4 Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive by @@iconiContent

4 Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive by @@iconiContent

There’s no shortage of top-notch online content aimed at optimizing your landing pages. Ultimate Guides, Best Practices, and Perfect Anatomies abound.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of that amazing content ignores what happens immediately after your visitor converts. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where landing pages go to die.

In other words, unless you have a plan for what happens after someone signs up or says “Yes,” all the conversion momentum you bled to create — not to mention the ripest opportunity you have to engage — might be for nothing.

This means crafting an authentic, engaging autoresponder — whether that’s a confirmation email, download link, or even just a friendly “Thanks for signing up” — in a way that bonds you to your prospects right from the jump.

To do that, let’s take a look at four proven tactics guaranteed to keep your landing page alive — after a lead opts in.

1. Give ‘Em What They Asked For

Here’s the brutal truth: people don’t sign up to your list because they like you nor because they want to hear more about you and your company’s awesome products.

No, they sign up because they want something you’re offeringto them, for them, to benefit them. That offer can run the gamut from an ebook to an industry report to a free coaching session to a simple e-commerce discount.

Whatever your offer is, the worst thing you can do after someone signs up is get in the way of letting them have it.

That sounds obvious, but even enterprise-level organizations can make an absolute train wreck of the confirmation process.

Take, for example, investment platform Seeking Alpha.

Two weeks ago, I registered for a free account at Seeking Alpha. I’d been researching Lowe’s Home Improvement recent use of Facebook ads and found what looked to be a primary source goldmine: Lowe’s Companies’ (LOW) CEO Robert Niblock on Q3 2015 Results – Earnings Call Transcript.

I tore through the first two pages of the transcript. But when I tried to move ahead to page three this pop-up appeared:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Naturally, I’d already invested myself in the first two pages of the article, so I filled out the form and hit “Register.”

And that’s when the nightmare began.

First, Seeking Alpha served up this pretty standard “Thank You” page:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Thinking that I’d already created an account by giving them my email and a password, I clicked “log in,” was redirect to the “Member sign in page” and filled out the fields.

To my surprise — despite using the same email and password I just entered — this error message appeared:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

A bit discouraged but still hungry for page three; I jumped over to my inbox where this confirmation email waiting for me:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

“Good,” I thought, “Just need to confirm my registration and then, page three here I come.”

Instead, when I clicked “Confirm Your Registration,” I was sent to an additional three-step form:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

After being forced to answer a series of segmentation questions, opt-in to an additional list and supply four or more stocks to continue, I was sure clicking “Save & Continue” would finally send me to page three.

But once again, nope.

In lieu of page three, a previously-unannounced fourth step appeared that now required me to enter my phone number to “Get the App,” something I had shown zero interest in during my previous responses. I wasn’t even on a mobile device at the time:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

But oh! How I wanted page three. So I plugged in my phone number, clicked “Text me a link” earnestly hoping that finally I’d be given what I’d asked for.

Tragically — and you probably saw this coming — what I got next was…nothing.

No redirect, no thank you page, no article, no link, no page three. Nothing. Just a dead end screen with nowhere to go next. To ultimately reach page three, I had to go back to the login page and walk through the entire search process.

All told, it took ten separate screens to go from page two to page three of the piece I’d originally asked for.

What’s the moral of the story?

People value one thing above all others: time. What’s more, people respect people who respect their time. When someone signs up for your email list, all they want is to get what they asked for.

You can do this in one of two ways.

Include a Direct Link to Your Initial Autoresponder

For instance, whenever someone signs up for my Ultimate Content Creating Checklist, I use GetResponse’ autoresponder workflow to send them a simple, stripped-down email with just one link to the resource itself:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

If a new lead doesn’t click that link within 24 hours, they get an even more stripped down email with a friendly reminder:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Create a Redirect or Popup After Your Form Page

That’s how Unbounce and Onboardly’s new ebook The Growth Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Optimization does it. Immediately after completing the form comes this popup:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Boom — just like that, I’m in.

Bottom line?

Do not waste your prospects’ valuable time with useless emails, additional questions, or by making them jump through hoops.

Just give ‘em what they asked for.

2. Start a Conversation

Just like the first tactic, our second tactic should be obvious.

Sadly, it isn’t.

Often confirmation emails and autoresponders are brutally humdrum. If someone takes the time to customize their autoresponder at all, the conversations are blatantly one-sided. Why? Because we’ve forgotten that behind every computer screen is a real, live human being.

As a result, you and I can differentiate a personal email from an autoresponder a thousand miles away.

That, however, shouldn’t be the case. Done right, you can not only make someone feel like they’re talking to another person… you can even get them to respond.

Think that’s impossible? It’s not.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened to Oli Gardner when he signed up for Sujan Patel’s ebook.

As Oli admitted on Unbounce’s podcast:

Two days ago I downloaded an ebook by Sujan Patel. … And that’s when the trickery began, because I got an email, an automated email that was so well crafted that I thought it was real.

He made it sound like he recognized me.

So I responded.

And then I was like, ‘Mother [expletive]!’ I looked at it again and realized, ‘He didn’t write this to me. He put it as an autoresponder.’

Sujan’s autoresponder is the living proof that you can start a conversation from the jump:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

On top of that, starting these real human conversations drives bottom-line results. In my own massive Landing Page Optimization Guide, I asked Sujan about how well his conversational approach works:

First, of the people who subscribe to the blog, 6.6% click on a link to one of my two software products — Narrow.io or ContentMarketer.io — or on one of my two books. And 39% of those clicks eventually convert into either a product trial or a book purchase.

Second, of those who preview my ebook, 12% purchase the full book and an additional 3% start a trial of either Narrow.io or ContentMarketer.io.

Third, of the people who buy my ebook, 1.9% end up buying the other book and another 15% start a trial of Narrow.io or ContentMarketer.io.

Bear in mind; those big numbers are all generated by simple and conversational emails like the one above.

To start your own real human conversations, keep these two principles in mind.

Write the Way You Talk

Don’t make the mistake of trying to impress your new contact by using jargon-heavy language, formal introductions, or corporate mumbo-jumbo.

Simply read your emails out loud to yourself and if they don’t sound like one human talking to another, go back to the drawing board until they do.

Most notably, use short words, short sentences, short paragraphs and (of course) short emails.

Take Henneke Duistermaat’s initial email when you sign up for her Snackable Writing Course as a model:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Personalize Your Emails

Deep personalization — especially for e-commerce — includes a host of advanced segmentation features, customer and lead tagging, product-offer coordination, upselling, cart-abandonment emails and even off-site strategies like retargeting. All that can easily make your head spin.

For your first email, don’t over think it.

While it’s not technically a confirmation email, Inbound.org nails truly human personalization. By keeping the format plain, adding an *FName* field, and by only sending emails on topics their users have already shown interest in, I’m constantly tempted to write back to Ed directly:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

3. Ask a Question

Do not underestimate the power of a good question.

Why?

Because the human brain is hardwired to automatically engage with a question.

Neurologically speaking, this is called “The Zeigarnik Effect,” named for the Russian psychologist who discovered it.

The power of a good question lies in its ability to entice, seduce, and above all demand a response. That’s why some of the most successful advertisements in history start with a question.

John Caples’ uber-classic Tested Advertising Methods lists “Have your headline ask a question” as one of the proven methods for writing “headlines and direct mail teasers.”

Of course, the theory and that example are more than a generation old. So do questions still work?

Absolutely.

Late last year, Retention Science reported that “punctuation [in an email subject line] impacts email open rates” significantly:

The presence of any type of punctuation mark increased open rates by 9 percent.

And can you guess the most conversion-generating piece of punctuation?

Question marks:

Question marks are particularly effective at engaging recipients. In fact, the study found subject lines with question marks have open rates 44 percent greater than those with exclamation points.

The application of this principle to your autoresponder should be clear: add a question.

Of course, you can easily scatter questions — rhetorical or otherwise — within your emails. For instance, Neil Patel of Quick Sprout asks two questions and encourages you to reply:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

However, a better application of this tactic is to build your very first email around a single, driving question that matters to your audience…not you.

This is precisely what Ann Handley does. Sign up for Ann’s list and here’s the very first email you’ll receive:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

At the risk of getting a bit meta, I replied to that question email with a question of my own:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

And do you know what Ann did?

She actually wrote back:

When I first launched AnnHandley.com’s email subscription option, I used to thank new signups, as I do now. But the question was different: I used to ask them to share with me the most innovative or interesting bit of content they’d seen lately. I was looking for something that engaged them… or that they found surprising. Because, I explained, I was always looking for stellar content examples.

About 10% of those who subscribed actually responded with a content example.

Over time I realized that the response rate was pitifully low, especially given my approachable vibe and voice.

It dawned on me that maybe that was because my note was essentially about ME — tell me what you like, because I am always looking for good example. It was not about the subscriber. It was not about what I could do for them.

So I rewrote the Welcome email to be about the subscriber and not about me.

I asked very basic questions: What are you doing here? What do you hope to learn?

Now, roughly 60% of those who subscribe actually write me back. And when they do respond… I always try to respond BACK. (I may have missed a few here or there…but I try not to.) I don’t write a book — but I do acknowledge their response. People always appreciate that I’m actually monitoring responses. I get a lot of ‘wow I can’t believe you wrote back….’

It’s funny how a little time and care goes a long way.

Yep, it sure is. And it all starts with a question.

4. Provide Unexpected Value

Admit it. You love surprises. After all, who doesn’t?

Surprise parties, unexpected gifts, out-of-the-blue good news. We all love that feeling of getting extra value in our lives, especially when we don’t see it coming.

The only secret to success — regardless of the industry — isn’t a secret at all: don’t just add value – add more value than anyone else.

The great Tony Robbins enshrined this bed-rock principle in his recent book MONEY: Master the Game:

Money is nothing more than a reflection of your creativity, your capacity to focus and your ability to add value and receive back.

If you can find a way to create value — that is, add value for a massive number of people — you will have an opportunity to have a massive amount of economic abundance in your life.

What’s true for the world at large is also true of your subscribers.

This fourth tactic — provide unexpected value — increases the loyalty of your new leads, builds rapport and trust and leans hard on the persuasive principle of reciprocity all by exceeding their expectations.

For instance, if people signed up to download a free SEO report, you could easily offer a free one-page checklist or website audit as a way of showing your gratitude.

On the other hand, if they signed up to learn more about your nutrition coaching business, you could surprise them by giving away a detailed list of easy recipes to help them lose weight.

The point is: they didn’t expect those things and because of that element of surprise, what might otherwise be just another lead magnet provides far more value.

For example, when you sign up for one of the Robbie Richard’s case studies, he surprises you by giving away an extra case study:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Likewise, Derek Halpern – author of Social Triggers – applies the same principle. After you sign up to download one of his worksheets, he gives you a “surprise gift”:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Remember Sujan Patel’s conversational emails? After signing up for his blog, he provides readers with “a few of my best posts while you wait for my next newsletter”:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Brian Dean from Backlinko? Yep, he does it too:Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

Even Blog Tyrant Ramsay Taplin uses this tactic. Notice that not only does he provide an unexpected resource, he also offers a conversational tip and an invitation to connect with him directly:

Post-Conversion Autoresponder Tactics to Keep Your Leads Alive | SEJ

What do all these first-contact autoresponders have in common?

They all provide unexpected value. And you should do the same.

Don’t Let Your Landing Page Die

Sure, Ultimate Guides, Best Practices, and Perfect Anatomies abound. And it’s wise to optimize your on-page elements for maximum conversions.

But, that doesn’t mean you can overlook what’s next: after the page.

To ensure that your landing pages live on, follow these four proven tactics:

  1. Give ‘em what they asked for
  2. Start a conversation
  3. Ask a question
  4. Provide unexpected value

Got a favorite autoresponder tip? Be sure to share it in the comments… especially if it tricked you into writing back.

 

This post originally appeared on Unbounce, and re-published with permission.

Image Credits

Featured Image: leolintang/DepositPhotos.com
All screenshots by Aaron Orendorff. Taken May 2016.

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Still Blogging After All This Time

Still Blogging After All This Time

This month I published my 500th blog post here on sueblimely.com, and my comment count went over 9000. It’s not that I’m a prolific blogger but I’ve written here for 10+ years now.  I thought it a good time to look back and reflect on why I’m still blogging after all this time, when so […]

The post Still Blogging After All This Time appeared first on Blogging Sueblimely.

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Noodling Towards Greatness

Noodling Towards Greatness

This is not supposed to be Shakespeare.

I don’t toil and sweat over every character, every word, every sentence, the grammar or the flow. I am noodling around with an idea. Something that I am feeling. I am trying to bring that feeling out in words. I’m working through the idea through these words. I’m hoping that the completed piece of work clicks with you. That it solves a problem that you have been thinking about. That it inspires you to ask a better question. That it pushes you to appreciate the brand(s) that you are developing. This is not (nor ever will it be) a solution. I am noodling with an idea and trying to get that idea to go somewhere. To take you along for the ride. Musicians do this with their instruments. The best noodling becomes a song (something you might have heard). I do this with words. The best words become an article (for a major publication), a chapter in one of my business books, a segment in one of my presentations. Maybe, sometimes, a hit blog post. Most of the time, it just fills this space. That’s what this blog is about. Blogs have changed. Most people treat each post like it needs to be perfect. That’s fine too. We all have our own ways of working through our creative process.   

Silly rabbit, clicks are for kids.

Most days, I hate my stuff. It’s not click-worthy. It doesn’t spike on Medium. It doesn’t get a retweet from those with verified accounts or celebrity followers. It just sits here. It just sits there on Facebook, on Twitter and/or LinkedIn. It doesn’t move those social media needles that so many people are obsessed with. I have the blessing and curse of time on my side. The blessing, because I’ve been writing (multiple times a week) here, at Six Pixels of Separation, since 2003 and I’ve managed to build up a brand and audience over the course of the thirteen years. People know my writing style, and there’s not the expectation that every post is akin to an article. The curse, because many people who blog less, and have been doing it for far less time have lapped me. They have a bigger audience, and spend a significant amount of time sharing, repurposing and pushing their posts. They write post as if it’s an article for a business publication. It’s working for them. Good on them. If I have an extra five minutes in my life, I prefer to write and create something that’s itching me inside, over the self-promotion. That’s not a judgement for those who are better at self-promoting, it’s just how it is.

Great content. Great look at process. 

I spent many years working in the music industry. I’m also a bit of a musician. I studied the electric bass (informally and in a post secondary education format). I love the sound of the instrument (and those who have mastered it) more than I like playing it (hence, my other podcast, Groove – The No Treble Podcast, where I am slowly trying to build the largest oral history of electric bass players). With that, I follow a lot of YouTube channels that focus on the instrument. Unless you are a musician, you probably have not heard about Ernie Ball. Ernie Ball is one of the world’s top makers of electric and acoustic guitar strings, bass strings, and other guitar accessories. Some of history’s greatest musicians including Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Slash, The Rolling Stones, Angus Young, Eagles, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Metallica, and more use their strings. As a form of content marketing, Ernie Ball created a documentary series titled, The Pursuit of Tone. It’s done in partnership with AT&T and these documentaries (which look at how musicians create the way that do) play on Direct TV and AT&T U-VERSE channel. Clips can often be found on the Ernie Ball YouTube channel. Next month, The Pursuit of Tone features Tom DeLonge (lead vocalist and songwriter for the bands Blink-182, Box Car Racer and Angels & Airwaves). For over two decades and 25 million albums, Tom’s guitar tone and riff-driven style has become one of alternative and modern rock’s most identifiable sound, which plays an undeniable role in what became the sound of California punk and alternative rock during the nineties. The four minute clip below from this documentary really brings together so many interesting angles of the work that we do as content creators, marketers and brand ambassadors. One, the content within this clip really speaks to the idea and value of noodling with your ideas, putting them out there, experimenting and trying things (even simple ones) that could lead to big results. Two, Ernie Ball is really thinking about how to use content marketing (across multiple media) to build their brand. It’s long form content. It’s powerful. A TV show, but with lots of online content. It’s well-produced, smart and not something that is readily available in the marketplace. They are owning it. Three, if the TV show doesn’t gain traction, this type of content could have its own life within their own YouTube channel (or augmented with distribution and more). A very smart and savvy content marketing play. They have TV (so why not use it?), but this kind of content could just as easily live online only.

Watch this video. The content is inspiring. The format is inspiring: Ernie Ball – The Pursuit of Tone – Tom DeLonge.

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Minutive, Vol. 16: Mozzier Than Most

Minutive, Vol. 16: Mozzier Than Most

Ranking #0: SEO for Answers

BY DR. PETE MEYERS
Few people in the world have as good a handle at where Google’s SERPs are evolving than Dr. Pete. So when he says “Featured Snippets offer a significant organic opportunity,” you should probably pay attention.

Though some of the commenters are skeptical of the likelihood of purchasing in this manner, the thought exercise of how Google is trying to answer commercial queries is spot-on and broadly applicable far beyond e-commerce queries.

Does Voice Search and/or Conversational Search Change SEO Tactics or Strategy? – Whiteboard Friday

BY RAND FISHKIN
The most bullish I’ve seen or heard Rand on the voice search / instant answer trend. That said, I’m still not sure he goes far enough. Two of the three areas he labels as “safe” — recipes and sports analysis — I’d argue are easily completely answered by voice assistants. In fact, I’d be surprised if the big tech companies weren’t already working on a machine-learning product that could tell the story of a game through box scores and gamecasts.


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Success of Pokémon Helps Put Foursquare Back on the Map

BY MIKE ISAAC
A blatant attempt to piggyback on a current popular craze for some desperately-needed positive PR, but there’s a grain of truth to it. There are very few datasets that can identify hotspots for future games that need to identify PokeStops and Gyms are going to be, and Foursquare is well-positioned if these kinds of games have staying power. IF.

8 tips from 7 months of local sponsorship marketing

BY MEGAN HANNAY
I got an early look at Megan’s and Garrett French’s new company, ZipSprout, earlier this spring at MozCon Local. It’s an amazingly simple marketplace concept that solves significant pain points for two big audiences: non-profits hate scrounging for donations and marketers hate doing grunt work to research worthy non-profits to partner with.

flok Launches Chatbots to Bolster Customer Engagement for Local Businesses
BY JOSEPH ZAPPA

As I said in last week’s issue, I’m bullish on SMS for small businesses, as it requires no learning curve for adoption, and so many small businesses already use it. By extension, I’m also bullish on chatbots.

Slightly Off-Topic:
The Internet of Things has a dirty little secret: it’s not really yours

BY INTERNET OF SHIT
One of my favorite Twitter accounts posted a semi-serious full-length article on The Verge a couple weeks ago, and I’m finally getting around to sharing it. It’s worth a read.

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Dumb & Dumber: Houston Lawyer Sues Over Review

Dumb & Dumber: Houston Lawyer Sues Over Review
The Houston lawyer who decided that he needed to show a reviewer that they “need to learn the consequences of their actions,”  for a bad review must not have gotten the message that suing customers over online reviews is a terrible idea. The act is usually dumb* and the consequences almost always counter to the interests of the … Continue reading Dumb & Dumber: Houston Lawyer Sues Over Review

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Reddit Looking to Open Up Advertising Opportunities via Sponsored Posts

Reddit Looking to Open Up Advertising Opportunities via Sponsored Posts

Reddit Looking to Open Up Advertising Opportunities via Sponsored Posts | Social Media TodayTraditionally, Reddit’s been a platform that has both intrigued and frightened marketing-folk.

On one hand, Reddit – the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” – is the source of many of the biggest viral stories and trends. The infamous “Triple Rainbow” video originated from Reddit, the massive 2014 celebrity nude photo hack came to public attention via subreddit and there are countless other examples of online memes and stories that have taken seed from the message board network. In fact, BuzzFeed has often been criticized for appropriating Reddit content for their own viral posts, so much so that they put rules in place to ensure Buzzfeed gave relevant Redditors credit.

Given the platform’s potential as an originator of trends, brands have obviously been keen to get in on the ground floor and stay ahead of the game – and that’s before you even consider Reddit’s own 170 million monthly active users (more than Pinterest and LinkedIn) submitting, on average, over 53.9 million comments, resulting in more than 7 billion pageviews, every month.

But there is a catch. Reddit users hate advertising.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted as much in a recent interview with AdAge, saying that Reddit users don’t like feeling manipulated by brand messaging.

“Reddit’s a platform where you can call people out on it. And a lot of traditional advertising feels like we’re being taken advantage of and nobody likes that.”

This is amplified on Reddit because users are, by design, anonymous, freeing people to say whatever they want with little fear of it being linked back to their real identity.

There have been various examples of brand fails on the platform, normally due to brands trying too hard to force their marketing messages into the conversation – efforts which are not appreciated by the dedicated Reddit community. And the response can even spill over to other platforms – when Pilot tried to insert themselves into the Reddit conversation by posting a meme of one of their pens, Redditors were not enthused and they promptly ripped the company for their blatant advertising, with criticisms flowing through to the pen’s Amazon reviews.

Reddit users are, in general, more tech-savvy, more cynical of marketing messages, and they’re fiercely protective of their on-platform groups – there’s good reason why Reddit is the second most trusted social media source for news.

Reddit Looking to Open Up Advertising Opportunities via Sponsored Posts | Social Media TodayFor brands, wading into those waters comes with significant risk – but now, Reddit’s trying to roll out the welcome mat to advertisers in an effort to boost the platform’s monetization capacity.

In the same AdAge interview, Huffman outlined Reddit’s new ad offering, called “Promoted User Posts”.

They work like this – say there’s a post that’s blowing up on Reddit. The example provided by Huffman is this one, about a user who’d created a giant replica of a Taco Bell hot sauce packet.

Reddit Looking to Open Up Advertising Opportunities via Sponsored Posts | Social Media TodayAs you can see, there’s a heap of upvotes and comments. Under the new Sponsored Posts system, Taco Bell would be able to “sponsor” this post and ensure it gets more reach, as well as targeting it to specific Reddit users.

As per AdAge:

“Reddit will seek permission from the person who created the original post and should they accept, they’ll receive a lifetime of Reddit Gold, a paid feature that grants extra benefits on the platform”

Huffman says this is a more organic, natural way to advertise on Reddit, and as such, it’ll be viewed as less of an intrusion by the user community.

“There are car enthusiasts on Reddit, makeup addicts, people who discuss movies, books and video games where these commercial relationships are already developing with our users. It is not a stretch for the advertiser to come in here and engage with our audience.”

Reddit’s building out the offering by offering a team of strategists who’ll work with brands to help them locate organic posts to sponsor. Reddit’s sales staff has grown from nine to 24 employees in the last year, with a new set of creatives hired recently to help brands create more Reddit-centric content to boost response.

And while it’ll take time to ease advertiser hesitation about the platform, some brands have already seen results from Reddit’s new advertising push.

eBay has run various campaigns on Reddit in the past nine months, including one for Star Wars Day in which they targeted Subreddits where people were talking about the film. That focus helped increase click-through rates by 35% in comparison to ads that were not targeted, showing that there is opportunity and potential in the new sponsored and focussed ad approach.

The offering moves Reddit beyond their traditional sponsored posts option and gives brands a new way to hook into on-platform communities and, ideally, harness their viral potential. If a brand could tap into one of those trends early, they could significantly amplify their reach, helping share their brand message to a potentially huge audience, both on Reddit and in the subsequent coverage and discussion.

Reddit Looking to Open Up Advertising Opportunities via Sponsored Posts | Social Media Today

An example of a Reddit sponsored post

The option also potentially blurs the lines even further on the native advertising front.

If you’re interested in getting to know more about Reddit and how it might be of benefit for your brand, apps like PopURLs can help you stay on top of Reddit content by showing you the top trending discussions at any given time, and tools like TrackReddit can keep you up to date on relevant conversations by tracking keyword mentions on the site. The primary demographic bracket for Reddit users is 18-29 year-olds – if that’s your audience, it may well be worth listening in and seeing what’s being discussed. 

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The State of Influencer Marketing [Infographic]

The State of Influencer Marketing [Infographic]

Social media connects us in ways we’ve never had access to before, providing us with new options to engage and share opinions within our own trusted networks. And as such, the power of influencer marketing is also on the rise, as the voices within our networks can now be just as influential as celebrities.

The power of word-of-mouth is amplified through social networks. These days, when you’re considering any purchase, you have an entire focus group to call upon via your smartphone any time, and that focus group isn’t some random sample. These are people you care about, people you listen to and trust. These people are influencers, and through social connection, those influential voices can be virtually anyone.

And now brands are looking to tap into that potential.

To get a better handle on the opportunities of influencer marketing, Tapfluence recently commissioned Altimeter to conduct a study of more than 1,700 influencers and 100 marketers to get their insights into the current state of influence and how brands can, and are, using it to advantage.

The full report contains some great insights into the growth of influencer marketing, particularly from the perspective of the influencers themselves, and they’ve incorporated the key findings into this new infographic.

The State of Influencer Marketing [Infographic] | Social Media Today

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3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon GO’s Success

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon GO’s Success

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media TodayIt’s probably an understatement to say that Pokémon GO has taken the world by storm. Within the first few days of being released, millions of people downloaded the new app.

This game encourages users to take to the streets to try to find virtual Pokémon, small, illusive creatures that are playing around cities worldwide. The goal is to catch as many as possible using Pokéballs, which you can get at Pokéstops, so you can strengthen your cast of characters and battle it out in Pokémon gyms with other players.

On the surface, it might sound like a child-like game. In the early 1990s, it was.

Today, it’s attracted the attention of adults. Groups of grown men will walk with their noses pressed to their phone screens in hopes of seeing Pikachu pop out from behind a trash can in the subway.

With millions of players using it, it’s no wonder it has set the social media world on fire with posts, comments and memes.

What can we learn from this success? Let’s dig in.

1. Recognize Clever Hashtags

When the game first debuted, Nintendo, the creators of Pokémon GO, could have easily encouraged users to post with #PokemonGO. Although appropriate, other, more creative hashtags have popped up connecting more app users.

One popular hashtag is #GottaCatchEmAll. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) made their own spin on the hashtag to promote not catching or fighting the animals with the hashtag #GottaFreeEmAll.

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media Today

Another example is #PokemonProblems. Search this hashtag and you’ll find a list of posts from people who are having difficulty with part of the game. This isn’t customer service type posts (although some of them do complain about the servers being down- a problem that has plagued Pokémon GO because of it’s unprecedented success). Many of these posts are about problems players have had catching the Pokémon. For example:

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media Today

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media Today

In the marketing world, you should always be listening to your customers. Break away from only looking at #YourBusinessName. Instead, look for other fun, unusual hashtags about your product. Hashtagify.me is a great tool for doing this. It lets you plug in your hashtag and find other related, trending hashtags to follow.

2. Encourage People to Come to Your Business in a Unique Way

Businesses have come together with the community with Pokémon GO. How? By sharing hot tips about where the Pokémon are playing, Pokéstops in the area, or where there are Gyms nearby.

If you have a rare Pokémon pop up around your business, or your business is a Pokéstop or gym, let your followers know. This type of social media marketing is an excellent way of inviting people into your store without being overly promotional (which you probably already know is frowned upon). It’s fun and it taps into a popular trend.

But there’s another side to the equation here.

It can bring unwelcome guests and people who loiter without buying, stealing away from the atmosphere and hurting your current guests. Here are a few examples:

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media Today

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media Today

By taking to social media to lay out the welcome mat or discourage an unpleasant situation for your customers, you’ll gain fans.

This isn’t exclusive to Pokémon GO either. Once the craze is over (and it will be someday), continue to search for unique ways to attract people to your business. Sales aren’t the only thing that will lure people to buy from you. Get creative in your ideas for what to share on social media to get people excited about visiting you.

3. Let the Haters Hate

Amidst all the craze over the new game, there are plenty of people who are vocal about their dislike of Pokémon GO. These people have probably generated more memes than the Pokémon GO players themselves and Nintendo is surely glad about it.

Here are a few:

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media Today

3 Social Media Lessons to Draw From Pokémon Go’s Success | Social Media Today

“Although these memes put a negative spin on the app, they bring attention to the game. The haters out there are actually fanning the Pokémon GO fire by continuing to talk about the game.” – Scott Lazerson, Pokémon GO fanatic

This is a fine line to walk as a brand. Negative reviews on social media can be damaging. Funny memes that poke a little fun at what you offer can be beneficial. Recognize the difference for your industry.

Have You Jumped On the Pokémon GO Train Yet?

Whether you’ve downloaded the app or not, one thing is certain – this game has caught the attention of people from all audiences on social media. It’s been hard to open your news feed and avoid seeing something about Pokémon GO.

 

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This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

Content marketing done with purpose can help your company stand out for the right reasons, regardless of your size or budget. To succeed with content you’ve got to continue to grow as a marketer and adapt your skillset to stay ahead of the curve.

However, staying up to date in this ever-evolving field can be a pain as every variable is in a constant state of change.

To counter this, review these important statistics and facts to learn what’s working and what’s not with content marketing for both marketers and business owners alike.

Content Marketing Strategy Statistics

1. 74% of companies are increasing lead quality and quantity from content marketing. (Source)

The godfather of marketing Seth Godin once said, “Content marketing is the only marketing left.” He said this because most other forms of marketing don’t provide enough value and relevance to consumers anymore, since they are more aware than ever of what’s advertising and what’s not.

2. B2C marketers are allocating a higher average proportion of total marketing budget to content marketing this year, 32% vs. 25% last year. (Source)

As other marketing mediums become less effective, it seems content marketing is where many marketers turn to reach their customer base in a non-disruptive way.

3. 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading their custom content. (Source)

Content marketing is all about building trust with your customers. If a person gets value from consuming your content, than that’s a step in the right direction towards building trust.

4. Over the last three years in the United States the effectiveness of content has dropped by 12%. (Source)

All marketers realize that content works to reach people over other marketing strategies, which has lead to more companies investing in content. With more content published everyday, the more difficult it is for content in any form to stand out and drive results as consumers are inundated with options.

5. 56% of B2C marketers and 64% of B2B marketers don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

Surprisingly, being organized and systematic with your approach to content marketing will still give you a strategic advantage over a majority of competitors.

6. 75% of content marketing leaders are increasing marketing technology investment in 2016. (Source)

Although many marketers are slow to create a documented content strategy, many realize that systems and processes are important to help automate parts of the process. This is why many are now investing in the right tools and platforms to manage how content is created, optimized, promoted and measured.

7. 37% of content marketers never complete a content audit. (Source)

Similarly to the stark reality that most content marketers haven’t invested in a documented strategy, many marketers haven’t taken the time to audit their progress with content. This is a big mistake as they are neglecting to pause their efforts, review the bigger picture with content and identify existing gaps in their overall approach to content.

8. Companies with ten employees or less use an average of six different content marketing tactics. (Source)

The more staff dedicated to content marketing the easier it is to experiment and invest in a few different channels and tactics to see what resonates with your audience.

9. 46% of respondents find research reports to be the most effective types of content used, followed by blog posts. (Source)

Consistently reviewing what types of content work best for your industry, customer base and goals will help give your content strategy a stronger focus. Determining what format will be able to drive the biggest impact can help your organization use your budget and resources on content effectively.

10. 88% of respondents said interactive content is somewhat or very effective at differentiating from competitors, versus just 55% for static content. (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

Standing out with your content marketing strategy today is difficult. Investing in interactive content that engages your audience in a relevant and genuine way is one of many ways to differentiate.

Content Marketing Creation Statistics

11. 65% of senior marketing and IT executives believe that visual content is essential to communicating a brand’s story, but only 27% have systems in place to aggregate, organize and manage their assets across departments. (Source)

The benefits of content marketing are well-established, but still many marketers are creating content in an informal way to reach their audience, an approach that isn’t sustainable. This is a missed opportunity as marketers that have a system and strategy in place are more successful than those who don’t.

12. Short form content (less than 1,000 words) dominates the most shared B2B content, although long form content on average gets more shares. (Source)

When creating content think about where and when different formats of content work for your audience. Refer to my previous piece to learn how to decide whether long or short form content is appropriate at a given moment.

13. 48% of respondents say a lack of content creation resources is their most significant barrier to achieving their goals. (Source)

When you’ve got limited access to what you need, repurposing your existing content into other formats is a useful way of generating more visibility for your efforts without reinventing the wheel.

14. 44.7% of marketers create between two and five pieces of content each week. (Source)

There isn’t a magic number of blog posts or podcast episodes to create each week, but it’s clear that the volume of content you’re creating needs to increase overtime in order to compete.

15. 72% of marketers surveyed said relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

There are many SEO factors to optimize for, but it’s clear that creating original, useful and entertaining content on relevant subjects is the foundation for a strong SEO strategy.

16. 60-70% of content produced by B2B companies goes unused and 87% of B2B marketers say they struggle to create content that truly engages their buyers. (Source)

This issue comes down to two problems, one is not understanding who your audience is and what motivates them. The second issue is not knowing what topics to focus on when creating content for your customers. Address this dilemma by doing research to develop customer personas, as well as analyzing the content created by competitors in your industry.

17. Businesses using video grow their revenue 49% faster than organizations not using video. Companies using video on at least one marketing channel increased revenue growth by 13.3%, as compared to a 8.9% revenue growth from non-video marketers. (Source)

Video is clearly one of the most engaging forms of content to invest in, as it is easy to consume and helps to humanize your brand, which helps build trust overtime.

18. Top-performing content was three times more likely to be emotionally focused. (Source)

Triggering an emotion with content is what drives us to share it, comment on it and take action. Think about the topics your content should focus on and explore the emotional angles of each subject.

19. On average, 75% of ideas are turned into a content asset, published once, and never reused or repurposed again. (Source)

Again, repurposing your content into different formats is one of the most underutilized ways of driving more visibility to your content without spending significant amounts of time and money. Perform a content audit to understand your existing inventory of content and what can be repurposed into a new, useful format like changing a series of blog posts into an infographic.

20. 59% of consumers globally would rather engage with content that’s beautifully designed than simple, even when short on time. (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

When developing content, it is important not to neglect the design of it as it heavily impacts a consumer’s interest in continuing to engage with it. Matching the expectation of consumers, wherever they are viewing content, is essential to ensure you’re serving engaging experiences that drives action.

Content Marketing Promotion Statistics

21. Globally, “making people laugh” was identified as the top personal motivator for sharing content. (Source)

To encourage the sharing of your content across social media and amongst publishers, humor is still a major driving force in gaining attention and triggering a response from consumers.

22. More than half of publishers’ 300 most-shared Page posts were Facebook videos. (Source)

Converting your existing videos and other formats of content into Facebook videos is a powerful way to drive more visibility. Whether they are just trailers to your other content, making use of Facebook video is essential today as the social network gives them higher priority in the news feed.

23. 55% of users on Pinterest use the platform to specifically find and shop for products. (Source)

When promoting content, understand how to position your products on Pinterest with content to make the most of this behavior and drive people to shop your product and service offerings.

24. For every 100,000 followers on Facebook, only 130 people will click on an organic post. (Source)

Paid advertising on Facebook and social media is an important consideration within your content strategy as organic reach continues to fall and it becomes necessary to promote content to ensure it’s seen and engaged with.

25. Fewer than 30% of B2C marketers said they use the following social media platforms: Vimeo (25%), Tumblr (20%), SlideShare (20%), iTunes (18%), Vine (15%), Snapchat (13%), Periscope (11%) and Medium (9%). (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

Noting which mediums marketers aren’t as active on can provide direction as to which social networks to invest in, since there isn’t as much competition there.

26. 48% of companies are not curating content. (Source)

With limited time and resources, it’s important to include the relevant content of others in addition to the original content you’re creating to share a mix of perspective and to help scale what you’re sharing without breaking the bank.

27. 73% of consumers are open to suggestions or predictive recommendations from brands. (Source)

Receiving a suggestion or recommendation from a brand doesn’t bother consumers once they are familiar with the company as long as the assistance is genuine and provides utility. Keep this in mind when promoting content to your existing audience as different segments of your customer base want to see different things from your organization, whether through email segmentation, targeting with social ads etc.

28. 63% of content marketers are currently working on better understanding their audience. (Source)

The process of researching the nuances of your audience is never ending as any customer base is continually evolving, changing their preferences and viewing your brand identity differently than they did the month before. Analyze your customer base on a consistent basis to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to creating and promoting relevant content your audience cares about.

29. 89% of companies said their content marketing programs are more effective now than in years past. (Source)

Content marketing is nothing new, but its popularity has spiked in the last few years, driving visibility to the strategies that work and the one’s that don’t. There will always be more to learn about being successful with content, but it seems like most businesses are starting to feel more confident.

30. 60% of Snapchat users upload personal items every day, while only 20% of users on Facebook-owned Instagram upload personal content daily. (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

User generated content is another important element in your overall content strategy as it can help fuel your channels at a minimal cost or no cost to your brand. Develop ways of encouraging customers to create content related to your business on Snapchat, Instagram and elsewhere to increase visibility of your offerings and conserve your time and resources.

Content Marketing Hiring Statistics

31. 40.4% of marketers have two to four employees dedicated to content marketing. (Source)

As the impact of content becomes clearer, organizations are hiring more employees to assist with different areas of content to build stronger, more comprehensive teams to scale their efforts.

32. The number of LinkedIn profiles in the U.S. containing “content marketing” has increased by 168%. (Source)

As more journalists and marketers develop skillsets focused on content marketing and others notice the hiring spree in this area of marketing, more professionals will continue to cater their personal brands to adapt to roles in this niche.

33. The top ten states with the most content marketing jobs per capita are Massachusetts, New York, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, Georgia, New Jersey and lastly, Maryland. (Source)

Content marketing positions are available all across the country and remotely, but if you’re looking for a plethora of roles to choose from as a content marketer, these are the top states to look at.

34. 41% of respondents say the most important skill-set missing from their content marketing team is content creation. (Source)

Creating worthwhile content is difficult, as it requires a range of skillsets that many don’t have. Being able to create articles, videos, podcasts and other formats of content will be a competitive advantage for any content marketing professional.

35. The number of content marketing job listings on Indeed.com has grown by nearly 350% from January 2011 to January 2015. (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

As other marketing mediums drive less results, more companies are investing in content marketing and as a result are hiring content experts to develop and promote content for their customer base.

36. At 38% of companies a director level position does the content hiring, 28.3% have marketing managers handle hiring and 16.9% of organizations have their CEO or founder manage hiring. (Source)

Who hires content marketers at most companies depends on who has the highest level of expertise on the subject, but in many cases, falls under the jurisdiction of the CEO/founder if there aren’t others specializing in content at the organization.

37. The average salary for marketers is $61,000, content marketers make an average of $74,000 annually. (Source)

Since content marketers are in high demand today, they can often command a higher salary than marketers in other related roles.

38. 60% of marketers report that hiring marketing content talent is “somewhat difficult”. (Source)

The range of skills a content marketer needs to have is diverse, which makes it hard to find qualified candidates. To succeed, content marketers need writing and editing skills, an understanding of how to promote content once it’s created, the ability to interrupt data and more.

39. According to respondents, Content Marketing Director/Manager is the most common title of the executive in charge of content marketing at an organization. (Source)

Content Manager as a title is likely common due to the fact that many content marketing teams are still small or consist of only one person who typically takes that title.

40. 51% of marketers and executives surveyed say they will have a content marketing leader by 2017. (Source)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

Leadership is important for any content marketing endeavor to ensure every team member is motivated to give their best work towards reaching a company’s goals outlined in their strategy.

Content Marketing Measurement Statistics

41. 68% of marketing professionals today feel more pressured to show a return on their investment in marketing spend. (Source)

With access to more data points than ever today, there is a strong pressure on marketers to prove every action they are taking provides ROI. In many cases, ROI is unmeasurable and in some cases, it shouldn’t be the only focus of what you’re doing with content as other metrics for success matter.

42. Marketers who check their metrics 3X+ times a week are over 20% more likely to achieve a positive ROI. (Source)

The more aware a content team is of their success or lack of success with content, the more quickly they can respond to ramp up what’s working and alter what’s not.

43. 41% of organizations with content marketing programs say they see an increase in brand awareness. (Source)

Awareness is one of the many important goals to aim for with content as overtime it can lead to increased trust and position a brand in a stronger position as compared to competitors.

44. 83% of B2C companies say sales are the most important content marketing goal, while 85% of B2B companies say lead generation is a top priority in terms of goals. (Source #1 & #2)

Driving awareness isn’t enough with content marketing as customers must take action from that awareness in the long-term like increasing sales and leads. Develop a mix of hard and soft metrics to focus on with a content marketing to properly measure its effectiveness.

45. 50% of B2C content marketers and 57% of B2B content marketers find measuring content effectiveness a major challenge. (Source #1 & #2)

This Year’s Need To Know Content Marketing Statistics & Facts | Social Media Today

Measuring the ROI of content marketing and marketing in general has never been easy. Setting up a proper attribution model takes time, but today you’ve got more tools and resources than ever to help get that process in motion. Start small and work your way up to attributing more of your actions with content to measurable results.

This post originally appeared on the Honigman Media blog.

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The Undeniable Power Of Search Engine Marketing

The Undeniable Power Of Search Engine Marketing

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bing Network. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Undeniable Power Of Search Engine Marketing If you could choose just ONE form of digital marketing, what would it be?

I get asked this question from big brands all over the world, and my answer is always the same…

Search engine marketing.

It often shocks people, because social media and content have been such a big contributor to my success. But in reality, search engines are where I continue to get the best return on investment.

In fact, 55% of the traffic for this site comes from organic search alone. And for me, more traffic means more earning potential.

Search engines are the lifeblood of digital marketing, not just because they deliver the most sustainable traffic to websites, but also because they are an essential component of our every day life.

Without search engines, life from a digital sense would inevitably stand still, stop functioning and most likely create widespread panic.

We are reliant on our ability to get answers and information at the click of a button, and that’s why search engine marketing is such a powerful tool for you as a marketer.

But don’t take my word for it, let me show you what I mean…

Powerful search engine marketing stats

There is more to search engine marketing than just website traffic, and to illustrate why you should consider it an integral part of your digital strategy here are some statistics:

Of course these are just stats, but they tell a compelling story. Search engine marketing is here to stay, and it’s importance will only grow as the global adoption of mobile devices continues to accelerate.

So how can you make the most of it?

A unique opportunity

A few weeks ago I wrote an article that encouraged you to diversify your search engine marketing strategy; in order to stay competitive and create a distinct point of difference for your website.

The most natural place to start if you’re looking to diversify your strategy, reduce your overall risk and tap into some unique opportunities, is with the Bing Network.

Bing has come along way in the past decade, and it’s much more than just a search box on a webpage. It’s now a powerful connector between technology, information, people and knowledge.

Beyond being your typical search engine, Bing powers over 14 billion searches around the world across the Microsoft ecosystem; from Cortana, Xbox, Twitter, Apple and Amazon.

This means as a search engine marketer, Bing offers a unique opportunity to reach MORE people, in MORE ways and on MORE platforms.

Bing helps search engine marketers reach people at times when they are ready and willing to spend money – in their everyday lives. They connect you to prospects where and how they want to be reached.

More than just keywords in a search bar

Search engine marketing isn’t just about dropping a few keywords into a search bar anymore…

It’s much more than that.

Now search is present in everything we do, from interacting on social networks, to purchasing products, to finding a local restaurant.

As the digital marketing space continues to evolve, so will search, and you need to be prepared to ride that wave and capitalize on opportunities when they surface.

Networks such as Bing help you diversify your search marketing risk and tap into a growing and unique opportunity to reach your ideal customers.

Learn more about Bing Network

Visit Sponsors Site

The post The Undeniable Power Of Search Engine Marketing appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.

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