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How to Create Content with Customers to Generate Leads

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Everything you do at your job is for your customers, right? They’re the reason you open the doors every day, and you couldn’t do it without their support. Yet, at some point, you have to turn forward and try to acquire new customers to keep everything moving along, while continuing to satisfy your current clients. While your sales and marketing teams are strategizing on how to pull down new conversions, you should remind them of one of the greatest assets you have: your past and current customers. Elevating and celebrating your happy clients can generate converting content, new leads, convince those in the critical decision phase, and raise your retention rates. Well-placed content can boost your bottom line. Here’s how.

Positive Vibes

If you’re about to make a purchase, large or small, it’s likely you’ll check at least a few reviews and ratings before you buy. In fact, a full 86% of potential consumers do, according to this report. We all do it, mostly because we’d rather get the perspective of an everyday person rather than the puffed-up sales pitch from the brand’s website. We trust these voices to give us the real deal, good or bad, and this theory applies to corporate decision makers as well. Showcasing comprehensive testimonials provides ample social proof and can even explain all the positive steps and personal attention that they received along the way. Most satisfied customers are happy to provide a testimonial with a little nudge. And, like any social obligation, it’s always a good idea to reciprocate with a personal thank you or a gift (more about that later).

You Just Gotta Ask

Look, you should already know how your customers feel about your company and the experience they had while working with you. If you haven’t, you’re missing out on some valuable feedback that could help you out in all aspects of your business. There should be some degree of recording customer feedback, either from customer service or your regular client-facing personnel, like your sales team or account managers. To start compiling internal data, you might want to try surveys that focus on the customer experience, either via email or as part of a regular “exit interview”. Make sure to include plenty of open-ended questions with spaces for clients to put their thoughts into their own words, like these:

  • What surprised you about this product/service?
  • Which feature did you find particularly useful?
  • Would you recommend this product/service to friends/family/colleagues?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

You may also want to include rating systems that you’ll be able to pull quantifiable data from (i.e. “92% rated their service as very good”). When you are able to comb through these responses, you can identify those customers who might be top candidates for testimonials, and you can even include a question that asks them directly if they’d be willing to volunteer their thoughts for a testimonial.

Make sure that you get the client’s full name, company position, and head shot when publishing text or video testimonials. Proper endorsement absolutely needs qualified identification…you don’t want Joe T. from Ithaca singing your praises, as it’s likely anonymous testimonials just won’t be taken seriously. Professionally shot video clips may have the most impact, as you can see and hear the sincerity and emotion from the happy customer.

Celebrate Your Customers

There’s lots of room to integrate your customers into your overall sales and marketing plans simply by showering them with praise. Developing and writing a detailed case study about the challenges, plan, and success you eventually had while working with them accomplishes quite a bit. It gives potential customers a good look at the end result, yes, but it also highlights the experience and the journey that you and your team went through to provide those solutions. Keep all the statements in the case study positive (i.e. avoid phrases like “They were in a lot of trouble before we stepped in”), and be effusive in your praise about how great it was to work with them and how happy you are with their success. This is valuable content that you can have on your website, include in your email newsletter, and post on social sites like LinkedIn for maximum exposure. Here’s a few case studies to look over for inspiration.

Also, be sure to publicly congratulate your past customers on their recent milestones and successes, such as anniversaries, new expansions, or big hires. Privately, of course, you can send gifts and cards to their office. Point is, having a positive relationship with past clients (and showing that to others) is great publicity and social proof that you’re a great brand to work with.

The Two Forgotten Phases in the Sales Funnel

Your sales team is probably well acquainted with the sales funnel model, and strategizes with those phases in mind. The first three phases – awareness, consideration, and decision – have their own individual pathways with regards to lead generation, email campaigns, and other sales and marketing tactics. The case studies and testimonials that we already talked about certainly have their place in these first three stages, but they can also feature prominently in the last two phases, which are retaining your customers and getting them to become advocates for new potential customers. When you consider these last two phases, the funnel actually becomes a circle with the kinetic energy to keep each phase aiding the others. Retention and advocacy are steps where testimonials and positivity are particularly helpful. This is also a good time to drop a few incentives; a discount to returning customers (retention) or a referral program (advocacy) would help keep that energy up.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your customers over the moon with your products and services is great, but adding good doses of flattery, well-deserved praise, and recommendations will assure that anyone who considers doing business with you is walking into a beneficial situation. Through working with customers to create content assets such as case studies and testimonials, there are plenty of opportunities to earn new content that generates leads and turn leads into customers. A company who treats its customers well should naturally be recognized as such, so go ahead and tell the world how great your customers are!

Do you have any tips to promote customer advocacy to appeal to new clients? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter!

 

 

 

 

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How to Find An RSS Feed URL for Any Website

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Finding a website’s RSS feed is useful for a variety of reasons such as staying up-to-date on everything that website publishes or promoting your content via social and emails channels using tools like Hootsuite or FeedOtter respectively.

While website RSS feeds are incredibly useful they can sometimes be hard to find. So we created this helpful post to show you where they hide on some of the most popular website CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Expression engine.  Even if you aren’t sure what CMS technology a website is using these tips will surely help you better understand the world of RSS feeds and syndication.

1. Find the RSS feed of a WordPress website

The WordPress CMS powers more than 30% of the Internet, so if you’re trying to find the RSS feed of a website your best bet is to assume the site is WordPress and try the following options:

Add “/feed/” to the end of the website URL.

So https://www.feedotter.com becomes https://www.feedotter.com/feed/

and when we enter this in a browser shows us an RSS feed -which by the way looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><rss version="2.0"
	xmlns:content="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"
	xmlns:wfw="http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/"
	xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/"
	xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"
	xmlns:sy="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/"
	xmlns:slash="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/"
	>

<channel>
	<title>FeedOtter</title>
	<atom:link href="https://www.feedotter.com/feed/" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />
	<link>https://www.feedotter.com</link>
	<description></description>
	<lastBuildDate>Wed, 15 May 2019 18:21:56 +0000</lastBuildDate>
	<language>en-US</language>
	<sy:updatePeriod>hourly</sy:updatePeriod>
	<sy:updateFrequency>1</sy:updateFrequency>
	
	<item>
		<title>Is Your Lead Nurturing Strategy Doing More Harm Than Good? 5 Common Mistakes You May Be Making</title>
		<link>https://www.feedotter.com/blog/is-your-lead-nurturing-strategy-doing-more-harm-than-good-5-common-mistakes-you-may-be-making/</link>
		<pubDate>Fri, 10 May 2019 19:06:03 +0000</pubDate>
		<dc:creator><![CDATA[Kristen Matthews]]></dc:creator>
				<category><![CDATA[B2B Resources]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[best practices]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[company blog]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[content marketing]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[email marketing]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[marketing automation]]></category>

		<guid isPermaLink="false">https://www.feedotter.com/?p=20084</guid>
		<description><![CDATA[Are you having trouble turning leads into sales? This could be because you’re not maximizing your lead nurturing strategy. Or maybe your lead nurturing strategy is doing more harm than good. Don’t fret, because this post is here to help you identify mistakes you may be making in your lead nurturing strategy and once these […]]]></description>
				<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Are you having trouble turning leads into sales? This could be because you’re not maximizing your lead nurturing strategy. Or maybe your lead nurturing strategy is doing more harm than good. Don’t fret, because this post is here to help you identify mistakes you may be making in your <a href="https://www.feedotter.com/blog/how-to-create-content-that-converts-leads-into-sales/">lead nurturing strategy</a> and once these mistakes are identified, you’ll start turning more leads into sales.</p>
<p>A lead nurturing strategy is
RSS feed from feedotter.com/feed/

Add “/rss/” to the end of the website URL.

While not as common as “feed” some sites will cough up the RSS feed URL when you append “rss” to the end of the url as well.  If the first option doesn’t work this is a good 2nd tactic to try.

Find an RSS feed URL for a particular category or tag of content

WordPress by default will create RSS feeds for EVERYTHING so you can also find RSS feeds for various categories and tags of content.  Here is an example of how to find category and tag content on a WordPress site.

To find an RSS feed URL that contains only content from a specific category the URL would look like:

https://www.rubicly.com/category/content-creation/feed/

In this example the category is ‘content-creation’ and the standard WordPress trick applies of “adding /feed/ to the end of things” gives you an RSS feed URL.

It is exactly the same for a WordPress tag RSS feed:

https://www.rubicly.com/tag/b2b-content-marketing/feed/

2. Find an RSS feed via website source code

Looking at the HTML source code of a web page is another great way to quickly find the RSS feed.

Let’s navigate to the Pardot blog at https://www.pardot.com/blog/

Right click on the website’s page, and choose Page Source. In the new window that appears, use the “find” feature (Ctrl + F on a PC or Command + F on a Mac), and type in RSS.  In this case the correct RSS feed is https://www.pardot.com/feed/

Note:
It is very common for websites to offer a second RSS feed full of blog comments.  These are typically not useful so be careful to skip any feed URLs that have the word ‘comments’ in their tag.

Pardot Blog RSS Feed

3. Finding an RSS feed URL for a Joomla, Drupal, and Magento websites

While WordPress powers much of the web there are several other CMS systems that are less RSS-friendly.

A quick look at the market share of most used CMS platforms reveals that Joomla, and Magento all power significant parts of the web.

Market Share of Top CMS Systems

Unfortunately these CMS systems don’t enable RSS by default which means the site operator must explicitly create or enable an RSS feed that displays some or all of the site’s content.  If you know your website is running Joomla, Drupal, or Magento your best bet is to examine the source code of key pages (homepage, blog page, newsroom) and search for “rss”.

If you are reading this and working on your own website you may need to ask your website developer to enable and/or create an RSS feed for you.  I’ve put together several steps to help you create custom RSS feeds should this be your objective.

How to Create an RSS feed URL for your Drupal 8 website

I recommend watching this great video walkthrough of how to create RSS feeds in Drupal it’s up-to-date(2019) and illustrates how to turn any bit of Drupal content into a custom RSS feed.

Create an RSS feed URL for your Joomla website

For Joomla I would recommend installing an RSS plugin such as gsRSSFeed.  This plugin will make setting up an RSS feed in Joomla as simple as possible.

  • Step 1: Go to the RSS Feeds section on Joomla.org.
  • Step 2: Download gsRSSFeed of another plugin of your choosing
  • Step 3: Install gsRSSFeed via the Joomla installer.
  • Step 4: Go to Components >> gsRSSFeed and click “New”
  • Step 5: Fill in the information requested. Most of these fields are self-explanatory. You can happily just give your feed a name and click save.

Create an RSS feed URL for your Magento website:

Magento is an online storefront CMS used to sell things online.  Magento has some great RSS functionality built in and excellent documentation on how to create custom RSS feeds so I recommend:

Setting Up RSS Feeds for Magento Version 1

Settings up RSS Feeds for Magento Verson 2

eCommerce RSS feeds are super useful and can be used to tell customers about new products, specials, or even automate product-filled newsletters using a tool like FeedOtter.

4. Find an RSS feed for Expression Engine websites

While not holding a significant percent of market share the CMS expression engine is one of the most popular among business websites.  If you are looking for the RSS feed from a company blog or newsroom the following tips may be helpful.

These resources will help you set up RSS for ExpressionEngine:

 

In Conclusion

While most sites on the web have an RSS feed to help promote and syndicate their content its not always the case.  Hopefully this guide provided some insight into where RSS feeds most commonly reside and how to set them up if you’re working on your own website.

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Is Your Lead Nurturing Strategy Doing More Harm Than Good? 5 Common Mistakes You May Be Making

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Are you having trouble turning leads into sales? This could be because you’re not maximizing your lead nurturing strategy. Or maybe your lead nurturing strategy is doing more harm than good. Don’t fret, because this post is here to help you identify mistakes you may be making in your lead nurturing strategy and once these mistakes are identified, you’ll start turning more leads into sales.

A lead nurturing strategy is just as important as your strategy to generate leads. If you’re generating a ton of leads but aren’t nurturing them correctly, you might as well not be generating them in the first place.

The following 5 mistakes are common content marketing mistakes when it comes to any lead nurturing strategy. If you recognize any of these as mistakes that you’re making, there is plenty of time and strategies to fix the problem!

Mistake #1 Skipping the Research Phase

Researching buyer personas and the type of content that resonates with your audience is a crucial part of the initial phase when implementing a lead nurturing strategy.

Identifying pain points that your target buyers experience helps you develop the type of content to drip them.

Also understanding the customers journey as it is unique to your brand is an important part of the research phase. The journey makes you aware of what to drip your leads and when to drip it to them.

How to fix it: Carve out time in your schedule and spend time creating your buyer personas, this template from HubSpot is a great resource to use. After you’ve created your buyer personas, map out your consumer’s journey on a piece of paper. Note the questions and pain points they will encounter and make a plan to solve these pain points with the right content.

Mistake #2 Doing a Sales Pitch Too Soon

A lot of marketers make the mistake of doing a sales pitch too soon. Leads need a healthy amount of thought leadership and educational content so that you can establish brand credibility and brand trust before you make the sales pitch.

The sales pitch can also happen too soon if you’re marketing goals aren’t aligned with your sales team. Sales teams can sometimes jump in and do the sales pitch before you’ve had the chance to nurture the lead. So, it’s crucial that sales and marketing goals are aligned.

How to fix it: Set up an email drip campaign that drips leads 5 emails/pieces of content before you lay your sales pitch on them. Make sure sales is aligned with this goal so that they don’t reach out to leads until they’re “hot.”

Mistake #3 Ignoring Campaign Data

Your lead nurturing program churns out a lot of data. Are you analyzing this data? From open rates to conversions, there are a lot of clues in your campaign data when it comes to your lead nurturing strategy. Some things to examine are:

  • What subject lines had the highest open rate?
  • What pieces of content convert a lead into a sale?
  • Which messages cause a lead to unsubscribe from your emails?
  • What time of day and which days of week do your emails get opened more?

After examining this data, you will be able to make tweaks that will convert more leads into sales.

How to fix it: Monitor your data once a week and refine your lead nurturing program on a continuous basis. Each week, you should start to see better and better results. When you identify which pieces of content have the highest conversion rates, be sure to make more of that type of content.

Mistake #4 Forgetting to Update Your Drip with Fresh Content

Because you are putting out fresh content every week, you’re going to want to continuously update your lead nurturing drip. Many marketers make the mistake of creating a drip program and leaving it alone for too long. This content can become out of date and your leads can feel like they’re not getting new information from your brand.

One thing to note, though, is that your drip should keep a balance of being filled with your new content and with your best content. Things like ebooks and case studies have a longer shelf life and can stay a crucial piece of your drip campaigns for a while. Blog posts, however, should be updated every few weeks so that your leads feel like they’re getting the latest information.

How to fix it: When it comes to blog posts in your drip campaign, refresh them once a month. When it comes to ebooks and case studies, refresh them every 6 months.

Mistake #5 Not Utilizing the Right Converting Content

There are a lot of things to consider when uncovering the content that converts. First, mapping out your buyer’s journey can clue you into what types of content will convert a lead into a sale. Second, monitoring campaign data will clue you into what types of content will convert a lead into a sale. Between these two things, you should have a pretty good understanding of what types of content turn leads to sales for your brand.

How to fix it: Common forms of converting content are white papers and case studies so be sure to use these types of content at the end of your email drip sequence.

Final Thoughts

The lead nurturing mistakes that we’ve outlined occur commonly in both big and small brands so if you are making any of these mistakes, you’re not alone! Hopefully we gave you some easy fixes for these mistakes so that your lead nurturing program will start converting more leads into sales.

A commonality in these mistakes is time so make sure that you budget enough of your time each week to analyze your campaign and continue to refine it. Although feeling like you already don’t have enough time in your day may be the reason you make these mistakes in the first place, it’s important to allocate time to analyzing and tweaking your strategy each week.

Do you make any of these lead nurturing mistakes? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

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How DivvyHQ Became an Essential Content Marketing Platform

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DivvyHQ is a content planning and workflow tool used by heavy hitting content producers like Aflac, Red Bull, Mercedes-Benz, the National Geographic Channel, and many others.

We talked to DivvyHQ co-founder Brody Dorland about how the content marketing platform company got started and how a company lines up high-value customers like the ones listed above.

Brody Dorland, co-founder of DivvyHQ

As you’ll read, DivvyHQ’s success has a lot to do with the co-founders’ strategic networking tactics. (Spoiler: Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi played a big role in the launch of the platform).

Specifically, Dorland and co-founder Brock Stechman were super smart about finding allies, building relationships with influencers, and understanding customers from the perspective of an agency and product developer.

Here’s the DivvyHQ story, including what you can do to put yourself in similar positions.

Part 1: Finding Allies

Ten years ago, digital marketing was still a relatively new concept. For many companies, it was a wholesale shift in how they marketed themselves, and the process changes proved difficult to manage.

As Dorland explained, “Email platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact were making email marketing really easy to do, websites and blogs were getting easier to deploy through platforms like WordPress, and all of the social networks were starting to explode. Companies were trying to come to grips with all these new marketing technologies. They recognized the power of leveraging all these new channels to engage customers, but these new channels required a regular flow of good content.

Dorland and his partners created their own proprietary marketing strategy process, a big part of why his own marketing consultancy took off around 2008. He had a knack for seeing how all of those new moving parts he spoke of — email marketing, blogging, SEO, social media channels, etc. — should work together.

One of the primary deliverables for new clients going through their strategy process was a starter editorial calendar which covered the first three to six months of content.

“It was all of the web, email, and social content — the actual individual topics we’re going to cover, who was responsible for them, who the audience was going to be — everything we needed to execute the new strategy we had just developed for them,” Dorland said.

However, executing those strategies was always a challenge. “It got to the point where, as the projects continued to grow in scope and scale, my hoard of freelancers got harder and harder to manage on individual projects,” Dorland explained.

Enter Brock Stechman, whose agency, Brockton Creative Group, already had a full service team — including designers, writers, photographers, and website developers — ready to execute Dorland’s marketing strategies.

Dorland and Stechman — both from Kansas City — decided to team up.

“We essentially merged behind the scenes,” Dorland told us. “Any time anything came through the Brockton Creative Group front door, they would bring me on to do the upfront strategy engagements. For anything that came through my front door, I would have Stechman’s team do all the execution. And we started doing that for every project.”

The DivvyHQ team

The partnership was a huge success, and it was the beginning of a long-term arrangement.

Part 2: Building Relationships With Influencers

In 2011, content marketing was gaining traction as a driver of strategic business growth. Not coincidentally, 2011 was also the year the Content Marketing Institute was founded and the first Content Marketing World conference was held.

(That will become important in a bit.)

Dorland, along with co-host Jayme Thomason, launched a podcast called Content Marketing and Merlot to discuss content marketing tactics and build connections around this important new facet of online marketing.

The show’s not available online anymore, or we’d link an episode for you. We did find a few old landing pages from previous episodes (even though the audio didn’t work).

“The podcast was integral in gaining some of those early relationships,” Dorland told us. “Even today, there’s still a certain amount of novelty to being asked to be a guest on a podcast. It opened some major doors to people like Joe Pulizzi and Jason Falls.”

The team usually recorded the podcast in the atmospheric cellar of a wine retail store near their office. After work, they’d buy a bottle of wine, set up their audio equipment, and discuss both the wine and content marketing concepts.

Doing a podcast about a new concept (content marketing) in a novel way (while enjoying wine) was a winning combination.

Dorland explained the content marketing part further: “We would dedicate an episode to something like the importance of proper persona development, because we were literally doing that as part of our day-to-day process and digging into what that entails.”

The podcast also helped potential clients understand the value behind what they offered. “It could be its own marketing machine by itself,” Dorland said.

Part 3: Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Developing relationships is a lot like placing bets.

You never know which one will hit, but the more bets you make (or, the more relationships you develop), the more likely one or more of them will pay off — sometimes in ways you’d never dreamed were possible.

Stechman and Dorland were developing their skills and their network — all around the topic of content marketing.

Their biggest issue was scale.

When Dorland created those starter editorial calendars to map out six months of deliverables for each client, he did it using an Excel spreadsheet.

Back in 2011, people weren’t widely using cloud-based documents (such as Google Sheets).

That led to all kinds of problems.

The calendar was emailed around between team members and clients, and no one was ever quite sure if they had the latest version of the calendar or not.

Projects sometimes got lost. Deadlines were sometimes unclear. It worked well enough to get by, but it could be messy.

That led the team to try several project management tools. They, at least, were cloud-based. They worked well for general projects, but nothing they tried had the features they really needed to manage a full content process.

“What if we just build something ourselves?” the team concluded out of frustration one day.

Their concept was to replace the Excel spreadsheets with something more collaborative: a project management tool specifically designed to organize content strategy, content planning, and production workflows.

 DivvyHQ’s 1.0 calendar interface

It seemed like a great idea to improve their internal efficiency, and they started to wonder if there was a market for a content marketing management tool beyond their own organization.

Dorland had established a relationship with Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, based on Pulizzi’s appearance as a guest on the Content Marketing and Merlot podcast. So they ran the idea by him.

“Joe Pulizzi was on the board of a company in Kansas City,” Dorland said. “We found out he was coming to KC for a board meeting, so we bought him dinner and said, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about building something. Is this something that would be a viable idea to roll out to this starter industry you’re working on?’ And he was like, ‘Absolutely.’”

 

It was at this moment that opportunity struck: Pulizzi made them an offer.

If Dorland and Stechman could put something together in time, Pulizzi said, they could demo their new tool at the first Content Marketing World event happening later that year (September of 2011).

So they got to work. Stechman led the effort to raise around $90K from friends and family to accelerate the process of developing the platform. They incorporated a separate company, created a prototype in two months, and launched the newly named product, DivvyHQ, at the event.

Pulizzi had been right about demand for a solution like this. There were several Fortune 500 companies in the audience for Dorland’s presentation.

“There were representatives from McDonald’s, Toyota, Dell, and Nokia at the event… And they immediately signed up for a beta because, as it turns out, we weren’t the only ones struggling with the painful process of creating content,” Dorland said. “It exploded from there. We got over 500 companies on our beta between our pitch at the show and promotion of the launch on Twitter.”

Part 4: Listening to Customers

In the years since that September 2011 presentation at Content Marketing World, Dorland and Stechman have raised $3.5 million between two rounds of VC funding.

They could have raised more, but revenue has been growing enough to meet their needs. “We’ve been able to sustain solid growth without getting additional funding,” Dorland told us.

One key to their success since launching their product has been their dedication to their customers.

When the DivvyHQ platform launched, they were still running an agency as well, and that gave them unique insights into the needs of their customers.

For instance, their agency clients helped them understand that teams within a single company may prefer to work independently on different campaigns and strategies. They built DivvyHQ around that idea.

“Customers were able to use a hub-and-spoke structure, so that at the hub, the executive team can see everything that’s going on in all of the different spokes,” Dorland said. “Meanwhile, the different spokes could also set up their development environments the way they needed to, with their own strategies and workflows.”

As their user base grew, they developed new features to support different types of clients.

For example, in the early days, one large client came close to crashing their system. They added upwards of 250 users and were trying to manage thousands of content projects from one account, a use case and scale Dorland and Stechman had not yet considered.

Once they saw the need, they made changes accordingly.

DivvyHQ: What the Content Marketing Platform Looks Like Today

DivvyHQ’s current calendar view

Eight years after its initial beta launch, DivvyHQ has grown into a robust platform that has defined a completely new category of software: content marketing management platforms.

Currently, the platform is used by thousands of marketers to oversee and execute content marketing strategies.

It’s an ideal choice for companies committed to content marketing — or that are looking to improve their content process.

It also has a free trial if you want to try it out.

The Power of Personal Connections

Throughout the DivvyHQ story, Dorland and Stechman expanded their network while gaining experience and insights by:

  • Collaborating with each other. They accomplished more together than they could have on their own.
  • Leveraging a channel (the podcast) that connected them to influencers.
  • Broadening their reach with agency work and product development.
  • Listening carefully to customers.

They didn’t know that Joe Pulizzi would be a key reason they’d be able to get in front of heavy hitters like Toyota and Nokia.

They were — however — working hard to put themselves in a position for those kinds of lucky breaks to happen.

When opportunities arose, they took advantage.

Whether you’re growing a business or just want to advance your career — that’s advice worth remembering.

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The Unavoidable Need for User Generated Content in Your Content Marketing Strategy

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User generated content (UGC) is just what it sounds like–content created by someone other than your brand. The theory behind its effectiveness is simple: it is always more trusted than content the brand puts out about itself. Consumers increasingly look to their peers for brand recommendations and advice, and UGC fulfills this for them.

UGC can encompass multiple forms of content not produced by your brand, including social media recommendations, testimonials, videos, and blog posts. You can find ample quality content as the result of an influencer campaign, and more from happy consumers who take it upon themselves to write about brands online.

If you’re not sure if you need to embrace UGC, or how to go about collecting this valuable form of content, then keep reading.

Do I Really Need User Generated Content for My Brand?

If you might need a little convincing that you need to ramp up your UGC strategy, we can look at a few statistics. 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all forms of advertising. And, word of mouth marketing generates twice the sales of paid advertising. Lastly, 64% of consumers actively seek out UGC when it’s time to make purchase decisions.

Have we convinced you yet that you should be populating the Internet full of UGC? You can assure that target consumers come across your brand through a peer’s recommendation, plus they’ll be plenty of UGC content readily available when a consumer is researching your brand. Keep reading, because this post is going to give you all the tools that you need to improve your UGC strategy.

It’s All About Authenticity

User generated content is all about current consumers sharing real-life experiences about your brand. For example, you can feature a post on LinkedIn about how your software makes their day easier, or a video testimonial talking about how a business discovered how your brand solved several major pain points for them. These brand experiences are authentic, and instantly create brand trust.

UGC helps brands tell stories in ways that the brand can’t do themselves. Whether it’s a selfie with your product, a blog post about their experience with your brand, or a tweet saying how much they love you, UGC will organically contribute to your overall storytelling strategy.

Reach New Audiences with User Generated Content

When happy consumers publish a complimentary post online about your brand, it’s goes straight to all of their followers, instantly putting your brand in front of hundreds or even thousands of new potential consumers. Their sincere experience with your brand might be enough to activate new people into leads, and (hopefully) conversions. Your happy consumers should be your brand’s greatest marketing asset, and they can offer valuable social proof with their recommendations.

How to Get Users to Create User Generated Content

Most UGC content is published organically and without any incentive. That said, there are ways to get consumers to publish their experience with your brand on their blog, their social channels or even a testimonial on your site. Let’s explore a few ways you can generate UGC for your brand:

  • Email your clients and announce a social media contest, and reward the person who creates the best post with an Amazon gift card or an iPad. The small investment in the prize will be worth all the UGC social content that you’ll get for your brand.
  • Ask clients to give you a 1-2 sentence testimonial about their experience with your brand. The small amount of time it takes them to write those sentences will make it easy for them to contribute.
  • Check with your client facing co-workers to identify happy clients. Reach out to these clients, and ask if they’d be willing to do a video case study about using your product. Consider compensating them with a free month of usage of your product.
  • Be transparent and simply ask your clients to put out social posts showcasing how they feel about your brand. You’d be surprised at how many people want to feel included and who would be happy to endorse your brand.
  • Create an email campaign where you ask your clients to leave reviews about your brand. After all, 70% of consumers look at a review before making a purchase decision. Consider incentivizing them with either a discount on your product or gift card.
  • Run an influencer campaign and sponsor posts that showcase an influencer’s experience with your product or service. Some marketers might think that influencer marketing doesn’t work for B2B brands, but we disagree!

How to Leverage User Generated Content for Your Brand

There’s no point in earning all this juicy UGC if it doesn’t get you put in front of your target consumers and make it easy to find. Putting a strategy in place to leverage UGC is crucial. Let’s look at a few ways you can get maximum views on UGC to generate new leads and sales for your brand:

  • Monitor social media for consumer raves about your brand and reshare them on your own social channels.
  • Sprinkle testimonials throughout your website’s homepage. When potential consumers are researching your brand, they’ll be far easier to find.
  • Link to blog posts that speak highly of your brand in the posts that you publish on your website.
  • Use relevant UGC in your email marketing strategy, and send these to your leads to spark their interest through peer reviews of your brand.
  • Ask the creators of the UGC to share all over their social media channels
  • Use UGC in your paid social ads, instead of a self-promotional ad about your brand

Do you have any tips to add about a powerful UGC strategy? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

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How to Create Content that Converts Leads into Sales

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Content marketers have a broad variety of tasks. Creating content, promoting content, engaging with readers and running social media channels are just a few of the many things you probably have to do each day. One thing that often gets overlooked is ensuring that you’re creating content for all stages of the buyer’s journey to fill up the content marketing funnel.

Your goal as a content marketer is to promote thought leadership for your brand and bring in new leads that hopefully convert into sales. It’s a lot of work and it’s crucial to walk leads through the buyer’s journey to land more clients for your brand.

Research from Content Marketing Institute tells us that 90% of marketers are using content marketing to generate demand and fill the top of the content funnel. However, only 60% of marketers use content to persuade a lead to check out a brand’s product or service thus not helping them convert from a lead to a sale. This shows us that a lot of marketing organizations have a disconnect when it comes to using content to appeal to all stages of the buyer’s journey and fill up their content funnel.

This post is here to help you understand what types of content you can produce that will get more sales for your brand and earn gold stars from your boss for your successful content marketing approach. Let’s dive in.

Become a Content Funnel Expert

Image courtesy of SEMrush.com

Awareness: The awareness stage is how a new lead discovers your brand either through search or through a piece of content that you produce. Blog posts, social media and ebooks are all common ways that a new lead enters into the content funnel and becomes aware that your brand exists. Awareness content is usually thought leadership content and strays away from pitching your brand within the content.

Consideration: The consideration phase happens after a lead becomes aware of your brand. Usually in this stage, they are taking a deep dive to learn about your brand and compare it to your competitors. When a lead is in the consideration phase, they digest more active forms of content like product reviews, white papers, webinars and more. Consideration content has the potential to filter out leads who aren’t a good fit for the brand making the leads that progress to the next stage qualified.

Conversion: The conversion phase is when the lead decides whether or not they’re going to become a customer. While this is a crucial stage for leads, a lot of content marketing strategies fall short here, but we’ll fix that in this post.

Spend Less Time on Brand Awareness

Brand awareness spans the broadest category and marketers find it easier to create content for brand awareness. So, it’s likely your brand awareness strategy is solid and you need help creating content for the conversion phase.

Don’t get us wrong, brand awareness is key to generating leads in the first place, but, it shouldn’t make up the majority of the content that you create.

So, we propose this: how can you spend less time on brand awareness content and how can you create more content that converts leads into sales? After all, isn’t your goal and perhaps even your performance measured by how many new customers you bring to your brand through your awesome content?

Does Your Content Close the Deal?

When you tap into your marketing automation software to see what types of content leads are digesting before they convert into a sale, are you noticing any trends? Is there a particular piece of content that seems to convert?

In order to make sure your leads are getting the type of content that converts, you should have a dynamic email drip for all of the leads that enter into your content funnel and you should slowly drip them content that moves them through the buyer’s journey. After sending them 5-7 emails, they should be “sales ready” and ripe for your sales team to reach out to.

As we see in the Content Marketing Institute survey we mentioned in the beginning of this article, marketers do a great job of building brand awareness and generating leads with their content but not so much when it comes to converting a lead into a customer.

Types of Content that Converts

Succeeding with creating content for the conversion stage of your buyer’s journey requires a lot of research and well documented buyer personas. In order to create content that converts, marketers need to have a strong pulse on pain points a lead faces and the types of solutions that will appeal to them.

Treat every lead like the potential consumer that they are and implement this into your email drip campaigns. Start with awareness and thought leadership content, move to consideration content and finish with converting content before you mark that lead ready for sales or invite them to sign up for a trial of your product.

Let’s take a look at some types of content that you can publish and use to convert leads into sales:

White papers: While a white paper could also fill the top of the funnel, producing a white paper that focuses on how your brand solves certain pain points your target buyer may encounter would be perfect for the conversion stage of the funnel.

Case studies: Case studies are formal pieces of content that document success stories of your clients and emphasize how your brand is a solution. These tangible examples of how your brand can help your target consumer are one of the best ways to convert a lead into a sale.

Webinar: A webinar that showcases how your brand works and offers customer success stories is a great way to move leads into the conversion phase of the funnel. Offer viewers concrete examples of how your brand can make their lives easier.

Break Down Silos Between Marketing and Sales

In order to operate a well-functioning content marketing strategy, you need to have close communication ties with sales. Sometimes leads come to them directly and don’t go through the whole email drip process. So, sales needs to be equipped different types of content that they can share with leads while they’re trying to persuade them to become a customer.

Not only do you need to equip sales with content assets, sales is client facing and thus probably understands buyer behavior and can offer ideas for your content creation efforts.

Lastly, silos between sales and marketing need to be broken down so that you can come up with a strategic process on how to approach leads after you’ve walked them through the entire content funnel. Is sales going to reach out to the leads directly? Are you going to send leads an email to see if they want to register for a demo? You get the drift.

How to Measure Your Efforts

In the Content Marketing Institute report that we referenced at the beginning of the post, it’s clear that marketers mostly measure KPI’s at the awareness stage of the content funnel like traffic, number of leads generated and engagement. However, there are completely different metrics that need to be documented for judging the success of your content in the conversion stage of the funnel. Some metrics to consider are:

  • How many demos and/or trials did your content bring in?
  • How many leads converted to clients?
  • How many people downloaded your white paper?
  • How man views did your case studies get?

Key Takeaways

Research shows that most content marketers do a great job at filling the top of the content funnel with brand awareness content but don’t give the bottom of the funnel, the conversion phase, enough efforts. Content marketing isn’t just about generating leads, it’s also a strong way to convert leads into sales when done correctly.

Most marketers need to shift their focus from only generating brand awareness and need to implement strategic ways to move leads into consumers with the right forms of content. The best types of content to convert a lead into a sale are white papers, case studies and webinars.

Don’t forget to be sure to establish strong communication with your sales team in order to make the most out of your content program. Your sales team needs to be equipped with the awesome content that you create so that they can utilize these pieces of content when they’re trying to close details.

Lastly, to get the recognition that you deserve for your great content program, be sure to document your content marketing strategy, specifically when it comes to documenting the pieces of content that convert leads into sales by measuring things like number of demos registered for and of course, leads that became clients.

Do you have any tips on creating content that converts leads into sales? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter!

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5 Things You Should Automate When it Comes to Your Content Marketing Strategy

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Content marketers wear many hats. From researching content topics to writing engaging content to promoting content, there is a lot of work to do in order to run a dynamic content marketing strategy. But what if we told you that your workload could be lighter?

Learning what areas of your content marketing strategy that you can automate and identifying the tools you need to make it happen is going to save you a lot of time. You can use this time to focus on things you can’t automate like creating awesome content that resonates with your target consumers.

This post will take you through a few things that you can automate when it comes to your content marketing strategy in hopes of adding a little time back into your day.

Editing

Grammarly is a Chrome plugin that you can use to automate the proof reading of the content and even emails that you produce. The tool goes beyond spelling and grammar mistakes and alerts you when there are errors with your writing, style or tone. While Microsoft Word or Google Docs will alert you of basic spelling or punctuation errors, Grammarly catches commonly confused words when they’re used in the wrong context.

Grammarly has a free plan and a premium plan. The premium plan offers advanced suggestions about word choice, run on sentences and more. The tool will even send you weekly updates on common mistakes that you’re prone to making so that you can learn from them.

Save time editing blog posts, emails, social media copy and more with this freemium tool!

Content Digests

Automating news and blog posts to subscribers and leads can save you a ton of time and free up more time for you to focus on creating great content. FeedOtter allows you to send weekly or monthly digests of the content your brand puts out. Choose from different templates and sync it up with your marketing automation platform so that distributing your content literally runs on autopilot.

You can hook FeedOtter up to any RSS or news feed. It even has a bookmarking plugin that allows you to bookmark content that you would like to put in your content digest. From there, insert a personalized greeting to show up at the top of your content digest email and let FeedOtter do the rest.

Content Curation

Sharing your own content on social media takes a lot of time, let alone sharing like-minded content to keep your followers engaged. Luckily there is a tool like DrumUp where you can automate the content you curate. This tool recommends content for you to share on each of your social channels. It’s super easy to peruse through and find great content to curate that will resonate with your social followers. After you find content on DrumUp, the tool allows you to edit the original post, add images and schedule it on your social sharing platform. It even recommends hashtags to use.

Monitoring

In order to make the most out of your brand shout outs on blogs and social, you need to monitor for these brand mentions in real-time. Manually monitoring for brand mentions is tedious so we recommend using a tool like Mention to see all of the brand recognition that you’re getting. Mention allows you to see every time that your brand is mentioned on social or in a blog with a streamlined dashboard. The tool even allows you to message and engage with the channels who mention your brand straight from the dashboard. To make sure you don’t miss any brand mentions, Mention will email you every time your brand is recommended or talked about.

In addition to monitoring your own brand, Mention allows you to track competitors.

Identifying Content Topics

Brainstorming and researching topics to write your content around can take a lot of time and work. You want to write something innovative and that will resonate with your audience but sometimes it’s hard to come up with new topics every week. There are tools out there that can automate the brainstorming process so to speak like BuzzSumo. This tool’s content analysis reports allows you to look at how popular a topic is and how often it gets shared. It will also tell you which content types are performing better like infographics compared to video or “why” posts compared to list posts. Leverage content topics that are the most shared by your target readers to come up with a content topic for your next post that you know will resonate with your audience.

Final Thoughts

It’s no secret—content marketing strategies take up a lot of time. Luckily there are tools like the 5 we’ve listed in this blog post that can automate parts of your content marketing strategy and ease your work load. Learning what to automate and which tools help you automate your strategy are going to add a bunch of hours back into your work day.

Do you have a strategy or tool that allows you to automate pieces of your content marketing strategy? We’d love to hear from you on @Feed_Otter!

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How Drip Campaigns Can Fill Your Sales Funnel

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Email marketing comes in all shapes and forms. It can be a simple one-time message blasted out to all your contacts, or it can be a large-scale multi-tiered campaign carefully dripped out to specific customers at key times. In order to truly understand the how, when, and why of email marketing, you should be studying the sales funnel and consumer journey. Here, we’ll go over all the steps of the funnel, and how your email campaign can optimize the journey.

The Consumer’s Journey

First, let’s take a look at the consumer journey. There are many versions of this, so we’ll choose a general five stage model.

Awareness Phase: Prospective consumer becomes aware of your product or solution.

Consideration Phase: Prospective consumer begins research on both your product or solution and your competitor’s.

Conversion Phase: The consumer has made the decision, works through negotiations, and makes the purchase.

Loyalty Phase: Your brand continues efforts to retain that consumer and reinforce loyalty.

Advocacy Phase: Inspiring that consumer to advocate for your brand by telling others about their experience.

The Sales Funnel

The term funnel is a common one, as it implies large amounts enter the first phase in order for a few to finish the journey. It may be helpful to picture it as more of a circle, as later phases can actually aid the earlier ones.

The different stage of the consumer journey are what fills the sales funnel and helps your sales team how and when to reach out to a leads. Ideally, through keeping the consumer journey in mind, you help new leads go through the different stages of the journey and warm these leads up for your sales team.

You should also be equipping your sales team with the right content assets that they can share with their leads to convert someone from consideration to conversion.

Targeting Each Phase

Let’s focus on the consumer’s journey and how your content and email efforts can move leads along the path to becoming a new client. Each phase needs a particular strategy applied to maximize effectiveness. Let’s go through the journey with accompanying strategy, and we’ll provide some examples as well.

Awareness Strategy

At a time where the consumer is unaware of your brand, you should resist the urge to push the sales tactics and self-promotional material specific to your product. Now is the time where you want to establish your brand as a thought leader and provider of solutions, so creation of newsletters, eBooks, and informative blog posts should be a priority. Have your newsletter and/or eBook gated, so you can start adding more email addresses to your list, and make sure to promote them on social media as well. That said, you don’t want to bombard people with emails they never wanted to receive, so make sure it’s an opt-in situation. You want to establish and build trust and expertise, and not much more.

Example:  SEO giant Moz sends wonderfully curated and informative newsletters out to all their subscribers, without any pushy sales tactics. The quality of their product speaks for itself, which is pure gold for B2B marketing.

Consideration Strategy

Now you’ve got their attention, and, based on their response, they are definitely interested in your product. You still want to stay away from the hard sales pitches, though, and continue to provide informative and solution-based content. You’re developing a long-term relationship here, so you want this to be increasingly personal as the campaign progresses. This is the stage where you identify who you’re working with, and then provide them with relevant content that applies to them. Case studies, success stories, and maybe a few testimonials are good, but make sure you are still focused on providing solutions and building trust.

Example: PerfectAudience retargets social ads for businesses that are not seeing the results they want. By offering a case study to read, along with juicy success statistics in the email, it encourages potential customers to read that study, as well as continue on to their website to get more information.

Conversion Strategy

This is what you’ve been nurturing these relationships all this time for. It’s time to close, but you still don’t want to overwhelm them with sales calls. You can still provide them with content that reassures them that they’re making the right choice. A few more success stories can provide the social proof they need to make the purchase. Now that they’re almost part of the team, you can invite them to webinars or trickle them onboarding videos. And if you want to offer a welcome wagon discount, make sure there’s language to convey a sense of urgency like “one-time offer” or “limited availability”.  That could be the final gem that makes the deal happen.

Example: Here, Grammarly flaunts a little of their social proof, citing testimonials and easy-to-digest samples of how well their service works. Prime example of how these sorts of emails at the conversion stage can make the difference.

Loyalty/Advocacy Strategy

We are combining these phases into a single strategy, because the ideas are similar. Turning away from your consumers after they’ve been converted is a big mistake; retaining existing customers is worth as much or more than getting new ones. Let them know you’re still excited about their business with entertaining and engaging monthly or weekly email drips, informative posts about how to best use your product or service, and incentives to resign with your brand early. Surveys and feedback can both reassure your customers and give you valuable market research at once.

Turning your existing customers into advocates is a worthy investment, and you can get momentum going with the content you’re sending them. If you sent surveys, let them know how much their feedback meant, and offer them further discounts for referrals. Ask them for testimonials, and make sure that you are linking back to their awesome brand at every opportunity on social media.

You can see now how your efforts on the tail end of your funnel/circle can start moving the needle in the awareness and consideration phases at the front end. The key is to continuously provide great content, personalized messaging, and a trusted presence throughout.

Example: American Express, in one fell swoop, thanks their clients for their loyalty, offers them discounts, and invited them into a no-risk referral program. This covers all of the bases in a non-intrusive yet rewarding way.

Final Thoughts

The consumer’s journey helps fill your sales funnel and it’s helpful to tag leads according to what phase they’re in for both sales and marketing so that sales knows when to call the lead and so you know what content to drip them from marketing. The goal is to steer these leads through the funnel to purchasing and then once they become a client, to keep them as a client with your awesome product and helpful content.

Do you have any tips on nurturing leads according to where they fall in the consumer’s journey? Share your tips with us on Twitter @Feed_otter

 

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5 Habits That Could be Ruining Your Content Marketing and How to Fix Them

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As content marketers, we live and breathe our brand all day and every day, so it’s easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to our content marketing strategy. This fixation can prevent us from critically looking at our content marketing strategy from an outsider’s perspective, and see where things could be done differently or need refreshing. That’s where this post comes in.

There are some best practices or routines that we can get in the habit of doing when we are creating and promoting content. However, some of these things that we think we are doing right might actually the wrong things for our strategy, and can potentially flatten our brand instead of lift it.

So, I invite you to try to remove yourself from this tunnel vision, read this post, and evaluate your strategy from the perspective of one of your buyer personas.

Let’s explore some habits that may actually be doing your content marketing strategy more harm than good.

Engaging Leads with Your Newest Content

Sometimes your latest content isn’t always your greatest content. It’s likely that you email out your content occasionally. However, ask yourself this: if this is a lead’s first time seeing your content, are they seeing your best work? Or are they just seeing your most recent work?

Of course, we believe you should consistently send content out weekly or monthly to your leads and subscribers. But when a new lead joins your database, we recommend that you set up a drip campaign that nurtures them. This nurture plan should be carefully thought out and prioritized, and utilize your best relevant content instead of adding leads straight to your newsletter list to receive your new content.

Ignoring the Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey is how a potential customer navigates their way around your brand from awareness to their purchase decision. Depending on where a lead is at in the buyer’s journey, this should dictate how you market to them and what content you provide them with when. While it may be tempting to send your leads the same content every week, you should segment them according to which stage they are in the buyer’s journey. Here are some examples of what to send:

  • Awareness: Thought leadership blog posts and eBooks that give them tips and strategies to accomplish their goals better
  • Consideration: Send information about how your brand can solve pain points they may face in their own personal or professional lives, like white papers or guides
  • Decision: Email them with resources that prove your brand is the missing link in their business, like case studies

Some brands like to add an “advocacy stage” to the buyer’s journey, in which past and current clients advocate for a brand. This word of mouth recommendation is great for generating new leads so it’s a good idea to send your clients sharable content and set up a referral program.

If you patiently walk a new lead through all of the stages of the buyer’s journey, but they still don’t purchase?  Don’t give up, as it’s likely they may be ready for purchase later. Keep them in a “closed lost” email drip where you send them news, updates and strategies so that your brand is on the top of their minds when they are finally ready to purchase.

Writing Too Much Content

Arguably, you should be spending as much or more time promoting your content and segmenting your leads than actually writing content. If you spend all of your time producing awesome content but nobody reads it, what’s the point?

Check out this post on how to promote your B2B content for ideas on how you should spend your time promoting the great content that you write for your brand. You can’t rely on people to find your awesome content on their own so perhaps you should analyze how you spend your time and determine if you need to spend less time writing content and more time promoting your content.

Giving Sales Leads Too Early

When you generate new leads, sometimes the sales team might get a little over-eager and want to call them right away. However, leads are more likely to become clients if they are nurtured first. The right nurturing campaign will provide the lead with brand trust and credibility way before sales reaches out to them.

We recommend that you send each lead a series of five emails before sales reaches out to them. These emails shouldn’t be self-promotional at all. They should be full of thought leadership resources like eBooks, blog posts, white papers, videos, etc. The fifth email can then have a CTA for the lead to register for a free trial or demo, or to get in touch with a sales representative if they are interested in learning more about your brand. After the 5 emails are dripped, then your lead should be considered ready for the sales team to reach out.

Expecting Instant Results

Content marketing can be a slow build, but it is worth the effort. When you create evergreen content, it can be discovered and generate leads for years to come.

Creating brand awareness and trust with your audience takes time, so don’t abandon your content marketing efforts if you don’t see big results right away. Like we mentioned, it takes time to walk your target consumers through the buyer’s journey. So, don’t expect instant sales after you publish a really cool eBook.

Set realistic expectations with your co-workers and leadership. When you launch your blog, it’s going to take time to get subscribers. When you generate new leads, it’s going to take time to convert them into sales. You catch my drift.

Have you noticed any content marketing bad habits that you want to tell us about? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

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How Can I Get More People to Subscribe to My Blog?

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So, you have a blog and are producing great content, but it may feel like that content isn’t getting viewed as much as you would like. And let’s face it, being in the B2B world, we don’t want people to just read our blogs, we want them to subscribe to them so that we can set up email marketing campaigns and turn these subscribers into engaged leads and sales.

When it comes to a B2B brand’s blog, the top metric that most marketing departments looks at are number of subscribers to the blog aka new leads. So many marketers spend more time on promoting their content and getting subscribers than they spend on actually writing content. Because promoting content and getting subscribers is that important.

Just in case you are unsure of how effective blogging is for B2B content marketing, let’s start with some data about B2B blogging as part of a functioning content marketing strategy:

So now that it’s been established that blogging is uber important and that a blog can generate leads for your brand, let’s explore how you can get more people to subscribe to your blog.

Optimize your CTA

Make your CTA to subscribe to your blog look visually appealing and prominent. You also don’t want to ask for too much information as this will turn people off. Your subscribe CTA should really only ask for the person’s name and email address. Here is where your subscribe button/box should show up on your site:

  • Website’s homepage
  • Sidebar of your blog
  • At the end of each post.

You can create a subscribe button in any WordPress theme or you can have your website designer create one really easily. Just make sure it’s hooked up to your marketing automation platform so that all of your blog subscribers are being funneled into a specific list.

Feature it on Your Homepage

Aside from having a small CTA to subscribe to your blog on the sidebar of your homepage, try dedicating a section of your homepage to your blog. Talk about your blog’s theme and have a carousel of your latest posts for site visitors to check out.

Create a Landing Page

In addition to having a subscribe button in strategic places on your site, you can also create a separate landing page just for getting people to subscribe to your blog. You can tease readers with a summary of the strategies and information that your blog covers and offer a sample of your best blog posts.

Having a landing page where users can subscribe to your blog means that you can easily recruit and direct people to that landing page as opposed to a small box on the side of your blog. Here are a few strategies to get new viewers to your landing page:

  • Google Ad Words
  • Paid social ads
  • Organic social media strategies
  • Links in guest posts
  • Email marketing

Tap into Your Email List

Tap into your email list of lead and clients and send out an email inviting people to subscribe to your blog. Make it friendly and seem urgent by saying something to the effect of “We don’t want you to miss any of the tips and strategies that we publish weekly so subscribe to our blog to stay in the loop.” It may also be helpful to add “We won’t spam you, we’ll just send you great posts once a week!”

Popups

70% of people who come to a website never come there again so it’s crucial to capture their information right away. Popups are hard to ignore and if the popup goes up while the reader is viewing one of your great blog posts, they might want to sign up so they get more great content like the piece they’re currently reading.

Add it to Your Email Signature

An easy but overlooked way to get people to subscribe to your blog is to have a link to it in your email signature. Think of all the emails that you send out per day and all these people could be potential blog subscribers! This is another reason to have a subscribe landing page because it would be better to put the subscribe landing page in your email signature as opposed to a link to your blog.

Offer a Free Resource for Signing Up

Bribe people who come to your homepage or blog with a free ebook or white paper when they subscribe to your blog. It’s completely ethical and just may help blog viewers take that extra step to subscribe to your blog.

Post in Forums

Virtually networking in groups like LinkedIn Groups and Triberr can you engage with like-minded professionals and you can invite them to read your blog posts and subscribe to your blog. Be sure to lead with your best content and ask them to share it with their own readers and ask them to subscribe to your blog. Play fair and subscribe to their blogs too!

Ad Opt-In Checkboxes to All Your Lead Capture Forms

It’s likely that part of your content marketing strategy involves producing content that is gated with a lead capture form like ebooks, white papers and webinars. In your lead capture form, you can put a check box that allows people to subscribe to your blog in addition to downloading your piece of content or registering for your webinar.

Try OptInMonster

OptInMonster is a tool that helps marketers convert website visitors into subscribers. In it, you can design forms, show personalized messages according to behavior patterns, A/B test your ideas and it helps marketers create the type of forms we’ve talked about in this post like side bars, floating bars and scroll boxes. OpInMonster has gorgeous templates so it takes the design work out of the process on your part.

Things to Keep in Mind

Once you’ve implemented all of these strategies to grow subscribers on your blog, you want to make sure that you retain them. Here are some things to keep in mind to keep the subscribers on our blog:

  • Don’t over e-mail them. Instead, consider a weekly or monthly digest of your brand’s best content. You can automate this process with FeedOtter.
  • Continue to put out great content that readers actually want in their inbox so be sure to consult your buyer personas and stay up to date on your industry so that you constantly producing great content that keeps your subscribers engaged.
  • Optimize your content for SEO so that it continues to be found organically and attract new readers and hopefully subscribers.
  • Keep implementing these strategies continuously so that you’re constantly attracting new subscribers to your blog, your work is never done!

Do you have any strategies that have worked for you to grow subscribers to your blog? We’d love to hear about them on Twitter @Feed_Otter!