How to Develop an Email Course

Wemail coursee’ve all seen them before, right? You arrive at a website for the first time and while you are looking around you are invited to sign up for an email course, something like the image to the right from www.marketingtechblog.com. Email courses are effective ways to connect with prospective clients and really show them who you are and what you have to offer. In fact, they are an essential part of any marketing campaign that attempts to communicate their value by getting people to Know, Like and Trust them. See our post, “Creating Your Prospect to Client Experience through the Marketing Hourglass” for more on this topic.

So how do you do it for your website? Let’s take a look at some of the things you will need to do. An email course is usually delivered in “drip” mode. This means that whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, part of the course is delivered to those who signed up for it via their email, through an autoresponder service. An autoresponder service like Activecampaign.com, Convertkit.com or Mailchimp.com, can get the job done delivering an email course.

7 Steps to Building Your Very Own Email Course

1. Determine What the Purpose of the Course Is? Is this a free or paid course? Is the purpose of the course to encourage your audience to buy something from you when the course ends? If it’s a free course, what will the offer be at the end of the course? If it’s a paid course, how can you deliver exceptional value to your audience and make them feel as if they got their money’s worth?

2. Decide What to Teach. Teach your audience about or how to do something that is unclear, frustrating or hard to do for your audience. If you’re not sure what this could be, look be ask your audience for the answers. You can ask them directly, or you can find groups where they ask questions. Any question is a likely a good choice for an email course.

3. Organize the Subject. Choose your topic or question to answer so that you can now organize the subject into subtopics. You’ll want to pick one focused subtopic for each part of the email course. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information at one time. Instead, think of it like teaching one point of a problem at a time in a logical order.

4. Choose How Long You Want the Course to Be. Usually an email course consists of five to seven emails for free courses, but sometimes a topic will require a lot more than that – especially if it’s a paid course. Decide how long, but more than six to eight weeks might be too long. It’s important to consider your audience so that you know how they’ll deal with shorter or longer courses. Making it too long might mean a lot of people don’t finish, but you do want to give enough information that they learn the material.

5. Tell the Subscriber What to Expect. Before and after the subscriber signs up for the course, you should let them know what to expect. Be explicit about what is in the course so that they’ll know what’s coming and know what to look for. How many emails will be in the course? How often will they come? Will you send other emails and information to them? Let them know what to do if there is a problem. Probably the best place to do this is on the sales page, plus on the thank you page, plus in the first email.

6. Format Each Email Similarly. You want each email to look like part of the same course by branding it the same. Use the same fonts, images, colors, intro and exit. Always tell them what you have already told them, and then after the body of the email tell them what to expect for the next part of the course. This will help hone their expectations in a way that keeps them interested and involved.

7. Make Each Email Simple and To the Point. Once you’ve created a template for your course, it will be simple to fill in the details for the course. Give them one strong lesson each email, and keep the emails on the short side – no more than 700 to 1500 words per email. Otherwise it will be too overwhelming.

8. Craft Subject Lines They’ll Recognize and Open. The subject line is important because it will be key to ensuring that your subscribers know to open the email. You probably want to put the name of the course and the lesson name inside so that they know.

9. Give your audience a way to report problems and ask questions. You can do that via a special course email address or by making a private and closed Facebook group only for people who have signed up for the course.

Once yo have all this information sorted out, all that remains is to setup the technology and plug it in to your site. Here’s a great article from Convertkit.com that shows you exactly how to set this up using their automation tool – http://kb.convertkit.com/article/understanding-email-courses-convertkit. Let me know if yo have any questions and please feel free to leave your comments below.

Resource Review – 10 Minute Articles

10 minute articles10 Minute Articles
Where to buy: 10minutearticles.com

Content is still the best way to convey information to your audience. People search for it every day on the Internet. As an online business owner or an offline business owner with an online presence, what is your website offering to potential customers? Stagnant content is not going to cut it. If writing is not your forte or you don’t know how to fit article writing into your schedule, consider using the methods laid out in “10 Minute Articles.”

When it comes to making money as your own boss, time is of the essence. Spending too much time on any one process, like article writing, lowers your hourly rate overall. When you’re starting out, the business might be on a tight budget. Outsourcing may not be in the cards for you. The ten minute program developed by Jonathan Boettcher shows you how to get rid of your writer’s block, brainstorm hundreds of ideas in a short period of time and get those articles written in no time flat. This system provides you with the strategies for coming up with magnetic article headlines, enticing resource boxes and targeted content. Increase your productivity and grow your business.

10 Minute Articles direct link: Click Here!

Blogging Strategy – Plan in Advance Based on Season and Products

When you’re blogging, it’s important to make your plans in advance for the content that will appear on your blog. This needs to be based on the season as well as the products and services that you plan to promote or launch. Just like a retail store is planning fall sales in the summer, you should have a blogging strategy in advance for each season too.

Things to Consider in your Seasonal Blogging Strategy

Survey Your Audience – Just that because you’ve studied your audience once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t survey them occasionally to ensure you’re still delivering to them the information that they need and want. Try a quarterly survey so that you can find out what’s on their mind, and get a deeper insight into their problems.

Research Your Industry– Keeping up to date on the industry you’ve aligned yourself with is imperative if you want to stay ahead of the curve. Read industry news and study regular news for clues to the state of your industry. Look ahead for killer technologies that might turn your industry on its head.

Check Out the Competition – You should always be aware of what your competition is doing… not to copy them, but to stay one step ahead on whichever way you want to compete with them. For example if you offer higher quality, test their merchandise to ensure that your quality is better.

Know What’s Coming – Not all businesses are seasonal, but all of your audience is. They think of things in terms of certain seasons depending on where they are in their life. For example, if they have school-age children they are thinking differently during back to school time than summertime. Plus, if you have a product or service launch or other event coming up, you should be planning it in the quarter before the event.

Know Your Realistic Schedule – If you have a regular job, or children at home, or other responsibilities that will get into the way of your blogging duties, be honest about that as you create a schedule for yourself. If you have a lot to do, set a realistic blogging strategy around these other responsibilities.

Brainstorm Topics – Once you have some of this other information set up, it’s important to take some time to brainstorm topics based on the information you’ve gathered above, plus the events you know that are coming. At this point nothing is wrong; just write it down.

Organize Your Topics – Take the brainstormed topics and categorize them for your blog. Throw out anything that doesn’t fit. Then organize them and match them with the seasons, events and products that you want to promote.

Create a Publication Calendar – Add everything to a publication calendar. If you use WordPress, there are numerous plugins that you can use to help create editorial and publication calendars, we particularly love and use Coschedule. Here you enter the information so that during the times you’ve set aside for writing and producing content, you can get right to work.

Set Aside the Time to Create – Now that you have everything ready for you, each time you have the time to work you can get the information from the publication calendar and get going. You can also look ahead easily so you can know whether some of the content needs to be outsourced.

Planning in advance will actually end up saving time and ensuring your success. Working off the cuff will rarely work when it comes to building a successful blogging strategy. What will work is planning, knowing what is coming up, knowing what products you want to promote, and relating the seasons and current events to your blog posts.

Get More Mileage From Your Social Media Content Creation

social media content creationOne of the types of content that you need to create in your content marketing endeavors is social media content. Social media content is any content that you will use for purposes of promoting on social media. It might be a blurb that goes with a link to a video or blog post, or it might be an infographic or meme to help you get a point or two across. Social media content creation is an important part of every business’s marketing strategy. Here are 8 tips that can maximize your time and impact.

8 Social Media Content Creation Tips

Plan Ahead – Most people seem to totally forget to plan ahead regarding social media content. This is a mistake. If you create a blog post, for example, then you should create a tweet, a Facebook post, and other blurbs for whatever social media network that you plan to share the information on.

Add the Content to Your Calendar – Include social media content on your editorial calendar. If you know that in August you’re going to promote a great new product or service, then you should also be planning for social media content to use in that promotion – both leading up to the launch and during the launch.

Create Images for Social Media – Remember that images are a form of content, and that you need to create images for social media sharing. Images are more likely to be shared than text and are an important part of your marketing actions on social media. Using a variety of images as content, like infographics and memes, will increase shares and engagement.

Outsource It – You can use your content calendar to get help creating social media content with experts. These experts can help you create infographics, memes and a with a copywriting expert they can also help you craft just the right words to use for a blurb supporting your other promotions, products and services.

Share More Than Once – It’s important that you promote the content that you create and that you do it more than once. People do not check their entire social media stream, so sharing the same content with new blurbs and a new spin on the information several times will increase the view rate exponentially.

Conduct A/B Testing – Also called split testing, you want to see what times, headlines, and topics get more attention than others. As you collect this data, you’ll soon know exactly what time is best to share any updates with your social media followers.

Target Each Audience – Each social media network has its own personality, and the portion of your audience that follows you and engages with you on each network is usually slightly different. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the content you create for each network is exclusive to that network.

Create Content Often – With social media you need to have content for every day of the week, and share it more than once per day. This can seem like a lot of content to create, but it all stems from the basic message you want to get across to your audience based on your promotions.

Social media content creation will be a large part of your content program. It will help ensure that the products, services and information that you need to communicate to your audience gets the attention it needs. If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comments section below.

How to Promote Your Blog Posts, Proudly!

promote your blog posts

Publishing content these days isn’t enough. There is no such thing as “build it and they will come.” In fact, if you really want a successful blog, you’re going to have to spend time promoting each piece of content that you create. There are several ways to promote your blog posts and for best results, be sure to try all of them.

8 Strategies to Promote Your Blog Posts

1. Write Awesome Blog Posts – When the content you create is awesome, you’re going to be much more likely to want to promote it. Work on each blog post to make it the best that you can. These days, in-depth authoritative content is more important and “Google worthy” than shorter “keyword” blog posts.

2. Don’t Leave SEO Out – While the most important part of the blog post is the content, you should still concern yourself with using keywords properly and naturally. Do keyword research occasionally to find out which keywords you should be using. Remember to look for low-competition keywords for best results.

3. Include Relevant Images – They say an image is worth 1000 words, and that’s likely very true. Therefore, include relevant images in your blog posts that help advance your meaning and purpose of your blog.

4. Build Relationships – Believe it or not, part of your blog’s mission is to build relationships with your audience. Ask questions at the end of each blog post, give them something fun to do, ask them to share something with you, or conduct a poll. Find ways to build your relationship with your audience.

5. Build an Email List – One of the most effective forms of marketing is email marketing, and bloggers should build email lists too. When you have an email list it’s a good way to inform regular readers about your new blog posts, promotions and events.

6. Be Courteous – A really good way to promote your blog posts is to promote other people’s blog posts too. When you share other people’s content, they will return the favor and share yours too.

7. Use Social Media – Create varied blurbs introducing your new blog post for different social media accounts to help them click through to read the blog post. A good way to do that is not to finish your sentence in the blurb; instead put dots to get them to read more.

8. Know Your Audience – It may sound like old news but it’s very important that you know your target audience, including where they hang out, what they like to do, and when. That way you’ll know where to promote your posts for maximum impact.

If you’ve taken the time to create your blog posts, you need to take the time to promote them. Using these strategies you can find new readers and ultimately grow your following, which potentially should lead to growing your business.

Create a Blog Publication Calendar

blog publication calendarBlogging is a great way to earn income, promote your business, or just have a venue to discuss your passion. One way to keep up with blogging is to create a blog publication calendar. A calendar will take into consideration important upcoming events, product launches, and other issues, helping you work in advance to keep your blog full of interesting and relevant content.

All successful bloggers have three things in common:

1) They post blogs regularly
2) They post unique content
3) They post audience-focused content

If you do at least these three things, you can have a super successful blog. You can have a blog that attracts an audience who wants to read what you have to say and take your advice, and who comes back for more on a regular basis.

In order to make a blog publication calendar, you need to first make a few determinations such as:

How Often You Will Blog – First determine how often you plan to publish a blog post. This could be daily, weekly or whatever your choice. This helps you know how often you’ll need to write blog posts, and when you’ll need to publish them or schedule them.

Who You’re Blogging For – Write down a few different personas for your audience so that you can know to whom you’re writing the blog posts. It can help you keep focused better if you can look at these personas when you are ready to write.

Which Blogging Categories You’ll Use – Depending upon your niche, you’ll need to choose some categories that a post will go under when you blog. Spreading out the categories can help you come up with more interesting content. For example, if you have a blog about Labrador Retrievers, some categories might be Rescued Labs, Feeding, Exercising, Training, Chocolate Labs and so forth.

Upcoming Events or Product Launches – On the calendar you may want to list any upcoming events related to your niche. For example, is there a conference coming up, or are you launching (or someone else) a new product that is perfect for your niche? Keeping up with these dates can help you create content that will entice readers to buy the item at launch.

When Industry News Is Released – You’ll want to keep up with the industry news, too, so it will help you to know when the different online magazines or blogs release new information for you to use. For example, if the state of your industry is released every quarter, keep that in mind as you create the publication calendar so you can include important information.

Once you have determined this information, you can start brainstorming content ideas to match upcoming events, product launches, and industry news. In between those types of blog posts, you can put other types of posts up such as educational, informational, interesting and fun blog posts. List these ideas in the calendar so that you can then use the calendar to generate a list of timely titles and subject matter for your blog posts.

Get Creative with Your Blog

CONTENT MARKETINGThe wonderful thing about blogs today is they don’t have to be boring and only include text content. You can get creative and include all kinds of content on your blog. The more types of content that you include, the more interesting it will be for your audience. They’ll want to read more, engage more, and even buy more when you have more creative content.

Video – You can easily create videos using your webcam to educate your audience, or software like Camtasia to record your screen to visually teach your audience how to do something or to go through a slide show. Video brings a brand-new element to your blog that is truly unsurpassed in opportunity.

Audio – Podcasts are super popular; people love downloading them and listening to them later in the day or when on the road. You can turn any blog post into a podcast by recording it using software already on your computer.

Infographics – An infographic is a pictorial depiction of data put together in an interesting way. Most infographics are fairly long and can include a lot of data. If you have any data-centric blog posts or informational articles, consider making them into an infographic.

Memes – Use beautiful imagery, quotes, facts and data to create pictorial images that are about 350×350 pixels depending on where you use them. You can put them on your blog; share them on social media, and more.

Guides – Longer blog posts that are very complete guides to something are very popular, and will increase the authority level of your website. These are very long blog posts with a lot of information links to other information on and off your website.

Reviews – Anytime you’re not sure what type of content to put up, try doing a review. There are likely books within your niche, movies, educational programs, info products and more that you can easily do reviews about. Be honest, include images, and disclose how you came by the product you’re reviewing.

Interviews and Webinars – Believe it or not, interviews, webinars and other recorded events can become content for you on your blog. Record, cut it into shorter versions, transcribe it, make infographics to support it and you can create a lot of content out of one interview, webinar or hangout.

New Formats – When new formats come out for content, include them in your content mix. Mixing things up and making things look a little different will go far in keeping the interest of your audience.

Blogging is lucrative, fun and interesting. You can make it even more wonderful by being creative in the types of content you include on your blog. As long as the content fits your audience, go ahead and include the type, and be creative with how you present the information.

How to Save Money on Content

contentEvery business today needs online content to help market and promote the business. The best way to do this is to ensure that you have a plan for your writing based on the products and services that you offer. Once you set up an editorial calendar it will help you come up with content on a regular basis.

Here are several ways that you can save money on content

Hire a Writer – That might sound like you’re spending and not saving, but a good content writer can be a life saver. If it takes you an hour to write one blog post, and you could earn more doing other work during that hour, it only makes sense to let a writer do it for you.

Buy and Use PLR – Private label rights articles are very useful to use and very inexpensive. If you choose well, you can use PLR for a lot of your content. When you use PLR it’s important to update it and change it around to make it your own first, but that will take minutes to do.

Write It Yourself – If you think you can’t write, you’re wrong. If you know a topic well, you can write about it. Just write how you talk, and act like you’re just telling someone who would be interested the information. In fact, using voice to text on your computer might help you.

Repurpose What You Have – Every piece of content you create can be used again; you will just need to change it up a little bit to use it in other places. You can use a blog post in a newsletter, compile them together into a book and more.

Refresh and Update What You Have – This is a little different than re-purposing in that you will take older content that has what is now wrong advice, due to changing technology and so forth. Updating it will make it new again.

Curate Content – In addition to your own content it’s important to tell your audience about other people’s content by curating content. The way that works is that you find excellent content that would be of interest to your audience, write a short blurb about it, add in your thoughts and link to the content.

Make the Most of the Content You Have – When you already have content, you can make the most of it. Turn a blog post into a video. Turn a data-centric blog post into an infographic, turn several newsletters into an eBook – if you keep a plan in place it will see as if the content you have multiplies.

Mix It Up – As mentioned, creating different types and forms of content is really a great way to expand how much content you have. A newsletter becomes an eBook; a blog post becomes a video and so forth. Use many types of content to keep your audience’s interest.

Promote Your Content – Promote each and every piece of content that you spend time creating. If you aren’t willing to promote it, then it’s probably not that good.

Creating content is one of the best ways to market your business inexpensively. Saving money on the content that you create is essential because you need so much to stay in the game today. But, it doesn’t have to break the bank to be effective.

Local SEO Strategies – Leverage a Blog to Attract Customers

leverage a blogAttracting local business using a blog could be among the most effective strategies currently available. Potential customers can leverage a blog to initiate contact with a company. With constant changes to Google’s methods, blogging can also enhance rankings by making your site more relevant to the local market.

Three reasons to leverage a blog

Local Audience Targeting

Products or services can be featured in a blog from the local audience’s perspective, making them more appealing to customers in the area. Writing from a potential customer’s point of view is a good way of engaging their interest in doing business with a company. Articles could be written about charities that serve the area, services offered that help the local community in some way, or local events around the city.

Interviews with local business owners or experts could also be used to provide customers insight into company goals, values, and what the business has to offer, in addition to issues that are important to the community. A news blog would keep your readers informed of sales, celebrations, current events, and other happenings.

Focusing on the Customer

A customer’s special day or milestone could be acknowledged and featured, with their permission of course. This would demonstrate to the person, and other readers, that you value and appreciate those who do business with you. It also shows that you genuinely care about them, not just from a business standpoint.

Some of the creative or unique ways someone has used your product or service could be reported. This could include a video or audio clip of an interview or demonstration of the way the product or service was used. Readers will be able to relate to local residents and their solutions to issues they might also face.

A genuine or creative way to relate information about the local weather and how it affects your community in a blog post could also be used to engage the interest of your readers. You might offer suggestions for weatherizing, advice about storing items for the winter, or tips for when is the best time to plant.

Improving Search Rankings

Keeping your site constantly updated with new information is a good way to improve Google search rankings. A daily blog will demonstrate that your site is a valuable resource for information. It is important to do so in an authentic way, however. A well-known authority on the topic should write the blogs, for example, and thorough research should be conducted to ensure accurate information is included.

Making your site more relevant locally is a key component in attracting customers through Google searches. Keeping your focus on the customer when using a blog can help with not only getting attention but also driving new leads and sales. There are many more options available leverage a blog in creative ways. Hopefully the material presented here will spark some inspiration for your own ideas.

It is important to note that a blog will not always be effective, but if done correctly, it can be a powerful tool in connecting with potential customers. You can leverage a blog to create great local SEO advantages that can help your bottom line.

 

Content Marketing – Take One Idea & Use It Ten Ways!

content marketing

Guest Post by John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing.

The only way to wring more value out of your content marketing is to understand the intricate connection between your content and your strategy.

Now, don’t hit the back button just yet – I purposely left the word strategy out of the title of this post because I know that what you want is a magic bullet, but here’s the deal – content put in the context of strategy is the closest thing there is to the magic bullet.

The purpose of a business is to make and keep a profitable customer – the purpose of content is to help you make and keep a profitable customer – if that’s so – and it is – then why don’t people create content with that intention?

The idea of content marketing begins and ends for so many with – “It’s Monday, what the heck should I write today?”

What if instead you thought a little bigger – what if you thought we want to be seen as the trusted, go-to service provider for what we do and our value proposition is that we bend over backwards to make you happy when nobody in our industry even tries to.

Now, perhaps you’ve had a strategy meeting with your team and you all agreed that’s your core strategy, but no one thought to bring that into the content you produce.

If you did you would:

  • Write a blog post that outlined the 7 questions you should ask your current provider and make it a core lead generator
  • Turn that blog post into a series of videos that the sales team can send out one by one to prospects
  • Develop a Slideshare deck and presentation that you feature on your LinkedIn profile
  • Turn that presentation into a value packed webinar
  • Record the webinar and feature it on your homepage
  • Create an autorepsonder series that delivers emails to prospects over the course of a month
  • Create an infographic and shop it around to high traffic websites
  • Turn your infographic into a direct mail postcard for a targeted blast
  • Get seven of your happy customers to pose one of the questions via video and feature it all over your website
  • Dig up case studies that map to each question and extend the original post and graphics into an eBook

Did you see what I did there – I just took one landmark content idea and turned it into 10 useful iterations. See, the secret to success with content isn’t quantity – it’s intention. If you create content with the intention of finding ways to use it to create awareness, trust, connection, education and conversion, you’ll likely create an asset that provides massive return.

Now, understand this isn’t simply recycling content into different mediums, it’s giving the same content a different and needed useful stop along the customer journey.

Oh, and I didn’t even get to point where you turn this content into an evaluation process and ultimately a part of your service delivery.

So you see you don’t need more content in your content marketing strategy – you need the right content in the right context – and that’s all.