Monday, September 1, 2014

Blogging and Conversion – How to Get More Juice out of Your Efforts

I’m always reading marketing blogs and one of my favorites is HubSpot.com.

In a recent post on ‘squeezing more conversions out of our blog,’ the author offered some interesting tips on doing this – four tips actually.

4 Blog Conversion Tips

1. Get a “subscriber banner” up on your website.

I really like this idea because it’s immediately visible, front and center when someone lands on your site. The problem for many though, including me, is the technical side of doing this.

While it’s no problem getting a dimensions specific header for your website, it’s another story getting a working opt-in form in it. I actually left a message asking if the author would follow-up with a post on how to do this.

2. CTAs at the bottom of each post.

I’ve been doing this for a few months now. I removed most of them because I switched from iContact email service to Get Response. I’m in the process of putting the new opt-ins in place. It’s a time consuming job, so I add them as I visit my older posts.Check the bottom of this post to see it in action.

Thinking about it, I should do a couple or few a day – starting with the most recent and working my way back. I have around 1000 posts so this will take a while.

But, getting back to the CTA, this is an excellent idea. The reason is that after reading one of your out-of-the-ball-park posts, the reader will be willing and able to quickly input her email address in the box right at the bottom of the post.

NO go to the sidebar. NO go to an opt-in landing page. It’ll be right there – simple and quick.

3. Show ‘social proof’ tweets.

Social proof is an important marketing factor. People are motivated by what others like. Adding a Tweet by someone else provides social proof that you’re worth reading.

Here’s an example of how this works (and it works perfect for this post):



Sorry it's blurry, that's what happened when I made it larger.

Including an image of a favorable tweet lets the visitor to my blog quickly know that others find my content valuable.

I can use one or another in a post relevant to social proof, or in some other blog topic that it’s appropriate to.

The same will work by displaying images of Tweets you post that get ‘Favorited’ and ‘Retweeted’ by others. Again, this is social proof that your content is worth reading.

4. Slide-in call-to-action.

This type of CTA is similar to the ‘pop up’ CTA. But, rather than popping up, it slides in. I’ll be honest, I don’t like pop-ups. In fact, I find them annoying and distracting.

But, HubSpot says, “Slide-in CTAs are designed to smoothly transition into view from the right side of the screen. Through our experiences, we’ve found that they are less intrusive than pop-ups, they don’t block your content, and they actually convert.”


Since it’s not as intrusive, and since even pop-ups do convert (although many find them annoying), it’s certainly worth testing it out.

There you have it, four fresh ways to give your blog post conversions a boost. Try at least one today and let me know how you make out.

To read the HubSpot article,4 Fresh Ways to Squeeze More Conversions Out of Your Blog,” click the link.

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Need a new subscriber email service? Thinking about changing to an email service that offers great opt-in box templates? I switched to GetResponse, why not try it out for yourself - click the box below:





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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing and Your Website – 2 Tips to Powerful Product Pages
Content Marketing Success – Attitude, Aptitude, Altitude
Email Marketing – The Subscriber Email List Bare-Bottom Basics

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Content Marketing – 5 Must Read Articles and Resources


 Every day, I read such informative articles on content marketing - articles that help me in my marketing, and articles that offer great resources for blogging, writing, email marketing, social media marketing, and more.

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Today, I have 5 content marketing reads that are sure to help you move forward.

101 Writing Resources That Will Take You From Stuck to Unstoppable

14 Must-Have Free Tools for Start-Ups

The Ultimate Guide to Sourcing Free Images for Your Blog

What Makes Content Spread – The Anatomy of a Post That Got Over 500,000 Likes

The Ultimate Guide to Sourcing Free Images for Your Blog

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing – A 20-Point Website Checklist

Content Marketing and Graphics

Blogging Smart

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Content Marketing - Keep the Details Focused (don’t offer too much information)

I read such a helpful article by Will Newman at AWAI. It’s about offering too much information and the unwanted results it can cause.

Now, if you’re a marketer there are two camps on the length of copy you should write. One camp says shorter is better because people are in too much of a hurry. They want the gist of what you’re offering along with the benefit and cost.

The other camp says people want to be informed. They want details, especially when they’re faced with the decision of buying something. For this dilemma I suggest you test it out on your own audience and see which works better for you.

But, this isn’t what the title of this article is talking about.

In regard to offering too much information I’m talking about the specific details in your copy.

The AWAI article gave great examples of the dangers of trying to convey ALL the benefits of a particular product or service. Pro copywriters agree that this isn't a good idea. It’s the Rule of One that works best.

The Rule of One

The Rule of One was developed by writer, publisher, and entrepreneur Mark Morgan Ford after much research into what type of promotions worked. Ford believes this ‘Rule of One’ is the driving force behind great copy.

Putting it simply, Newman says “the Rule of One means you use just one main idea to build your promotion around.”

One main idea and one main benefit in easy to read and engaging copy.

Within that Rule of One copy, there should be:

One powerful idea
One primary emotion
One must-have benefit
One converting CTA (call-to-action)

This strategy makes it easy for the prospect to understand what’s being offering. This is always a good thing, because too much information usually becomes conflicting or confusing and can cause reader anxiety and/or confusion. This prompts the reader to mosey-on-along without saying YES to your offer.

An Example

Suppose I write an article on the power of using animation in your copy or on your landing page. I have around 800 words demonstrating just how effective and converting animation is.

The article is focused and has most of what is needed: one powerful idea, one primary emotion, and one must-have benefit.

I show how the reader isn't fulfilling his marketing potential without including animation on his landing pages. And, I show just how important it is to take his marketing up a notch. I hit on his desire to improve his business. So, I lay it all out. Basically, if the prospect uses animation his business will convert like crazy.

Then in my closing, I promote several different services (CTAs) leading to different landing pages. I just dropped the ball - my focus is now diminished.

And, not only did I drop the ball, I lost the prospect. The reader will wonder what I’m really offering and what the point of the article was.

It takes focus on all fronts to keep the reader on board and to motivate conversion.

To read the entire post at AWAI, along with the great examples Newman offers, visit:
Too Much Information!

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NEED A COPYWRITER. Need a professional writer to help you take your content marketing up-a-notch?

VISIT: Karen Cioffi, Freelance Writer

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing – Lose the Heavy Hand
Content Marketing and Animation – A Successful Combination
Content Marketing – A 20-Point Website Checklist

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Marketing Your Way to Success with Focus, Definition, and Differentiating Elements

I read a great email from Suzanne Lieurance’s The Morning Nudge. This particular ‘nudge’ was about having a clear vision and it gave me the inspiration for this article.

For a clear vision in regard to your business, you need to analyze three things: 

1. Who you are
2. What you have to offer
3. Who your target market is

Interestingly, many, especially new smaller businesses, don’t really have this focus – this clear vision of what their brand is and who they should be marketing to. If this is the case for you, you’re hindering your road to business success.

So, what can you do to create this focus? How can you define who you are and get a clear vision of what you actually need to do?

Four Foundation Steps to a Successful Business

Step #1- Establish your elevator pitch

The first step is to determine who you really are. Are you a writer vying for publication; are you an affiliate marketer; are you a solopreneur working to sell the products or services you created? Do you have multiple businesses running?

This will be the foundation of your marketing strategy. For this step, put on your thinking cap and answer these questions:

What is it you do?

Are you a writer? Are you a manufacturer? Are you an accountant? Are you an information product marketer? Are a barber/beautician? Are you in health care?

Now, get more specific.

Using a writer as an example, are you a fiction writer, a nonfiction writer? Are you a freelance writer? If so, in what niche: ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, web writing, content writing, technical writing, business writing, health writing, and so on?

You get the idea – it’s all about focus and clarity.

Now, in one sentence – two at the most write down who you are.

Think of it as an elevator pitch. You have 20 or 30 seconds to tell your ‘perfect’ prospect who you are (and what you can do for him).

My sentence would be:

I’m an experienced content writer and marketer and can help you bring your business to the next level with an optimized website and optimized content that builds visibility, authority, and conversion.

Tip: have at least one keyword (related to your niche / industry) in your sentence. If you analyze my elevator pitch above, I have eight.

Step #2 Make it more detailed – give focus and clarity

Take your one focused sentence and expand on it.

What industry or niche do you want to focus your marketing efforts toward? What is this market’s needs and wants?

Using the Article Writing Doctor as an example, my target market is the natural healthcare professional. This would usually be small and home businesses. Knowing this gives me a lot of marketing focus.

With that information I can elaborate on my elevator pitch or brand statement:

The Article Writing Doctor offers content writing and content marketing for the natural healthcare professional. Through optimized web copy and blog posts, and other content.  I can build your business the visibility, readership, authority, and CTA YESES it needs to move forward.

Tip: If you notice, I used “CTA YESES.” This is a no-no. Unless you’re sure your target market is familiar with marketing or industry terms and acronyms, don’t use them. I would change that to read: “and increase your subscriber list and sales.”

You’ll also need to determine the demographics and locations of your target market.

If you have a localized business you’ll need to research places to promote your business aside from online. Your local Chamber of Commerce or business organizations might be a good place to start.

#3 Let them know what differentiates you from the others

For this step an article at Entrenpeur.com on ‘defining your brand,’ gives an excellent example of an attorney practicing family law. The defining statement for this business might be, “compassionate attorney specializing in family law in the state of California, servicing women who need help getting through the tough times in their lives."

This certainly differentiates this attorney. He’s compassionate and he helps women in need. He’s making it personal.

#4 Don’t box yourself in

While you want to be specific and have lots of clarity, you also want to leave yourself room to grow.

In my brand statement in #2, I included that I write web copy and blog posts and “other content.” Once the prospect visits my website, he’ll see that the other content includes emails, newsletters, reports, and ebooks.

I also offer a DIY ecourse for those who don’t want to outsource on a regular basis and web optimization services.

Don’t make your platform a “I do it all” scenario. Have limits so the prospect knows you specialize in certain areas. In other words, let the prospect know your brand is well defined – you’re not a ‘jack of all trades, master of none.’

Summing it up

You need to have a well thought out and defined brand and marketing strategy - in other words a business and marketing plan. It needs to be focused, understandable, and differentiating from others in your niche/industry to create a successful business. And, most importantly, you must write it down.

Experienced marketer David Frey says, “A 'wish' is a goal that hasn't been written down. If you haven't written your goals, you're still just wishing for success.”

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MORE ON MARKETING

Content Marketing – A 20-Point Website Checklist
Content MParketing Success – You Can Do It, You Can Do It, You Can . . .
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Need a freelance writer or ghostwriter for your business or individual project? Check out Karen Cioffi, Freelance Writer

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Promotion - Great List of Websites That Will Promote Your eBook

Whether you're an author, a marketer,  or a business owner with your own ebook, this is something you should checkout.

James Calbraith (author / publisher) has an amazing list of 90 websites where you can promote your ebook. He notes though that the "majority of these sites advertise books when they’re free, as part of KDP Select or Smashword promo. If you want to promote a paid book, you usually need to pay extra."

Visit the post here:
90 Sites to Advertise Your Book

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MORE ON MARKETING

4 Book Marketing Strategies That are Guaranteed to Keep Your Online Platform Moving Forward

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Copy Editing, Line Editing, Substantive Editing

According to Merrian-Webster, editing is the process of preparing "(something written) to be published or used : to make changes, correct mistakes, etc., in (something written)."

In other words, it's the process of making your content, manuscript or other writing sparkle. It makes the content publishable.

If you’re a marketer, healthcare professional, or business owner chances are you will occasionally need professional editing for:

  • A book
  • Webcopy
  • A guest post on a ‘heavy hitter’ blog
  • An academic or health article you will be submitting to a journal or magazine
  • An essay
  • A thesis

When the occasion arises, it’d be a good idea to know which type of editing your manuscript needs. Hopefully, the descriptions below will give you an idea.

Copy Editing

This is the bare-bottom basic of mechanical editing. It covers:

•    Spelling (includes checking for homonyms)
•    Punctuation (periods, commas, semicolons, dashes, etc.)
•    Typos
•    Grammar (verb tense, numerals, etc.)

A homonym is a word that sounds just like another word, but has a different spelling and meaning. (e.g., hear/here/hair; it’s/its, to/too/two). These are words that spell-check won’t usually pick up.

Line Editing

This is the mechanical aspect of editing. Line editing includes checking for:

•    Copy Editing
•    Run-on sentences
•    Sentence clarity
•    Overuse of adverbs and adjective
•    Words used to begin sentences and paragraphs
•    And, more

It also checks for certain inconsistencies, such as:

•    Are the chapter titles all written the same?
•    Are names, such as countries and states, treated the same?

The manuscript is checked line-by-line. This is one of the most common editing requests.

Substantive Editing (Content Editing)

According to the CMS [Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, 2.46]:

“Substantive editing deals with the organization and presentation of content. It involves rewriting to improve style or eliminate ambiguity, reorganizing or tightening, recasting tables, and other remedial activities. (It should not be confused with developmental editing, a more drastic process; see 2.45.)”

This form of editing is in-depth. This is where the entire story is checked, line-by-line. It includes:

•    Line Editing
•    Rephrasing/rewriting sentences
•    Rephrasing/rewriting paragraphs
•    Checking for tight writing
•    Check POV (point of view)
•    Checking plot credibility
•    Advising if particular content (sentence/paragraph/story) is appropriate for children
•    Checking for clarity
•    Checking for readability
•    And much more

Substantive editing is time consuming and can take up to four weeks.

NOTE: It often happens that the author doesn’t realize the needs of her/his manuscript. Your editor should let you know if it’d be a good idea to ‘take it up a notch.’ Obviously, it’s the author’s choice, but the editor should let you know.

What’s the point of paying for line editing if the story’s structure needs an overall.


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NEED A PROFESSIONAL FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, OR GHOSTWRITER? 

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MORE ON WRITING

Content Writing Tips – Think Like a Newsman
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Email Marketing and Call-to-Actions (CTAs)



Email marketing is pretty straight-forward. And, it's important to realize it falls under the content marketing umbrella.

As an email marketer you send out emails in order to create a relationship with your subscribers, build trust, and ultimately sell what you’re offering. It may be a book or other product. It may be a service. Whichever it is, the saying goes, ‘people buy from people they trust.’

It’s important to keep in mind though that you should genuinely be striving to help your audience, especially your subscribers, reach their goals. It shouldn’t be ALL about selling.

Call-to-actions (CTAs) are words that motivate a viewer to take action. It may be to sign up to your mailing list. It may be to buy your book or other product. It may be to take a survey. It may be to sign up to your course or class. Whatever it is you’re offering or selling, it needs a CTA.

According to an article at Hubspot.com, “You should have a big, standout call-to-action in every email marketing message you send.”

But, are CTA’s one-size-fits-all?

No. No, they’re not.

There are a number of elements in CTAs, such as the background color, the text, the text color, the size, the positioning, the design, and so on. Even how you use a CTA can vary.

Simple Changes, Big Results

An example of how simple changes can increase conversions (clicks / sales), Heinz Ketchup decided to test the effect of changing the color of their product. They changed it from red to green and “sold over 10 million bottles in the first seven months.”

Another example is Performable. They changed their CTA button from green to red. It resulted in a 21% increase in conversions.

Testing is a big factor in all marketing. Testing variations of your CTAs can prove to boost your conversions.

A Bit of Knowledge Can Go a Long Way

To tweak your CTA, it’s important to have an idea of which direction to go. This means you need to know your audience and you need to know what elements you want to test out.

Is your audience mixed, men and women?

If so, you should know that women prefer blue, purple, and green. Men prefer blue, green, and black. Testing your CTA button or text with the color blue or green will cover both bases.

Is your audience primarily English reading?
This reader reads from left to right and top to bottom. Having the copy (wording, text) lead the reader down to the CTA and having the CTA on the left should help boost conversion.

Is your copy easily understandable and anxiety free?

Marketing Experiments conducts ongoing marketing research into what increases conversion. They’ve found that easy to understand text is essential. They also found that the wording must be right.

You might think that offering a “Free Consultation” or a “Free Trial” will motivate your reader to take action, but the opposite may be true. A free consultation or trial may produce anxiety in the reader. She may feel there’s an implied cost involved.

“Get Started Now” doesn’t have an implied cost attached, so it’s more likely to boost conversion.

Summing it Up

Email marketing is a powerful way to reach your audience. It’s should be used to help them as well as promote what you’re offering.

Your CTA is what will prompt the reader to take action. Test out the various elements within the CTA to see what works best for you.

Definitions

Conversion – This is the process of readers moving from reading to action by clicking on your links, in other words taking the action step in your CTA.

Sources:

http://brandongaille.com/the-best-color-for-hyperlinks/

I hope you found this information interesting and helpful. Too advanced, not enough, just right? I’d really love to know, so please leave a comment – good or bad.

P.S. If you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT!

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Need help with your content and email marketing? 

Check out: Karen Cioffi, Freelance Writer

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Do You Still Need a Website as the Core of Your Online Platform?
Content Marketing – 10 Tips on Creating Landing Pages That Boosts Clicks and Encourages Sharing
Blogging – The 5 Most Popular Blog Post and Article Formats (Part 1)

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