28 Business-Boosting Marketing Activities You Can Do in 1 Hour or Less
The entrepreneurial lifestyle is often a hectic one.
Some “treps” easily end up working 50, 60, or even more hours per week.
Don’t get me wrong.
I love almost everything about running my businesses and blogs, but time is definitely at a premium.
And I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to spend on an extensive, exhaustive marketing campaign.
But you know what?
There are a lot of marketing activities that can get legitimate results that you can do in 1 hour or less.
I came up with 28 specific activities you can do in your downtime but which will still give your business a nice boost.
Here we go.
1. Create an editorial calendar
Almost any great blog begins with a detailed editorial calendar.
This is where you coordinate your content, schedule your posts, set deadlines, list your CTAs, and so on.
In other words, an editorial calendar provides structure to your blogging campaign and keeps things from getting messy.
Honestly, this is the only way I’m able to stay on top of my game (and maintain sanity) with all of my different projects.
I recommend checking out this list of editorial calendar templates from Builtvisible for more.
2. Tweak your editorial calendar
You should also know that an editorial calendar is never static.
A good one is dynamic, ever-changing.
If you haven’t checked your editorial calendar in a while, look it over and make any necessary adjustments.
For instance, you might:
3. Read three industry blog posts
I really recommend staying on top of industry trends.
This is your ticket to spotting patterns, generating new marketing ideas, and coming up with interesting new content to share with your audience.
That’s why I try to make it a habit to read three high-level industry blog posts whenever I get a chance.
4. Comment on three industry blogs
When you’re done reading, leave a thoughtful comment.
Go for more than just saying, “I love this blog post!”
Instead, shoot for something more detailed and insightful to prove you’ve really sifted through the information and analyzed it.
Here’s a great example of a recent comment I received on Quick Sprout:
I think this comment added even more depth to the conversation, and I can guarantee you any blogger would greatly appreciate such a comment.
I know I do.
5. Research industry trends
The way I see it, crushing it in most businesses is all about striking while the iron is hot.
That’s why I routinely do industry research to see what’s happening and stay on top of recent changes.
A quick Google search on “[your industry] trends” should pop up a wealth of information.
This can shape your business and marketing decisions and will help you stay sharp as an entrepreneur.
6. Brainstorm topics for your blog
As I’ve said before, coming up with new ideas for blog posts can be quite exhausting.
That’s why I like to devote some time to simply brainstorming new ideas so I don’t have to come up with them off the top of my head.
One of the ways I streamline this process is by using Alltop and BuzzSumo.
And here’s BuzzSumo:
They’re both great for seeing what’s popular and for generating ideas.
Sometimes, I can come up with as many as 50 rock solid ideas in just 1 hour this way.
7. Do keyword research
I’m a big fan of a process known as “batching,” which I’ve written about before on Quick Sprout.
Batching can be used to make nearly any task quicker and more efficient.
Here’s a simple example of using batching to deliver mail:
One marketing task that can be quite time-consuming is keyword research.
When you do this prior to writing every blog post, it can really drain your time.
That’s why I suggest doing it in blocks: identify keywords to target—all in one sitting.
You can then add your keywords to your editorial calendar so you know what to use in your upcoming content.
8. Send a pitch for a guest post
You probably already know I’m a huge proponent of guest blogging.
If you can get in front of a large, established audience, you’ll get exposure for your brand.
It’s just as simple as that.
But, of course, guest blogging first begins with sending an initial pitch.
If you’ve got an hour to burn, why not send out a couple of pitches to relevant bloggers?
And if you’re new to this, I really love this guide from Backlinko.
It will walk you through guest blogging step by step.
9. Repurpose one of your best blog posts
If you’ve been blogging for awhile, there’s a good chance you have a handful of posts that totally crushed it.
They’re the best of the best—your “unicorn content.”
Repurpose one of your best posts using a different medium, e.g., a whitepaper, long-form guide, infographic, or a short e-book.
If your audience was receptive to a particular topic presented in a standard blog post, there’s a good chance they will give it a warm reception in a different medium too.
Read over this guide for everything you need to know on repurposing content.
10. Record a video
Video marketing is ridiculously huge right now.
On average, video gets crazy engagement.
It also gets massive conversion rates.
If you’re not already leveraging video marketing, I suggest getting on board right away.
I know for a fact that video allows me to connect with my audience on a level that most other mediums cannot.
And the odds are good that it will produce a positive impact for you as well.
11. Record a podcast
I friggin’ love podcasts!
Interest in them has grown over the past few years quite a bit:
In my opinion, they’re a great way to “round off” your content and offer your audience an alternative type of media to consume.
At the time of publication of this article, I’ve recorded over 200 podcast episodes on NeilPatel.com and have found it to be a tremendous experience.
Once you figure out the software and equipment, it doesn’t take much effort to record a podcast.
You can easily do it within 1 hour.
If you’re not sure how to get started, check out this guide from Pat Flynn.
12. Make a slideshow
I feel slideshows don’t get a whole lot of love and get lost in the content mix.
But they’ve got plenty of potential and are worth experimenting with.
Slideshare alone had 70 million users as of early 2017 and can be a great way to pull in some extra traffic.
13. Create a picture quote
I’m sure you’ve seen picture quotes floating on social media.
They look like this:
They’re especially big on Twitter and Instagram and work great for expressing thoughts in a visual-centric way.
The cool thing is that picture quotes are super quick and easy to make.
Canva is one of my favorite platforms because it offers a large library of professional images that are mostly free to use.
You can borrow from famous quotes or create your own.
14. Share three epic posts on social media
Curating content is an integral part of the social media marketing process.
You definitely want to shine the spotlight on other people’s great work rather than shamelessly self-promoting your brand.
Whenever you’ve got some free time, search the Internet for three epic posts to share.
To curate content like a boss, check out this guide from Curata.
15. Follow five relevant people
Sometimes I feel my social feed is a little stale.
In which case, I search for a few new follows to spice it up.
You may even be able to make some new contacts, so always be willing to make the first move on social media.
16. Engage with five people on social media
Allow me to piggyback on that last statement.
If you’re looking to expand your network and potentially find new business partners, be always engaging with others.
This hardly takes any time, but commenting or even liking or retweeting great content can sometimes be the catalyst for new opportunities.
17. Engage with five recent followers
It’s also important to engage with the people who follow you and build genuine rapport with your audience.
When you’ve got some spare time, go through your social media accounts and pick out a handful of recent followers.
Then hit them up by thanking them for following you or even start an online conversation.
18. Target an influencer
I’m sure you’ve heard about influencer marketing and how potent it can be as a marketing tool.
And it’s totally true.
But getting to the point where an influencer actually promotes your brand takes time.
The first step in the process is finding someone who is likely to be on board.
One technique I’ve found to be effective when searching for influencers is to use BuzzSumo.
Here’s an example of what pops up after I searched for content marketing influencers:
I think a great way to make use of an hour is to research and target potential influencers in your industry.
To learn about this process, check out this post from NeilPatel.com.
19. Contact an influencer
Once you’ve found an influencer, it’s time for the approach.
This typically involves doing a little research about them, their brand, values, philosophy, etc.
Next, send them an email or contact them via their website to give them your pitch.
I recommend reading this post from Crazy Egg for the skinny on reaching out to influencers.
20. Submit your business to directories
Did you know that 145 million people use Yelp each month?
And that’s just one of many business directories.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your exposure and reel in more local consumers, it’s smart to spend some time submitting your business to relevant directories.
This ultimate list from HubSpot highlights 50 of the best directories for local marketing.
21. Check Google Analytics
It’s important to stay current on key metrics.
I like to know about any visitor traffic patterns and behavior that could impact my ability to make conversions.
If you haven’t checked Google Analytics (or whatever type of metrics platform you use) in a while, it’s smart to spend some time there.
In particular, I pay close attention to the amount of time people spend on my site, referrals, and audience interests.
22. Analyze your top competitors
If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, you may want to see what the competition is up to.
I suggest identifying three or four of your top competitors and checking the following:
This will give you some valuable intel on what’s working for them and what you can do to gain the upper hand.
One of my favorite tools for doing this is SEMrush.
It’s free and will supply you with a load of information.
23. Do a content audit
Although the word audit may sound time-consuming and even a little intimidating, it’s actually not all that involved.
You can do a basic content audit in as little as 1 hour.
While it may be a tad boring, it’s a great way to ensure your content is hitting its mark.
You can learn the basics in this guide from Quick Sprout.
24. Do an SEO audit
Just like you want to ensure that your content is in tip top shape, it’s also crucial to see what state your SEO is in from time to time.
Doing an SEO audit is a great way to get a glimpse of how things are performing.
More specifically, you can tell:
Check out this post from Search Engine Land to learn how to do your own SEO audit in only 5 minutes.
25. Check for dead links
Dead links aren’t cool.
They disrupt the user experience and can make your brand seem unprofessional.
That’s why I suggest checking for dead links every few months or so.
It’s no big deal.
Just use the Online Broken Link Checker.
It’s completely free, and it will give you the rundown of any broken links and identify their location on your site.
26. Do some internal linking
An internal link “is one that points to another page on the same website.”
Internal linking is a fundamental part of SEO and helps “spread link juice around your site.”
It’s a good idea to spend some time doing some internal linking if it’s something you’ve slacked on in the past.
Just make sure your links point to pages that are relevant and truly add to the reader experience.
27. Improve your email signature
Having an email signature that’s consistent with your company is an important aspect of branding.
Unfortunately, it’s sometimes overlooked.
If you really want to make a splash, add your logo along with a professional headshot.
Check out this infographic from Business 2 Community for the details on creating a killer email signature.
28. Fine-tune your sales funnel
Your sales funnel is the key to leading consumers through the buying process until they ultimately make a purchase.
But if you’ve been using the same sales funnel for the past few years, some serious inefficiencies could be holding you back.
Why not spend a little time going over your existing sales funnel to check for areas that could use some improvement?
Amping up your marketing doesn’t always require exhaustive work sessions.
In fact, there are many business-boosting marketing activities you can do in 1 hour or less.
If you’ve got some downtime and want to devote it to marketing, any of these activities should be worth your while.
Can you think of any other marketing activities that don’t require a big time commitment?
via Quick Sprout http://ift.tt/UU7LJr
March 29, 2017 at 03:45AM
4 Advanced Automation Tools To Streamline Your Social Media Without Sacrificing Your Voice
According to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 report, “At least 90% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and the best ways to engage their audience with social media.”
Here’s what I say to that:
Automate as much of your social media marketing as you can, so that you do have time to test different strategies and find the approach that works best for you.
Automation Tools: The Key to Social Media Success
View automation like you would a new personal assistant. You know they’re there to relieve some of your workload, but you’d never send them into a meeting with your largest client and tell them to pretend to be you. Social media is just like that. The random tasks that require more data entry and repetition can be automated easily enough; everything else should be personalized.
Now, in terms of which automation tools you should use, I always suggest starting with the more affordable options first. If you’re new to the social game, it’s best to get your feet wet when first testing the waters. Here are my favorite cheap tools to get started:
Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack is a fully-loaded plugin for WordPress that helps users automate a whole host of items for their website. One of those items, as you may have guessed, is social media.
Once you’ve downloaded the plugin for your website, visit the Settings tab within WordPress and click on “Sharing”. This is your new Publicize tool, courtesy of WordPress. It will enable you to:
As I said, too much automation is never a good thing on social. While it’s great to have a tool like this to automatically share your new content on social media, people will start to notice if that’s the only activity you’ve got going on.
Hootsuite is a great way to manage the activity on your social media accounts from a single platform. It’s also a fairly comprehensive tool when compared to some of the other social media management tools available.
So if you’re looking for a tool where you can:
Start with Hootsuite.
If you haven’t heard of Feedly before, this is what’s known as an RSS feed aggregator. In other words, if you enjoy reading content from 11 different websites, but don’t want to visit each site separately in order to do so, use Feedly.
People want to engage with businesses like they would with people. If your social media page shows post after post of your own content, your audience may get the sense that you only care about pushing your own agenda. But if they noticed that you share relevant and interesting content from other sources… Well, then, they’d see you as a well-informed and impartial thought leader who simply wants to talk about important matters, even if they don’t come from your own blog.
In other words, when you find something share-worthy on Feedly, add it to your Hootsuite.
Zapier works similarly to the Jetpack Publicize tool. The main difference is that Zapier automates the connection between a lot more than just WordPress and your social media.
Think about all the different ways you could connect your social media tools to everything else you use. Google, newsletters, WordPress, cross-social platforms, and more. Just create a Zap to make the connection, and you’ll be ready to go!
Social media has been the source of many headaches for marketers, entrepreneurs, and others just trying to figure out how to make this marketing channel work for them. Rather than spend too much time navigating the basics, automate as much of that as you can with the tools above. Then you can focus on being strategic about where to post, when, how frequently, and with whom you should share it!
The post 4 Advanced Automation Tools To Streamline Your Social Media Without Sacrificing Your Voice appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
via Social Media Explorer http://ift.tt/xMddWR
February 22, 2017 at 10:18PM
Marketing Insights From the Man From Mars
Rob Rakowitz, Global Director of Media at Mars, has done some fantastic content marketing for varied consumer brands like Whiskas and Uncle Ben’s. He also happens to be a winner of the Content Marketing Award from The CMO Club. So what can the man from Mars tell us about marketing strategy? Well, among other things, “keep it simple.” Read on for more insights.
Drew: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a peer and how has that influenced your career?
Rob: Keep things simple. Media is starting to hit more and more functions both within marketing and outside of it so it would be easy to make things complicated. I find that the more you can simplify down what it is that we’re trying to do from a vision perspective, the better an idea travels.
Drew: You received The CMO Club award for Content Marketing. What’s your overall approach to content?
Rob: We’ve done some absolutely fantastic content programs for Uncle Ben’s, Pedigree and Snickers. These brands truly understand that they need to reach more and more consumers and the way that they’re going to do that is not just by throwing advertising out there, but it’s by actually really figuring out what is their brand’s purpose, what is understanding culture and how can they actually provide the solution that brings the brand, consumer and customer together. It’s what I really like to call that idea of 4C Conversion, where we bring consumers, customers, communications and commerce closer together.
Drew: Let’s talk about Uncle Ben’s because I think some readers might scratch their heads and say, wait, Uncle Ben’s has a purpose?
Rob: Uncle Ben’s is about helping consumers make sure that they’re making great food choices, on a daily basis. It’s really interesting because when you get into the data. We find out that consumers who start meals with rice are more likely to choose a lean protein or a vegetable to go along with it. This actually leads to healthier outcomes from an eating perspective. And that’s actually what stands behind a lot of what we do from a content perspective and with a program like Ben’s Beginners, which aims to get kids and parents cooking together.
Drew: Got it. So what did you end up doing for Uncle Ben’s?
Rob: In the UK is we had this new ready-to-heat product that comes in this little pouch and is really quick and easy to make. What we found out was that consumers weren’t aware of it; they didn’t see it as being relevant. So luckily enough, we had smart agency folks and smart marketing folks — BBDO, MediaCom, and then our own internal associates, what we call our triads, working together. And what they decided is that a typical TV spot would fail, because it wasn’t going to reach the right audience and it wasn’t going to overcome the relevancy issue. So what we ended up doing was creating a series of short videos. Then we put them up online, looked at the behavior metrics, figured out which videos were popping and what recipes were actually working. The video idea, by the way, centered around a celebrity chef who shows up at a park, starts cooking meals, engages people who are living healthy and active lifestyles and shows them in two minutes how to actually cook a healthy meal.
Drew: Fun idea. What then?
Rob: With these eight videos that we had out there, we looked at the performance metrics. We then figured out how to take that two-minute video and cut it down to 30’s, which we could put on TV and various social channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). It was a very content-driven idea backed up by behavioral data. We were able to use social media to make sure the content was as personal as possible. And it actually yielded some really nice business results for us.
Drew: Interesting that the whole program wasn’t 100% digital and that you ended up deploying TV as well?
Rob: I think that any marketer worth their salt today knows that if you’re dealing with mass audiences and mass reach, I think it’s not a question of “or” but it’s a question of “and.” What you want to have is a video-neutral approach where you’re thinking about multiple channels in combination. Are there certain brands where a digital-only approach will make sense? Absolutely. But for Uncle Ben’s, a combination of TV and digital was optimal.
Drew: How did you measure the success of the Uncle Ben’s program?
Rob: The two measures that we’re obsessed with are reach and sales. First, we look at the overall reach of the content program. And then also did some testing to actually make sure that there was a positive lift in sales. That’s generally, the way that we look at measurement. Now, within the campaign we look at behavioral metrics including likes, shares and comments. What we did for Uncle Ben’s was 100 percent behavioral, digital metrics that are available to a lot of marketers. And the question is are we truly leaning into those as the marketing community and embracing it as much as we could and should be. And I think that’s very much an agenda I had where a lot of my colleagues out there is taking more and more advantage of things and to drive better planning strategy and activation.
Drew: Let’s talk about what you did for Whiskas.
Rob: For Whiskas, we actually rolled out one of our first global content plays. Recognizing that people who are adopting cats or kittens rather weren’t equipped with all of the knowledge and insights that they should have as new pet owners, we created Kitten Kollege. Featuring irreverent tongue-in-check videos, we equipped kitten parents with all of the insight that they needed to understand the life stages and the leaps forward that their kitten is going through. Partnering with Google and YouTube and eventually some of our retail partners in local markets, we raised the brand’s profile, simultaneously educating and entertaining and then closing the gap with commerce.
Drew: I love that story because it fits into a framework that I call Marketing as Service in which marketing actually has value, inherent value, both obviously the entertainment but also the education. One thing that someone might say is well, you educated everybody about kittens, but what connects that to the brand Whiskas?
Rob: We did that via a serial content series that was done with a lot of the insights from our Pet Institute in Waltham, UK. This is where a lot of our pet research happens. So a lot of the insights that we shared were actually proprietary to Mars and we were able to connect that back to Whiskas.
Drew: So you mentioned global for Whiskas–did that mean that Kitten Kollege got translated into multiple languages?
Rob: Yes, it did. And we have been rolling it out market by market. In certain markets, I think we have it dubbed and other markets we actually have it subtitled. But yes, it is a global program.
Drew: From a media perspective standpoint, give me two “do’s” and one “don’t.”
Rob: First on my do list–get obsessed over the business challenge. Don’t be lazy about briefing the agency and really being able to uncover where your growth would be coming from and how that translates down to a real tangible consumer behavior. My second do — embrace the ability to be agile. Don’t plan your full budget to the last cent, hold some funds back for a timely opportunity. And my don’t — don’t message push. Think about creating an experience and a solution.
via Social Media Explorer http://ift.tt/1Jg8s76
February 16, 2017 at 11:42PM
How to Use Instagram Live to Generate Leads
Wondering how Instagram Live can generate leads?
Using Instagram Live stories as a lead generation tool will help you stay one step ahead of your competitors.
In this article, you’ll discover three ways to use Instagram Live video to generate leads for your business.
Why Use Instagram Live Video for Lead Generation?
When you broadcast live video on Instagram, it appears in your Instagram story and viewers can watch and interact with you in real time. The catch? While other platforms allow you to share a live video afterward, an Instagram live video appears only while it’s being broadcast.
Because people need to watch your live video now if they want to see it, Instagram live video has a sense of urgency. Live videos can get special attention because of this. Your followers will receive a notification that you’ve started a live video, and they can see you’re live in the Stories section.
Instagram also features live videos from public profiles in the Explore section, which can boost your visibility beyond your followers without you having to pay for it.
Here are some ways to use Instagram Live video to generate viable leads for your business.
#1: Capture Warm Leads by Teasing New Products
Because Instagram Live video isn’t permanent, you don’t go live to give information you want users to refer to later. (Facebook Live, which can be saved, is a better platform for that purpose.) Teasing new products, information, or big announcements, however, is another story.
For example, an artist under the profile whenwewake used Instagram live video to give a sneak peek at his new paintings.
The urgency of Instagram Live video makes these teasers more exciting and engaging, because users don’t know when the video will end, and they know they have to watch now for all of the information. The sneak peek also makes viewers want to know more.
After the teaser, ask viewers to sign up for more information on your website or pre-order the product. This approach gives your live video an element of exclusivity, which can encourage people to act immediately, increasing the number of leads you get.
#2: Expand Lead Collection by Promoting a Social Contest
Social contests are a fantastic lead generation tool, especially when you use contest software to help capture lead information. When you have a contest, use Instagram live video to promote your contest and drive engagement.
Contests, like the one below from cutest_kiddies, are often promoted in Instagram stories. But Instagram live video can increase results thanks to its natural sense of urgency and extra visibility.
With Instagram live video, you can promote social contests in a number of ways:
If you want to go all out, make Instagram live video part of the actual contest. For example, to be eligible for a daily prize, have users answer questions you ask in a live broadcast. Or use Instagram live video to share clues for a scavenger hunt.
You can keep the broadcast times spontaneous and sporadic so users have to watch their phones for a notification that you’re live. You could even offer to give additional clues or details of when the video will be broadcast if people subscribe to your email list ahead of time.
#3: Collect Email Leads by Gathering Questions for a Live Q&A
Q&As are a popular subject for live videos; they offer value and can drive customer participation. When you promote a Q&A before the broadcast (especially if an influencer or expert is involved), request that users submit questions ahead of time.
While most businesses ask for questions on Facebook as a source of engagement, you can use email instead to generate leads. If you send users to your site (or even a Google form), you can ask for their emails in exchange.
If you promote your Q&A widely enough ahead of time, you can generate a large number of relevant leads who are genuinely interested in your business.
Also consider offering to email people before the video goes live as an incentive for submitting a question, increasing the likelihood they’ll watch. If newer leads are still a little unfamiliar with your business, this email can make a big impact in pushing them towards converting.
Live Video Best Practices
To get the most leads from your Instagram live video, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Instagram Live video is still a new feature. Right now, everyone is focusing on how to use it and looking at it purely as a tool to drive engagement.
What do you think? Have you tried Instagram Live video? What’s your experience with contests or Q&As? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
February 13, 2017 at 09:03PM