5 Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies That You Should Implement In 2017

There was a time when social media was seen as a passing fad by many. It was being used by kids and businesses didn’t see any real benefits from it.

However, the skeptics turned out to be wrong with the passage of time.

We don’t need to tell how big social media is.

The sector has grown rapidly than the internet itself.

Since opening their doors on September 26, 2006, Facebook crossed 1.94 billion monthly active users as of March 2017.

Currently, there are 3 billion internet users and around 2 billion of them are active on social media.

Approximately seven out of ten people in the US use social media to connect with one another, share information, engage and also to entertain themselves.

You can check out a recent compilation of the latest social media stats of consumer adoption and usage by Smart Insights.

 

Needless to say, if you’re not using social media to market your business, you’ll have to learn it or face the risk of losing it in the long run.

Still not convinced?

Here are some things social media can do for your business:

  • Tell prospects about your services and goods
  • Promote your business and brand
  • Attract new customers
  • Get customer feedback
  • Foster relationships with your customer base

 

Now without further emphasizing on the importance of social media, let’s see how you can leverage on this sector to grow your business this 2017 right from scratch.

5 Social Media Marketing Strategies That You Should Follow Now

  1. Set Your Goals And Objectives

The first step of any successful social media marketing strategy involves establishing your goals and objectives. Moving forward without really knowing what you want can be the perfect recipe for disaster.

Closely peruse your company’s overall requirements and find out how you can use social media to your advantage.

You may come up with many personalized goals; however, there are some common elements that you need to include in your strategy.

These include increasing brand awareness, finding prospects, retaining old customers and trimming marketing expenses.

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Source: Shutterstock

It’s best to focus on two primary goals and two secondary goals. Refrain from having too many goals as it can distract you from achieving none.

Along with goals, you need to have specific parameters in mind that define your goals clearly. For instance, if your primary goal is to generate leads and sales, you need to figure out the number of leads and sales you require even before the goal becomes a success.

An easy way to determine your objectives is to adopt the S-M-A-R-T approach. Your objectives have to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

In the example above, if your goal is to generate leads and sales, have a specific marketing objective. You may want to boost your leads by 50%.

Remember to choose objectives that you can achieve.

  1. Create A Brand And Remain Consistent Across Every Social Channel You Use

What’s your feeling when you find different descriptions of the same business on various social networks?

You’d certainly get confused and reluctant to get involved with such a business.

Humans love consistency, and if your social media profiles remain consistent across various channels, you’ll build positive relations with your visitors. They’ll know what to expect irrespective of the social network.

It’s been seen that 60% of internet users in the US expect consistency when dealing with online stores.

It’s best to use the same professional picture on your social networks and even on your blogs.

But that’s not all since your profile picture is just the beginning. Consistency has to come with your brand’s color, imagery, voice and overall outlook. Try to express your brand’s value and remain consistent and authentic in your communication across all your social networks.

Here are four aspects you need to ponder on when deciding on your brand’s voice.

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Source:socialmediaexplorer.com

After you nail down these aspects, all your conversations on social channels will flow smoothly.

The result………

Your audience will not only connect with you but eagerly wait for your updates.

Personal, casual, witty and funny conversational language work well on social channels too.

Mark Manson, for instance, gives a raw, personal and funny tone to social media as shown below.

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You may love to read Buffer’s voice and tone guide, which they religiously stick to in all their communications.

 

  1. Automate Like A Ninja

Find engaging third-party content pieces and share them on your social channels. Let the engagements come in. Next, drop your promotional product updates.

Automating repetitive tasks can free a lot of time, which can be used to work on other high-level marketing strategies.

However, simply pushing out content will not give you 100% benefits of your social media marketing efforts.

Envision yourself meeting a person for the first time. What would be your reaction if the person simply shoves a sales pitch in your face? And what about a person who continuously blabbers about the great things he can do?

You’ll immediately have a bad impression about that person and maybe avoid him next time.

The same thing happens on social media. You can share your updates and blog posts, but always ask for feedbacks and encourage people to discuss more on your posts.

And yes, don’t forget to entertain them.

It’s also a great idea to share pictures from your daily life or special events.

If you are a company, you can share pictures of your employees.

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Whenever possible, open up and show your real side to your audience.

  1. Create A Content Calendar And Post Frequently

After creating your Facebook page, you invite a couple of friends and other followers from different social media sites to like your page.

Then, you vanish for a month. This is a normal activity for new businesses on social media. However, if you want to get great results from your social media marketing strategy and build a lasting relationship with your audience, you have to post on a regular basis.

Build a content calendar and prioritize posting engaging and interesting content.

HubSpot’s Social Media Content Calendar Template can easily help you plan your content.

Here’s a simple schedule you can follow in your initial days.

  • LinkdedIn: Once per week
  • Instagram: Once per day
  • Twitter: Three times a day
  • Facebook: A handful of updates per day but don’t overdo.

The timely post made by Oreo, during the Super Bowl, earned them millions of followers and helped in creating a robust brand.

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An interesting thing to note is that they had planned for this tweet 18 months before.

  1. Research Your Competitors

Researching your competitors not only apprises you of their activity but also helps you to integrate their tactics into your own social media marketing efforts.

Create a list of at least 5 major competitors. Find out the social sites they use and study their content strategy. Look at their posting frequency and the number of fans and followers. Also, examine the type of content they post and its context (humorous, promotional etc) and the way they respond to their readers.

This will give you a clear idea on how you stack up against each other. It’ll also help you revise your goals, objectives and marketing strategies.

There’s No Such Thing As A Totally Free Lunch

According to Amy Vernon, co-founder of Predictable.ly, any effort on social media marketing takes time and that’s where the budget issue creeps in. She says that if you lack funds but have enough time, you should do the work yourself. However, if there are time constraints, hire someone to get the job done, she further adds. The assumption that creating a social media account is absolutely free and doesn’t cost you a dime is a myth.

Final Thoughts

Social media marketing is a terrific way to build your brand. People socialize every day on the internet and are eager to discover new brands. You just have to put in a lot of sweat and remain consistent. However, the benefits you reap will be worth your time.

What are your experiences of creating a brand using social media marketing?

 

 

New to SEO? Here’s How to Amp Up Your Link Building Game to Improve Your Search Rankings

New to SEO- Here's How to Amp Up Your Link Building Game to Improve Your Search Rankings

Looking to open your business to the online world? SEO is the way to do it. With 93% of online experiences beginning on a search engine, getting your website and its content on the first page for your keywords will get your business noticed by your dream customers. By making yourself visible to your prospective client that is searching for things related to you, you are advertising your business without having to shout out about yourself. No one likes cold callers, right?

Some of you may already have a bit of knowledge of link building, but for the most of you, you’re looking for 5* information that’ll put you on the right path. What’s certain is that taking the time to create and carry out a link building strategy is the best way to zoom ahead of your competitors in the search results. In this blog post we are going to explain what ‘link building’ is, how it will help you reach out to your target audience and most importantly – tell you all about the best link building strategies that’ll get you seen and get people talking about you.

First, let’s discuss why you need to build links to your website.

Link building is now considered an art. Gone with days where black hat spammy SEO methods got you to the first page of Google. Google’s got clever. Bots now crawl the worldwide web to identify what websites are linking to you, whether they’re relevant to your website and whether they’re websites are trusted. A high quality link will:

  • Direct people onto your website straight from the link on the other website.
  • Improve your Domain Authority – in non-technical terms, the more quality Domain Authority websites that link to your site, Google will improve your Domain Authority and get you seen in the search results of your chosen keywords.
  • The anchor text (one of your chosen keywords) that is hyperlinked on the website linking to your site will give Google an indication of the topic/industry of your site and in return, improve your rankings for that keyword and increase your chances of getting those all-important page 1 results.

Here’s What You Need to ‘Link’

You Can Build Links Using Your URL

You can build links by simply pointing to your URL for example, www.purelysocialmedia.com. By building links this way, you’ll be working towards improving your overall domain authority which’ll increase all of your other web page authority.

Or, You Can Build Links Using Your Keywords

Before starting your link building campaign, you need to strategize what keywords you’d like to rank for. If you haven’t yet identified your keywords, you need to login to your Google AdWords account, click Tools and then go to the Keyword Planner tool. In the Keyword Planner tool type in the searches and topics related to your business, for example:

If you’re a digital marketing company like ourselves, we may expect our target audience to be searching for the following topics: ‘how to set up a Facebook page’, ‘how to gain followers on twitter’ or ‘how to build links to my website’.

Now – think of things your ideal client will be searching, these are things that you can explain in a blog post, type these ideas and scroll to the list of search terms. Here you will find the most related search term to what you’ve type in and a list of similar searches or in tech speak – ‘long tail keywords’. Pick one of these terms. This will be the keyword you will be looking to build links to from other blogs/websites. Before you start building links to this keyword, you will need to write a blog post about it and use the keyword in your title, URL and repeat they keyword within your blog post content. Once your blog is published you will have a URL on your website that you can point to from blogs/websites.

NOTE: If you’ve not yet optimized your website with your chosen keywords then take a read of our Beginner’s Guide to SEO. In this blog post you will find out our SEO tips and where your keywords need to appear on your web pages in order to get your website optimized!

Now we’ve discussed why and what you need to link in your link building campaign, here are the best ways to get those all-important links:

Get Guest Blogging

Build links, raise your online profile and direct your target audience to your website by submitting helpful + engaging blog posts to blogs and websites with a better domain authority than yourself. You can find out more about the benefits of guest blogging in our recent blog post.

Find Blogs Related to Your Business or Local Area (aka Blogger Outreach)

By building relationships with bloggers you will build links in return. Spend time finding blogs related to your business and/or area you trade in and contact them to see whether they’re interested in working with you. Here are a few ideas:

Ask Bloggers to Review Your Business

If you own a product based business, restaurant or bar, contacting a blogger to talk about your business in a review piece is a great way of getting a link. Most bloggers will take the free product, meal or drinks as remuneration for their post. However, more popular blogs and websites may charge a fee for doing this.

Pay a Blogger to Write About Your Business or Content Related to your Business (aka. Sponsored Post)

Sponsored posts are another way of building links to your website. Most bloggers will either charge a fee for these posts or ask whether you have a budget in mind. To work out your budget or to explore whether their fee is worth it you can request to see their media kit (a document which states their total page views and social media following) and check out their domain authority by analyzing their URL on the backlink explorer on Moz.

Submit Your Business to Business Directory Websites

You can build links to your website by listing your details and URL to business directory websites. But – you may need to pay a small fee to list your website on online business directories.

Create Great Content and Share, Share Share!

What’s more rewarding than seeing your blog posts liked and shared? As well as feeling great for writing amazing content – people linking to your content on their websites will direct traffic to your website as well as being beneficial for your SEO too!

Advertise on a Website

Like gaining a ‘link’ naturally through submitting guest posts, people linking to your content on their websites and sites reviewing your business – you can get a link by paying for an advertisement on a website. Although there’s the drawback of having to pay for the advertisement & only having the link for a short amount of time – paying to advertise on a website gives you the ability to get your business linked on a site with a high domain authority. And, once Google sees a high domain authority site linking to you – Google will give your authority a boost in return!  

Ask Your Customers to Link to You

Built a great relationship with your client? If they don’t know much about the benefits of SEO for their business, give them a run down about how link building improve their visibility on search engines and ask whether they will be interested in linking to your website in exchange for a link to their website from a page on your site. What’s there to lose?

Launching a New Product or Service? Here’s How to Create a Content Marketing Plan to Reach Your Audience + Win Sales

How to Create a Content Marketing Plan

Nobody likes a cold caller or an in-your-face salesman that doesn’t let you get away. When it comes to investing in a product we want choices. We like to build trust and find out how it works. In a world where marketers can easily put their product in front of you on Facebook, through Google or pop into your inbox – the “hard sell” can quickly be deleted and ignored. To promote a new service or product, we need to engage, show you’re an expert and provide value. And – that’s why content marketing is key.

Here’s How Content Marketing Will Grow Your Business

Provide value

We love getting as much as we can for our money. And – as a species, we LOVE freebies! And, that’s why offering free downloadable guides and resources work so well. You’re giving your potential client much more than a product or a service. You are proving that you are the solution to their problems.

If your audience has spent time reading your blog or chosen to download a guide, they know you know what you’re talking about. And before getting told about your new product or service, they trust your brand.

Enhance your SEO

In addition to building trust, content marketing ticks all of the SEO boxes too.

Say goodbye to the‘black hat’ SEO days.

Google now sees good, helpful SEO optimized content as the #1 ranking factor your website. The more helpful content you publish on your website, the more search engines indexes you.

And – the more your content is found on a search engine, the more chance you’ll have of connecting with a potential client.  

Engage with your audience + start conversations

By default, we engage with people and emotions. Showing our personality through the content we post on social media, blog posts, emails, online forums – we build meaningful relationships. Our ability to interact is what builds customer loyalty and wins a sale.

Become an expert

We’ve touched on how we need trust to make a purchase.

If you’re making a claim that you’re social media services will increase sales. You’ve gotta give evidence for that skill set. Through your content marketing you can demonstrate your ability to solve problems. You can feature case studies and prove your products/services are worth investing in by posting testimonials.

Using a combination of content marketing strategies you can provide rich information that’ll build your authority and put you ahead of your competitors.

To gain exposure and build as much hype around your product launch as possible, here are a few ideas to connect with your audience and get your name out there:

  1. Get Blogging!

Your blog should be your first point of call. As well as boosting your SEO, your blog posts will be the platform for the rest of your content marketing to build on.

Your blog posts don’t need to explain your new product or service, they just need to include keywords, spark interest and get your readers engaged with the advice you are publishing.

Brainstorm blog post ideas around the topic of your product/service that’ll be published in the six weeks prior, during and after your launch following this rough timeline and structure:

Blog Post 1: 2 weeks prior offering a free content upgrade to collect email addresses (after launch – update this post with banner images and product/service details)

Blog Post 2: 1 week before (after launch – update this post with banner images and product/service details)

Blog Post 3: On the day of launch offering a free guide based around the theme of your product/service to build your email subscribers

Blog Post 4: 1 week after launch

Blog Post 5: 2 weeks after launch including a free worksheet based on the theme of your product/service

Blog Post 6: 3 weeks after launch

  1. Create Opt-In Freebies to Embed into Your Blog Posts

As detailed above, you’ll see that we recommend creating free downloads to offer to your readers in Blog Posts 1, 3 and 5. These ‘lead magnets’ will get people signing up to your mailing list so you can get to work on priming  your audience for your product launch.

Follow our guide to designing an email sign-up form that can be embedded into your blog posts so you can automatically send out your freebie.  

  1. Set up an Email Sequence that’ll be sent to Your Freebie Downloaders & Mailing List

Email marketing is a great way to prime your audience for a service or product launch.

  • Brainstorm + write an email sequence of around 6 emails.
  • Send out 2 emails before launching.
  • And – send your mailing list 4 emails on or after the launch.

Here’s an example of an email sequence to your mailing list or after your freebie is sent out:

  1. Advice surrounding the theme of your product/service.
  2. Show how you/your business benefited from your product/service – the more personal the better – it’ll show what you’ve learnt from your journey and help your audience connect with you.
  3. Product launch email – feature case studies, your USPs and briefly mention your product/service. You may also want to link to recent blog posts related to the topic of your product/service.
  4. If you’re planning a webinar or Q&A on Periscope – send an email out to promote what they’ll learn from you & mention what you’re clients say.
  5. Pitch your product/service – mentioning an exclusive discount to email subscribers.
  6. Mention that it’s the last 24 hours of your discount and briefly go over the benefits of your product/service.
  1. Promote Your Freebies on Facebook Ads

Everybody loves a free gift.

As well as creating a post to promote your product/service launch, use Facebook Ads to promote your free downloadable guides.

People are more likely to trust a business that offers them free information in place of an advert of a service you’re offering.

In your Facebook advert, use your email sign-up URL to send out the freebie to your audience. You can find out how to find the email sign-up page URL in our How to Create an Email Newsletter Guide.

By creating a Facebook Ad, you can hit your demographic, offer a freebie to provide valuable helpful content that’ll show off your expertise and collect email addresses to add to your mailing list.

Through your mailing list you can start conversations with your potential customers, promote your recent content in your email newsletter and hopefully sell to them further down the line.  

  1. Facebook, Twitter + LinkedIn Posts

Write posts to direct traffic your blog posts and your new product/service for each social media network. For each link we recommend writing:

4x Twitter Posts

2 x Facebook Posts

1x LinkedIn Post

If you’re a member of a Facebook or LinkedIn group, post your content in places where it will be of most use.

  1. Guest Blog!

An amazing way to reach your target audience AND improve your website’s SEO is by guest blogging. Here’s how to promote your product/service through guest blogging:

  • Firstly, research businesses/blogs/websites which has a similar target audience to yours.
  • Email them to see whether they accept guest posts.
  • Brainstorm blog post ideas surrounding the theme of your product/service.
  • Arrange to publish your guest blog around on or after your product/service launch.

Find out why publishing content on sites is useful your website’s SEO in our article: A Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

  1. Upload Images to Instagram and Pinterest to Promote Every Blog Post

Create a pinworthy image for every blog post you create. Pin this to your boards + shared boards to get as much traffic as possible.

On Instagram, publish images featuring a question that relates to the content of your blog post. By posting these images to your Instagram with relevant hashtags you can hopefully kickstart a conversation with your potential audience.

  1. Lead a Q+A And/Or Tutorial on Periscope

An amazing way to show your expertise and connect with your potential clients is by using Periscope. Here you can host a livestream of a tutorial or Q+A related to your product or service.

What’s best is that your audience can interact with you and other watchers in the chat running at the same time as your live stream. Unlike educating your audience through a blog post, Periscope allows you to connect with your audience as well as your audience engaging with you.

You can briefly mention the benefits of your product/service and direct watchers to your website to find out more.

New to Periscope? Find out all you need to know in our Beginner’s Guide to Periscope blog post.

  1. Host a Webinar

Webinars are an awesome platform for generating revenue – they’re becoming increasingly popular too! Here are a few ideas for your webinar:

  • Think of one of your FAQs or what your potential client would like to learn from you. Use this idea for the basis of your webinar.
  • You can host the same webinar 2 or 3 times.
  • Pitch your product/service at the end of the webinar.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below or reach out to us on Twitter! We love to engage!

How Personal Should You Make Your Social Media?

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We all have been there – we see a tweet that is borderline offensive but is hilarious and we’ve hit ‘favourite’ before we’ve even thought about the repercussions. As a Blogger of almost five years (and a self confessed social media addict), I can definitely empathise.

I have seen some bloggers go from zero to five thousand followers in a day because of a single tweet. With that said, on the flipside I’ve also seen some businesses go from having 120,000 followers and loosing more than 20,000 followers in an instant because they’ve offended people by being too personal, or by ‘liking’ something that can be disagreed with.

I know a lot of you reading this are businesses looking for advice on how personal to keep your social media and there are also a lot of Bloggers looking for the same information which is why this article will be split into two sections.

The rules for Bloggers and Businesses for social media are very different and so I wanted to keep this clear and individual for both genres.

First thing’s first, let’s talk about it from a business point of view.

1 – Businesses Should Keep It Professional With A Hint Of HumourIMG_2131

The title might seem pretty self explanatory but let me just go into a bit more detail. Businesses, whether you run an online shop or service, are seen as ‘professional’. I would probably expect some Bloggers to say something offensive or using profanity now and again, but I always expect a business to be professional. I don’t really want to see a business sharing their opinions or using profanity. If I am going to spend money with someone, I want to feel safe and know that if I choose to complain to the business, I will be met with professionalism. At the same time, I also want to know that the business is human and has a sense of humor.

2 – So, what is ‘too’ personal in Business?

Here is a list of ‘No-No’s’ for any business on social media:

  • Do not establish any online friendships on a business account
  • Do not use profanity in your statuses.
  • Do not ‘favourite’ or ‘like’ any statuses that contain profanity or potentially offensive statuses.
  • Do not engage in arguments.
  • Do not post any images that were not taken by you or that you do not have permission to use.
  • Do not engage in or post any political, religious or sexual discussions.

3 – What Should My Business Be Personal With

Now that I’ve given you a list of things you shouldn’t do, it’s only fair to give you a list of what to do.IMG_2130

  • Do respond to any messages of complaint or query about an order or otherwise.
  • Do always mention the person’s name in the response (it makes it more personal to the individual).
  • Do always thank users for their message
  • Do keep things light hearted. For example “It seems our website has been enjoying our relaxation products a bit too much! We’re working on getting getting the website working again and apologise for any inconvenience”
  • Do show respect. Be sure to post statuses of respect in regards to the deaths of popular people (celebrities) for example “Rest In Peace Whitney Houston. We will forever be affected by your music”.
  • Do post cute animal pictures. Everybody loves a cute cat!

These tips will definitely keep your business on the right path on Social Media. If all else fails and you instantly regret posting a status or make an embarrassing spelling mistake, then there is always the delete button. We’ve all been there!

Now moving on to Bloggers.

1 – Bloggers should keep it personal with a hint of business.IMG_2132

I’m completely reversing the formula in comparison to how businesses should behave on Social Media.

I’m a Blogger, so writing about how to behave on social media as a Blogger is really easy for me. I have literally made every mistake in the book so I can 100% talk with experience.

People read blogs to feel connected with someone. I read blogs because I like to hear their opinions on products, fashion and even politics. So it’s important that your social media feeds aren’t just filled with “have you seen my blog post? Visit www.no-one-wants-to-see-this-sort-of-thing12345.com.” type posts.

When users follow you, or visit your social media, they’re looking for a real time version of your personality. They want to connect with you and are happy to read about your daily activities and hear all about the first date that went wrong. What users don’t want to see is controversy for the sole point of being controversial and trying to get followers. It’s difficult knowing boundaries as a Blogger on social media as users still expect a ‘degree’ of professionalism from Bloggers as people of online influence.

2 – What Not To Do On Social Media As A Blogger

Here is a list of a few things I recommend a Blogger does not do on social media:

  • Do not get involved in arguments or heated debates. It just portrays you as a ‘troll’.
  • Do not post ‘click bait’ titles to your blog – followers see straight through them and invariably dislike it. (Click Bait titles are catchy titles such as “I’m Marrying My Dog?” when actually you simply say “I love my dog so much I’d marry him if I could” within a blog post that is completely different to the status).
  • Do not post images that belong to other bloggers unless you have their permission.
  • Do not start a campaign unless it is something you truly are passionate about and there are no other likeminded campaigns to get involved with. Followers see it as attention seeking and invariably unfollow.
  • Do not post controversial statuses just to get followers.
  • Do not criticise other bloggers or celebrities. Followers just think of it as ‘sour grapes’.
  • Do not post anything sexually explicit, religiously controversial or politically damning. You could be sued. Yes, it has happened to other bloggers.

These are the holy grail of social media No’ No’s for Bloggers so be sure to stick to them.

3 – What should I be posting as a Blogger on Social Media?

Here’s a list of a few things I would recommend posting as a blogger on social media:

  • Do show a BTS (Behind The Scenes) image – people love to see how you work when you’re creating content.
  • Do reply to people who take the time to tweet or message you. It’s just good manners and makes you more human.
  • Do post positive quotes and memes – these are a ‘favourite’ and ‘liking’ goldmine.
  • Do let people see snippets of your life, such as your meals, workouts, outfits and so forth.
  • Do get involved in discussions – politely!
  • Do advertise your blog content (2-3 times per day is most effective)

These ‘do’s will be sure to keep your social feed interesting at the same time as serving it’s purpose which is ultimately to drive traffic to your blog.As you can see, being a business and being a blogger are two very different things and as such come with very different ‘guidelines’ for social media.

One thing that does apply to both bloggers and businesses is that if you are sent a ‘troll’ like message which contains profanities and is derogatory to you or your business, then simply do not draw attention to it and ignore it. Rising to it encourages more comments of the same nature and makes you or your business look bad at the same time.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful! If you have any questions or suggestions, then feel free to comment below or tweet us @purelysocialtip

Until next time!

Holly x

Email Marketing 101: How To Grow Your Email List

Why You Need to Up Your Email Marketing

The power of an email goes without saying. I check my email as soon as I wake up in the morning. I am addicted to joining mailing lists. I jump at the sound of a new email notification.  And, with 24% of Americans saying they check their email “way too much” and 40% of individuals forcing themselves to go onto email detoxes, I am not alone in this.

To get you on to the email marketing game, here are the statistics, the benefits and a guide to growing your mailing list to help you build a profitable email marketing campaign:

  • The ROI of Email Marketing is King of the Marketing World

With an impressive 3800% ROI, email marketing is the BEST mover of sales. You earn $38
for every $1 invested into email marketing. 

  • You Can Get Personal

Unlike any other content marketing methods, email marketing can get personal. When a subscriber signs up, they give you their name. Their name is key to getting that all important relationship. 74% of marketers claim the use of a name increases customer engagement.

You can use their name in subject lines and in the main body of your email. And, it works! Using a name in a subject line increases click through rates by 14% and boosts conversions by 10%.

  • The Engagement Rules the Roost

According to Forrester, only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts whereas 90% of emails will get delivered to a recipient’s inbox. And, the same adults who are liking your Facebook page are twice as likely to engage with your emails than on social media.

How to Grow Your Mailing List

1. Sign Up to an Email System like MailChimp

A mailing system like MailChimp allows you to send thousands of emails at a click of a button. It allows you to schedule them, make them look pretty and organize your subscribers at the click of a few buttons.

If you’re new to email marketing, MailChimp is the place to be. In addition to being a super easy-to-use platform, here’s are a few reasons why you’ll dig it:

  • MailChimp is completely FREE for users who has less than 2,000 subscribers making it more perfect for those who have a limited budget or are just starting out.
  • MailChimp is an incredibly popular platform so it can be easily integrated with lots of software & plugins.
  • Due to its popularity… you’ll find advice & tutorials on everything!
  • It has a very user-friendly, easy to follow interface as well as a drag + drop email template editor…perfect for email marketing beginners!

2. Use Plugins That’ll Grow Your Mailing List

You’ve more than likely been on a website that has a pop-up or a text box in a sidebar asking you to be a member of a mailing list. Here are a few plugins we recommend using:

Activate a List Building Plugin on Your Website like SumoMe

The only way to grow your mailing list is by making your readers aware of your mailing list. SumoMe can help boost your daily signups by up to 20%.  It can help you design pop-ups + sign up boxes to embed into your content.

Invest in Lead Generation Software like LeadPages

If you have a little bit more budget…LeadPages will help you increase mailing list sign-ups – tenfold! It helps you design an opt-in page for your mailing list allowing you to lay out the benefits of joining your list and look uber attractive. Offering a free 30-day detox guide as a lead magnet/free gift for joining your list? Setting up a landing page with LeadPages can help you show off the value of your free gift.

3. Offer a Lead Magnet or ‘Content Upgrade’ on Your Website

People aren’t interested in joining a mailing list unless it benefits them.

So giving away free content is the fastest way to grow your mailing list and make you a trustable source.

Take some time to brainstorm, create and design content that’ll get your audience signing up to your list.

Think about your typical customer or ideal customer.

What advice do they usually ask for? What information will be valuable?

Find out right from the horses mouth by asking your mailing list to email you with questions, looking at popular blog posts on businesses like yours, seeing what topics are hot in forums and Facebook groups and posting on your on your Facebook and Twitter pages and asking your audience to comment what they’d like to know.

Use this information to help you curate your content. Here are a few super effective, tried and tested freebie content ideas:

  • An eCourse. Offer a chain of emails as your content bribe. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, offer a 20 day fitness challenge where you send out 20 unique emails with different workouts to get their body into shape.
  • An eBook. Design a PDF that shares information that’ll help your reader. Here are a few examples: smoothie recipes, marketing guides, makeup tutorials, web design guides etc.

4. Create A Custom Newsletter Confirmation Page

Once your new subscriber has signed up…your next point of engagement is your confirmation page. Your newsletter confirmation page is your perfect opportunity to show off your expertise and already written content. Make sure you include:

  • A little thank you.
  • An explanation of what to expect from your emails.
  • Feature about + testimonial pages so users can get to know you and trust what you do.
  • Link to popular content on your website.

5. Brainstorm and Plan Content for Your Future Emails

An engaged audience is an audience that is likely to grow into loyal clients. So it’s important to connect with your subscribers.

The first thing to master is the subject line. It needs to be short, catchy, relevant and personal. The second this is the content. According to HubSpot, 65% of users like emails that contain mostly images. To ensure your emails connect with your readers make sure you break up your text into small sections, use more visual material than text, attractive use of your brand’s colours and interesting content (see below).

  • Send Out Free Worksheets, Guides + eBooks.

    We LOVE free stuff. Especially when the free stuff is valuable and helps us improve. The free content will help you start a relationship with your audience, show off your expertise and prime your readers for an offering of paid products/services.
  • Recap of Recent Blog Posts + News.

    Not all of your readers will check your website on a regular basis. Showing off your most recent content in a recap email will keep your readers updated + help get your audience onto your website.
  • Share Details About a Future Service/Product.

    72% of people prefer promo material in their inbox compared to 17% on social media.

    Launching a new service or product? Get your readers in the know by sharing what it involves, the benefits, discounts + any testimonials you’ve already gathered pre-launch.
  • Send Exclusive Content that’s Only Available to Subscribers

    Show the value of being a member of your mailing list by sharing MORE than a reader of your website will see. Ideas include sending out a recipe, tips for success and a link to a secret blog post. You can check out our 30 Engaging Blog Post Ideas to help you brainstorm content! 

What’s more – you can gain access to a wealth of analytics. Every time you send out an email you’ll be able to see the click through rates, what links have been clicked, the amount of people who unsubscribed, see what works best and monitor what content is popular. And this important data is what’ll help you refine your email marketing content for future emails.

Email Marketing 101: How to Use MailChimp to Send Your First Email Newsletter

How to Use Mailchimp to send your first email newsletter

For every $1 you invest into email marketing, you earn $38. With such a staggering return on investment, a strategized email marketing campaign can bring in a hella amount of sales. To get the ball rolling, head over to MailChimp right away to register for your free account and then we can get your first newsletter on the go! If you are wondering why we’re recommending using MailChimp to send out your email newsletters, check out the benefits below:

  • You can use MailChimp for FREE if you have less than 2,000 subscribers.
  • MailChimp is a widely used mailing system you’re not short of software and plugins that’s compatible with MailChimp. 
  • And, as it is so popular, if you’re stuck with something, you can easily find advice & tutorials on absolutely everything!
  • It’s also amazing for those of us who aren’t so design savvy. MailChimp allows us to easily put together a beautiful email using the email text editor and add in images and columns using the drag + drop template.

So get yourself signed up for your free account, make yourself a drink and follow this MailChimp tutorial to get your email marketing campaign into full swing! By the end of this blog post, you will know:

  • How to create a ‘list’ of subscribers.
  • How to create a subscription form for your website.
  • What to include in your welcome email.
  • How to design and send your first newsletter.
  • Why you need to include a mailing address & how to change it.

1. Create Your First ‘List’ of Subscribers

First thing’s first, you need to create a list to start collecting email addresses. A ‘List’ is the area where your subscribers name and email address are stored. You can have as many or as little lists as you like for example, you could create a list solely for those who have downloaded a content freebie from your website and/or dedicate a list to your current clients.

To create a list, go to ‘Lists’, then press ‘Create List’ and then enter your list details (see below). In the “from” email and “from” name – you may want to fill in your contact email address and a recognizable name such as your URL or business name.

You may or may not be aware that it’s a legal requirement to include your address in every email you send out. If you have a business address this is easy. If not – you’re not going to be comfortable with showing your home address, so you may want to consider getting a PO Box.

2. Design Your Subscription From For Your Website

Creating a subscription form that suits your website’s style and brand colors is easy on MailChimp. You can quickly put together a form without the need to learn code by using the easy-to-use form customizer.

Follow these steps to get your sign-up form up and running – believe us – you can literally have one designed and set up in just a few minutes!

Click ‘Sign Up Forms’ and then ‘General Forms’.

You’ll then be taken to a ‘Create Forms’ page. Select ‘Sign up form’ from the drop-down menu under the ‘Forms and response emails’ heading.

Now to build your form. The key is to keep things as simple as possible. On the ‘Build It’ tab you can select what fields you’d like to use. Make it as user-friendly as possible by keeping the fields to a minimum. This will avoid people closing the signup form. Only use ‘first name’, ‘email address’ and at the most ‘last name’. You can remove a field by hovering your cursor over each text box.

Add a message by clicking the ‘click to edit the message’ box. Here you can add a branded image and a persuasive message to get people signing up to your newsletter (see print screen below).

image 1

As activation is required – mention in your content by asking your subscriber to check their junk email if their activation email doesn’t show up in their inbox.

To get as many subscribers as possible, you’ll need a lead magnet. Giving away content is one of the best ways to do this. So put some time aside to brainstorm and create a free download to offer to your potential email subscribers (you can find lots of advice on building your subscribers in our blog post – How to Grow Your Mailing List).

MailChimp makes the designing part easy. Click ‘Design It’ to choose your color scheme (our tip here is to stick with your branding colors).

Don’t forget to save the link of your sign up form. This’ll help you promote your email newsletter or lead magnet. And – you’ll be able to promote your URL on social media and on your blog.

image 2

3. Create Your Welcome Email

You can create your ‘Welcome Email’ by clicking ‘Lists’, then select your list, click ‘Signup Form’, then ‘General Forms’, then find ‘Final “welcome” email’ from the drop down menu and tick the ‘Send a final welcome email’ option. Scroll down and you’ll find yourself on a page featuring the welcome email editor like below:

image 3

Now you can design your welcome email. In the same way you created your sign-up form, you can upload your banner logo/image, edit the color and add a thank you message.

If you’re adding a lead magnet to your welcome email (which we highly recommend) this is where you’ll add the URL so your new subscriber can download their freebie.

To get a unique URL for your lead magnet, save your free download as a PDF, upload to your media library on your website, once the PDF has saved, you will find the URL in the file details AND this is the URL you will add to your welcome email.

The welcome email automatically has the title ‘subscription confirmed’ but you can edit this to sound interesting.

4. How to Design & Send Your First Newsletter

Now you’re ready to design your first newsletter!

Click ‘Campaigns’, then ‘Create Campaigns’, click ‘Regular Campaign’, select your list, press next, add an interesting subject line and edit some other settings if you’d like.

Now to select a template. Depending on what you’re including in this newsletter, you can pick a template that’ll be best suited to your content. See an extremely simple email example below:

image 4

If you’re linking to your most recent blog posts, selecting a design where you can add images for each post with the option to write a caption underneath. If you’re using this email to promote a new service or product a design with a 1 column for a top paragraph and 2 to 3 columns below to lay out the benefits of your product may work well.

Next you can type in your text, drag and drop in your images, edit the header text and add URLs for your social media profiles. You can select your colors and fonts for your page, preheader, header, body and footer on the ‘Design’ tab.

Once you’re happy with your email or ‘Campaign’ (in MailChimp lingo), you can click ‘Next’ to save your template. The next page will give you the option to send out the email straight away or schedule it to go out on a particular date or time.

Now you have created one template, you can create multiple email templates to serve a range of purposes; promoting discount codes, special offers, new products, latest content, advice and a recap of your recent blog posts.

TA-DA! Your first email newsletter is finished! How easy was that?! Now you’ve gotten to grips with MailChimp, you can now plan your email marketing strategy to get your sales booming! If you have any questions, please leave us a comment below. 

15 Things You Should Do Before + After You Publish a Blog Post

15 Things You Should Do Before + AfterYou have spent time brainstorming your content, you have written your blog post and now you’re ready to press publish. If you’re looking for marketing tips, it could be that you’re missing a few basic SEO elements that can help boost the reach of your blog post. Follow our checklist of things you should do before + after you publish a blog post to get more people reading your post as well as improve your search rankings.

BEFORE YOU HIT PUBLISH

  1. Write An Engaging + SEO-Worthy Blog Post Title

8 out of 10 people will read your headline – but only 2 out of 10 people will click through to your post. That said – this makes the title the most important component of the marketing of your blog post. The title serves two purposes; it needs to include keywords for all that SEO value and be interesting enough to attract potential readers to click through to read your post.

An example of a not-so-engaging blog post title:

“What I’ve Learnt About Facebook For Business”

By re-working the title to include your keywords, your target audience and demonstrating your blog post will drive results, this blog post title works better:  

“New Business Owner? Here’s How to Grow Your Business on Facebook”

  1. Link to Old Blog Posts

Google likes to see inbound links in your content. One of the easiest ways to boost the amount of inbound links in your content is to hyperlink old blog posts. It will make Google happy as well as keep readers on your website for longer. Put together a list of blog posts that relate to the blog posts you’re about to publish and link them within your content. Remembering to make the anchor text the blog post title for example: How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Grow Your Traffic + Social Media Following and not hyperlinking text like, ‘find out more here’.

  1. Is Your Blog Post SEO Optimized?

Now you need to ensure your blog post content is ready for Google. If you use WordPress, one of the best ways to check this is by installing the Yoast SEO plugin. It’ll make it easy for you to edit your page title and meta description. And – tell you how well your content scores for SEO. Here’s are few factors that’ll make your blog post SEO-tastic:

– Have you used your keywords in your content?

Try to make your keywords make up 1% of your content. But remember to incorporate them naturally within your blog post.

– Are your keywords in the page title?

Usually – a page title is autogenerated from your blog post title. But sometimes this won’t include your keyword and can look a bit messy. Scroll down the content of your blog post title in editor and you’ll find Yoast SEO. From there you can edit your page title to tick all of the SEO boxes.

– Do you have a meta description?

Similar to page titles, a meta description is automatically pulled from the content of your blog post. Use Yoast SEO to write your meta description to include a keyword and attract readers. Take a look at the meta descriptions of your competitors in the search results. Using their meta descriptions as a comparison, you can make your meta description stand out from the rest to increase your click through rate.

You can find more tips to step up your SEO game in our Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

  1. Break Up Text into Smaller Chunks with Headings

What’s more off-putting than a huge chunk of text? It’s a huge turn off. And – Google knows this.

Make it easier for your reader by breaking up your content into small sections and you’ll find people will stay on your page for longer. More engagement = more chance of winning your reader as a client.

– Read through your content and see where you can break it up. Once you’re finishing editing – Yoast SEO will give you a score as to how ‘readable’ your text is. Aim for a green light!

– Use header tags like <h1> </h1> around the headings of your sections.  In your headings you may want to include your keyword to please Google

  1. Use Branded Imagery

Our branding sets us apart from our competitors. And – setting a style for your blog post images will help enforce your brand. For each featured image use a set font, colour (from your website/logo) and style. Create a template to help make your images more consistent with one another. It’ll also speed up the process too!

  1. SEO Optimize Your Images

Like we optimize our content, we need to optimize images too. On WordPress, when you upload an image it’ll come up with ‘description’ and ‘alt text’ on the right hand side. Type in your blog post title into this – not forgetting to include your keyword!

  1. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

After hours of writing on a screen, it’s so easy to miss a typo or miss something that doesn’t make sense. Take a break from your computer for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Return to your blog post with fresh eyes and read in small sections. Using this technique you’ll be able to notice more mistakes + make your blog post flawless.

  1. Delete Unnecessary Words From The URL

Once you’ve typed in your blog post title, a URL will generate automatically from this. To ensure your URL scores well for SEO – start by deleting words like ‘the, a, because’ to lay more emphasis on your keyword and main components of your blog post title.

AFTER YOU HIT PUBLISH

  1. Write Social Media Posts & Share onto Twitter and Facebook

After you publish a blog post, write a series of unique posts to promote your blog post on social media. I usually tend to write around 8 tweets and 4 Facebook posts for each blog post I publish. Once written, schedule them to go out over the next 4 weeks.

After scheduling, insert all of your social media posts into a content bank so can schedule them sporadically with other posts to keep your social profiles updated and drive traffic to your website.

If you’re not using a scheduling platform yet – take a read of our How to Use an Editorial Calendar to Grow Your Traffic + Social Media Following blog post to find out our list of recommended scheduling websites and plugins.

  1. Pin Your Image onto Your Pinterest

You may know this already – but Pinterest is soon becoming one of the best social media platforms for driving traffic to your website. After you publish a blog post ensure your images gets uploaded to the following:

– Pin your image to a blog post board, aka a board used solely to house your blog posts images.

– Pin your blog post’s image to other relevant boards on your Pinterest. Once your blog post has been uploaded to your blog post board, pin your image to any other relevant boards on your Pinterest. That way you will maximise the reach of your pin as you’ll be putting it in front of an audience who follows your boards.

– Upload your pin to shared group boards. If you’re not already a member of shared boards, search for boards relevant to your business so that you can share your pin with both people who are a part of the group board and who follow the shared board.

  1. Post Blog Posts in Relevant Facebook Groups

Similar to shared Pinterest boards, there are tonnes of Facebook groups where you can post your content. Join groups that are relevant to your business so you can share your knowledge to an audience who could benefit from your blog post.

  1. Upload An Image to Instagram

Instagram is a great platform to show off your branded images. After you publish a blog post make sure you upload an image to your Instagram profile. Not forgetting to include hashtags to reach an audience that are looking for content like yours. You’ll find top tips in our post Using Hashtags Effectively on Social Media.

  1. Talk About Your Blog Post in A Round Up Email

Everyone has their favorite go-to places for content. For some of us it’s Facebook, some can’t stay away from Pinterest and some of us like getting their updates through email.

After you have published a blog post, write a quick 30 word summary of your blog to feature in your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly round up email to drive traffic to your website.

If you haven’t got an email marketing campaign in-action, make some time to brainstorm ideas for content that you can exchange for an email address. For instance, if you’re a healthy lifestyle brand, creating a ‘20 Lunch Recipes That Are Budget Friendly + Help You Lose Weight’ guide as a lead magnet for your mailing list campaign. LeadPages is an easy-to-use campaign to help get this set up for you!

  1. Link Post in Old & Relevant Blog Posts

Like including links to old, relatable blog posts before you publish a blog post, linking your new blog post to old content will work in the same way. Readers who land on your old blog post will be shown a new blog post that may interest them will help reduce your website’s bounce rate.

  1. Tweet People Talking About Your Blog Post Topic

Get conversations started with people talking about your topic. Type in relevant search terms or words associated to your blog post and you’ll find people talking about it in some way. Mention that you’ve written a blog post that’ll help with their problem and engage with their previous tweets/photos. It’ll help direct people on to your website as well as boost your Twitter following.