This Blog Is Written By The Content Authority

Navigation
CATEGORY: Content Promotion

500 Free Inbound Marketing Offer Ideas

Inbound marketing is all about paying it forward and offering your market something useful. A good way to do this is to offer a free ebook download that people can exchange their information for. The concept is simple enough, but coming up with things to write about can be a daunting task. This post is meant to show you all of the different potential topics you can use to make content that your market might find beneficial.

You can take any one of these ideas and create an ebook on it. Some topics may be harder to come up with content for than others, and you may not have the expertise to write on all of them. You can definitely draw inspiration from the list, though.

Categories

Analytics

Blogging

Calls to Action

Content Creation

Design

Email

Facebook

Google Plus

Inbound Marketing

Landing Pages

Lead Generation

LinkedIn

Marketing Automation

Pinterest

PPC

SEO

Twitter

Video

Analytics

 

AnalyticsPopular Tracking Platforms for Your Website

There are a lot of different tracking platforms available for websites besides Google Analytics. You can write a pretty interesting comparison piece on what those are, their prices, their pros and cons, etc.

How to Install Analytics on a Website

Even though Google has a lot of documentation on this already, sometimes it helps coming from another source. You can delight your audience by providing useful information on how to install Google Analytics either manually, or via a CMS plugin.

Best Practices for Google Analytics Account Configuration

Even though Google has one of the most powerful, user-friendly and free platforms on the market for web tracking, people generally have little knowledge on how to use it. You can help them out by providing an ebook on the best ways to configure profiles, set up filters and goals, and do other common configuration tasks.

Resources for Learning About Analytics Platforms

You might be great at Google Analytics and know everything there is to know about it, but pointing people to other resources is always helpful. Provide a list of other places online where people can get instruction on the platform. Google’s Conversion University is a good one to start with.

Linking other Google Products to Google Analytics

Google account relationships are pretty flexible, and many services can share information by default. Bring attention to those that you can link together (such as webmaster tools, Analytics and AdWords) and how that can be beneficial to web marketing work.

Key Metrics You Should Be Watching

As mentioned before, Google’s Analytics platform can be easy to use, but many suffer from data paralysis. That happens when there is so much information to look at and no clear understanding of how to use it. Give people tips on basic reports they can look at to make sure their website is doing ok.

How do I Use Google Analytics for Event Tracking?Customizing Your Tracking

Along with all the other great things about Analytics, it’s also very flexible in terms of configuration. This is a more advanced topic, so you may have to research it a little if you don’t already know how to customize tracking code. Your audience will love you for the useful information, though.

Tracking Specific Interactions on Your Website

Once people have a handle on all the basic things tracking platforms can do, give them ideas on specific things they can track. For example, maybe they want to see video views, downloads, purchases or some other special action.

Setting Up a Basic Conversion Funnel

Conversion funnels are important for online sales and lead generation. They are often very simple to configure, but people may not know a lot about them. Give a basic overview on how to set up a conversion funnel with best practices and things to watch out for.

Measuring Social Engagement

Social has become an important part of online business. Many tracking platforms have new reports that show social engagement metrics like comments, likes, plus ones, etc. Give an overview on how to interpret such reports, how to configure various or specific platforms to track social interactions and how to define and recognize success.

Tracking Your ROI

Return on investment is an important measurement for any online business activity. You and your audience want to know if your efforts are paying off (literally). Write an ebook on the elements necessary for determining return on investment and how to calculate it.

Developing Business Goals to Track in Analytics

As mentioned before, people can often suffer from data paralysis. The shear amount of data produced by many analytics platforms is staggering. That’s a good thing, but these tools work much better when the people using them have clear goals they want to reach. Help your audience define their business goals and talk about how Analytics can help them achieve those goals.

Using Goals in Google Analytics

Goals in Google Analytics are different than the goals described above. These are features that users can configure to track when specific interactions happen on their websites. Write a piece on how goals are beneficial, how to configure them and how to interpret reports.

Writing Customized Tracking Code for Google Analytics

Using Google’s API and some JavaScript knowledge, you can write customized code snippets to track things like keyword ranking in Google. This is another topic that will require some homework, but if your audience likes knowledge like this, they will thank you for it. You don’t have to be a programming wizard, either. Posts of others like Justin Cutroni’s can either give you inspiration, or you can reference them in your own posts.

Google AdWords LogoUsing Google Analytics With AdWords

Teach your audience how to import data from AdWords into Google Analytics. AdWords has its own data that it collects, but you can get a deeper view of how your ads are performing by pulling the data into Analytics.

Setting up Filters in Google Analytics

Delve deeper into this feature and tell people how to set up filters properly in Google Analytics. This is often a misunderstood feature of analytics, and many marketers use it improperly.

Ecommerce Tracking for Google Analytics

Ecommerce tracking is a whole other animal for Google’s tracking platform. It’s one thing to look at visitors and their behaviors, and quite another to track monetary transactions. You could even spread this topic out over a couple different beginner and advanced ebooks.

Tracking Activity on Social Media with Analytics Platforms

Marketers are increasingly interested in finding ways to track ROI from social media interactions. Show them how to use reports available in Google’s platform as well as other tracking-software programs.

Interpreting Reports

Data in analytics reports may seem pretty straightforward, but it can be confusing. Write a basic overview for people on how to interpret basic reports in analytical platforms. This can be as simple as answering questions like, “what does bounce rate mean,” “what is the difference between pageviews and unique pageviews” or “what does ‘keyword not set’ mean?”

Blogging

 

BloggingThe Benefits of Blogging

Share either your personal benefits or those that you have learned from others about blogging. This could be from a personal blog that you’ve monetized, a business blog or some other kind of publication hosted online that you contribute to.

How to Set Up a Blog

Give advice on how to set up a blog. This is a very versatile and in-depth topic. For example, you could go into great detail on one platform or process, or you could give a broad overview of many different options.

How to Come up With Content for Your Blog

Come up with tips on where to look for content for blogging. Think creatively here. Come up with ideas for your audience to tap their own unique industries and spheres of influence to come up with a constant stream of content.

How to Leverage Your Blog for Business

Provide ideas on how to drive business using blog posts. You might give examples of others who have been successful at creating conversions using content on a blog. Talk about using calls to action, interlinking blog posts with product pages of a website and presenting offers that are similar to the content of posts.

Best Practices for Configuring Blog Posts

Give an overview of best practices for configuring blog posts. Show people how to use headers, images, links, and other elements in a way that makes posts easier for visitors to use and navigate.

How to Promote Your Blog

Promoting a blog can be an ambiguous task. Show examples of people who do a good job of promoting their blogs. You could also provide tips on blog promotion that have worked for you or your clients.

How to Rank Your Blog Posts Well in Search

Many businesses and individuals start blogs in order to promote their websites. Show people how to best configure their posts to rank well in search.

How to Get Links for Your Blog

Links are an important part of search engine optimization. Of all tactics related to SEO, links are quite possibly one of the most mysterious and most difficult to accomplish. Give people tips on how to get links for their blog.

wordpressStep-by-Step for Setting up a WordPress Blog

WordPress is by far one of the most popular content management systems on the market. Setting up a self-hosted WordPress site is pretty simple, but it requires guidance. Show your audience how to arrange hosting, get free software for the setup, and configure their new WordPress site.

Step-by-Step for Setting up a Joomla Blog

Joomla is another popular CMS. While not a lot of people are using this for blogging, it remains an option. You can show people how to set up a blog on this platform, as well.

Step-by-Step for Setting up a Drupal Blog

A lot of bloggers use Drupal sites instead of Joomla or WordPress. Give people a step-by-step guide on how to set up a blog on the Drupal platform.

Onsite vs Offsite Blogging

When starting a blog, you can attach it to your existing domain or start one in the cloud. An ebook explaining the pros and cons of each approach could be very valuable to someone just starting out.

How to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog

Teach your audience how to get more visitors to their blogs. Tactics like being active on social media, paid advertising and SEO can help get more exposure for your content.

How to Incorporate Your Blog Into an Existing Website

Websites can be constructed in a variety of different ways. Show people different ways to build a blog onto their existing site. For instance, you could give examples of adding a blog to a customized site, a CMS, a site hosted in the cloud, etc.

How to Create Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are a great way to visualize your audience. You can compose an ebook on how to go about developing buyer personas.

8 Quick Fire Tips for Selecting an Audience-Pulling Webinar TopicHow to Research Your Audience

Marketers know they need to understand their audience, but they don’t always know how to get that information. Provide tips on how to go about researching a target market such as interviews, mining customer data or surveys.

Awesome Plugins for WordPress Blogs

There are a lot of really cool plugins for WordPress. Do an ebook on some of the most useful or most popular plugins.

How to Develop an Editorial Process

Blogging on a regular basis is a difficult thing to maintain. If you have a good editorial process, though, the whole endeavor can be a little easier. Talk about how to develop an efficient editorial process for blogging.

Incorporating Social Media Into Your Blogging Strategy

Blogs are meant to be interactive. Show your audience how commenting plugins, social sharing plugins or add-ons that do the same can help enhance their blog.

Tips for Blogging Success

If you run a blog yourself, share your own experiences of success with your readers. Alternatively, you could put together a best-practice guide on how people can have success with blogging.

Proper Search Engine Optimization of Your Blog Posts

Give an overview of best practices for optimizing blog posts. This could include things like keyword focus, linking, length, and architecture of the post page, among other factors.

Doing Keyword Research for Your Blog

Not every post needs to rank for something specific, but some should. Teach your audience how to do keyword research properly, and show them the tools to do it with.

Stats on Blogging

Offer statistics on why blogging is important for business. Link to research, data or other information that supports your argument. If you have firsthand data from your own blog, that is even better.

Image of WMonetize your blogriting Articles for MoneyTips for Monetizing Your Blog

Not all blogs are attached to businesses, but you may still want to try and make money of it. Show your readers how to monetize a blog using popular platforms like AdSense.

Tips for Getting More Subscribers to Your Blog

One of the main goals for any blogging endeavor is to get subscribers. Show people tips on how to get more followers on their blog.

How to Start a Business Blog

There are a lot of steps that go into starting a blog specifically for business. Show your readers what those are and give them a good step-by-step plan on how to get started blogging for business.

Calls to Action

calls to actionWhat Is a Call to Action?

Give a basic overview of what a call to action is, where they are seen, and examples of calls to action.

How to Use a Call to Action Effectively

Write an ebook on how to use a call to action effectively. For instance, how to use them effectively on landing pages, in emails, or in blog posts.

Examples of Effective Calls to Action

Provide real-world examples of calls to action used by prominent companies. You could go the extra step here and find some real data on calls to action.

Making a Call-to-Action Template

Make different templates for different scenarios that your audience can use to easily make calls to action.

Assigning Calls to Action to Your Buyer Personas

Sometimes a company may have different markets that they serve. Talk about creating calls to action for the different buyers that they have.

CTAs That Convert

Write an ebook on calls to action that convert well. You might find secondary research somewhere on the best calls to action to use for various scenarios.

Content Creation

 

How to Create an Editorial Calendar

Editorial calendars help bloggers stay organized and create content on a consistent basis. Show people how to make an editorial calendar using excel.

where to look for good contentWhere to Look for Good Content

This could be a list of tips where people can look for content ideas. Give tips related to your audience’s business for where they can find a constant stream of content.

Tips for Doing Primary Research

Primary research is research you compile yourself. Show people how to get primary research. For example, instead of gleaning information from someplace online, show them how to get it by interviewing customers, recording data, etc.

Content Categories and how to Use Them

Show your audience how to group their content into different categories. You could also include tips on how to effectively use content categories on a website.

How to Create Great Content When You Can’t Do it Yourself

It’s common for people to not have the time, energy or talent to create content
themselves. Offer tips like hiring writing or video making services, buying content or other strategies for content creation.

How to Know What Content Your Target Market Likes

For this ebook, you can talk about how to find out what a target market likes in terms of content. This could be both the mode of content (i.e. blog posts, white papers, videos, etc) and the genre (i.e. how to, news piece, etc).

The Necessary Tools for Content Creation

Talk about tools for creating content. You might segment these into free and paid programs. For instance, Gimp is a free image editing program.

Writers blockGetting Past Writers Block

Offer some tips on how to get past writers block. For example, taking a break, reading a novel, brainstorming or similar behaviors.

A Guide on the Different Types of Content for Marketing

Give readers a comprehensive guide on the various types of content marketing and how they can be applied.

Tips for What Kind of Content Attracts People

The content here will depend on your audience’s industry, but there are certain themes that are typically crowd pleasers. For instance, Internet memes are a good form of content to share.

Resources That Will Give You a Constant Stream of Good Content

Here, you can show your audience how to find resources that will supply them with a constant stream of content. For example, you might use old newsletters, stories from your sales staff, or information from industry trade shows you attend.

Choosing Genres That Will Resonate With Your Audience

Depending on the industry, some genres of content resonate better than others.  For example B2B companies may have better luck blogging about industry trends than how-to topics.

Tips for Creating Expert Content

Some businesses cater to highly educated markets. Providing content that comes from experts in their fields helps bolster a brand’s image. Give your audience tips on how to get that expert content.

Repurposing Your Content to Extend its Lifespan

Give tips on how to reuse content for other purposes. You might tell people they can transcribe videos into blog posts. They can use ebooks as blog post as long as they haven’t been indexed.

How to Leverage Others to Create Content for You

Sometimes it’s better coming right from the horse’s mouth. Get others who have more clout with your target market to help you create content. For instance, having salespeople in the field blog about things they know helps get different points of view.

Finding Content in Unlikely Places

Think of creative places that you can suggest for your audience to find content. Share industry knowledge from an event that you attended.

share industry knowledgeShare Industry Knowledge From an Event That You Attended

Give people tips for extracting knowledge from industry events they attend. For instance, taking notes during presentations at events that can later be used for blog posts.

Tell Your Audience how to Do Something

How-to videos, posts and/or white papers are a great way to promote. People love it when businesses provide content on how to do something.

Design

 

Why Design is Important for Your Website

Provide tips on why proper design is important for a website. If you know how your audience uses their websites, provide industry-specific tips.

Design Tips for Your Website

Aside from usability, provide tips on what looks good, how to use colors and images, etc.

Resources for Design When You Can’t Do it Yourself

Like resources for having content produced, offer tips on how to find design resources. For instance people can use freelance websites, contractors or other resources for design.

Basic Web Design Conventions

Give a basic overview of common web design conventions and how to use them. For example, logos for companies typically go in the top left corner of a site.

How to Design an Email for Email Marketing

Email messages for marketing have design conventions that should be followed. Offer tips on what those conventions are and how to use them.

How to Design an Email Marketing Newsletter

Another piece of content that requires careful design input is a newsletter. Do some research and find out what kind of design tips you can offer for an eNewsletter.

Tips for Designing Effective Online Advertising Campaigns

Offer advice on how to design effective advertising campaigns for your audience.

Show Users Common Elements on a Landing Page That Make Visitors Convert

Landing pages are extremely important to get right for online ad campaigns. Give users tips on how to design landing pages that convert well.

A Brief History Of Email MarketingEmail

 

Using Email to Market Your Business

Talk about the benefits of using email to market a business online. This would be a broad overview and it could possibly include some stats on email marketing in general.

A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing

With this ebook, you could go a little more in depth and talk about the steps necessary to start email marketing.

Writing Compelling Subject Lines

Go into what makes a compelling subject line for email marketing. What language makes people open emails? Should you use symbols? What language is a no-no?

How to Increase Your Open Rates

Give an overview of strategies that you can use to increase open rates. What are the pros doing and what is an example of a good open rate?

Email Marketing Tools

There are a lot of third-party tools used for email marketing. Describe some of the leading ones and what makes them useful. Do a compare-and-contrast post.

Creating an Email Marketing Campaign

Everyone pretty much gets the gist of what’s involved with an email marketing campaign, but they may not know where to begin. Describe in detail how to go about making a basic email marketing campaign.

Tracking Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Tracking is important for websites, but it’s also important for email and advertising in general. Give your audience tips on how to track email campaigns.

Best Practices for Configuring the Body of Your Email

Overall, there are things you should and shouldn’t do when composing emails for campaigns. Write an ebook on how to best craft an email marketing message based on what it is meant to promote.

Email Marketing Automation

Talk about what email marketing automation is and how it can help streamline your efforts.

How to Use Email Marketing to Grow Your Business

For this content, you could speak to the specifics of how email marketing can generate leads and sales.

Top Things You Should Never Do in Email Marketing

This ebook could be entirely focused on what not to do in email marketing. You could include things like spammy words not to include in subject lines, reducing the amount of images, etc.

Data Related to Email Marketing as it Relates to Your Target Market

Dig up information on your audience’s target market. You could find industry-standard open rates, conversion rates and other data that would be very helpful to them.

Industry-Specific Email Marketing Tips

Maybe there is a different set of rules for your audience’s industry when it comes to email marketing. Find some creative tips that apply only to them.

Best Practices for Executing Email Marketing Campaigns

Write a piece on best practices to use overall with email marketing. What should people do, and what should they not do?

Facebook

 

Facebook logoUsing Facebook for Business

This could be a general overview ebook on the different ways Facebook can be used for business. Don’t just focus on sales and marketing, but also on customer service.

Differences Among the Various Profiles on Facebook

Talk about the differences among Facebook user profiles — for instance, the difference between a business page and a personal profile. You can highlight the strengths for promoting different business models.

How to Grow Your Following on Facebook

Give your audience tips on how to grow their followings on Facebook.

How to Leverage Facebook Applications

Talk about what Facebook applications are and how to leverage them in order to accomplish your marketing goals on the platform.

How to Engage With Your Market on Facebook

Getting a lot of likes for a page is all well and good, but it’s engagement that is important. Teach your audience best-practice tips for engaging with their following.

How to Set up a Facebook Business Page

Create a step-by-step guide on how to set up a Facebook business page. Include best-practice tips and things to avoid.

How to Know if Facebook Is Where Your Business Should Be

People shouldn’t be on Facebook because it’s the next, latest thing. There should be a reason for marketing on the platform. Provide tips for finding out if a business’s target market is present and active on the platform.

Other Uses for Facebook in Business

Come up with clever tips for using Facebook in business. For example, maybe it could be used as a customer service or data-mining tool.

How to Make a Simple Facebook Landing Page

Create a step-by-step guide on how to make a simple Facebook landing page application.

Tips for Integrating Marketing on Facebook and Offline Marketing

Provide a list of tips on how to integrate online and offline marketing related to Facebook.

What is a PPC Campaign? Chris Dreyer Explains AdWords StrategiesUsing Facebook Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Facebook has a robust PPC platform. Offer tips on how to best utilize Facebook PPC.

Tips for What Kinds of Content You Should Be Sharing on Facebook

Posting on Facebook may seem simple enough, but there is a method to the madness. Provide best-practice tips for what kinds of content should be posted on Facebook.

Creating a Facebook PR Emergency Roadmap

As a company, you have to prepare for the event that there is a PR problem that starts on your Facebook page. These sorts of things can typically be remedied quickly if you have a plan in place. Give examples of companies that have crafted well-made PR emergency road maps.

Tips for Responding to Negative Feedback on Facebook

There is a right way and a wrong way to respond to negative comments on Facebook. Give some tips on how to handle disgruntled fans.

Using and Interpreting Facebook Insights

Facebook has developed a pretty good tracking interface for engagement. Give some tips on interpreting reports and how to measure goals.

A Guide for When and What to Post on Facebook

Knowing when and what to post on Facebook is almost as important as actually doing it. You might have to follow your audience’s industry standards and let them know how frequently and what kind of content they should be posting.

Awesome Applications That You Should Use for Your Facebook Page

Create an ebook about some of the most popular or best Facebook applications that are available. This might be from personal or professional experience, or maybe gleaned from other articles online.

Setting Business Goals for Your Activity on Facebook

Teach your audience how to set business goals for their activity on Facebook. For instance, it might be a reasonable goal to try and attract one new customer a month using Facebook. How will they measure their goals? How will they know when they’ve reached them?

A Guide to Hiring a Facebook Page Manager

Give advice on what to look for in someone who will manage a Facebook page.

Tips for Allocating Multiple People to Managing a Page

Talk about best practices for assigning roles in managing Facebook accounts.

Google Plus

 

Google Plus LogoSetting up Your Profile on Google Plus

Give an overview of how to set up a Google Plus profile.

The Basics of Google Account Relationships

Talk about Google’s one-to-many account relationships and how that works with other services.

How to Use Google Plus for Business

Like Facebook, there are a lot of ways to use Google Plus for business. Give some tips on how to do that.

Why Google Plus is Beneficial for Business

Provide stats, real world examples or personal experiences on why Google Plus is good for business.

Growing Your Network on Google Plus

Write a piece on tactics for growing a network on Google Plus.

How to Leverage Shared Circles on Google Plus

Shared circles are a good way to grow a network. Talk about the details of doing that on the platform.

Who to Follow on Google Plus

Influential people are always good to follow. Give a short list on who would be good to follow on Google Plus.

How to Make Your Google Plus Business Page

There are personal profiles and business pages. Talk about how to set up a G+ business page.

Leveraging Google Plus for Business

Provide tips on how to use Google Plus for business.

Introduce SEO StrategiesSocial and SEO Benefits of Google Plus

Provide statistics, examples or personal experiences on the social and/or SEO benefits of using Google Plus.

How to Make an Animated GIF Profile Banner on Google Plus

A step-by-step guide on creating an animated GIF banner image for a G+ profile.

Using Google Plus to Promote a Blog

Talk about tips for using G+ to promote a blog.

How to Find Out if Google Plus is a Good Place to Promote Your Business

Give advice for “listening” on Google Plus to see if it’s the right network for your market.

Creative Ways to Use G+

Come up with a list of creative ways to use Google Plus for business.

The Top G+ Influencers and how They Got That Way

List the top G+ influencers and link to them (Hint: this is a good way to get more links to your site).

How to Integrate G+ Into Your Website

Here, you could give examples on how to add “plus one” buttons to a website.

How to Drive Engagement on Google Plus

Talk about how to get people to engage on the platform.

Content That Gets People to Engage on Google Plus

What is the best content to share on Google Plus? Talk about images, video, links or other good content to share and why.

Engaging With Thought Leaders and Influential People on Google Plus

Give tips for getting the attention of thought leaders on Google Plus.

Business Pages vs Personal Profiles

Talk about the pros and cons of marketing yourself via a business page or a personal profile.

Using Authorship and Google Plus

Give advice to your audience on how to set up and use Google Authorship.

Plugins for Chrome That Make Google Plus Better

Give a list of the top plugins for Google Chrome related to Google Plus and how to use them effectively.

Inbound Marketing

 

inbound-marketingWhat Is Inbound Marketing?

An overview ebook on the basics of inbound marketing.

The Elements of Inbound Marketing

Create a more in-depth ebook about all the elements that are encompassed with inbound marketing.

How to Leverage Inbound Marketing for Your Business

Talk about how to leverage inbound marketing for promoting a business.

How to Learn More About Inbound Marketing

People like to find other resources to learn from. Provide a list of resources where people can learn more about inbound marketing.

Why Inbound Marketing Is Essential for Success in Today’s Business World

For this piece of content, you could provide inbound marketing statistics or examples from other businesses. HubSpot is a great resource to start with.

Who Uses Inbound Marketing

Provide a list of people or companies with specific inbound marketing examples that you can showcase.

Inbound vs Traditional Marketing

Talk about the differences between inbound and traditional marketing approaches.

How Much Will Inbound Marketing Cost You

Go in depth on the different kind of campaigns you can engage in with inbound marketing and what it will cost you.

Inbound Marketing Offer Topics for Your Business

Create an ebook similar to this post that provides a list of inbound marketing offers for your clients.

Major Influencers in the Inbound Marketing World to Follow

This could be sort of an exposé piece on the top influencers in inbound marketing. Not only would it be good link bait; it would help people learn about the industry.

Inbound Marketing Software Platforms

There are a few inbound marketing software platforms out there such as HubSpot and Silverpop. Help people learn about what they are, how much they cost and why they might want to use them.

Inbound Marketing Stats

This could be similar to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing report. You might not be able to get as much data, but you could get some.

Landing Pages

 

Landing PageTips for Landing Page Design

Provide best-practice tips for landing page design.

Making Landing Pages That Convert

Give tactics to readers on what elements of a landing page help increase conversions.

Tracking the Success of Your Landing Page

Give users tips on how to set goals for their landing pages. You can also show them how to know if they’ve reached those goals.

Landing Page Testing

Show people tips or get an expert to post on how to properly test landing pages using A/B or multivariate tests.

How to Use Images Effectively in Your Landing Page

Provide tips on how to use images on a landing page to assist in conversions.

How to Use a Call to Action in Your Landing Page

Give tips on where to place calls to action and how to style them so they are most
effective.

Actions Users can Perform on Your Landing Page

Here, you can write an ebook on common actions that users can perform on a landing page.

Creating Landing Pages Using Automated Marketing Software

Many automated inbound marketing software programs give you the ability to create landing pages within their interfaces. Write an ebook on how to create a page using these platforms.

A Listing of Top Landing Page Optimization Tips

Create a top-20 list of landing page optimization tips.

A Listing of Examples for Well-Designed Landing Pages

Give examples of landing pages that are well-designed, then link to them.

Lead Generation

 

Social Media Lead GenerationInformation to Ask for With an Inbound Marketing Offer

Write tips on what information people should ask for in exchange for the content they offer online.

Timeline for Lead Conversion

Provide a guide showing the timeline and steps for converting leads to sales.

How to Generate Leads with Inbound Marketing Offers

Here, you can provide tips for your audience on how to get leads using inbound marketing offers.

The Best Methods for Lead Generation Online

Create a numbered list on the methods for generating leads online.

Coordinating With Your Sales Team

Often, there are multiple people that need to be involved to make a lead turn into a sale. Make a guide on how to interact with sales teams in order to convert leads into cash.

Creating Offers That Attract Qualified Leads

Teach people how to generate content that attracts the types of leads they need for their businesses.

Leveraging Social Profiles for Lead Generation

Show your audience how to generate leads using social media.

Using Your Website to Generate Leads

Having contact forms, phone numbers and other lead-generation opportunities in strategic locations on your website can help increase sales. Show your audience how to implement these.

Ways to Ensure You Are Generating Only Qualified Leads

Provide tips on how to get only the leads that will produce sales instead of giving you the runaround.

CRM Software for Managing Your Leads Once You Have Them

Customer record management software can assist in converting leads to customers. Write a pro-and-con piece on the different CRMs out there.

A List of Lead Generation Tips

Give a numbered list of the top lead generation tips.

A List of Opportunities to Capture Leads Online and Offline

Talk about the different opportunities that businesses have to capture leads both online and off. For instance, on a “contact us” page on their website, at industry events or even when people come into a physical location.

Creating Offers That Are Impossible to Ignore

Create offers in the form of ebooks that have information so valuable to a target market that they will not pass them up.

Determining Metrics Like Your Average Cost Per Lead

Show your audience how to gather all the data necessary on how to calculate the cost of a lead.

An Overview of the Lead Generation Process

Give a brief overview of the lead generation process.

A List of Source Examples for Lead Generation

Provide a list of external resources that people can go to for tips on lead generation.

Overview of Different Lead Capture Processes

Talk about the different ways to capture leads using a website.

Tools for Managing Your Contact Database

Provide a list of free and/or paid tools for managing a contact database. For instance, using Microsoft Excel.

Methods for Tracking Your Lead Generation and Conversion Process

Give methods for tracking lead generation and software to do it with.

LinkedIn

 

linkedin_logoGrowing Your Professional Network on LinkedIn

Provide tips for growing a network on LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

Give tips for using LinkedIn to promote a business.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Stand out as a Thought Leader

Here, you can give tips on how to build yourself as an authority on a particular
subject area by answering questions and engaging with people on LinkedIn.

Creating a Profile on LinkedIn

A basic ebook on how to create a profile on LinkedIn using best practices.

Creating a Business Page on LinkedIn

A basic overview on how to create a business page on LinkedIn.

Leveraging Groups on LinkedIn

Write about how to use groups on LinkedIn to accomplish goals of promotion for a business or personal profile.

Tracking Your Activity on LinkedIn

This could be about LinkedIn Analytics or using customized URLs in Google Analytics to track visits from the platform.

Why LinkedIn Is Good for Business

Write a research-based ebook that includes stats on why LinkedIn is good for business marketing.

Marketing Automation

 

Marketing AutomationHow Marketing Automation Can Help Your Business

Talk about what marketing automation is and how it can help make a business more efficient at marketing its products and services to customers.

Marketing Automation Software

Highlight popular marketing automation software programs and do a comparison of features. You might also highlight cost.

Best Practices for Using Marketing Automation

Write a guide on best practices for using marketing automation software.

Elements of Marketing Automation

Explain the different components of marketing automation and how they work together with inbound marketing.

How to Implement Marketing Automation for Your Website

Write about developing a plan and a strategy for implementing marketing automation on a website or blog.

The Benefits of Marketing Automation

Talk about the major benefits of using marketing automation software.

How Marketing Automation Can Help Grow Your Business

Give real-world examples of how marketing automation helps grow businesses. You could also use your own professional experiences for this.

B2B Marketing Automation

Write an ebook on marketing automation from a business-to-business point of view.

How Your Customers Can Benefit From Proper Marketing Automation

Here you can talk about how marketing automation benefits customers and not just businesses that serve them.

Pinterest

 

business pages for pinterestSetting up a Pinterest Business Page

An overview on setting up a Pinterest business page.

How to Use Pinterest for Business

Give readers ideas on how to use Pinterest for business.

How to Integrate Pinterest Into Your Current Social Media Strategy

Talk about how to integrate Pinterest with other social media initiatives you are involved with.

How to Tell if Pinterest is Right for Your Business

As with the other social networks, you can give tips on how to listen on Pinterest and find out if a target market is present.

Stats Related to Pinterest

Write an ebook containing statistics on how Pinterest has helped businesses market themselves. You might try and find small business owners who have their own success stories.

Unique Ideas on how to Leverage Pinterest for Business

Come up with a top-20 or top-30 list on creative uses for Pinterest for business.

Building Your Personal Brand Using Pinterest

Tips on how to build a brand on Pinterest.

Incorporating Pinterest Into Your Website

Write a Piece on how to Incorporate Pinterest with Images on Your Website.

A Cheat Sheet for Using Pinterest

Create a cheat sheet for doing basic tasks in Pinterest.

PPC

 

PPC StrategyPPC’s Place in Online Marketing

Talk about the strengths of PPC and where it can be leveraged in online marketing.

What is PPC: A Basic Guide

A basic guide talking about what PPC is, how it is used, and leading platforms.

The Different Leading PPC Platforms Compared

Talk about the leading PPC platforms and do a price and feature comparison.

A Basic Guide to Using AdWords PPC

A beginners’ guide to using AdWords including keyword research and setting up your first campaign.

A Basic Guide to Using Facebook PPC

A beginners’ guide to using PPC on Facebook, including creating an ad and best practices for targeting, among other tips.

How to Do Keyword Research for AdWords PPC

Create an in-depth ebook on how to do keyword research properly for AdWords.

How to Get the Most out of Your PPC Budget

Provide tips on how to best allocate a budget for a PPC campaign.

Tips and best practices for using PPC

Do a general best-practice guide on using PPC. This could be platform specific or it could be a more generalized guide.

How to Know if PPC is Right for You

Give a list of things to consider when deciding if PPC is the right method of promotion for your business.

How to Improve Your Quality Score in AdWords

Provide a focused overview on how to improve an AdWords quality score.

The Best PPC Resources

Compile a list of the best PPC resources for advertisers to use when optimizing their campaigns.

The Best AdWords Resources

Like the PPC resources, you can provide a list of AdWords-specific resources for your readers.

PPC Platforms You Might not Know About

Compile a list of lesser-known PPC platforms that people could try.

Best Practices for Running an AdWords Campaign

Give overall best practices on running a successful AdWords campaign.

Getting Certified in Google AdWords

Provide tips on how to become certified in AdWords.

Best Practices for Adding Keywords and Creating Ads in AdWords

Here, you can write a more focused guide on adding the right keywords to a campaign in AdWords, as well as how to write compelling ads.

SEO

 

SEOThe Basics of Search Engine Optimization

This can be an overview piece defining search engine optimization and its elements.

How to Use SEO to Promote Your Website

Talk to readers about how exactly to leverage SEO to promote their websites.

Black Hat vs White Hat SEO

Compile a comprehensive guide on black hat and white hat SEO tactics. Show people the consequences of using the different methods.

Using Local SEO to Promote Your Business

Talk about local SEO tactics specifically. What do you do differently when trying to rank a website for local queries?

Tips for On-Page Optimization

Give a comprehensive list of on-page optimization factors. You could also generate a template for people to follow.

Tips for Off-Site Optimization

In contrast to on-page, create a template or best-practice list for off-site optimization.

Marking Your Content up With Microdata

Create an in-depth guide on how to mark up content using microdata.

Best Practices for Content Architecture

Make a best-practice guide on how to configure pages and site navigation to be optimal for search.

Top Free SEO Tools

People love free stuff. Make a numbered list of the top free SEO tools that can be downloaded online.

Top Paid SEO Tools

People don’t like paid things as much, but they are still pretty useful. If you have had a good experience using paid SEO tools, use those in your ebook. Otherwise, talk to others in your industry about paid tools that they have liked.

Influential SEO Industry Leaders to Follow and Learn From

Compile a list of influential members of the SEO community to follow. Include what they do, organizations they are a part of and a complete profile on each one.

How to Create Siloed Content

Create a guide on how to create siloed content.

An Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist

Create an ebook containing the ultimate SEO audit check list.

Checklist for Interacting With SEO Clients

Create a checklist for people to use when meeting with clients. What questions should they ask? What do they need to know before taking the client on?

Twitter

 

TwitterUsing Twitter to Promote a Business

Provide tips on how to use Twitter to promote a business online.

How Twitter Is Different From Other Social Networks

Talk about how Twitter is different (in a good way) from all the other social networks out there.

Apps That can Help Enhance Twitter for Business

Talk about the top apps that can be used for Twitter, like Tweetdeck.

The Best Books on Using Twitter for Business

There are tons of good books out there on how to use Twitter for business. Read them or read about them and then do a comparison post or take excerpts from books.

How to Engage a Following on Twitter

Provide tips on how to engage your following on Twitter.

How to Grow a Following on Twitter

Provide tips on how to grow your following on Twitter.

Video

 

Add a VideoHow to Use Video to Promote a Business

Make a comprehensive list on how to promote a business using videos online.

Free Video Editing Programs

Create a top-10 or top-20 list of free video editing software programs that can be found on the web.

How to Make Excellent Videos

Give tips on how to make high-quality videos. This could include editing tips or pointers on where to find people to film and edit videos for you.

Using Social Media to Promote Your Videos

Talk about strategies for using social media to promote your videos.

The Top Video Sharing Websites

Everyone knows about YouTube, but what about other video sharing sites? Talk about different video sharing sites.

Video Hosting Software Platforms for Your Website

There are a variety of new video sharing software platforms available on the market. Talk about which ones are best for your site and how they can be better than video sharing websites.

Tips for Making Viral Videos

Provide guidance for the “secret sauce” that makes videos go viral.

 

When you come up with inbound marketing offer, try and use your clients and customers to mold your content. The offers you create should be heavily influenced by the goals they want to accomplish and/or pain they may be feeling.

 

Do you have any inbound marketing offers that you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Tips for Developing a Promotional Strategy That Drives Webinar Registrations And Attendance

You have a great niche topic, compelling content, and a personality to keep people hooked while you drive your message home. The only thing you don’t have yet is an audience. That’s okay, though, because we’re about to give you five top tips for developing a promotional strategy that’s sure to boost your webinar registrations and increase your attendance rates.

Tip #1: Establish Your Positioning Strategy

webinar - promotional positioningWhen potential audience members view your webinar registration page, read your copy, and then leave without registering, there’s a reason for it. Unfortunately, it all boils down to an ineffective message and the wrong perception. If your page leaves people with the impression that your webinar is not on their level of understanding, that you’re unlikely to offer any new information, and that there’s no value to be gained, you’ll inevitably end up on the losing side.

How do you want your webinar positioned in the minds of your target group? How does it fit in with your content marketing and branding objectives? How do you want people to perceive your content? These are just a few of the positioning questions you should ask before you start promoting your webinar to all and sundry.

Determine how your target market decides which webinars they watch, understand how your competition positions their webinars, and figure out what unique value your content offers attendees. When you can answer these questions and cut right to the heart of what your brand does differently, you can start to shape your promotional messages accordingly and influence the right action.

Tip #2: Reach the Right People on the Right Platforms Multiple Times

If you want to generate high-quality signups, you need to be talking to the right people in the right place—not once, not twice, but multiple times. Hopefully you understand your target audience enough to know the type of people they are, what motivates them, and where the majority of them hang out online and in the real world.

Although you want to cast your net wide enough to reach and attract a large audience, you also want to ensure you’re not wasting your time in places that aren’t relevant. Placing your messages and links in high visibility areas that make sense for your strategy is key to gaining an audience that will eventually help you fulfill your webinar’s goal.

Tip #3: Create a Simple Registration Page with Compelling Copy and a Killer CTA

We’ve discussed how to develop a great webinar registration page before, but many people still don’t realize how detrimental this is to their registration and attendance success. A lousy page only serves to increase abandonment rates and totally kills your positioning efforts. Spend plenty of time developing the promotional message for this page, as well as a simple signup form and irresistible call-to-action. Make your promise clear, give people a preview of what’s to come, and then drive them to complete the registration form with your passion for the topic you’ll be covering.

Tip #4: Get the Hows and Whens Right

Webinar advertisingThere are hundreds of ways to promote your webinar. The question is: Which methods will you choose? Much of the answer depends on your promotional budget, as well as which advertising methods are likely to generate good response rates.

In terms of the whens of your promotional strategy, you need to ensure you start promoting well in advance and that you have plenty of communications lined up to keep people interested. If you publicize your webinar too early, people in desperate need of information may look elsewhere for resources. If you promote your webinar too late, you risk creating scheduling conflicts that will result in poor attendance.

Tip #5: Use the Power of Reminder Emails and Text Messages to Keep People Interested

We’re not talking about a one-liner email or text message that says, “Hey, don’t forget about our awesome webinar on Wednesday at 2PM.” We’re talking about messages that add value to what you’ve already told people, as well as build anticipation for the event. Tell registrants why they don’t want to miss the presentation, why your webinar is worth their time, and the additional benefits they can expect if they join. It’s crucial to keep in mind that your promotion of the event doesn’t stop after an individual fills in and submits the registration form. You have to keep a level of excitement going to ensure the person actually shows up on the day.

Ultimately, the success of your promotional strategy to drive registration and attendance rates relies heavily on audience focus. If you know whom you’re talking to, where to find your ideal viewer, and which methods are best for advertising or announcing your event, you’ll find that drawing in an excited crowd isn’t too much of a burden.

Are there any tips you’d add for generating webinar registrations and increasing attendance rates? Join the conversation in the comment box! 

Preparing For Social Media Marketing In 2014

social media marketing tips for 2014December tends to reign in a flurry of activity as marketers and their teams scramble to assemble some sort of plan for the coming year. While some will succeed, others will fail miserably. Although we’d love to ensure you fall into the former category by focusing on every area of marketing, there’s one area that appears to need some work: social media marketing.

It’s time not only to do social media marketing right, but it’s also time to do it better. With that said, here are five ways to prepare for the year ahead.

Writing a Social Media Plan That Makes Sense for Your Business

Writing a social media plan is only something big businesses do, right? After all, they’re the ones with the time and resources to create these “useless” documents few people ever really follow. You’re the one who barely has the ability to produce enough social media content, let alone focus on unnecessary paperwork.

Besides, your “let’s play it by ear” strategy seems to be working. You can’t really tell what impact you’re having because you’re not measuring anything, but your follower and fan numbers are on the rise so that must be a good thing.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Although your reasons for not writing a social media plan may seem valid, adopting a forward-thinking strategy and content plan can help you solve many of the issues you’re using as excuses. Whether you’re a one-man band or part of a large team, make certain you have a written plan to help you remain focused and accountable. It doesn’t have to be long or complex, but it must make sense for your business.

Being Effective In the Implementation of Your Plan

What good is your plan if you let it gather dust in the attention-deficient recesses of some marketing file you only glance at once a year?

The hard truth is this: we’re entering 2014. It’s time to be effective or be left behind. Pull out your plan if you have one, blow off the cobwebs so it looks as grand as when you first typed it up, and then get excited about implementing it the right way. Your social media marketing strategy is designed to guide you, so let it. If you don’t, you really have wasted time and resources your business can ill afford to lose.

Unleashing Creativity

social media creativityIf you look at most viral social media posts, there’s one thing they have in common: creativity. They’re created by people who think outside of the box and take risks in their content development strategies.

In an environment where every brand is vying for the attention of the masses, the successful ones are those who show character, embrace unusual thinking, and break with convention. The only rules you need to follow are those of being a responsible social media citizen. Outside of that, there’s no law that states your content has to conform to specific guidelines in terms of structure or appearance.

Going Big or Going Home

Keeping the buzz alive on social media platforms is a hard thing to do. People move from one trend to the next at what seems like lightning speed, so it has become increasingly important for brands to develop concepts that produce enough buzz and brand awareness for a campaign to be deemed successful. Although you’ll want to publish a consistent flow of content, you should also plan one or two big ideas that give your target audience something they desire—something that’ll keep them engaged, and something that’ll generate valuable leads for your business.

Opening the Door for Spontaneity

If you’ve wrapped so much red tape around your social media marketing strategy that all content has to make an extensive journey through the upper echelons of your organization for approval first, you’re missing some great opportunities to be innovative and timely. Some of the best and most viral posts this year came from brands who took advantage of topical events. Things happen too fast to dally about with ridiculous review processes, so let your team of social media content geniuses be spontaneous and jump on the latest happenings for the benefit of your brand. As long as you have a social media policy in place and trustworthy individuals at the helm who think before they post, your brand should be in good hands.

The bottom line: if you prepare properly, you have a good chance to make 2014 a year that surpasses all others in terms of your social media ROI. Most businesses can’t afford to play around anymore. Can yours?

How are you preparing your social media marketing in 2014? Let us know in the comment section below!

 

Marketing Automation and Automated Email Marketing

@ Symbols on Flowers symbolizing the self-sustaining nature of automated email marketingAutomated email marketing is a natural outgrowth of marketing automation. Marketing automation refers to software platforms that automate repetitive or generic marketing tasks. Once you generate a large contact list, nurturing those leads until they finally convert involves several touches. Email is not used exclusively, but many marketers do use it as a lead-nurturing tool. When you can automate some of those messages based on certain predefined parameters, you can shed time off of your overall marketing efforts.

Managing email drip campaigns without software (unless you are doing it for a handful of prospects) is a complete nightmare. Not only do you miss out on a lot of tracking opportunities, there is also no automation. We’ve compiled some of the leading automation software on the market to show you what’s available and how it can help improve your efficiency with automated email marketing.

Silverpop LogoSilverpop Automated Email Marketing

Silverpop is a marketing automation software company with a web-based platform. It has a lot of different services that come with its plans, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll focus on email marketing.

Silverpop’s email feature is called Engage Email, and it is basically a combination of email marketing software like Constant Contact or iContact and marketing automation software. Here are some of the highlights of its email marketing software (excluding automation features)

  • WYSIWYG editor that enables you to make pretty attractive emails
  • Templates
  • Dynamic content
  • Personalization features (like importing first name last name from an Excel document)

Silverpop's Home PageSo that stuff is pretty generic, and you can get it without paying through the nose from any email marketing provider. The powerful part of Silverpop’s service comes in with its automation software. You can define customer behaviors, for example, that trigger specific preloaded email messages (crafted by you, of course) to be sent to the prospect as soon as he or she completes a particular action on your website.

For example, if you have a site that sells auto parts, you can set up a form where visitors fill in their name, email, phone and some other basic information. Silverpop uses information from that email, including keywords, options selected and other data to send an automated, personalized email to the visitor.

Naturally, if you just have one or two people per week filling out the form, this functionality may not be very exciting (or valuable). If you are getting dozens or hundreds of inquiries from your website every week, though, this automation can save you a lot of person hours sifting through and responding to basic email inquiries.

Silverpop has two basic plans for pricing on its website. You can go with the basic one (called Automated Essentials) starting at $800 per month. The Enterprise plan is about double that amount. The company offers a ton more services than described above; however, this is a significant investment for a smaller business just starting out. If you are looking to make more of an impact in online and email marketing, and have the budget for it, Silverpop looks like a pretty good company to investigate.

Hubspot LogoHubSpot Automated Email Marketing

We may be a little biased about HubSpot as we use it on this website and often mention the company in examples on our blog. That being said, we aren’t offered any consideration for mentioning them and we feel that they have a very innovative and useful product.

Like Silverpop, HubSpot has an email nurturing feature. HubSpot has the Workflow tool that allows you to nurture and manage leads from when they come into the system until they become customers. Some of the tasks you can perform include:

  • Configure lead-nurturing campaigns to drive prospects further along in the buying cycle
  • Construct and schedule auto-response emails based on visitor behavior (i.e. enrollment time, calendar date, or specific behavior like demo view or contact form submission)
  • Re-segment lists based on where prospects are in the buying cycle

Hubspots interface to set up automated email marketing campaignsIf you are just starting to use automation programs and automated email marketing, HubSpot is slightly more affordable for the functionality you get with the platform. Like Silverpop (and many other automated marketing programs), price is based on database size.

Plans on HubSpot start at $200 per month, and go all the way up to $2,400 for enterprise plans. With the $200 per month plan, you can manage 100 contacts at any given time — not a bad deal if you are converting prospects within 30 days and each one is worth at least five bucks to you. On average, a company’s prospects are worth much more than that.

Marketo Automated Email Marketing

You’ve probably noticed a theme here. Most of the platforms mentioned here are moderately priced and have similar features. A lot of that has to do with who our readers are. Also, the majority of online marketers are either small outfits or solo marketers. If you are interested in corporate-level software programs, there is a great review post here.

Marketo has a lot of similar automated email marketing features as the other two companies mentioned here, but there was one thing I really liked about their platform. They have a built-in a/b/n testing feature for emails that automatically picks a winner for the campaign and sets it into action.

You can see pretty much everything the company’s automated email program offers in the video below.

Marketo is at the higher end of the pricing scale for the marketing automation software mentioned in this post. Their plans start at just under 2K per month, and you have to call for enterprise pricing. In other words, if you have to call, it probably costs a lot.

Marketing automation — and especially automated email marketing — can save a ton of time (and hence money) for your business. The key takeaway here is that you have to weigh the cost of not having the software against the price of whatever you choose to go with. Spending $2,000 a month on marketing automation may sound like a lot, but if it saves you $1,300 dollars per month in person hours and enables you to maximize those same person hours to make an additional $5,000 per month, then the investment is probably worth it.

 

What automated email marketing programs have you checked out? Do you use one platform that you really like right now? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Striking a Perfect Balance between Social Media Promotion and Interaction

social media promotion versus interaction balanceLet’s be clear about the basics: businesses claim social media property and invest resources into strategies because they want to see some form of return. Whether that’s a monetary return, a boost in visibility and brand awareness, a strengthening of customer relations, or an increase in retention rates, depends on the company’s strategy.

Where many entrepreneurs fail is in the execution of social media marketing. They mistakenly translate “social media marketing” into “promote, promote, promote.” With so few companies succeeding at this approach, it’s a tactic that clearly doesn’t work.

The reality is that social media platforms aren’t advertising forums—they’re designed for the creation and exchange of ideas and information. If any business hopes to succeed in the online social sphere, it’s crucial to remove the focus from the promotion of a brand’s product and service offerings to the creation of meaningful conversation. Does that mean you shouldn’t promote your content at all? Absolutely not. What it means is you have to create an ideal balance between social media promotion and interaction.

The Problem with a Promotion-Focused Strategy

  • You risk alienating your target audience. People don’t join social media sites so that companies can shove branded content down their throats or sell their latest product and service offerings to them. They join to connect to the world outside of their local communities, to interact with people who share the same interests and values, and to have fun.
  • Your brand will fade into obscurity. Think about it: if you alienate the very people who are meant to spread your social media content and endorse your brand, how will you keep your name in front of the right eyes?
  • You miss opportunities to connect with clients, partners, influencers, and future employees. When you’re failing to participate in crucial conversations around your brand and key topics, you’re neglecting to fulfill a major part of any successful social media strategy. Why would any business want to miss the opportunity to build potentially fruitful relationships?
  • You may overlook critical insight. Interaction with like-minded individuals can help stimulate the big ideas that may just put your company on top. You never know when valuable links, stories, or industry data will make their way into your hands thanks to your participation in relevant groups.

So, what should you do to make sure you don’t implement a strategy that’s too focused on promotion?

The 80/20 Rule Can Help You Find the Right Balance

Social media balance

In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule, which is also known as the Pareto Principle, states that for many events, approximately 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

In other words, you should be using your social media assets for interaction 80% of the time and for self-promotion 20% of the time. With one out of every five posts being a promotional post, you shouldn’t have too much trouble following this rule of thumb, right?

Just in case, here are tips for the best 80/20 outcome:

  • When you’re promoting, provide value.

  • When you’re interacting, be engaging and helpful. Show that you’re genuinely interested in the topic of conversation.

  • Don’t make a promotional post a blatant sales pitch. Subtlety is the way to win over followers.

  • Keep it real when you’re posting a conversational post. Let people know there’s a person on the other end of the computer.

  • Always be audience-oriented.

The bottom line: stop killing your brand by constantly talking about your brand. Social media demands that you get rid of the “me, me, me” mentality and start focusing on others. People will buy from you if they like you, and you’re not going to attain that favorable position if you’re bombarding them with advertisements and self-flattering posts. Finding a good balance will ensure you’re not viewed as narcissistic, but rather an all-around social media player.

 

Do you struggle to obtain a balance when it comes to social media promotion and interaction? Perhaps you have a different viewpoint on the 80/20 rule. Share your thoughts with us below.

Lead Generation through Social Media in 2014

A few months ago, we covered seven ways to use social media for lead generation. As marketers look to refine their inbound marketing tactics in 2014, we’re outlining four additional ideas to boost your lead generation efforts through social media next year.

Before we get stuck into it, here’s a recap of the first seven:

  1. Listen to relevant conversations for outreach opportunities.

  2. Add value and a personal touch to conversations by taking your virtual communications offline.

  3. Leverage social ads to reach a high quality, highly targeted audience.

  4. Promote compelling free offerings social media users can’t resist.

  5. Create contests, sweepstakes, giveaways, discounts, and other promotions to accumulate qualified leads.

  6. Actively participate in Google+ Hangouts, Twitter Chats, and LinkedIn Groups.

  7. Encourage social sharing.

Once you’ve mastered these, move onto our next four tips.

#1. Use Social Media Tools Specifically Designed For Lead Generation

As social advertising increases in popularity, providers are creating unique tools to help businesses boost their effectiveness. Twitter’s new lead generation card feature is a perfect case in point.

Twitter lead generation card

Brands can now create an expanded Tweet with a cool description of their offer and a tempting CTA. Best of all, users can securely share their email address without having to leave the social media platform or fill out a tedious form. The tool pre-populates the card with a lead’s @username and email address so all the individual has to do is click the submit button to take advantage of your offer. Pretty convenient, right?

Keep your eye on developments within the networks you’re using because we’re sure to see more of this smart marketing in the future.

#2. Learn To Newsjack Intelligently

Newsjacking isn’t new, but many businesses need to get better at it. Buzz-worthy stories create high demand, so why not jump at the chance if you see an opportunity to tailor your offers accordingly? Just make sure you do it the right way. Exploiting natural disasters or tragic events can ruin your reputation rather than fuel your social media lead generation efforts, so be extremely sensitive when selecting the topical content you plan to newsjack. Be quick about it, too, because most stories have a very short lifespan.

#4. Get Back To the Basics

If you’ve been sweating for hours over the right message and call-to-action for a great lead generation post, dig into your old bag of tricks and get back to the basics of marketing. You know, where you wield psychological influence through things like scarcity to drum up interest and sense of urgency in your offers. This is a great way to generate leads through social media within a limited time frame so use this tactic when appropriate.

#4. Become a Pro at Creating Offers and CTAs for Each Buying Phase

Lead Generation Social Media CTAAs a marketer, you not only want to focus on the quantity of leads you generate through social media, you also want to focus on the quality. After all, what’s a lead worth if it’s unlikely to convert? Therefore, you should aim to create a variety of offers and marketing messages that speak to your target audience at various stages of the buying cycle. While one prospect might be interested in an eBook or similar informational piece, another might be ready for a free trial or demo.

Always remember that the first key element of a good lead generation campaign is a compelling offer, while the secret sauce is a powerful call-to-action. Back that up with a killer landing page and lead capture form and you’re good to go.

Are you preparing for lead generation via social media in 2014? Is there anything you’d add to our list? Add your voice to the conversation below.

Webinars: Selecting the Right Presenters and Planning Your Agenda

As with any event, certain moving parts need to align in order for a webinar to run smoothly. Today we’re focusing on just two of them: engaging presenters and your webinar agenda. While you may believe these are simple issues that need to be addressed, the reality is there are several aspects you need to consider when it comes to organizing your presentation and finalizing decisions around these elements.

Follow along as we provide useful tips for presenter selection and agenda planning.

Selecting the Right Speakers

You can have all the pretty pictures and fascinating data you like, but you’re wasting your time if your guest or host is a sleep-inducing talker. Not only will you likely fail to reach the goals you’ve set for your webinar, but your attendees will also drop out of the event like flies.

Webinar guest speakersTherefore, you need:

  • A recognized speaker who possesses a passion for the subject you’ll be talking about—someone who is a great teacher and will help your audience understand the key points you’re hoping to convey.
  • Someone who can attract and hold fast the interest and attention of your viewers for an extended period (40 minutes or more).
  • A credible presenter who not only has the necessary knowledge on the topic at hand, but also lends their marketability to your webinars. Ask yourself whether this is someone who has established online communities and strong social connections, as well as whether they’re able to attract your target crowd. Can you leverage the individual’s name to boost attendance? Is the person willing to help you promote your webinar through his or her own social channels?
  • Someone who is able to answer questions off-the-cuff.
  • A person who creates a valuable experience for your attendees by bringing their own opinions, viewpoints, and experiences to the table.
  • A speaker who can fit in with your webinar format whether you’re hosting a moderated panel, live debate, or interview-style presentation. If you’re already dealing with a niche topic in a somewhat dull field, consider forming a panel with two or more engaging presenters so you avoid monotony and give your webinar flavor.

Planning Your Agenda

webinar agenda meetingSuccessfully orchestrating a live webinar requires everyone involved to be well prepared, aware of their roles, and in the loop with respect to the timing of certain agenda items. As a result, you’ll want to assemble your team of speakers, facilitators or moderators, assistants, and other support staff a few weeks beforehand to discuss and plan your webinar agenda.

Factors you’ll need to plan and agree upon during the meeting:

  • Key questions or points that need to be discussed during the presentation;
  • A time to review questions and develop answers prior to the event;
  • The order and duration of each webinar element, including a welcome message, introductions, the topic presentation, audience Q&A’s, interactive content (polls, surveys, etc.), a CTA, and closing;
  • How and when you’ll create opportunities for dialogue;
  • Deadlines for the submission of a general script, bio photo and details, slide decks, videos, visual aids, references, and other presentation materials;
  • Social media and hashtag monitoring for audience input or feedback;
  • And a time to conduct a dry run.

Ultimately, you want to ensure you’re working with the right people and that they’re in agreement in terms of the best direction for your presentation. A concerted effort by all parties will ensure you have an engaging webinar with few timing problems.

 

Have you ever attended a really bad webinar? What would you change about it? Share your stories with us below.

TCA’s Social Media Awards – The Best and Worst of 2013

TCA Social Media AwardsAdvertising isn’t as simple as it once was.

With social media use on the rise, marketers have to find imaginative, unexpected ways to create relevant and interesting content that tantalizes target audiences and encourages participation. Although social media makes it possible to raise significant awareness with zero budget, it can also amplify the shame when campaigns go wrong.

With that said, we thought we’d have a bit of fun and highlight some of the best and worst applications of social media we’ve seen in 2013.

The Feel Good Award

As one of the most shared videos of 2013, Dove certainly has a reason to celebrate their Real Beauty Sketches campaign. The brand’s powerful message evoked strong emotions from a deeply engaged audience, prompting viewers to share the Youtube masterpiece with their own online communities, as well as contribute to the brand’s campaign with testimonials, stories, and other user-generated content.

The Unfortunate Wording Award

Social media award - Tesco

Poor Tesco. Their ill-worded (and ill-timed) Tweet appeared in the midst of their infamous horse meat scandal that had the stomachs of consumers turning violently. Based on the reaction by social media users, few appreciated their choice of words whether they were intentional or not. Although we love a good viral post, this one circulated for all the wrong reasons.

The Creativity Award

Social media award - The Weather Channel

 

To promote #TornadoWeek earlier this year, The Weather Channel created a tweet-powered tornado simulation controlled by the volume of #TornadoWeek mentions. Putting Twitter users in the driving seat of Mother Nature really paid off with the dedicated hashtag still showing up in many feeds months down the line.

The All-Rounder Award

Social Media Award - Oreo

Oreo not only has the knack for baking delicious cookies, but the brand also has a talent for creating fun, timely, and visually appealing campaigns across all their social properties. Whether they’re showing off the versatility of their product through mouth-watering recipes or capitalizing on current events like the birth of the royal baby, you’re sure to find an Oreo-related post to make you want to grab a cookie and a glass of milk.

The Cool Contest Award

Social media award - Heineken

Heineken brought a fun factor to Instagram with a scavenger hunt contest that generated numerous impressions and raked in a boatload of new followers. While this type of contest isn’t new, contestants were able to find the clues and hunt for the prize within the confines of the dedicated Instagram competition page.

The Innovative Campaign Award

Social Media Award - Fruit of the LoomPhoto: Fruit of the Loom

Fruit of the Loom believes that “great-fitting underwear can help you start your workday in a great mood,” which is why it’s no surprise that this famous underwear company sent LinkedIn users who had recently acquired or changed jobs a message stating they could claim a free pair of underwear for their new adventure. Since LinkedIn is usually left out in the cold when it comes to this sort of campaign, we’re giving Fruit of the Loom two thumbs up for targeting this networking site.

The Worst Reaction Award

Social media award - Amy's Baking Co.

Amy’s Baking Co. fiasco really takes the cake for 2013. There have been some pretty bad reactions by brand’s to criticism, but this business has created a PR nightmare of note. Besides vulgar language and erratic posts, the company owners completely trashed their target audience via Facebook. What about those 118k likes you see in the image above? They’re mostly there because people can’t take their eyes off this social media train wreck. The brand has stated they were hacked, but the mudslinging continues months later. BuzzFeed is calling it an “epic brand meltdown,” we’re calling it something every company should avoid at all costs.

Which have been your favorite social media campaigns in 2013? Which ones made you cringe? Share your suggestions along with a name for your award in the comment section below.

Can You Benefit from Inbound Marketing Software?

Inbound Marketing SoftwareThe amount of activities you could be involved with in online marketing for your business is dizzying. There are so many to think about, and it’s easy to get lost. When you are promoting a business in a digital space, things get a lot easier when you have software to manage the task.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, there are a handful of very useful inbound marketing software programs available. Businessbee.com offers a great synopsis of the costs, benefits and feature highlights of the different inbound programs out there, so we won’t go through that here.

What we would like to discuss is why software can be of benefit, its myths and how you might go about the process of deciding whether you need it or not.

definition of benefitThe Benefits of Inbound Marketing Software

Inbound encompasses a lot of things. It’s SEO, social, blogging, video, images and other forms of content or content platforms. Most of these things require ongoing management. Another common thread is that there are more than a dozen methods to accomplish each of them.

The basic goal of any software should be — and often is — to make some kind of computerized task easier to do. Software should save time, money, headaches and misery. Many of the leading inbound marketing software programs do just that.

I haven’t had first-hand experience with all available software, but I have had the opportunity to check out a couple of them and actually use them in my work. If you can successfully tie together your social media work, SEO work, blogging and other activities along with tracking and analysis into one central location, you can save yourself a lot of digging. This is especially true if you do a lot of volume.

myth-v-factThe Myths

Myths aren’t exclusive to inbound marketing software. They go along with any software program. What I’m referring to is the fact that software companies, and sometimes the programs themselves, can lure us into believing that we can just flip a switch and the work is done for us.

In reality, software packages can help save time, but you still have to put in the effort. No program is going to magically market your business. With any platform that you choose to utilize, do the following:

  • Learn the features of the program very well
  • Look for opportunities where you can leverage the software’s strengths in your work
  • Be resourceful; use other programs with your new tool to maximize its performance
  • Don’t rely on it to make you a better marketer; only you can do that
  • Read any best-practice guides or reviews on the software

Jon Henshaw gives a very candid appraisal of Hubspot marketing software in this blog post from back in May of 2013. While you should probably take any opinions with a grain of salt, both the post and the comments offer some valuable insights.

inbound-marketingDo you Need Inbound Marketing Software?

The fast answer to this question (as with many others) is “it depends.” I don’t have a hard rule for you on this one, but the following conditions would suggest that you should start looking into some kind of program to help you with your job:

 

  • You are relying heavily on SEO, Social media, blogging and other inbound tactics to grow your business
  • You manage multiple presences for multiple companies online
  • You are using more than 5 different programs to manage the same campaign for the same company (or your own)
  • It is apparent that you need to increase your marketing efficiency as evidenced by your inability to get past a plateau or to maintain your sanity

Inbound marketing software can be expensive, so you have to enter into an agreement with a company for the right reasons. For those who need it, software can help speed up your processes, make managing campaigns much easier, provide useful tracking and sale information and allow you to manage your activities from a single location.

 

What are your thoughts on using inbound marketing software? Do you have any additional insight on the topic? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

A Basic Guide to Lead Nurturing

lead-nurturingSometimes it’s possible to complete the whole buying process online. A visitor sees an ad or a link and follows it, completes some action and then ends up buying from you. These sorts of transactions typically happen with smaller ticket items with short sales cycles and low education thresholds for buying.

More commonly, online marketing involves the generation of leads using some sort of conversion funnel. This could be as simple as an ad + landing page or it could involve an inbound marketing offer where users are trading information in exchange for some sort of content or access to services. In these cases, business owners are able to generate leads that need to be nurtured in order to convert to being buyers.

Lead nurturing is an important aspect to understand when it comes to inbound marketing. We often can’t get people to buy with just one touch online. They need to have multiple touches in order to be led into making a purchase decision. Of course, not all of them will buy, but if you can remain top-of-mind and steer them where you want them to go, you will be able to convert a larger proportion of the leads you gather.

principlesPrinciples of Lead Nurturing

At its most elemental level, lead nurturing is the process of delivering highly educational and relevant content over time to people who have already expressed an interest in your organization. You should maintain a certain framework while delivering content to your prospects:

  1. Relevance
    Deliver content that is relevant to areas of your organization, products, services or other content they’ve already expressed an interest in. For example, if they have downloaded an eBook about how to write a resume, sending emails with links to eBooks on how to build an effective LinkedIn profile would be appropriate.
  2. Timeliness
    Stay on top of your leads. If they give information to your company for some reason and you don’t follow up with them for weeks, they may have moved on. There may not be a hard rule here; however, if someone has downloaded content from you, follow up within a week with emails, social posts, or other communication representing first steps in the lead nurturing process.
  3. Progress
    Each touch you have with your prospect should nudge them further in a direction to making a purchase from your business. This is the entire reason you are communicating with them in the first place. The direction you push them in and what you ask them to do will vary based on what it is you are trying to get them to buy. In theory, all of the content on your site that they have access to download is in some way (or should be) related to your services or products. If your campaign is designed to increase sales of a specific service then nudge them in the direction of buying that. Send them information or offers related to those services.
  4. Tracking
    Google AnalyticsYes good old tracking should always be a part of what you are doing.  Measure each time you send out communication to see how your messaging is received.  Do people click on your links? Do they come to your website if that is the goal? Do they open your emails or, in general, do they perform the tasks you have outlined for them? By measuring your activities, you can see what worked and what didn’t. You can try new things that may push you in the direction of having success with your lead nurturing campaigns.

Forms of Lead Nurturing

You could accomplish pretty much any sales or business related goal with a lead nurturing campaign, but there are some common ones to get you going if you are just starting with this.

webinars raise brand awarenessBrand Awareness Campaigns

This type of lead nurturing gets prospects introduced to who your company is and what the mission is. This might be news related content or items from your blog. It could be a newsletter. People in these contact databases should not be leads who have expressed specific interest in a particular product or service. Instead, they may have entered your system under more general circumstances. Maybe you purchased a list somewhere or have a general signup form on your website.

Incoming or “Hot” Lead Campaigns

These are leads you may have gained through some sort of specialized conversion funnel or inbound marketing offer. For instance, you may have generated a list from offering an eBook on a specific topic, or maybe a prospect filled out an online quote request form.

These prospects should be sent messaging that helps push them down the line to purchasing relevant products and/or services. You would start by sending them communications on similar content they may find valuable and then a “soft-sell” email where you prompt them to make a purchase decision.

Naturally, if you have a goal in mind for what you want people to do, go for it. Lead nurturing is about having a conversation of sorts. Leads are people, and they have already taken the first step of initiating contact with a company. You can keep the conversation going by sending timely, relevant and interesting communications and content their way in an effort to push them closer to becoming a full-fledged customer.

 

What lead nurturing strategies do you use? Join the conversation by commenting below.