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The 7 Biggest SEO Lessons I Learned from a Google Employee

Nov 20, 2018
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google

In the past, I broke down the most vital SEO strategy I learned, which came from a Google employee. This time I thought I would do something similar and share the 7 biggest SEO lessons that I learned from a Google employee.

Some of these things you may already know, but most you probably aren’t too familiar with. And of course, I am not telling you anything that would jeopardize my relationship or the career of the Google employee.

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Is YouTube Worth It? 7.6 Million Views Later, Here’s What I Learned

Nov 13, 2018
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neil video

Everyone’s saying it… video is the future of content marketing!

But is it really?

Similar to you, I noticed that trend over a year ago, and I decided to listen to everyone who told me to focus on videos instead of just text-based content.

I even wrote a blog post about how I was shifting my content marketing budgets over to podcasting and videos.

But, as you know, opinions don’t really matter in marketing. If the data shows something is working you should do more of it. And if the data shows the opposite, then you need to reconsider what you are doing.
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How to Create Ads That Move People to Action : Social Media Examiner

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Scout mascot for Social Media ExaminerWant a faster, better way to optimize your ads? Did you know that focusing on customers’ emotions can help?

To explore how to use emotional messaging to move people to action, I interview Talia Wolf.

More About This Show

The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode, I interview Talia Wolf. She’s the founder of GetUplift, an agency that specializes in conversion rate optimization for websites, landing pages, and advertisements. Her course is called Emotion Sells: The Masterclass.

Talia explains how to research customers’ emotional connection to your product and why applying your findings improves conversions.

 
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How to Use the Facebook Attribution Tool to Measure Your Marketing Impact : Social Media Examiner

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social media toolsWant to better understand your customer’s journey across devices and channels? Have you heard of the Facebook Attribution tool?

In this article, you’ll learn how to use Facebook’s new Attribution tool to measure the effectiveness of your ads.

Facebook Video: Insight From a Facebook Watch Success Story : Social Media Examiner

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Scout mascot for Social Media ExaminerWondering how creators succeed with video on Facebook Watch? Curious how it compares to other social media video?
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How to Repurpose and Syndicate Your Blog Posts for More Exposure : Social Media Examiner

Nov 1, 2018
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social media how toNeed more exposure for your blog content? Wondering what your options are?

In this article, you’ll learn how to republish your blog posts on social networks and other platforms while protecting your original content’s search rank.

How to Repurpose and Syndicate Your Blog Posts for More Exposure by Erin Sanchez on Social Media Examiner.

How to Repurpose and Syndicate Your Blog Posts for More Exposure by Erin Sanchez on Social Media Examiner.

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How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions : Social Media Examiner

Oct 31, 2018
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social media how toDo you want an effective way to get more leads? Wondering how to nurture leads into becoming customers?

In this article, you’ll discover how to use Facebook ads with email marketing to improve your conversions.

How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions by Rand Owens on Social Media Examiner.

How to Combine Facebook Ads and Email Marketing for Better Conversions by Rand Owens on Social Media Examiner.

Why Your Business Needs Both Facebook Ads and Email Marketing

For as long as I can remember, marketers have hailed email marketing as the best strategy in terms of ROI and difficulty. Done correctly, email marketing drives a constant stream of traffic to your content. It also lets you connect with your audience on a more personal level, maintain brand awareness, and schedule your marketing messages for more ideal times.

A recent survey by Ascend2, however, reveals that email marketing has been overtaken by four things: SEO, marketing technology, content marketing, and social media marketing. To most people, these findings would end the “email marketing versus social media marketing” debate once and for all. Smarter marketers, however, would take the comparative success of both tactics as a signal to look for ways to combine them.

Let’s look at the facts. The success of an email marketing campaign is tied to the number of leads who are subscribed to your list. To generate leads, the typical approach is to drive traffic to a landing page, which is something social media platforms excel at.

An Ascend2 survey reveals that email marketing has been overtaken by four things: SEO, marketing technology, content marketing, and social media marketing.

Other than social ads that let you take advantage of a network’s massive and diverse user base, social media websites serve as reliable content distribution channels for your lead generation landing pages. In return, you can leverage a growing email list to boost your social media followers. You simply need email templates with links directing subscribers to your social accounts—that is, of course, if they don’t already follow you.

So how do you design a campaign that seamlessly fuses these two components? Start with a solid Facebook ad campaign that promotes your landing page to as many people as possible.

#1: Set Up Facebook Ads to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page

Effectively advertising on Facebook requires you to learn several audience-targeting options, different ad formats, and advertising practices that will maximize your results. The setup process is easier and more streamlined than ever, thanks to Facebook’s pre-configured options.

To get started, head to your Facebook page and click the Promote button below the navigation tabs.

Head to your Facebook page and click the Promote button below the navigation tabs.

To create a Facebook ad campaign that sends traffic to your lead generation pages, scroll down the list of goals and choose Get More Website Visitors.

Choose Get More Website Visitors as the goal for your Facebook ads.

In the Promote Your Website window, specify the URL of the page you’re promoting. Note that you can see a preview of your ad on the right for multiple placements.

You can also change the format of your Facebook ad if you want. In most cases, a single image ad should do the job of promoting a landing page. But if you have the right visual assets, you can opt for the video, carousel, or slideshow ad format.

In the Promote Your Website dialog box, specify the URL of the page you're promoting.

The other elements you can modify are your ad’s headline, copy, call to action (CTA), and target audience. Here are some tips for crafting these ad elements.

Headline

The role of your headline, along with the featured image in your Facebook ads, is to capture the attention of your target audience while giving them an idea of what your business can do for them. You can accomplish both goals by emphasizing your audience’s pain points, mentioning actual numbers, and instilling a sense of urgency. Facebook ad headlines have a 25-character limit, so choose your words wisely.

Text

Once you have your audience’s attention, the ad copy should fill in the details they need to know before they can take the next step. Some of the ground rules are to make sure the text matches what you show on the image and focus on a clear, concise value proposition.

To boost the impact of the copy in your Facebook ads, adopt the preferred communication style and language of your target audience. For the most part, a friendly, conversational tone is helpful in getting your brand’s message across to Facebook users.

CTA

The CTA gives the audience one last push into clicking. Facebook has simplified this process by providing pre-defined CTAs for all campaign types. Sign Up and Learn More are two of the CTAs that work well for lead generation.

Select a call to action button for your Facebook ad campaign.

Target Audience

After you finalize the look of your Facebook ad, the next step is to define your target audience. As an ad platform, the targeting options on Facebook are impressive. In addition to creating target audience profiles based on user demographics and interests, you can also set up a lookalike audience based on data gathered from the Facebook pixel, your page followers, or your app users.

Alternatively, you can build a custom audience to use information from additional data sources, like a linked Instagram account, a specific Facebook event, and offline event sets.

Create a custom audience for your Facebook campaign.

Pay attention to the audience you create for your Facebook ads. The rest of the steps in this article (from building landing pages to creating nurturing experiences) should be tailored to their preferences and goals.

The last thing you need to configure before you launch your Facebook ad is your budget. Check out this article to learn the ins and outs of efficient Facebook ad budgeting, such as specifying target revenue and creating custom conversion paths.

#2: Design a Landing Page to Convert Leads From Your Facebook Ads Into Subscribers

Creating Facebook ads that can turn the heads of potential subscribers is only a part of the equation. You also need to design landing pages that compel your audience to take action.

Naturally, a well-funded business with an in-house web development team should have no trouble with this step. If you’re a startup, solopreneur, or freelancer, on the other hand, you might want to use a dedicated landing page builder like Instapage, which eliminates the need for an experienced web designer to create professional-looking landing pages.

Instapage kickstarts the design process with ready-to-use landing page templates. The tool offers a 14-day free trial and paid plans start at $99/month (when billed annually). To quickly find a template that matches your goal, select the Lead Generation checkbox on the template selection page.

Celect the Lead Generation checkbox on Instapage's template selection page.

Although the lead generation templates vary slightly in terms of design, they all feature the same on-page elements necessary for conversions. Apart from the prominent headline and short value proposition, they also prioritize the visibility of the essential form fields and CTA.

To explore more of Instapage’s features, go with the Blank Page template.

After you give your landing page a name and go through a short tutorial, you’ll see the main Instapage editor. Here, you can start piecing together your landing page. On the main toolbar, click the elements you want to include, which range from CTA buttons to form fields.

Design a landing page from scratch with Instapage.

Because most landing page builders are capable of producing similar results, there’s no need to be picky. What’s important is that you follow design principles that provide your audience with a frictionless experience and encourage them to follow through with a conversion.

Feature Visual Content

Although the web design industry has been trending toward minimalism in recent years, businesses never truly omit the use of a featured visual asset in landing pages. Visual content is simply much more effective than text in capturing the audience’s interest, be it an explainer video, a background image, an infographic, or a product photo.

Remember, the visual content itself doesn’t always have to stand out. As long as it draws attention to the other conversion elements on your landing page, it should work.

Eliminate Distractions

A distraction on a landing page can be anything that breaks the engagement or diverts the audience’s focus away from the conversion path.

Excessive page elements such as sidebar ads, animations, large menus, and pop-ups are only a few examples of distractions you should eliminate. Also avoid unnecessary steps in your design such as entering an address or answering a survey so you end up with a hassle-free conversion process. Here’s an example of a landing page stripped of all distractions that can ruin the user experience:

A distraction-free landing page.

Present a Solid Value Proposition

Upon arriving at your landing page, most (if not all) users have one question: what’s in it for me? Your job is to provide them with a clear, solid answer as fast as possible. That’s why your main headline should highlight a user-oriented value proposition that’s centered on your target audience’s needs.

Here are a handful of tips that will help you write headlines that convert:

  • Use negative superlatives. Negative superlatives, like “worst,” “never,” or “lowest” can significantly increase click-throughs in headlines.
  • Cite real numbers. One way to pique your target audience’s interest is to mention exact numbers to back up your claims. For instance, rather than say “tips to generate traffic,” try expanding it to “tips to generate over 10,000 visitors in a month.”
  • Use top phrases. A 2017 survey conducted by BuzzSumo revealed that headlines that contain certain phrases like “will make you,” “this is why,” and “are freaking out” garner significantly more engagement on Facebook.

Design for Mobile Users

Don’t forget that you’re designing landing pages for users who click your Facebook ads. According to Statista, 75% of Facebook users access the platform on mobile devices, so it’s vital to optimize your landing pages for mobile displays.

The good news is that most landing page builders, website platforms, and content management systems support responsive design out of the box. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into mobile optimization. A great place to start is the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Just enter the URL of your landing page, wait for the evaluation to complete, and look for optimization suggestions.

Run a Google Mobile-Friendly Test to optimize your landing page.

A/B Test Your Landing Pages

Even with an experienced team by your side, it’s virtually impossible to get a landing page right the first time. If you use the proven landing page tactics above, there will still be some trial and error involved in determining the best design and structure for your website.

An A/B or split testing tool can significantly reduce the time it takes to gather sufficient data regarding your landing page’s performance. It works by letting you test two or more variations of your landing page simultaneously.

Landing page builders like Instapage have an A/B testing tool built in, but you can also use external platforms like the free Google Optimize tool to test two or more versions of a web page.

Use the Google Optimize tool to test two or more versions of a web page.

#3: Design the Perfect Lead Nurturing Campaign

You now have all of the pieces in place to start generating quality leads. Your social ads are hard at work bringing in traffic, and your landing pages should help convert these visitors into subscribers.

But you’re not done just yet. You still have more to do to truly win the trust of your new leads and eventually convert them into paying customers.

Create a Welcome Email

First, make sure they’re fully aware of what they signed up for.

In lead nurturing, creating a welcome email is perhaps the easiest step. If you use an email marketing tool like Mailchimp, you have the tools you need to build and schedule a welcome email.

A welcome email not only lets you show your appreciation for new subscribers but also set their expectations and make them more receptive to your future emails. It may seem counterproductive, but include an unsubscribe link in your welcome email. It will help you filter out unqualified leads early so you can accurately measure the growth of your email list as far as high-quality leads go.

Create a welcome email to new subscribers in Mailchimp.

Track Where People Are in the Sales Funnel

One of the most common mistakes businesses make with email marketing is treating all of their subscribers the same way. In a sales funnel, there are different stages of familiarity that dictate how users respond to certain emails:

  • Awareness: The awareness stage is where people are just discovering your brand. These are the leads who need a welcome email with links to useful resources to get them started, including blog posts, case studies, and other types of educational content.
  • Consideration: Leads in the consideration stage of a conversion funnel aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase yet. They still need more validation from product reviews, tutorials, free trials, and other product-centered content before they’ll have enough confidence to take the next step.
  • Purchase and repurchase: In email marketing, you can segment all existing customers into one list regardless of whether it’s their first purchase. At this point, your objective is to build brand loyalty with cross-selling emails, review requests, and special event offers.

Email subscribers you’ve acquired from social ads are probably in the awareness or consideration stage of the sales funnel. To segment them accordingly, email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Drip let you automatically sort your leads based on activities such as page visits, purchases, or signups from specific sources.

Automatically sort your leads based on activities such as page visits, purchases, or signups from specific sources.

Get Inspiration From Others

Just like landing pages, you must constantly test and improve emails to reap their full benefits.

Modern email marketing platforms have built-in analytics tools that help you with this goal. If you want a head start, take a peek at the email campaigns of the top brands in your niche.

Really Good Emails is a straightforward free tool that lets you do this. All you need to do is enter a keyword that describes the kind of email you want to create and wait for suggestions to come in.

Really Good Emails lets you see the email campaigns of the top brands in your niche.

If you prefer something more comprehensive, WhoSendsWhat might be the tool for you. It lets you bookmark emails for future reference, sort email samples by industry, and start your search with specific domains.

It also provides a more diverse selection of emails, including those that clearly didn’t use a design-oriented template.

WhoSendsWhat lets you bookmark emails for future reference, sort email samples by industry, and start your search with specific domains.

That’s it—real examples of lead nurturing emails you can borrow inspiration from. Pay close attention to how they present the key takeaways of their email, the focus of their headlines, and the overall tone of their content.

Conclusion

The steps above for designing successful email campaigns that complement your social ads look easy on the surface, and they are with the right tools. But only you can uncover the pivotal steps to success for your own brand.

Optimizing landing pages and developing email content are processes that don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to take the knowledge above, do your own experiments, and formulate a recipe that can accomplish your unique goals.

What do you think? Can you think of any steps to add that affect the outcome of a successful email marketing campaign? What strategies and tools do you use in your Facebook ads and email marketing campaigns? Feel free to voice your thoughts in the comments below!

More articles about Facebook ads:

Discover how to use Facebook ads with email marketing to nurture leads into becoming customers.



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Orignal Article Can Be Found Here

The 34 Marketing Principles I Live By

Oct 30, 2018
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neil patel

Can you guess how long I’ve been a marketer?

7 years? Maybe 10?

Guess again.

I’ve been a marketer for 18 years now. That’s a long time… And funny enough, I’ve also been an entrepreneur for the same amount of time as I’ve never really held a “corporate” job.

Many of you think I am smart, and I am great at marketing. But let me burst your bubble… I am NOT smart, and I am NOT a great marketer.

Instead, I’ve just been doing everything long enough where I’ve learned what not to do.

See, the first 4 or so years of my marketing career went really slow and didn’t go the way I wanted. This was mainly because I kept making mistakes. And even worse, I kept repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

So, when I was around 20 years old, I created a list of marketing principles to never break because I wanted to ensure that I didn’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Over time I kept adding to the list, and it has helped me succeed not only as a marketer but also as an entrepreneur.

Hopefully, the list principles below helps you get to where you want in life. I know it’s helped me tremendously.

Here goes:

Principle #1: Don’t be the first

So many new marketing channels pop up, don’t be in a rush to try them all. Especially when these channels are new and unproven. You’re more likely to waste time than find wins.

At the same time, you don’t want to be the last either. The key is to be an early adopter. Once a channel is picking up steam, that’s when you want to jump on board and see if you can leverage it for your business.

Principle #2: Ride it while it lasts

Every channel that works eventually gets saturated. Some fade away, but most stick around, and some just don’t work as well.

For example, Facebook grew through sending out invitation emails to everyone in your email address book. That just doesn’t work anymore.

Digg used to be an amazing site that drove 100,000 visitors to a site in less than 24 hours. It doesn’t anymore. Google AdWords used to be a cheap way to drive sales. It still works, but it is expensive.

When you find a channel that is working amazingly well, push hard and milk it for as long as it lasts. As time goes on, you’ll want to keep leveraging it, but you’ll naturally have to scale back as more competitors jump due to price increases.

Principle #3: Sales and marketing should be owned by one person

To truly grow, you need to understand the whole picture. From how someone comes to your site, to what they are looking for, to how to sell, upsell, and retain a customer.

You need to think about the whole cycle a customer goes through.

For that reason, a company eventually needs a Chief Revenue Officer (especially in the B2B world). A CRO is someone in charge of both sales and marketing. The departments can run separately, but they need one boss.

When both departments don’t roll up into one boss, there is typically a disconnect. This will cause the conversion rates to be lower.

Principle #4: Go all in during recessionary periods

The market moves in cycles. When things go down people pull back on marketing. Don’t optimize for short-term gains, optimize for the long run.

Marketing tends to be more cost-effective during recessionary periods. This is when you should be spending more, doubling down, so that way you can beat your competition once the recession is over.

Principle #5: If you aren’t thinking long term, you won’t beat your competition

Most publicly traded companies optimize for a return within the first 12 months. Most venture-funded companies have a 1 to 3-year outlook. If you want to beat these companies, you need to have a 3-plus year outlook. This will open up more marketing channels that your competition can’t look at due to investors and outside pressure.

With your marketing, it doesn’t mean you have to lose money for 3 or more years to beat your competition. It means you just have to get creative. For example, I know marketing costs are rising each year, so I’ve invested in software to generate visitors at a much lower cost than CPC advertising.

Doing these sorts of things requires patience as it can take years for creative ideas to come to fruition.

Principle #6: Never rely on one channel

Good channels eventually become saturated and it’s too risky if your marketing is solely based on one channel.

If it goes away or stops working for your business, it will crumble you. You can’t control algorithms, and you can’t always predict costs. Focus on an omnichannel approach.

In other words, you can’t just do SEO or social media marketing. You need to eventually try and leverage all of the major marketing channels.

Principle #7: Marketing tends to get more expensive over time

It’s rare for marketing to get cheaper. You can’t control this. As much as you focus on marketing, you have to focus on conversion optimization. It’s the only way to keep you in the game as costs increase.

Try to run at least one A/B test each month. And don’t run tests based on your gut. Use both quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions.

Principle #8: Don’t take your messaging for granted

No matter how effective your traffic generation skills are, you won’t win if people don’t understand why they should buy from you over the competition. A great example of this is Airbnb. They beat Home Away and are worth roughly ten times more.

They both have a similar product and they both executed well. Airbnb came out much later, but they nailed their messaging.

Spend time crafting and creating amazing messaging. Typically, amazing messaging requires story-telling and understanding your customers.

You may have to survey your customers or talk to them over the phone, but eventually, you can come up with the right messaging using qualitative data. And once you’ve figured out the right messaging, retest each year as market conditions can change, which will affect your messaging.

Principle #9: The numbers never lie

Opinions don’t matter!

Marketing should always be a data-driven approach. Follow the numbers and keep auditing them as things will change over time. What works now may not in the future due to external factors that you can’t control such as privacy and security concerns.

For example, if your users claim to hate exit popups, but the data shows an exit popup increases your monthly revenue by 10%, then continually use the exit popup.

People within the organization will complain and argue with you, but as long as you aren’t doing anything unethical, follow the data.

Principle #10: The best thing you can do is build a brand

Whether it is a corporate or personal one, people connect with brands. From Tony Robbins to Nike, people prefer brands. By building a brand, you are building longevity with your marketing.

Don’t ever take it for granted and start building it from day one. No matter how small or big your company is, you should continually work on improving your brand.

From the story behind why it exists to showcasing it wherever you can, push hard on branding. In the short run, it will not produce a positive ROI, and it is hard to track the value of a growing brand, but it works.

When people want to buy sports shoes, they don’t always perform Google searches. Instead, they just think “Nike.” When people want a credit card, they think Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.

Brands are powerful and create longevity.

Principle #11: Always protect your brand

You’ll have opportunities to generate quick sales or traffic at the sacrifice of your brand image. Never do it.

It’s better to have less traffic and sales in the short run than it is to tarnish your brand in the long run. If you tarnish your brand, you’ll find that it will be hard to recover and cost more money.

Principle #12: Don’t take shortcuts

Every time someone presents a social media or SEO shortcut, avoid it. Typically, they won’t last long, and they could set you back through a penalization. It’s better to be safe and think long term.

It will be tempting but say no.

Principle #13: Don’t market crap

Building a crappy product, service, or site just won’t cut it. With the web being competitive and it being easier to start a site online, you need to make sure you have something incredible.

It’s 10 times easier to market something people love than it is to market something people don’t care about.

No matter how good of a marketer you are, it’s not easy to market something people don’t want. So first focus on creating something amazing.

Principle #14: Hire a full-time affiliate manager from day 1

There are always people within your space who aren’t competitors and have an established user base. Have a dedicated resource continually reaching out and partnering with these sites and companies.

It’s a good long-term way to grow without having to invest a lot of capital. Even if your product or service isn’t ready, hire this person from day one as it takes 6 months to fully build up a good base of partnerships and affiliates.

Principle #15: Go against conventional marketing wisdom

Doing what everyone else is doing won’t work for the long haul. Doing the opposite usually works much better.

It may sound risky to go against the grain, but it is one of the best ways to grow when you are in a saturated market.

A simple example of this is how Gmail grew when they first came out. Space was crowded and even though their tool was great, so was a lot of the competitors. Gmail grew by creating the illusion of exclusivity. People had to be invited by other members to get a @gmail.com email address.

Principle #16: If you aren’t scared, you’re not pushing the limits

If you’re cheering about everything you are doing when it comes to marketing, something is wrong. You need to be scared and be going through a mix of emotions every time you launch a new marketing campaign.

If you aren’t then you’re not pushing the limits. Testing campaigns that your competition won’t ever dare to try, and, of course, be ethical when doing this. Don’t burn your brand.

The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Those who push the limits, tend to have a greater reward.

Principle #17: Don’t be unethical

You are going to have opportunities to gain quick wins at the cost of your customers. Always put others first. It’s the only way to survive in the long haul. In general, if you are going to have trouble sleeping at night, you shouldn’t be doing it.

A good example of this in marketing is how affiliates use forced continuity. This is when they sell physical products for free as long as their customers pay for shipping. What these customers don’t realize is that they are going to receive the same product every month and they will get a bill every month as well.

Don’t be unethical.

Principle #18: Get the right influencers onboard early

People tend to have a deeper connection with individuals over corporate brands. Get influencers on board early, as it will help you attract customers faster.

Make sure your influencers are related to your business or else it won’t work and will just be a waste of money.

For example, if you are selling a B2B software you don’t want half naked Instagram influencers promoting your product. It won’t work.

But if you are selling fashion products, having influencers on Instagram who have popular fashion channels will help drive sales.

Principle #19: Video is the future

People want to connect with you and your company. If you aren’t integrating video within your marketing, you are making a big mistake. Whether you like being on camera or not, video should be in your strategy from day 1.

When you create videos, don’t just put it on your site. Put the same videos everywhere… from social networks to asking other websites to embed your videos on their site.

You should even test running video ads as they tend to be more effective than text-based ads. They are more expensive to run, but the conversion rate is typically higher.

Principle #20: You don’t know everything

Marketing is always changing. No matter how good you get at one tactic, never stop learning. Having the attitude that you are great will only hurt you. Have an open mind and be willing to learn from anyone, especially newcomers with little to no experience as they bring fresh insights.

Principle #21: Don’t hire arrogant marketers

If you have arrogant marketers on your team, consider replacing them with people who are open to learning (assuming you aren’t breaking any HR laws).

Arrogant marketers are typically stuck in their ways and they aren’t open to change. Just because someone doesn’t know as much, doesn’t mean they can’t learn.

Arrogant marketers tend not to experiment, and they prefer sticking with what they know.

Principle #22: Little is the new big

Social media has empowered everyone. Don’t take people for granted, even if they don’t have money. By helping everyone, it will cause your brand to grow in the long run.

Don’t worry about a direct ROI when helping others, it will cause word of mouth marketing.

Because of social media, everyone can impact your brand in a good or bad way. So make sure it’s in a good way by helping everyone out (as much as it is feasibly possible).

Principle #23: Continually test what’s working

Because of external factors that you can’t control, things change over time.

For example, 3rd party authentications used to boost conversion rates, but now people are concerned with using them because of privacy concerns.

Always retest what has worked in the past every 6 months to ensure it is still helping you.

When you don’t retest, you’ll find that your conversion rates will drop over time and you won’t know the cause of it.

Principle #24: The majority of people don’t read

If you write a masterpiece, expect the majority of the people to not read it. Make sure your content and marketing landing pages are easy to skim. Without this, you’ll lose out on a large portion of sales.

Things like design, spacing, colors, and typography all affect readability and how easy it is to skim. Yes, messaging is important, but if no one reads it then you won’t generate sales.

Principle #25: Headlines are more important than content

8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 will click through and read your content. Spend as much time coming up with a headline as you do writing content. If you have an amazing masterpiece and a terrible headline, it won’t get read.

You shouldn’t stop with one headline either. Consider A/B testing a handful of headlines, as this will help you come up with a winning version.

Principle #26: Expand internationally once you’ve figured out your main market

The English language is always competitive. But markets like Asia and Latin America don’t have as much competition and people within these regions are willing to spend money.

Translate your website, content, product, and service as quickly as possible (while maintaining quality, of course!). It will open up more marketing opportunities and revenue streams.

When picking new markets, don’t just look at GDP look at the population as well. If one region has a slightly lower GDP but a higher population, consider going after the one with a larger population first.

Principle #27: Be willing to start over every year

If you are expecting to grow by just doubling down on what worked in the past, your growth will slow down.

By having the mentality that you need to start over and redo all of your marketing initiatives each year, you’ll grow faster as you will be receptive to change.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore what worked for you in the last 12 months, it means that you need to keep doing that as well as well as go back to the drawing board to try new tactics.

Principle #28: Ideas are a dime a dozen, but good team members aren’t

You’ll have dozens of ideas that you’ll want to test, but if you don’t have people to take charge of them they won’t go anywhere. Don’t bite off more than your team can handle.

If you want to grow faster, you need people to take charge and lead each of your marketing initiatives. This will also allow you to fine tune each channel and squeeze the most out of it.

And if you have dozens of ideas, don’t just hire any marketer. If you don’t hire the right person, with experience, you’ll find that marketing channel isn’t working out too well for you. So take your time.

Principle #29: Don’t hire people you need to train if you want to grow fast

There is nothing wrong with hiring people who need training, but it will cause your growth to slow down.

If you want more traffic and sales ASAP, you can’t hire people that need hand holding or training. Hire marketers with industry experience that know how to get off and running from day 1.

Ideally, you should even consider hiring marketers who have worked for your competition and have done well for them.

Principle #30: It takes 3 months for a marketer to get ramped up

No matter how skilled of a marketer you hire, even if they come from your competition, it typically takes 3 months for them to find their groove.

So, when you hire them as a full-time employee or a contractor, be patient and be willing to give it at least 3 months before you decide what you want to do.

Of course, you should see results within the first 3 months (even if they are small) but you still need to be patient.

Principle #31: People love stories and always will

Storytelling goes back centuries. They were effective back then and they still are today (and they will be tomorrow as well). Integrate stories within your copy. It will help you craft a better bond with your audience.

With a better bond comes higher conversion rates.

Principle #32: Don’t take trends for granted

If you see the market moving in a direction, even if you don’t think it will last forever, consider riding the wave. Even if you don’t like the trend, you’ll find that it typically makes customer acquisition easier and more affordable.

Use tools like Google Trends to help you determine which trends are popular and to see how the market is moving.

A great example of this is MixPanel copied the KISSmetrics product, but they grew faster as they rode the mobile analytics trend, while KISSmetrics did not.

Principle #33: Optimize for revenue, not top of funnel metrics

In marketing, looking at numbers like monthly visitors is great, but it isn’t the most important metric. Optimizing for leads isn’t enough either.

Your tracking needs to encompass the whole funnel. By optimizing for revenue you’ll be able to make better decisions and see faster growth.

When looking at your funnel, keep in mind that it shouldn’t stop with a purchase. There are upsells, repeat purchases, cross-sells, and even churn to consider.

Principle #34: Follow the rule of 7

People need to hear about your brand or see your brand 7 times before they’ll convert into a customer. In other words, you need to be everywhere if you want to win market share.

With every company having similar products and services, people have a hard time deciding who to buy from. If your brand is more prevalent, people are more likely to choose you.

Make sure you are leveraging as many proven marketing channels as possible.

Conclusion

Some of the principles above may seem obvious to you while others may not. But you’ll find that both you and your team will make many of the mistakes no matter how obvious they seem.

Whether it is the principles above or your own, consider creating a list of your own for your team to follow. And it shouldn’t just be for marketing. I have lots of principles… especially in regards to entrepreneurship.

So what other principles should marketers follow? Just leave a comment below with some of the principles you follow.

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7 Ways to Create Better Instagram Engagement for Businesses : Social Media Examiner

Oct 30, 2018
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social media how toAre you looking for ways to get more Instagram engagement? Wondering how to build stronger consumer relationships?

In this article, you’ll discover seven ways to improve your Instagram engagement.

7 Ways to Create Better Instagram Engagement for Businesses by Corinna Keefe on Social Media Examiner.

7 Ways to Create Better Instagram Engagement for Businesses by Corinna Keefe on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Follow Through on Follower Engagement to Stay in Step With Your Community

While it’s the first rule of social media marketing, lots of brands and marketers don’t follow through on follower engagement with their content. When you share a post on Instagram, be ready to answer questions in the comments, highlight them in stories, and refer to them in other posts.

Beauty brand Glossier spotted a great question in their post comments, so they shared a screenshot in Stories, offered an answer, and took the chance to share a shopping link with their followers.

Glossier answers a customer question in their Instagram story and includes a shoppable link to a relevant product.

True engagement goes beyond just reacting to your followers. You should actively invite them to participate and then respond. Set up a topic, hear your followers’ thoughts, give them feedback, rinse and repeat. In other words, have a conversation!

Instagram has a ton of features that make this easier. Question stickers, poll stickers, and emoji sliders are already popular tools for Instagram Stories. Run a poll to get clear-cut opinions or go deeper with an open question. Use these dynamics to entertain your customers, get quick product reviews, and even ask followers to choose the content they want to see in the future.

Food magazine Bake from Scratch gave their Instagram followers control of their content schedule with this quick poll.

Food magazine Bake From Scratch gave their Instagram followers control of their content schedule with this quick poll.

While Stories are great for having a conversation with all of your followers, the Quick Replies feature lets you connect on an individual level. With Quick Replies, you can write and store common responses to specific people in your DMs.

To visualize this, you can create a thank-you message to send to anyone who replies to your stories. It’s easier than giving someone a public shout-out. But a word of caution: make sure your replies don’t sound canned or artificial. The aim is to relate, not alienate.

#2: Incorporate Evolving Style and Platform Features Into Campaigns

Of course, every brand has its own unique style, voice, and values. While you don’t want to move too far away from those, it’s important to stay abreast of Instagram’s house style, latest design trends, and even memes. If you’re still posting content that looked good last year, your followers will lose interest.

Keep up with the latest Instagram features and releases, and watch your competitors closely to monitor trends. It’s worth doing your research into what content and styles are popular, too.

For example, it’s pretty common knowledge that photos with a single dominant hue and lots of texture score better with users. But you can also adjust your choice of colors and filters for the season, like L.L.Bean does below, or pick up tips from design experts to make your feed stand out.

Fall weather, fashion, and filters from L.L. Bean's Instagram.

Although Instagram is a visual platform, don’t forget about text. The way you use comments, captions, and text overlay can impact your posts. There are trends in text, just as there are in photo design. For instance, 2018 has been the year of deadpan humor for big brands on social media.

Hot Pockets has joined the trend for oddball humor and snarky replies. Posting this Twitter screenshot brings them in line with the multi-channel trend, too.

Hot Pockets Instagram post with trademark oddball humor.

#3: Cross-Promote Content and Offers to Move Followers Beyond the Instagram Feed

Social media is all about connections, and that includes your marketing. You can’t get the most out of Instagram unless you’re making links with other channels, brands, and tools. Most importantly, you need to connect your social media content to the point of sale.

Let’s start with the most obvious. Since Facebook acquired Instagram, the two networks have become ever more integrated. You can use Facebook ads to broadcast your posts on both Facebook and Instagram at the same time.

You can also achieve a lot by mixing features within Instagram. To illustrate, use your stories to highlight posts on your profile and vice versa. You can use stories or video posts as trailers for longer content on your IGTV, as Nike does here.

Nike Instagram post that promotes IGTV

But remember, it’s not only about increasing reach within social media. You can bounce followers among your social channels, website, store, and more. Introduce communities to a new range of content and encourage them to escape the “walled gardens” of individual social networks.

#4: Use Instagram Stories to Guide the Buyer’s Journey

Instagram Stories is the secret to the social network’s meteoric rise in the past year. More than 400 million users now watch stories daily.

As the name suggests, use Instagram Stories to tell a story. Just because the video format is short doesn’t mean you can’t build a narrative. Remember Vine? The short-form social network is long gone, but it taught us that you can tell an epic tale in 6 seconds or less.

Here’s a simple, effective story from magazine Travel Insider. With one image, a short text overlay, and a swipe-up link, they’ve set the tone and anticipation for a full article.

A simple, effective Instagram story that builds anticipation for a full article.

Try thinking about the story of the buyer’s journey. How can you guide your followers from seeing your content, to interacting with it, to making a purchase? Of course, the tricky part of Stories is transferring that connection off Instagram. Check out the next two sections for some story-specific tips.

#5: Make Every Link Opportunity Count

One of the biggest challenges on Instagram is the scarcity of live links. Unlike other social networks, you can’t share clickable links, except in your Instagram bio or via specific business tools. This helps keep the platform free of spam. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that users enjoy Instagram so much.

So if you want to make a positive impression, the trick is to work with Instagram’s limitations, rather than against them.

Make sure that every link counts. The way you use links depends on your industry, niche, and marketing strategy. You could connect to a landing page, update your link regularly with new content, or hedge your bets with a link channeling service such as Linktree.

Here are contrasting link strategies from two Instagram business profiles. ARCH Motorcycle sends followers to their main website, while The North Face’s Instagram for climbing enthusiasts links to the schedule for a film tour of the year’s best climbing films.

year’s best climbing films.

If you use your business profile to create ads, have more than 10,000 followers, or have a verified account, your options increase. You can add a swipe-up link to your stories or include links in ads.

However you share links, don’t lose sight of your strategy. Give users an attention-grabbing visual and a clear call to action. Make sure that the link is fully functional for mobile viewers.

An attention-grabbing visual and a clear call to action on an Instagram Stories post from Dollar Shave Club.

#6: Create Point of Sale Opportunities With Shoppable Tags

Shoppable tags are the most direct form of link marketing on Instagram. Users respond well to rich content and added-value links, but sometimes you just want a simple call to action and a sale.

Tags are also what differentiates Instagram from Snapchat. We all know that Snapchat’s popularity with mobile users, especially young people, is unmatched. But so far, it’s been impossible for most brands to monetize.

Instagram is the marketer’s compromise. It combines visual, valuable content with the chance to drive sales. The trade-off seems to work for users, too: 90 million users tap to reveal tags in shopping posts each month.

H&M shares Instagram Stories posts with shoppable tags.

The platform is currently testing a dedicated shopping channel on the Explore tab. You may have seen this rolled out already or might still be waiting for the update. There are even rumors that Instagram could launch a separate shopping app.

After a shaky start for IGTV, some are questioning whether a stand-alone app would get enough users. On the other hand, apps such as Pinterest and 21Buttons are testing the concept of social shopping with some success. Either way, you should be keeping a close eye on how new Instagram features and user reactions develop.

#7: Reward Active Followers With Giveaways

So far, we’ve mostly discussed practical tools to improve Instagram engagement. But let’s not forget the psychological side of things. You can promote user interactions with positive reinforcement. In other words, show your followers some love.

One popular method is an Instagram giveaway. You can highlight products and services, while encouraging engagement and showing followers they’re valued. Subscription beauty brand Birchbox treated their followers to deals, giveaways, and surprises to mark Customer Appreciation Day.

Birchbox's Instagram account treated followers to deals, giveaways, and surprises to mark Customer Appreciation Day.

The success of a giveaway depends on how you carry it out. You’ll need to publicize the deal in your posts, stories, ads, and even on other platforms. Include a clear call to action and give your announcements a sense of urgency.

Be sure to use all of the visual tools that Instagram gives you. Share a prize image, add filters, and layer on special effects such as Superzoom in your stories.

Subscription service Gentleman’s Box runs regular contests and co-branded promotions. They keep giveaway stories listed in their highlights so new followers get a glimpse of previous rewards and offers.

Gentleman's Box promotes a co-branded giveaway on Instagram Stories.

The prize you choose is key to your success. It has to be relevant, timely, and something that users will value. You can link prizes to themes or special events.

And don’t underestimate the power of co-branding: you can team up with other brands or influencers to offer a wider range of prizes. The NBA teamed up with sponsor Kia Motors to give away game tickets to celebrate the new season.

The NBA teamed up with sponsor Kia Motors to give away game tickets at the beginning of the season on Instagram.

The best prizes are things your followers love, but wouldn’t normally splash out on for themselves. Dollar Shave Club wins this one, with a prize that is literally out of this world.

Instagram giveaway from Dollar Shave Club.

Finally, choose an exciting dynamic; don’t ask users to follow you, spam their friends, or repost photos. In fact, reposting photos is explicitly banned in Instagram’s Community Guidelines. In practice, this comes down to a difference in technique. There’s a world of difference between sharing a single follower’s photo with the original image and proper credit, and asking followers to post thousands of grainy screenshots of your posts.

Instead, try asking users an open-ended question or encouraging them to share original content. This improves the quality of your interactions, which is the goal of rewarding active followers. It also reduces spam and creates user-generated content that you can repurpose.

Tips to Encourage User-Generated Content on Instagram

There are only two types of user-generated content that will be useful to you on Instagram: posts and comments. While stories with polls and question stickers can be a quick and easy way to hear user opinions, it’s much more difficult to record responses or share them with others.

In contrast, with the right tools, Instagram’s API allows you to collect comments, posts, and the usernames responsible. Stories are fun if you want to boost short-term engagement. If you want a long-term, data-driven social media strategy, comments and posts may well be more informative.

Let’s start with comments.

Many brands ask users to tag their friends in post comments, which may help to attract new viewers. However, you can go further and solicit more information. Ask followers how they use your products, what they think of the latest release, and why they love your brand. You can even enlist your followers as product designers and unofficial focus groups.

Artist ghost_puff uses a friendly, relatable posting style that invites community chatter on Instagram.

But let’s not lose sight of reality. The truth is that many brands and influencers have indulged in cheap, “like and share”–style engagement for a long time. This means your followers are often not used to sharing real, meaningful content. So to start, users may need an incentive. Tap into the popularity of giveaways and discount codes to encourage your followers to share.

Fashion brand ModCloth asked users to share their own designs in original posts and offered a generous incentive (in proportion to the assignment): the chance to win a $500 gift card.

ModCloth asked Instagram users to share their own designs in original posts and offered a generous incentive (in proportion to the assignment): the chance to win a $500 gift card.

As well as comments, original posts from users are a key form of user-generated content. Take a look through the examples in this article: you’ll see brands using their followers’ content for photo posts, product design, and promotional material. And until now, it’s been easy to collect user posts by asking them to share content with a branded hashtag.

However, Instagram has programmed a major change to the API, coming up on December 11. It’s part of the ongoing campaign on social networks to improve privacy and quality of engagement. When the full Instagram Graph API comes into effect, you won’t be able to collect user content from hashtags alone. But this doesn’t mean that user-generated content is over.

Instagram has introduced some API changes earlier than expected.

As always, the best strategy is to work with Instagram, not against it. The stricter API is an opportunity to demonstrate again that you have a good relationship with your followers, and they can trust you. Updated apps are already available that allow you to collect user content, with up-to-date permissions. You may even be able to get more contextual information than before, such as email addresses.

Your treatment of user-generated content is also a chance to show your respect for your followers. Make sure your privacy and data policies are up to date, readable, and fair. Give users a clear idea of how you want to use their content. Above all, announce any competition winners in a timely and transparent fashion. False promotions do happen on Instagram, and users are quick to call them out in public.

Conclusion

What does engagement on Instagram mean to you? For too many brands, it’s as simple as getting likes and follows. But in 2018, that’s no longer enough for a successful Instagram marketing strategy. Users’ feeds are flooded with content and it’s possible, even common, that someone could follow your profile and then never see your posts again. So how can you increase visibility and improve engagement for your posts?

Instagram’s algorithm favors posts based on interest, recency, and your relationship with others. So you need to be posting attractive content on a regular schedule. And most importantly, you need to foster a genuine relationship with users online.

Quality engagement takes more effort than likes and follows, but it brings greater rewards.

What do you think? Which of these tactics do you use to engage with your followers? Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles about Instagram marketing:

Discover seven ways to improve your Instagram engagement and build stronger consumer relationships on the platform.



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How to Drive Organic Traffic With Bots : Social Media Examiner

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Scout mascot for Social Media ExaminerWant more website visitors? Wondering how Messenger bots can help?

To explore how to bots can drive organic traffic to your website, I interview Natasha Takahashi.

More About This Show

The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode, I interview Natasha Takahashi, a chatbot expert and founder of the School of Bots, a community for marketers seeking to master bots. She also hosts the There’s a Bot For That live show, and she has a range of courses including Chatbot Agency Accelerator.

Natasha explains how to integrate chatbots into your social media and email marketing.

You’ll also discover tips for growing your bot subscriber list and engaging with subscribers effectively.

How to Drive Organic Traffic With Bots featuring insights from Natasha Takahashi on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

How to Drive Organic Traffic With Bots featuring insights from Natasha Takahashi on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.

Share your feedback, read the show notes, and get the links mentioned in this episode below.

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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Messenger Bots That Drive Website Traffic

Natasha’s Story

In 2016, after working as a marketer for tech startups and with a few clients of her own, Natasha was planning to launch a social media marketing agency with her co-founder, Kyle Willis. To stay on top of everything happening in social media marketing, she watched F8 (Facebook’s developer conference) remotely, where they announced Facebook Messenger bots.

At the conference, Facebook showed enterprise examples, but right away, Natasha wanted to start testing whether Messenger bots would be effective for her clients, which were small- and mid-sized businesses. She thought if she could learn to market with bots really well, she might be able to make her new agency stand out.

After about 4 or 5 months, Natasha’s bot marketing was going well for her clients. As is common with bot marketing, her clients had high open and click rates. They also had good conversion and retention rates. Since getting started with bots 2 years ago, Natasha and her agency have built about 100 bots.

Today, in addition to her chatbot agency, Natasha and Kyle run School of Bots, which launched in January 2018. They created it as a resource for chatbot marketing and strategy, with free articles, videos, and interviews with thought leaders. Their goal is to provide up-to-date content in a niche that changes quickly.

This is a screenshot of the School of Bots website. In the upper left is the website name. In the upper right are the following navigation options: Free Resources, Programs, Affiliates, Podcast, Templates. A white button outlined in blue and labeled Member Login appears to the right of the navigation options. The website background is a blue and yellow abstract illustration. In the main area of the website is a heading that says “Join Our 5-Day FREE Build Your Bot Agency Bootcamp”. Below the heading is the following text: “Live training will happen October 15-19 (Content available until October 26)”. Below this text is a large blue button labeled “Register now” in white text. A note in smaller text says “You’ll be taken to Facebook Messenger to register.” Natasha Takahashi says School of Bots has become the main focus of her marketing agency, Ineffable Marketing, which she co-founded with a partner.

At the same time, Natasha and Kyle launched the Chatbot Agency Accelerator, which teaches people how to build their chatbot agencies and add chatbots to their offerings. Although they didn’t push this program, it’s taken off. They’ve grown the community, and Natasha has been doing a lot of speaking engagements.

Listen to the show to hear Natasha share what some of her hopes were as she became an entrepreneur.

Why Use Messenger Bots?

Natasha thinks right now is the perfect time to build a bot for your company or clients because, with all of the buzz about bots, people know about them but may not fully understand them.

Although WhatsApp surpassed Messenger in terms of number of users, Natasha still recommends focusing on Messenger because its users still send more messages per month than WhatsApp users do. Also, Facebook Messenger works with chatbot platforms like ManyChat and Chatfuel, which are designed for non-coders and make it easy to create a chatbot and get results.

This is a screenshot of the Chatfuel website. In the upper left, the word “Chatfuel” appears in blue text. In the upper right are the following navigation options: About Us, Pricing, Blog, Get started. In the center of the main area of the website is more text. A large heading says “Relationship-based Messenger marketing”. Below the heading is the following text: “Create a Messenger bot for marketing, sales, and support on the world’s leading chatbot platform. Get started for free.” Below this text is a blue button with the Facebook logo and blue text that says “Continue with Facebook”. Natasha Takahashi says Chatfuel is a bot-building platform that enables marketers to create a bot without knowing how to code.

Right now, other platforms like Slack, Skype, Telegram, and WhatsApp are still just like email in terms of how you can use them to market to users.

Messenger chatbots are also a great way to drive traffic to your website now that the Facebook algorithm no longer prioritizes social posting. With a chatbot, no algorithm is controlling what people see; you can control the conversation between your page and the user. Thus, driving traffic with a chatbot is much easier than it is with a regular post to your Facebook page or even an email.

Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about chatbots versus email.

How to Grow Your Bot List

Natasha shares ways to grow your bot subscriber list via your website and social media. On your website pages, you can add personalized slide-ins and chat icons. A slide-in is like a pop-up window that says something like, “Would you like to receive a message the next time we share a blog post? If so, opt in on Messenger.”

The chat icons look similar to a live chat icon that says, “How can I help you today?” With chat icons, you can have a conversation on your site via your Messenger bot. The person never has to leave your website to interact with your bot, and the chat tool looks very similar to the live chat features that people are used to.

These features let you capture people who visit your site before you begin driving them there. You can add slide-ins and chat icons on your home page and every blog article page. This tactic is similar to the one used to capture emails with a lead magnet. You can even combine email and bot subscription requests, and test delivering the second part of a lead magnet or a discount code via bot.

This is a screenshot of a Messenger chat icon on the School of Bots website. In a white popup window on the site, black text says “Want to get access to 30+ hours of free bot content?” In the upper-right corner is the School of Bots logo. It’s a yellow circle with “School of Bots” in black text. The word “of” appears in a small white speech bubble. Below the question about free content is someone’s Facebook profile photo, which is blurred out, and the text “Rebecca Not you?” The text “Not you?” is linked. Across the bottom of the popup window is a white button with blue text that says “Chat Now”. To the lower left is a Messenger chat icon. Natasha Takahashi says chat icons are one way marketers can capture website visitors and continue driving them to your website.

To add slide-ins and chat icons to your website, you use a bot-building platform like ManyChat. The process is fairly easy. Facebook Messenger gives you a little checkbox you add to your website. Then, when people are on your website, they simply need to select the checkbox to be added to your Messenger list. If you’re combining email capture and bot subscriptions, you can add the box to a form.

For your bot-building platform to connect your website and Messenger bot, your website needs to be set up with the platform that you’re using. To illustrate, after you set up ManyChat on your site, it allows any checkbox from its platform (and that you add to your site) to connect a user to your bot. However, if you use a form created via your email provider, the process is a bit more complicated.

Natasha also notes that Messenger bots require a two-step opt-in. After a user opts in via the checkbox on your site, the user still needs to respond to the bot in Messenger in order to be subscribed to it. Messenger bots work this way so that advertisers can’t blast people’s inboxes.

For the second step of the opt-in, the best approach is to ask users what communications they want to see from you. Bots make it easy to segment your audience in deep detail, and you can start doing that right away. Natasha creates a subscription dashboard that asks if users want to be notified about blog articles, sales, or interviews. People can subscribe only to what interests them.

This is a screenshot of the School of Bots Messenger bot showing an option for managing your message subscriptions. The text says “ Manage Your Message Subscriptions. Manage which messages you get from us, like bot template notifications.” Natasha Takahashi says letting users manage their subscriptions allows you to segment users based on their preferences and ensure your bot subscribers get the most value from your bot.

In addition to slide-ins and chat icons, your website can also include special links that direct people to your chatbot. You can also add these links to your emails and social media profiles on Instagram, YouTube, Medium, and so on. These links direct people to your bot. Because the link tracks where people came from, your bot can send a specific message based on that.

To visualize this, in your Instagram bio, you can add a link to your chatbot. When someone clicks it, they go to Messenger and your bot can say, “Hey there, welcome from Instagram! Thanks for following us. Do you want to get notified when we share a new post?” or whatever offer you’re running at the time. That’s typically how it would work.

In email, Natasha recommends split testing links to your website versus your bot or offer two options in the actual email. Your email might say, “If you want to read our latest blog article, click this link to go to Messenger or click this link to go to our website.” In this way, you can slowly onboard your audience to your bot. With email campaigns, people can get confused so it’s important to move slowly.

Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about the different email providers businesses use.

How to Drive Bot Subscribers to Your Website

After people subscribe to your bot, sending them to your website for a specific reason is important. Natasha emphasizes that you can’t simply ask subscribers to check out your website; you need to give them a reason to do so.

If your site has several articles or videos about a specific topic, your bot can mention the series on the topic and lead people through each article or video. After a user says they’re interested in the series, the bot can say, “Here’s the first one. Click here to see it or listen to it.” The link would send them to your site.

Between each article or video, you can implement a delay in the conversation and engage with people about your content. The delay can be a full day, an hour, 30 minutes, or however much time you want to give them before the bot says, “Hey, what do you think about it?” After you engage with a user about the content, add another delay before you share the next piece in the series.

Typically, your link will open in an embedded browser, which is called a WebView inside Messenger. Technically, your bot subscribers don’t leave the app, so clicking your link isn’t disruptive and doesn’t cause friction. However, you can still use cookies for tracking users with Google and other services.

You can also automate bot notifications about new articles on your website. The easiest way to implement this automation is with RSS feeds. (Both Chatfuel and ManyChat can work with RSS feeds.) Alternately, you can use Zapier or Integromat to set up a trigger when new content appears on your site. Then you can use that trigger to send Messenger broadcasts.

I ask how Integromat is different from Zapier. Natasha says the two services are functionally similar, but Integromat works with hundreds of apps. Most of the time, as long as you’re using a big provider, it works with the app you want to integrate with your bot.

This is a screenshot of the Integromat website. It has a blue background. In the upper left is the website name and logo, which is a white circle with a lowercase I inside it. In the upper right are the following navigation options: Features, Pricing, Apps & Services, Help & Tutorials, Sign In, and a white button labeled Sign Up. In the main area of the website is a heading in large white text. The heading says “Integromat is the glue of the internet”. Below this heading, in smaller white text, is the following: “Integromat is the most advanced online automation platform. We’ve redefined work automation so everyone can get back to what matters the most.” On the right side of the website is a form for signing up to use Integromat. The form asks for a name, email, password, and country. The form also asks users to agree to terms of service and whether they’d like to receive news about Integromat. A green button with white text is labeled “Sign Up for FREE”. Natasha Takahashi says Integromat is similar to Zapier and offers ways to integrate your email service with your website and chatbot.

Natasha also mentions a few other ways to drive traffic to your website. On Facebook itself, you can drive traffic with Facebook ads or an organic Facebook post. Simply connect the bot to your post so when people comment, your bot will send them a message. Or if you include chatbot links in email campaigns, you can customize the link so it’s specific to a lead magnet or new blog article.

Listen to the show to hear Natasha discuss repurposing a blog article into chatbot content.

Bot Campaign Example

To show how a bot campaign that drives traffic can work, Natasha shares an example of a recent product launch campaign that generated $48,000 with no paid traffic. The campaign combined three assets in order to grow each one: an email list (Natasha uses ActiveCampaign), the School of Bots Facebook group, and the School of Bots chatbot.

Right before the product launch, Natasha and her team ran a free 5-day boot camp that showed people how to set up agencies systematically. More than 600 people registered, and although that isn’t a huge list, everyone was incredibly engaged.

This is a screenshot of the School of Bots Messenger bot showing a registration option for the Build Your Bot Agency Bootcamp. The text says “ Our FREE 5-Day Bootcamp is open now! Daily live training sessions with a daily workbook containing action steps.” At the bottom of the registration card in the bot is a Register link. Natasha Takahashi says using the bot to register people for the boot camp helped grow the School of Bots bot subscriber list.

Instead of using a typical website form or an ad for registration, School of Bots sent people to the Messenger bot. The process started with the message, “Hey, welcome to the boot camp!” Then the bot checked whether it had the user’s email address and then asked users to either confirm or provide their email address.

This ability to check for an email illustrates one of the beauties of bots. Because the bot can check everything that you’re talking to the user about, you can avoid repeating yourself or talking about things that are irrelevant.

Next, the bot offered a $97 bot template for free to anyone who referred friends to the boot camp. This tactic allowed School of Bots to get lots of organic traffic to its Facebook group and email list. People invited 5-10 friends, even though School of Bots asked them to invite only one.

The invitation process also worked via the bot. The bot asked users if they wanted to invite a friend. They could respond Yes or No. If they clicked Yes, the user received instructions to comment on a post in the Facebook group that told people about the boot camp and how to register. In the comment, the user had to tag the friend who was invited to the group and add the hashtag #template.

With this invitation system, the expectation was that the friend would also go through the bot, and School of Bots could capture the friend’s email as well. Also, because you currently can’t automate a process like this with a bot, someone from the School of Bots team had to manually check who should receive the free template. However, you can deliver a freebie automatically with a page post.

This is a screenshot of Facebook comments from the School of Bots Facebook group. A commenter named Josh has tagged a friend and used the hashtag #template in order to receive a free template. Natasha Takahashi has responded to welcome the tagged friend and express her hope that she also registers for the bootcamp. By asking registrants to refer a friend in exchange for a free template, School of Bots was able to grow a list of highly engaged attendees and bot subscribers before their product launch.

About 60%-70% of the boot camp registrants participated in the referral incentive. This figure illustrates another important aspect of bots. Because bot conversations are intimate, people need the option to say No. For instance, if you’re collecting an email or offering an incentive, it needs to be okay that someone doesn’t want to provide an email or participate in the incentive.

The School of Bots boot camp was 5 days of Facebook Live videos plus a daily workbook. After the boot camp, School of Bots launched the Chatbot Agency Accelerator, which was its first official product launch. The program had been in beta and for sale, but School of Bots hadn’t pushed it until the launch.

About half of the sales happened in the first 48 hours, and the rest toward the end of the launch, which lasted 14 days. Natasha credits the chatbot funnel for bringing in a lot of the leads. The Facebook group added about 1,500 new members, and School of Bots added about 900 new email subscribers.

Although the campaign wasn’t huge, it generated $48,000 because people were so engaged. The conversion rates and engagement rates were much higher than they would be for a big list. This campaign illustrates the power of intimacy and how much that increases engagement. Moreover, engaging with people over a period of time, like the 5-day boot camp, helped the product launch.

Listen to the show to hear Natasha share examples of her bot messages.

Dos and Don’ts for Promoting Your Content

Natasha shares how to handle everything from timing messages for users in different time zones to Messenger’s rules for selling to how to prepare for the future of bots.

Bot Etiquette: When you’re messaging someone, they usually receive a notification on their phone. Most of the time, you want to be careful about the time of day people receive that notification. If you have users across many time zones, pay attention to the platform you’re using. Certain platforms allow you to send messages at certain times or accommodate different time zones.

Natasha says an exception is if your message is time-sensitive. If you’re closing your cart or doing a live interview at a certain time, don’t worry about time zone. In the end, people have opted into your messages, and they know some messages might be inconvenient for them.

When you do manage time zone, Facebook collects that attribute for you. In your chatbot platform, you can see the time zone people selected in their Facebook settings and program your bot to send a message (such as a note about a new blog post) at a specific time, such as 9:00 AM for the user’s time zone. With the tagging available in bots, you can send only the articles users want to see.

Because messaging platforms are an intimate channel where people talk to their friends, family, and colleagues, any business on the platform needs to be wary of crossing boundaries or coming across as too aggressive. Messenger is the first of these platforms to use bots, but soon this point will also be relevant to other platforms like WhatsApp, Line, and Telegram.

Just as Natasha mentioned in her earlier example, a key way to respect people’s boundaries is to always give bot users a way to say No. Also, even if people don’t want to share an email address, you still need to give the user content and an option to talk with you.

Messenger Rules for Selling: When you’re selling with Messenger, you need to follow its rules. If you don’t, you risk being removed from the platform. Be sure to research the terms and policies, and what types of messages you can send to people and when, so your bot continues to be in good standing with Messenger.

This is a screenshot of the Facebook Terms and Policies page. The subtitle is “Everything you need to know, all in one place.” At the top is an illustration of a signpost with a yellow arrow pointing one way and a red arrow pointing another. It’s on a green hill with grey figures walking in the distance. Behind the hill is an illustration of a gray cityscape. The sky is blue with white clouds. Below the illustration are links to Terms of Service, Data Policy, and terms and policies for other activity. These activities include the following: Ads, Pages, Promotions, Platform, Developer Payments Terms, Community Payments Terms, Cookies, and other options that are cropped out view. Natasha Takahashi recommends staying up to date on Facebook’s policies for bots and for using bots to promote your products or services.

To illustrate, if someone hasn’t interacted with your bot for 24 hours, you can send them only one message that’s promotional or drives people to a sale. You want to choose how you use that message carefully. After you use it, you can no longer send people notifications about a cart closing or a discount code, because that content qualifies as a promotional.

However, this restriction applies only to promotional messages. Sharing educational content, such as a new blog post, doesn’t necessarily violate the rules. In the end, the restrictions on promotional content help keep the platform valuable to marketers.

Messenger Bots Versus Email: If you use Messenger bots in the right way, have great conversations with people, and follow the rules, the bot can have better ROI than email. That’s because a bot allows you to have a small but highly engaged list, which leads to a high conversion rate. Engagement matters much more than list size.

Because Messenger isn’t saturated with marketing messages right now, people see your messages there more than they see your emails. However, Natasha recommends marketers continue to grow their email list. Instead of leaving email in favor of Messenger, you can add Messenger to your opt-in forms. Then you still have a way to connect with people who don’t use Messenger regularly.

This is a screenshot of a Facebook for Developers help article that explains how to add a Messenger opt-in to a form. The page shows an example of a cart checkout form. On the left is a list of items in the cart. On the right is a Contact Options section with a checkbox labeled “Send to Messenger,” a Facebook profile photo, and linked text that says “Not You?” At the bottom of the cart checkout form is a blue button labeled Confirm. Natasha Takahashi says adding a Messenger opt-in checkbox to any form that collects emails can help you grow your Messenger bot subscriber list.

Your email list is also important because you own it, whereas you don’t own Messenger.

Multiple Uses of Bots: A common misconception is that you can use a bot for only one thing (like answering frequently asked questions) and need another bot to do anything else. However, bots are dynamic tools, and you can do almost anything you’d like with one bot.

Tagging is part of what makes bots so flexible. If you create your bot so people can subscribe only to the content topics that interest them, the bot tags their preferences, and you can use those interests for a big campaign or use case down the road. The tags allow you to differentiate between what you send one group versus another, and bots make organizing and editing tags fairly easy.

Future of Bots: ManyChat is just starting to expand to WhatsApp and a couple of other platforms. Right now, it’s hard to say how bot-building platforms will work with those platforms.

Although it would be amazing if ManyChat added discoverability across platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp, the platforms might want to stay separate. Today, you can combine resources within Facebook by downloading your Messenger bot subscriber list, entering the emails and custom audience information you have into Ads Manager, and running ads only to your list.

This is a screenshot of the WhatsApp website. In the upper left is the WhatsApp logo, a white telephone handset icon in a green speech bubble. The website header has a green background and the following navigation options on the right, in white text: WhatsApp Web, Features, Download, Security, FAQ, and a language selection menu. The main area of the website has a white background. On the left is a heading in black text that says “Simple. Secure. Reliable messaging.” Below this heading is the following text: “With WhatsApp, you’ll get fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free*, available on phones all over the world.” In small gray text is a note about the asterisk: “*Data charges may apply. Contact your provider for details.” Below this text is a list of icons with the following labels: Android, iPhone, Mac or Windows PC, Windows Phone. On the right side of the website is an image of a smartphone screen with a chat window that illustrates the types of messages you can send with WhatsApp, including a photo, an audio clip, text and emojis, and a map/location. Natasha Takahashi says bot capabilities might soon come to other messaging tools like WhatsApp.

Looking ahead, Natasha is curious to see whether WhatsApp will add similar functionality. For instance, if you’re using a platform like ManyChat, maybe you’ll be able to download your Messenger list and then capture those same people on WhatsApp. Also, when you think about Facebook’s whole family of apps, Instagram will likely have its own messaging capability.

Because Messenger is just the start of bots, Natasha recommends creating a bot even if you don’t know what you want to do with it. You’ll learn how messaging and marketing come together. Then, as this area of marketing grows to other platforms, you’ll be ahead of the curve. You’ll already understand how to communicate with people on those platforms.

Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about growing Social Media Examiner’s email list versus a bot list.

Discovery of the Week

NotaBene is a cool note-taking app that makes it easy to gather and share ideas.

NotaBene stands out from other note-taking apps for several reasons. First, you can set up contacts for people to whom you frequently send notes on the fly. For example, you might add team members as contacts. Also, you can share voice notes, photos, screenshots, and text with any contact seamlessly. You don’t need to open another app. It’s a one-stop shop for taking and sharing notes.

This is a screenshot of the NotaBene app webpage from Fin. In the upper left, the page is labeled with the name Fin. On the left of the main area of the website is a heading in black text: “Quickly email a note to yourself, your assistant, or anyone.” Below the heading is the following text: “NotaBene is designed to be the fastest way to record your thoughts, todos, and follow-ups when you’re on the go.” On the right is an image of a smartphone with the NotaBene app. It has a plain white interface and someone is typing a new note.

NotaBene is simple and easy to use. It has a microphone button for taking voice notes. After you use it to record a voice note, you can send that voice note to a contact via their email. The contact receives your voice memo as a WAV file and a transcription of your message so they can listen to or read your notes. You can bundle photos and screenshots into the same note, too.

NotaBene is also great for sending notes to yourself, especially if you use a system like Trello or Evernote that gives you an email address. After you set up that email address in NotaBene, you can tell it to send a note to your Evernote or Trello board.

NotaBene is free and available for iOS and Android.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how NotaBene works for you.

Key takeaways from this article:

What do you think? What are your thoughts on driving website traffic with bots? Please share your comments below.

Discover how to integrate Messenger chatbots into your marketing, and find tips for growing your bot list and engaging with bot subscribers.



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Orignal Article Can Be Found Here

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