Popping the bubble on pop-ups, opt-ins, and automation

Are opt-in pop-ups rude?

When you begin a conversation with someone, do you immediately interrupt the conversation to talk about yourself? No, I didn’t think so. Only someone totally clueless about person to person interactions would be so rude.

As you cruise the internet for work, research, shopping or in the pursuit of your hobby, no doubt you’ve encountered websites which interrupt your visit with opt-in pop-ups imploring you to subscribe to receive the latest posts or newsletters. This is analogous to interrupting someone with whom you have initiated a conversation, after inviting them to your home.

Slightly less annoying are opt-ins which are displayed as one scrolls down the page.
Opt-ins which seem even more desperate are the ones which are displayed as you exit, inviting you to join now, sign up now!

Current de facto advice to entrepreneurial website owners admonishes one to install opt-in, pop-up displaying software in order to grow your email list. I’m going out on a limb to tell you to stop this annoying behavior. Do really you think someone will want to opt-in after you’ve just annoyed them?

With current trends indicating the escalation of visits from mobile devices, Google is taking note of sites using content obscuring pop-ups. Pop-ups or opt-ins which cover content are frowned upon by Google. They lead to high (mobile) bounce rates. High bounce rates on mobile on sites using opt-ins blocking content are a signal to Google of an issue. Their use  may potentially result in lowered ranking for the site employing this strategy.

There are a variety of ways that conversations are interrupted in digital space all to get the valuable email address of the person visiting your site.  For every conversion or sign-up you get, how many people are turned off and leave your site?

Watch how fast they leave your site

If you want to know if your opt-ins are working, look at your website analytics to see how many people depart the page on which your opt-in is displayed. High bounce rates indicate that the content was not compelling, helpful, useful or that visitors were ticked off by the displayed opt-in.

How do you get more people to sign-up or give you their email address?

Everyone enjoys getting a gift. While it’s true “there is no free lunch”, it is also true we love getting something of value for a low cost. We can be persuaded to part with our email address if we feel we are going to receive something of value in return.

In digital marketing these tactics and deliverables are called lead magnets. Frequently, they are invitations displayed at the end of blog posts asking you to provide your email in order, for example, to receive sales improvement tips. After you’ve finished reading a great article, wouldn’t you be highly likely to respond positively to an offer to receive more of the same?

Another tactic is to offer an e-book or article with knowledge that is highly in demand in exchange for an email address. Business to business firms do this, offering latest insights relative to a particular industry in exchange for an email address.

Whitepapers and best practices / tips are another type of deliverable which may be used. When promoting a digital deliverable, use a landing page to both pitch the value of the content and to capture the lead / contact information. Rather than interrupt a visitor intent on particular information, landing pages are attached to digital ad campaigns or are provided as special graphic invitations, on your website navigation, footer or sidebar.

E-commerce sites may also offer an opt-in checkbox during registration to allow someone who is purchasing from you an opportunity to receive future updates or special offers. Lists built this way have great worth, because these folks are your customers. They want to receive news and offers.

Your RSS feed is another area where you can promote your special insights which are available for free, simply by providing an email address. Facebook and Twitter are additional channels where you can promote your valuable content bringing visitors to your deliverable landing / registration page.

You catch more flies with honey

With so many good ways to entice visitors to provide their email address, why would you scare them off by shoving a registration form in their face? Think about how you feel the next time a digital device holds the content you want hostage in exchange for your email address.

Critical Website Content Decisions to Produce High-Quality Search Ranking

You don’t have to be an expert to rank well

Every person who wants their business site to rank well with search engines has essential tasks to undertake in order to have their site be ranked well and to show up in search engines.

As the primary search engine, Google has said that they want to give searchers the answers and the help they seek within one click.

In order to do that, Google has developed algorithms that prefer fresh, well-written, focused content that has a clear purpose. In addition to this, Google prefers websites which are responsive to device type: meaning that your site responds and formats content sized to display best on the device the searcher is using. Content must be free of spelling and grammatical errors and needs to be linked to other on-site content and reference by hyperlink authoritative content external to your site. Google prioritizes content with substance. “Thin content” or content without substance is demoted in search results pages (SERPS).

In years past, people frequently thought that they were able to game Google and other engines. Those days are gone. So, abandon any expectation that you’ll stuff pages with repeated keywords, or phrases. Instead, author content which is focused on the reason that page exists on your site and is customer-centric. Keep your content fresh and up to date with revisions and updates.

Register for and use Google Analytics and link this with Google’s Search Console, which was previously called Webmaster Tools. The search console allows you to understand how Google “sees” your site, how people find your site, and which of your site’s content is indexed by Google. You can also see when Googlebot last crawled your site. It will identify search phrases and variants used to access and index content within your site. As you learn more about how your site is indexed, accessed and displayed in search, you’ll be prompted to continually improve your website and help increase its search presence.

Website content decisions before you develop your site:

  1. Understand and map out the challenges, needs, and manner in which you intend to provide services or solutions to your customers. Personas or typical customer bios are great to help keep you focused.
  2. Prior to any development, create a wireframe of your content’s organization and relationship within the site. A simple spreadsheet with top level content named in the first row and child or sub-page content identified in cells within columns below works well, or you may wish to create a more visually rich flow chart.
  3. Have a purpose and goal for every page within your website.
  4. Create anchor content for each page of your site. This content will be fundamental to that section of your site and will serve as an anchor or reference point.
  5. As you create this content, identify which phrases and words will become internal links, referencing other sections of your site.
  6. You will also need to determine visual elements to illustrate content. Powerful images help the visitor relate to your content and provide graphical elements visible in shares across social media.
  7. Decide how frequently you’ll be adding content to the site so that you continue to present a fresh, informed presence to both search engines and potential customers.
  8. While creating content, understand that readers will respond best to blocks of words which are tightly focused and easy to skim. These blocks of content on the page need to be separated by section heads which help identify the most important idea in the following section. Called sub-heads in magazines and newspapers, these are also critical to helping signal to Google the importance and flow of content on your site/page.
  9. If you’re using a CMS (content management system) as a site foundation, thoughtfully organize categories and tags (micro-categories) to be relevant to your customers’ needs as you’ve previously outlined them.
  10. Plan how you’ll be promoting your site’s content via social media and offline.

Post launch must-dos

Evaluate the success of content/performance by regularly reviewing Google Analytics to comprehend how visitors move through your site’s content and how long they remain on each section. These critical indicators will inform and help you improve each page’s rationale within the site.


If you find you need assistance with the development of content for your website, we can provide assistance from strategy to optimization to promotion. Call us at 843.628.6434 to discuss how we may assist and support your goals.

Methods and Tools to Promote Your Blog Posts

 

Writing posts is not all you need to do

So you write posts for your corporate or personal  blog. You’ve learned how to make your posts interesting and  you create content [photos, videos, infographics, podcasts, articles] regularly to provide information to your loyal clients and attract new ones. You may be doing this to enhance your SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and increase traffic for targeted customer needs, search phrases and keywords.

But blogging is not an “If you build it, they will come,” scenario. You have to do as the newsboys of the last century did and stand on the digital corner to promote your blog. If you don’t, you’re wasting valuable effort and time. You can dramatically increase traffic to your blog by using a few tools:

  • Social Media
  • Blog Feeds or Syndication
  • E-mail marketing

By planning carefully before each post and using the stats you gain after each post, these tools and tips become the keys to your pay-off in the end.

Planning Your Post

Before you send your post out into the cyber-sphere, it’s important to have a strategy for how, where, and when the message will go. Depending on the subject of the content and who you want to target, it could be sent to all sorts of sites and platforms.

Audience Research & Your Influencers

While it’s not always possible to conduct an in-depth investigation into the types of audiences you want to reach, you can make inferences and study data you have available to you. Many analytics dashboards, like Hootsuite, require payment for their services, which is what hinders people from using them. Using Tweetdeck doesn’t necessarily give every detail you may need, but it’s a good start to figuring out who your top influencers are. Those are the ones that will pay the most attention to what you post and interact with the content, making others more likely to see it as well.

Building the Anticipation

Releasing a post blindly doesn’t go nearly as well as talking it up beforehand to the people who will look forward to it the most. Find out who pays you the most attention, and let them know you’re putting something great out there soon so they can be on the lookout. Update them if a date changes or if the content will be on multiple sites. As long as you’ve done your research, this will prepare your own personal VIPs for what you’re about to pitch their way.

Now, let’s take a look at some of these tools you can use to promote as well as track the progress of your posts to get the most out of them:

Social Media:

Facebook Pages

You can easily link your blog content to your Facebook Business Page with the application Networked Blogs or at a minimum you can manually post links to your blog’s latest articles.

Twitter

Using Twitter you can write interesting leads and connect them with shortened URLs that provide trackable stats to measure your results using Tweetdeck. You can schedule your tweets to show up in your stream so you know they go out when your readers are most often viewing your content.

Linkedin

Use Linkedin as a conversation outlet to promote posts especially if your goals include increasing business to business awareness and leads. If you’re a regular participant in industry specific Linkedin groups, you may find this to be one of your most engaged audiences.

Pinterest

Every bit of content you create must have a visual component which help illustrate your concept or content. Distributing and promoting your posts to your Pinterest account either on your shared boards or your own boards will help increase awareness of your content among a widely female audience.

Goo.gl

Goo.gl is a link shortening service from Google. The service gives you a wide array of statistics related to the consumption of your content. Shortened URLs also use fewer characters to announce the release of content. The benefit of Goo.gl is that you get dynamic statistics regarding your content’s visitors. To use, you input your long link and create a shortened, trackable URL for blog content which you use in place of the long URL. From there, using the shortened URL, you schedule it on Facebook or Twitter.

Remember when you create your scheduled share, you must write a very compelling headline to get the stats to climb.

After posting you may review statistics for each URL/article to analyze best days of the week and geo locations where your interactions most frequently occur. Always review your stats to understand identify which audiences are more in tune with what you’re putting out there.

Blog Feeds and Syndication:

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

Almost every blog has a built in RSS feed, which uses multiple standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information, like blog posts. If yours doesn’t, you might consider looking into making that change (instructions can be found online for all types of browsers). This allows readers who like your content to subscribe in their choice of reader, pulling your content to them no matter how you post it. One of the most popular readers is Feedly.

Feed distribution

Feedburner, a feed distribution service owned by Google, provides great stats and shows how your feed has been used and how many clicks back to your site your post inspired.

Another popular feed distributor is Feedblitz, which offers more opportunities to manage and share feeds and track statistics.

E-mail:

Signature

How many emails do you send a day? While there are plenty new ways to cyber-communicate, email is still a primary tool, especially among businesses. Provide a link to your blog in your email signature so it’s being made available to just about everyone that may get interested in following it frequently.

By using these tools you can dramatically increase your blog’s readership as well as track what’s working for its visibility, what isn’t, and who’s watching. After all, you aren’t just writing for yourself or the business. You’re cultivating a blog you want to see take off and give results for all your hard work.

Read www.buzzstream.com/blog/content-promotion-campaign-plan.html for more on planning and tracking the progress of your blog’s content.

Photo credit: flickr creative commons user mwlguide