Email is out. What’s next?

Are you unsatisfied with the performance of your email marketing campaign?

Are you looking for what is next?

It is no secret over the past ten years the effectiveness and open rates of email marketing has dwindled.

Additionally, Gmail, MSN Mail and other major service providers are now filtering out promotion emails into separate folders which can be easily neglected by the recipient. This has made things considerably more difficult for email marketers.

In light of these developments, marketers are looking for new solutions.

 

What’s Next

Three emerging technologies are showing much potential for marketers and are currently being used with good results. They are:

  • Web notifications
  • Text messaging
  • Live Chat

 

Web Notifications

By using a third party platform or custom programming (if you have a programmer) you can enable your website to have little pop up notifications which get your visitors’ attention and gives them some kind of enticing message. This is mostly used for special offers, discounts and free content. Because the notification ‘slides up’ on to the screen it is very effective in getting attention and clicks, especially if it has an enticing message.  This is a good way of making sure everyone who visits your site actually sees your offers.

 

Text Messaging

People are more likely to respond to text messages than emails. This is becoming more and more the case. Therefore marketers are moving into using text message for promotion.

There are even platforms on desktop computers which can be used to mass text-message contact lists.

Text Message marketing is new and the approach and etiquette are still being developed.

The most successful text message marketing would involve short personal messages, not mass bulk messages. People respond better to personalized communication, than bulk.

 

Live Chat

By adding some code to your website (from a third party platform) you will have the ability to chat with your web visitors if they open up the chat box and send you a message.

Live chat has been around for years on websites but has recently started gaining more popularity. There are even some platforms that offer this service for free.

The benefit of Live Chat is that it allows you to reach out to web visitors who otherwise may slip through the cracks and never contact you. But since you are just a click a way, it lowers the bar for reaching out to you (being more direct than a contact form) and it allows you to communicate to much more of your visitors.

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Why You Need Solid Landing Pages

Does your website have landing pages?

Are they giving you the results you want?

Do you know the difference between a landing page and a normal web page?

In this article we are going to go over all these points.

The landing page is a critical piece in the puzzle of internet marketing. It is not just any web page however.

A landing page is a page is not any of the normal pages in your website’s navigation. It is a specifically created page, not attached to your site’s navigation, which can only be reached by having clicked on an ad or some other link.

Landing pages are used in conjunction with internet ads.

When you create an ad on the internet you want the viewer to then click the ad and then go to your website. But you don’t want it to just link to your home page, or even your product page. It is absolutely vital that you create a unique page for them to ‘land’ on.

The purpose of the landing page

The purpose of ads is to get sales, and to get sales on the web you have to control the user’s ‘journey’ through your web pages. If you have it so your ads go to your home page or service pages you are letting go of control, since the visitor can now click on other links and leave, and you won’t get the sale, or contact form submission or whatever you are trying to get from them. In this sense, consider a landing page to be a ‘squeeze page’, you get the visitor and you don’t let him go, and don’t give him a chance to click off the page.

Additionally, the text on your home page or product/services pages might not be strong enough and focused to get a sale from someone who clicked on your ad. You need to have very ‘salesy’ text for your landing pages, since you paid for the ad you want to get a sale, so this is expected. You might not want to have ‘salesy’ text on your home page and main site pages, which is why you create a separate page for people who click on your ads to land on.

Key components of a landing page

  • No navigation links
  • No ‘off-site’ links
  • Testimonial with photo and name
  • Several ‘buy now’ buttons
  • A message and photo from the CEO or relevant staff member
  • Finely crafted sales text which creates desire and demand for your product and or service

Different types of landing pages

There are two types of things a landing page can sell

  • A product with a ‘buy now’ button, which they click and then go to a transaction page to get the product and enter credit card details. This is a sales landing page.
  • A ‘opt-in’ form, where the visitor will input his name and email in exchange for some free content (such as an e-book). This is an opt-in landing page.

Because the ‘bar’ is lower and it does not cost anything, an ‘opt-in’ landing page which gets the visitor to sign up and give his email will get more conversions than the sales landing page.

The choice of a sales or opt-in landing page depends entirely on your goals and what you are trying to get out of your ad campaign.

Conclusion

If you don’t have a solid landing page created in conjunction with your ad campaign, you will literally be throwing money away, as people will click the ads and never be ‘sold’ anything, and will instead just slip through the cracks.

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Content Marketing Demystified

Content marketing not done properly may as well not be done at all! For it will not give you the final product you want: revenue.

It’s like only being able to make cake batter and never having the complete cake to sell to your customers.

It is costly, and time-consuming, but it looks busy and productive, yet it is not at all productive.

Let’s reaffirm the actual reason we are doing content marketing in the first place. It is not to just ‘get the word out’, or to ‘raise awareness’ or to get email addresses. Your content marketing must must must have a practical and clear process which results in revenue for your company.

Now that we have established why you are doing content marketing (creating revenue), let’s look at some of the types of approaches you can take, these are just three of the main ones:

  • Article based
  • Video based
  • E-book, tool, etc

There are others, such as pod-casts, but for this article let’s just look at these three.

 

Articles

In this case you are making SUPERB articles on a REGULAR basis and BROADLY promoting them across the web. It is not a 300 word article you just pump out and get over with so you can get back to your link building campaign. You actually have to make something AWESOME. This is what real content marketing is. Any articles less than AWESOME are not content marketing and are ‘filler content’.

Don’t create filler content and think you are a content marketer.

 

Videos

This can be more time-consuming than articles (or not in some cases). The quality of your sound and camera are unimportant. The quality of your video itself is of the utmost importance. Don’t let the idea that you need a sound-proofed room and fancy gear to make successful videos.

Your video does however have to either be one or more of the following:

  • VERY interesting
  • VERY funny
  • VERY cute
  • VERY strange/weird
  • VERY useful

In addition to the video being awesome, you also have to create one on a weekly or bi-weekly basis at the least, and continue to do this for at least 18 months.

 

E-book/Tool

The last two forms of content (articles, and videos) have to be created on a weekly basis, month in, month out, for years. However an Ebook or Tool is simply created once and then PROMOTED consistently, over and over. It can be ‘an ultimate guide to ****’, or it can be a nifty online tool that does something very useful, for absolutely free, which brings in traffic. A considerable amount of time goes into this type of content marketing, you could spend weeks on planning and months on development, but in the end you will have an amazing product which will be your ambassador for promoting your business.

 

Promotion

It is never enough just to make your awesome content. You have to promote it, with free and paid promotion methods. You would take your very best article or your very best video, and use that as the main piece of content that you promote across the web.

Promotion is one of the most important parts in your content marketing strategy. If you want your content to go viral it will need a boost, and that is where paid promotion comes in. This could be simply using Google Ads, or a content distribution service like Outbrain.

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What is your website’s purpose?

If you have never asked yourself this question it is time you have.

Everyone knows that a business needs to have a website. But why? Few ever ask that question. They just get a website made for their business and know that they are now doing the right thing; just another necessary form of promotion, like getting business cards made.

But a website is not a business card. It is not something that just has your contact information on it, and you just slap together and put online.

The idea that your website is simply a business card on the internet, or a brochure is a misconception.

Surely there are websites out there, that look exactly like brochures, but that doesn’t mean it is the right way to create a website.

How do we figure this all out? With one question.

 

What should your website give you?

What final product or result or thing do you want your website to give you, at the end of the day?

We are assuming the website in question is for your business.

Here are the four most common things that a website can do for you:

  1. Get Leads
  2. Sell products
  3. Get subscribers
  4. Get revenue from selling banner ads

Let’s look at each in detail so we can differentiate.

 

Leads

Your website promotes your services and or products. Your site does not have a ‘buy now’ button for your services, instead your site would have a ‘free estimate’ or ‘contact for a quote’ form, where the visitor can fill it out and then you can get in touch with them directly over the phone and sell them your services.

If you need your website to generate leads then it has to have an intelligent way of directing the traffic flow to your ‘free estimate’ contact from so they can fill it out and become a lead for you.

 

Products

In this type of website, you are selling physical or digital products online. You want to make a sale online. You’re not necessarily trying to get people to fill out a ‘free estimate’ or ‘quote’ form, unless you also provide some kind of service.

If you need your website to sell products then you need to have the products intelligently and cleanly arranged on the site, with good descriptions and a user-friendly shopping cart.

 

Subscribers

A different business model for more of a ‘content marketing’ type approach is to have a website that simply collects subscribers. This is ‘newsletter’ sign ups, or people giving their contact info in return for a free PDF download, or some other valuable piece of content.

In this case, all you want are email addresses, so the website traffic must be focused on getting people to sign up and give their email.

 

Revenue from Banner Ads

In this type, you have a purely informational website (such as a news site), and are not selling anything at all to your readers. All you want is to get lots of visitors to your website, keep them on your website, and hope that they click on your banner ads; companies are paying you to put their ads on your site. This could be as simple as Google Adwords.

You will need to place the right sized banners in the right locations, as this makes a huge difference in how many clicks you get, and thereby how much money you will get.

 

Mixing it Up

Just because there are four different things a website can give you, does not mean that a website can only have one of these! Many websites have two. You can have a website that gets subscribers with a newsletter and also sells products, or has banner ads too.

 

Conclusion

Once you identify what exactly you want from your website, be it subscribers, leads or online sales, you can then optimize the site to focus in on that exact result and direct everything on your website to lead to that end goal.

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Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Mistake 1: Unsolicited Emails

No one wants to receive a sales email from someone they don’t know. The offense is less if the unsolicited email is purely useful content. It is always a better idea to lead with value in the beginning, when starting your relationship with the prospect.

Because recipients of unsolicited emails mark your email as spam much more than those who are expecting your email, one of the main downsides is your reputation as a sender lowering; and more and more of your emails going straight to the Spam folder and not the recipient’s inbox.

 

Mistake 2: Not Introducing Yourself Properly

Your email must not go straight into your offer. Especially if it is the first email your subscriber has ever got from you. You need to reaffirm in your first email the following:

  • Who you are
  • How you got their email address (by signing up, or from a third party)
  • Why they should not mark you as spam, and instead add you to their ‘safe senders’ list

The memory span of the consumer is short, so even if they just signed up an hour ago you still have to re-orient them.

Just like in relationships, a proper introduction is necessary. It helps to make you more real to the prospect, and sets the stage for a better relationship.

 

Mistake 3: Sending Emails to an Old List

The longer you put off sending your first introduction email to your subscriber the lower the chances are of him opening it.

Once someone subscribes they must be sent their first introduction email within twelve hours. Waiting any longer allows time to enter in and they will become disinterested, and their attention will drift off and go elsewhere.

If you do have an old list that has never or rarely been sent to, don’t just send a flash sale email or an offer. Create a new re-introductory email, explaining what happened, and making no assumptions that they even remember your brand.

 

Mistake 4: Just ‘getting something out’

Never just send something off to your list without careful thought. Television channels don’t do this, magazines don’t do this, and neither should you.

Your email is a communication and should be carefully considered before sending it out to your list. A few of the things you should consider are:

  • Are there any PR violations in the email?
  • Is the email focused to one message and one CTA?
  • Is the email confusing and unclear, as to the purpose?
  • Do all the links work?
  • Has it been spell-checked?
  • Is it actually relevant to your audience?
  • Is it congruent and coordinated with your company’s internet marketing strategy?

 

Mistake #5: Not Knowing the Anatomy

The anatomy is very simple but must be followed, if it is not you will never get any results from your email marketing efforts.

The anatomy:

  • The subject sells ‘the open’ (of the email)
  • The body/text sells ‘the click’ (of whatever hyperlink you are directing them to, in the email)
  • The landing page or wherever you sent them ‘sells the offer’
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5 Mistakes in Creating Content

Advice on what not to do in Content Marketing

Mistake #1: Pages with Redundant Keyword Groups

Making a single page for each keyword phrase is the epitome of old overly-aggressive SEO tactics, and it has no place in modern content marketing!

A classic example of this would be creating a single page for:

  • Driveway pavers
  • Paver driveways
  • Driveway paving
  • Paving Driveway

This gives you four pages which should only be ONE at the very most. Doing this is spam-tastical and will eventually be heavily penalized by Google.

 

Mistake #2: Too much concern about number of words on the page

Just because you have 200 pages all with the ‘agreed upon minimum of 300 words’ on each does not mean that Google is going to think your content is awesome and upgrade your search results placement.

Your approach should be on a page by page basis of: How can we make this page the best of its kind on the internet? And then create your next page with that frame of mind.

The wrong frame of mind is: how can we create 100 pages on this topic, with the minimum amount of content which no one even wants to read, with the minimum amount of time and effort.

Content only is King when the content is worthy.

 

Mistake #3: Poor internal linking

Your site’s navigation tells Google what pages you think are most important on your site. This is a strong signal, and should not be brushed off. Your best pages should be linked to frequently. Your lower value pages should have less links to them. By this you can indicate to Google what your best content is.

 

Mistake #4: Content hosted on a subdomain

Your best content needs to be on the same domain as your main website! To do otherwise is a terrific SEO no-no. You lose out on all the authority and value Google assigns to the content if it is on a site other than your main one. If you have to, move it over from a subdomain to a subfolder in your main site, and you will experience a boost in your SEO.

 

Mistake #5: Using ‘content generation’ tools

Some people have trouble differentiating between ‘content’ and ‘actual content’, or shall we say: “filler text written for SEO and not designed to help the user”, and “text/images created to help the user”. We are interested in the later, and you should be too!

Automatically generated ‘content’ is nothing more than glorified garbage, with keywords sprinkled about. Your content will never be King if the content is fit for a pauper.

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Doing Facebook Right

Do you want your company Facebook to have more than 100 likes?

Do you want a Facebook audience that loves your brand and posts and goes out of their way to share your content?

If so… then you need to forget everything you know about what you should be posting on Facebook, because it is wrong.

Facebook is no place to be conservative and business like. It is a place to be social and experimental.

Conservative Facebook pages get ignored and never grow more than a hundred followers. There is nothing to interest the audience, it is all just more business posts, like every other business FB page.

Creative, edgy, experimental Facebook pages are loved and shared. And after that’s what you want isn’t it?

 

The wrong things to post (being conservative and business-like)

Some business owners are so afraid of the consequences of posting that they won’t even post free content or content which is DIY-based. Meaning they are afraid their client is going to DIY and not need their services.

In our current age of relationship-based marketing, freely sharing useful information to the potential client is KING.

And how do you build a relationship with someone? You add value. You lead with value and you seek to enhance them, make them a better them. That does not include hiding information from them which might cause them to not require your services.

It is the exact opposite. If a business goes out of their way to give helpful information to a prospect (even if that means that they might not get any business), they will win a place in the mind of that prospect, because they were being human, helpful and not money-hungry.

It is important to remember that on social media you need to do the social thing.

It is not the same as if you paid $5 for a pay-per-click ad, and the person went to a landing page, and then on your landing page you were promoting your competition. That is obviously stupid, because it is an ad squeeze page and should generate revenue.

But if you are just posting on social media, most of your posts SHOULD be good-will posts, designed to simply help your audience.

While you certainly should be posting coupons, special offers, and sales oriented posts, they should be no more than 20% of your posts. The remaining 80% should be various forms of free useful content or entertaining content.

 

The right things to post (being social and human)

It cannot be stressed enough that businesses on Facebook need to post the same type of material that individuals do on their personal accounts.

What does this mean?

This means the three main things you should be posting on your business FB are:

  • Articles to useful or helpful content, related to your industry
  • Photos of your good works/products
  • Memes

While business owners may reject the idea of posting memes or scoff at it, it is nonetheless true. Good, relatable memes get the highest engagement than any other type of post on social media. And this fact should not be ignored.

And they don’t have to be degrading, perverse or low-brow. A good meme is simply funny or very relatable.

Additionally, the memes you post do NOT have to be related to your industry! This is a fatal mistake social media managers make.

Just because you have a landscaping business does not mean you can only post memes about landscaping. I assure you there are very few memes about landscaping on the internet, let alone entertaining ones!

It does mean that you should definitely make your own memes on the topic of landscaping, and still also post plenty of standard/general memes.

To learn more about memes and how to make them check out this article:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/how-to-make-your-own-meme/

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Getting your Instagram ON

If you’re a CPA or some other non-visual type occupation then you are excused for not promoting your company on Instagram.

But if your company has any modicum of creativity and production you should definitely be leveraging Instagram to promote your offerings.

Small Audience

Assuming you are already taking excellent pictures or posting entertaining memes on your Instagram you will find that you’re just not reaching as far and getting the amount of engagement you want, despite your liberal use of hashtags.

Perhaps you’ve also tried doing ads on Instagram but you’re not getting the results you wanted.

Having an audience of a few hundred won’t do it. Even having an audience of a few thousand won’t really help you get results.

You need to get your Instagram followers up into the tens of thousands.

Here’s how you do it:

How to expand your audience on Instagram

Expanding your audience and followers on Instagram is very simple but requires a concerted effort, and persistence. All you have to do is this one thing: reach out to the thought leaders of your audience/demographic and promote their wears and offerings on your Instagram, and then ask in return if they could promote yours on their Instagram.

Because they have tens of thousands of followers whenever they make a post, it will get a considerable amount of engagement, providing a lot of exposure.

Consider if you did this for twenty different thought leaders in your space/industry, and consider how many new followers you would get from that simple action.

Example

If you are a landscaping company, you would want to find out what thought leaders there are for home improvement, remolding, gardening etc. These thought leaders are individuals, not big businesses.

The process:

  • You would make a list of all the thought leaders who had the largest followings.
  • You would then follow and like many of their posts.
  • Promote their products or services on your Instagram, naturally, giving a ‘shout out’ to them, so they can see you are promoting them and a fan
  • After doing this for a bit, then reach out to them on Instagram (via direct message), tell them that you’re a fan, and you really like their product/service, and have been telling your audience about it. And then finally send them a sample of your product (if you have products), or ask if they would promote your services on their Instagram. If you’re a landscaping company the most practical thing would be for them to simply share the excellent pictures that you are posting of your project portfolio. And if you did have products you could send them free ones to sample, which they could then promote, but in lieu of that photos of your good work would do.
  • Continue to build a relationship with them, by sharing their posts.

 

Conclusion

By doing this you can expand your sphere of influence outward and reach more people and reach the right people!

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The Best Way to Use PPC & Landing Pages [Part Two]

Sales (squeeze) Landing Pages

In our last article we discussed what a landing page should and should not be, and described in detail how an opt-in landing page works.

There is another type of landing page which is probably the most commonly used, and that is the Sales Landing page. These give you revenue right away, and convert the traffic into money. They have a smaller conversion rate than an email opt-in landing page, but they are still very effective and are used by many businesses to generate revenue. Of course to have a sales landing page you need a product or service to sell.

 

How does it work?

First you must have a means of getting traffic.

This could be social media posts (which link to your landing page), or this could be PPC, which also link to your landing page. Either way, when you promote your website/services you MUST link your promotion (be it ads or social media) to a TAILOR MADE landing page.

Today we are going to look at Sales Landing pages.

 

Components of a Sales Page

An effective sales page should have the following:

  • A sales video at the very top, to enlighten, handle objections, and close the viewer
  • Testimonials of consumers, showing their name and photo
  • Multiple CTAs
  • Detailed breakdown on the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the sale. In other words, what life is like without your product and service, and how awful it is (this takes creativity). And then, how life will be awesome WITH your product/service; showing them that you can take them from ‘before’ to ‘after’
  • Bullet points and properly formatted text, so that it can be digested easily
  • If applicable, photos of the before and after

 

How much should I charge?

It should be between $10 and $50. Anything more would require personal contact, via phone or interview.

If your products and services are expensive, high-ticket items that cost thousands of dollars, you should not expect or hope that these will sell via a PPC ad campaign.

 

Breaking Even

The idea is that if you pay $100 for 100 clicks to your landing page, and two visitors end up buying your $50 product, you will make $100. So essentially you break even at that point. And this would be a 2% conversion rate. This is a pretty average conversion rate, and can be increased.

As long as you are breaking even with the sales from the sales landing page you will profit, because, after every purchase you will capture the buyer’s personal info, so you can then upsell them further products and higher ticket items via email marketing.

So the goal of the sales landing page isn’t to make you money. The goal of the sales landing page is to recoup the cost of the PPC campaign which brought the traffic. After that, you then add them to your list, and sell them the rest of your products/services. It is by doing THIS where you make the money.

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The Best Way to Use PPC & Landing Pages

Do you get the results you hope for with pay-per-click ads?

Do you feel confident that your money spent on ads is actually bringing you back revenue?

In order to achieve the above let’s look at the right way to use PPC.

 

PPC Do’s and Don’ts

PPC isn’t something you just whip together and forget. It has to be part of a system. A system which results in giving you revenue, a system which as a beginning a middle and an end.

Unless you have money to waste, PPC is not to just ‘get your name out there’.

Your PPC ad does NOT just link to your home page. That is utterly fatal and a waste of money.

Your PPC ad MUST link to a specifically crated web page, which is written precisely for the type of person (audience) who would have clicked on your ad in the first place. This is called a landing page.

 

Landing Pages

A landing page is not your home page, and it is also not just another ‘inside page’ based off your site’s template. The landing page must act as a ‘funnel’ or a ‘squeeze page’. It takes a visitor, and sends him down a very precise path, without opportunities for him to get distracted and turn away.

A landing page must meet very exact specifications:

  • No site navigation. If you have navigation links he will click off the landing page and you will lose your chance to sell him your offer
  • Only ONE offer/command. You don’t want to dilute your message by distracting them with other offers
  • Repeated calls to actions for your offer. Do not just have one CTA
  • Some form of testimonials, either video, photo, or written, but with pictures
  • Carefully crafted sales text to close the reader on whatever your offer is

 

What kind of offers do I put on my landing page, and what types of landing pages are there?

Ninety percent of the time you will use one of the following two types of landing pages:

  • Email opt-in landing pages
  • Sales landing pages

They each have their own purpose, and their own conversion rates.

Let’s discuss the use of each.

 

Email Opt-in Landing Pages

If your aim is to collect email addresses, so you can have them put into a database, so you can do email marketing, then you will want your PPC ads to link to a landing page which persuades the visitor to ‘opt-in’ to your email list.

Why would they just give you their email address? They won’t! You need to persuade them to do this, you will need to offer some sort of free and vital information. Just putting a ‘subscribe now’, will not get you anything. You need to give them a COMPELLING reason to give up their email address. Traditionally, an effective way of doing this is offering a short but vital e-book on a particular topic, which they can get for free, once they give their name and email.

Additionally, this is not the same as having a ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ box on the bottom corner of your website. That is not the same as an email opt-in landing page.

This type of landing page would be very straight forward and does not have to be very long at all.

It needs to discuss the value of the free e-book, the problems the person is encountering right now, and how the e-book will help them handle those problems, and become better.

The Model:

  • User clicks on your PPC ad
  • He is taken to your email opt-in landing page
  • He sees your carefully written sales text which tells him why he must opt-in and give up his email address
  • He puts in his name and email number, in exchange for a downloadable piece of FREE and valuable content
  • His email gets imported into your email marketing software (Mailchimp, etc.)
  • You can then promote to him with your email marketing campaigns, and turn him into a buyer, thus closing the loop and getting revenue out of this.

An email opt-in landing page will get MORE ‘sign ups’, than a sales landing page.

This is obvious as the bar is raised much lower, and it doesn’t require the person to spend any money.

The idea is that you pull them in with the free content, and then sell them later, with email marketing.

 

What’s next?

In our next article we will tackle the subject of using PPC in conjunction with a sales landing page.

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