In this post, I am going try to answer the question of are PBNs safe and do they still work?
There is no black and white answer but by trying to look at this from a few different angles and my years of history building and buying and selling websites I hope to be able to provide a deeper understanding for you to make your own informed decision.
The decision ultimately around the risk vs reward will be unique to your situation.
Are PBNs Safe?
There is no form of rank manipulation that is risk-free, even supposed white hat strategies of outreach / guest posting comes with risk. The short answer is PBNs are still effective and being used by many. However, once site builders are established and have very long term time horizons and sites of significant size many move away from using PBNs.
This post is going to cover…
What is a PBN?
How do we define risk?
Examples of when people use or don’t use PBNs
Look at the data on who uses PBNs
History of Google updates that impacted PBNs
What is a PBN or Private Blog Network?
A PBN is an SEO tactic where you purchase a group of domains, typically recently expired domains with quality backlinks to them, and then build a relevant site linking back to your money site. This shows Google that high authority sites in your niche backlink to your site and backlinks are still the #1 ranking factor in Google or another search engine.
How do we define Risk?
Risk is the probability of a negative event occurring and the consequence of that event. So in the context of are PBNs risky the question becomes…
Probability – What is the probability that the use of PBNs will cause a penalty?
Consequence – What is the consequence of that penalty?
When to Use and Not Use a Private Blog Network Examples
Let’s go through a few examples first before we dig into the data.
Example 1 – Purchased Large Clean Site
Imagine if you just purchased a large website that has never done any link building (white hat or otherwise) and you now need to decide should you build a PBN or buy PBN links or do nothing?
In this case and using the formula above your current probability of getting penalized by Google for the use of PBN backlinks is near zero and the consequence is very high.
Therefore, it would not make sense to increase the probability of a penalty by building PBN links.
Example 2 – Purchased Medium-Sized Site Already Using PBNs
In the case where the site already has PBN links. You are currently living with the potential of a penalty and therefore building additional PBN links (if they are built properly) does not increase the probability/risk in a significant way.
Therefore, adding additional PBN links to your site would not significantly change your risk while helping you rank.
Example 3 – Starting a New Site
This becomes a very personal decision for you based on your timeline, aggressiveness and overall appetite for risk. As shown below when we look at do PBNs work it is clear PBN links are still effective in 2020, however, are you wanting to optimize for short term success or long term success.
Therefore, it depends on your personal risk profile.
What Has Changed With PBN Building
I first started using PBNs in 2013/2014 and created some ultimate guides which have been used over the years and stayed remarkably relevant.
However a few critical things are different then they used to be…
Speed of Building an Expired Domain – I don’t have all the data yet but it is clear the speed with which a relevant site is back up on a dropped domain matters in the eyes of Google returning its pre-dropped love to the site.
Real & Relevant Is Important – It has gotten more important to find relevant domains to build your PBN site on. Having old restaurant domains link to your camping gear website is no longer as effective at passing link juice.
Organic Traffic > Link Metrics – We are wanting to get domains that pass Google love to your website, the best measure of Google love is if Google is sending traffic to the domain. Buying for metrics only DA/PA/TF/CF/DR/UR have long passed.
Anchor Text Obsession – The risk of SEO’s over-gaming the anchor text has increased and now Google does a better job of understanding the relevance of the page you are receiving a link from. So it is now smarter to obsess less about the anchor text and more about the relevance of the site you are getting a backlink from.
Are PBNs Safe and Effective in 2020
Now to try and answer this question I am going to look at a few sources of data.
First, looking at the histo
PBN Usage in Content Sites for Sale:
EmpireFlippers provides some great data by publicly identifying the content sites on their marketplace that use a PBN. I have done this analysis other years and therefore can compare is the rate of use of PBNs in content sites increasing or decreasing.
Looking at the number of content sites
Questions to Be Answered:
What % of people building and selling profitable websites at EmpireFlippers use PBNs to rank their sites?
Has the % of people using PBNs changed over the last 5 years?
Are PBN’s used only on small sites?
How much does the use of a PBN drop the value of a site by?
Big Pile of Data to Answer These Questions…
100 Most Recent Amazon Affiliate monetization method money sites listed on EmpireFlippers
$227,461 worth of monthly net earnings
$7,428,843 worth of sites included in the data
Collect all the data filtering Amazon Associate, most recently listed/sold,
Remove websites that don’t use organic traffic at all (some ecommerce, most FBA etc)
Compare to previous results and answer questions
Question 1 – What % of people building and selling profitable amazon affiliates websites at EmpireFlippers use PBNs to rank their sites now?
Answer 1 – 32% of Amazon Affiliates websites for sale use a PBN to help drive organic traffic to their website.
Question 2 – Has the % of people using PBNs changed from 2015 to 2020?
Answer 2 – People using PBNs to help their Amazon Affiliate websites rank has decreased from 42% in 2015 to 32% in 2020.
Question 3 – Are PBN’s used only on small sites?
Answer 3 – It turns out sites that were using PBNs earned an average of $600/month more than those that weren’t. Over a $20k increase in value for the average site.
Question 4 – How much does the use of a PBN change the value of the site for sale?
Answer 4 – No Change – This was interesting there was almost no difference in how a site with a PBN vs without a PBN was valued. 32x for sites without a PBN and 31x for sites with a PBN.
A smaller % of people are now using PBNs to rank their Amazon Affiliate websites. Those that do use PBNs make 31% more per month than those that don’t and the valuation multiple is unchanged between the two groups.
Google has made it more and more difficult to build a network of sites to help another website rank effectively driving up the cost to build a quality network of sites.
As a result, what we have seen over the last 5 years is fewer people making the decision to invest in building a PBN to support their site but the answer to the question of do they still work is clear.
PBNs are still effective in 2020 however they are not without risk.
In this guide, we are going to give you an outline of all the basic types of digital marketing strategies you can start applying to your business right away. We are going to give you a broad outline of each of these areas so that you can dive deeper and expand your knowledge on the ones that interest you most. This article covers each of these in detail and goes beyond cursory short lists like the 7 functions of marketing.
Let’s get started with one of the most popular types of digital marketing strategies – content marketing.
Content marketing is a pretty popular phrase in online marketing. However it can often be confused with content writing. It can be difficult to pin down exactly what it means. It is a pretty broad term, that encompasses many different strategies related to content. In simplest terms, content marketing is making and sharing content to an online audience. Read more comparing content marketing vs content writing.
The purpose of sharing this content is to attract attention, and this attention can be used to complete a number of online marketing goals for different businesses. These goals include driving traffic to a website, generating leads, increasing sales, increasing brand awareness, and more.
Essentially, by creating and sharing free content, you attract people to your brand, and the content can actually help you to reach these goals at the same time.
How Does Content Help My Business?
Perhaps the most important question in content marketing is what type of content will help you to reach your business goals. To answer this question, you need to consider your business model, your target customer, and your buyer personas. You need to cater the content to what your target audience is searching for, and what they would enjoy consuming. Then, you fill that space with your content, and do everything you can to make that content discoverable (more on that below).
Popular types of content marketing include blogging, news sites, video, photo blogs, email newsletters, how-to guides, and podcasts. Essentially, any targeted content is content marketing, even if you don’t even realize it.
In this guide, we will focus on two crucial aspects of content marketing – keyword research and content creation.
For many content marketers, the most important way to make their content discoverable is through a search engine. If people can type in a Google (or any search engine) query and your content pops up, that represents a huge potential number of eyes on your content.
It is extremely difficult to understand exactly how search engines pull up results, and their algorithms change all the time. But one of the important ways that Google returns results is through keywords. By combing content for keywords that might answer a search query, Google can return the most relevant content and answer that person’s question.
There are a few ways to discover which keywords are best to put in your content. It is best to consider all of these digital marketing strategies as a whole in order to come up with a keyword strategy. Strategies to find keywords can vary from easy to advanced.
Think of Intent
The first thing to keep in mind when writing content is to always think of your target consumer’s intent. Why do you think they would search for your content? What question does your content answer? Think of the reasons that your content is applicable to them, and try to include keywords and phrases that you think would answer their questions.
Search engines are quite smart these days, and they are capable of relating common queries and generating answers based on different contexts. So you should really just try to write content that answers a consumer’s questions. Put yourself in their shoes, and make your content relevant to what they would search to find your business, and you will have a much better chance of showing up in search results.
There are also many tools you can use to get an idea of what type of keywords might be relevant. For example, Google auto-suggest can help you see many related searches to the ones that might involve your products. Type in something about your content, and you can see other relevant queries which someone might use to find your content.
There are many paid online marketing tools on the market which can help you generate a list of keywords based on the queries you can expect potential customers to search. These tools will scour the web for well-performing keywords which you can plug into your content to improve your search engine ranking. Popular tools include SEMRush, Ahrefs, Wordtracker, and Authority Labs.
Many people choose to hire a digital marketing strategist or a digital marketing agency for their content marketing, which can be very useful and much easier if you’re someone who manages multiple sites and/or businesses. However, if you’re budget is limited and you have the time to put into it, using tools and some of your own effort, you can become your own digital marketing strategist.
Of course, content marketing is nothing without actually creating the content! In this section, we’re going to outline how to create content that fills a need, and is consumed by your target market.
Content needs to be well written and researched. But the best content fills a hole in the market. Above we showed you how to get your content discovered with various tools and keywords. Next, we will show you how to create content that satisfies consumer’s needs and inquiries.
First things first, you need to define who you are trying to reach. Your content needs to be tailored to a certain audience, and you need to know that audience inside and out. If you don’t know who you are trying to reach, your content will appear aimless.
So before you get started in making your content, you need to decide who is most likely to respond to your content. Know who they are, what they like, and where you can find them. There are many consumer research studies and resources that you can find online to help you with this research stage.
Flip Features Into Benefits
When you are creating content that appeals to an audience, it is important to keep in mind why people should pay attention to your content. When you are creating content on a specific topic, don’t simply focus on explaining the features of your topic. Instead, think of your target market, and think about why this may benefit them. Turn the features of the product into real tangible benefits for your audience.
By explaining benefits, you are guaranteeing to capture more of their interest. If an audience understands why your content is relevant to them in a positive way, then it instantly turns into something that they can envision as having an impact on their life.
What Type of Content?
Content comes in many shapes and forms. From video, to blogs, to articles, to tutorials, to comprehensive guides, and more! How you choose your format will depend on the message you are trying to convey. Different audiences like to consume content in different ways. Your content should match the ideal platform for conveying your message.
Start simple, with an idea of the message you are trying to get across. Then, try to decide which format would convey that message best. It will often depend on the complexity and the depth of knowledge you are trying to communicate.
As you can see, content marketing is no small area of marketing. Maybe the most important part of content marketing is knowing your audience and knowing how to reach them. If you have a deep knowledge of who your audience is and what they like, then you have a format which can guide all your future content creation. This simplifies your entire workload, and helps to ensure that you are constantly on the right track.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge part of a digital marketing strategy and a great way to increase your inbound traffic. One of the main ways that anyone finds anything online is through a search engine. So as you can imagine, if your web page shows up as one of the top results, that could mean massive traffic for your website.
One of the major ways to find success with SEO is through on-page optimization techniques and avoiding common on-page SEO mistakes. What this means is that you carefully craft the content on your web page to be more discoverable by Google (or other search engines) and therefore to show up in more search results. There are numerous techniques you can use to optimize your on-page SEO, and this section will explore some of the top techniques.
In the section after, we will explore the other major part of SEO – off-page SEO. But let’s get started by looking at how to best optimize your web page for more success.
Tips for Succeeding with On-Page SEO
Here’s the thing – search engines these days are smart. If you think you can trick a search engine into displaying your result at the top, then you can think again. Search engines know the tricks and have accounted for them. To truly optimize your inbound marketing, you really have to provide a great answer to what the searcher is trying to resolve.
Google wants to return results that are relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative. Doing this is no easy task, but there are things you can do to keep improving your chances.
Tip #1: Consider Intent
As was said above, Google is very smart. It wants to give results that answer people’s questions. It wants them to be happy with what they find. And this can be a big opportunity for you.
If you provide content that fills a need, and answers a search query in an organized, trustworthy, and relevant way, then you are on the path toward climbing up the search engine results page.
If you are struggling with this, try to think of what question your content answers. What would people search for if they want to find your answers? Then, type this into Google yourself. Have a look at the types of content that come up. These are the most relevant pieces of content in this area, and can be a great starting point for you to format your content.
Tip #2: Keywords
Keywords are no longer the end all and be all to effective SEO, but they are still valuable to inbound marketing. Finding effective keywords and phrases can be tough these days. You should really start by thinking of intent. Think of what type of questions you think consumers are thinking of which are answered by your content. Then, put these phrases into your content, and within the title and headings.
There are also online tools which can help you with keyword research, like Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer, SEMrush or Ahrefs. However, these are often paid services, but are worth considering if you are stumped.
Tip #3: Tags
Without getting too complicated, tags essentially help to describe your web page, so that Google can return it in relevant search results.
Meta Tags describe various parts of your web page. Title tags help to describe what it is your page offers, and will make it easier for people to decide whether to click it. Meta descriptions appear in the Google results as a description of your content. This can be a vital way to give readers a summation of your content, and whether it will answer their questions.
Meta Tags are a very valuable part of describing your content and having it discoverable through search engines. It is a good habit to always consider metatags when you are creating your content.
Tip #4: Site Speed
How quickly your site loads is a very important part of on-page SEO. Not only does it make inherent sense that people prefer a site that is faster to load, Google bases its algorithm on site speed too. Google will prefer sites which have the ability to load faster.
There are many ways to increase site loading speed, including several paid services. Aside from that, delete unnecessary plugins, don’t include media files that are too big, and other space saving tricks like that. If there is more to load, it will take longer to load.
Tip #5: Content
Of course, the actual content on your page is of crucial importance. It seems obvious, but it’s no less imperative. You want to focus on creating and sharing the kind of content that your target audience desires. Know your audience inside and out, and create content that answers their questions.
On top of this, it is important to keep content fresh. An easy way to do this is to go back and update old articles with fresh info. This takes minimal time, and gives you a whole new set of information to share. You can also create evergreen content, which will stay relevant for longer without having to constantly update it.
Don’t be afraid of current trends either. Writing articles that are on-trend can be a great way to capitalize on a high amount of Google searches, just be aware that there may be increased competition as well. If you can capture a trend before it takes off, you have a much better chance of being seen. You can see trend patterns for any topic using Google Trends.
As you can see, on-page SEO is very important in having your content discovered and consumed. While you may be tempted to think of this as “tricking” Google, it really comes down to showing your audience what they want to see.
Google wants to find and share relevant information with people. They want to provide what people want to see. So your best bet with on-page SEO is to always operate with this in mind. The tricks are great, but nothing beats quality, directed content.
Above, we talked all about on-page SEO. That is, how to optimize the content on your webpage to get discovered by Google. This might seem like the “obvious” part of SEO. Of course getting your website content optimized will help. However, it’s not all there is to it, and that’s what we will be talking about here.
Off-page SEO are all the actions that you take off your web page. These are the ways that other websites and other pieces of content can actually help you get found on Google. On a basic level, Google likes to know that it’s results have authority, AKA that people can trust them.
A good way to know that is if the page is heavily mentioned, or linked to, by other sources. Because if a lot of people are talking about you, there is a better chance you are a trusted source.
Therefore, off-page SEO is the way that digital marketers can increase their authority off of their web page, drive their search engine results, and therefore increase their overall traffic.
Types of Links
Generating links to a website can be done in many different ways, but is typically separated into links that you create yourself, and links that other people give you voluntarily.
For example, if you share your own content, or ask people specifically to share it, those are created by link-building activities. On the other hand, if someone reads your content and shares it by their own will, or a competing blog likes your content so much that they reference it, then that link is voluntarily given.
As a general rule, a voluntary, or natural link, is more valuable. However, these are understandably harder to earn, and much of your link-building might be based on deliberate link-building. The hope is that with more and more SEO activities, eventually, your content will rank well enough for people to share it themselves without being prompted. Some people find success buying links but this should only be done if you are knowledgable of the risks.
How Do I Get Started?
This might seem like a pretty daunting area of SEO. How are you going to get mentioned when no one even knows who you are? Where do you get started?
Luckily, there are actionable tips and methods that you can take to increase your off-page SEO today. Of course, the more you grow, the more reputable you become, and the more likely you are to get shared. But there are still things that you can do as a content marketing beginner to kickstart your off-page SEO, and we will cover some of them today.
Create Content That Can Be Shared
The first thing you can do to drive your off-page SEO is simply to create content that begs to be shared! If people share your content, then you have more links which drive people to your web page. Additionally, more people can find it and share it themselves. It might become exponential, and Google will see this as your site having more authority.
As we have mentioned many times throughout this guide, you need to create content that fills a gap in your target audience’s search. If you create very high-quality content that they really enjoy, it raises the chances of them sharing it. Of course, certain content is more prone to be shared than others – such as new ideas, humorous content, and something that drives curiosity.
A great way to help with people sharing your content is to simply ask them. Often, they might be willing to do something for you if you are willing to do something for them (like share their content). Find influencers within your niche and reach out to them. You’d be surprised at how helpful people will be if you simply ask for their help.
This helps create relationships within your space, and if you are willing to help them as well, you can have an ongoing relationship to increase authority with each other.
There are so many digital channels to share content online. People actively seek out certain content online, and by finding and sharing within these spaces you increase your chances of being found by an interested audience.
For example, there are online forums and message boards for all sorts of topics – photography, writing, videography, nature, you get the idea. The key is to find these spaces within your niche and make it a habit to share every relevant piece of content you make.
Of course, social media is very powerful as well. Your web page doesn’t have to be the only place you share content. You can link to it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and wherever else you are engaged. Not only does this create more links to your content, it increases the chances of others discovering it. Social media is created to be shared, so sharing it yourself might lead to others discovering it as well.
As you can see, on-page and off-page SEO are two ways of achieving the same goal. That goal is to get your content ranked higher on Google, which allows more people to discover your content. This in turn will drive traffic to your site, so that you can achieve the goals that you set out with your website.
Off-page SEO is an important tool in any digital marketer’s toolbox. It can help to think of it as a habit in creating and sharing your content. Make it part of your routine to interact and help others within your niche, and they will return the favor. Additionally, find the best spaces within your niche to share your content to a devoted audience. As well as regular social media sharing, you will have built a routine to increase your success in this area.
An effective digital marketing strategy is all about habits. You probably won’t see one of your posts go viral and rocket you toward success. But with good habits, and with strong and consistent SEO strategies, you can see your relevance and authority grow and grow, and you will show up in far more search results.
Sales funnels have become one of the crucial components of an effective digital marketing strategy. No matter what you are trying to sell, or which platform you are using to drive sales, it is likely you can utilize some form of a sales funnels to achieve results. In this section, we will explain the basic concept behind a sales funnel, as well as how to structure one for success.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is simple in concept and complicated in execution. It is all about “funneling” consumers toward a sale. Think of this as the customer journey from when they first see or hear about your brand to the final point of purchase. You put them through a series of steps which motivates them to buy from you. As with a regular funnel, more will enter than will make a final sale, but the goal is to motivate as many people as possible to complete the funnel and make a purchase.
For example, an advertisement you see on Facebook might be the first stage of the sales funnel. If you click on this advertisement, you will likely be taken to the next stage in this process, all with the goal of getting you to make that purchase.
As you can imagine, there are various strategic and psychological strategies at play to capture your attention and motivate you to take that next step each time. While it will not work on everyone (hence the funnel becoming slimmer), the goal is to increase the rate at which it does work.
In general, a sales funnel can be broken down into 4 parts. We will explain each part in turn in the next section, so that you can understand how this funnel operates:
Sales Funnel Structure
Stage 1: Awareness
The first stage of your sales funnel is the broadest, as it is meant to reach the most people. That is awareness. You want to communicate your message to a wide variety of potential audience members, to make them aware and entice them into continuing with your offer. This is their initial stepping point into your sales funnel.
A successful awareness campaign will be directed at a target audience, and provide them with a clearly communicated offer that satisfies a need or want of theirs. There are many ways to get consumers to enter into your sales funnel through an effective awareness campaign, and your approach will differ based on what you are trying to offer. It could be joining an email list, taking an online quiz, or many other means.
Stage 2: Interest
Once a consumer has passed the awareness stage, they have shown an interest in your offering. At this point, you must work to further this interest. Successful marketers do this with a clear brand message, and communication, which helps build a relationship with the consumer. You want to continue to explain why your brand is right for them.
This communication can be done in many ways – such as an email campaign, marketing campaign, social media communications, blog posts, or more. It will all depend on how they opted to follow your brand.
Stage 3: Decision
At this point, your customer has shown a clear interest in your product, and is actually considering making a purchase. However, there is still more work to be done. At this stage, they might actually be researching your offering, or comparing offers with competitors, while deciding whether to purchase.
You can do various things to help influence this decision, such as offering testimonials, discount codes, reviews, and anything that will help make a decision that is right for them. You want to show them why you are the right choice, and why the value is there to make their purchase worthwhile.
Stage 4: Action
The final stage of the sales funnel is the consumer actually performing the intended action. Usually a purchase, but it could be a download, an opt-in, or something similar. However, even at this stage there is more you can do to drive further business.
There are steps you can take to ensure they are happy with your product, such as by sending over product tips and tricks. You can also follow-up with additional offers after the sale is made. This keeps your brand in mind, and also ensures that they are happy with their purchase and your brand.
As you can see, a sales funnel is a simple concept with endless methods of execution. As a marketer, you want to be constantly optimizing and tweaking your funnel based on results. You won’t get it perfectly right the first time. But with practice and persistence, you will not only convert more and more customers, but also have a better understanding of your buyer personas.
Email marketing may seem like an old school idea these days, but it really speaks to its effectiveness that it is still so popular. Email marketing is a tried and true marketing plan to reach people, and to reach the right people.
By building an email list, you have a reliable method of reaching people who have shown an interest in your product or service, and a way to market to them in a direct and personal way.
In this section, we are going to go over the basics of email marketing automation, including what makes it so effective, and the digital marketing strategies you can use for greater success.
Why Email Marketing?
Email marketing is an excellent tool for a variety of reasons. As mentioned, it is a way to reach out to consumers on a personal level. These consumers are people who have shown interest in your business before, as evidenced by opting into your email campaign. Here are some top advantages of using email marketing:
Driving Traffic and Sales: Email marketing is a great way to create a marketing funnel and drive consumers back to your website, blog, online store, or whatever you are offering. It allows you to re-engage with your consumers on a regular basis.
Direct Visibility: Email marketing is simply more direct than other forms of social media. Most platforms filter content and limit views. Email, however, is direct and always ends up in an inbox. It is a more reliable method of allowing your target audience to see your digital marketing strategy.
Building Your Audience: Perhaps the number one benefit of an email campaign is the ability to grow and maintain your audience. You can track down the people who are truly interested in your service or product, and stay in touch.
Email Marketing Tips
Service Provider: First thing first, you need to decide how you are going to go about making your email campaigns. Many people prefer to use a service provider to help manage their email campaigns. We recommend Mailchimp, Mailshake, SendGrid or Active Campaign for your marketing automation. These providers are all very simple to use for any type of marketing campaign.
With these services, you can create lists and send an email to everyone on the list. It also helps you monitor analytics, and track the success of your campaigns, which we will examine in more detail below.
Collect Emails: One of the most crucial parts of managing an email campaign is growing your list of emails and adding them to the marketing funnel. An email campaign is nothing without a list of potential customers to send it to. Having people subscribe to your emails is no easy task, and it requires sending the right message, and having people see the benefit of regular communication from you.
Collecting emails and leads through cold outreach is one method of doing this. Using tools such as AnyMailFinder or Hunter are just a couple great tools that can help build a solid list for your email campaign. However, below we’re going to cover some of the top methods of having people opt-in to your campaign.
Opt-In and Pop-Ups on Your Website: One of the most tried and true methods of getting subscribers is to simply put a sign-up or registration form right on your website. This is a great way to capture subscribers who have already shown an interest in your product. There are many ways to phrase these forms, and many places you can put them on your website.
Typically, websites either use a pop-up or an embedded form to capture subscribers. You can place these wherever you think consumers will be most receptive. For example, after they have made a purchase, or once they click through to the product page. You can also experiment with different options and monitor results.
Create a Campaign: Creating a campaign is one of the most important parts of email marketing. Once you have a subscriber list, you want to market to them with emails that capture their interest and motivate them to take a desired action. There are many services which can assist in creating a campaign, such as Mailshake mentioned above.
There are many options you can utilize to create a successful campaign. First, select your audience. You can send the email to your entire list, or to specific groups you think would be more responsive.
You can start your marketing campaign with a catchy subject line, a preview text, a “From” name (who they will see the email is from).
Next, the body of the email. Many service providers offer numerous options for structure, body, style, and content. It will really come down to what you are trying to achieve, and the message you are trying to communicate. You can create a more visual campaign, or a text-based email. The main key is that your consumers are persuaded to take your desired action.
Write Subject Lines: Writing an email subject line that captures attention is one of the most important parts of a successful campaign. This is the point where a consumer decides whether to engage with your marketing campaign at all.
There are many methods for success here, but the important part is to quickly and clearly communicate the benefits of your offer, and to state a sense of urgency. Consumers need to be able to quickly discern that there is a benefit to opening the email, and a time-sensitive offer makes them more likely to engage right away.
Monitor Analytics: Once you have crafted your email campaign and sent it off, the work is really just beginning. A successful email marketer will continue to monitor the success of their campaign, and make adjustments where necessary.
The first important lesson is to monitor analytics. With programs such as Mailchimp, you can actually use Google Analytics to track and monitor various aspects of your email campaign’s performance. This includes various metrics which track your campaigns success – such as the rate of consumers who open the email, average time spent in an email, conversion rate, and much more.
The key is to set goals for your campaign, to monitor the success of those goals through analytics, and optimize your campaign to improve on these metrics. What you need to change will depend on your digital marketing campaign, but you can likely gather the information you need by paying close attention to your results.
Thank you for reading our beginner’s guide on email marketing. As you can see, there is a lot of potential for you as a marketer in this area.
YouTube might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to digital marketing. However, it is such a powerful video and media sharing tool that it holds many strong opportunities to share your brand and generate sales for your businesses.
In this section, we will go over how you can produce valuable content to build an audience and attract subscribers.
YouTube Marketing Plan
The main goal of YouTube marketing is, of course, to drive traffic and sales through shared media. Similar to the goal of many marketing campaigns, you want to drive users to your YouTube videos, and funnel them to your website with links in the video description. However, actually putting this into action is not always so simple. Generally, there are three main types of media which are used to drive sales.
Educational Videos: Educational videos answer a question that your target audience may have, and you can feature products within the video. People come to the video to have their questions answered, and come away exposed to your products.
Brand Storytelling: Brand storytelling is an opportunity for you to make a video that showcases your brand’s appeal. It involves people using your product while living your brand message. For example, GoPro shares videos that their consumers have taken with their video cameras.
Entertainment: These are the trickiest to make for a business. But if you can make media that actually entertains your target audience, and has them watching for enjoyment, then you can have a big edge on YouTube. For example, a popular blender company uses “Will it Blend?” videos to showcase their blenders grinding up unique objects.
Now that we have outlined the digital marketing tactics for creating and driving sales with YouTube, let’s take a look at some of the more important considerations that you will need to know to give your videos the best possible chance of success. This includes concepts that get your videos more views, but also ones which help to drive sales.
Keywords are very important in SEO. YouTube SEO is a complicated process, and goes beyond the confinements of this guide. However, you do want to be sure to include the keyword that you are trying to rank for in the video title.
YouTube also offers the option to “tag” your media, which helps your video show up when those terms are searched for. There are various programs online which help you optimize tags. You should also write your video “Description” with various tags, and one that explains the benefits of watching your video.
As you can see, YouTube SEO is all about showing up in YouTube’s search engine. Keywords, tags, and video titles go a long way in this regard.
Subscribers, the ultimate YouTube count. Subscribers are people who have notified YouTube that they want your videos to show up in their feed. Of course, your goal is to grow your subscribers, and you want to do this by allowing your videos to be seen by the largest amount of your target audience as possible.
There are many tips and tricks for growing your subscribers. Perhaps the most important is to simply create quality media and content that is targeted towards a clearly defined audience. Remember, there are millions of subscribers and companies on Youtube, so finding your niche is important to driving direct traffic to your channel.
There are also little things you can do which can drastically increase subscribers. For example, using a link to take viewers directly to an opportunity to subscribe to your videos. You can place this link in your video description, in your email marketing, or anywhere you are sharing media. The key is to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to your videos.
One of the most worthwhile parts of growing any type of marketing campaign is to monitor and optimize. With YouTube it’s no different, and YouTube even includes an analytics section where you can track your video’s success on various metrics.
These metrics are invaluable for measuring success. They are extensive, and include metrics based around things such as views, watch time, demographics of viewers, and much more. By measuring and optimizing on these variables, you can know how to improve the success of your current and future videos, and know what type of video is most successful in reaching your target audience.
As you can see, YouTube is a powerful tool for capturing someone’s attention. A loyal base of subscribers can help to grow your businesses in many ways. If you approach YouTube with the proper strategies for growth and success, you can execute your digital marketing plan and convert your subscribers into customers.
It comes as no surprise that Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. In this section, we are going to examine why growing your audience on Facebook can be so powerful.
Why Facebook Marketing?
Firstly, the major reason that Facebook marketing is so popular is due to the vast potential of the platform. There are billions of users, which gives you the opportunity to connect to just about any demographic you could imagine. Expanding on that, people build their profiles to clearly outline their personal information.
You can see, in real time, the type of people you are reaching. You can clearly define your target audience, and pursue those people. You can also clearly see which type of people are resonating with your products. Facebook has a powerful Analytics platform for businesses as well, so that you can clearly track and monitor your success.
Creating a Facebook Page
The first step in Facebook marketing is creating your own Facebook profile for your business. A business profile is your own tool for interacting with people through Facebook. They are easy and free to set up, and you can get started right away.
A Facebook profile is a great way to communicate your brand, and allow ongoing feedback and communication with consumers. With this page, you can post engaging content, and have real-time feedback.
The content you create and share will depend on your brand and mission. Often, brands use Facebook as a way to keep their followers updated on their offerings, as well as to share fun content that exemplifies their brand message.
If you can build a large following on Facebook, it gives you an audience that you can hopefully attract to buy your products or services. You have a constant group that you can reach out to, who have already shown an interest in your brand by “liking” your page.
What To Post?
Facebook offers users a lot of freedom, and one of the major parts of that freedom is deciding what to post on your Facebook page. However, this can become pretty overwhelming.
One of the main things to keep in mind here is to always think from the customer’s point of view. Why should they be interested in your page? What can you offer them?
Of course, what you should post will certainly vary based on your industry, so a great place to start is with some competitors’ pages. If you have identified your target audience and industry, you can start to look at other pages within that industry for inspiration. Often, they will share pictures from customers, news about the industry, blog posts, interesting content, and more.
Posts that create engagement are a great idea as well. For example, posts that prompt users to share for a chance at a discount or a freebie. Or posts that ask users questions about themselves.
There are many options on Facebook for sharing content, and we think you will be best advised to share content that is in tune with your industry and target audience. However, not every business has the capacity or time required to be posting and checking their Facebook page everyday. Don’t worry! Tools like Buffer or Content Lever can help you manage and create posts to keep your content updated and relevant on a weekly basis.
One of the key tools that Facebook provides to help grow your page is Facebook Insights. These are powerful analytical tools which allow you to monitor and optimize the success of your page. Insights are analytical reports that track your success based on many metrics – including growth rate, clicks, likes, followers, conversion rates, and more.
These tools allow you to monitor the success of your page, but more importantly they allow you to identify areas of improvement. You can see which content is most successful at reaching people, and which people are more engaged with your page. This allows you to put in further targeting measures to capture the audience that is most likely to engage with your brand, and even convert with your offerings.
Insights are a powerful tool if used correctly. But the key is to stay diligent, learn to understand the meanings behind the numbers, and how to use these to optimize your page for the future.
This has been a primer on how to get started with your business page on Facebook. However, there is one other big part of Facebook marketing, and that is Facebook advertising. We will examine this next.
Up to now, we have mainly focused on growing a business Facebook page. However, there is one very powerful tool that you can use with Facebook, and that is advertising.
Facebook Advertising is perhaps the most powerful tool in Facebook marketing. Facebook advertisements are your opportunity to fully tailor your advertising campaign to reach the people you want.
Why Are Ads Such An Opportunity?
There are many tools for creating an ad, such as selecting text, video, pictures, and format. You can craft an ad that says exactly what you want to say.
Next are the targeting measures. As mentioned above, Facebook users voluntarily submit information about their demographics. This makes it possible to very specifically target your Facebook ads. You can target based on age, gender, interests, and more.
Let’s take a look at a few of these concepts in more detail.
Creating An Ad
Creating a successful Facebook ad is no easy task, and often will require constant tweaks to get just right. However, it is helpful to first get familiar with the general formula for creating an ad on Facebook. There are three main steps – setting an objective, choosing an audience, and creating a format.
First, you will choose an objective – this should align with your overall digital marketing campaign. Facebook offers three objectives – awareness, consideration, and conversion. With awareness, you are trying to show the ad to the maximum amount of people so that they become aware of your brand. With consideration, you are trying to generate traffic and engagement with your ad. With conversion, you are trying to drive people to meet your conversion goal (ex. a sale to your site).
These are three quite different goals, and will depend greatly on what you are trying to achieve with your ad. This is why it is so important to establish your advertising goals from the outset.
As touched upon above, Facebook is a very powerful tool because it allows you to target people so effectively based on all the information in their profiles. For the sake of simplicity, it helps to break targeting efforts into three categories – demographics, interests, and behaviour.
Each of these three aspects are easily accessible based on information in a user’s Facebook profile. While creating an ad, you can outline your target audience. You can be as specific as you want, based on what you know about your target audience.
A general rule of thumb is to start broad, and narrow in based on what is successful. Run an ad to a broader demographic, and monitor your results to see which audience members responded most to your ads. Then, target future ads at this group, optimizing as you go.
Finally, comes creating the actual ad. Facebook encourages you to define your objectives and your audience before this step. This allows you to get a good idea of your advertising strategy, which helps you to build the actual ad.
There are many options for formatting and structuring your ad. You can choose different picture options, video options, and even an option for an album of pictures or videos. Make sure to think about your ad size and content thoroughly before throwing up a Facebook ad campaign. Is your ad going to attract your specific niche? Does your ad have a direct message and offering?
Additionally, you can choose to run your ads in Facebook newsfeed, Facebook Messenger, or on Instagram.
Once you have created a Facebook ad, you have the ongoing opportunity to monitor its success through analytics.
Facebook analytics are a powerful tool to evaluate your campaign’s success based on many factors such as clicks, conversions, impressions, and much more. You can further break down these metrics based on demographics. Then, you can optimize your ads in the areas they were successful, to run an even more lucrative campaign next time.
Checking your ad analytics is arguably the most important piece to any advertising campaign. If your ads are converting or receiving clicks, you need to reassess the campaign and make changes. Are you targeting the correct demographic? Is your ad compelling? There is no perfect formula to running a successful ad campaign – you have to run it, assess results, and adjust if needed, over and over again.
Of course, the main drawback for many is that Facebook ads cost money. This is why advertisers view these as an investment. Facebook Ads allows your to monitor your ROI on the money you spend, including cost per various metrics (clicks, conversions, impressions, etc.).
Before you begin an ad campaign, I highly suggest that you map out a monthly budget. That way you can make sure you’re not overspending and also assess if your ads are making you money or pushing you further into the red. Remember: depending on the objective of your campaign, ROI will be measured differently. If you’re goal is to drive more traffic to your site or your Facebook page, then ROI won’t be based on revenue, but instead on traffic and/or followers. However, if you’re pushing people to a sales page, then you’ll want to base ROI off of sales made.
An advertisers goal should be to maximize their ad spend. With further optimization, you can continually improve your ROI to make your ad spend more lucrative.
As you can see, Facebook is a very powerful tool, and depending on your marketing plan you can succeed in many ways with Facebook ads. At its core, it is all about reaching the right people, and improving your chances of converting them into customers.
Facebook advertising is really about the process, not a one-off campaign. The optimization options allow you to see more success over time, as you further optimize your audience, your ad content, and ad placement.
Twitter is a great tool for sharing information, but how can you harness it as a great marketing tool? In this section, we will show you how it can be perfect for just that. We will show you how to drive website traffic and generate sales through Twitter.
With well crafted content and by building an engaged audience, you can grow your business with Twitter. The key with Twitter is finding a target audience and catering to them with content that also drives sales.
How to Market With Twitter
Setting Up An Account
To have a successful Twitter marketing scheme you need to start by building your account. Your account should represent your brand through your display image and your description. There is also an opportunity to provide a link to your website, or wherever you want to drive traffic from your Twitter page.
Setting up an account is easy, fast, and free.
Set Your Goals
Twitter is great for a lot of things, but you have to know what those things are for your business. Before you create an account, you should outline your business goals. What do you want from your Twitter page? Do you want to grow an audience, do you want to generate sales, or do you simply want to increase brand awareness?
These goals will always be influenced by your target audience. You need to clearly define the people you are trying to reach, so that you know the kind of content you should be sharing.
These will change based on your business and industry, but it is a great idea to set these goals from the outset.
Creating and sharing content, as you may have guessed, is a key factor for success in Twitter marketing. People follow Twitter accounts primarily for good content, and yours will be no exception.
One of the key factors here is that you have a clearly defined brand and audience. Once you have clearly defined your space, you can begin to look at other accounts in the same niche for inspiration. This will give you an idea of the successful accounts and how they drive engagement. Popular types of content are text posts, links, articles, and providing feedback on other posts.
Once you have a solid content strategy, you need to start driving engagement to your page. One of the best ways to do this is to look at the people who follow other accounts within your niche.
Try to find people who are actively engaged in the community, and regularly comment and share posts. Then, engage with these people. Follow their page, like their tweets and comment, and hope for engagement back. By driving engagement with popular influencers within your area, you increase the chances that people take notice and begin to follow your page.
Hashtags, Analytics and More
Understanding how to monitor and optimize your analytics on Twitter is very important. You need to understand why your posts did well or why they didn’t. By constantly tracking your success, you can learn to share things with more success. This might even include optimizing your hashtags so the most people can find your content.
Find companies and people in your niche and see what hashtags they’re using. Make a giant list and use these in your posts. Managing a Twitter account for your business requires daily effort and management. If you need help automating your social posts, check out services like Content Lever that can manage and track all your social posts for you.
Twitter marketing doesn’t stop here. If this sounds like an area of business worth pursuing to you, be sure to take these basics into account before you pursue a broader marketing plan.
In this section, we’re going to tell you why advertising on Google is such a great opportunity. Google advertising is a huge industry, and there are many tips and tricks you can utilize to find success in this area. In this section, we’re going to outline advertising, and let you know how you can get started in this area to start seeing ROI on your ads.
Why Google Ads?
Before you get started, you probably want to know what the key benefits are to your business in this regard. Why Google ads? There are three main benefits we like to point out about Google Ads.
First, you get instant results. You can set up a Google ad very fast, and Google can even optimize a lot of the metrics for you. Online advertising is fast, intuitive, and gets you results.
The next big advantage is that Google ads are highly targeted. There are many options to show your ads based on very specific search terms. You can hone in your ads in many ways to reach a very specific group of people. This includes what people are searching for, where those people are located, and what their demographics are.
The third key benefit is that it is cost effective. The advertising is pay-per-click. So you only pay for your ad if someone clicks on it. If your ad isn’t effective, you won’t pay anything. This also makes it a very low-risk opportunity.
Overall, the key thing about search engine ads is the intent of people who are being targeted. Google is great if you are looking for people who are already searching for something. They have intent to look up a certain term, which might also make them more interested in your product if it fulfills that need.
Setting Up A Campaign
So, now that you know the key benefits of a Google ad campaign, let’s look at how you can actually put it into action. It would help to give a broad outline of how to set up an ad, including how to choose a campaign, how bidding works, how to target your audience, and how to create your ad.
The first step to set up a campaign in Google is to choose your campaign type. There are 5 different campaign types to choose from – search, display, shopping, video, and universal app.
A search campaign is when your ad shows up in search results across Google (shown above). Display ads are banner ads that show up on websites which are part of Google’s network. Shopping ads show up in Google’s shopping section. Video ads show up on YouTube and other video platforms. Universal App ads are for driving app installs.
Bids & Budget
Google Ads works based on an advanced system of bids. Essentially, you’re “bidding” against other advertisers for your ad to show up on a target person’s feed. Google will mostly automate this for you, but you will still have to set a budget for your ad campaign.
Your budget is how much you are willing to spend on this campaign. For a Google Ads campaign, it is a good idea to run a trial budget, and see how it fares. You can always optimize it for success based on your initial run.
Target an Audience
Targeting is one of the most powerful tools on Google adwords. You can target audiences based on demographics, keywords, interests, location, device, language, and more. One of the most helpful things you can do is to first define your target audience before you create a campaign, so that you can create a custom audience for your advertisement to succeed.
The options in targeting are quite extensive. The best thing you can do is to start very broad and optimize based on who is most responsive to your ad. Make a broad outline of your target audience, and some specific keywords, and monitor your results.
Using analytics, you can analyze who was most responsive to your ad, and then you can further narrow your targeting to include the most receptive customers.
Create an Ad
Once you have defined your audience, you can create your ads. You really want to create an ad that grabs attention. Google even offers the option to create separate ads, so you can see which performs best.
Your ad should be closely related to your keywords, so that consumers can clearly see how your ad answers their question. Your ad should take them right to the area of your website you are trying to promote.
Your headline should grab attention, and your description should provide more information on why it would benefit them to click.
One great strategy is to search your keywords and see which similar advertisements grab your attention most. Gain inspiration from other successful ad campaigns.
As you can see, Google Ads is a pretty broad area for marketing. In this section, we gave you a general outline of the benefits of using Google ads, as well as the steps in creating a campaign of your own.
Overall, you need to think of this as a process. A successful Google ads manager will be constantly tweaking, optimizing, and changing their ad content, targeting, and strategy.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool for growing your business through careful analysis of website and marketing data. Google analytics is a tool that allows you to monitor many crucial benchmarks and data-sets, which are essential to the continued success in growing your business.
With Google Analytics, you can install a tracking code onto your website, and use this on the Analytics platform to monitor many behaviours on your website. This allows you to make many valuable insights. You can see who visits your site, which pages they go to, the duration they stay, and which pages are viewed most.
In this section, we are going to give you a beginner’s guide to setting up Google Analytics, and which features you should learn to really get the most out of your experience.
Setting Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is free to use and available to anyone. You can sign up for free and once you follow the prompts to enter your information you can get going right away.
The important part is installing the tracking code to your website so you can monitor the analytics. Because the coding does vary slightly depending on the platform of your website, you will need to know where to insert the code. Google provides a tutorial in this regard which is quite intuitive.
Understanding Your Analytics
The most important part of Google Analytics is learning to understand and draw implications from the data tracked by your website. It is great to think about this in terms of goals. Think of what your website is trying to achieve, and what are the desired actions you want consumers to take. This way, you can know which factors to track, and how to optimize your website so that you can improve these metrics.
There are many metrics you could be tracking, but for the sake of simplicity we will break them down into some broad categories:
Action: It is often helpful to track the amount of consumers who take a desired action on your site. Of course, it is helpful to track things like purchases, but it can also be helpful to track less obvious metrics like clicking past the landing page, clicking for more product info, and more.
Length: Tracking the length of time the consumer spends on each page is a valuable statistic to see whether you are holding their attention. You can see areas where consumers tend to seek more info, and attempt to persuade their behaviour that way.
Destination: A destination goal is tracking when a consumer reaches a specific part of your website. These are helpful for drawing traffic in certain ways and to certain areas.
Page Views: Page views are a valuable statistic as well. You can see where consumers spend more time. You can also see how many clicks an average consumer will have on your website.
Of course, all these metrics make more sense when considered in the context of your business. You need to have a sound digital marketing plan in place for your website, with specific goals for what you want to accomplish. Then, you need to track these goals, and recognize areas for improvement. This is the basic fundamental benefit of Google Analytics.
Instagram is one of the more popular social media platforms today. The photo and video sharing platform has a massive user-base, and this is why it can be such a huge marketing opportunity for your business.
To understand Instagram marketing, you should have an understanding of how to set up and run a business account, as well as how to share proper content and grow your following.
Setting Up An Account
Setting up an Instagram Business Account is easy and free. Simply install the app and follow the guidelines. A business account gives you extra details you can add to your Bio, and also gives you access to certain analytics tools. There is even an option to make pictures of your products clickable, which would bring consumers directly to a purchase page.
Your bio and profile image should allow consumers to understand your business. Write your bio so it communicates what you do, and the benefit to the consumer. Then, direct them to the link in your Bio, which is where you want to direct followers (for example, an online store).
Essentially, a business account allows consumers to quickly and easily get a sense for what your business is and does, and you can link directly to your website.
One of the most important parts of growing a following on Instagram is sharing the right content. First, you should have an idea of what your goals are with Instagram. How will the content you share direct people to take the desired action for your business?
A good way to get a sense of this is to check out similar accounts within your niche with a large following. See what type of content they share, and see how it spurs engagement with their followers.
Instagram is useful for sharing photos, video content, Instagram stories, and even live streaming. Finding the right type of content for keeping people engaged is key.
With Instagram, you want to aim to post about once a day. This keeps you fresh on people’s feeds and in people’s minds. People consume Instagram content so quickly that you need to post with high frequency to stand out.
You can also use hashtags to make your content more discoverable. Hashtags allow your content to be searched, and also to show up on the Instagram Explore page, which showcases different accounts.
Gaining a Following
Gaining a following on Instagram is all about engagement. Instagram is a very crowded space, so in order to make your voice heard you need to interact with people. We recommend you find similar accounts within your niche, and interact with them and with their followers. These followers have already expressed an interest in this niche, and might be willing to engage with you as well.
Remember to stay focused on this target audience. These are the people that you have identified as likely to engage with your business, and they are who you should be targeting. Find relevant accounts, engage with their followers with likes and comments, and engage in your space wherever you can.
Overall, your goal with Instagram is to gain a following of people within your target niche. You then want to try to persuade them to stay engaged with your content, and to become loyal to your brand. Then, by driving them to your website, you can drive sales through Instagram.
Pinterest is among the popular social media platforms which you can use for marketing purposes for your business. It is another way to get in front of consumers so that you can drive traffic to your website and generate sales.
With Pinterest, you can save certain media and links to “Boards”. These Boards are specific categories – such as materials for a dream house. People seek out accounts who share and organize links that they enjoy and are interested in.
This is where the major opportunity lies in Pinterest. People are actually on the site to plan, buy, and organize things. They are looking for inspiration for something they have planned. Therefore, if they come to your page, there is a good chance you can sell them on a product if they like it.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
With a Pinterest business account, you can find and share content with followers who are engaged with your content. If you manage to capture people’s attention by sharing content that inspires them, then you may be able to sell them your own products.
You want to be up front that you are a business, and create a very organized, thematic page. You want to fit within a niche, and attract consumers within that niche. By engaging within that community, you can drive followers to your page, and they will stay tuned in with your content.
You are basically making your pre-existing website content available on Pinterest, and giving interested consumers an opportunity to find and buy it.
The main thing with Pinterest is to find a niche, grow your following within that niche, and share things that are relevant to that niche. Find competing accounts, and engage with their customers. Hopefully, they will discover your page, and be inspired to take action on your posts.
LinkedIn can be quite a powerful marketing tool to generate leads and drive website traffic. A LinkedIn business account can be your key to sharing content that gets discovered and driving traffic through those posts.
LinkedIn is an extremely popular social media site, and people go to LinkedIn to discover and engage with different people and brands. Therefore, the opportunities are quite clear. If you can become an established name or brand on LinkedIn, it can drive awareness and consideration for your service offering as well. In this article, we are going to run you through the basic steps to get started with marketing on LinkedIn.
Optimizing Your Profile
A great profile is the first step to marketing on LinkedIn. You want to have a business profile that clearly and succinctly identifies what you offer, and what your competitive advantage is. People should know who you are, what you offer, and what’s in it for them.
One of your primary goals will be to drive people to your page, so the first step is making sure that your page offers something for them to be interested in. If people are wanting to stay engaged with your brand and your posts, then you have a constant audience who may also be driven to promote your brand themselves, or even make a purchase.
You should also be sure to include the profiles of employees, as well as yourself, who work for the company. People are on LinkedIn to engage with real people after all. If they know that the company is full of dedicated employees, that goes a long way.
Define Your Audience
Before you begin your marketing efforts on LinkedIn, you must define your audience. Ideally, this will have been done before you are at the point where you have begun a LinkedIn business profile, but it is never a bad idea to let your target audience guide all of your marketing efforts.
This target audience lets you know who you should be engaging with on LinkedIn. From companies within your niche, to real people who might show an interest in your brand, there are many opportunities to find relevant accounts and people who might be interested in your brand and your offering.
The main key is to define your audience clearly and concisely at the start of this process.
Connections on LinkedIn are very important. The more connections you have, the more people have voluntarily shown an interest in following your posts, as well as your brand. Additionally, a higher amount of connections will generate a higher amount of perceived legitimacy for your brand.
One of the best ways to find relevant connections within your niche is with the LinkedIn search feature. Using advanced search functions, you can find people within your niche. You can choose to filter search results by “2nd degree connections”, which are connections of your connections. Connecting with these people is a great way to grow your connections, as they already see you as having a degree of legitimacy through your mutual relationship with other connections.
You can even narrow your search even further to find people within certain fields, or who hold certain positions. This is a great opportunity to reach people on LinkedIn who can help you to further your marketing goals, based on your clearly defined target audience.
Sharing content on your business profile is a major way to grow your brand and increase your following on LinkedIn. The key here is to share interesting, engaging content that piques the interest of your target audience. Of course, what this is will depend on your offering, your market, and your niche.
One key message is to not simply share content intended to sell your product. People don’t visit LinkedIn to be sold to, they visit it to further their careers and grow their knowledge. Therefore, share content that helps people perform their jobs better within your niche. Things such as tips and tricks, industry updates, future plans, and more. Once you have generated interest, you can start to post the occasional update with a sales message as well.
The key with LinkedIn is to grow your connections within your niche, and stay engaged with this niche. Try to be interesting, and to grow relationships with your target audience. Social media is about relationships, not about simply selling to people. If you view it through this lens, you will see much more success on LinkedIn.
Quora is a platform you might not think of as a marketing tool. Quora is an online question & answer board. Users post questions and they can be answered and ranked by people and professionals.
Because of its simplistic format, it is not often thought of as a marketing tool. However, this is also what makes it such an opportunity.
Quora Digital Marketing Tactics
One of the main tools with Quora as a marketer is the ability to provide links within your answers, as well as the ability to create a personal profile which shows people what you do.
What you want to do on Quora is search for relevant questions within your niche. If you can find people who have asked questions related to your business’s expertise, then you can provide them with a satisfactory answer, as well as pique their interest to learn more. If you are regarded as an expert within the field, they might come away with a favorable attitude toward your brand and company as well.
Additionally, you can drive traffic to your website by linking your answers to blog posts, or tutorials with more information. Firstly, be sure to answer the question fully. If you don’t answer the question fully, people will not vote on and view your answer.
However, if you do provide a full and complete answer, you can end the response by linking to a portion of your website which provides similar information, or even more in-depth information. This can be a great method to drive traffic to your website and generate brand awareness.
Overall, Quora is a great opportunity due to its lack of competition and opportunity to be seen. If done correctly, you can become a trusted source who is able to grow awareness and engagement with their brand as well.
In this section, we are going to provide a basic outline to marketing an app the right way. Marketing an app can be a complicated process, but in its simplest terms, it essentially boils down to finding a target market and reaching them the right way.
App Store Market Research & Finding An Audience
One of the most crucial parts of app marketing, as with any marketing, is finding your target audience. You need to discover a gap in the market with a certain group of people, and work to fill that with your app’s offering. Your digital marketing efforts will be concentrated on communicating to these people why your app will solve their problem.
A good way to do this is to look at consumer research on competing apps. See what type of category of users they attract, and try to market your efforts toward similar groups. If you have a well defined audience which you can cater your app toward, you are on the right track.
Roll-Out and Promotion
Marketing your app is a complicated process, and it is all about reaching the audience that you have defined above. Of course, you can utilize social media channels, such as Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and more. Anywhere where you think your target customers might hang out is a good place to get started.
However, one of the most common ways that people learn about Apps is through the App Store itself. Paid promotion goes a very long way in advertising your app. With App Store advertising, there are many methods you can take to cater your message to a very specific audience, and work to optimize this campaign to maximize your ROI.
App marketing is all about understanding your audience and reaching them through proper digital channels and with a great message. If you can master this process, you are well on your way to creating a successful marketing campaign.
One of the most notable companies using content marketing has been Hubspot. Hubspot managed to build their brand by creation and sharing of all sorts of content, most notably through their successful blog. They also offer users the opportunity to engage and create their own content. This drove a lot of traffic to their site, and helped to create an engaged and loyal group of consumers.
Of course, content marketing is not all they do, but it was a major part of their strategy as they grew, and it worked very well.
A great example of an SEO success story comes from Papercut Interactive. They attribute their success in SEO to really knowing the ins and outs of their target market and audience. They started their strategy with effective research. By knowing what their consumers want and how they search, they were able to generate research that not only led them to effective keywords, but drove the content they created.
They were able to create intent-based content to show up in search, that answered a question and provided a real benefit to their consumers, all while driving traffic to their site.
A really unique example of link building comes from Ivar’s Fish Bar in Seattle. Way back in 2009, they put out a fake news story that they had installed underwater billboards near Seattle, in hopes that in the future people who drive personal submarines would see them. This hoax was just crazy enough to gain traction, with many people linking to their site, and they saw sales skyrocket.
This shows how the power of link building can lead to a truly unique and shareable story. This one took it to the extremes, but it shows the general principle that if you have a story unique enough, people will listen.
An excellent example of a sales funnel actually comes from Netflix. Their homepage very clearly walks you through what you can expect from a Netflix subscription, and what’s in it for you. They explain right off the bat their offering, as well as a free-trial and that you can cancel at any time. From there, it takes you to a pricing page, and then a sign-up page, and a billing page.
The process is streamlined and communicates the benefits right off the bat, as well as why the value is there. And with Netflix, their success speaks for itself at this point.
Social Media Marketing
An excellent example of a company that grew with social media marketing was Casper, the company known for shipping a fully functioning mattress in a box. They ran advertisements across social media platforms, clearly conveying the benefits and convenience of their product, as well as the high-quality. They even partnered with many influencers for sponsored posts, to build legitimacy.
Additionally, they utilized different video social media platforms to promote a Casper Sleep Channel, in which they provided videos to help consumers sleep. This helped them reach a level of viral fame, as well as provide consumers a benefit.
A great example of Google Ads success comes from Trivago. The popular hotel search engine utilized Google Ads to grow their brand to what it is today.
They grew their brand with traditional search campaigns, although their overall digital marketing efforts have since expanded. By using popular search terms, they managed to show up in many search results when people were searching for hotels. They became known as a reputable source to find hotel deals across the world, and it was in no small part due to consumers discovering them through Google Ads.
Thank you for reading our digital marketing beginner’s guide. Our hope was to introduce you to basic concepts across all areas of marketing in order for you to create your own digital marketing strategy. As with anything, there is more to know and more to learn, but we hope this guide has spurred your interest to deepen your knowledge in many of these areas.
We have likely all been there… crushing out content for a project and just not getting the results that we’re after. I would argue that it is often because the process of content writing is disconnected or even mistaken for content marketing.
In this post I am going to show you a case study (URL revealed) with advanced content marketing (page 1 results for target 10k/month volume keyword in under 90 days) and discuss the difference between content writing and content marketing
ContentRefined (a popular content writing service) has been executing the strategy below including strategy, copywriting and link building for potential customers. We are opening it up in the near future to anyone. Join the waitlist here to be the first to find out more about the service.
This is how we should – but often don’t – think about content marketing and the results we have been able to achieve when a congruent content marketing strategy is proof.
Content Writing vs. Content Marketing – What is the Difference?
Content writing is one of the steps that has to happen within content marketing. Content marketing consists of a series of steps, including digital marketing strategy, keyword research, content writing, publishing, and marketing the created content. Too often, the process of content writing gets mistaken for a business doing content marketing.
How Online Entrepreneurs Often Get the 2 Confused…
Content marketing and content writing are not the same. Without “marketing,” it is just content.
If you are a good content writer that just wants to crank out great content in the form of blog posts or social media posts for the search engines that is great. But, it won’t be enough for you to generate the inbound marketing or brand awareness results you are trying to drive.
As the Content Marketing Institute is better at communicating content is not the same as Content Marketing. They argue this point for larger companies where the brand is an important consideration. However, for those of us building online businesses, our strategy needs to go beyond simply crushing words out and copywriting.
How does the process of the 2 differ?
Typical Content “Marketing” Process for Online Businesses
The typical process, which definitely works but is not optimal, is a very linear approach where the input to the content creation method is an almost random approach to keyword research.
Too often, the keyword strategy is not defined at the start in a structured way resulting in a random approach that cannibalizes keywords and leaves the site without a great structure. The focus on this process is typically around the copywriting with a good content writer and not on the marketing strategy.
This can and does work but leaves a lot of opportunity on the table.
Ideal Process for Advanced Content MARKETING of an Online Businesses
I firmly believe in the saying, “done is better than perfect,” and that is very true when growing a website. If the strategy below is too intense to be able to execute efficiently, then you are way better to execute the simpler strategy above, then do nothing!
Let’s break each of these steps down into a little more detail.
In the strategy stage, the key is to execute an iterative process that identifies…
● Identify possible content assets that can be created that go beyond words which will help the audience (infographic, video, tool/aid)
● Identify the marketing strategy, specifically the promotion and link building strategy. Most importantly, ensure the written content and other assets will support/enable the marketing strategy.
These 3 steps can’t happen in a linear process and are required to be an iterative process where an optimal link building opportunity might shift the focus of the target keyword to better capitalize on the opportunity.
An example of how this might change would be if you identify a target KW to go after but then as you are working through the promotion strategy you find a link building strategy that will perform well in the niche, but you need to shift the article to better capitalize on the link building strategy.
A high-quality brief leveraging advanced tools like MarketMuse, SurferSEO, and other Keyword Research tools are required. This brief will help ensure that the best content is created which will have the best chance possible of ranking for the target keywords.
In addition to the written words, additional assets can and should be created if the strategy calls for it. Video, infographics or simple tools can all play a significant role in the content marketing strategy.
This is the simplest step in the process, make all the assets that have been created published.
In an ideal world, the advanced strategy involved a topic cluster structure and the interlinking adheres to that strategy.
Execute Promotion Strategy:
The strategy for promoting is now congruent with the content that has been created. If it is a broken link building strategy, the content has been created to best mirror the content no longer available. If the purgatory link building strategy is used again, the content is created to maximize the chance of getting a link on outreach.
Content Marketing Case Study
Below is a case study as an illustration of how much of the principles above can be applied. In this case study we focus on content writing and promotion with less of a focus on social media or influencer marketing. The content writer here needed to have some specialized knowledge in the field to create a piece for the marketing campaign to resonate with the target audience.
Page 1 Rankings in under 90 days for our ideal target keyword with 12k monthly searches in a competitive niche
Spencer Haws, Kelley Van Boxmeer, and I launched MotionInvest in Q4 of 2019.
We wanted to not just rely on our audiences but lay the content strategy foundation for a 10yr+ business.
Because of this, a couple of content pieces were identified to be created. This case study summarizes the strategy and execution of one.
Below is the process we used to achieve the results shown above…
First – Strategy:
Keyword Identified – buying websites, website for sale online
Intent & Opportunity Identified – Although there is a lot of content online around this topic, there was limited content that was squarely focused on helping someone looking to buy a content-based website in the under 100k price range. Specifically, a complete resource to guide someone through the entire process including advanced due diligence.
We believe there are no articles that match a searcher’s intent of looking to educate themselves on the website buying process better then what we knew we were capable of creating (with the help of ContentRefined).
Content Asset Creation Plan
In addition to an epic guide helping people buy an online business, we identified 2 additional content assets which would help the user and play into the promotion strategy:
● Infographic of Website Buying and Selling Landscape – As the landscape in the online buying/selling world has gotten more complex, there was a need for a map of all the players in the industry to help educate someone new to the space who each of the players were and when it would make sense to work with them vs. alternatives.
● SOP for Due Diligence – All due diligence guides were focused on doing due diligence for larger businesses and therefore covered too many things (taxes, entity setup) and didn’t cover the specific requirements in enough detail (how to analyze backlinks). Therefore, we included in the article the complete SOP on executing due diligence.
● Tips from Industry Experts – An additional content asset we intended to include were tips from industry experts.
Promotion and Link Building Plan
The strategy that was decided upon focused on a 2 part link building and promotion plan…
● Skyscraper Technique – Simply create the most epic piece of content for the given searchers intent and reach out to people to get them to link to it
● “Ego Bait” – Since we are not competitive with almost all brokers (dealing with smaller sites then brokers touch), we have the opportunity to get their involvement in the post sharing their tip. Including their tip helps them with exposure, improves the quality of the article and is an opportunity for them to share
The outline and this entire strategy were created with the help of the team at ContentRefined leveraging the tools used there.
Between the MotionInvest SOPs, some content provided by the founders, and then the combination of everything into a monster guide, we believe the best BOOK on the topic of buying content websites for profit is the result!
The additional content assets of the infographic were created with a designer. I then executed the industry outreach.
Publishing such a long post is surprisingly challenging and time consuming!
In addition, we have a lot of pages that all rank for some related keywords, which is not ideal but as the site gets built out further it will all make sense to both the visitor and Google.
This is the part that is often left off and the difference maker between a content writer and a content marketing writer! Here was the basic promotion strategy that we have leveraged, including our own assets, to help push this piece of content to page 1.
● Skyscraper Technique – Based on the length and depth of what we created, people have been happy to link to us. The main outreach effort has only begun and the results already are promising with links such as this one from Matthew Woodward’s blog.
● “Ego Bait” – By including people in the post and then letting them know once it is live, it is in there interest to share with their audience if we are not competitive with them and the asset piece helps their audience while demonstrating they are an authority in the space. Such as links from Jean Aglea or Richard Patey.
Hopefully, this case study was insightful in how to approach content marketing more strategically.
If the next time you see a piece of content that is killing it for a competitive keyword, try and reverse engineer their strategy. It is highly unlikely that they stumbled into the keyword or how they promoted it. When you look at top posts under this lens (Strategy, Copywriting, Publish & Promote), on Google, online success becomes far less mysterious.
How Can You Execute:
If you have a site, think about what piece of content you could rank for that would disrupt your industry. What if you ranked on the first page for a would-be trajectory that could then change the outcome for your business?
Imagine what just one of these content surges can do for your business once per quarter or once per month!
Need Help Executing? A Complete Done for You Solution?
The process is underway to combine all parts of what is outlined above under one offering executed by ContentRefined. Early beta testers are already in and the team is building the waitlist now. You can signup here.
Find expiring/auction domains with a lot of links and are reasonably relevant to your site
Create an improved version of the pages that people were linking to (quickly – time matters with this strategy)
Outreach to get people to link to you instead of the almost expired and now useless page
How is this different from Broken Link Building? Broken link building is about finding a resource that a lot of people linked to that is no longer available. The difference is in timing and scale… when you do broken link building you are reaching out to people who have had that broken links on their site for a number of weeks/months etc… when we are reaching out to domains that are about to expire it may be the first time that they know about the asset they were linking to no longer being active. Often the expiring domain will be a landing page and never actually show up as broken. Plus, you can do this at scale for smaller resources resulting in a lot more opportunities. This is much more scalable with a lower level of overall effort since you don’t need to find a page in your space with 100’s of links to it.
How is this different from the SkyScraper Technique? With the skyscrapper technique you need to create a resource that is sooo much better than the page the website owner is currently linking to they are willing to either add your link or replace the link. This is a much tougher ask and not as scalable since you need to invest heavily in each piece of content. With purgatory link building you don’t need to create a 10x better piece of content.
How is this different from my 301 Building Block Strategy? The 301 building block strategy is related where you leverage a micro site of your content on an expired domain and then move that site to be a content cluster within a larger site leveraging the links to the expired domain to raise the authority of the entire larger site. The 301 building block strategy requires you to actually purchase the domain and create a small cluster of content on the topic. Purgatory link building strategy allows for a more efficient/scalable approach to achieving a similar result.
Step by Step Purgatory Link Building Process:
Part 1 – Find Expiring Domain:
In this step you are going to find a domain that has people linking to it, they may not yet know that the link on their site is useless since the domain they are linking to is in “purgatory” not yet expired but the page is no longer live.
We will identify a domain, the optimal page on that domain and the type of asset to create to then reach out to.
1-1 – Find Domains
In this stage we want to identify domains that have solid real links… the best way to do this is to filter on TrustFlow from Majestic and verify it has at least a little traffic. This shows it has quality links and likely not terribly abused from an SEO standpoint since it ranks in Google (meaning the links we are going to want to get are ones that are actually useful).
Pick the Topical Trust Flow Category if you want to ONLY look in your niche
One other filter to apply is to select “MarketPlace Domains” and then only select GoDaddy Auction
You will be using this filter a lot so be sure to save it!
Open up each of the domains that look like they might make sense for you first in MajesticSEO looking for a site that has “real” and “relevant” links to the URL. Looking at both the Ref Domains and Pages that links have been built to help show what site would make a good target.
We need real links to a decent resource.
Here is an example we will do real time… publishing the alternative page here for these 1,414 domains to link to instead here at the same time I publish this article.
In the pages tab we are looking for a page that can be created better then it was before which received several links and had a high Trust Flow. Often building a page to be an alternative to link to instead of the homepage is hard however many sub-pages will be a lot easier to build a similar page to. In this case we are targeting people who linked to the homepage and now need an alternative.
Now we have an idea of a page or an article that could replace the homepage to recreate on a reasonably relevant site.
1-2 Verify the Content in Archive.org is Recreatable
The next step is to check to see if we can recreate content that is superior to the expiring content.
If we were to execute this example we would need to re-write and add some additional value add that would have people taking the time to link to it.
Checking in Archive.org to see that the page can be re-written/created anew…
Note – Archive.org and TheWaybackMachine are often down or not working and here are some alternatives.
1-3 Build Outreach List using MajesticSEO and ahrefs.com
This step is about preparing for the link building outreach plan.
Using MajesticSEO and ahrefs build as complete a list of everyone who links to that page…
Creating “just” an article may not be enough. The goal isn’t to just match the quality of the content but to top it to provide the extra incentive for the site owner to replace the useless link with your own.
Certainly matching the article quality is important. Doing a little bonus keyword research at this stage so that the article is being created to both be a suitable link alternative but then have a reasonable shot at ranking for a keyword that matters in terms of organic traffic.
The link juice makes this strategy often worth it on its own but if you can find an angle that will move the needle for traffic that is even better!
Make sure you are using strong internal linking strategies from these pages to the pages that matter most for your site so that you can pass the link juice along to the pages that really matter.
If you can get a decent infographic created in a matter of hours for $5 (via Fiverr) with the research already done (share the archive.org link for the data) then it is a great means of getting some additional link love!
If there is a simple video that can be created that will also fulfill the searchers query that might be enough to reach out and share.
Tool / Aid:
If the opportunity is large enough there could be a simple template or tool that would make the effort to swap out the link worthwhile.
Publish the content and be ready for the next step.
If you want to build a really robust outreach machine then have a look at this B2B Lead Generation article!
However, for this relatively efficient outreach system focused around linkbuilding than the outreach tool from SEMRush fits the bill.
Monitor and follow up if needed
To see a detailed post on how to do cold outreach for link building checkout this guide.
More on this Content Marketing Strategy…
This is just one of several strategies we have been developing and scaling within the ContentRefined.com team to be able to REALLY push a site!
Fun Story About the Inspiration for This Strategy – I am a Terrible Loser!
I was buying some expired domains with traffic and lost one I REALLY wanted… being a terrible loser I decided to quickly create some superior quality content then what the site had and “steal” the links going to the domain that I just got outbid on. Yes, I am a petty and a terrible loser! But now hopefully you can be too!
Later talking with the ContentRefined team we decided that this wasn’t just something to execute on a one-off basis but to scale and hence the reason for this post existing.
Very interested in hearing your thoughts on this strategy and more importantly the results you are able to achieve with it!
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