I feel….”
  • Share your goals or vision. If you have a guiding goal or vision for life, you can communicate this in your introduction. “That’s one of the reasons I wrote this post. My goal in life is to…”
  • Make a promise. A promise is a personal and attention-grabbing thing. Give your readers a promise, and it will secure their loyalty and their interest. “I promise that I’ll do my dead-level best to….”

Unique isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.

3. Keep it simple

We live in a world where most people have an attention span of only a few seconds.

Apparently, our attention span is getting shorter!

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After a few seconds, we get bored and move on to the next shiny object.

If you want your readers to make time in their days to read what you have to say, make sure you present things as simply as possible.

Longer articles, of course, deserve longer introductions. But it’s important to respect people’s time and attention. You can’t change what is (people’s short attention spans) by writing a long introduction based on what should be (longer attention spans).

Avoid rambling about how great your information is, and just share it already!

4. Speak directly to the reader

Whenever you are writing educational material for other people, you want to use the word “you” as much (and as naturally) as possible.

In this article, I’ve used some variation of the word you more than 100 times. Why? Because I’m talking to you! I want you to know this information. I want you to benefit from it.

By emphasizing the word “you” in your article, you show the reader you are directly addressing them and their situation and not just writing a generic article to the general populace.

But there’s another side to this. I should refer to myself as well. My goal is to convey a personal feel to this article. After all, it’s me talking to you, right? So it’s only natural that I would refer to myself too.

5. Explain what the article is about

The point of an introduction is exactly that: to introduce the content that will be presented in an article.

I cannot tell you the number of times online articles left me confused even I after I’d read a few of their paragraphs.

I couldn’t tell whether the authors were teaching me how to run successful Facebook ads, or telling me a weird story about their childhood.

Take a few sentences, and clearly explain what the article is going to cover without giving away too many details.

This will build suspense around the subject matter while still letting your audience know what they may be in for.

A great example of this comes from the Buffer blog. Notice how the introduction poses a question and then proposes to answer that question.

image02 4 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

Your curiosity stays high, but the introduction sets the stage.

6. Explain the importance of the article

Once you’ve explained what the article is, now it’s time to explain why people should care.

Everyone on the Internet approaches every new piece of information with a simple question: “What’s in it for me?”

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If you want to write introductions that hook the reader and help your content go viral, you have to master the art of explaining what the reader stands to gain from the information you are sharing—the benefits.

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How will it benefit your readers’ lives? How will it solve a problem they are facing? How will it cure a pain they are feeling?

If you understand how to quickly and efficiently answer these questions, you’ll keep your readers glued to your article till the last word.

Conclusion

Few things can make or break your article as easily as an introduction.

If you can master the art of the first few paragraphs, you’ll be able to increase reader engagement, improve sales, and earn a reputation as a phenomenal writer.

It’s not an easy skill to master, but like many things in Internet marketing, it’s fairly straightforward.

If you put in the work, you’ll get results.

What tactics do you use to create a compelling article introduction?

 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction  A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction  A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

 A Step by Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction
Source: QuickSprout

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction appeared first on JZ-ART.

Source: JZ-Art

10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers

light 10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers

When was the last time you took a long hard look at your landing pages?

On paper, landing page optimization seems easy enough. In fact, you’re probably following some sort of formula to design your landing pages.

Follow a few basic principles, capture the attention of your visitors, put to rest any doubts they may have, urge them to purchase, and let the money pour in.

Right?

In reality, it’s not this easy.

My experience with landing pages has taught me that it’s hard work to design the perfect landing page.

There are principles to follow, sure. But there’s also a lot of information you need to gain before you can design that killer landing page.

  • What are your customers thinking?
  • How did they find your landing page?
  • What headline is going to grab their attention?
  • What device are they using?
  • What pain are they experiencing?
  • What’s going to make them convert?

That final question—what’s going to make them convert?—is the most important one.

You want to know what I really care about when it comes to landing pages?

Conversions.

I just want more conversions.

You probably do too. According to the studies, “only about 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.”

Let me get to the point. Here are 10 landing page tactics I’ve had immense success with and that can help convert even casual visitors into customers.

1. Keep it minimal

The “less is more” idea rings true throughout many aspects of marketing.

Science and research have shown that this minimalist mindset and strategy lead to breakthroughs in life and business.

What Minimalism is really about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff—the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities—that don’t bring value to your life.

What’s true in life is true in digital marketing too.

Tommy Walker’s expert article, “Why ‘Simple’ Websites Are Scientifically Better” tells exactly why and how the mind responds to a simple, minimalist website.

Your landing page is no exception.

The simpler, the better.

Saturate your landing page with a lot of unnecessary extras, and you’ll be sure to distract and confuse your visitors.

One area where marketers often go wrong is having multiple offers. In fact, 48% of landing pages contain multiple offers.

However, multiple offers can decrease conversions by 266%!

That means you need to keep things relatively sparse and avoid giving your visitors a cognitive overload.

Take a look at this example from Vimeo:

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Bold and beautiful, right?

This landing page for Vimeo Business wants you to do one thing and one thing only: Get Vimeo Business.

There is no doubt in your mind what your next action should be.

  • If you are the wallet-out-ready-to-buy customer, you’ll click the green CTA.
  • If you’re the I-need-to-do-a-little-more-research kind of customer, you’ll watch the video or scroll down.

Either way, Vimeo’s got you hooked.

Why? Because this is a minimalist landing page with zero clutter, zero friction, and zero hurdles to conversion.

By avoiding complication and excessive choice, you will help your visitors to maintain better focus, which is a surefire way to boost conversions.

2. Use the five-second rule

The pop-it-in-the-microwave culture we live in means one thing for landing pages.

Stuff happens fast.

Instant engagement is essential, and you need to get straight to the point.

That’s why I like to treat it as if I’ve got only five seconds to capture the attention of my visitors.

How do you achieve this?

This goes back to my first point about taking a minimalist approach. Often a snazzy headline, an image, and a CTA are all it takes.

Also, keep key benefits above the fold so that visitors can be persuaded to buy without having to scroll down.

Craig Tomlin, a usability expert, explains why five seconds matter:

The reason five seconds is so important is because of research studies which demonstrate that visitors to websites take a very short amount of time (in some cases a fraction of a second, as little as 50 milliseconds) to judge the quality of a website.

What about those “research studies?”

Take a look:

image08 4 10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers

Let me reiterate:

It takes five seconds or less for a user to decide whether or not they like your website.

Whether or not you realize it, you’ve proven the power of the five-second rule when you look at landing pages.

For example, let’s say you saw this ad in your SERP.

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What happens next?

You see this page:

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It took me 1.86 seconds to read the headline, subheadline, and CTA. (I timed it.)

Do I like it or not?

Keep in mind, I’m being subtly influenced by the color of the website, the image behind the text, and the negative space surrounding the information.

In less than five seconds, I’ve decided whether or not I like this page and whether or not I’m going to click on the CTA “get started now.”

That’s the power of the five-second rule.

3. Make load time lightning fast

As I mentioned in one of my posts on Quick Sprout, for every second delay in page response, there is a 7% decrease in conversion rate.

This ties into the five-second rule: visitors should be able to get the gist of what you’re offering and understand the inherent benefits of it within five seconds.

If your landing page is cumbersome and slow to load, scale back your content, and do whatever it takes to speed it up.

To test your website’s speed, use Google PageSpeed insights. All you need to do is plug in your website URL, and get a quick score.

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4. Ditch carousels and sliders

You could make the argument that these look cool from an aesthetic standpoint.

Maybe that’s why so many marketers think that it’s a good move to use carousels/sliders above the fold on a landing page.

But in reality, this can be a deathblow to your conversion rates.

To prove this point, the University of Notre Dame tested a slider on its homepage and found that approximately 1% of visitors clicked on a feature:

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Not exactly ideal, is it?

When users see something, they will click on it. If that “something” keeps changing, the likelihood that they will click on it drops.

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The bottom line here is that such elements only add to the “busyness” of a landing page and detract from its value.

Decide what your landing page should display—instead of a slider or carousel—and stick with that.

5. Use plenty of white space

Today’s average visitor is a skimmer and scanner.

They don’t want to get bogged down with lengthy paragraphs and bulky blocks of text.

In fact, “a study found that good use of white space between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increases comprehension by almost 20 percent. Readers find it easier to focus on and process generously spaced content.”

You can make it easier for visitors to navigate their way through your landing page by following this principle.

Notice how Buffer uses white space on its landing page:

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If I were to cram all that content together, it would take up a tiny corner of the page.

There’s not a lot of stuff. The white space on the page makes it easy for my brain to analyze the information and decide what to do next. The result? I’m more likely to make the right decision—the decision to convert.

Apple is famous for its use of white space. Its branding, product design, and even its store layout is founded on the importance of negative space/white space.

Its MacBook landing page shows the use of white space:

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Take a page from Apple’s playbook, and use more white space.

6. Use social proof for leverage

It’s pretty undeniable that humans are social creatures by nature, and we’re all influenced by others, at least to some extent.

Often, all it takes to convert someone who’s on the fence is a bit of social proof.

For instance, you might include a list of some top companies who have used your product/service, along with their logos.

I’ve dubbed this term “logo porn.”

On Crazy Egg, I display some of the recognizable companies who have used the product.

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This doesn’t take up a lot of space, and visitors can quickly scan your landing page without a lot of effort.

Leadpages uses the same approach on its landing page (which, ironically, is about landing pages):

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This can really boost your trustworthiness and reputability in your customers’ eyes.

7. Make contact info readily available

Putting yourself in the shoes of prospects is critical for increasing conversions.

For all they know, you’re some charlatan, snake oil salesman who’s just going to take their money and run.

To alleviate their fears, it’s helpful to include your contact info so they can view it without having to click on anything.

I Done This, a team productivity tool, displays its contact information at the top of the landing page. If you’re so inclined, you can pick up your phone and give them a call.

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This piece of information lets your page visitors know you’re a legitimate business with an actual physical location, which should put their mind at ease.

8. Pepper in testimonials

Although this tactic might not seem exactly cutting-edge or game-changing, it can still help conversions.

Testimonials (especially with pictures) can really hammer home the value your product/service provides.

Quip’s landing page provides a great example of how this works:

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As HubSpot shows, testimonials that display a name, picture, position, and company logo are particularly powerful.

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Sometimes, the testimonials can come from well-known people. Other times, they could come from ordinary people, more aligned with your target customer.

I Done This displays some testimonials from both groups of people. (Dan Pink is a well-known author.)

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Testimonials like these can help a casual visitor start thinking about becoming an actual customer.

9. Add video

Did you know that using videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%?

That’s not a number to scoff at.

I realize that this seems to be at odds with me recommending a minimalist layout, but it’s possible to keep it simple while incorporating video.

Take a look at ClickFunnels. Its landing page displays a video that starts playing automatically when I hit the page:

image07 3 10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers

It’s quirky. It has real people. It has dialogue.

I’m hooked.

After spending a few minutes of my life watching the video, I’m more likely to convert. Why?

Because I spent time watching the video. And because while watching that video, I realized the importance and usefulness of the product.

Just keep it relatively brief (five minutes max), and use it as an opportunity to educate and entertain your visitors and create a personal connection.

10. Add social share buttons

While the debate over just how much of an impact social shares have on SEO continues to rage on, you can’t deny that having plenty of social shares on a landing page can have a positive impact on conversions.

This is yet another way to use social proof to your advantage.

Conclusion

Even those visitors who don’t have any intention of buying when they reach your landing page can be persuaded to take action if you use the techniques I showed you above.

Landing page optimization can be complicated. It can be confusing. And it can take a lot of time to get in the mind of your customers and determine how to satisfy their needs.

I would never recommend that you shortcut the research, the persona development, and all the hard work that goes into creating a compelling landing page.

However, I realize that sometimes you just need a brief guide or a list of tactics like this one.

These ten methods will allow you to jump into any marketing situation, create effective landing pages, and convert those casual visitors into customers.

Are there any other specific landing page optimization techniques you’ve had success with?

 10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers  10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers  10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers

 10 Landing Page Tactics That Will Turn Casual Visitors into Converting Customers
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art

These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

image02 1 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

Google Analytics (GA) is a digital marketer’s best friend. I use it all the time to check metrics, spot trends, and see what type of content my audience appreciates the most.

Of course, there are other tools you could use to analyze your metrics, but they’re not as valuable as GA for two reasons.

First, Google Analytics is free. The price can’t be beat.

Second, Google Analytics is a tool designed by the company that also gave us the most popular search engine in the world. That means it can (and does) provide you with information about the browsing and search history of the people who visit your site.

Beyond that, Google Analytics offers a wealth of information you can use to improve your reach. GA makes it easy to check conversion rates, view your visitors’ demographics, discover the way people follow the links within your site, and analyze your e-commerce funnel.

Basically, Google Analytics is awesome.

Obviously, I use several tools to track my data and analyze it. But I strongly recommend Google Analytics.

If you’re a digital marketer, you need to know a thing or two about Google Analytics.

That’s why I wrote this article.

I want to give you three simple, straightforward, and actionable tips that will allow you to create better content.

Here’s the thing about analytics: all those numbers and metrics serve a purpose. They tell a story. They give you instructions.

They tell you how to become a better marketer.

The purpose of analytics is to show you what’s going on with your marketing and what needs to change.

Marketing isn’t a guessing game. You shouldn’t have to wonder: Is this working? You should know. And you should know because of data.

So, do you want to know what’s working and what’s not working with your content marketing?

The three numbers I’m about to show you do just that. They give you an accurate read of user behavior and tell you what you should do next.

1. Average time on page

It’s this simple: if you’ve got great content, people will read it.

And reading takes time.

image05 2 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

Speed readers can buzz through an article like this in about two minutes.

That’s insanely fast.

For most—mere mortals—this article will take 10-15 minutes to read.

If you want to find out how fast you read, take a test at myReadSpeed.com.

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Google Analytics gives you some insight into how your audience is reading. No, it’s not going to test their reading speed.

However, it is going to give you information regarding their time and behavior on the page.

This information comes from Average Time on Page in GA. It provides an insight into your audience’s interest level, reading speed, and overall engagement with a page.

As the name implies, it tells you how long the average user hangs around on a specific page.

If you’re producing content that’s 2,000 words in length and you find that people are leaving after just 30 seconds, then either you’ve got an audience consisting entirely of people who’ve participated in the Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamics course or they’re just not taking the time to read all your content.

Spoiler alert: it’s probably the latter.

It’s time to look at the Average Time on Page metric.

You can find it on the Behavior Overview report of GA.

  • Click on Behavior in the left-hand sidebar.
  • Select Overview from the menu that appears below.

You’ll see the metric among the stats that appear below the graph:

image08 3 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

Unfortunately, though, that number gives you an across-the-board average of all your pages. You need a report that shows you how much time your visitors are spending on individual pages.

You can create a custom report to show you that information.

There’s an easier option, though. Just import Avinash Kaushik’s Content Efficiency Analysis Report.

It will show how much time your visitors are spending on each page.

You can use this report to determine which type of content is “sticky”—that is, which blog posts tend to keep people hanging around the longest.

Once you know that, you can produce more of that type of content.

Here is the big idea behind the Average Time on Page metric.

Knowing how long users spend on a given page tells you how interested they are in the page.

Remember, it’s just an average. A reader who spends 20 minutes on the page will be balanced out by the reader who spends only two seconds on the page.

Taken as an average, however, time on page shows you how interesting and engaging your content is.

If your average time on page is really low, it may suggest that your content isn’t all that great.

Find the pages or articles that have the longest average time on page, determine what’s different about those pages, and use these principles when you create more content.

2. Referrals

One of the best ways to tell whether your content is resonating with people is to see whether other webmasters are linking to it from their sites.

That’s why you need to pay attention to the Referrals metric.

To view referrals:

  • Click on Acquisition on the left-hand sidebar of Google Analytics.
  • Select All Traffic.
  • Click Channels.

In the table that appears on the main screen, you’ll see that the first column is labeled “Default Channel Grouping.” It lists the various channels that include Social, Direct, Organic Search, and Referral.

image03 3 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

It’s that Referral metric that’s important here. Click on that link to view your referrals.

The table that appears shows you exactly where your inbound traffic is coming from. That’s great information to have, but it’s still not a complete story.

Why? Because it’s an aggregate number. In other words, it shows you how much all of your traffic comes from specific sites and doesn’t show which specific pages they’re linking to.

Fortunately, you can fix that by adding a new column to the table.

As I said, I love Google Analytics.

At the top of the table, you’ll see a dropdown menu labeled “Secondary Dimension.” Click on that:

image00 2 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

On the menu that appears, click on “Behavior.” Then, select “Destination Page” from the list of options that appear:

image04 2 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

Boom. Now you have a referral report that not only shows which sites are linking to your site but also which specific pages they’re linking to.

image06 3 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

Even better: the default sorting is by the number of sessions in descending order. So you can immediately see which type of content gets the most backlinks.

What do you do with that information?

Easy: create more content like the articles that have the most referrals. If your content is good, people link to it. It’s that simple.

Ultra-linkable content is good content. The more links you’re earning, the better you’re doing.

3. Interests

Marketing is all about reaching people.

This is especially true with content marketing.

If you want to connect effectively with your visitors, you have to communicate with them on their level. That’s why it’s a great idea to find out what their interests are.

Fortunately, Google Analytics has a report for that.

  • Click on “Audience” on the left-hand sidebar of GA.
  • Select “Interests” from the dropdown menu that appears below.
  • Click on “Overview.”

Now, you’re looking at a few bar graphs that show you the interests of your audience. The graph below is from a tech website.

image09 2 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

The first graph shows the “Affinity Category.” That tells you about the general hobbies and interests of people who’ve been visiting your site. Here’s how Google defines Affinity Categories:

Affinity Categories identifies users in terms of lifestyle; for example, Technophiles, Sports Fans, and Cooking Enthusiasts. These categories are defined to be similar to TV audiences.

The “In-Market Segment” graph shows you what your visitors are interested in purchasing. Here’s a definition of an in-market audience from Search Engine Watch:

An In-Market Audience is composed of folks who are actively searching and comparing your product/service. Individuals in this audience have indicated that they are actively in-market for a specific category such as “Autos & Vehicles” or “Real Estate” or “Travel” or any of the other audiences currently available from Google.

The “Other” graph gives you broad categories of your visitors’ interests. Google explains it this way:

Other Categories provides the most specific, focused view of your users. For example, while Affinity Categories includes the category Foodies, Other Categories includes the category Recipes/Cuisines/East Asian.

How does any of that help you produce better content? It gives you the ability to tailor-fit your blog posts to your readers’ interests while simultaneously boosting your brand.

For example, let’s say you run a men’s fashion e-commerce site. This week, you’re at a loss about what type of article you should write for your blog.

So, you fire up Google Analytics and view the interests of your visitors.

And then you have an “Aha!” moment.

You see on the “In-Market Segment” graph that 10% of your visitors are interested in “Employment.” They’re looking for a job.

You close GA, log in to your WordPress CMS, and type up an article titled “Here’s How to Dress for Success at Your Next Job Interview.”

Boom. The article gets shared more than most others on your site; it gets backlinks from various “life hacker” sites; and you even receive an honorable mention in GQ.

That wouldn’t have happened had you not checked the interests of your visitors.

You can dive deeper into each of these interest categories. For example, click “In-Market Segments” in the sidebar menu underneath “Interests.”

image07 2 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

This will display a breakdown of the traffic trends associated with the in-market segment.

You can see how each category of visitor is interacting with the site—their sessions, bounce rate, session duration, and goal completion (if you have Goals activated).

What’s next?

The impact of your content marketing efforts shouldn’t be a mystery.

Check Google Analytics regularly to see which types of articles your visitors appreciate the most. Then, produce that type of content on a regular basis.

You can replicate this model for any and every number in Google Analytics.

Simply ask yourself these questions:

  • What does this number/metric say about my audience?
  • How should my content change as a result?

Bounce rate, session duration, percentage of new sessions, number of returning visitors, service providers, operating system, screen resolution, browser, language settings, mobile traffic, acquisition date, user retention, pages per session—all of this information has to do with your users, your readers, your audience.

All you have to do is understand what the numbers mean and then make relevant changes to your website.

Conclusion

Now, hold on a second.

I just told you to “make relevant changes to your website,” but I need to offer a final disclaimer. That’s what this conclusion is for.

It’s tempting to go crazy and start changing your website left and right. “Ooh! A number! Change the strategy! Revamp the content! Switch up the headline!”

Let me caution you against doing that. Why? Because if you start changing everything, you’ll defeat the entire purpose of analytics, which is to understand exactly what’s working and what’s not.

To truly understand what’s effective, what’s not so effective, and how to make the right kind of changes, you need to do one more thing.

Split testing.

This article isn’t the place to explain split testing—I’ve explained some of those principles elsewhere.

Instead, this is the place to encourage you not to change things willy-nilly but to make strategic changes in a split-testing environment.

The advantage of A/B-testing individual changes is this: Your analytics—all those numbers I talked about up there—will become far more reliable, effective, and actionable.

Google Analytics paired with accurate split testing is a surefire way to make better content.

The better you get at reading and acting upon your analytics, the better content you’ll create.

What are some of your go-to numbers in Google Analytics for improving your content marketing strategy?

 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content  These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content  These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content

 These 3 Numbers in Google Analytics Will Help You Make Better Content
Source: QuickSprout

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How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

bored How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Let’s be honest. Creating pulse-quickening, super-engaging content that blows the socks off every single reader 100% of the time probably isn’t realistic.

It would be nice, yeah. But it just doesn’t happen.

This is especially true for companies in so-called boring industries—micro-niches with very few people having an overwhelming interest in the subject matter.

But if you’re always boring your audience to tears, this will obviously have a negative effect on your traffic, leads, conversions, brand reputation, and—ultimately—profitability.

Basically, boring content is awful. Boring content is worse than no content at all!

If you think your content marketing campaign is in a death spiral, it’s important to resolve the situation ASAP.

I used to write some pretty boring crap. Once I figured it out, I changed my ways. Today, I’m not necessarily channeling J. K. Rowling all the time, but I do know when (or if) my audience is bored.

How do I know?

I’m about to tell you.

But first, let me spill the beans (well, sort of) upfront: it’s about data—the warning signs are in the data.

Whether you’re a marketer, SEO, or content creator, data is your friend. But don’t worry, I won’t tell you to buy some expensive analytics software. Nearly all the data I cite in this article is free.

Here are telltale signs that your audience finds your content boring.

Your bounce rate is abnormally high

What’s bounce rate?

Here’s how Google defines it:

Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e., sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

Basically, someone looks at your site and leaves.

You can find your bounce rate in Google Analytics.

image05 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

How do you know if your bounce rate is awful or not?

Here are some benchmarks, according to the type of site you have:

image08 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Multiple issues can contribute to a high bounce rate.

Slow page load time, ugly web design, annoying pop-ups, or a crappy mobile experience are just a few of these reasons.

For example, mobile bounce rates are typically higher because of the less-than-optimal mobile design of some sites.

image11 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

However, it can also simply be because readers are less than thrilled with your content and they’re abandoning ship before even making it halfway through.

If your bounce rate is over 70%, there’s probably cause for concern. If it’s over 90%, it’s a serious issue.

image09 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

When there’s no other discernible reason, lackluster content could very well be the culprit.

You get few comments or no comments at all

Are you creating blog posts, guest posts, social media updates, etc. that are consistently getting little to no reaction?

Maybe you’re even asking open-ended questions at the end and begging for readers to chime in to spark a discussion.

What’s happening?

If nothing, take this as a warning sign.

In my early days of blogging, about ten years ago, I didn’t get many comments on my articles.

This one post (about postcards?!) received only 17 comments and basically no social shares:

image17 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

I could have gotten all depressed about that.

But instead, I learned a lesson. Maybe my audience gets bored by stuff about postcards.

So, maybe I need to change my game a little bit.

I changed my game, and I really homed in on the topics and style my audience wanted. As it turns out, a post like this got hundreds of comments:

image13 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Comment counts are a great thermometer of the interest level of your audience.

If you write a sizzling-hot article on a sizzling-hot topic, the number of comments will reflect it.

But if you write a complete snoozer, no one will comment.

This is the kind of information that tells you exactly what you need to know about your content’s bore score.

Your content isn’t getting socially shared

I personally think that social shares are one of the most simple yet informative metrics in content marketing.

A quick glance at the number of likes, tweets, and other shares a piece of content receives often serves as a basic litmus test to see how favorably (or unfavorably) your audience has responded.

For example, it’s fair to say that if “Blog Post A” received 250 total shares and “Blog Post B” received only 12 total shares, Blog Post A was received by the readers significantly better.

While it wouldn’t be realistic to expect every piece of content to be a home run, a continually low number of social shares often indicates audience boredom.

The readers are simply not captivated by your content and don’t feel it warrants being shared.

The only caveat would be if you’re fairly new to the scene and haven’t really established an audience yet.

But if you used to receive a reasonable number of social shares and those numbers are noticeably dropping, boring content could definitely be the reason.

There’s a simple way to measure how your content is being shared.

You can use a tool such as Buzzsumo. Simply enter the URL of your website or blog, and click “Search!”

You’ll see a screen of results like this:

image06 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Granted, you may not have 430k shares on a single post like CNN does. Ideally, though, you’ll see at least a few.

Another free tool you can use is on my blog, NeilPatel.com.

To use this tool, enter your blog’s URL, and click the “Analyze” button.

image02 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

The report takes just a minute or two to generate—you’ll see a progress bar, telling you where the analysis is at.

image12 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

When the report is complete, click “Content Marketing.”

image03 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

The content marketing report shows you the social share counts across your whole website.

Here’s a summary of the social shares on my blog:

image19 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

The “page shares per network” statistic tells you which individual pages were shared and the number of shares each page received:

image18 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

You can also see the number of shares each page received according to the social network:

image10 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Using this tool allows you to get a very real sense of whether or not your readers are digging your content.

Look, if people are not sharing your content, they probably aren’t too impressed with it.

But let’s be realistic. If your traffic is low, your shares will be low too. No one is going to share your content if no one is seeing it to begin with.

Don’t beat yourself up over your low share counts unless you have really high traffic combined with low share counts.

There are usually several reasons why social sharing fluctuates and/or nosedives. Even a content marketing juggernaut such as Buffer admitted, “We’ve lost nearly half our social referral traffic in the last year.”

They even showed their numbers to prove it:

image00 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Kevan Lee, Buffer’s content creator, tried to come up with a few reasons why it happened.

Here are his maybes:

  • Maybe we need to hire a full-time social media manager to really devote some time and energy to doing great work on social media.
  • Maybe I’m no good at social media marketing.
  • Maybe our sharing ratio is off: Too much content, not enough conversation.
  • Maybe everyone else is failing, too!
  • Maybe we need to post more often.
  • Maybe we need to post less often.
  • Maybe, maybe, maybe …

So, while low share counts can be an indication of boring content, they are not the only measuring stick.

You have low Twitter engagement

Although it’s not always easy to determine what your exact engagement level is on all social media platforms, Twitter makes it incredibly transparent.

Twitter Analytics makes it super easy to get a feel for your engagement levels on its platform.

Here’s what I do.

I compare the number of impressions my content has received with the number of engagements, which includes retweets, favorites, link clicks, and so on.

Take a look at an example of this in Twitter Analytics.

A 28-day summary of this particular Twitter account shows that the number of tweets is down, impressions are down, profile visits are down, mentions are down, and followers are up.

This kind of data shows an overall decline in Twitter engagement, which suggests that the level of content being published on the account is less than exciting.

image16 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Obviously, that’s not the whole story, but it provides a fairly clear snapshot of how my Twitter audience is responding to the content I post on Twitter.

Twitter Analytics is helpful in that it provides month-by-month accounting for your Twitter engagement levels. You can instantly find out:

  • Your top tweet.
  • The number of impressions your top tweet earned.
  • Your top mention.
  • The number of engagements your top mention earned.
  • Your number of tweets.
  • Your total number of tweet impressions.
  • Your profile visits.
  • Your new followers.
  • Your mentions.
  • Your top follower.
  • The follower count of your top follower.
  • Your top media tweet.
  • The total number of impressions earned by your top media tweet.

In addition, using Twitter Analytics, you’ll get a sharper perspective of who’s engaging with you. My Twitter followers, for example, are interested in marketing and 61% male. There’s plenty of juicy information here:

image14 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

How does this data help me?

  • I can understand how, why, and by whom my Twitter content is being shared.
  • I can understand the demographics of my audience.
  • I can retool my content to sustain higher interest.

In other words, all this data is serving a point: it helps me create more engaging content!

Your unfollow rate is climbing

Are your social media followers unfollowing left and right?

Is your audience shrinking rather than growing with each update?

This is obviously a sign that something is wrong.

Many social media users are particular about what pops up in their feeds, and they’re simply not going to keep following an account that’s not revving their engines.

There are a variety of free tools that show you who’s following and unfollowing you on various social media platforms.

A platform like Unfollowerstats gives you detailed reports on who’s following, unfollowing, etc., on Twitter.

image15 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Another Twitter tool is Tweepsmap.

image07 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Tweepsmap sends you an email summary of the number of people who followed and unfollowed you each week.

image04 1 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Unless you posted something that’s highly offensive, a high number of unfollows usually points to uninspiring content overall.

Traffic overall is dropping

If you’ve noticed a steady decline or, even worse, a dramatic drop in overall traffic, this can also be a sign that your audience is losing interest.

While they probably don’t expect everything you post to be completely awe-inspiring, it’s pretty easy to spot a sinking ship. Many people simply won’t come back for more.

Over time, this can cause traffic numbers to plunge. If you’re noticing that your number of repeat visitors is diminishing, boring content could be the reason for that.

To analyze your content from this angle, do a quick survey of your traffic stats on Google Analytics.

I like to run comparison reports to see how my traffic for a current period ranks against my traffic from a previous period.

Sinking numbers are a sign that something is wrong. This website I recently checked is an example of that:

image01 2 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

Data is a tricky beast to tame. If you’re not careful with it, you can come away with a false picture of what’s wrong.

Data only tells you what’s going on, but it doesn’t diagnose the problem.

If you suspect that boring content is a problem, work on fixing it, and see how things change.

Conclusion

Boring content isn’t good for anyone. It’s not stimulating your audience, and it’s not helping your brand grow.

But what do you do if your content just isn’t exciting? How do you fix this problem before it gets out of control?

I recently contributed a post to the Content Marketing Institute that offers some ideas on what you can do when your content is boring. This will provide you with some specific techniques for remedying the situation and spicing things up.

Remember, data is your friend. You can get a clear perspective of what’s happening and ways to fix it by constantly looking at your data, running your numbers, poring over the metrics, and staying on top of things.

What measures have you taken to make boring content more exciting?

 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content  How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content  How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content

 How to Discover Whether Your Audience Is Bored with Your Content
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art

How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Humans love games.

You love games. I love games.

How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Games are fun: they’re engaging and mentally stimulating. Our fondness for games is hardwired into our brains.

Want proof that we love games?

As of 2015, the iTunes App Store had over 396,000 gaming apps, which had almost doubled since July of 2013. People are downloading games. Chances are, you have a game or two on your smartphone right now. Maybe you even played it today. (I know I did.)

On top of this, over three quarters of American households own video games. VentureBeat put the number of American homes owning a gaming device at 80%.

And it’s not just kids playing video games, either. In fact, the average age of gamers is 37. When was the last time you played a video game?

If you’re looking to increase engagement, boost brand awareness, and generally make your content more enjoyable, gamification is a strategy you’ll want to implement.

Gamification is a pretty nasty-sounding word, but don’t worry. I’m going to break it down nice and easy.

Here’s what I want to do in this post:

  • explain what gamification is and
  • provide some examples of the ways to apply it.

I also want to be clear about one thing: gamification doesn’t always mean playing games. Gamification is a broader principle that’s about content engagement.

If you were expecting a tutorial on creating Flappy Bird or adding Words With Friends to your blog, that’s not necessarily where I’m headed.

image15 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

(If you stick with me to the end of the post, however, I’ll show you some real games to get you inspired.)

In this post, you’ll learn some cool stuff. Gamification is a game changer, and I’m going to give you a game plan that will help you improve your game. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

It’s game time.

What is gamification?

Here are some definitions of gamification.

image20 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Most people tend to agree that gamification is about game dynamics or game elements.

image16 2 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Badgeville describes the term as

“the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the user’s impulses which revolve around the idea of status and achievement.”

Although gamification could be considered to be another catchy buzzword, the concept isn’t exactly new.

In fact, it can be traced back to 2003 when it was coined by computer programmer and inventor Nick Pelling.

image17 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

However, it didn’t really catch on until 2010. That’s when it gained traction from Gartner’s prediction that more and more companies would begin gamifying processes to better appeal to consumers and increase customer retention.

Look where we are now. Gamification is everywhere.

The beautiful thing about gamification is that it’s fairly easy to implement. Plus, you can choose from a wide variety of approaches to make sure they mesh with your content.

Here are some specific gamification techniques you can experiment with.

Leaderboards

An innate desire that most humans have is the urge to compete.

Deep down, many of us want to outperform the next guy and be the top dog.

Leaderboards have long been a way of achieving status in the gaming world.

image02 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Not much has changed even if today it’s Clash of Clans instead of Pac-Man.

image21 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

One method I’ve found to be effective at boosting engagement is having a leaderboard around my content.

Let me explain. Say you’ve got a message board where your online community communicates and exchanges ideas.

You could build a leaderboard that ranks each member by the number of their comments, replies, thanks, or other elements.

If a particular person was in fifth place and not far behind the leader numbers-wise, this could definitely motivate them to keep commenting and engaging further.

This technique is in play on CoreJoomla.com:

image13 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Github has a scoring system that follows a similar model:

image22 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Leaderboards don’t always have to track person-to-person competition. You can use a simple leaderboard approach for featuring your articles.

My simple content leaderboard on Quick Sprout shows users what blog articles are most popular, encouraging them to click through and read the blog.

image14 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Leaderboards can take many shapes and forms. It depends on your creativity.

Quizzes

Let’s be honest. We can all be a tad narcissistic at times.

We like to unearth information about ourselves, figure out who we are and what we value, and often share it with others.

Quizzes cater to this narcissistic tendency and can be highly effective at reeling in your audience.

The best part is that many people will want to get their friends involved, which translates into more traffic.

Studies found that 8 of the top 10 most shared articles were quizzes. According to Buzzsumo, “on average a quiz gets shared 1,900 times.”

That’s a lot of sharing.

Whenever you’re creating content, see if you can incorporate a quiz to encourage audience participation.

They are fairly easy to design, and you can use a platform such as ProProfs Quiz Maker to create them.

image09 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

One of the most popular quizzes of all time is “What is The Color of Your Aura?” which gained about 4 million shares:

image19 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

You may not believe in auras, and you may despise the Papyrus font, but aren’t you still a little intrigued about the color of your aura?

Some of the most popular quizzes come from BuzzFeed. No surprise there.

image01 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

What might surprise you, however, is how appealing such quizzes actually are to people.

You may be busy, stressed, and have a ton of things on your schedule for today. But a quiz about something as inane as serving sizes is somehow compelling. You want to play.

Why? Because there is a subtle challenge to your smartness. You want to prove—whether to yourself or to others—that you’re darn good at knowing serving sizes.

So, you take the quiz.

BuzzFeed wins. They’ve successfully persuaded you to spend four minutes doing something on their site.

The Telegraph is also an expert at producing compelling quizzes:

image10 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

If you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to use a site like ProProfs to make a quiz. It only takes a few minutes, and the results are huge.

Badges

People also like to be rewarded for their efforts.

I remember when I was in elementary school, my teacher would give me a star sticker as a positive reinforcement for doing something well.

Whenever I amassed five stars, I would get a reward.

Giving audiences virtual badges has become a popular way to reward people for the time and energy they invest.

These badges tend to make people feel legitimized, and users can show them off to their friends.

If you were trying to encourage readers to comment on your blog posts, you could give readers certain badges for the number of comments they left or for the length of time they contributed to a discussion.

Many websites have implemented badges as a form of verifying celebrity status. Quora, for example, gives you a blue checkmark on your profile pic if you’re someone famous.

image06 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

You can gain similar status on some sites simply by being active, being helpful, and being respected.

Search Engine Journal, a content-based site, applies gamification to the way it ranks its contributor base.

Authors who contribute frequently with top-rated content are recognized with a “VIP contributor” badge on their profiles.

image18 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Leveling

This is similar to badges because it exploits people’s desire to achieve a certain status.

But rather than using digital icons as rewards, you assign your customers, readers, etc. different levels according to their level of involvement.

Maybe there are 10 different levels—10 being the highest. This could definitely motivate someone to participate and to become a more involved member of your online community.

Credit Karma uses a variety of gamification techniques. They use the leveling feature on several of their interactive pages:

image00 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Challenges

Who doesn’t love a good challenge?

Testing ourselves pushes us to grow, progress, and become better versions of ourselves.

You could challenge consumers to post pictures on Instagram showing unconventional ways of using your product.

Or maybe at the end of a blog post, you create a scenario and ask your readers a question to see what they would do in a difficult situation.

Many people will be compelled to take you up on a challenge, and you’re likely to see a significant increase in engagement.

Moz used a gamification challenge feature to help users decide which tool they needed for a specific SEO issue.

By clicking the checkbox of the issue they are interested in, users can get an instant display of the tool they should look into.

image11 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Health challenges are a popular gamification feature. Some health challenges allow users to track their progress and customize their settings.

image04 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Progress bar

Perhaps one of the most straightforward gamification techniques is to simply display a progress bar as a person completes a form or reviews a product/service.

This shows people what percentage of the process they’ve completed as they move from step to step.

For instance, if they’ve filled out two of five pages, the progress bar would say “40% done.”

People hate to leave things incomplete, so the desire to complete a process can serve as motivation to follow through to the end.

You can use progress bars almost anywhere. As long as the user is focused on completing a task, there’s room for a progress bar.

I even use one on my SEO analyzer tool:

image07 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

I like the way LinkedIn utilizes its “Profile Strength” feature:

image25 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

This kind of progress bar motivates users to do whatever it takes to get to the all-star status. The result for LinkedIn is higher engagement levels and more interaction on the site.

One of the most common goals on a website is to get users to join a mailing list or download something. The idea, of course, is to gain the user’s email address.

LeadPages is an expert at conversion optimization, and its progress bar is genius:

image05 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

When you see the progress bar, it encourages you to complete the signup process.

Actual games

Yep, you can add actual games too.

Why not? Like I said at the beginning of this article, humans love games. Even if the game doesn’t have much to do with your content or product, it will still keep people engaged with your site.

More engagement, regardless of the reason, is a good thing.

Here’s how and where you can add games:

  • Build a mini game instead of a normal blog post. This doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Just create a small game, and see what happens to traffic and engagement.
  • Add a game to your 404 page. It turns “oh, snap” into “oh, cool.”

Let me show you some examples of this…

Blue Fountain Media added a game to their 404 page. And seriously, who doesn’t want to play a rousing round of Pac-Man?

image24 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

It even has 8-bit sound!

Hey, what about your 500 page? Don’t let it get left out of the games!

My favorite 500 page is this one from Worthwhile:

image03 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

If you’re not careful, you can squander a solid fifteen minutes making that guy jump.

Google has implemented its fair share of games over the years.

If you’re bored, you can spend a lot of time playing Google Snake:

image23 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Or Google Gravity:

image12 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

And you can spend way more time than you meant to trying to figure out Google Guitar:

image08 1 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

Conclusion

Gamification is no doubt an effective way to enhance your content and increase audience engagement.

It’s even been found to boost conversions up to 7x!

By experimenting with various techniques, you should be able to pull more of your audience in and motivate them to engage more frequently and on a deeper level.

Is there a specific gamification technique you’ve had success with? Is there one you’d like to try?

 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content  How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content  How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content

 How to Easily Add Gamification Techniques to Your Content
Source: QuickSprout

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Source: JZ-Art