You know blogging improves user experience on your website. You know a blog attracts readers, therefore drives traffic, therefore improves sales. But you’ve got a million and one excuses why you can’t do it — including, I don’t have time and I don’t know what to write about.
If that’s you, you’re going to love this simple solution: FAQ-style blog posts.
What do people often ask you about your business, product or service? Did one of your customers ask you an interesting question that really got you thinking? Keep tabs on those questions and address one in a blog post once a week. River Pools and Spas did this and they significantly reduced their marketing spend.
Yes, you read correctly. Do this at least once a week. If you can blog more often than that, great! The more you blog, the better results you’ll see from your efforts.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Want help with your blog? GlobalWrites to the rescue! We have a team of writers that can blog for you on a regular basis. Contact us today.
If you re-purpose your blog posts in your emails and e-newsletters, our post on generating ideas for an e-newsletter may also help you come up with great new ideas for your blog.
Learn more about inbound marketing on our post about the value of inbound marketing.
Read more inbound marketing success stories on our post entitled Real Stories of Inbound Marketing Success.
While technology has enhanced the functionality and design of email, the power that drives readers to open it and take action still lies within the words. By following a few simple rules, your target customer will be much more likely to read and respond to your message.
Write a Stellar Subject Line
As always, less is more. A good guideline to follow for creating subject lines is to use 50 characters or fewer. Just as in a call-to-action, let your readers know exactly what they can do when reading the email. For example, “Seth Godin Launches Speaking Tour” is dull. It doesn’t give any information about how Seth Godin’s tour relates to them. Better to use something like, “Meet Seth Godin in Boston.”
Deliver on Your Promises
If you offer 50 percent off car insurance, make sure it’s not just for married women over thirty. Bait and switch tactics create a disillusioned reader less likely to open email from you again. Click-through rates plummet when readers don’t get what the subject line has prepared them to expect. Read HubSpot’s The 6-Step Secret Sauce for Awesome Email Subject Lines for sound advice.
Keep It Personal
If you’ve done your marketing research, you know exactly who you are writing to, so make sure the email reads like an actual person wrote to them. Do this by avoiding clichéd and impersonal language, such as “valued customer,” “state of the art,” or “user friendly.” Use a tone that is personal, but still appropriate, like the one you would use in pitching a sales concept to a new customer.
Always Include Calls-to-Action
A compelling call to action makes it clear to the reader what he or she can do with the information you are providing. Use actionable words such as “download,” “claim,” “reserve,” or “purchase,” to persuade your email reader. This can include downloading a coupon for a special offer, viewing the new products for sale on your website, or signing up for a newsletter.
Keep It Brief and On Point
Attention spans are limited, so keep your email short and make only one point in it. If your subject line says that a new one-bedroom apartment is available for rent in Manhattan, don’t throw in a paragraph at the bottom that also describes a home for sale in southern California. Avoid lengthy, ambiguous, and rambling prose. Aim for three punchy paragraphs to convince your reader this is the apartment they have been looking for and you are the agent to rent it to them.
Do Away with “No Reply”
Personalization counts in effective marketing — nobody likes to feel like they are a random name pulled from a database. Make sure that the email you write includes someone the reader can actually reply to instead of a “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Providing a name and title is best, but if you do choose something like “email@example.com,” make sure you have someone on staff to see to the task of replying.
For further reading:
Read Part Three of Michelle Finerty’s E-newsletter series, The Difference Between Emails and Newsletters
Check out HubSpot’s blog post, The 9 Must-Have Components of Compelling Email Copy
Since the term inbound marketing was first coined by CEO and founder of Hubspot Brian Halligan, the very nature of online marketing has inalterably changed. Effective marketers know that the days of spam and buying ads are no longer delivering the solid returns on investments they once did. Instead, it pays to earn attention. Take a look at this MIT and Babson Joint Study of Hubspot’s ROI to get an idea.
So exactly how does inbound marketing work? The following case studies highlight three success stories:
Custom Wall Display Company Generates 676% More Leads
Relying primarily on phone calls and email spam, the country’s largest custom lamination and engraving company, In the News, needed more leads. The company’s existing website was essentially a static online brochure with no means to capture leads. Not only did they want to acquire and nurture new customers, they wanted to reach out to existing customers in compelling ways.
In 2011, In the News signed up for a free trial of Hubspot’s all-in-one marketing software and instantly began to attract new customers thanks to SEO-rich landing pages and well-placed calls to action. The company’s interactive website now generates 676% more leads than the previous static one.
Social Media Marketing Increases Users by 1,400%
Innovation Norway focuses on the promotion and development of Norway. The organization wanted to promote Northern Norway as a tourist destination specifically for U.S. travelers. Project Manager Beate Gran decided to leverage its existing Facebook audience to promote the new travel campaign.
In order to drive U.S. traffic to the organization’s website, a 45-day contest was created using a conversational, fun, and lightweight tone. Innovation Norway provided a daily contest question along with vivid imagery and a “learn more about this” link. The focus on imagery served the campaign’s goal of increasing engagement by providing rich content users would be inspired to share.
The results of the campaign included:
User-Generated Content Results in 125% Higher Conversion
Marketing researchers have demonstrated that generating fresh content is an effective means of improving a site’s SEO. Creating content, however, requires time, money, and talent. One online coffee shop discovered a way to both generate new content regularly and increase user engagement.
Coffee For Less developed an easy means for its customers to create and read reviews. Over the course of three years, the company added over 6,000 new reviews to its site. Zachary Ciperski, VP of Coffee For Less, notes that the language used in the reviews helps provide the marketing team with a more accurate profile of how people are searching.
The company also developed a strategy for ensuring that reviews appear on search engines. Ciperski says the user-generated content is fully visible to search engine spiders. Customers can also upload images and video to their reviews, boosting SEO. After being implemented in 2011, the reviews resulted in:
Bearing in mind the success of these three companies, you may be considering how to use inbound marketing for your own business. For more information about inbound marketing, here are a few more resources: