How to Discover Your Customers’ Most-Googled Frustrations (and solve them)

Google is a treasure trove for marketers.

Currently (2017), it “processes over 40,000 search queries every second!”

This “translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”

And just look at how much Google use grew between 2000 and 2012:

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It’s ridiculous!

And this all means one thing.

Google can generate valuable data like it’s nobody’s business.

There’s arguably no other resource in history that compares to it.

Another thing I love about the search engine is the arsenal of free tools it offers for gaining insights.

There’s the Google Search Console, Google Analytics, the Google Keyword Planner and Google Alerts, just to name a few.

These are all ideal for providing you with the data you need to better understand the behavior of your audience and improve your marketing.

And as we all know, data is a marketer’s best friend.

Without data, I wouldn’t know what direction to take, making it much more difficult for me to reach my demographic.

In this post, I’m going to cover an extremely important aspect of marketing.

It’s this: how to discover your customers’ biggest frustrations and how to solve them.

I’ve found that Google is perfect for finding out what irks my audience, and you can implement the same methods too.

Here are several techniques you can utilize.

Autocomplete

Let’s start with an incredibly simple yet effective feature: autocomplete.

I’m sure you’re familiar with it.

With the insane amount of data Google has accumulated and continues to accumulate, it offers autocomplete to streamline user searches and help people find the information they’re looking for quicker.

Here’s a screenshot that summarizes how this feature works:

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Notice I highlighted two key points.

Autocomplete predictions factor in the popularity/freshness of search terms and terms other people are searching for.

Using autocomplete can provide you with valuable intel on what your customers are searching for and, more importantly, what their collective frustrations are.

Let me give you an example of how you can use it.

Type in a broad keyword phrase that relates to your industry, niche or product you’re selling.

I’ll use “organic soap” as an example.

Here’s what pops up:

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Just like that, I can tell what some of the most popular search terms are.

It’s obvious people are interested in organic soap bases, recipes and organic soap-making supplies.

Therefore, this user base has questions and concerns about these topics.

So this is a good starting point.

I recommend recording these popular searches for future reference because you’ll want to create content around those topics.

Performing a question-based search

Another easy way to understand your average customer’s frustrations is to figure out what types of questions they’re asking regarding your niche/product.

You can do this by typing in search phrases such as “what is,” “why is,” “how to,” etc., followed by a broad keyword.

Here’s an example:

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Within seconds, I can get a pretty good idea of which aspects of the organic soap topic people are curious about.

Remember, if it pops up on Google autocomplete, you know a large number of people have entered that search phrase.

So, you’re dealing with a high volume of searches.

Again, you’ll want to record those search phrases because you can target them later on.

Performing a problems search

Let’s take it one step further.

Type in your broad keyword followed by the word problems:

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Here are some of the results I got:

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I also highlighted some frustrations, concerns and questions people have.

Considering the fact these are all on page one of this Google search, it’s safe to say there’s a significant number of people who share these frustrations.

As a result, these are all potential topics I could cover.

Using the Google Keyword Tool

You probably already use this tool for performing keyword research for SEO.

But it can also be useful for finding your customers’ pain points as well.

Here’s what you do.

Type in your broad keyword in the search box:

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Then scroll down to see what people are most interested in.

The main thing you’ll want to take into consideration is the number of average monthly searches.

Here are some highly searched keywords that let me know what types of questions and frustrations customers have:5211f908db704c3988acaf1cc3c86e72

Using Google Trends

I absolutely love Google Trends.

It’s one of the best ways to get a quick snapshot of the popularity of something and see how interest has either grown or declined over time.

I also like to use it to generate graphs for great looking visuals for my content.

To use it in this context, just type in your search phrase:

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Then scroll down to “Related queries.”

You can view related queries as either “Top” or “Rising.”

“Top” lets you know what’s most popular over time in the grand scheme of things.

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“Rising” lets you know what’s most popular at the moment and what’s trending upward.

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Use this information to spot any potential frustrations your customers might be having that you may want to address.

Identifying top blogs in your niche

Here’s one last technique.

Do a Google search that combines your broad keyword and the word blogs.

You’ll get results like this:

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Then click on one or more of the results.

This one looks good to me:

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Now, I can get a glimpse of the types of topics the top blogs are covering, which are indicative of what your average customer is most interested in:

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I can get quite a bit of information by just looking at the description of each blog.

But, of course, I can learn a lot more by actually clicking on a specific blog and scanning through the posts.

This should fill in the gaps in terms of discovering the average customer’s frustrations and can give me even more ideas for content.

Solving those frustrations

Okay, so I’ve discussed several different ways to gain an understanding of what’s irking your customers.

As you can see, Google is pretty much a be-all and end-all tool for this.

But how do you solve those frustrations?

It’s simple.

You want to create robust, comprehensive content that exhaustively answers these questions and addresses these frustrations.

I recommend writing down a list of topics based on your research and prioritizing them in terms of importance.

For instance, I found people were interested in:

  • what organic soap is made of
  • how to make organic soap from home
  • how to make organic soap without lye
  • toxic soap ingredients to avoid

and so on.

Now I can start creating content that covers those topics.

More specifically, my goal is to create content that outranks the competition.

Skyscraper it

As you may already know, I’m a huge proponent of the skyscraper technique: producing content that betters and outperforms your competitors’ content.

If you’re unfamiliar with this concept or need to brush up, this guide from Backlinko will tell you everything you need to know.

By following this formula and addressing the unique concerns of your customers, you’ll quickly be on track to generate traffic, build trust and “scratch their itch.”

Diversifying your content

I’ve mentioned many times before that interactive content significantly outperforms conventional static content.

Here are a few stats from Impact Marketing that show the importance of creating interactive content:

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When you break it all down,

interactive content drives 2x the number of conversions as passive content like blogs and eBooks.

Here’s what I suggest.

Look for ways to create different types of content your competitors have overlooked or ignored.

Rather than writing your standard 800-word blog post, write a long-form, 2,000-word post full of visuals, including relevant videos, graphs, stats, etc.

Or if there’s a pervasive question your customers have, try creating an infographic that succinctly answers it step by step.

In other words, think outside the box and be willing to go where your competition doesn’t.

This should kill two birds with one stone because you’re solving your customers’ biggest frustrations and providing them with incredibly helpful information while offering a level of depth your competitors are not.

It’s a win-win situation.

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It’s amazing the insights you can gain from Google.

It’s a godsend for doing market research and will provide you with a wealth of valuable intel if you know how to use it correctly.

And the longer people use Google, the bigger the data pool becomes.

The best part is that it’s completely free.

As you’re probably aware, every demographic has its own specific pain points.

Your job as a marketer is to identify these frustrations and provide an effective solution.

By using the techniques I mentioned, you can do this in a very streamlined manner.

From there, you’re in a much better position to create content that hits its mark and can provide your audience with the answers they crave.

This, in turn, translates into a host of benefits including increased traffic, more leads and bigger profits.

Do you have any other suggestions for using Google to discover customer frustrations?

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Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look

The Hipster’s Guide to ROI [Infographic]
Marketing lingo has expanded and with all of the acronyms, it’s hard to decipher and differentiate combinations of letters. This infographic will show you the most common acronyms and esoteric language related to marketing ROI, giving you an explanation of what they are and why they matter. (LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog) |e4ac760880bcc13b11f4b25566afd516|
Google ranking factors constantly updates with every major algorithm change. In this report, the 12 most substantial and controversial factors (including website visits, pages per session and content) were chosen to show what impacts search results and to identify consistent patterns in the ranking mechanism that could be helpful to the SEO community. (SEMrush) |89159ff0494b5577cc5c0f224fcd4753|
Twitter has listened to the feedback from its users and have made some updates to the design. Some of the new features include: Typography has been refined to be more consistent with bolder headlines and rounded profile photos, Tweets are now updated instantly on the mobile app with replies, retweets and like counts so you can see real-time conversations and links to articles and websites now open in Safari’s viewer in iOS so you can easily access accounts on websites you’re already signed into. (Twitter Blog) |d4ef2f768a4739286ae9153eb7609d17|
There have been many small yet impactful new updates to LinkedIn recently, due to audience demand. One new feature is you can now add images into comments on posts within the LinkedIn platform. Another boost for LinkedIn is Google’s new tool which helps people find jobs directly through Google search, which sorts through various listings, including LinkedIn. (Social Media Today) |a3bf2d07df13f3429fa68b9db60a554f|
Instagram Stories is the section of disappearing posts, which recently pulled ahead of Snapchat with an increase of 50 million users in just two months. Instagram also announced that users are now allowed to replay live video instead of it immediately disappearing. (AdWeek) |7dde8daef46782b8235ece5b1164755b|
Google is now offering a formal path for outsiders to add job listings in Google search. Although it doesn’t have an official name, it’s part of the Google for Jobs initiative. You can also track how well your job listings are doing in Google search with a new filter in the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console. (Search Engine Land) |581eff7e3c638f54ac9505f2957c05fe|
Pinterest rolled out a fresh new look for Lens, and instead of only being able to recreate your favorite restaurant dishes at home, Lens can now recognize and recommend outfit ideas including shoes, shirts, hats and other styles. The new interface and built-in tools make it easy to Lens the world around you. (Pinterest Blog) |212acf464dbd66383a509ab76552948a|
B2B technology marketers rely on many skills for their niche market. The most important skills among Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers were soft skills, including communication and people management and writing skills. Others included digital media marketing and content marketing. (MarketingProfs) |04d5d84bb8c6ad0d70a22418fe5a1df3| We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news stories. Craving more news in the meantime? Check out TopRank Marketing on Twitter @toprank!

The post Digital Marketing News: ROI Acronyms, Google Ranking Factors and Twitter’s New Look appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Evaluating Your Blog’s First Year: 12 Great Questions to Ask

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Firstly … congratulations on making it through your first year. A lot of bloggers don’t get that far.

During this evaluation, we’ll take a look at key metrics for your blog, but we’ll also be thinking about what you’ve learned and accomplished over the past year.

Don’t get discouraged if the numbers aren’t – yet – quite where you want them to be. When I first started blogging, it was as a hobby … and it took me several years to start making significant money from it.

While some bloggers do succeed in making a lot of money in their first year, most take much longer. As you go through these questions, focus on what you have accomplished rather than on the goals you’ve not quite managed yet.

(Want to do this evaluation another time? Check out the option to download a free evaluation workbook at the end of the post.)

Key Metrics for Your Blog’s First Year

#1: How many blog posts did you publish … and how consistently?

Whether you published two posts or two hundred posts … was it as many as you wanted?

Did you write lots of posts in the first two months, then not much for the rest of the year? Or did you manage to blog fairly regularly all year?

#2: How many subscribers do you have to your blog and/or newsletter?

Hopefully you’ve got email subscriptions set up: if not, check out Ramsey’s post on Blog Tyrant: How to Start a Mailing List and Add Opt-in Forms to Your Blog.

If you can, look back at how your subscribers grew during the year. (You can find instructions for AWeber here and for MailChimp here). Did you see steady growth? Can you identify any peaks and what caused them?

#3: Did your traffic grow during the year?

Look at Google Analytics or WordPress.com’s inbuilt statistics to find out whether you were getting more traffic by the end of the year than at the start (hopefully you were)!

Again, look out for any spikes in traffic: what was behind those?

#4: Which of your posts were most popular?

You can use Google Analytics to find out which posts received the most visits, or look on your blog to see which got the most comments or shares.

Find your top three posts and see if you can figure out what made those posts especially popular.

#5: How much money did you spend?

This might require trawling back through your PayPal history or receipts in your inbox. You may want to create a simple spreadsheet to track your blog’s spending, breaking it into different categories, such as:

  • Web hosting and domain name
  • Email list provision
  • Premium theme and/or premium plugins (if any)
  • Design, editing or other services

#6: How much money did you make?

Ideally, you want this figure to be higher than #5 … but if it’s not, that’s very normal for blogs in their first year.

Look at your income from:

  • Advertising
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Product sales (e.g. if you launched an ebook)
  • Services provided (e.g. if you write for other blogs for pay)
  • Sponsorship from other companies

If you want to dig further into statistics, check out Nicole Avery’s post How to Conduct Your Annual Blogging Review.

I know that it’s easy to feel a little discouraged at this point. Perhaps when you started blogging, you dreamt of quitting your day job by now … and yet your blog hasn’t made a single dollar.

It can also be encouraging to look at everything you have gained, even if it’s not all about the numbers. Here are six more questions to ask yourself:

#7: Did you get any nice comments or emails from readers?

If someone wrote that your post came at the perfect time for them, or that it helped them with a problem, that’s a real success.

You might want to track down all your nice comments and emails, bring them together into one document, and print them out as a source of encouragement.

#8: Did you learn anything new?

Your first year of blogging was probably a steep learning curve at times. I bet you picked up lots of new skills. Perhaps:

  • You learned how to register a domain name and set up hosting
  • You got to grips with sourcing, resizing and editing images
  • You went from initial bafflement to comfortable familiarity with WordPress (or your platform of choice)
  • You set up an email list for your blog
  • You read a lot about marketing your blog or growing your readership or some other aspect of blogging … and you put it into practice

… or lots more things besides!

#9: Did you challenge yourself?

Perhaps you wrote a post that you were worried about publishing … but it went down really well with readers.

Perhaps you wrote a guest post for a big blog in your niche … and they published it!

Or maybe you tried something and it didn’t quite work out: what matters is that you gave it a go.

#10: Did you make new connections in the blogging world?

When you started out blogging, you probably didn’t know many (or even any!) other bloggers. During your first year, you likely got to know at least a few.

Perhaps:

  • You’ve made friends with some other new-ish bloggers on Twitter
  • You’ve been commenting on an established blogger’s site and building up a relationship with them.
  • You joined a Facebook group for bloggers, like the ProBlogger Community.
  • You went to a local meetup … or a bigger gathering of bloggers, like the ProBlogger event.

#11: Did blogging open any doors for you?

Sometimes, blogging can lead to some amazing opportunities (Eli Seekins had a great post about this on SmartBlogger recently).

Perhaps your blogging meant that:

  • You landed a freelancing gig with a big blog or website.
  • You gained some new skills that you used on a job application.
  • You came across some interesting people who you’d never have otherwise met.
  • You got free products to review.

#12: Did you enjoy the year?

Perhaps most importantly … did you enjoy your first year of blogging?

Maybe it was the first time you’ve felt able to call yourself a “writer”, because you wrote regular posts for your blog.

Maybe you loved learning new things and putting them into practice.

Maybe you felt like you were finally reaching for your dreams.

While it’s a great feeling to make money from blogging or to see your readership grow, some bloggers simply want to enjoy the process of writing and publishing online … and that can be just as valuable.

What Will You Do During Your Blog’s Second Year?

Now that you’ve taken a look over the past year of your blog … what are you going to do with the next year?

You might want to think about:

#1: How often will you post?

If your current schedule hasn’t really worked for you, you might try posting less frequently and focusing on writing the best posts you can.

Get help: How to Be a More Consistent Blogger

#2: How will you monetize?

Whether you want to make a living or simply cover your costs, think about how you’ll make money from your blog. Some new bloggers think it’s all about advertising or affiliate income, but those aren’t your only options.

Get help: The Full Blog Monetization Menu – 60+ Ways to Make Money With Your Blog

#3: What successes can you build on?

Look at what’s been going well for you … and go further with it. For instance, pick a post that’s already getting lots of search engine traffic and update it to link to some of your other best posts.

Get help: How to Update Old Posts On Your Blog (and When You Should Consider Doing it)

Right now, write down three specific actions that you want to take as you move into your blog’s second year:

  • One during the next week
  • One during the next month
  • One during the next three months

Feel free to share them with us in the comments … and good luck for your next year of blogging.

The post Evaluating Your Blog’s First Year: 12 Great Questions to Ask appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

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10 Things You Need to Do After You Publish Your Blog Post

Can I ask you a question?

What do you do after you hit the “Publish” button?

If your blog isn’t getting any traction, you probably aren’t doing the right things.

Let’s be real. You can’t just post to social media a few times and move on to the next post. That’s not going to cut it.

You can’t spend all your time writing new posts and then neglect those posts once they’re published.

In fact, you should spend only 20% of your time writing, and 80% getting people to read what you wrote.

But how, you ask?

This post will tell you 10 things you need to do after publishing your post.

It contains an after-publish task list you can use to take your blog from barren wasteland to popular tourist attraction. Follow these recommendations, and you’ll stand to 10X your results from every blog post you publish!

Ready?

Great, then let’s start.

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Your first order of business is to get some immediate traffic to the blog post. The most obvious way to do that is by promoting the post to your own email list.

Now, many people like to include the entire blog post in their emails, but you shouldn’t do that.

Why?

Because that doesn’t get you any traffic! When your subscribers get your full post in their inbox, they don’t need to visit your blog to get the content. Plus, it also makes them less likely to share, comment or read other posts on your blog.

Instead, use a brief “teaser email” that entices your subscribers to click through to your blog and share the post with their friends. This gets the ball rolling so that even people outside of your email list can find your post.

Here’s an example:

Send a teaser email.

Without giving away too much, I linked to the blog post using an enticing call-to-action. I’ve also included a P.S. that invites subscribers to share on social media, including an easy link to share the post on Twitter.

|9d8cd3387a72ba94520b1eb7f196e85c| I used ClickToTweet to create the link.
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Average bloggers share their posts on social media. Smart bloggers create “evergreen” social media campaigns.

An evergreen campaign is a series of social media updates that constantly recycle themselves. So instead of just sharing your post a few times and calling it a day, your post gets promoted over and over again, on autopilot.

You can set this up by using a tool called MeetEdgar. This tool allows you to create a library of social media updates and a queue that automatically fills itself using the updates in your library.

Here are some ideas for social media updates to add to your evergreen campaign:

  • Share the headline, or a variation of the headline for your post
  • Share a quote or excerpt from your post
  • Share an infographic or image from your post
  • Tag an influencer who you featured in the post

If you can’t afford the $79/month for MeetEdgar, then MissingLettr is a similar product (albeit with more limited features) for only $15/month.

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Reaching out to influencers is a great activity to focus on after publishing. One influencer sharing your post on social media can make the difference between a couple views versus several hundred, or even thousands!

So how do you find these influencers?

One way to find them is by using BuzzSumo. Just go to the Influencers tab, and search for the topic of your blog post. It will show you a list of the top influencers who share content related to that topic.

Use Buzzsumo promote your post.

To see if they are a good influencer to approach, click on the “View Links Shared” button to the right of their name and description. This will show you a list of recent links they shared. Look at the URLs of the links to see whether they commonly share other people’s content.

Use Buzzsumo to find influencers.

I should note that Buzzsumo does cost $99/month. If you’re not already using it and that’s not something you can afford, use their 14-day free trial to search for several niche-related keywords and find as many influencers as you can. (Categorize them by topic so you know for which posts you should reach out to them.)

When your trial runs out, you can google your topic and find high-ranking blogs. Then, find the people behind them on social media and check whether they are good influencers to approach. It may take more time to find good influencers, but it gets the job done.

Once you’ve collected a solid list of influencers, let them know that you have a blog post that they might be interested to share with their audience. (You can either reach out to them via social media, or send them a cold email.)

To learn how to actually persuade influencers to share your post, check out Brian Dean’s guide on how to get influencers to promote your content for free.

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If you want to get as many eyeballs on your content as you can, you have to help it rise in Google’s ranks.

But you have to provide some hard evidence to show Google your post is worthy of their elusive page one — specifically, you’ll need to get backlinks from high-quality sources in your niche. This shows search engines that your post is also high-quality by association.

To find other blog owners who might want to link to you, do a series of Google searches on your topic. You are especially looking for list posts and resource posts that have lots of links to other blog posts like yours.

Google phrases like:

  • “[your topic] tips”
  • “[your topic] ways”
  • “[your topic] resources”
  • “[your topic] links”

Make a list of blogs that you want to reach out to and then find the contact info of the people in charge. Send them an email explaining that you enjoyed reading their post and that you wrote one on a related topic. Tell them you’d love to know what they think. Then, if you get a positive response, ask whether they’d consider adding the line to their post, if they think their audience would be interested.

Not everyone will say yes, but you should shoot for a 10% success rate or higher (i.e. you should get one backlink for every ten bloggers you ask.)

|9d8cd3387a72ba94520b1eb7f196e85c| Check out Dan Ray’s process for getting 50+ high-quality backlinks per month.
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Speaking of links, that’s something you should take care off on your own blog as well.

Interlinking your blog posts with each other makes them easier for Google to index, helps you rank in search engines, and it keeps readers browsing your blog!

So set 10 minutes aside to do an internal link audit. Take a look at other posts you’ve written and see if you can add any links to them that point to your newly published post.

Add internal blog links.

Make a game of it, and see how many internal links you can add in just 10 minutes!

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Another great way to promote your blog post is by answering questions on Quora.

Just search for your topic, and see what questions come up.

Use Quora to promote your blog post.

Then, compose a thoughtful answer (like this one by Ryan Robinson), and link to your related blog post.

Use backlinks from Quora to promote your content.

The key with Quora is to make your answers as helpful and informative as possible. Don’t just drop your link and run … it won’t work.

Quora uses a voting process to display the best answers at the top. Make sure that you are providing value first, and that your answer is worthy of being featured as the top answer!

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Don’t forget that content can take on many different forms other than written blog posts. Repurposing your posts by leveraging different types of content is a very smart (and efficient) way to attract new audiences!

For example, you could record yourself reading your blog post, and turn the recording into a podcast episode. User Experience designer Paul Boag does this for each of his blog posts (and he also embeds the recording at the top of the blog post itself, for visitors who would rather listen than read).

Repurpose your content.

But that’s just one idea. You could also …

  • Turn your post into a slide presentation and offer it as a webinar.
  • Turn it into a video.
  • Create a downloadable PDF version.
  • Take multiple related posts and turn them into an ebook.

You have many options, so use them.

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Did you know that top blogs will actually turn their posts into Facebook ads to drive more traffic to them?

Well, Facebook ads aren’t just for large blogs with huge advertising budgets … you don’t need to spend more than a few bucks per day.

In fact, I used Facebook ads to grow my email list by 532 subscribers in just 43 days, and for the price of a cup of coffee!

The beauty of Facebook ads is that you can target specific groups of people with them. For instance, you could show your ad to people who like other Facebook pages in your niche. Or you could target people who have an interest in specific topics.

The opportunity that Facebook presents to advertise your blog would be foolish to ignore. The fact is, there are over 1.9 billion monthly users on Facebook. So chances are, your target audience is there! Why not send them to your best content?

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This activity is one of the most overlooked, but also one of the most important. If you don’t analyze your post’s performance, how will you ever know what’s working and what’s not?

Set up a Google Analytics account to see whether your promotion strategies are working.

Look at the data a week after your post to see how well it did immediately after publication.

Use Google Analytics to check blog post performance,

Did it get as much traffic to your post as you were expecting?

How long did visitors stick around to read your post, and did they convert to subscribers?

How much of your existing traffic is from social vs. referrals (people linking to your post) vs. direct channels (your teaser email)?

For example, if you have lots of direct but no social traffic, that could mean that you’re doing a great job with your teaser email, but it underperformed in the social arena.

Then, make sure you check the post’s data periodically to see how it’s doing traffic-wise. (More on that in a second.)

To learn more about how to use Google Analytics, check out this crash course.

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Did you know that “freshness” is an important factor that Google takes into account when deciding whether or not to display your post in the search results?

You should update your best-performing blog posts with new information on a regular basis. Your posts will continue to provide the best content for your readers, and you boost your chances of keeping your rank in the search engines.

The problem is, this is a task that is easily neglected.

So after you click publish, set a reminder for yourself to go check on your post in a year and see whether it warrants refreshment. (I recommend creating a single event for a number of posts, so you don’t drive your future self crazy with weekly reminders.)

Make sure you set the event to repeat every year and set the notification to “email.”

Refresh your blog posts regularly.

Then, when you get a reminder, first check how your post is performing. If it barely gets traffic, it’s not worth your time to refresh. (Though, if you think the post is worth giving a second chance, you could try targeting a new keyword and/or republishing it under a new headline.)

If it is performing well, see if you can refresh your post by:

  • Adding new tips, examples or insights you’ve gained since publication
  • Checking the comments for questions you could address in the post
  • Revising outdated information
  • Checking whether all the links still work
  • Checking whether the resources or tools you recommend are still the best
  • Removing or replacing methods you no longer support
  • Adding or updating images, screenshots, graphs, etc.

Once you’ve made the improvements to your post, mark it as updated. You can either add (Updated) to the end of your headline, or add a message at the top of your post.

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If you think your work is over as soon as you click “publish,” it’s time to think again.

Because what you do once your post is live is even more important than what you do before. Taking your foot off the gas can mean that all the effort you spent writing your post goes to waste.

So instead of writing post after post, spend some time getting people to read the ones you’ve already written. Try some of the above tasks on your older posts, and keep them in mind for your next ones.

Stop neglecting your posts after you publish them and get them the attention they deserve.

And before you know it, you’ll see your traffic soar.

|29f455421f2895b2e97443d06ad2623e|: Mary Fernandez the founder of Persuasion Nation and the co-founder of AwesomeGuests: a tool that connects you with the top blogs and podcasts seeking guests just like you. Click here to access our fully-vetted database of guest blogging and podcast interview opportunities (plus SmartBlogger-only deals and bonuses)!

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In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey

What does content marketing success look like to you? Is a healthier pipeline? Increased client retention? Or something completely different? While every marketing team might have a slightly different goal for content, the message is the same: You have to create a predictable way to gauge the impact of your content.

The content marketing journey can be perilous at times. At every turn there is a new competitor, shiny object or new “best practice”. This can cause teams to get so caught up in the creation of a quantity of content, that content amplification strategies are an afterthought, or even worse, not executed at all.

We appreciate that you’ve travelled 1,000’s of miles with us on this content marketing adventure. We’ve packed and prepped for our content expedition through developing a content strategy and hiked our way to creating a memorable content experience. But what good is content strategy and creation if you don’t have a plan to get your content in front of the RIGHT people?

While it can be tempting to end your journey once you’ve developed content, it’s really just the first leg of the adventure. Now it’s time to focus on top amplification and co-creation opportunities to make your content soar.

For this edition, please join me in thanking our crew of experts including: Peg Miller, Arnie Kuenn, Jessica Best, Lee Odden, Deana Goldasich, Amisha Gandhi, Maureen Jann, Cathy McPhillips, Pierre-Loic Assayag, Justin Levy, Zerlina Jackson, Robert Rose and Anna McHugh!
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If you’d like to share tips from your favorite crew members, simply click below to tweet!


Stay close to your customer & sales team, & you’ll never run out of content ideas. @PegMiller
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Set aside a budget to amplify your content to improve reach. @ArnieK
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The most engaging content is a response. @bestofjess
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Ask prospective customers for preferences & invite them to share topical expertise. @leeodden
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Create memorable experiences with interactive content that adds value. @AmishaGandhi
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Messages must be crafted to fit both consumption mode & the marketing funnel. @MaureenOnPoint
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Make it easy for your influencers to share content with prewritten messaging. @cmcphillips
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Partnering with influential experts is crucial to creating engaging content. @pierreloic
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Paid social can help greatly improve reach & engagement if used properly. @justinlevy
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Develop strategies to deliver content beyond your website. Zerlina Jackson
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Better work inherently drives deeper engagement. @Robert_Rose
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Be passionate about the content you’re creating and truly believe in the value. @amchughredhat
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It’s time to book your ticket for Content Marketing World 2017!

Content Marketing World 2017

To connect with this content marketing crew of experts in person, be sure to check out the agenda for the 2017 Content Marketing World conference.

You can also follow along and participate in conversations via Twitter by using the hashtag #CMWorld, by following CMI on Twitter (@CMIContent) or by subscribing to our blog.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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18 Essentials to Creating a Trust-Boosting Facebook Page

Trust has always been important from a marketing perspective.

But in my opinion, it’s never been more important than it is today.

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That’s because so many consumers have an underlying cynicism about brands and companies.

And why wouldn’t they be skeptical?

Marketing communications account for 70% of today’s spam complaints.

Just think of all the scam artists, false advertisements and deceptive advertising techniques people so frequently encounter.

Not to sound pessimistic, but modern consumers have a good reason to be suspicious.

As a marketer, you have to put your audience at ease.

And social media is a great way to do that.

Facebook in particular is ideal for creating trust.

You can even use it to turn casual fans into die-hard brand advocates.

In fact, Facebook has been instrumental in helping me expand my following.

As of right now, I have nearly 1 million followers on my Neil Patel page, and it’s growing every day.

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In this post, I’d like to cover 18 essentials mandatory for boosting the trustworthiness of your Facebook page.

These tactics have worked for me and countless other brands, and they can work for you too.

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Just like on Twitter, Facebook has a feature where you can add a verification badge as long as you’re a public figure, media company or brand.

Here’s mine:

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It’s a simple way to prove it’s actually you and not a fake account.

Here are the steps involved in getting your Facebook page verified:

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Check out this guide from Facebook for more information on the process.

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In order to build a solid brand, you need to have identifiable branding elements like a formal logo, recognizable color scheme, style, etc.

Facebook gives you an excellent opportunity to reinforce your brand, which helps with trust building.

Include a profile picture and a background picture that incorporate your core branding elements.

Take TechCrunch for example:

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They use their signature green and white color scheme along with their logo.

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The About page of your website is important.

In fact, “52% of people” want to see it on your website’s homepage.

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It only makes sense to create a robust Facebook About page.

Here’s a good example from Chris Guillebeau:

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Notice how he succinctly fills visitors in on his key info?

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According to the same study from KoMarketing I referenced above, including contact information on your website is even more important than having an About page.

They found 64% of people want to see your contact information after arriving on your homepage.

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Of course, you’ll want to include this on your Facebook page as well.

Include as much info as you can.

Ideally, also include a phone number because this tends to be a significant trust factor.

Here’s what I have for my contact info:

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Any time you can create a link pointing to your website, you should do it.

This is just another opportunity for referral traffic.

It can also add to the trust users can feel from your Facebook page.

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Even if you’re a massive, big-name brand, you still want to create a genuine connection with your audience.

You want to come across as being transparent and authentic.

One thing I love about Facebook is that it enables you to combine business with pleasure.

I know it’s helped me increase my credibility by allowing me to show a bit of my own personality.

If you’ve ever scrolled through my pictures, you’ll see stuff like this:

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That’s my mom and me.

Or this:

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That’s my nephew and me having an epic intergalactic battle.

You want to be professional, but don’t be shy to share some personal information on your Facebook profile to help you gain trust and to be more likable.

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Another way to forge a connection with your audience is to let them see what’s bubbling beneath the surface.

Give them a glimpse of what your team culture is like by including some behind-the-scenes content.

Here’s a great example from HubSpot:

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I’m sure you know by now just how powerful leveraging key influencers can be.

Associating your brand with an influencer in your industry is almost guaranteed to elevate your trustworthiness.

The bigger the influencer, the bigger the impact.

One of the best in the business at doing this is Tim Ferriss.

Scroll through his Facebook photos, and you’ll see him with countless celebrities and influencers.

Here he is with the founders of Shopify:

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And here he is with author and tidying master Marie Kondo.

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I know this isn’t viable for everyone, especially if you’re a new or small brand.

But it can have a profound impact on how much your audience will trust you if you can pull this off.

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Again, this won’t be realistic for everyone.

And I know this is easier said than done.

But including any type of media coverage you’ve received can increase your trustworthiness significantly.

Here’s a quick snippet of me on Viceland as an example:

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We all know video marketing is blowing up.

Just look at the massive rise of mobile video over the last few years:

rise of mobile video graph

Why wouldn’t you want to get in on the action?

I’ve found that adding video to my Facebook page has helped me increase engagement while establishing myself as a trusted voice in the digital marketing realm.

I make it a point to include videos toward the top of my page.

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By clicking on the “Videos” section of the sidebar or on “See All,” visitors can check out my full archive of videos.

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If you haven’t experimented with videos yet, I strongly recommend giving them a go.

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But why stop there?

Facebook and several other social platforms now allow you to create live streams.

You should be interested because “Facebook Live Stream search popularity has risen over 330% since Facebook Live’s rollout.”

Engagement is off the charts, and I can’t think of a much better way to quickly boost your trustworthiness.

Just think about it.

People can watch your videos in real time and get to know you intimately, and you can instantly respond to their questions and comments.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger takes full advantage of this new trend with great success:

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You can check out his archive of videos for ideas and inspiration.

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The beautiful thing about inbound marketing, and content marketing in particular, is that it gives brands a way to advertise without overt selling.

Rather than blasting your demographic with mind-numbing marketing messages, content marketing allows you to educate, inform and entertain them.

This way they’re learning about your brand and getting real value in an unobtrusive way.

My Facebook policy is to inform my audience—not to sell to them.

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This has been a huge contributor to my success, and I recommend you take the same approach.

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I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

This is what you want to avoid with your Facebook page.

In order to establish trust, you need to focus on your core competencies and not try to be everything to everyone.

Let’s go back to Darren Rowse.

His name is synonymous with one thing: blogging.

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Not home renovation or gardening or crocheting.

It’s just blogging.

This is what has allowed him to be one of the top experts on the topic.

Be sure you’re doing the same and sticking with a central theme.

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According to an article from CoSchedule that analyzed research from 10 different studies, one post per day is the recommended posting frequency on Facebook.

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Unlike on other platforms, like Twitter or Pinterest, where posting several times a day is acceptable and even encouraged, one post a day tends to work best on Facebook.

I do at times post more often as do many other brands, but this research tells us one important thing.

You need to get in the habit of consistently posting or at least curating fresh content.

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You know if you’re getting a lot of engagement, you’re winning on Facebook.

But to keep the momentum going and keep people interested, you need to respond as much as you possibly can.

That’s what I try to do.

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I know it can be time consuming, but this is a must for building real trust with your followers.

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Looking for ideas on which features to include in your new product?

Or wondering what topics to cover on your blog?

Just ask your Facebook followers for their input.

This is a great way to perform market research, crank up engagement and make your audience feel valued.

Here are a couple of specific examples from Mavrck:

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You can get more ideas in this post.

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Polls are another awesome way to engage your audience.

It’s a quick and easy way for them to give their opinions, feeling included.

Visit this page from Facebook to learn how to publish polls.

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One last thing.

Social media is meant to be fun.

It’s not meant to be overly formal or rigid.

So another key factor in trust-boosting is to have fun with it and let your personality shine through.

Letting your hair down, so to speak, can help you get the trust you’re seeking.

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When you get right down to it, trust equals revenue.

Gaining trust is like knocking down the initial domino, which leads to a host of other benefits like engagement, a big following, leads, conversions and ultimately sales.

And the way I see it, Facebook is one of the best platforms pound-for-pound for creating trust.

You just need to understand which elements to leverage and put in the work to give your audience what they’re looking for.

What makes you trust a brand on Facebook?

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What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature

Influencer marketing is booming—and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers lend authority and credibility to your brand and content, help connect you with new audiences, and typically deliver more ROI than traditional digital marketing tactics. As a result, brands large and small are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers—and using social platforms to spread their message.

For those brands and marketers engaging in paid partnerships with influencers on Instagram, a change is on the horizon. Last week, Instagram officially announced it would soon roll out its new “paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.

“The relationships people form on Instagram are what makes our 700M+ community so unique,” Instagram said in its announcement. “It’s here where the world comes together to discover and connect to their passions. Because of this, creators (influencers & publishers) and businesses often join forces to tap into Instagram’s passionate communities with branded content. As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it’s important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content.”

According to SocialMediaToday, Instagram began testing the partner tag feature—which is similar to what parent-company, Facebook, implemented last year—back in March. And while there’s no official deadline, Instagram said the rollout will be happening slowly over the next few weeks.

So, what do brands and marketers need to know about the new feature? Below are a few key takeaways from the announcement.

#1 – The new feature will enhance transparency—and credibility.

Enhancing influencer marketing transparency is at the core of Instagram’s decision to launch the new tagging option. Not only does the company want to ensure followers can easily recognize sponsored content, but they want to make it easy for influencers and businesses to provide that clarity. In fact, according to TechCrunch, Instagram’s Creative Programs Director Charles Porch said businesses are “looking for ways to be super transparent with their followers when they have a partnership.”

The good news is that brands can use this new level of transparency to their advantage. Simply put, influencers help brands make authentic and meaningful connections with their audience, as well as build brand awareness and credibility. And more transparency means more credibility and authenticity—something modern consumers crave and respect.

In addition, this enhanced transparency will help brands better comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure policies. Back in April, the FTC reported that it had sent out more than 90 letters to marketers and influencers “reminding” them to clearly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products on social media.

#2 – You’ll get access to new data and insights.

Perhaps the most attractive perk brands and marketers will enjoy with the new tagging feature is access to data on influencers’ posts.

“When the partners use this tag, they will both have access to Insights to track exactly how their branded content posts and stories are performing,” Instagram explained. “Creators will continue to see metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will see shared reach and engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights.”

As you can imagine, having this data will give you insight into the real impact of your influencer marketing efforts, and help you make informed decisions on where to go next.

#3 – Adding the tag will be quick and easy.

As you can see from the sample photo below, the tag will be prominently, yet simply, displayed at the top of each post. As far as the mechanics of tagging a partner go, an “Add Partner” option will reportedly be nested under the “Tag People” selection—making it incredibly easy to add to any post.

#4 – An official policy and enforcement procedure is in the works.

At this point, Instagram has not announced it’s official policy on tagging paid partnerships, nor how it plans to actually enforce it. But, according to last week’s announcements, it’s in the works and is expected to be announced in the next few months.

Are Paid Influencer Marketing Tactics Right for Your Brand?

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Everyone is influential about something.” As a result, nearly every brand could benefit from adding influencers into their marketing mix. Whether paid tactics are the right course, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to consider your industry, business objectives, budget, current marketing mix, target audience and types of influencers you want to work with to make an informed decision. (Of course, if you need help crafting a plan, we’d love to help!)

What’s your reaction to the new Instagram partner tag? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature | http://www.toprankblog.com

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7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

This is a guest contribution from Shane Barker.

If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you’re probably familiar with landing pages, and may have even used a few of them for different campaigns. Whether you’re trying to drive people to sign up for your mailing list, or to purchase a product/service you’re promoting, landing pages can help you achieve your conversion goals. But is your landing page optimized for mobile users? Is it able to drive enough conversions on mobile?

Just imagine you’re using your smartphone to read someone else’s blog, and you click on a link to learn about a certain product reviewed in the post. But you end up on a page that is too difficult to view and navigate. You have to either squint, or zoom in to read the page content. That could ruin your experience, and may even compel you to leave the page. The result? For the blogger, it means they’ve lost the opportunity to convert you.

Don’t make the same mistake. When you’re designing a landing page, make sure you optimize it for mobile users. The seven key design elements below can help you design a mobile landing page optimized for conversions.

1. A Short But Strong Headline

Landing page headlines should always be clear and concise. For a mobile landing page, your headline has to be even shorter, because you have even less space to work with. Use no more than five words, and describe what your website is about, or what your product does. This may be difficult, but it isn’t impossible.

Take a look at the Squarespace mobile landing page, for instance. The headline, “Build it Beautiful,” is short, but it clearly tells people what the product is about – building websites. And “beautiful” highlights the benefit of using the platform. They’ve perfectly summed up what their product does, and what makes it special, in just three words, with a compelling headline.

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

Try to form your headline around the main features and/or benefits of your product. Maybe it will help readers learn something useful, or tackle a challenge they’ve been facing. Once you come up with a potential headline, check it several times to see if you can shorten it and still keep it compelling. For instance, you could shorten, “Convert People with Beautiful Landing Pages,” to, “Create Landing Pages that Convert.”

Although many landing pages have a subheading with more details about the product’s features, that may not be the best option for a mobile landing page due to the limited space. You can try adding a few bullet points if you absolutely have to include further details or benefits of the product. Just make sure each point is concise and clear.

2. A Short And Persuasive Call-To-Action

You know the importance of persuasive CTA copy, and how it can help drive conversions. With mobile landing pages, your CTA copy needs to compel users to take action, and it needs to do so with just 2-3 words. Something like, “Get Started,” “Grab Your Deal,” or “Build Your Website,” may be ideal as they get straight to the point in just a few words.

For example, the mobile landing page for the Shyp app has clear call-to-action copy that urges people to, “Get the App.”

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

To come up with compelling copy for your CTA, first define the goal of your landing page. Is it to get people to enter a contest, download an eBook, or sign up for your mailing list? Next, write a short CTA that clearly tells people what you want them to do, like, “Enter to Win,” or “Download Your Guide.”

3. One Prominent CTA Button

What’s the goal of a landing page? To get people to do something. So what’s the point of having a CTA button on your mobile landing page if it’s barely visible? If you’re trying to get people to take a certain action, make sure the CTA button is prominently displayed. If possible, choose a button color that contrasts with the main page color so that it stands out.

While aesthetics are a crucial part of your landing page design, you shouldn’t blend the elements so much that you hide the CTA button. The New Balance mobile landing page below highlights one CTA button boldly in black. And you can see that, although the button clearly contrasts with the rest of the page design, it doesn’t compromise the overall aesthetics.

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

The optimal number of CTA buttons on a mobile landing page is one, because you want to direct users towards one particular action. You don’t want to confuse them with too many options. If you have several goals, you can try building a separate landing page for each goal. But if you absolutely must have more than one CTA button on a page, make sure you highlight the main call-to-action, and blend in the others with the rest of the design.

For instance, if the goal is to get people to download something, the CTA button for downloading should be the most prominent. Secondary CTA buttons like, “Learn More,” or “Contact Us,” should be less visible. A good example is the Squarespace landing page shown above, where the main call-to-action, “Get Started,” is more prominent than the secondary CTA, “Learn More.”

4. Minimal Clutter

When you’re targeting mobile users, you should keep in mind that there is limited screen space to work with. A busy page design with too many elements can be an eyesore, especially on mobile landing pages. You need to simplify the page design as much as possible. This means you need to remove any unnecessary clutter, and keep other elements hidden if possible.

Keep only the most important elements. Just take a look at the simplistic and elegant landing page for Moto 360, for example. The page contains only a few elements: a strong headline, the product name, pricing info, and a call-to-action button.

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

Now let’s take a look at the original desktop version of the landing page. Here, there are a few changes in the formatting. Although the headline remains the same, this version has a small subheading to describe the product. You can also see that the navigation bar isn’t hidden like in the mobile version.

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

For mobile, keep only the most important elements, and remove unnecessary elements that may clutter the page. Removing unnecessary clutter from your mobile landing page doesn’t just enhance the page’s aesthetics, it also reduces the page’s load time. A faster loading page can improve user experience, and boost conversions.

5. Simplified Forms

Do you really need people to fill in 7 or 8 form fields when signing up for something? Too many form fields can clutter your landing page, and frustrate users. If you want more people to convert, you need to simplify the conversion process. The idea is to get them to complete the task before they have time to change their minds. Simplify your forms – whether they’re for subscriptions, free trials, or promo codes.

Make sure any forms on your mobile landing page collect only the most crucial information. For example, you probably need a user’s email address for eBook downloads, newsletter subscriptions, free trials, promo codes, and pretty much everything else. But you may not need to ask for their name, address, or phone number.

Adjust the form fields based on what you want to achieve with the landing page. The Shopify free trial landing page shown below has only three form fields. It asks for an email address, store name, and a password so that users can access their account later. It doesn’t ask for any unnecessary information like name, phone number, or address.

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

6. Readable Copy

Which of these is easier to read: ProBlogger or ProBlogger? Naturally, you’d choose the latter of these two font sizes. The font styles and sizes you choose to use can have a huge impact on the readability of your mobile landing page. Remember, you’re working on a small screen; so you need to make sure that your copy is easy to read, despite the small space.

The idea is to make sure that people don’t have to squint or zoom in to read the content on your landing page. The ideal font size according to Google is 16 px, but you can always customize the size according to the font style you’ve chosen. Don’t forget to leave ample space between text lines to improve readability.

If you’ve followed the tips above, you’ve already simplified the design, and shortened your headline. That means there will be more space on your mobile landing page, allowing you to use a larger font that’s easier to read. Additionally, choose a font color that contrasts with the main color used on the page, but still blends well with the rest of the design.

Here’s an example from Gumroad. As you can see in the image below, the text is clearly visible. It is easy to read because of the large font size and simple style. It also contrasts with the main page color, while still complimenting the rest of the design.

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

7. Neatly Organized Elements

If a mobile landing page has too much going on, the design can easily become an eyesore. Maybe there’s too much text, or the headline and description are too close to the CTA button. Unorganized elements can confuse your readers, and negatively affect their experience.

For a mobile landing page design that boosts conversions, make sure all elements are neatly organized. There should be a sufficient amount of whitespace between elements so that people can navigate the page easily, and find what they’re looking for. This will also improve the visibility of your CTA button.

Take a look at the mobile landing page for the Albert app below. There is more text than recommended, but the design still works well because the elements are neatly organized. Sufficient whitespace separates the headline, subheading, and CTA button, preventing the design from looking cluttered. The blue CTA button is prominent amidst all of the text and whitespace.

7 Key Design Elements for a Mobile Landing Page that Converts | ProBlogger

What’s Next?

Once you’ve optimized your mobile landing page with the seven design elements above, you need to check whether or not they’re working for you. A few minor tweaks may be necessary to maximize their effectiveness. Make sure you run A/B tests for every element, and make adjustments, or changes as needed. The goal is to ensure that your page:

  • Loads quickly
  • Is aesthetically pleasing
  • Clearly directs people towards the desired action

All of these play a role in how well you’re able to convert an audience. Run an A/B test or a multivariate test for each element to find which areas need further improvement, and which changes are working for you. Do some call-to-actions or headlines work better than others? Which color combination drives more conversions?

Experiment with different colors for your CTA button to determine which one gets the most clicks. Test several headlines to find out which your audience responds better to. Experiment with different font styles, and sizes and check if there’s any difference in your conversion rate based on those changes.

Conclusion

Now you know the key elements you need to use to design a high-converting mobile landing page. Have you tried any of these tips before? How did it affect your conversion rate? Do you have any questions about mobile landing pages? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

And if you need any help optimizing your website, blog, or landing pages for conversions, you can get in touch with me. I can help you come up with the best solutions for boosting your conversions.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. You can find him on Twitter here.

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Interactive Quiz: 5 Steps to Creating a Stellar Content Experience for Your Audience

This month marks exactly 181 years since the first advertisement was ever published. The ad in question appeared in the French newspaper, La Presse, and other papers quickly began following suit. For the first time in history, businesses were using “content” distributed to a large audience to formally promote their products and services.

Clearly a lot of time has passed since that initial ad in 1836, but has our approach to content evolved at a similar pace? True, many advancements have been made in the way we deliver content and marketers have gotten better at attempting to deliver meaningful insights to their audience. But, one thing that many marketers still haven’t been able to nail, is creating a great content experience.

It’s no surprise that content has become the epicenter of modern marketing strategies. And while an integrated digital marketing strategy performs best, any marketing strategy that does not include content will likely not see the light of day.

But when 90% of today’s data was created in the last two years alone, how can marketers cut through the noise?

To earn the eyes, hearts and wallets of the modern customers, marketers need to do more to stand out. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to be creating MORE content. Instead, we need to focus on creating content that has impact and creates a great experience for our audience.

To help answer what it takes to create a great content experience, our team at TopRank Marketing partnered with SnapApp to bring you our new interactive quiz: 5 Steps to Creating a Stellar Content Experience for Your Audience

In addition to an opportunity to test your content engagement smarts, you’ll also gain access to exclusive tips and insights from leading industry experts including Ardath Albee, Seth Lieberman, Amisha Gandhi, Mari Smith and Lee Odden. 

If you’re ready to test your knowledge, get started below:


Stellar Content

When content isn’t performing.

Right before launching a campaign.

Prior to developing your content strategy.

When you have time.

Create content that is creative, engaging and visual.

Keep doing what you’re doing. They’ll catch on.

Follow what other brands are doing.

Test every single content type to see what works.

Pay for better content distribution.

Co-create content with influencers.

Ensure all brand standards are met.

Explain to the audience why the content is credible.

They consume and share the content.

You can just tell.

There were no negative comments.

The content was credible so of course they liked it.

Providing answers customers are searching for, where they’re searching for them.


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How did you score on the content experience quiz? While some of these answers may have seemed like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at how many marketers often overlook the very basic elements required to create a stellar content experience.

At the core, a successful content experience should delight your audience and turn skeptics into fans and fans into advocates. It doesn’t matter how much time and money you put into optimizing and advertising your content, if it doesn’t create a good experience for your audience, they’ll quickly abandon your carefully crafted words and move on to the next opportunity.

What steps have you taken to improve the content experience for you audience? Share in the comments below!

 


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How to Build an Unbreakable YouTube Brand

One billion hours of video.

That’s how much content is viewed each and every day on YouTube!

That translates to 46,000 years of content annually.

Another amazing thing about YouTube is the amount of time users spend on it.

Believe it or not, the average YouTube session is 40 minutes.

That dwarfs the amount of time people spend on Instagram and Twitter.

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Talk about engagement!

Here are a few other ridiculous stats that demonstrate YouTube’s potency:

Youtube Statistics

But here’s what I find really interesting.

Only 9% of US small businesses have a YouTube channel.

That’s kind of crazy if you think about it.

I mean YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of users.

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You would think more brands would be taking advantage of it.

But this is a good thing and means that YouTube offers plenty of opportunity.

You just have to seize that opportunity.

But how do you go about building a YouTube brand?

Furthermore, what are some of the similarities among top YouTube channels?

I’d like to share with you some key strategies that have worked for some of the biggest YouTube brands.

I’ve developed some sort of a template, and following it will help you build a successful, unbreakable YouTube brand that’s distinctly your own.

Come up with a unique angle

One of the most popular channels of all time is Epic Rap Battles of History (ERB).

They’ve featured rap battles that range all the way from Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates:

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to Mr. T vs. Mr. Rogers:

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It’s pretty hilarious.

ERB has completely killed it and has a massive following.

They had well over 14 million subscribers as of mid-2017.

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I’m not saying you have to be as original as ERB, but you definitely need a unique angle.

To decide on an angle, you have to first identify your core audience.

What kind of content would appeal to them?

Would they go for humor and sarcasm?

A lot of the top channels implement humor to some extent.

YouTube is also a place where people openly embrace their weirdness, so it’s generally okay to be a little out there.

Or should you be professional and go for an educational angle?

It depends on your demographic and its collective taste.

I recommend doing some brainstorming to decide on a basic direction to take.

Of course, this will evolve organically over time, but you’ll need to establish a core identity and preferably one that stands out.

Also keep in mind that most people use YouTube for one of two reasons.

They either want to be entertained or informed, and in some cases both.

Make sure you have a mission and a clear idea of the direction you’re going to take right from the start.

Create a killer “home video”

There’s a path that most YouTube users take when learning about a brand or channel.

They’ll first land on an individual video.

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They’ll watch it, and if they like it enough to want to learn more about you, they’ll click on the link to your home profile.

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Your home video will automatically play there.

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This will basically make you or break you in terms of gaining subscribers.

Either they’ll be compelled to subscribe to your channel, or they’ll head elsewhere.

So, you need to completely crush it with your home video.

More specifically, it needs to encapsulate what your brand and channel are all about.

There are a few ways to approach this.

You could:

  • create a video specifically for your homepage, describing your channel and telling viewers what they can expect
  • feature one of your top videos that captures the essence of your brand/channel
  • create a compilation of the top highlights of previous videos

Whatever approach you take, just be sure you connect the dots for first-time viewers so they know what to expect if they subscribe.

Make full use of the About section

Every YouTube channel has an About section that explains the concept of the channel.

Many first-time viewers will check this out to learn more about you.

The information you include in this section will influence whether or not they choose to subscribe.

Don’t haphazardly or carelessly fill out this section.

You want to explain the details and highlight any points potential subscribers should know.

Here’s a good example of a rock solid About section from Fine Brothers Entertainment:

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Notice that it gives a clear, succinct description and also mentions the posting schedule.

Here’s another good example from The Needle Drop, one of the most popular music review channels:

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This is yet another opportunity to build a homogeneous brand identity and pique the interest of those unfamiliar with you.

Don’t overlook the About section.

Create consistency

“It takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember a brand.”

In order to make your brand both recognizable and memorable, it’s super important to have consistency on your channel.

There are two main ways to accomplish this.

First, your channel should feature recurring characters and themes.

You want to become familiar to your audience to build connections with them over time.

Second, you should strive to stick with a consistent posting schedule.

In order to keep your audience interested and dialed in, you should give them a rough idea of when they can expect new content.

I know I get a little irked and lose interest in channels that go MIA all of a sudden.

It’s generally considered best practice to upload at least one new video a week.

However, two or three videos is even better.

I find the one to three video mark tends to be ideal.

It’s the sweet spot that keeps subscribers interested without fatiguing them with excessive content.

In terms of the best time to post, there’s an article from Tube Filter that offers some good advice on this.

According to their research, these are the best hours to post a video each day:

youtube best posting times days of the week

There’s also evidence suggesting viewership begins rising on Thursday and spikes on Saturday.

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And this makes sense if you think about it.

Unlike most other social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where you can casually scroll through your feed with minimal time investment, YouTube requires a larger commitment, where users often view content in larger blocks.

This makes the weekend the ideal time for viewing.

Plus, people can be stealth about checking most of their social sites at work, but YouTube is trickier.

Usually, they’ll need to wait until they’re off work to indulge.

Keep this in mind when establishing a posting schedule for your videos.

Make live video part of your repertoire

Live streaming is a fairly new concept on YouTube.

But it’s starting to spread like wildfire.

According to Mediakix, “YouTube Live video views have grown by 80% and livestreams increased by 130% between 2015 and 2016.”

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And here’s the thing about live video.

It’s absolutely perfect for brand building.

There’s a certain closeness viewers experience with brands through live streaming. There’s an intimate vibe to it.

You can even answer questions and respond to comments in real time and interact with your audience in a way that’s not possible with any other medium.

Research from Livestream also found that

live video is more appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.

This is definitely something to experiment with if you haven’t done so already.

However, there is one caveat.

You must have at least 1,000 subscribers to be eligible for live video.

But this number has actually dropped dramatically, considering the minimum number was 10,000 earlier in 2017.

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What’s one of the quickest ways to crank up the exposure of your blog/website and bring in an influx of traffic?

One word: guest-posting.

Collaborating with other awesome YouTubers is basically the equivalent of guest-posting via video, which can boost your brand dramatically.

I’ve had success with this strategy.

Take for instance the time I appeared on Tai Lopez’s channel.

That one video generated over 275,000 views:

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If you really want to expedite the growth of your YouTube brand, I highly recommend reaching out to relevant YouTubers in your niche.

It’s really easy.

Find a person’s contact information on their About page, and click on “Send message:”

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Introduce yourself, tell them how much you like their channel and explain your idea for a collaboration video.

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You don’t even need to do the video face to face—you can record footage, interacting remotely through FaceTime, Skype, etc.

This way, you can leverage someone else’s subscriber base to quickly grow your own following.

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It’s really hard to beat YouTube as a brand-building platform.

The massive built-in audience (1.3 billion users as of March 2017) combined with the intimacy that comes with video is the perfect recipe for building your brand from the ground up.

And like I mentioned earlier, fewer than 10% of US businesses have a YouTube channel.

So, competition is still low.

If you can consistently deliver epic content that informs, entertains or both, you’re way ahead of the game.

Not only can you build an audience, you can build a unique, successful brand your competitors won’t be able to replicate.

What methods have you used to establish your YouTube brand?

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