The Terminator movie “Rise of the Machines” is science fiction, HAL in “Space Odyssey 2001 was futuristic and Iron Man is fantasy.
Well…..that is until technology makes them a reality.
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Arthur C. Clarke, the futurist and science fiction writer was famous for this line. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
And in marketing this is happening right now. There is no escaping the fact that the rise of the digital marketing machine is now a reality. We are seeing the rise of the machines as they assist us in growing our business as extensions of our minds and amplification of our efforts.
The tactics and tools to make it happen have arrived and are continuing to evolve.
It started with a tweet
When I started my blog in 2009 the tasks were all manual. I also had zero traffic, only 30 followers on Twitter, Google didn’t know I existed and there was no email list. Sound familiar. That is where most of us start.
But I was still excited. Social media had given me a glimpse of reaching the world. One tweet at a time. I started simple. Here is my first tweet on the 17th of December, 2008.
I then discovered that if I sent out a tweet with a link to my small Twitter gang that it would bring a couple of website hits. Growing traffic sometimes means that you need to just grind it out.
The next insight was the law of reciprocation.
Following ten people meant that a few would follow me back. So….more followers meant more traffic. This applied to almost any social network.
The other observation that I stumbled upon was that more tweets meant more traffic.
So it was game on. The equation was simple at first. More followers and more frequent tweeting meant more traffic. The race to 100,000 followers was the next goal.
It was also the start of my first marketing automation tactic. I discovered a tool that allowed me to send recurring tweets. So I loaded the machine with evergreen content and sent it out to my growing tribe while I was sleeping .
The social media purists were enraged that automation was now being used for marketing on the social web. I had many tweets sent to me denouncing me for this tactic. Despite the outcry I continued to use this simple automation.
Over the next few years the focus was on growing my social media distribution as fast as possible. But in 2012 Facebook changed the game. They reduced the networks organic reach. To reach your audience on Mark Zuckerberg’s network that you had grown organically you now had to pay.
It was also the start of the decline of organic traffic from other social networks. It doesn’t mean that social media doesn’t bring free organic traffic anymore but the big gains are now harder to get.
But this shift now meant that the focus had to change to some other key digital marketing tactics. Optimizing for search engines and building an email list.
Auto-pilot: Fact or Fiction
Despite the dream of build, launch, set and forget, the reality is much different.
There are a few things playing:
- The pace of change of the digital landscape is constantly changing
- People’s resistance to marketing messages continues to build. And banner blindness and receptivity to marketing messages, videos and images bombardment is rising.
- Conversion rates continue to fall as old tactics lose their power.
- Optimisation is a journey of constant measuring, testing and tweaking.
So it doesn’t mean a hands off auto-pilot and……..automated marketing isn’t set and forget.
But it does mean invoking HAL and getting the robots to do the boring stuff. Also it is not just one machine but multiple engines that are interlocked and need some planning, building and managing.
The cogs in the machine
The first cog is your website.
It starts with you designing and building your website for the social web and surround it with tools and technology that search engines and social networks love.
The second cog is content.
The next piece of the puzzle is the content. Creating and publishing it is just the start. Marketing it to the world is the next step. Ensure your content is easy to share when they show up and is pushed out after the publishing button has been punched.
The final cog? Focused digital marketing of your products and services.
Making sure that the products that sit at the epicenter of your website are tempting people enough to hand over their name, email and maybe even their phone number. Then taking them on the buyer’s journey.
Here is some of the tactics, technology and the tools to make this happen for your startup, blog or business.
Pillar One: Marketing your site
The agony over websites often comes down to colors. Green, red or blue? The arguments over the shades of grey are a distraction to the main game.
But it’s not how it looks but how it works.
The website marketing machine is a holistic approach to making sure that your site is doing the essentials well.
The 3 marketing fundamentals for any website come down to this: Search, social and email.
The social media consultants will tell you it’s all about Facebook with a little bit of Twitter or even LinkedIn thrown in. The content marketers will often tell you it’s all about engagement. Email marketers will focus on building a list.
But there are a lot parts in there mix. Forgetting about organic SEO can be a big oversight. Organic search results can generate over 50% of your traffic.
Many of us get stuck in single channel because we like to stay in our comfort zones. But that is a dangerous way to play. Always sticking with the known on a fast changing web is not to be recommended.
Some experimentation is needed to find new growth hacking tactics that may or may not work. Here are the top marketing channels and tactics we currently use to keep the website humming.
Posts are optimized for search engines before publishing:
Yoast is the top tool for WordPress sites and this is used every day.
Site is optimized for search engines:
Along with the basics like “pillar content” optimization, the speed of your website is important. The Google “Pagespeed tool” provides insights for your desktop and mobile site performance. You also will need a site map. The new focus along with the others is HTTPS. This makes helps in making your site secure. Your hosting provider can help with that and make sure your web developer does the redirect.
Email list building when traffic turns up from social and search:
The current top tools we are using include SumoMe and OptinMonster for “popups” and working quietly in the background and our marketing automation platform Infusionsoft sits in the ether whirring away collecting and managing the email marketing.
Landing pages designed and optimised:
This used to cost a lot of money and time but emerging technology means this can now be done in a few minutes and Leadpages is our preferred landing page builder. It also integrates well with Infusionsoft.
Marketing funnel sequences designed, created and optimised:
When people opt-in to your list it is the start of the conversation with your prospects and customers that you own. I use a 6 step automated email sequence when you opt-in and download my ebooks.
Some of the best insights on this art and science can be found in these two books. Russell Brunson’s Book “Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Book for Growing Your Company Online” and the Ryan Deiss’s book “Invisible Selling Machine“
Grow the social networks:
Despite the myth that organic reach is dead the truth is that it is maybe diminished but it still brings 15-20% of my traffic. The big one for me is still Twitter. It’s role as a news breaking channel means that its organic reach far exceeds Facebook’s.
The tools I use to keep growing my Twitter followers is Tweepi that we use manually & Social Quant which grows your followers using automation. Growing Instagram followers is not big for traffic but is useful in the mix. The app we use for that is “Socially Rich”.
This journey to optimise the website should never stop. The biggest challenge is to make sure that the law of diminishing returns doesn’t lead to a waste of money and time. The Pareto Principle needs to be invoked.
Twenty percent of your efforts will produce 80% of your results. You just need to find out what that 20% is!
Pillar Two: Marketing The Content
Free content doesn’t make money. But it has some other superpowers. These include traffic generation, trust building and influence building.
A goal for some is not to become an internet marketer but a person of influence and content is where that happens on the social web. This influence can lead to paid speaking at conferences and even getting paid to share content on their blog or social channels.
Content needs to move
The hub and spoke approach is a model I have used since the start of social web adventures. It is not enough to just to put content on your own site and expect the world to discover it. The content at your hub needs to be distributed and move.
Push it out onto every spoke you can find.
Where do you start?
The blank page syndrome. It happens to all of us. What do you write about and what type of topics should you be creating videos for? The answer is this. If you want to write a lot and create a lot you need to read a lot.
Simple content marketing boils down to this: A relentless machine and process that pushes the content out to a waiting world. After its published then you need to share it everywhere and convert that attention into leads.
The headline is where it starts……the attention grabber. Here are some quick tips.
- Create multiple headlines for the same article: – David Ogilvy was famous for having written over 100 headlines for one advertisement. Upworthy have taken this practice and woven it into their editorial process. Their first step and instruction to all their content creators. “You HAVE to crap out 25 headlines for every piece of content”
- Large list headlines while seeming to be redundant and overdone do work!
- Using headlines that can be defined as having a “curiosity gap”
- Emotion is a key element for making people click and share
- Stack images in your articles. 10 images are more shareable than j
Here is an example of a curiosity gap that also was a quiz.
More resources for headlines:
- 22 Headlines That Went Viral: Have These Marketers Cracked The Code
- 10 Awesome Headlines That Drive Traffic and Attract Readers
- How to Write Catchy Blog Post Titles That Get Clicked Like Crazy
Send it to your email list, Make sure when you share it on email that it is just the excerpt to the post and not all of it. You want to tempt them to visit your website/blog.
Here is an example of an email I sent out a few days ago on the Topic of “5 Books That Will Change Your Life (and Business)”
Post it to your social networks. This includes your Twitter network and Facebook page. Then it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin and even Flipboard. For me making sure that my content is shared multiple times on the first day on Twitter with great images and maybe using GIFs for a bit of fun and extra engagement.
As a minimum make sure you are using an SEO plugin fir your WordPress blog and make sure that you have the basics right for making sure search engines can crawl and rank your content.
Here is an example of the “5 Books That Will Change Your Life (and business).
One quick point. SEO is an art and a science. The meta description is one of those art elements. It is the next thing people will read after the headline and often is the difference between a click to or a click away.
Content marketing with a twist
Here are 4 tactics a bit out of the box.
- Twitter automation: This is where it starts to get interesting. Automating the tweets to be sent out regularly is vital. The tweets are sent out every 15 minutes and include the headline, a tempting image, 2-3 hashtags and a bit.ly link for tracking. The evergreen content is also shared every 6 days with no repeats. The tool: Socialoomph.
- Posting premium content on Medium – Maybe takes 5 minutes if you have a sip of coffee in the middle of this task.
- Publishing premium content on LinkedIn – This one is around 7 minutes with tagging, image loading and hash tagging
- Pushing the content to Flipboard – This is done with a simple widget in your browser. It takes one minute if you’re slow. But you will need to setup a personal page on Flipboard.
Pillar Three: Marketing the Products
The first two pillars are about building an audience before you need them with your digital marketing machine. Creating an online brand is not a sprint but a marathon and establishing digital marketing assets is a long term game. So where is the audience showing up from that will buy your products and services?
- Traffic from search engines built from content authority with ebooks, long form content and blog posts.
- Traffic from your social media networks that you have grown over years of engagement and sharing.
- Traffic from your email list that loves receiving your content in their inbox.
With traffic turning up from search, social and email and referral attention being driven from other embedded links and sites then your passive assets can become cash machines and ATM’s. A reward for your years of expertise distilled in a book(s) and online course(s).
Here are two core types of product marketing strategies.
Passive product marketing
As you build traffic from organic sources such as social and search you need to make sure that you have the ability to convert that into leads and sales. Some obvious inclusions mean that you need to capture their attention when they show up. This includes:
- Website banners – These don’t have high conversion rates and they are best used for affiliate revenue from trusted partners or for your own books and courses.
- Website tabs – Again these will not convert at a high rate but books and low cost great value for money courses will produce a good base revenue
- Email opt-ins from the pop-ups offering free content (also known as Lead magnets).
With website traffic turning up every day the automation and optimisation of converting traffic into leads and sales is a piece of the revenue puzzle. The downside of this is that it doesn’t force a decision. Many people look but many don’t buy. This is where active marketing comes in. Putting in place a marketing funnel and campaign that creates an online decision making process.
Active product marketing
Active product marketing provides an essential element that doesn’t come from products and offers that are always available. That element is scarcity. Scarcity can be created by taking down the course, bonuses going away or the price going up.
What products and services can be sold using a launch process? There are many but here are the essential few.
- Marketing online training
- Launching a book
- Running a mastery events
- Selling access to a monthly subscription site that builds mastery
This will require creating a sales funnel that can be as simple as a simple funnel ending in a landing page for buying a $9.97 book right through to a much longer sequence when launching a $1,997 online training product. The rule of thumb is that the more expensive the product the longer the marketing funnel, education and sequence.
So what does one of those that sequences look like?
The “Product Launch Formula” made famous by Jeff Walker is maybe the best example of the cycle of content and events required to sell a 4 figure product online. This method is a tried and proven online marketing model that has been honed over the last 20 years.
To gain a deeper understanding of the model his book “Launch” is essential reading.
Image source: Amazon
It works on the tried and tested call to action strategies that include educating before asking for the order, building trust and credibility, creating scarcity and also providing evidence of social proof.
Distilled 5-step overview:
- Start with a premium opt-in lead magnet like a free e-book sent to your email list. You can also share this with your social networks.
- Continue to build your opt-ins for your product launch with a free PDF. These are quick and easy to create.
- Then the trust building and education commences with a series of the recommended three pre-recorded videos sent out that educates, shows social proof and continues to build credibility.
- This is then followed by the opening of the online shopping cart. This is the selling phase. The steps before this are the education process.
- The final phase is letting people know that the opportunity to buy is about to close. This last step is using scarcity to make people make a decision.
This process is necessary to help people make a decision as the principle of scarcity minimises the natural and human nature of procrastination.
Supercharging your product marketing
This process can be supercharged by collecting a group of other digital marketers and bloggers to promote to their audience in exchange for a share of the revenue. This is where the maths can get exciting. Sign up 10 people who have an email list of 20,000 each to join the “launch” event and you then have an audience of 200,000. Convince 100 people to jump in and then you can reach a market of 2 million.
These collaborations and joint ventures can turn launches into multi-million dollar sales events.
But again……starting simple is the best place to commence. Launch and test with your own audience first.
Over to you
The digital marketing machine is many moving parts but like building a house it is one brick at a time. Mastery is not a quick fix but a persistent focus on where you want to go and the goals you want to achieve.