Category Archives: online marketing

Twitter birds

7 reasons why Twitter is great for your business

Twitter is a crazy place – a world full of opinionated one liners – good, bad, and often just mean – all shared publicly for all the world to see.

TV shows have harnessed its power and use it to give the fans a way to connect and see what everyone else thinks.

Celebrities use it to keep in touch with their fans and send the occasional messages of love or condolences to other celebrities.

But is Twitter any good for business?  Should you really bother?

The answer is a resounding YES.  Here’s why.

1.      You don’t need a pre-existing relationship with your audience

The top three social media sites are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Facebook and LinkedIn are focussed around connecting with people that you already know.  Sending random requests to people that you don’t know on these sites is generally frowned upon.

Twitter is the complete opposite.  Part of the twitter culture is that you “follow” anyone you like.  The great thing about this is that if people like your content, they are likely to follow you.  And if you follow someone, they often follow you back.

Once they’re a follower, you’re able to contact them directly with Twitter direct messages.

Each follower is a potential lead for your company.  Each have chosen to follow you, and decided over time to stay on as your follower.  From a marketing point of view, this shows that you both have their interest and managed to retain it!  Great!

2.      You don’t need any followers for people to see your message

Another powerful feature of twitter is the use of hash tags. If you’ve never used twitter before, you’ve probably seen some strange messages scrolling across the bottom of TV shows that look something like this:

Get VOTING guys - Shane really wants to stay in #ImACelebrityAU! RT & post #celebshane up to 20 times! #TeamWarne

Sample tweet with hashtags

In this example, a TV show has asked its audience to use #ImACelebrityAU hash tags to keep track of the conversation the audience is having.  By searching on that tag, you will see tweets from other people who are commenting about the show.  You don’t have to know who they are or follow them to see the tweets.

The same goes for anything that you write.  Just add some relevant hashtags, and your tweet will be seen by people who are interested in that topic.

Two minute hashtag research introduction

There is a lot that can be said about keyword research, but for the two minute introduction..

Pick a few keywords and put them into http://hashtagify.me.

It will show you how popular that hashtag is, and a number of the related tags.

Let’s say you’ve written an article about renovating a kitchen, or want to sell kitchen renovation related services.  Try searching on “kitchen renovation”.

At the top of the screen, you can see the popularity of the tag, out of 100.

#KitchenRenovation - popularity: 22.7

Popularity of the “kitchenrenovation” hashtag

22.7 is not great.

The next thing to note is the diagram of related hashtags.

Tags related to #kitchenrenovation

Tags related to #kitchenrenovation

The output is nice and visual –bigger bubbles belong to the more popular tags.

If you hover over one of the bubbles, it will tell you what its popularity is, as well as its correlation with the “kitchenrenovation” hashtag:

#renovation hashtag details

#renovation hashtag details

From looking at this diagram, I would use #DIY, #kitchen and #renovation as hashtags to use in a tweet, for example:

This #kitchen #renovation is starting to look great! http://link-to-your-site #DIY

And make sure you attach a nice big picture to get more interest in people actually clicking on your link to find out more.

3.      Connect with people and find customers from all over the world

If you have a business that is able to deliver internationally, Twitter can help you build your customer base in other countries.

As you tweet and gather new followers, you will find they are from everywhere.   Here’s a breakdown of where my followers are from.  The numbers are percentages of followers.  The map is a free service provided by tweepsmap.com.

Twitter follower map

Twitter follower map

My business is about writing materials in English, so naturally my target audience reside in all of the English speaking customers.  As you can see from the map, Twitter has given me direct access to potential customers in all English-speaking nations without me directly having to try to achieve that result.

4.      Gain regular exposure to your content over a longer time

On a lot of social media sites, you get one real opportunity to post an article and drive traffic to your website from it.  If it manages to gain some traction and other people share it, that’s great!  But in many cases, your article is published, gets some interest for a few days, and then fades away into the archives.

This is not a great result if you spent ages writing it!

Advertising can bring it back to life – for a price of course.

Or you can re-post it several times.  On most sites, that just makes you look like a spammer and is largely annoying!

Twitter however makes it easy for your articles to live on long after they were initially published.

On Twitter, it is common for tweets to scroll by fast enough that it is hard to read them all.  Often, if you weren’t on soon after a tweet was published, you can miss it altogether.

As a result, it is common for people to re-tweet their content number of times.

The main thing to avoid is having your twitter feed looking like it’s all the same thing over and over again.  That is easy to do if you tweet regularly and leave a bit of time between resending the same tweet.

When people look at your profile on twitter, they’re most likely only going to scroll back through a few pages of tweets.  Try recycling tweets from further back.

To get the best benefit from it, check out your tweet performance on https://analytics.twitter.com and retweet the most successful ones.

Note – Twitter also keeps your more successful tweets alive without you needing to do anything.  As I was writing this, I received a few likes for a tweet that I sent out 24 days ago. (Or some of my new followers are bored and are reading back through tweets I’ve sent previously).

5.      A/B market testing is super easy

A/B market testing is the process where you systematically test different variations of advertisements, landing pages and the rest of the marketing process to see what works best.  I previously wrote about how Twitter is great for A/B market testing since it provides you with a super cheap and easy way to carry it out.

A/B market testing on men's hairstyles

A/B market testing on men’s hairstyles

Related article: Cheap and effective A/B market testing with Twitter

If you’re writing a book for instance, brainstorm some different titles and send them out.  See which one gets more interest.

Then, make a few sample book covers and attach them to a series of tweets.  See which works best.

When it comes to advertising to it, make a few different image ads and send them out.

Traditionally, this would be done through paid advertising.  Twitter makes it easy to try different variations at no cost to you!

The same process is also good for helping you to learn what it was that your customers liked about an article.

Reusing a previous example – I recently wrote an introductory article on the Internet of Things – what it is and how it works.

On twitter, I advertised the article over a series of 5 tweets.  Each tweet was different, just to avoid looking like re-runs of the same material.

I thought my article was about explaining a geeky technical term. I included a short day-in-the-life example just to make it more realistic.

It turns out that people loved the example, and in particular, loved the topic of home automation.  This was really just a side note in the original article.  I never expected that to be what people liked the most.

6.      You can meet the big players in your field

Twitter also gives you a great forum for meeting the leading influencers in your field.  Twitter keeps an eye on what you’re interested in and who you follow, and prompts you with people to consider following.  If you hover over a person’s name, it shows you how many people follow them.  You can quickly find out who the major players in this field are.

Here’s an example:

Twitter suggestions about who to follow

Twitter suggestions about who to follow

If I start a conversation with @VentureBeat, I will be talking to someone with six hundred and seven thousand followers!  Imagine the exposure to one of your tweets if they re-tweeted it?

Twitter makes it very easy to find leading influencers.  There are also a number of programs that can help.  RazorSocial have a good overview guide to some of the programs.

7.      You can learn a LOT about your customers

Twitter provides a gold mine of information about your leads and customers.  Many people include information about their likes, job, their website and a whole range of other information right in their Twitter biography.

This makes it super easy to get to know more about each of your followers, and really focus in on the type of buyers that you’re looking for.

Aside from their profile, you can also view a full history of all of the public tweets they’ve ever sent.  It is hard to get a clearer view of what people are really interested in.

This makes it very easy to get them talking – after all, you already know what they’ve been talking about.

For anyone in sales, this is awesome!

It’s a bit too easy isn’t it?  Of course, you still have to nudge them along from being a lead to being a customer, so there’s still plenty of work to do!

Conclusion

In summary, there are many good reasons why Twitter should be included in your social marketing mix.

  1. You don’t need a pre-existing relationship with your audience
  2. You don’t need any followers for people to see your message
  3. You can connect with people and find customers from all over the world
  4. You can gain regular exposure to your content over a longer time
  5. A/B market testing is super easy
  6. You can meet the big players in your field
  7. You can learn a LOT about your customers

If you haven’t given Twitter a go, try it now!

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves turning complex tech jargon and concepts into articles that everyone can understand.

Acknowledgements

Twitter bird pictures by Vecteezy
Men’s hairstyles image designed by Freepik


Cheap and effective A/B market testing with Twitter

Introduction

In any marketing campaign, the main goal is to get the best possible results.  The response rate is a critical measure of how many people respond to the campaign.  The method for communicating with potential customers, as well as the style and content of the materials all make a significant difference to how well people respond.

It is important to try a few different variations of each part of an advertising campaign to see which one works the best.  In marketing circles, this is called A/B Market Testing.

The idea is very simple – Try two versions of an advertising campaign where one small variable is different.  Check the response rates, and see which version works the best.

What should you test?

In short – you should test everything!  This includes:

  • Headlines
  • Advertising layouts
  • Fonts
  • Colours
  • Use of pictures
  • Website landing pages
  • Pricing variations
  • Layout variations

It is often surprising to find out what works best.

How to setup A/B market testing on Twitter

When it comes to A/B market testing, Twitter is awesome.  Twitter provides the ability to easily present a quick message or an image to a large number of people.  It also provides very clear metrics that show the engagement for each tweet.

If you’re not on Twitter yet, or don’t have any followers, that doesn’t matter.   Twitter will help you to find an audience.  Just sign up for a twitter account and you’re ready to go.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Create your content. This could be a website, blog, landing page, eBook, advertisement image, etc.
  2. For written content, write a few different variations that all link back to the article but in different ways. The easy way to do this is to use the headings in the content to help come up with ideas for different tweets.
    For images, create a couple of different variations of the image that you want to test.
  1. Make sure that each tweet has some appropriate hashtags in there. This will help to present the tweet to a suitable audience.   If you’re not sure where to start, list the keywords that relate to your content, and search for them on http://hashtagify.me/.  It will quickly show you hashtags that exists on twitter, their popularity and related hashtags that you could use.
  2. Post the tweets. I tend to schedule tweets one a day over a series of days.  There’s no need to login each day to post the tweets – just use Tweetdeck or one of the many other social media scheduling programs to schedule all of them at the one time.
  3. After the series of tweets have all been delivered, login to the Twitter analytics platform to see what worked and what didn’t. [Note – the analytics are updated nightly at midnight UTC time.  You will need to wait until the day after each tweet to see the results.]

An example

Here’s a simple example.

I recently wrote an introductory article on the Internet of Things – what it is and how it works.  On twitter, I advertised the article in 5 different ways, each focussing on different elements of the article.

Check out the summary of the tweets and their different engagement level.  This info is from the Twitter analytics platform.

Sample A/B market testing results from Twitter

A/B market testing on twitter

As you can see, the concept of dreaming about home automation gadgets was a clear winner, with a massive 10.6% engagement rate – almost three times higher than any other variation that I tried.  It is also more than double my average engagement rate of 4.9%.

This tells me that home automation gadgets are a topic worth writing about.  Maybe I should write an article about the top home automation gadgets for every home?  Or review particular devices?

I note too that the article title had a very low engagement rate – only 1.9%, and less than half of my average rate.  The article could do with a new title!

Summary

Hopefully by now you’ve been convinced that Twitter is great for A/B market testing.  This work is easy to do within an hour or two, even if you’ve never logged into Twitter before.  It is highly effective, and best of all, it’s free! The results are also very clear and can give you great insights into what your customers are actually interested in.

Next steps

For homework, how about you try this for yourself?  Pick some material that you currently publish, try a couple of different variations and let me know how it goes.

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves turning complex tech jargon and concepts into articles that everyone can understand.

Acknowledgements

Men’s hairstyles image designed by Freepik.


email-marketing

Top tips for email marketing [Infographic]

Email marketing is awesome, but..

Email marketing is one of the most effective strategies for nurturing new sales leads, keeping in touch with customers and enticing customers to buy from you again.  But people get so many emails every day – it is easy for your message to be lost in the noise!

How do you cut through the email inbox clutter to make sure that YOUR email is read?

What subject lines work and which fail dismally?

What’s the best time to send a marketing email?

All this and more is answered in this great infographic by OnlineCourseReport.com.

 

Click on the image to see a larger size!

anatomy-of-email-outreach

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

Acknowledgements


Blogs and websites that have been left to die

Make sure your website doesn’t say that you’ve gone out of business!

This week I carried out a survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies.  My aim was simple – I’m looking for companies that might be interested in help with writing material for their business or managing their social media.

I was shocked with what I found.

My survey was focused only on IT companies – specialist IT services companies!

The amount of sloppy IT work that I uncovered was frightening.  Not just sloppy social media advertising, but also a number of ancient relic websites that look like they were built in the Stone Age (which in computing terms is anything more than a few years ago!).

Survey results – website updates

Out of the 50 companies, 15 companies had websites that are desperately in need of an overhaul.

There were a number of obvious mistakes like:

  • Links that don’t work in Chrome
  • Websites that have been optimised for an 800×600 screen
  • Websites that are not responsive (as in.. they won’t look good on a mobile phone)
  • Copyright info dating back to 2012 or earlier
  • Websites that just look awful compared to modern designs

These websites are so far out of date, it looks like the company has gone out of business.

Survey results – social media presence

Social media survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies

Social media survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies

54% of the companies had no social media presence at all.  That’s ok – it’s not a requirement to be on Facebook and twitter.

Another 13% were doing a really great job of it. Constant updates, regular engagement with their audience, blogs with good material.

However, one third of the companies really struggled.   These companies had done something in the social media space, but then left it to wither and die.  They had a page on Facebook, Twitter, etc, and even had a few updates.. but then.. nothing.

They also had a blog or “news” page with very few updates, and often no updates for months at a time.  It is hard to call it “news” if there is nothing new on there!

Bad social media presence is a whole lot worse than no social media presence

The bottom line is –

If you are not going to keep a blog or social media page updated regularly, don’t make one!

It gives a really bad impression to have a website that is so obviously out of date.

First impressions matter

Having an out of date website leaves a very bad impression.  It is very easy to tell which websites have been updated in the past couple of years.  Modern, responsive websites all have a particular look about them.  Any website that hasn’t been updated in that time looks very old, and gives the impression that the company may not really know what it’s doing.

The sad part was, all of these were IT services companies.  If IT companies can’t modernise their website when they probably have the skills available in-house, how is the rest of the business community meant to do it?

The good news is that keeping websites and social media up to date is a lot easier than it looks.

Tips for keeping your website and social media alive

The following can keep your website and social media presence alive with the absolute minimum of effort.

1.      Use WordPress for your website, and update the theme regularly

If you are struggling to keep your website up to date, this is the best tip for you!

WordPress is a content management system for websites.  It is very easy to use, and many web hosting providers have a one-click install for getting it up and running.

There are hundreds of different themes that can be used with WordPress – each providing a different style for your website.  It will not take long to find one that you like.  Do a search on “Wordpress themes” in your favourite search engine to get started.  Other good searches are “best responsive WordPress themes” or “best free responsive WordPress themes”.

Many themes are up to date with all of the modern features.  They work on all modern browsers and automatically resize content to work on mobile phones, tablets, desktops – you name it!

You don’t need to know anything about coding webpages – just put in the text and WordPress and your theme will look after the presentation for you.

There are also a number of providers that will run WordPress for you – you only need to worry about the content.

WordPress also has a multitude of plugins that make enhancing your website easy.  It is very easy to install a plugin to provide whatever features you want – from being able to add social media sharing icons through to running an online store.

WordPress themes and plugins are also updated regularly.  Keeping your website up to date is as easy as logging into the admin console once a month and installing the updates that are available.

2.      Be consistent

If you have a blog, news section or any social media pages, make sure you post updates regularly.

As a minimum, post something every month.  It doesn’t have to be new material – just post a link to something that is relevant to your audience, and a brief blurb about why it is relevant.

It will be enough to show that your company is still alive.

Whatever you do, don’t post a few updates during one enthusiastic week, and then leave your pages idle for months on end.  Over time, this lack of updates looks really silly.

Note – if you want to get any traction with a blog and social media in general , you really need to be posting at least a couple of times, preferably three, a week.   For platforms like twitter, a few times a day is better.

3.      Consider removing your blog and social media pages

If you don’t want to have to worry about making regular updates, that’s ok – you can always remove your blog and social media pages.  Just review your website content at least once a year, and occasionally update the look and feel of the website (see tip 1 above), and the job will be done.

You can also create a company page on sites like LinkedIn.  These work just as well if it has static information about your company.  They don’t all need updates.

If you have any existing articles on your blog that you want to keep, you can always re-brand the page as a “resources” section.

If you do post any information that is only relevant for 6 months, put a note in your calendar to take it down when it is no longer relevant.

Summary

Just remember, your website and your social media pages say a lot about your business.  Just make sure they don’t come across like this..

This website is in major need of an overhaul!

This website is in major need of an overhaul!

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

PPS – If you need some help resurrecting your website, send me your web address.  I’m happy to give some free advice on where to start.

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves turning complex tech jargon and concepts into articles that everyone can understand.

Acknowledgements

Cemetery image by Stockvault


Social media marketing - 5 tips for working out which platform to use

Social media marketing – 5 tips for working out which platform to use

Social media is changing the world – at least that’s what we’re told.  I’ve heard many stories of some guy who designed a T-shirt, put an ad on Facebook and made squillions!

But how can you do that for yourself?

And where do you start?

  • Facebook?
  • Twitter?
  • LinkedIn?
  • Flickr?
  • Google+?
  • Pintrest?
  • YouTube?
  • Snapchat?
  • Instragram?

Athlinks, Bebo, Cyworld, Elftown, Exploroo, Flixster, Flickr, Friendster, Gogoyoko, Ibibo, Lifeknot, Myspace, Netlog, Pingsta, Sgrougles, StumbleUpon, Talkbiznow, Tumblr, WAYN, Yammer…

My goodness.. there are too many to choose from!

Wikipedia was no help.  Their “non-exhaustive” list of only “notable, well-known sites” comes to 210 sites!

Here’s a quick guide to narrow the field down to something manageable.

Before we start

To get going with social media marketing, you need to have something to share with people.  For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume that you have some regular information that is ready to go.  If not, check out my article on how a blog is the foundation for all of your social media marketing efforts.

If you need more content, you can also make the most of using material that is already out there.

Naturally, driving people towards purchasing your own products and services is preferable!

How do I choose which social media platform to start with?

Here’s a quick guide to picking which social media service to start with, or (if you’re already on social media), which one to move to next.

1. Where is your audience?

The most important consideration should be:

Where is your audience?

Where is your audience?

For each product/service, you should have a very clear idea of who your ideal customer is.

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • What do they talk about?
  • Why do they want to buy your product?
  • Who do they hang out with?
  • Even better – WHERE (online) do they hangout?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, stop reading and work that out.  It will save you a lot of time later.

Assuming you have a variety of products, you may well find that you need different social media platforms for different groups.

If you’re not sure, ask your next few customers what social media programs they use.  Ask them which one out of all of them is the best!  You will probably get a list of half a dozen or more  – depending on the demographic of your customers!

2. Platforms you’re already using

The next question is – what platforms are you already familiar with?  They are a great place to start.  Chances are, you already know how to use it, know what sort of material is engaging, and even better, you probably already have your own network of people who will see your posts!

If you’re not sure what works, just ask yourself what gets your attention.  If the regular crazy cat videos on Facebook grab your attention every time, imagine a cute video of a cat playing with one of your products..

[Ok – admission time – I made the mistake of clicking on the link! Argh!]

3. Platforms that your staff are already using

Another consideration is  – what social media channels are your staff using?

One of the things you will be looking for is existing networks that you can share content with.  Asking your team to re-share articles with their friends/networks is a great way to quickly get a lot of exposure.

4. Pick the big players

If you’re still stuck, choose one of the most popular platforms and go from there.

The answer to this will vary significantly on a few factors – does your company have a global or local reach?

Do your customers use one of the niche websites?

For example – the answer to “the most popular social media site in Australia” is likely to be very different to the “most popular social media site for independent musicians”.  Or not?   The bottom line is that the answers will vary depending on what you ask.

Here are some varying answers:

Facebook, Instragram and Snapchat top social media platforms for teens

Top social media platforms for teens – 2014. [Source: Pew Research Centre]

Twitter is the number one social site used within the sales process for 2014

Twitter is the number one social site used within the sales process for 2014. [Source: Forbes]

Be careful with this research.  The social media landscape is changing rapidly.  A survey from 2014 may be too old!  It wasn’t that long ago that Myspace was awesome and most of the others didn’t exist.  Keep an eye on your audience and move with them!

5. Use analytics to find out what works

Each social media platform gives you good information about how many people look at your article, like it, reshare it, bump it, thump it, pin it, etc.

If you drive the audience back to your website, and have Google Analytics installed, it also gives great reports on:

  • How many people visited your site
  • Which social media platform referred them
  • How long people from each site spent on each individual blog page

You can find the average reading time to help work out which audience actually engaged with your article.   I recently found that I had the most hits from StumbleUpon, but the longest reading time from users on Google+ and LinkedIn.  From this, I know that I’m better off spending my time focusing on them for now.

Summary

Just to recap – here are the 5 points to help choose a social media platform to focus on.

  1. Where are your audience?
  2. Platforms you’re already using
  3. Platforms that your staff are already using
  4. Pick the big players
  5. Use analytics to find out what works

So how did you go?  Where do your customers hang out and which social media platform works the best for them?

If you’re already up and running with social media marketing, what platform works the best for your business?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

PS – I’ll have more to say about social media analytics over the next few weeks

PPS – I will also have a free surprise for you to get you going with social media marketing!  Join my mailing list so that you don’t miss out!

PPPS – For all of your social marketing needs, drop me a line.  I can help in all aspects from setting up a marketing strategy, setting up your social media presence, writing regular blog articles and fully managing the social media for your company.

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves helping small businesses use online marketing to boost their sales.


Blogs are great for business!

5 reasons why a blog is great for business!

I first heard of blogging in the late 1990’s when a bunch of my friends were setting up their own blogging websites.  It’s more than 15 years later, and blogging has started to hit the main stream.  But still, there will be many business owners who wonder if it is worth setting up a blog for their business.

Today we have a look at 5 reasons why a blog is great for business.

1.     Build trust with potential customers

People buy from suppliers they trust

A blog is a great place to start building trust with potential customers.  There is a multitude of research into the art of selling, but a common thread is that a potential customer is much more likely to buy if they trust you.

It often takes 5 or more connections with a potential customer before they trust you enough to buy your product or service.

A blog is a great way to build this trust with potential customers, and start connecting with them.  The blog can:

  • Show what your business is about
  • Show what you can do
  • Show that you know what you’re talking about

A blog can also provide a reason for a potential customer to join your mailing list.  If they like your material and find themselves reading a few of your existing blog articles, they are much more likely to join your mailing list.  They’re now a sales lead that you can actively engage with on a regular basis, leading them step by step closer to being a customer.

The key to this is to provide really useful information – something that your target audience is going to want to read!

2.     Keep in touch with existing customers

It costs a whole lot less to sell to an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one

Through your blog, you can nurture your existing customers and turn them into repeat customers.

Your blog can:

  • Keep them informed of new products and other company updates
  • Provide a wealth of information to help them use their existing purchase further
  • Provide a knowledge base of support material

Existing customers can be emailed directly, using the latest entries from your blog as the content of the email.

Your customers will get used to hearing from you on a regular schedule.  When you have a new product to launch, you have a ready market of people who are already listening.  Because they are existing customers, they are much more likely to purchase.

3.     Build a community of loyal customers

Loyal customers are often the best advocates for your business

Having customers is great – after all, without them, you’re not in business.  But even better than having regular customers is having a community of people who are highly engaged with your company and loyal to your brand.

Through your blog, you can interact directly with customers who comment on your articles.  You can survey them to find out what they’re interested in, you can hear directly about suggestions for new products or improvements to existing ones.  Your customers can also see some of your other customers and can chat with them.

This all helps to build a community and helps foster loyalty to your brand.

People love to be heard.  Engaging with them via your blog shows them that you’re not just after their money, but you actually care about them.

4.     Free advertising through improved search rankings

Why pay for advertising if you can get it for free?

Companies pay good money to have their advertising shown right alongside the top of Google search results.  But there are a lucky few who have their results listed near the top for free.

Do a search for the keywords that relate best to your business.  For many of the searches, you will find the top results are articles of useful information, provided in – you guessed it – a blog!

There are a large number of factors (around 200!) that are involved in the Google search engine algorithm.  Providing a regular stream of really useful and engaging information in your blog ticks a few of the boxes and helps to boost your search engine ranking in the following ways:

  • Up to date website – Google keeps track of how often the website is updated. A regular blog update keeps the website fresh in the eyes of the search engine algorithm.
  • Backlinks for the most popular material – When someone links to your website, it is called a “backlink”. If you are particularly lucky enough to get some wide publicity for an article (for example, via a TV show, newspaper article or some viral social media), your article will gather a lot of backlinks. This boosts the search rankings not only for the given article, but also for searches on any keywords that relate to your entire website!
  • Pages per session and average session duration – Google tracks how long each person stays on your website, and also how many pages each person clicks through. The longer the session and the more average pages that are viewed, the higher the website rank will be.
    Over time, the blog grows into a back catalogue of useful information.  By providing great material, and having a strategy of leading readers from one article to the next, you can boost both the pages per session and average session duration.
  • Reduced bounce rate – Google also tracks the “bounce rate” – the number of times people land on your site but go no further. Obviously, they were not interested enough to stay.  If you have a high bounce rate, it is an indication that your website is not that useful.
    As mentioned above, with a back catalogue of useful information, users are much more likely to read more and the bounce rate will reduce.

All of these factors have a big impact on the overall ranking of your website.  Having a blog that publishes regularly and contains high quality material will make a big difference to where your website appears in the Google search results.

[Note – I mentioned Google a lot here.  There are many other search engines – the problem is that they all struggle for market share. (See some sample web search market share statistics here and here.)  If your website ranks well for Google, it is likely that you’ve done the work that helps it to also rank highly in other search engines.]

[PS – I’ll talk more about other search engine optimisation techniques in future articles.]

5.     A foundation for social media marketing

Your blog is the corner stone of your social media advertising campaigns

Social media has revolutionised many aspects of day to day life, including advertising.  Using demographic information about users on Facebook and other popular social media sites, it is a lot easier to target your market and advertise to them directly.  But what do you show them?

You guessed it – your blog provides a constant stream of material that can be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, reddit, StumbleUpon, Pintrest, and the multitude of other social networking sites that are available.  The blog articles can be shared for free and can easily reach thousands of people if you have an established network or ask a few people to re-share them for you.

You can also share the information directly in groups that are set up around a particular topic.  This article for instance is going straight to groups focussed around small businesses and online marketing campaigns.

From there, each social media site (and your own website analytics) provides great information about which articles are the most popular.  You can easily find out how many read it, which social media platform they came from and when they’re engaging with your material.  This sort of information provides a whole new avenue for getting to know your customers.

If you’re going to pay for advertising, you can also work out (again, for free!) which article had the most traction and the most interest from your target market.  Then your advertising dollars can be spent where you know it is going to work the best.

Again, this all comes down to having something to share with people in the first place.  Having a regularly updated blog with high quality material is the single best way to get all of this going.

Summary

I hope I’ve convinced you that a regularly updated blog with high quality material is great for business!

Have you tried a blog with your business?  How did it go?  Let me know in the comments below.

Are you looking to set one up for your business?  Let me know if you need any help.  I’m happy to give you some initial help for free.  These days blogs are really easy to get up and running.

Of course, if you’re looking for someone to write regular blog articles for your company, contact me – I’m ready to help!

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves helping small businesses use online marketing to boost their sales.

Acknowledgements

Image designed by Freepik


Use other people's content to boost your website traffic

Boost your website traffic with other people’s content [case study]

Let’s say you’re the proud owner of a new small business website.  The only trouble is, very few people know that it exists.  Even less have seen it.

Here’s a case study of how I got 76 new visitors in one day using someone else’s content, and without paying a cent for advertising!

It’s easy as:

  1. Find some interesting material that is relevant to your target audience
  2. Check that you’re ok to share it on your site
  3. Publish it in your blog
  4. Link to it from Facebook
  5. Ask your friends to like it

Read on to find out how it went and exactly how you can do this for your own website.

If you want any help with boosting exposure for your business at low cost, let me know.

My aim

Given that I have a new business and a new website to go with it, I wanted to gain some quick exposure and get some people looking at my website.  One of the easiest way to do this is to post regular articles and link to them from popular social media websites.

As you’ll see from this example, you don’t even need to write your own material.  The whole process is very easy to reproduce.

Another aim is to show people the sort of items that I’m interested in.  Over time, it will help them to get to know me by the type of information that I publish.

Having regular updates to the website also helps with the search engine ranking, as well as the influence level of my profile on sites like LinkedIn.

As they say in the academic world – “publish or perish”.

Will I get any customers from a blog about font selection?  That is highly unlikely.  It’s hardly the most engaging topic going around.  Still – it was there and ready to go, so away I went.

To get better engagement, I’ll need something a bit more targeted and useful (like this post!)

The results

Before giving you a step by step on how to do this yourself, here are my results.

I published my first blog entry – a really useful guide on how to choose the right font, at 5:45am on Thursday 14th of January, 2016.  I also posted the article on my Facebook company page and LinkedIn company page.  Both of these company pages started the day with less than 10 followers in total.

I then shared the link using my own accounts on both Facebook and Linked In.  On Facebook, I asked my friends to do me a favour and “Like” my company page.

By the end of the day (18 hours later), I had:

  • 76 new visitors to my website
  • 52 likes on my Facebook company page
  • Over 1000 people who had the post pop up on their Facebook news feed
  • 222 people who had it pop up on their LinkedIn news feed

After 6 days, there had been a total of 180 visitors who had visited the blog entry on my website. 13% of those went onto look at another page on the website afterwards.

Not bad for a first blog post.

Here’s a closer look at the day one statistics using some of the tracking tools that are available:

Google Analytics summary of website traffic

Troeth Consulting Services copywriting blog - website traffic

Troeth Consulting Services copywriting blog – website traffic

Facebook company page and post analytics

Troeth Consulting Services copywriting blog - Facebook traffic

Troeth Consulting Services copywriting blog – Facebook traffic

Note that I also had my first page “unlike”.

LinkedIn post analytics

Troeth Consulting Services copywriting blog - LinkedIn traffic

Troeth Consulting Services copywriting blog – LinkedIn traffic

The LinkedIn date shows the 13th of January instead of the 14th – I assume it is reporting in USA time.

How to do this for your own business

Ingredients

I had the following in place before I started:

  • A company website with a blog
  • Google Analytics to track website usage
  • Company Facebook and LinkedIn pages
  • A LinkedIn network with 508 connections
  • A Facebook profile with 533 friends

Contact me if you want help with getting any of these set up, or want me to do it for you. Obviously I can’t find your friends.. but I can help with the other bits!

1.      Find interesting material that is relevant to your target audience

The first step is to find some interesting material to share.

Given that my business relates to copywriting, online marketing campaigns and website development, I regularly read articles on these topics.

Occasionally I come across one that I find really interesting and worth sharing on my own site.  In this case, it was an infographic on a topic that I knew very little about.  The infographic was really interesting, and the general format is engaging.  I find it hard to stop reading a good infographic on a topic that is even vaguely interesting!

There are a multitude of websites and groups that will happily send you new articles every day.  If you’re not subscribed to any relevant mailing lists at the moment, here’s where to start:

  • Do a quick Google search for topics relating to your business and add the keywords “blog” or “news” to your search. The first couple of pages of results will list a number of the most popular blogs and news websites.  Most of them offer a sign-up option and will regularly email new content to you.
  • Search for the same topics on Facebook and LinkedIn. Look for any public groups relating to that topic.  Join the groups that have a lot of members.  LinkedIn in particular will send you regular emails with summaries of the most popular articles.  You can also use the LinkedIn Pulse app to find the top stories quickly and easily.

2.      Check that you’re ok to share it on your site

Before sharing the content on my site, I got in touch with the authors and asked them if they were happy for me to share the article – they were.

From their point of view, they get another link to their site (which helps build up their search engine ranking), and another 1000 people who saw their material as a result.

3.      Publish it in your blog

Publishing was quick and easy.  I grabbed a copy of the infographic and wrote a brief background blurb to go with it.  I also put together a quick image to go with the blog, using the title of my article written in different fonts.  I used PowerPoint to put it together, cut and paste it into an image file and made sure it was the right size.

Simple!

4.      Link to it from Facebook

Once published, I posted the link on my Facebook business page, and reposted that link using my own personal Facebook account.  My Facebook page had just a handful of likes at this point (thanks everyone who liked the page!).

I also put the article on LinkedIn.

5.      Ask your friends to like/share it

When sharing the post on Facebook, I added “Please do me a favour and like my business page. Thanks!”

A couple of people also re-shared it on their page which was very nice of them!

Summary

So that’s it – a quick and easy way to get a lot of new visitors to your site in less than a day.

There are many ways to make this process even more effective. A “how-to” post with step-by-step actions that are of use to the audience (like this one) typically go a lot better, have a much better chance of being shared, and are more likely to generate leads for gaining potential customers.

Speaking of which, I would love to write for your business.  If you would like use a blog to boost your business, please get in touch.

Now it’s time for you to try it out for yourself.  Let me know how you go in the comments below.

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves helping small businesses use online marketing to boost their sales.