The Point

Archive for the ‘Web-based marketing’ 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…)

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.

(more…)

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

(more…)

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

(more…)

Jun

Eye-Popping, Reader-Stopping, Social Media-Rocking Visual Marketing

Eye Popping Visual Marketing

Presenting Visual Strategies for Smart Content Marketing

It’s often said, a picture is worth a thousand words.

But are they worth a thousand bucks? They can be because they start conversations. They attract attention. Pictures help you tell stories. They stop web surfers and turn them into readers, which is often a crucial first step toward winning a customer.

In this age of information overload the competition is fierce and the noise level is immeasurable. Getting you to read this article is a major feat. I’ve done something right.

We’re human. Our ability to take in information may be large, but it’s limited. Our attention spans are short and getting shorter.

As marketers, our first and most pressing goal is to get noticed. The challenge then evolves to keeping the reader’s interest for a short spell and making some sort of connection during the brief moment in time.

This decade’s seen explosive popularity of image-centric social channels like Instagram and Pinterest. Every social media network not considered to be visually magnetic is moving fast to overcome the problem.

And every marketer who hasn’t yet mastered the nuances of visual marketing needs to get on it. If you’re not acing the aesthetic parts of content marketing, you can expect to see your audience engaging with companies that are.

Your content needs to feature photos, images, and visuals that woo and wow. I’m hoping the rest of this post will help you understand how get it done effectively.

(more…)

May

Conversion Copywriting: Strategies to Create a Customer Comfort Zone

conversion copywriting

How are you feeling?

If you’ve been here before and have come to know and trust me, you probably feel quite comfortable.

Is it your first time? Now that’s an entirely different bale of hay. It’s human nature, right? When you arrive somewhere—or interact with someone—for the first time, you may be curious, but you can’t help being anxious.

Your guard’s up. Your wallet’s tucked away. Any little bump and away you go.

As you’ve surmised, I’m talking about your experience on a web page—one that until now, you’ve never before landed on.

Discomfort’s the mother of all conversion killers

Any copywriter worth his (or her) weight (or rate) needs to understand this reality and quickly wordsmith newcomers down a path to their comfort zone.

Where a web page is the terrain, the copywriter’s the tour guide, instructor, concierge, maître d’, and of course, sales clerk. If the copy can’t seal the deal, it must offer something compelling to start some sort of relationship.

Conversion, we say. Conversion, we seek. (more…)

May

Digital Marketing Lead Generation Strategies [Free eBook]

Free ebook Three Deep Marketing

I wrote a 40-page eBook covering today’s most effective digital marketing lead generation strategies. It was recently published by Three Deep Marketing, a sizable agency in Minnesota that’s one of the nation’s premier practitioners of data-driven digital marketing. From content marketing to marketing automation and many other tactics, the eBook covers a lot of ground. You can scroll down to see the chapters list. Go here to download the eBook in its entirety. Or check out how the book begins here and now….

The story begins with the predictably unpredictable buyer

The customer’s buying path is forever unpredictable. The only thing that is predictable is they will do their research.

You’re doing research here and now. You might pull the trigger soon. You might not.

buyer journeyIn a way, you’re a lot like everyone else. The decision you’ll make—in this case, about your company’s marketing—will be an informed one. You’ll put in the time, do your homework and make an informed decision.

And in a way, you’re unlike anyone. You’ll bounce around from source to source however you please. No one knows the path you’ll take—including you.

Let’s lay it on the line. Buyers command the buying process now. They absorb information like sponges, but don’t stand in line to get it. They go online and get it entirely on their terms.

If you want them to consider buying from you, you have to buy into the realities of the new media landscape. You have to map your marketing to their journey. And again, the journey’s wildly unpredictable.

Go ahead and gulp. In the 2010s decade, marketing and media have matured. Keeping up with the changes is a priority, but a highly challenging ambition. Deny the dominance of digital marketing and you’ll go down in defeat. Digitally savvy companies shall inherit the earth.

This eBook is a roadmap of sorts. Our hope is it will equip you with the insights you’ll need to achieve success in the age of the carefully considered decision.

(more…)

Dec

Marketing Gurus: Do They Get Wiser Through the Years?

In this and a few upcoming posts, I’m going to share some favorites from 2014. This year, I was asked to answer questions for a good number of round-up posts. They were all good fun, but I’d have to say this one from Oktopost was my favorite because of its playful angle.

Blast From The Past! 16 B2B Marketing Gurus Share Their Advice” is full of great tips and amusing photos of us marketing folks from years past.

Here’s Oktopost’s story…

We couldn’t build a time machine, so we did the next best thing! We chose 16 B2B marketing gurus we look up to, and asked them the following question:

“If you could give one piece of B2B marketing advice to your younger self, what would it be?”

The response was overwhelming, and it was incredible to travel back in time with these experts – some of whom have witnessed the B2B marketing industry evolve over the past few decades. Read their valuable insights, and think about the advice you’d give yourself if you could re-visit your earlier days.

Jason Falls, SVP Digital Strategy, Elasticity

“My advice to my younger self would be to believe wholeheartedly that the only difference between a good day and a bad day, a good client and a bad client, a good job and a bad job, is unequivocally attitude. When I look back on some of the crappier experiences in my career, I can say without a doubt that my attitude was the single-largest contributor to the crap. I’d tell me to wake up every day proud to do what you do, work with who you work with, and with the full understanding that even if there’s a pile of crap waiting for you at the office, you were put on this earth to go tackle it and kick its ass. Attitude makes everything better. Or worse.” [Jason Falls/Elasticity]

(more…)