Mon, 26 January 2015
To a large extent, blogs are living, breathing things. They're a place for you to record the day-in-the-life of your brand, to explore new possibilities and take the occasional look back to see how far you've come.
This is precisely what makes your blog the primary place where brand loyalty is fostered. Your posts allow your audience to come along with you and experience the development of your brand as it happens.
Ideally, your blog is your audience's closest connection to you. That's why it's a good idea to step back now and then to reexamine your blog. Even if you've had a blog for a long time and your subscriber numbers are strong, it's always a good idea to find ways to breathe new life into it.
Don't worry--I'm not talking about a whole new site redesign. There are lots of simple, no-cost ways to tweak, amplify and expand your blog's potential, making it more valuable for subscribers to read...and more streamlined and effective for you to use.
To help us really understand what launches a blog from good to great, I've invited master blogger, Mike Stelzner, to share his insights and tips.
If you don’t know Mike Stelzner yet, he’s the founder of Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest social media magazine, and the host of the top-rated podcast “Social Media Marketing.” Mike and I go way back—he offered me my first paid gig when leaving my corporate job.
That feels like a lifetime ago, but in reality, it was just a few shorts years ago! You’ll also learn about a really cool way to make sure that all of your blog posts look fantastic when they are shared on Facebook.
This is SO CRUCIAL to attracting new visitors to your blog! To learn how to make this happen, click here to access the special quick guide.
Get the Quick Guide: "How to Easily Set Up Open Graph and Make All Your Posts On Facebook Look Outstanding"
Mike is a goldmine of insight on creating a successful blog. Here are just a few of the things we talked about in my recent podcast episode:
Social Media Examiner churns out huge amounts of quality content in the form of long, newsy blog posts…every single week! How do they choose what to blog about?
⇒ Run smart surveys
As of my conversation with Mike, Social Media Examiner was producing their 2015 survey to find out how marketers are using social media to grow their businesses. It’s coming out soon!
You'll learn about trends in mobile optimization and social integration, which content categories and social platforms to prioritize, and what to expect from the future of social media marketing. (If you can’t wait until the 2015 one comes out to see what one of these surveys looks like, click here to see the 2014 version.) The data collected in these surveys is used to decide what their audience wants more of as they design their editorial calendar for the year. This narrows down the field considerably to topics that will instantly catch on with their readers.
There’s still a lot of brainstorming to be done, but it’s focused within certain categories that are important to the Social Media Examiner audience.
⇒ Reach out to great writers
Make it worth their while. A lot of talented writers contribute to Social Media Examiner in exchange for their huge number of page clicks. Find out what exposure on your site can offer your writers, and start sending out feelers. If you find a couple of truly standout writers, snap them up—put them on retainer or hire them for specific blogging projects. When you can marry great content to an engaging, authentic voice, you’ve got blogging gold.
⇒ Pay attention to what your audience likes
Facebook shares and “likes,” retweets and comments are important, but they aren’t always the most important. In their first couple years, Social Media Examiner would take their cues on content from the number of tweets and page views any given post received.
If an article got a lot of Twitter play, for example, they would write more articles on that topic. But then they realized that page views weren’t their goal; their method of monetizing had to do with growing their email newsletter list. After tracking conversions, they started to see patterns in what brought in paying leads. Those became their new guidelines for what kind of content to produce and where to channel it. Don’t miss out on more of Mike’s priceless advice for optimizing your blog—click here to listen to Episode 44 for the full interview.
Don't Be Afraid of Sending Too Many Emails
Social Media Examiner is famous—some might say “notorious”—for emailing their list every single day. Here’s what Mike had to say about all those emails:
⇒ Consider the end game
Statistically, most people come to your blog once and never come back. By getting them on your email newsletter, you have a chance to lure them back over and over. The daily email from Social Media Examiner teases subscribers with their great content—little 70-word blurbs that include the day’s articles and lures them back to the website.
⇒ Use FOMO to your advantage
Daily emails are an implied brag, i.e. if Social Media Examiner has something to email about every day, they must have a lot going on! It creates FOMO (fear of missing out) in the subscriber—they want to stay up to date—which gets those emails opened.
⇒ Give your followers something to share
Everybody wants something cool to share with their friends and followers. If you produce a lot of content, your audience will always have something to share online—“Check out this cool article I read on Social Media Examiner.” Even if they never buy a product that you have to sell they become evangelists for your brand, offering the most powerful kind of advertising: word of mouth. Recently, all those great blogs have parlayed into the Social Media Examiner Show, a podcast that comes out four times weekly and repurposes longer articles into abridged versions delivered through audio. An entirely different editorial staff handles these audio episodes, as opposed to the written ones. Obviously, it takes really rich content to be repurposed in so many ways. If you don’t have the budget or the time to manage a big editorial staff, here are Mike’s top two priorities for soliciting help in creating content that can be mined for multiple uses:
⇒ Copy editor
The most important step is making sure your content is pitch perfect—you can’t have misspellings, punctuation errors or awkward, clunky, repetitive phrases. No matter how great an authority you are on your topic, misuse of the English language will undermine your readers’ respect for what you have to say. When I asked Mike which was the single most important blogging-related hire to add to your team, he answered without hesitation "A copy editor."
⇒ Graphic designer
First impressions are a big deal, when it comes to content getting shared. You want something that looks beautiful wherever someone shares it—a Twitter Card, for example, is a lot more visible than a simple tweet, even one with an attached image. An Open Graph-optimized image for Facebook and Twitter will get your content optimum play on social media. Open Graph data is how Facebook decides what image to post in your feed; you can determine it yourself, instead of letting Facebook (or whoever is posting the link to your content) decide for you. One image with eye-catching typography and white space left in the right areas will draw an audience’s roving eye and get your content opened. Download our free quick guide that walks you through the process of setting up Open Graph. This free download is extremely valuable to attract even more traffic to your blog!
Tracking Your Traffic
You probably already know that Google Analytics will tell you what percentage of your traffic is coming from Facebook and Twitter and so on. But by using UTM tracking codes—a little extended code that goes on the end of your URL and compressing that with bit.ly—you can assign campaign-level triggers to any particular thing you do. It works like a homing device to see where your posts end up and which ones are getting the most traffic. This allows us to segment what percentage of our social traffic is coming from our own sharing versus other people out there sharing on their own.
You can listen to the entire podcast and get all of Mike's valuable insights on how to make your blog better than ever. Just click here to go to iTunes and choose Episode 44. And don't forget to download the quick guide that we created to help you set up Open Graph--an easy way to make sure your Facebook posts look outstanding and consistent.
Get the Quick Guide: "How to Easily Set Up Open Graph and Make All Your Posts On Facebook Look Outstanding"
Don’t miss Mike speaking at Social Media Marketing World, an annual event held right here in San Diego, California. It’s the place to be if you want to rub shoulders with people just like you who are trying to figure out social media marketing. If you can’t attend this March event, make sure to download the recordings from the more than 100 sessions being offered.
Mon, 19 January 2015
How many times has this happened to you? You’ve spent hours composing the perfect email to showcase your content, you’ve carefully segmented your list to a specific audience, you’ve queued it up to send at the optimal time…and a week later, your analytics reveal a dismal click-to-open rate. Ouch!
It’s frustrating and discouraging, the kind of thing that can make you second-guess everything you know about online marketing. But it could be that the only thing holding back your campaign’s potential is the email subject line.
Don’t underestimate the power of this one simple sentence. As I’ve mentioned in the past, email marketing is the most effective means of online marketing. The gateway to that email—the first thing your customers see—is your subject line.
It has to contain hints of everything your email has to offer—the specificity of your product, the authenticity of your brand, the urgency of your offer. It has to convey not only your knowledge and authority, but also your personal empathy for your audience’s needs. Tall order, right?
Fortunately, crafting an enticing subject line is not rocket science. The best subject lines can be broken down into five basic strategies, each built along a simple formula.
Strategy #1: Focus on the Benefit
⇒ Example: "See How Easily You Can Learn to Paint"
⇒ Formula: See How Easily You Can Learn to [insert topic you are going to teach]
Strategy #2: Be Specific
Here’s an example of a highly specific subject line:
⇒ Example: “What Every Accountant Ought to Know About New Tax Laws”
⇒ Formula: What Every [identify your target audience] Ought to Know About [something specific you will teach them]
Strategy #3: Get Relevant
⇒ Example: “Feeling out of control? Your Guide to Family, Food and the Holidays.” ⇒ Formula: [Bring up something--a feeling, situation or new development your customer is interested in] This [your content] can help you with [upcoming event, season or timeframe].
Strategy #4: Make It Personal
Here’s an example of using highly personal connection: ⇒ Example: “How I finally stopped skipping my workouts.” ⇒ Formula: How I [action] [something your audience wants too]
Strategy #5: Call Out a Problem
⇒ Example: “Here's How Goal-Setting Can Hurt Your Business” ⇒ Formula: Here's How [fill in the blank] Can Hurt Your [fill in the blank]
Don’t forget—you can listen to the entire podcast and get the full details on how to craft subject lines that get your emails opened! Just click here to go to iTunes and choose Episode 43.
In addition, I have even more formulas and examples outlined for you in a cheat sheet I created for this episode. You can download it for free right now by going to amyporterfield.com/43download, or you can text 43download to 38470 and I’ll send it to you right away.
Get the 10 Highly Effective, Irresistible Subject Line Formulas
There’s definitely an art to crafting irresistible email subject lines. And as with any art, practice makes perfect. Try crafting at least five subject lines each day to feel out the different approaches and find what works for you. Then pick the best one to perfect for your email that week.
Daily practice will give you the confidence to not only write your marketing emails faster, but will serve to ground you in the knowledge that you have something valuable to offer the world.
Thu, 15 January 2015
On this episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast, we are going to dive into a new way of goal-setting and business planning.
Now if you follow my content, you already know that I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to planning for the New Year.
I love it! I love new beginnings. I love looking back on the year, examining what worked and what did not work and then building something new or improved from there. I am going to cover 3 Lessons from this year that I am taking into the New Year. Some of them were easy lessons to learn, some not so easy.
So let’s go ahead and dive in!
Lesson #1: If you don’t build in the margin now, you will struggle to find it all year.
Margin is all about finding time to breath, to be creative, and taking time away from the computer to recharge. Margin allows you to be better when you return and dive into your big projects. Finding margin is easier said than done and in this episode we are going to talk about ways to make it actually happen! In this lesson I will also share with you how you can use an at-a-glance wall calendar to see the pockets of margin in advance.
Lesson #2: Build a team around your core skills.
We all know that building a team is crucial for longterm success. In this lesson I suggest a different way to approach your next hiring decision - one that will help you do more of what you love. Building your team is one of the most important steps you may take in the new year - this lesson will help you do it better.
Lesson #3: Add some soul to your goal-setting experience.
I realized that goals without the "why" are empty promises, meaningless in fact. They can quickly deplete your energy, make you feel unproductive, create massive overwhelm and suck the creativity right out of you. Who wants to feel like that? In 2015, I am changing things up - I am approaching this whole goal-setting thing differently and starting with the WHY.
These 3 lessons are exactly why I am so passionate about helping you change your goal-setting experience. I want your new goals to move you forward, invite in new opportunities and make you feel fully alive. In my journey to a more meaningful goal-setting experience, I was introduced to Michael Hyatt’s goal setting philosophy.
He also believes in starting with the WHY, getting to the root of what we really want and focusing on what matters most.
Right now and for the next week or so, Michael will be releasing a video series on goal-setting - it’s totally free and 100% aligned with creating a more powerful goal-setting experience.
I encourage you to check it out! He put a lot of effort and time in this series and it shows. It’s quality stuff.
You can check out his free goal setting trainings at www.AmyPorterfield.com/Goals but only for a very short time, so don’t wait to check it out!
The three lessons I learned this year that you too can apply to your planning process as you get ready for the new year.
#1: Build margin into your year IN ADVANCE. Don’t wait to find
#2: Get strategic about your hiring plans and build a team around
#3: Create goals with more meaning. Specifically, identify the
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast-Goal_Setting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:09pm PDT
Wed, 14 January 2015
When it comes to online marketing, most people are overlooking their number-one biggest asset.
Social media activity, off-site ads, and all other tricks are a drop in the bucket compared to the power of the email list. You may have heard me say it a million times on this site, but I’ll say it again here: the energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list.
But don’t just take my word for it.
These guys are heavyweights in the online marketing world; each of them has a subscriber list numbering well over 100,000. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that a list in the hundreds, or even thousands, makes your email marketing strategy less important.
No matter what your subscriber numbers are, your email list is one of the most valuable assets you have in the quest to help your business thrive. When you really understand the value of that list, you’ll be more than happy to invest your time, energy and budget to help that list thrive.
In this blog post, I’m going to highlight three foundational strategies for growing your email list. Once you implement these strategies, you’re well on your way to creating smart marketing funnels that will put your list-building efforts on warp speed, as well as lead to increased revenue from each email you send out.
The Main Thing: Quality over Quantity
When my good friend David Siteman Garland (of The Rise to the Top) started out, he had an email subscriber list of just 500 people. In those early days, he did a small product launch and generated $19,800 on the strength of that list.
These days, David’s email list is much larger. What hasn’t changed is the incredible loyalty of those subscribers. Whenever I do any kind of affiliation with David, I’m astonished at the way his list gravitates immediately toward any email he puts out.
It’s all because he started with a focus on list quality.
David never fails to infuse his emails with his authentic personality. He is genuine, super funny, and a little bit quirky…all reasons why his subscribers love him and keep coming back for more.
David is a prime example of my first strategy for growing your email list.
Strategy #1: Build Remarkable Content
This means more than simply content that people want to share. Remarkable means truly leaving your mark by ensuring that you’ve niched your business well.
When you direct your communication in general terms toward anyone who might be listening, no one feels like you are talking to them. The key is talking to a very specific audience about a very specific message.
When it comes to content, niching yourself can make all the difference between great and remarkable.
The difference starts with how it affects you, the content creator. The people that get very specific with their message tend to get much more excited about their business, because they know exactly what they’re doing and who they’re trying to reach. Creating the content stops being a chore, and starts to simply flow out of them.
A message that tries too hard to fit too many different types of people is not only less rich, it’s just not as exciting to create.
In contrast, niching your business empowers you to send an extremely powerful message. This is what attracts the people who are going to stay with you. Those are the subscribers who constitute a quality list.
Let Your Personality Shine
To build a loyal following that eats up everything you putting out there, make sure that you bring your personality to every email.
If you are silly, bring that to your emails.
If you’re really witty, make sure that shines through.
All of those little quirks that make you unique should shine through in your email content. Use stories—especially your own—as much as you can. And when you’ve done a good job of niching yourself, your target audience will instantly see themselves in your stories.
This is what remarkable content is made of. It’s what speaks to your audience in a genuine, heartfelt way. It’s what makes them excited to open your emails.
Strategy #2: Understand the Opportunities and Limitations of Your Email Service Provider
Your “email service provider” is the company you use to send out your bulk emails, as well as manage all of your new opt-ins and leads. Some of the most popular options are AWeber, MailChimp, and Infusionsoft…but there many, many others out there.
Before getting into the specifics of this strategy, here’s a little pop quiz to see how well you know your own email service provider.
(Don’t worry—if you fail, no one’s even going to know.)
Pop Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Email Service Provider?
If you just aced that test, bravo. But if you didn’t, don’t worry—you’re not alone.
A lot of people sign up for mass email services but never take the time to learn how they work. Invariably, these people get held up in the process every time they try to email their list. It becomes such a negative experience that, over time, they start finding reasons not to email their list. Or they simply rely on sending out the same newsletter template over and over.
Being limited in your understanding of how your provider works means stifling not just your creativity, but also your ability to make money. If you're happy with your email service provider, but you don’t know the ins and outs, it's time to make some time for it. If you’ve been thinking you needed to upgrade your provider, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you can do a whole lot more than you realized.
Many providers have great tutorial videos. A lot of them also have Facebook groups where you can ask questions and learn from other users. And if you have an idea in mind that you want to try, but can’t figure it out on your own, take advantage of the provider support desk. Get on the phone with them and tell them exactly what you’re trying to do.
Bottom line: the more educated you are about how your email service provider works, the more innovative and strategic ways you’ll come up with to market your business.
To help you with this, I’m offering a special free download—a cheat sheet that shows the opportunities and limitations of some of the most popular email service providers. You can download it for free by clicking here. Or simply text 42download to 38470 and I’ll send you that cheat sheet right away.
Get the Top Email Service Providers: Pros and Cons
Strategy #3: Create Multiple Lead Opportunities
This third strategy has two parts to consider:
1) Creating Multiple Lead Magnets
In my opinion, everybody with an online business should have at least three lead magnets running at any given time. No matter how niched your audience is, you’re going to appeal to more people within that niche if you offer a diverse array of valuables.
Some people prefer a webinar.
Others just want a cheat sheet PDF.
Still others want a full-on report that walks them step-by-step through an important process.
We all respond to different modalities. That’s why it’s important that you provide multiple opportunities for your target audience.
You can even create multiple lead magnets out of the same content—make a webinar, a PDF and a video out of the same material. Or you can create unique lead magnets for each topic. Experiment with different approaches to find what works best for your business. The results will tell you a lot about your audience.
In addition, once you start to use your email service provider to its full potential, you can track and tag your various leads to see where they’ve come from. This is really valuable because it lets you see which platform (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or others) is converting the most leads for you, as well as which individual lead is converting the best.
Never forget that the point of having a lead magnet is to lead your new prospect into becoming a paying customer. Therefore, you must create lead magnets with your profit path in mind.
It’s okay if you’re not ready to launch a program or product just yet. Even if you’re in a place in your business where you’re just building up your online presence, it’s still extremely important that you create your lead magnet to start building your list.
If you are ready to sell, think about your end game. Is your lead magnet aligned with what you plan to sell? What does you idea audience need to understand, be aware of, or believe in order to want or need your product, program, or service? Design your lead magnet content to ensure that your audience truly understands the value of your offer.
Where most people fail with a lead magnet is creating it with the idea of only offering immense value. That’s important, but it’s not the only thing to focus on. A well-designed lead magnet not only offers value, but also leads your prospect to a buying decision.
Let’s say you are a health and fitness coach, and your business is all about helping people lose weight. If your paid program is a ten-day meal plan to detox from sugar, a great lead magnet might be “Ten tips to beat sugar cravings.” The two are aligned with each other; with a lead magnet like that, you’re going to attract the perfect audience that would be genuinely interested in what you have to sell.
2) Placement of Your Opt-In Form
There are six places where you must create opt-in opportunities for your audience:
#1: A Feature Box
Feature boxes work like gangbusters. Splashed right across the header of your website, they are a great representation of your brand from the moment someone lands on your home page. (You can see mine at amyporterfield.com.)
#2: The Sidebar
Everyone is familiar with this one—the right column of a website is where people expect to find the links they need to navigate your website. You definitely want an opt-in opportunity here.
#3: Inside Your Blog Content
It just makes sense to have a link to your free valuable content in the midst of your primary content. By hyperlinking a word or phrase, readers can click to make a box appear that allows them to receive your free giveaway by entering their name and email. This is where I use Lead Pages—it has a feature called Lead Boxes that allows you to do exactly that.
#4: The End of a Blog Post
A reader who has followed your blog post to the very end is a hot lead for you. So create an opportunity with an opt-in box at the end of a post where they can sign up to receive even more value.
#5: The Pop-Up Box
If you just cringed when I said that, stay with me. Pop-up boxes definitely get a lot of bad press. But the fact remains that they are extremely effective.
Between January 2011 and January 2013, Social Media Examiner grew their email list by 375% to over 190,000 readers. Founder Mike Stelzner attributes nearly 70% of that growth to the site’s pop-up box.
Here’s a contrasting example from renowned blogger and author Chris Penn. After he took his pop-up box down from his website, he said his subscriptions “fell off a cliff.” Within weeks, he started running a new series of pop-up boxes and saw an increase in his opt-ins.
Pop-up boxes definitely work, especially if you are cultivating a quality audience. I promise, if your audience really feels loyal to you, they are not going to be annoyed by it.
Pop-ups are infinitely customizable these days. You can design them to look the way you want and appear only when you want them to. (One of my favorite tools to customize pop-up boxes is optinmonster.com.) I like to have them appear within minutes of someone being on the site, but not appear again until 15 or 30 views later. You can also make sure they are mobile friendly—in other words, that people viewing your site on their smartphones can make the pop-up box go away, if they want to.
#6: Your “About” Page
You might be surprised to hear that your About page is one of the most popular pages on your site. So if you’re not including a few email sign-up opportunities on your About page, you are likely losing some great traffic. Again, Lead Boxes is a great option for embedding an opt-in opportunity inside your About page text.
You might be thinking that’s a lot of places to incorporate an opt-in box on your website. But it all comes back to being appropriately aggressive in building your list. Don’t think you’re bothering somebody with an opt-in box. If your content is remarkable, and you’ve built a quality audience that is eager to hear from you, then they will be eager to sign up as well. If they’ve already signed up, they will just ignore the opt-in opportunities.
It’s a good idea to mix up your lead magnets and opt-ins throughout those different placements. For example, on my feature box across the top of my website, I have a free mini series about social media and list building. But inside my About page, I will have a PDF of all of the tools I use online. Then in the right sidebar I have an opportunity to sign up for a webinar.
This is not something you can do overnight. It takes a little bit of time to build up your lead magnet opportunities. But it’s definitely worth the effort.
Three online marketing strategies to help build your email list:
And always focus on quality, and the quantity will follow.