How to Communicate Your Brand Story with Simple Marketing

How to Communicate Your Brand Story with Simple Marketing written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Donald Miller

Marketing Made SimpleIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Donald Miller, the CEO of StoryBrand. At StoryBrand every year Don helps more than 3,000 business leaders clarify their brand message. Combined, Don’s books have spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestsellers list. His books include: Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Scary Close.

Don is widely considered one of the most entertaining and informative speakers in the world. His audiences are challenged to lean into their own story, creatively develop and execute the story of their team, and understand the story of their customers so they can serve them with passion. Don’s thoughts on story have deeply influenced leaders and teams for Pantene, Chick-fil-A, Steelcase, Intel, Prime Lending, Zaxby’s, and thousands more.

Don’s latest book Marketing Made Simple helps you to define what to do once your marketing messages have been clarified.

Questions I ask Donald Miller:

  • How does memoir writing move into writing about marketing?
  • How do you make your story sexy?
  • What does Marketing Made Simple accomplish?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How you can improve your marketing by improving your story
  • How to start with the problem that you solve
  • How to differentiate yourself in the market
  • Once you’ve clarified your message what do you do with it

More about Donald Miller:

  • To find out more about the business videos mentioned in this interview visit

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

WordStreamThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by WordStream, online advertising made easy. It is so easy to waste time and money on online advertising. That is why you need tools like WordStream in your corner. Check out today.

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Three questions your business must answer.

Three questions your business must answer. written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Straight to the point – here are the three questions:

  1. Do you get me?
  2. Can I trust you?
  3. Did you keep your promise?

Now, of course, the tricky part is that no one actually comes out and asks you these questions, but answering them, in often subtle ways, is the key to any successful relationship – business or personal.

Think of these questions as relationship stages.

Stages of a relationship

Here’s the thing you must accept. The company that can more clearly communicate that they understand what’s going on in the mind and heart of the prospect wins. 

Addressing a prospect’s problem upfront is a little like doing a puzzle, and it involves an evolving journey. Think about the last time you wrestled with a thorny issue. Did you wake one morning from your slumber and exclaim, “I’ve got it, problem solved.” I’m guessing no.

Whether you were aware of it or not, you probably went through a series of stages on your way to the ultimate solution.

By understanding these stages, you can also acknowledge and address them in your marketing messages and business processes. You can begin to understand the job your marketing has to accomplish to guide a prospect to your brand of solution. 

The stages addressed in the questions above align with our desire to attain more of these three little words in our lives – clarity, confidence, and control.

While most marketers jump straight into why it is such a great idea to hire them or buy their product, most prospects, still early on in their journey, may not even know the problem they are trying to solve. They may know the symptoms they are experiencing but have not diagnosed the “real” problem and certainly have not connected solving it with what we sell.

Clarity – Do you get me? 

The first stage is a clear understanding of what the problem is. I mean, even if you never considered this, it probably makes sense. 

You won’t go looking for a solution to a problem you don’t know you have or certainly can’t yet articulate. You certainly won’t be motivated to seek out a sales call, request a proposal, or pay good money for the ability to solve a problem that you can’t describe.

Ah, but once someone sheds light on the real issue, helps you name your challenge, helps you get clear on what something is costing you not to address, helps you know what you don’t know, see what you don’t see – then your world view begins to change. You see things in a light that allows you to take even baby steps towards finding a solution.

Your company may cut trees down but the problem your company solves is that you show up at the appointed time and clean up the job site meticulously. The thought is that pretty much anyone with a chain saw can cut a tree down (this is not true by the way), but no one will promise to show up in that small window of time I have in the morning to let someone into the yard to discuss my trees.

But you get that, so you promise to solve that problem. 

As marketers, our first job is to communicate empathy with the problem, communicate that we know what the problem is and that we understand why it exists. Do this, and you’ll earn the right to explain how to fix it.

 Confidence – Can I trust you?

With your problem defined and blind-spot removed now, you can start to search for a solution, but we don’t yet possess the confidence to know what the right path is. We begin to ask our friends, go online and search in all the usual places, maybe try to find an example of someone who successfully solved a similar issue. 

As a marketer, this is where trust rules.  

Once a prospect discovers that you do indeed get them and you’re the only one talking about the problem that’s been rolling around in their head for months, they’ll start to take a deeper look at two things: who you are and what you offer.

This stage involves deeper dives into your product and service pages and downloading your case studies, but it also includes filling out your forms, visiting your social profiles, maybe even Googling your business name.

Confidence is either won or lost in the details. How fast your site loads, how intuitive your forms are to complete, how well I get a sense of what you stand for when I read more about you.

None of these items alone is a deal-breaker, but collectively they tell a story about what’s important to you, and that’s the mental checklist a prospect is completing at this stage.

Do they believe, confidently enough, that you can live up to the promise of solving their problems in exchange for their hard-earned money?

Control – Did you keep your promise?

The final stage comes into view as a person is fully into solving their problem with you. During this stage, they want a sense of control.  

Now, this doesn’t mean they want to control the process; they simply want to feel as though it is going as expected, that they see results, that communication is flowing in a way that allows them to relax and trust the process.

This stage equates to a great customer experience, a great plan of action, and, ultimately your customer’s ability to understand the value of their investment.

So, did you keep your promise? Did you surprise me? Did you exceed my expectations? All of these help me feel like I’m in control.

And a sense of control is what turns the tap for repeat business, evangelism, and referrals.

The point in understanding these stages is to help you understand that it’s not enough to simply have a great explanation of the problem you solve. Your business must also intentionally address and guide a prospect through each of the three stages. 

Build a journey that addresses these three questions, and you’ll build a lasting relationship with your ideal customers.

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Why Negative Reviews Are Good For Your Brand

I had a long conversation the other day with a friend who used to be an auto journalist about negative reviews. He told a story of when a colleague sent his (negative) review of a vehicle to the PR company behind said vehicle. He also told me a story of how someone’s feelings were hurt when he wrote a negative review of another car, and how a particular colleague told him that he should “go easy on them.” It reminded me distinctly of my days in games journalism when I’d sit down, crack my knuckles as if I was doing something important, and write a negative review of a PC game, only to turn it in and get in a little bit of trouble for being a little too nasty.

This wasn’t uncommon.

There was – at least for the years I was doing games journalism – a genuine sense that you couldn’t be too mean or too critical of a particular big publisher, though this was generally brushed aside when it came to smaller publishers, which wasn’t unique to games but definitely was extremely annoying. The change that happened was that it became necessary to critique big releases, and publishers responded by delaying embargoes on reviews (IE: the agreed-upon time that you can post your review of a game, essentially an outlet’s trade to get a game early enough to have a review up for release date) to the literal day of the game’s release. Outlets responded by not posting reviews on release day, letting games “sit” a bit and having more robust reviews. A big mess, all essentially to trick gamers into buying a game before reading an honest review, or at least to stop the inevitable – that gamers might find out a game, well, sucks.

The same thing happens in tech, in the sense that there are agreed-upon embargo dates to post reviews on, in the event a reporter receives something in advance, and if the thing is already released and they’re simply reviewing it, the rules of engagement are oftentimes as simple as “please send it back to us when you’re done.” What some PR people interpret reviews as – and no, I’m not going to be kind and say “oh they’re just doing what the CEO says,” because PR people apparently have working brains – is a lubed tube of positive press, a chance for a person to write something nice and get free shit because they were nice.

Nuh-uh. A review is something that exists to give a critical third party statement on your product. It may be positive. It may be negative. If it’s negative, they’re most likely finding stuff in the thing you sent them. It’s meant to be their own subjective evaluation, because a review is an abstraction of word-of-mouth, which is inarguably the most powerful force a PR person can hope to harness.

Now, if you’re a PR person, you may think negative reviews are bad. The truth is that they are only bad if your product is bad, which if it is…well, your product is bad, fix your product, don’t release bad products. I’ll get to that in a little bit.

What happens far more often than I’d like is that PR people take negative reviews as people “being haters.” This is not true, you are a huge baby if you consider someone a “hater” because of a bad review, and I wish you’d stop saying it because it’s unproductive to the world at large. In your general life, if you bought something and it was bad, you’d say you hated it and why you hated it. If someone does that in a review, they are doing so because they feel that the thing was bad at the thing the thing was meant to do. They are also doing so so that their readers know whether something is bad, so that they spend their money or don’t spend their money on it, or something else.

How To Deal With Bad Reviews (And How They’re Actually Good For You)

One particular stinker of a PR firm working for MSI recently attempted to bribe, then threaten a reporter for giving their laptop a bad review.

Now, the smart money here would be to say to the reviewer “yeah, your findings are correct, the trackpad is off,” or put him on the phone with an engineer, or, if you know your laptop sucks, just kind of say that the things he’s found are consistent with the final product. Brace yourself for impact. The review’s gonna be bad. Threatening someone with no more review samples or sponsorships because they said your bad thing is bad is childish and moronic – the act of a coward and a charlatan.

I can guarantee the internal conversation here branded this reporter some kind of hater, an outlier in an otherwise perfect crop. Whenever you do this, you are hurting yourself. This is stupid. You are stupid. If they have found a legitimate problem with your device, fix that, then go back to the reviewer.

Why? Because if you go back to a “hater” and say “hey, we heard you, we fixed it, what do you think?” you may turn them into a convert, who will absolutely lose their shit at a company that legitimized their feelings and respected their opinion. You know who also loves this the fucking consumer. Consumers are used to being told their opinions and dislikes are stupid, and that they don’t know what they want.

Sidenote: yes, there are occasionally haters. They are very rare. If you are a PR person reading this and using this as an excuse to call someone a hater, I'm going to come to your house and break every toilet, I am going to leave you with no way to go to the bathroom. Next time you need to go to the toilet, you are going to have to do so in the trash.

Negative reviews are good for you because they show consumers that everything positive about you isn’t paid advertising. Negative reviews show that you are fallible, like regular human beings, and your ability to take criticism like an adult and use it to be better will allow you to be a stronger, better company. A good company will have bad reviews. A good product will have them too. Nothing is perfect, just like the human experience, and you should be realistic about that.

To conclude, I know reading negative stuff sucks. It hurts. I’m not emotionless, and I recognize criticism is painful, especially when there’s nothing you can immediately do about it. Maybe if you know something is a little flawed you’ll take it only to certain reporters who won’t, well, be so harsh on it. Maybe you don’t do a big press campaign around it. Maybe you put it back in development. Depending on the product it may not be possible. But if you’re working on something categorically bad, perhaps it’s worth not putting it out there at all.

The post Why Negative Reviews Are Good For Your Brand appeared first on The Future Buzz.

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How Using Social Media Can Help You Rank Up Your New Website Fast

When you are starting up an online business or website, one of the most important things that you need to succeed at is web traffic. Without a high influx of traffic, your website will quickly fail. This is where knowing how to get your website ranked comes in handy.

When talking about a website being ranked, people are referring to search engine optimization and a website’s domain authority. The higher it is ranked, the higher it will appear on a search engine query, therefore more people will visit the site. There are plenty of ways you can do this and one of these ways is social media. 

Here is how using social media can help rank your new website up fast.

Social Media is Prone to Sharing

When looking at social media, one of the things it is best for is marketing and sharing information. The number of articles and pictures shared daily on these media forms is in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. The more traffic a website receives, the higher authority that it is given. How can you capitalize on this and use social media to help you?

There are several things that you can use to accomplish this task. One of them is niche edits, a form of search engine optimization. You are able to purchase links that can be added into these articles through which you will gain more authority. Not only that, but these services will make sure that the articles you are linked in are relevant to your company, greatly boosting your authority. You can use social media mixed in with these edits to help your website rank up fast.

Social Media Involves Real People

If you are able to advertise your website on social media and have people visit it, you are now generating real traffic over to your website. The number of people visiting will already give you a solid boost to your domain authority. The next thing to consider is the impact these people will have on your website.

If your website has options for reviews and guest posts, you are further opening up your website for people to leave their footprint. Both guest reviews and reviews will greatly boost the amount of authority you have and cause you to rank that much higher in the eyes of a search engine. As you rank higher and higher, more people will begin to visit, resulting in even more guest posts and reviews. By using social media to advertise your website, you open it up to potentially increase in rank quickly.

By looking to employ these tools, you can greatly boost your website and get it the traffic that it needs. Always remember that it takes time to build a website and even these tools will take some time to really manifest. It can sometimes take months, if not years to show real progress and profits. Remain patient and stick to your goals and eventually, you will have a successful website at your hands.

The post How Using Social Media Can Help You Rank Up Your New Website Fast appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

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How to Get Started in Influencer Marketing

How to Get Started in Influencer Marketing written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Neal Schaffer

Neal SchafferIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Neal Schaffer, author of The Age of Influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand.

Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping educate executives and professionals on social media as well as in implementing successful social media strategies for businesses. CEO of the social media agency PDCA Social, social media educator at Rutgers University and the Irish Management Institute, social media keynote speaker who has spoken at hundreds of events on four continents, and author of three social media books, Neal is a true innovator and influencer in digital and social media marketing.

Questions I ask Neal Schaffer:

  • How do you define influence?
  • Is there influencer marketing outside of social media today?
  • Is podcasting interviews influencer marketing?
  • How do you find the right influencers for your business?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • The definition of nano influencer
  • How much more powerful leveraging influencers can be than posting digitally
  • How to leverage influencer interviews in marketing
  • How to create a program to kickstart an influencer marketing campaign

More about Neal Schaffer:

  • To learn more about Neal Schaffer visit
  • To follow @therealneal

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Your “Years Of Experience” Are Meaningless

Hello, you! I hear that you have 25 years of experience in the communications field, and have worked with the Fortune 500. I myself have put on my own website that I have a certain amount of experience, and that I have worked with the Fortune 500, the Fortune 100, hell, I am the Fortune 500 now. I have become one with them, I am a rat king of Fortune companies, rolling around consuming matter both edible and otherwise.

In all seriousness, though, nobody cares. Sure, there’s the immediate gut-check of “have they done stuff before,” but for the most part if you’ve encountered any PR manager or CEO who’s tried to order you around, they’ve brought up how many years they’ve been doing their job. They have said that they have 30 years in PR, doing corporate communications, and that as a result your thoughts are both invalid and stupid.

Your years in PR are apparently what give you the ability to do your job, not your actual achievements or things you’ve done with your own hands.

This rant bubbled up in my skull because I was recently forced to read posts from the Public Relations Society of America’s recent banning of a member from said forum for asking very clear-cut questions about things like “why do we say we are making money when we are losing money” and “why do we hide who is doing the financial audits” and “why have we not had a new CEO in 18 months.”

The forum posts, which I won’t share because they are private and every one of the whiny babies who likes to post about how much they love public relations would go completely insane if I did, are mostly people repeatedly saying that Mary is being mean, and also how many years of experience they have, and how many years they’ve all sat around talking about how good PR is in their PR group for PR people.

Note, if this comes off as a petty grievance – it is! This is my website, not your website.

For the most part, I realize that people need to justify their existence through whatever things they believe to be valid. It’s a tough world out there, and we’ve all got things we hang on to when we’re feeling a lack of self confidence. But PR people have this insane attachment to how many years they’ve managed to not get fired, or how many years they’ve managed to stick around in a field where the barrier to entry is having an email account.

I want you to take a minute to think about any time in your life that you’ve told someone you’ve had X years of experience in something as part of an argument or management situation. If you’ve said it in a pitch for new business, fine, we all do that, but if you’ve said it in a conversation to justify your argument, it’s invalid and stupid. I have known many, many communicators that in two years of time in PR have more experience than someone who has 15 years of micromanaging and making 22-year-olds cry because they messed up the bullet points on an agenda.

In fact, I’d argue that if you have 15-25 years in marketing or PR, there’s a decent chance that you have inverse experience depending on what you’ve done with your career. If you’ve done the thing that many PR people do – found an agency, hire 15 people, distance yourself from the work, or perhaps move in-house somewhere with a big time and an agency – you’ve probably put yourself in a position of “management” that’s divorced from the actual practice of marketing or public relations. If you’ve done that, every year that you choose to not do the actual job and choose to just do “strategy” is kind of like thinking that you’re going to lose weight by spending hours planning workouts that someone else will do.

This is an issue with corporate America as a whole, but nowhere is it more obvious that it’s a problem than in marketing and PR.

I’ll be writing more about the big problems with the PRSA soon, but for now that’s all I got. I couldn’t work out a featured image for the post so I put a picture of Jim Carrey as the mask. Smockin’!

The post Your “Years Of Experience” Are Meaningless appeared first on The Future Buzz.

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There Are No Public Relations Lessons To Be Learned From Any Media Property

Every so often, when I want to feel true pain, I subject myself to one of the single worst websites on the internet – PRDaily – a snake eating its own tail of PR people in denial about their relevance to the world at large, with the occasional summary of how a big company spent millions of dollars and how PR people were at some point involved. They also love to make posts, just like the rest of the industry, about lessons you might learn about PR from something not related to PR, such as The Lessons You Can Learn About PR From Bird-Brained Historically Inaccurate and Genuinely Terrible Rap-Musical Hamilton.

This awful screed is an example of PR people searching for relevance and importance in popular culture, a truly depressing and embarrassing pursuit. This is the career version of buyer’s remorse – when you realize the job you do is not exactly the most important in the world, instead of saying “hey, at least I get paid money and people are happy,” you say the following:

The post, “7 PR lessons from ‘Hamilton,’” is the platonic form of these “how do I make this about PR” posts:

  • Incredible stretches of interpretation to make something from X media thing about PR: ““I am not throwing away my shot.” For PR pros, this phrase has many applications. There’s only a small window to jump on a social media trend or be the first to the table with a clever phrase that stands out online. Often, you have one chance to successfully pitch your story in a way that piques reporters’ curiosity.
  • Totally nonsensical shit: After Burr, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson approach Hamilton with evidence suggesting that he embezzled funds, Hamilton publishes “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” which outlines his torrid affair with Maria Reynolds…If members of your organization have messed up, whether they’re employees who have overstepped or an executive who is trying to cover up misconduct, persuade them to get ahead of the narrative. This involves coming clean and being transparent with the crisis, along with taking responsibility for the fallout and outlining reparations or ways it won’t happen again.
  • An attempt to make PR seem more important through stretches of logic: “I want to be in the room where it happens.” PR pros can sympathize with Burr’s outburst in Act Two. For communicators, it’s all about getting a seat at the strategy and decision-making table. To ensure your place, focus on being a business professional who can expertly communicate, instead of a communicator with some business knowledge.
  • Some sort of point about how, despite making an entire post on PR’s relevance, you have no actual control over anything that happens in the public: “You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” Remember that you don’t control the narrative of your media coverage nor social media engagement. Reporters are there to tell stories their readers will want to read, not elevate you and your organization. Members of your online community might sing your praises or criticize your practices, but they want to have a dialogue with you, not be blasted with additional brand copy.

These posts are some of the most cynical, putrid deposits in PR, and, while seemingly harmless, are part of a larger issue of misleading and gaslighting young PR people into believing that they have a larger affect on the world than they do. By making these posts about PR lessons from a big famous thing, you are telling the PR person that everything is about PR, that PR has relevance to everything, that they are more important than they think and that their world can be seen through the lens of PR.

By leading PR people to have a greater degree of self importance, you relax the need for critiques – both of oneself and of the industry at large – and a genuine ignorance of that which may cause you to be better at your job. The irony is that these same people who love these posts also talk about how the PR person isn’t the story, while at the same time trying to feel as important as they possibly can. It’s fine to not be important, it’s fine to not be popular, and it’s fine to not have relevance to every piece of modern culture.

I really do mean that, and I want to be clear to PR people that just because your job can be described as sending emails at scale or writing lots of documents, that’s totally fine. You are in a well-compensated industry with lots of work. You do things that do have an affect on the world, though those things may be someone else’s achievements, and that’s okay too. Your job isn’t as interesting to describe as, say, a doctor’s, or a lawyer’s, but guess what? It’s also nowhere near as hard to do and requires far fewer qualifications. You don’t have to make up why you’re important, you don’t have to puff it up, you have a good job, and through said job you likely have a better chance at working at the companies you want to work at than most people.

Please, stop trying to pretend we’re more important than we are. Be happy with what you’ve got.

The post There Are No Public Relations Lessons To Be Learned From Any Media Property appeared first on The Future Buzz.

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Drive More Traffic to Your Website – Here’s How

When trying to get your business to gain popularity and grow, digital marketing strategies are the best methods to utilize that can help you increase your customer base. When you work on improving your online presence, it will impact your business positively. With the right marketing plans and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, you can expect a significant increase in your traffic. If you want to learn more about how you can make your business succeed, then read on to learn more about how you can do so by attracting a lot of genuine traffic to your online platforms.

Email Marketing

A strong email marketing strategy can make a huge difference in the success of your business. This is one of the strongest methods available to generate traffic to your platform. You just need to personalize each email to your customers to get their attention. You need a healthy and strong subscriber list and you need to sync your landing pages with your email strategies. Then you need to properly segment different email lists depending on the interests of your visitors/subscribers. Just remember to target each recipient with a special and personalized email to make them feel appreciated. This will draw their attention and they won’t be discouraged or ignore your email because it isn’t filled with sales jargon.  

Guest Posting

You can help generate traffic by guest posting, which is an easy way to guarantee some organic traffic. Guest posting is an effective marketing method that involves you writing a blog post or an article on someone else’s platform online. The major benefits of guest blogging/posting are too good to pass up. It gives you a chance to reach more audiences and connect with different potential customers that might be interested in your platform. You need to make sure that the website you choose to guest post on is related to your business. Relevant guest posting will always generate genuine traffic. People will get interested and you can help your brand gain the exposure it needs. 

Utilizing Software Tools

You need to start monitoring your competitors by utilizing software tools. You need to understand what they’re doing right when it comes to traffic generation. This involves reviewing your rival’s tactics and social ads. This can help you significantly in social media marketing too. It’s quite common for businesses to use Facebook ad spy tools to understand how their competitors are using social ads, creatives, targeting options, audience lists, and the ad copy itself. But it doesn’t work as a method of stealing a company’s ads and copying them verbatim. This will not work positively for you and you would tarnish your reputation in this way. Use it to gain insight into how your rivals are succeeding in the business world. The data you gather will help you strategize and come up with better ads that are much more effective in generating genuine traffic to your platforms

Social Media

We’ve mentioned social media before and how important it could be to increase traffic levels. You need to come up with a plan that will allow you to build relationships with your audience. You need to build a community that has loyal customers, but you can’t do that without posting regularly. Set up social media pages and show people interesting content, important news, and special offers. This will be a chance to communicate with your audience and get to know them better. You will understand their preferences and needs effectively to capitalize on it by getting your potential customers interested in your platform. Your genuine traffic will increase significantly, and you could land numerous sales orders.

Building Backlinks

You should start building strong backlinks because SEO tactics can generate a ton of genuine traffic for you. Backlinks are placed on other platforms and blogs that are related to your business. It would be great if you find websites with strong authority levels because that can benefit your platform. Your site would gain more traffic and people will get more interested in your brand when you implement it right. Just don’t aggressively have thousands of backlinks on different websites because the quantity isn’t better than quality. Also, you don’t want Google to stop you from gaining a higher ranking in the search engine lists. Play it safe and do it correctly with relevant blogs and websites that make sense to the products or services you’re providing.

Location-Based Keywords

A strong location-based keyword is another effective SEO tactic that can drive more traffic to your website. Each brand has numerous keywords in different articles that will redirect the user to the brand’s platform. But if you do this by adding a location, then the people who search for the nearest choice will always land on your platform. This is great because customers are always looking for stores, companies, or services that are close to where they live. You can increase your traffic, generate leads, boost your sales, and earn a lot of revenue every quarter. The location used in the keyword placement can be a town name, a postcode, or the area itself. This is an effective way to target local customers in your area. 

Word-Of-Mouth Tactics

Numerous people underestimate the power of word-of-mouth tactics and how it can attract more people to your platform. This is possible through special offers that you provide to your current customers. The idea is to have them send their friends or family members a promo code that will give them discounts if they purchase products directly from your platform. This is a great method of retaining your customers and making them purchase more. Also, it’s effective in converting the new visitors you get into paying customers. This is a great way to spread your brand name around and it will increase your overall exposure in the market. People will know who you are and get a special offer too.

Create Interesting Content

You need to think about how creating interesting content can transform your platform to attract more leads. This will increase traffic levels for you if you have great content that is appealing enough for people. They will want to learn more about specific products and services. This can be anything from articles, pictures, videos, guides, and a lot more. You need your visitor to have all the information they need and come back for more because it was displayed pleasantly. Also, interesting content can change your platform into a strong central hub for information. Google will notice this change and see the number of visitors you get every day. This will improve your ranking online and that will generate even more traffic overtime for you.

Keep Updating

You should always keep updating your outdated content and strategies. Some of your content might be too old to be useful and most marketing strategies need to be altered and changed to match today’s customers. You need to update your backlinks and keywords to make sure they’re working properly to effectively generate more traffic. Google changes the system gradually and you need to adapt to those changes to make sure that your website stays updated, relevant, and worthy of having a high ranking. Always adapt and evolve with the current times for better results.

Check Your Analytics 

You must check your analytics frequently to learn from your progress. This means that you should check the good days where you had great traffic levels and the bad days that had low traffic levels. You can learn from that data and convert it to clear reports that you can review. You will get the insight you need to repeat the same actions that attracted a lot of users to your platform. Also, you will avoid all the bad tactics that lead to a decrease in your traffic levels. There is always room for improvement, and you need to know which areas you have that need your attention and which areas need to be strengthened. 

Hire Influencers

Hiring influencers can prove to be quite useful for businesses that need an extra helping hand. This will increase your exposure levels and you will gain a lot more visitors that check your website for your products and services. Influencers are famous people in the world that have a huge audience of their own. That audience can be yours too because the fans would listen to their favorite actors/actresses, music artists, critics, and social media figures. They will get interested enough after hearing the influencer talk about your brand. This will drive everyone to check your platform and that will give you a surge of positive traffic. Also, it’s a chance to convert most of them into paying customers and increase sales.

Go Mobile 


You should check your platform’s compatibility and make sure it’s accessible through mobile devices. This is extremely important, and most businesses tend to ignore the fact that the majority of online users come from mobile devices. More than half the traffic of online users and shoppers use their smartphones. You can gain more leads and convert them into paying customers if you have a website that is compatible with mobile devices. You need to appeal to what makes customers happy and comfortable. Smartphones and other smart devices are easier to use, and they can be used anywhere. You can’t miss out on all the mobile online users that can increase your sales and exposure levels.

Have Giveaways

Most businesses think that giveaways are a waste of money, but they are sorely mistaken. Enticing your customers with giveaways will interest them enough to buy more and word will spread about your giveaway plans. If you advertise this well using the effective digital marketing strategies that you constantly use, then more people will visit your platform and get a chance to get your giveaway. Everyone loves free products and if your little event can allow some people to get something for free, then they will surely participate. Chances are that the new people that visit your platform might come back for more information or even purchase a product from you after the giveaway ended. 

Help Your Community

Helping your local community through charitable events and special services can improve your reputation and increase exposure levels. People love it when companies care about their communities and help make it a better place for them. This can get a lot of traffic getting sent your way because customers will be interested in a brand that genuinely wants to help people. Customers and potential clients will trust you more and that trust can turn into loyalty. Why would they go to another brand if they already know you from your contributions to the community? Just as you supported them; they would support your brand as well. This support can come in the form of subscriptions and sales too.

Collaborate with Other Companies

It would be wise to collaborate with other companies to help each other grow. This is great because you will both gain each other’s audience. It will drive sales margins tremendously and exposure levels will be extremely high. You can expect a surge of traffic this way because the other company’s audience would be interested in what you have to offer. The same effect will happen to them with your audience too. Tapping into each other’s audience through a special webinar can be very effective to gain more exposure. Every company involved will go home happy because they’ve gained more potential customers this way. You can promote and get people excited for the webinar through social media outlets for better results.

With the right mindset, you will gain exposure, generate leads, and convert those leads into paying customers who love your products and services. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you own because any brand can gain popularity and success using most of these strategies for the betterment of their online presence. It will help you increase sales, satisfy customers, and compete effectively with any of your rivals in the market. Your success can ensure that your brand name will be part of the annals of business history. Not only will traffic be easily generated, but your profits will be through the roof!

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Is HARO still valuable for PR

The Help A Reporter Out mailing list was once a golden source of getting last minute coverage for all sorts of businesses. If you’re unfamilar with the concept, it’s a thrice daily email of reporters reaching out to gather sources. These emails have been known to have dozens of requests for sources. Started by Peter Shankman about a decade ago, the basic email is free. But is it still worth it?

Too Popular

The first problem with modern HARO is that it’s very well known. It’s been touted as a great source for SEOs looking for links through genuine coverage as well as for PR teams. It means that each request will typically receive dozens if not hundreds of pitches. That’s great for reporters, but horrible for actually getting attention through the system.

This volume makes it a bit of a black hole. Its not uncommon to seed out 20 requests before seeing even an acknowledgement in return. While it’s supposed to be the ethic to send out “rejections” it’s rarely followed. It’s also common to gain coverage with out even getting a notification about it. It’s always nice to prep clients that they’ll be getting some media, and when, so they can be ready to talk. That doesn’t happen either.

Bad Requests

The second problem has to do with the types of requests. Some are fantastically on point, timely, and focused and there’s no reason to ignore those. However, when the holiday season rolls around there’s also quite a few requests for review products. I’m sure some are legit. I’m also sure that there’s a lot of bloggers that just want free stuff. Maybe saying no to these is a good idea.

The most annoying type of request has to be the “looking for confirmation” request. This takes the form of trying to confirm a controversial or unusual position. There was a recent request for doctors to talk about essential oils that can treat the flu. Normal medical doctors aren’t going to say that an oil is going to prevent the flu. It’s not researched, it’s not supported, and the FDA goes out of their way to make sure that every essential oil company puts a huge disclaimer on it’s package about how it’s not there to treat anything. This reporter only needs one doctor to say something else, and the article is written. The flu kills people. Poorly supported info can be complicit in that.

Real Opportunity and Trends

All that said, if you wade through all of the chaff, there are quite a few wonderful opportunities. Finance and accounting in particular seem to have a disproportionate number of requests. Cryptocurrency used to be a hot bed, but is now quite a bit slower as the interest has waned a bit there. It can even be good to take a pulse of reporters interests. There are real trends to see and even if none of the requests fit, it could form an idea for existing clients and reporter contacts. I wouldn’t say HARO is worth throwing out of the tool box just yet, but don’t expect it to get you on the cover of Newsweek either.

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eLearning Is the New Reality for Social Media Training in 2020

Social media companies rely on individuals with unique skill sets that didn’t exist over a decade ago. Even experienced offline marketers struggle to navigate the challenges of social media marketing. Marketing agencies need to make sure that their employees are properly trained.

In the past, agencies often trained their employees in a traditional office setting, despite the availability of technology that enabled remote working. The COVID-19 virus has forced them to transition towards remote learning and working. There are signs that this is going to be a permanent shift for social media companies all over the world. 

Social Media Companies Will Train their Workers Remotely for the Foreseeable Future

For many people, two of the most obvious signs of COVID has been the shutting kindergartens and schools, colleges and universities and the halting of face-to-face training for businesses and companies. This closing of places of learning and training facilities has led to a paradigm mass-shift in the methodologies used for education and professional development. This hasn’t affected social media agencies as much as other companies, but they have been impacted to some degree. Some of them still relied heavily on an in-person workplace, which created a new dynamic when the illness hit.

They have adjusted well and are seeing the potential of a workplace that relies more on eLearning. This can change the future for social media training, but there are still some kinks to work out. 

After all, even though much of the world has implemented social distancing, the need for education has not stopped and staff still need to build their skills and abilities. This includes workplaces that need to train their employees to handle complex tasks such as social media marketing. 

To fill this need, e-learning has been rolling out on a scale as never before seen. 

What is e-Learning?

For the average person, e-Learning can mean ‘leaning done by studying at home by using computers and courses provided on the internet’ or for any learning where the content is delivered through electronic means. But while both these are true, they do not give the whole picture. E-Learning, as a separate definition describes it, is:

‘a learning system based on formalized teaching but with the help of electronic resources… While teaching can be based in or out of the classrooms, the use of computers and the Internet forms the major component of E-learning. E-learning can also be termed as a network enabled transfer of skills and knowledge [where] the delivery of education is made to a large number of recipients at the same or different times’. 

E-learning is a structured learning process and can be made up of many different types of content – online lectures, audio recordings, simulations, videos, quizzes, activities, even games. It can be delivered via web browser interface or through e-learning solutions, such as apps. 

The Association for Talent Development states that e-Learning falls into two categories, asynchronous and synchronous:

  • Asynchronous e-learning is taken at the pace of the learner, i.e. it is self-driven, self-paced. Learners take the e-Learning element (normally a course) on their own, usually via a computer (laptop, desktop etc.). Asynchronous e-learning can incorporate content that is pre-made or pre-recorded, such as lectures, videos, text, other visuals, but can also include more interactive aspects such as quizzes, simulations and games.
  • Synchronous e-learning, also known as live-online training or virtual classroom training, is instructor-led and taken at the same time as other learners – everyone just happens to be geographically dispersed. This training typically uses a web-conferencing or a virtual classroom platform (such as Adobe Connect or GoToTraining) that offers features such as slide or screen sharing, as well as interaction tools such as chats, polling, and screen annotation.

The ATD states that there are multiple benefits that can be gained from e-Learning when compared to more traditional methods. It breaks these down as follows:

Benefit Asynchronous E-Learning Synchronous E-Learning
Taken anywhere Yes Yes
Taken anytime Yes  
Tracking capabilities Yes Yes
Can be less expensive Yes Yes
Highly scalable Yes  
Reduced time away Yes Yes
Train dispersed groups Yes Yes
Can be more personalized via branching or adaptive learning Yes  
Allows for global collaboration   Yes

The growth in e-Learning

E-Learning is not new – it has been growing in popularity since the early 2000s, notably with the development of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). But because of the requirements for physical distancing since the start of COVID, the extent of e-Learning provision has increased substantially. Educational establishments have had to shift their entire teaching curriculums online, requiring the rapid development and deployment of e-learning solutions. This has not just taken place in Europe and North America: globally, more and more courses are now offering using e-Learning or, at the least, incorporating e-Learning elements, with universities from Namibia to Jordan all using e-learning. 

But how does the development of e-Learning take place?  

E-Learning Development Services

One of the results of the expansion of e-Learning – not just in the last few months but over the past decade – has been an increase in the professionalism of both the platforms used and the content offered. As with many aspects of online content and delivery, the creation of e-Learning solutions – whether this is related to the need to put together specific content or create an e-learning app – is often best done by firms that are specialists in e-Learning application development and the provision of e-Learning development services. These firms work closely with the subject matter specialists (normally the customer who wants a particular project created) to produce a software package that can offer the content to the desired audience in the required manner. 

There are many aspects that need to be considered when doing this, for example: what is the content that needs to be conveyed? Are there pre-existing platforms that need to be incorporated? What is the likely user hardware and software profile? What is the state of the telecoms network that the target user will have to make use of? What is the praxeology of the course? Which languages does the content need to be offered in?

A specialist e-Learning solutions firm is able to take the answers to these and other questions and create an e-Learning app that precisely meets the needs of the client and user. With the expansion and growth of e-Learning solutions around the world, ensuring the delivery of high-quality content is essential for educational and professional development providers.

Social Media Companies Will Continue to Train their Employees Remotely in 2020 

The government lockdown has led many companies to train their employees remotely. Social media companies are no exception. In fact, they are among the companies leading this trend. This trend is proving to be successful, so it will likely continue long after the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end.

The post eLearning Is the New Reality for Social Media Training in 2020 appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

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