Landing pages are an absolute must if you are trying to send people to a page where you want them to take some kind of an action.
With the exception of people landing on your website or web pages directly (which is possible through organic, social, and email traffic), all other visitors must land on a landing page.
Landing pages disallow visitors to be distracted. The way landing pages are built, you can have visitors focus on only one thing they have to do when they arrive:
Unbounce is our favorite landing page builder. It’s absolutely essential for our agency work and my own projects. I’ve been working on the Unbounce platform for a long time and I managed to pick a few tricks and tips that I am sure you’d benefit from.
Here are some of those Unbounce Tips:
Use the “Mobile page layout assistant”
Unlike other landing page builders, Unbounce took to mobile responsive landing pages a tad late. What that means for us Unbounce fanatics is that there’s that wee bit of work that has to go in before your landing page is completely mobile responsive.
As usual, edit your landing pages completely in the “desktop mode”. Click on the “mobile” tab at the bottom of the editing screen. When you get to the mobile tab, get to the top right side and click on the mobile layout assistant as shown.
That should do most of the work for you. But you are not done yet…
Hold Down the command or control Key While editing mobile versions
After clicking on the “Apply to entire page” button, you’ll often see some of your content and design elements hidden or not aligned properly (and this is where you’d have to set things up).
Drag, realign, change sizes, and change positions as you’d like by holding down your Command key (On Mac) and CTRL key on Windows.
Hold it down for all the changes you’d make on the mobile layout. If you don’t, all the changes you make on mobile side also apply to the desktop side.
This way, your work will never end.
Build multi-page landing pages
The more interested a prospect is, the more they are willing to put in the required due diligence.
A great way to test whether or not your landing page visitors are “that much into you” is to setup multi-page landing pages.
To build multi-page landing pages, you’ll essentially need two landing pages. Something like:
Step1: Build a page for the first step of the multi-step or multi-page landing page
Step 2: Build out a second/final step of the multi-step or multi-page landing page.
Add a video to the background
Johnny Opao, a developer at the Unbounce Community, did a lovely workaround to allow you to add a video background on your Unbounce landing Page.
Here it is, as is:
Here’s a script I put together for those looking for a video background solution. It hasn’t been fully tested so I can’t promise it’s perfect, but it should work for most cases.
This script requires the video be hosted on Youtube. Be sure you own the video or have permission to use it for this purpose.
Here’s a sample page of the script in action:
1. Grab the latest version of the script here:
3. You’ll need to make some small modifications to the script. Specifically this line:
Here’s a quick reference legend of those values:
lpVideoBG(‘#SectionID’, ‘YoutubeVideoID’, width, height, muted);
Replace ‘#lp-pom-block-9’ with the ID of the section you want to apply the video background to. If you want the video be fixed and span across the entire viewport then set this value to ‘#lp-pom-root’.
‘2XX5zDThC3U’ is the YouTube Video ID. This can be found in the URL of the Youtube video. For example:
If your YouTube URL is:
Then the ID would be: vLUNWYt3q1w
‘560’ and ‘315’ are the ‘width’ and ‘height’ of the video. Most standard videos are around this size, but if you know the exact dimensions of your video you can set it here for a better fit.
The last parameter determines whether or not to mute the video. Set this to:
‘0’ for sound
‘1’ to mute
4. Set a background image to the page section. It’s very important you do so. The image will act as a fallback in the event the browser cannot load video backgrounds (like on iPhones).
That’s about it! Again I can’t promise this is perfect so please use it at your own risk.
Note: Don’t be too quick to conclude that you “should” or “should not” use video backgrounds on your landing pages. The best way to know if a video background works for your campaigns or not is to do A/B Testing.
Setup everything On Variant A before creating Variant B
If you are going full out on your landing pages and building A and B versions, be sure to complete everything on your first version.
This also includes adding all sorts of scripts and codes for Google Analytics, Mouseflow tracking, Improvely codes, Google conversion codes, and Google tags, if any.
Once you are sure you’ve added everything you’d need, duplicate the page to create your second version.
Be sure to change only one element in version B. That’s the best way to test out the differences and build a high confidence level.
Use those boxes when you should
Below the fold, on almost every landing page you’ll build, you’ll often add anywhere from 3 to 6 blocks or containers to provide more information. These units of information usually have icons, titles, and a paragraph or two with copy.
Start out a section that encompasses all these units together. Use a box (available on the left control panel) and put your icons, titles, and paragraphs within these boxes.
This way, it’s easier to build out your mobile layout and a great way to make sure your elements sit together.
Use Mouseflow with Unbounce
Mouseflow is an awesome tool that helps you live recordings of your visitors’ actual sessions (including heat maps, scrolls, movements, and clicks). While it was primarily built for you to use it for your entire website, you can use Mouseflow exclusively for your landing pages (that’s also where the money is, right?).
Once you setup Mouseflow code on the landing pages you want to track, you’ll be able to see what happens on the landing page live.
All scrolls and no clicks? Visitors paying attention to the top left corner of the landing page while your form (and the call to action button) is on the right?
Not all call to action buttons are built equal. Depending on the colors, design elements, the overall design sense of your landing page, your buttons might or might not do with borders.
Unbounce allows you to build any kind of button you need.
We’ve seen conversion lifts either with a flat, thick bottom border patch or without the border and any other effects on the button at all.
Put a reminder call to action at the bottom of the page
If the landing page is slightly longer than what the usual browser sizes are, your visitors will scroll down their way to the bottom. Most of them forget to come back up. If they don’t, you’ll just lost a few opportunities there. Unbounce lets you add another button (a rather large or wide one, depending on how you design it) right at the bottom of the page.
When users click on it, the page scrolls back up automatically to the form.
This is how you do it. Let’s assume you want your visitors to get to the form when they click the button at the bottom.
Take note of the form ID. You’ll find it in the properties section as shown.
Place a button at the bottom of the page and design in context.
On the right hand panel, input the “form ID” as the URL.
History knows this. There are enough examples around to prove that sheer dedication, commitment, and a dogged pursuit almost never fails.
You know how the life of an inspired, enthusiastic, and well-meaning marketer or business owner can be, don’t you?
As if it’s not enough that digital marketers have a hundred different things to do each day — connecting all those moving parts — the new age digital marketing and sales did not take away the big, fat, old pimple called “rejection” away.
Giving stuff away is expected. You aren’t doing any favours.
Free users of your SaaS product won’t even share or talk about the tool unless it helps them, affects them, or delights them in a way that compels them to share, discuss, or even write entire blog posts about your product.
People are less likely to reciprocate when they can be anonymous (which is totally possible online).
Your users, audiences, readers, customers, and potential customers — no one has any sort of social pressure.
Because of this, your outreach emails will not be opened or responded to.
Your campaigns won’t work as well as they should
Your free trials won’t convert to paid subscriptions
Your ecommerce store won’t see the kind of sales you expect.
It’s one thing that the Internet has blessed us with opportunity; but completely something else that it’s just getting harder to have someone else do something for you online, let alone sell.
I don’t really know the answer to that. Egor does have a few insights in his post, and you’d have to agree with those:
Invoke Trust with content marketing done right.
Onboard your customers properly
Put value upfront, ask for “whatever” later.
Offer Incentives, every time. Don’t take anything for granted.
Egor made his points. But I believe there’s more to it as applied to marketers and business owners who are looking for results today (building relationships and doing content marketing takes time).
So, what do you do today in terms of cold email outreach hustle that can make things work for you? Is cold email outreach even worth it?
Gerard Compte, founder of Findthatlead swears by the fact that email outreach changed his life forever. So much that we went on to create products with the sole intent of helping companies and sales teams connect with their future prospects with products like FindThatLead.
If prospects won’t signup, potential customers don’t click on “buy”, and no one even bothers to share your post, what do you do?
When it comes to cold email outreach, you hustle. That’s what. Here’s how you do it:
Take emotion out of the equation
Let’s say you write a huge blog post mentioning about 26 different bloggers, influencers, marketers, or business owners. You then decide to send out an outreach email to each of them letting them know that they’ve been mentioned in the blog post.
You write out asking them if they could share the post or comment on it.
Some will. Most won’t.
Regardless of what you do next, there’s an emotional toll behind that email and the results that come out of that effort you took.
As a first rule, you’d have to take those emotions out of the equation.
Don’t take it personally. Instead, continue to mention these bloggers, influencers, or business owners (if it makes sense in your future blog posts) and continue to send out outreach emails.
You do that regardless of whether or not you receive a reply and even if they never bothered to read, click, and share.
Similarly, take emotions out completely for every goal you have on your mind — applies to signups, campaign results, web traffic numbers, and sales.
Always Follow up
It’s easy to send out an email. It’s easy to tweet. It’s easy to ask your customers for signing up or for a sale or for anything else for that matter.
It’s easy but that doesn’t mean it’ll work.
It’s hard to follow up. It’s hard to stay in touch, to nurture, and to build relationships.
“I follow up as many times as necessary until I get a response. I don’t care what the response is as long as I get one. If someone tells me they need another 14 days to get back to me, I will put that in my calendar and ping them again in 14 days.”
Unless the person you trying to get in touch with absolutely hates you, give the world a little benefit of doubt: they could be busy, worried, out of town, not at work, launching something new, fretting with some decision, or maybe they did want to take action but just forgot.
Don’t take No For an Answer
I see this all the time. You make a request and you hear the other person say “no”.
You take several steps back. In fact, for all practical purposes, that interaction ends there. In some cases, even relationships end there.
Vendor: I do websites for $1800, including hosting and perpetual support.
Client: That’s too expensive. I am sorry but I’d have to decline.
Vendor: No Issues, I understand.
See how that went? It was wasted time and opportunity for the vendor. The client probably lost a good resources and she’d now waste some more time shopping around.
Instead, the service provider could gone another way altogether.
Let’s look at it again:
Vendor: I do websites for $1800, including hosting and perpetual support.
Client: That’s too expensive. I am sorry but I’d have to decline.
Vendor: I understand where you come from but before you decide, I want you to think about this:
A profitable, money-making website takes about $3600 for upkeep and maintenance. When websites break down or when they don’t work the way you want them to, it’s an added cost.
Support, customisation, and fixing things are hidden problems you won’t even worry about until you have to worry about them.
I don’t just design a website. I help you run a sales machine that keeps your business profitable.
I’d like you to take your time and consider this.
I’ll get back to you to find out how you are doing 3 months from now.
By doing this, you get another change to show the client why you are awesome. Plus, you just turned a cold prospective into a big hot lead into your pipeline. Now, apply this to whatever it is that you use cold email outreach for.
Stay firm and Polite
I recently sent out an email campaign (cold email outreach) to a bunch of people who worked with me earlier, or at least we’ve had a conversation or two about possible work.
Most people replied back positively (so that pipeline is building up). One certain individual, however, wrote back saying that he’d accept guest posts if we are prepared to pay $150 per post.
I pitched. He pitched me back.
Funny how that worked.
This happens sometimes and regardless of what you are trying to do with your cold email outreach, you’ll face dead ends.
None of the above advice would ever mean that you sell yourself short, give discounts, or cut yourself into pieces just trying to deliver a mean cuss who also happens to be your client.
More often than not, you’d have to put your foot down.
But that’s for dealing with clients, prospects, or even your prospect lists when you cold email outreach.
You can also stay “firm” and “polite” with your potential customers. Design your lead nurturing email campaigns that way.
Automate “Emotion heavy” tasks
We are humans after all. Despite the fact that getting emotional isn’t good for you, chances are that you will.
You’ll still end up with uncle clients who won’t respect you.
Your cold outreach emails won’t be opened or not replied to.
Your blogging efforts don’t get you traffic.
Your sales pitches sink into the bottom of the ice piles of East Antarctica.
That’s understandable. But then, when that’s inevitable, try to automate these processes.
Using some tools, you can automate follow-ups for your outreach.
Using Mailchimp or campaign monitor helps you automate most of the lead nurturing you’d need to do with your leads.
Connect Zapier with 500+ apps of every imaginable kind and automate what you can.
Lead generation is that little phrase that has businesses on the edge nowadays, with attention spans of their respective customers going down and the simultaneous growth in the sheer number of places that they can now hang out at.
Lead generation isn’t easy, I’ll give you that. If you want to build a pipeline that never fails, you’d have to be nonchalant, work with numbers, embrace networking, and put in more work than you thought you’d have to.
Leads won’t show up because you did. Engagement is key, and not shoving ads on people’s faces. You’d have to line up your marketing resources (including content) to make lead generation happen.
Also, you’d have to keep at this consistently while working to develop a systems for how you do things.
Always Keep Blogging
It’s surprising that after almost a decade of blogging, there are many businesses that don’t blog regularly.
Quality is important, and not quantity and it looks like everyone knows that. But it’s the “frequency of publishing” that seems to befuddle many businesses.
Most businesses don’t have the resources to continue blogging high quality blog posts, forever and ever. In fact, according to , here are a the challenges in certain order that businesses face when it comes to content publishing.
First, here’s what the stats have to say about blogging:
Jon Rampton of Forbes.com has already done the good work of putting the stats with respect how frequent your blog posting should be:
“…a recent study from HubSpot shows that B2B companies that publish 16-plus blog posts per month receive 3.5 times the amount of traffic as companies that publish only 0-4 posts per month. The story is similar for B2C companies: those that post 16-plus entries a month enjoy 4.5 times the amount of traffic as those that upload only 0-4 posts.
But you can’t just think in terms of immediate traffic benefits. According to another HubSpot study, 75 percent of their blog views — and 90 percent of blog leads — came from older posts. This shows that relevant and sticky content can actually gain value over time.
And once companies publish their 401st blog post, they experience a significant spike in traffic (about twice the traffic of companies that have a total of 301-400 posts on their sites).
So, using these numbers, you can see that your best option is to post 16 times per month, or roughly four times a week. If you do this consistently for six and a half months, you’ll achieve 401-plus blog entries. And at that point, you’ll be able to maximize the value of your blog.”
To help blog consistently, do this:
Prepare and plan for posts much ahead of your blogging schedule. Use editorial calendars or tools like CoSchedule for this.
Write more per day than you are supposed to. Say, your frequency is 4 blog posts per week. Try to write up at least 8 – 10 blog posts that week so that you’ll be covered for downtime (writers’ block or whatever) and you can schedule posts.
Aim for more than 1000 words at least.
Make it a habit to link out to credible sources, influencers, statistics, and other research. Every link lets those sources know, and it’s a healthy practice.
To generate leads from your blog posts “after” the traffic starts coming in:
Use “bottom of the post” opt-in forms (see below) to generate subscribers.
Optimize your entire website to help maximize conversions.
Measure, test, and analyze every single session on your site. Use Mouseflow to get an accurate picture — complete with video sessions of users, heat maps, click analytics, form analytics, and more.
Amplify Content On Social
Follow the 50:30:20 rule on social media. What that means is that out of the total social updates you’d do each day, spread out your social updates this way:
50% of your updates should be from non-competing sources of information relevant to your niche.
30% of your updates should be your own content (and for this, you’d need “your” content).
20% of your updates are meant for pure engagement such as comments, replies, mentions, conversations, etc.
I’ve written about some amazing tools you can use to help manage your social better. It bears repeating again.
Use tools like HootSuite, Buffer, and Sendible to schedule your social updates in advance.
For every single update with a link in it (except those conversations), use Snip.ly for making some of that traffic come back to a CTA (Call to Action) you control.
Use tools like Brand24 to monitor brand mentions, conversations, and mentions of your brand.
Social media is not for selling. Don’t get out there to hustle, and only hustle.
Use it as a platform to connect with real people who’ll be your customers, partners, vendors, and others within your network.
Contribute on Other Social Platforms
Did you know that with a consistent effort on forums and online communities, you can generate a massive amount of traffic. Again, it’s a job that requires you to commit time, energy, and a true sense of purpose. That purpose is to help others, contribute to the collective pool of knowledge, and make sure that you are not pitching at all.
Users will find you when they want to. These are some of the places you should be actively involved in:
LinkedIn groups are filled up with people passionate about whatever the group is about. There are countless groups on freelancing, business, online marketing, online trading, traveling, cooking, Interior Decor, real estate, and so on.
Just some of the most active communities and start sharing some of that goodness you’d have developed over all these years of being in business.
Most people tend to discount Google+ communities.
This is in turn means that those communities that you’d choose to participate in and work with on a daily basis tend to have more eyeballs that you’d have bargained for. Just like LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities give you another platform to expand your presence on.
Quora, if anything, can be a massive traffic generation and lead generation platform for you, depending on how you approach it. I’ve written on How Quora happens to Generate Massive Amounts of Traffic on SmartHustle. Look out for questions within your niche, and then go all out to answer the questions to the best of your ability. If it makes sense or if it adds more value to the conversation or content, go ahead and share your links on the thread.
Doing this consistently (and well) is the key here. If you just do it for a month and vanish, your traffic and lead generation efforts will be abortive.
Reddit is tricky, but if you make it there, you’d never have to worry about traffic ever. Reddit users cast more than 21 million votes on their favourite content pieces per day.
Depending on your business, seek out any other niche forums that you should be a part of. Yes, all this is extra effort (and who says Digital Marketing was easy).
Doing this gives you what I call as digital footprint, and once you post, you have that content up and permanent.
Find Emails. Send Emails. Make Money
For one, we are talking about email outreach (for lead generation or for building your network) and not email marketing.
Email marketing works best with an already captive audience (and not as much to build a new audience, although even that happens).
Email outreach sounds simple enough, but it’s not. Email outreach is a fantastic way to:
Find new prospects
Develop new connections
Do outreach for SEO, and more.
In fact, once you send the right kind of emails out and find the right people, the sky is the limit. Get book contracts, speaking assignments, feature on blog posts, and more. You can also do guest blogging, appear on podcasts as a guest, or start a podcast, or co-author a book, or whatever it is that you want to do.
The key is to find emails of the exact person you want to reach out to, and you’d have to do it fast and efficient. Here are a tools to help you do email outreach like a ninja:
There must an annoying pop up for every million dollars in revenue? The debate is on whether or not you should use popups for your site.
While everyone is busy debating, a few smarty pants went ahead and used popups to pump up their email lists or to generate leads.
I suggest you do the “smarty pants” thing too. Pick any popup tool you like and start making some awesome offers, right there on your website. Be careful as to which tool you’d finally use for PopUps.
At least, you’d do well to have the following features:
The ability to choose when, where, and how exactly the popups should appear (an ability to control the behaviour of your popups).
An additional option of using custom opt-in forms right below blog posts.
Ease of designing and deploying popups.
Last time I checked, here are a few tools you could use:
Convertables from Unbounce Pages
I use the convertibles option from Unbounce.com extensively — for my own landing pages and for every client who works with us on a long-term. More often than not, we offer clients completely free landing pages (and as many as they’d need) to help generate leads.
Here’s the best part about using Unbounce Convertables: deploy Popups, generate leads, and every lead generated gets into the same lead generation workflow you’d have setup for your Unbounce landing pages originally.
Bloom OptIn From Elegant themes
See those big opt-in forms below each post and on the footer? You can create those (with your colors, branding, and offers) with the beautiful,ever simple, Bloom Plugin from Elegant Themes. The only way you’d get your hands on this premium plugin is if you get a premium plan from Elegant Themes for a year or a lifetime plan.
Bloom has everything you’d need to easily create and use Opt-in forms in various formats. The regular pop-up, the below-post opt-in form, the side-bar opt-in form, the fly-in opt-in form, and more.
OptinMonster is supposedly the most popular and is really affordable for many businesses just starting out.
OptInMonster, the last time I heard, is complete platform agnostic — it can work on absolutely any platform you might be using for your business. So, deploy popups on Magento, WordPress, Joomla, or even a basic HTML/CSS site.
While Sleeknote is on an expensive side, it has the best popup designer among all the other options, including the popular ones.
The technology is also way smarter and it allows you to put in all sorts of conditional logic based rules for when your popups should show up.
Paid Marketing for Lead Generation: If You Know How
Most businesses don’t go anywhere near paid marketing because it’s “money” being spent (instead of time). The fact that money just keeps draining off your account is a scary proposition for most business owners.
If you setup your paid marketing channels the right way and work hard to get your sales funnel in line, nothing pays off as good (and fast) as Paid marketing does.
Once upon a time, if you needed something, you’d visit a shop and buy what you want (you might still do that). Today, you might just visit a website and buy what you need.
Either way, you automatically enter a sales funnel. It’s another thing that most businesses have no freaking clue as to how to setup a funnel that works, nurture their leads as they come through the funnel(s), or make a sale after a lead is inside their system.
Funnels are not fancy. They are a fundamental inclusion to help you generate leads, nurture leads, turn visitors into customers, and to help you sell to those customers for the rest of their life. Funnels are pathways to profits. They are the signature roadways to your business profits.
Also, funnels don’t have to be fancy; they just need to work well enough. Once you get going, you can always tweak, change, and even overhaul your sales funnels.
Here’s how a basic funnel should look like:
Please. Make an offer
“I am already pricing myself way lower than competition. Why make an offer?”
“I don’t believe in giving away discounts”
“We are backed by venture capitalists. Plus, the product sells by itself”
I heard those statements often.
First, stop pricing yourself lower. Competing on pricing or trying to woo customers with the promise of a lower pricing is a terrible business strategy.
Second, making an offer doesn’t have to be about discounts. I agree, you don’t have to give a discount. But you can give a free trial, a free white paper, or something else of value?
Third, Apple still does advertising. Is your product better than any of those Apple products?
Mark Joyner, the Author of The Irresistible Offer (and you can download the entire book for free) writes that the core imperative of every business is to make an “offer”. It’s common sense. It’s supposed to be a non-brainer.
Yet, it’s surprising how many businesses don’t make an offer. They have ads. They write blog posts sometimes. They are all over the place on social media. Yet, they don’t have an offer to make.
Surprisingly, one potential client who reached out to us ran Facebook ads for a full year. Yet, he had no offer to speak of. That’s an amazing one year of wasted ad spend.
In the book, Mark starts the book with four questions every business should answer to help make the right offers:
Question 1: What are you trying to sell me?
Be very clear about your own products and services. What exactly are you selling? Oh, you thought you knew? Maybe you don’t.
Studiopress Sites doesn’t sell WordPress themes and Genesis. They sell “piece of mind that comes from managed hosting”
Hootsuite doesn’t sell SaaS tool for Social Media Scheduling. They sell you the promise of saving time on social media by smart scheduling.
Uber isn’t a taxi service. It’s a way for you to get from point A to point B, in style, without having to own a car.
Question 2: How much?
One liner: Whatever you do, don’t go cheap. It doesn’t take an MBA from Harvard to convince you that pricing yourself low gets you the worst of the customers and you’d still struggle to profit.
Question 3: Why should I believe you?
Got social proof? Have thousands of happy customers already?
Question 4: What’s in it for me?
This is where you go on a bullet-point rich presentation about the “benefits” of your product or service.
Try to think of what you can actually give away as a low-commitment offer to your potential customers — a free guide, a free trial, a consultation call, an in-person meeting, a free appointment?
Message Matching Landing Pages
I write about landing pages all the time. I am growing old just trying to convince my clients that they shouldn’t ever be putting out a link that gets someone to do something without that link pointing to a landing page.
More importantly, the landing page must try to carry over from the ad or the offer you made in the point above. It should have the copy, visuals, and other elements such as social proof, videos, or whatever else you might need to persuade.
The landing page must make the same offer you made in an ad or in the link or within your content.
Don’t manipulate. Never lie. Also, don’t try to manipulate. Your business is way bigger than you. Your reputation lies on how consistent you are with the offer and the landing page.
Short cuts here will cut your profits.
Autoresponders. Oh, those amazing Autoresponders
Can you guess what the best thing digital marketing ever had to give for every business? It’s the good, ol’ autoresponder. It’s the single best thing that ever happened for you and I.
If you walked into a retail store, would you not expect someone to say hello?
When you are online, Autoresponders will sort of do that kind of a job for you. Every time someone downloads your lead magnet, reaches out to you with a contact form, or signs up for a free trial, you can have an automated email go out to your potential customers.
Autoresponders help you automate and you can nurture leads 24 x 7. Email autoresponders allow you to stay in touch, give your brand a lift, let customers know that you care, and also give them a way to communicate with you.
Autoresponders, when you do it smart (with tags, for instance), can almost automate your sales completely with some advanced marketing.
No, you don’t need an Infusionsoft for using autoresponders or to bring in Marketing Automation. You can get started for as low as $10 and go up from there.
If you plan out your email sequences strategically, you can also sell using your autoresponders later. However, don’t do the mistake of pushing too hard with the sales pitches.
How many autoresponders should you send? Out of every 10 email messages, how many of those emails can be direct pitches asking customers to buy? You can find the answers to those questions by testing everything out.
We all do know, however, that pushing too hard doesn’t get you the results you seek. You are better off by providing value first (through your emails) and then asking for the sale every now and then.
The way your email messages will be lined up, you’ll eventually make sales.
Repeat the Cycle
Once the funnel is in place and that you’ve set it in motion, it’s supposed to work. But your work doesn’t end when the funnel starts filling up at the mouth.
In fact, your work is not complete even after you start making some sales. You want your sales funnels to work spectacularly well and for that, you’d need to test your funnel to an extreme.
Test landing pages (and versions of each page).
Test email subject lines, email copy, and even the CTA buttons within your emails.
There are no ifs and buts when it comes to sales funnels. If there’s a business, there has to be a sales funnel. Design it the way you want. Feel free to jump hoops.
Whatever you do, pray do keep those sales funnels working.
It’s made up, superfluous, and often misleading. It’s transactional, and there’s absolutely no love for customers. I could dare say that given by how influencer marketing is done usually.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a marketer, and if you do marketing ethically and strategically, it ticks off the right boxes for me.
Today, there’s a lot of talk going on about Influencer marketing. To serve this apparent hunger for brands and businesses looking to ride on the back of the “influencer elephant”, even popular blogs will start serving up content to help you:
But Influencer marketing is just a fancy name for the very old celebrity endorsements and ads we see on TV.
In India,for instance, brands go blind and any popular brands actually just pick up the most popular Bollywood stars to “influence” consumers’ purchase decisions.
It’s no Joke: a country of 1.2 billion+ people hooked on to the television swearing by every word their favorite stars say. In India, unlike in the United States, the “web” version of super influencers isn’t there yet.
For the rest of the world (depending on where you are), things are changing.
Here’s what it costs to get a celebrity or influencer to work with your brand, with due thanks to Kara Brown of Jezebel:
That aside, not every influencer is going to work for your brand.
Influencers are going to start disappearing. Brands are going to start realizing the amount of followers you have doesn’t mean shit. Just because photos look good and have 200,000 followers means nothing.”
The interview sparked widespread response, including the creation of “Who Pays Influencers”, a crowd-sourced site that defends the work of influencers and supports transparency in an evolving industry.
Meanwhile, Sam Biddle of Gawker argued that the backlash is well deserved, saying it’s absurd for brands to pay people with strong followings on social media to create content for them:
“The Influencer Economy isn’t an economy, it’s a market irrationality. It’s bonkers that anyone thought it was a good idea, and for once, companies are self-correcting in the face of so much wasted money.”
Influencer marketing isn’t dead, not even by a long pole.
But I only hope that it doesn’t go the way of the dodo only because brands, business owners, bloggers, and even guest posters end up making the wrong decisions by choosing the wrong influencers or expecting the right results, the wrong way.
Influence Marketing? Sheesh. Banner ads are better
For one, it’s mind-blowingly expensive to do influencer marketing. At the end of all that spending, brands usually don’t even have much to measure the impact of the campaign (except counting followers) and seeing how “swollen” their respective social media accounts have become.
Really, banner ads could prove to be a better investment than Influencer marketing. Celebrities don’t necessarily make for good campaigns.
I am yet to see a single celebrity featured television ad, sponsored blog post, or anything actually give a positive ($$$) return on the ad spend.
You are Leeching When You Do Influencer Marketing
In the world of dating, there’s a concept of “Wingman” — a beta male (or maybe an alpha male in training) usually hangs out with an Alpha while the super confident Alpha goes about an entire evening hitting on women and trying to pick them up.
Influencer marketing is just like that: Brands, bloggers, digital marketers, and everyone with any need for traffic or conversions invariably treat every influencer as “alpha” and thereby give themselves the title of “beta” and for the Influencers to do their magic.
Meanwhile, on that evening when the Alpha pick-up artist was busy lynching women, the beta male could do nothing about it.
The beta goes home alone, and we all know how much fun the Alpha had.
For Brands, the outcome is the same. Unless brands tag along with the right kind of influencers (assuming they really want to do this), they have nothing much to show for (in terms of real profits) after all the spending.
If you want to try influencer marketing, do. But do it in a way that is clearly measurable to business results. Not to Likes, not to engagement, not to #hashtag #mentions, to delivering results. Anything else is just hot air, something most ‘influencers’ have enough of already.
Evangelism & Advocacy With Micro Influencers
With any Influencer marketing fiasco, we’ll only learn hopefully.
All these years of mistakes with Television didn’t teach brands anything anyway.
Evangelism or consumer advocacy works way better than influencer marketing any day.
Here’s how it works:
When creative Assembly wanted to create promos for its new game, ExtraCredits loved the idea so much that it went ahead and created an awesome video with a mention thrown in about Creative Assembly, even if there was no need for it.
When a well-known blogger, an Instagram user, or someone with a neat following on social media uses a product and writes about it all on their own, this is the work of a micro-influencer, and it’s actually more influential than a full-blown celebrity talking or writing about it.
YuYu alludes to Chico Tirado, the company’s CRO, claims that more than 55% of their agency partners already incorporated marketing strategies taking these micro-influencers into account.
With these new clan of influencers, Chico reports 25% more engagement already.
It makes sense.
More than 84% consumers depend on opinions from other people they know. A Markerly Survey reveals that an influencer with just about 10,000 to 100,000 people is more effective than someone with a million or more followers.
Customers trust “non-celebrities” more than they’d ever trust a rich, spoilt brat on Instagram (or a publicized star).
How to Do Influencer Marketing Right?
First, stop with the “influencer marketing” mindset and being the “beta”.
As a brand, it’s critical that you “amass” the same kind of following that a kid in jeans on Instagram managed.
How is it that brands forget that they have more resources and more influence than that kid?
Now, assuming you’d still want to leverage the pull that comes from someone’s following, change your approach to influencer marketing:
Find the right kind of influencers by engaging in social listening, social monitoring and identifying influencers who are “passionate” about the topics, events, products, and services related to the brand.
Co-educate consumers along with the influencers.
Build a meaningful relationship with the influencers and “their” followers.
When all those things go together, Influencer marketing has a chance to deliver. Get it wrong and you’ll end up with all the little red herrings that gave you nothing.
You are an entrepreneur. You had a dream, you had an idea, and you took on this apparently lonely journey to defy odds, make your business work, and leave a legacy if possible. You took the massively daring jump, you are off the cliff now, and you probably got a website developed. Or maybe you developed it yourself using one of the many website builders available on the market.
Your business has to work. It’s the only way your dreams can be fulfilled. It’d then be the panacea you wanted it to be.
None of that is going to happen without relevant traffic to your website. At first, it’d drip in, just a few visits a day. Then, there’d come a tipping point beyond which you’d witness a rush of traffic. Fans, followers, hundreds of comments on your blog posts, and even an entire community around all the things you publish.
It’s all good. But how does the traffic come in? What if you had no fancy marketing budget to splurge on? What would you do if you can’t even think of banner ads or any paid advertising at all?
You’d then spend time. Sprinkle passion, change your frame of mind from a “taker” to a “giver”, get ready to communicate, and then here’s how you’d get an ever-flowing stream of traffic to your website:
Do paid advertising
If you are a serious business, you’d have to spend serious money. Thankfully, with paid advertising on digital, every dollar you spend can be tracked. If you did PPC advertising well enough, you’d slam your competition, let a steady stream of clients come your way, and create a presence online that’s almost impossible to beat.
Advertising on Google Adwords, for instance, puts your business right in front of people who search for your business. Facebook lets you do extreme targeting and help you reach a active-passive audience. Twitter cards, LinkedIn Ads, Pinterest Ads, and mobile advertising are all great ways to get a steady avalanche of traffic to your website or landing pages.
You can start with as much as you’d like to spend, and increase spending incrementally. With the right PPC services, paid advertising is unmatched in potential.
Write amazing blog posts
I know that you know it. But we all know that we don’t always spend time and effort to create good posts.
Your traffic acquisition efforts always start with you. Write posts that add value, inspire, and educate. Sooner or later, your posts will be shared on social media. Your blog will be book marked, and linked to.
Pick the best of your blog posts and turn them into various other content assets. You could turn a long and informative blog post into a PDF document which you can then have your visitors download.
Or turn a series of blog posts into a slide deck to publish on SlideShare (which can in turn help you generate leads), and string all the research you’ve done for a couple of posts into an info graphic. Don’t let a word go wasted.
Flip & Curate your own posts
Did you know that you can flip your own content on Flipboard? Start a magazine on Flip Board and add each of your own posts to it, apart from the related posts written by others.
Content curation is the next best thing to actual content curation. You could boost your SEO rankings over night with just a few well-curated blog posts. Use tools such as Curata or Scoop.it to help add your own curated posts with the others you’d end up curating.
Do it Right On Social Media
Share every post you publish on all your social media networks using appropriate visuals.
Beyond that, create a social media calendar to help you repost your content at periodic intervals since the shelf life of updates on social media is rather limited, according to PageModo
Amplify all the content you publish on Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Do it often, do it strategically, and do it forever.
While it primarily helps you get more eye balls for your content, social media networks are a natural extension for your promotional efforts. Because there’s “social” in social media as Jay Baer of Convince and Convert puts it, it’s more of an “amplify, share, connect, and engage” strategy involved.
Get on Quora
Quora is single-handedly the best social platform for you to not only enhance credibility and add value but also to get traffic. Every single day, seek out questions that relate to the area of your business. Then set out to answer each question, as detailed as you can get.
The more you give to the community the more these things happen. You’ll:
Develop a natural set of followers, who can be potential customers or clients (but not necessarily, and this is even the point)
Build credibility, authority, and respect.
Be requested to answer questions on topics you are good at.
Get tons of traffic to your own answers. This in turn helps people know more about you (and then possibly your business).
By “related”, we mean the kind of blogs that the expected audience of your blog is likely to read. Make an ever growing list of blogs that your audience reads regular, go out there, and start writing out some comments.
Ordinary comments won’t do. You need to give out your two cents, you got to make sense, and you must do it for the sole purpose of building a relationship with the bloggers or the businesses you interact with.
The real key to make this effective is this: write with passion. Make sure you contribute value to the discussion that the original blog post triggers.
Use Video. Repeat. Use Video
I admit we aren’t good at the video thing yet — both as an Individual and as a digital marketing agency.
I do know that you don’t have to feature “yourself” on the video if you are conscious about that (although you could, since it wouldn’t matter). If you have something to say, crank up even a totally amateur, unedited video with your webcam, mobile phone, or a DSLR (if you have one), and you’d have a video ready.
Create a channel on YouTube, write out the video description, add tags, pick a good title for the video (and not something like “my first video”) and go live. While you are at it, be sure to use lead generation tools such as TurnStile from Wistia from within your video assets.
Video is huge and the value of the stream of traffic that you’d manage to get it is incalculable. Hopefully, we’ll learn to use this soon.
Scale up Content Marketing
Your content marketing success comes from your ability to crank out valuable content in different formats. Slide decks, info graphics, blog posts, articles, updates on social media, and more. When you do this right, you’d be linked to. You’d be discussed about. You’d be pointed to. You’ll be talked about.
Use a combination of good old hustle and technology. Embrace it.
Get Search Optimisation Right
There’s on-page optimization (which includes technical nitty-gritty such as Schema, on-page keywords, page titles, meta information, descriptions, URL formats, content, and more).
Off-page optimization includes a combination of link-building strategy, guest posting, outreach, content marketing, social media signals, and more.
Get it right and it could very well be a steady source of traffic for your website. So that leads us to…
Do Guest Posting
Talking about SEO, your off-page optimization efforts are never complete without a solid strategy and execution of guest blogging and outreach efforts. Reach out to popular blogs, suggest ideas, write out blog posts (even better than what you’d do for your own blog) and get them published. If you take nothing more from this post, take this.
Get on Popular, Relevant Forums
There’s a sub-Reddit channel for every possible business or topical niche. Plus, there are forums and online communities for every kind of business or topic you publish on.
Get active on forums and online platforms to do what you’d do on Quora – write with passion, answer questions in full, and don’t bother pitching.
Find Channel partners
When you set out to make relationships (which could mean publishing partners, business partners, joint venture partners, friends, potential clients, or influencers), don’t start with an agenda; just start out with the pure intent to get to know and create a meaningful relationship with others.
Depending on who you reach out to, you’d be able to make these relationships work.
Do something remarkable. Say something that’s different from the usual junk. Tell the truth. Expose something. While we admit it might take time for you to do this (and it’s pretty hard to pull off), you’ll get featured when you do.
Think of it as free PR. A little exposure will do you good. Approach this carefully though.
Depend on email marketing
If social media is the hot thing now, it’s only because it’s fancy. What really works is the resilient and extraordinary power of building your own audience and nurturing through email marketing. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has an ROI of 4300%, and it’s not a typo.
Shed the “shiny new object” syndrome. Your email marketing list brings in highly relevant, interested, and almost evangelic stream of visitors to your website.
When you don’t have the money to splurge, but when you have the passion to do something about getting traffic to your website, this is exactly what you do.