Whenever I’m trying to gain some recognition for a young business, I put someone on my marketing team in charge of finding some low cost opportunities to promote the business online. That person performs a deep dive into our content niche and sources opportunities to find backlinks, get mentions on other pages, build connections with others in the industry, etc. It’s a time consuming effort, but in the long run it’s so worthwhile.
Take a simple backlink for example. In this graph, check out those two spikes. That’s from when we had new backlinks live from good authority sites. Even though our traffic dropped back down, consistent links and mentions over a long period of time will build up our own recognition in the industry, reputation in the niche, and our website’s authority.
A lot of the time, backlinks and mentions aren’t free. Leaders in the industry and high authority website owners are savvy to their power, so they’ll often charge a fee for that outbound link. This can range anywhere from $50 to $1000+ depending on the site. It depends on things like their traffic, the page that the link is going on, if you’re asking for an image or other content to accompany that link, etc. Sometimes you can get lucky, or you have a buddy with a high authority site that owes you a favor, but, more often than not, this is one more thing that you’ve gotta work into your marketing budget. (P.S. Don’t spend $1000 on a backlink.)
And then we tried something new.
Nowadays, it seems like every guy and his cousin run a podcast out of their garage. (“Hey, we are geniuses about Bill Murray movies and classic rock history—let’s start an Americana Movie & Music podcast!”) An April 2018 news article from Fast Company states that there are currently “over 525,000 active shows, with more than 18.5 million episodes available, including content in over 100 languages.” In the world of business, digital media, and marketing, there are literally thousands upon thousands of podcasts available. Plus, most of those include interviews with leaders in the field. So, with this in mind, my brain started spinning some ideas:
I had to test it. So I took to UpWork (my favorite place to find freelancers) and posted a couple of jobs. This was an initial trial, so we wanted to cover all the bases; we needed someone with some podcasting experience, maybe some PR experience, and digital media connections. Here’s the strategy: Offer this ideal person $50 for whatever podcast they can get us booked on. For someone who’s in a network of podcasters, it’s easy money.
After a couple of hours, there was radio silence (pun intended). 24 hours went by–still crickets. So I started actively searching on UpWork for freelancers who fit the description. I just searched for terms like “podcasting”, “podcaster”, “PR”, etc. A ton of people with good looking experience showed up right away. I invited them all to the job, and within about a day I had a few people working away! I asked them to look for podcasts that were specific to our field (in this case, ‘digital marketing’, ‘entrepreneurs’, and ‘start ups’, etc.).
The person doing this outreach usually has a tracking system, like this spreadsheet, where they can keep a record of everything. It’s a good way to make sure they’re following up with opportunities, getting things booked on schedule, and take notes of any new ideas.
Two months later, we’ve recorded FOUR podcasts! There are a few of these ‘podcast specialists’ working for us, actively seeking new shows for us to record on, and they’re happy to get $50 per booking. It’s perfect for us, because they do all the time consuming work, then we get our company name out there at a low cost, with in depth interviews about our company’s origin story. We also get to add a new podcast appearance to our media kit, which looks great. Plus, we get a backlink from the podcaster’s website. All this for $50 each.
This podcast hack has gotta be one of my favorites. If you give it a shot, leave me a comment about your experience!
As your business grows and your team expands, there could be a lot of passwords that need to be shared across team members. But what happens if you fire one of your team members? How do you know what passwords to change and how it will possibly affect your business?
Over the last year, I have thought about this dilemma and have tightened my teams security levels across all business’ and have worked hard to put in place systems so that if one member leaves, it can easily be mitigated and the impact to myself and the businesses are minimal. There are a lot of moving points in my businesses but password protection is something that can be fixed with the proper hand holding the start. The solution; password management system.
Don’t get me wrong, this process took a bit to get into place and took a while to get all team members on board and using it correctly. But at the end of it all, our security when it comes to passwords is stronger than it ever has been and the ability to deal with people leaving has become a lot easier and less worrisome.
Before when someone left, we would have to change all passwords ever shared with them, then we would have to send the new passwords out to team members. Now with a password management system, we just upload the new password in one spot and those that we have allowed to use that tool will have the updated password there for them the next time they need it. No need to send passwords over emails!
Below I have listed 3 of the top password management systems you could use to implement into your systems.
LastPass is a great password management tool to use. It works with a variety of different browsers and is also available on iPhone, Android and Google devices, which is convenient if you are not at your computer. LastPass upon signing up makes you and your team members set up a your master password, this will be the only password anyone on the team will need to remember and this is set by the individuals so no two team members will have the same master password. Upon signing into their account with their master password, they will also need to set up two-factor authentication. This will provide even further protection because if someone can guess your password, they would need the two-factor authentication code in order to enter your account.
With LastPass, you will have a central control system where you will be able to setup, manage and edit different teams and team members. You can only share specific passwords with them members that need it.
The passwords are all encrypted with AES-256 bit with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes to ensure complete security in the cloud. This means even people at LastPass will never be able to access any of your passwords, keeping it safe. The two things about LastPass that are unique and very helpful is it seems to have the best activity audit and can have people use the password without actually being able to see it.
Here is the pricing for LastPass:
1Password is quite similar to LastPass in terms of features and usability. 1Password doesn’t have a Two-Factor Authentication factor available, however upon your team members setting up their account, they will be provided with a 128-bit identifier which will be their secret key. And since it never gets sent to you or your teammates, your secret key can’t be reset, intercepted, or evaded, unlike two-factor authentication. Another differences is with 1Password, it allows you to delegate responsibilities to your business leads so they can manage their own teams with custom groups and vaults. Again, just like LastPass, it works on all types of browsers through an extension or computer app, as well as it being available for most phones through the app store and is accessed by the team members independent master password. 1Password major difference is it is a more user friendly and slightly less expensive when compared to LastPass.
Here is their pricing:
TeamPassword is also available on all different types of internet browsers and mobile devices just like LastPass and 1Password. Like, LastPass, Google Two-Factor Authentication is required in order to access your account after you input your master password. Get email notifications whenever someone adds or removes any team member, you can also use this to get notified whenever new passwords are added. You can also view an activity log of all passwords which, allows you to see when passwords were used and by whom. TeamPassword also uses AES-256 bit encryption which is the top of the line encryption for passwords when storing them in the cloud.
Here is their pricing:
As with any new system, it takes some getting use to and takes a little hand holding to get setup. But once setup, sharing passwords with team members and revoking passwords has never been simpler.
If you have used any of these which ones your go to? If there is another one I should add, please let me know!
Are you trying to find ways to increase your organic traffic and Google Rankings? Have you ever tried to do this with Infographics? If not- you should definitely give it a try! We use this strategy a lot on our own websites and it works!
Infographics are a really great way to build solid links for any of your websites. Infographics take a slightly different approach to SEO and are solely focused on amazing content and really nice graphics and design. We like to try and make infographics as useful as possible so that other websites will want to link to your site in return.
Like most projects, the initial planning and research phase for infographics creation is going to be the most important part of the process. The first thing you’re going to want to do is get to know your website and the niche it’s in. Figure out exactly what TOPICS are related to your niche, and what kind of information is going to be VALUABLE to your audience.
Make a LIST- This is is going to include a focus topics but also topics that are loosely associated with your niche. This is going to ensure that you can come up with different infographic ideas that might draw from different/closely related audiences.
Go through your list and do some internet research to figure out what people like, link to, and share. The best methods to do this are the following:
1- Check out Pinterest:
Pinterest is going to be an amazing resource since they are so visually inclined. Search your Topic+ infographic and see what comes up. Then check how many shares it gets and look at who is sharing and linking to them
2- Google Images search is always a good option and you’ll be able to figure out pretty easily who is linking and sharing these as well
3- Another great resource is Buzzsumo– which is an amazing online tool that will help you figure out what content is getting a lot of traction by topic or website. You can sort by all sorts of metrics including social shares which is of huge value
Get creative! Your titles are the biggest piece of marketing that you’re going to do so this is going to need to be eye-catching to the reader. Some examples
The general rule of thumb for article titles are that they shouldn’t be longer than 150 words. They should be attention grabbers and pose some sort of question o r fun fact or statement.
If you don’t have a writer already, use this SOP that we use internally to hire a writer
Please see the Step by Step guide on how to hire and assess writers via Upwork
Step 1. Log in to your upwork account
Step 2. Go to the Jobs tab and click on “post a job”
Step 3: Select “part time”
Step 4: Then- describe the job with the requirements for how to write your infographic – The infographic title should suffice.
Step 5: Select “ Pay a fixed price” and make your budget $10. You should be able to get a really good quality infographic for $10.
Step 6: Generally with our screening questions, we ask them to fix a sentence that is grammatically incorrect so that you can just skip over their profile and application if they answer badly.
Step 7: Click “ post job”. Don’t worry about cover letter
Yay! You’ve posted your job!
Step 1: Wait 12 hours and check your job posting, you should have a few freelancers on the list at this point when you check your job posting
Step 2: Click “Review proposals” and you will get to a list of those who have applied
Step 3: Things we look for
Step 4: If you find one you like and meets the metrics, click “ hire freelancer”
Once you get the Copy created for your infographic, you’re going to want to think about the DESIGN work for it. Now this is probably the part that is the most fun because you get to work with some pretty creative people. This is the Job posting we put on upwork for this.
We’re looking for an infographic designer to make great looking charts, graphs, and other infographics to go along with informative blog articles.
Ideal applicant must be:
– experienced and skilled in graphic design (please provide examples)
– experienced with Canva or another infographic creation program
– experienced with Photoshop
– available to work 15-20 hours per week
$10-$15 per infographic.
Applicant must be willing to perform a test assignment.
Now all you have to do is provide them with the COPY and let their creative side take over. I’ve always been happy with the different iterations I’ve received and designers are usually really great and taking your feedback.
What I usually like to do it make sure that I have a blog post or article that can support my infographic. Here is a list of tips about publishing:
1- Posting an infographic should happen at the beginning of the week ( on a Monday or Tuesday) A typical infographic life cycle is about 1 business week
2- If you’re doing an outreach effort with a vendor, make sure that you coordinate with them properly
3- To get more traction to your infographic, it can be worth buying paid traffic from sites like Reddit or StumbleUpon etc.. to get more social shares and links
4- Make sure that each infographic has Social Share Icons to make it easy for people to share. It will also help you measure what platforms are working best for you. For WordPress- use ShareBar which is a plugin that will give you advanced sharing options.
If you have any other tips with regards to the use of Infographics- feel free to share in the comments!
In January of 2017, I took over a site that was on a decline. Most of the time people run away from sites that have a downwards trend because they believe the site is a goner. More times than none, the site is just lacking quality, consistent links as well as good content. This article will go in detail on the “Dead Cat Strategy” and how you could turn your site around.
I was like most other people when it came to buying sites that looked like these. I was very hesitant and in most cases refused to buy, or put too low of a price tag for the seller to sell. This site fell into my lap and so I decided to do some digging and find a system the could help turn the site around. What usually happens when sites start to do a decline is owners build it up, set up the monetization and then leave it for a while, only to go back and look to see it plummeting in the rankings.
When I bought the site, I wanted to do small tests to see if there was any possibility of turning the site around before I put more of an investment into it. At the time of buying it, the site was only ranking for 461 keywords and according to SEMRush, only had 3 as its traffic. So, I went through the rankings and picked out the landing pages for some keywords that the site was already ranking well for (10-40 ranking).FREE Upgrade Content Template
I then asked my team to go to those landing pages and check out the content and run it through MarketMuse. Through MarketMuse I ran each article to see how they compared to other articles going after the same keyword. I found a lot of the content was very thin, and needed more words added to it. Once I did this within a few weeks I was able to see a few good bumps in the rankings. If you haven’t read my guide on how to do content upgrades, you can view that tutorial here.
After we saw the rankings increasing, I knew this site wasn’t a goner and just needed a bit hand holding to get it back on track. My team then did a bunch of keyword research and competitor analysis to find other keywords that my team could go after. Once this was completed, we put a good solid 10 additional articles on the site and have been rolling out 4-5 articles per month since then.
In conjunction to the articles being published on the site, I also had my team creating Done For You PBN sites as well as getting Use My PBN links pointed to keywords that were seeing a good increase in the rankings. After a few months (June 2017), we were seeing some great increase in both rankings and traffic.
After seeing the great results for this site, I bumped up the article creation to twice a week so 8 articles per month. I also continued to get the PBN links pointed to the articles but on top of that, I also did some genuine outreach and got a few good backlinks from other quality sites. Over the next 6 months, we continued with the links and the articles and almost tripled in traffic.
Overall, the site that I thought was doomed, has turned out to be a great test. Within 1 year, the site went from having traffic of 3 to over 20,000 as well as only ranking for 461 keywords to well over 6,000 keywords, a lot, which are in the top 1-3 position.
Now when I come across sites that are for sale that have a downwards trend I look at it more as an opportunity as in more times than none, the sites just been left alone for too long. There are still going to be the sites that are banned, deindexed or have spammy backlinks so make sure you check all of those before you buy but if everything looks clean, it may make a great investment.
Note – buying a site on a decline often stays on a decline so definitely a risk that needs to be sufficiently priced in if you are looking to buy. Sometimes I call this my “dead cat” strategy… if you can buy a site for cheap enough… kick it and see if it moves and if it moves give it some TLC… if it doesn’t move you can put it in the dumpster.
Businesses today need to have a strong digital footprint alongside their bricks and mortar presence. Today’s savvy and upcoming entrepreneurs know that they need to do more with less and not sacrifice their reach or influence on their customers. It’s so important to connect with their audience in a highly personalized way, but also stay on budget doing it. A smart and focused email marketing plan can do just this – connect you with your prospects and customers in a highly targeted way that will be successful in delivering a high ROI and increase revenues that can be invested back into the business. Currently, Email has the largest reach, more than another other digital communication application and is the best way to monetize a digital marketing strategy.
Reported by The Radicati Group, a research firm who recently released statistics on email, “More than 34% of the people worldwide use email.” That’s an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide, with projections estimating it to increase to 2.8 billion email users by 2020. Out of all those emails, around 196 billion emails the majority, a massive 109 billion, are business emails. Those numbers are mind-boggling and blatantly stress that Email is the main channel where businesses can grow their reach and potential the fastest. To make it simple and clear; Email Marketing is a powerful strategy to inform and connect with the masses. Almost everyone has email and based on that premise we can help you use an Email Marketing strategy to effectively reach your target audience, clients, and customers- and win over new ones.
Email is the main currency of the digital world, and any person who us active online is highly likely to have an active email address. That’s exactly why when you decide to reach out to your market, there’s no better channel with a greater reach than email. Just look at the numbers since there are three times more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook profiles combined.
Almost 90% of email will find its way to the intended recipient’s inbox, when you look at social media marketing the number is only 2% for Facebook users to notice your posts in their News Feed. Facebook has an algorithm that restricts the number of times your posts can appear in the News Feed, and they naturally do to drive traffic instead to competitor brands that has paid for advertising spots. That means the cards are stacked against you to find organic leads.
The whole point is to get your message read and noticed, if you break these stats down into real numbers the difference is striking. Your post on Facebook, if shared with 10,000 users, an estimated 200 of them would ever get it in their News Feed. On the other hand, using an effective email campaign sent to 10,000 subscribers mean almost 9,000 of them would get it directly in their inbox. That’s almost 50 times more looks than using Facebook.
The Email inbox is a person’s front door to their virtual world, and if campaigns are sent to the right subscribers, with the right message, targeted to the people who appreciate the information and service they would be getting, means your business will grow because Email drives conversions. This can be in the form of leads, sales, memberships, or a metric that specific to your business strategy. The ultimate goal for us is to help you turn potential customers into paying customers.
Have you stalled on starting your own email marketing because you just don’t really know how to do it? Check out our simplified guide below and feel free to reach out if you want to talk strategy!
Do an initial audit of what you already have in place for email marketing on your website. You will either need to create or update sleek opt-in forms and overlays to your site, where visitors can sign up. Hack: you can incentivize this by offering giveaways or free guides or resources, etc., based on your business. It’s an important function to upgrade whether with a slider or header or pop up, so you can grow your list and expand your reach.
Consolidate, import and clean your list by using software that allows you to analyze how active your list is and remove the emails that are either dead, defunct, incorrect to streamline your email list. We use Xverify for this! Make sure you’re signed up to reputable Email Service Provider. A few reputable ESP’s that we recommend are Klaviyo , Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign and can help you get set up quickly. We would recommend segmenting your list so you can get the maximum out of the subscriber list you already have.
Create core templates that you would use for your emails, and create them based on the type of email you’d want to send, whether that’s a newsletter, announcement, marketing offer or event invitation. You will need to figure out which templates would work best for your business and then create them matching the exact style and feel of your site and branding. You’ll generally be able to do this right from your ESP- OR you can use 3rd party tools like we do, such as Litmus.
Structure and create your first campaign. You can do this based on a special offer or announcement or welcoming email to your subscribers. Whatever strategy you use, it will need to be relevant to those on your list. Hack: Sometimes it’s best to create two different campaigns to two differently segmented lists to better target that audience. You really need to ensure that your campaigns are on brand and build trust with your list, to encourage interaction and business, making it easier to convert.
Imagine the customer journey being fully automated 24/7 so you don’t have to worry about it? Similar to the campaign emails which are custom and made to suit each campaign, you would need to set up your automated emails for welcoming new subscribers, or for managing the purchasing flow (Cart abandonment emails, browse abandonment, transactional emails, reminder emails etc.,). Automation has several series such as; Welcome series for prospects, Post-purchase and Win-Back which all work to help keep your list interactive. You can read more about the different types of automated emails you can use here.
Time to measure your results. For this, you need to understand the basic metrics that allow you to see how your flows and campaigns are working, how successful they are and how much revenue this channel is bringing your business. Based on these numbers you’ll be equipped to make adjustments on future campaigns and further segment your list, based on behavior, to fully maximize conversion on your interactions. Hack: Things you’ll really need to pay attention to is number of unique opens, number of bounces, number of emails not opened, overall open rate, CTR or Click-Through Rate, the unsubscribe rate, spam complaints, and social media shares. All this information will help you better understand your list and it’s activity and will let you plan and execute better for the next campaign.
Create a monthly calendar of campaigns in advance and carefully strategize and plan your emails, based on frequency and receptivity of your list, and also around holidays or events that are relevant to your business. This monthly email marketing campaign calendar should be ready 2 weeks in advance so that you can eventually start predicting the possible revenue you will make from your various channels.
You’re done! Aside from having to think about different strategies, the heavy lifting is done. Strategy can be the hardest part, so if you’re stuck on that- give our email marketing expert a call and see how we can help.
As you might have already heard, Content Refined is launching its very own Email Marketing Service and is looking for some additional Beta Testing clients at this time to help test our systems before we make this a public offering ( ideally 3-7 new beta clients). We’ll help you get set up, so whether that’s starting from scratch or consolidating what you already have, we’ll make sure you have the basics like a reputable email service provider, a solid opt-in and opt-out process and see if your current set up is CAN-SPAM compliant. We will look at your current metrics and establish your goals and document what you want and can expect from this channel at reporting intervals of 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
Email has no competitors when it comes to driving conversions, especially for e-commerce. Think of any successful business or your own inbox. How many emails do you get weekly from your favorite store or service, and how many times do you take advantage of a deal offered exclusively online? It’s exactly why email is the most effective marketing channel to drive ROI. From our experience, Email marketing can bring an average 3,700% return on investment for e-commerce businesses. That means for every dollar you spend on email marketing, the average return on your investment can be $38. What other channel offers that? Email marketing is the most cost-effective channel for businesses to market their goods and services, outperforming other channels so greatly when it comes to ROI because it gives you the ability to deliver highly personalized and relevant messages and timely incentives.
Since email is the preferred communication channel for the majority of online consumers, it’s the best medium to target instead of social networks which are just that, a more personal form of communication that most use to stay in touch with family and friends. When it comes to business, email is the number one channel for communicating your offerings and since it will probably be around a long time, it’s imperative that you start building an email list, that will become a stable long-term investment and resource that will pay off for decades to come.
When it comes to conversions, there isn’t a more powerful channel than email. Even functioning at its most average a campaign would have a click-through rate of around 3% (of total recipients), so imagine what we could do with a targeted campaign and segmented list made especially for you? Take the time to get a free quote from us and let us show you what you can do for your business with a streamlined and effective email marketing strategy. Increasing revenues from email doesn’t have to be complicated anymore.
So don’t wait any other and monetize your subscriber list, and take advantage of a revenue channel that’s at your digital front door. Find out why email marketing is a crucial part of your small business digital marketing strategy, and let us help you get started. Learn more about our Email Marketing Service here!