SEO is a topic which many small business owners find a confusing part of Marketing their business. There is no doubt about it, it is a large area of Marketing which involves many different skill sets and disciplines.
We asked SEO experts if they could give us their number one SEO tactic for small business in 2017 - the answers are surprisingly varied, which has resulted in a fantastic SEO resource we hope you’ll enjoy.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
For a small business to gain a competitive edge it is important this year more than any to have your mobile SEO strategy in place.
Later this year Google will most likely be rolling out its 'Mobile 1st' algorithm which means Google will be evaluating and ranking sites based on the quality of the mobile version rather than desktop, as it is now.
If you don't have a 'mobile friendly' website then this should be your main focus in 2017, ideally by creating a responsive/adaptive site that changes dimensions based upon device, or alternatively a specific m.domain.
When this is in place then all your On-Site SEO activity should be planned with mobile in mind.
Alex Maclennan SEO @ Appleyard London
Use Customer Insight To Create More Searchable Content
A good approach to doing SEO, especially in a competitive space, is by blogging and sharing information about topics your target audience would find interesting and are actively searching for. But don't just blog for the sake of blogging or because you heard the phrase ‘Content is King’. Instead, make a list of the questions you get asked frequently.
You could look through emails from customers or make a note after having a direct conversation over the phone or in person. These topics are gold, as you know they want the information. Now, not only can you save time by pointing them in the direction of your blog posts when you get asked the same question, but you also increase your ability to get found in Google when someone is searching for that question. There's a direct and indirect benefit and that's how I approach SEO.
Neil is SEO and Director of Your Brand Found
Image Optimisation Is Key!
Make sure you name your images correctly with the keywords you want to be found for, if you're selling red running shoes, call the image name red-running-shoes.jpg and use the ALT tags as well. Don’t just leave it with the filename from the camera or manufacturer.
Jamie Gemmell from Search Jam
A Well Crafted Content Marketing Campaign Sets You Apart From Your Competitors
Publish valuable content such as guides, points of views, how-to's, reports or case studies for your target audience on your website and on relevant platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Publish regularly on podcasts and on guest blogs to improve your presence and to develop yourself as an authority in your niche.
It will be easier to rank your site and generate the types of links that your competitors won't be able to acquire.
Essentially, it is a well-crafted content marketing campaign. When it works, it works extremely well.
David is a published author and Director of Business Growth Digital Marketing
Reverse Engineer Google Searches For Backlinks
Google search terms your content is targeting, to gather a list of popular blog posts or companies performing well in search results. Use backlink tools like Moz's Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs.com to see what websites are linking to these good performing pages. Then reverse engineer how to get listed on these websites. It could be with submission, partnership, paid sponsorship or many other options.
Joshua Uebergang Director of Shopify marketing agency Digital Darts
Use Images To Build Backlinks
Far too many people are focused on guest posts and sponsored posts for building links. Not only is this time-consuming, it's also not very interesting or varied, and if these are your main link building tactics then your backlink profile is going to be fairly plain and unvaried.
Most blogs and online publications are crying out for images that they can use, and if you have original imagery you can allow these publications to use it, provided that they link back to you.
Sam Williamson is the SEO Executive for Scotland Shop
Local Is Very Important For Small Business in 2017
Local SEO is even more important in 2017 so make sure your NAP (Name, Address & Phone number) is identical on every citation source. Your website details should be listed in the same format on Yelp, Google MyBusiness, Facebook, and any local directories. This helps Google understand that your business is legitimate and ‘permanent’.
Keith Lang SEO at Digital Consulting
An SSL Certificate Will Show Google You Mean Business
Google are upping the game with respect to ‘excellent sites’ vs ‘just another one of these’ and are actively penalising those which are insecure. A quick win to show Google you mean business is to ensure your site is secure with an SSL-certificate. If you've got a little green padlock in your address bar, you're good - if not, get one!
Alex SEO from Martingale Marketing
Use Video To Increase Time On Page
Use lots of video… but not just for better user experience. Video helps increase dwell time – the amount of time people spend on your page. Google pays attention to what happens AFTER the click as they want to ensure people are enjoying the search results that they are serving up. The longer the dwell time, the better.
Carrie Wood is Chief Marketing Officer for Lease Ref
Use 'People Also Ask' to Find Featured Snippet Opportunities
Perform a search in the form of a question and chances are you'll see Google's list of suggested questions people also ask about your topic. This is an easy way to find longtail queries to target and potentially steal featured snippets from competitors. If you expand the list, chances are you'll find some 'answers' that are out of date, not localised or incomplete. Answer the same question on your own site and you may just poach some prime real estate on the results page.
Lachlan Wells SEO from Optimising.com.au
Focus On Creating Content Around Longtail Keywords
Find phrases that are 3-5 words long. They might only get 10-100 searches/month according to Adwords. But you’ll get more traffic than you realise because:
1. There are tons of keywords you’ll rank for.
2. The keyword tool doesn’t give all information of the exact search.
Whichever route you pursue, once you've created the 10x content, reach out to get influencers to share their views. In doing so, not only will they often help promote the article, if you target the right influencers sometimes you can get a natural link from them when they blog about your topic.
Jason Quey Digital Storyteller from Storytellermarketer
Use Customer Reviews To Boost Your Rankings
Improve your visibility in Google and increase traffic to your site with online reviews. They're perhaps the most underutilised BUT easiest SEO tactic at the moment. Start asking your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and other review sites (but not Yelp!). Make sure you publish reviews on your site and mark them up with Schema!
Quentin Aisbett Digital Marketeer from OnQ Marketing
Have A Content Promotion Strategy From The Start
Always have a promotion strategy when planning blog content. This means conducting your ideation around topics that can provide relevant long tail ranking opportunities, then source material from people that you can reach out to and let them know they are featured to encourage sharing, and maybe a backlink if it really speaks to them. Also, be sure to leverage this technique to grow your influencer network.
Nick, SEO from Web Profits
Optimise Your Key Meta Titles For Search
Nail the Title Tag with the right Keywords for each page on your site. That is the single most important SEO tip. If your pages are titled "home" and "about us" you will never be found!
Adam, SEO from Imwave.com
Infographics Are Still A Great Tactic For Gaining Links
In 2017, search engines have evolved to being intelligent enough to determine whether information which is organic is informative and adds to the user experience or not. A fundamental part of our SEO campaign are infographics which add value to the reader. Humans are very visual creatures and infographics are exceptionally linkable.
Rob Williams Director of Hawthorn
We hope you have enjoyed these tactics! A little note, we did not sway the experts in any way, they were simply asked to give their best tip. This is a great example and showcase of how vast the topic of SEO is and how each individual part of an SEO strategy works together to get those all-important rankings.
If you are an SEO or Digital Marketeer and would like use to add your top tip to this list, comment below or send us an email and we will include it.
Recent data has shown that 17% of brands create, publish and promote more than five pieces of content each week – and there’s no way to do that single-handedly, so here are our top 25 tools to help you create and promote better content for your business.
1. Pixabay offers copyright-free images, as well as the option to tip the image creators voluntarily. This is great for making blog posts really pop and for adding eye-catching images to your content, without spending loads on graphic design or subscription-based image sites.
2. Small SEO Tools – This site has loads of free and simple-to-use content tools, including a plagiarism checker, grammar checker, keyword positioning tools and more. Some of the tools are limited when using the free version, but with a 1,000-word limit on the plagiarism checker, it shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.
3. Grammarly – An instant grammar and spelling checker available as an extension for most web browsers, which offers spelling and grammar suggestions as you type text in any website, including social media platforms.
4. Blog Post Templates – HubSpot has five free blog post templates available to download to inspire your marketing activities and help you to craft engaging blog posts.
5. Hemingway App – This app analyses content for readability and offers ways to make content more
accessible and engaging. By making content simpler to read, you will see higher conversions and click-throughs.
6. Infogram – Create engaging infographics in minutes without any graphic design experience.
7. Google Keyword Planner is perhaps the most obvious tool for finding relevant keywords, suggesting long-tail keywords and providing data on the competition surrounding them.
8. BuzzSumo – A great tool allowing content creators to find top content for specific keywords and industries to see what everyone else is talking about, this allows you to see what information everyone else in your industry is peddling, then make it your own.
9. Ahref Content Explorer – Find the most shared content for keywords, subjects and topic across social media sites, then add your own spin on it and bring those readers to your website.
10. Quora – In-depth answers to questions, personal anecdotes and expert opinions in the form of a Q&A forum – easy to get lost in for hours, but essential for adding authority to your content.
11. Google Trends shows the latest stories, news and media being shared and read across the internet. This can be used as a general search tool, but also offers more specific results when keywords are entered.
12. The Blog Topic Generator by HubSpot takes three keywords of your choice and generates 5 blog titles using them – it can be a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to grammar and some of the results are hilarious to read, but it is great for giving you inspiration for blog post titles.
13. Forums, such as Reddit, which calls itself ‘the front page of the internet’ are great for finding the latest information and customer-led interests surrounding particular topics. The site is divided into ‘subreddits’ and there’s one for almost any subject you can think of.
14. Your own company’s feedback – if your customers and readers are always asking the same questions, maybe that’s the subject you need to address next. Even an FAQ can be a great piece of content if enough people are interested in the answers. Another use is a ‘behind-the-scenes’ piece offering insight into the company or processes.
15. ‘Now Trending’ sections on social media are often the first place popular topics can be seen. Scan the ‘trending’ sections on Facebook and Twitter to see what everyone is talking about, then add your own angle to the discussion.
Managing the Process
16. Social Oomph – This is a social media automation platform which allows you to schedule when your content is published and the tags used to identify your posts. This is great for companies with limited staff who want to save time but still have a social media presence.
17. Outbrain – Outbrain scans the web to find topics, stories and media related to your content, then displays links to your content alongside in a native way – this entices people who have already shown an interest in similar topics to view your content, automating your content promotion.
18. Word2cleanHTML – The ideal blogging tool, this site converts text written and formatted in Microsoft Word to a clean HTML script, saving you time when it comes to publishing and fixing those small formatting errors.
19. Hootsuite is another social media automation platform, which offers the ability to see all social media streams simultaneously and schedule times and dates for publishing content – another time saver.
20. Your company website’s content management system – if you have not yet installed content management, take a look at g2crowd’s recommended software.
21. Zapty is an online platform with tools to organise teams and individuals working on a project – this is great for keeping freelancers informed, updated and confident in their role within your company.
22. There are numerous sites offering experienced freelancers, content creators, copywriters and graphic designers, such as People Per Hour, UpWork and Content Gather.
23. Content writing agencies are another option, and a long-term relationship with either an individual freelancer or committed agency will lead to exceptional content with a deep understanding of your business as a foundation.
24. Content sharing and collaborating platforms including Google Docs and DropBox are free and offer the opportunity to work with creators, freelancers and agencies to create perfect content suited to your needs in one place – it’s also great for backing up content so that technology can’t lose it.
25. Stand Up Mail is a simple interface which sends an email to collaborators or freelancers each day to remind them of their tasks, it then offers them the opportunity to write a simple list of completed tasks which are sent back to the team leader – a super-simple progress management tool.
Did we miss your favourite tool? Let us know in the comments what platform has been the key ingredient in your content marketing strategy!
If you want to hire a writer for your online content it can be a pretty confusing process to enter. One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to hire a content writer or a copywriter for your project.
In this post, let’s go through the main difference between each discipline, we hope this can help you decide which type of writer is right for your project.
Let’s start first with copywriters, what do they specialise in, what are their core skills and why should you hire a copywriter?
What Do Copywriters Specialise In?
Copywriters are writing specifically to sell. It doesn’t really matter what the format is but their primary goal is to make a sale of a product or service.
For example, an Advertising Agency like Ogilvy will have a team of copywriters who will do the copy for their client’s TV ad campaigns and billboards.
A campaign at an Ad Agency for a large client will be themed around a central idea and then delivered to the public through a range of different formats. The best campaigns are delivered so that the target audience sees the campaign multiple times a day, in different places, for several weeks, resulting in a strong product recall and sales long into the future.
Brands like Apple, Coca-Cola and Vogue, which rely heavily on selling a concept and an idea to the consumer, spend vast amounts of money on these campaigns. They can do that because once someone starts identifying with a brand at their core being, they will be buying for a lifetime.
When it comes to online copy, copywriters will write landing pages and core sales pages, sometimes shopping cart pages too. Any touch point where the reader is close to purchasing something, a good copywriter can increase conversion rates and capture more sales.
What Core Skills Do Copywriters Have?
Copywriters need to be creative but also analytical and be able to create content around a central goal and track it. There are a ton of different goals one might have.
For example, Coca-Cola might come to an ad agency and say; “Our market research is showing that consumer behaviour is now preferring healthy drinks, smoothies and juices. How do we position Coca-Cola so that it is still a preferred soft drink and increase our sales by XX?”.
The campaign will be created to shift consumer behaviour and so the creative will be wrapped around this core goal.
Another goal could be that a business coach wants to increase the sales of her coaching program by X, by improving her sales page. How can she go about doing that whilst still remaining true to her voice and keeping the integrity of her brand?
Copywriters need to be able to take a brief and use market research to back up their concepts and the delivery of their creative.
Should You Hire A Copywriter?
A good copywriter is not cheap, the work they do is very advanced stuff requiring years and years of education and practice. Hire a copywriter for the really important sales touch points in your customer journey.
If your budget is small then your sales page is the first place to start. A good copywriter can cost anywhere between $1,500 - $2,000 and up for a single sales page. But the value you get in return from increased sales will be huge, so it is well worth it.
Of course, I love the written word, I find it one of the most powerful, everlasting and important forms of communication there is. My recommendation is to spend as much as you can on quality copy.
When hiring a copywriter, double check that is what they specialise in. Many online writers say they are copywriters when actually they are content writers using the term to add $$ to their pricing. Copywriting is a specialist skill so watch out for those who say they can do it all!
What Do Content Writers Specialise In?
Content writers specialise in writing online content which is produced to educate, entertain or inspire an audience into taking an action. More often than not, content writers are focused less on sales and more on lead generation.
Content writers will be writing the 90% of the web that comes through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your favourite blogs and online magazines. These could be blog posts, guest posts and social media updates.
Content writers focus more on the top of the funnel, they are attracting the first eyeballs into the brand, copywriters will convert them. Content writers will tend to focus more on competitor research, keyword research and positioning the content in a way which will engage the reader and drive a subscription, provoke a social media share or a comment.
When it comes to guest posts, content writers will also be focused on link building and improving the SEO of the site they are writing for.
What Core Skills Do Content Writers Have?
Content writers also need to be creative and analytical, able to track what is and isn’t working. They need to be able to think quick on their feet and produce a high level of quality, engaging content at a quicker rate than copywriters.
Copywriters might write several landing pages a month, content writers might be writing 4 or 5 long form pieces per day. They need to have strong attention to detail and be able to think imaginatively and creatively. They also need SEO skills and they should understand the basics of content marketing on the web.
Should You Hire A Content Writer?
If your strategy is heavily focused on using content marketing to generate leads then you should consider hiring a content writer. They can produce your blog posts, guest posts and all of your social media updates. Many can even produce your email newsletter (though if you can afford it I would invest in a copywriter for your newsletter, especially if you are focusing on selling affiliate products or your own products through your newsletter).
Good content writers will also have an understanding of marketing on the web and how the content they produce for you fits into an overarching Digital Marketing Strategy. They can provide you with extra ideas and some advice about how to grow your leads and subscribers through Content Marketing. They should also be staying up to date with the rapid changes that happen in the online world. It is very handy to have a good content writer on your team!
Do We Focus On Copywriting Or Content Writing At Ginger Marketing?
We focus on content writing, this kind of writing lies at the core of producing quality blog and guest posts. However, we don’t just simply ignore copywriting. We spend one day a month learning about copywriting tools and techniques and then write down how we can start practically applying it to the editing stage of our content to improve client results.
For us, a key indicator of content success for clients is the engagement. We track how many social shares and comments each piece of content receives. Copywriting tactics can be subtly applied to blog and guest post writing to improve this engagement.
Have you ever hired a copywriter or a content writer? What was your experience?
How To Choose A Blog Name You Won't Hate In 2 Years
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Why Your Mindset Is In Control Of Your Marketing
The Difference Between A Content Writer And A Copywriter
Sorry to be blunt but here is the honest truth.
I know you are in love with your business. I know you think you have the best thing since sliced bread and you are going to become a millionaire. But the sad fact is that no-one cares about your business; what it does, what you do, what you sell, etc. etc. etc.
Ours too, don't worry ;-)
If you want to find a path that equals zero sales plus a lot of disappointment, keep talking about your business all the blooming time. Keep telling people that your VA Package is exactly what they need, that your website design service is THE BEST OUT THERE.
It will never be enough.
Most marketing people then go on to say "you need to present the benefits". Whilst this is true, this post isn’t about presenting the benefits.
Because, usually, even presenting all the benefits isn’t enough.
How often have you read something and you are like “Hum, that does seem like it’s exactly what I want and need but um... maybe there is something better out there? Maybe I need to keep looking around, I might find a better deal or more value?”.
Unless you are an amazing copywriter and marketer who has spent years perfecting your sales page, or you can afford to pay those people to do it for you, focusing on the benefits isn’t enough.
Most customers need at least 7 touch points with you and your brand before they make a decision to buy.
So how can we make people care about our products & services?
The best way to make clients want your service is to show them that you can solve their problems. Don’t just tell them, actually help them out.
This is the strategy that entrepreneurs like Kimra Luna and Neil Patel, and pretty much every big name online entrepreneur out there, does. They show their customers how they can help them.
There are different ways a product and a service based business might go about this, so let’s quickly look at a few now.
Remember, whenever you are communicating with your audience you have a chance to help them solve a problem. Even if it’s the teeniest, tiny problem, once you have helped someone get closer to what THEY WANT, you are one step closer to having a new customer.
There are still businesses out there that waste the golden opportunity to solve problems for their potential clients by shouting at them about their business instead.
Traditional PR is much like this. You write a press release about your latest product or service, you submit it to a PR distribution service and they send it to hundreds if not thousands of journalists. Then hopefully one of these journalists picks it up and writes about your product or includes it in a piece they are writing.
Press distribution needs to be extremely targeted in order for it to work and have any real results. The reason being journalists don’t care about your business either. Journalists care about the article they are writing and the sources they can get for it.
It’s the difference between writing a post titled:
Ginger Marketing Launches Today - We Provide Quality Guest Post Services
How To Find Guest Posting Opportunities For Your Business
Unless I am specifically looking for a guest post service, there is no reason for me to click on the first title. And even if I do click on the first title, I know I’m being sold to and am very unlikely to actually follow up and make a sales enquiry.
The second title appeals to anyone who is looking for guest posting opportunities, they might not even know a service exists to help them. It will get clicked because it can help a group of people who have this problem.
And I know the readers 1) care about guest posting and 2) need help finding guest posts!
So they are going to be pretty targeted. PLUS I am helping them with a problem they have straight away, providing tons of value which they will be super-duper happy about.
I hope you can see the difference between these two approaches and why, if you apply the right strategy, Content Marketing can be so powerful.
Getting the right person to view your content is one step in the equation. Then the hard work really begins! Getting that person to read down to the bottom, take in the information and actually know, like and trust you is a whole different game.
And if you want sales enquiries they need to know, like and trust you AS WELL as knowing you can help them get what they want.
We are really excited this week to be introducing Nathalie from New Software Marketing. She is an Infusionsoft Certified Partner and specializes in Sales Process Automation, Marketing Automation Strategy, WordPress Development & Ecourse setup.
Natalie is going to be giving her secrets on setting up a high converting email nurture sequence today and I am super excited, so lets just DIVE IN!
Now more than ever, it is critical that every business not only builds a list of potential buyers, but engages with them as well. Your job is to guide them through a sequence of emails that will lead them to eventually purchase from you.
Gone are the days when people purchase blindly. Now they want to get to know you.
It is very important to spend time writing an email nurture sequence that will help them get to know you and see you as an authority in your field.
Your prospect goes through different phases while on your email sequence. They start as a lead who signs up to one of your freebie, then move on to be a fan, and if you do it right, they become a customer.
That’s what I call building the Trust Ladder.
Your lead needs to get to know you, like you and trust you, so that when you show
them your offer, they’ll want to buy .
So let's get into it!
How To Write An Email Nurture Sequence Which Converts
1) Get The Right People In Your Sequence
That sounds pretty obvious but in order to convert leads into buyers you need to be very clear who
your ideal client is, where they are and what pain or problem they have that you know you can solve
with your program, product or service.
In order to attract the right people, you need to think with the end in mind: what you want them to
eventually buy. From there, define a freebie or lead magnet that you know will help them get closer
to solving their problem and therefore buy from you.
2) Choose Your Lead Magnet Wisely
In order for your lead magnet to be efficient it needs to:
- Provide value to them NOW
- Be easy to consume
- Provide a tangible result
- Help them see you as an authority in your field
- Make them want to learn more from you
- Give enough but don’t give too much.
Yes there is such a thing as giving away too much, if you overwhelm your subscribers with too much free stuff they won’t be ready for the next step which would be to purchase your product, course or service.
3) Have A Clear Call To Action In ALL Emails
That is really important. You need to get your subscribers to engage from the beginning.
From the first email you send giving them access to your free piece of content, make sure you ask
them to hit reply to let you know they got it.
Not only does it help build that relationship, it also ensures that you are not going to be put in their
Here are some call to actions you can use;
- Hit reply to answer a very easy question
- Get them to click on a link to checkout an article or watch a video.
The more engaged you’ll get them the better chance that they’ll keep reading your emails and that
you’ll build that relationship and trust.
4) Make Your Email Personal So They Can Relate
"People want to do business with people" - Nathalie Lussier
I love that quote because I think that in the end, all people want is to connect.
I heard the other day that an insurance company did some stats and found out that a lot of their
customers were leaving not because of their service but because of the lack of relationship with
their agent or agency. They had absolutely no attachment to them.
I truly believe that the more you can integrate your story into the sequence (without getting too
personal although some people really go deep…) the easier it will be to connect with your audience
and attract the people that you are meant to work with.
Not to mention it will make your non ideal client go away which is exactly what you need.
5) Build The Know You, Like You, Trust You Factor Into Your Email Sequence
The first thing that your sequence should do of course is to deliver on the promise. Thank your subscriber for signing up, tell them what to expect and give them a link or login to the free piece of content they signed up for.
From there, if they are completely new to your list, I suggest you send them 2-3 “discovery emails”
where you can talk more about you, your business and why you’re doing it.
This is to help them get from the "know you" to the "like you" stage.
That’s where you’ll share your best stuff: any guest blogging, interviews you’ve done that can help
them get to know you. (I also send them more freebies that are related to the same topic.)
You can then start a series of engagement emails that provide more valuable content to your subscriber and moves them closer to the “trust you” stage. Another rung on the ladder!
The purpose of these series of emails is so your subscribers can see what you have to offer (free and paid) and if that’s something they could learn from.
6) 3 Angles You Can Use To Get People To Buy
There are 3 angles that you can work on when it comes to asking for the sale: Gain, Logic and Fear.
Here are examples of what they could look like (very simplified but you’ll get the idea).
- Gain: if you join X you’ll gain A,B,C and will be able to do 1,2,3
- Logic: Sounds like you are interested in learning about X, I teach X, join us and signup here!
- Fear: These emails are typically scarcity based : price going up, limited seating or limited time
7) Address Objections Upfront
When you do your homework and work on your Ideal Client Profile (also known as ICP or Avatar),
you also need to search for the possible objections they’ll have when it comes to buying. If you
don’t know their objections, talk to people and find out.
Usually they are things like:
- Is it for me?
- Will I have the time?
- Will it work for me?
You shouldn’t wait for people to tell you what their objections are. Instead, address them before
they come up and get them out of the way in your email sequence.
These emails work very well towards the end of the sequence when you’ve made your pitch and
they didn’t buy, sometimes all it takes is a little extra push.
8) Share Testimonials And Social Proof
Adding testimonials and social proof is going to drastically increase your conversions for sure. It
not helps build your authority and shows that past clients got results. And if they can identify
with them, they’ll be more likely to buy.
An ideal format of testimonial for this could be :
- Before I worked with Nathalie I was….. After going through her course I am…… Before and
After work really well.
People want to hear success stories. If you don’t have any because it’s a brand new product or
service, you can share testimonials from people that have worked with you in the past or even
testimonials from your peers.
I hope you enjoyed these little secrets and I’ll leave you with this last piece of advice: You’re not
selling a product, a course, a service or a program.
Write your email sequence like you’re selling a solution.
We would love to know if you've ever written an email nurture sequence before and if you have any tips that helped you in the comments below.
Before we get into the step by step I just want to take a few minutes to set up WHY, I think this resource is so, so important. And why I think Guest Blogging should be a core part of every female entrepreneur’s marketing strategy.
I have analysed hundreds of websites in the Female Entrepreneur space over the last 6 months and I’ve noticed a trend, very few female entrepreneurs are focusing on Search Engine Traffic.
Um why not!
Is it because it’s too complicated, too competitive, not sexy enough?!
Is it because Social Media is more fun? Well, yeah I can understand why it’s more fun to get lost on Pinterest and Instagram, than a keyword research tool!
But, Search Engine traffic should not be ignored in a Marketing Strategy and I think it’s super important that we don’t just let all of the big guns monopolize the internet - don’t you?!!
Because that’s what is happening.
This isn’t just important because the internet should be here for everyone. It’s important in terms of making revenue, your bottom line. Time and time again studies show that Search Engine Traffic converts better than Social Media Traffic (see diagram below).
I’m not saying Pinterest & Instagram aren’t useful channels. I’ve seen a couple of pins from key accounts on pinterest send hundreds of leads to my client’s website, so I have seen it work.
However, I don’t think that we should focus on those at the expense of search. If there are people searching for your product or service (which there are) then you need to be ranking on the Search Engine for them to buy it.
Just check out these ecommerce conversion rates
And look at the gap between StumbleUpon & Google.
In case it is hard to translate this into real world value let’s put this into figures, if you have 20,000 traffic per month it’s the difference between 4 sales or 320 sales.
If you are selling a package for $79, it’s the difference between making $316 or making $25,280 per month.
Hopefully by now I have convinced you that SEO is worth a look in! And if you think it might benefit your business then I want to help you as best I can. I’m not going to say I know every single thing there is to know about SEO - it's a HUGE topic and involves multiple, multiple skills including an Analytical & Creative talents.
However, I have been working in SEO now for over 6 years for a range of brands and businesses in Finance, Travel, Beauty, Fashion, Healthcare, Wellness, Business & B2B so I do know a thing or two which I can pass on to you. So grab a cup of tea and settle in!
Why Does Search Engine Traffic Convert Better?
This is the first question to ask - why the difference? Well, it’s all to do with the visitors state. When a person visits your website from a Social Media channel they are in browsing mode. Think about when us girls go shopping. Think back to the last time you went shopping with a group of friends when you didn't have anything particular you wanted to buy, you were just going to try on outfits and have a chat and some fun. How much did you spend?
The chances are, unless you happened to come across something you instantly fell in love with, you didn't spend very much.
Now think about when you go specifically to buy something you’ve wanted for ages. You know you want a Jacket for the winter season, and you need a new pair of jeans. You go by yourself this time because you know where you are going and what you need. How much would you usually spend on this trip?
When customers visit from a Search Engine they are either researching something specific, or wanting to buy something.
I don’t know about you but I would much rather spend time on attracting 100 people who want to buy something from me, than 100 people who are just there for a browse. If that's not of interest to you then no problem, but this probably isn't the right place for you. If it is, then great lets carry on.
If you are on the fence & still aren’t convinced about Content Marketing, here is another 10 Benefits of Content Marketing for you to get into.
Right! Let's get to it.
9 Steps To Launching A Niche Guest Blogging Campaign In The Female Entrepreneur Space
What is a Niche Guest Blogging Campaign?
Using guest posts on other websites to drive traffic & leads back to your website. I want to be clear before we begin. Guest Posting isn’t the only way to execute a Content Marketing Strategy or to grow your Search Engine traffic, however it’s the easiest way to get going!
Building The Base
What is the most important bit to get right when you are making a cake? THE BASE! Without the base the entire thing just crumbles down into a big pile of tasty goop.
When it comes to my outreach base I use tools to make sure I am setting it up right. Without a solid base the campaign doesn’t get results, and without results there are no happy customers. So, this is super important to get right!
At this stage it also good to identify what kind of person/personality type you are. If you are a creative, then it might be good to ask someone who is detailed and analytical to check over your base before you move forward.
Step 1: Choose Your Keywords
Keywords are the words that customers are going to type into Google or another Search Engine to find your product or service.
“VA Business In Manchester” for example.
There are two types of keywords to think about;
Short tail keywords are more general & tend to have a higher search volume and are more competitive.
Long Tail keywords are very targeted, they tend to have a lower search volume and be less competitive.
“Business Podcast For Solopreneurs”
Internal Linking Pages (product / service / campaign / blog post)
You need to decide which internal pages you want to link to from your Guest Post. This is determined by the keywords you choose for your campaign. Google's goal is to match the search term someone types into the search bar with the most relevant and useful result. You have the best chance of ranking your page, if you have the most relevant and useful content for this keyword.
So the subject of your linking page needs to match the keywords you are targeting. Now, here is where it does get a little bit complicated because you also need to think about the intent of the user as well.
I don't want to go into depth on that here because this subject goes deep. But you can find more here. I suggest spending a little bit of time on this subject because understanding it will help you to work out if your content has a chance of ranking.
In every Guest Post Post I also always suggest linking to your homepage with your brand term. i.e.
“Ginger Marketing” > Linking To: http://www.gingermarketinghq.com/
This is for several reasons I won't go into them all now.
One of them is that if you link to an internal page it is very likely that page is going to move. Either you decide to update the url, you change your service entirely or your campaign ends.
Even if you redirect the url to your new page you have still lost some of the value the link will pass in doing so.
So, your homepage is the most stable place on your website, build authority to it!
Only linking to your homepage with your brand name means you will very likely find it hard to rank for some of your keywords.
So make sure you mix it up!
And remember, SEO is not a Science it is an Art. Don’t be afraid to test things out. Set a strategy, execute the strategy and track the results, see what happened & iterate.
Anchor Text Tip:
Avoid publishing 10 guest posts, linking to the same pages with the same anchor text, this could be seen as a signal by Google that you are trying to game the system. So again - MIX IT UP!!
Step 2: Metrics Of Success
The final ingredient of your solid base is to choose your Metrics Of Success. A metric is something you can track which shows whether the campaign was successful or not.
Ideally you want to track a metric which is tied into your sales however, setting this up and running requires some advanced analytics which we won’t go into now. If you’d be interesting in learning about this then let me know and I can write a tutorial for you.
Metrics Of Success:
If I had to pick the most important metric to track from this list it would be traffic & email subscribes. For most small businesses these are the two things that will make a difference to the bottom line of your business, assuming you can convert the traffic.
It is a good indicator to know if your outreach efforts have brought you in more traffic either from people clicking from the guest posts to your page, or from Google because you have increased your ranking positions.
Always look for both Search Engine Traffic & Referral Traffic in your Analytics report. You should see an increase in both.
Step 3: Identify A List Of Websites To Pitch To
The easiest way to launch a targeted outreach campaign is to focus on one specific group of people / niche at a time. At this stage, to help you pick your niche you need to ask the question;
What is the action I want the reader to take on this content?
Example Action; I want them to click onto my branding for beginners webinar
So, now you know who you want to find. You want to find people interested in learning about branding. Since this is for beginners you are probably looking for early stage business owners so a good niche might be business coaches who specialise in helping early stage solopreneurs.
Why solopreneurs? Because solopreneurs who are just starting out tend to be the ones interested in branding. m! One of the first team members a lot of people hire now is graphic designers so if they have a team, likely they don’t want to listen to your webinar! They will just ask their team.
But what type of business coach? Each business coach is going to attract a different audience depending on their personality & interests.
There are soulful, heart based & spiritual business coaches, there are power house business coaches, there are introverted business coaches, there are business coaches for busy mums, or those that focus on students and young entrepreneurs.
It’s important to get to this level of niching because you want to write for websites that have an audience of your ideal clients.
If you are not sure about the market you are going to be pitching to then this bit will take some time. Researching will help you.
Researching A Niche
Google the topic and go onto the websites you are looking at.
(be specific here about how they start to follow people)
Check out their twitter and facebook feeds, read their content. You could keep at this stage for 7 or 8 days, going in and reading posts and content for 30 minutes a day. By the end of the week you will have a much clearer picture & will be able to select your niche more accurately.
It might seem like a lot of work but remember the cake, we are still on the base. Without getting this bit right you will just be randomly emailing a bunch of people and verging on spamming them. Effort here, means the difference between outreach & spam. And it makes the difference between happy replies and pee’d off people who never want you to speak to them again (not to scare you!!).
Just Keep a list of websites in a word doc!
Join Some facebook groups
Search For Your Target List
Once you know who you are targeting you need to find your targets. I personally use software for this, Ninja Outreach. There is also Buzzstream as well however I prefer Ninja Outreach because I find the filter options really awesome (more on that in the stats section), and they give you monthly traffic which is important.
However, Ninja Outreach is more expensive starting at $49 a month instead of $24 per month for Buzz Stream.
If you don’t want to pay for a tool then you can use good ol' Google and you can use a tool called Open Site Explorer. Nothing wrong with this method, this is what I’ve used for the last 6 years, until I got the software.
However, it does take triple the amount of time to build a good list and manage your contacts without one of the outreach tools, so I do advise getting them if you want to use Guest Posting as an ongoing marketing tactic for your business.
Searching On Google
Example Search Terms
Solopreneur Business Coaches
List of Solopreneur Business Coaches
Business Coach for Solopreneurs
Business Coach for Mums
List of Business coaches for mums
Business coach for work at home mums
List of business coaches for work at home mums
Chrome add on which helps you understand the metrics of the site's you are looking at:
Be careful using this if you are in an office building with lots of people or at least an IT department. We triggered some kind of firewall shut down when we used it at MoneySuperMarket. #funtimes #notreally
What does the Moz Bar Do?
It tells you the level of the website you are looking at. More about this in the metrics section. But, without it you are just looking at a bunch of website links with no idea how good they are or not.
Searching Ninja / Buzzstream
Enter the same search terms into the search section of these tools. A list of websites will appear with the stat’s next to them.
Using Open Site Explorer
With this tool you take a slightly different approach. With this you can really quickly identify the websites that have already covered what you have created.
In this case we have created a webinar for branding for beginners.
You can quickly create a list by looking at other websites which have linked before to topics about branding.
Search in Google
The trick here is to find a key player in this market. You are looking for someone who is a thought leader on branding. When you find them, enter their website into Open Site Explorer.
And it will give you a list of all of the people that are linking to this website.
Now, there are a ton of metrics and there is a lot of depth in this tool. But, for now, the only metric I want you to worry about is DA = Domain Authority. This is an indicator of how well the site ranks in Google.
Not all websites are created equal. If you are going to put your energy & resource into creating content you need to make sure that the websites you approach are worth your energy. This might sound blunt but we want the best for you!!
As a guide, look for Domain Authorities between 28-50.
+2000 per month
Check Open Site Explorer
If you are using Ninja Outreach or Buzzstream make sure you go through and ensure the correct email is saved to the contact.
If you are doing it manually then go onto the website
Or us an email scraper tool:
Step 4: Making Friends
Once you have your list of potential targets you need to start engaging with them & getting to know them. Guest Posting is about making long term connections with other website owners for a mutually beneficial relationship. Hopefully you’re going to become partners and colleagues, maybe one day friends!
Take your list of targets and follow them. I use twitter for this because you can create a private list. I have lists for;
Social Media Experts
And I continuously add to these lists as I execute my campaigns. Every week I go in and engage with the people here. Quality is better than quantity. It can be easy to think of this as a “tactic” and then go into it with a sales kind of attitude. But you don’t want to do that. You want to go in at a human level and just try to have a chat.
If you don’t manage your Social Media then ask your social media person to do it, or hire someone for $50-$100 per month to do it for you. Believe me, the cost & time is absolutely worth it.
Effective Ways To Engage With Targets On Twitter
Replying to a tweet with a question
Replying to a tweet and adding value
Replying to a tweet with a personal account
If you want to be even cooler, follow them on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest as well. Repin & Like posts that you connect with. Not only does this strengthen familiarity between you but you will also get closer to understanding your targets & the things they post about. Heck - you might even learn something as well!!
Step 5: Title Creation
This is the first bit where we can start to get creative. Writing a good, effective title is one the most challenging parts of the entire campaign. It’s one of those bits that if you fail at, it dramatically reduces the effectiveness of your campaign.
The titles needs to be relevant to your audience, it needs to be interesting enough to click on and hopefully share as well. Creating good titles is a constant learning process. Always go back to your guest posts and look at what did well and what didn’t, take notes about what can be improved for next time.
Here are some thing to think about when creating your Guest Post Titles.
Why would someone click on this title?
Does it add value to the reader?
Which group of people are you speaking to? Remember, this isn’t the same as your audience on your blog. Check out a couple of the websites from your list and read a few of their blog posts, get a feel for the audience.
Your keywords need to go in your title. If you can’t get them in the exact phrasing that is fine it’s better for it to look natural.
Could a 10 year old read this and know what the post is about?
Step 6: Pitching
Now it’s time to pitch! Yep that is right, we are going to pitch without actually having any content written. Why is that? Because if you write some content no-one wants to post you’ve just wasted your time & energy!!
Often the website owner will come back with some slightly adjustment and changes and if you don’t have the content you can very easily accommodate.
Just like the title, the subject line is SUPER important. Your target is likely to receive several hundred emails per day, perhaps 50% being pitches. I use a very straight forward tactic for my subject lines which get a 7-10% response rate.
Subject Line: Guest Post Pitch:[Title Of Your Guest Post]
The success of this method does depend on your title of course! However, the advantage of this is that when the target clicks through to read your title they have already said to themselves that they are interested in the title. This means they have pre-opted in before they have even read the email making the response a lot more likely.
In the body of the email you need to get across a couple of elements quickly for the target to make a decision.
Trust: They need to trust you to make a decision.
Always include some stats for your previous posts you have done, publications you have been featured in, talks you have given & stats about your community. This person has never met you before, prove to them that you know what you are talking about. If you can link through to some evidence even better. I often link through to successful guest posts that we have done to show them clear stats about the results we can get for their website.
Value: They need to understand the value you are providing for them.
Always share what value you are providing them. That your post is going to be high quality, actionable advice 650+ words (unless they have a higher/lower word count). And that you will share it with your audience when it is live.
Commitment: They need to know how much commitment they need to make.
This is just about stating what you want. “I would like to pitch a guest post for your blog.” Very straightforward, they know where they stand.
The quickest way to send out an email to 20-30 people is to use Mail Merge. I have been using it since forever to launch Guest Post Campaigns. I used to use Excel and Word, I know have Google Drive Add Ons & Software.
Basically it means you can send out a template email very quickly to a group of people. The sophisticated versions allow you to personalise each email by adding the targets name, or the business name into the body of the email. This makes it seem as if you are only sending a couple of emails out.
For sending 20-30 emails the simplest way is to set up mail merge on Google Drive with a free Mail Merge add on.
This add on doesn’t allow you to personalise the email but it’s a good starting point for getting to understand mail merge.
The really good thing about this add on is it has tracking included! It will tell you if someone has opened or even clicked in your email. This is really good for starting to understand what is and isn’t working. And for following up. A good place to start with the follow up is to email all of those that either opened / clicked in your email because they are more likely to be interested but then just got distracted.
Always remember, people are BUSY!! Just because they didn’t get back to you it doesn’t mean they are not interested. If it’s been three days and you haven’t got a reply follow up with those who didn’t get back to you. It takes much less time to follow up than it does to go through the process of launching another campaign. Some people say follow up a third time as well, I don’t do this as I don’t want to annoy people! It’s up to you though.
So that’s how to launch a niche guest blogging campaign for female entrepreneurs!
Once you get your replies it is all about crafting the content and finding the right visuals and imagery, and that will be one of the next posts I put together. So bookmark us, subscribe or follow us so you get that goodness too!
I hope this is a valuable resource for you so you feel confident in launching your own Guest Posting campaigns. Feel free to reach out to me with questions / suggestions and feedback - it will all go into improving this to make it the number one place to come for female entrepreneurs wanting Content Marketing On Demand.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)