In the previous part we discussed the current situation with SEO and why it’s not the best way to rock your future. We also learned a new way to market your online resources and build relationships with potential customers using Content Marketing.
However, it’s pretty obvious that no matter how great your Content is, you aren’t gaining anything if nobody can find it. That’s why in this second part of our short content marketing guide we’ll consider the next 2 big things in the world of Content Marketing:
- Social Media and
- Email Marketing.
These are stepping stones to getting your content out of the door to the world. This is how you engage with your audience and quickly grow it without waiting for Google to pick it up for you, which usually takes from 2 weeks to a few months.
So let’s start with Social Media Marketing.
Social media marketing
There are a number of ways to make your business, online blog, website, and/or quality free content known to the world. Several of them require some financial investment, while others may require your time, or that of your team.
You’re probably already using some social networks for your personal purposes. Why not use them to try to achieve some of your business goals, too?
Using social media will give you great tools to build audience, regularly share your unique content with more people, and finally convert more visitors to customers.
So what does Social Media give you?
- Access to existing online users so you can quickly start building up your presence and increasing your audience
- Tools to freely share your content and help it go viral
- More visitors to you website or blog
- More people who know about your business and value proposition
How does it work?
- You prepare a new piece of great content (e.g., teaching article)
- You post news about it on your social networks
- All your friends, contacts, and followers know about your new article almost instantly
- They like it, share it, comment on it and thank you for the value you provide
- As a result, more people can read it, become your new fans, and finally purchase from you
You can also buy paid advertisements on most of popular social networks, but we won’t cover this here.
What are the most popular networks at this moment?
- LinkedIn (professionals network)
- Instagram (image sharing mobile app network)
- Pinterest (image sharing network)
The first three networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+) are recommended for use by any type of business. LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest really depend on your niche.
What follows are the minimum actions required to keep your business well represented within social networks and make sure more people know about your latest content.
Things to do:
- Make sure you are signed up to at least 3 of most popular social media networks out there (Facebook, Twitter and Google+)
- Create a public page representing your business within those social networks and fill in all the necessary details about your business
- Start following (“friending”) a few related pages or users so that you can get some followers to your pages in response (this also helps keep your public page from looking too lonely at the beginning)
- Make a habit of posting at least one update daily within every social network (hint: you can use tools like Hootsuite to automate your social activity); of course, this should contain a short bit of content that is both useful and interesting to your target audience, or it could be some news about your business that still has value for your audience 😉
- Put social media Sharing buttons on your website articles so that your readers can share your great content with their friends; you can embed each sharing button separately for each social media network (if you’re using WordPress, there are ready-to-go plugins to embed the buttons) or use services like Addthis.com to embed all the necessary network buttons in one run
- Embed Follow buttons on your website so that your website visitors can find your business public pages on other social networks (and follow and subscribe to them); using 3rd party services like Addthis.com you can embed multiple public profile buttons in one run, or you can use native social network techniques to embed a button for each services separately
After setting this all up, don’t expect to see your audience grow to thousands in matter of weeks. This takes time, creativity and good habits centered on continuously providing valuable content to your audience. The result is steady growth and happier followers. The more interesting the content you share in your social media profiles, the faster you’ll grow your network of friends, subscribers and followers.
By now, we know that reaching out to an audience with valuable content will help us get better clients in the future. Also, we got an idea on how to use social networks to grow our audience and find people that might be interested in our content.
Wouldn’t it also be useful to have some way to contact our audience whenever we want to provide them with even more free content? Or even when we finally ask them to buy something from us? So why wait for them to come to our website when we could initiate contact!
This is where Email Marketing comes into our game plan.
After our visitor has gotten some real value from us for free, why not to ask him for his contact details so we can provide even more value, such as free content and products or special offers?
For your business, this means you can contact your audience whenever you need to. You can use it to provide your audience even with more value (ideally on regular basis). After giving away all this useful content to your audience for free, you finally have a right to be more direct in asking them to purchase something from you that is of even more value.
For this reason I strongly recommend that you start collecting contact details (usually email addresses) from your website visitors. These days email lists are one of the most powerful assets of online businesses. Email databases usually convert much better in comparison to website visitors that are not within email database. Of course, that being said, this is only true if you properly collected your email list so that it consists of people from the target audience of your business.
How does it work?
- You embed an email subscription form on your website asking for visitor email in return for something of value, which would ideally be a useful report, instructional, material or any other “carrot” that will be of some real value to your future subscriber
- The visitor provides you their email address
- Using this method, you collect email addresses from your visitors
- On a regular basis you provide some further value to your email contacts
- Once in a while you email them with some sales proposition, getting a much higher conversion rate than you’d get from google adwords campaigns, blog visitors or social media network subscribers
People that are on your email list and regularly receive something of value from you for free will tend to buy from you. This is because you have established a relationship of trust with them. They trust you, and know, based on your regular interactions with them, that your products and services should be of high quality. Whenever they need something you provide, they’ll think of you and your business as their first choice provider, making it a “no brainer” to pick you instead of your competition.
There are 2 ways to start collecting subscribers on your website:
- Just put a form with a simple message along the lines of “leave me your email and you’ll get news delivered directly to your inbox”, or offer a regular weekly newsletter with useful content and news
- Or, even better, prepare some free but useful products and ask your visitor’s for their email address in exchange for that product; this works better than just singing up for blog or site news, and you can choose from a variety of things to offer, such as an ebook, downloadable report, teaching email course, or short consultation—anything that could be sent or linked from your confirmation email; I call such useful content that I give away in exchange for an email address a “carrot”; this method works best
So, if you’re now convinced that Email Marketing is something worth trying, here you’ll find the next actions to perform in order to start collecting your first emails.
Next steps to do:
- Think about possible “carrots” that you can provide to your target audience; create them and prepare them for download
- Signup for email marketing online service (there are many of them); it could be Mailchimp (recommended for beginners or small companies), Aweber, or Infusionsoft (this is a more expensive tool recommended when you have advanced use cases)
- Begin creating your email list using one of above mentioned services and get an email subscription form code for that list; also configure your email subscription confirmation/success email to include a link to your “carrot” so that your subscriber can receive it right after subscribing
- Embed that form code into your website; if you’re using WordPress cms, you’ll find several available plugins for all 3 email marketing services in the plugins directory so that you can just install and configure the plugins instead of copying and pasting form code
- You can also create a separate page on your website with a Newsletter signup form to collect more addresses from those willing to get regular advice from you and your business
- Regularly provide free value to your subscribers as part of your email campaigns (once per week or 2 weeks at the very least);
- Occasionally ask them to buy from you and share your content with their friends
After you’re done with above setup and received your first positive results from Email Marketing activities, you’ll have a much better idea of what to do next and how to engage with your audience through email campaigns.
Again, emails database start growing at a fairly slow rate, but with time their growth rate becomes faster and faster. Even if you don’t have any results during the first few weeks, don’t give up but keep providing more and more value to your visitors, followers and subscribers!
So you now know what Content, Social Media and Email Marketing are, why you should care about them, how you can use them to your benefit, and the steps to start implementing this new information in your own business.
It’s just very basic introduction to Content Marketing, but in the next articles we’ll be going into more detail. We’ll also be talking about more techniques and the rules on how to win in the content marketing game.
And now, I ask you to start taking action on the steps I outlined in this and previous articles. Please post your comments, questions and your own results here!
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