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Whether you are desperately sprinting to hit goals or you are already planning ahead for 2016, there are tons of things to be done and you simply don’t have the time, energy or focus to finish them all.

You need some bite-sized, practical marketing ideas that will get your numbers up and set your business up for a solid year to come.

Here is a compilation of 16 marketing strategies you can execute to give your business that boost it needs for the new year.

1. Create Your Audiences, Do Not Wait for Them

Why are so many entrepreneurs stumped when it comes to finding and targeting their audiences online? With the tools available at our finger tips, we can create audiences that turn in to targeted traffic, qualified leads, maximized sales and lifetime customers—all in the matter of days.

Set up a landing page (via Unbounce or other programs like Leadpages or Optimize Press) and run a micro-campaign to generate an audience that you can use for further marketing and advertising in 2016. Here is how that works logistically.

  1. Find a value proposition to earn the click and attention of an audience.
  2. Use Facebook’s custom audience pixels and install one into your landing page (way easier than it sounds, just copy and paste.)
  3. Run a small budget for 30 days (i.e. $5-10/day)
  4. That pixel will begin tracking the targeted audience you send its way. Which means, obviously, only the users who saw enough value in your ad to click are visiting because of relevancy.
  5. Use your tracked audience for:
    • retargeting
    • product awareness
    • flash sales, etc (we will talk about all of these in a little bit)

The DPA Marketing & Media team did this exact thing for a woman’s fashion brand, b-fearless.. Here is the landing page we set up to promote their fashion show.

bfearless landing page for marketing strategy

Simple, right? When we created this page we had a few objectives:

  • Sell tickets to the show
  • Get views on the video from last years show (as you see embedded on the page)
  • Most importantly, track an audience that was interested in the new brands and products they were going to launch after the show

Just from 30 days of organic Facebook posts, which linked back to this page, we generated 1,227 visitors, sold out 150 tickets and b-fearless had one of the biggest sales days in the history of the business. This was followed by their biggest sales month in the history of the business as well.

So, what did we do with the tracked audience after the event?

  1. We retargeted them on Facebook with new products, new deals, and even media (pictures, videos and other content from the fashion show.) This not only provided us data to refine our buyer personas, but we ramped up brand recognition, increased our social following and made a ton of money.
  2. We created a look-a-like audience (where Facebook strategically finds the top 1-5% of individuals who look like a given audience) and started running $15-25/day in Facebook advertising to break into surrounding markets with their products.

It took us 1 week to set this campaign up which resulted in tens of thousands in sales, over 2,500+ new social media followers, and an audience that we then sold more products to at a later time. You can do the same thing even if you don’t have an event. You can promote:

  • a product
  • a lead magnet
  • a discount
  • a piece of content
  • a webinar, etc

The point is to offer usable value for your buyer persona so they have a reason to click and/or opt-in to that value. Give it a try!

2. Run a Flash Sale

Flash sales are not new to the marketing and sales world, but I truly feel they are not only executed poorly but they simply aren’t used consistently enough. Don’t get turned off by the title “Flash Sale.” If you have done a good job creating your audiences and nurturing customers, there should not be any issues with you offering them a ridiculously attractive deal.

Here is why this works so well. Of course flash sales create a sense of urgency, that’s a given. But what they do really well is meet the customer where they are at in their buyer journey of “awareness”, “consideration”, and “decision”.

For example, I have been consuming Digital Marketer’s content for a very long time. I love their videos, their podcast, and their products. I got an email promoting their latest flash sale, which led to this page:

marketing idea flash sale

The page was a little too long to post in the article, but you get the point. This type of flash sale offers products that myself, and others like me, have been considering for a while but at a price that is irresistible. The angle then for Digital Marketer is they offer so much value (through whatever product I buy) that I not only buy more products, but I don’t mind paying full price next time.

Important tip: Sacrificing a higher profit margin upfront is not always a bad thing. In fact, it can be the very thing that gets the most value out of every customer who buys into your business. Would you rather make the extra cash up front, or have a lifetime customer who’s value is tenfold their first purchase? Get some more customers in your database now by running a flash sale.

3. Ramp Up Your Social Media Following

According to business2community.com, your customers on average have 5 social media profiles and actively use 3 of them each month.  

There are so many cases where the simple act of increasing your social media following is the best thing you can do for your business. Every month, every year, you need more followers because followers mean data.

garyvee facebook's data marketing strategy

What if you went into the next quarter of your business with 1,000 new followers each on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

  • Imagine what that would do for your content.
  • Imagine what that would do for your advertising.
  • Imagine what that would do for your brand awareness.
  • Imagine what that would allow you to know about your buyer personas.

Allocate a daily budget for Facebook Ads (which now includes ads on Instagram) and then create a 30-60 social editorial calendar for your top 3 platforms and generate some engagement, interaction and most importantly followers.

Once you do that, this next point will really help with ramping up your social media followers.

4. Run a Facebook/Instagram Contest (The Right Way)

There are a ton of platforms that allow you to run social media contests and in a way that honors the terms and conditions of the platform you are running the contest on. 47% of people say that Facebook has the greatest impact on their buyer decisions online, and this isn’t surprising. Facebook has one of the most diverse advertising platforms due to its ability to identify and profile users—therefore, business owners and marketers have taken advantage of that in their sales processes.

You can take advantage of Facebook’s ever-improving advertising platform and run a social media contest to:

  • get some qualified leads in your database
  • again, create some audiences for future campaigns
  • generate awareness for a new product

By now, if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, you know how to run a successful social media contest. But, here is a little tip if you want to integrate Instagram into your next contest. Use a platform called Iconosquare, which is a wonderfully inexpensive Instagram analytic platform with built in contest abilities.

The smartest thing to do is to have a contest or giveaway that compliments the value proposition of your brand. (i.e. If you are a bakery, don’t give away an iPad Pro, give a way a years worth of free cookies and watch what that does for your brand.)

5. Hack Your PR Campaigns

When it comes to PR, nowadays, you almost always need some sort of “Personality” to network with—that is if you want your PR efforts to be worth it. Gone are the days where “for immediate release” works (if you don’t understand that reference, that’s good.)

The point is people don’t flock to you for PR, nor do they jump at an opportunity to promote a brand that can’t offer them something valuable in return. Or at least offer something valuable to their audience.

However, you’d be surprised what influential users on social media (with like-audiences to your company) would do for free product, a small fee or even a Starbucks gift card. I know it sounds silly, but some of my clients have been featured by significantly larger brands on Instagram and Facebook by identifying and reaching out to other accounts that have a high number of engaged followers.

A great example is Parrot, a technology that among many other things makes awesome drones. They sent one of their drones to media personality and Youtube Vlogger, Casey Neistat. I can only assume they knew how much of a videographer Casey is, and had hopes it’d be featured in a vlog of his. Sure enough, this happened:

Marketing Strategies, hacking pr campaigns

It’s not about the money, or the gift card, or the free product. It’s about the value offered and the potential. That is how you get featured in media outlets. The above video, which was clearly titled to feature the drone, received 3/4 of a million views. I can’t imagine what that did for their brand awareness.

Hopefully they had some tracking pixels in place to retarget the visitors 😉

6. Hold an Event and Document it For More Content

The fashion show event that I spoke of earlier is a great testament to this marketing strategy tip. With the fashion show event, our team simply sent a two man camera crew to cover the event. One shot video and the other captured photos.

Side-note: To take it even farther, the photographer uploaded the raw photos in a shared Google Drive folder during the event, from which I edited and posted them in real time as the event was happening.

live company event for content marketing

With this captured content, we not only had hundreds of pictures that were used for months to come on social media, but we also had a ton of video content that we used for promotional content and even advertising campaigns. Over all it was a successful event that turned into a ton of marketing collateral used to move the needle in other areas of their business.

7. Create a Series of Videos

50% of all mobile traffic comes from video. Bam, in your face.

Video marketing is more relevant and valuable than any other type of owned media, and is an easy way to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Whether they are professional videos that teach your customers about a product or service, or they are just encouraging videos, silly videos, team videos, or whatever else connects with your audience—the value is in the visual.

Video content makes a brand more human online and is a great way to operate in 2016. Create a video strategy and watch what it does for your brand awareness and audience engagement.

8. Create A Lead Magnet or Two

A lead magnet, in Layman’s terms, is valuable content exchanged for customer information (that typically comes in the form of something downloadable.)

It only takes one solid lead magnet to start generating qualified leads.

This bite-sized tip is great for those businesses who are already generating a decent amount of traffic. 5-50k unique visitors a month. The reason why? All you have to do is throw up the lead magnet and it’s already in front of plenty of relevant people.

On the flip side, this also works for businesses with little traffic, you just have to put in a little more leg work. A little bit of advertising, and an engagement email marketing funnel to nurture the leads. In fact, if you subscribe to The Modern Marketer, you will immediately receive one of our lead magnets “4 Ways to Crush FB Advertising.”

9. Challenge Yourself to 90-120 days of Fresh Content

It sounds like a lot, I know! I have done this several times with my businesses, and our team actively practices a concept with our clients called “The Power 120,” where we create 120 days of content.

Content is very important, but the context of the content is more important. Create content that is useful to your audience and that you can use for the entire year. I say entire year because if you repurpose content often, those 30-90 pieces of content can easily become several hundred.

You can use channels like:

  • LinkedIn Pulse
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Periscope
  • Podcasting
  • Infographics
  • Slideshare Presentations, etc.

Just make sure that your content is evergreen and you are off to the races!

10. Ask Your Loyal Customers for Referrals

What more proof do you need than this:

  • 65% of new business comes from referrals according to the New York Times
  • People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend according to Nielsen research

But what is surprising is the fact that 83% of your customers are willing to refer but on average only 29% do.

Do you want to drum up some new business that has great lifetime value? Creatively run a referral campaign. A company letter, a creative video, or simply a series of phone calls to your best customers can seal the deal on new business that you didn’t know you were sitting on.

11. Ask All of Your Customers for Reviews

Of course, this only applies to certain businesses.

Where it is relevant, however, run a campaign where you offer an incentive for your customers to leave reviews. Hopefully you’ve done a great job with creating positive and enjoyable experiences and don’t have to worry about negative reviews.

Could your business benefit from 30 positive customer reviews? If your immediate answer is yes, then go get them! If 83% of customers are willing to give referrals (which takes quite a bit of effort for them to reach out to their friends and refer) imagine how many people would be willing to give a positive review.

12. Get Your Marketing Automation Prepped

I think a lot of small business owners are either ignorant to what marketing automation is, or they know but are a little fretful of diving into it whole heartedly. It’s not as complicated or involved as you think. It can be for enterprises using systems like Hubspot, Marketo, Infusionsoft, etc., but it doesn’t have to be for us small business owners.

Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than leads that aren’t nurtured. Marketing automation nurtures them, period.

Again, this can be as simple as creating an engagement series of emails that involve not only contextual messages, but graphics, charts, videos or whatever helps inform and nurture your customers properly.

For years now, I’ve actively followed Digital Marketer’s “Customer Value Optimization” approach to nurturing leads into customers. Check it out:

Customer Value Optimization by Digital Marketer

If this is something that peaks your interest, you can read the entire supporting page from Digital Marketer on Customer Value Optimization here. 

13. Run a Charitable Campaign

The Dollar Shave Club recently got an email from a member of the US Marine Corps. He was asking if they could buy razors in bulk for some troops in Afghanistan. He received an email back that said they wouldn’t sell them to him because they were giving them to him. Shortly after, he received this package in the mail:

Charitable Giving as a Marketing Strategy

That’s 73 “4-packs” of razors, a ton of shave butter, body wipes and a hand written letter from the CEO.  

If you run a successful small business, chances are you already give back in some fashion. Whether you practice charitable giving or not, it’s a great way to:

  • add purpose to why you are doing business
  • generate awareness for your company and more importantly, its vision to give

Companies like Sevenly (originally founded by Dale Partridge) have thrived on this concept and deeply integrated giving into their successful business model. This concept is best explained in Dale Partridge’s book, “People Over Profit.”

The best advice from our charitable giving experience is to get others involved.

It’s one thing to just say, “Check it out we are giving back!” It is a completely different ball game to say, “We want to give back and desperately need you to get involved!” Give your customers a reason to join your cause and back you up. There is power in that type of support and many times your company can accidentally stumble upon a movement.

14. Do Some Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization in my own words is the process of enhancing the user experience on your website by creating less friction on the path to purchase. This can involve things like:

  • redesigning your home page
  • creating landing pages for certain elements of your web presence
  • using tools like CrazyEgg to view heat maps of how users interact with your website
  • enhancing your call-to-actions on your website
  • re-writing your website copy
  • or completely rebranding in some cases

I am not suggesting you get too extreme with this, unless you and your team deem it necessary. There are, however, many ways that you can enhance the user experience on your website and in your sales funnels starting now.

15. Up-Sell and Cross-Sell

Much like asking for referrals and reviews, you’d be surprised how many customers would buy from you again. Right now. It’s astronomical. Our team uses retargeting like it is going out of style to maximize on up-selling and cross-selling.

Retargeting can be executed easiest with Facebook Advertising. You can use Google Adwords or even third parties like Ad-Roll, however doing it yourself on Facebook is easiest and least expensive.

  • you can retarget your email lists
  • you can track audiences on your website and retarget those visitors
  • you can give Facebook an audience and ask them to create a “lookalike audience,” and this list goes on and on.

Scaling a business and achieving profitable growth doesn’t happen simply by making the 1st sale. It happens with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th sales. That’s when you’ve successful scaled, when you’ve mastered those steps.

16. Build Others Up

I wanted to end this article on a purpose-filled note.

Take some time to find opportunities to feature some affiliates, partners, or even other businesses locally (or in your networks/circles of influence.) Feature them through social media, an email blast, or something even as sincere as writing an article or recording a video honoring their business.

Sort of like Gary Vaynerchuk featuring his friend Lewis Hows on the #AskGaryVee show:

-AskGaryVee Episode 157 Lewis Howes Answers Questions on the Show YouTube

You don’t have to have a reason or an angle to build someone up. You just need to do it. It needs to actively be a part of your business and not an unpleasant obligation, or because “you know it’s the right thing to do.”

Conclusion

If you plan on executing any one of these strategies or you do any one of them already, give this article a share. Build others up by sharing valuable information with them!

Content Marketing

How to Jack Attention from News & Trends

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the dos and donts of newsjacking

What is newsjacking?

Newsjacking is the process of following the topics and trends that are happening in industries relative to your business so that you can tap into audiences that are already interested in something that’s happening now.

One of the things we talk a lot about as marketers is “keywords.”

We all want to know what people are typing into that search bar on Google so that we can connect them first.

That’s what SEO and SEM is all about.

But what we don’t talk about as much are the topics and trends that are happening so fast that Google, SEMrush, BuzzSumo, Alexa, or whatever keyword tracking tool you may be using isn’t tracking on it.

They’ve already missed it.

That’s where newsjacking comes into play.

If you’re paying attention to what’s happening on the news—or trending on Google, Twitter and Facebook—there’s an opportunity here to grab attention that a keyword tracker won’t be quick enough to show you.

If your brand has a relevant stance or positioning on a specific topic or trend that’s happening right now and you can provide legit content around that topic, then you can tap into new audiences.

Audiences that would never find you if you hadn’t showed up in their search query about that topic or trend.

Newsjacking, or trendjacking as some call it, is a lot like influencer marketing.

The only difference is there’s not a third party involved.

The topic itself is the influencer.

The topic has that attention.

What you’re really doing is attention jacking.

But here’s the thing about newsjacking: It can work really great for bringing traffic to your business, but it can also go horribly wrong if you’re not careful.

There’s a lot of factors at play when you’re hopping on a trend, so you have to be wary of your timing, your message, and your context. There’s a fine line you have to walk for newsjacking to work for you.

I’m going to break this down for you with some do’s and don’t’s of newsjacking so you can understand where that line is.

Let’s get it.

DO Your Research

You have to keep in mind that trending topics, particularly ones in the news cycle, are always developing stories.

So when a story first breaks, that’s only a part of it.

Most of the time, it’s better to wait a bit until there’s more information out there before you write about a news topic.

do your research

Otherwise, if you’re too quick to publish, you could miss out on some critical information that drops later—information that could have been even more useful for your content had you known it before publishing.

Avoid “more later…as it develops” type of talk.

You really want to get as much information as possible before writing. In this day and age where everyone’s wary of fake news, it’s important to get your facts straight and to be as accurate as possible. Or else you risk losing credibility with your audience.

So spend some time browsing the news sites, the comments sections, and talk to other people about the topic. Sometimes people in your immediate circles have some insight on the topic you may not have thought about before.

DON’T Write Without Providing Context

If a topic isn’t relative to your industry and you write about it anyway, it’s really not going to make sense. Maybe you’re passionate about that topic and you have thoughts about it, but it’s not going to do you any favors within the context of your business.

Sorry, but your audience doesn’t care about news topics unless it affects them.

On the other side of the coin, you always have to keep in mind who you’re writing for (or speaking to, if it’s on video or audio). A topic you’re covering could be relevant to your industry, but if it’s not filtered into a context that makes sense for who you’re trying to sell to, it doesn’t make sense for your business.

Always keep your buyer persona in mind. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a news topic or trend to cover:

  • Is this relevant to my industry?
  • Could my buyer persona connect to this topic?
  • Can I bridge this topic directly to value that my business can provide?

DO Provide Value

Here’s the thing about trending topics: a lot of people have something to say about them.

That’s why they’re trending.

Your objective in newsjacking is finding a way to offer some new thoughts on the given topic. Something unique.

provide something unique

It can be difficult, particularly if there are already a flood of thoughts out there on the matter. But it comes easiest if a topic comes up that you find yourself passionate about. Chances are if you’re passionate about it, you have some value to offer on that topic.

You know we’re all about value over everything.

With newsjacking, it’s no different.

When you’re writing or speaking about a topic, your goal first and foremost needs to be to provide some sort of value.

DON’T Newsjack Just to be Heard

Look, consistency in producing content is important. And newsjacking may look like a shining opportunity to add to your growing archive of content, but if you’re just doing it to check off a box you’re not going to get the results you want.

Just like with any content you produce, it has to provide value. If your newsjacking just adds to the noise out there, you’re wasting your time and effort.

Plenty of people produce content to get attention. But nobody will be interested in your content if it’s lacking of substance. Give people a reason to read or watch or listen to your newsjacked content.

Ask yourself: Why would people want to read this as opposed to any other thoughts on this trend? What does it offer that other content doesn’t?

DO Captivate People

Some people are reluctant when it comes to newsjacking, particularly if there’s a political element to the given topic. But a lot of times, controversial topics are the ones that really grab people’s attention.

And you want that attention. You want to engage people and get them going. You want that discussion. And sometimes, a little controversy can be good.

You can go to far

As long as you can engage people in a relevant way that makes sense for your brand, that’s good attention.

However, be warned: You can go too far…

DON’T Be So Controversial that you Divide your Audience

Yes, engagement and discussion and attention are all good things.

But if you’re not careful about what you’re writing or saying, you can end up dividing your audience and losing attention.

With political topics especially, you have to be aware that people in your audience have hard set opinions. And if you challenge these opinions too much, your newsjacking efforts will backfire.

Be careful when you’re taking a stance on a certain topic. The more context you provide, the more viewpoints you can write or speak about in relation to the topic, the better your chance of not dividing people.

Or, don’t bring in any viewpoints and just use the topic as a jumping off point to talk about something more relevant to your brand.

So represent as many perspectives as possible, or represent none of them.

Don’t speak to divide, speak to unite around your brand value.

DO Make it Evergreen, If you Can

We talk a lot about evergreen content, and producing value that is useful months or even years into the future—not just right now. That can be difficult with newsjacked content since it’s specifically about a topic or trend that’s happening right now.

But if you can take that topic and create value around it that outlasts the relevancy of that topic, that content will still be useful after everyone’s forgot about the topic.
make evergreen content

That’s a powerful thing—being able to immortalize a topic by providing a context of evergreen value around it.

It’s not an easy thing to do by any means. You can still provide value with newsjacked content without making it evergreen, but it’s far more valuable if you do.

DON’T Wait Too Long to Publish your Content

Trends can be here today and gone tomorrow.

If you’re sitting on some content that you wrote on a particular trending topic and you’re waiting to see if any new information will come out about it, you could lose your window of relevancy.

It’s a tricky thing.

You don’t want to publish too soon and risk your credibility, but you also don’t want to publish too late and miss the relevancy of the trend altogether. That’s the point of newsjacking after all— to ride a brief but strong wave of relevancy.

So how do you know when the time is right to publish? When you feel like the trending topic has developed and you have enough information to provide some real contextual value, it’s time to publish.

The value comes from your brand, not from the topic. So publish it once you can provide real value from your brand!

DO Atomize, Break it Down, and Promote It

You want to get as many eyes on your content as possible while the newsjacked topic is still relevant. So like with any content, you have to optimize it for all your platforms.

If you write an article, you can take a quote from it and put it on top of an image for an Instagram post. You can also tweet that quote.

You can make a video about that article and just talk it out. Or if you do a video first, take notes from your video and turn it into an article.

promote your content while it's still relevant

There are tons of ways to break down your content and make it work for any given platform. But whatever you do, make sure you promote it while it’s still relevant. This is a good opportunity to justify some Facebook ad dollars!

DON’T Just Publish the Content and Move On

You may think after you’ve published your content, atomized it, and promoted it, that you’ve done all you can and it’s time to move onto the next piece of content.

Nope. It’s not over. Just because you’ve put your thoughts out there on the topic or trend doesn’t mean the discussion is over. You have to keep monitoring the discussions and engage with others on the topic.

You have made yourself a part of the conversation on that topic, now you need to engage in the conversation until it dies out to get the most out of that window of relevancy.

Make the most out of your content. Engage with others about it.

Conclusion

Newsjacking can be tricky. You have to be careful, and there’s not always a clear right answer to the what, the how, and the when of newsjacking. It can be hard to decide what trends or topics are relevant to your brand, how you’ll provide value in the context of a given trend or topic, and when to publish that content.

But the good news is that the who, the where, and the why are always clear with newsjacking.

Who you’re writing for is always your buyer persona. Where you’re publishing your content is all of your channels (in the format that makes the most sense for that platform). And why you’re newsjacking should always be to provide some unique value or insight from your brand voice.

One thing is for sure: newsjacking takes practice. The more comfortable you get with it, the better you will understand how to successfully newsjack.

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Content Marketing

Growth Hacking 101: How to Make People Take Action Using ‘Context’

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Growth Hacking 101- How to Make People Take Action Using Context

Guys, it’s no secret: we put out all our best information on The Modern Marketer.

We preach Value Over Everything because we truly believe in providing value above any business agenda. People can be suspicious of that and wonder how the heck we make any money if we’re giving away our value for free.

You may even wonder yourself how creating content could possibly benefit your business or brand.

I get it, it’s different. I come from a sales background and I understand that there’s no point in doing something if it’s not going to be profitable for your business.

And that’s exactly why I’m such a huge advocate for content creation. Not because it makes profit, but because it’s a vehicle for profit. A necessary tool.

I’m about to break down why creating all this content and distributing it for free leads to profitability. It all comes down to context…

Content vs Context

So you probably understand that content carries the ideas that we as business leaders and entrepreneurs stand behind. This is the substance with which we conduct our business.

Whether you’re a service-based business or you sell products, you have to put your best information out there to establish your credibility. But here’s where the difference comes in between content and context.

Your content can be very helpful, inspirational, even game-changing. But what you can’t give away is how that content applies directly into an individual’s life.

You put your best content out there to get people to pay for the context.

You can’t just put your best context out there. It’s impossible. Because context isn’t the same for any two individuals. People want context specific to their lives, for their story. And they will pay to be able to understand how your content is relevant to them.

Your audience has problems, your content has solutions, but they want to know how your solutions will solve their specific problems.

Once you understand that, it becomes a lot easier to identify who your content is for. When you distribute that content on social platforms, the people who reach out to your for that context are your buyer persona. Knowing that buyer persona will reinforce your content strategy.

But know this: while context is what pays the bills, it all starts with content. You simply cannot have context to sell people without first providing the content. Build the credibility, build the connections, then you can sell the context.

you can sell the context

The Best Calls-to-Action = Context

Ultimately when we write content for landing pages, we want people to be persuaded to take some sort of action towards the step of buying, right?

So many marketers publish content about the best words or phrases to use, the best sales copy, the best times to post, the best types of posts— as if there’s some universal answer to creating effective calls-to-action.

But the truth is there is no universal, one-size-fits-all solution for creating effective calls-to-action.

Every single person who will come across your content is an unique individual who is inspired and motivated by different things. Sure, there will be groups of people who are called to action by similar content, but you’ll never find a singular call-to-action to motivate everybody.

So what should you do to drive people to take action?

My advice to you is to treat your calls-to-action as if they’re normal interactions. It’s so easy to forget when we’re writing our content that we’re trying to persuade actual humans to take action.

Awhile back I ran into a guy at the supermarket who asked where I got my hat from (you all know I love my hats). We started chatting right there in the supermarket and ended up deciding to have coffee sometime to talk about entrepreneurship and business.

So we made a call-to-action for each other based on the interaction we just had in the supermarket. If there wasn’t any value there, no relevance— no context —it doesn’t matter which way I would have asked to have coffee because it wouldn’t have happened.

It’s the context that drives the action, and that context is created through connection. Had the guy not connected with me in the supermarket about my hat, there would be no connection, there would be no context.

This is why there’s no singular, universal solution to creating calls-to-action. People are called to action through context, through making an unique connection to your content.

people are called to action through context

Since there’s no way to create individual connections with every single person that fits your buyer persona, you have to constantly split test and refine your landing page content. 95% of my clients have extremely high clickthrough rates and conversions because I’m always split testing and refining.

It’s a process.

But there are plenty of tools out there to help you find what yields the best response from your audiences…

  • Unbounce – a landing page creation service with overlays that feature specifically targeted calls-to-action
  • Hotjar – a program that uses heat maps to visually represent users clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior, allowing you to understand what users want and care about on a page
  • Crazy Egg – similar to Hotjar, a program that uses heat maps to show user activity, and additionally shows where the users come from and what they click the most
  • ClickFunnels – a sales funnel creation service that streamlines the sales process online for users

It’s all about testing and adjusting until you can find the calls-to-action that resonate strongest with your audiences. Context is key.

Start thinking about your calls-to-action as attempts to make connections with people, rather than pushing someone to buy. Be patient with the process. Testing and refining your content takes time.

Doing Your Job AND Creating Content

So at this point you probably understand the important role that content plays in driving sales. It is a catalyst for context, an enzyme for connection.

Without content out there, you don’t have an out-stretched hand for a buyer to grab onto and make that connection. You don’t have that same opportunity to sell.

But how do you make the time to create content while doing your job? Growing your business means creating and distributing content, but how do you do that and serve your clients?

First you have to understand that creating content for content’s sake is not going to be helpful to you. You have to know why you’re creating content in the first place.

So before you begin to write, or record, or design, or edit, you have to be in the mindset of where you’re going rather than where you are. That’s an important piece of the puzzle.

There’s been many times where I’ve started to create content then stopped because I lost sight of why I was creating the content at all. It’s disheartening to get stuck like that, but it’s even more disheartening to put time and energy into creating content only for it to not be engaged with.

If you don’t know why you’re creating your content, if you don’t know the purpose behind it, your audience won’t know either.

I want to get to the point where 80% or more of my income is coming from writing and speaking. For me to do that, focusing on clients, to-do lists, working with employees and subcontractors, and expecting any result other than growing a client base is very naive.

The only way to grow your business from content creation is by intentionally scheduling time to make those things happen. There are times I will not accept new business, not have sales meetings, and not have execution time for clients, because I know I need to create content to get to where I’m going.

intentionally schedule time for content creation

The only way you’ll have time for both your job and creating content is by making the time.

But it doesn’t have to be as tedious as you might think. You don’t always have to create content from the ground up because already have content from your interactions with people.

Repurpose your interactions. As a marketer and a consultant, I’m always having interactions with people— casual conversations, email exchanges, strategizing, phone calls, etc. 95% of my posts are from interactions that I’ve had, repurposed to fit the context of the platform.

Skim through your emails. Look through your texts. Flip through your journal. You have content there already, you just need to put it all together.

Conclusion

On the surface level, creating content may seem futile. But once you begin to understand that content is the foundation on which to not only build your business but make connections with people, the benefit becomes more clear.

Always be forward-thinking with your content and remember that your content should always be evolving to produce unique contexts for each of the people it resonates with. You can put all your best information out there, because people will come to you for the context.

That context, the connection, is what will sell. Not your product, not your service, but the context you can build from connection.

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Marketing Strategy

4 Social Media Mindsets to Ditch in 2018

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4 social media mindsets to ditch in 2018

Content marketing is great. It gets your voice out there and demonstrates your authority and capacity for thought leadership in a given industry.

But the truth is that your content marketing means nothing if that content never makes an impact on people.

In this day and age, we can’t simply rely on Google to organically get our content in front of people. There are just too many players in the game for your content to be able to stand out. And at this point, even paying Google to get our content out there is highly competitive.

So what can we do?

Well, we have to get creative about distributing our content, and mechanically promoting it on social media isn’t enough. Treating social media as a means to an end is as about as useful as putting your car on cruise control but letting go of the steering wheel.

In order to get the most out of social media for your business, you must treat it as a culture to contribute to rather than a tool to get what you want out of it.

1. Social Distribution is About Native Value, Not Leveraging

Think about scrolling through your social media accounts. How often do you intentionally click on something to leave the platform you’re on and go to a completely different app or website? I bet it’s not very often.

So if you really want your target market to interact with your content, why would you try to leverage them off the platform?

According to a statistic by Social Media Today, an average person spends a total of 5 years and 4 months of their lifetime on social media— compared to only 3 years and 5 months of their lifetime eating and drinking.

Time spent on social media

If people spend more of their time on social, we marketers should be trying to capture that attention native to those social platforms rather than trying to take the attention away. People won’t go out of their way just to consume your content.

That’s why it’s imperative for you to change the way you think social media plays a role in your business, and start creating forward-facing content. In other words, you need to create content that doesn’t require any navigation away from a platform to consume.

We’re now in a realm of marketing where when you want to consume something, you’re going to a place where you can consume it without being disrupted. For example, if you’re scrolling through Facebook and want to watch a video, you don’t have to leave Facebook in order to watch it. It all happens right there.

Consider how you can make your content more forward-facing and consumable. If you find yourself using the phrase “go check out my _____” to promote your content and it requires the user to leave the platform, your content is not native enough.

So how do you know where to create native content?

2. The Right Social Platforms for you are Based on your Business Objectives, Not Trends

As I mentioned in my article about the Power 120 when it comes to social media marketing you just can’t use every single platform. You can’t just spray your content across multiple platforms and expect that to work.

In order to truly harness the attention that’s on social media, you need to invest deeply into one or two platforms.

We all know that in this digital era, audio and video are the most engaging media you can use. So no matter what your business objectives are, the execution of that objective should involve engaging people with interactive media.

Therefore the ideal platforms to choose are the ones that have the ability to use the most native interactive media. There are two platforms in 2018 that do this well: Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook has more than just textual posts— it has photos, videos, live video, gifs, and now it even has Facebook stories. Instagram has all those same features with a format that’s even more dedicated to visuals. Both platforms have so much potential value to offer simply for how interactive they are.

If a platform cannot support that level of value, it’s not right for you. YouTube, for example, is great but it has major limitations— it only does video. Pinterest is cool too, but it’s only really a catalog of ideas rather than an interactive platform.

At the end of the day, you need to be intentionally offering value where the attention is and sticking with it. Period.

offer value on social media

The great thing about being consistent and going deep on a platform is that it frees up your ability to create without any expectation of leverage. Because the second you think you need to leverage a call-to-action, the second it’s going to bottleneck your ability to distribute content.

Make it your mission to master the one or two platforms you’re on first, using all of the features and really getting creative with your content. Then and only then you can reverse engineer back to leveraging calls-to-action.

3. Social Distribution is About Positioning your Content, not About Reach

Inbound marketing experts have a tendency to make social media marketing seem like a strategy for making your brand voice louder. But everyone and their mothers (literally) are on social media now— so if you’re on it just to make your voice louder, it’s going to get lost in a lot of noise.

Social distribution is not a matter of numbers. It’s not about how many people you can reach, how many likes you get, or how many views you can rack up. It’s a matter of strategy and positioning your voice where it’s actually getting consumed.  

Social platforms are the same as any other marketing platform out there. Just like the traditional platforms— TV, radio, print —you can’t just put your message up there and expect to get customers when there are thousands of other brands out there just like yours.

You have to make your brand stand out for your content to be consumed.

So get creative on how you present your content. Find ways to position it that hasn’t been done before.

The Modern Marketer has found a way to do this by essentially turning our Instagram into a digital magazine. Our profile looks like a magazine with photosets of 3, 6, 9, or sometimes 12 making up a larger image, but when you click on each individual image it offers a post with value relevant to the image in the text.

Think about how you can position your brand and your voice in a unique way on your social platform. In the end, that uniqueness is what will cause your content to have impact— not how many people you can reach.

4. Creating a Culture of Value Will Prevent You from Being Disruptive

Of course, the entire reason for using social media as a business is so that you can ultimately access more customers.

But how do you avoid being disruptive when you’re trying to promote your products or services?

There’s no perfect balance between providing value and promoting products or services. There’s not some formula that will prevent you from ever being considered disruptive on social media.

However, if you have good intentions and create a precedent for always providing some value when you finally do ask for something from your audience it’s not going to be seen as disruptive. It comes down to providing enough value that people feel nurtured enough into engaging with your calls-to-action.

One specific way of doing this is tailoring your content for specific platforms. If you have a blog post, for example, that you feel is really valuable and want to promote it on your Instagram account. Instead of posting about it and telling people to go visit the link in your bio, post an image with a quote from the article and some further explanation in the text.

Repurpose your content.

Nurturing your audience native to the platform that they’re on is what will win them over in your calls-to-action. So be sure to upcycle, atomize, and repurpose the content that you already have to make the most out of it on the platforms you use.

nurture your audience on social media

Conclusion

Social distribution may seem like a logical and analytical concept, but if your mind is on distributing content for the sake of numbers you will not find success in social media marketing. Instead, your social distribution efforts need to revolve around the platforms that you’re using.

Create native and intentional content that people don’t have to go out of their way to interact with. The more you nurture your audience with value where their attention already is, the more willing they will be to buy from you.

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