Daniel Burstein

Inbound Marketing: Do you care about the quality of your brand’s content?

August 20th, 2019
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If I had to break down the world of content marketing into two groups, it would be these:

  • Those who care about the quality of their content
  • And those who don’t

Ouch. Seeing those words in writing, my statement is a little harsh. So let me try to rephrase:

  • Those who only see content as a means to an end
  • And those who view content as an (often free) product that should have value in and of itself

To further refine this split, we could say there are two content marketing approaches we can simply label:

  • Quantity
  • Quality

Of course, every piece of content offers some level of value. You need a certain level of consistent production for even the most high-quality content. And there are shades of gray between the two extremes.

That said, I’ve noticed more and more of a focus on the “high quantity/means-to-an-end” approach as the content marketing industry has matured. Brands that seem like they don’t care about the quality of the content they’re producing, or at least not nearly as much as the volume. I thought this would make a fitting topic of exploration in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa inbound newsletter.

Content pollution

Content marketing has shown impressive growth as a marketing tactic. One reason for that is the proliferation of digital platforms and the growth of computing power allowing for less expensive production of content.

If you’ve ever listened to a talk by content guru Joe Pulizzi, you know that content marketing isn’t necessarily new. But when the means of production transitioned from a printing press and six-figure Avid system to a free blogging platform and smartphone, it was inevitable for content marketing to grow.

But there’s another reason it grew as well. It was effective. And it was effective because it was disruptive.

The traditional advertising and marketing model was built around selling to the prospective customer. The core of content marketing is helping the customer. When done well, customers sell themselves.

The low barriers to entry and “free” cost compared to paid media led to explosive growth in the amount of content. This has created plenty of helpful content. But content creation has also been used as part of a major quantity push by companies viewing it as a means to an end to attract traffic.

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Daniel Burstein

Effective Landing Pages: 30 powerful headlines that improved marketing results

August 8th, 2019
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There are 21 psychological elements that power effective web design (see infographic). Of those elements, one of the first your customers will experience is the headline.

21 design elements

(You can download a PDF of this infographic here.)

 

A powerful headline is your make-or-break opportunity to connect with the customer and get them to engage with the rest of your page — and ultimately convert.

We’ll provide you oodles of examples of effective headlines in this MarketingSherpa blog post to help spark ideas as you brainstorm your own headlines. And you can delve deeper into all 21 of those psychological elements in the following videos from MarketingSherpa’s sister brand, MarketingExperiments:

The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design (Part 1)

The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design (Part 2)

The 21 Psychological Elements that Power Effective Web Design (Part 3)

(This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.)

 

Now on to the examples …

Like with your own landing pages, in many of these examples the headline wasn’t the only factor that affected performance. However, a different headline is a pretty significant change on a website and is usually a major contributing factor to a change in performance. The best performing headlines below are bolded.

Before: We’re here to help.
After: Simplifying Medicare for You
Results: 638% more leads

You can read more about the above headline in Landing Page Optimization: How Aetna’s HealthSpire startup generated 638% more leads for its call center

Before: About The GLS
After: Two Days of World-Class Leadership Training
Results: 16% increase in attendance

You can read more about the above headline in Customer-First Marketing: How The Global Leadership Summit grew attendance by 16% to 400,000

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Daniel Burstein

Ask MarketingSherpa: Value proposition layers versus communicating the value prop concisely

August 1st, 2019
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We frequently receive questions from our email subscribers asking marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in a one-to-one email communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of them here on the MarketingSherpa blog so they can help other readers as well. If you have any questions, let us know.

 

Dear MarketingSherpa: Thanks for the great resources. I have been in touch in the hopes of getting some direct support around our value proposition.

We’ve taken insights from the Value Proposition course (and Flint’s new book) and redesigned our site (note, we haven’t yet implemented these new designs).

Is it common to present the value proposition in layers or should it be communicated more concisely? How early in the user journey should the value proposition be presented? Is it typically done on the homepage? Do you have examples of companies successfully implementing the value proposition in this way? How did they guide users through the value prop from the homepage?

Thanks so much for your insights!

 

Dear Reader: Thanks for your email, and glad to hear you’re working on getting some direct support.

I’m also glad to hear you’ve taken some insights from the value prop course and Marketer as Philosopher book for your site redesign. If you’d ever like to share some of that work publicly to help other marketers and product managers and get some recognition for you and your team, please let me know. Happy to consider it for a MarketingSherpa article. Here are some examples:

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Daniel Burstein

Landing Page Optimization: Original MarketingSherpa Landing Page Handbook now available for free download

June 13th, 2019
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I recently received an email from a MarketingSherpa reader asking how he could point people to the Landing Page Handbook. He ended the email by saying …

 

“I still think the Landing Page Handbook is the best resource on the topic that has ever been produced.”

— Ken Molay, President, Webinar Success

 

And the data shows it. The MarketingSherpa Landing Page Handbook is one of the most popular resources we have offered in 20 years of publishing. So we dug into our archives, and are now offering this handbook free to you, the MarketingSherpa reader.

 

Since it’s publication over a decade ago, the Landing Page Handbook has been a frequently cited resource throughout the years. Some examples:

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE LANDING PAGE HANDBOOK

 

And of course, generated plenty of discussions when its second edition was released in 2007:

 

When it was first released, it elicited these testimonials:

This book is astonishing and you should read it. It’s astonishing because it will tell you very obvious things that you don’t know, didn’t realize and weren’t taking action on. As the person who invented the term Landing Page in 1995 (right after Al Gore invented the internet) I can tell you that we’ve waited a long, long time for this sort of common sense, hands on, verified info. The bad news is that you are now out of excuses.

— Seth Godin, Author, www.SethGodin.com

 

“I wanted to drop you a note telling you how incredible your Landing Page Handbook is. The handbook is clear about what works and what doesn’t work with loads of data to support its claims. I am in the process of implementing changes and fully expect massive improvements to my metrics. Once again, you have shown why MarketingSherpa is the only source we need to improve our Web presence.”

— Brett Hayes, RentQuick.com

 

“I want to thank you for putting out the landing page handbook. I found that document instrumental in getting one of our clients a 400% lift in conversion response.”

— Elliott Easterling, VP Sales and Marketing, Co-Founder, Red Bricks Media, www.redbricksmedia.com

 

“My honest advice? Buy this report, copy what others have done to increase their landing page conversion rates, and make more money. It’s as simple as that.”

— Nick Usborne, Publisher, www.excessvoice.com

 

“I bought the Landing Page Handbook. I was in two minds about buying it for ages. I am a one-man band so $250 is a lot when your sales are so low. Within the first 50 pages I was 10 for 10 on the common mistakes made on landing pages. I started applying the book’s recommendation to my site. I have gone from +-1 sale a week up to 3 a day and climbing consistently for the past 3 weeks. All the ‘Experts’ told me to up my spend on Adwords to up sales and I did. I now realize I was just wasting my money till I read this book and made the changes. Great book, worth every cent.”

— Peter Mercer, Director, Network & Perimeter Security Services

Read more…

Daniel Burstein

Content Syndication: How to get wider distribution of your content marketing

May 30th, 2019
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There was a legend called El Dorado. An ancient lost city of gold. The legend drove many an adventurer to risk it all for the possibility of riches beyond their wildest dreams.

I think of El Dorado anytime content syndication comes up. A legend, passed down from content marketer to content marketer. All you need is content syndication to get endless golden traffic flowing to the content on your site, more demand than you can handle.

If only it were that easy.

But, the search for El Dorado led to the discovery of what had been foreign to the European explorers. It was the incentive they needed to map areas that were new to their countries. Without that legend, would they have driven as hard and far? Would they have taken the risk?

Perhaps content syndication is the same way. It’s not the easy untapped city of gold. But if it drives you to create content marketing so appealing that you can merchandise it to other websites and publishers and get them to share your content, then while the journey may be arduous, it will have been worth it in the end.

(OK, this copy is overwrought, I agree, but I think it’s a much nicer way of saying, C’mon, did you really think content syndication would be that easy!?)

It’s not that easy. There is no magic “content syndication” button. But with a smart approach, you can bring more attention to your brand’s content and ultimately find the results you seek. Here are insights from four smart marketers to help you do just that …

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

 

 

The absolute biggest key to getting content syndicated is to make sure that it’s something valuable to your intended audience(s)

Erin Well, Senior Marketing Manager, Shipwell:

As someone who worked in the trenches as a content marketer for at least 30 very unique clients targeting many verticals, there is no silver bullet.

Pushing out a press release through the myriad of distribution platforms will not yield the kind of results a hands-on, intensive content ideation, production and media relations strategy will provide.

Build strong relationships with writers relevant to the content you’re creating and offer them sincerely valuable content their readers will enjoy. Use social media to engage with them and be sure to share their pieces (and tag them of course).

As you brainstorm ideas for a content marketing campaign, consider what digital publishers you’ll be pitching it to. Build out pitch lists of sites you’ll want your content to appear on. Research writers, their beats and what they’ve been writing about. Ask yourself honestly, can you picture your content featured as an article on their site?

When you have a good idea of what sites you’ll be pitching to, you can start to map out where their natural and organic syndication goes.

Using Google News (free), you can plug in a headline of an article to see which sites (like Yahoo, Benzinga, etc.) picked up the story automatically. Or, using a platform like Buzzsumo (paid), you can also plug in the URL to an article and view the specific backlinks to map out their syndication network. Large, well-established sites like the New York Times or Business Insider will be more likely to automatically syndicate across the internet. But, there are some loopholes, such as local news sites, that have potential to syndicate nationally across sister sites.

You’ll also want to see how organic syndication plays out for a site or blog’s articles.

For example, you might notice a high-performing story on Refinery 29 gets syndicated organically by other writers over at similar women’s interest sites. Why? High-performing, interesting, relevant content is so much more likely to get more eyeballs by writers when they know other writers in their vertical are covering it. But to get it there, it all goes back to creating content that has the viability to be picked up initially and subsequently syndicated.

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Daniel Burstein

MarketingSherpa Podcast #5: Ten things you should think about before you do your next website redesign

April 25th, 2019
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Education is the ability to use other people’s experiences (mistakes) to avoid making your own mistakes.

In that spirit, we prep you for avoiding some serious potholes on your journey while taking on that biggest of digital marketing projects — a website redesign. You can listen to this episode in whichever way is most convenient for you — or click the orange “Subscribe” button to get every episode. And scroll down to read more about website redesigns.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

 

 

 

More About Episode #5 — Website redesign

“The point is: You get to capitalize on a fellow human being’s misfortune. That’s the basis of real estate.”

The above quote is from “The Money Pit,” the 1986 comedic movie where Tom Hanks and Shelley Long attempt to renovate a recently purchased home to comedic effect. Or tragic effect, depending on your point of view. After all, as Mark Twain said, “Humor is tragedy plus time.”

If you’ve ever been in charge of a web redesign project, you might think that “The Money Pit” was just a prescient allegory for a web redesign project.

After all, your company’s website is its most prime real estate. And if your site is old or large, once you start diving into a redesign project you never know quite what surprises you will unearth.

To help you avoid pitfalls with your own web redesign (both tragic and comic), Austin McCraw and I delved into 10 considerations you should keep in mind for your web redesign projects (while providing a few light house-remodeling tips as well).

We’re giving you this advice from the marketer’s point of view — not the (website or real estate) developers’ point of view. So before you create a web redesign project plan, watch out for these things (time stamps included if you would like to jump around):

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Daniel Burstein

Lead Generation Success = Nature + Nurture

April 18th, 2019
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What drives a successful lead generation and nurturing strategy for a complex sale?

Is it the nature of the leads themselves? Was its success predetermined at the very birthing of the lead because of the way you generated the lead? For example, a lead filling out a hand-raise form for your service has a far likelier chance of success than a lead clicking on a PPC ad for a free iPad.

Or is it the learned behavior of the lead, the environmental factors you influence them with through your lead nurturing. In other words, no matter how good the lead is, you need to shepherd these people along and help them understand the value of your product or service.

True success requires both quality lead generation and intelligent lead nurturing. Here are tips and examples from some successful business enterprises to help you get better leads and nurture them effectively. (This advice has been edited for clarity and brevity)

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

 

NURTURE

Answering the unasked questions in the customer journey

Kristian von Rickenbach, co-founder, Helix:

 A Helix (mattress and bedding product manufacturer) lead will convert on average in three months. In that time, they are researching and evaluating dozens of mattress brands and many more mattress types.

We focus heavily on lead nurturing through drip emails for people who come through our mattress customization quiz.

 

With the personalization quiz, we are able to capture unique attributes about how people sleep. After completing the quiz, users are asked if they want to save their match. With this audience, we know a few things:

1) They took the time to get to the site and complete the quiz

2) Hand raised to save their mattress with the intention to return, and

3) Most importantly, their name

Personalization clearly resonates with this audience and we included the customer’s name in email subject lines. After doing that we saw a 54% increase in open rates which resulted in a 69% increase in revenue generated from that campaign.

 

Through various creative tests, we homed in on what specific value propositions over-indexed from an engagement and conversion perspective and use that to inform content for our standard drip and promotion campaigns.

Affordability was one value prop that stood out.

Knowing that we were launching with a new financing partner, we sent an email out that had unprecedented returns for the business. After seeing the performance of a one-off financing options email, it was apparent that this is an important proposition in their purchase decision.

Since that email, we have featured similar content as a standalone email in our welcome series and significantly decreased the five-drip series decay curve. On average, we see a 38% decrease in open rate from welcome series email one to email two and so forth. After adding the financing email to the series at touchpoint three, the trend reversed and increased 15% from email two to email three.

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Daniel Burstein

Value Proposition: The right strategy beats a bigger budget

March 7th, 2019
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Marketers say they have money problems.

According to research from Conductor, lack of budget is the biggest internal challenge that could negatively impact online performance. Securing budget/investment is the most extreme challenge for marketing teams, according to KoMarketing research. And here at MarketingSherpa, you’ve told us the size of your marketing budget is a barrier to growth time, after time, after time.

Hey, I hear you, marketers. I want a bigger budget as well.

But if you can’t simply throw more money at the problem or outspend the competition, you can still beat them — with a better approach. In other words, a more effective value proposition.

I recently came across the perfect example when I talked to a marketer who likely has far fewer resources than you do.

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

A value proposition based on customer-first marketing

Dean Porter is the development director at Hunger Fight, a small local nonprofit organization here in Jacksonville that helps feed Title 1 elementary school students as well as seniors.

Dean and his wife founded their charity in the teeth of the Great Recession. And they quickly learned that organizations were not so keen on simply stroking a check to a charity, even when it was doing noble work like feeding the hungry.

They didn’t have a big marketing budget they could fall back on. They couldn’t just spend their way into more leads.

So they had to come up with a better idea – a value proposition aimed at giving to their ideal customers, not just taking from them.

They created a model with a value proposition that coupled corporate employee engagement with community involvement by holding meal packing events, which they describe as “two ½ hours of organized chaos to feed children and families.”

 

Read more…

Daniel Burstein

Ask MarketingSherpa: How do small businesses find clients?

February 22nd, 2019
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We frequently receive questions from our email subscribers asking marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in a one-to-one email communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of them here on the MarketingSherpa blog so they can help other readers as well. If you have any questions, let us know.

 

Dear MarketingSherpa:  I have a question for you. In this ever more increasing digital age — where pressing palms and getting face time is getting harder and harder. How do small businesses find clients?

I am a graphic designer/marketer whose business model is to contract with other small businesses. Much like a General Contractor hires subs when they build or remodel a house.

When I get together with other contractors in the marcom field (web designers, marketers, other designers, branding specialists, etc.) the first question is generally ‘So, how do you find new clients?” The answer is generally referral, but that only provides so much to the pipeline.

We don’t have trade shows where the public can come in and meet us and get to know what options they have in terms of marketing their small business (like a home and garden show where the public comes in and meets the companies that offer home improvement — and all the new tech that goes along with it).

Our local AAF chapter did one about 7 years ago. It was poorly attended and never repeated. I presented. It was a fabulous idea.

We don’t have a Marketing Channel where people ooh and ahh over the latest couple who comes into businesses and turns their branding around and makes it all shiny and new and hands them a marketing plan and clients ready to purchase.

Marketing is the slow burn and a mystery how some succeed and others don’t. People like Shark Tank because it’s a Cinderella story — where the prince bestows upon them the money they think they need to succeed. Success overnight!

Everyone thinks it’s social media — but really that’s just more ad buys. And it’s left to the algorithm to determine how successful you are.

So how do small businesses that are in service industries especially find new clients? Sure we all know to go where our audience is, but our audience/ideal clients are in front of their computers looking for their own ideal clients. Or on the job, or at shows selling their own goods. They don’t scroll Instagram looking for business advice. They aren’t on Facebook reading funny memes. Generally. I mean they are definitely on their phones though.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. I mean even your own website when it gives examples, it’s usually really large companies with really large budgets and a full agency behind the A/B testing and research and metrics. Not really applicable on a smaller scale, in most instances. Even people that know they need to content market are buying their content, not generating it themselves or through an agency (buying it from a service that caters to their industry).

OK — thank you for listening, and we all await your response.  🙂

Thanks!

Deanna Taus
Owner
Full Circle Creative, LLC

 

Dear Reader:  Hi Deanna, Thanks for reaching out.

We get this question quite often from small businesses who are engaged in marketing.

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Daniel Burstein

Ask MarketingSherpa: Internship for international student in the US

February 15th, 2019
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We frequently receive questions from our email subscribers asking marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in one-to-one email communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of them here on the MarketingSherpa blog so they can help other readers as well. If you have any questions, let us know.

 

Dear MarketingSherpa: Hi, Daniel Burstein. I appreciate it that you are so warm-heart and nice to offer to help.

Currently, I am a graduate, major in Social Media and Mobile Marketing. I want to seek a Summer Intern in the field of Marketing or Digital Marketing, either full-time or part-time. I am an International student from China.

According to my current situation, do you have some advice to give me? When you are free, could you let me know your suggestions. I am so grateful to hear from you.

Regards,

 

Dear Reader: Congratulations on your academic achievements and thanks for writing. I assume you are looking for an internship here in the US?

I’ll be honest, the fact that you’re a non-native speaker could be a challenge.

So …

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