Every day an “expert” declares email marketing dead, and a quick search of “email is dead” (in quotes) in Google shows that there are over 200,000 articles written to that effect.
Is email marketing really dead?
Let’s take a look at some quick stats:
- As of 2013, there were around 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide and this is estimated to reach 4.9 billion email accounts by 2017
- 95% of online consumers use email
- 91% of consumers check their email once a day
- The average return for every $1 spent on email marketing is $44.25
- Email has been proven to be 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter
- 90% of people prefer to receive updates via email compared to Facebook or other social media
- Email conversion rate has been proven to beat search and social combined, with email converting at 3.19% and search and social converting at 1.95% and 0.71% respectively
You see, there’s a lot more statistics that show the effectiveness of email marketing and you can find them here and here (all the above statistics came from those two links).
While there’s a lot to getting results from email marketing, it all starts with having a database of subscribers who have given you express permission to send them information. For most businesses, this is the difficult part.
However, there’s been a lot of innovation and significant changes on the internet today that makes it extremely easy to build your email list; I’ll be sharing some very powerful methods for putting your list building on steroids, including a newly discovered technique that now sends me over 1,000 extra subscribers a month.
1. Welcome Mats
The concept of Welcome Mats is still very recent and it’s something very few website owners are utilizing, but it has massive potential to boost your email subscriber count.
You’ve probably visited one of your favorite blogs to see something like this:
Image Source: GoinsWriter.com
What you see in the above screenshot is a “Welcome Mat”; I took the above screenshot from Jeff Goin’s blog, and that particular form instantly slides in and takes over your screen upon your first visit to his blog.
When I first saw Welcome Mats being used on Jeff Goin’s blog, as well as some other blogs I read, I thought it was a brilliant idea and decided to give it a shot; I was blown away with the results.
I’ve been using a Welcome Mat on my blog for around a month now and I’ve seen conversion rates range from 4 – 8%; for a form that shows on every single page of my blog, this is VERY impressive.
Implementing a Welcome Mat alone on my blog has been responsible for over 1,000 EXTRA email subscribers in less than one month, sending as much as 93 subscribers in a single day. Below is a screenshot of my Welcome Mat dashboard that shows how many subscribers I get from it daily:
How to Implement Welcome Mats on Your Blog
Implementing Welcome Mats is very simple; it only took me a few steps, and less than 10 minutes to have everything set up.
Here are the steps:
Step 1. Decide on what you want to offer as an incentive; this could be your regular signup incentive or something special to boost conversions.
Step 2. Install the SumoMe app; if you haven’t already, go to Sumome.com and install the SumoMe app on your blog.
Step 3. Once you’ve installed the SumoMe app, go to the Sumo Store and install the “Welcome Mat” addon.
Step 4. Open your newly installed Welcome Mat addon, configure the settings and set it to active (it’s paused by default)
Step 5. Watch and see your subscriptions skyrocket.
2. Content Upgrades
You’ve probably heard about content upgrades before, as it’s one of the trending methods for building a subscriber list fast. Tim Soulo wrote an article here about content upgrades earlier this year, as well as Devesh Khanal, and those two articles are way more comprehensive and practical than anything I can explain here, so be sure to read them first.
Image Source: EffectiveBusinessIdeas.com
I started using content upgrades early this year, and I was instantly amazed when my first attempt at using content upgrades resulted in 700 extra subscribers in the first month. It has since resulted in several thousands of subscribers, and I have a few tips for helping you maximize the results you get from content upgrades:
- Make sure your content upgrade is extremely relevant to your content; the idea behind content upgrades is to make people “upgrade” to a more advanced version of the article they just read, by giving you their email address. Offering the same bonus across all your articles, even if done in “content upgrade-style” is not necessarily a content upgrade, and it can impact the number and quality of leads you will get.
- Try to offer something simple; the key to the success of content upgrades lies in being able to implement them widely on your blog, especially on key pages and posts, so offering a 200 page guide most likely won’t work. Furthermore, people are inundated with information today, so much so that they crave something short and practical, so you should give them that.
- Examples of something simple and practical that I have seen massive conversions with are; lists of resources (your favorite tools, sites, apps, etc.), checklists and worksheets, or even apps you specially made for readers of your article to implement your suggestions.
3. Content Upgrades in Guest Posts
I wrote my first guest post for JeffBullas.com a few months back and I was blown away with the result I got; I got over 300 subscribers within 2 weeks of my guest post going live, and my first guest post here has easily sent me over 600 subscribers since it went live. This is a massive ROI for the effort it took to produce that guest post, and it’s despite the fact that many people say guest blogging is dead.
The key behind the massive conversion success of my first guest post here, that I’ve replicated since on other blogs, is that I offered a content upgrade right inside the guest post; my first guest post featured a list of 20 websites that pay $100 or more per article, and my content upgrade gave readers of my article even more; I wrote a case study about it in this article on Digital Current.
Bryan Harris likes to call this an expanded guest post, and he reportedly gets over 500 subscribers every time he writes this kind of guest post.
If you’re getting little to no results from guest blogging, offering content upgrades inside your guest posts will most certainly boost your conversions from every single post you write.
With the right amount of traffic, and if you do things right, implementing the above techniques will generate thousands of extra subscribers for you every single month. Take charge of your email marketing today and start implementing them.
Guest Author: Bamidele Onibalusi is an entrepreneur, marketer and blogger. He blogs at Effective Business Ideas, and be sure to follow him on Twitter @youngprepro
While Twitter’s growth is said to be in decline, the 140-character social network is still a valuable asset for your business.
Because it’s almost 1 billion users still have significant influence over your customers and an ability to amplify the reach of your content.
Maybe you feel intimidated by Twitter or don’t see value in it for your company. Perhaps your ROI is hard to track and you prefer to rock out on Pinterest.
But this doesn’t mean you should ignore the blue bird and disregard having a Twitter account altogether.
1. It works for viral promotions and special offers
Imagine you’re launching a new add-on service, or you’ve got some hot seasonal discounts to promote. Twitter is the place to be when it comes to launching viral campaigns.
Here’s a recent case study to illustrate the concept. Virgin America decided to do a Twitter announcement about their selected flights now equipped with Netflix. A single Tweet placed them on top of the trending news section and right in the middle of that week’s conversation according to word cloud. It also resulted in landing extensive press coverage and getting a 96% positive sentiment from the audience.
How can you do it?
Spice up your Tweets with full-featured images (440 x 220 px).
Tweets with visuals receive 150% more retweets, 18% more clicks and 89% more favorites.
Turn your promo codes, announcements and calls-to-action into appealing, inspiring, and fabulous graphics that could be later repurposed for other social media networks like Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.
Also, make sure to Tweet at the optimal times when most of your audience is online.
In the U.S. the peak hours are 8-9 am for Pacific Time Zone, 12-1 pm Central, Mountain Time and Eastern Time according to Buffer.
However, according to the same study if you’d like to maximize the amount of clicks per tweet, you should schedule them between 2:00 and 3:00a.m.
According to Dan Zarella, the following types of tweets get the most re-tweets:
- Tweets with links
- Tweets that are between 100 and 115 characters long
- Tweets containing news and trendy content
To get even higher engagement rates, use a set of words that trigger activity from your followers. Including: “free”, “how-to”, “help”, “you”, “please”, “social” and “great” among others.
2. It’s great for customer support
Long gone are the days when people just ring up a company to complain. Now users prefer to get social and publicly reach out or bash companies on social media.
If you are not on Twitter, you may have no idea of how your reputation is screwed or praised by the community.
Use Twitter to offer effective, timely support to your users.
Here are just a few key benefits:
- Timing is crucial for modern users. They want to get help here and now. That’s where Twitter becomes essential, as your customer reps don’t need to dig through contact information data and can shoot immediate replies with links to FAQs or a respective help information section.
- You can increase your brand visibility with the use of special hashtags, re-tweets and mentions by your customers. Your brand will get organic promotion and also appear more approachable and human.
- Building new leads. Here’s the trick. If you start offering customer support to those users who are not your clients yet, they are likely to become them. Set up alerts for search terms with the most relevant words to your industry. Answer the questions that pop up on Twitter now and then. When you just help people out, a lot of them naturally check out what you are doing and become potential prospects.
Here are some of the companies who nailed the concept of Twitter customer support to give you a better idea of how you should do it.
3. It helps build relationships with influencers
You’d like your business to be acknowledged by the industry experts, right? Most probably you have even reached out to some of them via email or Facebook and got some luck. Or not.
Twitter can be an excellent medium to start building relationships with industry thought leaders. Start engaging with them by curating their content, mentioning them, asking relevant questions or answer their queries. Get them to know you and identify you as “a lovely helpful chap” from Twitter, rather than a stranger asking for something out of the blue.
If you create a connection through Twitter, next time you reach out to them with a quick favor, the chances are you’ll receive a positive outcome.
4. It can expand your customer base (with Twitter chats)
In simple words, a Twitter chat is an online meetup scheduled for a predetermined time, where users discuss and track replies on a certain topic using a dedicated hashtag.
Hosts or moderators usually pitch those questions (marked as Q1, Q2…) and re-tweet, answer and prompt responses from participants (using A1, A2…). Usually, a Twitter chat lasts about an hour.
Why should you participate?
Twitter chats are a great way to expand your professional network and learn a few more things about the subject as well.
By actively participating in the conversation and exchanging thoughts with other tweeters, you leverage your authority and credibility. On top, you get plenty of ideas and tips for your content, as you now know what interests your target audience.
Check out Chat Salad or Twubs Twitter Chart to find the latest chat schedules for different industries.
Next step – host a Twitter chat yourself! You may need to get some training first and wait till your followers base grows to reach the best results, but the reach of Twitter chats can not be underestimated.
5. It enables you to curate user-generated content
Twitter is the ideal medium for content curation. In fact, it’s essential to curate content if you’d like to keep your fan base active and engaged at all times. Or produce tons of personal content on a daily basis that is mission impossible for most businesses.
According to U.S News, 85 percent of followers feel more connected with businesses after following them. And 72 percent of followers are more likely to buy something from a business they follow.
Most people feel flattered when a brand acknowledges them and shares their content.
So, how can you interact with your audience on Twitter?
a. Create a custom business hashtag (or a few).
First of all, custom hashtags help you expand your long-term reach and track it accordingly. You can use them to analyze the success of the Twitter campaign after it’s over.
You need to have custom hashtags for promo campaigns; events you organize (online and offline) to help people track, connect and spread the word easier.
Hashtags also strengthen your SEO, especially when used consistently over different social media platforms as they tell the search engine what accounts are connected.
- Re-tweet users who mention your brand
Let them feel acknowledged. Also, always shoot a quick “thanks” message when they share your content or a brief reply to their mention.
b. Run a creative competition
Offer special discounts or promo codes to users who Tweet with your products. Or use the #LuckyTweet to run competitions when each tweet with your brand @mention and special hashtag enters the draw to win.
Another effective idea is to run a Q&A session with a dedicated hashtag. Imply that the answers need to be as creative as possible and the winner will be chosen by the organizers and rewarded with a great prize.
Here’s a few more amazing ideas that work for Twitter competitions.
So what do you think of Twitter now? Is it a Yay or Nay for your business? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Guest Author: Carmelo is marketing writer and blogger helping small and medium business to craft winning content strategies. She’s always scouting the web for new social media strategies and is slightly addicted to apps. When not tapping the keyboard, you are likely to find her in the park playing with her uncontrollably friendly Irish setter.
In the realm of writing, one could easily confirm that blogging is more of a science than an art. Great content is key to any great blog, but if that’s the only thing you have to offer, then your blog isn’t likely to go anywhere.
There is a world of information about algorithms, lead optimization, SEO and keyword searches, and more, all designed to get your content seen by a massive audience. But beyond those big things, there are some little details, that, when ignored, have the power to ruin a potentially successful blog.
Here is a list of seven blog killers to avoid:
1. Writing text-only posts
Very few people will remain loyal to text-only blogs. You have to give them visual cues. Photos, graphics and videos all help to reinforce and clarify the content. Without them, your readers may become bored or frustrated.
Imagine a recipe blog that never shows a photo of the food. Or instructions on how to dismantle the engine of a Harley Davidson that never displays graphics of the parts and how they work. Or a travel blog that never gives a reader a photo of the incredible secluded beach you discovered.
Text is important, but it’s just a part of the blog post. A blog is not a book. It’s more akin to a website, magazine or newspaper, and all of those mediums use images.
2. Not having a consistent publishing schedule
Creating a loyal readership is hard work. And one of the keys is being consistent. If you publish your blog weekly, not everyone will read it asap. But your readers will expect it to be there when they look for it.
Set a realistic schedule for publishing new posts and stick to it. Daily, weekly or monthly are the most popular choices. Imagine if your favorite magazine just didn’t come out one month.
Imagine if this happened more than a few times. Would you go to the trouble to keep checking up on them to see if they’d finally published or would you give up and choose another magazine that was more consistent? Your readers can let you down, but you can’t do the same to them.
3. Not using social media to promote your blog
Social media makes the world go round. If you don’t use it, you are losing countless readers, clients, and money. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and more are all ways you can promote your blog’s content. If you’re not sharing on your accounts, you should be. If you don’t have buttons that allow readers to easily share your posts on social media, add them.
These features vastly widen your circle of readers. Rather than staying within the small circle of friends, family and people who randomly came across your blog via a web search, social media allows your posts to reach beyond your immediate acquaintances.
4. Failing to focus on headlines
Professional bloggers have got one major point in their favor that goes beyond social media sharing and lead generation. They know how to write a good headline. A Google search on how to write a great headline brings many pages of advice.
It’s a hot topic and one you should be paying attention to. Headlines are like a first impression – they either entice the reader to click and find out more, or make them say “eh” and move onto the next offer.
Headlines are your blog’s pitch. They’re the modern version of the kid standing on the corner yelling out the day’s headlines to get people to buy a newspaper.
You want your your headlines to be catchy, edgy, intriguing, informative, entertaining and any combination of the above. Be brief, be bold, and be committed to writing great headlines.
5. Long paragraphs
Long paragraphs are the worst. Don’t expect readers to scroll infinitely down your rambling paragraphs with their eyes glued to the screen. It ain’t gonna happen.
Instead, what will happen is that they’ll lose interest and abandon your blog, maybe for good (i.e. “Oh, no, not that guy who writes the long paragraphs again.”) Short paragraphs and white space are the key to maintaining your reader’s attention.
The idea isn’t to make them work to find information, but to lay it out for them in bite-sized doses. Use bullet points or numbered lists when you can. Cue them into a new idea with a bold-faced subheading.
In today’s information overloaded world where a quick Google search brings a universe of information to your screen, brevity is king.
6. Trying to promote yourself instead of your ideas
Unless you’re famous and people might actually be interested in reading about you, don’t write about yourself. People are reading your blog because they’re looking for either entertainment or information. And unfortunately, a personal diary that’s masquerading as a blog isn’t going to provide them with either.
Even personal blogs such as a blog about your travels or a blog about your cooking experiments has to include relevant information about the places you visited or the food you made. Otherwise, why are you even sharing it? Think about the purpose of your blog.
What do you want people to get from it? What would you expect when reading a blog on this topic?
7. Not thinking long-term when choosing a name
A lot of bloggers start their blog with short-term vision in mind. They may have a few posts percolating in the back of their head and they choose a title to match their current situation, not their future goals.
If you start out writing a blog about American recipes, and call your blog something like American Cooking for the Modern Woman, but after a while decide to travel and take on recipes from around the world, you’ve got yourself into a pickle.
You do want your blog title to reflect what you’re writing about. But you don’t want it to limit your options or future endeavors. Switching names after you’ve got a steady following is risky business and you run the risk of losing the momentum you worked so hard to gain. Think about the long-term possibilities before choosing your name.
Hopefully, you will avoid those common mistakes and will craft killer blog posts with eye-catching headlines that fascinate your target audience. Make your writing simple and to the point – don’t forget that you write for your readers. Interact with them and be social. Good luck!
Guest Author: Janice Kersh is a passionate blogger and experienced content creator who works at writing service EssayWriter Pro. She always seeks for actionable writing tips and interesting blogging tricks. Janice is ready to help everyone who needs writing help or advice regarding their content, just follow her on Twitter.
I’m a millennial. One of those generation Y types, ya know?
To be completely honest with you, it’s something about which I’m fairly excited. While the aforementioned might be a rather damning admission in some professional circles, in my line of work – and yours, if you frequent this blog – this can openly be considered a true point of pride.
The communicative field of content marketing is currently thriving because of the very principles millennials hold near and dear.
Sure, we’re not the most disciplined or organized of the human race, but what we lack in hard responsibility and respect, we make up for in confidence and dual collaboration – this is where content marketing magic comes into play.
Truthfully, though shades of content marketing have been around for quite some time, the reasons for which content marketing now trounces traditional marketing are heavily linked to the millennial movement and mindset.
Coming to better understand millennials
With all this talk of millennial values floating around on the Internet, it’s often assumed that everyone already knows what they’re about, what they stand for, what makes them tick and what motivates them.
Seeing as how millennials are only an estimated 5 years away from making up over 50 percent of America’s workforce, it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time on this and not just assume something that might be more fiction than fact.
And no, I’m not referring to any of those random, idiosyncratic statistics about student debt, religious affiliations and credit history; the things that content marketers have used to make their craft of choice resonate with America’s most loathsome demographic.
Simply put, there’s more here than meets the eye.
Here’s a hint:
Image Source: Fusion 360
That said, before getting too far ahead of ourselves with all of this, let’s make certain we’re working with the same definition. According to the Pew Research Center, “For the purposes of following a cleanly defined group, millennials are defined as those aged 18 to 34 in 2015.”
Ages are nice, but as far as you’re concerned, the real driving force behind Millennial consumerism is what it’s worth.
Obviously, this isn’t an all-encompassing list, but more often than not, the largest, most educated generation in Western history finds meaningful direction in the following items:
But wait, where’s all the negative stuff, right? Yes, laziness, entitlement, self-absorption and domineering narcissism often rear their ugly heads, but it’s best to focus on the positive with this group.
After all, you’re a content marketer, and as you’ll soon see, a great deal of your industry’s success comes from what millennials believe in.
Don’t poke the beast.
The hard specifics of content marketing
As a practice, content marketing is shrouded in mystery. Think about it – just as few are the people who could actually give you the technical age range for millennials, so too could hardly anybody provide you more than a solid guess as to what content marketing both is and accomplishes.
Add buzz phrases like “brand journalism,” “search engine optimization” and “growth hacking” to the mix and you’ve got a world of confusion and glittering generalities on your hands.
Content marketing, as defined by the aptly-named Content Marketing Institute, “…is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Great. We already know this. Nothing too jaw-dropping.
But what you might not have originally taken into consideration is how closely millennial preferences match up with what content marketing is all about.
1. Interruption has been replaced with listening
How? Well, for starters, at its core, content marketing is innately progressive in its drive to distance itself from traditional advertising.
In the past, advertising has always been about interruption. Honestly, apart from the Super Bowl, when was the last time you wholeheartedly welcomed a television commercial? Exactly.
Content marketing couldn’t be more different. In fact, as opposed to interruption, content marketing focuses on listening. Millennial voices want to be heard. They want to be understood.
That compassion of which was previously made mention? This is part of that.
Few are the young people who chose $30,000 of debt straight out of college, opted to enter a difficult job market or decided that it would be best to still not have a credit card.
All this while many parents, professors and employers provide little in the ways of real, concrete advice; instead, preferring to site slothfulness and preemptive privilege as their situations’ main culprits.
Look, I’m not throwing the world’s first millennial pity party, but with all of this in mind, there’s a better way for digital marketers to approach millennials. Remember the old adage that goes something along the lines of, “Out with the old, in with the new”?
In short, this is content marketing.
Though baby boomers and old-timers sometimes fail to listen, content marketers have seen a chance to improve their worth.
Presenting a well-defined purpose, answering difficult questions in real-time and providing digital content that will interest, intrigue and inspire youthful consumers is all part of the greater listening process.
Vans, for example, does a great job of honing in on their millennial target demographic. In the company’s 49 years of existence, it’s learned how to listen to what its clients really want.
Image Source: Search Engine Journal
Speaking of Vans, says Christopher Ratcliff, Methods Unsound’s Head Editor, “Vans does an excellent job in tapping into its own cultural heritage and providing a social experience that is in turn aspirational, inspirational and nostalgic.”
Furthermore, with respect to social media, Vans provides “a mutually beneficial exchange, the brand defines the community and the community defines the brand.”
From Apple and Gatorade to MTV and Pom Wonderful, numerous are the mega brands that have chosen to wholeheartedly embrace content marketing and the way it appeals to millennials.
2. Distracted minds find comfort in visual media
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to many – millennials, along with countless others, love visuals. We’ve all read that statistic about how goldfish have longer attention spans than human beings.
By chance, if you haven’t, this is no joke. In just over a decade, the average human attention span managed to plummet from 12 seconds to only 8.
Currently, goldfish are holding strong at nine seconds.
Understandably, in a world filled with smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal desktop computers with enough power to send a man to Mars, this is bound to be the case. Basically, this is the world millennials have grown up in.
For this reason, those of generation Y love technology. With what the generation has always had at its disposal, it’s simply more practical.
Reportedly, this makes perfect sense, seeing as how 76% of them use their smartphones for multiple hours a day, and 90% of them are active on at least one social media network.
Newspapers and magazines used to give people the media kicks they craved, but millennials now demand to be reached in a unique, more adventurous way.
Even what we’ve come to recognize as the pioneering platforms of social media – namely Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest – are giving way to new channels like Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat.
Heck, a simple email is considered monotonous if it’s not packed with visual stimulants like BuzzFeed-esque GIFs and memes.
Image Source: @mikewohlwend
This isn’t groundbreaking stuff, though. I get that digital marketing trends come and go, but visuals – especially video – are unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.
In just over a year, actually, the amount of shared Facebook video from both generic users and commercial brands increased by 3.6 times. Breaking things down even further, per Facebook user, that’s 75 percent more video posts in just one year’s time.
Likewise, with Twitter, as relayed by Jesse Mawhinney of HubSpot, “Tweets with images receive 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites and,” shockingly, “150 percent more retweets.”
Image Source: HubSpot
So, if you’re competing to win the already dwindling attention spans of millennials, you better have a photo, graphic or video to help your cause.
Otherwise, they’ll just go back to their handheld devices and forget you and your company ever existed.
3. Personal customization is of the utmost importance
I hate to say it, but millennials want to be in control of something every now and again. Parents may disagree that there’s a real need for this, but it’s true. Imagine if you yourself were at the heart of an ongoing dialogue that branded you a lazy, narcissistic, apathetic couch potato.
Wouldn’t be too appealing, now would it?
Instead of sitting back and just taking repeated metaphoric blows of character, millennials have developed a stranglehold on the digital content they consume, whether it comes from a blog, social outlet or website. In reality, it’s unlikely they will relinquish it any time soon.
Praising millennial media consumerism out on the World Wide Web, says Nick Blunden, global managing director of The Economist, in an interview with AdWeek,“There is this incredibly powerful influencer generation.”
Sounds promising, huh?
“And if you engage with them in the right way, and you create content for them but you accept that they’re going to want to customize, curate and remix that content and make it their own and pass it on, then that’s a really interesting opportunity.”
Quite the adventurous group, if you ask me. But Blunden doesn’t stop there.
He goes on to call the most influential sector of millennials “Gen-Narrators” due to their insistence that they be in charge of the content that’s coming their way. Blunden’s two other groups are known as “Followers” and “Amplifiers.”
The chart below clarifies what these millennial subsets are all about and what content marketers need to know about them when building targeting strategies:
Image Source: AdWeek
By providing millennials with the necessary content to build, maintain and grow their own personal brands, your company’s content marketing can be more effective than ever. Seriously, sometimes it’s best to take a backseat to things and let them take care of themselves.
I’m aware of the fact that more than a few elderly, wiser readers have either stopped reading this post or spent the entirety of this piece subtly rolling their eyes. Whatever the case, the principle of the matter remains the same: millennials and content marketing go together rather well.
Whether you’re an older, more conventional marketer with decades of experience or are just now getting your start in the product and service pushing trade, be sure to construct any and all content marketing strategies in a way that appeals to your audience.
Think of them and what they want. Get beyond the clichés and mind-numbing stereotypes. It seems simple enough, but rarely takes place.
Needless to say, when millennials are involved, this shouldn’t be too pressing of an issue. Fortunately, while certainly a flawed group, they are the future. And, from where I’m sitting, the future is most assuredly a bright one.
Now it’s your turn: what do you think about the above assertion – Is content marketing really the perfect approach for sharing a brand’s message with millennials? Hop on down to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the subject.
Guest Author: Lucas Miller is the Founder of Echelon PR. When not writing, editing or running, he’s working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the “World’s Greatest Pompadour.” Additionally, for what it’s worth, his editorial works have been featured on Social Media Today, Business2Community, Ragan’s PR Daily, Spin Sucks and many other top-tier PR publications.
When it comes to advertising on Facebook, small business owners may find themselves at a bit of an impasse.
Given the 123% increase in Facebook per ad costs last year alone, coupled with the 25% decrease in ad impressions, it’s harder than ever for smaller brands to reach out in an increasingly saturated (and expensive) market.
Since we here at BeFunky pride ourselves on being a small business, we decided to do a little research to come up with solutions to this pesky problem.
We came up with two solutions. The first? Launch a contest geared towards small business owners called Design Your Dream, in which businesses are invited to design their own business cards using our graphic Designer Toolset. The winner gets a fabulous public relations prize package designed to take their business to the next level, so we’re pretty happy with Solution #1.
Solution #2, however, was a bit trickier, but we think we’ve done it justice.
Here’s the official BeFunky list of 5 new and creative ways brands can reach out beyond traditional Facebook advertising.
1. If you’re looking to connect with your ideal target audience… then try Reddit!
The most popular online forum since the dawn of the internet, Reddit is a place in which registered community members can go to debate everything from Game of Thrones fan theories to the best way to cook an omelette. While Reddit is traditionally viewed as a news and social media juggernaut – with an estimated 17 million users monthly – advertising options for small businesses are surprisingly cost friendly, with brands being able to buy in for as little as $5.
By utilizing the many specialized communities within Reddit – known as “subreddits” – small businesses can leverage Reddit’s massive fan base to connect with their ideal target audiences in unique, innovative new ways. The office furniture maker Haworth, for instance, chose to advertise on Reddit by creating a thread titled, “If you care about your gaming, you should care about your chair”.
With over 400 responses generated, the thread not only helped Haworth find and connect with their ideal audience, but it also gave them valuable feedback about their products, too.
Traditional ads on Reddit are also substantially lower than other ad platforms: with all Reddit ads at $0.75 CPM, advertising on Reddit is a fraction of the cost compared to platforms like Facebook, which usually runs at $1.25 CPM.
2. If you’re looking for more brand exposure… then try Product Hunt!
Product Hunt operates under a simple premise: a website for savvy shoppers and product enthusiasts alike, it provides an online community in which people can get together to “geek out” over the next big thing. Members of the community can then upvote new products they like daily in a fashion similar to Reddit, with the product with the most votes then experiencing a “Product Hunt Boost”.
Since the community is so large (with over a quarter of a million registered members and counting), a feature on Product Hunt can do wonders for increasing your brand awareness and reach. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for more brand exposure as products that rank well can expect to see a huge increase in visitors to their site, with some brands reporting up to 10,000 website hits in just a 24 hour period after a feature.
While Product Hunt is great for certain types of products – especially for the tech, gaming, and publishing communities – membership is invite-only, so prospective brands looking to advertise are advised to engage in the community before submitting their products to the site.
3. If you’re looking for increased engagement …then try Pinterest’s Promoted Pins!
The market research firm Yankelovich estimates that a person living in the city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day—compared to a staggering 5,000 today. Having to sort through such a large amount of information on a daily basis can lead consumers to experience ad fatigue, making it near impossible for small businesses to stand out. The solution?
Create stunning, visually appealing content. With 86% of B2B marketers focused on creating visually compelling content now or within the next 12 months, it stands to reason that the rise of visual content is certainly a trend worth capitalizing on.
But how can small businesses take advantage of this trend to help boost their brand engagement? By using Pinterest’s Promoted Pins, of course. With a stunning 42% of all women online having used the platform, Pinterest’s Promoted Pins are just like regular pins, only you pay to have them seen by more people. Small businesses can make their own visually arresting pins with programs like the BeFunky Designer, which offers users a series of pre-made templates from which to work with.
Promoted pins not only offer brands the chance to stand out in an increasingly saturated ad market, but they’re also “evergreen”. Since the pins are seamlessly integrated within the user’s native experience, they’re not viewed as intrusive, which means that all you have to pay for is the initial boost on your pin. After that, all the natural engagement you drive is free and continues to generate impressions, resulting in more traffic and increased brand awareness.
4. If you’re looking for more site traffic …then try StumbleUpon!
A popular content discovery tool that suggests tailored content based on users’ interests, StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery feature is a surprisingly useful advertising tool for small businesses looking to get the most bang out of their buck. The Paid Discovery tool essentially operates like a PPC ad, with brands only paying when someone actually visits the site. It’s especially handy for brands looking to boost their site traffic because it allows brands to showcase their content without users ever having to leave the site: you’re simply paying to have your own native content served up to users more frequently.
Apart from saving brands the hassle of having to create eye-grabbing copy, the Paid Discovery tool’s real power lies in its “evergreen” quality: much like Pinterest, you only have to pay the initial PPC. Since StumbleUpon’s model is based on votes from users (thumbs up), the more users stumble on the content, the more likely it is to become discovered organically, potentially turning your content into a virtually unlimited free traffic stream. It’s a lesser known tool that, when correctly utilized, can generate astonishing results including a whopping 60,000+ visitors for a mere $0.2 cents per visitor over the course of a year.
(Source: Stefan Maescher)
5. If you’re looking for a strong call to action …then try Snapchat!
Since it’s debut as a video sharing platform back in 2011, Snapchat’s evolved quite a bit. With new, dynamic features like the popular discover tool rolled out earlier this year, Snapchat provides a great platform for enterprising brands to connect with their users like never before. As Social Media Examiner puts it;
“The limited lifespan makes Snapchat the perfect tool to deliver a call to action that creates excitement and a sense of urgency.”
This is great news for small businesses on a budget since it provides them with a multitude of new, creative solutions by which they can leverage their products. Brands can utilize the tool to offer users “sneak peeks” into new and upcoming products, for instance, or even use it to offer limited time exclusive promotional coupons. These techniques not only incentivize users to take action, but reward them for doing so as well, increasing the likelihood of repeat customers in the process.
While big brands will inevitably continue to wage the war against Facebook’s ever-changing advertising algorithms, there are still plenty of great, viable alternatives to Facebook ads that don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Small businesses can take advantage of these creative solutions to accomplish everything from increasing sales to boosting site traffic and beyond, proving that sometimes being the underdog is, in fact, a good thing after all.
And if you’re a small business looking to grow your brand in a big way, check out the BeFunky Design Your Dream contest to get the opportunity of a lifetime.
Author: Janelle Albukhari is a master content creator, social media guru and freelance travel writer all rolled up in one and currently works as the Content Marketing Manager for BeFunky.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by BeFunky
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