The Point

Archive for the ‘Business development’ Category

May

What is a Lead Magnet? (And 10 Ways to Quickly Magnify the Size of Your Email List)

 

What is a lead magnet

 

A lead magnet is a free offer you make in exchange for an email address (and possibly additional information).

Lead magnets are also called:

  • Signup incentives
  • Signup offers
  • Freemiums
  • Content upgrades
  • And many other terms

One well-respected digital marketer calls them “an irresistible bribe.” Sounds seedy to me. Lead magnets are above-board and have always been a powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal. They’re especially golden in digital age because we can satisfy the reader’s request in an instant.

What’s the purpose of a lead magnet?

The purpose of a lead magnet is to inspire the people who are consuming your content to get on your email list. You’ll aim to convert them to customers in the future with lead nurturing tactics, most notably, email.

Offering lead magnets is a vital part of the content marketing formula that builds a more loyal audience, and in turn, effectively builds your business.

Why ask for an email instead of credit card?

“Hello. Can I have some money? God bless you.”

Sounds more like panhandling than an effective approach to digital marketing, doesn’t it?

See, only 2% of first-time website visitors make purchases—and that applies to carefully crafted websites optimized for conversion.

What do the rest do? They leave. They were just browsing. Maybe, just maybe, they’re researching and considering your solution, or something similar.

So if the overwhelming majority of visitors to your website aren’t yet in buy mode, you’re likely to chase them away by pushing your product or service on them.

What do you do instead? You ask for an email address.

In doing so, you’re asking for permission to stay in touch. Your challenge, of course, is to build a relationship, to earn their trust. This takes time. And usually, repeated touches.

 

But you still have some selling to do

Though the people joining your list aren’t necessarily parting with their money, by merely handing over their email address they’re investing some level of trust in you. They expect you to reciprocate by delivering value.

First, you need to sell them an idea. (more…)

Sep

Digital Marketing Basics: Simplified and Comprehensive

Digital marketing basics

Marketing works differently now.

Push is out. Pull is in.

You have to think inbound.

Traditional “outbound” marketing tactics that dominated the pre-Google world are now alarmingly ineffective. We all have the power to filter out advertising and we’re not afraid to use it.

The customer is in control. The communications process begins if and when the customer wants. Without advertising. Without phone calls. Without you.

Instead of pushing out messages via paid media, to reach this customer, you must put the power of content marketing, search, and social media to work. The relationship with your brand begins there.

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads
(such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
~ Search Engine Journal

To be an effective marketer, you have to do a complete 180. The strategy is to pull people to your website with magnetic content.

Additional resource: introduction to inbound marketing.

Define objectives by beginning with the end in mind

“Our digital marketing isn’t working.” 

The great thing about digital marketing is how easy it is to measure results. So if you say the program isn’t working, it’s only a valid assessment if you’ve defined what “working” actually means.

Your sales and marketing team must agree on the program’s objective. Objectives differ from company to company, site to site, and program to program. Generally speaking, the mission is to generate traffic, leads and sales.

Are you aiming to expand an email database? Sell off the page? Foster word of mouth?

You’re going to experience failure and success. Digital marketing is forever experimental. You know what you need to conduct a meaningful experiment, right?

You need an outcome.

Additional resource: fast-track approach to setting objectives and planning.

Digital marketing CTA banner

(more…)

May

Personal Branding Strategy: Make Guest Blogging Pay

Guest blogging

You rarely hear stories of people who get involved in social media and content marketing—and boom—their personal brand takes off. It may be the dream, but it’s seldom the reality.

I wonder… Are you taking guest blogging seriously? I’m going to shed some light on someone who made guest blogging a high priority and benefited from it nicely.

Yes, that someone is me, but I’m not aiming to glorify what I’ve done. I want to show and tell you why it’s worked, and how, so you can work toward getting similar results.

B is for blogging

The story traces to an infographic I conceived, The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding. With the help of my collaborator, Seth Price, who is an amazing study in personal branding, the infographic became a smash hit.

Seth and I wrote posts—featuring the infographic—for several prominent blogs, and enjoyed seeing it go insanely viral. [I just did a search using the name of the infographic and it dominated the first 12 pages of the Google search results.] Months later, Buffer’s Kevan Lee wrote a post for Entrepreneur highlighting the ideas the graphic contains.

Thanks to media coverage such as that, it was shared hundreds of thousands of times and generated mountains of backlinks for us. And then it generated opportunities.

I should add, we nurtured that baby with a SlideShare presentation. Then came interview requests… podcasts and videos. I did a webinar on it. I was invited to present the content at a few conferences.

Same deal for Seth. In fact, the momentum of our “guide” played a part in inspiring Seth to create a spectacular personal website about personal branding. We’re working on another project related to it too, a big one, we hope. (Here’s Seth and I talking about our baby…) (more…)

Jun

How to Use LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool

linkedin marketing tips

 

susan finch

This is a guest post by Susan Finch. Susan is a freelance writer with a passion for travel and helping small businesses find their online voice through content marketing, blogging and beyond. She is an eclectic writer with more than 10 years of experience contributing to guidebooks, magazines, iPhone apps, online publications and more. She can be found at BySusanFinch.com.

 

More than three million businesses have company pages on LinkedIn, says a LinkedIn press release, and the social network currently serves executives from all of 2013’s Fortune 500 companies. But it’s not enough to simply log into LinkedIn and hope for the best. Compete with the millions of companies on LinkedIn by tapping into its robust features that put your business at the forefront.

Check Your Rank

Savvy marketers should already be using LinkedIn’s Who’s Viewed Your Profile service to show you who has been snooping around your profile or company page. Reaching out to those viewers with a brief introduction about your services and asking if they need help is a good start. But LinkedIn takes that profile view a step further with How You Rank. LinkedIn can tell you how you rank in comparison to others in your network with profile views. It’s also a good way to spy on your competition and see what the top profiles in your network are up to and how you can improve your own. (more…)

Jun

Slideshare: A Content Marketing Imperative

SlideShare home

Three breeds of content marketers walk among us.

There are those who haven’t discovered the content marketing dream-come-true that is SlideShare. Sadly, most fall into this first category.

You have those who are hip to SlideShare, but are making a bit of a mess on the mega-content hub.

And finally, you have SlideShare stars. They’re rocking on the SlideShare dance floor, but may choose not to shout about it for fear things could go south if the whole world joins the party.

SlideShare is a content hub where users share presentations, infographics, videos and documents. Acquired by LinkedIn six years after its inception, SlideShare is the world’s largest content sharing community for professionals. Though it remains 117 notches below Facebook for traffic rankings, SlideShare is clearly an arrow going up and to the right.

Why care about SlideShare?

A couple years ago, I heard Todd Wheatland, the author of “The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare,” speak at Content Marketing World. I’m paraphrasing here, but recall his attention-getting opening went something like this:

“Why would you want your content on SlideShare? The site averages 60 million unique visitors a month. Yours doesn’t.”

Visitor envy? It’s only natural.

Not long before that conference, Column Five Media created an infographic, which revealed SlideShare has 5X the traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

SlideShare traffic is driven largely by search and social. Visitors tend to be at work, doing work. I believe I mentioned it’s a content marketer’s dream.

And you can generate something more important than eyeballs with SlideShare. You can generate leads. (more…)

Feb

Caring is Sharing – How to Get Your Brand Advocates to Care

brand advocates

Fellow content creators, let’s swallow a big honking reality pill together. The things customers say about our brand runs circles around the prose we produce.

According to Nielson research, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they hear about it from friends and family.

Got advocates?

Maybe you call them ambassadors, fans, or evangelists. Call them what you will, but understand when people support your brand it means money. More advocates, more sales. And nothing scales quite like word of mouth. Even if you get just a small percentage to plug your products, the ripple effect can be immeasurable.

When you win over customers and help them share your brand’s story:

  • Your programs get amplified.
  • Advocates create content for you—for free.
  • Anticipation for new products increases.
  • Positive conversations spread across online media.
  • Web traffic increases.
  • You win new customers.

Where do you start? (more…)

Jun

Marketing Experts Present the Content Marketing Hall of Shame

content marketing hall of shame

 

Shame on me. Why am I so hell-bent on writing about the mistakes marketers make? Good question.

Why do teachers mark-up essays with red pens? Why do they give exams? Why do athletes review the “film” of their performances? Why do speakers practice their delivery by videotaping themselves? Why do the best of the best in any given field fall on their faces time and again?

Why am I asking so many questions? Good question. And you know the answer.

You learn from your mistakes. And as the learned declare, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not learning. Imagine the skier, or surfer, or gymnast that never falls. You know what that means as well. It means they’re not trying hard enough. They’re not pushing themselves.

This concludes my preamble. Almost. I guess I’ve decided to amble a bit more.

Here’s what I’ve done.

I’ve created a content marketing Hall of Shame, a slide show. No need to spaz. You’re not in it. Or are you?

(more…)

Jun

Virtual Assistant: The Solution for Effectively Growing Your Business

Hi, my name is Deena and I’m writing these words from Israel, 10 time zones away from Feldman Creative headquarters in California. I’m Feldman Creative’s new Virtual Assistant, an employee of Secretary in Israel.

    The meeting point of nature, religion and art at sunrise in Jerusalem in the Valley of the Cross (photo by Deena)

Barry, who writes 9/10ths of the posts you read here, has been offering magnetic content marketing for around 25 years (he jokes that that’s my age – I assure you it is not). He’s an out-of-the-box thinker whose talent is the ability to make words come to life, offering his clients creative content solutions.

Feldman Creative is at a point where growth is the inevitable next step and Barry has chosen to make that leap (which is always one of faith) with the help of a Virtual Assistant (VA).

If you are a freelancer bursting at the seams, I will assume a few things about you: You are the creative type, probably an idea person and you’re very good at what you do. Your ability to put your talents to work has made you successful in your field. Finally, your company is ready to grow, but you aren’t sure how to begin.

Challenges in expanding your staff

Growing a team is challenging for many reasons. You need to:

  • Be responsible (though much less so with a VA) for someone else’s income.
  • Ensure your brand stays strong and doesn’t get diluted with a new voice on the team.
  • Continue offering services you are proud of that retain the same quality you have always offered.
  • Learn to manage others, finding the balance between micro and macro managing and figuring out which tasks to keep yourself and which to give to the new team member.
  • Exhibit some flexibility because with new people come new ideas and new work styles.
  • Make sure with the new business model, your talents still have plenty of places to shine.

A VA is such a good option because you can get real talent and intelligence for a fraction of the price of having someone local and/or in-house.

Tasks to give your virtual assistant

This list can be as extensive as your imagination. Here are some examples of tasks you can outsource to a VA.

Content tasks

  • Preparing your guest posts from around the web in your blog for republication including: choosing categories and tags, filling in the meta data, putting in pictures and making changes to it so it isn’t duplicate content.
  • Writing posts on your blog.
  • Researching a topic for your content.
  • Assisting in marketing programs such as newsletters.
  • Recruiting contributors for the blog.
  • Sharing content online.
  • Editing multimedia.

Business development tasks

  • Setting up a system for lead qualification and putting it into action.
  • Automating repetitive tasks (i.e. setting up canned responses in Google Apps email).
  • Implementing systems to create a smoother workflow.

Tips for making it work with a VA

Like anyone with whom you’ll work, there will need to be a pleasant rapport between the two parties and both sides need to have good intentions and be as honest and transparent as possible. These traits are particularly important when working long distance.

Also…

  • Talk on the phone/Skype at least once a week to make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s easy to shy away from this but email will never take the place of a conversation and it helps immensely every time.
  • If your VA is outside of your country/continent, you might have a time difference with which to contend. As long as both sides are flexible, it works.
  • There almost always will be some cultural differences. As long as there are similar work ethics and a shared language, it will work. It’s best to approach these differences with curiosity. It’s an opportunity to broaden your horizons.
  • Everyone should communicate as clearly as possible. And when something isn’t clear, patiently clarify until it is.
  • There will be a learning curve. Remember you’re used to working alone. Working with someone else will bring new ideas into the business but also might give you growing pains because your business is your baby and it’s hard to relinquish control.
  • Allow space for your VA to give input and share ideas. Having a fresh pair of eyes means a different perspective on your business and your work.
  • Go with the flow, trying different task assignments until you find which tasks work best for both of you.
  • Remember you’re still the boss. VAs could be gung ho which is great. But you are the one who knows your business better than anyone and so direct the VA as needed.

Growing a business is risky and it needs to be done carefully. Hiring a VA is one of the effective ways to do it and can help you begin to navigate the management of a team. As long as you increase the time available to spend providing the quality products or services you provided up until now, you’ll know you’re headed in the right direction.

Good luck!

Photo by Deena at the Valley of the Cross at sunrise in Jerusalem. Where olive trees meet religion meet art.