How to optimize your marketing content strategy to attract more potential customers.

Original author: Nate Desmond
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Are you sure your marketing content strategy works for the good of your business? Are you able to get additional leads? Where to begin? How to find a good idea? Of course, you can shape your strategy by trial and error. But is it worth it? We invite you to heed the advice of Elliot Schmuckler, a former product manager on LinkedIn.

He suggested that any optimization tactic is rooted in one of three options:

1. Increase exposure (for example, so that more people read your site).
2. Friction reduction (for example, a one-click purchase on Amazon).
3. Incentives (for example, buy one - you will get one more for free).

This theory is at the heart of Growth Hacking and it offers a solid base for developing tactics that can be applied to any area of ​​your business - including content creation.

Here's how Schmuckler’s three levels of optimization can help develop a serious marketing content strategy that will bring you even more potential customers.

Part I: Increasing exposure

You cannot convert blog visitors to customers if the blog has no visitors.
If you do not seriously think about how to attract visitors, it may end up that potential clients may even appear, but they will be “substandard”, i.e. they will not care what you do.
When Jason Ganyar was just starting to promote his entrepreneurial skills, thousands of visitors poured on his site, but they just did not register for the event. Why? They were the wrong audience.
Here are a few tactical models that will attract (and convert them later to customers!) The right visitors - targeted visitors.

When you

are posting on a third-party resource, leave a link to the landing page. When Manish Seti began to compose a mailing list for his blog, which was dedicated to productive work, he decided to write to various foreign blogs and literally “catch” his readers there.

Hoping to get 200 new subscribers, he wrote a Scott Young blog post. At the end, he added a link to a special landing page from which readers could download exclusive material ... but only after subscribing.
The post was published, and Manish almost torn into small pieces. 200 subscribers, you say? Yes it is in one day! In a couple of weeks, this single post brought 1070 new subscribers.

Want more? Make specialized landing pages for each of your publications on third-party resources.

As a rule, the blog audience is clearly targeted, so a new post on the right blog can work very well - unless, of course, you made it interesting for people, and they could easily and simply subscribe.

Expert advice:

Alex Turnbull advises you to optimize specialized landing pages by targeting them with great accuracy:
• Share content with them that would be like what they just read
• Show that you understand where they came from
• Offer an exclusive a spoonful of honey to make it even sweeter

Write to thematic communities

If you are an active participant in communities like GrowthHackers, then you can study there, share ideas and learn about those who act in the same niche with you. Once relationships are established there, these kinds of communities turn out to be a great place where you can share your articles, collecting traffic and increasing the number of potential customers.

Perrin Carrell had the idea of ​​a new product, it was only necessary to convince people that they would be interested in buying this business. To do this, he decided to inquire about the views of the League of Legends community on Reddit.

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His post interested many people (there were only analogues of likes of more than 1900 ), and more than 6300 people from this community subscribed to the Perrin mailing list.

Looking at such a result, there is simply no strength to resist the temptation to write immediately to Reddit. However, before you start broadcasting about yourself, you need to find out something:

• Find the right subreddits that are relevant to the topic of your blog.
• Pay attention to popular topics and comments - they can tell a lot about the demographics of your target audience.

But most importantly, what? The most important thing, as explained in detail in the Social Media Examiner article, is that you have to give something to the community: “Submit adequate content, offer competent answers, ask questions related to what you do, and answer people, who are interested in you. "

Launch your own podcast

Scott Britton knew that many people preferred podcasts to blogs. Therefore, I decided to make my podcast The Competitive Edge.
Eight weeks after launch, Scott's podcast reached over 50,000 downloads and became number 1 on iTunes in the “New and Noteworthy” business category (something like “New and useful to pay attention to ").

The popularity of his podcast was reflected in his newsletter: in these 8 weeks he appeared2500 new subscribers.

Here's what Scott’s download statistics looked like during these 8 weeks:

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And how did Scott manage to achieve such an instant success with his podcast? Once upon a time, when even the first part had not yet been published, Scott scrupulously planned his growth strategy, and this was precisely the basis of his rapid take-off.

Expert advice:

We must try to achieve as many downloads as possible in the first 8 weeks - so you can get into the iTunes rating “New and Noteworthy”. This will give your podcast a head start compared to thousands of other new projects.

Ready to get started? Take a microphone, skype with a friend and record your first podcast right now and right now!

Part II: Reduce Friction

When I first started my blog, I probably received somewhere, one new subscriber for every 100 visitors. It was very unfortunate. Now I get six . Still ahead, but it is already much better than what it was before, and this happened partly because I removed the stumbling blocks from under the feet of the visitors.

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My newsletter through MailChimp grew insofar as I optimized my blog with a focus on conversion.
There is one interesting fact about reducing friction, drag, and cleaning up stumbling blocks: if you achieve at least a small success in this business, this success affects all posts, even those that have not been written yet.

Split testing of subscription form elements

When you write a text that should encourage visitors to action, you can only hope for intuition and pray that your brains are better than average in order to predict user behavior.
And you can use split- (sometimes also called A / B) testing to accurately measure how subscribers react to different labels on buttons and on different headers.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Obama team wanted to create a large mailing list, because it turned out that it was subscribers who were more willing to become volunteers, sponsors, even more actively involved in the vote and generally supported in every way.

Here's how it looked at first:

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To develop success, a split test was conducted on 24 different landing page options. With the help of multivariate tests (when several elements change at once), the Obama For America team tested various options for the registration buttons and images of the main character.

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This option won: the number of registrants increased by 40.6%.

The winning option (above) increased the number of people signing up for the newsletter by 40.6%. That sounds impressive, but what really gave Obama a campaign?

All the time before the election, the optimized form of subscription brought 2.9 million new subscribers and $ 60 million of additional donations .

Want more? Perform split testing of your forms. In the case of Obama, it worked.

Your subscription form may be pretty darn attractive, but you'll never know how well it works until you experience it all for yourself.

And you check your calls to action, headlines, pictures and composition? If you need help, Michael Zipursky wrote something here.
Do not complicate.
We are people, and we like things that we understand. The simpler the thing, the more convenient it is for us. In Gestalt psychology, this phenomenon is postulated by the law of pregnancies.

So how do we use our desire for simplicity to increase the number of subscribers?
Derek Halpern experimented with this law by testing three different subscription form options.

Three options: control, second, first:

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Option 1 (right) appealed to the principle of social trust, arguing that "already 14,752 people have done this." Option 2 (in the middle) used the law of dominance, cutting off social evidence, leaving everything to a minimum. The control option (left) had a slight variation in the title.

Knowing the power of social trust, I thought that number 1 would win - who could only think of not wanting to join 14,000 others ?! But the law of preignity (or simplicity) this time showed itself in all its glory.

So, simply by removing social evidence, Halpern made potential followers focus on the form itself. The simplest variation increased the conversion rate by 2% - it is 102.2% better than the option with social evidence.
By developing subscription forms and landing pages, reduce friction through simplification.

The main thing is to find a middle ground between reporting the benefits of a subscription and not creating too much friction for potential subscribers.

If in doubt, test it.

Add a pop-up with a subscription.

Your visitors will not be able to subscribe if they do not see the subscription form.
Trite, no? But how many visitors pay attention to the subscription block, which is hidden between popular posts and sponsorship ads? Or the tiny little button "Details" under your post?
It looks like many of your visitors simply did not see the subscription form.
When I realized this, I decided to try the pop-up email plug-in, which was supposed to make my form more visible.

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Different pop-up options converted about 6.4% of new visitors into wonderful subscribers who were looking forward to my next post.

The results of the week of pop-ups.

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Installing such a plug-in is a matter of five minutes, and this window is not so annoying. To make it even less annoying, you can:

• Postpone the ascent for a few seconds.
• Show the window only on certain pages.
• Show it only to beginners.

How easy is it for your potential customers to subscribe to your blog? Your pop-up will not necessarily hurt them.

Part III: Promoting

After you create an exposure and remove friction, you must come up with a suitable incentive.
What incentive to use to get visitors to your site to subscribe to the newsletter? And how to strengthen this incentive?

An e-book is the best gift

When you offer people to subscribe “to get more such articles” - what's the point? You offer them something vague, some vague prospect. This, of course, is not terrible horror, but it could have been better.

When you offer people to sign up “to download Four things that they won't be taught in college” - what's the catch? You invite them to sign up so that they can immediately download the insanely important e-book.

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Feel the difference! E-book as a bait promises instant benefits and gives a clearer call to action.
It might seem that writing such a book is a mission almost impossible. But this is not so.
No need to rush.

It is necessary to break the process into small subtasks and solve them step by step. Remember that you can eat a mammoth piece by piece.

Launch your own webinar

If you do it right, a webinar can give a solid boost to the growth rate of your mailing list. And it’s not so difficult.
The timeliness and usefulness of the webinar will turn many of the visitors to your site into its participants (as well as newsletters) once or twice. Subsequently, you can share the recorded video, and maybe transfer the audio to a podcast.

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(The picture shows the landing page of the Unbounce webinar)

When Derek Halpern became disappointed in what he managed to achieve with his "attractive offers", he decided to organize a webinar and thus activate the subscription on his site. He planned everything, made a landing page, and in some 28 days he received 1,054 new potential customers .

Bonus Reception:
In addition to increasing the number of subscribers as such, webinars provide an opportunity to build relationships with new potential customers, which can seriously revive the newsletter itself.

Engage people before and after. Organize feedback, find out what people would like to hear about next time.

Tie lures to the topic of the post

You can endlessly be proud of your glorious e-book, but what if it says about landing pages, and a visitor came to you to read about advertising on Facebook?

The visitor may not appreciate your efforts if they do not match what he is looking for.
And then the power of thematic bonuses comes to the rescue.
If you read Noah Kagan’s blog, you couldn’t miss it. In some posts on this site, he uses thematic bonus content that is directly related to the topic of the article.

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In the above example, he added a good bundle of bonus content to the post about marketing books on Amazon. If you try to download it, you will be asked to subscribe first.

Bonus Reception:
Unlike e-books, bonus material is prepared much faster.
Think about the resources that you already have at hand. Mail scripts, table templates, cheats, some records and lists of resources - all this can be a delicious bait.

The dry residue of a successful content marketing strategy

If you optimize the resource for the three described indicators (exposure, friction and bonuses), there will be more potential customers. But in the long run, of course, it all comes down to the fact that only one thing will need to be done: continue to create great content.

No matter how you optimize your marketing strategy, no matter how you aim it at growth, success will not come right away.
It will come through years of hard, thankless work, when you squeeze drop by drop every article, every post, every podcast. All this is not easy, but customers will be grateful to you. No one said it would be easy!

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