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The MadPipe Mailbag
1 minutes | Feb 5, 2015
Develop the Theme of Your Blog
Today, our question comes from Greer in New York City and it's 'How do I establish the theme of my blog'? It's a great question. The way to do that is to write consistently for 15-25 posts, something like that until you see a pattern emerge. Write what you care about. Write what you're thinking about. Write what's on your mind. Don't try to compose, don't try to reach an audience, just write what is working for you right now. And as you see that pattern emerge, that's the authentic thing that you are going to be able to generate on a consistent basis. You don't want to do this because it's a chore, because it's work, even because you need clients, even if that's the reason to get into this. You want to do this because you're motivated and finding that core motivation, that's all about seeing the emerging pattern. If you would like to submit your mail to the MadPipe mailbag, just go to madpipe.com/mail.
3 minutes | Jan 29, 2015
Get Marketing Results Fast
How can I get marketing results fast - is there a way besides traditional content marketing? Our question comes from Steve in Santa Monica and the question is 'What do I do if I need to get results fast. I need clients coming through the door and I don't want to rely on just blogging, social media, and sort of traditional content marketing, which while incredibly effective, does take time to build up that kind of pipeline'? I would recommend three different approaches. Not knowing anything else about your marketing plan, not looking any deeper, I would say the first one is a PR because, while you have to shell out a certain amount of money to do effective PR and you've got to pay to play upfront, none the less, it can really take your business to another level and it can really do it quickly. The only condition is that your business is a disruptor. You can't just look at your business as a commodity, a clone business, you're doing the same thing as a dozen other competitors. It really needs to be something you are doing that stands way out from the herd. If you can do that, that story, that's gold for people who are looking to write about sort of cutting edge businesses, so PR is one angle. Another out of the three that I recommend is native advertising. Now, unlike traditional paper click ads, this is still content-based, this is still a lot like writing an article or a blog post, and it's not selling in that article or blog post, but the goal of the content piece is that people will take an action. That may be to fill out a form, become a member of your mailing list, it may be to buy a product, it may be to engage you for a service, but the idea is to write thick, substantive, real content and put that in a paid venue alongside other content that isn't advertising but does consist of articles. It's an effective tool when used properly. It's cutting edge right now, it's not going to last forever, but this is a great opening, so while it lasts, this is something that you can get into to potentially have really fast results. And the third is networking, also called network marketing, not to be confused with multi-level marketing pyramid schemes and that sort of thing. By networking, I mean, if you are in a major metropolitan area, there are groups you can join where there's only one of any kind of profession and the goal is not to sort of sell each other, but to dip into each others Rolodexes, or rather dip into your own Rolodex, and refer people to those in your network. So, it can help extend the reach that you have currently many many fold over, in other words, you can reach a much larger audience with information about your business, insights about how you are different, and just referrals. So again, the three things are PR, native ads, and networking. Those things should speed up the process, again, all things being equal. If you would like to submit your mail to the MadPipe mailbag, just go to madpipe.com/mail.
2 minutes | Jan 22, 2015
Content is Easy When You Focus on Audience
Why does creating content look so easy for some people, but others find it hard? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Now each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions; this week the question comes from Tonya in Florida, and it’s why do some people make blog writing seem so easy. In other words, why does it look easy for some people and not for others? So, it’s all about relaxing - getting out our normal head space where we’re uncomfortable with what we’re doing, and we’re treating it as a chore, etc. How do we do that? I’m going to balance two concepts: One is the concept of the imaginary audience. Now we all carry this imaginary audience around in our heads to a certain degree. We did it more when we were adolescents. It’s this belief that people are paying too much attention to what we’re doing, and so we have to be careful. It’s part of the root of our fear of public speaking. It's part of the reason we compose when we’re trying to make an impression on somebody, and it actually messes up our marketing. The other is the imagined audience. An imagined audience is the audience that we envision or we visualize and project, that we’re talking to, and that can be a really useful construct. So, when you’re writing a blog post, the simplest way to do it is imagine somebody that you are relaxed talking with. It could be a friend, it could be a client that just loves you, it could be just some member of your audience that you could just talk comfortably with all day. If you can’t image your audience, try to get out of the blog engine itself and start writing into your email software, as though you were going to send an email to this person. Do it in your word processor; however you want to do it to, but get away from this notion that you’re composing for an audience or especially for an imaginary audience that isn’t going to actually react as critically as you may think. That will help you relax and deal with your imagined audience. This is just a way of visualizing (and writing to) somebody real and authentic who is warm and embracing and loves your stuff.
3 minutes | Jan 15, 2015
Lawyers Can Do Content Marketing
How can an attorney do content marketing and blogging without advertising, giving legal advice, or breaking client privilege? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe, and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Now, each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. Today’s question comes from Andrew in New York City, and the question is; as an attorney, what kinds of blog posts can I do and social media content marketing can I do that will keep me out of trouble since, typically, attorneys cannot advertise. They cannot give legal advice and they cannot reveal attorney-client privileged information. First, you can give informational types of posts. We’re going to have three I’s on this; Information, Inspiration and Insights. So, Informational type posts are posts that just reveal what legal concepts are. Maybe you want to talk about the concept of indemnification but you don’t want to do it in a technical way. Just give us some real world practical insights on why this matters. Another is Inspirational Post; you know, the law has value and a lot of people think of attorneys sometimes as hey, that’s the person that fixes it when it’s broke or gets my contract to be compliant. But there’s a lot more to the law and it depends on, of course, the law that you practice. There’s all kinds of inspiration that you can draw. I listen to attorneys all the time talk about lessons they’re learned, insights they’ve had. One example is" you fall down on the sidewalk and you think, there’s nothing I can do about it because I can’t afford an attorney and I probably wouldn‘t succeed anyway. My medical bills weren’t that much. So, a personal injury attorney can certainly address that. A contract attorney for businesses and entity formation might say; a lot of people just look at it as we’ll just get the paperwork nailed down, we’re a startup, we trust each other. But there are all kinds of issues that help make trust easier to have, and also the contract itself constitutes an act of trust. So, there are things you really want to consider when forming an entity, such as an exit strategy and what do you do when you take on investors etc. Those are great posts so, Information, Inspiration and then Insights. Insights come from just momentary observations you have about people’s understanding of the law. There may be an issue where a person thinks they can’t be sued under certain circumstances. Of course, an attorney can tell you, you can be sued under almost any circumstances. Whether the suit will hold water or get thrown out, or whether you'll have to fight it or settle it or, that’s another matter. There are all kinds of insights that attorneys can bring, and none of that stuff has to constitute legal advice. You’re talking about defining things, you’re talking about inspiring people, you’re talking about insights about the law itself and you can do that within your field.
3 minutes | Jan 8, 2015
How Can I Lower My Bounce Rate?
How can I increase engagement and have fewer people bounce without clicking? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. This week, the question comes from Phil in Boston, it’s "what can I do to reduce my bounce rate?" For those that don’t know, bounce rate is the measure of how many people land on your homepage and don’t click anything - they just close the browser or they leave. So, number one, first make sure it’s not a technical problem. It could be something as simple as you’ve been doing a lot of edits, you’ve recently overhauled the homepage, you could be refreshing it a lot if you’re showing it off to somebody etc, or if it’s on to some kind of auto refresh loop, because you’re monitoring a change. Any of those things, every time you refresh it, causes a bounce. But if you’re measuring bounce rate in your Google analytics and nothing like that’s happening, then it’s probably something you want to address. So, the first thing you can do, and probably the most powerful, is hire a professional copywriter to completely write the homepage. Not a rewrite, write it from scratch. Create a new conversation with the visitor. So many homepages are really, you know, about me, "we started a company in this year, these are our services...", it’s not really an authentic conversation. It’s not about them; it doesn’t put them on the scene of the crime or show the value that you offer after they have already done business with you. So you need to have that written. Secondly, maybe apply a fixed menu. Modern menus don’t scroll off the page anymore; they stay at the top while you scroll, so that you’re more likely to click something. Once something scrolls away, and you scroll and you scroll, it’s hard to find that menu again or, even if it’s not, you really don’t want to scroll back up there and go searching through it; it’s not what people do. So, your homepage has to sell a lot. Modern websites do a whole lot more conversation on the homepage anyway. In fact, the idea is that bounce rate isn’t really a killer these days, just like content above the fold is not really a big deal anymore. But, if you want to get those clicks, try a fixed menu. Another idea is have an instant value offer. Nothing fluffy - you don’t want to say, "hey, download my free brochure" Like we can’t get one of those just about anywhere. But something that you click to access that’s not fluffy, it’s not generic, it’s not something everybody else has. Put some serious brainstorming in it. If you can offer something of value, and I need to click to get to it, or fill out a form, give you my email address and name, that’s a really good idea. Lastly, have something that they can search for. Now, nothing generic, you don’t want to put a search widget, you know, to find something that they can just get elsewhere - such as listings off Trulia or Zillow, they’re not going to use your site as that portal. But if you can provide something to search for that’s unique, a way to organize information that they can’t just get elsewhere, now that fills a core need. That’s a good idea, and you’ll likely get a lower bounce rate from that.
3 minutes | Jan 1, 2015
Print Isn’t Dead But Print Alone Is
With digital marketing the dominant force, is print marketing done for? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe, and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Now, each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. Today we have a question from Pam in New Providence and the question is; is print marketing dead? Great question, Pam; so first off, print marketing is far from dead, but is has evolved. We need to know how that’s happened. First, print marketing, by itself - just handing out fliers etc. - that has a very low conversion rate. It always did - maybe 1% on a great day; now that’s next to nothing. Just ask the guys who are trying to get you to take their cards outside the New York City subway. In conjunction with events though or network marketing, print can be very powerful. When you put something in somebody’s hand and it’s related to what they’re doing at the time - to an activity they’re engaged in - now we’re talking. So, no door knocking. Also, print should really integrate with the rest of your digital strategy. For example, social media links and icons and things like that on your actual print documents. It works, as long as the links are really short. You don’t want some mile long link that somebody has to type in. Also, fewer than ever people are about the immediate sales, so you want your print items not to just work if they happen to be ready to decide right now. That’s another reason to include social information, so they can stay in your orbit, follow you and be ready for the sale later. Also, it’s helpful to make the paper product something useful - so not just a flier, not just the standard brochure or business card. You could do something like printed chocolates; there are all kinds of ideas to give somebody something useful. Not just a keychain, but something that they’re actually going to use. You can also make it very personal, so a gift item; even a nicely printed card or something like that. If it’s very, very personal it can often make a difference. Last thing I would say is you can make it disruptive. So if you want to know what disruptive looks like, ride on the New York City subway you’ll see those signs and they’re up there and they’re often great; it’s printed material and some of the messages in those are really radical. So sometimes all it takes to be disruptive is say something that other people aren’t’ saying in print.
1 minutes | Dec 25, 2014
The Proper Length for Video Blogs
I'm interested in doing video blog posts - what's my target length? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe, and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Now, each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. Today, Sherman in Southern California would like to know, how long should a video blog be? For those who don’t know what a video blog is, it’s really simple. It’s like a regular blog post only posted to YouTube as a video or posted to your own blog as a video. So the average length of an effective video blog is 1 or 2 minutes. After about 2 minutes, attention span starts to taper off. Now, if you’ve got a lot of substantive material, you can occasionally do a longer one, but it has to really, really pay off. So keep it down to about 1 or 2 minutes. Short answer.
2 minutes | Dec 17, 2014
Strengthen Your Ad Campaign
How can I make my pay per click ads (e.g. Google Adwords) more effective? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Now, each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. Today’s question comes from Shayne in New York City, and its how can I make Pay-Per-Click ads more effective? Well, one way to do that is make sure that the ad is targeted. In other words, avoid general ads that sort of say, hey, I’m a plumber I do the traditional plumbing services, here’s what they are and here’s my name and phone number. Those general ads that try to hit a wide audience and fully represent your business are much less effective because, by having the shotgun approach, the scattergun approach, they’re actually targeting no one. So use targeted ads. Mention one service for one audience or one product for one audience. You can run multiple ads in a campaign in Pay-Per-Click venues like Google AdWords, and you can spin out as many as you like, but one ad per audience. The second way you can do it is to have a targeted landing page. So instead of sending people to your generic website, which is just like another version of that generic ad, "here’s who I am, here’s my services, here’s my phone number"; that doesn’t tend to convert very well, it’s not very effective... Make sure you have a targeted landing page aimed at one audience to sell one service or product; it just does one thing. It should be very efficient and lean. You don’t need a menu; all you need is an explainer video or some content that explains why you need this and a way to take action. So that tends to be the most effective pair (targeted ad, targeted landing page). There are other tips, of course, like working with your ad budget, experimenting and not relying on the first month or two of data as you test to kind of perpetually hone your analytics. If you’re going to get into Pay-Per-Click ads for a week, you’re not going to pay to play, so that’s not the right venue for you. But if you’re in it to be successful, then targeted ads and targeted landing pages will help do that.
3 minutes | Dec 10, 2014
Avoid Duplicate Content as a Franchisee
I am apart of a franchise and I am super busy. So to have current content on my blog in addition to my contribution of content, why wouldn't I have their blog show up on my blog as its all relative and directly related to my business. I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Now, each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions, and today we have a question from Tonya in Florida. She says, "I run a franchise that has a blog and I also have my own blog and need to put out content for my website etc. Can I just repurpose their content onto my own blog so that I’m reprinting what they’re doing?" Well Tonya, there’s a cost for that - the Duplicate Content Penalty. So anytime Google detects the same content in two sources, it’s typically going to indirectly penalize one of those sources - usually the one that didn’t have it first. So I don’t recommend that you actually copy your content from your parent company’s blog over to your blog or the franchisee. You want to go ahead and create original content; I also wouldn’t just simply rewrite that content, incidentally, because if it’s not at least 70% dissimilar from what they’re putting out, it’s probably not going to be effective. But the real key issue here is that we don’t want to just throw things into our blog to get things into our blog. The blog is not just about search, it’s not just about I-need-to-put-out-content-therefore-I’m-going-to-do-that, but it’s really a conversation with our audience. So what you want to do is get in their heads; think about key issues and problems that they want to overcome, questions that they need the answers to, barriers that they have in they’re thinking or misconceptions; address those. Talk about the world around you as it applies to their business, their lives, their issues that they need to solve, really get at what they're struggling with and also talk about your area of expertise. You can do it. If you have trouble writing, you can do it just like you would do a video. Just think about what you would do if you were running a talk show about those types of topics. So that is a way to generate original content, but yeah, the content really needs to be original.
4 minutes | Dec 3, 2014
Use Brick & Mortar Reviews Effectively
How can companies tap into their positive reviews and consumer experiences to market to potential new customers? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Now, each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. The question this week comes from Daniel, another Daniel in New York City and he asks; for a retail store, how can we take testimonials and reviews that we’re, getting on the Web and make the best use of those to help get more people in the store. So, there are a number of ways you can do that. First of all, always get a screenshot of those reviews; you can use that screenshot. You can feature it in your visual social media like Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook really, really quickly. That’s a great instant grab and repurpose. Another thing that you can do with those is actually just capture the text and the photo of the person that left a review. A lot of reviews have photos and they tend to really "up" the credibility of those reviews, and you can create cards out of those; little visual graphic cards that can be shared in your Pinterest boards, shared on Instagram, in your blog etc. You can even blow those up and hang them up in your store, if those are public reviews. Now of course, I’m not an attorney, so be sure to consult on whether you have permission to do that. You maybe need a model release, maybe you need to talk with them; but stores do this, and it’s a great way to do it. Imagine I walk into your store and not only do I see the products but actually have people hanging up with reviews of the products. You can also ask for an upgrade to a video testimonial; so if somebody left a review on a public place like Yelp, a social media source, Google+, you can actually reply. One way to do that is to say, "can you give us a video testimonial?" Those are great to have even higher conversion; you push those out over your YouTube channel, you add those to your blog, you push them out over your social media, and there are other ways you can use this information. The best experts on your products or services arethe people that are actually using them, so be sure and quote those testimonials less like a testimonial but more like what people are saying about it. Then also, make sure they’re on your website. We need to see them as part of the flow; what’s your core proposition, what’s the story behind it, what’s the value that you’re offering, what are the exact services and get me something to support it. How are people using this - in the GenX range especially, which is one of the widest age group ranges there is and spends more money per head count on the Web than any other group and not just on the Web. When those people come into your store, one of the things that really moves them is seeing people give positive reviews. So, it’s a great age group to appeal to with this stuff, especially on your website. It's a way to get people foot traffic in the store by making people understand what their peers are doing. Lastly, if you’re doing email marketing, don’t forget to include those recent testimonials in your email blasts and newsletters. It’s a great way to curate your own content, if you have a place in your newsletter for recent testimonials, recent reviews, what customers have said this week, this month etc. There are lots and lots of ways to do this, and of course having an overall digital strategy is a great way to start.
3 minutes | Nov 26, 2014
Balance Self-Promotion With Other Content Types
How much should we talk about ourselves in our content marketing? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. Today we have a question from Ed in New York City and the question is where to draw the line between content and marketing. So another way to ask that question, Ed, is how much should we talk about ourselves. So, what I’d like to do is advise you break down your content by the 90-10 rule, 90% is not about us, 10% of the time you get to mention yourself. So that 90% seems like a lot. How do we break that down? So maybe, 30% of our content that we’re putting out in our blogs or videos etc., should really get inside the head of our audience. Think about what their questions are, the barriers they have, the problems they’re trying to overcome, the misconceptions they may have; get the questions that are on their minds and address those. Another 30% can be about the world at large - not necessarily news jacking which can kind of get old because we already have news sources, we can turn to the Huffington Post or the New York Times. But maybe commentary on the news, observations about what’s happening in the world at large that apply to your audience. That can be insights, information, inspiration, but it’s driven by what they’re thinking about, what’s relevant to them; relevance is everything. Another 30% can actually be about your services and products as long as you’re not pitching. You don’t want to go into long details about why you need to buy this or that. Of course, you’re going to have a call to action in the end. But what you’re looking for is to talk about how to better use certain services or certain products; how to get more out of them, how to compare them, how to make decisions about them etc. So that’s about 90% of your content and the other 10% of your content you really can talk about yourself. You can do a day in the life of somebody in your profession; we often long to get an inside look. You can feature speaking engagements and events you have going on, insights that occur in the course of conducting your business or funny stories that happen along the way, as well as just news about your company; you can keep that down to about 10%. The truth is most of the time we want to hear about ourselves, not about the person doing the talking. So just keep in mind it’s all content, it’s all marketing, but break it down to about 90-10. If you’d like to submit mail to the MadPipe Mailbag, just go to MadPipe.com/mail For more detailed marketing strategy, contact MadPipe.
2 minutes | Nov 19, 2014
Choose an Optimum Content Length
What is the shortest a blog should be? When is it too long? What is ideal? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe Mailbag. Each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. Today we have a question from Sherman in Orange County. Sherman asks, what is the ideal length for a blog post? Well Sherman, there are a couple of sizes of blog posts that are ideal; one is typically between 250 and 450 words; that’s for a piece of inspiration, insight, or information that’s original, fast, and engaging that you want to share with your audience maybe a couple of times a week. But occasionally, maybe a couple of times a month you want to write a longer post; typically 1500 words or more broken up by some headlines etc. It’s meant to be more thorough, it’s meant to be evergreen content; content that’s referenced more often over the long haul and that tends to get treated, for that reason, better by search engines. It’s regarded as thick content - substantive content and it gets shared more often, typically, in social media because people regard it as having more value. So those are a couple of different lengths based on what type of blog posts it is. If you’d like to submit mail to the MadPipe Mailbag, just go to Madpipe.com/mail For more personalized marketing strategy, contact MadPipe right away.
3 minutes | Nov 12, 2014
Create a Smart Posting Schedule
How often is too often to post on social media? And should you post the same amount and information on all the platforms you are using? I’m Daniel DiGriz with MadPipe and this is the MadPipe mailbag. Now, each week MadPipe is opening mail with your marketing questions. Today we have questions from Pam in New Jersey and really it’s a double question, Pam. One is, how often should we post to social media and how often is too often. And the other is; should we post the same content to all our social media venues? So let me just take those in order. How often is too often? Well it depends on the venue. So, with Twitter you can post many times a day even up to every ten minutes. Of course you have to have that content but part of that is having a content strategy. With Facebook you don’t want to do that, maybe a couple of times a day. With LinkedIn, more like, a couple of times a week and of course it goes on from there whether it’s Pinterest or YouTube or what-have-you. Now in terms of posting the same content; while there are times when you can, you first want to think about who your audience is in each venue. So there’s a difference between the user base of Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, for instance. But there’s also the potential that your business has built up a different user base there. So for instance, if your LinkedIn consists of mostly people in your professional network who are, sort of, suit and tie types, they’re going to be a different than maybe some of your Mom and Pops that populate your Facebook audience. If you have a piece of content like an article etc., you can excerpt that. If the article is applicable to all those audiences, you can excerpt that across all three or four or five social networks or eight or however many you are using. You just do it differently; in Twitter it’s 140 characters, in Facebook you might want to have a little bit longer material, etc. Then lead it with a custom intro and then if the content is made custom for each social network you do really want to think about the audience. So, on LinkedIn, you things of a more professional concern, and those can still be very much directed to the same kinds of problems that people in your Facebook audience are trying to solve but they just have a different tone. Then your Facebook content can be more personal and fun and entertainment based, a little bit more inspirational, a little bit more insightful, a little bit more touchy feely, if you want to say it that way. In Twitter you know, these are short snippets so you just need to have a point in a short spot, and volume really matters because the Twitter stream keeps moving and moving and moving. So one key tip I’ll throw in to kind of answer this question is that you can use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to set it up to post different content to each channel on a schedule and a different number of times per day or per week etc. Thanks Pam for those questions. If you would like to submit mail to the MadPipe Mailbag, all you got to do is go to MadPipe.com/mail For more personalized digital strategy, contact MadPipe immediately.
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