The Point

Archive for the ‘Web-based marketing’ Category

Dec

32 Ways a Digital Marketing Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

A lot of clients—marketing professionals and business owners—get in touch and ask me to help plan, write, and create websites, eBooks, and blog posts. That’s far from a complete list, but three common requests.

On the other hand, a lot of clients reach out to me without a specific task list in mind. They know they want to grow their business. They know they want to produce traffic, leads and sales. And they think they need the help of digital marketing consultant.

They’re right, but their question is often oh-so-broad: “How can you help me?”

Shwew. My answer could be any number of things and at that point, not having the benefit of knowing where their digital marketing currently stands, I’m seldom able to quickly deliver a perfect answer.

I certainly don’t want to blurt out a specific digital marketing tactic… “YouTube is the answer” or “An email campaign will make rain for you.” That’d be reckless.

A digital marketing consultant should recommend tactics based on needs identified from a carefully considered audit. I’m a strategist. I’m a copywriter. But I’ve been doing digital marketing since it existed, so there are a substantial number of ways I can help you grow your business through digital marketing.

Here they are.

The list won’t magically nail an effective strategy, but my hope is it’ll provide some answers to the “How can you help me?” question and give us lots to talk about.

 

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Dec

A Lead Magnet Promotion Checklist to Build Your Email List Faster [Free Checklist]

lead magnet promotion checklist

Much has been written about creating lead magnets. This is not the case for promoting lead magnets.

In my post, What is a Lead Magnet?, I offer a definition of the phrase, explain the purpose, offer advice for creating them and detail ten types that have proven effective for helping digital marketers build their email list. Check out the lead magnet article here if you haven’t already.

And now, stick around for the much needed sequel about lead magnet promotion. I’m going to give you 30 ways to build your email list faster.

When is a lead magnet not magnetic?

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few years consulting clients on how to use lead magnets.

Sometimes clients engage me to promote them, but usually not. Usually, we move on to the next one. That’s a problem.

Your lead magnet, much like any content you create and offer, isn’t effective until the audience of prospective buyers you covet discovers it. Limited exposure equals limited magnetism.

I take great pleasure in delivering juicy lead magnets, eBooks especially, to clients. But sometimes a painful revelation follows. I’m told the results have been disappointing. The lead magnet isn’t converting as hoped.

Is the lead magnet, itself, to blame? I think not. Is the issue the landing page, pop-up or form where it’s offered? It’s possible, but unlikely. The problem is the promotion—or lack of it.

A vital part of your lead magnet strategy must be to increase its exposure. You need to put it in the path of potential buyers and make it clear you’re offering a solution to a problem they face.

In my lead magnet trainings, I offer a long list of ways to promote lead magnets. So here you go: a promotion checklist to ensure your lead magnet does indeed help you build your email list fast.

 

Promote lead magnets on your website

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Oct

What to Put on Your Homepage [Content Matters Episode 18]

Content Matters podcast

What content should you put on your homepage? Perhaps it’s not so obvious. If the process of planning your homepage seems a bit overwhelming, this episode of Content Matters is for you. Andy and Barry offer a thorough list of ideas for your homepage and talk you through handling the elements from top to bottom. 

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Aug

20 Ideas for Your Website Homepage Content [Infographic]

ideas for website homepage

Planning, creating, and publishing website homepage content is no walk in the park. In fact, it presents the most difficult—and important—decisions a digital marketer must make.

Everyone seems to want to know the exact formula for getting it right. But no such formula exists. So the process of getting homepage content published often paralyzes marketers big and small, experienced and novice.

I have the “What should I put on my homepage?” conversation with clients nearly every day. The answer could be:

(a) Content that best positions your company as the solution to a specific problem

(b) Content prospective buyers are looking for

(c) Both of the above

Clearly, (c) is the optimum answer. If your website’s homepage is doing its job effectively it guides visitors one step deeper into your website. Better yet, it guides the right visitors to the next page, or the content they seek.

See, your homepage, your content, and your marketing in general, shouldn’t aim to engage everyone. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, it should deflect the wrong people. Your conversion depends on engaging the right people, right?

This website homepage content checklist should help

Your homepage content options are many. After consulting with a ton of clients about their homepage strategies, I decided to create a checklist of 20 ideas—a planning tool. (more…)

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…)

Mar

How to Write a Presentation that Converts

Write presentations

Have you ever wondered how to write a presentation?

I’m not talking about your obligatory reviewing-the-numbers or previewing-the-game-plan decks where you may be able to get away with a set of snoozer slides. I’m talking about the presentation that stands on its own as a piece of clickass content created to inform and entertain your audience.

In large part, I’m talking about SlideShare, that is LinkedIn SlideShare, one of the world’s premier content communities. And by talking about SlideShare, I mean to also include the idea of expanding your digital footprint with modern visual marketing. See, the content you publish on SlideShare can be embedded all over the place. If it’s great, it will be.

You may have read content from me about SlideShare in the past.

I like SlideShare. It likes me. I’m happy to tell you I’ve been dubbed a “Keynote Author” there thanks to my steady stream of presentations and infographics. Thanks to the appointment, my posts often land on the highly trafficked SlideShare home page, pick up a nice boost from their social media efforts and then often get viewed tens of thousands of times.

You’ll find my entire, ever-expanding heap of SlideShare content here. 

And now for a lesson on writing presentations

I put a lot of thought into this lesson because I was asked to present it as a live webinar as part of the free Virtual SlideShare Summit.

You can join me for this presentation Tuesday, March 22, 9:00 a.m. Eastern. REGISTER HERE.

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Mar

The Best Copywriters Offer Great Copywriting Secrets

great copywriting ingredient (1)
I was reviewing an essay by my daughter, a high school junior, when we got to talking about what makes for great writing. It was an interesting discussion.

At least I felt that way. She probably just wanted to get the thing done and turned in. I call writing my profession. She calls it a pain in the butt.

In any case, I got to thinking—after tapping on a keyboard for 25-plus years in the interest of inspiring readers to try, buy, attend, register, write, call, download, donate, share, care, click here and put your email right there…

What is the essential ingredient of great copywriting?

I’ve been doing this awhile. I know a lot of great copywriters. And they know a lot of great copywriting secrets, as do many of my peers who are journalists and content marketers that wordsmith with the best of ‘em. So I asked them this one question.

This post reveals their answers: the secrets to great copywriting from many of the professionals I consider to be amongst the best at the craft.

Work’s required

Doug Kessler

Hard work
Doug Kessler, co-founder and creative director of Velocity Partners, is the best copywriter I know.
@dougkessler

“The essential ingredient to great copywriting—and as a card-carrying lazy bastard I hate to admit this—is hard work.

The hard work of really, really, really understanding your subject, your audience and the building blocks of your story… The hard work of listening, asking questions and doing your research… The hard work of structuring, of building your case… The hard work of rewriting to improve clarity… The hard work of finding what really matters.

The final ‘wordsmithing’ is just the veneer on top of a solid table made with hardwood and nails and saws.”  (more…)

Nov

The 4 Indispensable Pillars of Effective Digital Marketing [Free eBook Too]

Pillars of effective digital marketing

We’re going to talk about post website depression (PWD).

If you’re a sufferer, I urge you not to be embarrassed. You’re hardly alone.

Generally, PWD is preceded with wild mood swings. For months you’re knee-deep in the grind. Meetings and conference calls. Site maps and wireframes. Copy and code. Layouts and links. Flurries of emails. Portals. Staging sites. Browser testing. Blood, sweat and title tags.

Then finally…

After an exhausting Friday of tedious troubleshooting you’ve blasted past every last imperfection (you think). The flip gets switched over the weekend and you’re live. The new site looks tight. It loads in a flash. Isn’t the web wonderful?

High fives are flying all around the office Monday morning. The boss even sprung for donuts. But in the coming days, the buzz wanes. A week or two later, the source of your depression becomes clear: a million perfectly composed pixels can amount to zero effect on the business.

4 Pillars - eBook

 

HEADS UP…

This is a 4,000-word post. If you’d rather “Pocket” it or download it to read at another time, click here or the image on the left to get a free eBook version.

 

It’s time to call a content marketer

That’s me. And this is a call I’m a part of a lot.

I’m happy to have this call because I can answer most of the questions and steer the ship forward from here. But I must admit, this call tends to include two waffles I could live without.

Waffle 1: Uncertainty

I told you the impetus behind this consultation: PWD. The company’s learned a new website in and of itself is no rainmaker. Now, at least to some extent, the marketer/owner/person I’m talking to realizes her or his company needs more than a shinier home on the web; they need a more significant digital footprint.

They need to publish content—onsite and off (but first, on) so they get discovered more. Known more. Liked more. Trusted more. This is how digital marketing works.

But then, ugh, the question, the inevitable question, dare I say, the “you’ve got to be kidding me” question…

“Barry, in our business we’re not so sure potential new clients go online to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah (read, research, make decisions, buy, etc.).

Here’s what I think at that moment: Are you serious? Where do you think they go? Where do they get their books? Where do they do research for their personal needs? Where did you find me? And WHY are we talking?

Here’s what I say at that moment: Yes, they do. (And the client knows it.)

And one more thing: In digital marketing it’s dangerous to forge a strategy based on what you think or your opinion. You need to know how your prospects and customers behave.

Waffle 2: Commitment

Somehow we get past the ridiculousness. It’s understood: content must be produced. We proceed to the double-headed time and money monster. This part of the conversation could go a number of ways and at this point it’s a bit premature to do a content marketing plan, but to do my part I say what needs to be said:

Yes, it’s going to take time and money. And if you’re not committed to it long term, you’ll be wasting both.

So what’s it to take to make digital marketing work?

The most successful businesses are becoming customer-centric marketing machines. They’re able to:

Research indicates buyers are commonly two-thirds (or more) of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor. Marketing’s role has become enormously different.

  • Marketing is sales. Marketing—not sales—guides buyers through the early stages of the buying process.
  • Touch points multiply. Marketers need to engage customers across an expanding array of channels.
  • Timeliness is crucial. Relevant marketing messages and content must be delivered fast and at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Good news: your company can shift into digital gear to become more in touch with your customers’ needs, more responsive in delivering the content they seek when it matters most, and more effective and efficient.

Though there are countless strategies that may come into play there are four pillars of effective digital marketing your company needs to master:

1. Content marketing
2. Search engine optimization
3. Social media marketing
4. Marketing analytics

None of the above is optional. Think of them as four legs of a stool or table that forms the foundation of your digital marketing. Try to get by without one and your foundation falls down.

Digital marketing CTA banner

I’m now going to dive into each of the four to help you begin to get a basic understanding of the pillars of effective digital marketing. (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

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Jul

100 Ways Your Company Loses to Better Online Marketers

It's a jungle online

It’s a jungle out there.

Online marketing has become a wild animal. But you don’t have to be a gorilla to dominate. Nor do you have to go ape and do absolutely everything. However, you do indeed need to understand what’s working for the leaders of the pack.

I thought I’d survey the landscape and give you my take on how the most cunning companies are killing it with online marketing tactics. So here you are: 100 ways companies are thriving on the wild, wild web.

Learn the essentials of SEO in under an hour banner

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