6 lessons for content creators from pre-internet marketing

6 lessons for content creators from pre-internet marketing

Content marketing wasn’t always called “content marketing”.

Benjamin Franklin called it an “almanac”, Michelin said it was an “auto-guide” and Procter and Gamble named theirs “soap operas”.

Plain and simple: content marketing is brands telling stories.

Modern-day millennials might like to think that their podcasts, blogs, and videos are new and exciting developments in this great canon of branded content. But, if we’re truly honest, the business has changed in name only.

Our poor pre-internet brothers and sisters knew only physical stores, printed media, and phone calls. What could we possibly learn from them?

Storytelling still occurs offline

First, it’s important to note that some of us are still pre-internet. And not just in the third-world. In the US, eight out of every 100 Americans don’t have high-speed internet or any kind of internet.

Some of us still go to books, newspapers, and magazines for content. Stories from hundreds of years ago still sell. From Homer’s Odysseus to Shakespeare’s Ophelia, great writers have always known the value in “evergreen publishing”.

90 percent of all retail still occurs within brick and mortar, leaving only about 9 percent of retail online. And there’s been reports of a recent boom for offline commerce. Half of the millennial demographic prefers brick-and-mortar shopping over e-commerce and 56 percent shop in-store at least once a week.

All these stats might indicate consumers are turning away from online. But could it be that businesses are the ones changing?

There’s evidence that businesses are starting to treat all their online and offline content channels equally. Examples of this convergence are Target and Walmart using “buy-online”, “pick-up in store”, and “personal shopper” services. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Go concept encourages offline shopping but is led by online technology, such as computer vision, deep learning, and sensors.

The best businesses think innovatively and blur any boundaries of technology. There are universal qualities in good content marketing.

What can we learn from pre-internet marketing?

1. First impressions count.

Shop window displays were one of the original technology-led “disruptions”. In England around the early 1700s, glass became widely available. Shops transformed, from dark rooms where you bought things, into transparent avenues of consumer leisure.

Retailers had to spend more money on their windows to remain competitive. The visuals enchanted shoppers and drove patronage. These initiatives had a cumulative effect over the decades, built brand loyalty, and are still in place today.

Today, digital natives know that first impressions are indeed everything. We have seconds to make a strong impression online. Avatars, landing pages, and customer experience are all about individual first impressions. Surveys have shown that 46% of shoppers assess the credibility of a site based on the look of the homepage alone.

2. Look at your customers, not the content.

Hundreds of years ago stores started off as one-room operations. Through economies of scale, they grew in size until shopowners could no longer keep an eye on everything. Through necessity or invention, retailers had to think about how consumers were moving through their rooms, halls, and levels.

Fast forward a few decades and a whole industry had formed around walking paths, mall design, and retail psychology. For example, research suggests that most shoppers look left when entering a store, then move right. Retailers use this knowledge when considering the design of store entrances.

This type of thinking has carried over to the digital age. Eye-scanning studies show that when people look at web pages, they:

  • Scan their eyes towards the top left
  • Rarely get beyond the first search result
  • Read in ‘F’ patterns
  • And are drawn towards high-quality graphics.

3. Structure and format the customer experience.

Why do some stores resemble warehouses, like Costco, while others look like a maze, like IKEA? Retailers deliberately utilize layouts (aisles, displays, mazes) to create flow, align with catalogs and provide inspiration. Through a few imaginative design techniques, IKEA nudges people to spend hours, rather than minutes, in their store.

Content creators can employ similar methods. And it’s important that they do. The average American spends half their day engaging with media. Yet, we have no time for content: 43% of people admit to skimming long posts.

Making your blog easily digestible is key. Use headers, videos, and other visual tools to highlight the most important sections. Don’t overload, but gently direct using a call to action, a variety of content forms and lengths, and linking between each article.

4. Aim to provide lasting value

Mail order marketing brought the shop to your front door in the 1950s. Post-war incomes in the US soared and opportunity seemed endless. The Sears Catalog, “the Amazon.com of its day”, is now rightly remembered as the vintage content of this era. Not only would it affect people on an individual level, pouring over the pages for hours, it also changed society, empowering African-Americans against Jim Crow laws.

What does this mean for you? Think about how people will use your content today, and 50 years from now. Aim to create something that not only delights and informs but is treasured for years to come. Your content could have a wider value and serve many more purposes than mere “lead generation”.

5. Know your regulars.

It’s easier to build meaningful relationships with face-to-face communication. Anyone who’s worked in retail will tell you that lesson one is to “Greet the customer”. When shoppers are asked why they returned to a store, more than half of the time it’s because they experienced “superior customer service”.

Is online any different? The first thing your eye jumps to on Amazon’s homepage is a “Hi,..(your name)” in the top-left corner. It might not be the friendly face of your local Mom-and-Pop store, but it’s a pretty cool personal touch from a company with about 240 million regular customers.

You can do the same things you would offline as you would with your online community. Use a second person perspective. Read what your targets read. Hang out in the same places (online). Develop buyer personas. Be a friend.

6. Change your stock regularly

Shop owners have always known the value of new stock. Fresh products hold customer interest and provide an incentive to return.

Likewise, you need to regularly change your online “shelves” for return readership. Unfortunately, you only have so many hours in the day to generate high-quality content.

As a rough guideline, most professional blogs reach for 300 words as a minimum, but posts over 1500 words have been shown effective for gaining traction on social networks.

However, don’t think that more is always best: a study found that when smaller companies posted twice a day, posts gathered 50 percent fewer clicks than once a day, or once a week. In general, your content will be more effective if it is high in quality, rather than high in quantity.

The more marketing changes, the more it stays the same

Content marketing has changed in form, style, and degrees of effectiveness over hundreds of years. It used to be called a brochure or catalog. Today its email, social media, and blogs. What will be tomorrow’s content be?

As technologies change, the medium shapes the message. TV commercials, ancient almanacs, and YouTube influencers are all different in many important ways. But at their heart, they remain brands telling stories. If you’d like help telling yours, contact us here.

Stop Leaving These 4 Key Expenses Out of Your Content Marketing Budget

Stop Leaving These 4 Key Expenses Out of Your Content Marketing Budget

According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months, and Forbes says that the top 3 reasons those businesses fail have to do with marketing. So, how do you find buyers for that innovative product you created? Or, how can you attract more attention to your existing business?

Unless you’re selling on Etsy, you won’t do it by cobbling together a 1-page website and making homemade fliers. Everyone wants to save money, but being stingy doesn’t make any friends, especially not with your content marketing budget. So, how can you maximize your resources?

Add these 4 key expenses to your content marketing budget and send your product popularity soaring!

1. Find Your Niche with Market Research

You wouldn’t fly overseas without checking the passport and visa requirements, would you? Likewise, you shouldn’t start marketing your product without first researching the market. Even major names have had a stumble or two in this area. Twitter started as a place for people to share podcasts, but Apple came out with the Podcast app at the same time. How did the Twitter creators find their niche? They did their research and kept an eye on the trends. Market research gave Twitter its true home at the center of the social media-verse.

Market research is an integral part of your budget. Market researchers, who know the market well, can identify your target market. They perform buyer persona interviews and use analytical data to discover your ideal client. He may be a single guy in his mid-40s named Phillip, who loves to hike, hates shellfish, and needs your product. He just doesn’t know it yet.

With market research in the budget, you will set a solid foundation for success.

2. Build Confidence with a Polished Web Presence

Everyone has a place to stay on vacation, whether it’s a hotel, hostel, or your great uncle’s cabin in the woods. Shouldn’t your business have an Internet home? Beyond having a presence, your website needs to look professional to build confidence. Studies show that it takes less than 1 second to form a first impression of a website. So, your site must impress your credibility and vision on visitors as soon as they load your home page.

Many businesses try DIY websites, but design matters. What can a talented web designer do for your business?

  • Talented designers analyze your online goals and structure your website to reach them.
  • They perform usability studies to ensure customers can find the products you offer.
  • They pinpoint the colors, fonts, and even spacing needed to attract buyers.
  • With e-commerce hacking is on the rise, they protect you and your clients’ data.

Website design is one expense you don’t want to skimp on in the budget.

3. Develop Loyalty with Content Writing

Baby rubber ducks loyally following a big rubber duck

Location is not the only factor. Vacationers want to have an experience and so do your customers! What does your website offer beyond a handsome logo and 20 pictures of your fabulous product? Create interest to keep people coming back to your page. This year, 61% of marketing leaders are investing in content creation. They know that keeping readers interested requires a talented writer.

What can content writers do for your business?

  • Content writers develop a clear brand voice for your business.
  • They research what your audience should learn about your product.
  • They use storytelling skills to form an emotional bond between buyers and products.
  • They optimize online search results to bring more traffic to your website.

As a bonus, budgeting for a content writer will free up your valuable time to expand your business and vacation horizons.

4. Connect with Customers on Social Media

When you’re on vacation, everyone takes selfies. Why? Because 77% of Americans have a social media profile. Connect with them using social media’s exciting marketing options, such as paid advertising, geofilters, and endorsements.

Facebook and Instagram allow you to pay a small price to reach thousands of people. Directly input your target market’s age, gender, location, interests, and more. Snapchat and Facebook offer location-based advertising using geofilters. These show ads to users who are within a certain distance of your company’s physical location.

With social media’s ability to draw more people to your website, it is a must-have in the content marketing budget.

Plan to Get the Most from Your Budget

You plan a vacation, so plan your content marketing budget, too. Improve your budget, and your company’s future, by adding these 4 key expenses.

  1. Market researchers can reliably identify your target market.
  2. Web designers can polish and promote your online presence.
  3. Content writers can form lasting bonds between you and your clients.
  4. Social media can connect you to potential customers in your area.

Get the most out of your content marketing budget and start your product on the path to popularity.

At The Content Reactor, we thrive on taking the pain out of developing your marketing and content strategy. Contact us to discuss the best options for your business today!

9 Ways to Generate Consistent, High-Quality Content

9 Ways to Generate Consistent, High-Quality Content

Let’s imagine that you enjoy a particular kind of candy. It tastes amazing, and it’s made with organic ingredients so you can pretend it’s healthy. Then, after you buy a big package of this candy, you taste one and… it’s awful. After trying the rest, you find that only 1 in 10 tastes good. You decide not to buy this candy again because the flavor isn’t consistent.

You already know that creating high-quality content is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website and build a strong brand. But creating high-quality content on a regular basis can be challenging. Like the candy example, your consumers won’t read your content if it’s not consistently great.

In this article, we’ll provide 9 tips that will help you produce great content consistently to attract organic traffic to your website and build a loyal following.

Readers Want Actionable Content

When people are reading your posts, they want to find value in it for themselves. This perceived value comes before any other goal you might have for them. If your readers can find ideas and tips in your content that will benefit them immediately, they’ll likely keep reading your website for more.

So, it’s imperative that you clearly show, right from the beginning, how reading your content will help fix your audience’s problems. Can you add an example of how your readers can apply your information? Or show them ways they can use your tips right after they finish reading your blog post? If you’re always looking for ways to add value, your readers will notice.

Create Content That Interests Your Reader

People love to learn because they’re curious. So, when you’re deciding what content to make, think about what kinds of things your audience wants to learn. The best source for new topics is your readers. Why not directly ask them what they want to see, whether through emails, surveys, or a conversation.

People also like to feel challenged and encouraged to think about what they are reading. Incorporating questions that are relevant to your content is a great way to do this. Just don’t frustrate readers by making them work too hard, or they might not come back for more. It’s a delicate balance.

It’s Best to Keep Things Short and Simple

Keep things short and stick to main points. You may have a word count you’re trying to meet that causes you to try to stretch two paragraphs of information into a 500-word blog post. DO NOT DO THIS. It will not be actionable content or interesting for people to read.

If you have a post that’s too short, try expanding the topic title or adding the content to a relevant post that already exists. Adding fluff around great points will only make them less valuable.

Make Sure Your Sources Are Reliable

Whenever you quote a statistic or link to a blog post you didn’t write, you open yourself up to be discredited for something false. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t originally write the information. If you spread it, you own it. Remember that time you posted that video of the kid being picked up by an eagle in a park only to find out that the whole thing was fake? Not only did you feel deceived, but it may have made people wonder how gullible you are.

Let’s not do that with our content. Always check the authenticity of the website you’re quoting and linking to. It’s a good idea to look at the website’s other articles and social media posts to get an idea of their credibility. When citing statistics, make sure the information comes from an unbiased source.

Stockpile Source Material and Do Tasks in Batches

Having to look up source material every time you write breaks the flow of your writing and takes too much time. For example, if you were going to write a series of articles on puppies, why not figure out the topic of each article and find the source material all at once. Then, use a content calendar to organize it. Your content calendar should include topics, possible headlines, and source material you can use to reference.

After you’ve stockpiled your source material, you now need to write your content. But there’s more to creating content than just writing. You also need attention-grabbing titles and applicable images. To save time, try batching some of these tasks. Like finding all the pictures for your posts at the same time or writing several blog posts at once. It keeps your mind from having to switch between tasks and improves your focus.

Know When You Are Creative

Woman typing on laptop at dawn

Every person has their own internal clock that regulates when they should do things like go to bed or eat meals. This clock also regulates your creativity.

There are times during the day or night when you’re most creative and able to write well. (Our project manager really likes this book called The Power of When that has an entire chapter about the best time for you to be creative.) Try scheduling your writing for the times when you work best. Doing so will help reduce frustration and the risk that you may give up.

Follow Content with Related Services or Promotions

When creating your content calendar, keep in mind when you want to release new services or products. Writing about what you’re releasing beforehand can build anticipation and excitement for your offer.

Repurpose Content

Creating new content is hard, so don’t waste the work that you’ve already done. Repurposing old content is a great way to get more value out of previous articles. But how can you do it? Converting content into various formats, republishing on different mediums, and just updating older articles are all great ways to give your content new life.

Document Your Writing Process and Use It as Much as You Can

Once you’ve written a couple blog posts or e-books, you’ve most likely developed a process for writing certain kinds of content. Once you have a process, document it.

This will save you time because you don’t have to remember every step in the correct order or rewrite part of your content because you forgot something. It’s already written down. It will also help when training new employees without you having to hover over them to correct things.

Do You Want Better Content?

After reading these steps, you may feel that you’re ready to create a new piece of content every day. That’s great, but some of you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to make great content. At the Content Reactor, we help B2B, professional service, and tech companies create engaging content that helps them target their ideal clients, increase traffic, and establish thought leadership. Set up a free consultation today.

Why Quality Content Beats Paid Ads

Why Quality Content Beats Paid Ads

In 2016 paid search ad spending reached $72.5 billion, and that number only continues to grow. This means there’s more competition for valuable keywords making it more expensive to run promotions and rank high on search engines. So if paid ads are your main marketing strategy be ready to drop some serious cash. But, what’s the alternative?

The alternative is creating high-quality content for your brand and promoting it strategically. Quality content is a marketing tool that can be used time and time again for your brand. Once created it doesn’t cost you anything to keep using and adapting it to other mediums is relatively low-cost. This makes it a smart strategy when thinking about your company’s future.

In this article, we’ll look at 3 reasons why you should be creating high-quality content. But, before we finish, we’ll talk about the usefulness of paid ads and why we shouldn’t throw them out altogether.

1. Quality content builds relationships

While paid ads are great for increasing your reach quickly it’s kind of like paying people to be your friend. Once the money runs out they will only stay if there’s a compelling reason. The same goes for paid ads and your business. If you don’t present your ideas in a compelling way people won’t come back to your site, and that initial relationship will just be a sham.

On the other hand, when you attract visitors through strong, quality content, they have a strong reason to continue their relationship with your brand. Instead of basing your content marketing strategy on one night stands, give your readers useful information that keeps them coming back for more.

2. Quality content builds your website’s reputation

I like to think of your website’s organic ranking as its reputation. When your marketing budget is completely allocated to paid ads it doesn’t do a good job of building your website’s reputation. Sure, you’re on top as long as you’re paying for ads. But when the money runs out, reality sets in and you’re back where you started.

You could allocate more money for ads to temporarily get back on top, but how long will that last? And is getting to the top of search engines and building your website’s reputation even that important? Consider this: 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search.

If you’re not ranking for important keywords then you’re losing out on tons of potential leads, aka potential customers. When you build your reputation through a well-planned content strategy that targets relevant and obtainable keywords, you’ll experience SEO gains that can translate into serious ROIs for your company.

3. Quality content saves you money and sets you up for the long game

Quality content saves you money and sets you up for the long game

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social platforms are businesses. So what’s most important to them? Making money. Since their primary source of income is ad spend from companies like yours and mine they want to make sure to maximize those profits.

By using quality content to rank organically you can make better use of your resources. For example, let’s say you run a golf club e-commerce store, but you release a guide with 10 steps for improving your swing. Now you have a resource that you can promote through paid ads, social promotion, and any other means.

This gives your marketing efforts a strong direction and helps site visitors easily perceive the value of using your business as a resource. But, how does this translate into customers?

Using the previous example of the golf club shop, think about a golfer who’s not currently in the market for clubs. Since they’re not ready to buy they’re not a customer yet, but they download your guide because it’s useful for them.

Since you took the time to make this guide very useful they refer to it often. Soon they decide they want a new wedge to fill a gap in their game. Guess who’s name comes to mind? The one on the guide they’ve found so useful over the past few months. They then turn into a real customer, not to mention a promoter since they’ve probably also shared this guide with their friends.

As you can see, quality content gives your marketing strong direction and future proofs your brand. But, does this mean you should throw away the idea of using paid ads?

Paid ads have their place

Now that we’ve talked about the value of a strong content marketing strategy, it’s time to recognize that paid ads do have their place. Used correctly they can have a strong impact on the effectiveness of your content.

Here are 3 ways you can leverage paid ads alongside your content strategy:

  1. Use paid ads to accelerate your reach. Since building organic traffic through quality content takes time, paid ads can be a good way to generate initial traffic.
  2. Paid ads can help you build a social audience. Building a social audience is a great way to increase your social reach when you publish something new.
  3. Use them if you have mad skills. If you’re really good at paid ads and have a very low cost per engagement it’s probably a good idea to keep leveraging that skill for your business.

Paid ads can get expensive quickly, so if the third point doesn’t describe you it’s important to be cautious and controlled with your ad spend. If you do decide to use paid ads remember they are only as good as the content within them. If you promote an ad with an unappealing message, you might as well try to sell octopus ice cream. (Don’t do it unless you’re in Japan.)

I’m sold, but what now?

If you’re ready to start producing content like a rockstar, then you should follow these three steps to make sure your message engages your audience.

  1. Define your company’s brand voice. To do this effectively you should talk to your customers, look at common questions, and identify your company’s core values.
  2. Create a content strategy. A strong content strategy includes identifying valuable keywords for your company, creating a content calendar around them, and specifying the employees responsible for carrying out the different tasks.
  3. Review. No strategy is perfect when first created. It’s important to review what’s working and what’s not to continually improve this strategy to get the best ROI for your work.

Do you want to start creating content that engages your audience and inspires loyal customers? At The Content Reactor, that’s our specialty. Set up a free consultation with us and we can help you identify your marketing needs and come up with a plan for success.

How to Write a B2B Lead Magnet That Converts

How to Write a B2B Lead Magnet That Converts

Do you like getting free samples at the grocery store? Of course! There’s always a line around the toaster oven as people wait for a hot square of pizza.

But, what if one day you went to the grocery store and every item was available to sample? Would you gobble them all up? Nope. You’d probably get more selective and only pick the ones you really wanted.

Something similar has happened with lead magnets. A few years ago, you could write a simple ebook and be confident that a lot of people would download it. There wasn’t that much competition and people were hungry.

In 2018, you can get nearly any information for free. People aren’t hungry for general information. Instead, they’re only looking for a few key things. How can you create lead magnets that satisfy their selective palette?

4 Steps for Creating a Highly Effective B2B Lead Magnet

To create an effective lead magnet you need to identify a buyer, marketing plan, price point, and benefits.

Writing a lead magnet is a lot like developing a product. You need to identify a buyer, marketing plan, price point, and benefits. When you view your B2B lead magnets as standalone products instead of another part of your sales funnel, you’ll create better lead magnets and get more leads.

1. Think of Your Audience

Your target audience will affect every decision you make. For example, The Content Reactor’s buyer personas include CMOs and business owners. Not only are these personas interested in different topics, but they both have different levels of knowledge and ways of communicating. They both need totally different approaches.

Ask yourself these questions to understand your audience before writing a single word:

What problem am I trying to solve with this B2B lead magnet?

Who’s dealing with this problem? Identify a few groups by job title or demographics.

What methods am I advocating for solving this problem?

Which group has the skills to solve this problem using the methods I’m advocating? That’s your audience.

Working through these questions will help you target a specific audience with information that will actually benefit them. By tightening the focus of you lead magnet one of two things will happen. One, you’ll get more conversions because the information’s value will be obvious. Two, you’ll get fewer conversions, but higher quality leads.

2. Identify Salient Cues

Salient cues are the things that you actively look for to identify a specific item or solution. For example, when you’re looking for an apple at the store you look in the fruit section for items with the same approximate color, size, weight, and shape that you associate with an apple. There’s a lot of neuroscience to back the concept up, but how does it translate into marketing and more specifically lead magnets?

Think of it this way. A business owner is trying to generate more B2B leads for their company. They search for “how to generate B2B leads for a professional services company.” As they read through the articles they find, they see two lead magnets:

    1. How B2B companies can generate more leads with an optimized website
  1. How to use heatmaps and usability testing to optimize your website for sales

Which lead magnet are they more likely to download? These lead magnets could both contain exactly the same information, but the first one has a salient cue in the title. It’s much more likely to click with the searcher and get downloaded because of that cue.

To identify the right salient cues you need to go back to your audience. How do they talk about the problem they’re dealing with? A business owner might call the problem a lack of leads while a marketer would call it an unoptimized website. By identifying these key phrases you can inject salient cues into your pop-ups, landing pages, and B2B lead magnet titles.

3. Assign a Monetary or Time Value

Which is more appealing to you, a free music download or a $5 credit? They both be worth $5, but one has a predetermined value and the other has a mystery value attached to it. Personally, I would choose the credit and I think a lot of people would do the same.

But, what if you were presented with a choice between a free music download ($15 value) or a $5 credit? Now the decision isn’t so easy. You might look further into the free download to learn the terms and limitations to help you understand whether it’s really worth it.

The goal of this exercise isn’t to prove an exact correlation between value and conversions. Instead, the goal is to show that when you assign a perceived value to a lead magnet it changes how prospects view it. They’ll slow down and think twice about passing up your offer.

There are two ways that you can assign a perceived value to your lead magnet. Give it a price based on how much you honestly think it’s worth. Or, determine how much time it will save your user. A template or generator might save prospects 2 or 3 hours of their time. Make sure that they know how much time they’ll save so that they see the value in giving up their email address.

4. Nurture the Lead with Relevant, Authentic Content

People will often sign up for a B2B lead magnet because they need to quickly solve a problem that they’re dealing with. Once they’ve signed up, they’ll probably forget about your company and move on with their lives. This is the biggest breakage in most inbound marketing campaigns.

To keep the leads you’ve worked so hard to gather from going to waste you need to nurture them. What are the next things the lead will need after they’ve solved their problem? For example, if they downloaded an ebook on how to write a job post. The next thing they’ll need to know is how to review the resumes they receive. Building a drip campaign around the next logical topic is a great way to stay in touch and provide even more value.

Make sure your drip campaign has the following elements to start:

A welcome email to help the user understand the B2B lead magnet they downloaded and tell them where they can get more help.

Follow up emails to help the user through the next steps of any problem they’re trying to solve.

A direct offer for either a free service, a consultation, or a paid service/product.

A follow up for those who didn’t convert that makes a mid-funnel offer instead of a bottom-of-funnel offer.

You might be tempted to keep making offers until you get a conversion. But, the goal of an effective drip campaign isn’t to get everyone on your email list to convert. The goal is to find the leads that actually need your service, are ready (or almost ready) to buy, and match your buyer persona. This will give you maximum profitability with minimal time spent on sales or patching things up with difficult clients.

What types of B2B lead magnets work best?

You should format your lead magnet in a way that makes sense for your audience.

There are a lot of options. After all, a lead magnet is basically anything people are willing to give their email address up for. But, if you want to create and use a new B2B lead magnet quickly, then these options are a good place to start.

Checklists: A checklist can work really well in B2C contexts where your visitor is trying to do something they’re inexperienced in, for example, writing a listing to sell their home. It can work in B2B as well, but in those cases, you’ll need to elevate the content a little bit more. In B2B, you’re more likely to have people experienced in your field reading your content, so make sure your checklist will still be helpful to a seasoned pro.

Templates and Spreadsheets: Creating any kind of electronic file takes time. If you’ve never created that particular type of file or document it could take you all day! To avoid this hassle, many visitors will trade their email address for a ready-made template.  Make sure your template benefits them by providing clear instructions and, in the case of spreadsheets include calculations. Don’t make your visitor work. When you solve their problem quickly, they’ll trust you and want to learn more.

Quizzes: Oh boy, quiz territory is where things can get really good or really bad. Most people want to complete quizzes as a way of gauging their performance or learning more about themselves. The problem is the quiz needs to provide values that directly related to what your company offers. So, instead of doing a cutesy “Star Wars personality test,” do something industry specific. For example, “Does your company score 10 out of 10 on these content marketing best practices?” Not only is this interesting, but it gives you an opportunity to collect data and provide specific advice.

The free consultation: This one is starting to feel a bit bland, but it’s the most direct bottom of funnel tactic. Direct can be a really good thing. How do you overcome the bland factor though? The key is being direct and specific. Offer a free audit, action plan, or brainstorming session. These are probably things you would do anyway during a consultation, so it’s as simple as changing how you talk about the consultation. When you get specific, your site visitors will be able to imagine the benefits for themselves and might feel more motivated to sign up.

If none of these options strike your fancy, then check out this massive list of lead magnet ideas. Choose the ones that fit your business and that will be easy for you to get up and running quickly.

Need help with your B2B lead magnets?

Building an email list or proving the value of content marketing can be tough. We’d like to help by doing a free audit of your sales funnel. We’ll look at how you’re engaging with prospects, converting them with lead magnets, and nurturing that lead into a sale. Then we’ll give you recommendations to optimize your sales funnel.

If you just want to dive right into developing a lead magnet that’s cool too. In a matter of 2 weeks, we can go from strategy to lead magnet.

Thanks for reading! Keep providing free value with your lead magnets and we’ll see you next time.

5 Ways to Get Ideas for Your Blog and Inbound Marketing

5 Ways to Get Ideas for Your Blog and Inbound Marketing

The hardest part about keeping your blog overflowing with helpful content is knowing what to write. This is where classic writer’s block pops up the most and makes blogging a chore. Let’s fix that. In this post, we’ll give you the easiest ways to find content ideas, so that you always know which content will help you achieve your marketing goals.

1. Check Your Inbox

This is supposedly an old blogger trick, although I don’t think blogs have been around long enough for that to be possible. The idea is to look in your inbox and see what the most common questions you receive are. Take these questions and list them out in a doc. This should yield at least 5 or 10 blog post topics.

For bonus points, grab your responses to those questions from your email thread. Now you have a topic and a basic outline. Your inbox is the first place to look for content ideas that you can create and post fast. So, use it!

2. Buyer Personas

These semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer are uber-handy for marketing. They also make it easier to create persona-driven content. This is content that’s so clearly focused on one group that it feels like it was written just for them.

To find the right topics to cover, look at the challenges that your personas face. They might list one of their major challenges as being increasing the number of leads from their website. With this information in hand, you can create a blog post that explains how to increase the number of online leads your company receives. Repeat this process until you run out of challenges to help them with. Doing this will ensure that the content that you create is extremely beneficial to your buyer personas.

3. Your Blog

This may seem like an odd place to look for new content, but your blog is actually a well of information that can help you create fresh posts. The key is taking what you’ve already written and putting a new spin on it. For example, you might have written an article about “five best practices for designing a new website.” You can use the same outline and much of the same information to create a negative post based on the same topic. The new post would be titled “the five biggest mistakes to avoid when designing a new website.” This allows you to take the same information and present it in a new way that might be more insightful for your readers. It also allows you to increase the SEO value of your site for those keywords.

4. Customer Feedback and Testimonials

Many copywriters use a simple trick of taking words directly from customer testimonials and working them into their copy. This is called stealing copy. But, it’s not really stealing. All you’re doing is talking about the things that your customers have already told you are important to them.

You can also use this trick to find content ideas. Look through the feedback you’ve received from customers. What are the things that they’ve been most impressed by? For example, if a review says that they appreciated your strategic process for achieving results, then consider writing a blog post on that process. Conversely, if you receive feedback that they had felt stuck before contacting you, then you could write a post about how to jumpstart a new project. Using actual customer feedback as the basis for a new post allows you to tune into what your prospects need and care about.

5. Industry News, Events, and Launches

I wouldn’t recommend this as your first option when trying to fill your blog with content. It’s more important for you to focus on evergreen topics that your buyers will continuously be searching for. But, at the same time, it’s also important to keep your blog full of topics that are relevant to your business and have high-quality backlinks. Reporting on industry news, events you’ve attended, and product launches help you to do this in a way that’s easy and fast.

All you need to do is make sure you’re subscribed to a few neutral news sources for your industry. you want these news sources to be neutral so that you can add your own flavor to your post. Next, write a post that references the news piece, explain what the implications of it are, and then give your perspective on it. Doing this shows that your company is active in your industry, aware of recent news, and understands the implications for itself and its customers. Do the same thing for industry events and launches, and your blog will always be full of interesting and helpful content.

Need Something More Progressive?

These five tactics are great for keeping your blog full of information that’s relevant and useful to your buyers. But, you need to take things to the next level if you want your blog to be an effective marketing tool that brings in sales. To do this you need a sales funnel, SMART goals, and a carefully planned out content calendar that will boost your site’s SEO ranking for important keywords.

If you need help creating any of these, then consider signing up for one of our inbound marketing workshops. In our workshops, we’ll help you understand who your buyers are, what your blog’s voice is, what the best sales funnel is, and provide you with a year’s worth of blog topics to write about. From there your inbound marketing can go on autopilot and continuously bring you high-quality leads. If this sounds like it would save you a lot of time and headaches, then contact us today to learn more.