How I Set Up My Marketing Funnel

 

You probably already know social media is a valuable tool for promoting your business. If you don’t already know, I plan to convince you.

 

How do I plan on doing that, you ask? Simple. I’m going to tell you how I’ve set up my social media accounts to draw traffic to my site.

 

But first, a little background. In the B2B space, we always hear SEO is the big thing.

 

“Just make sure the SEO’s taken care of and your site will get plenty of traffic.” That’s what the conventional wisdom says.

 

There’s nothing wrong with SEO. Take my word for it. I’m a content marketer. You’ll never hear me say a bad word about SEO!

 

But social media does just as much good. It gives you another set of tools for drawing targeted traffic. Targeted traffic turns into targeted leads. Targeted leads turn into clients.

 

So let’s assume you’ve already got your SEO set up. What can you do about social media?

 

You’re going to have to come up with your own strategy. But I can show you mine.

 

So let’s go.

 

  1. I cast a wide net with Twitter.

 

Twitter is the outer limit of my marketing funnel. It’s where I stick out my feelers to pick up on current developments. I also try to make as many contacts with as many people as possible.

 

Twitter is all about casting a wide net. You don’t want to focus too much on any one fish.

 

  • I post my own material (including links) twice a day.

 

If I’m on a social media site, I need to post my own material.

 

I have to demonstrate my value and uniqueness to the world.

 

Simply having the account is not enough. I have to use it regularly and keep track of developments.

 

  • I use hashtags.

 

Hashtags are the backbone of Twitter.

 

If you’re not using hashtags, you’re limiting yourself.

 

But slap a hashtag on a post (say, #ContentMarketing, anyone?) and you’ll expand your reach to anybody with an interest in your topic.

 

  • I follow people back.

 

If you follow the people who follow you, other people will notice this and they’ll be more likely to follow you.

 

We can argue about the merits of this all day. There are pros and cons here.

 

But the short version is that this is part of why Twitter is “the wide net.”

 

  • I retweet frequently.

 

When I retweet, every once in a while I find somebody who will trade retweets with me.

 

This is important!

 

The more of these people I find, the more I can amplify my reach beyond my own personal followers.

 

  • Overall strategy: I try to draw as much exposure as possible, so I can filter that exposure to the other social media sites.

 

  1. I direct my Twitter feed to LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

Once I’ve got a nibble, I post a link that takes my Twitter audience to LinkedIn and/or Facebook.

 

The people who follow the links have expressed an interest in hearing from me.

 

This way I draw targeted leads to the next level of my funnel.

 

  • I post more targeted material here.

 

LinkedIn and Facebook are where I put the really good information my targeted prospects will be interested in seeing.

 

The people I’m most interested in contacting will self-select by making a habit out of interacting with my posts.

 

The more likes and comments a post gets, the more successful it is.

 

  • I get to know my prospects as individuals.

 

As I comment on the posts of others (and especially as they comment on my posts) I get to know my prospects’ concerns, both as individuals and as a group.

 

I also get the chance to build relationships in my professional community.

 

  • I greet everyone who adds me, and I do my best to get a feeling for their needs.

 

It’s important to be personable on social media. (It is social media, after all.)

 

The more people you interact with, the more you’ll know what your ideal customer needs.

 

And the better you know that, the more you’ll be able to meet those needs.

 

  • Overall strategy: I try to be social and start conversations.

 

  1. I produce content worth reading.

 

Of course, it seems a little arrogant for a writer to claim his work is worth reading. But that’s the goal.

 

I work hard to produce content that gives value to my visitors, because I know that only quality content will serve my purposes.

 

  • I make sure it’s worth sharing.

 

What makes content worth sharing?

 

Content that’s worth sharing is content that gives you value.

 

It lets you learn something you need to know.

 

It shows you a different way of looking at the same old things.

 

I do my best to make my content worth sharing, because only content that’s worth sharing gets shared.

 

  • I make sure it’s worth commenting.

 

Content that’s worth commenting on is written in a unique voice.

 

It has something to say.

 

It invites conversation.

 

It asks the reader to reach out and respond.

 

Remember: content marketing is about starting a conversation. Do all you can to make that happen.

 

  • I make sure it’s worth subscribing.

 

This means my content isn’t just a one-time thing. I show up with my best work, week after week. The more content I put out, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more my knowledge is worth to readers. I’m making a treasure for my prospects to find.

 

  • Overall strategy: I make sure my content is relevant to my audience.

 

  1. I create a repeatable process to maximize visits to my site.

 

Now that I’ve set up the basic outlines of the funnel, I turn it into a process.

 

That means tracking the important metrics and learning how to maximize them.

 

It means identifying every problem and learning how to solve it to the best of my ability.

 

  • I take measurements and set goals for growth.

 

The key is to identify the metrics that directly line up with your goals.

 

For example: if you’re using Twitter to cast a wide net, the most useful metric is the number of views of your posts.

 

  • I optimize my social media content.

 

Now that I’ve got some data and I’ve done some observations, I can do A/B testing to find the types of content that perform best on each of my social media platforms.

 

This allows me to set ever-increasing goals so I can eventually set a pattern of continuous growth.

 

  • I optimize my site content.

 

As I produce more and more on-site content, I form a better idea of the kind of content my audience needs.

 

To a degree, I can even do testing on this. But certain types of content will consistently perform better than others.

 

I’ll know to produce more of that content and less of the stuff that doesn’t work so well.

 

  • Overall strategy: I always have something I’m trying to improve.

 

The most important part of this process is to set the right goals and use the right metrics. If I choose the right problems, I keep myself on the right track throughout the promotional process.

 

Of course, this is a complex strategy and an abstract post like this hardly scratches the surface of what the actual execution looks like. But it should get you thinking.

 

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about social media. I’m always trying to tailor this blog to your needs, so I’d appreciate the help.

 

And I know some of you don’t like to post publicly, so feel free to contact me by email at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com if you’d rather do it that way.

 

Good luck, and good copywriting!

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It’s Time to Take a Look at Your Content

Maybe you’ve heard of content marketing. Maybe you’re a little curious about it. Maybe this is the first time you’ve even heard of such a thing, but you’re curious to know more. No matter where you are, I hope you’ll find something here to suit your needs.

 

First things first: let’s define our terms. According to Dictionary.com, content marketing is defined as “marketing that tries to attract customers by distributing informational content potentially useful to the target audience, rather than by advertising products and services in the traditional way.”

 

If you asked me, I’d tell you the most important part of that definition is the part that says “informational content potentially useful to the target audience.” That line tells you the basic difference between content marketing and traditional marketing.

 

Traditional marketing is all about pushing the sale as hard as possible. It’s about buying access to a mass audience and interrupting them while they’re trying to watch Game of Thrones. It’s all about imposing yourself on as many people as possible and hoping you’ll reach enough people that a few of them will actually be interested in whatever you’re pushing on them.

 

Content marketing changes all that. It’s about providing quality information to the people who want and need it. It’s about starting with a small audience of interested people who want to hear your message. It’s about collaborating with your audience as it grows, so you learn your audience’s needs and concerns while they learn what you can offer them.

 

Let’s try an analogy. With traditional marketing, you do the best you can to turn yourself into the dusty old professor at the front of the room, telling all those prospects exactly what they need to know. They’re not listening, and of course they’re looking at their phones every minute you’re trying to talk to them.

 

They see you as somebody trying to impose your message on them, so of course they’re not going to listen.

 

With content marketing, things are different. Here you’re the guy in the middle of the classroom who starts telling a joke. When you start out, maybe there’s only one or two people listening. As you go on, though, people start noticing. The captain of the football team turns and leans in close to hear. The weird mumbling kid from art class glances over with a hand held to his ear. The pretty blonde who sits in front of you tunes in with a smile on her face. And without trying to draw any attention to yourself, you’ve got the whole classroom in the palm of your hand.

 

How did you do it?

 

You did it by being engaging. And that’s what content marketing is all about.

 

Now, what does content marketing look like in practice? Simply put, content marketing can be almost anything in the online space. Here’s a short list of a few of the main types of content marketing:

  • Email newsletters.
  • Blog posts.
  • Online videos/vlogs.
  • Social media postings.

Nearly everything online can be treated as a form of content marketing. Whatever you use to spread your message by providing your prospects with useful information is content marketing.

 

Some people hear “content marketing” and immediately think blog posts. It’s not always blog posts.

 

As we go on, I want to do three main things with this post: I want to A) show you the process that allows you to attract clients with content marketing, B) warn you about a few of the pitfalls of bad content marketing, and C) leave you with a few tips on how to produce your own great content.

 

Content into Clients

I know I told you earlier that content marketing is not only blogging. There are many other forms content marketing can take. But for the sake of giving you a quick-and-dirty idea of how content marketing works, we’ll work on the assumption that you’re only doing a blog.

 

Before you get started with your blog, you’re going to need to know a few things. You’ll want to ask yourself a few questions, such as:

  • What are my goals for this blog?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What problem is my audience having, and how can I solve it?
  • What pains are my audience experiencing?
  • What topics will my audience be interested in hearing about?

One of the lucky things about content marketing is that you don’t have to have a final answer to any of these questions when you begin. It’s extremely important that you have answers, but one of the joys of content marketing is that you have plenty of opportunity to experiment with your approach.

 

For example: if you start out with the idea that your audience will be most interested in seeing content that’s all about how many awards your organization has won, it won’t take more than a few iterations to realize that’s generally not the best content strategy. (That’s a bit of a heavy-handed example, I’ll admit, but I’ve seen organizations try even worse things in their wrong-headed attempts at content strategy.)

 

The idea is that you want to start out with your best guess as to who your audience is and what they need to see. Assuming you post on a pretty regular basis, you’ll be able to home in on a more accurate idea over time.

 

You want to produce content that speaks to your readers where they are. That way when you distribute your blog posts you’ll be able to explain what you can do for your readers, in terms that someone who is totally new to your industry can understand.

 

So: how does content get turned into clients?

 

It’s not complicated. Let’s say I’m your prospect. I’m doing a search on Google, or scrolling through my Facebook feed, or whatnot, when I see a link to one of your blog posts.

 

Let’s say I just did a search for “how to attract better candidates.” I find one of your posts on Google, I click on it, and I come to your site. I find you’ve got a lot of good posts with a lot of good information I can put to work in my hiring process.

 

So I spend a little time reading your material and learning the information you put out on your site. I appreciate that you’ve put all this information out there, I recognize you’ve got some authority and credibility because of the quality of your information, and I appreciate that you understand my problem better than I do.

 

Maybe that’s enough for me to want to hire your services right now. Maybe it’s not. But even if it’s not, it’s enough for me to want to keep informed about your blog and your services. I’ll subscribe to your blog and receive a notification every time you post to it.

 

That way when I finally decide to hire a recruiting agency, I’ll know which one to choose.

 

So content marketing isn’t about the immediate conversion. It’s about warming up prospects and giving them the chance to get to know and trust you. Build up good will, draw enough of the right kind of attention, and you’ll be able to have the very best clients approaching you.

 

Bad Content Marketing: What’s it Look Like?

Like most things worth doing, the idea of content marketing is elegantly simple. The execution, on the other hand, is a little less simple.

 

Not necessarily because content marketing is terribly hard. All it takes is a skilled writer, a disciplined approach to content strategy, and a beginner’s understanding of the industry. The main reason content marketing attempts fail is that they’re not given the chance to succeed. An organization that does one or two blog posts, sees that they’re not seeing an immediate return on the investment, and cuts off the campaign, is not an organization that’s giving content marketing a chance to succeed. Content marketing is not an overnight solution, and anybody who tells you it is, is lying.

 

Assuming the content is getting a chance to succeed, why might it be failing? Let’s take a look at a few possible reasons:

 

  1. It’s keyword-stuffed garbage. Some people like filling their content with so many keywords that it becomes unreadable. This is a misguided attempt at SEO mastery, and it’s simply not worth it. What you might gain from keyword density is going to be more than lost by the extent of your bounce rate. Don’t do it.
  2. It doesn’t focus on the customer’s needs. I’ve seen content pages that have no purpose other than to feed the egos of marketing managers. Heck, I’ve seen entire blogs that existed only for the purpose of letting the CEO trumpet how many awards a company has. If someone wants to waste their time, I guess that’s their prerogative. But good content is about the customers and their needs. It’s not about ego.
  3. It doesn’t have any personality. Now, even though it’s not about ego, that doesn’t mean it should be dull or boring. The only thing worse than blog posts that read like they’re some kind of organizational resume are the blog posts that read like they were written by the HAL 9000 computer on one of his dull days. I could go on all day about this, but let’s condense the whole lesson down to three words: don’t be boring.
  4. It’s obviously a sales pitch. Now, this is a legitimate mistake. The first three mistakes on this list come from sheer laziness or lack of writing ability, but this one is what you could call a tactical error. There’s a temptation to treat your content as if it’s copy. There’s an urge to use your content to push the sale as aggressively as possible. There are places on your site to do that. The blog is not the place.
  5. It doesn’t offer any positive value to the reader. This is the one, giant, uber-mistake of all bad content marketing. Bad content marketing is about pushing yourself forward and shouting at the reader to buy your thing. Bad content is all about keeping things as formal and businesslike as possible. Bad content marketing is all about you.

 

Avoid those pitfalls, and you should be able to put together some good content.

 

Good Content Marketing: What’s it Look Like?

One reason I put the signs of bad content marketing before I put the methods for good content marketing is that it’s much easier to avoid the bad than it is to create the good.

 

It’s dangerous to overgeneralize about good content marketing, because every situation is different. You can depend on the worst mistakes to remain bad, no matter what the situation, but the right way to do a content marketing campaign depends on the business.

 

For example: let’s stick with the recruiter we were talking about a few sections back. The agency’s content strategy is going to be different depending on whether they’re more concerned with drawing clients or more focused on attracting candidates. Content marketing is a matter of dialing in on the right way to talk to your audience. So the nature and concerns of that audience are going to be the deciding factor in the content.

 

So even though this is only a partial guide to content marketing, here are a few guidelines to follow as you’re beginning:

 

  1. Tell a story (when appropriate). One of the clichés you’ll find about content marketing is this airy-fairy-sounding line about “telling the story of your brand,” or some variation on that. It’s not exactly wrong, but at the same time it’s one of those empty phrases that get any decent writer frustrated. Put it this way: if you’re going to tell a story, make sure it’s your customer’s story. If it’s something your audience can’t identify with, don’t put in there.
  2. Give your audience information they can use to succeed. I know one of the mental blocks that hold people back from doing content marketing right is that they think, “Can I really just give all this information away? Why would my prospects hire my services if I tell them exactly what they need to do?” My answer: don’t worry about it. Sure, some people are going to come to your blog, read your information, and never contact you. That’s wonderful. That means the blog is working. The people who are meant to work with you will know you can do the job better than they can. The people you’re meant to work with are skilled professionals who have a different specialty than you, and who understand the value of having a specialty. They’ll see the value of your service and be drawn to it that way.
  3. Make an effort to connect with the reader emotionally. This one can feel a little weird sometimes. We’re always a little shy about revealing ourselves and taking the risk to be vulnerable. Especially in the business world, having the courage to be vulnerable can feel extremely risky. But good content marketing requires you to connect with your reader as a human being. You have to realize that there’s a human being on the other end of the screen. A human being who is just as valuable and just as complex as you are. Good content isn’t just written for the proud businesslike façade we all show the world. Good content is also written for the gooey, sentimental human being who wants to feel things and connect with others. And it takes courage to write content like that.
  4. Make it easy for the reader to contact you. Ideally, every reader would leave glowing comments at the end of your posts, all of them telling you how brilliant you are and how you’re the most perfect human being who ever lived. But that won’t happen. So make sure the reader can show his or (hopefully) her appreciation by sharing your posts on social media, subscribing to your blog, commenting at the bottom of the page, and contacting you directly via email to hire your services immediately. Make these things as easy as possible and they’ll happen more easily.

 

Remember: content marketing is going to take testing and balancing. Every industry is different, and every business is different. You may have to try for a while before you find a way to connect to your audience effectively.

 

But with practice and iteration, you can figure out how to talk to the people meant to hear your message. Try to post at least about once a week. If your message is worth getting out there, it’s worth the effort.

 

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about content marketing. I’m always trying to tailor this blog to your needs, so I’d appreciate the help. And I know some of you don’t like to post publicly, so feel free to contact me by email at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com if you’d rather do it that way. Good luck, and good content!

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How Can You Put Guest Posting to Work for You?

Every great blogger sits on the floor when typing. Obviously.

 

If you’ve been blogging or freelance writing for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about guest posting. Maybe you’ve thought about putting it to work for you but weren’t sure how to start.

 

If that sounds like you, you came to the right blog. I’ll let you know all you need to know about how to get started on guest posting, but before that I’ll help you figure out if it’s right for you.

 

Simply put, guest posting is when you write a blog post that appears on another blog. Usually it’s a more established blog with a regular audience, although this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

 

If you’re running a website and need to increase your visibility, guest posting can be a serious help. I’ll get more in-depth about the benefits of guest posting in the next section, but for now you need to know that guest posting will expand your network, increase your traffic, and improve your SEO rankings.

 

Guest posting can help establish your reputation or build your authority in your niche. It’s a tried and true method for getting your name out, and it’s got some serious benefits. So let’s get into some of those benefits, shall we?

 

Why do Guest Posting?

Like I said in the last section, guest posting has three main benefits. These are:

  • Expanding your network.
  • Increasing your site’s organic traffic.
  • Improving your site’s SEO rankings.

 

Expanding your network is an indirect benefit that comes from a guest posting strategy. Every blogger or website you work with in your niche becomes another possible source of referrals and recommendations. If you do a particularly good job on the post (or if it happens to go viral), they might even ask you to post again. That’s always a plus!

 

But the main reason most people are interested in guest posting is because they want to improve their site’s traffic and authority. Most guest posts do this by allowing you to include a do-follow link to your site and one or two of your social media accounts.

 

Of course, those links are going to bring you direct traffic, but they’re also (and perhaps more importantly) going to increase your SEO rankings. Particularly as you cement your reputation and start guest posting with more and more authority sites, you’re going to improve your rankings and draw in more search traffic.

 

So on the whole, the reason you do guest posting is the same as the reason you do any other kind of marketing: because you’re trying to get the right people interested in your offer.

Long-term Guest Post Strategy

Now, in a perfect world you’d be able to type up a guest post, send it to the highest-authority blog in your niche, and get your work appearing in all the hot blogs by this time next week.

 

Of course, that’s not the world we live in. In this world, great things have to start small.

 

So you have to start small. Don’t worry, you’ll get to the big leagues eventually, but you’ve got to start out guest posting for the blogs a little closer to your level.

 

Start out by writing up a list of the blogs in your niche you’d be most interested in blogging with. Then the ones you’re a little less interested in blogging with. Then the ones you’re a little less interested in than that.

 

The idea is that you want to get a list together where you’ve got a small number of top-tier blogs you’d like to write with on the top, a larger number of middle-level blogs below that, and a bunch of smaller (but still credible) blogs at the bottom.

 

If you’re feeling lucky, you can send your first post in to your top-tier blogs. If they won’t take it, try the middle level, and so on. In the long term, you want to be able to post with any of the top-tier blogs you want, because they’ll repay your efforts the most.

 

But you’ve got to start where you can. So start somewhere!

 

How to do Your Guest Post

Every blog is a little different, so I can only give you some basic guidelines here. When you’re ready to put your guest posting strategy to work, you start out by looking up the guidelines for the blog you’re interested in and follow them.

 

If anything I say here conflicts with the process for a blog you’re interested in, trust their process more than my words.

 

Generally, bloggers will want you to either reach out to them with a pitch before sending in your post, or else they’ll want you to send a full article. Whatever their preferences are, it’s a good bet that following them will give you the best odds of getting the guest post spot you’re after.

 

And I know this should really be obvious, but unfortunately I’ve got to say this: make sure your guest post is on a topic that’s relevant to the blog you’re interested in. No matter how good your article on woodpeckers is, it’s probably not going to be appropriate for a blog about retail selling.

 

Take a little time to acquaint yourself with the blog you’re interested in before you pitch them. It doesn’t’ take long, and it’s always worth your time.

Get the word out!

Interested in Guest Posting With Me?

Just in case you’re wondering, yes I do accept guest post pitches. Feel free to contact me at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com with any pitches that have to do with freelance writing. Please mark your pitch clearly with the subject line “Guest Post Pitch.” I’ll do my best to choose the best pitches and reply to you within a week at the latest.

 

Generally, I prefer guest posts that have to do with strategies you’ve used to successfully find freelance writing work in the past, although I will consider anything that’s got to do with the freelance writing life.

 

I hope you’ll find a lot of value in guest posting as a blogging strategy. It can work wonders for your website, and for freelancers it can be a wonderful way to spend those times when business is slow. Just pop out a few guest posts, and by the time they get posted you’ll have more clients than you know what to do with!

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How to Set Up Your Lead Magnet

You’ve got your content marketing up and running. You’ve got a steady stream of visitors coming to your site. You’ve got a pretty steady clip of blog comments piling up.

 

But there’s a problem.

 

Your conversion rates are way too low. You’ve got oodles of visitors coming to your site, but they’re not buying. Sure, maybe a few of them are getting in touch with you, but it’s not enough. You’ve got to crank up those numbers.

 

No worries though: this is where you make a lead magnet. If you already know about lead magnets, this is old stuff to you. If not, let me set the stage.

 

First off: the real action in selling online doesn’t come from your site. It comes from your email list. So you need to be able to build that email list.

 

But of course there’s a problem here, and it’s pretty obvious: people don’t love giving out their email addresses online, and they’re going to want something valuable in exchange. That’s where your lead magnet comes in.

 

So what is the lead magnet? A lead magnet is whatever you offer your prospects in exchange for their contact information.

 

It could be an eBook, a free trial period, or a free 30-minute consultation. It could be any of a wide variety of things. The point is that it’s something valuable that you’re giving away to your prospects.

 

Why use a lead magnet?

  • It leverages reciprocity. You give your prospects something valuable and they’ll be disposed to exchange value with you.
  • It establishes your authority with the prospect. This way, you don’t have to tell them you know what you’re talking about. You show them.
  • It allows you to educate your prospect on the value of your products and services without the whole drama and angst of a sales presentation.
  • But most importantly: it incentivizes your prospects to give you their email addresses.

 

A good lead magnet is part sales document and part educational piece. Writing a good lead magnet can take significant time and effort, but the results are well worth the investment.

 

Just like content marketing, some companies prefer to outsource the work to skilled professionals who have demonstrated an ability in the field. But if you’d like to have a crack at it yourself, I’ve got some steps together that you can follow in prepping your lead magnet.

 

Choose Your Topic

I’m a writer, so I’m going to assume we’re going with some kind of written informational lead magnet. This isn’t the only kind of lead magnet you could consider, but it’s the one I’ve got the most expertise and understanding in, so we’ll go with it.

 

(Just in case you’re interested, some other types of lead magnets include free trial offers, access to market information, etc.)

 

One of the classics of the lead magnet genre is the how-to guide. This is pretty intuitive, since it’s just an eBook guide that tells your prospect how to get something done.

 

Ideally, your how-to guide will be about something your prospect could do if they had the time or energy, but that it’s easier for them to hire your organization to do for them. (This is part of the underlying sales message of your lead magnet.)

 

More than likely, you’ve already got a pretty clear idea of what a good lead magnet topic would be for your organization. If not, take a minute and think of some problems your organization solves for clients who could take care of the problem for themselves, at the cost of some major inefficiency.

 

It shouldn’t take you long to think of something.

 

Write and Produce Your Lead Magnet

When you’re writing your lead magnet, remember it’s supposed to do three things:

  1. Add value to the prospect.
  2. Educate your prospect about your products or services.
  3. Incentivize the prospect to give you their contact information.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but this point is important: the lead magnet isn’t primarily a sales tool, but you want your prospect to finish reading with the distinct impression that they could do the thing, but it would be better to adopt your professional services.

 

You don’t necessarily want to sell them immediately, but you want them to at least imagine buying from you.

 

But that’s not the main goal. The main goal is to give the prospect something valuable, so he or she will be more disposed to open your sales emails and do business with you later on.

 

That means you want to give good information, for one thing. And for another thing, you want the copy in your lead magnet to be well-written and conversational enough that the prospect will actually want to read the thing.

 

You’re asking for your prospect’s time and attention here, and that’s the most valuable commodity they have. That means your lead magnet had better be good enough to deserve that attention.

 

Set Up Your Email List

Now that you’ve got your lead magnet produced, you want to get it up on your site where it can do you some good. If you haven’t already done so, this is the time to get your email list up and running.

 

Your email list is going to be the most valuable sales tool in your digital marketing efforts. It’s going to give you the chance to educate your prospects on your offerings and gradually dial in on their needs and desires.

 

That’s why you’re going to want an opt-in screen that’s optimized to generate as many opt-ins as possible. You want to make sure your prospect has a real incentive to give you his or her email address and open up the lines of communication.

 

You’re going to want to run your email list through a batch email service such as Mailchimp. Mailchimp is usually a good idea for new email marketers, because it has a free option and allows the service to grow with your list.

 

We’ll talk about this in more depth some other time, but you’re going to want to make sure to optimize your opt-in and rigorously iterate your sales emails on a long-term basis. (These are serious issues, but unfortunately they take us pretty far afield from this blog post.)

 

The important thing is that you realize email marketing is a serious commitment and it’s something that will take a lot of adjustment, especially at the beginning.

 

Conclusion

Your lead magnet is the first crucial link in the chain leading your website’s visitors from their first visit to the day they become customers or clients. The idea is simple, but the execution can vary incredibly.

 

Some lead magnets are brilliant pieces of writing. They’re funny, thoughtful, informative, and a joy to read. Those are the lead magnets that build goodwill with the prospect and dispose him or her to open your emails when they show up in the inbox.

 

Some lead magnets are awful, boring, predictable things with confusing language and useless information. They’re the kind of thing that make a prospect want to unsubscribe from your list as soon as possible.

 

Remember that when you’re putting together your lead magnet. This is one of the first points of contact a prospect will have with your brand.

 

What kind of first impression do you want to make?

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How to Put Twitter Marketing to Work for You (Part 1 of 3)

 

Twitter is one of the most widely used social media sites on the net. With 319 million active users as of the last quarter of 2016, Twitter is a marketing hot spot ready for the taking.

 

So how do you get all that goodness working for you? Well, read along and I’ll give you the guidelines!

 

  1. Define your goals.

It can’t get any simpler than this: if you don’t know what your goals are, you won’t know when you’ve accomplished them.

 

Are you trying to draw traffic to your site? Are you trying to increase your follower count? Are you trying to use Twitter to directly increase sales?

 

All of these goals require different tactics and different metrics. It’s important to define objectives at the beginning, or else you’ll never know if you’ve succeeded. And even though it can be tempting to go after followers, sales, and traffic all at once, remember the old saying: “If you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.”

 

  1. Follow influencers in your industry.

If you’re going to break your message through, you’re going to have to figure out what the most successful people in your industry are doing. So follow them. Also: be sure to follow anybody you’d like to do business with in the future—it helps you keep tabs on prospects.

 

When you follow influencers and watch what they post, you can learn what works in your industry. And if you like, you can always put a little influencer marketing to work. Either way, it’s good to be able to recognize the influencers and learn from their ideas.

 

  1. Post regularly.

This one should be obvious. Remember: if you’re not posting regularly, you might as well not be posting at all.

 

Consistency is the name of the game. There are some companies out there that post to Twitter once a week, without a plan and without any intention of following up.

 

That’s not an acceptable procedure. You’re never going to get results without posting at least once a day, and probably a fair bit more than that. Social media is an iterative process, so the more often you post, the faster you get to know what your followers engage with!

 

  1. Combine Twitter with content marketing.

If you’ve got social media generating plenty of clicks to your site but your content is so bad nobody looks at it, you’ve got a problem. So how do you fix that?

 

Get some content marketing going on that site. The best strategy combines great social media postings with content that gives your visitors excellent value. Your visitors have to see the kind of professional content you’re capable of producing.

 

Content marketing also feeds into some remarketing tactics you should probably hear about. Unfortunately, I’m not going to have any space to fit that info into this post, so you’ll have to wait till tomorrow. Sorry!

 

  1. Retweet and promote others.

If you want people on Twitter to promote your brand, you have to start out by promoting other people’s brands. It doesn’t have to be anything excessive. Just a retweet or a mention now and again can be enough.

 

When you retweet someone else, you’ll be able to see if they reciprocate by retweeting one of your tweets. This kind of informal arrangement can lead to strong social and business relationships.

 

But watch out: there are many accounts out there that are so eager to retweet that they drown out their own brand in the process. So just watch out and make sure not to overdo it!

 

  1. Be social!

Here’s another one that should be obvious. This is social media. You need to be social.

 

Now, what’s that mean? Two things.

 

First off, it means you need to engage with your followers. If you keep up the social media campaign for any length of time, you’re going to gather fans who want to form a relationship with your brand. If you’re looking for business, you respond to them. You never know what business enthusiasm can lead to.

 

Second, it means you need to have a friendly and approachable online presence. Sure, you want to be consistent with your brand, but it’s important that you show a human face. It pays off in the end.

 

  1. Test to find the best posting times.

Generally, B2B businesses get the best results by posting sometime around noon (when people are on their lunch breaks), while B2C businesses do better later in the evening. That’s how they maximize their impressions and their engagement.

 

But that being said, there are a ton of variables here. If your social media following is spread out over a wide geographical area, for example, your optimum time to post will be likely to change.

 

So the real takeaway here is that you should be mindful of when you post. It takes a little testing to get it just right, but the results are worth the effort.

 

  1. Consider hiring a professional.

Let’s face it: you’re a busy person, and your time is valuable. Sure, you could take the time and the classes to learn how social media marketing works. Sure, you could spend the time and resources to take care of a social media strategy yourself.

 

You could do that.

 

But once again: you’re a busy person. Every minute you spend working over the social media is another minute you’re not spending running your business and coming up with new ideas. It’s definitely worthwhile to talk to a professional who knows what he or she is doing when you’re working on social media.

 

  1. Make sure your content is valuable.

This is something that’s definitely going to vary with your industry.

 

Valuable content in a B2B business might mean information about how your followers can solve problems relevant to your expertise.

 

In an entertainment business, it will mean spreading new and exciting things for your audience to enjoy.

 

Ask yourself this question: what kind of content will my ideal customer be most likely to enjoy and engage with?

 

Figure that out, and you know what you need to post. (And since you post regularly, you can experiment with this to find out what gets you the best results.)

 

  1. Consider using paid advertising.

One of the unfortunate facts about social media marketing is that organic growth is just about an impossible nut to crack. Twitter is engineered to give you best results if you shell out a little for advertising.

 

I’ll get into more detail with this tomorrow, but if you’re serious about making Twitter into one of your marketing venues, you’ll need to get serious about using Twitter ads. I know you might not be too happy to hear that, but it’s true.

 

But here’s the fact: if your business has the marketing budget to make a case study, it has the budget to get an ROI on Twitter ads.

 

How? Wait till tomorrow!

 

As always, thanks for reading and best of luck to you and your endeavors. Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got any questions. You can reach me in my comment section, or if you like you can email me at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com.

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Your SEO Strategy Development Guide

Maybe you’re an expert on SEO strategy development already. If you are, feel free to skip down a little, because I’m going to start out by explaining what SEO is and why SEO strategy development is so important.

 

Let me set the scene for you: you’ve been working on your content marketing for a while.

 

Maybe you’ve had a blog running, or maybe you’ve got guests contributing to your site.

 

Or maybe you’ve just got your main site, and you haven’t started your content marketing yet. That’s okay too.

 

You’re running your site, and maybe you’re even getting some pretty good traffic numbers through social media marketing. But those numbers still aren’t everything they could be, are they?

 

Of course not! You know as well as I do that when a business owner decides traffic is “good enough,” it’s time to count down till their site goes bye-bye.

 

Now, of course, I know that’s not you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

 

But you also wouldn’t be here if your search traffic were through the roof or if you were getting so many orders you didn’t know how to fill them. Fair enough?

 

So I’ll level with you: your traffic’s not what it could be, your sales are in trouble, and you’re looking for solutions. Is that pretty much the situation for you?

 

I thought so.

 

Well, SEO strategy development can help with all that. It can blow your search traffic through the roof, bringing you targeted visitors who are already looking for what you have to offer.

 

With solid SEO, you can get your content the traffic it deserves, and you can draw traffic from the visitors who are most likely to buy. SEO can tighten up your sales funnel and give you the results you’re looking for.

 

Are you seeing dollar signs? Great!

 

Now, as you read along in this article, here’s what you’ll find:

 

  1. A description of what SEO strategy development can do for you, including:
    • What SEO is.
    • What SEO is not.
    • How SEO can help your business.
  2. A guide to putting together your SEO strategy, focusing on:
    • Setting objectives and metrics for success.
    • Selecting keywords and ranking for search engines.
    • Integrating your site into the link structure of the internet.
  3. A primer on how to integrate SEO into your existing online marketing strategy, emphasizing:
    • SEO is only a part of a winning online marketing strategy.
    • The value of combining good SEO with good content marketing.
    • The combined power of SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing.

 

Are you ready? Great! Then let’s get started.

 

Part One: What is SEO?

So as long as we’re getting started, we might as well start at the beginning: SEO stands for search engine optimization. (I know it can seem intimidating at first, but I promise it’s not.)

 

So what’s search engine optimization mean, you ask? Good question.

 

Simply put, SEO is a set of techniques that help internet users find your site on search engines like Google. Google is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to search engines, because 68 percent of searches come through there.

 

Why’s it so important to optimize for search engines?

 

Let me put it this way: have you ever taken a look at the amount of results your average Google search gets?

 

Just out of curiosity, I tried it out. I just did three Google searches, and all three of them had results in the millions (one was even in the billions!). Take a look:

 

 

Maybe the numbers will be different by the time you read this, but you get the point: there are massive amounts of results for just about every search. It’s easy to get buried in the clutter.

 

Let me ask you a question: how often do you go to the second page of your Google search results? The tenth page? The hundredth page?

 

That’s what I thought. Now, are you starting to see why SEO is so important?

 

So how does it work? Well, to tell you that, I’ll have to tell you a little about how search engines work. I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible, I promise.

 

Search engines work by having certain algorithms (known as “spiders” or “crawlers”) go through the web and compile lists of results.

 

Then when somebody makes a search, there’s another algorithm that determines the relevance each result has for each query.

 

Google keeps that algorithm pretty secret, but we know enough about it to do the work that lands your site on the first page of the Google searches that matter.

 

So, are we all clear on what SEO is? Or at least a little clear?

 

That’s great. Now let’s move on, and I can help clear up some of the misconceptions around SEO.

 

What SEO Isn’t

Before I go any further in helping you with your SEO strategy development, I want to clear up these three mistakes people often have about SEO:

 

  • Misconception number one: SEO is keyword-stuffing.
  • Misconception number two: SEO is too technical and too involved to be any use to me.
  • Misconception number three: SEO is always a simple, easy, overnight solution.

 

If you’ve heard a little about SEO in the past, it’s easy to come away with the idea that it’s a bunch of keyword stuffing.

 

There was a time when that was more or less true. Or at least, there was a time when you could simply load up your site with as many keywords as possible and crank out a first page ranking.

 

The problem with that was that pages full of gibberish and really low-quality content were ranking on the first page of Google. It was spammy, ugly, and not very useful for search engine users.

 

So in 2011, Google let out their Panda update, changing their algorithm massively. This was one of the most significant Google updates ever. It heavily penalized keyword-stuffing and sent many low-quality sites down into the low rankings they deserve.

 

These days, good SEO strategy development means using keywords usefully, naturally, and intelligently. And that’s good for all of us.

 

Another thing you might have heard about SEO is that it’s an arcane and insanely technical process you’ve got no chance of mastering.

 

Let me clear that one up for you: SEO is not the most technical process in the world. True, there’s a lot involved. There’s a learning curve. There’s plenty of material out there you’ll need to study, and it’s important to keep updated on important changes to search engine algorithms.

 

But let me promise you this: with time, effort, and a little guidance, you can learn how to do SEO on your own.

 

Last of all: some people might have given you the idea that SEO is a quick fix.

 

It’s not. Sometimes it can take a few days for a new page to start ranking for the keywords you’ve picked. Sometimes something goes wrong, and it doesn’t happen for you at all.

 

That’s why I want to make this clear: the best way to make SEO work for you is to use it as part of a solid content marketing strategy. But more on that later.

 

For now, let’s get to what SEO can do for you.

 

How SEO Strategy Development Can Help You

The bottom line is this: good SEO can drive sales.

 

How can it drive sales? Well, thanks for asking!

 

Good SEO is about more than just driving traffic to your site. It’s about driving the right traffic.

 

I’ll get into this more in-depth later on, but let me put it this way: if you’re selling refrigerators, would you rather be in the first page of results when people search for “refrigerators,” or when people search for “where can I buy a refrigerator?”

 

Before you answer that, let me draw your attention to a few things, okay?

 

Now, I don’t have the numbers on this, but I’ve got a hunch that “refrigerators” gets a lot more searches than the other one. That’s one point in favor of “refrigerators,” right?

 

Wrong.

 

Here’s the thing about high-volume keywords like that: they can get thousands, or even millions of searches per month. And what does that mean?

 

That means Wal-Mart and all the other huge department stores have already shelled out huge amounts of green to be able to rank on page one. The competition is fierce. Even if you could win out, it might take months or years.

 

It’s not sounding so good right now, is it? And that’s not the worst of it, either.

 

Why not? The simple fact is this: there could be any number of reasons why someone would do a search for “refrigerators.”

 

Maybe they’re looking for a picture.

 

Maybe they want to know how they work.

 

Maybe they’re just wondering if Wal-Mart really does come up in the number one spot.

 

The point is: it’s hard to win on an open-ended keyword like that, and it’s very likely that the users who make the search aren’t currently interested in buying your product.

 

So what’s the trick? You’ve got to find keywords with less competition and more user interest in buying.

 

That’s what SEO strategy development is all about, and that’s why choosing keywords is so important. As you read along, we’ll get into more detail about that in Part Two.

 

Part Two: Putting Your Strategy Together

Like anything else worth doing, good SEO strategy development starts with setting the right goals. Without clear, measurable goals, you’re sure to end up confused and chasing after the wrong things, right?

 

When you’re running your business, do you set goals and then figure out what you’re going to do to reach them, or do you just muddle through what you’re doing with no long-term structure at all?

 

Of course you figure out the goals first!

 

In anything I do in life, I set a clear goal and I learn exactly what I’m going to do to make it happen. I learn how I’m going to measure my success, and I learn what benefits I’ll get from it.

 

Putting together a winning SEO strategy is the no different.

 

So: what results are you looking for with your SEO strategy?

 

Are you trying to increase traffic to your site? Are you trying to increase sales and conversion rates? Or are you trying to improve the levels of engagement with your content marketing campaigns?

 

Different goals mean different ways of solving the problem. For example, if you’re only trying to increase traffic, you won’t be as interested in targeting keywords that focus on buying. Make sense? Good.

 

When you have different goals, you’ll calculate your return on investment in different ways.

 

If you’re driving sales, you’ll measure ROI straightforwardly: you’re interested in revenue per dollar spent.

 

If you’re looking for increases in traffic, you’ll measure in visitors per dollar spent.

 

If you’re looking for increased visitor engagement, you’ll measure in comments or shares per dollar spent.

 

The best part is, these figures will increase over time.

 

How’s that? Well, with services like Salesforce and Google analytics, it’s easy to tell which parts of your SEO marketing campaign are working, and which ones aren’t pulling their weight. And that means you can constantly calibrate your approach to make an ever more valuable tool in SEO strategy development.

 

Where the Magic Happens: Selecting Keywords

See? I promised you I’d come back to talking about keywords. If you’re getting the impression that keywords are an important part of SEO strategy development, you’re absolutely right.

 

A good keyword can win you massive traffic, and a bad keyword can leave you stuck without traffic, without visitors, and without a hope in the world. That’s why it’s important to choose keywords carefully. You don’t want to gamble all your time and effort on a keyword that’s “good enough.”

 

Now, I’m sure you’ve already got the idea that keywords are pretty important for SEO, so I won’t beat that dead horse, okay?

 

And you already know it’s good to pick keywords that come from people who are interested in taking action, so I won’t tell you about that either.

 

By now you’re probably wondering what I am going to tell you. Right?

 

I’m going to tell you a little about keyword research.

 

It’s extremely important to get the right keywords when you’re doing SEO marketing. If you get the wrong keywords, you get no traffic, or if you’re lucky you get the wrong traffic.

 

So you’re going to want to get to know a few solid keyword research tools. If you can figure out how to use it, you can try your luck with the Google AdWords keyword tool. (It’s free!)

 

Or, if you want to try something that’s actually pretty intuitive and gives you useful information in a way that makes sense, Moz offers a free 30-day trial on their keyword tool.

 

(I probably don’t have to tell you which one I prefer, but then again I’m in the business. If you don’t think a little functionality and ease of use are worth a little green, I guess that’s up to you.)

 

Anyways, let’s get past all the keyword work and figure out some of the other things you’ve got to do to get the best rankings.

 

Getting Integrated: Links and Building Authority

Okay: you’ve got the biggest part of your SEO strategy development over and done with. Are we finished? Not by a long shot!

 

Once you get your keywords picked out, you’re going to want to figure out how you’re going to integrate your site into the link structure of the internet.

 

If that makes absolutely no sense to you, don’t worry, I can explain.

 

Remember those web crawlers I was talking about earlier? Well, when they’re going through the web to compile their map, they’re not only concerned with the actual content of your page. They’re also looking to find out how well your site is connected to the rest of the internet.

 

Now, why do they do that? Because part of the Google algorithm tracks your site’s authority. A site that ranks highly in authority will be a site that many other sites in the same niche link to.

 

That’s pretty intuitive, isn’t it? Because if you’ve got a site that gets linked to often, that means it’s probably a site with reliable information and a thriving community of regular users. Sites like Forbes, Buzzfeed, or the Huffington Post would be examples of very high-authority sites.

 

Now, don’t worry, you’re site doesn’t need anything like that level of authority to increase your sales tremendously. All you need to do is generate a good reputation for your site. If you offer good information to people in your niche, you’ll be able to increase your authority over time.

 

But that doesn’t mean you just have to sit around and wait for authority to just happen to you.

 

You build a little authority when you link to authority sites in your articles.

 

Your SEO strategy development gains authority when you get comments on your articles, or social media shares.

 

You even add a little authority when you share your own work on social media.

 

The important takeaway here is that there are simple, everyday ways you can increase your site’s authority over time. Things like:

 

  1. Regularly linking to high-authority sites in your niche.
  2. Spreading the word on social media.
  3. Guest posting on the most high-authority sites you can get to listen to you.
  4. Building a community on your site. That means not only asking for comments, but responding to the people who reach out to you. A helpful and responsive web presence pays off in good will and authority, but (most importantly) in human relationships.

 

So now you’re pretty much done with your SEO strategy development. What happens now? Now it’s time to integrate your SEO into a larger online marketing plan.

 

How? Read along and find out.

 

Part Three: SEO and Online Marketing

Once you’re done with your SEO strategy development, it’s important to remember that SEO is only a part of your online marketing program.

 

Okay, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. I’m sure you could run a site that’s just a couple of pages of targeted keywords, and you can end up with little or no search traffic.

 

The fact is, a website alone isn’t enough. SEO strategy development alone isn’t enough. Unless it’s part of a bigger overall strategy, it’s not going to get the kinds of results you’re looking for.

 

What are your options for marketing online? Honestly, they’re nearly endless. You could try:

 

  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid advertising, including:
    • Social media ads
    • Search engine ads
    • Banner ads
    • Affiliate marketing
  • Cold email
  • Warm email
  • Podcasting
  • Video marketing
  • Guest posting
  • And a million other things that aren’t immediately springing to mind right now…

 

But if you’re looking at SEO strategy development, you’re best bet is going to be combining SEO with content marketing, so I’ll tell you about that in just a minute.

 

Now, what is content marketing? It’s probably a term you’ve heard before, but you’ve never actually heard somebody define it. So I’ll give it my best shot.

 

The way I see it, content marketing is a way to make the content on your website generate demand for your products and services. You can probably already figure out how you’ll turn that into SEO gold, but if you give me a chance in a little while I might be able to tell you something that surprises you.

 

Social media marketing is another great tool to combine with SEO, so I’ll tell you a little more about that further down in the section.

 

Social media marketing, just like content marketing, is all about creating demand for your products and services.

 

But we all know it’s not only about creating demand. Over and above that, it’s about building a relationship of trust with your audience and letting them know you’re someone they’ll want to work with or buy from.

 

It’s about showing them that you’re the same kind of person they are, and you’ve got the same concerns they do.

 

How do you do that? Well, follow along and I’ll show you.

 

Old Reliable: Content Marketing

What makes for good content marketing?

 

That’s simple. Good content marketing is content that’s useful for your ideal customer.

 

How do you do make content that’s useful for your customer? Well, that’s simple too: you figure out what they need, what you can do for them, and how you can show them the value you’ll give them over time.

 

And once you’ve done that, you show them how it’s done.

 

What’s that look like? Well, let’s say you’re running a B2B business, okay? Let’s say you do landscaping for large-scale properties like campsites and industrial parks. A good overall content marketing strategy would be to write about how people could do it for themselves.

 

But wait, you ask, aren’t we supposed to be drawing customers here? Why would we want to tell them how to do it?

 

Three reasons:

  1. A smart business owner knows his or her time is too valuable to spend on doing something a professional has spent years mastering.
  2. With good SEO strategy development, a how-to guide is almost guaranteed to draw more traffic to your site than a more aggressive sales pitch.
  3. Content marketing is about building trust and buying desire over time, not making an immediate hard sell.

 

Your ideal customers are smart people. They know it’s better to go to a professional than to end up with some ugly hedges outside the office window.

 

But do you want to know the best part?

 

Let me tell you: if you’re smart with your SEO strategy development, you can have it both ways. You can use content marketing to make quick sales and slower, long-term sales.

 

How? Well, you can target keywords that signal your users are ready to buy. (Remember “where can I buy a refrigerator?” from earlier? I’m talking that kind of thing.) That way, each of your content marketing pages generates a steady stream of pre-qualified prospects.

 

Good and well, you say, but how can I build those long-term relationships that lead to sales?

 

Never fear. That’s when we bring in the social media.

 

Three-in-One: Content Marketing, SEO, and Social Media Marketing

Okay: so you’ve done your SEO strategy development. You’ve worked out your keywords, and you’re letting out a stream of quality posts that are leading to some quick sales.

 

Let’s turn up the heat.

 

With social media, the best strategy for selling is to never look like you’re selling. If you look like you’re selling, you immediately get packed off and sent to the part of social media that only the spambots actually look at.

 

What does terrible social media marketing look like?

 

Well, it looks a lot like this. How often have you seen this automatic DM on Twitter:

 

Hey there,

Thanks for the follow! Since you don’t know me and we’ve never talked before, you should just go ahead and like my Facebook page, connect with me on LinkedIn, and buy all my products.

Thanks again buddy,

Marvin Fakename, CEO of Fakename Industries

 

That is the absolute worst of social media marketing. It doesn’t build trust, it doesn’t allow the customer to choose the timetable, and it doesn’t even give me any reason to think Marvin Fakename knows what he’s talking about.

 

With good social media marketing, you gradually educate your followers about your offering. You don’t rush them into anything, and you don’t apply very much pressure at all.

 

The key to good social media marketing is to keep your message consistently present for your ideal customers, so you can invite the best kind of people to take a look at your site.

 

If you’re lucky, they’ll be so wowed by what they see that they’ll immediately contact you wanting to do business. But that’s not what good social media marketing is about. What is it about, you ask?

 

Good social media marketing is about building a human relationship over time. It’s about allowing your customer to choose to act when they feel comfortable. And it’s about building a thriving community of like-minded human beings around your site.

 

When you combine SEO strategy development, content marketing, and social media marketing, you’ve got the chance to make something special.

 

You Can Do This

Well, that’s my guide to SEO strategy development. I hope you find value in it, and I hope you don’t find it too overwhelming.

 

Because I know there’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to working with SEO. The fact is, content marketing can be a nerve-wracking subject, especially if you don’t have a lot of practice with writing.

 

But the fact is, with time and dedication you can learn how to get these things to work. There’s a bit of technical know-how and research to be done, but this should give you a solid starting point for your future endeavors.

 

With good SEO strategy development, you can draw the right kind of traffic to your site. You can build great relationships with the people you’re meant to do business with. And in time, you can make a thriving business based on building human relationships, one at a time.

 

I hope I’ve managed to show you the value of SEO as a strategy, and that I’ve helped you come up with at least a few ideas as to how you could apply it to your own business.

 

As always, I hope you’ll feel comfortable to get in touch with me if you’ve got any comments or questions, and I wish the best of luck to you and your business. Thank you very much for reading.

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Why Won’t Your Social Media Strategy Work?

If you’re trying to market your business on social media, you’ll face three major problems.

 

Those problems are:

 

1) How to increase clickthrough to your site?

 

2) How to increase your follower base?

 

and 3) How to increase interactions with your posts?

 

But when you think about it, your three problems really reduce down to one huge problem.

 

Why’s that? Well, when you ask yourself how to increase clickthrough to your site, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

 

Simple. You increase your follower base. So the answer to question number one is to ask yourself question number two?

 

Now: how do you increase your follower base?

 

That’s easy. You just increase the rate of interactions with your posts. An account that’s got lots of interaction is a lively, growing account, right?

 

Of course it is! So the real problem with social media marketing is: how can you increase interactions with your posts?

 

There are a handful of different ways to do this. The trouble is, most of them are spammy and kind of lame.

 

Now, what do I mean by that? Well, let me give you an example: if you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time, you’ll run into the “retweet for a retweet” crowd. These are the accounts that share your content on the expectation that you’ll share their content.

 

It’s a good way to get a lot of retweets, but it doesn’t work as a long-term strategy because it waters down the quality of your content.

 

People will see you sharing everything you can get your hands on, so they won’t develop a relationship with your brand.

 

And that should be your main goal. You want to create a brand people will want to engage with. That means producing great content that’s so wonderful they can’t help but get involved.

 

That means getting to know your current audience.

 

That means finding out what they need.

 

And that means giving them what they need.

 

Great content wins out in the end. Don’t you think so?

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How You Can Improve Your Small Business’s Social Media Strategy

They’re everywhere.

 

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram.

 

If you’re like me, part of you probably wishes the internet had never been invented. If you’re even more like me, part of you probably wishes social media in particular had never been invented.

 

So before I tell you how to put your strategy together, let me take a few words to tell you why you’d want to.

 

Why bother with social media? Isn’t it just something for Millennials? Isn’t it going to die out soon, anyways?

 

Well, there are plenty of reasons to bother with social media. The first reason is that 52 percent of Millennials already report finding products and services through sites like Facebook and Twitter.

 

The numbers are lower for other generations, but there are dedicated social media users in every generation. So it’s a mistake to think it’s just for Millennials.

 

But isn’t social media just a fad? Isn’t it going out the door soon anyways?

 

If that’s your excuse, you’d better think again. The biggest sites have been around for over ten years, and they’re still gathering steam.

 

LinkedIn dates all the way back to 2002.

 

Facebook was started in 2004.

 

YouTube came along in 2005

 

Twitter followed the pack in 2006.

 

If it was a fad, it would be over by now. But that’s still not the best reason for getting on social media.

 

What is the best reason, you ask?

 

Simple: your competition is already there. They’ve already got their social media campaigns set up. They’re moving your customers down their marketing funnels.

 

And every day, they’re increasing their lead on you.

 

You’re not going to make it unless you catch up. And that’s what I’m here to show you how to do.

 

How Can I Start?

 

Let’s begin with the basics. Like anything else, before you begin you want to define your objectives. You’re too clever and forward-thinking to jump into anything without knowing your goals. If you’re getting into the social media game, you’re going to know your conditions for success.

 

Well, what kinds of objectives will you go after?

 

If you’re first starting out your account, you’re probably going to want to increase your following. After all, you can only get your message heard if somebody’s listening, right? It’s important to grow that following to the point where it starts feeling like a community where your followers will want to regularly engage. Otherwise you’re spending a whole lot of time talking to nobody.

 

Once you do that, you can get to work on your other objectives. Now, what are those?

 

One thing you can do is use your social media presence as part of a content marketing strategy. Just like SEO optimization, social media will generate targeted traffic to your site. If you own a content site or an e-commerce store, that’s often enough to generate sales in itself.

 

If you work with more big-ticket items, you might aim for generating leads instead of directly generating customers. Set up a mailing list on your site, and you can turn that mailing list customers.

 

Traffic generation. Lead generation. Sales generation. What else?

 

You can use social media as a testing ground for gathering information on your market. Find out who your customers are. Find out what they want. Test for interest in new offers before you invest too much time and effort into them.

 

Those are just a few of the goals you can pursue with a solid social media strategy. And while you’re working on these, you’re always working on the greater goal of generating awareness and good will to your brand.

 

Once you’ve developed your objectives, you’ll need to work on your online brand strategy. There’s a real temptation to treat a social media account like it’s a place to broadcast all your personal thoughts and opinions. And that’s just fine—on a personal account.

 

With social media, however, you’re going to want a clear message to send your customers and potential customers. That means normal, everyday branding, but it also means developing a separate strategy for each social media venue you take on. (What works on Twitter probably won’t get you too far on LinkedIn, for example.)

 

If you’ve already developed a strong brand, you’re ahead of the curve here. There’s not a ton of work for you to do with coming up with individual strategies for every social media site.

 

If you don’t already have a strong brand, you’re going to want to develop one. It helps if you come up with a buyer persona, as a starting point. What’s a buyer persona? It’s a written sketch of your ideal buyer, and it helps you develop a sense of what kinds of appeals will attract the kind of person you’re looking for.

 

When you’re preparing the buyer persona, you’ll want to get to know what it feels like to be your ideal customer. You’ll want to ask yourself questions like:

 

  1. What are the problems this person deals with on an everyday basis?
  2. What excites this person more than anything else in the world?
  3. What is this person really afraid of?
  4. What does this person really want?
  5. What kinds of subjects does this person think about every day?

 

And so on, and so on, and so on. You’ll want to answer all these questions and more when you’re working on your buyer persona, but that should give you an idea of the kind of think you’re going for.

 

Why bother with all that? Well, by taking all that effort to enter directly into your ideal customer’s worldview, you’ve learned what they value most and (more importantly for you) what it is about your offer that will make them realize how much they need it.

 

Think of it this way: I’m not a computer guy. So if I go to Best Buy to get a computer, I’m not going to be too impressed when the salesman tells me the screen resolution is such-and-such a number of megapixels. But if he tells me it’s got an image so clear it’s like having a hawk’s vision, then I’m interested.

 

So it’s always a good idea to get to know your potential customer’s point of view. Sometimes you’ll have it easy, and your customer persona will be someone a lot like you. Sometimes you’ll have a more challenging customer, somebody you have less in common with.

 

The key thing is to find the way your ideal customer thinks, so you can speak their language and learn what motivates them. It’s practically a cliché to say that part of marketing means entering into your ideal prospect’s thought processes. This is worth doing, and it’s worth taking a thorough, step-by-step approach, because you want to make sure your customer knows you’re someone they can trust and be comfortable working with.

 

Now that you’ve identified your goals and your ideal customer, it’s time to establish your presence on the major social media sites. (Some people will tell you that you absolutely must have a presence on every major site, but that’s not really necessary when you’re starting out.) You’ll want to get started on at least a few of the “Big Five” sites: that’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

If you’re wondering where to start, here are a couple tips:

 

First off, you’ll want to remember that some sites appeal to certain interests and certain age groups. (Your average Instagram user is younger than your average LinkedIn user. There’s a higher proportion of female users on Facebook than on Twitter. Restaurants will tend to rustle up more business on Instagram than on LinkedIn.) Figure out where your ideal customer is most likely to be, and establish a strong presence there.

 

There are good reasons to establish yourself on several sites. The best reason is that presence on multiple sites allows you to cross-promote between them. If you’ve got a major Twitter presence and let your followers know you’re also on Pinterest, they’re likely to follow you. Multiply that through all your accounts, and you’ve got the potential to generate some major amplification!

 

So: you’re started out and you’re ready to go. How does it feel? Are you getting the results you wanted? Keep at it if you’re having trouble. Social media can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s nothing a pro can’t handle.

 

One last point before moving on: every site you’ll try has its own strategies. What works on Twitter won’t necessarily work on LinkedIn. This particular article is about general strategy, but I just want to make sure you remember there are still differences throughout all these sites.

 

Paid Advertising: When and How to Use It

 

With this section, I’ll show you one of the major differences between sites: paid advertising. I’m only going to talk about the two biggest paid advertising sites (Facebook and Twitter), but that should show you what I’m talking about when I get into the differences between sites.

 

But before I get to that, let me give you a quick overview of what paid advertising is and why you might want to use it. There’s all kinds of great advice all over the internet, but what you need to know is that paid advertising is a good way to generate a lot of high-quality, targeted leads in a short period of time. (Or a long period of time, depending on your strategy and your budget.)

 

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads on Facebook before, at least. That’s what we’re talking about here.

 

So why would you want to use paid advertising? Well, first of all because it’s a way for you to get more followers on your account without having to use any kind of weird tactics.

 

Paid advertising gives you the chance to increase your reach almost passively. That’s why it’s a good way to generate new leads and new prospects, especially if you’re planning on introducing a new product.

 

Of course, there are any number of reasons why you might use paid advertising, and the great thing about that is that different objectives are actually built into the process of buying advertising on these sites.

 

But that’s enough about the generalities, let’s get down to specifics. Like I told you before, Facebook and Twitter are generally the most effective places for paid advertising—or at least the biggest—so we’ll focus on them right here.

 

  1. Facebook Paid Advertising
    • Facebook offers many different ad types, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. There are photo ads, video ads, carousels, slideshows, and canvases.
    • There are many different campaign objectives, including 1) boosting posts, 2) promoting your page, 3) reaching people near your business, 4) increasing brand awareness, 5) increasing your reach, 6) generating website traffic, 7) get your app installed, 8) raise event attendance, 9) draw video views, 10) collect leads, 11) increase conversions, 12) increase in-app engagement, 13) increase claims on your offer, 14) promote a catalog, 15) draw store visits.
    • With Facebook ads, you’ve got major options when it comes to targeting your audience. (Now’s a good time to keep your customer persona handy!) You can narrow your audience by demographics, interests, and behaviors, and by narrower and narrower interests after that. If you want to target your ad to men aged 50-55 who love Fifty Shades of Grey and the Velvet Underground, you can do that.
    • Pricing for Facebook ads can vary considerably, but in the US, recent figures indicate a cost per click of 27.29 cents.

 

(Honestly, this is just an aside, but it’s amazing how narrowly you can target these things. If you don’t believe me, just check of this story of one of the most brilliant pranks ever. Unfortunately, cases like this have since led Facebook to dial back the sensitivity of their targeting just a little bit.)

 

  1. Twitter Paid Advertising
    • Twitter ads come in three types: promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends.
    • Twitter offers several different campaign objectives: 1) website clicks or conversions, 2) Tweet engagements, 3) followers, 4) awareness campaigns, 5) video views, 6) app installs or re-engagement, 7) lead generation.
    • Twitter’s targeting options aren’t nearly as extensive as Facebooks, but they still include location, gender, language, device, platform, carrier, etc. You won’t be pranking your roommate with Twitter ads, but you’ll still get the people you’re looking for.
    • Depending on how well you’ve targeted your ad, Twitter advertising can average somewhere between 50 cents to $10 per click. Promoted trends can cost as much as $200,000 a day, so be sure you have a clear plan in mind before you play around with that!)

 

Everyday Running: How to Increase Engagement & Followers

 

Social media is nothing if you’re not engaging with your followers and generating more leads. Now, the particulars of your strategy will vary depending on your industry, your temperament, and the sites you’re using, but this is where I’ll tell you the basics.

 

I’ll give you a short overview first, and then we can get into a few specific strategies for increasing your follower count and generating a conversation.

 

The name of the game is: consistency. A social media account that doesn’t post regularly might as well not exist. I’ve known companies to post some throwaway line, maybe once a week… and then they were surprised that they weren’t getting the results they wanted.

 

You’ll want to exercise two kinds of consistency: consistency of frequency and consistency of message.

 

Consistency of frequency means you’ve got a routine when it comes to posting. If your company is going to use Instagram, you’ll probably want to post at least once a day. If you’re posting once a day, five days a week, you want to be reliable and regular with your posting.

 

This is important. It’s not just that you maximize your chances to generate a wildly successful post. You also create a feeling of dependability and professionalism. Even if your followers don’t consciously realize you’re posting on a regular schedule, the simple fact of seeing your posts every day will reassure them that you treat your social media presence seriously.

 

In short: develop a posting schedule, and experiment with it till you find the best times to post.

 

Consistency of message is more or less a matter of good branding. You want to have something to say if you’re going to use your social media account effectively. So many brands simply tailor their posts to what they think the audience wants to hear, and that kills everything that made their brand unique.

 

If you want to spread a message that stands out of the pack, you need to have a message. You can’t be afraid to make your brand stand for something, if it’s something you truly believe in. If you drive away some potential customers by posting about what really matters, you can make up for it with the loyalty of the new customers you attract. They’ll know you’re like them, and they’ll want to do business with you.

 

Now, before you ask: no, I’m not saying you should post anything personal or unprofessional. But I am saying you shouldn’t necessarily shy away from expressing your political views in your social media presence. These things are definitely polarizing, but for some industries it’s extremely appropriate.

 

Next in line comes our strategy for increasing your follower count. This is a complicated subject, but I’ve got a few general pointers that should help you along:

 

  1. Focus on the sites where your customers are likely to be.—Some sites are better-suited for certain industries. A restaurant will probably get more mileage out of an Instagram account than a Pinterest, for example. And if you run a blog, you’ll probably get better results from Pinterest than Instagram. If you run a B2B business, you’ll probably want to focus your efforts on LinkedIn. It’s important to have your presence spread out across multiple sites, but some sites are more effective than others.
  2. Share valuable content.—This is something that’s definitely going to vary with your industry. Valuable content in a B2B business might mean information about how your followers can solve problems relevant to your expertise. In an entertainment business, it will mean spreading new and exciting things for your audience to enjoy. Ask yourself this question: what kind of content will my ideal customer be most likely to enjoy and engage with? Figure that out, and you know what you need to post. (And since you post regularly, you can experiment with this to find out what gets you the best results.)
  3. Remember to be fun!—It’s easy to slip into deadly-serious mode when you’re doing social media for your business. Sometimes that’s appropriate, sometimes it’s not. The point is: you’ve got to strike a balance. Even if you’re a B2B business, you’ve got to avoid being deathly boring. (But you also want to avoid making everybody puke by being hyperenthusiastic and throwing around words like “ninja” and “rockstar.”)

 

Now that you’ve got a following developed, it’s time to increase your engagement. “Engagement” is kind of a catch-all term for likes, comments, shares, etc. It’s something you’ll want to work on, especially if you want to turn followers into qualified prospects.

 

  1. Host Q&A Sessions.—The fact is, people are a lot more likely to do business with you if they’ve seen your face and heard your voice. Hosting Q&A sessions can be a wonderfully effective way to accomplish this. Whether it’s scheduling a Q&A on Twitter by using a pre-arranged hashtag, or going live on Facebook, you’ve got several methods for doing Q&A that should help you build trust and demonstrate your knowledge.
  2. Ask Questions (In a way that gets answers).—This is a bit of a more everyday strategy. If you’ve been in social media for any length of time, you’re bound to have noticed that followers generally hate responding with comments. You ask them a question, and you might as well be talking into the air.—Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you there are ways to encourage people to answer your questions, and it’s all got to do with the way you ask. If you offer your followers a multiple-choice question, they’re much more likely to answer. And once they’ve answered a question, you’ve got a foot in the door for learning even more about them.
  3. Engage with mentions!—If one of your followers takes the time to mention your brand on social media, you’re going to want to engage with them. Even if it’s something as simple as a thank-you and an invitation to keep in touch, it builds good will and helps you demonstrate how much your brand cares. Remember: everything counts!

 

How to Generate Leads and Increase Revenue

 

Unless you’re a content site that’s just trying to maximize clickthrough, you’re going to want to have a strategy in place for lead generation.

 

You’re going to want to turn followers into leads, and leads into customers.

 

You’re going to want to set up a sales cycle, in other words. It should look something like this:

 

  1. Attract followers through consistent, relevant posting.
  2. Generate clickthrough to your site with relevant links to great content.
  3. Turn clicks into leads by allowing them to opt in to an email list.
  4. Gradually build a relationship of trust leading to a sale.

 

(That’s the basic overview. There are a lot of things you can try to accomplish those four steps, but that’s the ideal sequence you’re aiming for.)

 

Now, I’m going to take a minute here to tell you about content marketing. I know, I know, I know: content marketing isn’t the same as social media marketing. That’s true.

 

BUT, social media marketing and content marketing both work better when you’ve got them working in sync.

 

If you’ve got social media generating plenty of clicks to your site but your content is so bad nobody looks at it, you’ve got a problem.

 

The best strategy combines great social media postings with amazing content that gives your visitors excellent value. They have to see the kind of professional content you’re capable of producing.

 

You’ve got to show them the kind of content that makes their fingers itch to write a check for your company.

 

What am I talking about here? I’m talking about consistent branding. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: consistency is the number one factor in creating an unstoppable brand.

 

When your followers click onto your site, you want them to know it the same person produced this content and the content on your social media accounts.

 

That’s how you build a relationship of trust that leads to a sale, and potentially to a long-term business relationship.

 

Social media can also get great results from upselling. Your current customers are likely to be some of your most dedicated social media followers, right?

 

Right. So if you use your social media account to educate your followers about new offerings as you develop them, you can give them the opportunity to get in touch with you about any offers they think they could use.

 

In other words, a dedicated social media following offers you the chance to continue a conversation with your best leads and customers, all over the world, all at once.

 

That’s why it’s worth your while to come up with a solid social media strategy.

 

Go Ahead and Get Started!

 

Like I told you at the beginning: the competition already has their feelers out all over social media. It’s a game that’s constantly adapting, and in capable hands it can produce a steady stream of reliable customers.

 

Remember: it’s not too late to get in on social media.

 

If you think your current strategy needs some work, be sure to get in touch with me at geofreycrow@gmail.com. I can take a look at your current approach and we can find a solution that works for you.

 

For the rest of you: is there anything else you want to know about social media? Should I tell you a little more about how to calculate your ROI, or would you like an SEO guide? Whatever you need, if it’s related to social media, content marketing, or copywriting, feel free to ask.

 

Thanks for reading, and as always best of luck to you!

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