Episode 004: What Email Campaign Types Should I Be Sending?

You know you should be sending out certain types of emails, but which ones should definitely be on your list?

In today’s episode we explore 3 types of email campaigns you need to be sending:

  1. The Welcome Email
  2. The Straight-On Promo Email
  3. The Invitation Email

You’ll find out when you should be using these emails and exactly what should be included in them as well. Please share your comments and feedback in the comments section below.

003: How do I educate my prospects?

This is a frequently asked question – as most people are so used to selling that they have no idea how to educate their prospects and customers. In this episode I take you through 3 types of content you need to be using in your content strategy to build awareness, trust and ultimately variety into how you educate your prospects.

Here’s the link to the blog post I mentioned in the episode:

Native Advertising – What is it REALLY?

native advertisingIt’s hard to believe, but there is a lot of disagreement about what native advertising is exactly. It has actually been around for a long time, but the form is improving by leaps and bounds and becoming less salesy as consumers become more savvy. The idea behind native adverting is that it draws in the consumer, just as any other content you offer them.  It entertains them, engages them, and offers them value – even if they don’t buy what is being offered. Native advertising can take on many forms, depending on the context of the advertising.

Forms of Native Advertising

In-Feed – This is like what you see on YouTube or Facebook when you sign on or search for something specific. It is usually labeled “sponsored,” so it’s easy to spot, but is often just like other content that your users like to consume.

Paid Search – A good example of this appears on Google Search. When you search for a keyword term, you’ll have both the unpaid and paid results appear. Paid results are at the top and to the right, and organic is everything else. They are also labeled “sponsored.”

Recommended Content – On CNN.com if you scroll down, you’ll see recommended content to read. This is usually pushed out by a company like Outbrain.com which syndicates other people’s content for a fee, and then offers it to you on other platforms. It might say “these stories are recommended for you.” Usually it’s based on what the user is already reading.

Promoted – This is common on Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube, and this form of native advertising will be listed as “promoted.” It is usually a post, a product, or a video, depending on the platform. For example, on YouTube it will be a video and on Facebook it will be a post.

In-Ad – Often these banners appear in the promoted content itself, and this form of advertising is delivered based on the content in which it appears. This can be found on YouTube when supposedly relevant ads are displayed on a video.

Custom – This is paid content delivered in a variety of ways to users by different publishers. They might be articles, guest posts, sponsorships, or other forms of advertising that do not fit in the other definitions. They aren’t very salesy in nature, and they offer value of some sort on their own to the user.

What makes an ad “native” is its ability to camouflage its true nature to the audience by being relevant, valuable, and useful to them.  It is promoting a product or service that the user probably needs, so it feels less like a sales pitch. This type of advertising has been around a long time in the form of advertorials, but they’re getting more targeted and useful due to the way the internet gathers information from users.  This added value has proven native advertising to be far superior to other forms of advertising.1 Native-Ad-Effectiveness-Infographic-Sharethrough-IPG-c898cefb

Now technology enables marketers to get more specific about who and when such content is delivered, ensuring it’s consumed by the user at a higher rate than banner ads or traditional ads that are often ignored or avoided.

Keywords Aren’t ALL THAT – Rich Content is More

rich contentYou have likely heard that in order to write rich content, you need to write content with a certain number of keywords and do all kinds of keyword research in order to have a website that appears high in the SERPs. Well, some of that is true, but some of it is not. You do need to use keywords, but there is actually a lot more to it than just that.

Rich Content Creators Know These Tips:

Google Is Smarter Now

Google Search and other search engines are smarter than they used to be. Now they not only understand when a search term is used on a website that the site is likely about that, but they also know how to find out why the site is important. So while keywords are still used, you now also need to have a backup such as actual content that speaks to your audience in an intelligent and valuable way about that subject.

Video Is a Huge Traffic Driver

Rich content has to include video as well. With video outside the title and description, there are not really that many keywords. Yet video is a big traffic driver and is weighted very heavily when it comes to sending traffic your way. If you want to increase traffic, you need to add video to your website as often as you add other types of content.

Content Needs To Be Unique and Useful to Your Audience

There is more to it than spinning an article to make it different and appear unique. It truly needs to be original. In order to say you truly have rich content on your site – regardless of whether it’s text, video or images – needs to be interesting to your audience and original. It can’t be created just for search engine optimization; it needs to be created for the reason of entertaining, engaging, informing, or educating your audience.

Your Website Must Be Mobile

If your website is not mobile at the moment you’re reading this, stop reading, check out how it would appear to someone searching for you on a smartphone (because that’s most likely how your audience will be), then go find out how you can make your website mobile. This is actually more important than your content right now, because without it being mobile, search engines will not even list the site in the search engine results. Once that’s finished, start populating with more content that’s original and interesting.

Engagement Is All That

One of the biggest driving forces in getting higher search engine results is the engagement that your content brings. When your audience comments, clicks your links, shares your information and engages with you, that means a lot to the new search engines.

 

Keywords do help you get ranked on Google, identify what it is that you do, and help people find you. But it’s important to keep in mind that they’re not everything. There is more to getting higher search engine results than throwing up some keyword-rich content. The content needs to be relevant, targeted, and interesting to your audience to get real results.

Key Components of a Sales Funnel

sales funnelNo matter what type of product or service you promote, the purpose of a sales funnel is always the same:  The purpose of the funnel is to get new leads, turn those leads into buyers, and to get those buyers to buy more.  While there are different configurations for a funnel, there are some key components that should always be included in your sales funnel.

Sales Funnel Basics:

Lead Magnet – This item goes at the widest part of your funnel because it is designed to get people to sign up for your email list. Often times business owners offer a free product or a trial version of a product in order to get people on their list in order to market to them and offer them the real products or services they want to promote and sell. To accomplish this, you’ll need a squeeze page to promote the lead magnet or freebie, an email sign-up form, as well as a download page.

Entry Product – Some people call this the “tripwire” but using this language can unintentionally (and unfairly) evoke a negative connotation. The fact is that this entry level product is an inexpensive product that your audience can buy that will be a low cost comparison to your main products. It will give them a good example of the type of products you sell. But it’s also a good place to add an up-sell opportunity for your buyer.

Email Content – Both the lead magnet and the entry level product put the prospects onto an email list so that they can now learn about everything you offer. You will want the lists segmented so that you can send them the right information. You’ll need to create email content that is designed to send your audience to the next product in line for them and their unique interests.

Product – You’ll need at least one higher-priced product, if not a series of increasingly higher-priced products. This could be an advanced product or course, a private forum and support group, one-on-one coaching services, and more. If you can create a continuity program, it’ll make a great up-sell for either type of list.

Sales Page – Each product needs a sales page that will also need an up-sell (and even perhaps a down-sell) to best utilize the opportunity of connecting with your prospect. You don’t want to turn away any opportunity to connect and make an offer.

When you create each component for your sales funnel, there are several aspects to include with each element to make it complete. You’ll also need to think about how those components flow together to make a complete campaign.  Even though each unique funnel may have a different purpose, they all need to include these key components in order to be effective and grow your business.  Get to know each component and its function so that you become an expert at creating these sales funnels!

The New and Improved Rules for SEO

rules for seoA lot of people think that SEO is just a trick, or a bunch of shifty tactics to take to get people to come to your website. While it is true that some of the methods you read about seem somewhat unethical, the fact is that if you follow the rules for SEO without trying to mislead anyone, you’ll find that they are sound business practices that help you build brand awareness, get more traffic, and make more sales in an honest and effective manner.

Follow the Rules for SEO With These Tips in Mind…

Consumers Are Smarter Today – Most people who are shopping online are clued in on the tricks of the trade now. They understand sales pages, and know what clickbait is, and they don’t like most of them. You want to acknowledge that fact with everything you do. Respect their time and don’t trick your audience.

Mobile Optimization Is an Imperative – Today websites need to work seamlessly on any device, so mobile optimization is very important. Your audience needs to be able to read, learn, interact, and purchase through their mobile devices without missing a beat.

SEO Is a Long-Term Strategy – Working on the SEO structure of your websites and blogs will take time. It should not be considered an overnight success measure. When you think about rules for SEO, it should be considered a long-term strategy that will work over time to affect traffic on your site, not a quick fix.

Content Needs to Provide Value – If you know your audience and understand the message that you want to send to them, you’ll be able to create amazing content that provides a lot of value to your them. The information should be trustworthy, expertly written, without grammatically errors, and interesting to read.  Content they can actually use will keep your brand in front of them.

Keyword Density Is Old News – Keywords should be in the title tags, content, H1 tags, URLs, alt text on images, and within the image name. But when thinking about the latest rules for SEO, keep in mind that keywords in content should be included in a natural way without any concern about “density.”

Satisfy the Needs of Your Users – This goes back to creating content for the different personas within your target audience. You have to put yourself in their shoes and know what they would find valuable and useful.

You Must Earn Links – Links tell search engines how authoritative your website is, what topic your website should be ranked for, how trustworthy your website is, and how valuable the content you create is. If people are linking to and sharing your content, engaging with the content, and visiting your website, you’ll earn links. In other words, skip the article directories, blog networks, comment spamming, and link trading. They don’t work.

Social Is a Must – The reason you need to use social media is to build community and relationships so that you can distribute your content and information to people who desire it, need it, and want it. You can simply help people out, and then reap the rewards.

When you are aware  of and embrace the new rules of SEO, you’ll be more successful with your SEO strategy – whether it’s on-page or off-page SEO. Remember that it’s a long-term process that will pay off many times over if you trust the process and follow the latest rules of SEO.

Guide to SEO Success

 

seo success

The key to search engine optimization success (SEO success) is really about strategic planning, content strategy, and creating an experience that will resonate with your audience. SEO is not just one thing; it’s an overall strategy that will help you build your brand and market your products and services through using content. It’s also about marketing that content, as well as using other methods to build traffic.

Here’s a quick guide to achieving SEO Success:

Know Your Audience – In order to create information that your audience wants to see and learn, you need to know who they are. Try creating audience personas to cover all the different segments of your audience – from your cold prospects, to your warm leads, to people who have already purchased from you.

Create Valuable Content – When it comes to SEO success, content really is king. Today, content marketing is the main SEO opportunity that works well to build your brand, get more traffic, and make more sales. The content should be valuable to your audience and not simply written for search engines.

Earn Links – If you have links from other authorities’ websites to yours, it moves your website up in the search engine results. But, you can’t have just any links to your website. They must be earned links via social media, guest blog posts, videos, and other means. Do not pay to get links; this doesn’t work and can actually get your site blacked out from SERPS.

Structure Your Website Correctly – For SEO to really work, it’s not enough just to have excellent content. You also need your website to have a linking structure and design that loads quickly and works across all devices. In order to experience true seo success, you want keywords in the URLs, keywords in the anchor text, and in titles of every page and every piece of content you publish.

Keep Abreast of Google SEO Guidelines – Things change quickly in SEO, with every update that Google and other search engines make. Sign up to receive Google updates on their webmaster guidelines. The information you can learn from Google will work for every search engine.

On-Page SEO – On-page SEO includes title tags, images, keywords, content, and internal links. Understanding how to use each of these is important because it will make a difference behind the scenes to get more traffic to your website.

Off-Page SEO – This refers to earning external links via content marketing, social media, guest blogging, and more. The point is you need to earn the links in an organic manner. As mentioned, do not pay for links or pay to play guest blogging. Earn the links through the natural things that you do to engage with others online.

Promote Your Content – One of the things that people miss out on when it comes to SEO is that they create tons of content, but then forget to market it. You may market your products and services, but you also need to market your content for best results.

Using these SEO tips will increase your chances for SEO success if you do them all regularly and patiently. SEO is not an overnight solution to traffic generation. If you want something that’s overnight you’ll need to run paid ads. However, SEO can not only help you get traffic, it can also make the traffic stick around due to the fact that your website is easier to navigate and has the right information.

Understanding Visual Marketing and Copyright Laws

visual marketing

Visual marketing is so powerful, but when you start using it to promote your blog, it is important to learn about the laws surrounding using images. There are many misconceptions, and if any of those misunderstandings lead you to violate a copyright law (knowingly or unknowingly), it can cost a lot of money. Taking just a few extra minutes to learn about these laws in will save you even more time (and dollars) later!

Yes, You Can Be Sued!

Using a copyrighted image without permission can cost you a lot of time and money, even if you didn’t know it was a copyrighted image. For example, if you got the image from a royalty free site, and thought it was legal but it wasn’t, you’re still liable. This is why free sites are so dangerous. What’s more, even if you remove the image when told, you can still be sued due to having used the image. The fees can add up to thousands of dollars.

Visual Marketing DON’Ts:

You cannot use a picture without permission – period. (By the way, using a picture then giving the photographer credit is NOT the same as getting permission, and neither is putting a disclaimer on your blog for the image.)

You cannot change the picture and call it “fair use”; it’s not.

You cannot use the image if your website is not for commercial use.

You cannot use an image without permission, even if it’s embedded from their server.

In short, you cannot use an image for any reason without permission. And, even after you remove it when asked, you may still end up having to pay for using it, even if it was only for a few minutes. If they have proof, then you’re out of luck.

 

So where can I find pictures that ARE okay to use?

Creative Commons Images – Creative Commons-licensed pictures are fine to use, but make sure you read the terms, as there are restrictions on how you can use them and how you must credit the owner of the image.

Public Domain Images – No, this doesn’t mean that if the image is online, it’s in the public domain; public domain is a legal term that describes images where the original copyright has run out, and now the image is free for the public to use, but with restrictions.  When using public domain images in visual marketing, make sure you read the fine print to stay legal.

Paid Stock Photo Sites – To be the most safe when it comes to copyright of images, buy them. However, keep in mind that you still cannot use the image however you want to. You need to read all the terms of service for exactly how the pictures are to be used, and follow it precisely.

Take Your Own Images – Taking your own pictures is by far the best way to ensure that your blog has legal images on it, and now most mobile devices have perfectly good cameras for quality images you can use online. You already have photo editing software on your computer and in the cloud through various programs such as Canva.com that will work perfectly fine for your needs.

It’s always best to assume any image has a copyright of some kind. If you’re not totally sure about the state of the image, or the terms of service, don’t use the image. It’s important that everyone respects the intellectual property of others. Not just because you can be sued, but because it’s the right thing to do.  Now more than ever visual marketing is a key element in your marketing strategy, so knowing the law is vital.

Why is Responsive Design So Important?

responsive designThe ultimate goal of small business owners is to have a website that gets results for them, attracts prospects, brings in leads, and converts visitors. To achieve this, having a responsive design on your website is critical.  Like most things with technology, there are always changes taking place. It’s important to keep abreast of these issues, even if you’re not a web designer. Having a responsive website design is important to keep your website adaptable to these ongoing changes in technology. Here are some key factors to keep in mind when designing your website.

Tips to Implement Responsive Design for Your Website

Usability – A responsively designed website will be easier to use for the visitors than one that isn’t. A responsive design is clean, has usable menu options, and uses all the technology available for one-click calls, one-click emails, and more. A website optimized for mobile will work better than others.

Mobile Web Growth – Mobile internet has grown by over 400 percent in the last two years, and it is going to continue to grow. However, it’s not going to replace other types of devices. In fact, people are becoming multi-device users. They use their phone, their tablets, and their PC interchangeably.  Your website needs to be accessible across all devices.

SEO – Having a responsive design for your website is one of the best things you can do for your search engine optimization. The reason is that most search engines give a higher return of responsive sites as results in searches. Plus, responsive websites are easier to use and simply work better.

Avoid Flash – It’s important to be careful about using Flash on your desktop version of your website, but you should never use it if you want your website to be responsible. When you embed videos in your website, this can be an issue. Be sure to use a plugin that enables you to deliver the video to both mobile users and desktop users.

Stop Using Pop-Ups – It’s true that they do work great to convert on your desktop. But, you need to ensure that you set them up not to try to deliver to a mobile device, because they simply don’t work on mobile devices.

Consider the Fingers – Remember that people using mobile devices are typically using their finger to click their choices. Design buttons and drop downs with that in mind, giving plenty of finger room and differentiation between choices.

Create Optimized Page Titles – Even on mobile, each page needs a good page title. You want to avoid titles that are drawn out and confusing. Use keywords in the titles, and keep them short when possible.

Optimize Meta Descriptions – Meta descriptions for mobile need to be short; in fact keep it to 120 characters or less. This will ensure that Google and other search engines are getting the most information in the best way.

If you want more visitors and repeat visitors, it’s important to keep these things on your radar. Even if you’re not a web designer, you’ll need to stay informed about the best way to make your website reach your audience. You can hire a good web designer, or simply use the right self-hosted WordPress themes, keeping in mind these responsive website design tips.

8 Effective Steps to Writing Compelling Copy

compelling copyCopy refers to words used on web pages, ads, promotional materials, etc. to sell your product or service and convinces prospective customers to take action. In many ways, it’s like hiring one salesman to reach all of your customers.  Compelling copy convinces your audience to take the action that you want them to take using techniques that help lead the audience gently toward conversions. Copy writing is a skill that can be learned. It just takes practice, patience, and testing to get it right.  Using the following tips will get you there faster.

Essential Steps for Writing Compelling Copy

Step #1:  Start Simple – Your first pass through whatever you’re writing should be simple. Just get the information down without any embellishments. Write down what you want to impart to your audience. Tell them what you have for them, what it’s going to do for them, who you are, and what they need to do next.

Step #2:  Define Who You Are – Now, go back to the section in the copy that talks about who you are; usually you want to get this over with very quickly because you want to focus more on the audience than on yourself. But, your audience is going to want you to answer the question, “Who the heck are you to recommend this to me?” Giving your background, telling your why, and explaining how you came up with the idea is important to help you relate to your audience.

Step #3:  Add in a Story – You’ve told your story; now you want to tell their story by providing case studies, examples, and more to tie it all together. If you don’t yet have specific case studies of someone succeeding using your product, you can be more creative by finding more general examples of people who succeeded without giving up, then relate that idea to your product. When you do have some specific stories to share, add them in later.  A compelling copy inspires others to take action based on success stories.

Step #4:  Add Facts, Figures, and Stats – Now go in and fill in some facts to back up every bit of your assertions you’ve made in the copy so far. Your audience will enjoy reading some stats and facts because it’ll make it easier for them to believe the things that you say your product will accomplish. When your audience sees details with numbers, it will help them visualize the solution much better.

Step #5 Make It Personal – Now you want to go back into the copy and add in language to make everything a lot more personal. Break grammar rules and use personal pronouns like “you,” “our,” and “we.” Avoid using the word “I” other than when you are telling your own particular story. You want to draw the people into the story thinking of themselves and visualizing how your solution will help them.

Step #6 Bring the Dream – Now go back through the copy and add in some dream words and imagery to really let your audience feel the emotions you want them to feel with your choice of words. For example, “close your eyes and imagine yourself” or “Six months from now you’ll either be 50 pounds lighter or not – it’s up to you.”

Step #7 Get Endorsements – If there is a mover and shaker that your audience values and admires, and you can get them to endorse your product, that’s a great thing to accomplish and will help your audience make a choice. You can also get endorsements from people who are just like those in your audience by offering advanced copies of your product to them.

Step #8 Make It Beautiful – After you’ve perfected everything, go back in and make it look beautiful. Add the right fonts, the right colors, and the right images. Check it for errors, layout, and test it on many different devices as well as browser choices to make sure the imagery is appealing no matter where it is viewed.

Writing compelling copy is an important skill to master if you want to create high-converting sales pages, advertisements, and information that leads your audience to make the choices you want them to make.