Marketing

How to Create a Sales Funnel That Converts

how to create a sales funnel

By Austin Miller, founder of The Daily Hash—THE newsletter for foodies.

"Sales funnel" might just be a fancy way to say customer experience, but the metaphoric nature of the term provides us an incredibly helpful visualization and marketing strategy. Based off this idea, we've created a simple and non-fluff filled guide to teach you how to create a sales funnel the right way.

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Cast Your Net

Traffic. In order to drive traffic you will need to cast your net and double down on the most profitable channels. This will include both paid ads and content marketing: images, how to articles, interviews, tips and tricks and whatever else can help get you in front of your ideal audience. 

                                                                                                Create Beautiful and (Highly Targeted) Landing Pages

marketing sales funnel

Paid Traffic

You'll want to direct paid traffic to a place where they can learn more about your products. The homepage isn't a terrible place to send them, after all it should be a sort of catch-all landing page for anyone who stumbles upon it. But if you're running ads, you should do your best to target a specific demographic. 

For example:

  • You know fantasy authors usually love your product
  • You create an ad campaign using imagery and text that will appeal to that vertical
  • Rather than sending them to your website's homepage (which is meant to appeal to a broad range of potential clients), you send them to a specially created landing page that is custom tailored to the needs and wants of writers. This might include highlighting value adds specific to that industry, and exhibiting testimonials given by other novelists who love your company.

Content Marketing

When sharing blog articles your approach will and should be different. There will be no landing page, since what you are sharing is the article itself. However, that doesn't mean your blog articles can't also act as landing pages—they'll just have to have more subtle calls to action.

There are dozens of tools to help the novice create killer landing pages, here are a few of the most popular choices:

Create a Successful Email Funnel

The key to a good email funnel to is to create a logical progression that leads subscribers from ice cold unknown, to satisfied client. 

Phase 1: Introduction

This is the phase where you'll want to efficiently let people know who you are and what you do. People will be quick to decide if they want to hear more from you or not. Your branding will to be eye catching and easy to digest. 

Phase 2: Education

Once people have decided they're interested (you'll know this because they haven't unsubscribed yet) it's your duty its to give potential clients a more in-depth picture of what it is you do. What sets you apart from others? Do you have any case studies? What are clients saying about your service? Do you have a white paper, demo, or in-depth explainer video? This is the time where you'll want to share this type of information.

Phase 3: Offer

After you've had the chance to introduce your brand, what you do, how you do and finally why you're better than everyone else doing it (Phase 2)—you'll want to give your potential client a hard sell. Give them a CTA that includes making a purchase or scheduling a phone call. If that doesn't work, consider sending a special offer or discount to entice them. 

A/B Test the BLEEP out of Everything

sales funnel examples

Each part of your funnel (advertisements, content marketing, landing pages, emails, social media) needs to be constantly reevaluated. Double down on the things bringing you the most success, and drop the things that aren't. Test colors, copy, fonts, placement, and anything else that can be changed.

Make sure to set a reoccurring time where you and your marketing team can reevaluate these things. It's important to read case studies and find where others have found success, but don't be afraid to try something that might go against conventional wisdom. After all, the beauty of A/B testing is that you can always drop what's not working.

Nurture, Nurture, Nurture!

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Part of knowing how to create a sales funnel is knowing how to be tastefully persistent. Not everyone is ready to make a purchase when they visit your site, but that doesn't mean they won't do so later. Maybe they just need more time to research or for a paycheck to come through. Whatever the case, you've got to keep reminding these targeted visitors about who you are, and why they visited your site in the first place!

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads, target visitors to your site after they leave. Have you ever looked at a product on Amazon and then seen that very product pop up later as your browsing the web? That's not coincidence, that's retargeting!

Using tools such as AdRoll will help you target the people who have visited your site. Those who have visited your site are often easier to convert, as they already know a bit about your product and have shown interest.

Drip Campaigns

Another way you can keep reminding visitors of your value is through drip campaigns. When someone visits your site, you'll want to offer a value add that entices them to give you their information so you can contact them once again. 

Examples of Value Adds:

  • Get a copy of our E-Book "How to XYZ"
  • Get 20% off your first purchase 
  • Sign up for our monthly digest to stay up to date each month's best blog posts

Of course, before you offer these things, you need to create a way to capture these targeted traffic leads. One way is by using SumoMe, a tool we've lauded before for being simple to use and giving marketers lots of customizable options.

Once you have these emails, create an email drip campaign that starts with value driven content, and progressively makes a harder sale. 

15 Instagram Accounts That Are Killing it at B2B Content

B2B Instagram

By Austin Miller, founder of The Daily Hash—THE newsletter for foodies 🍔🍦🍜

Fitness? Easy. Food? Easy. Fashion? Really Easy. B2B? Not so easy...

With over 100 million users, Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. But the reality is, that when it comes to social media and B2Bmany businesses struggle with how to position themselves. This is especially true when it comes to visual content. Accounting, tech support, legal workthese service types of industries don't always scream fun.

But when you start to look at your business as a group of unique people, with individual stories, and your brand as a message rather than a productyou'll begin to see just how visual your company truly can be. If you remain skeptical about the viability of B2B in the Instagram space, or you just want some B2B inspirationdo yourself a favor and check out some examples of B2B companies that are slaying it on Instagram. 

1. ADOBE

Adobe Instagram

Followers: 681k

B2B Industry: Software

Instagram Account: @adobe

With a product that plays well to the visual, Adobe is a fortuitous and unique entity in the B2B space. Their strategy involves highlighting what their products can do by creating stunning visuals that make even the most ungifted neophyte dream of trying their own hand at Adobe products. This is B2B marketing done right. 

 

2. WELLS FARGO

Wells Fargo Instagram

Followers: 40k

B2B Industry: Banking

Instagram Account: @wellsfargo

Banking is boring, real boring. But that doesn't mean an ambitious company like Wells Fargo has to make their Instagram account boring. The massive bank combines a good mix of video and images to add variety to their content. If that's not enough, @wellsfargo keeps content fresh by covering a wide variety of topics like current events, financial tips, quotes, and fun facts. 

 

3. INTEL

Intel Instagram

Followers: 1.1 M

B2B Industry: Tech

Instagram Account: @intel

IBM validates itself as one of the "big boys" by showcasing their role in big events like the X Games, Grammy's and hot tech conferences. Following IBM's journey feels like following a celebrity as you become privy to just how massive and innovative of a company they truly are. Each photo they provide shows a company whose fully aware of their unique voice in the B2B space. Large company's like these that dabble in many areas can sometimes have a hard time defining their voice, but IBM does a solid job of peeling back the layers on their many productsgiving you a detailed look at exactly what they do in the tech space. 

 

4. GREY ADVERTISING

Grey Instagram

Followers: 35k

B2B Industry: Advertising

Instagram Account: @grey

It's encouraging to see B2B company's pushing the boundaries of social media. Their account description reads, "Each week, one person from our Grey NY office takes over our Instagram to share what inspires them. Oh, and everything is in GREYscale." Following them is like watching a TV series, with each  "episode" (or new week) being seen through the eyes of a different employee. Despite the constant changing of hands, the account is able to maintain a singular tone with its mandatory implementation of "GREYscale" filters, and NYC setting. @grey is by far one of the most unique accounts on this list, and definitely worthy to be dubbed a B2B content pioneer.

 

5. AD AGE

     

 

 

Followers: 166k

B2B Industry: Media/News Company

Ad Age's bio states "Important to Important People." With that in mind, Ad Age likes to position themselves as an authority in the advertising space often highlighting celebrities on their cover shots or editorial content. Although they focus on advertising, their content touches on a wide variety of topics like music, food, and anything they deem creatively inspirational (like their name written with pretzels). 

 

Free Agency

Followers: 30.9k

B2B Industry: Content Production/Branding

Instagram Account: @free

If you had any doubts about Free's artistic vision, squash them now because photography just happens to be their bread and butter. And we're not talking about a slice of uninspired white bread with some I-can't-believe-it's-not-real-freaking-butter substitutewe're talking about some fresh focaccia straight out of the oven with lemon herb butter. This is B2B content that blurs the line between art and advertising. Maybe we should call it artvertising?

 

7. MAILCHIMP

Mailchimp Instagram

Followers: 76.7k

B2B Industry: E-Mail 

Instagram: @MailChimp

An email provider company. Boring right? Wrong. Dead wrong. MailChimp takes full advantage of their playful logo by breathing life into his 2d form and transforming him into a veritable personality. Their quirky brand image seeps through each photo, making sure you laugh a little on the inside each time they post a new photoan emotion we're sure they hope transfers over when you use their service. 

 

8. AdRoll

AdRoll instagram

Followers: 2k

B2B Industry: Marketing

Instagram Account: @AdRoll

Taking the most holistic approach of all the Instagram accounts, AdRoll uses a broad stroke approach when it comes to visual content. Company events, pop culture references (a la Star Wars), cute dogs, bring your family to work day, and behind the scenes looks at marketing campaigns. Perhaps of all the Instagram accounts on this list, AdRoll does the best job of making their company accessible. Have you ever seen an interview with an actor, and you get that feeling that you'd hit it off if you ever met in person? AdRoll evokes that same sentiment. 

 

9. Citrix

Citrix Social Media

Followers: 14.5k

B2B Industry: Apps/Data

Instagram Account: @citrix

Company bikes, French Bulldogs, and a grip of cool eventsCitrix shows why they're a leader in the B2B data space. Unlike many companies, Citrix avoids heavy promotion by opting for a soft pitch. Lately they've been integrating branded Lego scenes which can't help but bring a little smile to your face.

 

10. UBS

b2b instagram

Followers: 23k

B2B Industry: Financial Services

Instagram: @UBS

For a seemingly large financial corporation, UBS provides content that has a surprisingly accessible "startup" feel. They are extremely transparent, going so far as documenting their recent re-branding, something not all brands would be so happy to share with the public. A lot of their content so far has focused on artist Damilola's role in their brand transformation. We're not sure where the future of their Instagram account is headed, but we're confident it will not cater to the status quo.

 

11. Hubspot

Hubspot Instagram

Followers: 100k

B2B Industry: Marketing/Sales

Instagram Account: @hubspot

Hubspot has a penchant for highlighting good food, cute animals, and fun work activities. Of course it's not all play, they sprinkle in some solid quotes and advice to balance it out. Overall, Hubspot is a feel good account with a penchant for peeling back the layers for their customers' and potential clients' enjoyment.

 

12. SAP

b2b instagram strategy

Followers: 46.9k

B2B Industry: Software

Instagram Account: @SAP

SAP has a lot of great quotes and is unequivocally targeted towards other business owners when it comes to advice and contentsomething you would hope to see from a B2B company that provides software. They're also on top of it when it comes to staying current on holidays and special days like Groundhog day, World Cancer Day, Thanksgiving, The Holidays and New Year. 

 

13. FedEx

FedEx Instagram

Followers: 89k

B2B Industry: Delivery

Instagram Account: @fedex

Cargo shipment has never seemed more fun than with FedEx's Instagram account. With lot's of great photos of airplanes and trucks all over the world, FedEx is a bit of a promotional travelogue. But their promotion never crosses the line, just a subtle logo in the background of mostly stunning photos that make you want to travel as much as use their service.

 

14. IBM

IBM Social Media

Followers: 219k

B2B Industry: Tech

Instagram Account:@IBM

Of course IBM has many of the great qualities these other B2B companies possessesbut what's most intriguing about their voice on social media, is the personification of their API's in the form of an animitronic robot named Watson. In fact, they have a whole host of robots they use, each with their own unique personality. Following their Instagram account is watching a good sci-fi series that leaves with sense of awe at the power of technology and its potential.

 

15. HP

HP instagram

Followers: 1M

B2B Industry: Tech

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT: @HP

A fashion diary? A global technology brand? We can't tell which one it is, but we're not too sure we even care! HP capitalizes on subtlety and styleshowing that even big brands can be nimble when it comes to social media.

5 VR Marketing Tools for the Early Adopter

VR Marketing

The landscape might be sparse, but VR Marketing tools are on the rise, and they're here to stay.

Samsung Electronics America president Tim Baster revealed that users had consumed “more than 10 million hours of 360-degree video content on Gear VR devices,” research firm KZero found that over 171 million people could be using VR hardware and software by 2018, and a co-op study by YuMe/Nielsen suggests that VR possesses a higher emotional reaction than 2D video. Suffice it to say, VR is no lightweight in the marketing space.

So you know VR can be a powerful marketing tool, and now you probably want to try your own hand at it. But where to start? How to begin? After all, it’s not like they teach this stuff at business school…Lucky for you, I’ve taken the liberty of creating a list of 5 apps and platforms to help you get into the VR marketing game today.

ImmersVR

ImmersVR was founded by some of the same people who helped build the “Largest app distribution platform on Facebook, iOS and Android’s “App Distribution Platform on Facebook and then again on iOS and Android,” is a 360 video distribution platform. Since 360 video isn’t purely virtual reality (hyperlink), it’s able to be distributed to a mobile audience, not just to those who a VR kit. This allows to advertisers to reach a larger audience while still providing a newer and more interactive technology.

Strata inStudioVR

Strata has been producing 3D modeling software for over 20 years and just recently decided to throw its hat into the VR marketing ring.

Intended for product designers, packagers, and retailers — inStudio VR allows 3D designers to import their designs straight from their desktop CAD applications like Strata 3D CX, Maya, Autodesk to a virtual reality environment. From the app, users can stage, view, and alter their models using motion controls in different settings like a kitchen, living room, or retail store.

The app is free and comes preloaded with a retail module which includes a retail store setting with shelving populated with grocery items. Users can place their designs on the shelves and see how they look next to other products.

Retinad

Retinad is an analytics tool for your 360 video. Just like a website heat map can tell you where your visitors are spending most of their time, Retinad can tell you which parts of your 360 video that users enjoy most. This tool also measures the performance of your content on various platforms, the hardware being used to view your content, and measures overall engagement.

VadR

VadR allows you to monetize you and/or your clients’ VR apps. This native ad platform lets you place ads in any type of VR environment without forcing the user to leave the application. Much how Facebook, Pinterest and other social media platforms have allowed for sponsored posts that appear as part of your feed, this app promises to make ads a seamless part of the user experience.

Vire

Vire makes product placement within virtual environment seamless. It benefits both advertisers and app creators — as developers get paid anytime a user interacts with branded objects, and well — advertisers get to brand objects and monitor engagement.

These branded objects can also be used as offers. For example, let’s say someone grabs a branded coffee cup and looks at it — from there, they can claim an offer on real-life coffee.

4 Tips for Establishing Your Brand in a Big City

small business bookkeeping

Last month, we shared advice for how a startup can establish roots for their business — while still leaving their mark — in a small town. Now we’re flipping the setting to taking your company to a big city for the first time. While cities offer plenty of benefits to startups like a thriving customer base and workforce, they’re also loaded with competing businesses with the same products or services, many of which have been there longer and have loyal clients. It’s a big pond with even bigger fish inside of it — so, what can your brand do to stand out from the crowd? The answer lies in amplifying all of the advantages that your business has to offer as well as utilizing the resources that a urbane area has to offer.

1) Make excellent customer service your No. 1 priority

Before you begin planning ahead with a big advertising budget and elaborate social media strategy, remember that one of the simplest ways to stand out is with great customer service. When customers routinely have a good experience at your establishment, they spread the word to their friends who, in turn, visit and share the news to their networks. Word of mouth can go a long way, but only if you dedicate yourself, and your team, to maintaining excellent customer service each and every day.

2) Dabble in traditional and digital marketing

With so many people in the city, how do you find your true target market? The best way to target and reach your audience may require just as much digital marketing as it does traditional. Here are a handful of strategies to take on a test run.

  •  Creating and maintaining a website. That means making sure the site is easy to navigate across all devices from smartphones to desktops, optimized for SEO, includes an updated contact information page, and is updated on a regular basis to reflect seasonal offerings and promotions.
  • Depending on the city you’re in, you might want to opt for a billboard or a placard in a subway or on a bus to advertise your business. Billboards tend to work better in cities where commuters get to work via freeways while the latter is best for areas with plenty of public transit commuters.
  •  Take out a radio ad spot — or even advertise during a podcast that you know your customer base enjoys.
  • Establish an active social media presence where you can share relevant content with your audience about news and updates from your business as well as address any issues and highlight praise from customers.  

3) Do some in-person networking

From coworking spaces to startup incubators, cities offer a wealth of resources to entrepreneurs at all stages in business. Take the time to see what events and networking nights are in your area next so you meet and greet with potential partners and customers and share more information about who you are and what you offer.

4) Personalize your approach

When a customer has a positive experience with an establishment, it’s usually personalized just for them. Whether it’s taking the time to remember their order preferences at a restaurant or greeting them by name at a hotel, these extra touches go a long way to endearing customers to businesses. Skip the one size fits all approach in your marketing to your customer base in favor of building a deeper connection to your audience. Address e-newsletters to the name of the subscriber; take mailers to college campuses if you market to a twentysomething demographic, and follow your fans on social media.

Above all when marketing your business in the city, celebrate being different. It might feel easier to blend in with the competition, but be proud to be unique and always keep thinking of how you can wow customers by going above and beyond.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

Small Town, Big Business: How to Market Your Startup Locally

how to market locally

You just brought the business of your dreams to life, but you’re just not interested in opening up shop in a sprawling city. You’d rather trade in the pricey rent and taxes for somewhere more affordable and less densely populated, like a small town. There, your dream of running a startup where everyone knows your name and where your business can be a local fixture can finally come true!

However, let’s be practical about the reality of your arrival to a new neighborhood. Customers may be hesitant to visit simply because they don’t know anything about what you have to offer. A lack of foot traffic means you might go through a few months of middling sales — but that can all change with the right marketing approach. Make and leave your mark with these tips that’ll encourage the community to warm up to you and your business.

1. Put a plan of action together

What can you offer that will make a big impression on locals and encourage them to visit, make a sale, and spread positive word of mouth? Strategize your goals and objectives for your target audience and its market and tailor them specifically for a smaller area. In between planning for ways that your business can get involved with the community and establish a presence, focus on what makes your business special and highlight what sets it apart instead of blending into the crowd.

2. Create a unique, consistent logo

Consider your storefront for a moment. What makes it memorable? While the primary goal for a brick and mortar business is to draw customers inside, they might be hesitant to make the first move when they don’t know anything about you. One of the best ways to advertise what you do and leave behind an impression that sticks? Create and trademark an original business logo.

If you need some design advice, our personal tips include keeping the design and color palette simple and consistent to brand your company and easily convey its message. The logo should be able to translate across all mediums including on your website, packaging, and marketing materials and using the same colors helps establish trade dress to further distinguish your product and company. From snagging the attention of window shoppers to giving your shop some built-in recognition, your logo brands your business more than you might think it does!

3. Advertise in the local newspaper

In the era of blogs and Facebook advertising, placing an ad in the newspaper may seem antiquated and unnecessary. Before you judge too much though, take into consideration that local papers have loyal readers. In small towns especially, these readers are looking for news on what’s happening with their local government and community announcements about new store openings and upcoming event celebrations. Take out and customize an ad to give your startup some early buzz and great local press!

4. Meet and greet with the locals

Ultimately, the most effective marketing tip is the one where you get up and go outside to meet and greet with members of the community. Here are just a few ways you can make your welcome to the neighborhood a warm one:

  • Host an open house for your new business. Offer freebies and raffle giveaways, bring in a food truck and some live music, and encourage everyone in the community to bring their friends along for the event.
  • Head to a networking night to mingle with other professionals or local events where potential customers may be. If you’re not sure what events are coming up, inquire with your local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Take your business cards with you wherever you go and strike up a conversation with passerbys. Even if you’re waiting in line at a coffee shop, you can still introduce yourself with a friendly, enthusiastic attitude that’ll encourage everyone to visit you and get to know more about you — and your business — one-on-one.

 

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

 

5 Small Business Podcasts For Growth That We Can’t Stop Listening To

Let me set the scene for you.

My business partner and I stood with beer-in-hand, kicking new ideas (and a little PandaDoc stress ball we got at a conference) back-and-forth across the room trying to come up with a better way to build a network of solid promotional partners.

This was about 60-days ago as I write this, and man were we stressed.

“We’re having tons of success with the few channel partners we can get in front of, but it’s so hard to turn our initial conversations into actual promotion.”

We needed a better way to get a foot in the door and create some momentum.

About an hour in with no progress, and my business partner looks up and says matter-of-factly, “well, I guess we’re just going to have to start a podcast.”

After a quick chuckle (there was beer involved), we decided that actually wasn’t such a bad idea.

Fast-forward two months and it could be the best decision we’ve ever made. We’re 10 episodes in with at least 5 new promotional partners in the fitness and wellness industries that we never would’ve locked up without starting the process by dropping a simple line like, “hey, we should really get you guys on the podcast, our audience would love it!”

Since then I’ve gained a whole new respect for this medium, and wanted to share the top 5 business podcasts on growth that you should be listening to in your car, while you’re eating, or while you exercise (2 with a little health and fitness bend - hey, that is my focus).

1 Simple Thing with Dave Kirby

iTunes | Stitcher

Dave Kirby may not be some Silicon Valley legend or a career CEO, but he does an incredible job with this podcast, highlighting potential pitfalls, blending in personal anecdotes, and contextualizing exactly what you need to be thinking about as a small business owner in an amazingly relatable way.

I also like the length - 15-20 minute episodes - and the fact that Dave does a great job hitting a specific topic with each guest making it extremely easy to reflect on what was said after listening.

Basically, it’s the perfect podcast for all of you small business owners out there.

Marketing School with Neil Patel and Eric Sui

iTunes | Stitcher

Unlike Dave from 1 Simple Thing, Neil Patel is about as famous as a marketer can be, and Eric Sui is no slouch either. So for a marketing podcast, these are some serious heavy hitters. However, much like Dave’s show, Neil and Eric focus on one, super-specific marketing solution in each episode in a way that makes it feel like you’re actually learning a lot given the hyper-speed 6-10 minute episode length.

It all makes this podcast perfect for anyone who needs to learn more tactics to improve their marketing results … so probably everyone.

The GaryVee Audio Experience with Gary Vaynerchuk

iTunes | Stitcher

Gary Vaynerchuk is loud, intense as hell, and probably takes some getting used to for slow-talking southerners like myself. With that said, he ain’t wrong. The dude is a go-getter through-and-through and when you listen to one of his rants, you’ll find you have a tendency to become a go-getter too.

This podcast is ideal for any business owner who could use a quick, honest kick in the butt to get in gear on that next campaign to grow their business.

Evolution of Medicine Podcast with James Maskell

iTunes | Stitcher

This podcast with James Maskell and Gabe Hoffman, the creators of the Functional Forum is an incredible business growth show masquerading as a niche medical podcast. I’m not saying it isn’t niche - don’t bother if you aren’t into new innovations in medicine, wellness or fitness - but James comes from a practice management background and the backdrop of every episode is how these innovations can help you run a more profitable practice or business.

Spending 30 minutes to an hour with James, Gabe and their guests is the perfect prescription for any wellness business or medical practice owner, looking for new ways to unlock more revenue.

Scale Well Podcast with Phil Beene and Mac Gambill

iTunes | Stitcher

Remember the story I opened with? It’s time to bring it full-circle.

That after-hours idea session on a cold December night turned into the Scale Well Podcast where my business partner at Nudge Coach, Mac Gambill, and I chat with entrepreneurs and thought leaders about how simple technology tools and platforms are enabling more scalable business models.

The list of people we’ve been able to book in our first 10 episodes has honestly been nuts, including a great chat with Zach Olsen, the CEO of Bookly which you can watch in video form here.

This podcast is perfect for any fitness or wellness entrepreneurs and business owners out there, but the episode with Zach is a great listen for any small business owner.

Hope you enjoy these 5 podcasts as much as I have!

---

Phil Beene is Co-founder and President of Nudge Coach, a software company that gives gyms and wellness businesses a whole new way to support and engage members through a custom-branded mobile app. He also co-hosts the Scale Well Podcast with Nudge Coach Co-founder and CEO Mac Gambill. You can learn more about Nudge Coach at http://nudgecoach.com.

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

5 Simple Ways to Drive Targeted Traffic To Your Website

drive targeted traffic to your website

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

In business, nothing happens until there is a sale. With online marketing? Nothing happens until you deliver targeted traffic to your site.

You may be in the "right" niche and have a highly desirable product, but if you're not driving good, targeted traffic, it's as though your business does not exist. Even if you have only 10 visitors to your site per day, you can be successful if they are ready and willing to buy. This is better than 500 visitors who land on your site and immediately click away because they have no interest in what you are selling.

1. Set Numerical Marketing Goals

Marketing Calendar

To find targeted traffic, the first step is to create a solid plan to drive visitors. You also need to set concrete goals, such as driving 1,000 visitors in 30 days. Once you reach your goals, you will gain confidence and momentum will begin to take over. The more traffic your site gets, the easier it will be to rank higher in the search engines, which will drive even more targeted visitors to your site organically. 

2. Learn the Truth About Your Prospects

websites traffic

To get these targeted visitors, think about who your ideal customer is, and then direct all of your marketing toward finding that customer. Remember that you're not trying to appeal to a lot of people, just to those most likely to be anxious and willing to buy from you.

How much does this person make per year? What are his or her problems and what kind of solutions are you offering? How old is he or she? Will your product appeal to both genders equally? What interests does he or she have?

When you are able to answer all of these questions, you will be working smarter, not harder. That's because (if you create a proper keyword strategy) the 1,000 targeted visitors who find you through search, are not the same as those who just happen to stumble upon your site.

3. A/B Testing

A/B testing

Testing is important, so you should try as many different sources of traffic as possible and keep track of your results. Repeat what's successful and discard what's not.

The best traffic is organic evergreen traffic that finds you through relevant search keywords.

Look to get web traffic from other sources that will give you an excellent return on your investment. Many of the paid traffic methods, including social media, will deliver many targeted visitors that you can make a great deal more money than you would by spending on advertising.

Keep in mind that you don't just want to attract random traffic to your website. You want to bring highly targeted, ready-to-buy customers to your site. When you learn how to do that, you will have a successful business. That's where Facebook comes in.

4. Leverage Facebook Ad Manager

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Facebook arguably has the most detailed ad targeted platform. If you can think of a demographic, it probably exists. You can dial it down to religion, race, sex, interests, class, and even the websites users have visited.

A little creepy? Maybe. Effective? Definitely. 

Use Google Analytics to find out more about your audience and try to double down on those who seem to be most interested in your products/content.

Don't forget to A/B test for potential clients who might not be visiting your site. There could be a surprise demographic out there who you just haven't tried targeting yet.

5. Maintain The RElationship

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Not everyone is ready to make a purchase when they visit your site, but that doesn't mean they won't do so later. Maybe they just need more time to research or for a paycheck to come through. Whatever the case, you've got to keep reminding these targeted visitors about who you are, and why they visited your site in the first place!

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads, target visitors to your site after they leave. Have you ever looked at a product on Amazon and then seen that very product pop up later as your browsing the web? That's not coincidence, that's retargeting!

Using tools such as AdRoll will help you target the people who have visited your site. Those who have visited your site are often easier to convert, as they already know a bit about your product and have shown interest.

Drip Campaigns

Another way you can keep reminding visitors of your value is through drip campaigns. When someone visits your site, you'll want to offer a value add that entices them to give you their information so you can contact them once again. 

Examples of Value Adds:

  • Get a copy of our E-Book "How to XYZ"
  • Get 20% off your first purchase 
  • Sign up for our monthly digest to stay up to date each month's best blog posts

Of course, before you offer these things, you need to create a way to capture these targeted traffic leads. One way is by using SumoMe, a tool we've lauded before for being simple to use and giving marketers lots of customizable options.

Once you have these emails, create an email drip campaign that starts with value driven content, and progressively makes a harder sale. 

For Example:

Email 1: Welcome

Email 2: An Informative Blog Post 

Email 3: A Case Study

Email 4: Buy Now

Email 5: Last Chance, Take 10% off Today!

Why Content Curation Should Never be the Star of a Marketing Strategy

content curation marketing

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

Content curation is powerful. It increases visibility and user interaction, two things many businesses will never get tired of. Unfortunately, it can never form the heart of a successful marketing strategy. Here are a few reasons you should only use it as a supplement:

1. It Changes How You're Perceived

Reddit is a big site, it's a famous site, and it gets billions of hits daily, but it is not an authority. It's crowd-sourced and crowd-managed content curation. You can find a lot of interesting things there, but the authority is lacking. The value of content curation is in sifting through the Internet to find the most interesting and relevant items, and that's the value people will see in you. You become an aggregate feed, not an authority.

2. You Lose Your Voice

Content curation is great for your content creators, as it gives them time off or lightens the load. Unfortunately, content curation also dilutes the strength and clarity of your message and voice. You may agree with what you just shared, but that's not your voice, and the rest of their work may contain messages that do not align with your branding.

Think about the kind of messages you see from friends on Facebook. If they share enough messages from a specific political party, you might start thinking that they're in that party, even if they aren't. You can curb this by adding your own commentary, but it's like the tide, and you can't stop it from eventually coloring your brand.

3. Everyone's Doing It

Reddit, LinkedIn, Upworthy -- everyone's in the content curation game in one form or another. Curating content doesn't make you special. At best, it can get you some extra attention. While every little bit helps, it won't be enough to get you a real market advantage.

4. You Build Other People's Authority More Than Yours

One of the best practices in content curation is creating a pool of reliable content creators that you can regularly pull from. Pull from that pool often enough and you start building their authority, not yours. Think about why you're sharing their posts instead of making your own. More often than not, it's because what they did is better or more insightful than what you believe you would've come up with. Ultimately, what gets shared is what gets the attention, not who does the sharing. 

Content curation isn't inherently bad. In fact, it's one of the best tools you can have in your marketing kit, but that's all it is, a tool. By no means, should it consist of the majority of your campaign. It can supplement and enhance the content you create, but it shouldn't be the star. Keep content curation as part of an ensemble marketing cast and you'll do well.

Ten Proven Ways to Increase Your Email Open Rates

ways to increase email open rates

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

Most marketers know the importance of building an email list, but many still struggle to boost response rates. Fortunately, with email marketing, you're in control. By using a few simple strategies, you can dramatically increase your email open rates.

Email marketing still has one of the highest engagement rates. For ecommerce and marketing emails, open rates tend to be around 20 percent. If your open rates are below this average, here are some smart ways to get more people opening and reading your emails.

1. Be Upfront from the Outset

Let people know from the outset what they can expect from your emails. Tell people they'll be receiving valuable information as well as promotional emails. This means that your readers won't be scared off if you start promoting a product or service. You've been honest from the beginning, and that counts for something when it comes to consumer trust.

2. Refine the Sign-Up Process

Part of being upfront is to attract the right people in the first place. When you're getting people to sign up to your list, offer incentives that are only relevant to your ideal customer. Being more selective in the initial stages will help to boost future open rates. This can be strengthened by using a double opt-in to ensure you get higher quality subscribers.

3. Spend More Time Crafting Subject Lines

You've probably heard this before, but you can't underestimate the power of enticing subject lines. Too many companies use weak subject lines, which can ruin engagement rates. Subject lines are the first thing people see in their crowded inboxes, so you need to stand out. Avoid boring and spammy-sounding headlines. Instead, use words that tap into people's emotions. A few tips:

.   Be honest. Don't promise what you can't deliver.

.   Using numbers in subject lines has been shown to boost open rates.

.   Keep the important words at the beginning, or they might get cut off.

.   Increase curiosity by hinting at the benefits of reading the content.

4. Write Strong First Sentences

Some email programs show the first sentence in the inbox, so make sure it's engaging. Readers will not only look at the subject line but will also judge the first few words of your email to decide whether it's worth opening or not. Getting people to read and engage with your content will increase your open rate going forward.

5. Send from a Person, Not a Company

The "from' section of your email can make a big difference to open rates. Many people automatically ignore company emails, thinking it's just advertising. Using the name of an individual at your firm instantly humanizes your email, making it more likely to be opened.

6. Address the Individual Person

Subject lines containing the subscriber's first name perform better than those without. A study by the Aberdeen Group showed that personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14 percent, and conversion rates by 10 percent. Also, write the email message as if you were addressing one person, not an anonymous group. It instantly becomes more engaging and strengthens the bond between you and your reader.

7. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

It sounds obvious, but many companies send out too many emails, focusing on quantity rather than quality. It's better to deliver one great email every two weeks, rather than four average ones. In every email, try to offer something of value. Make people look forward to each email by offering practical, actionable tips, or exclusive deals for subscribers.

8. Be Consistent

Email campaigns with a consistent design and feel help put people at ease. Use the same colors and fonts, and write with a consistent voice. The time of delivery is also important. People will begin to look forward to your emails if you deliver them at the same time of the week or month. However...

9. Test Delivery Times

Emailing at the wrong time of day or week can harm open rates. Research industry-appropriate statistics and check your email analytics to discover when your audience responds more positively to emails. Then test different delivery times. Which emails have higher open rates: those sent on Tuesday afternoon, or those sent on Saturday morning?

10. Keep It Mobile-Friendly

Today, most people check emails on their mobile phone. According to HubSpot, around 80 percent of mobile users read emails on their mobile, so make sure your messages are easy to read and scan on mobile devices. One badly formatted message could turn a potential client off from opening your emails down the line. Want to increase email open rates? Be mobile friendly.

Email Marketing Takeaways

Email marketing can be difficult to get right, but it's still one of the most effective ways to engage potential customers and build your brand. Use some of these techniques in your future email campaigns, and you can stand out from the competition, increase your email open rates, and build a more loyal list of subscribers. Just remember to always keep testing and monitoring the results.

 

6 Great Email Marketing Strategies Guaranteed to Put Your Brand on the Map

Great Email Marketing

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

Email marketing provides businesses with a direct avenue to communicate with their fans and followers. Email is a part of people's everyday lives. This makes it one of the easiest ways to reach your fans. It thrives because of its universal and familiar nature. With that said, here are six great email marketing strategies that are guaranteed to help grow your brand.

1.Harness the power of transactional emails

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Never underestimate the power of transactional emails. Transactional emails are often plain text files that are sent after a visitor performs an action on your website, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. The thing is, transactional emails don't have to be so plain. You can customize a transactional email as much as you want. Link them back to your site or link them on social media, show them special offers, or just give them a simple, personal thank you. Make your transactional emails stand out as much as your regular emails.

2.Personalize emails without using your followers' names

Email marketing 101 dictates that your messages should not read like bank statements. They should be personal and sincere. You want your followers to open your emails because they recognize you as a human being, and not as a corporation. But at the same time, don't make your emails too personal by using the recipient's name in the heading. Coming off as too personal can actually turn people off from opening your email. Email headings that use people's real names can also look like spam. Instead, personalize the emails you send based on a customer's preferences or search and purchase history.

3.Create emails that are triggered by events

ontraport

You don't only have to email your subscribers when you have something new to promote. Give yourself more reasons to reach out to your subscribers. Emails that are triggered by things like birthdays or sign-up anniversaries are one way to go. Use these emails to thank or congratulate your subscribers. Emails like these can help you build rapport with your customers and is one way of showing them that you care about their support. Make sure stay appraised of the abundant suite of marketing automation tools available on the market.

4.Send emails at around 8:00 pm to midnight

best way to email market

Email allows you to worm your way into people's daily schedules. But the best email marketing campaigns aren't sent in the early morning. They're sent at night. Emails sent at 8:00 pm to midnight have the best chance of being opened. This may have something to do with the fact that your readers are winding down in the evening and are much more likely to make purchases or interact with your brand at around that time. It is still however a good idea to perform tests, to really find out the best times to send emails based on your brand and niche.

Keep it simple and neat

 Image via  popramennews.com

The cleaner your email looks, the more likely it will leave an impression on your readers. Emails should be neat to look at and your readers should have no problem finding what they need at a glance. Include a brief initial description to hook them in. Then add a clear call to action that is easy to perform. And lastly include links to your website and social media. Keep your design and formatting consistent across multiple emails.

Avoid long subject lines

Creating great email marketing subject lines is a tricky thing. You don't want them to be too long, but if they're too short you may not be able to capture your reader's attention. Finding the right length for your subject lines can be tricky. The general rule however is that subject lines above 70 characters provide the best click-through rates, while shorter ones have higher open rates. Now it's a question on whether you want to boost interaction through an improved click-through rate, or if you simply want to improve brand awareness by increasing open rates.

Email marketing is a highly competitive landscape, but that is mainly because of how effective it is. Practice these strategies and your email marketing campaign should have no problem generating interest in your brand.