Category Archives: Content Marketing

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How to Create Segmented User Experiences

How to Create Segmented User Experiences written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Your business doesn’t serve a homogenous customer base. Unless you’re an incredibly niche service, it’s likely that you have at least a handful of types of people who benefit from your products or services.

Because these types of customers are different from each other, they won’t all be won by the same kind of messaging. That’s why it’s helpful to create unique user experiences on your website that speak to each segment of your overall customer population.

Here’s what you must do to create a more personalized, segmented user experience for your website.

Create Target Market Personas

First thing’s first: You need to figure out what the segments of your larger customer population are. There are a number of ways to break an audience down into distinct buyer personas, and it starts with data. This might be data from your CRM, email service provider, website, or social media analytics.

Start looking for demographic and behavioral trends. Are there certain age groups, genders, or people from specific locations that do business with you? If you’re a B2B company, are there industries you work with often, or are your point-people in a particular department, or do they hold a specific job title?

Behavioral trends can help, too. Are there certain pages on your website that nearly everyone visits before they become a customer? Is there a particular email campaign that drives a lot of prospects to set up a sales call and eventually convert?

Finally, take a look at how these demographic and behavioral data points overlap. Is there a specific age group that responds well to a certain section of your website? Does your social media page generate a lot of interest from people in a particular geographic area?

If possible, it’s also a good idea to conduct some interviews with your existing customers. Hearing straight from the source about what problems your client solves and why they chose your client over their competitor can help you hone in on some of the other elements of the customer personas.

Once you’ve gathered all of your information, you can create your composite sketch of each type of their ideal customers: Who they are, what they need, and what they expect from you.

Allow for Self-Identification

Now that you understand who these different segments of your audience are, you can begin to create different messaging and experiences for them on your website.

The easiest way to ensure that each customer ends up on the path that’s intended for their persona is to allow them to self-select into the appropriate segment on your website. Websites do this all the time to great effect. Let’s say you own an architecture firm, and you handle both residential and commercial projects. On the homepage for the website, build a splash page with two separate buttons—one for those interested in each type of project.

Each button will take the visitor to a separate homepage for that specific audience, with a navigation bar that speaks to their needs (i.e. those who click on residential will see the portfolio for homes the architect has designed, and informational content about the process of undertaking home renovations).

Design Unique Landing Pages

I’ve already covered one instance in which unique landing pages can work on your website to speak to different audiences. This is also an effective tactic when you’re driving traffic from ads to your website.

Take, for example, a paid search campaign. Let’s stick with the architectural firm example and say that within your commercial work, you have two distinct personas: You work regularly with private schools and non-profit organizations. You design a Google Ads campaign targeted at private school leaders and board members. When they click the ad, rather than taking them to the generic landing page for commercial projects, why not create a landing page specifically about your work with other schools?

This customized landing page is effective in immediately addressing the pain points of your distinct persona. That board member of the private school might be somewhat interested in your work for other types of commercial properties, but when they see right off the bat that your architect has designed beautiful spaces that address the specific needs of a client in private education, that prospect feels an immediate connection to your work. They feel seen and understood, and you begin to immediately build trust.

Select Channels Based on Audience

Once you’ve captured the attention of each segment with an effective strategy to get them onto your website, continue to dazzle them with content that speaks specifically to their needs.

Of course, you want the meat of the content to be relevant to the audience. That means topics that matter, filled with advice and helpful information, rather than sales pitch after sales pitch.

But in addition to considering what you’re going to cover in your content, you want to think about how you’re sharing it. Typically when people think of content, they think blog posts, but there’s so much more to it than that: Podcasts, explainer videos, webinars, infographics, and ebooks—there’s a wide variety of ways to reach your audience.

For example, did you know that video, while a popular medium with all consumers, is even more effective with Baby Boomers? It might surprise you to learn that they watch 10 percent more videos on YouTube than Millennials. Meanwhile, Millennials and Gen Zers outpace Boomers and older generations when it comes to podcast listening.

So while you want to be providing a variety of content to each of the segments of your audience—because no one wants to be greeted with the same content format over and over again—think about ways you can lean into certain types of content for specific personas.

Invest in Hub Pages

Hub pages do a lot of good in organizing content on your websites. In addition to giving you great SEO juice and breathing new life into old content, it can also establish thought leadership in specific areas that are important to your different personas.

Let’s return to the architect example. If you know that your commercial clients are mainly in the private education and non-profit worlds, it makes sense to build hub pages around those two areas. One hub page can be specifically for that private school audience and include content that speaks to topics like fundraising and budgeting for major capital improvements, planning your construction around the school year, and designing a modern education building that speaks to what today’s parents are looking for.

Different segments of your audiences will have different needs and expectations when it comes to what they’re hoping to get from your business. By identifying these different buyer personas and creating specific customer journeys for various groups, you get a better chance at directly addressing pain points, building trust quickly and efficiently, and moving new prospects towards the sale even faster.

5 Types of Video That Improves Marketing Content

5 Types of Video That Improves Marketing Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Video content is a hot topic in marketing circles. We’ve been seeing studies for years now that video is the way people want to consume content. Search engines continue to reward businesses with video on their homepage with additional traffic. So if you haven’t yet embraced video, now is the time to start.

Oftentimes when people think of video marketing, they think of social media content. While there’s certainly a great case to be made for using video on social platforms (and lots of ways to do it!), incorporating video across other marketing channels is just as essential.

Here, let’s take a look at the five types of video content that can be added to any business’s marketing system. This will allow you to tell your brand story in a dynamic, engaging way.

1. Brand Story

Every brand has a story. Lots of entrepreneurs have fascinating tales of how they got the idea to start their business and the journey that they went on to get that business off the ground. But when we talk about core story, it’s not about where the brand has been, it’s really more about the customer’s story.

Every brand has a problem that they solve for their customers. It’s their own unique approach to solving the issue. This is what attracts customers to the business in the first place and keeps them coming back time and again.

Creating a video that tells your core story is a great way to establish trust immediately with prospects. A strong core story outlines a prospect’s problem, paints a picture of a world where the problem has been solved, and then offers up your business as the solution to the issue.

Putting a video like this front-and-center on your website sets you up for success with prospects. Not only do prospects feel seen and heard by what they’re seeing in the video—this is a brand that really gets my problem!—they also have a sense of connection with the people behind the brand.

When the business owner gets on camera and talks directly to their prospects about how they address their big concern, this wins their trust and builds a human-to-human connection from the get-go.

2. Service or Product Videos

You have gotten the attention of a prospect with your core story. Next, your prospect might want to learn more about the specifics of how your business can solve their problems. That’s where product or service videos come in.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run. A video showcasing your offerings can help to dynamically demonstrate all the pros of purchasing your product or service.

For more complicated products, like a new software system or a tool or machinery that requires some set-up, product videos can help eliminate some of the fear that a prospect might feel about purchasing a complex product. When they see how easy it is to set up and use in the video, they’ll feel more confident in their ability to do it on their own.

The same is true of videos that feature services. Let’s say you are a car mechanic. People are often distrustful of car mechanics, thinking they’re able to rip people off because most of us don’t understand how a car actually works. A service video, where the mechanic walks viewers through the standard inspection process and points out potential red flags along the way can help to eliminate prospects’ fears that they’re a scam-artist mechanic.

Even for simple products, video can help to bring the item to life. A product video for a children’s construction toy that shows the features of the completed model might sell a parent on the purchase. Or a video on a clothing e-commerce site, showing a model walking back and forth in items of clothing can give viewers a sense of how the shirt or pants look and move on a real person.

3. Client Testimonials

Testimonials, reviews, and case studies all play a similar role in the lead nurturing process. They offer social proof that your business is as good as you say it is. Of course, you have a vested interest in selling your business as the best business out there in your field. That is your job when you have your marketing hat on, after all! But customers don’t owe a business anything. Glowing feedback from customers demonstrates to prospects that the hype is real; you are as good as you claim to be.

Written reviews and testimonials are great, but videos can help to elevate that connection. By showing prospects an existing happy customer, you give them a taste of what their life could be like if they hired you. If you’re looking for tips on how to get the most out of your interview with one of your happy customers, check out these steps for putting together an effective case study.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s face it, scrolling through dozens of questions in a standard FAQ page is boring. Why not create the most engaging FAQ page possible by incorporating video answers onto the page?

This is also a great opportunity to get a number of people from the company involved in the video creation process. Have someone from each department get in front of the camera. They can each record a handful of answers to the FAQs that are most relevant to their role at the company.

First, this is a fun activity for the team members who participate. Additionally, it provides you with the opportunity to introduce prospects to even more of the faces behind the business. And the greater the sense of familiarity and personal connection you can establish early on, the more you will stand out in terms of trust and likability.

5. Personalized Sales Videos

Once you have won prospects over with great video content on your website, it’s time to take things to the next level. Encouraging your sales team to use one-to-one video in the sales process allows them to embrace personalization.

Using a tool like Loom makes it easy for even the least tech-savvy sales team in the room to record and send videos. Creating a personalized video, where they address the prospect by name and speak to their specific concerns and questions, makes that prospect feel special. They think, “If this business went through the trouble to record a video just for me, can you imagine the lengths they’ll go-to for me if I become a customer?”

Video content can play a role throughout all stages of the customer journey. Video can be critical to establishing trust, building a personal connection, and moving prospects down the hourglass towards their first purchase.

The 7 Steps to Keyword Research

The 7 Steps to Keyword Research written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Both SEO and content creation strategies cannot be implemented successfully without keyword research. Creating content that is ranking and speaks to the intent and needs of your ideal audience requires an understanding of which keywords matter to the relevant searches.

Keyword research is a critical first step to establishing a successful marketing maturity model. While it’s worth investing some time and effort in the process, it need not be arduous or difficult. In fact, I have some tips to help you conduct simple, effective keyword research.

1. Ideation

Who will know your business better than you? Hopefully no one. That’s why a great first step in keyword research is to sit down and brainstorm terms and questions your business answers for clients.

You should have a solid idea of what your business does and what people ask for. Are there certain questions their sales team gets all the time? Is there a consistent piece of feedback you get in reviews about what you did differently from your competition?

Do your best to focus on what customers ask for and stay away from any industry jargon. You are looking for the words and phrases that customers would use to describe your goods and services.

Part of the brainstorming process should also include understanding the types of customers you’re hoping to attract. What do you want to be known for, and what related terms should you focus on?

2. Turn to Google Keyword Suggest

Google Ads does have a keyword research tool, but I find it easier to just go to the search engine itself and run some test searches. Their autosuggest tool is a powerful way to generate keyword ideas that reflect what people are actually searching for.

Let’s say you own a home remodeling business. If you go to Google and type in “home remodel” check out the suggestions you get.

While some people are looking for specific companies, it seems most turn to Google when they’re in the early design stages. They’re on the hunt for ideas. Others still are looking for an app or software to help them begin the planning process; and that makes sense—it’s easier to commit to an expensive remodeling process if you’ve been able to run some scenarios in advance and are certain it’s worth it. And of course, because the home remodel process is expensive, you see questions about loans coming up close to the top as well.

From this one simple search, you now have a goldmine of information and lots of SEO and content ideas. Maybe write a post outlining how to budget for and finance renovations. Perhaps you can create a video showcasing your favorite free design tools where prospects can test out remodeling ideas.

You can also check out the “People also ask” box featured in the middle of the SERPs and the “Searches related to…” links at the bottom of the page for more ideas.

People also ask Google search result example home remodel

3. Keywords Everywhere Extension

While you’re on Google, why not check out what the Keywords Everywhere extension can tell you? Designed to work on Chrome and Firefox browsers, this extension will tell you even more about the search terms you enter.

Once you type in your search term, the extension will display related keywords on the Google page. It will also pull in Google advertising data, showing you the search volume, cost per click, and Ads competition.

4. YouTube Suggests

While YouTube is owned by Google, it’s still worthwhile to pop on over to their homepage to check out their autosuggests on your relevant keywords.

While the search term might be the same, the results you’ll get are often radically different. That’s because people use Google and YouTube in very different ways. Folks often turn to YouTube for tutorials and other types of content, which means you’ll get to see a whole other side of keyword possibilities by checking out autosuggestions on both Google and YouTube.

5. Wikipedia

Another angle to explore is everyone’s favorite online research tool: Wikipedia. Type in your keyword there, and you’ll find a table of contents at the top of the page. This gives you a whole new list of ways to explore your client’s area of expertise. Take again the home remodel example.

The table of contents on home improvement dives into the reasons one may undertake a home renovation project. Perhaps there’s a way for you to build out content around each of these areas. Create a podcast episode around energy-saving renovations, with information about replacing windows, updating insulation, and walking listeners through alternative energy sources, like solar and geothermal. Write a blog post about how to incorporate safety and emergency preparedness measures into a home improvement project, from fire and burglary alarm systems to back up generators that supply power during an outage.

6. Answer the Public

When you’re looking for popular questions related to your search term, I suggest you check out Answer the Public. Simply type in your search term on the homepage, and the tool will create a visual representation of related questions and phrases, and will even provide you with an alphabetical list of related terms.

7. Analyze All Existing Content and Create Your Hub Pages

Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to take a look at the content you already have. How does that content align with the relevant keywords you found along the way? Are there ways to tweak the content to speak more directly to searchers’ intent? Are there gaps in the content you can fill with new content that will better address those most relevant search terms?

From here, you can begin to build out hub pages. These pages serve as the go-to guides on a given topic, and it’s easy to hone in on the best topics for hub pages once you’ve done your keyword research and understand what people are really searching for when they research your industry or field. Hub pages have major benefits from both an SEO and content perspective, so creating a handful of effective hub pages should be the ultimate goal of your keyword research.

Keyword research is never done in a vacuum. Great keyword research is at the heart of strong SEO and content creation strategies. It will drive your editorial calendar creation and help you get ranking in SERPs. By following the steps above, you’ll be sure to cover all of your bases and give yourself the greatest shot at happening upon unique keywords that can help you get noticed in a crowded marketplace.

How to Get High-Quality Backlinks

How to Get High-Quality Backlinks written by Jenna Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Getting backlinks can seem like a daunting task. How do you get other businesses to link to your site online?

If you don’t have any backlinks yet you can get up and running pretty quickly by tapping your existing partners and resources within your community. Things like the local chamber of commerce online listings, alumni directories for the founders’ schools, and church and community directories are great places to start. This is the low-hanging fruit, and getting these backlinks set up is a great way to ease into the next steps in a backlink strategy.

Once you’ve established those links, it’s time to move onto more advanced tactics. Gathering more backlinks should be an ongoing effort, and if you’re looking for legitimate ways to get backlinks, these are the best way to do it.

Research Competitors Backlinks

Start by investigating your competitors. Where are they getting backlinks? Are they in industry databases or local publications that list providers in their city? Once you’ve discovered these additional places where you can be listed, it’s sometimes as easy as filling out a simple form to get your business listed.

A comprehensive SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs can help you research your existing backlinks as well as the links your competitors have acquired.

Update Existing Content

Hopefully, you already have some content on your site. Sometimes, there’s an opportunity to restructure or refresh the content you already have in order to generate backlinks.

Do you have any blog posts that list providers or tools that are helpful for your readers? Take a look through the list and add some new businesses onto these lists. Then, reach out to these businesses to let them know their service or tool has been featured; they’ll want to let their customers know that they got a shout-out on an outside site, and so you’ll likely get a backlink from them.

Submit Guest Posts

Guest blogging has long been a popular, more advanced way to get backlinks. Reaching out to relevant sites and writing a guest post on their blog is a great way to get links. However, over the years the trend of guest posting has waned a bit, so it’s now more difficult to get a guest blogging gig.

It’s worth the try, though! Put together a targeted list of blogs and publications that would be a solid fit for a strategic partner for your business. Write a compelling, error-free pitch email, outlining the topics you could write about and why it would bring real value to their audience. Tailor your pitch to each blog’s specific audience, and take the time to research who you’re emailing so that you can send a personalized message. Finally, feel free to follow up with your contact in a respectful way if you don’t hear back initially.

Join a Podcast

While guest blogging seems to be falling out of favor, guest podcasting is my new favorite way to get backlinks. Just like with guest blogging, guest podcasting is great because it allows you to tap into the existing audience of the brand of the podcast you’re appearing on.

And there’s an additional benefit that guest blogging doesn’t have: It’s very little additional work. While writing a blog post requires research, writing, editing, and selecting photos and relevant emails, when you are a guest on a podcast, you simply show up and talk about what you do every day. You’re an expert in your field, and you can speak comfortably on your topic with little preparation. And with most podcasts, you can call in from wherever you are to speak with the host, so within the 30 minutes or so that it takes to do the interview, you have generated great backlinks.

A service such as Podcast Bookers can get you set up a pitched to podcasts very quickly.

Write up a Report

While it’s sometimes challenging to convince others to let you guest blog, if you have exclusive research to share, you can capture everyone’s attention. Offering up research is a great way to get media links and to even open guest blogging doors.

Yes, exclusive research takes time. However, if you are able to partner with one of your existing business relationships, you can both reap the benefits and halve the work. You and your strategic partner can tap into your networks to find people to interview for the research. Then divide and conquer when it comes to assembly the data and creating visually-appealing ways to share it.

Connect in New Content

How can you get attention and backlinks for new content you create? Mentioning relevant influencers, community members, or others in your posts is a great way to get re-shares on new content.

Of course, you shouldn’t just stuff names into posts for the sake of name dropping. Make sure that the people you’re mentioning are relevant to what you’re writing about. For example, let’s say you are a home remodeling business. Consider pulling together a series of posts featuring families you’ve done work for. If there’s anyone that’s a pillar of the community who they’ve worked with, ask if they’d be willing to be featured. Let’s say you helped the former mayor remodel her kitchen—ask her if she’d be willing to talk about the process and share how her new and improved kitchen has bettered her life.

Once the post goes live, let the person know and ask them to re-share with their network and followers.

Publish a Press Releases

With all of these new digital marketing tactics, it’s possible to forget about those tried-and-true methods. But press releases are still a great way to get attention and backlinks! Are you launching a new product or opening a new location? Did you make a big, announcement-worthy hire? Are you participating in a local community event? There are plenty of reasons you might write a press release.

If you need a refresher on how to write an effective press release, check out this guest post on our Duct Tape Marketing blog.

Link Out

This is a long-game approach to getting backlinks, but it’s worth the effort. When you’re creating content, link out to tools and resources you genuinely like and think are helpful. If you’re featuring a specific tool or mentioning an individual person, you can email the business or person to let them know. But it’s good practice to include external links in every post, and many of those external links don’t warrant an email to the source.

However, it’s likely that the source is doing exactly what you’re doing: monitoring your online presence. They’ll see an alert that they’ve been linked out to, and that simple thing such as a link can get your brand on their radar screen. While they might not shout out that piece of content or link back to them right away, there may come a time in the future where they’re looking for a link to share that’s relevant to your client’s business, and it’s your site that they’ll turn to.

It’s important for you to build up a repository of backlinks. It matters for SEO ranking and your online reputation, and the more mentions you can get across the web, the more likely you are to win the attention of a new audience. But just as important as quantity is quality. A great marketing strategy can help you gather backlinks that are relevant to your business.

The Top 10 Duct Tape Marketing Podcast Episodes for 2019

The Top 10 Duct Tape Marketing Podcast Episodes for 2019 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

2019 was another great year on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. I chatted with some incredible guests, I did some solo shows where I could share a bit about the Duct Tape Marketing philosophy, and I got to share excerpts from my latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, which was released in October.

In honor of an incredible year, I wanted to take a look back at the most popular episodes we aired in 2019.

If you enjoyed what you heard here, check out the full line-up of shows. We’ll be back the first full week in January with all new episodes and guests.

Pamela Wilson – Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Pamela Wilson is the founder of BIG Brand System and the author of Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish. She is an expert in creating the kind of content that grabs your audiences’ attention and can help you grow your business through the four distinct phases of growth.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll learn about the Lifecycle Approach to content management and creation, which acknowledges that your website will have different content needs at different points in the life of your business.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – The Benefits of Including Video on Your Website

Video has become a critical element in marketing strategy. People want to watch video content, and companies are investing in creating videos for their brand. If you haven’t done it already, now is the time for you to incorporate video into your website.

Biggest takeaway: We’ll cover the four types of video content you should include on your website. Plus I’ll share practical, technical tips for video content creation, from how to manage lighting and camera work to where to turn for editing help.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage One: Build

Digital marketing provides business owners with dozens of channels through which to reach their audience. From paid ads to social media to SMS marketing to SEO, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options out there. By starting with a solid foundation and a focus on only a handful of the tactics available, you can get those going strong and then expand to more tactics.

Biggest takeaway: We’ll walk through the five elements that go into the build stage of your marketing maturity model, from the creation of your marketing website with SEO and a strong content program, to social media and email marketing. Plus, you can follow the links in this podcast post to catch the episodes on the other two marketing maturity stages, grow and ignite.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – Why Your Marketing Must Be Led By Strategy First

One of the main tenets of the Duct Tape Marketing approach to marketing is that your efforts must be led by strategy first. If you’re creating content without a guiding strategy, you’re spinning your wheels. These are the steps you must take to build a solid strategic base for your marketing tactics.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll learn why the first step in developing a solid marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer, and I’ll give you tips on how to find them.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Jason Kander – Becoming a Great Leader, No Matter What Field You’re In

Jason Kander

Jason Kander served in the U.S. military as an Army Captain before transitioning into politics. He was elected to the Missouri House in 2008 and became the Missouri Secretary of State in 2009. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll hear a handful of lessons from Kander’s book – lessons that are takeaways from his time in the military. And while the stories come from Army life, they’re applicable to anyone in a position of leadership.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Matt Scanlon – Managing an Expanding Business, With Your Mission Guiding the Way

Matt Scanlon is a fellow Kansas City business owner. He runs The Hill KC, which began as a local CrossFit gym and has expanded to offer corporate wellness products and services to folks in the community who have disabilities or need help getting access to wellness services.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll hear from an entrepreneur who’s going through the tricky but exciting work of growing his business. Scanlon shares some of the struggles he’s come up against with respect to branding and bridging the gap between the different audiences he’s expanding to serve.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Paul Jarvis – Finding Success and Happiness as a Company of One

Paul Jarvis is a writer and designer who runs his own business and counts among his clients giants like Mercedes Benz, Microsoft, and Shaquille O’Neal. He discusses how to approach the big questions about how to grow your business so that you can build something sustainable that continues to bring you joy.

Biggest takeaway: When you decide it doesn’t make sense to scale, what do you do next? Paul Jarvis is happy as a company of one, and he shares tips for finding your own path as a solopreneur.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Jill Nelson – Growing Your Business While Growing as an Entrepreneur

Jill Nelson is the founder and CEO of Ruby Receptionists. The company provides virtual receptionist services across the U.S., and it regularly lands on “best of” lists as an employer and a service provider.

Biggest takeaway: When you found a company, your role as a leader doesn’t remain stagnant. It grows and changes as your business does the same. Nelson shares her own experience in scaling her business in the episode.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Neen James – The Benefits of Giving Intentional Attention

Neen James is an author, keynote speaker, and leadership expert. She believes that the key to building strong relationships with teammates and customers alike is being intentional in the way you give attention. She is the author of Attention Pays: How to Drive Profitability, Productivity, and Accountability.

Biggest takeaway: When you’re not paying attention, it can cause big problems in your business. Customers and good employees who feel overlooked go elsewhere. James shares why it’s important to give intentional attention to the people who matter most to your company.

Click here to listen to the episode.

James Fell – Setting the Stage for a Moment of Awakening

James Fell

James Fell is a health expert and the author of several books, including The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant. As a college student, Fell was overweight, floundering in school, and struggling with money. A moment of sudden awakening changed the course of his life. And he wants to help you find your life-changing epiphany, too.

Biggest takeaway: Even if you’re in a bad spot in your life, you won’t necessarily be motivated to change. Fell walks us through the psychological principles at work that lead us to those epiphanies that can change the course of our lives.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Is your favorite episode on the list? If not, we’d love to hear which one you enjoyed listening to the most!

For our podcast audience, we can’t thank you enough for your support over the years! If you like the show, click on over and subscribe and if you love the show give us a review on iTunes, please!

Producing Useful Content Is the New SEO

Producing Useful Content Is the New SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

A great SEO strategy has a lot of moving parts. For small business owners, it can be difficult to keep pace with the ever-changing elements that go into optimizing your content for search engines. After all, Google alone uses hundreds of metrics to rank pages for search results, and they keep those metrics (and how exactly they’re weighted and used) under tight wraps.

So if you’re already busy running a business and don’t have time to stay up to date on all the ins and outs of SEO, I have a shortcut for you. Focus on producing useful content, and in the process you’ll check off a lot of SEO boxes.

Why Should I Focus on Producing Useful Content?

Search engines like Google and Bing are so ever-present in our lives that it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that they’re also just businesses. They want to be helpful to their users, just like you want to solve problems for your customers.

For a user visiting a search engine, they want to enter a query and get a useful response in the fastest amount of time. So search engines have a vested interest in putting the best content front and center on their first page of search results.

To do so, they look at hundreds of metrics. Some of these are common knowledge, but for the most part Google doesn’t release details on their metrics, so even the greatest SEO expert can’t be 100 percent sure how Google is ranking sites. There are factors like dwell time (how long a visitor stays on a given page), click-through rate (how many people click on your blue link on the SERP), and number of external links that we know are a part of SEO.

But rather than driving yourself crazy trying to focus on each of these specific factors involved in ranking, creating great content will inherently check those boxes. If your content is useful, people will want to click on your link in SERPs. They’ll stay on your page for a while, combing through the rich well of information. And your meaningful content will be backed up by research from other reputable sites, which you’ll link out to. Just by focusing on creating a well-researched and informative piece of content, you’ve already ticked off several SEO boxes in the process.

What Does Useful Content Look Like?

Okay, so you want to create useful content, but you’re not sure where to start or what it looks like. It’s best to start by doing some keyword research. Knowing the keywords that your audience is using to search for your products or services, or for general information on your field, can help you to hone in on content topics that will address their biggest questions and concerns.

Let’s say you run a lawn care service, and you discover that a lot of people are searching for green or pesticide-free alternatives to maintaining a great lawn and garden. This gives you the opportunity to highlight your environmentally-friendly offerings on your homepage, build out your product pages for your green lawn care services, and create a blog post about why green lawn care is important to you and why your services work so well for your clients and the planet.

So the first step to creating useful content is understanding what your audience wants to know. Next, you should shake up how you tell your story. Think beyond the written word when it comes to content. Today’s consumers want image-rich blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts. Content is only useful if it’s in a format that’s easy for your viewers to digest. That means it’s time to think beyond just blogs and consider other media.

How Can I Get the Most Out of My Content?

Once you understand how to produce useful content, you want to maximize its reach and effectiveness to get even greater SEO results. That’s where hub pages come in.

Hub pages are ultimate guides to a given topic that’s relevant to your business. Returning to the lawn care example, you learned in your keyword research that customers are concerned about green lawn and garden care practices. That’s a pretty broad topic to cover, from reducing water waste to natural alternatives for chemical pesticides to selecting the right mix of plants for soil health—the list goes on.

A hub page can become the go-to section of your website for everything related to that topic. You create “The Ultimate Guide to Green Lawn and Garden Care,” and build a table of contents that covers all of the major subtopics. You include links to your relevant blog posts, videos, and podcast episodes, plus link to a number of relevant posts from reputable outside sources.

This page is a gold mine for your prospects and customers. They come to your hub page and read multiple articles, share links with their friends and neighbors, return again after a few days to learn even more on the topic, and spend a long time on the page sifting through all the great content.

These hub pages address a lot of the major SEO metrics, and search engines realize that readers love them. Pretty soon, this page is ranking at the top of the first page of SERPs, and you’re getting even more eyeballs on your great content.

Building hub pages around your most relevant topics is the final piece in the content creation puzzle. It ensures that your meaningful content is all housed together, and rather than relying on each individual piece of content to carry its own weight, the hub page elevates all of your content simultaneously and gets you noticed in SERPs. By starting with smart keyword research and ending with a well-structured hub page, you set your business up for content success.

How Repurposing Your Old Content Brings New Life and New Traffic

How Repurposing Your Old Content Brings New Life and New Traffic written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably generated a lot of content over the years. From blog posts to social media updates to podcasts and webinars, many businesses have shared tons of valuable information with their audience.

But sometimes that older content starts to collect dust. It’s out of date, it’s buried deep in the archives, and it’s not doing anything for your business. Repurposing old content can be a great way to save you time with respect to content creation, all while getting the most out of your existing assets, and drawing new traffic into your site.

Want to learn more about how to repurpose your existing content? Check out these tips.

Add New Information to Evergreen Content

Some content never goes out of style. Many businesses have created foundational content that provides readers in-depth information on their industry, and this content can continue to be useful for years. But just like anything that’s getting up there in years, it sometimes needs a refresh to regain some of its old sparkle.

Take our content here, for example. We’ve written thousands of blog posts over the years on just about every digital marketing topic. Something like a foundational piece on SEO can remain relevant for a long time, but some of the specifics will need to be updated as search engines change their algorithms and best practices shift.

Refreshing content and republishing anew, with an acknowledgement that it’s been updated to reflect the latest on the given topic, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to repurpose your old content. This allows you to hang onto any goodwill that particular link has garnered in terms of ranking over the years, while introducing it to a whole new audience and allowing it to generate even better standing in search results.

Incorporate Media into Existing Posts

Blog posts can get boring after a while. Reading through one after the other demands a lot of focus from your audience, and today’s consumers are looking for new ways to engage with content.

Video has become hugely popular of late and can add a lot of visual interest to existing pages. Plus, if someone’s unable to read through an entire blog post, they may have the time to watch a quick video that provides a summary of the information in the post. You can incorporate other forms of media, too. A relevant podcast episode, infographic, or webinar can spice up existing content.

Because you’re creating dynamic media to accompany the existing content, it’s easier to script out what you need and get it done. You can quickly distill the blog post down to a handful of bullet points and from there create a video that riffs on those key elements.

Again, this saves you time in the content creation process and allows you to attract a new audience to this content. While someone might not have wanted to read 1,000 words on the topic, that infographic that hits all the highlights might be just what they were looking for.

Transform it Into Other Content

Creating content takes a lot of time. You need to put together a thoughtful strategy and build your content calendar around that. Then there’s the process of actually making the content itself. Blogging involves research and revision; video and podcasting means you need to adopt production skills and be able to edit video and audio.

If you go through all the trouble of creating content in the first place, why not get as much mileage out of it as possible? Let’s say you own a home remodeling business. A while back, you posted a video walking prospective clients through the ins and outs of the kitchen renovation process, from budgeting and planning to selecting materials to managing construction timelines. The video generates lots of views and drives traffic to your website. You know that the content is useful to your audience and helps win attention for your business.

Don’t just leave it at that video! Instead, get the video transcribed, so you can easily convert it into a blog post. (I love Rev for fast, accurate transcription services). And don’t stop there: Take the audio from that video and transform it into a podcast episode. Suddenly, your one piece of content has multiplied into three. And that provides more opportunities for you to reach your audience through the medium that works best for them.

Assemble Hub Pages

Most businesses have their content scattered here, there, and everywhere. There are videos and podcast episodes on various pages on their website and hosted on external platforms. Their blog posts are so numerous they could rival the National Archives. But the content is scattered, so it’s not actually serving a purpose.

If you want to get the most out of this content, you need to organize it around hub pages. I’ve described hub pages as your own mini-Wikipedia on your website. You start by identifying a broad topic that’s of interest to your readers. For example, we work with a lot of local businesses, so we’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing hub page on our site.

From there, we walk local businesses through everything they need to know to supercharge their marketing efforts. We cover the basics of Google My Business, paid search, SEO for local businesses, and reviews and competitive analysis. Under these broad topics, we’ve gathered together relevant content.

For local business owners, this repository of information is a gold mine. Rather than having to search through our thousands of pieces of content, the most relevant ones are organized nicely for them in the hub page’s table of contents. Suddenly, this page becomes a go-to resource. Visitors return again and again to go deeper in depth on the topic, and share the posts with their colleagues. Search engines take note of this behavior. They realize that the content is useful, and suddenly our hub page moves up the SERPs.

When done correctly, hub pages can get your local business ranking on the first page of results for relevant search terms. And you achieve that strong ranking by repurposing and reorganizing existing content, rather than having to start from scratch.

Creating content takes a lot of time and work. Repurposing your existing content allows you to get the greatest benefit from that investment. Not only does repurposing give it a new life and introduce it to a new audience, it can also help you boost your SEO standing and grow your reach even further.

5 Great Ways to Add Video to Your Website Experience

5 Great Ways to Add Video to Your Website Experience written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Video has become a major marketing channel. More and more people are saying that it’s the way they want to consume content. Why scroll through a long blog post or text-heavy web page when you can instead watch a quick, visually-engaging video and get all the information you need?

As consumers’ attitudes towards video shifts, it’s up to you to meet that demand and give the people what they want! There are tons of great opportunities to incorporate video all throughout your marketing efforts, from social media to your website.

Here, let me walk you through five of the most effective ways to add video to your website experience.

1. Share Your Mission

You started your business because you’re passionate about what you do. But sometimes that passion appears diluted when you try to write about it. If you’d like to share your mission and value proposition with your audience, why not do it with a video?

You can include this front-and-center on your home page. A mission video is a great way to grab attention and immediately begin to build trust. When visitors to your site can see you speaking with conviction and commitment about the work that you do to help your customers solve their problems, they feel an emotional connection to you and what you’re saying.

2. Explain Your Benefits

No matter what it is that you’re selling, a video can help you clarify the benefits of your products or services. Plus, while everyone else is relying on words (and perhaps still images) to showcase their offerings, you’ll stand out from the crowd with a video.

Video is certainly beneficial if your business does something that’s complicated or technical. Say, for example, you’re a B2B software company who provides data analytics for retailers. A video can help you quickly and easily share what your product does, why data analytics matter, and what data can do to help your prospects solve their business problems.

Even if your product is more straightforward, video can give you an edge of the competition. Take, for example, Anthropologie’s line of wedding wear, sold under their BHLDN label. They include videos in many of the product descriptions for their wedding dresses. The 10-second clips show the models moving around in the dresses, and give brides-to-be a sense of how the fabric looks and moves on an actual person. Anthropologie clearly understands that choosing a wedding dress is a costly and emotional endeavor. The video makes it a little easier for prospective shoppers to picture what the dress would look like on the big day.

3. Spread Industry Knowledge

You know that content creation is a key component of establishing your presence as a thought leader and expert in your industry. If you’ve owned your business for a while, you’re hopefully in the habit of creating regular blog posts (and maybe you’ve even taken things a step further and designed some hub pages to share all your incredible content).

But even if your blog posts are filled with nuggets of wisdom and incredible advice, sometimes your audience wants to consume information another way. Video can help break up the monotony of your blog by injecting some bold visuals into your posts.

Plus, with video, you can get a lot of content bang for your buck. Filming a three minute video on a topic you know well takes hardly any time at all. If you have your phone on-hand and a basic mic hooked up, you can create a pretty professional-looking clip in minutes. Get that video transcribed, and you can turn that content into another blog post, or break it up and share quotes from the video on your social media—there are so many other uses for the content! With video, you can get multiple forms of content in a fraction of the time that it would take to write even one traditional blog post.

4. Highlight Your Team or Customers

I’ve already touched on a few other ways that video can help to build trust with your audience. Creating videos featuring your team or customers is another important way to inspire faith and confidence in your brand.

Videos that introduce your team make your customers feel more at ease. They can see a bit of each employee’s personality and charm, and grow to feel like this employee is someone who is personally invested in creating great customer experiences. It’s a trust-building element for any company, but it’s an especially great tool if you run a service business where technicians are dispatched to clients’ houses. Creating a video with each technician, where they introduce themselves and share something about why they do what they do, makes people feel a bit more at ease about welcoming them into their home. Your technician becomes a familiar face, rather than a total stranger in a uniform.

Video testimonials build trust from another angle. When potential customers watch a video about how you solved an issue for your existing customer, there’s an instant flash of recognition. That prospect sees themselves in your customer! The person in the video has had the same problem and found great success by entrusting your company to solve it for them. Video allows you to build an emotional connection between prospect and happy customer in a way that a written testimonial couldn’t.

5. Tackle Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve all scrolled through FAQ pages, scanning for the information we really want and then glazing over by the time we finally find it, bored to death by a solid wall of text.

Video can turn your FAQ page from informational slog into something far more fun and engaging. FAQ videos are an opportunity for you and your team to show a bit of brand personality. Ask a handful of employees to get involved with answering questions, so that there’s variety on the page. And try to unite the videos thematically in a way that ties in with what your business does.

If you’re looking to keep prospects and customers engaged on your website, video is a great way to do it. There are a number of ways to incorporate video into your messaging and marketing, and doing so can help you build trust with viewers and stand out from the crowd.

How to Craft the Perfect Email

How to Craft the Perfect Email written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Some small business owners are intimidated by email marketing. Having to write an individual email is scary enough if you don’t consider yourself a writer. The thought of sending an email out to an entire mailing list can be downright terrifying!

Fortunately, the perfect email is about more than just writing. And even for the written elements, once you’ve figured out the essential components, it’s easy for even those more timid writers among us to excel.

Here are the steps that go into crafting the perfect email.

Start with a Strong Subject Line

According to Campaign Manager, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. That’s a lot of activity in just one inbox, and it means that you need to do something from the start to catch your readers’ eyes.

This starts with a strong subject line. There are a number of approaches you can take to make sure your subject line stands out. Consider including one of the following elements:

  • Create a sense of urgency – “Sale ends TONIGHT at 9pm”
  • Make an offer they can’t refuse – “Free shipping on orders of $25 or more”
  • Pique their interest – “What’s the secret to maintaining a healthy lawn?”
  • Provide value – “5 Tips for Hosting the Perfect July 4 BBQ”

An eye-catching subject line just might include an emoji, too. Of course, including emojis won’t be the appropriate choice for all businesses, but for some it can be a fun way to stand out in a text-heavy inbox.

Personalize the Message

There are a few steps that go into personalizing email messaging. You should begin by segmenting your lists. By breaking your customers and prospects down into groups based on demographics (like age, location, or gender) or by behavior (past purchases, most recent interaction with your brand, etc.) you can target different subsets of your population with messaging that will be most relevant to them.

This doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel for each variant, but there are little steps you can take to tweak the messaging to best appeal to each group. Let’s say you own a landscaping business. You’re offering a big start of the summer promotion; anyone who schedules regular yard work appointments at the start of the summer will get 10 percent off each session.

This is great news for all of your customers, but you can tailor the messaging based on how you’ve segmented your list. Let’s say you’ve broken your list down by types of services those customers currently receive. For those who take advantage of your gardening services, make the messaging about how you’ll keep their flowers in bloom all season long, for a fraction of the price. For those who use your lawn mowing services, the email can say something like “The only thing better than the smell of fresh-cut grass is saving 10% off your lawn care services this summer.”

To further personalize the messages, take advantage of merge tags, which allow you to include the name of the recipient in the greeting, rather than a generic “Hey there.”

Write Smart Body Copy

This is where those non-writers start to get intimidated. What is good copy, anyway? Really it’s about being concise, clear, and helpful.

Keep sentences short, eliminate jargon and technical speak, and make it very clear what you’re offering in your email. Because we do all get so many emails each day, no one has time to sit down and read a thousand word email. Keep it to 250-500 words maximum, and devise ways to draw attention to the most important keywords. This can be as simple as bolding relevant text or including an image that draws the viewer’s eye to the most critical part of the message.

If you’re feeling shaky in your copywriting skills, check out this list of dos and don’ts.

Incorporate Elements Beyond Text

Creating the perfect email is all about standing out from the crowd. And what better way to do that than to add elements beyond text? A stunning photo, an informative infographic, or a quick video are all ways to add other media into your messaging.

If you’re going to go this route, set it up with a brief sentence or two, and then let the media speak for itself. If needed, include captions on images so that viewers have more context. Videos should also include subtitles, so that those viewing in a place where they can’t turn their volume up can still grasp the content (a service like Rev can help you with your transcription needs).

End with a Call to Action

Once you’ve dazzled your readers with relevant, personalized content and exciting visual elements, it’s time to bring it on home. One simple, clear call to action that’s tied in with the rest of the email is the way to do that.

If your email was about a sale going on right now, include a “Shop the sale” button that takes readers to your e-commerce site. If your email was an offer for a free ebook, end with a “Get the book” link. Whatever the case may be, make sure that the call to action flows with the rest of the email content and is set apart visually so that readers can’t possibly miss it.

And Don’t Forget the Unsubscribe Option

Last but not least, you want to give your readers a chance to unsubscribe. Not only is it the law to give folks a chance to opt-out of your marketing messaging, it can also help you maintain a clean email list. When your email is going directly to spam folders or getting deleted without being opened week after week, that puts you at risk of being punished by ISPs. A clean email list, with higher open rates and fewer people marking you as spam, ensures that your messaging is ending up in the inboxes of your most engaged subscribers.

Once you get the hang of creating compelling marketing emails, you must keep it up! Staying in regular contact with your subscribers is the best way to remain top-of-mind, so establish a cadence for your email marketing and stick to it.

5 Ways to Save Time on Content Creation

5 Ways to Save Time on Content Creation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Content creation, when done correctly, takes time. But you’re a busy entrepreneur with a lot on your plate. Surely, there is a way to get more efficient about the content creation process.

The good news is: there is! There are ways to streamline the process and save time, while still creating meaningful content that will get you noticed by prospects and keep you top of mind with existing customers.

Here are my top five tips for saving time on content creation so you can get back to the other tasks that come along with running a business.

1. It’s About Quality, Not Quantity

The first thing to remember is that you don’t need to create mountains of content. You’re better off creating less, high-quality content than you are flooding your audience with lots of empty content.

Along with quality, consistency is just as important. When you set a cadence for your content, you want to stick to it. Releasing content every single day and then going radio silent for a week and a half is not the way to build an audience.

Most prospects need to see a brand a handful of times before they even begin to think about doing business with them. If you can be a consistent presence in their inbox and on their social media feeds, you’re far more likely to get their attention than if you spam them with meaningless content for one week and then disappear the next.

2. Create an Editorial Calendar

How do you ensure that you’re creating high quality content on a regular basis? Put together an editorial calendar.

Not only does this help you set a plan and stick to it, it’s also a much more efficient use of your time to sit down and plan out the month’s content in one fell swoop, rather than scrambling to pull it together piecemeal each day.

Set aside a few hours at the end of each month to plan your content approach for the following month. Centering your content around a particular theme can help you to create content that works well together and provides the depth of information that your audience craves. It also aligns with the strategy of creating hub pages for your content, which will empower you to continue to get use out of your content well after it’s been published.

3. Refresh Existing Content

Just because you’re sharing content on a regular basis doesn’t mean that it all needs to be brand new. Refreshing old content is a great way to get additional life out of your content that remains relevant.

Some topics will never go out of style, but may need to be updated as the details change. Let’s say you own a business that handles home renovations. Perhaps you have a blog post about selecting the perfect kitchen countertop. While some of the principles of countertop selection will always be the same, some of the trends will change. You can refresh this content to reflect changes in consumer trends (acknowledging the shift from granite to quartz as the material of choice, for example). This keeps the content relevant, while allowing you to continue to benefit from the material meat of the original post.

4. Turn to Guest Posters

If you’re trying to create content on a regular basis, sometimes you know it will be difficult for you to keep pace. If there’s a week where you’ll be out of town at a conference, or a month where your business is launching a new product that will take up a lot of your time, this might be the time to tap a friend to create content as a guest.

Whether it’s a blog post, webinar, or podcast episode, guest content can serve a few important purposes. First, it frees you up to spend less of your time on content that week. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, it allows you to tap into the existing network of the guest poster.

Like with any strategic partnership, you want to seek out guests who are aligned with what you do and complement the work your business does. This not only adds value for your audience, but it also introduces you to guest posters’ fan base (and vice versa—it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement).

5. Consider Outsourcing

There are a lot of small businesses that aren’t quite big enough to build out their marketing department, but are a little too big for the owner or small team to handle marketing all on their own. This is when it might be time to outsource some of your marketing efforts and content creation.

Fortunately, in today’s highly connected world, it’s easy to find contractors who can work remotely to help you with content creation. Outsourcing allows you to put your marketing work in the hands of a professional, without having to worry about finding the resources to add to your permanent team.

Content Creation can eat up a lot of time and attention for small business owners. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you get smart about planning out your content and turn to others for help, you can continue to create meaningful, effective content without losing too much time in your day.

If you’re looking for help managing your content creation, check out our packages, designed to help you increase your visibility online.