The Reach Blog
July 11, 2016
The Best Part? You Don’t Need Any Coding Knowledge to Do It!
Most everyone with an online business knows that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, but many don’t realize or aren’t convinced how important it is. In short, better SEO means you’ll have more people seeing and visiting your site. The more visitors you have, the better chance someone will buy from you, which means more revenue.
Good SEO = More revenue. It’s that simple. Really.
Part of the reason it isn’t a priority for people is because they don’t think it’s worth the investment in time because it is always changing. It’s true, that it is always changing. The main search companies (Google, Yahoo and Bing), are always looking for ways to adapt to how people search, as well as fix holes in the algorithm and make things as fair as possible, but this isn’t any reason not to optimize your SEO.
In fact, the cornerstone of SEO have remained the same for years, and with a basic strategy in place, you can continually improve your ranking to eventually make it to the coveted first page.
Being on the first page is important. Sites on page one of Google have a “click through rate” (CTR) of 71.3%, while sites on page two and three combined only have a CTR of 5.59%. That’s a big difference, and represents hundreds of thousands of people (Source: http://marketingland.com/new-click-rate-study-google-organic-results-102149)!
To help you achieve more visitors and revenue from your SEO, here is a 6-step path to crushing it with your SEO in 2016.
1. Site Audit
So, where to start? Well, if you’ve taken the first step and have a website up and running, you should assess your site and see where you can improve.
Usually, you won’t know what to fix until it’s broken, but by using available free online tools, you can see a full picture of the state of your SEO.
The two best free site assessment tools I recommend are Quick Sprout and Screaming Frog. Both are terrific, nifty tools providing an overview of the state of your SEO. It will tell you an overall SEO score, a list of errors and how fast your site is.
2. Competitor and Keyword Research
Keywords are fundamental for nearly every aspect of SEO and there is an easy and hard way for your keyword research. If you’re brainstorming potential words, with 25 tabs open, noting them in Excel, then stop what you’re doing and do it the smart way. That means using the work from someone else who’s already done it.
No guessing required.
This is done by researching your competitors and seeing what words they are using. Not sure who your competitors are? Start by searching for your business or product and see who comes up on the first page. They are now your competitors.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. Sun Tzu – Art of War.
Understanding your enemy and using their weaknesses against them is a great secret weapon.
Once you’ve identified a handful of competitors, you can use a site called SEMrush to see exactly what keywords they are using.
Take note of their words and add them to your list. With this in hand, you can now use your creativity finding ways to improve them.
Basic improvement strategies are:
- Target more specific, nice, long tail words
- Start with 3-4 word keywords, avoid 1-2 words
- Use words people are talking about and naturally use
By following this step, you should have a list of 20-50 keywords that were based on what your competitors use, and have been improved upon with your amazing creativity and common sense. Now it’s time to start using them to make your content pop.
3. Create Killer Content
You’ve probably heard the line content is king, but why is content king? And how do you make content that is great?
There are full blog posts devoted to writing content, so here we’ll focus on how to find ideas people want to read and how to optimize it to improve your SEO.
Here are tips for improving your content for SEO….
How to find what to write
The best kind of content you can write should be what people want to read. A great trick to finding what your niche wants to read is to see what they’re talking about in forums.
By using sites like Quora, you can search for a topic and then see the most asked questions. Each of the top questions would be great blog post topics.
Quora isn’t the only place you can look either. Both Facebook and LinkedIn groups have great communities with engaged users asking questions. Don’t guess what topics you should write about, but rather see what people are talking about and tailor your content to them.
Optimizing your content
Having a great topic is only half the battle. Next, you’ll need to optimize your content for SEO, and here are a few easy tactics to keep in mind….
Be sure to include keywords in your content. You did all that competitor research, and now you can put it to work.
Aim for a keyword density of between 1-3%. This means if you’re writing a 1500-word blog post, you should have between 15 and 45 keywords in it. Doing any more and you could risk keyword over-saturation, which can negatively affect your ranking.
Write naturally for human readers. Often people trying to cut corners write only with keywords in mind, hoping that the robots which assess SEO of content will pick up on them. But, this usually results in articles that are difficult to read, and don’t necessarily make sense. Always write for a specific type of person, and make sure they can derive something from your content.
4. Off-Site Linking
To understand how off-site linking works, you need to understand how algorithms assess SEO. When a site posts a link directing people to your site, these search spiders see this as a positive vote that your site is good. One link, one vote. Makes sense right? But these algorithms understand that not all votes or links are created equally. Existing established authorities like major new organizations or Wikipedia’s votes are more highly valued than a mom and pop blog that was started last week, with little traffic.
Getting a link from a site is said to give your site some link juice, and the more link juice you have, the better your SEO will be.
Your goal is to get as much link juice from big sites as possible. If you try and cheat the system, and show up on multiple big sites overnight, Google will notice the strange behavior and not count it. The only sure fire way to improve with link building is slowly and consistently.
Right now you may be thinking: “How do I find the best sites that are a good fit for my content and how do I get it up on them?”
Just like we did with keywords, we’re going to let our competitors do the heavy lifting. If they’re trying to optimize their SEO, odds are they’ve been featured on sites to get some link juice. To find out where they’ve been featured use a free site like backlinkwatch.com. It will tell you when and how many times and where else they’ve been featured.
Now that you know what sites will feature content like yours, you simple need to reach out and ask them to put up yours. Odds are, if they’ve featured a competitor and are looking for something to post, they will likely post yours as well.
SEO has a lot of moving pieces that you can work on to optimize your website and content. Here are a few that anyone without any coding skill or experience can implement within a couple of hours…
Optimize images: Believe it or not, but search engines pay attention to the name of every single image on your site and what its name is. Always be sure to change the image name to something descriptive. For example, a bad name for the image below would be IMG_0142, because it doesn’t tell you anything about the image. A good name would be beagle puppy running. This isn’t difficult or too time consuming and you should do it for all of your images.
Alt tags can also be applied to images – they are alternative descriptive texts which will appear when you hover over an image. If Google sees your image and can’t decide what it is, it will use the alt tag to help.
Lastly, make sure your images match the content you are writing about.
Optimizing URL’s: As your website grows and you continue to publish more and more content, be sure that your links are simple and easy for a person to read. For example, the URL for your page on SEO improve should not be called www.yoursite.com/333575_improve_SEO_index2016, but rather: www.yoursite.com/tips-for-better-seo. If you publish a significant amount of content about SEO, you could also consider having a subpage devoted to it, with URL’s like www.yoursite.com/seo/2016-tips.
Meta tags: Meta tags communicate to the search engines what your post is about and are located in the HTML on each page, specifically in the <head> section.
There are 2 types of meta tags to be aware of: keywords and descriptions.
Keywords are just that: the words you are targeting with your post. These should be no more than 100 characters or 45 words, whichever comes first.
Description tags describe the content on the page and should not be longer than 150 characters.
Most people leave these sections blank, so always be sure to fill them out.
6. Local Shift
Recently, as of 2016, there has been an enormous shift toward the growth of mobile as a platform. To be relevant in 2016 and have great SEO, your site needs to properly work on a mobile device.
In the past 2 years, mobile as a platform saw a 5x increase in searches and is quickly overtaking desktop in total searches and use. It’s not enough to be mobile friendly anymore, now you need to be mobile optimized.
People searching for something with their mobile device are often looking for something nearby, so here are a few ways to improve your local searchability and appear to people nearby who are actively looking for you….
Claim your business site: More often than not, the first few results of a local search are Google + pages, YP store pages or Facebook pages, so it’s essential that you either create a business page or claim an existing store page.
Track impressions, not page views. When monitoring the results of your SEO work, it’s important to track impressions and not views for mobile searches. Most people don’t actually click on your site while on mobile and impressions act as a better indicator of how well your site is doing.
Get a free consult with local research pros: They specialize in improving local SEO and offer free consultations. During the call, they’ll give you lots of great actionable insights and tell you exactly how they can place you in front of more customers. Even if you don’t’ have a substantial budget, by listening to their free consultation, you’ll be able to improve your SEO strategy to increase bottomline revenue.
In the world of SEO, things are always changing, but the basics remain the same. Always focus on what your users what to read and deliver amazing content. Do it organically and not by poking holes in the system for long term success. Also, be sure to go the extra mile by filling in your meta tags and image tags and always make sure your URL’s are easy to read.
By following all the tips in this post, you will certainly see an improvement with your SEO rating, and start seeing more people come through the door.
What have you done to improve your SEO? Let us know in the comments below!
July 4, 2016
“Sales funnels” – chances are likely you’ve heard that term thrown around when reading blog posts about business and marketing, but what exactly is it?
As a whole, a sales funnel is a system that nurtures leads, maximizes engagement and ultimately increases sales. It does this by moving all the leads you have in a logical step-by-step process from a visitor to a lead, to a prospect, to a customer and finally a repeat customer. Before moving any further, it’s important to know exactly what each of these terms mean.
Visitor: Someone who has been to your website, but hasn’t fully engaged with it.
Lead: Someone who has expressed interest and has given you a way to contact them. This is usually a name, email or phone number.
Prospect: Someone who is very interested in your product and is likely to become a customer.
Customer: Someone who has given you money in exchange for good or services.
Repeat customer: Someone who has purchased multiple products or the same product multiple times from you.
Why they’re important for any online business
Funnels have been around for a long time, way before the internet or online marketing. With most any major purchases, people don’t often decide immediately. They want to do pertinent research, ask their partner or think about it. What a sales funnel does is provide relevant information for where they are in the buying processes with the goal of moving or converting them to the next step. For example, to turn someone from a visitor to a lead, you’ll probably need to educate them about your brand, provide value and show them what your company is all about and what it can offer to them, the buyer.
As you can see with Adobe’s example above, the number of leads that convert from one step to another become smaller and smaller. As a rule of thumb, you can expect a 10-20% conversion between steps. So, with the first step above, they started with 18,075,369 impressions, which resulted in 1,930,162 clicks or leads. 135,389 of them became prospects by viewing specific products and 9,174 of them ended up ordering. Depending on your business and funnel, these numbers can be higher or lower
Getting started can be tough, but in this post, we’ll go step-by-step with the 10 tips to setting up a funnel. It’s essential to read through all of this and prepare at least a clear, ideal shot of your funnel before starting. You don’t want to have too many hot leads that don’t have a predetermined follow up plan leaving them in limbo jeopardizing a potential sale/customer.
1. Determine Your Brand’s Goal
Obviously, every company’s goal is to make a sale, but your brand should also impact your customer in a positive way. Ask yourself how your brand, as a whole, impacts and benefits a prospect’s life.
If you have a marketing service for a specific niche, your overall goal could be to empower and educate to see them succeed in a fast-changing digital environment. Of course, you want them to sign up for your service, but it’s essential to take a step back and see the big picture before moving forward.
Take Away: What is your business’s goal and how does it benefit your customers?
2. Find Channels to Engage With People
This first step is to see from where your traffic will come. There are many different ways and places to fill your funnel and these are called channels. Some of the most common channels include:
- Social media
- Paid ads
- Promoted posts
There is no right and wrong answer for what channel works best for your business. The most important thing is to go where your ideal customers like to hang out. Do they have a forum or LinkedIn group that you could explore to see how many of them there are? Considering this is a crucial step to succeeding with your funnel and following marketing content, it’s vital to take your time and plan out this step.
If you don’t have the budget to get visitors to your site, you could consider using social media to build a following and give away your content, start writing a blog or work on basic SEO. For faster results, paid options like Google Adwords and Facebook ads are great solutions.
3. Prepare Some Killer Content
It’s important to make a good first impression to your leads. To do this online, you should always start by offering your customers the very best thing you have for free. This step takes people from being a visitor and turns them into a lead and nearly every company does it. From free trials, reports or videos, you need to have something to demonstrate your value.
I bet you’ve heard the line “content is king” and this is very true. To see amazing results, and to generate as many leads as possible, you’ll need an enticing free offer of killer content your leads want.
Coming up with content might seem difficult, but all you need to do is put yourself in your prospects shoes. What problems do they have, and how could you give them something to solve it? What would you want to download? What could help you?
Here are some great examples of possible lead magnets:
- Easy step guides
- White papers or reports
- Lists of tools
- Free trials
4. Start Getting Leads
Now that you have your content created and your channel selected, it’s time to give it away in exchange for an email address and maybe a name. The best way to do this is to set up a landing page. Sites like Unbounce and LeadPages give you proven templates to build from which you can sort based on conversion rate, so all you need to do is populate the content.
Here are some examples of great landing pages with terrific offers:
Michael Hyatt: Giving away his guide to discover how to shave 10 hours off your work week:
Crazy Egg: Seeing a heatmap of your website.
Unbounce: To build a high-converting landing page now.
For each of these pages, you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common. Their main offer is a full-width page, with one clear thing to do. Other industry leaders like Airbnb and Uber follow a similar layout because it works and converts.
5. Nurture leads with a Simple Autoresponder Series
So, someone has downloaded your free content, yay! Next, you need to let them know what your company is all about and what they can expect from you over the next few weeks.
These should be arranged using an autoresponder sequence. Once you start receiving more leads, you’ll be spending your whole day sending out emails if you’re doing this manually. A program like MailChimp or Aweber allows you to set up a basic series of emails that are sent to every person who downloads your content.
Autoresponder sequences don’t need to be complicated and you can always improve your once you have it going. To start, your welcome series should include 2 emails:
Welcome email: Welcome the new lead to your community with a short email. You could also ask them to do something in this email like asking a question and requesting them to reply.
Indoctrination email: This email re-affirms their decision to download your free content and teases them with all the amazing things they’ll get from you, as well as how their life is going to improve.
Here is a great example from the DailyWorth:
6. Prepare an Upsell
The funnel is all about taking incremental steps, so once you have turned your lead into a prospect by continually sending them great content, it’s time to turn them into a customer.
Being a customer doesn’t mean that they need to buy your most expensive product. They just need to give you money in exchange for something. A great incremental step is to offer a high value, low-cost product. This should be a severely discounted, have immense value and cost anywhere from $5-$50, depending on your product.
The goal is to make the symbolic transition from a prospect to a customer, albeit, for a low amount, they will be a customer nonetheless.
You want these products to be more substantial than your initial offering. Ebooks, larger guides or swipe files are great examples.
7. Offer Your Core Product
At this point, a customer is well into your sales funnel. They’re interested in your business and have paid for something, so it’s looking good that you’ll be able to land the final sale.
Here you can try and call them directly to seal the deal or hit them with some automated emails selling them on your product. Aim for anywhere from 3-7 emails spread out over a few weeks.
If they don’t buy, all is not lost. You know they are customers since they’ve already bought something from you, but it might not be the right time for them to buy your main product. To keep them around, consider moving them back a step in your funnel and offer some other low-cost high-value products or even another freebies before trying to sell again.
8. Repeat Purchases
Odds are, for everyone who has purchased one thing from you, there is a percentage who would purchase something else from you. Whether it’s multiple products from your store or a customer who continues to subscribe to your service or app.
Understanding your customer’s needs and selling your main offering are important, but if you want to see some real revenue come in, you need to find ways to sell multiple products to the same customer.
Aside from your main offering what can you give existing customers that will help them? Here are a few examples:
- Continued support
- Premium version of your product
- Dedicated customer service
Referrals are the most valuable form of marketing, so don’t neglect them from your funnel. The key to a successful referral campaign is offering something that is mutually beneficial to the existing customer and new customer.
Dropbox is famous for their referral program and grew to be worth over $4 billion with the help of it. They offered existing members additional storage space for every new customer they referred. The new customer would also get the storage boost when they signed up.
Think about what you can offer an existing customer that they’ll love and what would make it more appealing for a new customer to come on board. Here are some examples:
- Free month of your service
- Additional support
- iTunes gift cards
- Other gift certificates
10. Plugs Leaks
Every funnel will always have occasional leaks and you’ll never know where they are until you start putting leads through it. A good first place to start plugging holes is with a cart abandonment series.
If your autoresponder system is powerful enough, you should always send at least a few emails reminding people who have visited your checkout page that their order is still waiting for them.
If they don’t reply, send a few more emails or follow up with a phone call to see if there are any questions you can answer to get them to buy. The reasoning is, if someone clicked the purchase link or visited your checkout page, they must be interested in buying. Life can always get in the way of a purchase, but if you remind them about it, you have a better chance of making the sale.
- Start running your funnel and look where people are falling off
- Implement an abandoned cart email to catch hot prospects
- Always monitor your stats and look for ways to improve
Building a full-fledged sales funnel is no small task, but by starting with a straight shot of what your ideal customer will follow, you can build from there and then you’ll have the framework ready for a powerful automatic business machine.
What does your sales funnel look like? Let us know in the comments below.
June 27, 2016
You have a B2B or B2C business that is starting to pick up, but to see a real breakthrough you’re looking for more traffic. You’re not quite ready to go headlong into an ad campaign, and don’t have the technical know-how or budget to do SEO properly, but know you can handle the additional customers. You just need the traffic. Well, if you have time, you can easily grow your audience and your customer base with the help of a recommendation from an industry influencer.
You might be thinking: “Wait, what? How is an industry influencer going to recommend my product, and how will it help?”
Recommendations go a long way, and a lot of people trust what experts have to say. In fact, a recommendation coming from an industry influencer is 4 times more valuable than a web lead, according to incentivefox. This has actually become an income source for industry influencers and celebrities alike.
Take Kendall Jenner for example, who gets paid anywhere from $125,000 to $300,000 per post. Yes, those numbers are insane, but you can get lesser-known influencers, relevant to your industry to promote your product for as little as $60 per post. If you have the cash to spend and think this method will be a good fit for your product, there are influencers who are less costly, but can still provide you the needed boost.
So, it’s clear that getting a “shout out” can help your brand. For those not willing to spend any money, don’t worry, you still can achieve great results from simply dedicating a little bit of elbow grease and time.
Here are 4 steps to getting industry influencers promoting your product for free.
1. Find the right influencer
As you explore industry experts in your space, you’ll quickly realize there are different types of influencers, and not all of them will be the right fit for you. To simplify things, let’s break it down into two categories.
High number of followers, low credibility.
You’ll find numerous people with hundreds of thousands of followers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a good fit or even have a tremendous amount of influence with those followers. Sure, you can get more eyes on your brand, but this approach is more quantity over quality.
Low number of followers, high credibility.
Don’t get me wrong. When I say a low number of followers, this is in comparison to those that have high 6 figures and even into the millions. In comparison 20-50,000 seems like a low number, but often these followers really trust and value what the influencer has to say. This is the type of influencer whose attention you should be trying to obtain. Quality beats quantity any day of the week.
Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to start seeking actual influencers.
The internet is a big place, and it’s easy to become lost in the social media black hole. Luckily, there are nifty tools available to keep you focused to assist in finding exactly the most appropriate influencers.
Tools To Find Industry Influencers
Buzzsumo: This is an amazing tool for finding the best influencers and topics for certain keywords. Just type in your keyword, click the influencers button and voila. In this example, I searched for marketing and got 10 examples from the free version of the app.
Klout: This is another great tool to learn how much credibility or Klout certain influencers have. Obviously the better someone’s Klout score, the more influence they have. Using this in conjunction with Buzzsumo should be all you need to find the perfect industry influencer to help grow your business.
2. Do your research
Anyone can simply reach out to a celebrity or industry expert online, and lots of people do every single day. However, if you want this plan to actually work for your business, you’ll need to put in work up front and perform guerilla surveillance to find out as much as you can about them to help make a meaningful connection.
Your goal is to learn as much as you can about your chosen expert(s) so you can engage them in a meaningful discussion, and talk about topics you know they love. Some key things to note include:
- What social platform they spend the most time on?
- What their blog is and how often they publish posts?
- What do they value?
- What hobbies do they have?
- Where do they connect with people?
- What city are they in?
The more you know about your target, the better chance you have of making a meaningful connection. With anything in life, you need to be prepared before making a move. Doing this advance work will also save you time. If your target is the most active on their blog, you won’t waste your time tracking their Twitter or Instagram feeds.
Of course, email is best, the most personal way to reach out to someone; however, for obvious reasons, you most likely don’t have access to their email. Using the Google Chrome plugin Rapportive is a great way to quickly obtain a lot of info about someone, and maybe even their email address, all from within the comfort of your own Gmail account … simply start typing a name and see what appears.
3. Get close
Catching someone’s attention is as easy as shooting over a quick tweet; however, to make it work and to do it right, you need to plan it out and be methodical. Here’s how to do it the proper way….
Start by following them on whatever social networks they belong. There are those, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, that have added benefits. Here are helpful insider tips revealing how you should approach each channel.
On Twitter, you can like, follow and connect with anyone you want.
- Follow them
- Read, favorite and retweet posts you like
- Ask thoughtful questions
- Mention them in relevant posts
Instagram is similar to Twitter, in that you are not restricted to who you can choose to follow.
- Favorite some posts
- Like and share his/her posts
- Tag him/her in relevant posts
LinkedIn is somewhat different from the rest. If you’re not directly in contact or share any mutual friends, it can be difficult to reach out to an influencer out of the blue. Start by joining any groups in which they are members. This will then allow you to send a connect request since you now share a mutual interest.
- Join a group
- Send connect request
- Use flattery and reference something specific
Just like Instagram and Twitter, you aren’t limited to whom you can send a friend request. But similar to LinkedIn, joining groups your influencer is a member of is a great way to set the stage for success.
- Join groups they are members of
- Send a friend request
- Like, share, and comment on their posts
Blogs are more personal than social media and give you nearly a direct line to your influencer. To see if your influencer has a blog, use www.blogsearchengine.org.
- Subscribe to his/her mailing list
- Learn when he/she publishes posts
- Like, share and leave meaningful comments
- Reply to blog posts asking questions
Any of these channels are a good place to start. If you’re certain the influencer you’ve identified is the one you want, you can try doing all 5 at the same time; however, be careful when doing this, because it will get their attention, so you better have a plan ready, and that’s what we’ll dive into in the next section.
4. Make your move
Ok, so you could have their attention at this point, have done your research, and are ready to make your move. Here are some tips for doing it right.
Ideally, email would be the most intimate method of contact, but if you don’t have his/her address, you’ll need to engage with what you actually have.
If you’ve already started engaging with them by posting meaningful comments, liking their posts and retweeting/sharing, then you can make your move. The following tactics will work no matter what channel you choose to engage with….
Flattery: Everyone loves some flattery, but be careful not to lay it on too heavy. Use the research you did to reference something specific he/she has done that you like. If you can link it to a throwback Thursday #tbt or other hashtags, it could have a better chance of getting their attention.
Ask a thoughtful question: Influencers like discussing their field of expertise, and are likely asked the same questions over and over. So, stand out by asking a well informed, specific question worth asking. Don’t ask for their general opinion on something, but rather be as specific as you can.
Make it worthwhile for them: The way to get the most is to give the most. It can’t be all about you. Make sure you’re framing your ask in a way that is mutually beneficial. If you have a new app or product, you could ask them for their feedback about it because you’ve been following what they’ve done before and based your app on something that is a connection to them.
Their time is valuable: Always make it clear you understand their time is valuable, and cut to the chase. Keep any direct messages or correspondence as short and sweet as possible. If you’re describing your product, keep the explanation under two sentences in length. Be concise.
Remember, they’re human too, and just like you, they’re probably quite busy. When sending that first message reaching out, you need to mentally prepare to not hear back. Expect the worst, and hope for the best, and don’t get offended if they don’t reply. If you don’t hear back, try sending another in approximately 7 days.
Influencers are a great way to place your brand in front of a large number of people and potential customers, but how they can really help is by boosting your reputation, and spread the word out there about your product or service.
It takes time and real work to do it properly, but the benefits and possible friendships that can be formed far outweigh the risks. Remember, everyone is looking out for themselves, so make sure you provide value and give a lot before you ask for something.
June 20, 2016
Traffic – nearly everyone running an online business seems to only focus on increasing traffic to their site by spending a substantial amount of time and money on SEO, links and ads. Don’t get me wrong; traffic IS essential in order to create a booming business, but what most business owners don’t spend as much time planning is how they’ll convert those leads once they’ve landed on their site.
Let’s be realistic for a moment. With most online businesses, visitors will not sign up or buy on their first visit, and there are all sorts of reasons why. It could be a big investment and they want to do their research, they want to make sure your product is actually a good fit or maybe life just got in the way and they got distracted. No matter what the reason, it’s important that you keep that spark alive and help leads through this process. Doing so will ultimately build a strong customer relationship and increase your revenue, but to do it you’ll need to have a lead nurture system in place.
What is lead nurturing?
It’s the act of keeping in touch with people who have visited your site or downloaded information. This is usually done through a sales funnel, taking people from being a visitor to a lead, to customer, to repeat customers. A good lead nurture sequence not only achieves more sales, but builds trust, educates and creates brand champions who love your business.
Why it’s important
Imagine you’re growing a garden filled with a variety of different plants. You don’t need to be a gardener to know that you can’t treat them all the same. Some might need more water and less light while others need lots of fertilizer and water. This analogy holds true for visitors and leads who are interested in your business. There are those who might require numerous emails to get your message through, while others may prefer a phone call or even some who make a purchase on the first email.
Unless you’re selling a watch on a street corner, odds are that someone visiting your site isn’t ready to buy on their first visit. Lead nurturing helps build value in the mind of your leads to make your solution the obvious choice. This is done by sending valuable educational emails letting them know how their life will improve with your product or service.
When evaluating a purchase, people always compare the value to price. Is what they are paying worth it? It’s rather difficult to tip the scales in your favor from only one visit to your website, but by nurturing your leads, you can slowly stack the value side, and tip the scale in your favor to make the sale. Aside from adding value, your leads will learn what you’re all about, value your service and, ideally, become a lifelong customer.
How it works
The core idea behind lead nurturing is providing valuable content to establish trust. That’s easier said than done, but valuable content can come in all different forms. No matter what your business is, you can quickly and easily create something to build trust your customers will value. Examples include:
- A report you’ve written
- An interesting blog post
- An online tool
- A “cheat” sheet
- A video
- A webinar
- A phone consultation
All of these are perfect options for content, and the best channel to deliver them is by email.
When considering an email lead nurturing sequence, you might be thinking, “I don’t want to clog up someone’s inbox and send a bunch of emails. I just don’t want to be that person.” This is a mental block people often tell themselves to talk their way out of landing more leads.
The reality is, most people don’t each email received, so if you’re holding back your lead nurture campaign worried about being labeled a spammer, don’t be. By worrying about offending the people who are reading all the messages, you’re not connecting with the remaining group of other leads who don’t open every message. Similar to the garden analogy, you wouldn’t be upset if some tomatoes didn’t ripen properly, but the rest of the garden did, and it’s the same for your leads. Not all will be a good fit, and your focus should be on those who connect with your message.
Think about your own inbox. Do you save messages from brands or companies you’re interested in, but haven’t purchased from yet? Since you’re interested in marketing, I’m going out on a limb and guessing that you do. And you know what? You’re not alone. Not only do marketers do that, but your customers do as well, so don’t be afraid to send emails. As long as you make your content educational or entertaining, people will like reading what you have to say.
Not all leads are the same, and you need to treat them accordingly. Here are 3 examples of different nurture paths for different stages of your marketing funnel that all online businesses should be using.
New lead nurture path
A new lead can mean a lot of things, but at its core, they have given you their email address in exchange for something. Now it’s your job to move them to the next part of your sales funnel. By using these tips, you’ll be able to help them make that step toward purchasing.
Strike while the iron is hot: They’re interested in what you’re offering, so now is the time to send them the information you think they’ll need. Sending messages every 2-3 days for 2 weeks is a good place to start.
Check in on the download: Often when people opt in for something, they forget to actually download it. By sending a follow-up email thanking them for opting in, and re-sending the product they downloaded, this increases the chances they’ll engage with your brand.
Ask them to do something: Most of the time people won’t do something unless you ask. So what do you want your leads to do? Maybe engage in a conversation with you? Try asking a single question in an email, and say that you love to hear what they think and that you respond to every email. Using the line “even if it’s just a sentence, I’d love to know” is a great way to open the door to have someone respond. A sentence is easy to do, and often, they end up writing a whole paragraph. You can download this example along with 4 others at the bottom of the post.
Give them great stuff: First impressions are important, and the key to a successful new lead nurture path is to under promise and over deliver. This is where you should give your very best content. Try surprising them with freebies and extra bonuses to show how much you care.
New lead nurture summary:
Goal: To take the next step in your funnel
Email schedule: Fast, 1 email every 2-3 days, total of 7
Tips: Use “even if it’s just a sentence, I’d love to know” to start a conversation
Branching, or the action specific nurture sequence, can be used for any part of nurturing a lead and can be a little more complicated. This is where you’re getting into real marketing, and it requires segmenting your leads based on their actions. Examples of actions include:
- Did they open any of your emails sent last month?
- Did they click?
- Did they download anything?
Each action a lead takes means something, and as a savvy marketer, you should be taking note and replying appropriately. If someone has opened and clicked every piece of content you’ve sent, odds are they are a hot lead, and could benefit from a follow-up call.
What do different segments look like for your business, and how are you treating them differently? Here are various tips to help make the most out of segmentation.
Re-send emails with different subjects: When sending campaigns, try using a different subject and re-sending the identical email to everyone who didn’t open it the first time. This is a great hack to get up to 25% more “opens” for your list.
Score different activities: The more someone interacts with your brand, the better chance they have of buying from you. Activities include visiting your site, downloading content, clicking and opening emails, registering for webinars.
Behaviour specific sequence: Always send emails that make sense to the user. If someone downloads your report, they might also be interested in your webinar. If they didn’t open your report, odds are they’re not going to participate in your webinar, so send them the report again or another entry level freebie.
New lead path summary:
Goal: To send relevant information
Email schedule: Medium, depending where they are in your funnel, every 3-5 days
Tips: Use a new subject line to re-send the same email for more opens
Drip nurture path
A drip sequence is a long term (months to years) slow release of emails going to subscribers on your email list. The goal of a drip sequence is to keep your business in their mind, and this is achieved by sending 1-2 messages per month. These are people who have already gone through your new lead nurture path, but haven’t purchased yet.
Drip paths can be a lot of fun. You can get creative with your messages here since they’re no longer in your direct sales funnel. Use your own voice with these targeted emails. Since you’re not going for a hard sell, you can take more of a chance to try and make a unique bond with your subscriber.
Associated with this post are 5 email templates you can use for your own drip sequences. Be sure to check them out. One is about pizza, and it can be used for any online business.
Drip sequence summary:
Goal: Remember your brand
Email schedule: Slow. 1-2 messages/month
Tips: Have fun, be yourself
Nurturing leads is one of the most important aspects of your business and a key revenue generating activity. People won’t buy from you if they don’t remember you, so dedicate time up front to build a new lead, branching and drip sequence to develop and grow strong customer relationships. Throughout the whole process, remember to segment your users and deliver customized messages, relevant to the actions they have taken. Traffic doesn’t matter if you don’t have a way to engage and stay in touch with people.
June 13, 2016
Leverage the largest network of businesses to grow your email list
Do you have a small B2B business and want to get more leads? Do you currently blog or create content of any sort that people might find useful? LinkedIn may be your secret weapon to obtaining the flood of leads you’re looking for. With over 433 million users, and close to 40% of them checking their accounts daily, LinkedIn is the perfect platform to connect with decision-making business professionals.
If you’re not already using LinkedIn to drive traffic to your site, you’re missing out on a tremendous number of highly qualified leads that want what you’re selling. It doesn’t take a high volume of work to leverage your existing marketing efforts to work with LinkedIn, and believe me, the benefits are well worth the effort!
Here are 7 ways you can increase the number of leads generated from LinkedIn….
Complete Your Profile
The first step to generating leads is to complete your profile. This means ensuring all of your information is current, relevant and properly displays who you are and what you do. Also, it’s important that your profile is free of misspellings and errors since your goal is to create a positive first impression!
Adding a website:
One important thing for any business owner is to add your website to your profile. As a default, LinkedIn only lists the URL, but you can customize the displayed text to anything you want. Try making it an attention grabbing headline offering something of value such as: 7 tips to get more leads with LinkedIn. However, don’t stop at one website – you can also add links to any of your other landing pages to help collect more leads. This is a must for anyone giving away free content.
Completing all the text fields in your profile is great, but a way to go above and beyond is to add a video. You can easily arrange videos so they play automatically after a few seconds and they let people know that you’re a real person. Your video doesn’t need to be long or complicated either. Try to keep it between 30 seconds and 1 minute to explain who you are, what you do and who can benefit from your business. This can all be shot and edited with your computer’s webcam or even a mobile phone.
Quick takeaway tips:
-Include a company logo + your photo
-Add links to your website and landing pages
-Include a 30 second to 1 minute video
Grow Your Network
Obviously your goal of a social network is to grow it and there are numerous practices you should be implementing on LinkedIn to see the increased traffic you’re The more connections you have, the more people will know about you, and the wider reach you’ll have when promoting your services.
You should be adding everyone you meet to your LinkedIn network. Start with friends, family, co-workers, alumni, customers, email contacts and even industry leaders. That group alone should give you at least an additional 100 new contacts.
For each of your requests, make sure you include a personal message. It could be as simple as mentioning the event or place you met and that you’d like to stay in touch. It also wise to add a bit of flattery and compliment them on something in their profile or about their company or website. Believe it or not, this actually works! Try it for yourself and let us know how many more people you were able to connect with in the comments.
Quick takeaway tips:
– Try to connect with everyone you’ve ever met
– Make the connection message personal
– Use flattery when reaching out to someone you don’t know
Post Your Content
Most small businesses with between 5 and 10 employees should be creating content of some sort. Whether it’s helpful articles they’re posting on their blogs, how-to videos posted on YouTube or anything else. Content brings in leads and leads turn into customers. Sharing that content on LinkedIn is simple to do in the Publications and Patents section. Don’t let the name scare you; blog posts, white papers and e-books are publications, so you should be posting them.
When writing the description text linking to your article, be sure to ask a specific question to try and engage comments. The more people are talking about it, the better it is.
You can also send LinkedIn emails directly to people who you think would enjoy your content. This is a great opportunity to not only increase the likelihood of having your content read, but read by people who you think should be reading it. Don’t spam people or be annoying with these tactics … send only things you’d like to receive with this approach.
Posting content on LinkedIn helps by raising your reputation and positioning yourself as an expert on the topic. More people will connect with you and might subscribe to your blog or website mailing list, which, in turn, all grow your network.
Quick takeaway tips:
-Use the Publications and Patents sections to post your content
-Ask a question at the end to increase engagement
-Connect with people that comment on it
-Share pertinent blog posts with your connections
Join A Group
If your business is for a specific niche, odds are there is a LinkedIn group for it. In fact, there are thousands of businesses that have grown and thrive only from traffic generated by LinkedIn groups. They’re free to join, can have tens of thousands of members and becoming involved with them can increase your traffic and the number of leads to your website.
The way to benefit from a group is by regularly providing value. Try commenting on postings or creating posts yourself and asking questions. The more you can provide, the more the group will give back and trust you when the time is right. Not only can joining a group put you in contact with your ideal leads and target customers, but you can learn a lot about them. The market research alone is worth it.
One last advantage of joining a group is the ability to privately message another member. Generally on LinkedIn, you’re not allowed to send a private message to someone unless you’re connected. Joining a group can circumvent this restriction and give you direct access to thousands of leads.
Quick takeaway tips:
– Join groups to learn about your ideal customer
– Give back to the community by asking and answering questions
– Reach out to members by privately messaging them
Apart from being a resource of your ideal leads, many people ask questions on LinkedIn. Answering them is a great way to provide value and build trust to those who are looking for answers. It’s really easy to do and odds are you’re an expert on a topic on which someone needs help. The more value you can provide for someone, the more they’ll trust you and the more they’ll value your opinion.
Answering questions to the best of your ability is a great way to grow your network and increase your reputation. An additional hack is to send a private message to whoever asked the question, letting them know you’d be happy to give more detail over the telephone with a free consultation. This is a perfect opportunity to offer your services if you think they’re a good fit for you.
Quick takeaway tips:
– Answer questions to the best of your ability
– Send private follow up messages offering additional help over the phone
– Pitch your services if a good fit
No matter what social media profile you choose to attack, being active and engaged is key to success. People need to know you’re actually there and by being active, it increases the chances they’ll engage with you and click on your links.
You’ll always be busy and have a lot going on being actively engaged doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot a time. By simply posting short snippets of content, it ensures you’ll remain relevant and you will be top of mind when someone is thinking about your services.
Tips to easily be active on LinkedIn
-Status updates 3x week
-Ask questions in your updates
-Post questions in groups
-Post your own content
-Post links to other people’s content
Quick takeaway tips:
– Post at least once per week
– Don’t spam
– Share worthwhile and relevant information
It’s a fact, paid advertising works and LinkedIn ads have the added benefit of being customizable to a business oriented network. Unlike Facebook, Google or Bing ads, where you can’t specify job title or company, LinkedIn ads give you the ability to target your ideal market with laser precision.
It also means that you’re likely to have a greater number of quality leads coming through, which can lead to a higher sales conversion rate.
Quick takeaway tips:
– Be as specific as possible for job title, location and company
– Offer great industry content that will be noticed
– A/B test different variants to learn what works
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is amazing for B2B companies looking for more business. It cuts away the fluff and allows you to connect with your target customer in multiple ways. Try tackling a few of these tactics and see the results first hand. Leave a message in the comments if you’ve used LinkedIn to obtain more leads and what tactics have worked for you.