Add the power of visual marketing to your toolbox with Slideshare

Share Your Expertise

Like social media platforms Pinterest and Instagram, Slideshare’s success is due to the power of visuals.

Ah, slide presentations. You want to view one of these as much as you want a hole in the head or a severe case of COVID-19. Right? Maybe not.

Incredible as it may sound, they are an effective way to reach prospects via LinkedIn’s sister company and platform, Slideshare. It has more than 70 million, business-oriented users. Surprisingly, SlideShare has five times more traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Like many tools, slide presentations or decks are poorly developed and presented by 95% of their users who give the technology an undeserved reputation. And to use them successfully on Slideshare decks have to be especially well-designed. After all, they are not going to have a speaker talking about them. But, maybe that’s a good thing since few presenters are worth listening to in any case.

Design tips for Slideshare

  • Your images and graphics must be compelling.
  • Keep the aesthetics consistent with your branding.
  • The formatting and typography of your text must be easy to read.
  • Divide your content into sections with descriptive keyword-focused sub-headings.
  • Use callouts to highlight specific areas of your slides.
  • Use title, organization, and narration slides.
  • Tell a dramatic story and keep it simple.
  • Make it urgent, useful, and unique.
  • Encourage sharing of your content.
  • Include a visual call to action.

If your decks are convincing people will like and share them. They can also follow you as a presenter and receive notifications whenever you upload new presentations.

You can add videos and pdfs to Slideshare, but decks work best. A hybrid approach could involve adding audio to your presentations and showing them as a video. This strategy would also allow you to share the content to YouTube.

It’s about research Continue reading “Add the power of visual marketing to your toolbox with Slideshare”

The Essentials of a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

LinkedIn can be a valuable social media platform for your business. If you are in the B2B sector, having an effective LinkedIn marketing strategy a must.

Link Up Your Business

Is LinkedIn more than “Connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”? That’s their slogan and there is a lot to it. It’s a social media platform that has benefited greatly from its acquisition by Microsoft.

When you use your individual account, it’s the new resume, useful for creating a personal, professional brand, and a way to make valuable connections in the B2B space.

Screenshot of mobile LinkedIn post.

Using a LinkedIn company page, it’s another avenue for discovery via search and a way to show credibility, authenticity, and trustworthiness.

But how can you profit from LinkedIn as a small business? Like any platform, it will depend on your firm and your industry. If used appropriately and strategically, there are two general ways a LinkedIn marketing strategy can benefit your company.

They are social selling and thought leadership.

Social Selling

We covered this in detail in an earlier post, but, here’s a quick reminder of the definition of social selling from Hubspot:

Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

You and your sales team use your content or targeted content curation to move prospects through your buying cycle towards a deal.

Participating in group conversations is a good strategy. Ask questions and answer those from other group members. This technique builds your employees and company’s credibility. It also leads us to thought leadership.

Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is where you publish original content and share curated content to demonstrate your company’s competence, expertise, and trustworthiness.

You have to prove your value to a prospect before you ask for an in-person conversation much less a sale. They want to find someone who is an expert and can solve their problem. They want to stop searching and start buying. Your content makes them select you.

Besides publishing great content on your blog, you can publish it on LinkedIn Publisher (“publish a post”) and “share an update” on LinkedIn.

Publisher is an effective way to repurpose content from your blog. Updates could be original or curated. Always include an engaging image and don’t forget to include your link. 😉

When you are publishing on LinkedIn, you are are blogging. So use the same techniques and strategies covered in this earlier post. The home of these long-form articles (Publisher) or updates is your company page.

Screenshot of LinkedIn company page.

And by the way, don’t publish crap!

Setting up your LinkedIn Company Page

Continue reading “The Essentials of a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy”

The Essentials of Facebook Marketing

Facebook can be a valuable social media platform for personal service/products oriented businesses. But only if you use it strategically.
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It’s About Inquisitiveness and Boredom

I have to admit that I hate Facebook, its fake news, its business practices, its destruction of democracy, and most everything it represents. I dislike the type of people that are obsessed with it. Like nicotine and heroin, it is an addictive product. However, in business, you are not necessarily out to do what you like to do. You are out to help your customers and fellow man.
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So I am still (however reluctantly) writing this post about Facebook marketing. It is useful for some small businesses, especially those that provide personal services. And it is especially relevant for those who target hobby, gardening, household, fashion, exercise, and entertainment activities. Although for these I recommend their less evil sister Instagram.
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Graphic of why people use Facebook.

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Listening for the Passion

Not many professionals use Facebook for development or product research. If you are going to reach them, you will do so tangentially while they are using the platform for personal reasons.
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Listen to what your fans are posting and sharing so you can discover their interests. You want to use emotion invoking strategies to tie your content into your fans passions.
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Entertaining is the Ticket

While Twitter is more of a communications platform and more mobile friendly, Facebook is more of an entertainment platform for small business. It is also heavily skewed toward use on mobile devices. Your website must be mobile friendly if you want your Facebook fans to visit the content you promote from there.
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Facebook is more shallow than most social media platforms. Most users are not there to be enlightened or educated. They are there to keep up with their friends and gossip. It is celebrity-oriented. Your content must be entertaining if you want to cut through the fluff and nonsense that makes up most of your fans’ timelines.
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Notifications are not quite as critical as they are for Twitter. Still, you may want to set them up. Go to settings and select how you want to be notified of your notifications.
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Driving Traffic to your Website

In an earlier post about blog posts, I noted that building significate traffic to your site via content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The same goes for social media, and Facebook is no exception. In fact, doing it via Facebook marketing is more challenging and less rewarding than other social media platforms for most small B2B firms. You need to use Facebook smartly and strategically to succeed.
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You need to answer questions, demonstrate your expertise, solve problems, inform and more.
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Promote evergreen content from your site. You want your fans to trust your content judgment and value the original content you post. That will make them more likely to click through to your site and give you a chance to convert them into customers of your products and services.
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For better or worse Facebook is now a “pay to play” platform when it comes to small business marketing. At best only 2 – 5% of your page’s fans will organically see your posts in their timelines. If you want traffic to your site, you need to hand Facebook some of your cash.
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Acquiring Fans

Here are some tips and strategies for gaining fans:
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  • post great content.
  • use relevant #hashtags.
  • make sure you have a follow button on your website.
  • make sure you have share buttons on your website’s pages and posts.
  • guest post content on other companies pages that offer complimentary products or services to yours.
  • have links to your Facebook page on your other social accounts, in your email marketing, and in your email signature.
  • swap promotional posts with other companies pages that offer complimentary products or services to yours.
  • have experts in your niche answer questions from your fans in a special Q&A session.
The more you post, the more users you will get to like your page. Posting great, shareable content with strategic #hashtags is paramount to success. You will also need to share quality content via curation. There is more on that below.
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Setting up your Facebook Company Page

To optimize your page:
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  • fill out your entire profile.
  • make sure your images are the appropriate size and compelling.
  • have informative content in the about section.
  • use appropriate tabs and strategically sort them.
  • activate your CTA Button.
  • add apps as needed.

Types of Posts

Continue reading “The Essentials of Facebook Marketing”

How to write effective marketing emails

For any email to be effective, it must have a specific goal and capitalize on establishing trust with your audience.

Design and Decisions Dictate Success

Before we look at how to write effective emails, let’s start with a few quick points.

As human beings, we crave interaction. Emails are an opportunity to interact with your audience on a one-to-one basis. As I have mentioned before it is the only communication medium that remains private. If your emails are useful and engaging, they can be incredibly effective.

But, they have to overcome the information overload we are all exposed to every day. This is especially true of marketing messages as we have become experts at ignoring these.

Long-term success with email depends on if the recipients trust you. The content of your emails must give them a reason to do that. It must have the same tone of voice and personality you use in your other content marketing. Remember that you are a real person having a conversation with another person.

For any email to be effective, it must have a specific goal. Every decision taken about the email’s design and content must address that goal.

You must design your emails for mobile devices first. It is best to use a single column design and keep it under 600 pixels in width. Your font size should be 14 pixels high at a minimum. They should be standard web-safe fonts like Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, etc.. 22 pixels is a good minimum for your titles.

So, what should you put in your emails? The essential elements of a successful email are similar to what should go into a successful blog post. If you read my earlier post, How to make sure your blog posts are the most, some of this will sound familiar.

What to put in your emails

Your emails will, usually, consist of these elements:

  • The Subject Line
  • A Captivating Visual
  • Headline
  • Subheadings
  • Body Copy
  • Additional Visuals
  • A Call to Action
  • Sharing Options
  • Legal Requirements

The Subject Line

The subject line is the most important part of your email. It will determine if it will be seen, opened and read. Your subject line will hook the reader or be ignored. You should spend more time on it than the rest of the post combined. As with any content marketing, you must know your audience and what will appeal to them.

Even if your email list is an opt-in one, where people have subscribed to it themselves, only 20% of subscribers will open your emails on average. If you have bought or imported your list, the percentage will be even lower.

A great subject line can increase that 20%. It tells the viewer why they should open and read your email. It makes a unique promise to the reader. In general, it must offer usefulness or spark curiosity. If it is superb, it might do both. What can you do to hook your potential reader?

There are many techniques for writing effective subject lines. A good place to start is with what Copyblogger has noted as the Four “U” approach:

  • Useful: Is the promised message valuable to the reader?
  • Ultra-specific: Does the reader know what’s being promised?
  • Unique: Is the promised message compelling and remarkable?
  • Urgent: Does the reader feel the need to read now?

Other subject line techniques are positive and include:

  • targeting your readers as individuals (personalization) or very specific groups (the more you segment your list the more effective your emails will be).
  • asking a question. The frequently asked questions people ask you every day are perfect for this.
  • letting your readers see that you understand them and are on their side.
  • making a promise that you fulfill in the body of the email.
  • positioning your company against your competition.
  • being short and specific.

Or the techniques could be negative:

  • taking a pain point and twisting the knife in it.
  • playing on your audience’s fear of missing out.

A Captivating Visual

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Marketing Essentials for a Successful Social Media Strategy

Social media platforms help you understand your prospects and convert them into loyal customers.

Get social to be successful

Social media are one of the three pillars of content marketing and using some form of them is essential to your business and its success. They let you:

  • listen to your customers and develop better products for them. These products will also be more profitable for you.
  • assist your clients with outstanding customer service. Or just to converse with them.
  • drive traffic to your website so you can convert visitors into customers.
  • demonstrate your authority, expertise, and trustworthiness.
  • help make the world and the lives of your clients better.
  • develop relationships and deepen customer loyalty.
  • increase awareness of your brand.
  • and so much more

This post provides you with the resources for developing a successful social media strategy. Read it now and bookmark it so you can reference it anytime your business needs some social media success.

You should determine which social media platforms are most appropriate for your company as part of an overall content marketing strategy. The posts linked to here can help you make those determinations. They contain detailed resources for learning about the myriad of social media platforms and what each one can do for your marketing efforts.

Social media marketing is a field that changes daily if not hourly. Consequently, I’ve updated my older posts on the social media platforms that are most useful for small business.

Social Selling

One of the most significant benefits of using social media is increasing the effectiveness of your sales process. It is a very efficient method to research prospects, connect with them, and then demonstrate your authority, expertise, and trustworthiness. Buffer has an informative post with detailed demographics for the various social media platforms.

See my post: Can social selling turn you into a rainmaker?

Pinterest

Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform with some incredible upside for driving increases in your revenue. It is one of the first visually oriented social mediums, and that is why it is so strong. It primarily appeals to women, but males’ use of Pinterest is on the upswing.

See my updated post: What your business can get from Pinterest.

Continue reading “Marketing Essentials for a Successful Social Media Strategy”

Search Engine Optimization Brings the Eyeballs to your site

A well-planned search optimization strategy will maximize visits to your site and blog.

Get Found to Get Results

Now, let’s start learning how to use SEO to bring the right eyeballs to your site.

If you have read my earlier posts, you have now learned how to use copywriting on your landing pages and posts in order to drive the actions you want visitors to take on your WordPress site and blog. But if no one gets a chance to see the media content on your blog you will not see any results. There are many ways to drive traffic to your site. The way most prospects who are not familiar with your business will find you is via search engine results (serps).

The Next Web has posted stats that show just how critical SEO is for your company:

  • 80 percent of consumers search for a product/service before purchasing it
  • 70 percent read online reviews before making purchase decisions
  • 68 percent of consumers begin their decision-making while searching for a keyword
  • Websites that blog regularly receive 55 percent more traffic and over 80 percent more leads compared to websites that don’t
  • Over 70 percent of search clicks are organic

Because SEO is an aspect of content marketing that changes monthly, weekly or maybe daily, I will only cover the basics of search engine optimization here. The search optimization service, Moz, has some useful resources that are always up to date at http://moz.com/learn/seo

Let’s start with a few definitions:

  • Keyword – an informative word used in an information retrieval system to show the content of a document. Searchers often combine them in keyword phrases. Hence, they are also known as search terms.
  • Guest Blogging – writing blog posts for external blogs with a link back to your site’s content in the author’s biography.
  • Hashtag – a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify the topic of social media messages.
  • Algorithm – a process or set of rules followed in calculations that search engines use to determine their results.
  • URL – uniform resource locator. Also known as URL address (what shows up in a browser’s address window).
  • Backlink – an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website.
  • SERP – search engine result page.

Ranking factors for search engine results

The two factors that most impact your serps are external links to your content and your pages/posts titles.

Links

If you want to use the major component of search engine ranking to drive traffic to your content, there is one single, but time-consuming thing you must do. You must create extraordinary media on your blog. Content that people will want to share with social media and link to on their website’s pages and posts. These are inbound links to your site from external websites, not links in your content to other sites.

Your content must provide real value to visitors and make their lives better. When other people link to and share your content, it shows Google and other search engines that your site is authoritative, trustworthy, and useful. They will then feel comfortable recommending your posts and pages in their search results.

Backlinks

Acquiring quality links back to your site takes a long time to bear fruit. You must get them via shareable content if you want to show up at the top of the results for your keywords. You must post fresh content consistently and regularly. Longer posts show your expertise so make sure they are around 500 – 1000 words in length. Posts larger than this are hard to consume on mobile devices. This content must inspire people to link back to it from their sites.  Moz has a tool, Open Site Explorer, which will show you who is linking to your site at http://moz.com/researchtools/ose/. You will need to paste individual page/post URLs into the tool for analysis.

Guest blogging on other websites is an excellent way to get links back to your site. But, the content of your guest posts must be just as good as anything you would put on your site. It must be unique content to the third-party’s site not something you have copied and pasted from your blog.

One thing you should never do is buy links. Ever. Google in particular only credits you for links from sites that do not sell links. If you buy links, Google will punish your rankings.  Continue reading “Search Engine Optimization Brings the Eyeballs to your site”