The 3 Secrets to Marketing a Successful Blog or Business
(and the EPIC insights on how to do it)
You’re thinking of starting a blog, a brand or a business.
I bet you want to know the secret on how to attain incoming traffic, leads and people contacting you wanting to work with you. Perhaps you even want to know the super secret way to brand yourself and your biz.
The secret isn’t spending loads of money on building your business, building the most beautiful website you’ve ever seen or even having the best and the brightest idea.
I’ll get to the 3 secrets in a moment.
Obviously, there’s a ton of expertise and development that goes into running and marketing a business or blog. I’m not going to cover everything in this article. However, I am going to explain the biggest pieces I’ve learned that make life much easier and I wish I learned much earlier (hence I am imparting the wisdom with y’all).
First, I have a story for you.
I was sitting in front of a bodega in Brooklyn recently enjoying the sun and eating a delicious salad. Across the street was a lemonade stand (not the kind with an adorable child running the display, but as a marketing tactic for a realty company). I was sitting outside for about twenty minutes.
Every 5 minutes or so, one person would walk by on the same side of the street as the stand. However, every moment there were 50 or so people walking by me on my side of the street. In the time I was eating my salad, at least 200 if not closer to 400 people walked by.
Every minute or so the woman behind the stand would shout “fresh lemonade, one dollar!” as she would pace back and forth behind the stand and gaze across the street. I couldn’t understand why she was shouting “fresh lemonade” from across the street when it was plain as day to me that she would achieve her desired results by moving the stand to the opposite side of the street.
“It would be easy,” I thought.
It was a simple display with a collapsible table, a couple pitchers of juice and stacks of neon colored solo cups. I thought that if they were looking to sell $1 lemonade or bring people into check out their realty location that they should take the 90 seconds and 70 foot trek across the street. That sounded like a “no-brainer” to me.
But then I thought about it. This experience was in my life for a reason, I had attracted it. I then thought to myself, well it completely makes sense from this side of the street that you’d want your business or the like to be with the foot-traffic. And then I thought, how does this relate to marketing?
Ping! My answer was loud and clear.
How does this apply to your business?
Go where the traffic is.
Think about it this way:
You’re a new business or blog, or maybe you’ve been running for a year or so. You’re looking for people to acknowledge you, come into your shop (online or offline) and take interest in what you have to offer.
There are many ways to market yourself to do this.
You could totally market your business where there is no existing traffic and continue to make enough noise to get the passer-bys. You hope that the shouting will bring people “across the street” or past whatever obstacle it is to find your business.
Why not just park your business in the way of the traffic? What if you knew that there were thousands of people on a certain street, wouldn’t you place your business there?
Online, the traffic is to websites and blogs. Some obviously, are more trafficked than others. Some websites get 10 hits a month while others receive over 4 million unique hits every month.
Much like the lemonade stand scenario, I recommend doing as little work as possible to get the results you desire. This leads into our first secret.
Move your theoretical lemonade stand across the street, where there’s loads of foot traffic.
Secret #1: Find Strategic Partners & Guest Blog
Why do everything alone and pave a new trail with every endeavor when you can partner up and work towards your goal even faster? Sometimes in business, we try to do everything ourselves. We think, “If I do more work, or work harder and pave the path myself I’ll get more cred.” The reality is, that’s a rough road, and you may not get the “cred.”
There are lots of scenarios online where blogs need content and you have a specific expertise that you could share. Both audiences and businesses benefit. You’ll get the exposure you’re seeking, and you don’t have to work as hard to be seen.
In fact, it’s easy to be seen!
People will read your articles and get to know you, what you stand for and what you do. That translates into an audience, followers, leads and ultimately sales down the road.
Here are my tips on how to execute this little plan.
How to Guest Blog:
- Know what you have to offer for expertise. Many of the budding entrepreneurs I meet don’t know what to write about.
Here’s what I say: What do you know and could do with your eyes closed, that other people would LOVE to know?
That’s your content.
You know all the great restaurants in LA? Great, write about it. You know how to personally master a 36 track music big band audio recording? Great, write about it. You know all about the most popular up-and-coming indie bands? Great, write about it.
Your experiences are valuable, and other people will want to learn from your perspective.
- Write some killer content and well-written articles on your own website or blog as a portfolio. Pour your heart and soul into your work. Be proud of it, it’s an expression of you. Make sure it’s the best work you can do.
Don’t have a website yet? That’s fine. Start on Medium.
- Make a list of your favorite blogs to read, or well-known blogs in your area of expertise. If you don’t know, do a Google search for *industry name/topic* and *blog*.
Search the first 10 pages of content and find the contact information for every blog or content website you find that’s related to your strengths.
- Send an email to at least 100 blogs and business content websites telling them you’d like to guest blog in exchange for exposure to you as a writer and your business or blog.
Some will give you opportunities, some won’t. This is a numbers game so get on out there.
- Make AWESOME CONTENT! Seriously, make the kind of content that you’d like to read or watch, even for other blogs.
Create step-by-step instructional material so people can learn from you. And really find a way to make it as easy as possible to understand with stories and metaphors.
- Allow people to find you. Remember to link back to your website in the article, or to other relevant articles you’ve written on your domain. You will get traffic from guest posting.
Make sure your bio includes your social links and website or blog so you are easy to find. Some people will naturally appreciate your content and actually make the small effort to find you.
Make it easy.
Okay, now that we’ve covered partnering up, let’s move on to the next secret.
Secret #2: Make an Offer, and Capture Traffic
You just started your business. One of the BEST things you can do to make your marketing flow for you down the line is to set up an email marketing account.
As you write blog posts on other blogs you will naturally get a portion of that traffic onto your blog. The goal is to capture the traffic you will be generating. Once you capture the emails you will have an opportunity to nurture relationships with your followers and your audience through email marketing.
A simple, easy email marketing strategy when you’re first starting out is to send out a weekly or monthly newsletter with a short story from your life relating to your latest blog article.
To illustrate the effectiveness of having an email opt-in offer, take a look at the Death to the Stock Photo landing page. This is their new site, but they used a super basic landing page as their website for the first 7 months of business.
In that amount of time, they racked up email subscribers and fans. Only a couple short years later, they have a list of well over 200,000 subscribers and loyal fans.
The system works.
I recommend you start it as soon as you can. Begin your business or blog by allowing people to opt-in to your content.
The second part to this equation is to make sure that you have an offer worth opt-ing in for.
Create a stellar free offer that will interest and delight your audience.
Ideas for free offers you can create:
- Ebook divulging secrets in your industry, resources, tutorials and the like.
You can easily create an ebook in Canva without paying a designer loads of cash. Don’t let anything stop you from getting your offer out there, including finding designers and the like, if you don’t know them.
It’s better to ship then wait for the perfect scenario or to create the perfect product.
- Audio recording of a podcast, interview, or a step-by-step tutorial
Audacity or Garage Band (for the Mac) are easy to record audio of yourself.
- Video of a step-by-step tutorial, motivational content, interview, or instructional.
Not a video wiz? Prop your smart phone or point-and-shoot camera on a dresser or desk and record yourself running through your content, and instructional material.
Looking to do a tutorial for something online or on the computer? Download Screen-cast-o-matic. Hit record and walk through your content. Export out to Youtube (as an unlisted video) and voila! Done.
- Discovery session with you on Skype (though I more recommend the above as they are a self-sustaining system, and give people a taste of what you’re all about).
Make it easy for people to sign up for a pre-selected time slot in your schedule for the week.
Sign up to Calendly and add your weekly schedule. Send out the link, or have it available on your landing page and you’re set up to have people schedule appointments with you.
What’s even better is if you only have one style of appointment (like a 30-minute discovery call) the app is free.
To top it all off, you don’t even need a fully functioning, beautiful website to get started. My advice is to create your offer and start building your list, even if your website is in progress. Send your traffic to the landing page and offer.
I’m a fan of Leadpages. You can set up a landing page in minutes that’s already tested to convert. They even allow you to upload your offer and send an automatic email when someone signs up to your list to deliver the content (ebook, audio or video file). And you won’t have to mess with ftp clients or uploading offers to your website.
If you’re looking for a free version, KickoffLabs has a free account for up to one campaign and 1,000 unique views every month.
You could also upload your “offer content” to Dropbox (business) and share the link with your subscribers to download.
And if you do have your s*%$ together and you’re running a WordPress.org website, you can always grab an Optimize Press license. They have an incredibly easy, drag-and-drop landing page creator.
Needless to say… you’ve got options. Just figure out what works for you.
Secret #3: Create a Product to Sell Passively
Most successful bloggers and online business aficionados have some sort of online course or product available for download (usually at a relatively inexpensive rate).
You put all the work in up front to build an incredible powerhouse product, and then it turns into a passive revenue stream down the line.
If you don’t know what to make for a product, you can start by selling a great product someone else has made where you get revenue (affiliates).
It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Inevitably, people will ask you how they can work with you or send you money. Yes, it happens — and it’s magical. Yes, you could offer consulting, or whatever service you have available. I think no matter what, that you should have a course or instructional material available for purchase.
Imagine, people are following your blog posts. They love your content and seek you out on your personal site. They sign up to your email list and you give them sweet free s%@*. They love you, and they want a way to give back because you’ve helped them succeed in whatever business or endeavor they set out to conquer.
This is natural, and it happens often. You get what you put out there. If you take care of people, they’ll in turn, take care of you. Make it easy for them to buy from you. And for sure, make sure you have an amazing product.
Take the time to build a great product out of love that will change someone’s life.
How to Create a Product (the short and sweet version):
- Listen to what people ask you for. Think about what people already ask you for help on. This means that you have an expertise in something (whether you realize it or not) and other people know it, and need it.
When I was running a marketing agency, people would ask me to help them create websites all the time. This is a key indicator that I should create a do-it-yourself website course. Stay tuned, it’s coming in the near-ish future. Jump on the list here if you want to be in the know.
- Create a step-by-step outline on what you would do if you were doing this thing (building a website or what have you) from scratch.
This is your opportunity to teach people what you do, so break it down in the simplest terms. Ditch the industry jargon, and tell stories to get the message across.
If you are not sure how to teach — just run through everything you would do from start to finish and record the entire process. You can write everything down as you go, or literally record yourself, an audio of you speaking or record your computer screen as you complete the task.
Then you can break it down.
- Have someone look through and edit. Your best bet is to have several people (with little or no experience in what you’re teaching) run through your course material and program and tell you where there are pitfalls or it’s hard to understand.
I had many people review our Branding Blueprint ecourse and Snapchat Mastery before we launched. It showcased to me the concepts that were not fleshed out enough, or that were difficult to understand.
This allowed me the opportunity to go back through and add more stories, examples, and personal material so anyone could understand the content and build their perfect brand.
- Create your finished course material. A course or product can be a set of pdf ebooks, audio recordings, videos or any combination of those three elements. Re-read secret #2 to get all the software and materials. Creating a course is very similar to creating your free offer. You can use all the same software and apps.
- Sell your product. After you create this stellar product, get it out there online with a payment method. The days of applying for merchant accounts are way over. Getting paid is easy as ever.
I use Gumroad for our products or Thinkific. I like the user interface and everything is pretty simple. Gumroad also integrates a delivery system. You upload the files, and when someone buys it sends all the goods to them. You don’t have to do a thing. It also integrates with your website as a pop-up payment method. Gumroad is better for ebooks, and Thinkific for online video courses.
You could also sell your products on your Squarespace website (with Stripe integration), or use Stripe or Paypal on your WordPress site. There’s also Square. Just remember that you’ll have to figure out a delivery system for when someone buys.
Well, that’s a wrap. Now get on out there and guest blog, collect emails and make a shhhweeet product!
Like this article? Let me know in the comments!
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