I could put in 16 hours a day, everyday. Cash flows are well managed. I have a lean team and we work well and we do great. We have an incredible group of clients we love to serve and we are proud of it.
I can manage bad days. Along the way, I learned how to deal with bad clients. I figured out how to manage cash flows. I keep my agency lean, but profitable. We are completely bootstrapped and the fact that a startup next door just raised a billion dollars on funding doesn’t make a difference to us.
But you know what does? You know what pisses me off the most?
The fact that so many business owners are so darned stupid.
I’ve covered a few aspects of this stupidity here and there but that stupidity is “overpowering” to say the least.
In India, we are die-hard fans of the game of Cricket. As such, everyone you talk to would have played the game. That makes them entitled to think that they are exceptionally good at the game (in their own way).
As long as it’s street-level cricket that they play, it’s alright.
If you are business, that mentality of thinking that you are the “expert” hurts you, your business, people who work for you, and investors who believe in you.
Being an “expert” is impossible today. You can be exceptionally good at something — Chris Lema is WordPress; Carrie Dils is with Genesis themes; and Jon Loomer is with Facebook Advertising.
They are exceptionally good; they could even get away with the expert label slapped on them but only they know just how hard it is to “be the expert”.
With rapidly changing technology, new ways of advertising that keep popping up, a new paradigm shift in consumer bbehavior and your own changing circumstances, you can’t ever be an expert at digital marketing.
- The moment you think you mastered SEO, Google will pull you down by your horns.
- Think you are good at Facebook advertising? Chances are Facebook launched something new you didn’t even know about or there’s something deep inside the business manager you didn’t know yet.
- Figured out a great way to scale up link building? There’s another way you didn’t know.
So the next time you ask me:
“What do you do?”
“End-to-end digital marketing”
“Ah, I know digital marketing. We are experts”
You know I switched off from that conversation. Eh?
There aren’t any shortcuts in this post. There are no magic bullets. Each of the points below is pure hustle — it’s all sweat, blood, tears, and god-only-knows-how-long-and-hard-you-have-to-type.
Each of these ways mentioned below is true for absolutely every website and are evergreen methods — which means that you could be using any of these methods or a combination of few — to generate traffic to your new website.
The specific methods you’d choose to generate traffic to your new website and how you execute these on a regular basis is really up to you (or you could get help to actually get this done.
There are no shortcuts. If you are looking for quick and dirty ways to generate traffic, this isn’t even the blog you should be reading. If you have stuck with me until this point, we are good to go:
Note: I won’t mention growing your email list as a tactic here since that needs traffic to generate traffic (a classic chicken and egg situation). Also, social media traction is a going to be a hit and miss for you if you haven’t got an audience already — you’d have to first build the audience.
Launch paid campaigns
Paying for traffic is the fastest way to get traffic to your new website but you’d have to:
Prepare to invest cash to get traffic (which is hard for many folks) and know what you are doing
Contrary to popular belief, you are not done the moment your campaigns go live. You’d still have to tweak your campaigns, do A/B testing, optimize your campaigns — all upto the point you breakeven or profit from your campaigns, and then some more.
There’s no stopping, and I don’t know what you were thinking if you aren’t on the same page.
For Funnelserve — a new project we launched — I just happen to know that paid campaigns are the only way to get some sales while we’ll still do blogging and try to get some social presence up for it on top of trying to build a list from scratch.
Post blog posts, on schedule
I know that you know this one. You’ve read about it a thousand times, haven’t you?
Guess what? Many businesses still don’t blog. Surprisingly, freelancers and agencies that call themselves whatever also don’t blog.
Blogging doesn’t fetch you traffic immediately but it brings in tons of traffic in due course of time. For the fetchprofits blog, I started with zero visitors by the end of 2015. It took me a year and a half (up to this point) to reach steady stream of around 3000 visitors per month (and this is far below my potential and I am missing out on so many other ways to do better).
Just by blogging alone, you could make traffic flow.
You need consistency, the speed of execution, quality, and to remember that consistent trumps everything else on this list.
As you keep publishing your blog posts, share your content on social media. Follow the 50:30:20 rule while you are on social:
— Share others’ content about 50% of the updates you post per day.
— Share and amplify reach for your own content about 30% of the total updates per day.
— Retweet, share, communicate, maintain small talk, engage in conversations for the rest of the updates. Don’t develop a system around this. You can’t systemize human interactions and relationships.
Engage in Social groups and communities
This is still social, but it requires a point all on its own. Over time, online groups and communities have grown in importance. In fact, I believe that Quora, Facebook groups, specific Google communities, and LinkedIn groups will grow in importance for a multitude of benefits for your business.
Share your expertise in groups that are relevant to your business, engage with people, answer queries, make friends, provide feedback, share your knowledge.
A large part of groups and communities online is the need to “give” before you “ask”.
That last part of “giving” before taking? It applies for digital marketing in general and for “social media” in particular.
How powerful is this you ask? I am a part of a few groups on Facebook such as the Shopify experts group, 7-day startup group by Dan Norris, Sumo group, and the adespresso group — a single post in each of those groups 2 days ago and that already brings in 15 visitors a day.
Not bad for work that took me 3 minutes in total.
Blog commenting without expectations
You know you have to do this, but you don’t. Do you?
Ryan Is a pro when it comes to using blog comments to generate not just traffic but to also develop a tight group of friends as he goes about commenting on blogs that he likes and those that he associates with. Many others such as Ravi Chahar and Donna do just that (and more).
In fact there’s an entire list of bloggers who can shame big name companies when it comes to the very “guerilla” nature of generating traffic, especially when your website or blog is new.
Also read: Blogging For Business? What Businesses Can Learn From Bloggers
The key to doing this well is to comment on blogs regularly, provide value to each of the conversations you are adding your comments to, and to do all this without expectations.
You don’t always have to spend money on Facebook Ad campaigns and Google Adwords campaigns or on any other medium.
Plus, for all the effort you put into digital marketing, it’s sad to see how so many people don’t squeeze out results (whatever you define that as) from these efforts.
Regardless of the number of people visiting your website, you have an opportunity to generate leads.
Your website itself forms the first base to start generating leads. You then have social media. Plus, there are a huge number of third-party platforms you’d be using such as SlideShare or social communities such as Quora for instance that’ll still generate leads for you.
Here are some ways to help you generate leads all the time, 24 x7 and to make your digital marketing efforts count:
Use Sumo. Automate Lead Generation
Using sumo is a no-brainer. Sumo comes with a plethora of tools — the Welcome Mat, the Image Sharer, Google Analytics Add on, Embeddable forms, and more — available to either help generate leads for your business.
Once you setup Sumo, lead generation is automated for you and you can trigger autoresponders off Mailchimp, Drip, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, or absolutely any other email software you’d use.
On this site, you already see Sumo in action which integrates with Drip as my email marketing automation software.
The sitewide conversion rate is at 3.25% which is not bad considering this is a relatively new blog (only one year old).
Sign up for Sumo for free and see what it can do to your lead generation efforts.
YouTube For Lead Generation
Youtube happens to be the world’s second largest search engine. More video is now uploaded every 30 days than all the video ever created by major U.S Television networks for the last 30 years.
Most of all those views happen on Youtube and if you have videos (or if you can create videos), a Youtube Channel for your business is long overdue ( If you have one, you’d need to run and manage it like regular Youtubers do).
Assuming you do have videos, using Video cards, annotations, clickable links or adding specific links to your video descriptions are easy ways to drive traffic to specific landing pages that you could use to generate leads.
Generate Leads from Content Marketing
Repurposing content is a smart content marketing strategy. Often times, we get so involved with creating new content that we forget to reuse all of that old content we already created.
For instance, every long piece of content you create can be reused as a slideshare presentation.
Or maybe you have the resources to actually create new presentations or slide decks.
Either way, by being able to create presentations or slide decks, you can make use of the massive traffic inflow to Slidedeck (owned by LinkedIn), and generate leads independently off it.
Your old list-based blog posts can be a massive (and new) resource collection. A post with images could make for great visuals (one visual at a time) for Pinterest or Instagram. A curation of stats from your previous research done for posts could make for a great starting point to design fantastic Infographics.
Add content-curation to the mix and you have an arsenal of content that you could use to generate leads for you.
Which of these ways to generate leads are you currently not doing? Tell me about it.
There’s something about digital media that leads you to believe that you could take shortcuts, jump through the hoops, and change the dynamics of marketing and even interpret customer behavior differently.
Writing crap and stuffing blog posts with keywords don’t work. Yet, the trend is still on.
Social media has a “social” component to it, and that’s what makes social media “social”, but many businesses refuse to work with social the way they should.
Email marketing is the real money-maker, but you apparently don’t want to take the trouble to setup a few basic and simple campaigns such as launching RSS-to-email campaigns for all the content you publish on your blog or sending occasional broadcast emails with valuable or exclusive info, purpose-built to “nurture” your subscribers (and not to sell).
Many businesses don’t have these basics in place, let alone anything remotely fancy such as Email marketing automation.
The trend continues to sales funnels too and I see how easy and tempting it is to take shortcuts with funnels.
Here are one, all-too-common, loss-making but still tempting funnel setup that you should avoid:
Sales first, everything else comes later
I understand why this kind of a funnel setup is tempting. Cash is king and when sales happen (instead of just leads), it’s the ultimate “Cha-ching” moment, right?
I mean, who doesn’t want money rolling in when you are running Facebook ad campaigns, Adwords campaigns, or even when you just do organic digital marketing.
A typical funnel with focus on sales looks like this:
You could be tempted all you want, but just don’t waste time building a funnel like that.
You’ll make a sale or two (maybe) but it’s not sustainable. You won’t be able to keep that up for long.
Why? Because that’s not how it works.
When you set up a funnel like this, You are jumping the hoops here and thinking “small” — you are looking at making one sale or two. But that’s not the point. The point of marketing or advertising is for you to look at LTV (Lifetime Value) of a customer and not just a transaction.
Your potential customers (apart from a very few people who’ll end up buying)
- Might absolutely not be interested to buy what you have to sell.
- Click on the ad (or arrive at your landing page from any traffic source), check out your sales page, and feel “resistance” and hence not buy.
- Arrive and leave without doing anything.
- Arrive, consider your offer, make a mental note, and leave so that they can look into this offer again.
- Not do anything.
- Go to the shopping cart and abandon it right there
Those are all possibilities. In any of the cases above, you just lost all the effort you took to bring these potential customers to your landing page in the first place.
A total waste, isn’t it?
- You’d do better if you
Gave up some kind of an offer to grab their email address for now
- You could follow up with active lead nurturing in a sequential manner building up momento for the sale (that lovely email with an offer in it).
- Grow your pipeline and calculate the exact sales figures when you finally send out that email with a “purchase” offers in it.
To do that, you’d need to have patience and the right email marketing automation setup. Don’t over complicate this one, just use MailChimp or Drip.
You can still setup direct sales funnels this way:
You are in business and you need sales today. I understand that too. The only way to make sure you launch campaigns that are focused on sales (and not leads) is to ensure that:
- Track every page of your funnel.
- Put retargeting campaigns in place to go after all those people who’d leave the page or abandon shopping carts to bring them back to finish what they started.
- Enable smart automation and personalization techniques by using tools like GrowthFunnel or ConvertFlow.
- Mark as conversions (with specific URLs — most commonly used method) as your potential customers make a booking, fix an appoint, reserve a table at a restaurant, purchase tickets, buy online courses, or sign up for a membership program, or buy products off your eCommerce store.
- If you run Facebook ads to drive conversions (the definition of conversions will vary based on your objectives), please use the right pixel combinations to let Facebook know (and for you to know) that your campaigns are bringing you the results you need.
Avoid pushing for sales (you’ll only be disappointed). If you have to though, please go back read the post again.
I wrote about why you should drop everything you are doing and why you should build a list. It’s important. Don’t just read this and go back to doing whatever you do.
I am, by no means, a pro list builder. I only have a grand total of 265 subscribers and I started 4 months ago. But I only wish I started way before and I know how much of an opportunity has been lost just because I didn’t pay attention to list building. Email marketing should be your only focus, regardless of your business.
Read this first:
Why Email Marketing?
Email Marketing Stats: Are you Still Doing The Small Stuff?
11 B2B Email Marketing Examples You’d Fall in Love With
Here’s a simple guide to help you get started:
Start With Sumo
I’ve tried everything on the market and nothing comes close to Sumo when it comes to the heavy-lifting you need to start building your email list. It’s a power-packed suite of tools (and who doesn’t know the Welcome Mat? You’ve probably seen it right here if you coming in for the first time).
Sumo provides you with tools like Welcome Mat, Click-trigger pop-ups, regular pop-ups, the ability to place opt-in forms wherever you’d want them to show up, and more.
Site-wide, Sumo’s tools convert at around 1.56% normally. If you do a better job with your offers, design, timing, and how you work these tools on your site, you’d look at a slightly higher percentage.
You can start with Sumo for free so there’s really no excuse why you shouldn’t go and deploy Sumo on your site right now.
Make offers Now
Depending on your business, think up offers you can make. You could go with the traditional eBook offer, a resource kit, a simple discount coupon, a free trial, a free sample, or absolutely anything you could think of.
Now, making an offer is a simple proposition but you won’t ever know if you are making a convincing offer or not unless you test your offers. So, don’t be too hard on yourself and beat yourself with a stick if the offers you’d start making don’t convert as well as you expect.
Because. No. One. Knows. Until. You. Test.
How Many Offers? One, a few, or Many?
Choosing your email service provider will depending on a variety of factors, but let’s keep it simple for now.
How many offers would you be making? You could make a singular, site-wide offer (Like get 10% off on all your orders). Or you could be offering content upgrades for every single blog post you write (and that’s many offers). As such, if you were making only one or a few offers, all you’d need is Mailchimp. Period.
If you have many offers, you should consider using Drip or Convertkit — just to make your life a wee bit easier. It’s not that Mailchimp can’t do what Drip or Converkit can, but it’s not going to be straight-forward.
For every offer you make, you’d need to build email marketing sequences to help nurture your leads. The way you’d set up these emails is that for every 10 emails you send out, only one or two will be full-blown pitches or sales emails. All the others should be “information-based” — strive to provide value to your subscribers and respect the fact that they signed up.
Note: Despite your best efforts, you are bound to get “unsubscribers” — people will opt-out. They do so for many reasons and worrying about those who unsubscribe isn’t healthy.
Do you have a list of your customers? If I asked you right away, do you have ways to build subscriber lists?
Despite the push, many businesses don’t do it.
New. Shiny. Revolutionary. Fancy
We always want the next best thing. We watch out for trends to see if there’s something new out there that can solve the same problem you’ve had all along.
We are all like that.
But when we look at what we have, we’ll be surprised at just how much we have at our disposal.
When it comes to marketing, most people chase what they think will work: social media, SEO, guest blogging outreach, influencer marketing, paid advertising on this platform or that. You should just stop. Build a List Instead.
While it’s not to say that those things don’t work, this is just a reminder as to how much you are missing out when you don’t give email marketing the importance it deserves.
Email marketing is the only channel that’s guaranteed to make you money. If you do it right, and if you do it consistently enough, it has the potential to deliver about 4300% ROI (and it’s not a typo). No other channel comes close to that kind of an ROI. Nothing beats the efficacy of email marketing. There was nothing like it before and there’s nothing like it now.
Here are reasons why you shouldn’t ever ignore email marketing:
Note: Use Sumo to help build your email list lighting fast. It’s easy to get started and it rocks your boat. For advanced automation, use Drip.
The numbers don’t lie
Worldwide, there are over 4.3 billion email accounts (by the end of 2016), thanks to data from the Radicati group. According to McKinsey, the average order value of an email is at least 3X than that of social media. Look at the general email statistics, email ROI, and more, and you can’t help but wonder why email marketing is so important for your business.
Money lies in Nurturing Leads
You can do your blogging all you want. Spend as much time on social as you’d like to. Spend any amount of money on paid advertising – none of that is going to work if you don’t nurture your leads.
Why, you ask?
No one is going to wake up on any given morning hoping to get on your pipeline. Your customers only buy when they want to buy – and if everything else is pushing them towards your direction. None of your efforts with your ads, campaigns, blogs, content marketing, SEO is going to make them buy when you want them to buy.
So, what do you do until they buy? Do email marketing, that’s what.
Emails In funnels is Cash In Bank
When you set up dedicated funnels for your advertising and marketing efforts, you are essentially creating a system to help generate leads and nurture those leads to make sales happen.
But it’s really not just the funnels that help make transactions happen; it’s the relationships. Those email sequences within your email will help build that all-too-crucial relationship with your potential (and existing) customers.
Emails of all kinds – transactional and marketing emails, RSS-to-email campaigns, and everything else you use – help make these relationships stronger, at scale.
Email marketing caters to a captive audience
Traditional marketing is predominantly “spray and pray” – you throw money at a particular media and hope that you get responses. Meanwhile, you’d spend a lot of money doing just that.
Email marketing, in a stark contrast, caters to a very specific audience. The kind of audience that already visited your website or landing page, people who are very interested in what you have to say or what you do, and those who have burning needs and are looking for solutions (might not be immediate).
Sending emails to just 100 such people gets you more in terms of ROI than buying a list of 100,000 people and hoping that you’d get something from such a wide spread of people.
Stop whatever you are doing and focus on building a list. Period.
Are you building your email list? What stops you from doing? Have you been spending too much time doing everything that’s not important?