Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Rand Fishkin, the Co-Founder of SparkToro, a service that helps you find all the proper outlets through which to reach your target demographic. This is his second time being a guest on Growth Everywhere! Check out the first episode with him here!
Tune in to hear Rand talk about why the “Wizard of Moz” decided to leave Moz, how he helped grow the company 50% YoY, how he started his own software company a month later, and why the venture model may not work for every company.
Time-Stamped Show Notes:
Resources from the interview:
Leave Some Feedback:
Connect With Eric Siu:
We’re seeing the popularity of podcasts grow every year and I think it will just continue to get bigger and bigger. People are listening to more podcasts more often, and talking about their favorites, too. But how do you get into the game of podcasting?
The good news is that we’re still in the early stages. Just as blogging blew up over time, podcasting is seeing the same kind of growth. It’s growing at around 17-20% year over year, but it’s nowhere near saturation.
For those of you who don’t know, I have two podcasts at the moment. One’s called Growth Everywhere and gets about 120,000 downloads per month.
The other is Marketing School and we’re about to break 600,000 downloads per month. We started Marketing School in August 2016, so we have a little experience under our belts when it comes to the world of podcasting.
One thing you have to keep in mind when it comes to podcasting is consistency. Just like with blogging, you have to establish a schedule that your audience can get used to.
So if you’re doing a weekly show on Mondays, keep it on Mondays at the same time so people know when to tune in. It’s almost like watching a TV show. You want to have it at the same time.
As you continue to build up your library over time, don’t be afraid to repost content or old episodes as long as they’re relevant, because not everyone’s going to see your new episodes the first time you post them. It’s the same idea with an email nurture sequence.
Related Content: 9 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Blog Content
You want to have your best content available to everyone, because not everyone will see it when you want them to. Granted, someone in your audience might have seen everything you have and therefore might not be happy that you’re repurposing stuff, but for the most part people haven’t seen all your episodes, and if they’re a loyal listener, they’d probably be happy to revisit them.
For my interview podcast, Growth Everywhere, we repurpose a lot of content because it just makes sense. A lot of these stories are evergreen, and we’re just trying to get them out there so people can get new ideas. Great stories don’t change. Each episode has at least one takeaway that can really help someone grow their business.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you must have great, compulsively clickable titles. Before we do each podcast, Neil and I look through the titles. People give us ideas, and we’ll redo the titles to make them better because we know good headlines are going to get people to click.
For Growth Everywhere, I like to include a statistic in my title. I’ll also bounce ideas around with my editor. Finally, we make sure that we email our podcast guest so they can help push it, too. Hopefully they get their team to help promote it, share it on social channels, etc.
Let’s say I were to interview someone like Tim Ferriss. He’s got a really big audience, so hopefully he would tweet the episode. Maybe he’d even push it to his email list.
When I interview venture capitalists, for example, it’s fantastic because their lists are really big. People get to learn more about Growth Everywhere, and if they hit the Growth Everywhere page, guess what? I’m going to re-target them, and hopefully get them into the funnel.
Learn More: Why Retargeting Is Absolutely Essential For Any Marketing Funnel
Speaking of marketing funnels, email is incredibly important. You want to make sure that you’re emailing your list. We use a blog RSS feed, which pushes automatically on Sundays for new Marketing School episodes, and on Mondays it pushes new Growth Everywhere episodes. So we have that automated, and it helps tremendously.
Paid ads are really helpful, too. Russell Brunson has a site called Marketing In Your Car with a free MP3 plus shipping offer. Basically, he’s giving away this MP3 player with all his podcast episodes on there, and it’s been hugely successful in generating subscribers. He gets people into his funnel that will come back and buy actual products. He’s very profitable on the front end on that funnel, and it’s working really, really well for him.
I bring up Russell because, as with any type of marketing, it’s good to see what other people are doing, and see whether you can make it work for yourself.
Another thing you could consider is a giveaway. Let’s say I reach out to my favorite SaaS companies and say, “Hey, I’m looking to give something away to my audience. If someone wants to get in on this giveaway, they need to leave a rating and review on social, show that they did it, and subscribe to our email list or follow us on Instagram…”
You could play around with the giveaway requirements, but just choose one goal. I’d recommend choosing one for each giveaway that you do.
For a lot of these SaaS companies, the cost of giving away a piece of software is almost negligible, especially when they’re getting a ton of exposure in return. So for them to get that kind of publicity, it’s definitely worth giving away a product. Then you’ve set yourself up for a cross-promotional relationship.
Learn More: How We Built the Growth Everywhere Podcast to 109,000 Listens per Month
Ok, let’s say I get Tim Ferriss on my podcast. Maybe he gets me on his. Being able to cross promote and build relationships with other people, as well as build or engage social communities and create hype, is very important. If you’re doing a marketing podcast like mine, you can go to Inbound, you can go to GrowthHackers. You can even find Slack groups. There are a lot of different ways that can be effective.
If you need some ideas about getting people to interview, check out this podcast episode that Neil and I did called How to Find Relevant Guests for Your Podcast.
We’re hoping to get our podcast to two million total downloads per month for Marketing School. And for Growth Everywhere, hopefully we can hit 250,000 per month by the end of this year.
If you want to learn even more about how to start a podcast, check out this blog post.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:
Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Vasil Azarov, CEO of the Growth Marketing Conference, a must-attend for startup founders and marketing execs.
Tune is to hear Vasil discuss how the Growth Marketing Conference gets a 30% attendance rate from their 100K community of entrepreneurs and marketers, why events are essential for generating attraction if you already have a product, why he believes that events are the future of marketing and sales, and the best way to build an audience fast.
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How the Growth Marketing Conference Brought in $2M in 2 Years in Such a Competitive Space TRANSCRIPT
Time-Stamped Show Notes:
3 Key Points:
Resources From This Interview:
Leave Some Feedback:
Connect With Eric Siu:
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
As marketers, we know that there are a million things we could be working on at any given time: e-books, white papers, blog posts, webinars, paid advertising, e-mail marketing.
They’re all important, but part of running a successful business is about putting your focus on the highest-leverage activities. That’s the stuff that brings you the most bang for your buck — the stuff that helps you justify the ROI of your job to your boss.
One of the highest leverage activities you can spend your time on is optimizing your SEO. If you can get even one of your blog posts ranked at the top of Google for a broad keyword, it could drive thousands more visitors to your site every month.
And if you’ve got the rest of your sales funnel in place, then those thousands of visitors could add up to some significant ROI.
In this post, we’ll cover 20 tactics you can use to boost your SEO rankings.
The best, most efficient way to make your content stand out isn’t by reinventing the wheel — it’s by building a better version of what has already been proven to work.
Instead of trying to create an epic 10x piece of content from scratch, look for the blog posts or videos that already perform well within your niche and build on it. Brian Dean from Backlinko calls this the Skyscraper Technique.
For example, let’s say I wanted to write an article for a new marketing blog about Facebook ads.
First, I’d do some research to figure out which blog posts about Facebook ads have a track record of generating a lot of links. There are a few ways to do this.
I could go on Google, type in a broad search term, and see what ranks near the top.
Or I could type a broad search term into a tool like BuzzSumo and immediately get a list of highly shared content related to my topic.
Next, I’d pick one of those successful pieces of content, and build on it.
One simple way to do this is just by making the post longer. For example, one of the top Google search results for “facebook ad strategies” is an article called “5 Ridiculously Powerful Ad Targeting Strategies.” To build on this idea, you might come up with something like “25 Facebook Ad Strategies to Grow Your Business.”
Another way to improve on existing content is by making it more visually appealing.
For example, this post on Pardot.com ranks at the top of Google for the search term “buyer journey,” mainly because of how the post is designed.
According to Brian Dean, by taking a post that is already proven and building on it, you drastically reduce the likelihood that your content falls flat because you’re writing content that has already worked.
An important factor for getting a post to rank high in the search results is having a lot of other influential people link back to it. One easy way to do this is by mentioning your industry’s influencers in your content.
When other people see their name mentioned somewhere on the Internet, they’re much more inclined to share the piece on their own social media, blogs or newsletters. And because industry influencers usually have large audiences, that means more targeted traffic back to your site.
For example, this entrepreneur curated an e-book full of the best Medium posts of 2015, and then sent it out to all the writers he mentioned within the e-book:
A simple e-mail like this sent to the right influencer could be the “tipping point” that makes your content go viral. In fact, according to Blogging Wizard, with the right approach you can get up to an 80% response rate from the top influencers in your industry.
We all have pages on our blog that perform really well in search, and others that fall on page three, four, or even lower. And the frustrating thing is that some of our low-ranked content may contain amazing material. If only those poor blog posts could get a little push — like a share from an influencer or several more backlinks — they might go viral or rank at the top of SERPs.
One way to give the poor-ranking content a push is by finding the posts on your site that rank higher in Google and adding links within them to the pages that rank lower.
For example, HubSpot ranks pretty high for the search term “content marketing strategy.”
Within this post, they link to multiple articles on their blog about topics like list purchasing and developing a social media content calendar — neither of which rank as high.
This is a great way to give some of your lower ranked content the boost they need to get to the top.
The best content is the kind that speaks to people’s emotions. Marketers who are able to connect with their audience can build a large audience of loyal readers relatively quickly.
Make sure you understand your market’s deepest hopes, fears and dreams around the subject about which you’re writing. Once you have a good grasp on this, you can weave it into your blog posts to show your audience that you really “get” them.
Steli Efti at Close.io, a SaaS product to help salespeople close more deals, does this really well.
Salespeople have a lot of hopes and fears around their job. For example, they might feel afraid of coming off as too “sleazy” or too fake.
They might be afraid of hearing a bunch of “no” responses from leads.
Or maybe they feel like they have no idea what they’re doing.
Because their content tells emotionally captivating stories that really “hit the spot” for their audience, Close.io’s blog has quickly become one of the go-to resources for salespeople.
Another great example is the Copy Hackers blog. Their content has a lot of personality infused into each post, which helps set the content apart from all the other marketing posts on the web.
Notice how friendly and fun this content sounds:
Businesses in virtually every industry can incorporate great storytelling and personality into their content if they understand their customers at a deep level. Even Pfizer was able to boost sales using this approach, according to this article by Cognitive Edge.
There are always a bunch of new SEO tactics popping up all the time, but at the end of the day, the best way to have your content reach more people is simply by writing stuff that they actually want to read! And one great way to do that is by writing posts that are fun and/or informative and appeal to the readers’ emotions.
Writing long-form content consistently takes a lot of effort. So before you start climbing that mountain, it’s important to ensure that you’re writing content for which people are actually searching.
One easy way to do this is by using the Keyword Planner on Google AdWords. It’s easy to see how many people are searching for a particular keyword, and you can even uncover related keywords to base your articles around.
Another great tool for gauging the number of search results for a particular topic is Google Trends, where you can uncover search trends over time for keywords to see if they’re worth pursuing.
Or you could use BuzzSumo to see the number of shares that certain types of content get and which keywords are getting a high rate of shares.
Moz has a great guide on how to do keyword research for SEO, including how to judge the value of a keyword and understanding how to use long tail keywords.
By creating remarkable, long-form content around keywords that have a high search volume, you make it easier for your blog posts to rank high for a topic and generate a lot of traffic to your website.
Broken link building is one of the most effective white hat strategies you can use to grow your SEO rankings.
The first step is to figure out which websites in your industry have broken links to your own site as well as your competitors’ sites. There are quite a few search term variations you can type into Google to uncover sites with dead links. According to this guide by Neil Patel and Brian Dean, here are some of them:
For example, you can type in “marketing + intitle:resources” to find posts that are filled with a bunch of links.
Next, you’ll have to scour the page to find the broken links. An easy way to do this is by downloading a Chrome plugin called Domain Hunter Plus, which scans pages for dead links.
Once you activate the plugin for a particular page, you’ll get a list of dead links on that page. You can then export the list of links, send it to the site owner, and ask to replace the dead links with your own resources.
Relying on standalone blog posts to drive your SEO rankings is a losing battle.
A few individual pieces of content might appear high up on the search results, but there are better ways to get more mileage out of your blog posts. One tried-and-true way is the hub and spoke strategy.
Through this approach, you create one giant piece of content to function as the page that people land on directly from Google (your “hub”), and from that page, you link to a bunch of other relevant pages on your website (the “spokes”).
Your hub should be something that’s highly shareable, like a meaty post that people bookmark because of how informative it is and how many useful resources it contains. This way, your hub will rise in SEO rankings, and as a result your “spokes” will rise as well.
Copyblogger created a page called “Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business,” and within it, they’ve included supporting posts like “Why Vanity Metrics Are Worthless (and What Really Matters),” “37 Tips for Writing Emails that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked,” and more.
By creating a hub, or a “table of contents”-style guide around a topic in your niche that people can consistently refer to, you’re creating a larger piece of content that will rise higher and higher in search rankings.
And as a result, the content you link to within your hub will rise higher and higher as well.
As I mentioned earlier, mentioning industry influencers in your content is a great way to help your content get more shares.
And roundup posts are an efficient way to do this on a larger scale. In a roundup, you curate posts from experts in your niche and share them with your own readers. This tactic is an easy method to build relationships with the right people in your field, generate a bunch of traffic, and improve your SEO rankings.
According to Crazy Egg, these are a few key characteristics that make a high-quality roundup:
Once you’ve sourced a long list of high-quality links around a topic that your audience wants to know more about, you can ask each influencer to share the post with their own audience.
For example, here’s an e-mail that someone sent to me after including some of my content in a post:
I ended up sharing it with my list of 20,000+ readers.
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are more specific and “narrow” than broader short tail keywords.
For example, “facebook advertising” is very broad search term, but “facebook advertising for SaaS companies” is much more specific.
It’s natural to create content focused on broad, short tail keywords. We think that because there are a lot of people searching for these more general phrases, we should take take advantage of that. But in reality, creating remarkable content that is focused on long-tail keywords can boost your conversions.
People want solutions that are tailored specifically for their situation. If you create a piece of content called “Facebook Advertising Strategies for B2B SaaS Companies,” you’d make B2B companies feel that you understand their specific situation a lot better than someone who wrote an article called “25 Facebook Ad Strategies to Grow Your Business.”
Even though you would be going after a smaller pie, you would dominate a much larger piece of it.
For more on how to identify and leverage long-tail keywords for SEO, see this guide: How to Identify Long Tail Keywords for Your SEO Campaign.
Whatever strategy you’re pursuing — whether it’s Facebook ads, SEO or anything else — the main point is to drive more prospects along the buyer’s journey to becoming customers.
That’s the main goal of content marketing.
SEO works best when it’s part of that larger content marketing strategy.
According to this guide by Salesforce Pardot (and this image from HubSpot), customers go through the following three stages before deciding to buy:
By creating high-quality content to serve customers at each step of the process, you’ll naturally rank higher in search results while also generating more sales.
At the awareness stage, customers are usually conscious that they have a problem, but they have no idea what the right solution looks like.
For example, if you’re selling services to help CEOs improve their content marketing, they might be thinking things like: “Ugh, I don’t want to waste hours and hours writing blog posts if I have no idea what the payoff is going to be” or “I need to outsource this but I don’t know how to figure out who’s the right person to handle it.”
At this stage, 72% of people immediately turn to Google to figure out how to solve their problems. They search for content that hits their specific pain points.
If you’re selling marketing services, a good piece of content to write might be something like “How to Speed Up Your Content Marketing Success.” This way, when customers search for their problem, your blog will be the first one they see.
An example of how HubSpot attracts customers who are in the “awareness” stage.
Interest or Consideration Stage
As potential customers start to gather more information about their problem, they look for ways to solve it in the “interest” phase. At this stage, evidence-based content starts to become a lot more valuable to them.
According to Crystal Clear Communications, 30% of buyers consult white papers at this stage of the process, 29% consult case studies, and 30% of buyer influencers look to detailed technology guides.
Again, if you’re selling marketing services, good content at this stage might sound something like “The Ultimate Guide to Getting More Leads Through SEO.”
You can present these guides at the bottom of your blog posts and ask readers to fill out their e-mail address in order to receive them. This way, you help people transition from the “awareness” phase to the “interest” phase, and you capture their e-mail addresses so that you can send them more content down the road.
HubSpot does this well — when customers start off in the awareness phase searching for something like “how to speed up content marketing results,” HubSpot’s blog post is the first thing they see on Google:
And at the bottom of that post, site visitors can sign up to get a free content strategy planning guide.
Evaluation or Decision Stage
Only after customers have done their research and figured out how to go about solving their problem are they ready to start thinking about purchase options in the “evaluation” phase.
At this stage, they’re trying to decide which service to buy. Good content here might be something like “4 Steps to Picking a Good Marketing Agency,” “Why Some Marketing Agencies Don’t Get Good Results” or something else along those lines. And in these posts, you can strategically position yourself against your competition by “teaching” your audience why you’re better.
Understanding what your customers are searching for at each step of the journey is super important — that way, you can create highly ranked content to help them along the way.
There are a few specific metrics that you can track to measure your overall SEO performance.
For example, one key metric for SEO is the average time that users spend on your content page. If your content is engaging, if it appeals to their emotions, if it’s useful, then readers will stay on the page longer in order to read more of your material. For more on the right metrics to track for your SEO, check out this post by Neil Patel: Quantify Your Results: The 14 Most Important Content Marketing Metrics.
If your website does not provide quality content, visitors will “bounce” off the page and “boomerang” to a competitor’s site.
Keep in mind that there’s no specific number here that can be considered “good” or “bad.” If you’re writing short-form content, for example, then you’re naturally going to have a low average time on your site. Or if you offer a great answer to a reader’s question, you might have a high bounce rate but also a high time on your site.
The number of return visitors is also a good metric to gauge how good your content is. How many readers come back to your site on a regular basis? If you’re sending e-mails to your subscription list regularly, how many people consistently open and click?
This is one of the most useful metrics that you can measure since return visitors are usually the most likely to convert to buyers.
There are a lot of benefits you can get from associating yourself with experts in your industry.
Read More: 5 Steps to Becoming an Expert Content Creator (According to Google’s Phantom Update)
One of the best ways to leverage that association is by interviewing these experts and repurposing the content into a blog post. That way, you can rank high for the expert’s name and siphon off a large audience that searches for them.
For example, Groove did an interview with Neil Patel and repurposed it into a blog post. Now when anyone searches “Neil Patel interview,” Groove shows up at the top of the results.
Venture Hacks did an interview with Sean Ellis, which also ranks at the top of Google for “sean ellis interview.”
By interviewing influencers in your industry and turning it into a blog post, you can attract a chunk of that influencer’s audience to your own site through Google search.
Part of maximizing the effectiveness of your content marketing is repurposing your material as much as you can.
As Neil Patel and Aaron Agius write in QuickSprout’s Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, there are at least seven different ways to repurpose a single blog post. Turn it into a:
This could skyrocket the reach of each post that you write.
Let’s say you published a blog post called “How to Leverage Influencers in Your Content Marketing.” There are tons of different formats into which you can repurpose this content to attract a wider audience.
For starters, you could take that content and make it native for different blogging platforms like Quora, Medium or LinkedIn — which allow anyone to reach a targeted audience of tens of thousands of people if the content is good.
Then, using a tool like Visme, you can take that blog post and turn it into infographic.
Noah Kagan found from analyzing 100 million articles that infographics get shared the most out of all types of content. This means that an infographic could potentially get more than double the reach of a single blog post, which makes it more likely to rank higher in search.
Then you could take the blog post and infographic and combine them into a compelling SlideShare presentation.
If you have a podcast, you could summarize the key points of the blog post in a quick 10-minute audio segment.
With a simple, structured system, you could skyrocket the reach of each piece of content you put out by making it “native” to several other platforms simultaneously, thereby increasing the likelihood that the content will rank high in SERPs.
A simple way to get more reach on your content is just to increase its length.
Longer-form posts are more comprehensive, get shared more frequently, and lead to lower bounce rates — which is why they tend to be ranked higher on Google.
According to serpIQ, average length of posts at the top positions on Google are 2450+ words.
Not only does this help with SEO, but more time spent on your page means you’d be cultivating more trust between you and your audience.
Content that’s visually appealing allows readers to digest a larger amount of information in a shorter period of time. It’s much easier to look at a graph or an infographic that’s well designed than a huge 5,000-word blog post — and as a result, it’s more likely to get shared.
You don’t need to be a design whiz to create content that’s visually appealing either. You could use a tool like Snapguide to create beautiful how-to guides, for example.
Written content is still very important, but the way the content is presented is also important. The more visual, the better.
According to Commonplaces Interactive, both Google and Bing have reported higher search traffic coming from mobile devices than computers.
That’s why these search engines boost content in search rankings that are mobile friendly.
If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile friendly or not, you can just insert the URL into Google’s Mobile Friendly site analyzer.
The easiest way to make sure that your site doesn’t get penalized in search results for this is by making it responsive. That way, it will “respond” to the device on which it’s being viewed, and won’t encounter any problems on any mobile devices.
By writing original blog posts on major media outlets, you can get a lot more exposure to your own site.
For example, Neil Patel wrote a guest post on Entrepreneur.com.
Within the post, he included multiple links back to his own blog, Quicksprout.
One thing you might want to be wary of is reposting content from your blog to a major media outlet. Although the exposure would be good, Google penalizes duplicate content in search results.
But writing original content for major sites could help build your credibility as well as get more backlinks to your blog. For more on this, check out How to Pitch a Guest Post to Editors at 104 Major Publications by Jon Morrow.
Another quick way to get more backlinks for your blog is by using a service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This site is aimed at the tons of journalists out there who are writing stories on various topics and need quotes from experts.
When you sign up for HARO, you’ll get notified every time a journalist who is writing about a topic in your field needs a quote. Then you can send in a quick pitch offering a quote along with your business name and website URL.
This is a great way to get your name and blog on a news media site without having to write a unique guest post.
If you deeply understand your audience’s emotional experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can consistently create high-quality content that not only sits at the top of Google’s SERP, but also drives sales.
The best part is that it’s actually really easy to understand your audience’s emotional pain points.
All you have to do is set up an autoresponder message for everyone who signs up for your e-mail list. As soon as someone subscribes, you can send them something like this:
I get hundreds of “marketing” e-mails everyday from random companies that are just a pain to sort through.
I want to be different. I want to send you e-mails that you actually look forward to reading.
So to make sure that I send you the best possible content, I wanted to ask you a quick question… What’s the #1 barrier that’s keeping you from [whatever success you’re trying to help them achieve]?
Just “hit reply” to this e-mail and let me know. I read every response.
You’d be surprised at how many people pour out their life story in response to that, which helps you to know exactly what’s going through their mind.
It’s even better if you ask for feedback at each stage of the customer journey. Derek Halpern of Social Triggers asks non-buyers for feedback right after they make the decision not to buy from him:
This way, you’ll know exactly how to create the right type of content that resonates at a deep level with your readers, gets shared, and ends up ranking high in the search pages.
This isn’t easy to do, but if you can do it, you’ll skyrocket the reach of your blog. People who invent terminology that catches on in their industry can really boost their SEO rankings.
For example, Brian Dean of Backlinko invented what he calls the Skyscraper Technique, which is a unique approach to creating content.
Now when anyone searches “skyscraper technique” on Google, his name is all over the web on multiple different sites.
To invent your own term, you don’t need to create some crazy new breakthrough idea in your industry. All you need to do is take existing points of view that are already out there, “repackage” them, and make them your own.
For example, Tim Ferriss wasn’t the first ever lifestyle design blogger, but he was the first to package up his ideas into the “Four Hour Work Week.”
Gary Vaynerchuk isn’t the first to talk about understanding the context of social media platforms, but he was the first to position as “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook.”
So there you have it — 20 ways to boost your SEO rankings!
As marketers, there are a lot of tactics out there that we could potentially focus on. But those who get world-class results get them by focusing on high-leverage activities that deliver real long term results.
Now I want to hear from you. What other SEO tips would you recommend? Leave a comment below!
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
Twitter is the perfect place for your business to connect with customers and potential customers. Most brands use Twitter to keep in touch with their fans in real time, but the third most popular social network (310 million unique visitors each month isn’t too shabby!) has a lot more to offer than this simple benefit.
Savvy businesses use Twitter to:
People spend an average of 170 minutes per month on Twitter, which is roughly 5-6 minutes a day, so to successfully grab a user’s attention, you’ll need to Tweet multiple times a day. Doing that manually is near impossible because it’s very time-consuming to write, post, monitor, read, retweet and reply to everything that’s going on, but with the right social media tools you can hit that target and reach your marketing goals.
Here are 10 content marketing tools that will help you increase your Twitter engagement:
What better way to relate to your audience than with quality articles. DrumUp is a social media content marketing and employee advocacy platform that lets you curate content from a large variety of sources, schedule social media posts on multiple accounts, and create/schedule custom posts. You can even add your favorite RSS feeds and save posts to your content library to make sharing easier.
This app provides you with fresh content on a daily basis and comes with a one-click scheduling feature that saves you a ton of time. Additionally, it recommends smart hashtags for your content to help you get seen more. Sharing helpful posts, videos or infographics with your audience — from your iPhone, Android or Chrome extension — is more likely to start a discussion and you can turn your employees into brand advocates with DrumUp’s employee advocacy program.
TweetDeck is an all-in-one Twitter management tool that is particularly useful for audience engagement. You can keep track of multiple accounts, topics, hashtags and mentions — all in one convenient place. You can see when users are talking about your brand and respond to them instantly without leaving the dashboard. Plus you can create Twitter lists, monitor analytics and trends, and export custom timelines to your website. This is one of the best tools for real-time Twitter management.
If you host Twitter chats on a regular basis to talk to your audience, Nurph is a great tool to use. You can instantly start a real-time video-to-video Twitter conversation by sending invitations with hashtags to your followers through text, audio and video. Unlike Periscope, Twitter’s live streaming video mobile app, which is not exactly social (yes, brands who broadcast live can interact with their audience but that’s not the same as a conversation), Nurph allows “free-flowing group chats.” And if that’s not enough, Nurph also offers sound effects and emojis.
With this platform, you can integrate hashtags, replay chats in real time and get insights into your community. Once the chat is done, you can use the post-chat analytics feature to find out details like most influential participants, most active participants, most re-tweeted tweets and much more. In case your subscribers tend to forget, you can also send SMS reminders.
Bit.ly, a link management platform, is mostly known as a URL shortening service (especially helpful on Twitter where every character counts), but it has so much more to offer. You can shorten or create custom URLs and share them across multiple platforms and then track the link you shared via a bitmark to find out which ones work best for your audience — the stats page will show you how many people clicked on it, shared it, and which websites are driving traffic. This is helpful for boosting engagement as you can target a specific set of people with certain links.
The tool also provides analytics so you can monitor and improve what and when you share — just add a plus sign (+) to the end of a bitmark and you’ll be able to see statistics for that URL. It also adapts to different platforms, detects when a user is on mobile or not and guides them accordingly, and can be integrated with 75 publishing platforms.
Hashtagify is an app that gives you information about any hashtag. Once you enter a hashtag, a word or a phrase, the tool can find up to 500 related hashtags. It can also find the most influential people for your hashtag. It offers four main features: the Hashtags Lab, Users Lab, Hashtagify Library and the Hashtags Cafe.
The Lab can be used to find, track and analyze any hashtag. The Users Lab suggests the best hashtags for you by analyzing your previous tweets and you can find influencers by tracking hashtags. The Library contains over 40 million hashtags to choose from and gives you stats about any given one. And the Cafe is the ultimate hashtag suggestions tool as it prioritizes hashtags by analyzing your tweets. It can also deliver suggested hashtags through email to make it easier for you to use. This tool is great for finding the target audience in your niche and interacting with them.
Visual content is a must on social media because it is more likely to capture and hold the audience’s attention. Piktochart is a simple tool that helps you create visual content in a matter of minutes and share it on multiple social media accounts. All you have to do is follow a simple process – choose a template that matches your style or message (they have over 500), add images, data, icons, text or videos, customize font and color, and voila! When you’ve perfected your infographic or pie chart, you can share it on multiple platforms, create presentations or simply download it for later.
Commun.it is a valuable tool to build relationships by providing insights into your Twitter community. You can manage multiple profiles, know who to follow or unfollow, identify key influencers and monitor hashtags. It separates the real information from all the noise and gives you the ability to prioritize your Twitter tasks by dividing users into three categories: Influencers, Supporters and Engaged Members, depending on multiple factors. You can then browse through these categories and establish your target audience and influencers. The tool also provides free analytics and allows you to invite your colleagues to manage your community and see reports.
Note: Audiense was formerly called SocialBro.
Audiense is all about audience insight. It’s a combination of various tools that can enhance your community management by giving you a much more precise understanding of your community, including what kind of content they like, gender ratios, languages spoken, influential people who follow you, and so much more. With all this information, you can make informed decisions about your audience instead of guessing. You can also target them better by using Ad and Direct Message campaigns. It is a paid tool but if you’re serious about marketing, this platform can be an amazing resource.
As your Twitter account grows and your brand becomes more popular, managing your followers is a lot more difficult. ManageFlitter is “the most powerful Twitter bio search on the planet” and suggests users that you can follow (or unfollow) based on various factors. For example, it will identify people who are inactive, don’t follow you back, have no profile picture, etc, so that you can remove them from your list. It also features PowerPost, an in-app tool that shows you the best time to post in order to be visible to your target audience, analytics, and you can manage multiple accounts.
SocialRank is a tool to identify whom you should attempt to get to retweet you by using your connections to boost your social presence. It essentially uses the Halo Effect by providing you with endorsements from your followers. If X Brand is following you and I love X Brand, then that automatically makes me more prone to seeing you in a favorable light. Co-founder Alex Taub calls it “endorsements for the 99%.”
SocialRank sorts your followers into 5 categories — Most Valuable, Best Followers, Most Engaged, Most Followed and Alphabetical — so you can easily decide who is worth starting conversations with. You can also target specific groups of users by sorting followers through geographical location, verified accounts and interests.
These 10 tools are valuable resources for businesses looking to form relationships with their customers as well as a wider audience — provided that you know how to use them right. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all of them; experiment a little to discover which ones suit you best.
In addition to these 10 tools, here are 10 useful tips to help you rock your presence on Twitter:
I’m going to show you the growth of the two podcasts I’ve had over the last three years or so. This growth lesson basically applies across the board to whatever you’re trying to do. It doesn’t even have to be business related. It could be life related.
This is my first podcast, Growth Everywhere.
For Growth Everywhere, I was able to grow it from 0, no audience at all, and now we’re getting about close to 80,000 downloads a month. But it a was a long road there. I basically started in November of 2013 and I was getting about 10 downloads a day.
So, the thing is, I spent a lot of time on this in the beginning. I had to put myself out there, do all these interviews, and reach out to people, which was pretty nerve wracking. At the time, I just came into Single Grain, too, which is the digital marketing agency I now run.
Learn More: How to Choose the Best Digital Marketing Agency
So there was a lot going on, and I decided to start this at the same time just because I thought I could give back and help the community. And I really wanted to talk with these smart people, ask them how they grew their businesses, so I could provide value to everybody else, too. I knew I could do “deep-dive” interviews with entrepreneurs, and really dig into how they were able to grow their businesses, and what their funnels looked like, and try to draw out these growth lessons, both business and personal.
A year later, November 2014, we went from about 10 downloads a day to about a 172 (or 300 downloads a month to 4,500-5,000 downloads a month), which is not too shabby. That’s a 17X daily increase. I was putting a lot of time into it, so I knew that I probably needed to delegate this, but I still kept continuing on. I was basically doing one interview per week.
I also added in short little segments called Growth Bites (screenshot of some episodes below) where I’ll talk for 5-10 minutes. Much like what I’m doing now with my Growth 90: Daily Live Broadcasts, but this is live, and this is going live to both YouTube and Facebook at the same time. Hopefully, we can go live to Instagram and Twitter soon, too.
Now, jump ahead to 2015. We went from about 170 downloads in a day to about 327 a day. So, 10, 172, 327. The growth is still not that crazy. It took basically two years to get to about 9,000 downloads a month. Which is not too shabby, but just shows that it takes a lot of time. Just remember, when you invest in your business’ growth, it takes a long to time get there, but often times we expect to get there a lot faster. It’s just not the case.
If we fast forward another year to 2016, then we’re getting about 1,900 a day (about 60,000 a month), and you can see we’re still growing. It took three years to get to 80,000 downloads a month.
Just keep in mind, we have to put things in perspective here: Podcasts only have an audience of about 52 million people. Which is much smaller than the Facebooks of the world, and much smaller than the Snapchats of the world too. So, just keep that in mind.
Podcast listeners are growing, though. According to this Edison graph from Convince & Convert, 21% of Americans listened to podcasts in 2016, and if you go back one year it was about 17%:
Key lesson here is that growth takes time.
Doing this podcast basically led to my next podcast with Neil Patel, called Marketing School. I interviewed a lot of different people, but I wanted to nerd out on marketing, too, because it holds me accountable. So Neil and I started Marketing School in August of 2016, and right out of the gate we were getting about 4,000 downloads in a day.
The reason for that was that I had already built a small audience, Neil had a huge audience because he’s been doing it for a very long time, and together we were able to grow it from 4,000 downloads a day to anywhere from 12,000-26,000 a day (about a half million downloads per month).
We have some spikes here and there, but if you want one podcast tip, it would be to show all your episodes at once instead of just showing 100 (by default, iTunes caps you at a 100). Show everything, so that more people can discover your stuff. I’ve had people who will search iTunes and say, “Hey, is this you?” They literally found my podcast that way. I’ve had people stop me in the elevator, asking if I was that guy from one of the podcasts, too.
That part’s great, but the best thing about doing all of this, or building an audience anywhere, is the e-mails you get from people saying, “Hey, I was able to find my first job. I had no degree, and this podcast basically helped me get my first marketing job.” Somebody else was like, “Hey, my partner and I we were doing zero in revenue, and all of a sudden we listen to your stuff, and implement some of the stuff, and we just made $75,000.” That stuff’s huge! That stuff validates what we’re doing.
The branding aspect is good, too, because that’s one thing that nobody can take away from you, whether you’re trying to grow a podcast, whether you’re trying to grow some kind of Instagram channel, whatever it is.
Read More: How We Built the Growth Everywhere Podcast to 109,000 Listens per Month
We’re going to see where podcasting takes us. We’re aiming for a couple hundred thousand for Growth Everywhere and a couple million for Marketing School.
But it does take a lot of time and it is a big commitment. If you’re going to do a daily podcast episode like Marketing School, I recommend that you batch it. Record 10-20 episodes at once. That way you’re ahead and you don’t have to keep frantically pacing all the time.
Just stay consistent, I think that’s the biggest thing. There’s a lot of people out there and they get rejected quite a bit. You talk about Peter Diamandis with his X Prize Program that was rejected around 150 times, and Walt Disney’s idea for Disneyland got rejected, and so on and so on. You’ve just got to keep going at it. It’s not like these people are super special or anything like that. It’s just that they kept going at it and had a lot grit.
Let me know in the comments below what you’re struggling with so I can figure out how to best serve you!
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition. Content marketing is by far one of the best ways to grow your brand and generate profitable leads. So why do many brands only receive modest ROIs from that content? There are two main reasons:
There’s no excuse not to track the performance of your content marketing campaigns when there are so many powerful analytics tools on the market. Google Analytics is one of the oldest and most useful analytics tools available, making it the core of any good content marketing strategy.
Google Analytics is by far the world’s leading online analytics solution, given that an estimated 30 to 50 million websites around the world depend on it. However, many marketers don’t understand its full potential. Google Analytics offers many features that let you create custom reports and get very detailed information about your visitors. In particular, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the following features in order to better optimize your campaigns:
Audience reports provide a massive amount of information on your users. Some of the data that you can uncover with Audience reports includes:
Check the active users’ data under the Audience reports dashboard. Doing so will show you how many times visitors returned to your site over different time intervals, ranging from one to 30 days.
The Audience reports section allows you to track the lifetime value of each user. You can also use this feature to figure out the value of users acquired from different marketing channels, enabling you to determine the ROI of your AdWords, media buying, email marketing, and other campaigns. Read More: 44 Ad Networks that Will Help Open Up New Channels of Growth For You
Knowing the demographics of your users is an often-overlooked aspect of many content marketing campaigns. The Audience reports section provides this detailed demographic information, including the age, gender, and interests of your visitors. Take the example of Scott Perry, Director of E-commerce at Jerome’s Furniture, who found that his Google Analytics reports suggested that women convert 30% better than men and spend nearly twice as much. Based on this data, his company invested more heavily in reaching women through display advertising. He also found that visitors browsing real estate sites converted 50% better, prompting him to increase spending on that demographic as well. Too many brands ignore the demographic data available in Google Analytics because they think they already know which visitors are most interested in their products. Don’t make this mistake. You may be surprised that the demographics of your best-converting customers are different than you expected. Of course, there is one caveat to be aware of: Google Analytics doesn’t appear to be as accurate at identifying visitor ages as gender and affinity information. Don’t ignore it entirely, but for now, take that data with a grain of salt until Google’s methods become more precise.
Identifying the language and location of your visitors is also obviously very important, especially for local businesses. You should already have a rough idea of where your visitors are coming from if you’re running campaigns on AdWords (unless, of course, you didn’t set your targeting properly). However, you might be surprised by the locations of visitors from organic search, direct media buying, and other marketing campaigns that don’t have the same targeting capabilities. This is where Google’s geo data comes in handy, as you can use it to find out which referrers are providing customers in your target region. Unfortunately, this data isn’t that helpful for optimizing your organic search campaigns as it used to be, as Google stopped sharing the data on keyword referrers for organic traffic (though it still provides this data for AdWords campaigns). This means that you won’t be able to identify keywords that are providing a lot of traffic from customers outside your target market. However, you can at least pay attention to the conversion rates of organic search visitors within your target demographic, which will help you to better optimize your landing pages. Read More: How to Do a Content Cleanup (And Grow Your Organic Traffic)
The Audience reports section provides detailed information about the people visiting your site. Acquisition reports tell you where these people came from. The data in these reports is key to optimizing your campaigns, as it will enable you to identify the referrers that are driving your conversions and thus better optimize those campaigns. Here are some tips to use these reports to drill down and optimize your campaigns at an even higher level:
Before you start analyzing your Acquisition reports, make sure your conversion goals are set up properly. If you haven’t done so, your Acquisition reports can still identify the referrers that are driving traffic to your site, but you won’t be able to tell which referrers are driving conversions. Identifying conversions is particularly important if you’re relying on paid traffic, such as AdWords. You’re investing a lot of money in your advertising campaigns, so make sure you’re getting the data you need to optimize them.
The Channels section gives a broad overview of all of the places that are driving traffic to your site. It breaks traffic down by various sources, including organic search, direct, and referral. One of the great things about the Channels section is that it provides a graph to help you visualize which places are giving you the most traffic. You can click on each of these sections to find more details on the people visiting your site.
Take a look at the individual referrers that are driving traffic. These referrers are broken up by domain, so you can identify the specific sites and advertising platforms that are providing the most visitors. There are a couple ways that you can look at the referrers to your site:
Pay close attention to both the volume of visitors from each of your referrers and the ROI that you’re receiving from them. You may find that some traffic sources such as StumbleUpon provide a huge volume of traffic, but have low conversion rates.
The keywords section is probably the most important part of your Acquisition reports, and it’s crucial if you’re relying on paid search traffic from AdWords or Bing. Many new marketers are surprised by how much their keywords affect conversions. A visitor who clicked on your ad while searching for the phrase “Houston real estate company” may be much more likely to convert than a visitor who was searching for the phrase “Houston real estate agent.” You have no way of knowing that until you launch your campaign and check the data from your Acquisition reports.
Tracking conversions from every single ad, landing page, keyword, and referrer can be tedious. Sometimes it’s better to just get a general idea of which practices are working. To do this, break down your content marketing strategies into different campaigns. Make sure your campaigns are as granular as possible so you can get detailed data on which practices are working. You may want to have several different AdWords campaigns (each of which may have a different landing page or angle), a campaign for native ads with your blog posts, and another for organic search traffic. You can easily look at the data from your various campaigns to see which are converting best, and this will save you countless hours that you would otherwise spend drilling down through all of your referrers, web pages, and keywords to look for trends.
There are a couple other valuable reports, but they aren’t quite as comprehensive, so I’ll just give a brief overview here. Behavior reports are one of the first to take a look at. They provide some detailed information on the actions that users take on your site, including:
Your Behavior reports can help you optimize your content marketing strategy by monitoring how visitors engage with your content. The Conversions reports is another section worth looking at, as it provides a detailed overview of all your conversions. You can also monitor this information from other sections in Google Analytics, as listed above, but this section saves you a lot of work, as it allows you to see detailed information in one place. Use this data to determine which strategies to scale and which to abandon. Read More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates (Up To 75%!)
There’s a reason that tens of millions of websites use Google Analytics – it’s hands down the best free marketing analytics tool on the web. If you don’t already have it set up, make it a priority today. Truly, you won’t be able to optimize your content marketing strategy without it. What other interesting insights have you noticed by using Google Analytics? Share your insights in the comments below: Images: Pixabay, Flickr, Flickr, Flickr
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
Acquiring your first customers is more art than science.
You don’t have spreadsheets full of data to pull from, you don’t have existing segments, and you’re not even sure who specifically will buy your product.
You’re just testing out different methods to “see what sticks” and what you should double down on.
The tactics you should be using to get your first 100 customers are a mix of both marketing and customer development. With each tactic, you should aim to not only get a new customer, but also find ways to dig deeper into who they are and what they’re interested in. You need to really know who these people are that are buying from you more than anything else and then use that information to increase your ROI.
Most entrepreneurs reflexively turn to paid advertising when trying to get their first customers. But in reality, there are a variety of ways you can get initial traction, including leveraging other people’s audiences, using online communities, targeting the right social networks, and more.
Here’s a comprehensive list of tactics you can use to get your first 100 customers:
A quick way to do some customer development is to reach out to your existing network and ask them specific questions about your product and market. If you’re creating a product for a specific niche, then chances are you know people who are in that niche already.
You can also run through your existing LinkedIn contacts, find people who are in your industry, and send them an e-mail like this one:
You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help.
One of the biggest reasons new businesses fail is that founders don’t talk to customers. It’s easy to believe that you already know everything about your target market and convince yourself that they definitely need your product. But the best marketers are humble enough to talk to their market and validate their hypotheses, even if they know they’re correct.
For example, Hiten Shah did many hours of customer interviews for a project he was working on around helping startups raise money. As a prominent entrepreneur in Silicon Valley who has raised money from some of the biggest venture capitalists, he’s already talked to hundreds of people who have asked him for advice on the topic.
But he still did customer interviews.
Though you don’t want to sell anything during your interviews, you can ask the people you talk to whether they would like to be added to a private e-mail list where you send out updates every now and then on the progress of your venture.
Down the road, they could turn into your first customers.
A good way to find potential customers who are experiencing the pain you want to solve is by searching online complaints. Social networks like Twitter are an easy way to do this.
For example, if the product you’re looking to create competes with Salesforce, you could for search something like “Salesforce is complicated” in Twitter. Here are a couple of comments that come up:
You could reach out to those users directly, and ask them to chat more about why they think Salesforce is complicated so that you understand how to make your product better.
Other online forums can be good for this as well. If you search “Salesforce is too complicated” in Google, you’ll find a lot of forums and blog posts on which users discuss why it’s hard to use. You’ll get a better sense of the problems that your product will need to solve and the features that will have to come with it. You’ll have a clearer understanding of the words that your market is using to describe their problems, so you can write perfect high-converting sales copy when the the time comes.
When you do searches like these, you also can either confirm or disprove your hypothesis. For example, if people aren’t searching for solutions to Salesforce problems, or you’re seeing a small amount of search results in Twitter or Google, then there might not even be a big enough pain point to solve.
Once you get on the phone to chat with these potential customers, be sure to ask them whether it would be okay for you to stay in touch and send updates every now and then on your future product. This way, you can both do your market research and build a list of potential beta customers.
Another customer development tool that’s at everyone’s disposal is Quora. Quora is a site where you can browse and post questions on a virtually any topic. It can be a great way to gather a large number of answers from people in your target demographic about the product you’re trying to sell.
According to Adweek, Quora’s demographics consist mostly of college educated professionals. Because Quora got its first users through tech news sites like TechCrunch, many of its users work in technology. Some of the most followed topics include investing, computer programming, mobile, and software engineering – so companies such as IT partner in London could definitely find some business here.
For example, check out this question where a Quora user asks “What are the biggest pain points with Hadoop?” Here’s an in depth answer to the question by an ex-Cloudera employee that received 100+ upvotes:
If you were trying to create a product to solve pain points around Hadoop, an answer like this would be invaluable. You can find similar, in-depth answers across topics like personal finance, CRM systems, sales, marketing, and more.
You can measure how much an answer resonates with people by the number of comments and upvotes it receives. For example, the answer to the Hadoop question above received over 100 upvotes and a few positive comments. That shows that other Hadoop users are likely facing the same problems.
If you find an insightful answer to a relevant question in your industry, you can message that user and ask to set up a phone call in order to uncover more details about their problems, then add them to your beta list.
Most marketers know that tools like Qualaroo and SurveyMonkey can help you understand your audience better. But did you know that they can also help you generate more leads and customers?
If you already know what your ideal customer profile looks like, then all you need to generate more leads is to create a survey that qualifies your prospects. For example, GoodBlogs used Qualaroo to boost registrations by 300% for one of their clients.
GoodBlogs helps businesses create user-generated content. One of their clients is the largest livestock trailer manufacturer in North America, and they launched a site for horse lovers through GoodBlogs. When visitors landed on their site, they were shown a Qualaroo pop-up that said “Do you own a horse?” If they answered ‘yes,’ they were asked to input their e-mail address to receive special offers.
Read More: 5 Important Landing Page Elements You Should Be A/B Testing
You can do the same thing for your niche. For example, here’s an example of how Qualaroo used its own service to generate leads:
For this process to work effectively, all you need is just one leading question that qualifies your prospects. It could be as simple as asking them “Do you need [X solution] to [Y pain point]?” If they answer yes, immediately ask them for details like their name, e-mail, and/or company name and treat them like a lead.
You’ll only have to set this up once. From there, you’ll have a steady stream of qualified leads coming in from your site directly.
One of the best ways to virtually guarantee sales when you launch your product is to launch through an e-mail list.
There are many ways to build an e-mail list from scratch. For example, you could reach out to people one-on-one through social networks like Quora or Twitter to do your customer development and then add them to your launch e-mail list. We’ll get into some other tactics you can use to build your e-mail list below.
Learn More: Cold Email Templates that Get Responses
For now, let’s dig into how to craft your launch sequence to get as many sales as possible.
A profitable launch sequence usually consists of adding value to your subscribers in the first few e-mails, then persuading them to buy your product in the last one or two e-mails. Nathan Barry used the following launch sequence formula to get $16,000 in sales from just 1,200 subscribers:
This outline covers all the basic elements of a profitable launch sequence — building anticipation, adding value through educational material, and providing a sales message asking readers to buy your product.
You’re probably aware of sites like Product Hunt or Reddit that feature products or posts that get a lot of upvotes from the community. But there are also sites like Betalist, where you can pay to be featured in front of a large technology audience.
Many startups have used sites like Betalist to rapidly generate a list of early bird signups. Take FrontApp for example, a product that helps teams work more efficiently. They used Betalist to generate 400 high-quality signups in just a couple of days.
FrontApp wanted to get beta users for their product, so they decided to go directly to the source and test out some “beta user” communities. Sites like Erlibird and Startupli.st help startups get their first signups by featuring them in front of a targeted group of users, so FrontApp submitted their product to these sites.
FrontApp got the best results from Betalist: they paid $49 to get their product featured on the front page and received about 400 signups (from a total of 832 direct visits). And because many Betalist users are early adopters in the startup world, several of them wrote articles about FrontApp after seeing it featured on Betalist, which resulted in even more inbound links.
These sites typically work best for a consumer product audience. But if your product resonates with the community, you could get hundreds of qualified signups in a matter of days.
One of the quickest ways to build an audience of your own is to find other brands that have an audience similar to what you’re trying to build and bring them over to your own platform. Trust is a big factor when persuading people to buy, and if you leverage someone else’s platform to build your own audience, you’ll be able to “borrow” the trust they’ve built with that audience as well.
Pipedrive is a sales management tool that helps sales teams close more deals.
They used these two tactics to get their first 1,000 paying customers:
It takes a lot of work to build credibility and trust with an audience, so one of the most efficient ways to get sales is by leveraging other people’s audiences and borrow their credibility. You can do this by going to conferences and industry meetups like Pipedrive did, or leveraging existing online communities (which we’ll talk more about later in this article).
Related Content: How Landon Ray Took ONTRAPORT from a Dozen Customers to 1,000 Customers in Just 2 Months
At its core, guest posting is basically another way of leveraging other people’s audiences to build your own. It’s a tried and true approach that has worked for many businesses.
Buffer, a social media automation tool, used a guest blogging strategy to get over 100,000 customers within nine months.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind in order to get the most success from guest blogging:
If you make content marketing a priority, it can be incredibly profitable for your business. Buffer grew almost entirely through content marketing, as did KISSmetrics, HubSpot, and other similar companies.
Search engine traffic can also be a good, reliable source of paying customers.
The problem is that for many industries, it’s becoming harder and harder to rank high for competitive search terms because there’s growing competition. If you’re targeting marketers or entrepreneurs, you’ll be facing tough competition for search terms in your niche. In fact, influencers like Neil Patel, Noah Kagan, and companies like HubSpot and KISSmetrics already own the top spots for many relevant keywords in the industry.
So how can you still generate traffic and leads through search despite all these competitors?
One way to do this is by focusing on long-tail keywords. So instead of trying to rank for “SEO tools,” try to rank for something more specific like “The best SEO tools for B2B startups.”
If you consistently publish high-quality, long-tail content over time, you’ll generate a significant amount of traffic.
Learn More: Effective SEO Techniques that Work in 2017
A simple way to generate long-tail content ideas is by looking at the most viewed questions on Quora for your specific niche. Let’s say you’re selling a product in the marketing niche. You could start by going on Quora and typing “marketing” into the search box.
Next, click on the topic “Marketing” and then select the “Topic FAQ” tab.
Under this section, you’ll find a list of some of the most commonly viewed answers within that topic. For example, here are a couple questions under the “Topic FAQ” section for Marketing:
This gives you a bit of insight into what potential customers are looking for. You might want to create content on how entrepreneurs in specific niches (i.e. family therapy, medicine, law, etc.) can optimize their marketing, or write content on how major companies structure their marketing efforts.
Long-tail keywords can help you generate a large amount of monthly traffic that can convert to leads. For example, Tamal Anwar boosted his search rankings and traffic by writing content around longer variations of existing keywords.
One of the most straightforward ways to get your first customers is through cold e-mail. It’s relatively easy to find the email addresses of your prospects, and it’s easy to reach out to a high volume of people relatively quickly.
Learn More: How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails
Here’s an example of a cold e-mail template that got one B2B company over 16 new customers.
According to HubSpot, this e-mail template generated a 57% open rate, a 21% response rate, and 16 new customers.
There a few reasons why this e-mail worked so well:
According to the article, you should be getting a 10% response rate through your cold e-mails. If you’re below that number, chances are your e-mails need some improvement.
Once you know how to craft your cold e-mail, you have to find a list of prospects and their e-mail addresses. If you’re familiar with your niche, it’s usually not too difficult to find a list of prospects. For example, if you’re in the tech space, you can use sites like AngelList and Crunchbase to find a list of companies and filter them by criteria like number of employees, location, and more.
The problem typically lies in finding their actual e-mail addresses. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools available to help you do this.
Email Hunter lets you find e-mail addresses by company domain. You just have to input the company’s domain name, and all publicly available e-mail addresses associated with it will be shown below.
Email Hunter lets you search 150 domains for free every month and has plans that start at $49/month if you want to search more.
Another tool called EmailBreaker provides you with the e-mail formats for a variety of companies.
Not all domain names will have their e-mail formats listed, and some e-mail formats might be incorrect, but EmailBreaker is able to correctly identify e-mail formats for most domains.
Most new entrepreneurs turn to paid advertising as their main source for getting their first customers.
However, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about using paid ads as your first channel of acquiring customers. Some people like Kristian Tanninen say that paid advertising should only be used by companies that have existing products on the market. Other entrepreneurs believe that paid ads should only be used to scale a sales process that has already been proven through other lead gen sources.
But other marketers say that paid traffic is the fastest way to drive leads when you’re first starting out.
When you do run paid advertising, you want to make sure you’ve got a high-converting landing page where you can drive your prospects. Here are key elements of a high-converting landing page:
Learn More: How To Drive ROI Using Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP)
You can run paid ads on a variety of channels when you’re first starting out, but these are the most tried and true channels:
Source: Neil Patel
LinkedIn messages are an alternative to cold e-mail that can yield a higher conversion rate for your business.
There are a few inherent problems that can make your cold e-mails convert at a low rate, but a big part of it is how impersonal the medium is. Although it can be done, it’s harder to communicate your credibility, your offer, what your company does, and still sound human.
If you reach out to people on LinkedIn, your message could have a more “human” touch because of the fact that they can see your full profile.
There are two ways you can reach out to people on LinkedIn:
Inmails are private messages that you can send to anyone on LinkedIn who is not your connection, but you’re only given a certain amount every month. After you exhaust that amount, you have the option to purchase Inmails individually, typically around $10 each. Inmails are different from regular messages that you can send to your connections on LinkedIn — regular messages are free, but Inmails can be quite expensive.
Sponsored Inmails are different from regular Inmails in that they let you send out your message to thousands of professionals at a time, whereas regular Inmails can only be targeted individually.
LinkedIn actually recommends this feature for lead generation specifically, and recommends promoting webinars, e-books, etc. to boost conversion rates. For example, check out how LinkedIn used sponsored Inmails to promote their marketer’s guide.
Duke University also used sponsored Inmails to boost their conversion rates. According to this case study, they weren’t able to communicate the value proposition of their Cross Continent MBA program (a program that lets professionals across the world get their MBA without leaving their jobs).
They used sponsored Inmail to target prospects by their seniority level, education and location. They used LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities to only target professionals who would likely be qualified for the program. Duke was able to tell prospects about their Cross Continent MBA program and have a call to action that encouraged readers to sign up for more information with their email address.
They saw a conversion rate increase of 400% in certain geographic regions. As an added bonus, their cost per lead was 10% lower than on other marketing channels. They also were able to reduce their closure speed from 18 months to just six months, a 300% boost.
Another approach to lead generation you can take is messaging your connections directly, which is completely free. You can use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to find a list of targeted prospects, connect with all of them, and then message the ones who accept your connection request.
Adding prospects as connections is one way of “warming them up” before reaching out with your pitch, and could boost your response rates.
While you’re likely to get more quality leads from LinkedIn, their cost per lead is also relatively high compared to other social networks like Facebook.
While you might not have a lot of money when you’re first starting to get customers, you do have one big advantage over more established companies: you have more time. And that means you can give your subscribers more 1-on-1 attention than a big company can.
The best way to develop a long-term relationship with a subscriber and build a deeper level of trust is by interacting with them on a more personal basis. According to Forbes, recipients of 1-on-1 interactions are more likely to share their positive experience on social media and stay loyal to your company over the long term.
In fact, Gary Vaynerchuk took this exact approach to building his audience over a span of many years. For example, he once asked his followers whether they needed anything, and one fan named Daniel replied that he needed eggs.
Most entrepreneurs wouldn’t have have continued the conversation. But Gary went on to ask for the Daniel’s address. An hour after sharing his address, Daniel received several cartons of eggs at his apartment.
Daniel went on to write about his experience on Medium, and became a fan for life.
While you don’t have to go out of your way to send your subscribers groceries, you should ask them to respond to your e-mails, and try to respond to as many as you can.
Online communities can be a great way to get your first customers. Online communities are essentially scalable versions of industry conferences — you’re able to interact with likeminded people, offer something of value to them, stay in touch, and potentially get some new paying customers.
When you go to a conference, you don’t want to go in and hard sell everyone you meet on the first interaction. If you do that, chances are you’ll turn off everyone you talk to and close the door for a mutually beneficial relationship. A better approach is to get to know them, understand their problems, and follow up later.
Similarly, you don’t want to spam an online community with promotions and links to your website before they get a chance to know who you are. You have to add value to that community first, and the way to do that depends on the community you’re trying to get involved in. Here are some targeted online communities you could join:
The best way to add value to an online community is by first getting a feel for the kind of topics that resonate within that community. What kind of posts are getting the most engagement? What’s getting the most upvotes or likes?
One easy way to add value to virtually any group while also building a list of potential customers is by offering free “office hours” to help people solve the pain point that your product solves. For example, if you have a SaaS product that helps people improve their sales process, you might post about a “Sales Process Q&A session” where you let others in the group schedule a time on your calendar to chat about improving their sales process.
This way, you can get a better understanding of your market and their pain points on the call, and also ask them in a non-pushy way whether they’d like to be part of a beta user list.
Check out how this Facebook user is offering free office hour sessions to help people dismantle their fears and mental barriers around public speaking:
If you offer to give your time to help members of the group, you’ll both build a deeper relationship with members of the group (which could result in more paying customers) as well as credibility within the group.
The strategies that will take you from zero to 100 customers aren’t the same strategies that will take you from 100 to 1,000 customers.
At the beginning, you might be putting in a lot of your own time sending out cold e-mails, LinkedIn messages, or crafting paid advertising campaigns. You might be interacting with your subscribers one-on-one, asking questions and responding to every e-mail. You might be going on sites like Quora to source long-tail keywords and writing content around that to generate traffic from search.
There are a variety of different ways to acquire your first 100 customers. And they’ll all typically involve some form of doing things that don’t scale.
What tactics have helped you generate the most customers? Let us know in the comments!
This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.
Visitors. Traffic. Sessions.
It’s all the same, isn’t it? As long as potential customers visit your site, it hardly matters how you refer to them, right?
But here’s the catch: no two web visitors are alike.
Your traffic consists of people with different needs and knowledge levels of your brand or products. Heck, some of them might not even realize they have a problem that your product solves. Yet.
Therefore, to get the biggest bang for your advertising dollar, you need to launch campaigns that target all key traffic types: cold, warm, and hot traffic.
Instead of aiming just to sell, you should build relationships with people that are relevant to their stage of the buying cycle:
Luckily, it’s not that hard to achieve.
And in this post, I’ll show you how to split your paid traffic between cold, warm, and hot visitors to achieve the greatest success.
But first …
You know, I think heading straight for the sale is the most common advertising mistake.
In my career in marketing so far, I have seen all kinds of businesses—from hotel chains to e-commerce stores and countless others in between—making this mistake.
They consider every visitor a potential sale, without any regard for the visitor’s current situation and need for information. Many of these companies don’t even optimize campaigns for any objective other than the sale.
But in reality, to build a solid strategy you need to target campaigns to different customers and their needs. You should use ads to slowly build relationships with them until they’re finally ready to buy. And to achieve this, you first need to learn about what types of audiences you need to target and how.
Learn More: The Turkish Rug Funnel (How A Rug Store Got Me To Shell Out A Few Thousand Dollars with ZERO Initial Interest)
In marketing, we recognize three web traffic types:
Each of them has its distinct characteristics and offers different opportunities for converting into customers.
Note: if you work in sales, you might find these three traffic types similar to lead types that salespeople recognize: cold, warm, and hot leads. That is no coincidence. Both traffic and leads share similar characteristics and offer similar opportunities for conversion.
So let’s go through them in turn.
Fact: not everyone clicking on your ads has heard of your brand before.
Many users click on your ads purely on the promise that you’ve made in the copy. Most likely they’ve searched for generic head or body keywords and are interested in learning more about the problem rather than available solutions.
Their decision to visit your site, therefore, wasn’t rooted in any prior knowledge or experience with your brand.
That’s cold traffic.
Cold traffic consists of people who have never heard of your business.
Think of them as casual browsers who are researching potential solutions or looking for information online. These people might have the problem your product or service aims to overcome, but since they know nothing about you, it’s highly unlikely that they would buy from you. As a result, they are the least likely to be susceptible to any sales message.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have no opportunities to convert them at a later date.
Marketing to these users gives you the ability to connect with them and start building a business relationship that might result in a sale at some point in the future.
You should target cold traffic to:
Since your goal is to establish a connection and introduce the brand, driving these visitors to a sales or landing page might only scare them away.
No worries, though, because there are plenty of other content types to which you could attract cold traffic, such as:
Fact: it’s darn hard to sell to cold traffic.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t “warm them up” (i.e. convert) to become customers later.
The most effective way to warm up cold traffic is to attract those visitors to a page offering a lead magnet or any other free resource they perceive as valuable enough to submit their personal details in return for it.
Learn More: LeadPages CEO Clay Collins Talks About How To Ramp Up Your Conversion Rates (Up To 75%!)
Once you’ve got their e-mail address, send them relevant information, either as a drip campaign or traditional newsletter to offer value, build trust, and confirm your authority. This will allow you to nurture the person until they’re ready to become a client.
Warm traffic consists of people who already know about you, your brand, products or services.
They may have visited your site before. They’ve read your content. They’ve followed you on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform.
Perhaps they’ve even signed up for your mailing list, downloaded a lead magnet or engaged with you in some other way.
But so far, they have indicated no interest in buying from you.
In spite of the fact that they like your content, site or offer, so far they haven’t purchased whatever it is that you’ve offered them.
Your goal, therefore, is to run ads that will encourage warm traffic to make a purchase.
As your goal is to convert someone who already knows who you are, you need to drive them to pages or assets that deliver value but also remind them of their interest in your product or services.
For example, someone signing up for a product demo or a free trial immediately indicates their interest in your product. Similarly, when someone downloads a highly technical white paper that deals with an advanced aspect of a problem that your product targets, this signals their desire to overcome it.
So you should drive warm traffic to such content types as:
For example, Infusionsoft runs AdWords ads to promote product demo videos that users can watch in order to learn how to generate leads with the company’s product:
Veeam Software promotes a highly technical webinar:
Jason O’Neil offers a free class for anyone wishing to learn how to sell products on Amazon:
Finally, hot traffic is made up of people who have already bought something from you or trusted you with their business (and didn’t ask for their money back).
In other words, they know you, your products or services quite well. And there’s a good chance that they’ll buy more—they could purchase additional products, upgrade their service or send more projects your way.
And you can use PPC ads to follow up with them to see if they’re interested in doing more business with you.
Therefore, your goals for targeting hot traffic should be:
Remember, these people know you and most likely have bought from you already. Your goal, therefore, isn’t to convince them of your worth but rather remind them about your brand or products so they keep buying from you again.
Hot traffic is all about sales.
So when setting up PPC ads for this traffic, send them to:
When planning advertising campaigns to reactivate hot traffic, consider using retargeting to remind them of their previous interest in your brand.
For example, you could send retargeting traffic to pages that are relevant to the person’s prior interest in your products. If they viewed a specific product, send them to that page. If they added products to the cart, send them to the cart with their order, and so on.
Not all digital marketers understand the difference between cold, warm, and hot traffic and how to best target each group. If you’re unclear on this and sending traffic to the wrong landing page, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to build successful customer relationships!
So remember, your traffic consists of people with different needs and knowledge levels of your brand or products, and to really make use of your advertising dollar, you must warm up your potential customers for better conversions.
What tips have you learned when it comes to marketing to cold, warm, and hot traffic? Share what you’ve learned in the comments below!
Hi everyone! Today we have Eugene Cheng, co-founder and creative lead of HighSpark which used to be SlideComet, a strategic presentation consultancy serving Fortune 500 companies like Panasonic, Dentsu and Nike. Eugene relishes in building compelling visual content for his agencies and channels, and he is a self confessed presentation obsessive. He is also a keynote author in the top 1% on SlideShare.
Today we’ll be talking about how Eugene wound up getting over 100,000 views and 20 leads on his first SlideShare presentation and turned that into the company that he runs today, the reason he’s got 3 million total views on his SlideShare channels (and 3 reasons why everyone’s not this successful), and how to create a great presentation without being a design expert.
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How High Spark Co-founder Eugene Cheng Got 1M Views On Just One SlideShare Presentation TRANSCRIPT
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