Author Archives: tonyseel

TBT: Can You Make Money With Free Traffic?

Today’s Throwback Thursday post returns from April 2014.  It’s been revised and expanded.

I posted an article below about how to generate free traffic, but the question is, will you make money with free traffic?  My answer is maybe, but I can tell you that it will take longer and take much more of your time to go this route.  Like getting to work in the traffic below.

The truth is almost always “you get what you pay for.”  You can fly first class, business class or coach.  There are differences in both service and amenities.

Sometimes you find a bargain, but for internet marketing, the best chance that you have to make money is going to come from buying traffic.  What do I mean by buying traffic?  Simply that to get the kind of traffic that generates sales, you are going to have to pay for it.  Let’s look at some of your options.

What are your best free marketing options?

The best free sources of internet traffic are also very easy to use.

  1. Your blog.  The business blog that you create is the number one best source for free traffic.  On your blog you can show your expertise and sell your products.  As you create great content and share it on your blog, you will build an audience.
  2. Search Engine Optimization.  Some of your best traffic will be targeted traffic that comes from search results.  Here’s a great infographic on SEO:
  3. Social media.  Do you have a Facebook business page?  Do you have a business Twitter account?  How about Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+, LinkedIn, or reddit?  If you need help with this, go here.
  4. Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet?  YouTube is a great place to get traffic by creating videos for your business.  Here are three ways video can help you build your business.

What are your best paid marketing options?

You’ll find posts below about two of the best ways to promote your business and products – Facebook ads and solo ads.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.  One of the advantages of Facebook ads is that you can tightly target your audience, spend as little as $5 a day, and scale your spending upward as you make sales.

With solo ads, you’ll pay a flat fee for a number of clicks (see this post for more on this), and the quality of the list that receives your ad will determine the quality of the leads that you get from your solo ad.  If you’ll email me, I’ll send you my list of the best solo ad vendors that I’ve used (email me at support at tonyseel.com).

Either way, with Facebook ads or solo ads, you’re going to have to spend money to make money.   With a good product or service, good ad writing, and good ad placement, you can make money on the internet.  You can go the free traffic route, but it’s the slow and uncertain way to profits.  Good targeted ads are the fast traffic route to sales and profits.

I welcome and invite your comments and questions and your likes and shares

Storytelling Your Way To Business Success

According to research cited in Ad Week,  “nine out of 10 people who can skip an ad do.”  We now live in the age of ad blockers.  So, how can you beat those terrible odds for your advertising?  By storytelling.  Great stories won’t penetrate ad blockers, but they will touch the hearts of those who do see your ad and they will engage a bigger audience.

Jerome Brunner, the author of Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, says “People are 22 times more likely to remember and internalize a story than facts or bullet points.”

Writer David Burn says, “Humans are wired for stories. It’s part of our evolution as a species. Therefore, you want to create a memorable story to support your brand in a real way that makes sense to the audience members. Advertising of any kind without the proper investment in brand story only makes sense to the myopic client who thinks people already care. People don’t care about your brand, until you use story as a way to invite them in.”

Good ads tell stories and great ads tell great stories.  The picture above is from an ad produced by the Leo Burnett Madrid ad agency for Spain’s Christmas lottery.  It tells the story of Justino, a lonely night watchman at a mannequin factory.  You can see the ad here.

Juan García Escudero, creative director of Leo Burnett Madrid comments, “They say that the key to a good story is to have a good protagonist who has a particular goal, which they fail to achieve, so that the reader or viewer roots for the main character to get their wish in the end.”  That’s what the Justino ad does so wonderfully.

It’s in our DNA – we all love stories.  That’s part of the power of Christmas – great stories.  Whether it’s the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, we love stories.  Tell stories to entertain, educate, and inspire others, and you can build an audience.  Build an audience and you will find buyers.  Stories will touch and open their hearts.

12 Tips for Storytelling For Business Success

Tobias Brockhow of Filestage offers 12 tips on storytelling that get at the essence of how we can tell better stories for commercial purposes.  I put my own spin on them below.

  1.  Understand what makes a great story.  Tobias Brockhow recommends The Anatomy of Story by John Truby as a great resource on storytelling.   Brockhow says, “The key to every story is a character’s unfulfilled desire.”  Guess what advertising can do?  It can show potential clients and customers a way to meet unfulfilled needs and desires.
  2. “Come up with a colorful idea.”   Leo Burnett Madrid did that powerfully in the Justino ad for Spain’s Christmas lottery.  You can find your colorful idea through brainstorming, mind mapping, or a number of other techniques to get the creative juices flowing.  Brockhow recommends 1,000 Character Writing Prompts as a way into this process.
  3. Find your premise.  Once you’ve come up with a colorful idea, it’s time to crystallize your story in one sentence.  If your colorful idea is strong enough, you’ll have a great premise.  If not, go back to coming up with a better colorful idea.
  4. Craft your story around heroes and desires.  As Brockhow points out, “A hero doesn’t have to be a single person. It can be a cause, a company or a group of people – just to mention a few.”
  5. Don’t sell your product in your advertising.  This sounds crazy, right?  Well, think about the nine out of ten who avoid ads whenever possible.  In the Justino ad, the story revolves around Justino and the product, Spain’s Christmas lottery is woven into the story, but not in a way that is overtly advertising it.  Coca Cola does this well in a number of their ads.  Since at least 1971, when Coke ran their ad “I’d like to teach the world to sing,” they’ve been doing this very effectively.
  6. “Deliberately hide information.”  Brockhow deploys Truby to make this point:“Withholding, or hiding information is crucial to the storyteller’s make-believe. It forces the audience to figure out who the character is and what he is doing, and so draws the audience into the story. When the audience no longer has to figure out the story, it ceases being an audience, and the story stops.”  John Truby, The Anatomy of Story  Brockhow highlights this effective ad for Guinness Beer.
  7. “Be tremendously human.”  What Brockhow means by this is find stories in the dimensions of basic human needs.  Everyone strives to survive and thrive.  What human element can you bring to the story you tell?  How can you touch the emotions of others by rooting your story in ways that get your readers relating to what you are describing?
  8. Be real.  Most people can spot a phony from miles away.  Put your authentic voice into what you write or create.  When your writing comes out of your own personal experience, you can’t help but be real.
  9. Don’t miss the punchline.  People love humor and if you can get them to laugh, you’ve won them over.  VW has been doing this effectively for years.
  10. Think  visual.  The more visual you can make your content, the better.  We live in a highly visually-oriented world.  Browkhow says, “Close to 80% of Internet users remember the video ads they watched online.”  If you can tell your story in video, you have a far greater chance to create memories for your readers than any other way online.
  11. Be unique.  If you do everything like everyone else, why would anyone remember you?  Bring your own angle, personality, and creativity together to create what genuinely stands out from everything and everyone else.  Author and marketer Seth Godin says,   “You must aggressively go to the edges and tell a story that only you can tell.”
  12. Be relatable.  Part of your work when you write copy is to get your readers to know, like, and trust you.  One of the best ways to do this is to create a buyer persona for your product and service and write to that persona.  Speak to that persona in ways that he or she can relate to and you will be well on your way to making the vital connection that bonds your potential buyers to your product or service.

This excerpt comes from my new book, Words That Sell: Creating Advertising With Irresistible Influence, which is scheduled for release in  2018.

What would you add to Tobias Brockhow’s 12 tips?  I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

 

TBT: Simon Sinek’s 10 Rules For Success

Last week, this post jumped into first place as the most popular post this year.  Today’s Throwback Thursday post returns from January.

Author and speaker Simon Sinek has become a sensation through his popular TED talk presentations.  Evan Charmichael has put together video clips of Simon Simek and through the clips he has distilled down Simek’s 10 Rules for Success.

These are my notes on the presentation.  If you prefer watching to reading, click here (it’s almost 53 minutes long).

Sinek’s 10 Rules For Success

  1. Break the rules.  There are two ways to see the world.  One way is to see what you want.  The second way is to see the obstacle(s) to what you want.  You don’t have to do it the way everyone else is doing it. You can do it your own way to get what you want, but you can’t get in the way of someone else getting what they want.
  2. Train your mind.  You can interpret your experience any way that you want to.  Sinek uses the example of Olympic athletes who when asked if they are nervous, invariably respond that they are excited, not nervous.  As Sinek explains, the two emotions have some of the same characteristics – faster heart rate, sense of tension and stress, becoming sweaty, with an expectation of what’s coming.  We can interpret that as nervousness or excitement.  We can train our minds to think positive by reinterpreting negative emotions.
  3. Be patient.  Work hard and patiently pursue what you want.  Enjoy the journey – don’t quit.
  4. Take accountability.  Sometimes, you’re the problem.  Take stock and accept responsibility for your actions.
  5. Outdo yourself.  Finite players seek to beat their competition. Infinite players seek to beat themselves. They question how they can outdo what they’ve already done.  Make yourself and every thing you produce better today than yesterday.  You are your competition.  Your joy will come from your advancement.
  6. Stack the deck.  Put yourself in places where you are appreciated. Choose environments that take advantage of your strengths.
  7. Be the last to speak.  Learn to listen and hold your opinions to yourself until everyone else has had a chance to speak. Don’t nod yes and no to what others say.  Ask questions to understand what others are saying.  When everyone else has spoken, and you’ve understood what the others were saying, then you can speak.
  8. Be authentic.  Say and do what you actually believe.  Otherwise, you won’t establish trust with others.  The goal is to attract others who believe what you believe.  Just be yourself.  Otherwise, you’re living a lie and people won’t trust you.  Work for people and clients who believe what you believe.   The companies who are crystal clear on what they believe are successful.  We surround ourselves with products and brands that believe what we believe.
  9. Find your passion.  Where does passion come from?  Passion is a result; passion is an energy.  Passion is the feeling that what we do we’d do for free.  What are you excited to do?  What do you love to do?  What are the things that you’d do for free?  Who are the people that you love?
  10. Start with why.  The world’s simplest idea is the golden circle –  Why/How/What – this explains why some organizations can inspire and others can’t.  They know why they do what they do – their purpose, cause, or belief.  We think from the outside in – from fuzzy ideas to clear ideas.  Great organizations think inside out – the why, how, and what of what they are doing.Sinek’s Golden Circle

Here is how Apple communicates: Everything we do, we believe in changing the status quo.  We believe in thinking differently. The way that we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.  We just happen to make great computers.  Wanna buy a computer?

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you’re doing it.  Gateway and Dell make great products, but they are perceived as computer companies, so why would you or anyone buy and a flat screen t.v. from them (Gateway) or an MP3 player (Dell)?

The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. This is based in biology.  Our neo-cortex is the place in our brain where we process analytic thought.  Our limbic system is the feeling center of our brain and it controls our decision making.  Features, benefits, facts, and figures don’t sell.  Decisions are made by feeling and then we rationalize our decisions.

The goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe.  People do what they believe.  Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to 250,000 people on the mall in Washington, D.C. He told them what he believes and those who believed what he believed showed up.  He gave them the “I have a dream” speech, not the “I have a plan speech.”  Start with why.

The Law of Diffusion of Innovation

The law of the diffusion of innovation has to do with how people receive innovation – 15-18% is the tipping point.  You must cross the chasm to become profitable with any new venture.

Simon Sinek is a brilliant guy who practices what he preaches.  He believes that success comes from working with the right people doing the right things.  It works for him and it can work for you.

Again, If you’d like to watch Sinek yourself, click here (it’s almost 53 minutes long).

I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

Are You A Content Marketer?

Last week I came across a great infographic on content marketing that blew me away.  I had to share with you, my loyal blog readers and email subscribers.  As I thought about it, I concluded that wrapping some good content around the following infographic would be beneficial, so here goes!

The Content Marketer

  1. Are you a strategic thinker?  For strategic thinking, it is important to take a long view and have goals in place to guide you through the process of growing your business.
    Consider how a particular action affects the long-term prospects of your business.  Think about how you can achieve a competitive advantage now that will benefit your business in the short term and long term.  This will take critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and openness to new ideas.  It will also involve problem-solving, decision making, business acumen, and customer focus.  Part of life and business is ambiguity – everything isn’t always exact and clear.  To break through vagueness and uncertainty will take innovative management that incorporates many perspectives to find the new and different that will drive your business forward by giving you your competitive advantage.
  2. Are you a creative thinker?  Creative thinking is the power to find the new and different that will differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors.
    This is sometimes called “right brain thinking.”  The right side of your brain is where creativity comes from. Your ability to generate new ideas will greatly enhance your business prospects.  Techniques like brainstorming, mind mapping,  role-playing, and lateral thinking are ways to stimulate creative thinking.  Video and design are two great ways to best present your visual content.  How you express your creativity through visual means is an essential way to interest others in our highly visual world.
  3. Are you an influential and energetic promoter? Energetic, excited, interesting, and passionate, are words used to describe a promoter.  The best promotion is relationship driven, and nothing is better for creating relationships online than social media.  Where, when, and who are the essential questions to ask as you plan your social media marketing strategy.  A promoter is influential when he or she has the ear of many followers.  Influential people drive action because people listen to them and trust their judgments.  A blog is a great way to become an influencer.  On your blog, show that you know your stuff and you will influence others.  Do it with passionate energy and you can become an influential and energetic promoter.
  4. Are you innovative?  Innovation comes from creativity and having the ability to take good, calculated risks.  Creative intelligence is the key to innovation – innovative thinkers employ the five discovery skills to find better solutions to problems.   Here’s a visualization of the five discovery skills:
  5. Are you an analytical thinker?  Do you use metrics to determine where your business is headed?  The bottom line is the most important metric, but other metrics will help you to achieve the financial goals that you have set for your business.  Creativity and analytics are the traditional right and left brain types of thinking, and both are important for business success.  Quantitative analysis employs knowledge, facts, and data to drill down to the details that should not be ignored.  Realism is not the enemy of dreams – it can help you achieve your dreams.  Analysis is crucial for your business success.
  6. Are you a collaborator?  Connecting, sharing, and working together can forcefully propel your business forward.
    Obviously, this isn’t as important if you are a solopreneur, but if you are working with others, collaboration is another essential skill.   The Curata infographic above distinguishes between internal and external collaboration.  Internal collaboration is working with your own team.  External collaboration is working with freelancers and others who are important to your business.  As you think about external collaboration, don’t ignore the collaboration that can happen between your business and your email subscribers along with those who connect with your business through social media.
  7. Are you witty and humorous?  Humor can go a long way to cement relationships. American Army General and President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.

    Did you know that humor and innovation are natural allies?  It’s true, according to Stanford professor Tina Seelig.  Mike Kerr has built his business on Humor At Work, his website.  Kerr talks about how humor can help you turn customers into “raving fans.”
  8. Do you have street smarts?  In Street Smarts Of Successful People, John Kuhn and Mark Mullins say that there are seven key disciplines that work together in street smart persons.
    According to Kuhn and Mullins, the seven key street smart disciplines are working smart, presentation skills, people skills, financial expertise, aggressive prospecting for new customers and clients, self-management, and everyone on your team is in sales.  For more on this, go to this Forbes article.
  9.  Are you a skillful writer?  The list of skills under this heading, SEO, HTML, “extreme attention to detail,” spelling and grammar, compelling headlines, titles, and subject lines, and storytelling talent may sound overwhelming, but let’s break it down.

SEO and HTML can both be learned online.  I’ve published a number of posts on SEO and you can find much information on both SEO and HTML from a great variety of sources online.  If “extreme attention to detail” is not a character trait that you possess right now, it can be learned by practice.  A tool like Grammarly can help you with spelling and grammar.  Here’s where to start to grow in mastery of compelling headlines, titles, and subject lines.   My post next week will be on storytelling for business.

If you don’t have all the skills right now to be a successful content marketer, that’s okay.  Everything here can be learned.  Start where you are, assess your current skills, and put a growth plan together that incorporates improving your skills.

I welcome your comments and questions and your likes and shares.

The infographic is from: http://www.curata.com/blog/content-marketing-drives-sales/

 

Have Your Mastered The Move To Mobile?

Today’s Throwback Thursday post on mobile marketing returns from February.  It is the fifth most popular post this year.


A few weeks ago I contacted a solo ads seller and after all the preliminaries he asked me how well my landing page worked on mobile devices. I quickly got out my cell phone and tried it. Fortunately, I was able to report that my landing page loaded quickly and correctly.

Statistica says, “For 2017 the number of mobile phone users is forecast to reach 4.77 billion. The number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. In 2014, nearly 60 percent of the population worldwide already owned a mobile phone.”

That’s a huge market and this is a trend that you absolutely need to take into consideration as you move your business forward.  Mobile marketing is becoming more important every day as mobile usage grows.  With more and more free wi-fi, people are spending more time on mobile devices than ever before.  They’re also buying more through their mobile devices as the following infographic shows.

In March, 2016, Adam Lella observed that smartphone app usage was “inching closer and closer to 50 percent of all digital media time spent.”

Lella also said, “Digital got exceedingly close to becoming the largest advertising medium despite facing continued challenges such as viewability, invalid traffic (IVT) and the more recent issue of ad blocking.”

TechCrunch reported in June 2015 that smartphone users spend 85% of their time on their phones in apps, but there are only 5 apps that get heavy usage (there’s really a big two – Facebook and Google, and then there’s a huge dropoff to Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, and eBay).

Mobile isn’t just the future; it’s happening right now.

Here we are in 2017 and mobile has firmly taken control –  mobile left desktop in the dust by the end of 2015.  Today, if your content can not be easily accessed, viewed, and acted upon from a mobile device, the rest of the market will leave you in the dust.

Facebook is still number one, and if you can get your content to Facebook in a way that gets noticed by prospects, you can profit there. If your content is SEO-ready for Google, you can get noticed.  Otherwise, more social media savvy marketers are likely to run rings around your business.

What works on mobile?  Visual.  We live in a visual culture and attractive images have been proven to boost engagement.  They work great on Facebook, and they’re necessary for the image-based mediums like Instagram and SnapChat.

Video content works well on mobile and video continues to trend upwards as more and more marketers make it an important part of their marketing mix (see my recent posts on video and YouTube).

eMarketer says “Video habits are steadily moving to mobile – though a large share of respondents said they watched mobile video on Facebook and YouTube, nearly as many (50%) watched mobile video on Snapchat daily, and nearly half (42%) said they viewed mobile video content on Instagram every day. Twitter trailed behind with just 24% watching mobile video…”

Contently predicts that 69% of all consumer traffic will be video in 2017 and that it will climb to 82% by 2021.  Social media platforms have been adapting to this move toward video including Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, and Twitter.  YouTube, of course, has been at the forefront of this trend.

One of the reasons that video is such a good tactic for marketing on mobile devices is not only that it attracts more views and it leads to more shares.  1/3 of all time online is spent watching video, and when a video touches emotions it is more likely to be shared.

Here are my 12 best tips for using mobile for marketing.

12 Tips For Mobile Marketing

  1. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.  Since more people are accessing the internet on mobile devices, your website needs to be ready to receive that traffic.  Is your website mobile-friendly? The easiest way to check this is to go to your website from your mobile device.  Here’s another way: http://mobiletest.me/.
  2. One of the keys to mobile-friendly is simplicity.  Whatever you do, make sure that your website is easy to navigate.
  3. Make sure that your content is mobile-friendly.  This means that your content works on different mobile devices – mobiletest.me is a good site to use to check this.  All your content – texts, images, video, and whatever else you put on your website or in some other form of communication needs to be mobile friendly.
  4. Structure your writing for mobile.  This means short chunks rather than long sections that fill up the screen and continue to fill up the screen as readers scroll down.  Short paragraphs, subheadings, images, and bullet points all help the reader to stay with you.
  5.  Short headlines get the most response on mobile – CoSchedule recommends six words for the highest click-through rates.
  6. Optimize your emails for reading on mobile.  Litmus.com reported in January that 53% of emails are now opened on a mobile device – a 500% increase in four years.  Some of the following tips within this tip will apply elsewhere: a) keep your subject lines short, b) use a single column template, c) keep your email under 600 pixels wide, d) use a large font size, and e) use small images.
  7. Text messaging is perfect for mobile and text messages get more opens than email.  The first rule of text messaging for businesses is getting permission from your recipients to do it.  Here’s a great infographic on text messaging for business by SlickText.com:
  8. Maintain a significant social media presence on the platforms that you are utilizing.  Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another platform, don’t post and run.  Take the time to develop relationships with your customers and clients, and your potential customers and clients.  Don’t be afraid to start conversations, ask questions, and build community around your brand.
  9. As important as personal engagement is today, you also must have good automation.  Much of what applies to digital marketing in general applies here.  You need automation to capture leads, delivering messages, and giving you timely analysis and reports on your business efforts.  Mobile marketing automation can take your business to a higher level with realtime stats, push notifications, and other bells and whistles that aren’t otherwise available.
  10. Integrate your mobile marketing with the other aspects of your marketing.  This means that you have coherence in your marketing plan across platforms and media.
  11. Have a call to action and optimize it.  What I mean here is that you compell your readers to take action and you provide the means for them to do so.  If you want them to click on a button, make sure that the button your provide is large enough to be activated by your readers’ thumbs.  According to Smashing Magazine, the perfect size for your mobile button is between 45-57 pixels.
  12. Use customer feedback forms and brief surveys to get a better understanding of your customers and clients.  SMS is an easy way to do this.

Those are my best 12 tips for mobile marketing.  What would you add?  I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

Drive Your Business Forward With Drip Marketing

Have you ever put a bucket under a leaky faucet or pipe?  If you have, you know how fast that bucket can fill up.  That’s the principle behind drip marketing.  A powerful sequence of automated emails can do many different positive things for your online business.

Would you like 18 times the revenue that you are currently making?  According to the email marketing firm Emma, relevant targeted emails get 18 times more revenue than non-targeted broadcast emails.  That’s what’s behind the power of drip marketing.  Drip campaigns have delivered a 119% increase in click-through rates, and you know that high click-through rates generally mean high revenue.

So, what is a drip campaign?  It’s an automated series of emails that you send out to your email list.   What advantages does a drip campaign offer you?

  • It’s an automated way to welcome new subscribers.
  • It gives you an opportunity to orient your new subscribers to your list and business.
  • It’s a great way to nurture new leads.
  • It’s a great way to build engagement with your business.
  • It will cut down your unsubscribes because you have given your new subscribers a good taste of what they will receive from you.
  • It can help you reactivate portions of your list that haven’t been responding.

Here’s a helpful infographic on drip marketing from Pardot:

Drip campaigns to not have to be as complicated as the process above suggests.  Here’s a simple drip campaign that you can set up right away:

How to Set Up a Drip Campaign

  1. Get crystal clear on the objective of your drip campaign.  What is it that you want to accomplish?
  2. Identify your target audience.
  3. Focus on how you can build your relationship with your target audience through your drip campaign.  One of the best ways to do this is to create great content that meets a need for them.
  4. Create a message for your target audience.
  5. As with all emails and content, create great headlines that compel your audience to read what you’ve written for them.
  6. Sequence a series of messages into an automated campaign using your autoresponder.

When can drip marketing be most beneficial for your business?  Here are some drip campaigns that you can do:

As you can see, drip campaigns can be used at many different points in the customer lifecycle. 

One of the best uses of drip marketing is to new subscribers.  If new subscribers are immediately thrown into your email list without any orientation to what you’re doing for your list, it can be disorienting.  It’s like coming into a conversation that’s been going on for a while before you arrived.  They’re coming in midstream without any direction from you as to what you’re talking about.   What you need to orient your new subscribers is a drip campaign.

Drip Marketing To New Subscribers

Drip campaigns can be used with new subscribers and segmented audiences of your existing email lists.  Here’s how to do drip marketing for new subscribers.

  1. Send a welcome email is immediately after a new subscriber joins your list.  Provide a link to the lead magnet that enticed them to sign up.  This confirms their email address and gives them what they asked for.  In this email, it’s good to explain what your business is about and request that they whitelist you so that your emails don’t end up in their spam folder.
  2. Send your second email to your subscriber one to three days later.
  3. Send a third email to your subscriber one to three days later.
  4. Continue to send emails to your list on a regular basis for as long as your list is responsive.  You can determine this by watching the open rate of your drip campaign.  If there’s a big falloff or a number of unsubscribed after one particular email, it’s time to either rework that email, drop it from your drip sequence, or stop your drip campaign before that failing email.

7 Tips For What Not To Do With Your Drip Campaigns

The following is true for all your emails, but is particularly important for your drip campaigns since your drip marketing efforts can otherwise be so beneficial.

  1. Poor subject lines will kill any campaign.  If you open rate is low, it’s time to rewrite your subject lines.
  2. Make sure that your campaign is about your audience and not you.  They are the people that you have to please, so make sure that your content meets their needs.
  3. Stay on message.  Every drip campaign should have a theme based on the desired outcome of the campaign.  Stay laser-focused on that theme and don’t deviate from it.  You lose the objective when you confuse your readers with content that’s off your theme.
  4. Avoid using words or phrases that trigger spam filters.  Hubspot offers this helpful list:

Email Spam Words to Avoid

Commerce

As seen onBuyBuy direct
Buying judgmentsClearanceOrder
Order statusOrders shipped byshopper

Personal

Dig up dirt on friendsMeet singlesScore with babes

Employment

Additional IncomeBe your own bossCompete for your business
Double yourEarn $Earn extra cash
Earn per weekExpect to earnExtra income
Home basedHome employmentHomebased business
Income from homeMake $Make money
Money makingOnline biz opportunityOnline degree
OpportunityPotential earningsUniversity diplomas
While you sleepWork at homeWork from home

Financial – General

$$$AffordableBargain
BeneficiaryBest priceBig bucks
CashCash bonusCashcashcash
Cents on the dollarCheapCheck
ClaimsCollectCompare rates
CostCreditCredit bureaus
DiscountEarnEasy terms
F r e eFast cashFor just $XXX
Hidden assetshidden chargesIncome
Incredible dealInsuranceInvestment
LoansLowest priceMillion dollars
MoneyMoney backMortgage
Mortgage ratesNo costNo fees
One hundred percent freeOnly $Pennies a day
PriceProfitsPure profit
QuoteRefinanceSave $
Save big moneySave up toSerious cash
Subject to creditThey keep your money — no refund!Unsecured credit
Unsecured debtUS dollarsWhy pay more?

Financial – Business

Accept Credit CardsCards acceptedCheck or money order
Credit card offersExplode your businessFull refund
Investment decisionNo credit checkNo hidden Costs
No investmentRequires initial investmentSent in compliance
Stock alertStock disclaimer statementStock pick

Financial – Personal

Avoid bankruptcyCalling creditorsCollect child support
Consolidate debt and creditConsolidate your debtEliminate bad credit
Eliminate debtFinancially independentGet out of debt
Get paidLower interest rateLower monthly payment
Lower your mortgage rateLowest insurance ratesPre-approved
Refinance homeSocial security numberYour income

General

AcceptanceAccordinglyAvoid
ChanceDormantFreedom
HereHiddenHome
LeaveLifetimeLose
MaintainedMediumMiracle
NeverPasswordsProblem
RemoveReversesSample
SatisfactionSolutionStop
SuccessTeenWife

Greetings

Dear [email/friend/somebody]FriendHello

Marketing

AdAuto email removalBulk email
ClickClick belowClick here
Click to removeDirect emailDirect marketing
Email harvestEmail marketingForm
Increase salesIncrease trafficIncrease your sales
Internet marketInternet marketingMarketing
Marketing solutionsMass emailMember
Month trial offerMore Internet TrafficMulti level marketing
NotspamOne time mailingOnline marketing
OpenOpt inPerformance
Removal instructionsSaleSales
Search engine listingsSearch enginesSubscribe
The following formThis isn’t junkThis isn’t spam
Undisclosed recipientUnsubscribeVisit our website
We hate spamWeb trafficWill not believe your eyes

Medical

Cures baldnessDiagnosticsFast Viagra delivery
Human growth hormoneLife InsuranceLose weight
Lose weight spamMedicineNo medical exams
Online pharmacyRemoves wrinklesReverses aging
Stop snoringValiumViagra
VicodinWeight lossXanax

Numbers

#1100% free100% Satisfied
4U50% offBillion
Billion dollarsJoin millionsJoin millions of Americans
MillionOne hundred percent guaranteedThousands

Offers

Being a memberBilling addressCall
Cannot be combined with any other offerConfidentially on all ordersDeal
Financial freedomGift certificateGiving away
GuaranteeHave you been turned down?If only it were that easy
Important information regardingIn accordance with lawsLong distance phone offer
Mail in order formMessage containsName brand
NigerianNo age restrictionsNo catch
No claim formsNo disappointmentNo experience
No gimmickNo inventoryNo middleman
No obligationNo purchase necessaryNo questions asked
No sellingNo strings attachedNo-obligation
Not intendedObligationOff shore
OfferPer dayPer week
Priority mailPrizePrizes
Produced and sent outReserves the rightShopping spree
Stuff on saleTerms and conditionsThe best rates
They’re just giving it awayTrialunlimited
UnsolicitedVacationVacation offers
WarrantyWe honor allWeekend getaway
What are you waiting for?Who really wins?Win
WinnerWinningwon
You are a winner!You have been selectedYou’re a Winner!

Calls-to-Action

Cancel at any timeCompareCopy accurately
GetGive it awayPrint form signature
Print out and faxSee for yourselfSign up free today

Free

FreeFree accessFree cell phone
Free consultationFree DVDFree gift
Free grant moneyFree hostingFree installation
Free InstantFree investmentFree leads
Free membershipFree moneyFree offer
Free previewFree priority mailFree quote
Free sampleFree trialFree website


Descriptions/Adjectives

All naturalAll newAmazing
CertifiedCongratulationsDrastically reduced
Fantastic dealFor freeGuaranteed
It’s effectiveOutstanding valuesPromise you
Real thingRisk freeSatisfaction guaranteed

Sense of Urgency

AccessAct Now!Apply now
Apply OnlineCall freeCall now
Can’t live withoutDo it todayDon’t delete
Don’t hesitateFor instant accessFor Only
For youGet it nowGet started now
Great offerInfo you requestedInformation you requested
Instantlimited timeNew customers only
NowNow onlyOffer expires
Once in lifetimeOne timeOnly
Order nowOrder todayPlease read
Special promotionSupplies are limitedTake action now
Time limitedUrgentWhile supplies last

Nouns

Addresses on CDBeverageBonus
Brand new pagerCable converterCasino
CelebrityCopy DVDsLaser printer
LegalLuxury carNew domain extensions
PhoneRolexStainless steel

That’s quite a list, and I don’t understand all of the words and phrases, but it gives you a good idea about what to avoid.

5. Do not EVER use ALL CAPS.  It is ANNOYING to read, and this is also a spam trigger.
6. Create and maintain the right frequency of emails for your campaign.  One of the benefits of a drip campaign is staying top of mind with your list.  Finding the right frequency for your campaign emails will help you stay top of mind without annoying your list with too frequent emails or too many emails.
7. As with all your content, proofread until you’re sure that what you’ve found and corrected your mistakes.  Misspellings and grammatical errors can hurt your reputation with those who you are interested in reaching for your business.  (I hope that I adequately proofread this!)

If you are already doing drip campaigns, what has worked best for you?

I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

How To Organize Your Thoughts With Mind Mapping

Today’s Throwback Thursday post on mind mapping is the third most popular post this year.  It first appeared in February.

Are you looking for an effective way to help you organize your thoughts and motivate your action? Mind maps are a great way to move your life and business forward by expanding creativity and unlocking action steps through the process.  Mind maps are an effective tool for planning, learning, organizing, managing, goal setting, and problem solving.

What is a mind map?

A mind map is a visual representation tool that uses words, symbols, pictures, images, numbers, and colors to take a lot of information and organize it in a brain-friendly way.  A mind map is memorable which is one of the reasons it can be so helpful.  A mind map is a great way to break down complex issues.  Mind mapping is a way to organize information that utilizes our natural visual thinking abilities, and by doing so it can unlock our creativity.

Mind maps help us organize, store, learn, prioritize, review and memorize information.  It helps us to see the bigger picture and the complexity of the bigger picture in smaller chunks of manageable information.  It can help us find hidden insights and explore new ideas.

How to Create a Mind Map

First, start with your main idea or subject and put it in the center of a blank piece of paper (unlined, by the way) that is oriented in landscape mode. Don’t use small paper – that just limits you.  We’re looking for plenty of room to grow our ideas.

Your main idea or subject  could be your business, relationships, your health or any number of areas in your life,   If you will make your main idea or subject a picture it will improve your memory of it and it can be a catalyst for your imagination.

Second, use plenty of colors as you create branches off your main idea.  The branches that emanate from the center are associations with your main idea.  These could be things, ideas, sounds, emotions, images – the key is to allow your brain to get creative at this stage.  Each branch represents a key idea or image that radiates from your main idea.

Tony Buzan, the creator of mind maps, says to curve the lines that come out of your main idea.  He says that our brains are bored by straight lines, so the curved lines help our creativity.

You may choose to brainstorm ideas before beginning your mind map.  If so, this is step two.

Third, create twigs that naturally grow out of your branches.  These are secondary ideas that relate to the key ideas of your branches.  You can think of your branches as topics and your twigs as sub-topics.  Make your branches thicker than your twigs to give them emphasis.

Helpful Info on Mind Mapping

Color is not only used for creating branches off of your main idea.  Use color also for emphasis and to separate ideas.  The thickness of branches and words bring emphasis, as does UPPER CASE.  Size of letters and images, symbols, etc. is another way of drawing attention to key information.

Here’s a mind map representation of some helpful rules for mind mapping effectiveness:

mind-map-paul-foreman

If you’d like more on mind mapping, Adam Sicinski’s How to Mind Map is a great place to start. Try mind mapping for your business or your life (or both!).  It can be a helpful tool in your quest for greater success.

You might also enjoy this post: 

10 Surprising Ways To Boost Your Creativity

 

Why Are You Losing So Many Email Subscribers?

 

People really don’t generally enjoy buying from complete strangers, especially online.  Who can they trust, anyway?  Email marketing is a way to help others know, like and trust you.  There’s no better way to market online than using email.

But you can work hard to build  your email list only to see it shrink as subscribers opt out.  What can you do?

First, the good news.

  • My favorite stat: for every dollar spent on email marketing, there is an average of $44 dollar return on investment. (Source: Campaign Monitor, 2016)
  • One reason that the ROI on email is so high is that email marketing is so cost-effective.  Once built your list, you can send any number of emails to your subscribers for the single cost of maintaining your account with the company providing your autoresponder.
  • Plus, email marketing is measurable.  After each email is sent, you receive the numbers: how many opens, how many click-throughs, and how many sales.  Tie your email campaigns to Google Analytics and you have an even deeper array of statistics.
  • Worldwide email use continues to climb.  According to Statiista, the number of e-mail users worldwide is expected to grow to 2.9 billion users by 2019. (Source: Statista, 2016)
  • Gmail alone has over 1.2 billion active users.  Gmail alone is a huge marketplace.
  • There are more emails and email users than ever, and open rates have increased on a year-over-year basis (up from 31% to 34.1%).
  • 91% of Americans use email every day.  72% of adults in the U.S. say that they prefer emails from companies that they do business with.  Consumer email accounts made up the majority of US email accounts in 2016, representing 79% of US mailboxes. (Source: Radicati , 2016)
  • Of the 35% of US retail email list subscribers who are customers of the retailer they received an email from, 15% made multiple purchases. (Source: eMarketer, 2016)

Why is email marketing so powerful?  Because it is a direct connection to prospects and buyers.  Through email marketing you have direct access to those who have expressed some level of interest in what you have to sell.  They may have responded to your lead magnet, your website, or your social media presence, whatever way they found you,  they have self-selected to be in direct connection with you.

Now, some bad news.

  • Click through rates have declined (from 3.5% to 3.1%) according to a Q3 2016 review of benchmarks by Epsilon. (Source: Epsilon, 2017)
  • I picked this up from Inc.com: “According to a recent study from Campaigner, nearly half (49 percent) of consumers say they receive too many emails from business owners and marketers. In fact, according to the survey results, many consumers would like to receive far fewer emails than what marketers send on average. The Campaigner researchers found that about three in 10 consumers (29 percent) would like to hear from a brand once per month or less.”  We’ll delve into this shortly.

Let’s start here…

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Losing Subscribers

  1. The reality is that if Ernest Hemingway were doing email marketing, he would lose subscribers.  It’s a natural part of the business, so don’t obsess about it.  Instead, keep producing great content that will build your subscriber base.
  2. People sign up to your list for a variety of reasons.  They may decide at some point that you are not a good fit for them for whatever reason.  Don’t worry about it.  Instead, focus on the subscribers who are still with you.  How can you meet their needs?
  3. Some subscribers are tire kickers and lookie-loos.  They were never interested in buying anything from you anyway.  They grabbed your freebie, and now they’ve off to get someone else’s freebie.  There’s nothing you can do for them than what you’ve already done.  It’s not you, it’s them.

On the other hand…

What can you do?

  1. Determine the right frequency of emails.  I generally email twice a week, some email five or more times a week.  What frequency is best for you?  If you email too little, you’re leaving money on the table.  Your subscribers may forget who you are.  🙁 If you email too often, you can annoy your subscribers, get spam complaints and unsubscribed.  Find the right frequency and your email marketing can be extremely effective.
  2. Use your unsubscribers as a means to better understand your list.  Did you get an unusual number of unsubscribes after a particular email?  Maybe what you sent just didn’t appeal to your list.  You can’t know for sure unless you ask them, but you can get a feel for your list by how they respond to your emails.
  3. Going along with #2 is this: are you meeting the expectations of your subscribers?  They signed up for your list for a reason.  If you’re not meeting their expectations, they will leave.  One way to disappoint your readers is to create blog content that doesn’t meet their needs.  Why did they sign up with you in the first place?  Are you staying true to why they signed up to your list?
  4. Write better subject lines!  Subject lines are significant for your open rates.  Boring, trite, cliche, common subject lines can kill your open rates.  If you don’t have it yet, get my free headlines report for help with this.
  5. Poor copy is another reason for unsubscribes.  Once you’ve got them to open your emails, how good is the writing inside?  Are you giving your subscribers sufficient value to keep them coming back to you?  Or are you pushing them away with mediocre or bad copy?
  6. Are you selling too much in your emails?  if you are constantly haranguing your subscribers to get the sale and they’re not ready to buy from you, their response may be to unsubscribe.  When they’ve done that, you’ve lost your opportunity to ever sell to them again.  They may come back, but don’t count on it.
  7. If you aren’t providing sufficient value to your subscribers in your emails, blog posts, and other means, subscribers will leave.  Give them good solid content in your emails and at your website and subscribers will be more likely to stay with you.  Make Mention gives three essentials for content marketing: Relevance – your content must interest your readers, Applicability – your content needs to give them something they can use, and Originality – your content mustn’t be repetitive; make it fresh and interesting.  Take the time to produce a new take on something of value for them.
  8. Long emails will frustrate some subscribers.  If your long emails are not sufficiently interesting, some won’t bother to read them and others may choose to unsubscribe because of them.
  9. Consider what makes your emails stand out from the other hundreds of emails that land in your subscriber’s box.   Seth Godin talks about The Purple Cow.  He takes something boring (a cow) and spices it up with an unusual color (purple), and it stands out.  What can you do that makes a positive impression on your subscribers and keeps them opening your emails?
  10. Are your emails mobile-friendly.  More and more content is being consumed on mobile devices.  If your emails aren’t easily read on cellphones and tablets, you’re losing out to competitors whose content is mobile-friendly.
  11. Are you using images in your emails.  I’ll admit, I don’t do this a lot, but I have used GIFs (animated images) on occasion.  You can  boost interest in your content with images.
  12. Do your emails have an easily understood reason for being?  Will your readers quickly pick up the reason that you are emailing them?  If your emails meander around rather than get to your point, you will lose readers.
  13. Always, always, always include a call to action.  What action do you want your readers to take once they’ve read your email?

Those are my best tips for holding onto the subscibers who have joined your list.  What would you add?  I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

 

The 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs

4 Essential Content Types - A Content Marketing Strategy Series

This week, we have something special for you.

We are going to publish a five-part content marketing series, with a new article in the series each day.

The series will focus on the four essential types of content every marketing strategy needs.

Let me explain why that matters.

What are the 4 essential content types?

Different types of content play different roles in your marketing strategy. They help your business in different ways. Here at Copyblogger, we’ve been successfully using these four types of content for more than a decade.

In this week’s series, we are going to walk you through these four different types of content and show you how to use them yourself. The content types are:

  1. Attraction
  2. Authority
  3. Affinity
  4. Action

Keep in mind that these content types are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes a piece of content can play more than one role. They can work together and complement one another.

In addition, although they all may have the same look, the same feel, and the same voice, they each serve different purposes. Because of that, they have different attributes, which we’ll talk about in detail in the week ahead.

A summary of the 4 content types

Attraction content helps you reach a new audience and get your message in front of new people.

But eventually you’ll want to convince those people to trust you as an expert, so you’ll need to provide Authority content.

Once you’ve established authority, your message will spread through Affinity content. Affinity content is how you build a community of like-minded people that share your beliefs.

And it’s this community who will be your best customers. But nobody will listen to you — let alone buy from you — unless you create Action content.

Sometimes these are discrete, standalone pieces of content. Sometimes they’re a blend of two of the types. Sometimes three. We’ve got examples that blend all four.

Why it’s important to master these 4 content types

Successfully using all four types of content on your website is what allows you to command larger fees for your services and charge more for your products.

It’s what gets people to link to your content (without you even having to ask).

It’s how you land guest posting opportunities you once thought were out of your reach.

It’s how you get influencers to share your content on social media.

Successfully using all four content types is also how you convince people to like you, trust you, and ultimately buy from you. But that’s not all. These people will not only become customers. They’ll become advocates, fans, and even, in some cases, friends.

Masterfully weaving together these four content types is truly one of the best ways to build an audience that builds your business.

12 Quick Tips For Content Promotion

Content promotion is the lifeblood of your business if you are blogging for online visibility and showing potential customers and clients your expertise in your niche.  But, how do you promote your content on the web?

First, let’s look at how content used to be promoted.  If you’re still doing this, please stop now – you’re hurting your business.  Here’s the old way for content promotion:

(Image from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com)

Now, let’s talk about what works today.

12 Tips For Content Promotion

  1. Create content that drives traffic.  Easier said than done, right?  Not really.  There are types of blog content that are most likely to drive traffic.  These posts are expert interviews, infographics, resource lists, in-depth guides, long-list posts, and original research.
  2. Use Buzzsumo to find highly popular content from others on what you’ve decided to write about.  Buzzsumo is a great resource that can help you find lots of great ideas.  You’ll see another way to use Buzzsumo below.
  3. Once you have a great idea for great content and you’ve written your great content, the first place to start content promotion is to your email list (you do have an email list, right?).  Campaign Monitor reports that you’re six times more likely to get a  click from an email campaign than a tweet.  Your email list is your best option for blog readership, so always, always, always let your subscribers know about your new content.  Beyond notification, give your list what they want and they’ll come back for more over and over again.  Plus, they’ll give you a sense of what interests others in your niche as you take note of what they are responding to the most.
  4. Share your content through Facebook and Twitter.  There are free and paid ways to do this.  For more on this step, check out my 96 Amazing Social Media Marketing Tricks.
  5. Share your content through Pinterest and Instagram.  The best way I know how to do this is with Tailwind.
  6. Share on Viral Content Bee.  VCB is a site that promises to increase your traffic by 200%, and it’s free.
  7. Share your content to targeted audiences in communities like Reddit, Quora, Yahoo Answers, Stumble Upon, or Inbound, but be careful about sending them anything that can be perceived as self-promotion.  Self-promotion is a no-no and it could get you banned.
  8. Share your content to targeted audiences in communities like Reddit, Quora, Yahoo Answers, Stumble Upon, or Inbound, but be careful about sending them anything that can be perceived as self-promotion.  Self-promotion is a no-no and it could get you banned.
  9. Use Twitter’s advanced search to find people interested in your niche, connect with them, and tweet to them.
  10. Quuu Promote is one of the ways that the big boys and girls promote their content and they offer a free 14-day trial.
  11. Another way that the big boys and girls promote content is with Outbrain.  Outbrain is a pay for click service that starts at $20 a day.  I can say that I come across their services often when I’m looking at news and feature articles online.
  12. Once you’ve chosen your topic and written your content, there’s another way to use Buzzsumo.  Use Buzzsumo to find who are interested in content like what you have created.  Go back where you started with Buzzsumo by plugging in the keyword or words that you used in your initial search.  This time, find content like what you have created and click on “View Sharers” (it’s to the right of the post title).  Now, share your content via Twitter with those that come up on the next page (“See the Sharers Amplifying Content”).

Those are my 12 best tips for promoting your content.  What can you add to this?  I welcome your comments and questions and your likes and shares.