Traffic doesn’t mean engagement, whether on your main web site or social pages. Here are some simple campaigns you can plan to increase engagement in the coming year:
Use a Giveaway to Gain Engagement From Social Channels
Create a giveaway on your web site, with a deadline, and something valuable and relevant. Then promote it across all your social channels. Require some action to obtain an entry, such as signing up for a 30min call, and reward people who share the giveaway with more entries.
Add a Free Offer to Replace Your Generic Contact Form
Still using a boring “contact me” form? Make it worth their while. Provide something of small but reasonable value in exchange for opting in to your e-mail list. After all, they’re providing value to your marketing efforts. If you haven’t created a downloadable item, like an e-book or video course series, now’s the time. But think outside the box and don’t go cloning your neighbor – it just causes inflation of value, and reduces the perceived value of your offer.
Add Additional Media To Reach Those Who Don’t Want to Read
If you’re not blogging, you’ve missed the first rule of search – it’s based on text. So start there. That’s campaign one. If you are, meaning you’re doing it consistently and frequently, and getting better as you go, it’s time to add audio or video or another media type. You can easily start a podcast on a platform like libsyn or Spreaker, or use Youtube for free video hosting and start a video series – anything from one minute insights to 2 minute tutorials. Make your site and social presence multi-media friendly.
Teach Something Valuable That Isn’t About You
You’re in business, and as much as the web is a shopping mall, it remains also a powerhouse of entertainment and learning. Cross over, and find something in your area of expertise you can teach that people are willing to learn for themselves. Very few professions have zero crossover with client responsibility for preparation and maintenance. There’s a part that customers take on and you can teach. If you can make Powerpoints, then Slideshare is a superb venue, and lets you embed your presentations in your site and share them across social media. We already mentioned video and audio, or perhaps start a new HOW TO blogging campaign alongside your current blogging.
Productize a Portion of Your Service Business or Vice Versa
If you have to pay fees for 3rd party information to serve your clients, why not turn it around as a paid report available to them for a small fee? Now you have a product to sell and, while the goal isn’t necessarily a supplemental income, it’s like a free offer – only paid, in that you get their contact info in exchange. That lets you follow up and offer more products or services. Even if you can’t legally resell the ‘product’ for compliance reasons, you can write up a description that *leads* with the deliverable first, and the core service second, and offer it alongside your current marketing. That’s a way of targeting some of the people who aren’t buying the standard pitch. If you already sell products, up your game with a service that would make your product line more valuable. It’s only a matter of time before someone in your field figures out how to add value and offers it alongside or bundles it in. You should be the first with the most.
Guest Posting is Still a Thing
This past year, Google’s Matt Cutts warned against spammy guest posting – posting articles to other people’s sites just to garner backlinks to your own. Yep, it doesn’t work, and it’ll likely get you penalized. Instead, write rich, valuable content – material that you almost wish you were posting on your *own* site, and make darned sure it’s not just a rewrite of something that *is* on your own site or elsewhere on the web (that’s how smart Google is – it’ll catch you if it’s not even 70% dissimilar). Be real, and don’t be one of those people who whines because search engines are now monstrously good at dinging the cheaters. You know your own intent, so rate yourself on an honesty scale before you even start. By all means, though, write stellar content and get it out there on high value, non-spammy sites that have lots of readers. In exchange, you get a link at the bottom with a bio explaining who you are and what you do. That’s it, but it’s a good way to get a different *kind* of visitor – the kind that came to your site looking for *more* of something.
Launch a Non-Generic Ad with a Non-Generic Landing Page
Create a landing page for just *one* service, one product, or one aspect of what you do. Target a single audience with a single need. Make this page as precise as possible. No menu on top taking them to other pages. No catch-all content in case they want something else. This page should be do or die. Now create an ad in Adwords, Bing Ads, or a social media venue that’s just as targeted. Don’t list what you do in general; target a single need, for a specific audience, with a single solution. Link said ad to said page. That’s a targeted ad campaign. Target specific search terms related to the campaign, research what those clicks are going for, and set your bids accordingly, then fund your campaign appropriately. The first few months will be a learning experience; you don’t learn anything without paying to play. It’s market research. Update one thing about your ad or landing page each month to try to get closest to the optimal combination of headlines, bullet points, videos, calls to action, etc. You can use a testing platform like Unbounce for maximum value. Why does this help engagement? If you’re successful, people know *exactly* why they’re clicking, and you’ve reduced the number of things you can change to increase conversion rates to something more manageable than just your generic home page.
Write Better Copy
Copy is the *first* place you should look to increase your engagement. Sure, all things being equal, video and images make it go up too but, if you’re putting out bland copy, your videos are going to be just as ineffective as the rest of your page. Most of the time, the key to better copy isn’t just some tweaks to your language, but a complete recontextualizing of the user experience and how you present your core value in the context of their need. If you’re rigid in your sense of your own business, and sure you already know how to communicate with your audience, but your site isn’t doing it for you, the chances are high that you’ve got a blind spot. You’re too close to it to see how the conversation needs to go. You can get a professional copywriting company or attempt it yourself, but do beware of just parceling it out to someone you know who got an A in writing or has a background in marketing. This is almost a black art. You can do it if you’re really in tune enough with persuading an audience to take action, again and again, in diverse circumstances. If not, get help.
Overhaul the Layout of Your Home Page
If your home page is already a web 2.0 style (full width horizontal bands to which you can just add content for the visitor as they scroll) then you’ve already got the most flexible layout there is. Now it’s about the content itself, not the site design, so don’t do a kneejerk throw money at it solution of building a new site, getting a new domain name, doing some voodoo nonsense SEO, when the clear need is staring you in the face – it’s not the frame, it’s what’s *in* it. If you have one of those boxy, narrow, web 1.0 style sites, that looks like an old corporate-feeling web document, your layout probably needs refreshed. You may not even need a new site. If you’re on an open platform like WordPress, you can usually keep your back page content and design a front end right over the top of it. It’s not that design itself converts people, it’s that you need a flexible way to present the flow of inspiration and information, in much the same way humans feel and think. Modern design does that.
Get Off Your Web Site!
You can spend all your time staring at, clicking on, agonizing over your home page, worrying about why it’s not working, and it’s the wrong place to put your attention. You want people to see you as the experts in something, the better choice among competitors, the people who offer the best value… but you’ve got the cart before the horse. If they don’t already know that about you, why would they come to your web site in the first place? Get off your web site and write a book and start hosting free discussions and answering questions in Quora in your field of expertise (prove to the world you’re an expert, not just a sales person masquerading as one), do a podcast and get it on itunes and promote the Hell out of it in social media (and be committed to it – no flash in the pan), do a video series in Youtube and keep it going until there are so many episodes you’re virtually running your own show. Three things will happen: 1. you’ll learn more than you will doing almost any other marketing exercise involving your web site, 2. you’ll gain subscribers, followers, and web traffic – no question about it, and 3. you’ll create an atmosphere around *your* business that makes it hard to compete. The more cheesy sales tactics your competitors try against it, the more you’ll shine.
There are lots of other ways to increase engagement with your presence on the web – your web site, your social presence, wherever you want to target. All of them require energy, commitment, and vision. If you’ve got two out of three of those, you’ve got a start. Make this the year you put your most valuable marketing asset to work in your favor – you.
For more precisely customizing marketing campaigns and creating an overall marketing plan, contact MadPipe, and stop wondering what to do next.