5 Dead Marketers To Bring Your Emails Back To Life by Aaron Orendorff

Today’s marketers are obsessed with all things new. The temptation is understandable. All around us stand new social media platforms, new automation tools, new delivery channels, and new apps. Each one has the same promise: “I am the answer to all your marketing struggles.”

Amidst this flood of “new,” however, it’s easy to lose sight of one thing: the forces that drive humans to buy – the psychology of influence and persuasion – aren’t new.

In the mad quest for metrics – some of which are pure vanity – we are forgetting the basic objective of marketing: to convert a lead into a customer. As legendary copywriter Brian Kurtz puts it in his (ahem) new book The Advertising Solution:

Products and business models change over time, but human nature does not… In order to get people to do what you want them to do, you have to understand what motivates them. You also have to know how to present yourself and your product to get their interest, their trust, and ultimately their willingness to call you, visit you, or send you their money.

 

 

How do you stop salivating over “the new” and get back to what works?

You look to the past and apply the timeless lessons from five long-dead direct-response marketers who can bring your emails back to life:

 

1)   Start with how you want them to feel

Born in 1885, Robert “Bob” Collier was a pioneer of the self-help movement whose book, The Secret of the Ages, sold over 300,000 copies in his lifetime. A self-taught copywriter, Collier’s formula for writing a successful sales letter was simple: in order to persuade your audience, you have to first define how you want to make them feel.

Before you put pen to paper, before you ring for your stenographer, decide in your mind what effect you want to produce on your reader – what feeling you must arouse in him.

(The Robert Collier Letter Book, 1937)

Collier’s formula is also the key to a successful email. If you want your subscriber to lend you their undivided attention, it all starts with emotion. The point isn’t to start with what you’re actually selling – your product, its features, nor even its benefits – but instead to pick one driving emotion and let the rest of your email flow from that. “Feelings Wheels” (like the one below) are outstanding linguistic hacks to help you really pinpoint and vividly articulate these emotional states.

 

 

Remember: people buy with their hearts and they justify with their heads.

 

2) Test everything… all the time

Even if you’ve never heard his name, Claude Hopkins is probably the reason your teeth are clean and sparkly. The mastermind behind the Pepsodent campaign in the early 1900s, Hopkins is widely credited with inculcating the habit of regular brushing into more than half the American population. Born in 1866, Hopkins spent more than fifteen years at Lord & Thomas advertising, ending his career as its president and chairman.

A staunch believer of research, routine sampling and rigorous testing, Hopkins continually pitted headlines, offers, propositions, and copy against each other using key-coded coupons to improve ad results. His principles and practices were immortalized in Scientific Advertising:

Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort – the buyers of your product.

If you only follow one tip from this list, here it is. For email, this means developing a regular and rigorous testing process for two major areas:

  • your content: subject lines, body copy, images, and calls-to-actions.
  • your delivery: frequency, time of the day, day of the week, etc.

Recurrent testing harnesses the power of “compound interest,” meaning the dividends over a longer period of time (a year) are higher than the individual dividends over a shorter period (a week). Applied over time, the difference between 2% and 2.5% on a single campaign can be huge in terms of revenue.

So test, test, and test some more.

 

3) Be blunt, not “beautiful”

At the tender age of 23, John Caples wrote what’s unanimously regarded as the best headline of the 20th century: “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano But When I Started to Play!”

 

 

He was one year into his advertising career. Needless to say, these fifteen words launched him into the stratosphere of direct-response copywriting. The author of Tested Advertising Methods, Hopkins espoused the virtues of brevity: short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs – what “you would expect to find in a sixth grade reader.” In 1977, this direct response genius was inducted into the American Federation’s Advertising Hall of Fame.

A valid argument presented in blunt language will sway the reader more than a less valid argument beautifully presented.

As the most intimate marketing platform, email gives brands a chance to stop being a logo and start being a human. No other channel – not even social media – is more suited to having conversations. Take advantage of the medium’s relatability by appealing to the “self-interest and curiosity” of your subscribers, as Caples would say.

But above all, keep it short. Once you’ve composed an email, get ruthless. Cut until it hurts – until you weep over all the beautiful words, sentences, and images left out. That’s when you know it’s finally getting good.

 

4) Your only objective is to sell

In 1962, Time Magazine called David Ogilvy “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” For nearly 60-years, he produced legendary copy for clients like Dove, Rolls-Royce, and Schweppes. Ogilvy’s varied experiences as a chef, a farmer, and a door-to-door salesman drilled into him the importance of service and sales.

Referring to direct response as his “first love and secret weapon,” Ogilvy believed that the one and only function of an ad was to sell. He preferred facts over fluff, investigation over instincts, and clarity over creativity. As he put it in Ogilvy on Advertising:

I don’t regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.

All email marketers should worship at the altar of David Ogilvy because his insights on research, testing, and selling are molded for this platform. Email is forty times as effective as a “targeted” customer acquisition channel than social media. Almost 75% of customers pick email as their favored communication channel.

At the risk of being hyperbolic, creativity counts for nothing unless it moves your subscribers to take action.

 

5) Desire trumps everything

Born in 1927, Eugene Shwartz’s dedication, his fondness for extensive research, and disciplined writing system were the three legs upon which he built an immensely successful career that included nine books, iconic ads, and a list of success too numerous to count.

The crowning achievement of Schwartz’s career was Breakthrough Advertising, arguably the best copywriting book ever written. In it he expounds the centrality of harnessing a customer’s existing desire to animate sales copy:

Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.

Barring in those rare cases when a disruptive product induces a previously unfelt “mass desire,” your prospects already know what they want. In fact, even disruptions are built on existing desires innate in human beings.

Your job, as an email marketer, is to therefore study these wants, identify their feelings – both positive and negative – and then mirror the dominant emotions in your words. Only “when an audience and an ad share the same dominant emotion” – and speak the same emotive language – will your campaigns compel and convert.

This means that listening to your target market – through surveys, interviews, social media, review sites, their own posts and comments – should precede and fuel everything you send. Your audience’s desires – not your own originality – are what bring copy to sales-producing lists.

 

Old brings new to life

The shiniest gadgets and the sexiest new tactics pale in comparison to the eternal rules of direct-response marketing.

Each of the above master copywriters possessed their own unique strengths, but all of them shared a love for words, an ardor for testing, an allegiance to research, and an almost obsessive focus on customers.

Resurrecting your emails by emulating their tenacity, embracing their techniques and embodying their trustworthiness.

 

Over to You

Which of these tips resonates the most? Have any other suggestions for your favorite old-school marketer or tactic? Let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to know what you think.

Read more

5 Dead Marketers To Bring Your Emails Back To Life by Aaron Orendorff

Today’s marketers are obsessed with all things new. The temptation is understandable. All around us stand new social media platforms, new automation tools, new delivery channels, and new apps. Each one has the same promise: “I am the answer to all your marketing struggles.”

Amidst this flood of “new,” however, it’s easy to lose sight of one thing: the forces that drive humans to buy – the psychology of influence and persuasion – aren’t new.

In the mad quest for metrics – some of which are pure vanity – we are forgetting the basic objective of marketing: to convert a lead into a customer. As legendary copywriter Brian Kurtz puts it in his (ahem) new book The Advertising Solution:

Products and business models change over time, but human nature does not… In order to get people to do what you want them to do, you have to understand what motivates them. You also have to know how to present yourself and your product to get their interest, their trust, and ultimately their willingness to call you, visit you, or send you their money.

 

 

How do you stop salivating over “the new” and get back to what works?

You look to the past and apply the timeless lessons from five long-dead direct-response marketers who can bring your emails back to life:

 

1)   Start with how you want them to feel

Born in 1885, Robert “Bob” Collier was a pioneer of the self-help movement whose book, The Secret of the Ages, sold over 300,000 copies in his lifetime. A self-taught copywriter, Collier’s formula for writing a successful sales letter was simple: in order to persuade your audience, you have to first define how you want to make them feel.

Before you put pen to paper, before you ring for your stenographer, decide in your mind what effect you want to produce on your reader – what feeling you must arouse in him.

(The Robert Collier Letter Book, 1937)

Collier’s formula is also the key to a successful email. If you want your subscriber to lend you their undivided attention, it all starts with emotion. The point isn’t to start with what you’re actually selling – your product, its features, nor even its benefits – but instead to pick one driving emotion and let the rest of your email flow from that. “Feelings Wheels” (like the one below) are outstanding linguistic hacks to help you really pinpoint and vividly articulate these emotional states.

 

 

Remember: people buy with their hearts and they justify with their heads.

 

2) Test everything… all the time

Even if you’ve never heard his name, Claude Hopkins is probably the reason your teeth are clean and sparkly. The mastermind behind the Pepsodent campaign in the early 1900s, Hopkins is widely credited with inculcating the habit of regular brushing into more than half the American population. Born in 1866, Hopkins spent more than fifteen years at Lord & Thomas advertising, ending his career as its president and chairman.

A staunch believer of research, routine sampling and rigorous testing, Hopkins continually pitted headlines, offers, propositions, and copy against each other using key-coded coupons to improve ad results. His principles and practices were immortalized in Scientific Advertising:

Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort – the buyers of your product.

If you only follow one tip from this list, here it is. For email, this means developing a regular and rigorous testing process for two major areas:

  • your content: subject lines, body copy, images, and calls-to-actions.
  • your delivery: frequency, time of the day, day of the week, etc.

Recurrent testing harnesses the power of “compound interest,” meaning the dividends over a longer period of time (a year) are higher than the individual dividends over a shorter period (a week). Applied over time, the difference between 2% and 2.5% on a single campaign can be huge in terms of revenue.

So test, test, and test some more.

 

3) Be blunt, not “beautiful”

At the tender age of 23, John Caples wrote what’s unanimously regarded as the best headline of the 20th century: “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano But When I Started to Play!”

 

 

He was one year into his advertising career. Needless to say, these fifteen words launched him into the stratosphere of direct-response copywriting. The author of Tested Advertising Methods, Hopkins espoused the virtues of brevity: short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs – what “you would expect to find in a sixth grade reader.” In 1977, this direct response genius was inducted into the American Federation’s Advertising Hall of Fame.

A valid argument presented in blunt language will sway the reader more than a less valid argument beautifully presented.

As the most intimate marketing platform, email gives brands a chance to stop being a logo and start being a human. No other channel – not even social media – is more suited to having conversations. Take advantage of the medium’s relatability by appealing to the “self-interest and curiosity” of your subscribers, as Caples would say.

But above all, keep it short. Once you’ve composed an email, get ruthless. Cut until it hurts – until you weep over all the beautiful words, sentences, and images left out. That’s when you know it’s finally getting good.

 

4) Your only objective is to sell

In 1962, Time Magazine called David Ogilvy “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” For nearly 60-years, he produced legendary copy for clients like Dove, Rolls-Royce, and Schweppes. Ogilvy’s varied experiences as a chef, a farmer, and a door-to-door salesman drilled into him the importance of service and sales.

Referring to direct response as his “first love and secret weapon,” Ogilvy believed that the one and only function of an ad was to sell. He preferred facts over fluff, investigation over instincts, and clarity over creativity. As he put it in Ogilvy on Advertising:

I don’t regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.

All email marketers should worship at the altar of David Ogilvy because his insights on research, testing, and selling are molded for this platform. Email is forty times as effective as a “targeted” customer acquisition channel than social media. Almost 75% of customers pick email as their favored communication channel.

At the risk of being hyperbolic, creativity counts for nothing unless it moves your subscribers to take action.

 

5) Desire trumps everything

Born in 1927, Eugene Shwartz’s dedication, his fondness for extensive research, and disciplined writing system were the three legs upon which he built an immensely successful career that included nine books, iconic ads, and a list of success too numerous to count.

The crowning achievement of Schwartz’s career was Breakthrough Advertising, arguably the best copywriting book ever written. In it he expounds the centrality of harnessing a customer’s existing desire to animate sales copy:

Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.

Barring in those rare cases when a disruptive product induces a previously unfelt “mass desire,” your prospects already know what they want. In fact, even disruptions are built on existing desires innate in human beings.

Your job, as an email marketer, is to therefore study these wants, identify their feelings – both positive and negative – and then mirror the dominant emotions in your words. Only “when an audience and an ad share the same dominant emotion” – and speak the same emotive language – will your campaigns compel and convert.

This means that listening to your target market – through surveys, interviews, social media, review sites, their own posts and comments – should precede and fuel everything you send. Your audience’s desires – not your own originality – are what bring copy to sales-producing lists.

 

Old brings new to life

The shiniest gadgets and the sexiest new tactics pale in comparison to the eternal rules of direct-response marketing.

Each of the above master copywriters possessed their own unique strengths, but all of them shared a love for words, an ardor for testing, an allegiance to research, and an almost obsessive focus on customers.

Resurrecting your emails by emulating their tenacity, embracing their techniques and embodying their trustworthiness.

 

Over to You

Which of these tips resonates the most? Have any other suggestions for your favorite old-school marketer or tactic? Let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to know what you think.

Read more

5 Dead Marketers To Bring Your Emails Back To Life by Aaron Orendorff

Today’s marketers are obsessed with all things new. The temptation is understandable. All around us stand new social media platforms, new automation tools, new delivery channels, and new apps. Each one has the same promise: “I am the answer to all your marketing struggles.”

Amidst this flood of “new,” however, it’s easy to lose sight of one thing: the forces that drive humans to buy – the psychology of influence and persuasion – aren’t new.

In the mad quest for metrics – some of which are pure vanity – we are forgetting the basic objective of marketing: to convert a lead into a customer. As legendary copywriter Brian Kurtz puts it in his (ahem) new book The Advertising Solution:

Products and business models change over time, but human nature does not… In order to get people to do what you want them to do, you have to understand what motivates them. You also have to know how to present yourself and your product to get their interest, their trust, and ultimately their willingness to call you, visit you, or send you their money.

 

 

How do you stop salivating over “the new” and get back to what works?

You look to the past and apply the timeless lessons from five long-dead direct-response marketers who can bring your emails back to life:

 

1)   Start with how you want them to feel

Born in 1885, Robert “Bob” Collier was a pioneer of the self-help movement whose book, The Secret of the Ages, sold over 300,000 copies in his lifetime. A self-taught copywriter, Collier’s formula for writing a successful sales letter was simple: in order to persuade your audience, you have to first define how you want to make them feel.

Before you put pen to paper, before you ring for your stenographer, decide in your mind what effect you want to produce on your reader – what feeling you must arouse in him.

(The Robert Collier Letter Book, 1937)

Collier’s formula is also the key to a successful email. If you want your subscriber to lend you their undivided attention, it all starts with emotion. The point isn’t to start with what you’re actually selling – your product, its features, nor even its benefits – but instead to pick one driving emotion and let the rest of your email flow from that. “Feelings Wheels” (like the one below) are outstanding linguistic hacks to help you really pinpoint and vividly articulate these emotional states.

 

 

Remember: people buy with their hearts and they justify with their heads.

 

2) Test everything… all the time

Even if you’ve never heard his name, Claude Hopkins is probably the reason your teeth are clean and sparkly. The mastermind behind the Pepsodent campaign in the early 1900s, Hopkins is widely credited with inculcating the habit of regular brushing into more than half the American population. Born in 1866, Hopkins spent more than fifteen years at Lord & Thomas advertising, ending his career as its president and chairman.

A staunch believer of research, routine sampling and rigorous testing, Hopkins continually pitted headlines, offers, propositions, and copy against each other using key-coded coupons to improve ad results. His principles and practices were immortalized in Scientific Advertising:

Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort – the buyers of your product.

If you only follow one tip from this list, here it is. For email, this means developing a regular and rigorous testing process for two major areas:

  • your content: subject lines, body copy, images, and calls-to-actions.
  • your delivery: frequency, time of the day, day of the week, etc.

Recurrent testing harnesses the power of “compound interest,” meaning the dividends over a longer period of time (a year) are higher than the individual dividends over a shorter period (a week). Applied over time, the difference between 2% and 2.5% on a single campaign can be huge in terms of revenue.

So test, test, and test some more.

 

3) Be blunt, not “beautiful”

At the tender age of 23, John Caples wrote what’s unanimously regarded as the best headline of the 20th century: “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano But When I Started to Play!”

 

 

He was one year into his advertising career. Needless to say, these fifteen words launched him into the stratosphere of direct-response copywriting. The author of Tested Advertising Methods, Hopkins espoused the virtues of brevity: short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs – what “you would expect to find in a sixth grade reader.” In 1977, this direct response genius was inducted into the American Federation’s Advertising Hall of Fame.

A valid argument presented in blunt language will sway the reader more than a less valid argument beautifully presented.

As the most intimate marketing platform, email gives brands a chance to stop being a logo and start being a human. No other channel – not even social media – is more suited to having conversations. Take advantage of the medium’s relatability by appealing to the “self-interest and curiosity” of your subscribers, as Caples would say.

But above all, keep it short. Once you’ve composed an email, get ruthless. Cut until it hurts – until you weep over all the beautiful words, sentences, and images left out. That’s when you know it’s finally getting good.

 

4) Your only objective is to sell

In 1962, Time Magazine called David Ogilvy “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” For nearly 60-years, he produced legendary copy for clients like Dove, Rolls-Royce, and Schweppes. Ogilvy’s varied experiences as a chef, a farmer, and a door-to-door salesman drilled into him the importance of service and sales.

Referring to direct response as his “first love and secret weapon,” Ogilvy believed that the one and only function of an ad was to sell. He preferred facts over fluff, investigation over instincts, and clarity over creativity. As he put it in Ogilvy on Advertising:

I don’t regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.

All email marketers should worship at the altar of David Ogilvy because his insights on research, testing, and selling are molded for this platform. Email is forty times as effective as a “targeted” customer acquisition channel than social media. Almost 75% of customers pick email as their favored communication channel.

At the risk of being hyperbolic, creativity counts for nothing unless it moves your subscribers to take action.

 

5) Desire trumps everything

Born in 1927, Eugene Shwartz’s dedication, his fondness for extensive research, and disciplined writing system were the three legs upon which he built an immensely successful career that included nine books, iconic ads, and a list of success too numerous to count.

The crowning achievement of Schwartz’s career was Breakthrough Advertising, arguably the best copywriting book ever written. In it he expounds the centrality of harnessing a customer’s existing desire to animate sales copy:

Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.

Barring in those rare cases when a disruptive product induces a previously unfelt “mass desire,” your prospects already know what they want. In fact, even disruptions are built on existing desires innate in human beings.

Your job, as an email marketer, is to therefore study these wants, identify their feelings – both positive and negative – and then mirror the dominant emotions in your words. Only “when an audience and an ad share the same dominant emotion” – and speak the same emotive language – will your campaigns compel and convert.

This means that listening to your target market – through surveys, interviews, social media, review sites, their own posts and comments – should precede and fuel everything you send. Your audience’s desires – not your own originality – are what bring copy to sales-producing lists.

 

Old brings new to life

The shiniest gadgets and the sexiest new tactics pale in comparison to the eternal rules of direct-response marketing.

Each of the above master copywriters possessed their own unique strengths, but all of them shared a love for words, an ardor for testing, an allegiance to research, and an almost obsessive focus on customers.

Resurrecting your emails by emulating their tenacity, embracing their techniques and embodying their trustworthiness.

 

Over to You

Which of these tips resonates the most? Have any other suggestions for your favorite old-school marketer or tactic? Let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to know what you think.

Read more

Boosting B2B Leads by 9x with PPC and Landing Page Best Practices [Case Study]

Send your conversion rate soaring with landing page and PPC best practices. Image via Shutterstock.

Do you ever dream about increasing your conversion rate? How about increasing it by 290% and boosting your lead generation by 9x?

Well, that’s exactly what we did for our client, Revecent, a company specializing in sales consulting and recruiting. The results were so dramatic, they asked us to scale up the campaign less than a month after initial launch!

Today, I’m going to show you exactly how we did it, and how you can achieve the same results by following key PPC and landing page best practices.

Ready to start making more money than you ever thought possible from your B2B PPC campaigns? Let’s dig in!

Identifying the issues

Most B2B PPC campaigns have poor conversion rates and ROI. This usually happens because the campaign is not set up using best practices, is not managed using a disciplined process and does not use optimized landing pages. In fact, 52% of B2B PPC ads still point to home pages.

Indeed, when we first looked at our client’s old Google AdWords campaign for recruiting services, we saw each one of these issues at play.

Revecent’s overall conversion rate of 2.83%, while above average for a B2B campaign, was nothing to write home about. And the high cost per conversion didn’t produce many quality leads, thus preventing the client from scaling up the campaign.

While there were many issues, we focused on four key areas for our plan of attack:

  1. Poor account structure
  2. No targeted landing page
  3. Wasted ad spend
  4. Inadequate keyword management

Let’s dig into each with more detail…

1. Poor account structure

One of the biggest issues in the campaign was that they had only three ad groups with 40 to 50 keywords each. This resulted in poor quality scores and poor message match between ads and keywords. Here is an example of one such ad and the variety of different keywords that trigger it:

Your ads (and landing pages) can never be relevant for so many different keywords. Ideally, you should strive for a 1:1 ad group to keyword ratio for keywords expected to drive at least 80% of the traffic to your campaign.

Not sure how to spend your PPC dollars?

Steal Unbounce's spreadsheet so you can become more campaign driven and begin spending wisely.
By entering your email you'll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

2. No targeted landing pages

Rather than develop specific landing pages for the campaign, the client chose to use one of their service pages as a landing page. As you can see below, it had a number of issues including conflicting calls to action, multiple navigation links and some pretty blasé content and design:

3. Wasted ad spend

Even considering their modest budget, the campaign was very inefficient — only 10% of the keywords had conversions, and 90% of the conversions came from 30% of their total ad spend.

4. Inadequate keyword management

Revecent’s existing campaign used mostly general and high-level keywords, rather than niche and long-tail keywords.

Keywords with specific job titles, industries and geographic locations were notably absent from the campaign. Because of this, Revecent’s ads were generic and not customized to the user’s search queries, which resulted in poor performance.

Additionally, while Revecent did add a few negative keywords when they first launched their campaign, they did not monitor their search terms on a regular basis to add new negative keywords. Ideally, this should be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to improve the quality of traffic.

Implementing the solution

We came up with a three-step plan to optimize the PPC campaign: (1) Use best practices to structure the account, (2) create conversion-optimized landing pages and (3) use a disciplined process to manage the campaign and realize ongoing improvements.

1. Use PPC best practices to set up the campaign

First, we spent time understanding the client’s business in detail — going through their services, industries they serve, ideal customers and competitors.

For context, the client provides sales recruitment services to small and medium sized B2B companies located in major metropolitan areas across the US. The industries they cater to include software, technology, real estate and B2B services. Based on this information, we conducted extensive research to identify some quality keywords for their campaign.

Using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, we identified the best keyword opportunities including niche keywords around specific industries like software, SaaS and technology, as well as keywords containing metro areas like Chicago, NYC and San Francisco.

We poured through the Search Terms Report from the client’s old campaigns and extracted some excellent keywords as well as a host of negative keywords. We also used the SpyFu tool to look at which keywords competitors were using, and then extracted some of those as well.

Next, we set up an account structure that would give us a solid platform for the campaign. We created a structure where keywords accounting for around 90% of the expected traffic to the campaign were placed in single-keyword ad groups. This resulted in about 80 ad groups.

Our approach would give us the most control over the campaign, ensuring precise message match between keywords and ads, high quality scores and click-through rates, while keeping keyword cost per click at a reasonable level — even for the top three ad slots.

Below are three examples of the ad groups we created.

Ad Group Sales Recruiters Dallas:

Ad Group Software Sales Recruiters:

Ad Group Sales Recruiting Agencies:

We rewrote all the ad copy to properly convey the client’s main benefits with lines such as “Build an All Star B2B Sales Team” and “Targeted & Vetted Candidates Only.” We also added sitelinks, callouts and call ad extensions.

Finally, we added a number of negative keywords in each ad group to make sure that any keyword searched on Google would only match one ad group. For example, in our “Sales Recruiters” ad group, we added “Dallas”, “Software”, “Agencies” and a host of other terms, as negative keywords.

2. Create conversion-optimized landing pages

We created a new landing page in Unbounce starting with the 5-Elements template. We customized the template based on the client’s brand, added original copy and then made tweaks according to best practices for landing page design.

Some of the best practices we employed on the landing page were as follows:

  • Tagline below logo emphasizing focus on Sales Recruiting
  • Phone number integrated with Google call tracking so we could track phone calls being made from this page
  • Real customer testimonial
  • Prominent above-the-fold form
  • Clear call to action and animated arrow to attract attention
  • Customer logos to build trust
  • UTM parameter tracking using hidden form fields to capture the campaign, keyword, device and keyword match type

We also created a headline and subheading that effectively described what the client does and what the main benefits of the service are.

Instead of creating multiple pages with content customized to associated ad groups, we opted to use Dynamic Text Replacement to change the content of a few key areas of the landing page. Using this approach, we were able to change the entire headline based on which ad the user clicked on. We also used Dynamic Text parameters for a portion of the subheading and section headings.

For example, below is the ad copy for “Software Sales Recruiters”. The bolded, italicized portion represents the dynamic portion of the ad.

  • Headline: Hire Top Notch Software Sales Professionals Today
  • Subheading: We recruit the best software sales professionals in your industry. Candidates are assessed based on 21 sales specific skills common among top 20% performers to ensure success.
  • Section heading: Outsource Your Sales Hiring to Expert Software Sales Recruiters

Once we had our account setup the way we wanted and the main landing page ready to go, we launched the campaign.

3. Do ongoing optimization and A/B testing

Even if you use best practices to set up a campaign, things may not always go as planned. Real-world performance can throw a few curve balls.

In our case, while we did find that our campaign was performing a lot better than the old campaign, there were a few things that needed to be adjusted.

Negative keywords

One of the first things we found was that the campaign was getting lot of irrelevant traffic. We identified several search terms for industries the client did not serve; for example, medical and pharmaceutical.

We also found search terms that referenced services the client did not provide, such as IT recruiting. There were a number of informational search queries as well which were not ideally suited to our campaign. So, we went into the Search Terms Report in AdWords and added these as negative keywords. You can see examples of some of these below:

New keywords

On the other hand, we found dozens of new keywords that people were searching for that we hadn’t used in the campaign. We added these keywords into new ad groups in the campaign to maximize their effectiveness:

A/B testing

We started out with two ads in the ad groups receiving the most traffic and continued to A/B test until we found a winner. Then, we created a new variant and tested that against this winner and continued this process to improve click-through rates.

We also created a variant of the landing page using the Forward template in Unbounce. With this landing page, we tried a different CTA and a different headline that included a number (as these tend to perform better).

Bid optimization

We employed a manual CPC-based bid strategy throughout, because that gave us the most control over the bidding process. We also monitored and optimized bids regularly to maintain a top three average position with most ads.

Lead quality

Our client wanted to make sure that we minimized leads from job candidates. They also were not interested in getting leads from companies looking for part-time help or commission-only sales reps.

Most leads specified what they were looking for in the description box on the form. We used this in conjunction with the search term used by the lead to identify keywords that were responsible for such leads. Based on this, we would either pause those keywords or modify the ad copy.

The Results (and the payoff)

As you can see in the table below, our new campaign performed exceptionally well compared to the old campaign. We were able to realize immediate performance gains and, because of the low cost per lead, the client asked us to scale up the campaign quickly.

In all, the new campaign was able to:

  • Reduce cost per conversion by 78%from $183.13 in the old campaign down to an outstanding $39.85
  • Improve conversion rate by 290%from 2.83% to 11.04%, which is outstanding for a bottom-of-the-funnel B2B offer
  • Boost conversions from 33 to 308 in the same time frame
  • Improve the lead-to-opportunity conversion rate from 10% to 25%

We achieved our results by following best practices for campaign setup and landing page design and by employing a disciplined process for ongoing optimization after the initial launch.

Although it took a considerable amount of time to set up the original campaign structure, this approach allowed us to get the perfect search term + ad copy + landing page message match. In the end, we were able to create a solid, highly scalable platform for sustained growth.

Read more

Podcasting Guide: How to Add a Killer Podcast to Your Blog




So, you want to learn how to add a podcast to your blog? Here’s a 3,000-word guide that might help with that.


Podcasting is now serious business and, for many bloggers, the traffic from search engines like iTunes is catching up to the likes of Google. Supplementing your regular written content with an audio podcast show can be a very smart idea.


The problem is that setting up a podcast is a confusing process and can take a really long time if you’re new to this type of thing.


In this post I’ll go through all the steps you need to set up a podcast from your blog as quickly as possible. Hopefully this will save some people some time and frustration.


Let’s take a look!



The quick steps for adding a podcast to your blog


Here is a brief overview of how to add a podcast to your blog:




  1. Check your blog’s suitability for podcasting

  2. Get the right microphone and recording software

  3. Install the necessary plugins and configure the back-end

  4. Create your podcast’s artwork that appears in iTunes

  5. Record, upload, and publish your first episode

  6. Submit your new podcast to iTunes

  7. Promote your podcast



The content below is going to go into all the detail for the points above. As mentioned, it can be a bit of a nightmare so make sure you follow closely. As we say a lot here on Blog Tyrant – don’t worry about getting it perfect. Let’s just get it started!


1. Check your blog’s suitability for podcasting


Before you go down this path it’s important to establish whether or not your blog is both technologically suitable and creatively suitable for hosting it’s own podcast show.


Technological suitability


While a lot of people reading this will have their blog on a free provider, I highly recommend using a self-hosted WordPress blog with your own domain name.


The reason this is relevant for podcasting is because the plugins that are available for WordPress users make the process much, much simpler as well as giving you control over things like feeds, artwork, content delivery, and much more.


It has always been my opinion that if you are going to start a blog or podcast and work on it like a business then you should treat it like a business in all forms. Part of that means having a set up that you fully own and control, while at the same time giving you the best power and flexibility.


For this reason the rest of this tutorial will be based around setting up your podcast on a WordPress blog. I’m still convinced this is the best way.


Creative suitability


The next thing I wanted to mention before diving into the main set up process is that it’s important to have a really solid idea for your podcast that will both help people and sustain a topic for a good length of time.


If you take a look at 90% of the most popular podcasts you’ll notice that they all try to make the world a better place, and they all do that in their own little way. This American Life, for example, regularly looks at issues facing ordinary Americans and presents solutions and outcomes that might help listeners. NPR Politics does the same thing in the political arena.


So, before you start out on your podcasting journey I encourage you to make sure you have a really clear concept about who you are trying to help, and how you are going to do that. Think about the format of the show, the guests you might have, the problems you might address, and really try to find interesting ways to solve the problems in your niche.


Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start installing stuff! Oh, and here’s my attempt.


2. Get the right microphone and software


What microphone is best for recording a podcast? What about the software I need to save the files?


These two questions are usually the first things bloggers ask about podcasting.


As you can imagine, the options in this area are almost limitless and as such we need to just go over a few good and reliable products that are good quality and not too expensive. That way we avoid extensive and crippling research that can take days or even weeks.


What microphone should I get?


The good news is, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get a decent set up. Especially in the early days, it’s entirely unnecessary to go overboard on the budget.






A very basic podcasting set up with USB mic, lapel mic, laptop, and an old carpet.





My own podcasting is done with a simple Audio-technica USB mic that I bought on Amazon and my laptop. And while the sound is not at NPR quality, it is more than enough for my needs and the needs of most beginners. A lot of bloggers start off with the Blue Yeti which will set you back about $100 and puts out decent quality sound.


Cheaper microphones like these have advantages and drawbacks. For example, mine records lovely sound quality but will pick up anything within 20 feet as loud as if it’s right next to the unit. In the past I’ve had to switch the fridge off to record!


Sound recording can be a really complicated and technical so it’s best to start off with something good but not perfect and slowly work at getting more professional if and when your podcast becomes more popular. Check for good reviews and make sure it is the type of mic that plugs in to your laptop.


What recording software should I use?


The next step is to get a program that allows you to record and edit your podcast episodes.






Inside Audacity. The bottom line is an intro file, the top is the episode.





When it comes to sound recording you’re going to face a little bit of a learning curve, sort of like when you first started a blog. There’s lots of new buttons and sometimes you have no idea what’s going on.


If you have a newer Mac or PC you probably have some inbuilt software that will allow you to record a podcast pretty easily. My preference, however, is a free and open-source program called Audacity that is designed to very simply record, edit and save sound files.


My main tip here would be to not pay for any software and instead play around with the podcast recorder on your computer and then download Audacity and see which one you prefer. Again, it’s not necessary to spend money here.


3. Setting up the back-end of your blog for podcasting


The next step is to set up your podcast at the back-end level of your blog. Unfortunately, this is where it can get a little big confusing.


So how does it work?


Essentially a podcast is just a sound file (like an MP3) embedded in a blog post. That blog post is then part of a feed that is picked up by iTunes so that people can be notified of new episodes on their smartphones. What we are doing at this stage is installing a plugin that neatly sends iTunes all of that information automatically.


If it sounds confusing don’t worry too much. All you really need to know right now is that you don’t actually upload your sounds files to iTunes directly but rather create a place/function on your blog so that iTunes knows where to find your podcast episodes.


The first step is to download the Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin and install it on your blog. You can do this by logging into your WordPress blog and going PLUGINS > ADD NEW and then using the search function.






One of the pages inside Powerpress that allows you to create a podcast from your blog.





Once you’ve installed the plugin you’ll get a choice to use a Simple or Advanced Mode of the plugin. For most bloggers the Simple Mode will be sufficient. The Advanced Mode, however, gives you a few more options and allows you to create separate feeds so that, if you wanted, you could run more than one podcast from your blog.


Now, there are dozens of settings to go through here, but the main thing you want to understand is the relationship between your blog’s regular feed, your new podcast feed, and how the plugin lets you configure all of that. I’ve done a short video to cover the main points.



Go through and copy what I’ve done in terms of filling out the areas like iTunes show name, description, category, keywords, etc.


As I said in the video, this was not meant to be a setting-by-setting walk through but rather a quick overview of how the plugin allows your blog to also publish a podcast. If you get stuck on any settings make sure you check out the set up guides provided by Powerpress.


4. Creating your podcast artwork


The artwork that goes along with your show is really important.


Just like with your blog, standing out from the crowd is vital if you want to cut through the competition and get some traction. The way you create your show art and the styles and elements you choose will have a huge impact.






The current top podcasts in the News and Politics section. Which one stands out most for you?





Have a look at the top shows for the News and Politics section and you’ll see an interesting mix of faces and graphics with no faces but large, heavy text and colors.


If you already have a well known brand it can be a good idea to make that the main feature. If not, a lot of studies have shown that people respond better to human faces then graphics.


Your image needs to be 3000 pixels x 3000 pixels in order to account for retina display screens while still being visible at smaller sizes.


You can create your image in Photoshop or Pixelmator, but I would highly recommend creating a contest on 99designs so as to get a professional to create something amazing. I wrote about how I did that in this post on blog images.


Once you’ve created the artwork, upload it to your blog and then add it to the “Artwork” section within the Powerpress plugin as shown in the video above.


5. Record, save, upload and publish your first episode


Before you can submit your podcast to iTunes you need that podcast feed to become active. And for that to happen you need to publish your first episode.


There are a few tricky steps in this section but, once you’re done, you’ll find the whole thing is easier because the main set up stages are done forever and from here on in you just have to create content.


Recording your first episode


Prepare for recording by making notes on your content talking points and setting yourself up in a quiet room with no distractions. Turn off your phone and make sure you don’t have any computer notifications that might pop up on the screen or make a bing.


Once you’re ready, open up Audacity and test your microphone settings. You can record a few 10 second clips and play them back to yourself to see whether the volume and quality is set nicely. If you run into any problems check out Audacity’s user guide for ideas.


The next thing you need to do is record your episode and add any introductions or music that you might have. You do that by simply going FILE > IMPORT and dragging it to the place you want it on the audio.


Saving (exporting) your first MP3


Once finished, hit FILE > EXPORT and then you’ll see a screen like the one above that asks you to fill out details.






Exporting an MP3 file from Audacity





It’s important that you get these right as it will affect how your file displays in some formats. I’ve put some notes on the image above. Now your MP3 episode will be saved to your computer somewhere and is ready for uploading. If you like, you can listen to it on your desktop to check for any errors.


Uploading your MP3 to a file hosting service


The next step (we’re almost done!) is to upload that file to an MP3/podcasting service like Libsyn. As mentioned above, you don’t want to host these audio files on your blog because you could run into bandwidth issues if you get a lot of downloads. That’s the type of thing that causes your site to crash.


Libsyn is a great service because they don’t penalize you for getting lots of downloads. Instead of paying for bandwidth you pay for what you upload.


For example, for the $15 p/m plan gives you 250MB and you could upload around 2-3 podcasts a month.


This part is important.


Once you’ve chosen your plan, go to CONTENT > ADD FILE FOR DOWNLOAD ONLY > UPLOAD and then hit PUBLISH once you’ve selected your first episode MP3 file.


That will load for a while and then give you a URL of your MP3’s location online. We’re going to need that URL in a minute so leave that page open and/or copy the link.


It should look something like this:


http://traffic.libsyn.com/blogtyrant/blog_security.mp3


Publishing your first episode


Now you need to head over to your blog and go to POSTS > ADD NEW and fill out the headline and body text. Your headline will be the title of this Podcast episode, and your body text will describe what the episode is about as well as including the player and podcasting shortcode.


If you’re not sure what to include in these posts just have a look at what other bloggers like Tim Ferriss do.






Creating your first episode.





Once you’ve done that, go ahead and paste that Libsyn URL from before into the section called Podcast Episode that will appear below your blog post’s content area. Click the Verify URL button as pictured above.


Finally, select the Podcast category, give it some tags and then when you’re all done hit Publish.


You’ve now published your first podcast episode!


6. Submit your podcast to iTunes


By this stage your podcast is live on your blog and all of your readers will be able to listen to it directly from the Powerpress button that appears in the blog post.


But what we really need to do is submit it to the world’s biggest podcasting search engine: iTunes.






Submitting a podcast to iTunes for the first time.





To do this simply log into iTunes with the account that you want to be the “owner” of that podcast. Think carefully about which iTunes account that should be.


Then navigate to the Podcasts section at the top and find Submit a Podcast on the right hand side.


This will then take you to a new screen where it asks you some details and, most importantly, your Podcast Feed URL. This is the URL I showed you in the video above and can be found again by logging into your blog and going POWERPRESS > SETTINGS > FEEDS and then copying the podcast feeds URL.


Mine looks like this: http://www.blogtyrant.com/feed/podcast/


Once you’ve submitted that it will take a few hours or even days to show up in iTunes. Once you see it in there have a careful look at all the text and images and make sure it all looks good. If not, track back through the Powerpress plugin settings and make adjustments.


7. How to promote your blog’s podcast


Unfortunately, a lot of bloggers write incredible posts and then wonder why no one is visiting.


Well, the main reason is because they haven’t done any promotional activities.


Podcasting is exactly the same.


If you want to make sure that you get people listening you need to spend more time promoting it – more time even than you spend creating them!




  • Network with other podcasters

    One of the best ways to get your podcast known is by getting attention from other established podcasters. For example, follow all the top podcasts in your niche and make sure you interact on Twitter when new episodes come out. Help promote them and they might return the favor.


  • Pay for a mention

    Advertising on podcasts is cheap and often very effective. Big shows like RadioLab will be out of reach financially, but there are lots of smaller shows that still have good reach and are looking for advertisers. Keep it in your niche and work with the founder to develop an ad that works.


  • Hype it on your mailing list

    Hopefully if you have a blog you’ve also been building a mailing list and as such you can do a little promotional campaign that might involve some giveaways or a special release date. Don’t be afraid to ask for shares in this situation – if you’ve been providing value people won’t mind.


  • Ask your friends for reviews

    When you first launch your podcast it’s a good idea to ask your friend and family to leave a 5-star review on iTunes. The more reviews you can get in the first few hours the more chance you have of hitting the New and Noteworthy section which can really boost your exposure. Ask nicely and give easy-to-follow instructions.


  • Align your podcast with popular events

    A very successful promotional technique is to align your podcast with things that are going on in the world. For example, a lot of podcasts popped up around the time of the Star Wars movie release and had graphics and names that looked and sounded like Star Wars in some way. These shows get a lot of attention in search engines. For example, if you’ve done any episodes near the election with “Trump” in the title you’ll likely get some love from people searching for answers.


One of the big things to remember here is that it’s not likely that your podcast will be a massive smash hit right away. Sometimes it takes months and years of work to build up a loyal audience and get the traction that you were hoping for.


It’s also good to remember that sometimes opportunities arise from podacasting even when you don’t have a huge audience. It might just be a new business contact or a collaboration that takes place.


So, don’t discount it if you don’t have immediate success.


Bloggers, do you have a podcast?


This post covered quite a lot of information but also left quite a lot out.


I deliberately tried to make it a “broad strokes” type of thing instead of getting into too many details, but I’d love to know if I’ve missed anything really important that might impact someone trying to get started.


Please leave a comment below if you have any tips for someone wanting to start a podcast from their blog.





Share

+1

Share



Read more

Older PostNewer Post