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8 Steps to Creating and Hosting a Webinar to Generate New Leads

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You’re in a pretty good spot. Your brand has a great product or service, loads of relevant content, and a top-notch team working with you. You are well-respected in your industry, and have great relationships with other like-minded brands. You also have a bunch of current and past customers who are happy with the work you’ve done with them. Now, if you could just find a way to use all these assets you’ve worked so hard to collect to promote your brand and generate more leads, your business could explode. It’s time to host a webinar.

Webinars give you a platform to use all of those assets, work with others, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. It’s not a terrifically difficult event to pull off, but you certainly need to plan carefully to optimize your success. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to make your webinar perfect.

Step 1: Pick a Date

As with any event, the time and date of your webinar is important. It needs to go live at a point where you’ll get the optimal amount of attendees and participants to join, possibly across several time zones. Be aware of holidays or popular vacation times like Spring Break, when folks are likely to be away from work. We suggest selecting a Wednesday or Thursday sometime around midday, depending on your time zone. Make sure to save the date company-wide, and start blocking off prep time for your team leading up to the event.

Step 2: Choose Your Topic

This may take some time, so be prepared for that. Think of an overarching topic that extends beyond (but still includes) your products and services, in order to get maximum participation. Consider sending an exploratory survey to other brands and potential leads to get an idea of which topics people want to know more about. Once you’ve narrowed it down to two or three topics, meet with your team and pick the one that everyone feels most confident in presenting; keep in mind that other guest presenters may need to feel comfortable with the subject matter, also. Again, you are looking to establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry, so make sure there’s ample material to educate, enlighten, and motivate attendees that tune in to your webinar.

When picking your topic, you may also think of ways your topic can include influencers in your industry. Having guests in your webinar or even a panel of experts can really take your webinar to the next level.

Step 3: Set Up Your Platform

There are several different webinar platforms to choose from, so do your research, check reviews, and set up appointments to speak with representatives about what they can offer. We love GoToWebinar for its ease of use, event management experience, and incredible customer support. They offer email support, customizable templates, interactive dashboards, and engaging polls and surveys to keep your attendees entertained and present. Whichever platform you choose, make sure it has the technical support and capacity to ensure your webinar goes off without a hitch.

Step 4: Build a Landing Page

A customized landing page will serve as the nerve center for all your pre-event processes, so treat its creation with care. You will want professional design, slick graphics, ample branding, and well-worded copy. Make the registration process simple and easy to complete; too many fields to fill out can turn a lot of potential attendees off. Consider adding a countdown clock leading up to the webinar in the corner of the page to create some anticipatory excitement, and post news and updates (like a new guest presenter) to people who are checking back in.

Be sure to hook your landing page into your marketing automation platform so that registrants get emails leading up to your webinar and so that your new leads are marked properly for your lead nurturing campaigns. After all, the point of a webinar is to establish thought leadership and generate new leads.

Step 5: Promote and Invite

While these are two distinct tasks, you need to take a moment and determine the preparation and order of how you proceed. Timing matters, so we suggest starting the invitation process two to three weeks away from the live webinar. Thoughtful branding should make an appearance here in the form of hashtags, logos, and the language you’ll use in the invitations and social media blasts.

Start writing content for promotional purposes by way of blog posts, email campaigns, and social media posts. Make sure it is exciting and buzzworthy copy, but keep it concise and to the point. If you’ve seen that folks have viewed your invitation but haven’t responded, consider sending them a quick and friendly reminder as a follow up. Keep tabs on how your hashtag is performing on your social media channels, and stay flexible if it isn’t trending like you want it to.

Step 6: Create the Right Content

Now’s the time to get all your content in order. You’ll want to get a wide variety of presentations to keep momentum going throughout the event: spoken word, PowerPoint slideshows, and interactive surveys keep things interesting. If you are inviting guests to contribute, make sure you give them plenty of time and a reachable deadline, along with some friendly reminders to those who are cutting it close. You’ll also want to organize the themes and topics to make sure there’s no duplicate presentations or off-topic content. Again, you want to create a feeling of thought leadership and offer selfless resources for the benefit of all, all while motivating potential leads to sign up with your brand.

Step 7: Dress Rehearsal

As the webinar approaches, you need to make a few dry runs to ensure that all of your technical and logistical parts are working well. Keep your contact at your hosting platform on speed dial to be able to answer any last minute questions, and be certain that the entire webinar will be recorded for future viewings. Make sure all of your presenters have a firm schedule and start time, and be certain they don’t have any questions or technical issues. Send out a reminder email to everyone that’s signed up, and encourage them to share a link to the webinar with anyone they can think of. Get plenty of rest…you’ve got a big day coming up!

Step 8: Showtime!

It’s the day of the big event. Wherever you need to be to host this, make sure you’re there early, and have firm communication with the hosting platform. Make sure you have plenty of water, snacks, and other necessities nearby…it’s going to be a long haul. Having a spare microphone, webcam, or headset available is a good idea, also; you never know when life can throw you a curveball. Keep an eye on any chats, and try to personally greet as many guests as you can as they join. Most of all, be present. Avoid distractions like checking your cellphone or email inbox, as you want to be on top of all presentations or questions. When it’s all over, make sure to thank everyone involved, and double check that the recording went well. The next day, send a follow up email with more thanks and a survey on how they liked it. Carefully read through any feedback you get…after all, if this webinar was a success, you’ll likely want to do it again!

Webinars are a great way to spread your messaging, network with other industry leaders, and grab a bunch of potential leads for your sales team. So, do your research, get all of your preparations in place, and put on an amazing show!

Do you have any webinar tips? We’d love to hear them on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

 

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Additional Multiple RSS Feed Email Functionallity

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Today we released some additional options for use with FeedOtter’s multiple RSS feed email functionality the new options are:

  1. You can now control which RSS feed triggers email sends
  2. You can now merge the first post title from ANY feed into the subject line

Control Which RSS Feed Triggers Email Sends

In the past  FeedOtter considered content from ALL RSS feeds when deciding if there was new content and subsequently sending an email.  A number of users asked us for more control over this so they could better incorporate static content such as video tutorial, white papers, case studies, and job posts into their emails.  The new feature places a small “eye” next to each feed.  When this eye is green it means that FeedOtter will consider content in this feed when deciding to send an email.

Multiple RSS feed setup

In our sample screenshot, feed 1 contains blog posts, feed 2 contains whitepapers, and feed 3 contains video tutorials.  Leaving only Feed 1’s eye green means that every day at my scheduled time FeedOtter will check Feed 1. If there is new content since the last send FeedOtter will build a new email and schedule the send.

This provides more control over which feeds simply supply content and which control the automated sending.

 

 

 

 

Multiple RSS Feed Subject Line Merging

A handy feature of FeedOtter is the ability to include the title of the most recent post in the subject line of an email. However, if you are using multiple RSS feeds this meant the title could come from ANY of your feeds based on the the most recent published date.

If you have using multiple feeds you now have the ability to select the “first post title” from a specific feed.

Multiple RSS feed email subject lines

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How to Create a Powerful Guest Blogging Strategy 10 Steps

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Ready to promote your brand through thought leadership and increase the visits your get to your website? If so, you should implement a guest blogging strategy for your brand and this post will tell you exactly how to do it.

Guest allows brands to authentically promote their name and divert traffic back to their website and content assets. When brands publish thought leadership guest posts, readers establish trust and credibility with the brand which leads to high conversion rates.

A well running guest blogging campaign can bring in three times the amount of leads than paid advertising. So, we are here to make sure you have all the assets and steps in place so that you can see these results from your brand’s own guest blogging strategy.

Step 1: Identify the Right Sites

The first thing you need to do is hone in on the sites that your target consumers follow or visit frequently. You can do this by googling for blogs that focus on a certain topic or use an identification software like GroupHigh or BuzzSumo. One mistake brands make is thinking that there aren’t many blogs that coincide with their brand, but, we are here to assure you that there is a blog about any topic under the sun!

Creating buyer personas can help you determine which blogs to reach out to and here is a great free template to build out the personas for your brand. Identifying blogs that align with your buyer persona’s interests and pain points will ensure that your guest blogging strategy stays on track.

Step 2: Engage

After you identify the blogs you want to post on, it may be tempting to email them right away. But, you’ll get higher response rates if you establish brand familiarity first. This can be anything from leaving comments in the blog posts or sharing their posts on social media. You can even link to the brand in your brand’s blog posts. These engagement tactics can shed a positive light on your brand and lead to great response rates from bloggers.

Step 3: Finesse Your Pitch

Once you’ve established awareness about your brand with the bloggers, it’s time to send out your pitch. You want it to be personalized and outline your expertise as a thought leader. Here are some things to include in your pitch:

  • A catchy subject line
  • Why you want to write for their blog
  • Examples of your past work
  • Praise their blog and the work they do
  • Reference a post they’ve written to showcase the fact that you’ve done your research
  • Let them know the topic you want to write about
  • Assure them that you will share your post that you write for them on your own channels and in email

Step 4: Create Your Guest Blogging Hub

Organization is key to a successful guest blogging campaign. So, you want to create a spreadsheet or blogging hub consisting of the blogs you reach out to and what their response is. You should also list the topics you’ll write about for each blog to make sure that your posts are not repetitive. This spreadsheet is key to having a well-oiled guest blogging campaign.

Step 5: Come Up with Thought Leadership Topics

Through your guest posts, you want to exemplify your opinions and/or experience as it relates to different topics that align with your brand. The goal is to come up with thought leadership posts as opposed to posts about your brand. So, in your spreadsheet, you want to brainstorm a bunch of thought leadership posts for each blog that you write for.

If you need a little inspiration, look to posts the bloggers have written before. This can help you come up with ideas that will resonate with their audience.

Step 6: Write the Post

When it comes to getting your posts written, the first thing you need to do is decide if you, someone on your team or hired help are going to write the post. If you don’t trust yourself as a writer, it’s a good idea to hire a writer who is comfortable with ghost writing. You can look on LinkedIn, Pro Blogger, UpWork or any other sites that connect talent with brands. Be sure to vet their work and ensure that they’re comfortable with writing for your industry.

If you’re writing the post yourself, be sure to allocate 3 hours per post and give the bloggers an accurate timeline of when you can deliver the posts.

If you’re new to writing blog posts here is what the structure should look like:

  • Intro that explains what the post is going to be about
  • Headers for each topic to create a clear outline
  • Short and to the point sentences
  • A conclusion with key takeaways
  • Hyperlinks to any sources or references that you mention

When you’re writing your post, be mindful about link backs. You don’t want to come across as self-promotional so keep the buyer’s journey in mind and steer your readers to resources on your website like blog posts or case studies instead of linking directly to your brand. The direct link should be in your bio.

Step 7: Compose Your Bio

Your bio is important to give you and your brand credibility for your great posts. Rule of thumb is that your bio should be 2-3 sentences and highlight your expertise and your brand. Many bloggers don’t allo guest bloggers to link to their brand in the body of the post but rather in their bio so this is important for you to get your link back. We also recommend that one of your sentences talks about you as a person and your hobbies and/or interests to add a human element for your readers to connect with. Don’t forget to include a headshot for the blogger to add in your bio section.

Step 8: Share on Social and Email

To make the most out of your guest posts, it’s important to share them on your brand’s social channels and in any email newsletters or content digests that you send out. You want your guest post to benefit the blogger who is allowing you this generous opportunity so getting their blog in front of your brand’s own audience is key.

Step 9: Measure Your Success

As is the case with other content marketing strategies, you’re going to want to measure your guest blogging campaign to determine success. Some metrics to consider are:

  • Social shares of your posts
  • Traffic back to your website
  • New leads generated
  • New clients landed
  • Comments on the blog post
  • Number of pieces of content generated
  • An increase in SEO

We mentioned creating a campaign hub in a spreadsheet and this sheet is a great place to record your campaign metrics and links to the posts you create.

Step 10: Repeat What Works

Once you’ve measured and determined how your campaign is going, it’s time to repeat the strategies that are working for you. By analyzing which post topics are performing the best and which blogs are bringing in the most traffic, you can write more posts that are similar to the posts performing the best and ask the blogs if you can post on their blog again. If you’re sharing your posts on social and in email, the blogger is going to be more likely to let you post on their blog again.

Key Takeaways

If executed well, a guest blog post campaign can generate a lot of new traffic and leads for your brand. To condense all the steps we outlined, here is a check list that you can print out and hang on your wall!

  • Identify the right blogs
  • Engage with the bloggers before reaching out
  • Send your pitch email
  • Create a spreadsheet for all of your guest blogging opportunities and post topics
  • Brainstorm thought leadership topics
  • Write your post and stick to a timeline
  • Compose your bio
  • Share your post on social and in emails
  • Measure your campaign
  • Repeat what works the best

Remember, the goal of your campaign is to establish thought leadership and brand familiarity to gain new visitors and convert those visitors into sales. Good luck!

Do you have any tips for brands who are wanting to execute a guest blogging campaign? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter!

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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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WALKTHROUGH – Multiple RSS Feeds in a Single FeedOtter Automated RSS Email

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Today I’m going to walk through creating a multiple RSS feed email from start to finish using FeedOtter’s built-in templates.  Combining multiple RSS feeds into an email is a great way to include multiple categories of content or multiple types of content in an email that can be automated using FeedOtter with Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, or MailChimp account.

For this example we are going to use the Marketo blog. Marketo has done a great job of creating different categories of marketing content. For each one of these categories, there’s typically an underlying RSS feed. I’ve collected those feeds, each corresponding to a different category of content: digital marketing, content marketing, and marketing technology.

# Category RSS Feeds:
https://blog.marketo.com/category/digital-marketing/feed
https://blog.marketo.com/category/content-marketing/feed
https://blog.marketo.com/category/marketing-technology/feed

Next I head over to FeedOtter and create a new automated email. The most important step is the feeds tab. If you have the multiple feeds feature available in your account you will see the option to add additional feeds beyond the typical Feed 1.  Here I have added 3 feeds and filled in my 3 Marketo blog feed URLs.

Feed Loop Code Example

Hit the “validate feeds” button to save your feeds.

Next, we need to select the Multifeed email template from the FeedOtter template library.

Multiple Feeds Template Picker

 

Click the “select” button to update your email preview with the new template.

We now have an email that includes multiple categories of content. Our customers have used this feature to achieve many advanced solutions such as displaying blog posts with videos, jobs, whitepapers, tutorial videos, and many more all in the same email!

Multiple rss feed email preview

The last important step is to change the section titles.  To do this we need to edit the actual template code. Use the “find” interface to search for the text “feed title” and replace each occurrence with your desired section title.

Edit the Feed Titles

 

When you’re finished click the “save code” button and then return to the Preview Tab to review your changes.

That’s it! Your multi-feed email is ready to automate the same as any other FeedOtter automated email.

If you want to learn more about our multifeed feature and how the code works as well as its more advanced aspects. Read our article How to code a custom multiple rss feed email in FeedOtter.

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How to Code an Automated Email with Multiple Rss Feeds

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In this example we’re going to focus on the FeedOtter code that allows you to incorporate multiple data feeds into your FeedOtter automated emails. Please note, this post is all about the code! If you’re looking for a simple setup guide please read our walkthrough post.

We start with the standard FeedOtter post loop that loops through your RSS feed and displaying fields. For more information on the fields and loop basics see our post on creating custom rss email templates.

{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

Building an email to use multiple feeds is similar with one exception: we add a number to the end of the post feed to specify which feed to reference. In the code snippet below I have copied the standard loop and added “post2” and “posts3” to each sections for loop.

{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts3 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

 

The loop code and numbering can be seen beneath each feed URL in the FeedOtter interface:

Feed Loop Code Example

Slicing

Slicing allows us to specify how many posts from each feed we want to display.  In the code example below I have added ” | slice(0,2)” to the FOR loop.  This notation means start at post 0 and return 2 posts.

{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts3 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

This feature can be used to gain precise control over what posts are displayed.  This can be useful if you are injecting ads or other more static content into your emails.

At this point we’ve got the basic code structure for a multiple feed html email but there are a couple great tricks to make your multiple feed email even better.

Add “IF” statements to hide feed content that is not new

I’m going to wrap an if statement around the first post loop.

{% if feedotter.posts | length >0 %}
	{% for post in feedotter.posts | slice(0,2) %}
		<div>
		{{post.post_url}}
		{{post.post_title}}
		{{post.post_author}}
		{{post.post_date}}
		{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
		{{post.post_source_url}}
		{{post.post_source}}
		{{post.post_url}}
		{{post.image_url}}
		</div>
	 {% endfor %}
 {% endif %}
 
 {% for post in feedotter.posts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}

This says if there is new content in my first feed display it, otherwise hide content from the first feed.

This is great if you’re building a big newsletter that has multiple sections.  You can display only the sections that have new content since your last send.

Always show content from a feed regardless of published date

By default FeedOtter only makes new content since your last send available in the posts loops.  In certain cases you may want to display less timely content such as eBooks, Whitepapers, Product Tutorials, or events.  In this case you may wish to modify the posts loop a bit further so that the first x posts from a feed always show up.

 {% for post in feedotter.allPosts2 | slice(0,2) %}
	<div>
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.post_title}}
	{{post.post_author}}
	{{post.post_date}}
	{{post.post_excerpt_text | truncate(200,true,"...")}}
	{{post.post_source_url}}
	{{post.post_source}}
	{{post.post_url}}
	{{post.image_url}}
	</div>
 {% endfor %}

By using “allPosts” instead of “posts” in the for loop we can grab the first 2 posts from a feed regardless of age.  The example loop above will display the first 2 items in feed 2… Always.

Wrapping it up

The multiple rss feed feature is available on FeedOtter’s Plus and Advanced plans. There are example multiple feed emails in the FeedOtter templates library as well to serve as a starting point for exploring this exciting feature.

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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!