50+ Eye-Opening Video Marketing Statistics for Small Business Owners in 2018

video statistics

The internet is quickly reaching a point where small business owners need to embrace video marketing in order to survive. In just a few years, ignoring video content will be on par with not having a business website.

To explain why this will be the case, we’ll let the small business video marketing statistics do the talking.

Consider the following eye-opening statistics when weighing your options for incorporating video content in the year ahead.

The Unstoppable Popularity of Online Video

popular online videos

The first concept worth grasping is just how dominant of a media form video has become in the past few years. Thanks to our handy mobile devices, we can consume video anywhere at any time. Increasing bandwidth also makes video more viable than it’s ever been in years past.

By looking at the following statistics, you can see just how high the demand is for video.

  • Video made up 73% of global internet traffic in 2016; Cisco predicts it will make up 82% by 2021 (Cisco)
  • By 2021, the equivalent of 5 million years of video content will be watched every month (Cisco)
  • Live video will grow 15x by 2021, making up 13% of all internet traffic (Cisco)
  • In 2015, US adults spent an hour and 16 minutes of every day watching video online (eMarketer)
  • 69% of people worldwide watch video online, but 86% of those 18-26 do (eMarketer)
  • 71% of teens 13-18 say they watch mobile video (eMarketer)
  • The average person spends around 30 minutes watching video on their smartphones every day (Quartz)
  • Mobile video use grew 35% in 2017 (The Drum)
  • 55% of people watch a video online every single day (Forbes)

Social Media Is Driving Digital Video Consumption in Huge Ways

The big winners on the video scene are clearly social media platforms. Including Youtube, social apps take up the majority of our online time. They’ve also been driving huge growth in our video consumption, especially Facebook video.

  • Youtube is the second-most popular mobile app; 71% of all mobile users have it installed (recode)
  • Youtube claims that mobile video consumption increases 100% each year (Forbes)
  • 300 hours worth of video content are uploaded to Youtube every minute (Statistic Brain)
  • 8 billion videos — equal to 100 million hours worth of content — are watched on Facebook daily (Social Media Today)
  • 500 million people watch video on Facebook each day (Forbes)
  • Snapchat users watch 10 billion videos every day (Social Media Today)
  • Over 500 million hours of video are watched on Youtube every day (Social Media Today)
  • Twitter’s video views grew 220x between 2014 and 2015 (Social Media Today)
  • 45% of people say they watch over an hour of video on Facebook or YouTube every week (WordStream)
  • People upload more video content in 30 days than what has been created by major US TV networks in the past 30 years (WordStream)
  • 92% of people who watch mobile video say they share videos with others (Forbes)
  • Video content on social media generates 1200% more shares than text content and image content combined (Forbes)
  • Since most videos autoplay on mute, and many people browse Facebook in a public setting, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound (Digiday)

Digital Video’s Effectiveness, and How Much People Prefer It to Other Content

Digital Video’s Effectiveness

As a result of our ravenous video consumption habits, people have come to expect a larger portion of content created to be video. When people do see video content being offered, they respond in favorable ways by engaging more readily. They are also more likely to convert to the next stage of a purchase after watching branded video content.

  • 4x as many people would prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about it (Social Media Today)
  • When making a purchase decision, 4 in 5 millennials look for video content as a form of research (Social Media Today)
  • 70% of millennials say they’re likely to watch a branded video while shopping for products online (Social Media Today)
  • 96% of video viewers say they find video content useful when weighing a purchase decision (Vidyard)
  • 75% of executives say they watch branded videos related to their job at least once a week, and 65% end up visiting the website of the brand after viewing (Vidyard)
  • People are 10x more likely to engage with and share a post if it includes a video (Vidyard)
  • 43% of people say they want to see more video content from marketers (Hubspot)
  • Half of internet users say they search for videos related to a product or service before visiting a brick and mortar store (Vidyard)
  • One in four consumers say they lose interest in a business if it doesn’t have video content for them to watch (Vidyard)
  • When asked about the type of marketing asset they’d like to see more of from brands, North American consumers ranked video #1 (Vidyard)
  • 59% of consumers say video footage of testimonials help them decide whether they want to buy from a company (Vidyard)
  • Over a third of video viewers watch the video in its entirety (Hubspot)
  • 80% of consumers remember a video they’ve watched in the past month (Forbes)

Creating Video Content Leads to Higher ROI for Marketing Campaigns

Creating Video Content

Since people are eager to watch videos, and videos can be highly effective branding or selling tools, creating video assets can pay for itself in significant ways. By converting more people, earning more leads and reinforcing other marketing campaigns, video content helps business owners achieve better ROI.

  • Adding a video to a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80% (Forbes)
  • Companies that create video content earn 41% more traffic from search engine results than those that don’t (Forbes)
  • Marketers using video earn 66% more qualified leads every year and earn a 54% higher lift in brand awareness (Optinmonster)
  • 76.5% of small business owners and marketers get positive results from their video content campaigns (Optinmonster)
  • 83% of business professionals using video assert that it gives them good ROI (Dreamgrow)
  • 82% of businesses consider video a key part of their marketing strategy (Optinmonster)
  • 97% of businesses that create explainer videos feel that leads understand their business better after viewing (Optinmonster)
  • 81% of businesses say that video has helped them effectively increase sales (Optinmonster)
  • Using embedded video on your website makes you 53% more likely to show up on the first page of search results (Dreamgrow)
  • 61% of all businesses now use video content (Dreamgrow)
  • Video spending increased 53% in 2016, and mobile video spending increased a staggering 145% (AdAge)
  • Mobile video ad spending is predicted to surpass desktop video ad spending in 2018 (recode)
  • 67% of marketers run video ads on YouTube, and 51% use Facebook video ads (eMarketer)
  • 83% of marketers say they are “confident” that their Facebook video ads will help them earn more purchases (eMarketer)

The Power and Potential of Live Video Marketing Is Growing

For our final set of small business video marketing statistics, consider the power of live video marketing. Since Facebook and other platforms launched the ability to stream video live a few years ago, the format has taken off. Consumers adore live video for its immediacy and exclusive feeling. If you’re not watching the video live, you missed out.

Marketers have been using this enthusiasm for live video to their advantage, helping them earn engagement and get conversions.

  • People spend 3x more watching Facebook Live videos, on average, compared to a typical Facebook video (Facebook)
  • Live videos earn 10x the amount of comments compared to pre-recorded videos (Facebook)
  • 81% of people watched more live video in 2016 than 2015 (livestream)
  • 80% of people would rather watch a live video stream from a business than read its blog (livestream)
  • 87% of people want to watch more behind the scenes video content (livestream)
  • 67% of viewers say overall quality is the most important component of a live video stream (livestream)
  • 36% of internet users have watched a live video, but 63% of millennials have, and 42% have created their own live video stream (eMarketer)
  • The live streaming platform Twitch has 665 million viewers — a bigger audience than subscribers to HBO, Netflix, and ESPN streaming services combined (The Motley Fool)
  • Streaming service Twitch achieved a record 737,000 concurrent viewers in Q3 2017 (The Motley Fool)

Let These Small Business Video Marketing Statistics Inspire You to Create More in 2018

Video content, and especially live video, is set to grow and grow in the years ahead. Modifying your strategy and investing in video will therefore only pay bigger dividends. As you improve and audiences grow, you can achieve your marketing goals more easily than ever before while enhancing the performance of your other marketing channels.

Now that’s something worth watching!

 

Contact us today for more information on online video marketing. https://www.getfoundfast.com

Boost Blog Traffic Using These Techniques for Promoting Your Posts on Facebook

Promote your blog post on Facebook

Promoting your blog posts on Facebook is one of the most cost-effective, efficient and smart strategies you can use to drive traffic back to your blog.

First of all, Facebook audiences are huge! 68% of Americans use a Facebook account regularly, which equals nearly 220 million people. Facebook also remains the most-used mobile app. 81% of devices have it installed.

And, since the majority of internet traffic is now mobile and the majority of mobile time is spent in-app, Facebook represents one of the best chances you have at getting views, shares, likes and new followers for your business.

If you’re a business owner wondering how to drive traffic to your blog using Facebook, here are eight airtight strategies you can use to get maximum visibility and a higher rate of readers with each post.

Make It a Habit to Share Every Post You Write

Share your blog post

Make sharing every single post you create for your blog a habit. People are more likely to keep up with your content on the social platforms they already use compared to obsessively checking your blog page.

Consider each Facebook share as important as the blog itself. Think of the Facebook post as your store window. You want it to be enticing enough that people really want to go inside and see what else there is. You also want it to be intriguing enough that people who are just window shopping still remember your display and maybe even mention it through word of mouth.

Keep in mind that Google SEO best practices suggest not sharing each and every piece of new content you create. However, this rule likely applies to larger publishers who put out dozens if not hundreds of new blog articles a day. If, on the other hand, you only publish 1-2 times a day or less, you shouldn’t run afoul of the overpromotion threshold.

That said, if you are making new blogs multiple times a day, consider limiting the number of times you share your content. Pick just the juiciest ones to show the world.

Boost Your Post With Paid Facebook Advertising

It’s a sad reality, but Facebook has been trending towards pay-to-play for years now. Organic reach for business page posts has plummeted over the past few years.

Even worse, Facebook recently announced changes that mean it’s even less likely that audiences will see your blog posts compared to content from their friends and family. Thanks, bots!

But the good news is that Facebook’s options for “boosting” your post with an ad budget are truly amazing. Not only do you have razor-fine control over how much you spend, but you can also target specific user traits and demographics.

With just a limited budget per day, you can earn spots on the news feeds of people who will be most likely to consider your content interesting.

If, for instance, you create a blog post about “Best Places to Eat in Downtown Austin,” you can manually target people living in Austin, Round Rock and other cities nearby. You can even select particular age ranges, allowing you to pitch some of the best bar/restaurant/music venue places just to the 35 and under crowd.

Consider boosting a few of your most popular blogs each month as you start out and then move toward consistently promoting a higher ratio to get your posts the attention they deserve.

Think Mobile First

As we mentioned in the intro, if people are seeing your content on Facebook, they’re most likely viewing it on mobile. Make sure your post is optimized for smaller mobile screens, including limiting the amount of text you use in paragraph form.

Also, make sure any image you use doesn’t have tiny details that require zooming in. For instance, don’t share your entire infographic in a thumbnail size; crop out part of it and share that instead.

Most importantly, ensure your blog site itself is responsive and mobile optimized. If people click to read an article they see on Facebook and end up on a messy site, most will back out immediately and not bother reading the article in full.

Make Sure You’re Writing Great Headlines

Write great headline for your blog post

80% of people who see your post shared on Facebook won’t get past the headline. Some will keep scrolling and not bother clicking or reading.

Others will start reacting to the post based on the headline alone. We’ve all seen it happen, and for your blog this can actually be a good thing. Great headlines have a way of getting people talking. While it’s frustrating to hear commentary from people who clearly haven’t read the article, the whole point of posting on Facebook is getting engagement.

So embrace hot takes and write good enough titles so that people who actually read have an incentive to dig further. We wrote a whole post on how to write great blog headlines for Facebook, but the gist is to use phrases that get people’s attention without being too clickbaity.

Most importantly, look to your own data for feedback on headline quality. Posts that have a low click-through rate clearly show that the headline wasn’t enticing enough. Posts with a high click or engagement rate did a good job at getting attention.

Learn lessons from past successes and failures and adjust accordingly.

Use Facebook’s Text Space to Your Advantage

Every Facebook post you create with a link has room for additional text on the Facebook post itself.

Don’t neglect the importance of the space Facebook gives you above the link! A lot of people will read that immediately after seeing the photo.

The text you add to your posts can lend context, provide a brief summary or reveal key benefits. In the example above, the restaurant not only connected the link they shared to the current weather, but they also explained that the link’s important because it was essentially an endorsement from a notable local publication.

Just remember that the maximum amount of content people can see without expanding is 480 characters. Avoid using chunks of text to get your point across. Try to be descriptive yet brief. Use any hashtags or cross-tags to other pages that are relevant to signal boost your post even further. Maybe even consider using emojis????!

Attach Great Images to Your Blogs

Facebook posts with images get three times more engagement, which is why most posts you see from brands now include some sort of image.

Images catch our attention, and they can also begin to tell the story behind your blog. With the right image, you can elicit emotion from your audiences before they even read a single word. Once they’ve been engaged in this way, your audience will be more likely to read the actual post.

Make images as relevant as possible to the content of your posts, though. Don’t just use an image because it’s eye-catching.

Also, limit the use of text within your image. A spare amount of text can be great, but too much can prevent your boosted posts from running. Check out Facebook’s own image guidelines for more details on what they do and don’t want.

A/B Test Different Variations of Blog Post Shares

One of your best tools for marketing is the ability to split test two different versions of the same blog post

For instance, say you wanted to promote a blog about how swimming pools add value to someone’s home. You can create one version that uses an image of a happy family. You can then create another version that uses a stock image of a pool full of money.

Now, show each version to roughly the same audience and see which one gets the more clicks!

Performing these experiments can help you get details just right for each blog post you promote. It can also reveal preferences for different demographics when it comes to post design.

Pay Attention to Facebook Insights Data, and It Will Show You How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using Facebook

Facebook data insights can help you.

At the end of the day, your own data is the best asset you have when trying to learn how to drive traffic to your blog using Facebook. Take notes on what works and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to what times you post and how frequently.

Also, A/B test post variations vigorously to find out how to get the biggest reaction from your audience.

Finally, make sure that the content you create is absolutely worth reading! Offer value, relevance and genuine quality to your readers. Otherwise, they may not want to click no matter how enticing the preview looks. You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me eight or more times….”

 

Get Found Fast is one of the leading Denver SEO Companies, that have been helping business owners across the U.S. grow their website traffic and client conversions.

The Eight Types of Blog Posts Every Business Should Use


Eight Types of Blog Posts Every Business Should Use

what types of blog post does your site need

So you sit down to come up with topics for your next couple of blog posts and…nothing. You draw a total blank.

Sometimes business blog post ideas come hard and fast like a heavy rain. Other times you have a total mental drought on what to write about next.

Don’t sweat it! There are a couple of blog formats that can work well for just about any subject. Adding them to your repertoire can make coming up with your next blog post topics as easy as falling off a unicycle.

In fact, you can use this list to plan your blog strategy for months in advance. If you make some of these blog post types a recurring monthly series, for instance, you can know exactly what you’ll write about at least half the time.

So get out your notebook or spreadsheet and jot down the following eight great blog post formats that have a way of working well in just about any context.

(Note that the letter “X” stands for any number of list items you end up using. We’re also using [Topic] as a stand-in for whatever subject or focus you’re writing about.)

1. Best Practices in [Topic], X Killer Tips for [Topic], X [Topic] Hacks You Didn’t Know About, X Steps to Get Better at [Topic] Etc.

Everyone loves lists. They’re a top-performing content type, especially on social media.

Why are lists so effective? Well, let’s list a few reasons.

  1. They’re quick and easy to read, even if you’re just skimming.
  2. It’s an engaging format that’s easy to get into. You won’t find huge thesis introductions or the like.
  3. They cover a broad range of topics, ideas, practices, etc. efficiently.
  4. They implicitly promise a certain amount of value. You’re not just getting one tip, you’re getting X of them!
  5. They have variety. If you have a list of “10 Things You Need to Do to Feel Better at the End of the Day,” a reader can hate seven of the suggestions but still find huge value in the last three.

Of course, not just any list can fulfill this criteria when writing your business blog. The lists you write must contain actual value and usefulness.

That’s why blog posts that promise self-improvement do so well. Just reading the list of hacks, tips, best practices, etc. will suddenly make you better at doing that thing you wanted to do.

Try to distill or retool certain topics you want to cover into helpful lists. They strongly communicate that the article is worth every bit of the reader’s time. They also pack tons of value into a small space.

2. X Top Trends in [Topic]

Everyone wants to stay current. That’s one of the biggest reasons we go online and read content. We want to find out what’s new and exciting. We also want to avoid being left behind if the latest trends are going to soon become standard practices.

Keep your audience abreast of things happening in your industry with lists of top current trends. These post types work especially well with seasonal timing, such as “X Trends in Social Media for 2018” or “Brands Are Preparing for the 2018 Holiday Season Already Thanks to These X Trends.”

Top trends

The beauty of the term “trends” is that it’s incredibly vague.

A trend can be a best practice for something people use already. For instance, many businesses use emotional photos when sharing blogs on social as a standard practice because such photos are effective at getting engagement.

A trend can also be something relatively new, like how many businesses have started using live video broadcasts for behind the scenes looks, live announcements, Q&As and more.

Trends also include bold new ideas bursting onto the horizon. For instance, some small businesses have realized that they can be the first thing a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home suggests if they focus their SEO strategies on voice search.

In a way, listing trends is similar to offering tips and hacks, but with stronger connotations of being timely and keeping up with the Joneses. You can also discuss hot new topics that get people’s adrenaline pumping.

Make a pledge to reveal current trends at least a few times a year, and you’ll help your audience stay hip and always on the cutting edge.

3. Roundup of Top Resources in [Topic]

Even if you wrote a blog every single day, you’d never have as much content or cover as many subjects as some of the best content publishers out there.

That’s why it’s ok to send people away from your website from time to time in order to give them the exact information they need. If you can point them towards an excellent resource, then they will appreciate the huge favor you’ve done them.

Sharing great resources also has the added effect of some of their prestige rubbing off on you. “Oh man, I didn’t know how many free classes there were for coding online,” someone might say, “but this business pointed me towards Codecademy, and I’ve been using it every weekend!”

Think of it like suggesting great films to a movie buff. They’ll be impressed that you knew something they didn’t. The better quality thing you point them towards, the more prestigious you become by association.

Roundup top resources

So what kind of resources work best?

  • Great blogs that take a more in-depth angle to topics than you do
  • Free sources of things like stock photos, how-tos, lessons, guides, etc.
  • Ways to do something cheaply, such as ordering replacement car parts yourself from a reliable online vendor
  • Lists of the best apps or tech tools to use that make their life easier
  • Explicit instructions, such as how Swim University provides infographics to help someone open their pool or balance their chemicals
  • Anything that uses humor or creativity to perfectly capture your industry, like how the Marketoonist nails the way marketers eagerly embrace technology they don’t quite know how to use properly
  • Great videos to watch on certain subjects, especially if you have a limited video content strategy

4. X Experts to Follow for [Topic]

No matter how smart you are, there are always people in your industry who will know more about something than you do. That’s totally ok! We can’t know everything, and even geniuses can be bested in certain niche topics.

Following the experts in your industry therefore makes perfect sense. They can fill you in on certain concepts, and they can also explore topics in your industry from angles you hadn’t considered.

Others may have a brilliant way of summing up complex issues in a few words. For instance, we adored this simple yet profound advice from Shopify Podcast host Kurt Elster on website design.

https://twitter.com/kurtinc/status/954044256360062976

Following industry experts and insiders also critically keeps your audience up-to-date with the absolute latest and best-of-breed ideas within your industry.

Point your audience towards your favorite mentors, geniuses, and newsbreakers. They’ll stay better-informed on topics and practices, letting you dive more in-depth with concepts thanks to them being so well versed.

5. The Ultimate Guide to [Topic]

Every once in a while, it makes complete sense to delve into a topic like you would an in-depth manual or guide. Doing so gives your audience valuable troves of information.

Guides also serve as a one-stop source for whatever topic you’re covering. While that amount of depth can seem like a lot to cover at once, you can provide a hyperlinked “Table of Contents” to make jumping between topics easier.

You can also reference the guide directly within your future content. Rather than backing up to explain the basics all the time, you can simply hyperlink to your guide.

“Ultimate Guide” posts tend to get huge volumes of shares, and search engines adore them. If you provide the right structured data, Google may even feature your guide at the very top of search engine results in their knowledge box!

6. Statistics Roundup Post

Sometimes people want “Just the facts, ma’am.”

Whether they need a lot of fact-based information to make decisions, or they just want to reference stats in their own content, creating statistics posts offer bucketloads of usefulness to audiences.

As an added bonus, each time you reference a certain statistic for your industry, you can link to your stats rundown instead of the original source. This helps your posts stay fact-based and valuable while directing fewer people away from your domain.

7. Expert Roundup — Quotes & Thoughts From Your Industry

Expert quotes and thoughts

Rounding up expert commentary and opinions is like bringing all your favorite talking heads into one room for a conversation. You can frame a complex topic from multiple angles, or you can run through critical concepts list style alongside experts’ own input.

Consider making expert roundups a regular part of your posting schedule. They work especially well as a follow up to posts you’ve just written. For example, you can write about how to improve ecommerce sales through PPC campaigns one week, then follow up with an expert roundup on the subject the next.

8. Curated Posts and News Roundups

With the right approach, you can link to another post in a way that still brings authority to your own domain and business brand.

The key is to not just introduce the piece and say “click here.” Instead, give a thorough introduction along with a brief summary. Make sure to tie the post in with any recent blog posts you’ve written regarding the topic.

Also, give your own response to the piece itself at the end. Reflect on what it means personally to your business or how it relates to core concepts you hold dear.

With this approach, something as a simple as a post share can easily turn into a 500 word article with an extremely low likelihood of an SEO penalty.

You can even curate several posts in a row as part of a news roundup for your industry. Doing this once a week or once a month can provide great content for email subscribers as well as your regular blog readers.

Coming Up With Good Business Blog Post Ideas Doesn’t Have to Mean Reinventing the Wheel

All of the above post types use a standardized, structured format while still inviting plenty of room for your own personal flavor and creativity.

Don’t think of using these business blog post ideas as a crutch! Instead, they serve as a springboard for your own ideas to come forth.

Audiences also like knowing exactly what to expect when they click to read something, and these blog ideas definitely give them that.

So stay creative and true to your audience but don’t bend over backwards just to come up with new blog topics all the time. Using the formats above, you can feel like most of the work is done for you before you even write the first word.

 

At Get Found Fast we focus on delivering a well rounded approach to execute the perfect marketing strategy for local businesses just like yours. For more creative ideas on content marketing contact our office today. 303-578-3791 or visit our website at https://www.getfoundfast.com/

5 Ways to Revamp Your Social Media Strategy in 2018

social media

With just a few improvements, your social media profiles could become the crown jewel of your digital marketing strategy in 2018. By switching up your approach and committing to a higher level of quality, you could soon be generating more leads, revenue, and interest in your company with minimal effort.

The great thing about social media marketing is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time to work wonders. If you plan ahead and use social media to reinforce your other marketing activities, you can achieve huge ROI through both organic and paid social campaigns.

So, to inspire you to improve your social presence and go beyond expectations, try implementing the following five highly effective social media marketing improvements in 2018.

Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy Document

social media marketing ideas

Writing down your marketing ideas matters. According to CoSchedule, professionals who document their planned marketing strategy are over five times more likely to achieve success. Also, 88% of people who set marketing goals actually achieve them.

Documenting your social strategy involves both high-level and low-level considerations.

On the high level, you want to include your overarching goals for social. You want to describe how social media fits within your overall digital marketing plan. You want a few guiding pointers for brand voice and the type of values you want to express.

For low-level strategy, consider how often you want to post per week or per month. Plan a budget for the next quarter. Describe publisher sources for shared content you want to write.

Getting all of this down in writing helps you stay focused and consistent. It also makes it easier to communicate your intended strategy to others, such as employees or contract marketers.

Most importantly, it keeps you from approaching your social media activities haphazardly. Having intention and purpose is the key to achieving better results.

Coordinate Social Posts With Specific Campaigns

If you want to push your social media marketing to the next level in 2018, try a couple of test campaigns. These campaigns should tie into special events, promotions or campaign pushes so that they can have an express purpose beyond “just posting because.”

For instance, if you have a promotional offer like a free consultation, your social campaigns can convert audiences into leads or customers. If you have an event, like a big in-store sale, you will be aiming to increase foot traffic over the sale period.

Connecting social media activity to campaigns in this way ties them to concrete goals. Your performance can be benchmarked, helping you seek out ways to improve your next campaign based on past data.

For each campaign, create custom graphics and a variety of post ideas. For example, you can plan to develop a few beautiful photo-based posts as a way to turn heads on a platform like Instagram. You can also create a few strong call-to-action posts to generate interest and early signups on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Creating special, limited time campaigns like these helps you learn quick lessons and improve rapidly with your social media use. The data you generate and experience you gain gives you skills that make you better at using social media, helping you improve and accomplish your goals more consistently over time.

Create Content Marketing Assets and Landing Pages Just for Social

social media marketing content

You can significantly upgrade your social media marketing returns by creating assets specifically designed to complement social posts.

For instance, you can create a lead capture landing page for specific target segments to use with targeted promoted social media posts. That way, your call to action can take 18-year-old college students to a different page with different appeals than your page aiming to convert 70-year-old retirees.

You can also create assets that you know will perform well on social, such as infographics. Infographics get around 41.5% engagement, on average, making them the content with the second-best ROI behind video.

Developing assets like these help connect your social media presence to customer actions that actually generate revenue. They also ensure you have a best-fit destination for each outgoing click to your website, as opposed to shoehorning a single “contact us” page link into every post or something similar. Since each asset is custom-made for social, they’re better suited to their individual purpose.

Invest in Professional Grade Social Video

Speaking of developing visual content with high ROI, now is the time to start considering using video within your social media marketing strategy.

Businesses that use video marketing generate 66% more qualified customer leads and earn 54% more brand awareness compared to those that don’t use any video. Even more impressive, 77% of small business owners who use video report significant benefits and positive ROI.

In the past, we’ve mentioned how live video and repurposing content as slideshows can be a great way to dip your toes into the video marketing scene. But to truly revamp your social presence, you should consider budgeting for a few (3-5) short, professionally made video assets worth sharing on social.

Why? Because these assets get attention and shape the way people see your business. They serve as a form of social proof for the quality of your services when they include live testimonials. They give you something to link to within other campaigns and to embed within your blogs. They also serve as brief sales pitches that can be far more convincing than any chunk of text.

For best results, plan ahead for when and why you want to use your video assets and how you can repurpose them in multiple ways for future campaigns.

Promote Posts to Targeted Audiences with Paid Social Advertising

social media marketing strategy

Like video, we’ve suggested using paid social media advertising several times at this point. Well, we’re going to mention it again because it’s an easy marketing method that can have a huge impact on your bottom line!

Social media engagement almost always comes at a lower cost per lead and cost per click compared to advertising on paid search or through display ads. Promoted social media posts can also be targeted to specific customer segments, helping you get your messages in front of the perfect audience you need to earn more customers.

Social advertising platforms also generate useful data to help structure, strategize and shape your future social media marketing plans. Combine it with any and all of the strategies above to take a truly professional turn in 2018 and create a more polished and welcoming social media presence.

Contact our office today to help with your social media marketing. We are a full service digital marketing agency in Denver, CO.

 

Thinking About Hiring a Blog Writer? Watch Out for These 6 Common Mistakes

Usinf a business blog on your website

Few business owners have both the time and skill with words needed to do their company blog justice. Business blogs need to look polished and represent the brand well, yet learning to write professionally is a trial-and-error process.

Considering all these personal limitations and high expectations, outsourcing blog writing makes perfect sense. But there is a right way and a wrong way to hire a writer. Many business owners commit hefty mistakes when offering someone the chance to take the reins on their business blog.

Here are six of the biggest of those mistakes. Watch out for them when hiring a blog writer to avoid frustrating setbacks and to ensure your blog is as great as it deserves to be.

Going With the Lowest Bidder

blogging with the lowest bidder

This is absolutely the most crucial mistake. Remember the maxim: “you get what you pay for.”

Hiring the cheapest writer you can find creates problems because it assumes the only goal for your blog is to have something published on it. In reality, you want every article published to fit a few criteria:

  • Proper grammar, spelling and syntax
  • An engaging structure that is as easy to read to completion as it is to skim quickly
  • A compelling voice
  • Research and effort during prewriting so that your blogs are informative and offer value
  • Able to capture the unique perspective of your brand or company

Hiring the cheapest writer guarantees none of these things. In fact, you are highly likely to end up with a non-native English speaker who is going to copy the first article they find on Google search …badly.

Have high standards in mind, and use them to make your budget reasonable. Keep in mind that a badly written blog can cause damage to your brand and marketing goals, making a poorly run blog worse than no blog at all.

Not Looking at Their Resume and Past Work

The best indicator of a writer’s strength is their past work. You will want to see a broad range of writing styles covering all the topic types you intend for your blog.

Some writers work better in an editorial format compared to a list of “X reasons why…”, for instance, so ensure the writer you have in mind is capable of creating what you need.

You should also look out for a writer who is able to write engagingly in several different voices. They should be chameleons capable of mimicking your particular brand. At the same time, they should have consistent stylistic devices that make reading their pieces easy and fun.

Hold out for writers who can impress you with their past work and their overall versatility. As a final test, you should also commission a sample piece to ensure they can satisfy your desired writing approach.

Not Setting Goals and Expectations

working with a blogger for your site

The best writer in the world is going to struggle with meeting your expectations if you can’t make them clear.

Since no one can read minds, you will need to explain the purpose of your blog and what you intend to get out of it to the writer. These guiding principles will help the writer shape their approach to your blog.

For instance, if your goal is SEO and generating traffic from social media shares, then the writer may take a more “viral” approach. If the aim is to generate leads and develop brand awareness, quality information and a strong brand voice matters most. If the goal is to create a guide to complex topics in your industry or operate as a sales funnel, the overall strategy for blog topic selection and publishing matters as much as each individual piece.

Define your goals, and make them clear to your writer. At the very least, provide an overview of the type of topics you want to cover and what you intend readers to do next. For example, if you have SEO goals, provide a sample of keywords they can work into the writing.

Establish guidelines for how casual or professional you want the language to be. Give a range of article lengths. Tell them what elements they need to include upon submission to make your life easier, such as adding images or including a meta description.

Put all of these guidelines in a document, and ensure your writer has no questions. You don’t want them reaching out via email at the last minute just to get a piece done. If they have a document to refer to, they can self guide and make the process for both of you easier.

Going With a Strong Writer Who Can’t Match Your Brand Voice

Make sure that any writer you hire can adopt the approach and voice you want to represent your brand. A great test is to provide them guidelines for a sample article using excerpts from blogs you like and some loosely described ideas you’ve had.

If they can produce something that comes across as similar to something you’d write or close to a blog style you want to emulate, you know they’re a keeper.

Not Establishing a Set Workflow and Process After Hiring a Blog Writer

At the beginning of your relationship, you and your writer should know how the typical process for submitting blogs should work. Tell them the deadline for each piece. Tell them whether you want an outline or topic proposal submitted first. Explain how many revisions you might typically go through.

Setting guidelines for touching base is also critical. Even though some professional relationships can work well on autopilot, the last thing you want is for your writer to go AWOL on you. Yet, this can easily happen if they didn’t have clear expectations on when you wanted to hear from them next.

Your writer can also become frustrated if you change your process constantly or add on unexpected things like major changes between drafts. Try to work towards consistency.

Not Talking Strategy With Your Writer

not talking strategy with your writer

When you hire a new writer, you form a relationship that can be quite beneficial to you both. The best way for this relationship to blossom is to have talk strategy, performance and feedback at key points in the year.

Try to schedule a call or meeting with your writer at least quarterly. Discuss your upcoming plans. Offer both praise and suggestions for improvement. See if they have any ideas you could work into your blog strategy. Make a goal to push your blogging to become better month after month.

Following all of the suggestions above ensures you don’t just find a great writer, but that you also develop a professional working relationship that gets better over time. If you can do all this, you will be much happier with the work from your writer and happier about the results they help your blog achieve.

 

For more information contact us today.

Is Your Company Blog Not Working? Here’s 5 Reasons Why That May Be

Don't let blogging get you down.

Content marketing and blogging have proven to be effective digital marketing methods. Done right, they can generate leads and convert people to the next stage of your marketing funnel.

Yet, plenty of company blogs completely struggle to meet their content marketing goals. For one reason or another, they fail to find the right audience — or, for some, any audience at all.

Other blogs earn plenty of traffic but lackluster conversion numbers. Still others have myriad issues of their own related to various mistakes in strategy, positioning, site design and more.

To help you pinpoint where your issues may lie and how you can improve your blog performance, we have come up with five reasons why your current blog may not be working. These observations come from common company blog mistakes in the industry and how the top blogs fix them to find success.

You Don’t Have Your Target Audience in Mind

have your target market in mind

Before you write a new blog, you should always stop to check in with your audience goals. Namely: who is this blog for?

Consider your ideal target audience based on who you think will help you succeed in your business goals. If, for instance, you are a B2B software company, you may assume that your audience has at least a small level of expertise in your line of work. But if you are a financial services provider to a typical consumer, then you are going to have to cover even the most basic concepts to ensure your audience can keep up.

By the same token, you have to think about things your audience would be interested in reading. For instance, while someone in IT may be excited about “a new way to configure proxy servers,” the average consumer will want to know less about the solution itself and more about the benefits it offers. Looking at the latter type, they may need a headline that reads something like “New Method for Connecting Online Makes Actions Happen in Nanoseconds,” or something similar.

Think about what your audience needs to see to understand the point you’re trying to make, and think about the emotional triggers that can spur them to be interested enough to click. When you can understand what these needs, expectations and emotional triggers are, you can earn a higher volume of clicks from targeted audience groups.

Your Level of Quality Is Low

Spelling, grammar, and structure are all critical when writing blog entries. We say this not just because people will split hairs online (and they will), but more because rampant issues affect readability.

If your sentence don’t make sense, no one will be able to understand your point. If you misspell words, people may be confused as to what you meant to say. Use a spell checker, and have someone with a solid sense of grammar review your posts for publication.

As for structure, try to lay out your blog in a way that makes it skimmable. Instantly start with a topic introduction that tells people what they will get out of reading. Then, break up your main point into several sub-topics that are easily read in small bite sizes.

Try to let one thought flow into the next. Make sure that almost everything you say builds off the last point, and always stay focused on the central purpose of your post. Getting feedback from others and rereading your post drafts after an hour or so of writing them can both help you think more like your audience and write more persuasive, compelling articles.

Your Blog Titles Aren’t Interesting

Make your blog tiltes interesting.

Certain approaches to headline writing can grab our attention, while others simply don’t work. If you find you have low conversions for your blog posts through search engines or social media, maybe your titles are to blame.

You can reference this guide to the most popular headlines on Facebook from Buzzsumo to get you started. Rand Fishkin of Moz also has a handy suggestion for writing short yet compelling headlines that don’t leave anything out.

You Don’t Have a Strong Call to Action

With limited exceptions, most business blogs will want to close out with a strong call to action (CTA). This section comes after the argument being made is completely wrapped up. It then instructs the reader on what they should do next in order to find even more information or benefits.

Example calls to action include:

  • Take a look at our product page…
  • Sign up for our email list…
  • View further information for an upcoming course/webinar/event…
  • Visit a service page for more information…
  • Contact us to start the conversation…
  • Read our other content…

Whatever your call to action is, make sure it is clear and written as a strong command or suggestion. While that may seem pushy, people respond better to messages written in this format and remember them more clearly.

You’ll start to notice that most marketers do this, too. A commercial would never say “consider visiting our store during our sales event.” Instead, they would lead with a commanding verb: “Come visit our store during our one-day sales event to get incredible savings!”

You Don’t Have the Right Landing Pages and Lead Capture Forms to Guide Your Audience to the Next Step

Sometimes when you can’t convert blog readers, the issue isn’t the blog itself but the website ecosystem around it.

Put simply: make sure that your calls to action lead to compelling landing pages or website pages. These pages should capture audience interest and further direct them to the next step.

If you don’t have anything like this available, make one! Even something as simple as a custom “Contact Us” landing page can help you convert more people compared to linking to your normal Contact Us page.

For normal website pages you want to link to, like explanations of your services, ensure that the page guides the reader through the most important information and benefits first, concluding in yet another strong CTA.

You may not even need a landing page link to accomplish certain goals. For instance, many websites have found that email address capture forms displayed adjacent to blog content work better than a custom landing page.

Just make sure that any forms present on your content are short and involve minimal work. Their placement should also not disrupt the reader’s ability to digest the content at their own pace.

Let Data Tell You About the Company Blog Mistakes You’re Making

Have call to actions in every blog post.

The above suggestions work well in general, but you need to know what you’re blog has to change to get better performance.

To learn what that might be, look to your own data. You can configure Google Analytics for free to inform you about where, exactly, your blog is failing you.

A low click through rate (CTR) on organic search means that maybe your titles or meta descriptions need work, for instance. A decent readership but low conversions means you need more convincing calls to action and easier access to the next step for readers. A high bounce rate means that people were intrigued by your headline, but didn’t like what they saw when they clicked.

Study your data, pledge to work on best practices, and write for your audience. These approaches will help you get better performance from your company blog in 2018 as you make marginal improvements over time.

 

For more great digital marketing ideas visit Get Found Fast.

The Best Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions for Crushing It in 2018

New years resolutions

After the last echoes of ringing in the New Year subside, everyone reflects on how to make 2018 better through their own actions. If you’re a digital marketer, this time marks the perfect opportunity to set ambitious goals and pledge to cut out bad habits.

To help inspire you to do better in the New Year and meet success head on, here are our 5 top recommended digital marketing New Year’s resolutions for 2018.

Make More Video

video marketing in 2018

We’ve hammered this point home plenty of times, but just to reiterate: video is the direction that the internet’s going. Cisco studies predict that 69% of total internet traffic over 2017 will have come from video views. By 2021, they expect that portion to increase to 82%.

The reason for rising video consumption is simple: people love video! Better smartphones and cheaper data plans also give us the means to watch video anywhere at any time.

Appetites for video content will keep on growing throughout 2018, and marketers for businesses of all sizes should be willing to help satisfy that demand. If they do, they will reap substantial rewards.

51% of marketers globally list video as the type of content that earns them the best return on investment. Video uploaded to social media also generates 1200% more shares than text or image posts combined!

To take advantage of video in your digital marketing strategy, start by creating summary slideshow summaries of your most-popular blogs using tools like Rocketium or Adobe Spark. Or, go live with behind-the-scenes looks at your operations or Q&A sessions. Both of these low-cost options offer reliable solutions for engagement.

Looking longer term, investigate the budget you would need to create a few short 2-5 minute video assets. These can help raise your brand awareness, earn shares, and give your company a veneer of modern professionalism.

Tie Content Better Within Buyer Journeys

In 2018, your audience deserves better than irrelevant content. No one will click on articles that don’t offer some sort of value. And, more importantly, how your audience perceives value depends on the stage of the buyer journey they’re at.

Offer value by planning content topics and placement around your customers’ stage in their buyer journey.

For instance, if you sell RVs, don’t expect someone who doesn’t have any intention to buy an RV yet to click on your article about “6 Top Reasons You Should Buy Your RV From Us!” Instead, recognize the types of topics that would get them interested. Here are a few examples:

  • Not yet aware they want to buy an RV
    • 7 Top Camping Destinations on the West Coast
    • Pros and Cons of the 4 Most Common Types of Camping
  • Maybe thinking about buying an RV
    • 5 Reasons RV Camping Blows Tent Camping Out of the Water
    • Winter Camp in Comfort at These Gorgeous Destinations
  • Deciding what RV to buy
    • Must-Have Features for Every Modern RV
    • Top RV Models by Price Range
  • Ready to buy
    • Why You Should Buy Your RV From a Local Dealer
    • 6 Warning Signs for Dishonest RV Dealers That Should Make You Leave the Lot

Each hypothetical blog title is aimed at a particular area of interest within a particular informational scope. If you have an email list, you will want to offer each piece based on the information the buyer has looked at before and their indicated interests. For your website, include suggested blog topics logically within the section the buyer is currently within.

Going one step beyond this approach requires personalization engines and marketing automation. But you can get started by creating several buyer personas and customer journey maps, then devise a content strategy to help nurture each persona type towards a final sale.

Reshape Your Website to Be Even More Mobile Friendly

adding a blog to your website

It’s 2018, and mobile phones are officially grafted into our lifestyle. Americans spend 71% of their time online using mobile devices, and visits to websites through mobile devices shot up 72% this year.

Using responsive design and passing Google’s mobile-friendly test are therefore just the start of your business. You should rigorously explore and test options for even more engaging and usable mobile layouts throughout 2018. Offer mobile visitors a true experience, but still make navigation and content consumption easy.

Improvements like these can help you stand out among competitors in an environment where mobile will only increase its share of traffic over time.

Engage More Authentically With Your Social Media Audiences

Social media audiences want to feel like they’re engaging with real people, not brands. According to one of the top social media management apps, posts with a personable approach, humor, inspiration or emotion drive the best engagement.

You can also ask questions from your audience directly. How do they handle challenges related to your line of work? What tech trends do they think have the most promise? What are their New Year’s resolutions? Questions like these drive engagement and help your audience feel listened to.

Person-centered conversations surrounding your brand can also occur outside of your owned (well, borrowed) social spaces. By setting up social monitoring tools for mentions of your brand or service area, you can engage people in 1:1 conversations and help them solve problems.

Engaging directly with your audiences in these ways can sway public opinion in your favor while making your social media pages more lively.

While Fulfilling These Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, Base More Decisions on Data

digital marketing in 2018

All of the above resolutions can bring you success as long as you take a scientific approach. Start by setting goals and target metrics. Make predictions on how to meet these metrics, measure how accurate your predictions were, and experiment to see if you can find even greater success.

You can also A/B test two approaches simultaneously to learn even faster. For instance, maybe you aren’t sure which Facebook post for an upcoming event will get the most clicks? You can use paid social advertising to serve two different promoted posts to targeted audiences and see what happens.

Experimentation combined with dedication and a healthy dash of creativity will help you go a long way towards finding more success in the year ahead.

Keep the above resolutions in mind, and you could be well on your way towards making 2018 the best year in digital marketing ever. Good luck, and have a Happy New Year!

 

If you need  a digital marketing plan for 2018 contact us. We are a full service digital marketing agency in Denver, Colorado.

5 Digital Marketing Hard Truths You Don’t Want to Hear

5 Digital Marketing Hard Truths You Don’t Want to Hear

We hope you’re sitting down, because we have something important to tell about digital marketing that will be hard for you to hear.

Actually, we have five important things to say, and they’re all going to be bitter pills to swallow.

But facing these digital marketing hard truths is the only way to stay afloat and efficient when it comes to achieving your online marketing goals in the years ahead. Listening to them will make you a better person and a better marketer

So you may as well get it over with. Here are the five most important digital marketing truths you have to come to grips with in 2018 and beyond…

1. You Absolutely Need an Ad Budget to Get Any Traction on Social

digital marketing ideas

Nearly 100% of businesses have strong reasons to be on social. Without a social presence, they miss out on online reach and lead gen capabilities. Their current and potential customers will also think less of a company that doesn’t have an adequate social presence.

Yet, these businesses are at the mercy of constantly changing social platforms. Companies like Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn make major changes to improve the experience for the average user and help the company stock go up.

Notice how business users and advertisers are left out of the equation.

What we’re getting at is this: organic reach is tanking.

You have little chance of your posts showing up on people’s newsfeeds unless you apply some sort of budget to promote your posts. Businesses actively trying to boost conversions may also want to consider paying for banner ad space.

The good news is that even with a small budget you can get great results. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms all have great tools for helping you experiment with audience targeting and other parameters to chase better-optimized performance.

Start using these tools now, or else you won’t get anything out of your social channels. Even a small budget of $75 – $100 a month is enough to learn the ropes and start earning positive results.

2. Vanity Metrics Won’t Get You Anywhere

When doing anything online, you should tie your campaigns to target metrics that directly generate a dollar value — or that at least have a high chance of leading to extra money in the bank.

Yet, too often businesses prioritize vanity metrics. A “vanity metric” can be anything that is easy to measure and that can make you feel good but that ultimately has no connection to higher earnings.

Take this example from Social Media Today. They posted a hilarious meme five years ago that still gets thousands of shares and likes. Periodically, the meme will pick up steam and go viral in connection with current trending news.

But ultimately the post equals bupkis when it comes to actual marketing performance.

People who engage with or share the post are not likely to visit Social Media Today’s website since the post has no link to speak of. They are also not becoming more aware of the company’s offerings.

So, instead of just focusing on the amount of likes and followers you have, think fourth dimensionally. Identify metrics that lead to actual revenue, like demo signups or quote requests.

If you have a part of your marketing funnel that is lagging, then you can also prioritize things like email signups, landing page visits, and shares for your big online promotions.

The bottom line is to think about your bottom line with everything you do.

3. Keeping Up With Digital Marketing Hard Truths Through News, Data and Research is Essential

digital marketing news

What worked with digital marketing five years ago may not work today.

Businesses used to get away with poorly written content as long as it had strong keyword signals, but that’s no longer the case. Now, high quality content that leads to low bounce rates is more important for ranking. You don’t even need the related keyword in the body of your page if your content is strong enough.

A mobile friendly website was once a nice-to-have, but now it’s essential.

Developments like these don’t come out of thin air. Companies like Google and Facebook will announce most changes well before they take effect.

Other developments, like what factors influence search engine ranking, must be learned through diligent research.

If you don’t keep your ear to the ground and actively search out this information, you will be basing your digital marketing strategy on myth and conjecture. Prioritize staying educated to stay ahead.

4. Bad Reviews Will Tank Your Reputation Unless You Actively Ask for Good Ones

50% of people check online reviews “most of the time” or “always,” but 55% of people say that they “rarely” or “never” leave a review.

This statistic shows that people put a lot of weight on the content of online reviews but usually don’t feel inclined to leave one themselves.

Businesses must therefore actively court reviews from all of their customers. Otherwise, they risk having their review score skewed in favor of people who tend to leave the most reviews: complainers.

Put another way, you have to keep actively adding to your volume of reviews. Most people who have a pleasant or positive experience will be likely to keep it to themselves unless you directly ask them. Remind them that their opinion is important to you and to others online, and you will see your score remain stable.

5. You Have to Be Constantly Gathering Data and Learning From It to Keep Up

Digital marketing can take your business higher.

Our last home truth is hard to hear because it involves lots of work. Simply put: digital marketing is an ongoing, fairly labor intensive process.

Most small business owners prefer not to work this way. They want to establish baseline practices and stick to them.

This approach may result in happy customers when it comes to your actual operations, but it will never lead to growth through online marketing.

Instead, business owners must actively measure their digital marketing performance and learn from it. They have to establish benchmark metrics, set goals to improve them, experiment, and then measure the results. Then, they have to keep tweaking their approach until they can reliably grow their KPIs (key performance indicators).

Most galling of all, achieving consistent success is not an invitation to rest upon your laurels. Instead, you have to be prepared for ongoing changes and shifts that naturally occur.

Digital marketing is not a factory. You can’t just put in the same inputs and expect the outputs to remain consistent.

Instead, digital marketing is a sportscar engaged in a constant race with conditions that change all the time. It requires frequent tuning, measuring, testing and maintenance. It also requires you to change up your practices as the weather changes or the track itself is reshaped. Sometimes you have to swap out your entire engine just to stay in the race.

Yes, the act of continually taking your digital marketing campaigns’ temperature and making adjustments can be exhausting. But it’s the only way to stay ahead in a modern era where past performance is no guarantee of future success.

You have to make your own way while keeping your eye on competitors in the rearview mirror. And if you can stay focused on learning and improving, you will always come out ahead.

 

For more digital marketing truths visit our website Get Found Fast. We are an SEO company in Denver, Colorado

How to Write Headlines Your Customers Can’t Resist Clicking

How to Write Headlines Your Customers Can’t Resist Clicking

In many ways, the headline is the most important part of a blog post or article. Headlines spark action. They can make people click. An eye-catching headline on social media can draw tons of comments — many from people reacting off the headline alone.

Headlines can also shape how people digest the message of a blog by creating context and expectations — all through a strong first impression.

But, most importantly, headlines tell us what we need to know in order to get invested. With so many distractions and options for reading content online, we need information that helps us choose how to spend our limited time.

The best headlines therefore serve as a promise to the reader about what they’ll get for their time. Never forget that a great headline acts like a bargain: “read this, and you’ll get something special or valuable or informative out of it.”

So how do you start to shape expectations and earn interest right from the headline? You can rely on a couple of tried-and-true formulas, as one option. You should also mull how accurately and succinctly your headline summarizes the central takeaway of your post.

To help you get started, here are three methods you can try in 2018 to write better blog headlines and earn more clicks, along with a few other tips.

Method 1: Distill Your Article Into a Headline by Gradually Dropping Your Word Count

Distill Your Article Into a Headline by Gradually Dropping Your Word Count

This first method is time consuming and involves some hefty thinking, but after a few tries you’ll be able to do it subconsciously in seconds.

In fact, most of us already try to use this method when writing headlines, we just don’t think about it. Getting practice makes your approach more deliberate while teaching you how to skim your content for an accurate central takeaway.

The method works like this:

  1. Identify a central thesis, argument, idea or purpose of the article
  2. Identify two to four main sub-points or pieces of evidence for the main point
  3. Use the above two items to summarize your article in less than 200 words
  4. After writing your summary, edit it down to 100 words
  5. Edit your 100 word summary down to 50 words
  6. Edit your 50 word summary into a single sentence
  7. Take your sentence-length summary and condense it further into a headline below 90 characters
  8. See if you can condense the message into just a few words using less than 65 characters
  9. Re-read your 200 word summary to see if you left anything important out, then come up with an alternative <70 character headline
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 to come up with a few alternative options

This method may seem tedious, but it’s good practice for teaching your brain to recognize thought processes we take for granted. Translating a huge chunk of text into a short summary involves lots of mental processing, but we are able to do it in seconds thanks to our wonderful minds.

At the same time, our minds are trying to do a million other things when we write headlines. Using the above method keeps us focused on a central idea, and it can steer your headline writing back to a more logical place if you ever feel lost.

Method 2: Use Headline Formulas That Earn Tons of Clicks

Use Headline Formulas That Earn Tons of Clicks

Publishers like Buzzfeed, Upworthy and Bored Panda don’t earn millions of clicks a week by coincidence. They have blog writing down to a science, including the practice of writing juicy headlines that generate stampedes of clicks.

Based on research and performance data, here are a few of the most successful three-word headline phrases these publishers use to generate huge, highly engaged audiences:

  • will make you
  • this is why
  • can we guess
  • only X in
  • the reason is
  • are freaking out
  • X stunning photos
  • tears of joy
  • is what happens

Other common traits of popular headlines include:

  • Using numbers to imply a list (“10 Reasons Why…”)
  • Referring to the audience in the second-person (“You Won’t Believe…”)
  • Implying emotion (“This Hilarious Piece of Advice…”)
  • Lead with a strong, commanding action verb (“Take Control of Your Day by…”)

There are also many other tried-and-true blog headline writing formulas worth experimenting with.

Now, when looking at these lists, some may refer to this data-based approach to writing blog titles as “making clickbait.” Those people would be correct.

Even though clickbait-ish headlines have become a punchline, they still work. A post like “Watching This Baby See Her Dad for the First Time Will Make You Smile” sets a concrete promise to the reader for what they’ll get out of the post.

Our cynicism towards headlines like these comes from the fact that we click on these posts only to feel deceived. E.g.: “No, #16 did not surprise us, Buzzfeed, because it’s literally the first thing we thought of.”

So, when writing headlines with this approach, make sure they still accurately reflect the actual content of your article. Which brings us to method #3.

Method 3: Compromise by Combining Headlines From Methods 1 and 2

Compromise by Combining Headlines From Methods 1 and 2

Rand Fishkin of Moz offers a handy way to resolve the conflict between headline descriptiveness and viral appeal.

He suggests creating at least one headline using each of the above methods. Then, try to combine them.

Here’s an example:

  • Descriptive Headline: “Implied Consent Laws Demand Choice Between Incriminating Yourself and Mandatory Jail Time”
  • Sensational Headline: “This One Weird Trick Could Get You Out of a DUI, But You May Spend the Night in Jail!”
  • Combination: “Here’s What Happens When You Delay Your Breathalyzer Test in an Implied Consent State”

Now, an even better headline might read: “5 Reasons to Delay Your Breathalyzer Test in an Implied Consent State”. Why? Because they then know they don’t have to read the whole article to get the gist. They can just read the five subheadings in quick succession.

That particular headline requires the article to be broken down in list format, though, so consider the how you might use the structure of your article to create an appealing headline before you start writing.

A Few Other Tips to Help You Write Better Blog Headlines

  • Look up synonyms to replace weak words with stronger ones or multiple words with a single descriptive one
  • Use strong verbs
  • Avoid using “being” verbs like “is” and “are”
  • Use CTR to gauge how clickable your headline is; make note of high benchmarks to learn from them
  • If you have a high CTR but a high bounce rate for your content, that’s a sign your headlines need to more accurately reflect your post content
  • Beware of spam trigger words, especially when sending emails
  • You can A/B test multiple headline options when creating promoted social media posts or email campaigns; study the results to find patterns for successful headlines
  • When in doubt, come up with at least five alternatives and ask someone for their input!

Headline writing is a tricky dance, but when you recognize what’s important, it becomes that much easier. Keep your audience’s valuable time in mind, promise them something great, don’t misrepresent the post, and study your own data to discover what works!

For more information on how Get Found Fast can help with your marketing strategy contact our Denver SEO office today.

 

One Habit That Will Immediately Improve Your Online Reputation

Online reputation

Millions of business owners all over the world struggle when it comes to generating a positive image of their company online. Despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to get momentum behind people expressing positive sentiment.

But one simple strategy can change all that: ask for a review.

Businesses that consistently ask people to review them after a transaction or service has been completed are far more likely to receive a higher volume of positive reviews. They also tend to get more detailed feedback from both happy and unhappy customers, which can inform strategic improvements.

Developing a habit within yourself and among your employees to ask for reviews is therefore the most important thing you can do. Doing so won’t just make you look better online; it will also help you genuinely become better thanks to the feedback you earn.

If you are a business owner or a marketer trying your best to improve your online reputation, you can use the following tactics to increase the rate of reviews you get.

Recognize Why Positive Reviews Are So Important Yet So Hard to Get

thumps up or thumbs down reviews

As with most best practices, understanding why asking for reviews is important helps a ton with motivating your follow-through.

Firstly, people care about online peer reviews more than any other form of information on a product or service.

According to eMarketer, 31% of people 18+ trust the information they receive from online reviews. That’s the highest-rated source, beating out the 23% of people who indicated they trust recommendations and feedback from friends, family and colleagues the most.

Think about that: 8% more of the population trusts strangers online more than their own family and friends!

Millennials — those 18-35 years old — have an even bigger gap. 40% of them trust online reviews the most compared to 24% who prefer input from people they know personally.

Yet, there’s an even bigger gap between the likelihood of someone reading a review versus leaving a review.

Around half of people say they check reviews either “always” or “most of the time”. But 35% of people say they “rarely” leave online reviews and 20% say they “never” do it.

Making matters worse, people are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience compared to a positive one.

Getting happy customers to review your business is therefore a huge challenge, but one definitely worth meeting head on.

Business owners must recognize the importance of pushing through the uphill battle to earn more reviews. To help them find success, they can use any of the following tactics.

Make Verbal Requests Part of Every Customer Customer Interaction

Ask your customers to leave you a review.

Employees must be trained to ask for reviews at the end of their interactions with a customer. People are more likely to feel positively towards an individual requesting a review compared to a faceless request bearing a company logo.

“The person-to-person request is incredibly effective, particularly if the requester has spent a lot of time with the customer,” says digital marketing firm owner Brian Patterson. He reveals that in-person requests get seven to eight times more reviews compared to email.

Everyone in your company should therefore make it an instinct to ask for a review. Don’t be pushy or directly ask that they say something positive. Just request politely that they leave feedback “if they’ve had a good experience.”

Better yet, ask about their experience beforehand just as a barometer. If someone feels positively, suggest they leave a review.

If they react negatively, do everything you can to record their input and correct their issues. This helps them feel listened to, gives them an outlet to vent before they go online, and also gives you information for improving your services later on.

Make It as Easy as Possible for Someone to Review

How many times have you thought about leaving a review but didn’t?

This happens to people all the time, and they quickly forget that they meant to leave a review in the first place.

Fix this problem by sending helpful digital reminders.

Asking in-person is the first step since it creates intent in the mind of the customer. They promise someone something, so they have more intention to follow through compared to a generic “Review Us!” request.

The second step is to make leaving a review as effortless as possible.

Ideally, you email them a direct link to your preferred review site, such as Google or Yelp. You can also send out general reminders periodically on Facebook and other social media so past customers can remember to review you.

Some customers may even respond well to links sent via SMS, so take surveys and have customers indicate their preferred option so you can work with their tendencies, not against them.

Emphasize Strong Customer Service Basics

Provide good customer service.

When it comes to positive reviews, consistent service that delivers on baseline expectations is far more important than “wowing” the customer.

According to the Harvard Business Review, many efforts to “surprise and delight” the customer fall short. They write that “89 of the 100 customer service heads we surveyed said that their main strategy is to exceed expectations. But despite these Herculean—and costly—efforts, 84% of customers told us that their expectations had not been exceeded during their most recent interaction.”

Instead of going above and beyond, try to get the ground level right. Hammer home basic customer service practices, such as asking if someone needed help or if they experienced any problems.

Listening to customers during their transaction helps improve their positive sentiment towards their overall experience. If someone has an issue, try to resolve it or offer some way to make it up to them.

Speaking of which, gathering data from older reviews is an important step for businesses looking to improve their online reputation. Find patterns within negative feedback, and work to improve these recurring issues.

Also, make note of any positive feedback so you can explain the importance of certain aspects of the customer journey to employees, such as having a friendly attitude.

Monitor Online Reviews and Respond to Those That Need Your Attention

Respond to a reasonable rate of glowing positive reviews — maybe around 5% to 10% — and try to address issues presented in negative reviews.

When responding to negative reviews, always take the customer’s feelings and experience as gospel. Work on moving the relationship forward towards resolution rather than making excuses or arguing about what happened in the past.

You want to appear pro-active and eager to resolve conflicts rather than interested in starting publicly visible fights online.

Constantly Collect Customer Review Data to Improve Your Online Reputation

Getting customer reviews for your business.

Once you begin your efforts to earn more reviews and improve your reputation, track your results.

Try to look for patterns among the types of customers who are more likely to leave positive reviews. As an example, people who use a specific product or service may come away feeling more positive compared to others. Focus more on these people when requesting feedback.

You may also notice that certain tactics are more effective than others. Sending an email from a named employee email account compared to a generic “customer support” account can increase your positive review rate, for instance.

Over time, data generated from your reviews will reveal a path forward where a higher rate of your customers leave reviews, and a higher percentage of those have something nice to say.

Keep asking for reviews, and maintain focus on providing great experiences, and you should be able to improve your online reputation in no time flat!

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