How to Powerup your Blog: Action 4 – Powerup other channels – SlideShare

blog SlideShare

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

The goal of any company blog is to increase awareness of the company’s brand. To do that the blog must drive traffic to the company website, where the visitor is encouraged to browse other pages.

blog SlideShare

After you have organized your blog using categories and tags, shared your posts on relevant social media channels, and optimized open rates with keyword-rich headlines, there is one more action that will enhance your SEO and extend your blog’s reach – SlideShare.

The last post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looks at powerful channel for content distribution -SlideShare.

Action 4: Powerup other channels – SlideShare

SlideShare, now owned by LinkedIn, is a website that allows you to post content (PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, videos, documents, and others) as a presentation.

Once uploaded, your content is public, searchable, viewable, and even sharable! This increases brand awareness, expands your market reach, and drives traffic to your blog or website.

Benefits of using SlideShare

With over 60 million visitors a year, SlideShare is powerful channel for your content distribution. Some benefits of using SlideShare are:

It extends your reach to a large professional audience.

LinkedIn is the parent company of SlideShare, and we all know about the power of LinkedIn professional networks. It also means SlideShare users tend to be business-oriented rather than social browsers.

It boosts SEO

It turns out that Google ranks successful SlideShare presentations above blog articles, news stories, even YouTube videos (well, sometimes). This is a big boost for your blog’s SEO.

It’s free!

For startups and solo professionals, a big benefit of SlideShare is that it is free! For any business it is a smart marketing channel for your content marketing strategy.

It’s easy!

blog SlideShare

SlideShare is easy to learn. If you’ve ever used PowerPoint, you’re on your way. If not, there are many tutorials out there to help you get started quickly.

It helps builds authority.

On SlideShare you showcase your expertise in your field by sharing useful and relevant information. When readers come across your quality content on SlideShare, they will associate that content with you and your personal brand.

It includes analytics.

There is a free analytic tool that helps you measure how and when viewers interact with your content. You can track how many times each presentation or infographic is viewed, shared, liked, commented on or downloaded in a specified period.

How to use SlideShare

So, how do you use SlideShare to extend the reach of your blog? The easiest way is to make a SlideShare presentation for each of your blog posts. A presentation that summarizes the post and makes it easily consumable, understandable, and quick to digest.

Because you’ve already written the post, creating and publishing a presentation is relatively simple. Not only will you at least double your exposure but there is the chance your SlideShare will go ‘viral’!

If SlideShare delivers as predicted, you may decide to start writing your posts with a presentation in mind.

Action 4.5: Powerup SlideShare

You can take a few steps to optimize your SlideShare presentation for your readers and for search engines:

Template

People like things that are familiar. Put together a template that displays your brand, your message. Use it again and again. Make sure the template reflects the colors and style of your blog and website. Place your brand logo on every slide.

Headline

This has been covered in some detail in the 3rd post in this series – Action 3: Powerup your Headlines. Just remember to optimize your title for searching by including keywords/phrases relevant to the blog topic.

Tags

blog SlideShare

You can include up to 20 tags in your presentation, making your presentation that much more searchable. Base your tags on the tag strategy you worked out in Action 1.

Description

By include a compelling description for your SlideShare, you make it more appealing to your reader and increases its SEO. As with the meta description on your website, include relevant, highly searchable keywords/phrases in your description to help search engines find it

Links

Links are very important to your SEO. Google assumes that pages with the most links to them should rank higher in search results than those without links.

So, place links throughout your Slideshare presentation, as well as on the last slide. Include a “Further Reading” slide with a list of links to related content on your blog.

Conclusion

This last post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looked at powerful channel for content distribution -SlideShare. SlideShare:

  • Extends the reach of your professional network
  • Boosts SEO
  • Is free
  • Is easy
  • Tracks metrics

Share all your posts are presentations on SlideShare and see if you don’t generate awareness and drive traffic to your blog.

A company blog is a powerful tactic in a content marketing strategy. Posting quality content consistently is key to a blog’s success. But it’s not enough. In today’s marketing environment you will need to powerup your blog to get heard.

This series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, is all about helping you take action to increase traffic to your blog and website:

  1. Powerup your site structure
  2. Powerup your social media
  3. Powerup your headlines
  4. Powerup all channels – SlideShare

I have put this blog series into a SlideShare presentation. You can download the SlideShare presentation here.

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

CONTACT ME 

How to Powerup Your Blog: ACTION 3: Powerup your Headlines

blog headline

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

Driving traffic to your website is one of the primary benefits of a company blog. However, posting relevant and useful content consistently may not be generating the traffic you expected. Other action is required to powerup your blog.

blog headlines

We’ve seen how to structure your blog using categories and tags and how to share your posts on relevant social media channels. Now what’s really important is getting people to click on the link to your blog and then read it. The only thing that can make people do that is the headline.

This third post in the series: How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, explains how to optimize open rates with keyword-rich headlines.

Action 3:        Powerup your headlines

First things first

Crafting a good headline should be the first step in writing a post. Start with the topic, one identified in your content calendar. Then, think about what benefit you will provide your readers in the post. With a topic and key benefit sorted, start brainstorming headline ideas, coming up with at least five drafts.

blog headlines

When writing the post, keep thinking about the headline, keep focused on the promised benefit and make sure you deliver in every post. The sections below will help you powerup your headlines to get them opened and read.

Keywords

There is some debate about whether headlines should focus on SEO or on “writing for humans”. As it turns out you should do both.

Keywords are important because they are words and phrases your audience is searching for. By using keywords, you attract more readers and drive more relevant traffic to your website.

Niche phrases, several keywords together, can add the human element. Although they generate less traffic, that traffic is more targeted with less competition. A niche phrase is more specific, and specificity makes for a better headline.

A really great headline, then, should speak in the language of the audience with keywords, presented in a proven formula that catches human attention and offers value.

Classic headline formulas

How to posts

How-to articles and blog posts are some of the most read, linked, and shared content online. Readers are looking for useful information that they can apply in a practical way. Try to focus on benefits that make your readers life better, easier, and happier. Follow up with great content that fills the promise of your headline.

There are many variations of the basic How to headline. The How to [Blank] and [Blank] was made famous by Dale Carnegie with How to Win Friends and Influence People, and it is still a powerful formula today. The How to [Blank] Without [Objectionable Action] title works because sometimes your reader wants something but doesn’t necessarily want to do what it takes to get it.

Numbered lists

A headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, tips, or actions works because it makes a specific promise to the reader. As long as you deliver on the promise with quality content, you’ll have a satisfied reader.

The human brain loves numbers, in headlines especially because numbers place information in a logical order. Interestingly, we seem to believe odd numbers more than even numbers. Odd numbers, the number 7 in particular, appear to help our brains process and recall information more easily.

The Content Marketing Institute recommends using the numeral 7 in headlines rather than the word seven. For example, instead of Seven Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier, try using 7 Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier.

Why and a declarative statement

People find it difficult to resist a headline that presents an interesting take on a topic they care about. This headline uses Why not as a question, but to put forward a point of view with the promise an explanation: Why Facebook May Be Bad for Your Business.

A reason to read

This headline formula is about giving readers a good reason to read your post. Use numbers combined with reasons to really powerup your headlines: 7 Facts about your Water Tanks that you May Not Know or 6 Insights into the Future of Membrane Technology

Conclusion

Optimizing with keywords and using winning formulas can powerup your headlines, increasing your click-through-rate.

The final post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, action 4 is about using all channels, SlideShare in particular, to extend your reach.

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

CONTACT ME 

How to Powerup Your Blog

blog social media

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

A primary benefit of a company blog is how it can drive traffic to your website. But maybe, just maybe, publishing consistently hasn’t generated the interest you were expecting. What else can you do attract attention?

blog social media

There is no better place to extend the reach of your blog than social media. But, as we all know, without a plan and some discipline, one can easily get sucked down the social media rabbit hole.

This second post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looks at how to promote your blog on social media, driving even more traffic to your website.

Action 2.        Powerup your social media

When planning a social media strategy for your blog, it pays to begin by establishing your goals. This will help you choose which channels to target and what focus your content should have.

To extend the reach of your blog on social media you need the right stuff. You need to have:

  • the right profile
  • on the right channels
  • with the right content
  • at the right time.

The right profile

The profile you use on your social media sites can help drive traffic to your website and blog. First, all social media channels give you a couple places to display your website’s URL. Use them all.

Then, fill your About and Biographies sections with relevant keywords. Complete every section to optimize your profile. Include a clear Call to Action to let readers know how to find more information or contact you. On some channels you may need to put the CTA in each post.

Every time you post a blog, share it on all your channels. Use the comments and questions you get to refer people to back to your site.

Place links in your social media biographies to further boost your SEO. When you link back to your site from your social media channels, you’re creating high-quality backlinks to your site.  This is a key benefit of social profile optimization.

The right channels

The business you are in and the content you intend to share will help you pick the social media channels to use. The following sections give a brief overview of social media sites used by B2B marketers.

Facebook

Although it’s changed over the years, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful B2B marketing tool. It remains the world’s largest social network and, used correctly, enables communication with your audience, your customer. Businesses are able to reach their customer base easily, and on personal level.

blog social media

Optimize your company Facebook page and remember that with the new algorithm it’s all about meaningful interactions. Best practice includes:

  • avoiding overly-promotional content,
  • creating and sharing content that’s relevant to your products, and
  • developing a company narrative that keeps your audience interested.

Twitter

Twitter is a channel where you build and manage relationships. Importantly, when you share quality content on Twitter you drive traffic to your site. Prospects that visit your site can then be converted to leads, and ultimately into customers. Twitter is a great place to provide customer service too. Respond to all enquires and comments to encourage engagement.

blog social media

Twitter is also a great place to get people talking about your company, your industry, and, yes, you’re your competitors. Use it to:

  • create buzz around a product launch,
  • give certain employees the power to act as personal contacts with your followers, and
  • develop relationships with bloggers and journalists for further reach.

LinkedIn

When blogging about business and professional topics, LinkedIn is an important channel. LinkedIn helps you reach a B2B-oriented audience. LinkedIn company pages allow you to showcase your business, brand, products and services, and job opportunities.

blog social media

Every time you post a blog on your website post a link to in on your LinkedIn company page as well as the personal page of your primary communicator.

Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest

blog social media

Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are almost entirely visual. These visually-oriented platforms are most effectively leveraged for brand-building. This is where you share your multimedia and video content (see below).

blog social media

Instagram in particular has become important in brand building because engagement is high, and followers become brand-loyal. Develop a visual identity that reflects your website and brand.

The right content

Regardless of the social media platforms you choose, the key to successful content is shareability. People share content that:

Inspires – you create positivity when you inspire your readers

Entertains – when your content engages, it entertains your readers

Educates – sharing knowledge improves your readers knowledge and quality -of-life.

The content you choose to share will depend on the channel, of course. Remember your goal – driving traffic to the blog on your website – and mix up your offerings.

Infographics

Informative and visually appealing, infographics present facts and figures in a condensed visual format. Infographics are hugely popular and can be a huge source of traffic, especially if it is good enough to be re-shared.

blog social media

Multi-media

On channels like Instagram content must be shared as images or videos. Sharing this kind of content can be very effective. You know how much a picture is worth!

Company clips

This isn’t about boring, old-fashioned corporate videos. Think about ways to show off your team and your brand. Take the opportunity to humanize your brand. You have the potential to win many more followers if you do.

Tutorials, quizzes

Creating tutorials in multimedia formats allows people to see actual products or methods in use. Many in your audience might prefer watching a video rather than reading a 1,000 word post. Use quizzes to entertain your audience and with the right questions, perhaps learn a bit about them.

The right time

Hootsuite, a social media integration platform, investigated the ideal times for sharing content on each social media platform.  They found that each platform has its own peak timing for sharing. For B2B marketing posts, peak time is generally weekdays during business hours. The sections below summarize Hootsuite’s findings.

Facebook

The best time for B2B brands to post on Facebook is

Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST.

LinkedIn

Being a professional network it not surprising that the best times to post on LinkedIn is before and after work on workdays, and at break times. Hootsuite found the best times for B2B brands to post on LinkedIn are:

Wednesday (followed by Tuesday)

at 7:45AM, 10:45AM, 12:45PM, and 5:45PM EST.

Twitter

An interesting statistic about Tweets: the average lifespan of tweet is only 18 minutes! That makes timing all the more important. Here, Hootsuite found that for B2B brands in the US, the best time to tweet is:

Monday OR Thursday

between 9AM and 4PM EST; focus on between 11AM-1PM EST

Don’t even bother on the weekend!

Instagram

Instagram is not as easy to predict due to its algorithm that prioritizes a feed based on the ‘recency’ of the post. The study by Hootsuite did not give specific projections for B2B business or the water industry specifically. They did find the following:

Professional Services

Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

Technology

Monday and Tuesday

at 2 p.m.

A note about timing

The water and environmental industries, while B2B, do not always fit into the categories analyzed. You should test the same content at different times on each channel. Hone your timing to best suit your audience and upstage your competition.

Always, remember, however, that the best timing int the world won’t make up for bad content!

Conclusion

You can extend the reach of every blog post by understanding your social media audience. By developing the right profile and content for the right channel at the right time your build awareness of your brand.

In the next post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, learn about how to write a killer headline in Action 3: Powerup your headlines.

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

Contact me for quality and professional content writing services

CONTACT ME 

How to Powerup your Blog

blogging site structure

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

Scrolling through water and environmental industry websites, I always check for a company blog. A place where the company showcases its brand and raises awareness of its products and services. Almost every site I visit hosts a blog. Some companies even blog regularly and consistently.

blogging site structure

One of the primary benefits of a company blog is how it can help increase traffic to your website. But publishing consistently may not be generating the interest you were hoping for.

So, other than publishing quality content, consistently, how can you optimize your blog to extend your reach?

This series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, will discuss four actions you can take right now to get more traffic to your blog:

  • Action 1: Powerup your blog structure
  • Action 2: Powerup your social media
  • Action 3: Powerup your headlines
  • Action 4: Powerup all channels – SlideShare

This first post explains how to structure your blog with categories and tags so search engines can find your content, driving more traffic to your website.

Action 1: Powerup your blog structure

Without a proper structure, as your blog grows, your readers will get lost in the search for the information they need. Your posts will disappear in the crowd. Search engines won’t be able to find them.

blogging site structure

How do you add structure to your blog? You start by using categories and tags. Strategically implemented, categories and tags extend your blog’s reach, get your content found, and improve your SEO.

Categories

You use categories to group your content into ‘global’ segments. Categories increase usability and enhance SEO. Search engines will find posts more easily if they aren’t competing with each other.

You can define and describe your categories in WordPress under the Posts menu. Each post should be assigned a single category. The description you use is displayed on the category page so make is compelling. For instance, the WaterCopy categories are based on the services I provide: Content marketing, White papers, Blogging etc.

Once all your blogs are assigned to a single category, you can put category pages on your site. Category pages sort your posts and display them on a separate page for each category. Links to category pages can be on a menu bar on in a sidebar. Remember, search engines love more pages!

As your blog grows you can add sub-categories to add another layer of structure. Evaluate your site structure regularly to keep it in order.

Tags

Hashtags are a word, or group of words after the # sign (like #hashtag, #watercopy, #contentmarketing etc.). Most people know of them from their use on Twitter as “tweet chats” – open group discussions around a particular topic. They are also known as metadata tags. You use tags to add further structure to your blog by describing your posts in more detail.

There are several types of tags:

Brand & Campaign tags

A brand hashtag is your company name or tagline. You use your business tag on all of your social media sites.

A campaign hashtag is one you develop for each of your marketing campaigns. If you can get people to use your hashtag, your campaign will get extended reach. Link relevant posts to campaigns with campaign tags.

Trending tags

A trending hashtag identifies a topic that is very popular. By using a trending tag in your blog post, you can potentially get your message out to a very large audience.

Content tags

Content tags are common hashtags that are related to your post content. You use content tags to further sort your posts, improving SEO. Base content tags on keywords related to the category and the post.

Content tags help get your updates seen by prospects who are searching for, or using, the hashtag words.

There are different ways to structure content tags. You may want to use:

  • product hashtags (e.g. #whitepapers, #casestudies)
  • service hashtags, (e.g. #contentwritingservices, #proofreading)
  • location hashtags (e.g. #onlinefreelancer)
  • event hashtags (e.g.#endofyearsale)

As well as adding structure to your blog, you can engage with people using related common hashtags – whether it’s a retweet on Twitter or a Like on LinkedIn.

Conclusion

Structuring you blog with categories and tags will increase traffic to your blog by enhancing SEO.

The next post in the series, How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your reach, action 2 is about effectively dispersing your message through lots of different social media channels.

For more free information about how content marketing provides benefits to the water and environmental industries:

Check out the WaterBlog!

CONTACT ME 

United we Stand: Segmented we SELL!

email list segmentation

How email list segmentation leads to marketing success

Introduction

email list segmentation

We have seen that a major benefit of email marketing is staying in touch with current clients, past customers, and new prospects, as well as nurturing leads. By sending out quality, relevant content you engage and inform all the people on your list.

But will the same content be of interest to everyone on your list? Probably not.

What you need to do is divide up your list into groups of people with similar content needs. Email list segmentation allows you to send each person on your list the most pertinent content at the ideal time.

In this post, we’ll look at the benefits of list segmentation and then discover how to segment your list.

Benefits of email list segmentation

Email list segmentation can be defined as the act of intelligently subdividing your contact list into any number of smaller lists. So why bother? Here are three benefits to consider.

Benefit 1

Email list segmentation allows you to engage effectively with two important groups on your list: people who have already bought from you and prospects who are showing an interest in your product/services, who you hope will become clients. You want to:

  • Build trust
  • Tailor your message to their unique needs
  • Keep them engaged with your brand

Benefit 2

An incredibly valuable use for email list segmentation goes beyond delivering single messages and offers. With effective segmentation you can guide your leads through the sales funnel on their “buyer’s journey.”

email list segmentation

Benefit 3

Another use of your segmented list is when you want to give back to your customers. Email list segmentation makes it easier to separate first-time buyers from repeat customers. You might send a welcome email with a promo code to new leads, and a different campaign to your most loyal customers.

Bonus Benefit!

A bonus benefit to email list segmentation is the role it plays in keeping your emails out of your recipient’s spam folder. When you segment, your messages are tailored to each recipient, and you’ll be less likely to send duplicate copies or send mail to anyone who’s previously unsubscribed.

How email list segmentation works

A good place to start with email list segmentation is to split your list into two global segments:

  • a CLIENT segment, and
  • a LEAD segment.

The way you interact with these two basic segments is critically different and it’s important to keep track of which is which. Clients who have bought from you before shouldn’t be sent the same content and promotions that you send to your new leads, and vice versa.

You then segment your lists of clients and leads by data collected on form submissions, from specific interactions they have had with your marketing, and other interactions.

Interactions like:

  • clicks on a specific CTA,
  • tweets at your company’s Twitter handle, or
  • views on a specific page on your website.

All this data can all help you get specific with your email list segmentation.

CONCLUSION

The ultimate benefit of email list segmentation is that it allows you to create a more personalized experience for everyone on your list. This means:

  • you sell to leads who are ready to buy,
  • nurture leads who are not quite ready, and
  • cross-sell to clients who have purchased from you before.

Sending relevant content to the right people at the right time is the recipe for email marketing success. Take the time to segment your list!

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

For quality, freelance content writing services:

CONTACT ME

Search Engine Optimization Statistics Infographic

SEO statistics infographic

Is all that work optimizing your site for search engines really worth it? Will publishing quality content help? Check out these amazing stats about organic traffic and you’ll see the answer to both questions is a resounding YES!

WaterCopy SEO Statistics Infographic

Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you need help producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?

I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.  Contact me to discuss your next content project.

CONTACT A BLOG PLANNER/WRITER

The Power of Email in a Social Media Storm

Email marketing nurtures leads

Using email marketing to nurture water industry leads

Introduction

Is email still relevant in a social media storm?

Of course, it is! Email is still a powerful communication channel and should be part of every marketer’s toolkit.

Email marketing nurtures leads

Email marketing helps you stay in touch with current clients and past customers as well as engaging new prospects and nurturing leads. Newsletters, as discussed last week (read it here), are great at keeping you in touch with your audience. Other engagement like surveys and quizzes keep your audience entertained.

Still not convinced that email marketing could match the ‘power’ of a big Twitter following or lots of Facebook friends?

The power of email marketing

Although there are many benefits to a well-planned and executed email marketing strategy, there are three main ones:

1.    Email is still the #1 communication channel

At least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis No other communication channel can match that.

2.    It’s your list

You worked hard to build your list and it is all yours. No one can take those leads away from you.

Online social media platforms, on the other hand, are owned by someone else. Your account could be suspended or deleted at any time, for any reason, without notice.

3.    Email converts!

It turns out email marketing brings in the highest overall ROI of all marketing channels! And its best use is to nurture leads. Indeed, 57% of B2B marketers surveyed plan to increase their email marketing budget next year. It turns out, the average order value from an email lead is at least three times higher than that of social media connections.

The benefits of email marketing are hard to argue. Add to that its low cost and potential to automate and you can’t afford NOT to use email marketing to nurture leads.

The most important element to email marketing is your list. List, you say, what list?

Where do we get our list?

Email marketing is at its most effective when you have permission. Permission to send quality content to a lead’s email inbox. Sending out emails to prospects from purchased lists is more likely to get you marked as spam as get you leads.

The best list is one you build yourself. To build your list you need a lead magnet and a landing page.

Lead magnet

Email marketing nurtures leads

When you use lead magnets, you give your prospects access to gated content. In return, they fill out a signup form on your site. Voila! They just joined your email list, which makes it much easier to engage with, and convert them into future buyers, through email marketing.

Find out more about lead magnets here!

Landing page

Email marketing nurtures leads

A landing page compels your visitors to fill in a form and click a button to download something of value – your lead magnet. Each lead magnet should have its own landing page that convinces readers of the value of your offer and has a form for collecting email addresses.

Design your own landing page! Find some tips here!

CONCLUSION

Social media has taken marketing by storm. Now you have to connect with your target market on any number of channels. But is social media an effective way to nurture leads through your sales funnel? That remains to be seen.

Email marketing is a tried and true method to engage and nurture prospects. To convert them into customers. Plan and implement an email marketing campaign around your next white paper and see what happens!

Looking for more great posts about content marketing for the water and environmental industries?

Check out WaterBlog

Newsletter Campaign Planning: Easy as A B C

newsletter campaign planning

Success takes planning

Introduction

Do you publish a company newsletter? If so, why? Did you see the potential benefits of publishing a newsletter:

  • lead generation,
  • building and maintaining relationships, and/or
  • establishing thought leadership?
newsletter campaign planning

Maybe you realized that newsletters provide a low-cost, instantaneous channel to engage your list. That newsletters provide another channel to publish your quality content. In fact, newsletters leverage, rather than compete with, other assets in your strategic content marketing plan.

Yet, after months or even years of effort, you might not be reaping the benefits you sought. Why? The most important thing about a company newsletter is consistency.

As with all content marketing, consistency counts. Inconsistency in a newsletter campaign takes on several forms:

  • if your delivery days and intervals vary,
  • if your design, layout, and format changes with each edition, and/or
  • if your content isn’t consistently engaging and educational.

If your newsletter isn’t consistent in deliver, design, and content, you may be missing out.

What’s the solution? You need to take action and make a plan!

Newsletter campaign planning

A newsletter campaign plan will help you establish and maintain consistency. Get your team together and thrash out a plan! (You can develop your own plan using the free checklist you’ll find here.)

It’s as easy as A B C:

  1. Newsletter Delivery and List Management
  2. Newsletter Design and Layout
  3. Newsletter Content and Tone

Let’s get started!

A.     Newsletter Delivery and List Management

Publishing frequency- monthly, weekly – and the day you publish

The frequency at which to publish your newsletter is critical to success. Monthly is generally considered a minimum to maintain interest and build a relationship. Less than that and you start losing readership because they forget who you are and why they subscribed.

If you have more than one audience you might think about sending two shorter, distinctively different newsletters each month. This would allow you to tailor each issue to a particular group.

Address the newsletter will be sent From and the email address the Reply will be sent to

People only open emails from people or groups they trust. Set up an email address that the newsletters will be sent From, preferably a person and with your company URL – j.smith@company.com. To increase engagement, have any replies to the newsletter delivery email come to a designated email inbox. Reply to all comments and suggestions.

Information you collect at sign up

Keep your newsletter sign-up form simple. All you really need is their email address, but a first name is nice too. Just be aware that if you ask for too much information you risk scaring people away potential.

When people do sign up, what happens on your end? Develop a procedure for new subscribers. Establish who maintains the subscriber list and how is the information you collected at signup is incorporated into your list.

Auto-responder messages

Draft up a welcome message for new subscribers. Thank them for signing up and tell them what to expect, such as a confirmation email or a download link. Ask new subscribers to add you to their contact list to avoid landing in their spam folder. Include a prompt asking your reader to forward a sign-up link to a friend.

B.      Newsletter Design and Layout

Great design plays a big part in improving open and click-through rates. Your design should:

  • be clean and easy to digest,
  • complement the content and your audience,
  • include attractive and engaging graphics and photos, and
  • have a clearly visible and actionable CTA.

The design of the newsletter will incorporate the name, tagline, and recurring sections.

Newsletter name and tagline

The name of your newsletter is important. You want it to be memorable and catchy, while telling readers what it is about. You are trying to build a readership and also a brand. Use the tagline to draw readers in.

Recurring sections

Recurring sections are comforting for your subscribers. Your readers like knowing that a certain favorite section is always there. It is always nice to have an introductory welcome message from the ‘author’. Change it up each edition will a personal summary of the contents.

You might have a ‘global’ level section where you examine high level changes in you niche. Legislative changes, technological changes, political changes. Next level down might be about new solutions to problems your audience is facing. Then maybe a section about what your company is up to in the space.

Always include the About Us section and your company contact details.

C.      Newsletter UVP, Content, and Tone

Unique Value Proposition

Establish your company’s unique value proposition (UVP) and showcase it in the newsletter. It’s about what makes you unique in your niche.

Part of your UVP is understanding you audience. If you know your audience, you can figure out what they need, what their pain points are, and how you can resolve their problems.

Content

Don’t put everything you know into each newsletter. Be selective in your content. Tell them why of your product not the ‘how’. Be sure to keep your newsletter informative. It’s not a monthly sales brochure!

Tone

Establish a ‘voice’ for your company newsletter. A tone that matches your operating style. A personality that’s different from others, competitors in particular. Think about your UVP and how that influences the tone of your newsletter.

Inclusions

There are a few things you should include is each edition you publish, in no particular order:

  • An edition number and date
  • Complete company contact information
  • An introductory note signed by the author
  • An overview of this month’s content and a preview of next month’s
  • A link to an archive of past issues
  • A sign-up form
  • An About Us section
  • A copyright notice

Conclusion

This post, Newsletter Campaign Planning: Easy as A B C, seeks to help you with your newsletter campaign planning. Develop and implement a plan for your newsletter campaign and reap the rewards!

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality newsletter?

WaterCopy can help!

I provide newsletter planning and writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss all your content needs.

Landing Page Mastery

landing page mastery

Four things you need to know to nail that landing page

Introduction

Are your prospects stuck in the top of your sales funnel? Are they finding your website, reading a blog or a press release, and then moving on?

Quality content lures prospects into and through the sales funnel.  At the top of the funnel, content goals are around generating leads.  A critical way to identify a qualified lead and pull them further into the funnel is to offer something that your prospects will exchange their contact details for – a lead magnet.  Where do visitors end up when they click on your call-to-action?  On a landing page!

Identifying the goals and target audience for the landing page follows on from the goals of your lead magnet. The landing page reflects the style of the lead magnet and, ultimately, cultivates action. 

In this post, we will examine four things that help build a landing page that converts:

  1. the Value of your offer
  2. the Impact of your offer
  3. building Trust in your offer
  4. using Design to lead to action

First, we look at the value of your offer.

1       the Value of your offer

It’s said that you have less than 8 seconds to make an impression. That means it is critical to get the unique value proposition (UVP) of your offer right up front. Your UVP should communicate the value of your offer and it should differentiate you from others in the marketplace. 

On a landing page, showcase your UVP in the headline and tagline, and in the body copy.  By addressing these SEO basics on your landing page, you also increase traffic to the site.  More traffic means more potential conversions.

The headline

The headline on your landing page should be concise and specific. You want it to compel the site visitor to act.  Headline the benefits of taking up the offer. Overcome any objections with a clever tagline Try to reinforce any implied urgency.

landing page mastery

There are lots of guides out there on how to write a great headline.  Most agree that you can spruce up a mediocre headline by:

  1. including numbers,
  2. adding an intriguing adjective, or
  3. using action verbs.

Just be sure to keep the headlines about the offer. A landing page is not the place to sell your brand. Stay in context with the content your visitors were consuming when they the clicked through.

The body copy

Body copy on a landing page that converts aligns with the headline and tagline.  It should focus on the benefits, results, and outcomes that can be expected from the offer.

Don’t bombard visitors with all the benefits of the offer. You only need to list as many as are necessary to move the visitor toward the call to action on the page.

Try to address any anxieties that may be plaguing your visitor.  They may be worried that your product or service won’t make a difference, that it won’t solve their problem. Let them know the offer will start them on the path toward a solution.

Address SEO

Although optimizing for search engines is not a critical factor for conversion success, it doesn’t hurt. Use relevant keywords in the headline and tagline. Sprinkle them in the body copy. Make sure the page name is using the same keywords. Optimize the meta description on the page for keywords.

Critical to building a landing page that converts is showcasing the Value of your offer – your Unique Value Proposition. Showcase the landing page UVP in the headline, tagline and the body copy. Optimize for search engines. 

2       the Impact of your offer

The whole point of a landing page is to compel your visitors to fill in a form and click a button to download something of value. So next it is the CTA and the form to think about for a landing page that converts.

The CTA

The whole point of the Call-to-Action (CTA) is to get the visitor to fill in the form and push the button.  A CTA of “Submit” may not be enough to compel action.

landing page mastery

You’ve only got a few words to get visitors to fill in the form. Choose them carefully.

What makes a CTA compel action?  A powerful CTA:

  • is concise, and
  • action-oriented (maybe a short phrase using an action verb),
  • that plays on a visitor’s fear of missing out, or
  • evokes excitement and enthusiasm to stimulate action.

You can even add an incentive to convert, some added bonus for acting.

The Form

The form is focused on gathering information about your visitors.  The amount of information you can expect a visitor to give you is directly proportional to the value of the offer. 

It is easy to scare prospects by asking for too much.  To draw leads into the middle of the sales funnel, keep it simple.  Getting a name and an email address allows the conversation to begin.  Further into the funnel, when content is more valuable, you may be able to ask for more details.

As with all web content, make sure the form is mobile-friendly.

A critical factor in the design of an effective landing page is the call-to-action and the form.  A concise, compelling CTA and an appropriate form contributes to conversion.  Take some time to get it right.

3       building Trust in your offer

When designing a landing page that converts, getting people to exchange their contact details for your offer requires trust.  They need to trust the offer and trust that their privacy is ensured.  They want social proof that you are trustworthy, that your offer is worth it.  They also want to know they are not the only ones taking action.

landing page mastery

Effective landing pages always include trust-building elements.

Trust building elements can be in the form of testimonials, social sharing, photographs of actual customers, client logos, third-party certifications (trust badges), or even short case studies. 

Three of these are particularly effective at establishing trust: testimonials, images and video, and enabling social sharing.

Testimonials

Testimonials are powerful because you’re not the one saying nice things about your products.

Three things make a testimonial persuasive.  They persuade if they:

  1. mention a specific benefit your product offers;
  2. substantiate a claim you’ve made; and/or
  3. favorably compare your product to a competitor.

You may not find a customer that will testify to all three.  Use the best you have and make sure they relate to the specific offer on the page.

Images and video

Images and video help you connect on a more personal level.  Images capture a visitor’s attention and encourage them to stay on the page longer.  Use images and video to show snippets of the content on offer.  Perhaps a photo of actual customers.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Social sharing

Social sharing has emerged as another powerful trust element.  Be sure to allow sharing through all your social media channels.  The number of shares highlights your status as an industry expert among your visitors.

Trust is an important part of the buyer’s journey in every industry.  The water industry is no exception.  On a landing page, trust is established using trust-building elements such as:

  • testimonials,
  • social sharing,
  • photographs of actual customers,
  • client logos,
  • third-party certifications (trust badges), or even
  • short case studies.

Using elements like testimonials, images and videos, and social sharing on your landing pages will help build trust in your offers and in you company.

The final critical factor in designing a landing page is visual flow.  Your landing page has one goal: for the visitor to fill in the form and click the CTA button.  Accentuate your most important content by optimizing for scanning, using consistent design elements, and presenting easy-to-read copy.

4       using Design to lead to action

Your landing page should present a simple, easy way for your visitors to take the action they need to do to access the offer.  Keep it free of clutter.  No header, no sidebars.  The visitor should have no other option but to fill in form and click the CTA. 

Optimize for scanning

Readers tend to track across a page in an ‘F’ pattern.  They track left to right across the top of the page and then down the left side.  Attention then focusses on the final horizontal in roughly the middle of the page.  That’s where you want your CTA.

Make sure you keep all the important stuff above the fold because many visitors will not scroll down the page. Use dot points (more on this below) where possible.

Consistent design elements

Although you have removed the distractions associated with headers and sidebars, you need to keep the design of your landing page consistent with design of the site your visitor clicked through from.  This implies trust, that it is the same company site where they started.

Easy-to-read copy

Use plenty of white space so the bright color of the CTA button stands out.  White space relieves the reader’s eyes and provides contrast to company colors.

Dot points break up blocks of text and allows for skimming.  Use dot points to address anxieties and highlight benefits of taking up the offer.  Focus on the benefits.

By using design to lead the eye you present an easy way for your visitors to access your offer.  By optimizing for scanning, maintaining consistent design elements, and using easy-to-read copy your landing page will convert.

Conclusion

This post has demonstrated four things to think about when designing your next landing page.  Each factor has its job to do:

  1. the Value of your offer: the UVP should dominate the headline and tagline. They keep visitor on the page and move them further into the copy.
  2. the Impact of your offer: the CTA encourage action. Form fields reflect the value of the offer.
  3. building Trust in your offer: trust elements turn naysayers into believers
  4. using Design to lead to action: visual flow leads the visitor straight through to the CTA and form.

Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you need help producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?

I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.  Contact me to discuss your next content project.

Book a FREE Consultation! 

Lead magnets in the water industry: Why? What? How?

lead magnet checklist

If you’re going to give it away make it worth it. An 8-point checklist

Introduction

In the last few years, the term lead magnet has become a bit of a buzzword. But what exactly is a lead magnet? And why is everyone making such a big deal about it?

lead magnet checklist

Essentially, whenever a prospect lands on your website, your end-goal is to drive profitable action. But visitors are seldom ready to make a decision right away. They want useful and relevant resources and information. That’s where lead magnets come in.

When you use lead magnets, you give your prospects access to gated content. In return, they fill out a signup form on your site. Voila! They just joined your email list, which makes it much easier to engage with, and convert them into future buyers, through email marketing.

In this post, we’ll look at why you need a lead magnet, what kind of lead magnet to offer, and how to make sure your lead magnet meets its goal.

Why give stuff away?

You may be asking why you should develop something valuable just to give it away? You do it because a lead magnet is a piece of content that will draw in the type of leads you want to your business. It’s a way for you to identify potential customers.

lead magnet checklist

The main benefit of a lead magnet is to grow your email list. Your lead magnet must, therefore, be valuable enough for a person to give you their contact details in return. Once a person has given you permission to email them, you can start to build a relationship with them. Pure gold!

What to give away?

The type of lead magnets you offer will depend on your product and on your prospects. Some good types of lead magnets for the water industry are:

Useful and educational resources

Once you have identified a topic your audience wants more information about, develop a short, concise piece of content that educates and informs. Infographics are excellent useful and/or educational lead magnets when professional designed and presented.

Just keep content assets short and leave them wanting more. Leave them wanting more information they can only get from contacting you directly.

Cheat sheets, and checklists

Cheat sheets are popular because they save people time. They work similarly to a checklist, only cheat sheets have a more actionable nature to them.

lead magnet checklist

Both cheat sheets and checklists are useful if you’re sharing tips that help readers understand complex tasks for the first time.

When developing a either cheat sheet or a checklist, remember to keep things brief and concise. With this type of content, it’s not about telling a story, it’s about getting straight to the value of your offering.

Video training/tutorials

Video tutorials have been shown to boost your conversion rate as much as five times! There are technologies that make it easy to create a step-by-step video product in just minutes. Tutorials help customers understand a process or see how easy it is to use your product. An excellent choice for demonstrating your water and/or waste treatment processes.

Webinars

Webinars are another highly efficient and currently quite popular lead magnet. Regularly scheduled webinars encourage your visitors to learn more about your company, your products/services, and your business culture. Remember, avoid making it purely promotional. In fact, you must offer value before asking for commitment from your leads.

Software downloads/demos

If your product is more intangible, like software, think about offering free downloadables. By offering a trial or a slimmed-down software version, you can significantly increase your conversion rate. Make sure your visitors have to opt-in before downloading your free product.

Surveys and quizzes

Depending on your audience online, surveys and quizzes can be effective. They encourage prospects to test their skills, knowledge, or attitude. You get to ask them for their contact information while entertaining them. You can also gain valuable information about your audience with clever survey/quiz questions.

How do you know your lead magnet is good? 8-point checklist

You’ve decided you need a lead magnet to build your email list. You have picked the perfect type of lead magnet for your audience. The next step is to develop an effective offering. So, what makes a lead magnet good? This checklist explains the eight criteria of a successful lead magnet:

  1. It is specific

Your lead magnet must be ultra-specific to the audience you want it to engage. If your offering isn’t relevant to their wants and needs, they aren’t going to download it.

  • It focuses on one emotionally compelling idea

It is a common theme in content marketing: one emotionally compelling idea. Your lead magnet should engage your reader on an emotional level. Solve a problem – generate gratitude. Offer a useful resource that makes their job easier – build trust. Give them an engaging quiz – entertain them.

  • It will solve a problem

Successful lead magnets are focused on solving a problem for the reader. Make life for your prospects easier, better, smarter.

  • It is useful

The offering must have value – actual value. Solve a problem for your lead. Provide valuable information. Offer a demo or free trial. Make sure it is valuable enough to your audience from them to give you their email address.

  • It is actionable

Lead magnets should provide instant gratification. Solve a problem, entertain, or educate – just do it quick!

  • It is concise

Lead magnets are for quick consumption. The rule is no more than 5 minutes to experience the content. Leave them wanting more.

  • It shifts the relationship

When the reader trades their contact information for your lead magnet, they are demonstrating trust. Trust that you will value their connection. Trust that you will follow up with them.

  • It must have high perceived value

Just because you are giving something away, it shouldn’t look free. Design and formatting must look professional and of high perceived value.

Conclusion

If you want to build a relevant contact list and establish a relationship with your prospective customers, you need a lead magnet. Email marketing still delivers the highest ROI of any channel, so the quality and size of your contact list is extremely important.

With a lead magnet you give your prospects something they want for free. In return you get contact information to use in email campaigns. However, before creating your next lead magnet, ask yourself this question:

What can we give away for free that will make our prospective customers’ lives better?

If you can answer that, you’ve got a great idea for a lead magnet!

Are you so busy making a difference to your clients that you don’t have time to tell your good news stories?  Have you solved a wastewater problem for a client, a community, a country? Then get that story out there!  Let the world know how your company solves problems and makes a difference.

That’s where WATER COPY comes in.  I research and write top quality science-based content. (Click here to see more details about my skills and experience).

Contact me to discuss your next content asset.


Book a FREE Consultation!