Archive | August 2017

Once you’re “KNOWN,” here’s how to stay that way

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known

By Ian Cleary, {grow} Community Member

In Mark’s book called “KNOWN,” he walks his readers through an excellent process for becoming known for something as a way to build your personal brand.

But everyone who is ‘known’ for something shares one common concern – losing that recognition.

And that concern is valid.

Just because you are currently known as one of the top experts in your niche, there’s no guarantee that things are going to stay that way.

If you want to stay known in your niche, then you need to work on it!

Here are five ways to make sure you don’t lose the status that took you a lot of hard work to achieve:

1. Build relationships

When you become known, you’ll naturally start building relationships with other influential people in your niche and their recognition of your expertise will help solidify your ‘known’ status.

Don’t let those relationships slide. Continue to support and promote their work.  Meet them at events and continue the conversation. In short – put in the effort to sustain and strengthen those relationships.

But keep in mind that it’s not just about the existing relationships, because the important people in any industry change.

Are there new kids on the block you need to start reaching out to?

2. Never stop learning

Change and innovation are inevitable in almost every industry. You will see changes happening in your niche and staying on top of what’s happening will help keep you ahead of the curve.

You need to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to further educate yourself to stay inspired and relevant, and generate new ideas.

In order to stay in a constant learning mode, practice the following:

  • Regularly attend industry conferences and learn from your peers
  • Buy relevant training courses online to advance your skills
  • Attend free webinars that focus on different topics relevant to your niche or industry
  • Read influential blogs in your niche.

I recently attended a free webinar by Andrew Davis about building a speaking career and I realized that I have to change my content if I want to become known as a keynote speaker in my industry. One hour of my time will result in a lot of extra revenue!

There are some pretty great people in my niche and I allocate time to stalk them. Mark Schaefer is one of those people.

3. Create valuable content

Often I see people become known in their field, and then completely forget about how big of a role content plays in keeping that authority.

Most of them will typically have the same excuse – they’ve become too busy doing “actual work” to create content on a regular basis.

However, keeping yourself known in the industry requires that you consistently share expertise and provide value to your audiences and your peers. And content is your best chance to achieve that!

Plus, strategic content helps you:

  • Build community
  • Formulate your ideas
  • Generate more awareness about your personal brand
  • Become a thought leader

Mark’s book emphasized the importance of consistency. Keep at it!

4. Evolve Incrementally

As our industry evolves what we became known for may need to evolve, too.

But you don’t want to take a big leap in a new direction because that will confuse your audience.

Analyze where your industry is going so you understand how you need to evolve and make changes incrementally over time.

5. Listen to your audience

How are the needs of your audience changing and how does this effect what you do?

You need to keep your finger on the pulse of your audience and there are several ways to do that.

The most obvious one is getting the answers you need via surveys. Even though surveys can be a useful tool for gathering feedback, you can’t rely on them to provide 100% straight answers.

The best way to truly understand your audience is to track their behavior online. This will give you a much better idea of what their needs and interests are.   What links are they clicking on in your emails? what emails are they opening? what web pages are they visiting? and how long do they spend there?

Summary

Mark has made it a lot easier for people to become ‘Known’ through his awesome book.

But unless you keep working on your “known status,” you can easily lose it. Just follow the five tips above and you won’t have to fear losing your authority.

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Inside the Mind of a Marketing Tech Person

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inside the mind of marketing tech personThere’s a new breed of marketer that came into existence over the last few years.

It was a collision of marketers and tech people which resulted in marketing tech people!!

I’ve a tech background and drifted into marketing and it took me a few years before I was comfortable being called a marketer….

But as a technical marketer you think a little bit differently than a traditional marketer.

I’m not saying it’s better or worse, I’m just saying it’s different!!!

The following infographic brought to you by RazorSocial and Venngage Infographic creator shows what marketing tech people are more likely to be thinking than traditional marketing….

Marketing Tech

NOTE:  See embed code at the end of this post if you want to share this infographic on your site

Analytics – Marketing tech people are obsessed with analytics. They want to know how their digital marketing activities are performing at all times. Nothing gets them more excited about their work than unlocking insights from data. You’ll often find them nose-deep in spreadsheets crunching numbers and looking for opportunities to optimize the business.

They’re interested in analytics that helps them measure the performance across their website and their tool of choice is typically Google Analytics.

They use it to get a complete insight into everything that happens on their website – from visitor behavior and traffic sources to conversions and referrals. Some of the marketing tech pros working within a lager system will also have a GA alternative in place, a tool such as Kissmetrics.

A marketing technology person is also concerned with measuring the effectiveness of their email marketing. They want to calculate performance for every email campaign they send looking at all the key stats, such as open and click-through rates, bounces and unsubscribes, and overall ROI.

Depending on the needs of their business, they’ll use anything from basic email marketing tools such as MailChimp, to more sophisticated solutions such as InfusionSoft,Ontraport,Convertkit or GetResponse.

Another area they’re focused on is analyzing the social media performance. While some marketers rely on native automation and analytics capabilities of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, tech-savvy marketers are typically adding third party tools to the mix. They use social media management tools like AgoraPulse or Rivaliq to manage, report and analyze all their social media channels from one place.

Optimization – A marketing tech person knows that Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) can help them maximize the ROI of their website and consequently drive business growth. This is something that definitely keeps them up at night!

I recently presented a large group of businesses in the tourism industry where the majority of sales were online.

Less than 5% knew their conversion rate.

Jaw dropped!

A marketing tech person will know the CRO rate for sales on the website.

They will see a landing page with conversion rate of 1.2% and wonder why it’s not 2%.

They’ll use a heat map tool, such as HotJar or CrazyEgg, to test a landing page to find out where users have clicked on a page, what attracted their attention the most, whether they saw their email opt-in box, etc.

Marketing tech people will also use a host of other CRO tools to test and optimize things like:

In addition, they’ll make sure to keep the unpaid traffic flowing and use different SEO tools including:

  • Keyword research tools for finding the best long tail keywords to target (Google Keyword Planneror KWFinder).
  • SEO competitor analysis and tracking tools like SEMRush for examining overall SEO performance.
  • Link analysis tools, such as Ahrefs for performing competitive backlinks analysis and analyzing their website’s link profile.

Automation – Marketing tech people want to automate everything. Marketing automation helps them streamline their marketing by replacing repetitive activities with automated solutions. A dream of every tech-savvy marketer!

More automation means more time to look at analytics 🙂

They use Marketing automation tools to tie all marketing efforts together, e.g. target prospects with greater precision, improve engagement, drive better quality leads, and consequently increase revenue.

There are many marketing automation tools on the market, ranging from basic tools designed for small businesses (HubSpot, InfusionSoft) to extremely complex enterprise-ready solutions (Ontraport, Marketo). Marketing tech people are concerned with sourcing the right tool for their business and making sure its delivering value on an ongoing basis.

Integration – Marketing tech people believe in the power of integration. With so many different apps and services being used daily, it is really important for them to connect as many of them as possible in a meaningful way.

So, for each new tool they add to their stack they want to make sure it will “play well” with the others. That’s why they love tools like Zapier or IFTTT that help them synchronize and integrate different apps. For them, it’s all about the ability to set up multi-app workflows that will run on their own, taking their productivity and the overall marketing effectiveness to the next level.

Technology – Part marketers, part technologist, it’s only natural that they’d be interested in new technologies, especially those that will have a big impact on the field of marketing. They love reading about the latest tech, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it will be applied on marketing. They’re interested in Conversational Interfaces (e.g. chatbots) and all the new possibilities for improving customer engagement through AI-powered tools.

Tech-savvy marketers will be on top of the new platforms relevant for their business, they’ll consult the marketing technology landscape, read/watch new product reviews, and regularly test a lot of new marketing tools to make sure their stack is the best it could be.

Conversion 

At the end of the day we want what other marketers want – more conversion.

We’ll use some of the tools listed above to help us achieve more conversion.  We’ll also use checkout page tools such as Thrive Cart or Sam Cart.  Our ultimate goal is to achieve more sales and like to think we always have one eye on this along the way.

Conclusion 

Marketing technology folks are different kind of marketers. They are focused on the marketing areas that, coupled with the right tools, truly move the needle for the business. They’re capable of understanding and implementing the best-of-breed solutions and then connecting the dots between marketing, sales and revenue.

But of course they are not perfect.  They certainly have their skill gaps.

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What Social Media Marketers Get Wrong About SEO: The 4 Biggest Mistakes

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By Dara Fontein

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is probably one of the most misunderstood marketing practices today. From keywords to algorithms, understanding SEO can be a time-consuming and seemingly complex undertaking for most marketers. What keywords work best? How many links should I use? You might have a lot of questions, but the bottom line is this: SEO is about getting your content seen by (the right) people.

To keep your SEO strategy on track, we consulted Hootsuite’s resident SEO expert, Zak Ramdani, on the biggest SEO mistakes marketers make—and how to avoid them.

The 4 biggest SEO mistakes marketers make

1. Misunderstanding the relationship between SEO and social

Although Google suggests social signals do not impact rankings, one can draw correlations between top-performing social content and top performing content on the web with the common denominator being quality content. Content shared on social that receives lots of shares, likes, and comments will likely get similar engagement metrics that lend themselves to Google’s authority signals, and in turn positively impact your rankings.

That said, our SEO expert Ramdani recommends social media managers ensure they aren’t creating social media plans with the exclusive intent of improving rankings. Instead, it should be understood that SEO and social media work together as part of an overall marketing plan to boost engagement and improve reach.

A solid social media presence, combined with valuable content and community building, work together to contribute to increasing brand awareness, website traffic, and improved social customer service.

2. Not sharing content strategically

As the connection between social media and SEO content is key for marketing success, social media managers need to be strategic about the type of content they share.

Instead of sharing only new content, analyze the performance of your past work and recognize what is bringing the most traffic to your site. What kind of content is driving the most traffic? What is getting shared the most? What are the most popular topics and themes your audience engages with? These are all questions social media managers need to consider when deciding what content they will focus on sharing through their online channels.

As Ramdani says, “Pick the consistently winning horse instead of a beat up car that’s never won.” Create a bank of your best-performing evergreen content that you can rotate in your social media content calendar, and share these assets alongside your newer content.

3. Expecting overnight success

SEO is an incredibly effective way of improving traffic to your site, but it’s not a quick fix. Marketers will often expect to deploy strategies and get immediate results. And when they don’t get these results, they abandon the plan.

SEO takes time to pay off, so impatience is one of the biggest roadblocks for marketing managers.

One of the main reasons SEO is a long-term strategy rather than a short-term quick fix, is because of the huge volume of content online. As this Domo infographic shows, the amount of data being shared online every minute is staggering.

16_domo_data-never-sleeps-4
Image via: https://www.domo.com/blog/data-never-sleeps-4-0/

You aren’t alone in your industry, and you aren’t the only one pushing out content. Because of this competition, you need to always follow SEO best practices, produce and share quality content, and analyze your results.

Influencers and high-traffic sites put in the work to build authority, and search engines recognize this. Positioning your brand as one to trust (both by search engines and customers) doesn’t happen overnight. Marketers need to post quality content on a consistent basis and ensure it’s gaining valuable backlinks to help establish credibility.

Once social media managers and marketers recognize the time and effort involved in seeing their SEO efforts pay off, they can concentrate on driving their strategy forward.

4. Not keeping up with SEO advancements

SEO has greatly evolved over the last 10 years, but not all marketers have been able to keep up.

“Many marketers in 2016 don’t get it. They haven’t kept up, or worse, they’re reluctant to running SEO campaigns because they’re attached to tactics of the past,” Ramdani explains.

An example of this is the practice of keyword stuffing. A very popular practice at the beginning of SEO’s evolution, keyword stuffing is when content on a web page is “stuffed” or loaded with keywords. Not only does it look ridiculous and lower the credibility of your content, it can get you hit with a manual or algorithmic suspension, which is hard to work back from.

Marketers need to be aware of updates to search engine algorithms such as Panda (which cracks down on keyword stuffing), Penguin (which penalizes low-quality links), and Hummingbird (which enables a deeper understanding of search intent).

With search results more personalized than ever, marketers need to make the connections between their content and the target audience. Google modifies their rankings to choose the most relevant content based on an individual’s search history, which means that authority, keyword matching, freshness, and engagement become even more important.

This fast-changing technology means marketers and social media managers need to stay on top of developments and adjust their content creation and promotion strategy accordingly.

 

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It’s Not About What Your Product Does….

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Every day, I speak with sales people who are struggling. They’ve got a rock solid deal, the customer is qualified and interested. These sales people are eager to educate the customer about their products–and customers are at the point in their buying cycles where they want to be educated.

But somehow deals become stalled. Conversations continue, but things don’t move forward.

As I review the deals with sales people, trying to figure out how to break them loose, a common theme keeps coming up. The conversations are all focusing on what the product does. That is, the focus is on product capabilities, features, functions.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, these sales people aren’t just focused on pitching their products to marginally interested customers. The customers are at the point in their buying process where they are eager to learn and sales people are eager to respond.

It’s a trap our customers fall into, and we go down that rat hole with them.

What our products do is important to our customers. But what our products enable our customers to do is what’s critical to their ability to move forward in their buying process.

The reason they are buying is not because of what the product does, but because of what it enables them to do. It may sound like I’m wordsmithing, but it’s an important difference–one that both we and our customers lose sight of.

It’s critical we keep refocusing the conversation. The customer is buying because they want to drive some change or improvement in their business. They want to grow, they want to solve a problem. These are the fundamental drivers to making a decision and justifying it to their management. This is where we need to keep refocusing the discussions.What our products enable our customers to do is why they are buying.

The magic of focusing our discussion here, not only because it moves the conversation back to what the customer cares about, but it provides us a broader and stronger base to differentiate and justify our offerings.

If the focus of our conversations with customers is what our products do, it’s difficult to differentiate ourselves from competitors doing the same thing.

But if we change the conversations–while our competitors are still talking about what their products do, we are focusing on the customer and the outcomes they will achieve.We also have a much broader platform for justifying the investments our customers make in our solutions. As an example, recently a sales person was reviewing his deal with me. He was struggling to justify his solution. He was focused on the cost savings his solution would provide over the current way his customer was doing things. There were savings, but possibly not enough to motivate the customer to change. When we shifted the conversation to focus on his customer’s ability to retain customers (they were losing customers because of mediocre service levels). All of a sudden, there were millions more in justification and motivation to change.

While this should seem obvious, we and our customers lose this focus. We get so caught up in what our products do, we forget the real conversation needs to be about what they enable the customer to do.

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12 Twitter Accounts That Will Make You a Better Writer

How to Write Marketing Blogs Your Clients Will Actually Read

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I’m sure you’ll agree…

There are way too many bloggers out there who publish blog after blog, with the hopes of pulling torrents of traffic in order to win the rat race of ranking highly on the web.

They *think* that publishing new content frequently will make their clients stick to their blog like super glue and earn them a top slot on SERPs.

If only it were that easy.

Around 2 million blog posts are created every day. But how many actually rank high on the SERPS? How many are powerful enough to engage their audiences and make them subscribe?

Not many!

So if you’re serious about creating and publishing high-quality, engaging and entertaining marketing blogs that your clients will actually read, you’ll need to get acquainted with the SEO copywriting hacks that industry leaders use to write their marketing blogs.

I’m sure you’re already wondering, ‘Okay, smart guy. Where do I find these magical copywriting hacks?’

Well, the answer is down below where I’ve outlined five simple SEO copywriting hacks that almost guarantee high search engine rankings and a diverse readership for every marketing blog you publish.

Hack #1: Take advantage of the APP intro formula

Let’s kickstart our list of SEO copywriting hacks with the amazing APP intro formula.

APP stands for ‘Agree’, ‘Promise’ and ‘Preview’.

Let’s break down each word in this acronym.

Agree: If you want to your SEO copy to rank higher on the web, you’ll need to make your visitors agree with you.

In other words, start your SEO copy’s introduction with something that visitors to your site will agree with.

This will help you set up a connection with them.

Here’s an example:

This is something that will win you the approval of most avid readers of your content.

Now that you’ve got your visitors to agree with you, it’s time to make them a promise.

Promise: Here, you’ll need to promise your visitors a solution for the problem they are facing.

Here’s an example of how:

Now that you’ve promised your visitors a solution, it’s time to show them a preview of that solution.

Preview: Here, you need to show your visitors what your SEO copy is going to offer them.

So, there you have it – a perfect APP intro method that will make visitors swarm to your blog, and contain information that Google spiders will find credible and worth ranking.

Hack # 2: Add ‘Bucket Brigades’ into your blogs

So here’s the deal…

The more time someone spends reading your blog, the better your site will rank on SERPs and the better the odds will be of a conversion. But making people spend more time on your site reading your marketing blogs is no mean feat!

So how do you make both skimmers and more serious readers fall in love with your blog and spend actual time reading it?

Here’s the answer: you need to make your marketing blogs both readable and scannable in equal measures.

You can do this the smart way by adding ‘Bucket Brigades’ to your blogs.

Bucket brigades are short phrases that act as conversational points to your SEO copy. They add a curiosity quotient to your content, making your readers want to read more and spend more time on your site.

Let me show you using an example:

The phrase ‘Here’s the proof’ acts as the bucket brigade. Now, this particular bucket brigade makes visitors wonder what’s going to come next. But the objective behind any bucket brigade is to keep your visitors engaged with your blog for as long as humanly possible.

There is no strict rule of thumb to developing bucket brigades, and you can easily coin a few phrases that you believe will work well for your site then pepper them into your SEO copy.

In case you’re looking for a couple of ready-made ones, here’s are a few classics:

  • Here’s the deal!
  • Let us spill the beans here…
  • What’s the bottom line?
  • Here’s the kicker…
  • We’re sure you’re wondering…
  • It gets worse/better…

Now that you know how to make your SEO copy more readable, it’s time to move on to the next hack on the list.

Hack # 3: Write an action-orientated title and meta description

You may be surprised when I tell you there are many marketing blogs that rank higher on SERPs but don’t really attract torrents of traffic.

This is because these blogs usually make the mistake of not having an action-oriented title and meta description.

Remember, though no longer a critical ranking factor, your blog’s meta description and title can fundamentally influence the number of clicks received through SERPs.

Use action-oriented verbs in your title and meta description to encourage your visitors to take action. Amalgamate your title and description with keywords that your readers actually search for. But don’t stuff too many keywords into it, or you might end up having your site penalized by Google for spamming.

Aim to start your descriptions with action verbs such as ‘download’, ‘learn’ or ‘discover’, and follow them up with your blog’s value proposition. Let your readers know why they should click on your link and read your content.

If you are able to do this effectively, you can expect to get more traffic, more clicks, and more conversions.

Hack #4: Create attention-grabbing headlines

It’s no secret that sites like BuzzFeed and ViralNova are wildly popular.

This is because they use fun, and attention-grabbing headlines for clickbait. Their headlines offer an emotional promise. They hook, they entertain and, above all, they spark curiosity.

I’m sure you’re wondering why it’s so important to create headlines that are attention-grabbing and click-worthy.

Here’s the deal: Moz reveals that 8 out of 10 people read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the entire article on average. Additionally, tests also reveal that traffic to content at a site can widely vary depending on the quality of the headline.

It’s not rocket science to see why you must aim to create headlines that tantalize readers in such a way so that they can’t help but click to see what’s on the other side.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Make sure that your headlines are unique and pique curiosity
  • Always lead with lists and numbers
  • Highlight the value of clicking through
  • Use emotionally compelling language
  • Keep your headlines under 70 characters
  • Don’t forget to add SEO keywords to your headlines.

Remember, you’ll need to break conventions to create headlines that can grab more views and get you more more clicks.

Image Source: Buzzfeed

Hack #5: Highlight your value proposition in subheadings

Now that you know how to create interesting headlines, you’re ready to move onto the next step.

It’s one thing to get someone to read your blog post because of the catchy headline, and quite another to get them to continue reading it past the first paragraph.

If you’re serious about making your clients take the time to read your marketing blogs, you’ll need to complement your headlines with engaging subheadings.

Authoritative and interesting subheadings help make your article readable, and keep your readers engaged and entertained.

Highlight the value proposition of your content in your subheadings. Don’t forget to tie them back to your headline.

Check out this example below to see what makes a good subheading:

By making your subheads useful, short and specific, you’ll lure more traffic and help readers navigate your content more quickly without losing their focus.

Wrapping up

These are easily some of the most powerful SEO copywriting hacks out there… and now it’s over to you.

Try incorporating a few (or all!) of them into your marketing blogs to create content your clients will love and, better yet, actually read.

Let me know how you go, and which tips have been an eye-opener for you in the comments section.

Best of luck!

Guest Author: George Georgiev is a full stack developer, owns a web design agency and blogs about web hosting and digital marketing. Follow him at Facebook & Quora.

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