Ripcurrent content marketing orlando agency get views for my blog image cat

3 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Get Views For Your Blog

 Plenty of Great Content, but Not Much Traction?

These 3 Easy Tricks Will  Get New Eyes on Your Blog!

Ripcurrent content marketing orlando agency get views for my blog image cat

 

We’ve all experienced the disappointment of spending some serious time and effort carefully crafting an awesome blog post, only to have it sit untouched and unloved when the audiences just don’t show up. Businesses find a particularly challenging road to getting eyes on their blogs since most of their blogs are simply self serving advertisements that people will actually go out of their way to avoid.

Still, for the businesses that are actually putting out useful audience-first content, there are 3 VERY easy things you can do after every blog post that will up the chances that people will at least know your content exists. These are simple, fast, and free. None of them will suddenly drop thousands of eyes onto your blog where there were no views before, but they will definitely give you that little push to get you started with building an audience for your blog!

 

1. Post the URL to Google + – This is one of those things we ALL know we should be doing, and yet – in a world of Facebook and Twitter, we never really remember to do, and that’s a shame. It’s no huge secret that Google gives extra “Google Juice” to the products it owns, and in an attempt to get us all to “finally come around” to the red-headed step child of a social network, Google gives content posted on Google + a little extra power over content posted on the more popular networks.

Admittedly, there aren’t as many people who are going to see your post there (I’ve heard people joke that if Facebook is a bustling world of it’s own,  you could probably fire off a cannon on Google +’s main thoroughfare and not hit anyone), but that’s not really what you are for. The biggest reason to post your article on Google + is to get it quickly indexed and moved a few paces forward on Google.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any human eyes on Google + though. I keep finding articles about people (some of them are even major influencers in the business, marketing, and tech worlds)  who actually prefer the platform over the more commercialized Facebook and Twitter, so definitely, make sure that what you post there still makes sense for human consumption. Still, for those of us to believe in keeping things simple, focus on Facebook and Twitter for human audiences, and Google + for technical reasons.keep reading

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5 of the Best Free WordPress Plugins for B2B Websites

5 Of The Best Free WordPress Plugins For Your Business Website

Ripcurrent Best Free WordPress Plugins header

Here’s Just A Few of What We Believe to be the Best Free WordPress Plugins for B2B Websites…

 

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the best free WordPress plugins for your business website- or at least, some of the best that we’ve found. There are several big name plugins (Yoast comes to mind, as does WP Optimize) that most lists tend to contain, and while we generally agree that those plugins are incredible and worthy of your download, in this article, we are going to explore some of the ones that might not get quite as much attention.

One of the best things about WordPress is the fact that almost anyone can solve their own particular challenges just by knowing what the challenge is. If for instance, you know that you want help putting a piece of code in the header of a particular page without putting it on all of the other pages in your site, you can search for a plugin that will handle that issue. If you want to start recording how many people are visiting individual pages on your site, there is a plugin for that. Plugins are -obviously ridiculously powerful tools- but some are better for certain sites than others. The 5 plugins we will be reviewing today are ones that we usually install on our own client sites, and all are used to make their sites more professional, more secure, and more powerful.

Best Free Marketing Plugin: LeadIn

LeadIn Plugin for Marketing at RipCurrent - Best Free WordPress Plugins for B2B Websites

 

 

 

 

I love HubSpot. They make one heck of a product and they arguably blazed the trail for inbound marketing as an art and a science. Their product continuously adapts to the market and their team is nothing if not ridiculously helpful. The problem is that they are also prohibitively expensive for many business, and they aren’t known for playing in the WordPress sandbox. Until now…

Leadin is a great plugin brought to us (in a round about way) by HubSpot. The Leadin app is a free plugin that integrates seamlessly with your standard WordPress.org site and it gives you some of the most sought after tools in the HubSpot quiver, including a fantastic lead scoring tool!

Lead Scoring allows you to track your visitors as they move around your site. It shows you what content they have viewed, how many (and which pages) they traveled through, and – if they fill in a webform- it will give you some great insights into the lead, such as their name, their company, information about the company, and social profiles for the lead.

This is HUGE. When you are trying to decide if a lead on your site is marketing or sales qualified, this will help you understand the lead’s background and their intent! If your business is in the commercial remodeling industry and you see that a lead on your site has been viewing pages about remodeling break rooms and that they have come to your site 3 days in a row before filling out a form…and that they viewed your pricing page before asking for information, you can make the assumption that they are most likely a true sales-qualified lead!

They plugin also allows you to build some simple but nice contact forms (including pop up forms) and to store/analyze the information about the people visiting your site.

By no means is LeadIn as full featured as HubSpot, but it’s still one of the best free wordpress plugins none the less and it is a great set of training wheels for learning the art of Lead Scoring!

 


 

Best Free Security Plugin: Securri

Sucurri security plugin wordpress for ripcurrent -Best Free WordPress Plugins for B2B Websites

 

 

 

 

Several months ago I logged onto this site and found that it had been hacked by a group claiming to be Russian backed freedom fighters. Whether or not that’s truly who they were, what I can vouch for is that it was a pain in the backside to get the site back up and running. I’d clean it off with a restore, then clean the infected code, and change all the login information, and 2 days later, the site would get hijacked again.  Sure, I could keep cleaning it up, but it was a time consuming and frustrating process that required more time and attention that I really had to give it.

Then I found Sucuri.

There are several versions of Sucuri, but this article is all about the free (or at least the free level of “freemium”) plugins, so we’re just going to start with the basic package, and in this case, the free version blew me away!

It did a great in depth scan of my site, helped me figure out where the hackers were gaining access (it turned out to be through a trapdoor in a plugin that had always been very reliable until that point), it helped me clean the problem off the site, and it put up a “fence” that has successfully helped prevent any further problems.

My personal favorite feature though? It will send you an email anytime that someone attempts to login to the dashboard of your wordpress site, whether they are successful or not! I’ve installed the plugin on client sites several times since then and I have watched in real time as hackers unsuccessfully attempt to figure out passwords over and over before finally giving up. It will even email you when there is a new post on your page so that you can keep track of any time your site is updated- and with what!

 


 

Best Contact Form Plugin: NinjaForms

ninjaforms contact form plugin wordpress for ripcurrent - Best Free WordPress Plugins for B2B Websites

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact forms are where websites can make fortunes…or lose them.

People put a lot of effort into things like slider or animations – features that are eye catching and “cool”, while slapping cookie cutter contact forms onto a contact page and hoping for the best.

Now, the unfortunate fact is that a lot of people don’t realize just how important the contact form is. It’s the moment when people consent to starting a relationship with you. Even worse, most people don’t really know HOW to create a good contact form, so they rely on pre-built pieces that often suffer from very poor functionality, boring aesthetics, and an inability to “speak” with 3rd party apps ,plugins, and softwares.

NinjaForms has been a great solution to the challenge of finding a fully featured and reliable contact form builder!

The plugin (a freemium piece) has tons of functionality at the free level, and within about 20 minutes, you can be pretty handy in the interface. You can build some very nice contact forms with a drag and drop editor, create multiple forms to use on different pages, set triggers on the back end so that people who fill out your forms can be redirected to the Thank You Page of your choice. It will send emails to both your contact and yourself, and even keep track of who has submitted through which form.

For a few dollars extra, you can add even more functionality through the premium options that will interact with a literal phone book of 3rd party softwares.

Best of all? The plugin is well updated, safe, and reliable, which is more than we can say for the vast majority of other contact form plugins!


 

Best Widget Plugin: Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

black studio tinymce widget wordpress plugin for ripcurrent - Best Free WordPress Plugins for B2B Websites

 

 

 

 

Out of all of the plugins on this review, this is the one I have been using the longest on my own websites.

When I first started building WordPress sites for small businesses in 2010, I was blown away by all the amazing things that the platform would allow me to do with relatively little effort, but one thing bugged me- the widget area of my site was hard to customize.

Sure, I could find loads of preformatted widgets that would handle specific tasks that their programmer set out, but if I wanted to customize something with HTML, I was out of luck. That’s when I found the TinyMCE Widget plugin and everything changed.

The plugin allows you to drop a blank slate of either text, rich text, or html into your widget bar to customize it as you like. Add photos and links, embedded videos, switch fonts…really, it allows you to create and edit custom widgets to your heart’s content.

There are other plugins that have similar intentions , but this is the (well updated) granddaddy of them all, and for my money, the more reliable and user friendly WYSIWYG widget editor available .


 

Best Data Protection Plugin: UpDraftPlus Backup/Restore

updraftplus back up plugin wordpress for Ripcurrent - Best Free WordPress Plugins for B2B Websites

 

 

 

 

After talking about Sucuri, I don’t want to give the impression that the world of business websites is all about disaster striking, but…well…sometimes it is.  I personally have never lost a site, but I know more than one person who has, and having your site disappear into limbo (along with your many MANY hours of hard work) is soul crushing. That’s why it’s so important to have a good back up plugin, and for my money Updraft is the best free wordpres plugin to go with.

There is nothing incredibly sexy about what UpdraftPlus does, but much like the air that we breathe, you’ll certainly notice it if it’s not there when you need it!

The plugin is pretty simple. You still stall it, and here and there (and always before a big change or update your site) you click the button that puts the app to work creating a back up copy of your WordPress page.  Personally, I always take it up on it’s option to download a copy of your site, just for the added peace of mind it brings to a paranoid mind like mine…

 

…of course you’re only paranoid if it turns out you’re wrong, right?


 

facebook featured image ripcurrent orlando marketing agency

The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Create and Install It

The Facebook Pixel: Why You Need it &How to Get it.

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Organic Reach is Dead, Long Live the Facebook Pixel!

Marketers have been trying to wrap their heads a round Facebook since  2006 when the platform opened membership to anyone over 13 years of age. Originally seen as an online hangout for college kids and later expanding to become the most popular social network in the world, smart marketers have been trying to figure out how to get the most out of the platform in a world of ever changing rules and offerings. There are literally dozens of tools that the social-giant offers to brands looking to capitalize on the enormous audience Facebook brings, but perhaps none offers as much value to the savvy marketer as does the Facebook Pixel!

If you read my blog about how Facebook has been steadily cutting down on the amount of Facebook organic reach that brands can hope to achieve on their own individual fan pages, you may have come to the conclusion that I’m pretty anti-Facebook. True, I have been irritated by how the rules of the game completely changed around all the companies who may have already invested quite a bit of their limited resources into building a large Facebook fan base (which is almost but not quite a total loss at this point), but even so, I’m still a very strong advocate of Facebook’s value as a marketing tool for businesses of any size. The trick is to know where Facebook’s strength really lies these days, and for my money (and likely for yours as well, assuming you are trying to market on a budget), the Facebook Advertising product is the sweet spot of the 8 million lb gorilla. That’s where the hero of our story- the Facebook Pixel enters the picture…

In October of 2015, Hubspot published an infographic that went into some of the reasons that Facebook has such HUGE potential for brands. Among the insights they provide are:

  • There are 1.39 Billion active monthly Facebook users.
  • There are 1.19 Billion active monthly mobile Facebook users .
  • The average Facebook user spends 40 minutes per day using the platform.

So, it goes without saying that there are a lot of people using the platform. Nothing shocking there.

The real strength of the platform is it’s targeting ability though! You can super target your ads by things like geographic location, age, gender, and device usage- just like you can with Google AdWords.  What Facebook allows you to do that Google doesn’t however is to target by interest (you know all those things you have “liked” over the years? Sports teams, music, hobbies, cars, foods, etc? You’ve been helping Facebook categorize you all these years). You can target by a user’s behavior, by a target audience’s connections, and by retargeting people who have been on your website already- using the Facebook Pixel!

As long as you already have a fan page set up for your business/brand, you have access to the Facebook Pixel, which is a free tool that the social network makes available to you to install on your own page should you wish to take advantage of this awesome tracking tool for your social media management! The Facebook Pixel allows you to:

  1. Build a custom audience (or audiences) from your own website for remarketing.
  2. Better optimize ads for increased conversions.
  3. Track conversions and show which ads led them into your cash register.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “Remarketing”, it’s the science of second chances. Basically, it’s a series of efforts to make a conversion with an audience that has previously shown interest in your brand or your offerings, but didn’t follow through and convert the first time. The process can differ quite a bit depending on what brand or media you are using, but in the case of the Facebook Pixel, retargeting is about installing your custom Facebook Pixel into the code of your own website. When a visitor comes to your webpage, the pixel is picked up in their cookies. This allows two important things to happen…First, it allows you to track them from your Facebook Business Manager page. It will tell you what pages they were looking at so you have a better idea of what they were interested in. Second, it will allow you to specifically target them with your paid Facebook ads!

Have you ever been browsing an online store, looked at a product, and then- for one reason or the next- decided not to buy? Maybe you decided that to hold off while you look for a better deal, or maybe the shipping and handling scared you away. The next time you sign into Facebook though, you notice an ad for that same store…or maybe even for that same product, but the ad mentions 20% off if you click the ad. Perhaps you grumbled about Facebook knowing everyone’s business (which it does, though- let’s be honest- that’s really our own fault), be put then made the purchase anyways. That’s retargeting with the Facebook Pixel.

Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, the Facebook Pixel can still be a great tool for your business. If you have a blog for your service business (and you should DEFINITELY have a blog of course) for instance,  you can add the Facebook Pixel to a particular blog post and then retarget those readers on Facebook with an offer specifically related to the blog post that they had already shown interest in!

 

Alright, let’s create that first Facebook Pixel! To start with, go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/ and sign into your account. It should look something like this:

Facebook ads manager orlando marketing agency ripcurrent

 

Once you have logged on, click the “Tools” drop down menu, and choose “Pixels”. This will bring up a pop-up box that asks you to name your pixel:

facebook pixel pop up box orlando marketing agency ripcurrent

It doesn’t really matter what you call it per se, but I like to name individual pixels with the company name followed by the product or product line name that the pixel will be used to promote.

 

Facebook will then give you the option of either emailing the code (if you have a digital marketing agency who helps you build traffic with your social media program, this is where you give them access to the pixel), or you can pull the code yourself as shown below.

 

Facebook pixel code orlando marketing agency ripcurrent

 

Now, if you know how to work the back end of your site, you’re going to want to add this code to the header of your site, but if you’re not comfortable messing around with such things and you use WordPress to build your site, you might want to download one of the plugins that makes this easier. Just got to the plugin store and search  “insert headers” and choose one that has a good rating.

 

 

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6 Tools Your Internet Marketing Agency Is Already Using

6 Online Tools Your Own Internet Marketing Agency Is Using to Get Better Results for You

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You Don’t Have to Be a Top Notch Internet Marketing Agency to Put These Great Tools To Use…

Tools don’t make the marketer, but they sure as  heck make the marketer market better! One of the questions we get asked oh so often is what tools we suggest. Well, suggestion a tool and actually USING a tool are two different things. Internet Marketing Agencies don’t usually kick your results up a notch strictly by intuitively knowing how to tweak  word here and by throwing a switch there- they use tools to boost their own skills. Here are 6 of the tools we use for our own clients- and we know we aren’t alone!

 

BuzzSumo

Buzzsumo logo ripcurrent tools for internet marketing agencies

 

 

 

 

 

What it does: 

BuzzSumo is a Freemium online application made to help content marketers research and create the kind of content that people care about, as well as to help determine who already has a proven interest in those topics.

Simply pop a topic you are thinking about covering and BuzzSumo will show you the most popular existing content about that topic as determined by the number of times that content has been shared. You can break down those shares by how/where those shares happened, and even trace back where back links to the article are coming from. This is great for deciding if a topic has sufficient interest to justify your time to write about it, and it will give a you a leg up on finding out who might be interested in linking to or sharing your finished product.

The paid versions of the tool add more tools like unrestricted and unlimited searches exportable data, trend tracking, and outreach lists which are great for white hat link building.

BuzzSumo Screenshot Ripcurrent content orlando marketing agency

 

How your internet marketing agency uses it:

If your agency is being tasked with creating the kind of content that will drive more traffic and ultimately more qualified leads to your website, knowing what sort of content is already working is huge. It’s always easier and more effective to drop your line where the fish are already swimming. Likewise, it will help your agency to know what influencers may already be showing an interest in that topic as they are the most likely to help share that content and link to it.

How much it costs:

It’s free to use BuzzSumo for a half dozen searches a day. These searches are limited to basic information such as a link to the article itself, a run down of where that piece has been shared, and a view as to how many shares there are.

To dive deeper and unlock unlimited daily searches, you can sign up for one of the 3 premium plans which start at $99 a month and go up to $1000.


 

HootSuite

Hootsuite logo ripcurrent tools for internet marketing agency

 

 

 

 

What it does:

Chances are, you are already familiar with Hootsuite, by name if not by reputation.  The tool is one of the two most well known social media dashboards in existence, and for our money, it’s the most useful one that we have come by.

Hootsuite allows you to connect multiple social media platforms under one dashboard, which is a great time saver if you have more than one or two platforms to updated. Unfortunately, that seems to be where most people stop using the tool, which is a real shame as that just scratches the surface of what this tool is capable of doing!

The tool also has some great conversation and tracking abilities, a fantastic tool for pre-scheduling content, a very easy to understand analytics platform for tracking how well your posts are doing, and an app store which gives you access to dozens of extensions to further power-up the tool with various 3rd party integrations.

How your internet marketing agency uses it:

If your agency is helping you with your social media marketing, chances are that they are either using Hootsuite or HubSpot (or possibly even both). Besides the fact that it adds a huge level of convenience to the mix, the fact that you can bulk-upload updates (with the premium version of the tool) allow an agency to plan entire months of a social media campaign in advance.

How much it costs:

The “Pro” plan starts at $9.99 a month for vastly expanded options, though you can add ala carte items through the Hootsuite store. Of course, there is a free trial of the Pro option, and you can always use the free version which is still an incredibly useful tool!


 

CrowdFire

Crowdfire logo ripcurrent tools for internet marketing agencies

 

 

 

 

 

What it does:

Twitter is one of the “Big 3” social networks that everyone knows they need to have a presence on, and yet so few people really seem to understand how it works. Companies pay so-called extras to delivery hundreds or thousands of followers in the mistaken assumption that this will make your company look more sought after and drive new business. They blindly follow anyone and everyone they come across, and they never really stop to see just how their content affects their success (or lack of) with building their brand online. Crowdfire is designed to help correct those lazy habits!

Launched in 2010, Crowdfire gives you a dashboard where you can quickly see stats such as who has followed you, who has unfollowed you, who you follow that doesn’t follow you back, when people started or stopped following you, and it even gives you suggestions as to whom you might want to connect with based on the people who are already interacting with you! The tool also gives you the ability to set up an autoresponder so that whenever someone begins to follow you, they will receive a private message of your choice.

How your internet marketing agency uses it:

Most agencies who know what they are doing will tell you that a million on one inactive or unmotivated followers will hurt you rather than help you, and that following a lot of people who don’t follow you back (or whom stop following you once  you follow them) is equally detrimental to your Twitter strategy. Crowdfire makes it much easier for your agency (or for you) to keep your list clean and balanced. Like wise, it can help with your link building strategy by giving you strategic suggestions for whom to connect with. Many of these suggestions are the type of people who make great candidates to help share your content- assuming it’s great content of course!

How much it costs: 

The starter edition of Crowdfire is free, and it has all of the basic but awesome tools that I’ve already mentioned. More in depth options exist in a variety of premium packages starting at $9.99 per month.


 

Keyword.io

Keyword.io keyword tool internet marketing agency

 

 

What it does:

Keyword.io (that’s the web address by the way) does exactly what it sounds like it does: it helps you discover and plan keywords for your content!

Ever since Google started making changes to their own keyword tools a few years ago, marketers have been scrambling to find simple to use tools that will help them come up with the magic phrases that will make their content rank well with the search engines, and Keyword.io is all about ease of use! You simply pop a topic into the bar, and boom- out comes up to 750 suggestions

Because the tool isn’t an actual google product, it can’t show you actual data from the search giant based on your site like the Google keyword tools do, but it does base it’s suggestions in part off of data it pulls from the Google Search Box. For quickly discovering long-tail keywords, this tools is fantastic!

How your internet marketing agency uses it:

I’d be lying if I said that most agencies have given up on using the Google Keyword Planner for doing key word research. At the end of the day, that’s a tool that every marketer needs to use to the best of their ability. The Keyword.io tool is a great addition though, and for quicker/easier suggestions, this is a the new go-to tool.

How much it costs:

The basic version of this tool is free- you don’t even have to login anywhere! If you need to kick things up a notch though, you can upgade to the pro plan to get twice as many long tail suggestions, tons of additional information that is hard to get through the traditional Google Keyword Planner, and – if I am being honest- a much easier to digest dashboard than any other keyword tool I have come across! The pro version starts at $48 a month and goes up to $88.

 


 

Basecamp: 

Basecamp logoripcurrent internet marketing agency

 

 

What it does: 

I’m not sure if Basecamp is the world’s #1 project management software, but it certainly is the most popular one for agencies!

Basecamp is a simple to use and full featured project management platform that allows teams to corroborate on project, create and complete to-do lists, create web-based text documents, share files, view milestones, track time, message in real time, and even create “client portals” which allow clients to view certain portions of a project but not others.

How your internet marketing agency uses it:

Besides the obvious answer of “they use it to manage your projects”, they are probably also using it to keep track of billable hours, keep historical records of what they have done (what has and what has not worked), and use the Client Portal function as a bit of a marketing tool to help show what they are doing for your company. The version you see will most likely be a very clean version of what the internet marketing agency sees, and most agencies will allow commenting through the client portal, but not the ability for the client to make further changes.

How much it costs:

The base package of Basecamp is $29, and for businesses that don’t need the client facing portion, this $29 package is probably all you will ever be, but if you need the “Clientside” product, you’ll jump up to $79 per month.


 

Website.grader.com

website grader from hubspot logo ripcurrent internet marketing agency

 

 

 

What it does:

I actually have a soft spot for web tools that actually tell you what they are in their names. Nothing is quite as irritating as having to do a bunch of research just to translate a “fun” and “quirky” name into what it actually does. In this case, HubSpot’s Website Grader is exactly what it sounds like- a great (free) tool to help you (or your agency) figure a rough idea of where your current website stands in terms of things like accessibility, SEO, social media, and  blogging. 

It’s not an exact science,  but it IS a great way to get a base reading on ROUGHLY where you site is strong and where it needs help. There are issues…the grader doesn’t always recognize the plugins or the programs you may have built into your system…For instance, we use a marketing automation system that the HubSpot grader doesn’t recognize, and likewise it doesn’t seem to read our preferred social sharing plugin (and because of those two things going unrecognized, it penalizes our site’s score by a few points), but it’s still a great way to see the general areas you have been successful in, and a great reminder of what pieces may have gone ignored!

How your internet marketing agency uses it:

While it’s no surprise that most of the HubSpot partner agencies make the Website Grader one of their first stops when they are talking to a client (or potential client), you’d be amazed by how many other agencies use it as well. It’s a great way for an internet marketing agency to see where they can help the most and to do it without spending valuable time and resources on an in-depth audit at a time where they may not yet have secured the client.

How much it costs:

Free- and you can’t beat that, can you?

 

RipCurrent Orlando Internet marketing agency 20% off promo

 

Building Links smart guy

5 SMART Ways To Build Back Links and Improve SEO

Building Back Links the RIGHT Way While Keeping Google Happy

Building Links smart guy

Answering the Age of Question of “How Do I Build Back Links Without Going Black Hat?”…

(Guest Post by Felix Tarcomnicu )

 

Despite the tighter regulations imposed by search giants ( particularly Google ), on the use of back links, building those links remains a valuable strategy in generating organic inbound traffic.

The truth of the matter is there are ways and means to develop back links that will conform to Google’s guidelines and still yield productive results for your SEO efforts.

Here are five smart ways to build back links and improve SEO:

 

  1. Create a dynamic blog

 

Everyone in SEO has probably bled the term “Great Content” dry. Ever since Google introduced its search engine directives related to a change in its algorithm, the need for great content has been at the forefront of SEO.

 

There is no doubt creating great content will help generate back links. If people love what they read and see value and relevance in the content, they will share or re-distribute it. But in order to maximize your blog, it must be kept active or dynamic.

 

  • Include an RSS Feed in your blog page. An RSS Feed makes distribution and sharing easier.
  • Connect with other bloggers. When you link with other bloggers, they may return the favor. But be wary of the reputation and authenticity of the blogger.
  • Implement newsjacking. Newsjacking or the process of reporting on breaking news establishes the freshness of your content. This will drive your content up the search rankings.

 

  1. Explore your creativity

 

It’s not just about creating great content. You should look beyond your comfort zone and explore other ways to keep the interest going.

 

The best content should be relevant, engaging and addresses a specific concern of the audience. Often, a single piece will not be enough. Explore your creativity by adapting techniques to keep content fully charged.

 

  • Create case studies. If your content covers work with current or previous clients, use your experience to present case studies. These have the same effect as testimonials in that theories are applied to real world situations. Make sure to get the consent of your clientele.
  • Use Infographics. An Infographic is a visual representation of the data or information relayed in your content. Infographics contribute to making content reader-friendly and thus, share-worthy.
  • Create visual content. People are generally visual. When they read information, they often translate these into imagery. Consider utilizing unique forms of visuals such as cartoons, tables, graphs or even memes. The latter have branded memes juvenile but you cannot discount its ability to create viral content.

 

  1. Deliver content via Webinars

 

We’ve often read SEO professionals recommend webinars as an effective way for link building but how does it work?

 

Keep in mind these tips when conceptualizing your webinar:

 

  • Remember that people attend webinars to find resolution to an issue or concern. Make sure your content provides actionable plans and links to available resources.
  • Use your website to host the information and description of the webinar. This way, people will share that they will go to your website.
  • Have relevant internal links available for attendees to review before the webinar.
  • Have the sign up list, download and listen pages embedded on your website. This is the best way to capture social signals and back links.
  • Always have the social sharing apps available on the download webinar page.
  • Whenever you mention a resource, the related resource link must be featured.
  • Always shoe courtesy to the attendees and inform them when a copy of the webinar will be available.

 

  1. Develop strategic partnerships

 

In order to encourage organic back linking, you must consistently reach out to related resources or potential affiliates. In a way you are networking with people and communities that see value in developing strategic partnerships.

 

  • Research on your industry and identify the companies or businesses that are most congruent to your purpose. You might be surprised on the number of companies that would want to link to your blog especially for specific content.
  • Request for product or service reviews from other companies or businesses. A product or service review will not only succeed in building organic back links but provide you with valuable industry feedback on your performance.
  • Research on websites that have mentioned your business. Then contact them and work out a link building arrangement.
  1. Go old school

 

Who says that going the traditional route is obsolete in the digital world? Traditional networking may be inefficient but it still has redeeming values.

 

For one, leg work gets you involved and engaged directly with your prospective market. Second, greater connectivity is established when content is directly handheld. I am referring to newspapers, books, magazines and newsletters.

 

Even though the use of paper has been labeled “non-green” and financially inefficient, it still made content resonate louder and clearer than digital methods. You can merge old school tactics with digital techniques to build good quality back links to your website.

 

  • Contact news sites and pitch ideas for great compelling articles. In traditional marketing, you hired a PR Manager to contact news papers and find a content editor to propose an article or write up. In the digital age, it is pretty much the same thing. A news site will ask you to buy ad space or you can connect with the content manager and pitch an idea that may interest him. If the content manager agrees buys your pitch the news site will mention your website and thus generate back links.
  • Host an event and invite reputable bloggers, writers and the most widely recognized names in your industry. Some innovative online marketers even assemble an in-house marketing team to distribute “gift” to the special attendees to ensure favorable participation. A well-run campaign to support your event should generate enough buzz to encourage more back linking activities.

 

These are just a few of the best actionable ideas to help you attract organic link building to your website.

 

The bottom-line is to be creative with your approach and find new avenues to get your content found. In the virtual world, there are no boundaries. There will always be opportunities to expand your reach and coverage.

 

Author bio
Felix Tarcomnicu works with the SEO Tool Monitor Backlinks. He is the author of the popular article “How To Rank High In Google”. You can connect with Felix on Twitter.
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9.5 Things I Have Learned From A Year of Publishing on LinkedIn

What Works (and What Doesn’t) When Publishing On LinkedIn

A Look Back at What I Have Learned About The Platform…

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Roughly a year ago, I decided that I would make a point of publishing new content on (what was at that point) the fairly new LinkedIn Publisher platform, and try to do it on at least a semi-regular basis. I had been on the LinkedIn platform since 2005 and was a big fan of it’s potential as being more than a simple online resume tool, but rather as a powerful marketing tool, and I was excited to try my hand at doing a personal blog (or sorts) that already had a built in audience…Publishing on LinkedIn saved me the HUGE task of chasing down an audience!

 

It’s been a little over a year (as of today…July 30 2015) and I’ve posted 16 pieces in that time. Some of them have had considerable success, and some have landed with a resounding thud (well…that’s not true…most of the bad ones actually produced SILENCE). The experiment was to see first hand what works and what doesn’t work, as well as to see what effect it would have on my personal brand.

So that you might be able to skip over some of the ramp up I have had this year, I give you my own personal findings as well as some info from the experts along the way. None of this stuff is what I would call “scientifically proven”…it’s a cross between anecdotal and a fair amount of evidence based assumptions, but it should give you a good jumping off point for figuring out what content performs best on LinkedIn Publisher!

 

1. “How To” Posts Are The Surest Path To Views.

This should come as no huge shock to anyone who does content on a professional or even semi-pro level, but articles that teach people specifically HOW to do something tend to be some of the most popular and are definitely the safest best to catch on. You can do a piece about how to set up a Facebook cover photo in Canva, how to cut your computer’s boot up time by using a few readily available online tools, or how to do a Gmail mail merge and you are almost certain to get some interested views/engagement (Assuming you have at least a respectable network of connections). The trick is that you have to show some real detail; skimming over steps in the process is a sure way to lose the interest of your audience.

Some of my favorite how-to pieces are from Neil Patel off Crazy Egg/KissMetrics fame.  Whether on his blog or when he is publishing on LinkedIn, his articles are always very in-depth (with some great visuals) and always packed with valuable  and specific How To content. The image below was taken from his recent “How to Generate Leads From Content Marketing” article and it show’s the clear and approachable way he does things. It’s a great template for how to create fantastic and relatable How-To content that is share-worth!

 

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2. Humor Posts Can Work Well For You, But They Can Also Work Against You.

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The second article I ever published was a tongue-in-cheek piece entitled “”I Think I Need to Break Up With Your Email Newsletter”. It was written over the space of about 45 minutes, and it was a farcical Dear John letter to a corporation where I dissolved a floundering romantic relationship with an increasingly abusive email newsletter. It had a real point, but it was definitely written to be lighthearted and a bit ridiculous. I figured I would see a couple of hundred views, but instead it went on to drive more than 11,000 read, nearly 500 likes, 73 comments, and several hundred shares. I was elated! This was the power of well directed humorous writing, and I was hooked.

The problem was that I misunderstood what had happened. I made the mistake of thinking that humor was the key to the article’s success. It certainly helped of course, but the real reason it caught on was because it was relateable and gave voice to a problem (or at least an irritation) that most of us have. By focusing strictly on trying to be clever, I completely missed that important  piece of the puzzle when I latched onto the ha-ha’s.

My next several pieces were all humor laced rants about issues that I was facing. Honestly, I still think a couple of them were some of my funniest work to date, but none of them really caught on. Why not? Because I wasn’t delivering real value or giving voice to my audience. I was ranting about business issues that irritated me and using a string of one-liners to do it. I made it about myself and my circumstances and ignored the larger audience, and they responded by not responding.

It took me another 6 months to fully realize where I had gone wrong and then use that knowledge to write another piece that would actually get some legs under it.

The lesson I learned was that humor can be a very powerful tool when publishing on LinkedIn, but it has to be used to accentuate the content,  and not to actually BE the content. Value first- laughs second.

 

3. Long Form Content Get’s the Most Shares…and Respect.

This is the one that flies in the face of what so many people have assumed to be the truth over the past few years…

We live in a “BuzzFeed” culture where people have short attention spans and are always looking for small “snackable” nuggets of content, so well intentioned but misinformed people have been telling anyone who will listen that your posts should be quick fly-over pieces…no more than 500 words so that you don’t lose your audience.

The problem is that this isn’t true.

Oh, sure it’s true that people really do have shorter and shorter attention spans and that they do like quick “snackable” bites of content, but they also want quality and in-depth content, and study after study shows that long-form content performs best.

Noah Kagan (the entrepreneur who brought us AppSumo, which is awesome…if you aren’t already on their newsletter, get on it…some of the writing is amazing) did a study of 3000 LinkedIn Publisher posts last year for his blog OkDork, in which he pulled apart what posts on the platform performed the best. There were several characteristics  that the most successful posts had, and one of the most telling of them was that people DO perform long posts (specifically, those that range between 1900 and 2000 words).

“Okay, but I thought you said they want quick and easy to digest content…”.

They do. You need to make sure that your content is broken down into bite sized snacks by using bold headings, bullet points, and images to break up the content (sort of like I have done here). That makes it simple for people to pull small chunks of information out of a larger and deeper piece of content. It’s easier on the eyes, it’s easier to take in, it’s easier to retain, and it still allows you to go in-depth with the larger article and provide the kind of information that people will pay attention to!

 

4. Use BuzzSumo to Find Well Performing Topics.

For those not yet acquainted with BuzzSumo, this free-mium product is an awesome research tool for finding out if a particular topic is already getting traction on line, as well as to find out who is already sharing information about said topic. This info is VERY useful for deciding what topics you will select to write about, as well as to find out who you may want to reach out to when sharing your posts. This works for getting more views on your blog, articles, and yes- for LinkedIn Publisher pieces. Simply go to BuzzSumo and type a topic into the search bar. The tool will then (on the free version) show you the top 5 pieces of content (based on shares) in regards to that topic, and by clicking onto those share numbers, you can also see WHERE those pieces were shared.

This will allow you to pick topics that already have a proven audience, but it will also allow you to make sure that you aren’t getting into a massively crowded swimming pool if you don’t really have a new and fresh angle to add to the topic when you are publishing on LinkedIn.

I’ve recently begun using the tool when doing client blogs to make sure that the topics we write about are relevant as well as to know who I can share the content with. Chances are, if someone already shared a few articles/posts about the same subject, they may be interested in sharing (or at least reading) a fresh take from you as well!

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I’m not saying that you should ONLY write about things that are going to get big shares, but when you are putting together “Tent Pole Posts” (the “big gun” pieces that you plan to build your reputation around), knowing whether or not the topic already has an audience can save you a lot of time and heart break!

5. End Your Posts With A Call to Action.

I’m still going back into my posts and doing this one…

If your post does well, and people find it…start interacting with it, sharing it, all that good stuff…do you have some sort of end goal in mind for what you want them to do? Chances are you want them to connect with you, to follow you, or (gasp!) buy something from you. Do they KNOW what they are supposed to do though? If you don’t have a clear call to action, chances are that they don’t!

See the screen cap below for an example of how to add a call to action as well as how to link to previously existing content (which is #7 if you were curious)…

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6. Link to Your Other Posts (Once You Have A Few).

For anyone that does SEO on any level, the concept of internal linking is pretty common and basic stuff. It’s just linking from one page to the next on your site so that visitors (and the search engines) can move from one piece of content on your site to the next. It helps them find further information that might benefit them and it helps you keep them engaged and on your site longer.

The same basic principle applies to LinkedIn Publisher. Once you have a small handful of posts published, it’s a good idea to go back into your posts and start cross linking as much as you can. Besides helping you spread the messages you have already written to a new audience, you also increase the chances of adding these people as followers once they see the wealth of your knowledge.

7. Share Your Post on Twitter and Facebook With a Link Back To Your Post.

Linkedin Publisher gives you the option to push your piece directly to Twitter during the same step where you confirm posting the article to LinkedIn. To say the least, this is never a bad idea. It’s been my experience that having your post shared on Twitter will only get your post in more hands, and that -if LinkedIn sees the piece starting to get a lot of views- they will often give it a bump themselves and maybe even feature the piece in one of their Featured Categories, or even on their Pulse platform. If you can get your post featured on those, you’ll definitely see yourself get some quick traction!

So, while it should go without saying that you want to share your posts on other social networks, remember that there is a strategy of a larger pictures as well: to get LinkedIn to notice the additional traffic!

8. Opinion or Philosophy Pieces Don’t Generally Catch Fire As Often.

The problem with Opinion or Philosophy posts is that a.) They are subjective…what you see as sage wisdom might not fit the truth others experience, and b.) these posts are really about you and not about your audience, so you have a far smaller chance of them resonating or even being read.

That’s not to say that I don’t think you should ever write these types of pieces. Sometime we all have to put a piece of ourselves out there for the world to chew on…it’s therapeutic, but just understand that -generally- you might be speaking to an audience of one.

9. Results Are Not Always Consistent- Don’t Take It Personally.

My first post has- to this date 706 views. I’m pretty lucky to have gotten that many since it was pretty rough. No pictures, no links, and it was based on educating a very small selection of niche of people. That’s fine though- it was a jumping off point, and most articles don’t get that many views. The real problem came with my second post…It got over 11,000 views, 481 likes, and 73 comments. The post was picked up by Pulse and became one of the top 100 posts that month. I was in writer heaven!

The issue of course is that I got a tiny little taste of online fame right at the beginning of my LinkedIn Publisher career, and that created a monster.

I spent months afterwards trying to re-capture lightning in a bottle. I obsessed over the the counter on each subsequent post, and to this day I haven’t been able to get that kind of engagement again. About 6 months later, I did end up back on the weekly top 100 list, but it wasn’t the same.

I’ve come to realize since then that there is no real consistency. There is no formula for sure-fire success with the platform other than to consistently publish amazing content so often that people get upset when they don’t see you post for more than a week. Neil Patel is the most immediate example of this.

The lesson though is that you can’t take this stuff personally, and if you are expecting to go “viral” every time you write a new post, you are inviting a world of ego-hurt onto your self. Post because you have something to say. Post so that people can get to know you. Don’t post simply for the glory- nobody hit’s a home run every time they are at bat.

9.5- Tweet your post to “Tip@LinkedInPulse”.

This is a very cool tip that I picked up from from several of the biggest names (or at least the biggest numbers) in the LinkedIn Pulse game…By tweeting your post with “Tip@linkedinpulse” youpass the article under the nose of the editorial team for LinkedIn Pulse, and drastically increase the chance they will actually see your article and give it a coveted seat on the LinkedIn Pulse bus!

 

 

If you haven’t already done so, why not jump on the RipList? It’s our occasional email packed with ONLY valuable content designed to help you take your own marketing to the next level!

Needless to say it’s free to sign up, and you can do so with a few clicks into the orange box on the right of this page!

 

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5 Ways To Promote an Event Online Without Going Broke

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Promote An Event Without Breaking the Bank

Lots of great events but without a budget to promote?

Don’t worry, use what you have!

By Laura Andrews

Chances are- if you build your business by attracting guests OFFLINE as well as on, you’ve at one point or another spent time looking for ways to promote an event (events?) on a budget. Look no further! The following five tactics on how to promote an event online will help you promote, promote, promote… and save, save, save.

 

1) Utilize social media

Yes this is quite a broad bullet point, but that’s good. That means there are many different ways to use social media to your advantage.

 

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Add your event to your company or organization’s Facebook page, or your own personal page, and post it for all to see. Invite fans.
  • Use a specifically crafted Twitter and Instagram hashtag to promote your event. Use this for pre-promotional posts, during the event and in follow-up and thank you posts.
  • Set up a group on LinkedIn and invite people.
  • Purchase Facebook ads. There is a small cost here, but with these ads being relatively cheap it would be a great opportunity to spread the word about your event past your current fan base.
  • Host a Google hangout or Skype meet-up with your speakers prior to event
  • If your event includes a ticket price for attendees offer them a discount code online as the event gets closer. Even offering $5 off can sway someone to come to your event and to share the coupon code online with their friends.
  • Don’t forget your friends! Reach out to vendors, event partners, speakers, etc. and ask them to share and retweet your content on their social media pages.

 

2) Step up your email marketing

Already have a current e-mail distribution list set up? Great, reach out to those people and let them know about your upcoming event. Don’t have a list yet? No problem. You can purchase a list from a third-party for a small amount of money or use this event as a way to grow your list for future uses. Include ways for your guests to sign up during the event to be on the list and make sure you grab their email addresses during the registration process! You can even include an opt-in box before they check out online.

 

If you are promoting a reoccurring event, don’t forget to email past attendees with details and even a coupon code to get them to become regulars.

 

3) Make it easy for visitors to share your event info

We all like easy right? So do your potential attendees. Don’t forget to include a ‘Register Now’ button on your website or event landing page and social sharing buttons as well.

 

If your event is set up for online ticketing give your attendees an option to share that they’re going to your event on all social media channels. Allowing their friends to see your event info will only help spread that word-of-mouth quickly!

 

 

4) Tease us!

Give potential attendees a small taste of what your event is going to be like. Tease them! Distribute YouTube videos of speakers, event highlights, past event pictures, etc. prior to event. Show potential attendees what they are going to miss if they don’t come to your event.

 

Utilize your social media channels as well and post event information, photos, and videos as teasers. If the event is more than one day, post throughout the event to continue to market.

 

Remember: Don’t give it all away at once, but a little here and there never hurt anyone!

 

5) Do some good ole fashioned blogging

You know all that content you’re pushing on social media and all of those teasers you’ve dutifully crafted? Keep using that content and create blog posts along the way. Write blog posts on your website leading up to the event highlighting the speakers and activities. If possible, get speakers or people associated with the event (partners or vendors) to blog as well and share content with them across their marketing channels.

 

Ready to sell out your event and not break the bank? Take these tips above and you’re on the path to event success!

 

Event Marketing is a great way to get some to make your customers really feel like they are part of your brand. Though it’s one of the most expensive ways to build your audience, it’s also – dollar for dollar- proven to be one of the best ways to make big strides…if you know what you are doing! If you’re looking for more ways to make the most out of your marketing program (and avoiding some of the costly or time-sucking pitfalls ), why not subscribe to the RipList? 

The RipList is an occasional email chock full of ACTIONABLE marketing strategies and hacks that will help you and your company reach more target customers more often.  It’s all about things you can do yourself today! 

Interested in giving the RipList a spin? Start receiving it free by subscribing in the orange box to your right!

 

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Brands and Social Media Managers Watch Organic Reach Drop Off a Cliff…

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If you are a Marketer, chances are you aren’t exactly looking for activities to keep yourself busy, so if you spent any amount of time (and let’s not forget MONEY) on Facebook ads over the past few years to drive new Likes to your Facebook page, you have plenty of reason to be a little upset with the social media giant, who has recently admitted what most of us have known for the past year: That Facebook is dropping organic reach for brands to just a hair over zero.

The official announcement is nothing surprising, and certainly nothing sudden. Facebook has been increasingly cutting down on it’s “organic reach” for brands over the past couple of years, and as of February (2015), the world’s largest social network has dialed it back even more.

How bad is it? Well, according to AdAge (http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-cuts-brands-organic-reach/295881/ ), only 6.15% of of a company’s “fans” (who, by the way, implicitly chose to follow the company’s Facebook fan page in the first place) will see an organic post by that company unless that company pays a premium to have that post shown in people’s feeds..and that’s the number going IN to the month, before another promised January reduction. Perhaps not coincidentally, Facebook average cost per ad has increased more than 250% while the organic reach was being slashed. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on that one.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what exactly “Organic Reach” is, it refers to how many of a brand’s “fans” are shown a post you make on Facebook when you haven’t paid Facebook to show it on their timelines. It’s how many people see your brand’s posts for free.

Facebook is -of course- putting much a happier spin on the nature of this change than many of the businesses who are finding their hard-won audiences eroding before their eyes. According to Facebook, the change is simply an attempt to improve user experience by de-cluttering the (admittedly) overly busy news feeds of all of its millions of users. On paper, that’s a good thing. I’m sure we can all name a few brands who were basically spamming their fans usually out of sheer ignorance of how one actually uses Facebook more than out of any sinister plans.

The problem is that those aren’t the only businesses that are being (basically) wiped off the face of the platform. Take the little independent cafe that would post to their fans that they are hosting a weekend fundraiser for their customer-favorite server who is raising money to adopt a little girl from South East Asia. Chances are, most of their fans will never see that unless the store purchases an advertisement. Obviously, this is a bit of a melodramatic example, but it gets the point across.

The biggest losers in this sprint to zero are all the brands that tried to out-think the experts by killing their actual websites and simply using their Facebook Fan Pages as their de facto homes on the web. I’d like to say that there aren’t many who fall into that category, but between 2008 and 2012 during the height of Facebook’s huge surge in popularity, many smaller businesses- low on time and resources- made the switch, and have subsequently found themselves renting an marketing house on increasingly shaky leased ground.  Those businesses had might as well be invisible.

Now, let’s be honest– we all know Facebook is a for-profit company…there are shareholder to keep happy, employees to keep fed, and Zuckerberg’s hoodies don’t grow on trees. Selling ad space is how they keep the service “free” for all of us, and that is actually a good thing. Facebook has some of the strongest targeting features you can find, and the service has provided proven results for companies that know how to use the ads platform correctly. The problem isn’t that they want to sell you ads. The problem is in how far they have cut the organic reach  back. How far back? Estimations place it in the 4% (and dropping) range after this most recent change.

So, realistically, what does this mean for most businesses?  If your marketing plan uses the free features of Facebook as a cornerstone for attracting or broadcasting to your fans, it’s no longer a solid long term plan. By all means, keep updating your page since many of your fans will still stop by to check for updates, keep sharing your more awesome and relevant content, and keep using it to interact with your fans in real time, but don’t make it a time and money consuming pillar of your marketing strategy unless you have the budget and the know-how to effectively use Facebook ads.

If you DO use Facebook ads- and I believe that you definitely SHOULD- use them to move people to a landing page on your own website, and not to buy new “likes” for your Facebook page. By focusing instead on buying clicks to a relevant landing page on your own site, you really will “own” the lead, and- more importantly, you’ll be able to continue the relationship with your new leads through your email marketing efforts far more consistently than by trying to rely on organic Facebook posts.  Besides that- it’s a simple thing to ask someone to like your Facebook page once they are on your email list anyways- and that’s FREE!

Interested in seeing Facebook’s official take on the updates? Read more at:https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Organic-Reach-on-Facebook

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3 Crazy Simple Steps to Partnership Marketing that Pays off

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Partnership Marketing: Cross Promotion that makes sense for everyone involved

“Strategic Partnerships”.  It’s one of those terms that corporate folks throw out in the same breath as “Drinking the Kool-Aid” or *sigh* “Giving 110%”. When it’s actually used in the correct context, it’s a powerful concept. When it’s used the way MOST people use it (which is- of course-  as a way to try to impress other people who use the term “Open the Kimono”), it’s an obvious cry for attention. Let’s be one of the people who gets it right!

For example, I have spoken with other marketing companies who forge partnerships with sales coaches, and hoteliers that have strategic alliances with boat rental companies. In each partnership, they both target the same (or at least very similar) audiences, but they sell complimentary products or services that don’t compete with each other. When they partner up, they can not only bring each other very qualified leads, but also super-serve their clients by bringing them trusted partners to serve them well. It’s win-win (which is another one of those cliches, I know.)

This all might seem pretty simple and elementary, but surprisingly few companies actually take advantage of what is essentially a very easy way to slash  your promotional workload, and that’s a shame because most of the companies who do commit to “Partnership Marketing”…and who make sure that they hold up their part of the partnership, tend to have a noticeable jump in their business!

Today I want to share 3 VERY easy steps to starting your own Partnership Marketing Program in the next 2 weeks.

1. Make a list of 6 services (other than your own) that your customers are likely to need.

If you are a business coach, chances are that your clients also need accountants. If you are a restaurant that caters to tourists, obviously hotels would count. If you build and install custom cabinets, a local company that installs back splashes would make a great partner. Don’t over think this- just write down 6 services that “make sense” and won’t compete directly with you for spend. Don’t think of any more than 6 at this point or it will turn into a black hole that sucks up way too much time and energy. 6 gives you all you will need to start, and by the time we finish this process, you’re going to cut that six down anyways.

2.  “Assign” 1 business nearby for each category, preferably one that either  YOU know, or that your clients have recommended.

Chances are – assuming you aren’t a brand new start up at least- that you already know people who either own or work at companies that fit into at least a couple of your 6 categories. Are they the kinds of people/companies that you would be proud to recommend to your clients? Have your own clients ever mentioned a great experience with them? If so, put their name next to the category that fits.

If you DON’T have an “in” or at least a recommendation from a client about any of the 6 categories, then go ahead and delete that category. When it’s all said and done, we only want to build 1 or 2 partnerships at a time anyways!

I can already hear you asking “Then why did you have me come up with 6 categories? You’re wasting my time pal!”. Hold up friends, I promise you- I wasn’t wasting your time! We come up with 6 so that we have a few options and don’t just jump directly in with the first company or two that we think of. The whole point of this is to partner with businesses that could make great partners for both our companies, and for our clients- not necessarily to partner with the first business that come to mind based simply on convenience.

3.  Buy no more than 3 cups of coffee.

Hopefully you have whittled your list down to no more than 3 (and no less than 2) businesses that a.) sell to the same clients you do without competing with your business, b.) are located in the same geographic area as your business, and c.) make you feel safe in recommending them to your clients. Here’s where you make a small investment that can end up paying off in dividends: Reach out to each of those businesses (either to the owners or the head of marketing depending on how that business is structure and who you have access to) and offer to buy them a cup of coffee. To sweeten the deal and make it worth their time, tell them that you are looking for a partner that you can refer your own clients to and that you’d like to discuss. Chances are, that alone will be enough to get the appointment.

When you meet to discuss forming a mutually beneficial relationship, discuss what each business can bring to the table – not just for each other, but also for your client.  Go over in detail what each of you would get out of the relationship, and set some concrete rules as to what each company can and can not do. If all is agreed, set up a monthly (if not bi-weekly) meeting to go plan the next month’s activities and to analyze the results of the last month.

And WHY are these other businesses going to go to all the trouble to build a cross promotional relationship with you? What do they get out of the deal that will make them see things your way?

Referrals are obviously the most obvious benefit of Partnership Marketing of course, but there are other ways Partnership Marketing is so very much worth the time and effort!

  • It extends the reach of each of the businesses : even though both companies make a lot of sense for the same customer base, many of those customers may not have even realized that they could use those services. Partnership Marketing is a great way to expose clients to helpful goods and services that they may otherwise have never heard of.
  • Partnership Marketing allows the businesses involved to save marketing budget by teaming up to split costs (or even eliminate the need for certain marketing/advertising efforts).
  • Businesses who engage in Partnership Marketing have the ability to grow their own marketing efforts past what they’d be able to accomplish on their own, regardless of how much money they might be willing to invest!

“That’s great Ryan, I get it- I need to embrace Partnership Marketing- but what sorts of things can I do right now to get started? You promised me 3 things I can do to get started, but so far you’ve only given me 3 things I can do to set up the partnership- where’s the good stuff that starts driving more business?”

You like ACTIONABLE tips. I respect that.  Here’s three things you can do to start getting results:

1. Guest Post on each other’s website:

Not only is this a great way to build cross promotion between your brands, but it also helps grow each of your individual websites (more pages to index means more Google Juice) and puts valuable content on your page- very possibly content that you might not have thought of yourself!

2. “Spiff” each other’s customers:

The classic example of this is McDonald’s and their Happy Meal toys. A toy company (or a movie, or TV show, or…) partners with the fast food giant and provides a toy to include in the Happy  Meal. McDonald’s benefits when more kids have to get a Happy Meal to grab the toy (and I can already hear all the health bloggers getting ready to explode…bear with me though guys, I’m just making a point), and the company who has provided the toy for that run of Happy Meals get’s the brand recognition that they want. Now, in a TRUE strategic partnership, both parties would provide a way for their partner to “spiff” their clients by providing a little taste of your business when they serve their clients.

3. Co-Sponsor events: 

This is one that holds a near and dear place in my heart. Obviously event sponsorships tend to be pricey- especially when those sponsorships come with a table or a booth at the event. Split the cost of the booth with your new cross promotion partner and not only will you save some serious bucks, but you’ll instantly build a bridge between your two businesses in the eyes of your (potential) customers!

So if you and your business haven’t started building your own Partnership Marketing relationships yet, get moving! Besides the community you will build…besides the money you will save…besides the new leads you will receive, there are so many ways you will win when you combine your strengths to “share the wealth”, and that’s a cliche that’s just too true to be upset about!

 

Partnership Marketing is a great way to get some quick and consistent wins with your marketing, but as with anything that relies on multiple partners, it’s not always as simple as it can be. If you’re looking for more ways to make the most out of your marketing program (and avoiding some of the costly or time-sucking pitfalls ), why not subscribe to the RipList? 

The RipList is an occasional email chock full of ACTIONABLE marketing strategies and hacks that will help you and your company reach more target customers more often.  It’s all about things you can do yourself today! 

Interested in giving the RipList a spin? Start receiving it free by subscribing in the orange box to your right!

 

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Follow Up Marketing After They Book

Follow Up Marketing: Keeping Guests Engaged AFTER They Visit

Out of sight, out of mind? Not necessarily!

By Laura Andrews

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Keeping a visitor readily engaged with your organization or product may seem impossible and daunting, but the art (and necessity of “Follow Up Marketing” doesn’t have to be that way. Small changes in your marketing plan and your loyalty program can help keep your visitors engaged long after they visit your website, event or location.

 

Follow up!

The number one thing to remember to keep visitors engaged is the follow up email and social media posts. I’m inferring two things of you, reader, by making this claim.

 

I’m inferring that you have a current e-mail distribution list from your visitors, whether from an event sign-up or website visit enter-to-win or white paper download, and that you have an active social media base. I’m inferring these two things, because these are the bare minimum things that you should have. If you don’t have these, move them to the top of your to do list and then keep reading this blog post.

 

Back to following up. Reach out to guests of your event or visitors to your website and tell them what happened. If you held a successful event, tell them. Did you raise a certain amount of money or do so well that your event will come back next year? Tell them! If they were a part of an event goal, they should know what that goal was and if it was met. This will make your attendees feel invested and interested in coming back next year.

 

Don’t forget to say thank you.

In that email follow up and social media post don’t forget to say thank you. Thank your guests or event attendees for attending; they took time out of their day and likely money out of their pockets to be there. Send them a heartfelt thank you and if you’re so inclined, a potential discount to come back next year (more on that below).

 

Thank your website visitors for continuing to come back and utilize this resource. Offer enter-to-win opportunities and contests to keep them engaged, keep them coming back and keep them interested.

 

Never underestimate the feedback survey.

You may think your event went well or that your website offers everything that it needs to, but you’ll never really know until you ask. Draft a short feedback survey and use it! Ask overall satisfaction, likelihood to return and likelihood to recommend to friends and family. Let event and web attendees tell you what they liked or disliked and what they need you to do to make it better. Don’t forget to grab a few demographics as well.

 

Keep them engaged by keeping them in the know.

Continue to tell event and web attendees what is coming up in the next week, month or year. Let them know what events are coming back and when they can expect to see ticket information. Let them know changes you’ve made to your website and how this can help them.

 

If your organization or company has something big coming, consider a countdown clock with periodic email and social media updates. Counting down can mean counting ahead.

 

Discounts make the marketing world go round.

Whenever possible, keep your attendees engaged by offering special discounts and promotions exclusive to them. If you’re having an event, offer a discount code to get them to sign up early. Not only does this help you plan, but it gives them time to help spread the word to family and friends. Getting past attendees to commit early is the best recipe for both parties.

 

Remember how it feels to be left out of an email chain or group text? That’s how your customers feel when you leave them out of your plans. Keep them engaged by keeping in touch. We don’t need daily check-ins, but weekly or monthly will do! Loyalty programs only work when you show loyalty to them just as much as you want them to show loyalty to you!

 

Follow Up Marketing is more than just an option for a business focused on growth- It’s the price of playing the game.  If you are facing challenges in staying in front of your guests and customers after the first visit, chances are, you’ll benefit from the RipList. 

The RipList is an occasional email chock full of ACTIONABLE marketing strategies and hacks that will help you and your company reach more target customers more often.  It’s all about things you can do yourself today! 

Interested in giving the RipList a spin? Start receiving it free by subscribing in the orange box to your right!

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3 Easy Steps for Marketing Your Loyalty Program

Making sure your loyalty program is creating loyal customers

 By Laura Andrews

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Loyalty programs are twofold. They are a great way to keep your customers engaged and at the same time, a great way to acquire customer information.

 

So why use one?

Here’s why. With a loyalty program you can:

  • Acquire new customers and increase your customer base
  • Increase how much a customer spends overall by offering discounts on new products to try
  • Increase customer retention by helping them feel involved and invested in your brand
  • Give customers incentives to purchase more expensive products
  • Reconnect lapse customers to your brand by offering incentives to lure them back to your brand

 

Now that we all agree that loyalty programs are great in acquiring and retaining customers (right?), let’s talk about marketing. Here are three actionable steps that you can do to market your loyalty program right now.

 

1) Create a message of relevance

The perceived value of a reward is more important than the actual percentage or dollar reward. Let’s think about that. That means that customers care more about the value they feel they are getting than the actual dollar amount off or coupon. Remember to make sure you’re offering something of real value to your customer and you’ll help ensure customer loyalty.

 

2) Thank your customer

Who doesn’t love getting a thank you? Your customers certainly do. Thank them by offering a discount, coupon or additional perk that they can only get because they are your customer. This can be done through e-mail marketing or social media. Use the marketing channels where your company frequently interacts with your customers.

 

3) Move your customer from brand to product

Your customer might love your brand but still not purchase your product. As frustrating as that sounds, it happens all of the time. Think about how much you may drool over that expensive new watch, shoe or piece of technology but you still don’t purchase it. If your customers are loyal to your brand, give them incentives to try your products. Give them samples or coupons to try your product and then ask for their feedback. Make them feel like a part of the process and involved in your brand. They’ll keep coming back.

 

A loyalty program should make your customers feel like VIP members in an exclusive club. Customer want to feel special and companies have the power to do that.

 

loyalty programs are fantastic ways to build…well…Loyalty! Getting it right isn’t always easy though. If you’re looking for more ways to make the most out of your marketing program (and avoiding some of the costly or time-sucking pitfalls ), why not subscribe to the RipList? 

The RipList is an occasional email chock full of ACTIONABLE marketing strategies and hacks that will help you and your company reach more target customers more often.  It’s all about things you can do yourself today! 

Interested in giving the RipList a spin? Start receiving it free by subscribing in the orange box to your right!

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