March, 2021

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What is Out-of-Home Advertising?

In our digital world, it might feel like all marketing is done online. But, that would mean ignoring an incredibly effective strategy—out-of-home advertising.

Out-of-home advertising (OOH) refers to the process of reaching consumers while they are, you guessed it, out of their homes.

While this may conjure images of NYC Times Square billboards, there are many mediums that qualify as out-of-home advertising.

The best news is, these methods are highly effective.

In fact, according to the Out-of-Home Advertising Association of America, 66 percent of smartphone users took action after interacting with an out-of-home advertisement.

Additionally, 74 percent of those who visited a business after interacting with an out-of-home advertisement made a purchase.

Those are some pretty compelling statistics that should make you think twice about adding out-of-home advertising to your campaign’s strategy playbook.

Not sold? Check out the below infographic that identifies which advertising mediums consumers trust the most. See number five? Out-of-home advertising comes in way ahead of search ads or sponsored posts.

out of home advertising as fifth most trusted mode

In short, if you’re not considering out-of-home advertising, you’re missing out on valuable leads.

Types of Out-of-Home Advertising

While we already mentioned the NYC Times Square billboard, there are less ubiquitous mediums for out-of-home advertising. These include:

  • local billboards
  • complimentary merchandise (t-shirts, cups at sporting events)
  • transit placement (bus stops, benches, kiosks)
  • point-of-sale displays (backs of taxi cabs, diner tables, flyers at the grocery store)
  • blimps

While it is unlikely your organization will opt to sponsor a blimp, there are many options for marketers looking to establish new sources for attracting new consumers.

6 Tips for a Successful Out-of-Home Advertising Campaign

Much like any advertising or marketing campaign, your execution is only as good as your plan. There are six must-have steps to help you get your out-of-home advertising campaign off the ground.

1. Research Your Location

Regardless of your out-of-home advertising campaign’s goals, you need to do some research on the location.

This information will not only inform the size and limitations of your ad but will also help you decide which locations are worth your budget and which are not.

Imagine you’re a local restaurant in a pedestrian-heavy area. Advertising your drink specials with a clever slogan on a chalkboard is going to be much more beneficial than a billboard with the same message.

Conversely, if you’re a car dealership offering end-of-the-year deals, a billboard is going to be a much better strategy than a sign outside of your building.

When it comes to location, you need to ask four specific questions:

  • Is this visible?
  • Who travels through this area?
  • What do those passing by want or need?
  • How can my product(s) solve this need?

After you’ve answered these three questions, you can start building your out-of-home marketing strategy around these answers.

2. Go Digital

Just because you’re advertising out-of-home doesn’t mean you have to go technology-free. Digital billboards are a great alternative to conventional billboards. In fact, here are three reasons you should consider opting for a digital billboard.

  • Save money: Digital billboards have fewer associated costs than traditional billboards for installation and removal. Additionally, if research shows people will be more receptive to your product during a particular time of day, you can opt only to display your billboard during that time slot.
  • Increased visibility: Digital billboards are always illuminated, whereas conventional billboards may not be. By going the digital route, you ensure travelers can see your billboard, regardless of the time of day.
  • Changeability: With digital billboards, you can change your content whenever, wherever. With traditional billboards, construction and deconstruction are time-consuming and costly, limiting your ability to swap out language, imagery, or messaging.

Here are three cool digital billboards.

The Economist created a clever digital board that turns a lightbulb on over the head of a walker, connoting the idea of wisdom shared through the publication.

Tips for Successful Out of Home Advertising Campaign - The Economist

Beloved US baseball team The LA Dodgers created enthusiasm for their upcoming games by using a countdown on their digital billboards that ticks down to the second.

Tips for Successful Out of Home Advertising Campaign - Dodgers billboard

Oreo took advantage of a current event by using the hashtag #oreoeclipse.

Tips for Successful Out of Home Advertising Campaign - Oreoeclipse

Whether your billboard is responding to current events or simply underlining your product’s main value proposition, getting creative is a surefire way to find out-of-home advertising success.

3. Use Eye-Catching Displays

While the out-of-home advertising market is nowhere near as saturated as that of the digital advertising market, you can use the same principles to ensure your advertisement stands out from the crowd.

Below, we discuss five strategies that can make your billboard outperform its neighbors.

  • Use bright colors: To get attention from drivers, you need to use all of the tools in your arsenal. Using bright colors that elicit a reaction is a great way to score billboard views.
  • Countdowns: Counting down to a product launch or an event, or the end of a sale is a great way to drive viewers to take action. Consider using this strategy on your billboard, driving would-be consumers to take action.
  • Simplicity: Don’t try to incorporate multiple images or messages into your billboard. You want to be succinct while being direct.
  • Designs with high contrast: At large distances, being subtle does not pay off. Take this opportunity to use contrasting colors to make your ad as visible even from far away.
  • Be short and sweet: You have a limited amount of time to make an impression, so be sure your message is short and to the point.

4. Make It Shareable

The true litmus test of a successful marketing campaign is action. If your out-of-home advertisement drives people to talk about or share your advertisement, then you can consider the ad a success.

To garner maximum audience interaction, brainstorm ad ideas that encourage a response.

Looking for inspiration? Check out these out-of-home advertising ideas that had people talking.

CVS made a big splash with their #BeautyUnaltered campaign.

The digital billboards encouraged viewers to upload their unfiltered selfies as a tie-in with the companies’ dedication to using unedited photos of models.

Tips for Successful Out of Home Advertising Campaign - Digital billboard CVS

In the Ad Council’s Out There for Us campaign, the organization featured out-of-home ads that thanked front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic through real quotes.

The ad asked viewers to Tweet their thanks using the hashtag #OutThereForUs, encouraging interaction and then further sharing those quotes.

Tips for Successful Out of Home Advertising Campaign - Ad Council billboard

5. Research the Competition

Before wedding yourself to a location, see if your competitors are using similar strategies in similar locations. What works in their ads? What are they missing?

Use these answers to capitalize on what they missed.

Keep in mind that placing an out-of-home advertisement close to your competitors’ sharing lower prices or better quality could work for you, but it could also have unintended consequences. (Like a price war.)

6. Set Quantifiable Goals

As you wade into the world of out-of-home advertising, be sure to follow the basic tenets of any marketing campaign.

Regardless of digital or conventional, your campaign must have clear, quantifiable marketing goals to assess success.

Do you want to:

  • Increase brand awareness?
  • Deliver on a call to action?
  • Share knowledge with your viewers?
  • Market a new product line?
  • Reach a new demographic?

To confidently determine if your campaign is reaching its aim, be sure to establish SMART goals. This acronym refers to concrete goals, achievable over time. These goals should be:

  • specific
  • measurable
  • attainable
  • relevant
  • time-bound

By fitting your goals within these constraints, you establish aims that are quantifiable, rather than nebulous.

3 Examples of Great Out-of-Home Advertising

Great out-of-home advertising doesn’t happen overnight. It takes strategy, research, and a true understanding of your audience. Below, we share our three favorite out-of-home advertising campaigns of all time and break down what made them so successful.

Pepsi

Pepsi wanted to make a splash at the 2019 Super Bowl. However, Super Bowl LIII wasn’t held just anywhere—it was held in Atlanta, Coca-Cola’s home turf.

By going all-in on an out-of-home advertising campaign, Pepsi was able to grow three percent in Q1 of 2019, not to mention scoring tons of social media reactions and interactions with their hashtag #ColaTruce.

Examples of Great Out-of-Home Advertising - Pepsi bus kiosk
Examples of Great Out of Home Advertising - Pepsi bus

While your budget may not be quite as large as Pepsi’s (the beverage brand’s budget was $1.7 million), you can still draw inspiration from this campaign that made out-of-home advertising work in their favor.

Dallas Cowboys & AT&T

2019 was a good year for out-of-home advertising.

In September, The Dallas Cowboys took out-of-home marketing to the field, launching interactive “Pose with the Pros” kiosks at their stadium.

Through this interactive campaign, fans could snap pictures with virtual likenesses of the players.

After taking the photo, users could choose to share the image on social media or email it to themselves or others.

While on the surface, this campaign was simply a treat for Dallas Cowboys fans, it also had another motive.

Fueled by AT&T, the out-of-home advertising campaign allowed the company to demonstrate their 5G technology prowess.

The result AT&T CMO claimed: “We were able to create experiences that let people know how fundamentally different 5G is from LTE.” Not to mention some pretty happy Cowboys fans.

Examples of Great Out of Home Advertising - dallas cowboys pose with the pros

Reebok

When you think of running, you don’t necessarily conjure the Reebok logo.

But all that changed when Reebok ran an out-of-home advertising campaign in Sweden that challenged passersby to run at a speed of 10.5 mph in exchange for a free pair of the brand’s ZPump 2.0 shoes.

Examples of Great Out of Home Advertising - Reebok sneaker kiosk

The campaign took off, earning 300,000+ views on YouTube and 30,000+ shares on social media. Invariably, next time anyone who interacted with that billboard thinks of running, they’ll think of Reebok.

Conclusion

Whether you want to add to your existing digital marketing strategy or go fully OOH, there are many mediums you can use for innovative advertising.

From billboards to park benches, the out-of-home advertising opportunities are endless.

However, OOH advertising should be viewed as a long-term campaign—it’s unlikely that you’ll see the same immediate success experienced with your digital campaigns.

But don’t get disheartened. The return on investment for your OOH campaigns is definitely worth the wait.

What’s the best OOH advertisement you’ve ever seen? 

How to Get a Business Loan with Bad Credit

Can you get a business loan with bad credit? If you already own a business, it’s a little easier. For starting a business, it’s a little more difficult.  You don’t have all the options you may have if your business is already established. For example, you do not have receivables to finance or credit card purchases to use to get a merchant cash advance.  That does not mean there are no options however. 

Can You Get A Business Loan with Bad Credit to Start a Business? 

There are options for starting a business, even if you have no money and less than stellar credit. Some of the options are loan options, and some of them are something different all together. You can get a business loan with bad credit, but it will not come without a cost. 

Collateral

Most of the options for a business loan with bad credit are going to require collateral. Here are some of those options. 

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

SBA Loans

There are many SBA loan programs.  For starting a business, the 7(a) program seems to be the most useful.  As the Small Business Administration’s flagship loan program, it offers federally funded term loans up to $5 million. You can use the funds for a number of things, including  expansion, purchasing equipment, working capital, and even starting a business.  Banks, credit unions, and other specialized institutions in partnership with the SBA process these loans and disburse the funds.

The minimum credit score to qualify is 620, and there is also a required down payment of at least 10% for the purchase of a business, commercial real estate, or equipment. The minimum time in business is 2 years. In the case of startups, business experience equivalent to two years will suffice. Here’s the kicker. You have to have collateral worth up to 50% of the loan to get approval with the minimum credit score.

The 7(a) is by far the most popular of the SBA loan programs, and the funds are available for a broad range of projects, from working capital to refinancing debt, and even buying a new business or real estate.

401K Loan

If you have a 401K, you can take a loan from it to fund a business.  You will be paying it back with interest, but the interest is being paid to yourself.  Yet, there is an even better option than this for 401K financing to start a business. 

The IRS calls it a Rollover for Business Startup (ROBS).  Why is it better than a 401K loan?  First of all, not all plans allow for loans.  If your plan does, the IRS will only let you borrow up to 50%, up to $50,000, before you have to start paying taxes.

Also, with a 401k loan, you would be paying interest.  That isn’t terrible, as you are paying interest to yourself. However, you will be making monthly payments, whereas with the 401K Rollover for Working Capital, there is no payment.

This is a unique program. It allows you to tap into your existing retirement account without penalties or taxable distributions. You also avoid loans, banks, or credit checks. There is no debt and no monthly payment. 

The lender will ask for a copy of your two most recent 401(k) statements. If the plan has a value of more than $35,000,  you can get approval. This is true even if you have really bad personal credit. You can get however much of your 401(k) is “rollable.” 

The plan you use cannot be from a business where you currently work. It will have to be from previous employment. Also, you can’t still be contributing to it. 

This type of funding can also help you build business credit

Guarantor

If you do not have collateral and you have bad credit, you are probably going to need a guarantor.  You can use a guarantor to get most types of loans.  One great option is the Credit Line Hybrid. 

A partner, friend, or family member with good credit can work as a guarantor.

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Credit Line Hybrid 

This is unsecured business funding.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.  

If you don’t have a guarantor, you have to have a minimum credit score of 680.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Furthermore, in the past 6 months you should have fewer than 5 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit. 

Typically, approval is up to 5x that of the highest credit limit on the personal credit report. Often, you can get interest rates as low as 0% for the first few months, allowing you to put that savings back into your business. 

The best part however, is that these accounts help build business credit as well. 

You can use the cash you get from the Credit Line Hybrid to fund a down payment on an SBA loan if needed. 

What If You Do Not Have Collateral or a Guarantor? 

What if you cannot get a business loan with bad credit? Maybe you don’t have collateral or a guarantor? There are a few other possibilities.  You can work with a crowdfunding crowdfunding company. The problem with crowdfunding is that, despite some companies finding success, success is the exception rather than the rule. 

Angel investors are an option as well.  These informal investors are often family or friends, but not always.  

Another option is alternative lenders.  These are non-bank lenders that will sometimes offer loans to businesses with lower minimum credit scores.  They do look at other factors, like time in business and income.  In fact, most of the time you have to be in business for at least 6 months. 

That makes it hard, though not impossible, to get funding from alternative lenders to start a business.

Learn more here and get started with building business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

You Need a Plan, and Business Credit

Ok so, you need to figure out how to get the funding to start.  Explore all your options, including  finding a guarantor, collateral, or tapping into your 401K.  Often the best idea is to combine two or more funding sources to get things rolling.  Still, however you start, begin building your business credit profile from the start. 

Your business credit profile is similar to your personal credit profile, except that is solely for your business.  It includes your business credit score, which is a way that lenders can determine how likely your business is to repay its debt, apart from you the owner. 

The thing about a business credit score is, you have to be intentional about establishing and building it. The first step is setting your business up properly to be fundable from the start.  Then, you can work on getting accounts that will report to your business credit profile and help you build your score. 

Once you have a strong business credit score, it will be much easier to get a business loan with bad credit, because your personal credit will not be the only thing lenders consider.  Don’t ignore it, because it can still affect things.  However, it will no longer be the sole ruler of your financial future. Find out more today at CreditSuite.com.

The post How to Get a Business Loan with Bad Credit appeared first on Credit Suite.

SEO Copywriting: How to Write Content For People and Optimize For Google

One of the biggest challenges that bloggers and content marketers face is writing content that’s optimized for search engines, yet will also appeal to people.

If you want to build your blog audience, you’re going to have to get smarter with your content. The principal way to accomplish this is SEO copywriting.

Though SEO may sound complicated, it’s easier than you think; especially if you understand that writing for people, and not search engines, is a best practice.

To thrive, your online business must go beyond simply “writing content.” Your content needs to accomplish two goals:

  1. solve a particular problem
  2. appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.),

How do you create content that meets those goals? How do you create content that ranks well with Google and also persuades people? That’s what SEO copywriting is all about. Don’t worry if you can’t afford an expensive SEO copywriter. You can do it on your own following simple rules.

What Is SEO?

We all know what happens when you type a search query into a search engine and hit “enter”: You get a list of search results that are relevant to your search term.

Those results pages appear as a result of search engine optimization (SEO).

In a nutshell, SEO is a method of optimizing the effectiveness of your content for the search engines, in order to help it rank higher than content from other sites that target the same search terms.

SEO proces - SEO copywriting

Step by step, then, SEO is when:

  1. You research keywords …
  2. Then select a particular keyword and …
  3. Use that keyword to write content …
  4. Which other people then read and share on Twitter, Facebook, their own blogs and other social media platforms.

According to Redevolution, Google displays web pages in their search results based on the authority and relevance of the page to enhance the user experience. How does it measure authority and relevance?

  • Google determines the relevance of your page by analyzing its content based on several factors, including where and how often you use certain words in that piece of content.
  • Google measures authority by the number of links pointing to that page and how trustworthy those links are.

On the internet, links are like votes, with a slight difference. The winner of the election is determined solely by the number of votes, whereas your web page’s rank doesn’t depend so much on how many incoming links it has (quantity), but rather on the quality of those links. You and your marketing team need to understand this.

Quality has become the #1 ranking factor in Google, especially since the Google Panda and Penguin updates.

If you want more information on SEO, check out The Beginner’s Guide To SEO and The Advanced Guide To SEO.

Understanding Copywriting

Copywriting is the art and science of creating content that prompts the reader/end-user to either buy a product, subscribe to a list, take a test drive, or take some other action that will improve your.appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.),

Copywriting is salesmanship, says Bruce Bendinger. His definition of copywriting will make you smile:

SEO copy writing - quote about what copywriting is

Who drives a user to take action? A copywriter does. A copywriter is a skilled professional who writes copy for advertisements, promotions, and customer engagement. In the marketing world, they’re often referred to as “creatives.” An SEO copywriter tailors this to online content.

A copywriter is someone who understands people, knows what his audience likes and chooses the words that will appeal to them. The headline, words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs used in the content have to persuade and cause readers to take a specific action. An SEO copywriter also understand how Google feels about certain words and phrases, especially long tail phrases.

If you’re a blogger, freelance writer, or online business entrepreneur, you can become a sought-after copywriter when you develop your creativity and perfect your writing skills.

If you want to build a thriving online business and survive in the everchanging world of SEO, your job is to create useful content that’s interesting, persuasive, and well-optimized for search engines; and you have to do it consistently. That is part of the user experience, getting new fresh content on demand.

changing world of SEO copywriting

What is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting has evolved, since Google started rolling out their updates.

If you want to create highly useful content that ranks well in Google and simultaneously funnels paying clients or customers to your online business, you must think about the components of Google’s Ranking Algorithm.

components of Google's ranking algorithm - seo copywriting

SEO copywriting is all about creating useful, compelling, and valuable content that targets specific keywords so that other people will gladly promote it on social media platforms.

This increases the authority and relevance of your content and improves its ranking in Google for the selected keywords. So when you highly recommend something, Google sees it relevant and you will achieve greater SEO content results.

SEO copywriting helps you target your customers and solve their specific problems with well-crafted content.

target customers - SEO copywriting

Six Elements of SEO Copywriting

Certain elements of valuable content, such as visual appeal and timeliness, are the hallmarks of copywriting grace.

Implementing SEO best practices consistently throughout your content will naturally push your content to the Google top 10 and increase your traffic.

SEO copywriting. - keywords on first page of Google

However, there are elements that will always enable you to rank highly in Google, as well as increase your conversion rate. Before you implement the elements of SEO copywriting, remember that there are things that should come before on-page optimization.

Here are the 6 elements of SEO copywriting that matter:

1) Site Speed

A study by Akamai revealed these stats:

  1. 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to fully load.
  2. 47% of end users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.

Site speed has been a ranking factor since 2010 and it’s good for users, too. If your load time is more than 2 seconds, which is the standard load time for sites, then you should take steps to improve it.

That’s because if your content is useful and interesting, but it takes a long time for your page to load fully, your visitors will leave, because their attention span is short. They leave because of a bad user experience.

How do you measure your site load time? Follow these basic steps — I’ll use Psychology Today as an example:

Step one: Use Pingdom’s website speed test.

tool to measure site speed - seo copywriting

Step two: Analyze your site speed.

results of website speed - seo copywriting

You see that Psychology Today is fast. The load time is 770 milliseconds, beating the standard load time by 0.03 seconds.

Step three: Check the history. You want to determine the previous load times for your site.

page speed history - seo copywriting

In our example, the history shows that Psychology Toda≥≤≤÷y had a load time of 2.58 seconds on January 10, 2015. The page size was 1.6 MB at the time. Today, the page size has been reduced to 1.5 MB and the load time improved to 770 milliseconds. This is what SEO firms check first and so should you.

Go ahead and check your site load time using Pingdom.

If you want to improve your site speed, read these step-by-step guides:

Does site speed lead to improved conversion rates? Yes it does.

This case study reveals how Smashing Magazine experienced an impressive boost in their conversion rate when they cleared their database of all of the clutter that old plugins had created, then merged all of the databases into one.

case study - seo copywriting

2) Headline

Your content may be valuable, but if your headline is mediocre, your click-through rate will be low. Don’t waste valuable SEO copy.

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. —David Ogilvy

For the most success, bloggers should spend about six hours per post. Tasks that should be performed in those six hours include creating content, monitoring social signals and consumer reactions, tracking analysis, etc.

How much time do you spend crafting the perfect headline?

time spend on  headlines - seo copywriting

In SEO copywriting, your headline should attract people’s attention, then prompt them to click and read further.

As you learn to become a better writer, focus on the things your leads will see first. Such as the headline.

When you rank in Google’s top 10, if your headline is clickable and attractive, it doesn’t really matter whether you rank #1 or #4, because you will still attract organic visitors to your site. As a rule of thumb, a successful SEO copywriter creates the headline before moving on to the body of your article or blog post.

Note: Headlines that convey a specific message or idea work best with search users. According to Conversion XL, headlines with numbers are always winners. If it makes sense, include a figure in the headline.

headline preferences - seo copywriting

Several authority content sites use numbers in their headlines. Three out of 5 of Lifehack’s posts have headlines that use numbers. Sites like Inc, BusinessWeek, Mashable, and Upworthy all understand the psychology behind numbers.

numbered headlines - seo copywriting

Headlines that have numbers in them usually get shared more on Facebook and Twitter as well. For example, one of the most popular posts on HubSpot is a number-type headline.

example shares for headline with numbers - seo copywriting

Generate article ideas: If you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about, you can use the Inbound Now tool to generate blog post/article ideas before you hire that SEO copywriter.

example blog post title generator - seo copywriting

There are several resources for writing click-worthy and sharable headlines. To demonstrate, let’s write some fresh headlines in three popular industries: small business, fitness, and relationships.

Clickable and optimized small business headlines:

  • 7 Small Business Trends That Will Affect Your Sales
  • How To Start a Small Business That Customers Will Love
  • Small Business Funding: How To Raise $20,000 In 60 Days

SEO and user-friendly fitness headlines:

  • 10 Workout Secrets For Women That Work
  • Best Way To Lose 10 Pounds After Pregnancy
  • Personal Trainer Kits: Become a Certified Personal Trainer

Well-optimized and catchy “relationship” headlines:

  • 3 Funny Ways To Get Your Ex-Boyfriend Back
  • How To Renew Your Love Life with Your Spouse
  • What Does It Take To Have a Fabulous Wedding?

Analyzing the search engine results: Let’s say that we do a search in Google for “save money.” You can see that most search results are SEO-friendly (and target a keyword), but some of the headlines themselves are not attractive to the user. Adding a long tail to the title might help for those with specific inquiries.

headlines in SERPs - seo copywriting

New and experienced SEO copywriters highly recommend downloading Yoast SEO as a WordPress plugin to help optimize SEO copy. Once you learn SEO copywriting, you can write content that will both rank highly in Google result pages and also attract clicks from prospective customers or clients.

Note: If you want your whole title to be visible in search engine results, keep it under 72 characters. This will also increase your click-through rates.

3) Content

The content itself is a vital element of SEO copywriting. The major reason why people conduct searches in Google and other search engines is that they’re looking for useful content. Search engines also feed on fresh SEO content, which is why you must consistently update your site.

Marcus Sheridan grew his swimming pool company from less than 10,000 to 80,000 monthly visitors; within 6 months and he grew his organic traffic by blogging 2 -3 times a week.

fresh content - seo copywriting

When Marcus began to target long-tail keywords in his blog posts, everything changed. He said that “within hours of writing an article with specific keyword goals, we were showing up on the first page of Google.”

keyword goals - seo copywriting

If you want to write the best content that will rank well in Google, you have to target keyword phrases. Avoid stuffing keywords or over-optimization. Ideally, put the keyword in your headline, but make sure that it reads smoothly for your readers.

The Google Panda 4.1 update was designed to penalize “thin” or shallow content, by keeping lousy content from ranking highly in Google. A typical blog post or article should be at least 1000 words. But, it’s not all about length, because several detailed articles still struggle to rank and retain their position in Google results pages.

Before you write your SEO content, it’s essential to understand your reader. Then, niche down and focus on a particular problem that the reader is struggling with. Dare to solve that problem with your content – that’s another goal of combining SEO and copywriting.

Every piece of content you write needs a compelling introduction. The introduction is the portion that comes right after the headline (and sub-headline if you include one in your content). Your introduction should contain at least one of your targeted keyword phrases, especially a long tail keyword.

However, it’s crucial to understand that modern SEO copywriting has gone beyond keyword targeting and placement. The best approach now is to write content that addresses keyword intent. You will learn about that later on…

4) Meta Description

Before writing your content and again, before publishing it, use meta descriptions to help guide search engines. Meta descriptions help search engines and searchers understand what the topic is and why your targeted keywords and phrases keep appearing in the content. This is where SEO firms earn their money, only because they understand this.

Moz noted that the meta description is the HTML attribute that provides a “concise explanation” to the search engines of your page’s content. The tag is enclosed with the <head> section </head> on your web page. This is the code sample:

meta descriptions - seo copywriting

Google uses the meta description on your page as a snippet when people search for keywords that are relevant to your page. This snippet copy is what will determine whether or not you get clicks, no matter how highly you rank in the search results.

For SEO purposes, the meta description should be 150 – 160 characters and usually appears like this in Google:

meta description in google - seo copywriting

Note: If you own a WordPress blog, you can install the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin and use it to set up your title, meta description, and relevant keywords. If you’re new to blogging, this guide will help you set up the plugin.

How do you write meta descriptions that catch people’s attention, as well as rank well in Google?

Step #1: Understand keyword intent. Keyword intent is the main purpose or reason behind keywords (whether seed or long-tail keywords).

For example, say you’re a social media consultant and you want to attract clients to your business. Then, your primary keyword might be “social media expert advice.”

When prospective clients type that keyword into Google search, what do you think they’re really interested in?

What they want is clear – a social media expert with advice on how they can move their online or brick-and-mortar business to the next level.

Maybe they want more Twitter followers, greater engagement or tips on how to acquire more leads. Your meta description has to be relevant and appeal to them.

Step #2: Once your article or blog post has been written, the next thing is to write your meta description. Swell Path recommends you follow this checklist:

example of meta description - seo copywriting

To demonstrate, let’s put the tips to work by writing two meta descriptions that are SEO-friendly and relevant to our target audience.

a) Begin with a question: Looking for expert social media tips to acquire new leads, convert visitors to customers, and improve your brand? First, set a definite goal.

Length – 141 characters.

b) State the obvious: Many companies have given up on social media marketing, because they don’t know what to do. All you need is expert advice that has produced success.

Length – 148 characters.

Note: You don’t necessarily need to include your exact keywords in your meta description, especially when it doesn’t flow smoothly. I’ve seen a lot of web pages rank in Google’s top 10 without the main keywords.

example meta description in SERPs - seo copywriting

5) Keyword Frequency

Keyword frequency means how many times your chosen keywords appear on the web page.

For example, if your target keyword is “best london hotels,” how many times will this exact keyword phrase appear in your 300, 500 or 1000+ word article? In contrast, keyword density is concerned with the ratio of “best london hotels,” to other words on the same page.

Keyword frequency and density are no longer as effective as they used to be, before Google started rolling out frequent updates, but are still important parts of SEO content. Avoid on-page optimization mistakes, like keyword stuffing, excessive keyword insertion and header tag stuffing.

However, keyword density still impacts organic ranking to some extent. According to Brian Dean, keyword density/frequency is one of the 200 ranking factors, which means that you should still consider it. But, don’t go overboard.

Here’s what Brian Clark had to say about it:

The only way to tell if your repetition of keywords is super or spammy is to measure that frequency against the overall length of the content. A keyword density greater than 5.5% could make you guilty of keyword stuffing and your page could be penalized by Google. You don’t need to mindlessly repeat keywords to optimize. In fact, if you do, you’re likely to achieve the opposite result.

To check your keyword density, use the SEObook keyword density tool.

check keyword density - seo copywriting

6) Page Links

Links are the basic building blocks of your web page. One of the 10 things Google knows to be true is that “there’s always more information out there.”

Page links tell Google that you’re connected and sociable and that you’ve got useful content that people can access somewhere else. This content could be your own or it could be from another author or site.

Linking out to other authority sites and pages is an indication that you value what other people create. Google will reward you for being in sync with their mission: organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible. A good marketing team would highly recommend to appropriately link.

google's mission - seo copywriting

What copywriters usually do is to find appropriate keywords, research accurate data and then use both to craft irresistible content. That’s why copywriting is one of the fundamental factors of search engine optimization.

The rules for linking out to other sites are not set in stone. There are also no hard and fast rules for internal linking. However, as a smart online marketer who wants to achieve tremendous results in the search engines, you should:

  • Link to relevant pages within and outside your site in your introduction
  • Link to more in-depth guides or content on your page or other sites
  • Link with appropriate anchor text, which flows naturally with the content

As I said earlier, these rules are not set by Google or other search engines. If you can understand your target audience and you produce the best content that will solve your readers’ problems, you don’t need to worry about keyword density, page links, and social signals, because they will occur naturally.

Remember that the goals of highly useful content include thousands of social shares, comments, leads, clients, and sales. This is your job as the SEO copywriter.

SEO Copywriting Tools and Resources: To fully understand and implement SEO copywriting best practices, you need viable tools and resources. Here are some that I recommend:

Unsuck-it: This is a free web app that you can use to make your words, sentences, and paragraphs flow smoothly. You can replace jargon with fun words in five seconds.

replace jargon with fun words - seo copywriting

RhymeZone: A lot of people love reading poetry and admire poets. Use this handy tool to make your copy appealing to the right audience.

Read-Able: This simple tool helps you optimize your content for 7th – 8th grade level. This ensures that a wider audience will enjoy your content and click the headline when it shows up in Google results pages.

Live-Keyword-Analysis: Use this free SEO tool to accurately calculate the keyword density ratio for a piece of content.

Kill Writer’s Block: Highly recommend this tool to generate creative ideas for your next blog post.

Quick Sprout: Find out why you’re not generating enough traffic from Google, even when your long-tail keywords are ranking highly.

EMV Headline Analyzer: How much does your headline appeal to your readers’ emotions? I highly recommend this free tool to analyze your headline and give you a score.

emotional marketing tool - seo copywrting

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List – this one is self-explanatory.

For a list of other resources and tools that are useful for SEO copywriting, check out Writtent.

Copywriting optimization points: Search engine rankings can’t be predicted, no matter how knowledgeable you are, because Google is always updating their ranking algorithm. If you plan on hiring an SEO firm to create CEO copy, realize they are subject to a changing game as well.

However, there are actions that you can take to increase the likelihood of your web page showing up in Google for relevant search queries. Let’s explore those factors:

Title tags: It’s a good idea to know how to write title tags for search engine optimization. Again, Yoast SEO can help here. The title tag is a meta HTML tag, like the meta description we saw earlier. It is like the title of a book. It’s the first thing that appears in Google search results.

example title tags - seo copywriting

The title tag should be a concise and accurate description of your web page. Google will display 50 – 60 characters of your title in their search results. As well as thinking about length, write titles that will align with your brand.

Moz does highly recommend that the optimal format for your title is: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

For example: Learn CSS online – CSS formatting Tips | WebDesignClub

optimal format for title tag - seo coopywriting

Heading tags: The heading tags are labeled h1 – h6. The heading tags will enlarge your font size and make it stand out. When you write content, it should be well structured for readers.

header levels - seo copywriting

Optimizing your title: This is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure that your title ranks in Google, as well as attracting an audience. This screenshot of the Moz resource on title tags helps you optimize your titles effectively:

screenshot on how optimize title tags - seo copywriting

Writing Useful Content For People

Words are powerful. Words drive engagement. If you can piece words together to produce a valuable piece of content, your target audience will love you for it — and they’ll stick around. There is no alternative to writing great content.

The number of blogs that produce fresh content daily is ever-growing. Remember that duplicate content, keyword-stuffed content and low-quality content will not help your target audience. This is not a good SEO content strategy and can’t be emphasized enough. It also won’t do a thing to improve your organic ranking.

example of how many blogs were written today - seo copywriting

One study shows that even if your content is useful, it still needs three additional elements in order to drive organic traffic:

  1. optimize for many keywords with lots of searches
  2. gain a reasonable number of trusted backlinks
  3. write about an evergreen idea/topic

That’s how Brian Dean increased organic traffic by 110% in 14 days.

increase organic traffic - seo copywriting

Keyword Research

Keyword research is still necessary. The most important aspect of any keyword used by search users is the intent. Before you can write great content that solves a particular problem, you’ve got to know what each keyword stands for.

Don’t forget to pay attention to keyword classification. In other words, understand whether search users want to buy a product or not.

There are two important keyword classifications: informational and commercial keywords.

keyword classification - seo copywriting

Informational keywords: The major reason why people search with these is that they want useful information without having to pay for it.

Informational keywords are usually “how-to” in nature. Here’s an example from Ubersuggest:

"how to" keywords - seo copywriting

Of the seven keywords on this list, five of them begin with “how-to.”

These are informational because the searchers are probably only interested in free articles, videos, blog posts and lessons.

As an SEO copywriter, you can write useful content around informational keywords, but don’t expect to convert readers into customers, because most of them don’t want to buy. Instead, use informational keywords in your content to nurture an audience, engage them and build your brand.

Commercial keywords: Commercial keywords show an ‘intent’ to buy. These keywords usually show “desperation” from the searcher. They want solutions quickly – e.g., “lose 10 pounds in 3 days.”

The person searching for commercial keywords is likely going to buy a product, or sign up to an email list that will eventually convert them into customers.

The fact that someone typed a commercial keyword into Google means the person is ready to take action. Commercial keywords usually contain certain prefixes and suffixes, like reviews, buy, order, review, comparison, compare, free shipping, best, fast, etc. See this example in the weight loss niche:

Examples of commercial keywords from this list include lose weight gnc product, gnc product to lose weight, herbalife weight lose product, and herbalife product to lose weight.

Note: When you write content around commercial keywords, the ultimate goal is to provide useful information on how to use the product, its benefits and features and how to install it, if that’s required.

Should you target keywords? Yes. Google still uses keywords to gauge what a particular web page is about. Use caution and avoid over-optimization.

I follow a 3-step plan when targeting keywords in my content.

  1. I include the primary keyword in the headline. For example, if my keyword is: conversion rate optimization. My headline may be, “7 Ways To Make Conversion Rate Optimization Work For You.”
  2. I use alternative keywords in the introduction, meta description, and title tags. For example, What is the best way to increase your conversion rate with every blog post that you write? You know how important this is, especially when it seems as though your best content isn’t generating organic traffic, social shares, and sales.
  3. I write naturally to please my readers and then deliberately include the primary keyword in the conclusion.
generating traffic.- seo copywriting

Storytelling

As an SEO copywriter, storytelling can set you apart, because human beings love good stories. If you can weave your brand story into your blog post, article or video, you will attract more attention.

Brand storytelling is not something new. Several brands have used it in the past and still do. According to Kristen Matthews, when you use natural storytelling in your content, you can make the maximum impact on the reader.

I’ve shared the story of how a Ferrari made me a million bucks. I also wrote a blog post on how spending $162,301.42 on clothes made me $692,500. So far, the two posts have been shared more than thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ combined.

spending money makes money - seo copywriting

A great example of a successful brand story is The Lego Movie. According to Marcus Sheridan, who is also a great storyteller, “Lego doesn’t sell ‘blocks’ at all, they sell possibilities.”

(Read the full story here: The Best Example of Brand Storytelling Ever: The Lego Movie.)

brand story telling- seo copywriting

In other words, your story should show others the possibility of achieving the same results. Your story shouldn’t be about you alone, however. Instead, find a way to make it appealing to your target audience.

That’s when brand storytelling will help improve your organic ranking, traffic and sales conversions.

Use Humor

One of the reasons why you should write with humor is to keep the reader/audience engaged. You can also infuse humor to simplify an uncomfortable or controversial topic.

SEO copywriting is not just about writing useful content that solves a particular problem in a boring manner. Your content also has to excite your readers.

They should be excited to click your headline, read the introduction and then move slowly down the body. That’s what it means to write persuasively. If you can do that, it doesn’t matter what you create: people will love it. Whatever you highly recommend, they will buy.

Here’s an example. A professional blogger and public speaker who usually adds humor to her content is Marie Forleo. Each of her video intros always entertains me.

using humor - seo copywriting

Use Case Studies

Case studies are one of the 15 types of content that will drive more traffic to your site. Case studies can make for powerful content. I’ve seen them rank in Google’s top 10 several times, because they’re highly useful.

A study at Content Marketing Institute shows that B2B buyers prefer case studies and research-based content.

content types - seo copywriting

If you consistently write useful and detailed case studies, your major long-tail keywords will start showing up in Google’s top 10 for relevant keywords.

ideal content length - seo copywriting

Case studies usually explain what your products and services are. A good case study will show the experiments, research studies and interviews that you conducted, as well as the results that you got. An SEO firm can help in analytics but isn’t absolutely necessary.

You can share any type of case study, even ones that didn’t get the results you hoped for. If you want to create a valuable and optimized case study, this screenshot will guide you:

create a case study - seo copywriting

Keyword Research for Content Creation

The first five sites that come up in a google search get 67.6% of the clicks.

More than 66% of all clicks go to the top 3 search engine results. If you want to tap into this rare opportunity to rank in the top 5 positions, then you should learn keyword research best practices.

Long-tail keywords are the best way to go in modern SEO because top brands are not targeting those terms. And, if you can produce good content while naturally targeting these types of keywords, you will definitely dominate the search engines.

popular keywords vs. long tail search traffic

SEO isn’t complete without keyword research. That’s part of how you determine the mindset and intent of your target audience. Long tails help define that mindset.

In niche marketing, picking the right keywords is the most challenging aspect of building a profitable niche site.

Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to find relevant keywords in that industry. Let’s find keywords for “waterproof digital cameras.”

Go to Ubersuggest. Plug the topic into the search box, then click “Search.”

find keywords for specific topics - seo copywriting

Here’s what the search returns:

keyword research - seo copywriting
  • Search volume – number of searches the keyword has during a month
  • SEO difficulty – estimated competition in organic search
  • Paid difficulty – estimated competition in paid search
  • Cost per click – average cost per click for a Google Ad

You’re also provided an overview of what it takes, on average, in terms of backlinks and domain score, to reach the first page of Google for the keyword. This is located above a chart displaying the keyword search volume over the past 12 month period. Pay close attention to any dips in traffic. For this particular keyword, it’s natural for volume to drop off during the fall and winter months.

As you scroll down the page, you’ll find a list of long-tail keywords that we can optimize our content for:

From this list, “best waterproof digital cameras” is a good choice, as the search volume is still high enough to move the needle.

Optimizing content for search robots: Search engine robots or web robots (e.g. crawlers, spiders and so on) are programs that constantly scour the web.

When a Google spider crawls your web page, it’s looking for fresh content. Some people even say that spiders/crawlers feed on fresh content and will reward you for freshly updating your site regularly.

However, understand that when Google spiders index (add your fresh content to their search database), they’re only interested in the meta tags (title tag and meta description).

More importantly, they want to know the keywords that you’re targeting. This helps Google determine the industry your content will benefit, e.g., health, business, small business, internet marketing, etc.

For best results, you should optimize for search robots like this:

  • add the primary keyword in your title tag and meta description
  • add alternative keywords in your introduction and make sure that it flows well; if the keyword doesn’t flow well, ignore it and just write naturally.

Keywords like “best seo web design NY” won’t work in the title tag, description and content. The best approach is to use the keyword naturally, like this:

How To Find The Best SEO Firm and Web Design In NY

On-Page SEO Copywriting

On-page SEO doesn’t have to be tedious or complicated. A lot of posts have been written to address this topic.

Elements that add value to your site, such as internal links, are very important.

You control 98% of what happens within your site.

That’s why Google pays attention to your web pages and measures the engagement, bounce rate, retention rate, and social shares.

The foundation of an effective SEO campaign is what happens in-house (on your site). In other words, pay attention to how you target your keywords, which anchor is used to link internal pages, meta tags, etc.

This on-page optimization infographic from Backlinko will show you what matters when it comes to creating SEO-friendly content pages.

on-page seo infographic - seo copywriting

Off-page Optimization

In today’s digital marketing, the public determines how relevant and useful your content is. And, Google uses off-page factors to gauge the authority and value of your content pages.

Generally, you can’t control what happens outside your site. For example, you don’t control who links to you and you don’t control the quality of sites that choose to reference your work.

If you’re smart, you can use off-page SEO techniques to build a solid brand online and increase organic traffic.

According to Chris Ainsworth, the 5 proven off-page SEO strategies that work well are:

  1. Build and engage a raving community through social media
  2. Expose your business and take advantage of local SEO
  3. Instill brand confidence through business reviews
  4. Promote local citation and Name/Address/Phone (NAP) consistency
  5. Link building through blogging, guest posting, competitor link analysis, blog outreach, networking, and dofollow blog commenting.

Getting People to Act Through SEO Copywriting

The final piece of the puzzle in this in-depth article is “persuasion” — the ability of your copy to drive people to action. This isn’t difficult, because there are many high-quality resources and tools that you can use.

Copy is written to sell a product, service, or idea. It all begins with selling yourself, because you’ve only got a maximum of 30 seconds to sell yourself and leave people wanting more.

One of the ways to push people into action is to highlight the key points of your content or topic using bullet points. Before you write blog posts or articles, Vivian Giang recommends you list 3 or 4 strong benefits that you will cover. This is very important, as it also helps you create powerful headlines and paragraphs.

Derek Halpern, founder of Social Triggers, a giant SEO firm, combines the power of psychology and copywriting to produce compelling content. He also employs the same strategy on his landing page.

landing page - seo copywriting

Create Irresistible and Valuable Headlines

Columbia University recognized headlines as the most important element of copy. They advise that you think like a reader and write the headline first. The headline should target a keyword and also look attractive.

Let’s craft more clickable headlines, using some of the results in Google. When I search for “diet plans,” here are the results I get:

clickable headlines - seo copywriting

The screenshot above shows the headlines showing up at #1 and #2 in Google for the keyword “diet plans.”

Original headline: Weight Loss & Diet Plans – Find Healthy Diet Plans And…

Here’s a much better headline: The Best Diet Plans To Help You Stay Fit

Original headline: 28-Day Fat-Burning Diet and Meal Plan | Muscle & Fitness

Let’s make the headline more compelling and useful: 28-Day Diet Plans That Will Help You Burn Fat

BodyBuilding.com has compelling, catchy headlines that are the right length (50 – 60 characters) and target a particular keyword.

example headlines - seo copywriting

Have Clarity of Purpose

Getting clear with your copy, blog post and message is very important. Wider Funnel increased their conversion rate from 10% to 277%, just by implementing clearer call-to-action buttons and reducing the number of form fields.

When you write content for your blog, focus on one idea and write your post to address a challenge, solve a problem or explain a complicated issue.

According to Success Consciousness, here are some of the ways that you can achieve clarity of purpose as you write your content:

  1. Know exactly what you want, before you write it — e.g., How to Save $100 in the Grocery Store.
  2. Use the word “you,” when writing for B2C customers and “we,” when your recipients are mostly business organizations.
  3. Research accurate data that are relevant to your topic. This study by Conversion XL shows that using a data-driven approach and creating infographics that have accurate data points will improve social shares.
shares by content type - seo copywriting
  1. Target 2 – 5 keywords in a blog post and ensure they read naturally. See an example below. If you read it aloud, you will notice how the keywords flow smoothly with the rest of the content.
acqure traffic. -seo copywriting

Conclusion

I’ve used these SEO strategies to increase my blog’s traffic by 206%. Even if you don’t achieve the same growth rate, by following these SEO copywriting strategies you are more likely to absolutely generate more traffic, improve your brand, and fall in love with content marketing.

If you want experts to help you with SEO for your website, we’re here to help.

What’s your take on SEO copywriting? Do you think it’s a major factor for online content marketing success?

How to Target Parents Through Paid Ads

One of the tricky parts about this is the fact parents are such a varied group. Forty percent of US households have at least one child under the age of 18, and that large group includes people from all walks of life.

The USDA estimates that it costs $284,570 (with inflation factored in) to raise a child through age 17.

To successfully target parents through paid ads, you have to deeply understand your target audience and use this knowledge to inform your marketing strategy.

7 Ways to Target Parents Through Paid Ads

Parents spend a lot of time online, meaning they may be pretty likely to see your paid ads.

For the first time, women in the U.S. are more often having babies in their 30s than their 20s. This means you’re looking at an audience with a lot of millennials who spend a great deal of time on social media. This is also the case with younger parents, and both groups use search engines to find answers to everyday questions.

The difficulty is not reaching parents; it’s targeting the right people with the right message at the right time. For example, there’s no point in reaching a teenager’s parent with an ad for baby formula.

You may have a rough idea about your target audience, but you’ve got to drill down further and figure out what matters to parents when targeting them through paid ads.

1. Incorporate Life Events

When we look back at our childhoods or those of our children, it’s often the big life events that stand out. There’s nothing wrong with turning 31 or 63, but it doesn’t quite carry the same excitement as your eighth birthday.

Events like birthdays, holidays, vacations, and graduations are important to children, and they’re equally important to parents. Even if money tight, most parents are willing to do what it takes to ensure their children have amazing memories of big moments.

For marketers, this is an opportunity to connect with parents. It’s not always easy to know what kids want, but through paid ads, your business can guide parents to the hottest gifts.

Targeting parents through paid ads - special occasions

This should play an important part in your paid ads, especially at important times of the year like late spring, when kids often graduate from high school. Parents often want to mark these special days with the right gift or by throwing a wonderful party, and your business should be looking to help make sure this happens via paid ads.

Paid advertising is about matching user intent, so make sure you know what products parents need.

2. Keep Your Audience’s Priorities as the Focus

What does your target audience look like, and what are its priorities?

Increasingly, parents are millennials. To target parents effectively, many brands have to understand how to target millennials.

Some key points that advertisers need to understand about millennials are generally:

  • tech-savvy
  • highly connected
  • seeking immediate gratification
  • caring about authenticity
  • collaborative

These characteristics are further enhanced by the fact that parents are busy. They want to use technology to help solve problems, and when they buy products, they need the experience to be fast and effective.

This means the experience you offer parents with your ads has to be perfectly optimized. Modern parents won’t waste their time on poorly optimized mobile sites or those with checkouts that take too long.

Paid ads should be backed up by a good user experience. If you get this right, it allows you to focus on solving your target audience’s pain points. Although parents have diverse needs, these often can be broken down into three categories:

  1. saving time
  2. saving money
  3. doing things more effectively

If your website experience and products can come together to help parents achieve this, then you may find you have success with your paid ads.

3. Back Your Products with a Guarantee

Parents are usually fiercely protective of their children, and your products or services need to fit into this narrative.

When we buy products for ourselves, we make a complicated buying decision. When parents buy for their children, this is amplified. They want to know the products are safe, can benefit their children, and are going to last. If your products don’t demonstrate this, they’re not going to be as appealing for parents.

One of the ways you can help assure parents about your products is by offering a guarantee. If you believe in your products and services, you should be willing to offer assurances to your customers, and which you can state in your advertising.

In my article, “5 Simple Tips to Creating an Unbeatable Facebook Ad Campaign,” my first tip was “your offer will make or break your campaign,” and your guarantee is a part of this. Without the guarantee, your offer probably isn’t as appealing to parents.

Parents have to trust you and your products if they’re going to let your brand into their children’s lives.

4. Develop Trust

As I’ve mentioned, many parents are now Millennials who are very tech-savvy, connected, and collaborative. When it comes to making sales, this means you need to be able to create a brand people can trust. One of the most important aspects of this is social proof.

The stats behind online reviews are impressive:

  • 93 percent of people read online reviews before buying a product.
  • 91 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Customers are likely to spend 31 percent more at a business with excellent reviews.

Reviews play a big part in modern consumer decisions, so you need to have a process in place to make sure you’re getting them. Once you do, you can use social proof to show parents that other parents have bought your product and had great experiences.

Parenting can be challenging, and there are many products out there that promise a lot but fail to deliver. Naturally, parents are eager to avoid such products, so a good review from a fellow parent can go a long way.

how to target parents through paid ads with reviews

Of course, building this trust is based on you offering value for parents. If you’re doing this, you should take every opportunity to showcase it.

5. Be Informative

Children don’t come with a manual, and even if they did, following it would be nearly impossible. Naturally, parents look to authoritative sources to help them with their parenting—59 percent of parents say they have found useful parenting information on social media in the past 30 days. Your business may well be perfectly positioned to offer this information.

Targeting parents through paid ads doesn’t just have to be about your products. It can also make use of your knowledge.

Rather than just offering a quick solution to a problem, you can use your expertise to explain the reasons for the issue and offer advice.

For example, if a child struggles to organize their homework schedule, you can give parents tips about how to help their child become more organized rather than pushing your time-keeping app. You can naturally work your product into your resources, which begins to create a relationship with the reader.

Millennial consumers have grown up with internet marketing, and they’ve become skeptical about advertising. Using gimmicks doesn’t work with this demographic. It’s about offering value. The way you can do this is by showing your expertise and helping your target audience solve problems.

Your paid ads should have a collaborative feel to them, where you’re working together to make parenting easier, more affordable, and more effective.

6. Go Deeper With Your Targeting

What does a parent look like? It’s impossible to answer this question because they rarely look the same. There are so many different demographics within this audience:

  • parents of newborns
  • parents of teens
  • first-time parents
  • parents of multiple kids
  • two-parent families
  • single parents
  • young parents
  • older parents

The list is endless, and this is a good thing for marketers. If you can narrow down your target audience and understand who’s most likely to buy your products, you can target parents using relevant content.

For example, being a first-time mom is very different from doing it the second time around. First-time moms search for products in different ways than second-time moms, and they look for different things.

Through Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms, you can reach particular audiences. Make the most of this by working on your buyer personas.

7. Reach Parents When They’re Searching

Parents are exceptionally busy people. They’re often balancing bringing up a child with full-time employment and everything else that comes with life.

For example, due to work and daily schedules, parents may search for products late at night.

Understanding when parents search the internet can allow you to target them better and make your campaigns more effective.

Dig into your Google Analytics and find out when people are using your site and making purchases. Another great step is to ask parents about how they shop through surveys. People are often willing to answer quick questions, giving you great insights into how to target parents through paid ads.

Conclusion

It can be tricky to target parents through paid ads because they’re such a diverse group. Parents of teens are looking for very different things from parents of newborn babies, and your advertising needs to recognize this.

However, there’s one thing parents share: a desire to do the best for their children. To successfully advertise to parents, you need to understand how your business helps them with this.

By being there for parents on important days, guaranteeing your products’ safety, and helping them with high-value information, you could build relationships that bring in sales. The better you understand your target audience, the easier this should be.

Are parents a key demographic for your business? How do you reach them?

Small Business Inventory Loans

What are Small Business Inventory Loans? 

You may have heard the term small business inventory loans. But do you really know what it is all about? We break it all down for you right here. This form of funding just might be perfect for your business. It’s also called inventory financing.

According to a definition from Investopedia – “Inventory financing is a revolving line of credit or a short-term loan that is acquired by a company so it can purchase products for sale later. The products serve as the collateral for the loan.” See investopedia.com/terms/i/inventory-financing.asp.

You can get a low rate credit line. And all you need to do is use your current inventory as collateral. Inventory is valuable! It is perfect for collateral for small business inventory loans.

Check out these Credit Line Details

Keep in mind that your inventory must be worth $500,000 or higher. You can get approval for a line with low rates, regardless of your personal credit quality.

You can get approval for a line of credit for 50% of inventory value. Rates are usually 5 – 15% depending on type of inventory. And you can get funding within 3 weeks or less. It can’t be lumped together inventory, like office equipment.

With inventory financing, there may be restrictions on the type of inventory you can use. This can include not allowing cannabis, alcohol, firearms, etc., or perishable goods. And there can be revenue requirements. There may also be minimum FICO score requirements.

Let’s look at Qualifying for Small Business Inventory Loans

You will not need financials, or good personal credit. Your business must have existing inventory now that is valued over $500,000. Lender will also check the quality of your inventory management system.

The inventory might be of supplies, retail merchandise. materials used to produce your product, or other non-obsolete inventory. The lender will review your existing inventory. If you have inventory that qualifies you can get approval quickly with just a review of your inventory records.

You Can Get Fast Funding with Inventory Financing

After the lenders review your inventory summaries, you can get your initial approval and funding in 3 weeks or less. And you can get a working capital credit line to use for whatever purposes you need.

But What if You Have Credit Issues? 

This program is perfect for business owners with credit issues. Lenders are not looking for, nor do they require good credit to qualify. You can even get approval for a credit line with low rates, even with severely challenged personal credit and low credit scores.

You can get approval regardless of personal credit quality. So this is even if you have recent derogatory items and major collections on your credit report. This is one of the best and easiest business financing programs in existence that you can qualify for. And you can get really good terms even with severe personal credit problems.

Demolish your funding problems with 27 killer ways to get cash for your business.

What are the Benefits of Inventory Financing?

Get 24 hour preapproval and get secure financing of 50% of your inventory value. It is just an easy inventory review for approval. And you will pay no application fees.

You can get approval even with poor credit. Go from application to funding in 3 weeks or less. You can get approval with no revenue requirements. This is low rate financing. Enjoy credit line amounts range up to $500,000.

What are the Approval Amounts? 

You can get up to $500,000, and bad credit is accepted. Your inventory serves as your collateral. No financials are necessary.

Let’s Look at Qualifying for Inventory Financing from Credit Suite

You will need over $300,000 in inventory. So, this means no jewelry, apparel, highly seasonal items, or high tech items subject to rapid obsolescence.

What do the Approval Amounts Depend on? 

You can get approval for $150,000 or more. The approval amount is based on the actual value of the inventory. You can get approval for financing up to 50%.

What are the Interest Rates? 

Interest is very low. It is typically as low as 2% monthly. And you can get approval in 3 weeks or less.

What if Small Business Inventory Loans are Impossible to Get Now? 

There are other ways to get financing for your business. Your business – and you – have assets beyond inventory. And you can tap these assets as collateral. You can use a 401(k) or IRA, accounts receivable, or stocks or bonds. Did you know that the 401(k), stocks, or bonds do not even have to be yours? You can work with a partner with these kinds of assets.

Check out Securities-Based Financing

So you can use existing stocks as leverage to get business financing. Borrow as much as 90% of their value. You continue to earn interest on the stocks pledged as collateral. And closing and funding takes less than 3 weeks.

Take a Look at 401(k) Financing

You can use your existing 401(k) or IRA as collateral for business financing. This program uses IRS proven strategies, called ROBS. And you will pay no tax penalties.

You still earn interest on your 401(k). Pay low rates, often less than 5%. And you can close and fund in less than 3 weeks. You can usually get up to 100% of what is “rollable” within your 401(k).

Note: your 401(k) has to be with a company that is no longer employing you.

Demolish your funding problems with 27 killer ways to get cash for your business.

What about Accounts Receivable Financing? 

You can use your outstanding account receivables for financing. In this instance, you can get as much as 80% of receivables advanced ongoing in less than 24 hours. The remainder of the accounts receivable are released as soon as the invoice is paid in full. And closing takes 2 weeks or less. Pay factor rates as low as 1.33%. These are accounts receivable credit line with rates of less than 1% with no consumer credit requirement.

The receivables should be with the government or another business. If you also have purchase orders, you can get financing to have those filled. And you will not need to use your cash flow in order to do so.

Check Out what OnDeck has to Offer

OnDeck offers inventory loans and business lines of credit. Term loans run $5,000 to $250,000, with 12-month terms, paid back daily or weekly.

Their lines of credit run from $6,000 to $100,000. Pay back over 12 months, with automatic weekly payments. Find them online at ondeck.com/loantype-inventory-loans.

Or how about an Amazon Corporate Credit Line? 

Do you have an online business? Then you can get a revolving credit line from Amazon. Make minimum payments or pay in full monthly. Pay 12.99% purchase APR (minimum interest charge is $1). You get an option to apply as a personal guarantor to build business credit. And you will enjoy 24/7 Customer Service.

Consider Amazon Lines of Credit and Working Capital Loans

If your business is eligible, you will see funding options when you log into Seller Central. Currently, lines of credit are offered by Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Loans come from Amazon Lending – specific terms are tailored to the business. Get access to loan funds within 5 days. Learn more at sell.amazon.com/programs/amazon-lending.html.

Demolish your funding problems with 27 killer ways to get cash for your business.

Small Business Inventory Loans: Takeaways

Your inventory is a valuable business asset. You can leverage it to get business funding. Get approval with excellent terms, even if your personal credit is not so hot. And consider alternatives like 401(k) financing or OnDeck and more if you can’t get small business inventory loans right now.

The post Small Business Inventory Loans appeared first on Credit Suite.

The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging

We’ve discussed how you can build authority in your industry through blogging. Today, we are going to look at exactly how you can get guest blogging opportunities and make the most out of them.

Determine Your Guest Blogging Goals

Before we begin, your first task is to decide what your goal for guest blogging is. Knowing this goal ahead of time is key in determining the right kind of blogs to submit guest posts to. Typically there are three main goals for guest blogging.

  1. Positioning yourself as an authority and well-known name in the industry.
  2. Getting exposure (traffic) back to your website.
  3. Building backlinks to your website (though this should never be the main focus, as Google frowns on this).

With the right kind of content on the top blogs, you can do all three of these things.

If you are trying to accomplish either #1 or #2, then you will want to find blogs that have a wide and engaged audience.

If you are just trying to accomplish #3, you need to pinpoint blogs with strong root domain authority. You can check this for free using tools like Ubersuggest.

Knowing your goals in advance will help you in determining which blogs will be the best for you to submit guest posts to.

How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities

The first thing you will want to do is find guest post opportunities. When looking for places to guest post, your main goal is to find sites relevant to your niche or industry. You are looking for blogs that fit the following criteria:

  • the content is focused on your niche/industry
  • the audience of the blog will be interested in your industry
  • the blog has engaged readership (posts have been shared socially and commented upon)
  • the blog owner is active on social media (so you know that they will be promoting your work on their site)

If you are selling plant seeds, for example, you will want to find gardening blogs with an engaged audience of gradeners. The following should help you find the right kind of guest post opportunities

Google Searches

Google is a great place to start in the search for guest posting opportunities. You can use any of the following keyword searches to find blogs that accept guest posts. Just replace keyword with keywords from your industry.

  • keyword “submit a guest post”
  • keyword “guest post”
  • keyword “guest post by”
  • keyword “accepting guest posts”
  • keyword “guest post guidelines”

These searches should lead you to a blog’s guest post guidelines page, guest post submission page, or actual guest posts by other writers.

Prolific Guest Bloggers

Know of any prolific guest bloggers in your industry? If you read enough blogs in your industry (which you should), you’ll know some of the same names that repeatedly pop up in guest bogs.

Just as few of the top influential marketing guest bloggers include Neil Patel, Jeff Bullas, Mark Traphagen, Tony Right, Jenny Halasz, Brian Harnish, Kevin Indig, Adam Riemer, Robyn Johnson, Benji Acciola, Kevin Rowe, Anna Crow, and Kirk Williams.

Using Google search, search for the name of prolific guest bloggers in your industry plus the phrase “guest post by”. This will reveal all of the sites that these guest bloggers have posted upon. They should be good places for you to guest post upon as well. A bonus would be if you actually know a guest blogger in your industry that can make an introduction for you to the owners of blogs they have guest posted upon.

Competitor Backlinks

If you (or your online marketing agency) have ever pulled up a backlink analysis of a competitor while working on your SEO campaign, chances are one or more of your competitors have backlinks from guest posts they have done.

If you have access to tools like Open Site Explorer, you can look at the backlinks of your competitors and spot any of the blog posts they have written.

If you don’t find any, you can do a Google search.

link:domain.com -domain.com “guest post” (replacing domain.com with your competitor’s domain) which should reveal sites that a competitor has written for.

Example:

link:backlink.io -neilpatel.com “guest post”

Social Searches

A lot of bloggers and guest posters will share their latest guest posts on social networks. Since the easiest one to search is Twitter, you should try running a Twitter search for the keyword “guest post” to get the latest tweets about guest posts in your industry. Just follow the links to see which blogs are accepting the guest posts.

Seek Guest Blogging Opportunities

Need more keyword search ideas or just a list with lots of different guest posting opportunities?

Check out this post on 14 additional ways to syndicate your content.

MyBlogGuest

Last, but definitely not least, is My Blog Guest, a community of guest bloggers. Sign up for free and search for blogs accepting guest posts. Better yet, post your own information to say that you are looking to write guest posts on a particular topic so blog owners can find you!

Preparing to Pitch a Guest Blogging Post

Notice that we don’t just jump from finding guest blogging opportunities to contacting the blogs. That’s because there are a few things you need to do before you propose a guest post for a site you’ve just found.

Get to Know the Blog’s Content

Getting to know your target blog’s content is key. Sure you know they have content about the keyword you searched for while looking for guest post opportunities. But you need to know even more about that content such as…

  • What level of audience are they writing for (beginners, intermediate, advanced)?
  • What type of audience are they writing for? If your business is B2B, then you will want the blog audience for your guest post to be businesses, not general consumers.
  • What type of content do they write? Is it mostly general concepts or specific, detailed tutorials? Do they like lists?

See How Other Guest Posts Do

While a blog may have guest posts, the question is do the guest bloggers do well? Do guest blog posts on the site get as many comments and social sharing as blog posts by the owner? Some sites might accept guest posts, but if the audience is only tuning in for the blog owner, then you won’t do so well if your goal is to build authority or get traffic back to your website.

See Who the Guest Bloggers Are

Some blog owners are more likely to accept guest posts by certain types of people over others. Peruse a few guest blogger bios on the blog to see if they are fellow bloggers, freelancers, consultants, business owners, and so forth. This will be important when you introduce yourself to the blog owner for your pitch. You can read more about the success rates of guest posting outreach in this study on SEOmoz.

Find Out What Posts Do the Best

To ensure that your guest post gets accepted, you will want to pitch the blog owner with topics that will do well with their audience. To get some good ideas of topics that will work with the blog’s audience, use the following sites to see what posts have been popular on social media.

  • Oktopus: Oktopus tracks and reports on your social media performance.
  • Digg: This will show you the \blog posts that have received the most amount of Digg votes.
  • Buzzer: Buzzer schedules your social media posts and provides data and analytics.

Become a Familiar Face in the Blog Community

To increase your chances of getting accepted as a guest blogger, you will want to get some recognition from the blog owner first. The best way to do this is to take a week or two and comment on their latest posts. You’ll get bonus points for sharing those posts on Twitter too – just be sure to include the blog owner’s @username on Twitter. This way, when you pitch your guest post, you won’t be a complete stranger.

The Best Times to Pitch a Guest Blogging Post

You won’t always have a golden opportunity to pitch a guest post, but there are certain things to take advantage of when they arise. These include the following.

  • when a blog mentions you in one of their posts or on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.)
  • when the blog lists you, your business, or your product in one of its posts
  • when the blog specifically advertises they are looking for guest posts
  • when the blog publishes another guest post

Basic Pitch Best Practices

The following are absolute musts when pitching a guest blog post to another blog owner.

Read the Guidelines

The last thing you need to do before contacting the blog owner is read the guest posting guidelines, if applicable, and follow them closely. Does the blog owner want you to pitch an idea or actually submit a full post? What format do they want it in? Do they want you to create an account and enter it into WordPress? These are all things to know ahead of time before you contact the blog owner.

Personalize Your Email

As a blogger who receives daily guest post pitches, nothing turns me off more than an email starting with “Dear Sir or Madam,” “Dear Webmaster,” “To the owner of Neilpatel.com,” or simply “Hi.”

Somewhere on the blog, there should be the name and contact information for the owner of the blog you are targeting for your guest post.

You might have to ferret around for it on the about page or on one of the blog’s social media accounts, but it is more than likely out there. Find it, and use it to start the email.

Who Are You?

Remember the part about seeing who guest bloggers are on your target blog? Some blog owners are particular about only allowing other bloggers to submit guest posts on their sites.

If you noticed that most guest bloggers are bloggers themselves, then you might want to introduce yourself as a blogger at [insert your personal or business blog here]. You can always be a business owner on the side; just focus on your blogging skills first.

Why You Should Be a Guest Blogger

In your pitch, be sure to include why you should be a guest blogger. Add a few links to posts you have published elsewhere, including your own blog. Preferably go with posts that have a good bit of social engagement so the blog owner will see your potential value with their audience.

How to Pitch a Guest Post Idea

If the guest post guidelines ask you to submit a topic idea, then (based on your research of previously popular posts), pitch a few different ideas so the blog owner has some to choose from.

How to Submit a Great Guest Post

One of the common questions about guest blogging is whether you should be using your best content for your own blog or for your guest posting. It really depends on the quality of the blog you are submitting your content to.

If the blog has nothing but 900+ word posts with lots of screenshots, then your post should be similar. If the blog has nothing but posts with 500 words or less with only one image, then your posts (again) should be similar. The following are other good tips for making your guest post as awesome as possible.

It’s Not About You

The first thing to remember about a great guest post is that it is not about your business, your products, or your services. Guest posts should be valuable sources of information; not advertisements.

Any information about your business and related items should be reserved for the author bio. Occasional mentions, stories, or examples are okay to illustrate a point, but the majority of the post should be focused on something other than your business.

Format Posts Like the Ones on the Site

Take a look at posts on your target blog. Do they use lots of headers, bolded text, images, quotes, or other special formatting? Make sure that your post has similar elements to match other posts on the site.

Include Internal and Source Links

Show the blog owner that you know their content by including a few internal links back to some of their posts. The easiest way to do this is to do a Google search for site:domain.com intitle:keyword.

This will get you their top posts on a particular keyword so you can link that post to the keyword in your post. Also, if you mention any specific products, books, etc., be sure to link to those too (assuming it’s not self-promotional).

Include a Call to Action for Comments

At the end of your amazing guest post, be sure to include a call to action for comments. The more discussion your post generates, the better!

How to Craft a Great Guest Bio

The most important part of guest blogging (for you) will likely be your guest post bio. This is usually the only place you should include self-promotion links back to your website, blog, product, service, book, etc. What you write in this section will depend on your guest blogging goals.

  • If your goal is to get good backlinks, make sure your bio includes a link back to your website with your target anchor text and you are all set.
  • If your goal is to get traffic back to your website, then you might want to consider where you want that traffic to go. Depending on the subject of your guest post and the audience of the blog you place it upon, you might want to send traffic to a custom landing page or page about a specific product/service.
  • If your goal is to increase followers of your social accounts, do this by adding a line to the end of your bio that says something like, “Follow me on (insert your top social network and link here).”

How to Be the Best Guest Blogger

If you’re aiming to become a regular contributor to a blog, or simply want the blog owner to brag about what a great guest blogger you are, then be sure to do your best to promote your post to throughout your own audience. The blog owner will love it if you send new readers their way.

Also, be sure to reply to comments or questions that people leave on your post. That will go a long way if you are working to build authority in your industry.

Tracking Your Results

When the goal is traffic, the results of your guest blogging should definitely be measured. The best way to do this is to create an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics.

You can learn how to set up an Advanced Segment in this post on how to find out which online marketing strategy drives the best traffic. All you need is one segment using the source dimension with multiple statements for each domain that you have guest blogged for. This can be up to 20 per Advanced Segment. Mine looks like this:

google analytics guest blogging advanced segment

Using this, you can view all of your Google Analytics data based on referrals from your guest posts. This can help you determine the success of your overall guest blogging strategy in terms of getting traffic and making conversions.

If you’re not sure how to track conversions, see this post on getting actionable data to learn how to set up goals.

How to Get Guest Bloggers for Your Blog

Finally, don’t forget that guest blogging can be a two-way street. It’s tough to maintain your own blog content while guest posting on a lot of other blogs.

Be sure to open an invitation for the blog you wrote for to write a guest post for you as well. This keeps your content fresh content on your own blog, which can help gain perspective on your audience, and hopefully get new readers from your guest blogger’s community. It’s a win-win situation!

Conclusion

Guest blogging on reputable sites is a great way to leverage the success of blogs that are already popular in your industry. To get the spot for a guest blog, you need to send engaging pitches that show your worth.

Guest blogging is just one of many strategies to incorporate in your content marketing campaigns. If you need help shaping or tracking your content marketing methods, our agency is here for you.

Do you use guest blogging as part of your online marketing strategy? What other things would you suggest for a business looking to increase their guest blogging success?

10 E-Commerce Examples of the Best Instagram Bios

If you run an e-Commerce brand, there’s a good chance you have an Instagram account. How much time do you spend on your Instagram bio, though? You probably spend far more time crafting great-looking posts and engaging stories. 

How long should E-commcerce companies spend writing their best Instagram bios? 

It’s important to have an excellent bio since it’s one of the first things a user sees when they visit your Instagram profile. Often, however, it’s often an afterthought for brands that care more about their posts than their profile as a whole. 

That’s a mistake. Bios aren’t user’s first impressions of your brand and set the tone of the whole account. Your brand’s bio needs to grab the user’s attention and get your core USPs across as quickly as possible. 

Doing so is far from easy, however. That’s why I’ve drawn up a list of 10 of the best Instagram bios so you can see how it’s done. 

10 Best Instagram Bios for E-commerce Businesses

When in doubt, I find it best to look at what’s working for the top brands in the industry. As they say, good artists copy, great artists steal. 

Below, I’ve compiled some of the best ecommerce Instagram bios out there right now and highlighted what makes them so effective.

1. BarkBox

Instagram bios- barkbox example

BarkBox is a monthly subscription box of dog treats and toys serving over one million dogs across the country. You knew that already, though, from their very descriptive Instagram bio. 

That’s one of the reasons this bio is so good. Even if you’ve never heard of BarkBox before, you know exactly what they sell as soon as you read the first line. 

That’s not the only reason I love it. BarkBox also does a great job of pointing consumers to other profiles they might like. Parent company Bark gets a shoutout, as does Super Chewer, the company’s extra tough toys. It’s topped off by a hashtag that shows users how they can get involved by posting their own content. 

2. MVMT

Best Instagram Bios for E- commerce Businesses - MVMT

MVMT sells premium yet affordable, American watches, sunglasses, and other accessories. They have a big Instagram following, and for a good reason. Not only do the brand’s posts look cool, but almost all of them are shoppable with the click of a button. 

MVMT begins its bio with an emotive call to action that sums up what the brand stands for. Like BarkBox, MVMT uses hashtags to encourage audience engagement and point users to a sister brand. Most important of all is the call to action at the end of the bio, which tells users about their brand new watch range. 

3. Pela Case

Best Instagram Bios for Ecommerce Businesses - Supply

Pela Case makes the world’s first compostable phone case, along with several other accessories like sunglasses, watch straps, and AirPod cases. 

Sustainability is key for this brand, and they use the globe and seedling emojis to make that point very clear. They also use emojis to highlight their CTA link as well as bullet points to give the bio a clear layout. 

The succinct way that Pela sum up their USPs also makes this bio stand out. The most important facts about the brand are made clear in the first two lines. If that weren’t enough, they also update the bio regularly. In the screenshot above, for instance, they’ve got an International Women’s Day-related CTA. 

4. Supply

Best Instagram Bios for E-commerce Businesses - Supply

Supply is a razor and grooming company that was featured on Shark Tank. Humor is the order of the day for Supply. Their bio lists a series of real-life reviews by well-known organizations and ends with a self-deprecating one-liner that shows the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

Supply doesn’t stop there, however. Their CTA also uses humor and intrigue to increase the likelihood that users click on their URL significantly. This brand knows their target audience loves this kind of humor, and they execute it perfectly. 

5. Who Gives a Crap

Best Instagram Bios for Ecommerce Businesses - Who Gives a Crap

Who Gives a Crap sells bamboo and recycled toilet paper. It also donates 50 percent of its profits to improve sanitation in the developing world. 

Who Gives a Crap is another brand that uses emojis to grab user’s attention and structure their bio. In doing so, they’re able to get across a huge amount of information in a small space. You know what they do, why they do it, and the product’s USPs. You even know where they ship, too. It’s not even a struggle to read it!

6. Brooklinen

Best Instagram Bios for Ecommerce Businesses - Brooklinen

Brooklinen is a DTC brand selling luxury bedding. They put comfort and quality before everything else and that shines through in their stylish bio and account. 

At first glance, Brooklinen’s bio may not look particularly special. There are no emojis, for instance, but that’s because they aren’t on brand. Instead, there is a very specific call to action, which is to visit their store in person. 

This is what makes Brooklinen’s Instagram bio so good, in my opinion. While other brands focus on driving you to their online store, they show they aren’t just an ecommerce store—you can see their products in person, too. 

7. Haus Laboratories

Best Instagram Bios for E-commerce Businesses - Haus Laboratories

Haus Laboratories is the beauty brand from Lady Gaga and that’s not something they hide in their Instagram bio. That’s a good thing since it’s probably the brand’s biggest selling point. 

Next, the brand sends a powerful and emotive message to readers, showing they aren’t just a faceless make-up brand. Finally, they use emoji to capture Lady Gaga’s tone of voice and point users in the direction of their CTA. A Gaga-reat job all around.

8. MeUndies

Best Instagram Bios for Ecommerce Businesses - MeUndies

MeUndies sells what they claim to be the most comfortable underwear in the world. Their branding is fun, bold, and colorful, and they make a point of getting that across in their Instagram bio. 

A clever pun in the first line gets the bio off to a great start and is quickly followed up by a cheeky peach emoji. The heart emoji is in an on-brand color and highlights the fact that a new design is on sale (a common feature of MeUndies). If that weren’t enough, another emoji points users in the direction of the CTA link where users can shop. Peachy. 

9. The Sill

Best Instagram Bios for Ecommerce Businesses - The Sill

The Sill sends indoor potted plants directly to your door. Their offering is all about making your home look great and their branding reflects the elegance plants can add to your home. 

Their Instagram bio drives that brand promise home in the first line. Selling “the best looking plants on the internet” is a bold claim, but it’s the kind of claim that will make users spend time browsing their posts to find out. That’s a win right there.

The Sill also uses a hashtag to let consumers browse user-generated content for added social proof and uses an emoji to break up the copy. A beautiful job all around. 

10. American Giant

Best Instagram Bios for Ecommerce Businesses - MeUndies

American Giant is an American clothing brand that aims to make better clothes right here in the U.S.A. This belief in making better quality products, with better materials, and better techniques is one of its core USPs.

No wonder their tagline is mentioned in the very first line of the bio. They reinforce that tagline with a crystal clear message about making high-quality clothing in the U.S. and back that up with an American flag emoji, in case there was any doubt. 

The bio is topped off with call-to-action encouraging users to create their own content with the brand’s hashtag and a link to their store. 

How to Create the Best Instagram Bio for Your Ecommerce Business

You’ve seen how the biggest brands in the industry do it; now it’s time to create your own. Here are a few tips to help you get it right. 

1. Include a Call to Action

Is it a piece of marketing material if it doesn’t have a call to action? I don’t think so, and your Instagram bio definitely is one. 

Instagram followers shouldn’t land on your profile and ask “now what?” Instead, give them a clear and obvious action to take. It’s even more important on Instagram because your bio is the only place in your profile where you can place an outbound link. Don’t waste it!

Calls to action for E-ommerce brands could be to visit your store, shop your profile or sign up for your email list. You don’t have to stop at one CTA, either. You could recommend users follow your sister brand’s account (like BarkBox), visit your store (Brooklinen), or get in touch with support (The Sill). 

2. Incorporate a Brand Hashtag

Hashtags are a great way to encourage user-generated content (UGC).  Encouraging UGC should be one of your top goals on Instagram. User posts featuring your products are great at generating buzz and providing much-needed social proof

Adding a hashtag also gives consumers a way to quickly search your own and other users’ posts about your brand, which is great for users who aren’t familiar with who you are and what you sell. 

2. Be Creative

Trust me, when you look at dozens of Instagram profiles a day, the creative ones really shine through. The more your bio stands out from the crowd, the more likely users are to stick around, view your posts, and maybe even hit follow. 

It could be how you layout your profile, what you say, how you say it, or the emojis you use. While you should definitely learn lessons from the brands above, please don’t copy them completely. Forge your own path. 3.

3. Show Your Brand’s Personality

One of the best ways to be creative is to let your brand’s personality shine through in your bio. You’ve worked hard to develop your brand’s unique tone of voice, so make sure you use it when crafting your copy. 

It won’t just give new users insight into the kind of brand you are, it will make regular customers feel at home. 

4. Be Concise

You only have 150 characters to work within an Instagram bio, so brevity is essential. Don’t waste time explaining who you are. That’s what your name and profile image are for. The focus should be on the what and the why. 

You need to explain what sets you apart from competitors and what your brand stands for if you want users to hit follow. If it’s not obvious to users, they won’t waste time trying to work you out. 

6. Make It Readable

While you may not have many characters to use in your Instagram bio, you do have plenty of space to play with. Make sure you use it. 

Rather than write two or three sentences in a row (however witty or concise they are), try adding line breaks or emojis into your bio to make it as easy to read as possible.

A bullet point list of short, punchy sentences is much easier to read. Don’t forget to prioritize your layout for mobile devices, either. Very few people, if any, will be looking at your Instagram page on a laptop or desktop computer. 

7. Use Emojis

Emojis are a great hack to make your bio both readable and concise. They may not say one thousand words, but they can save a few dozen characters when used well. 

They are also a great way to break up your copy and help users see what your brand is about. 

Emojis don’t work for every brand, however, especially if you sell serious or business-orientated products. Even brands that don’t rely on humor (like American Giant) can use specific emojis in a subtle way. 

8. Add Keywords

I can feel you raising your eyebrows about using keywords on Instagram, but hear me out. While your profile name and handle help people to find you, Instagram will also use what you write in your bio to determine what your page is about. 

That makes it essential to have your most important keywords in there somewhere. Look at BarkBox, as an example. They have “toys, treats, and chews” in their bio for that reason. Pela Case has “compostable phone case” too.  

The good news is if you create a succinct and concise bio, you’ve probably included keywords already. If not, pick the one or two that are most important and include them in your first line. 

Conclusion

Instagram is probably the most valuable social media platform for E-commerce brands, but bios are regularly left as an afterthought.

Not your brand, though.  

You’ve seen some of the best Instagram bios and understand what features make their bios stand apart from the rest. Now it’s time to craft your own powerful bio that captures users’ attention and directs them to your store. 

Be concise, show your brand’s personality, and don’t forget to include a clear call to action. 

If you need help for developing your social media strategy (and content marketing and SEO), reach out. We can help you!

What steps are you going to take to improve your Instagram bio?

How to Use Paid Ads to Market to Pet Owners Effectively

American pet owners are some of the biggest spenders online, pet food and pet supplies being second only to vitamins for e-commerce. 

Pet owners among biggest spenders online

Online spending for this $70 billion industry is growing year over year.

In fact, direct-to-consumer (DTC) pet brands have exploded in popularity: Over five years, the online pet product sellers saw a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent.

From special-diet foods to raincoats for dogs, desirable pet products can be very specific. Paid ads on search and social let you bid on relevant keywords to hyper-target an audience that perfectly fits your brand.

In this article, I’ll give you nine ways to use paid ads you could effectively market to pet owners.

9 Ways to Target Pet Owners Using Paid Ads

Downtown Pet Supply, an Illinois-based company that makes its own products and sells them both online and in their store, wanted to improve its e-commerce sales and expand customer reach.

They turned to marketing firm Tinuiti (then called CPC Strategy) to help them do that through Amazon. Tinuiti decided to utilize Amazon Coupons targeting pet owners based on their Amazon search histories. 

After one year, Downtown Pet Supply’s revenue increased by 40 percent, and its advertising cost of sale (ACoS) decreased by 18 percent.

That’s the power of using paid ads to target pet owners.

Common Thread Collective reports 13 percent of pet supply sales happen via e-commerce channels—and that’s expected to grow drastically over the next several years. 

Targeting Pet Owners Through Paid Ads - pet owners buy 13 percent of products online

The anticipated increase in e-commerce purchases for pet supplies is largely because of convenience and value. However, shoppers also appreciate being able to find a larger selection and compare prices more easily than in brick-and-mortar stores.

Even for brick-and-mortar establishments, paid ad campaigns can extend customer reach and raise awareness of their brands.

Here are the best ways to harness the power of paid ads to help your company boost revenue.

1. Answer Pet Owners’ Questions

When pet owners go online, they’re looking for a solution to an immediate problem. It may be their pet is sick, and they want to know why. They may need chew toys or a scratching post. Or, they may just be looking for a convenient place to buy everyday pet supplies.

The most common question pet owners ask is, “Why?”

Here are the top 10 questions pet owners ask Google:

Why do dogs:

  1. Lick?
  2. Eat grass?
  3. Eat poop?
  4. Howl?
  5. Hump?
  6. Smell?
  7. Bark?
  8. Shake?
  9. Scratch?
  10. Bite?

Why do cats:

  1. Purr?
  2. Knead?
  3. Lick?
  4. Meow?
  5. Bite?
  6. Rub?
  7. Scratch?
  8. Eat grass?
  9. Sleep so much?
  10. Like boxes?

Each of these questions presents a micro-moment brands can address through ads or content marketing. They also create starting points for keyword research.

2. Use Content Marketing

Typically, your content marketing addresses those micro-moments for your users. Blog posts and articles can answer those health, feeding, grooming, and other questions. 

But, you don’t have to rely solely on SEO to get those posts found. You can also promote your posts through social on platforms you know your audience is using. 

PetPlate, a meal plan subscription service for dogs, created this promoted pin on Pinterest to boost a blog post called “Tips for Welcoming a New Puppy Into Your Home.”

pet owners find brands like PetPlate on social media

By directing users to their blog posts through Pinterest ads, PetPlate not only raises awareness of their brand but sets themselves up as a thought leader in their space.

3. Research Keywords Pet Owners Use

One major benefit of paid ads is the reliability of keywords. With organic search, you’re essentially making a well-researched guess about which keywords will perform.

With paid ads on Google, Facebook, and other platforms, you bid on keywords that already perform. High-performing keywords cost more, but they may not even be the keywords you want.

Instead of getting lost in a sea of ads vying for the most popular keywords, try going after less expensive keywords with lower, but steady performance.

For example, “pet beds” is a generic, popular keyword a lot of companies are bid on. However, if you sell, say, “machine washable cat beds,” consider going after those keywords instead.

Whatever you do, make sure your keywords match your target audience as well as your product or service.

Pro Tip: If you want to direct traffic to your products, insert the word “buy” in front of a keyword. For example, for “pet beds,” try “buy pet beds.”

4. Research Your Social Media Platforms

Millennials are the largest pet-owning demographic in the U.S., according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). 

APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere says, “We know this generation is willing to pay more for quality products and services to improve the health and well-being of their pets. Today more than ever, pet owners view their pets as irreplaceable members of their families and lives, and it’s thanks to this that we continue to see such incredible growth within the pet care community.”

According to a study by online retailer Zulily, 77 percent of millennials prefer to buy certain pet products—toys, accessories, and food—online. However, there are no pet products strictly bought in-store these days, so it’s important to know where you can reach this audience. 

Luckily—or unluckily, depending on how you look at it—”Millennials utilize a diverse range of platforms since many platforms were released while they were growing up. Facebook is the platform that they utilize most frequently, often multiple times a day, followed by YouTube and Instagram,” according to GenGuru.

However, since they grew up as social media started taking steam, they’re also on pretty much every other social media site. Trying out all sorts of new media is normal for them. 

This all means you should not just look at the age group but also try to discover where products like yours fit the best. Then, put your money where it’s more likely to reach your target audience.

5. Use Images or Videos in Pet Ads

Purina wanted to learn if in-stream ads on Facebook could lift brand awareness with mobile users for a new product in their Fancy Feast line of cat food, Fancy Feast Savory Centers.  

In the first phase, they tested a variety of videos for other pet brands they owned, playing with length and messaging. They learned short, clear ads lifted brand recall, video views, purchase intent, and offline sales. 

With that knowledge, they repurposed an existing TV ad for Fancy Feast Savory Centers to a web video. In the process, they shortened it to fewer than 15 seconds and ensured it had a clear message with or without sound. They tested it against the TV ad to see which better raised brand awareness.

Facebook video ad targeting pet owners

They ran the test for six weeks through Facebook In-Stream Reserve, a line of premium ad spots, and found an 11 point lift in brand recall, 12 point lift in brand awareness, 91 percent video completion, and 1.5 percent incremental lift in sales.

You don’t necessarily have to target the most expensive video packages online as Purina did, but video and images can have a big impact on your paid advertising online.

Consider another example.

Below, there are paid ads for pet beds on the left and right sides of the Google search results. On the left are text-only ads, and on the right are Google Shopping Ads that feature images.

Pet owners Google search ad results

Google found 50 percent of online shoppers are more likely to purchase if there’s an image of the product. 

6. Provide a Service

To convert and keep new customers, you have to build relationships with them. Offer something that makes their lives, and the lives of their pets, easier.

If you’re already a service-based brand, that’s pretty easy to do. If you’re product-focused, you can still provide a service.

Let’s take another look at PetPlate.

Their paid ads for their product actually spin it as a service. They provide fresh-cooked food for dogs so owners don’t have to. 

Ad showing product as a service to pet owners

This ad showed how PetPlate could solve a problem for its audience.

7. Target Pet Owners in a Specific a Geographic Area

Brick-and-mortar stores and services might consider targeting a particular geographic area, something that’s very possible with Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms that allow for hyper-targeted advertising.

Of course, veterinarians, groomers, and other service-based businesses can benefit from geo-targeting on social. However, boutiques and small businesses that sell pet food and other supplies shouldn’t overlook the power of location-based social media ads. 

According to Zulily’s study, millennial pet owners prefer to shop for some products in person at smaller, locally owned pet shops. Those products include treats, bedding, and clothing items.

If you want to get super local, check out a social platform made for your area. A commonly-used app, Nextdoor, lets advertisers both pay for ad space and engage with users in their immediate areas.

Nextdoor may be a good choice because they report 45 percent of users have at least one dog and 25 percent have at least one cat. They also note that pets are a regular topic of conversations on their platforms. Why not become part of the conversation with paid ads?

9. Use an Influencer or Celebrity to Target Pet Owners

There are two types of influencers pet brands can go after: Humans and animals. 

There are plenty of human celebrities and influencers across social media who include their pets in their content.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas, for example, regularly feature their dogs Diana, Gino, and Panda on their Instagram accounts.

Pet owners may listen to celebrities who post about pets

The second type of pet influencer is the furry, scaly, and feathery type. Pet influencers, particularly cats and dogs, have a huge presence on virtually all social media platforms.

In fact, pet influencer content has a higher engagement rate than overall global engagement. While cats rule the internet overall, dogs are actually more popular on Instagram.

Ways to Target Pet Owners Using Paid Ads - Pet Influencer Content

There are all kinds of pet celebrities out there, from cats and dogs to pigs and hedgehogs. 

For instance, Waffles the cat is a celebrity on Facebook with 2.4 million followers.

Pet owners may respond well to pet influencers like Waffles the cat

Meanwhile, on Instagram, Tuna the dog commands a following of 2.1 million.

Pet owners may also respond to dog influencers like Tuna

Take a look at your audience and their social media habits. Who are they following? Do they have two legs or four? Then, choose the influencer that best fits your brand and your goals.

Conclusion

Paid ads on search and social media are an effective way to market to pet owners. It gives brands the opportunity to reach very specific audiences for their products and services, and then measure the success of each campaign.

Pet owners spend a lot of money online, and knowing where and how to reach them could help you increase conversion rates to your own pet supply site.

How could paid ads help your pet supply brand? 

7 Instagram Contest Ideas to Grow Brand Awareness

Instagram accounts that hold contests can achieve up to 70% faster follower growth than accounts that don’t hold contests.

If you want a popular Instagram account, coming up with and executing some Instagram contest ideas is a great start.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can use Instagram contests to raise brand awareness for your business.

We’ll also dive into some of the best practices to keep in mind when running your contests.

By the end, you’ll know how to run a successful Instagram contest that will bring your business the attention it deserves.

Why Instagram Contests Are a Good Idea

There are other ways to get more Instagram followers, of course, but few other methods can increase your follower numbers so quickly, and with such minimal effort.

Not only that: Instagram contests can also help you achieve more engagement.

Posts that are related to Instagram contests tend to earn roughly 64x more comments and 3.5x more likes when compared to ‘normal’ content.

instagram contest ideas - driving more engagement

On top of that, 91% of the posts that have achieved 1,000+ comments are contests.

Instagram content ideas - posts with most comments are contests

All of these stats show that running Instagram contests is one of the best ways to improve brand awareness.

If you’re worried about being stuck in a cycle of constantly churning out contests, all in the name of boosting brand awareness, don’t worry; you don’t need to continuously run contests to reap the benefits that good Instagram contest ideas can offer.

That’s because you’ll notice a trickle-down effect on the rest of your normal content as a result of running contests. People will feel a greater affinity toward your brand due to the goodwill you’ve generated with your contests.

As a result, they’ll be more likely to share and engage with your normal content.

Plus, because contests generate more followers, there will naturally be more people exposed to your content. This increases the likelihood that share and engagement levels will be higher than ‘pre-contest levels.

Best Practices for Running Contests on Instagram

Before you run your first contest, you need to be aware of some important best practices. Failure to follow some of these best practices could mean that you’re going against the rules of Instagram.

It could also lead to your contest producing lackluster results, which can amount to a lot of wasted effort.

What are these best practices?

The first is to make sure that you write a clear and detailed description for your contest.

When writing the description for your contest, be sure to cover:

  • What the rules are
  • What people need to do to be eligible
  • Any restrictions on who can enter
  • The prize
  • The deadline
  • When you will announce the winner

Doing things this way makes it easy for you to stay on the right side of the promotion guidelines provided by Instagram.

Instagram contest ideas - promotion guidelines

It is important that you don’t stray from the guidelines, as doing so could put your account at risk.

Here’s a great example of a contest description.

instagram contest ideas - description example (meraki notebook)

They’ve done a good job of making this detailed, so it’s difficult to fit into one image.

Here’s the first part, which helps establish a reason for the competition while also describing what’s on offer.

instagram contest ideas - continuation of description

This second part does a good job of letting people know what they need to do to be eligible to win.

instagram contest ideas - gain an extra entry example

The next bit tells people how they can gain an extra entry. The terms of the contest are clearly shown, while also indicating how the winners of the contest will be announced.

instagram contest idea - terms of the contest

By studying how others are writing their contest descriptions, you’ll learn a lot about what separates a bad description from a good one.

You also need to ensure you’re giving away relevant prizes that your target audience will feel compelled to have.

If you focus on giving away prizes that are relevant to your target audience, your contest will generate better results.

If the products you’re giving away aren’t specific to your target audience, you run the risk of attracting followers that don’t care about your business or the products or services it provides.

In the long term, this arguably does more harm than good.

Such individuals may unfollow your account after a contest, or simply not engage with your profile in the future.

By picking the right prizes, you can reliably attract the right kinds of followers and generate brand awareness among the best demographic for your business.

All of which helps increase the odds of you earning a return-on-investment from your efforts.

As you might have guessed, giving away items of high value tends to produce higher levels of engagement.

The chart below shows that prizes worth $1,000 or more generally achieve 5.8 engagements per 100 followers.

Instagram contest ideas - valuable prizes get more engagement

This figure is quite high when compared to the 1.7 engagements that brands enjoy when they give away prizes worth $99 or less.

If you want to give away a high-value prize, but you don’t have the funds to invest in one, consider arranging a partnership deal with another brand. Provided that you have a large enough follower count, there will be brands that are willing to provide a prize for your contest in exchange for some promotion.

The way you promote the brand that provides the prize should be low-key. In the description of the contest, simply mention that the contest is sponsored by a particular company.

This Instagram post shows how you can pull this off.

instagram contest ideas - sponsored contests

You also need to put some thought into how you’re going to announce the contest.

It’s a good idea to use a custom image within the post that announces the contest.

Here’s an example of how you can do that.

instagram contest ideas - custom image for giveaway posts

As shown above, there’s also the option of adding the terms of the competition to the image, too.

With all of that out of the way, let’s check out some of the contest ideas you can use.

Instagram Contest Idea #1: Tag to Win

The tag-to-win contest idea is nice and straightforward.

All you’re doing is asking people to tag a friend in the comments section so that they can enter the contest, as well, and become eligible to win the prize.

This contest format does a great job of improving your profile’s organic reach.

That’s because once people are tagged by someone, they’ll likely receive a notification.

These people will then check out your profile and potentially become a follower.

They may also tag others. This will create a viral feedback loop, bringing more people into the competition.

To increase the impact of this feedback loop, you can also ask people to follow your account in addition to tagging someone.

Here is an example of a brand that uses this strategy.

instagram contest idea - to enter, tag a friend

If you want to be brave, you can ask people to tag two people. This, again, increases the potential reach of your contest.

The contest below shows how this can be done.

instagram contest ideas - tag two people

Here’s another example.

instagram contest idea - example 2 of tagging 2 friends

Once the competition is over, pick someone at random from the comments section. You can use an automated system to do this so that the contest remains objective.

If one of the entry conditions is to follow your profile, cross-reference the winner’s account with your follower list to make sure that everything is in order.

An alternative take on this format, the ‘nominate a friend to win’ contest, can work equally well.

Instead of asking people to randomly tag someone, you can instead suggest that they tag someone they believe deserves to win.

With this kind of format, the winner of the contest will be the person who has been tagged, and not the person who left the initial comment.

Instagram Contest Idea # 2: Like to Win

With this Instagram contest, you ask people to like your content if they want to enter the contest and have a chance of winning.

You can even use the phrase ‘double-tap to win’ since, on the Instagram app, double-tapping a photo automatically likes it.

There’s also the option of asking people to like your brand on Facebook, making it easy to increase the visibility and, therefore, the impact of your contest.

If you want to boost your follower count, mention that people also need to follow your profile if they want to be eligible to win.

Here’s an example of how that can be done.

instagram contest ideas - example of "like to win"

This profile has used the combination of asking people to follow and like, thereby increasing the potential engagement this contest can produce.

Instagram Contest Idea #3: Selfie Contest

Instagram is arguably the home of selfies, so this kind of contest is a great match for the platform.

It’s a type of contest that works particularly well with products.

With a selfie contest, you ask people to post a picture of themselves while they’re using your product, or with the product somewhere in the background.

This contest format is especially useful for a business because it helps show potential customers how a product can be used. It’s an excellent form of user-generated content.

When writing the description for a selfie contest, create a unique hashtag and then ask people to use this hashtag whenever they post their photos.

You can find the pictures people have uploaded for this contest by searching for the hashtag on Instagram.

At the end of the contest, pick the picture that you think is best.

Make sure that, when you create the rules for a selfie contest, you add that you might use the content at a later date.

User-generated content can provide an excellent source of social proof. Long after the contest is over, you can repost the content that the contest generated.

Here’s an example of how you can do a selfie contest.

instagram contest idea - selfie contest

Similar to the ‘like-to-win’ example from earlier, you can combine the format of the selfie contest with the other contest formats we’ve already covered.

You could mention that people need to like the post that announces the contest as well as posting a selfie.

Instagram Contest Idea #4: Photo Contest

The photo contest is closely related to the selfie contest we just covered.

The difference, however, is that you’re not asking people to take a selfie. Instead, they can take any type of photo they wish.

Like before, you ask people to submit photos using a relevant hashtag that you create.

You then search Instagram using this hashtag so that you can find a winning photo.

With this kind of contest, you don’t always have to offer a physical prize for the winner.

You can just let people know that the prize is that you’ll feature their content on your profile.

Here’s an example of a photo contest of which relates to a Boston News channel.

instagram contest idea - photo contest

Here’s another one from the Empire State Building Instagram account.

instagram contest ideas - example 2 of a photo contest

It may be that you have a product or niche that is perfectly suited to photo contests. GoPro is an example of such a product.

instagram contest ideas - example 3 of photo contest idea

If so, you should place a special focus on running photo contests.

That’s because this format will be especially easy to pull off while also providing you with an abundance of user-generated content that you can feature on your Instagram account.

Instagram Contest Idea # 5: Voting Contest

A voting contest revolves around the following steps:

  1. You ask people to upload a piece of content alongside a designated hashtag. You also ask people to tag your profile in the description.
  2. Your followers then search Instagram using this hashtag and vote for the one that they think is best. The easiest way to collate votes is to ask people to like the photo that they think should be the winner.
  3. The person with the most likes is deemed the winner of the contest.

Here’s an example.

instagram contest idea - voting contest example

This contest format is great at generating engagement because you’re asking people to take a lot of social actions. Plus, the people who enter the contest will promote their own entries through their social channels.

However, you could argue that such a format is potentially asking too much from people.

Because of this, you may want to use this contest format only when you have a highly-engaged audience that cares about your profile and its content.

With that being said, another way you can run this contest is by having people submit photos first, and then only you find them using the assigned hashtag.

Based on what you find, you pick 3-5 finalist images and host them on your own profile.

You then ask your followers to like the one that they think is best, and the photo with the most likes wins.

This approach can help you achieve great results with a voting contest without asking too much of your followers.

Here’s an example of a profile that is doing something similar, but instead asking people to submit the photos to the host’s account directly.

instagram contest idea - voting contest example 2

Here’s a bit more context.

instagram contest ideas - voting contest example rules

Here’s an example of how someone might post their own content in the hopes of obtaining a vote.

instagram contest ideas - voting contest, example 3

When running this kind of competition, you can also ask people to post their contest content to Facebook, as well.

Then you can count the likes that people have gathered on that platform and combine them with what they’ve achieved on Instagram.

Doing things this way can help expand the reach of your contest, improving your ability to generate brand awareness.

Instagram Contest Idea # 6: Caption Contest

A caption contest is a contest in which you ask people to caption a photo that you’ve uploaded.

From that point, you can either:

  1. Pick the best caption using your own judgment, or
  2. Tell others to like the best caption.

The caption with the most likes is the winner.

While the second option can be a good way to engage your audience, the first option can help prevent people from artificially inflating their likes.

Here’s an example of a caption contest:

instagram contest ideas - example caption contest

You may want to edit the image you use to announce the contest so that it highlights the fact that you’re in need of a caption.

instagram contest ideas - caption context example 2

The speech bubbles in the above post are a good example of how this can be done.

Instagram Contest Idea # 7: Challenge Contest

If you’re in a position where you need to put together a contest in a short amount of time, a challenge contest can work wonders.

With this contest format, you just need to come up with a simple challenge for people to meet, and the person who solves the challenge wins.

The challenge doesn’t need to be complex. In fact, simpler contests generally draw more social engagement and participation.

The post below shows how this can be done.

Instagram contest ideas - challenge contest

All that’s being asked of in this contest is that people guess which number the account owner is thinking of.

It’s simple and fun. The spontaneous feel helps to increase the authenticity of the profile, too, which helps boost long-term engagement.

Here’s another example, this time using a ‘guess the marbles’ challenge.

instagram contest ideas - challenge context example 2

This contest format is simple and low-effort, making it a good choice for anyone who is new to running contests on Instagram.

Conclusion

You should now understand how to use Instagram contests to grow brand awareness.

As soon as you run your first contest, you’ll find that the whole process is a lot of fun. It’s also probably much easier than you expected.

Decide on a contest theme, create the rules, and establish a dedicated hashtag. Increase user engagement by cross-posting the contest on Facebook.

If you’re feeling nervous about setting up your first Instagram contest, get in touch and we can help you strategize (and assist you with your other digital marketing efforts).

If you can encourage people to invite their friends to participate in the contest, do so. The more people who see your contest and content, the better.

Do you have any tips related to running Instagram contests?

Why Presentation Skills Are Important in Marketing

What does it take to be a successful marketer?

Turns out we don’t have to guess because someone’s already done the research. Fractl used IBM’s Watson Personality Insights API from 2019 to pick out the key traits and characteristics of 20 of the world’s most prominent marketing leaders (I even made the list!).

According to the study, the No. 1 trait shared by marketing leaders is adventurousness, followed by high energy levels, assertiveness, and intelligence.

presentation skills compared to other skills

One interesting thing about this is that you’d also find a lot of those traits in people with exceptional presentation skills.

To put yourself out there and present to a room full of people, you need to be at least a little adventurous. If you’re not a high-energy person, you’ll find it hard to keep people engaged. If you’re not assertive, you’ll struggle to communicate your points effectively. The list goes on.

That’s not a coincidence. To make it as a marketer, excellent presentation skills are pretty much nonnegotiable.

3 Reasons Presentation Skills Are Important in Marketing

In a way, marketing is one big presentation. When we write a blog post or appear on a podcast, we’re presenting. When we research our audience, we’re trying to understand better what they want to see and learn from our presentations.

In other words, strong presentation skills underlie pretty much every aspect of marketing. If you can deliver an incredible presentation, you can:

1. Having Good Presentation Skills Drive Trust in Your Brand

What makes people trust brands? According to a global survey from PR and marketing consultancy Edelman, it boils down to three key factors:

  1. Product experience: The most important factor, 87 percent of respondents cited their experience with a product as a reason to trust a brand.
  2. Customer experience: 56 percent of consumers said their own experiences with a brand play an important part in building trust.
  3. Societal impact: 38 percent of consumers believe a brand’s impact on society is an important factor in assessing its trustworthiness.

However, an even more crucial point underpins all of this. Without strong presentation skills, potential customers aren’t going to know about any of those things!

If you don’t tout the quality of your product, or highlight your superb reviews and testimonials, or demonstrate your commitment to making the world a better place, how will anyone know whether they can trust you?

2. Presentation Skills Help Create Brand Awareness

Ever wondered why personal social media accounts get better engagement than brand accounts? Because it’s easier to sell a person than a brand.

That’s why speaking at conferences, networking meetups, and other events can be such a useful tool for building brand awareness. It puts a human face on your brand, which instantly makes you more recognizable, relatable, and memorable. That’s why for many of us, when we hear the words Apple, Microsoft, or Tesla, we immediately think of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk.

3. Use Your Presentation Skills to Drive Sales

Your presentation skills can be one of the biggest weapons in your armory when it comes to selling your product.

According to a study from Chief Marketer, live events are the second-biggest source of B2B leads, and also generate the second-highest ROI of any sales channel.

presentation skills - top sources of leads and ROI

Granted, not all those respondents would have been guest speakers at those events, but to generate leads, they would have absolutely been speaking to prospects at their display stands, during networking sessions, and even while queuing to buy a hot dog or coffee. Their one-on-one presentation skills were crucial to breaking the ice with those leads.

How to Develop Your Marketing Presentation Skills

By this point, you hopefully agree with me that presentation skills are essential for modern marketers. Now, let’s take a look at how to hone those skills to meet your marketing objectives.

1. Set Goals for Developing Your Presentation Skills

If I told you to write me a blog right now, you’d likely find it pretty tough. After all, I’ve not given you any information. You don’t have a theme, or a title, or even an audience. In short, there’s no way of knowing what I’m looking for, so you can’t gauge what success looks like.

Alternatively, if I told you to write a blog about this year’s biggest trends in SEO, aimed at marketing leaders for SaaS startups, you’d have a much clearer idea of how to proceed.

The same thing is true for developing your presentation skills. Start by defining exactly what you want to achieve, such as:

  • becoming a better (or first-time) conference speaker
  • delivering more impactful training sessions
  • speaking more persuasively to leads
  • engaging potential prospects at the top of the sales funnel
  • honing your pitch presentations

Also, give yourself a deadline. Rather than generally building up your presentation skills, commit to improving your public speaking in time for a specific conference or networking event. Sign up as a speaker early; that way, you’re completely accountable for following through with your plans.

2. Research Your Audience

As well as simply “doing more of it,” there’s another extremely effective way to help you feel more confident about speaking in front of an audience: Do your research.

When you think about it, imposter syndrome is another big reason people shy away from public speaking. We worry we’ll be exposed as frauds and charlatans who don’t know what we’re talking about.

Thoroughly researching your audience will help guard against that feeling. When you know exactly who you’re talking to, it becomes much simpler to build an effective presentation.

If I’m speaking to a room of NASA engineers, I’m not going to tell them how to build a better rocket. I can’t tell them anything they don’t already know (and most of what I say would likely be wildly inaccurate).

However, I almost certainly know more about marketing than them. Maybe I’d tell them how, by sharing snippets of their work through their personal social profiles, they can build awareness and interest in what they do, which in turn, might persuade politicians that increased federal funding for NASA would be a real vote-winner. With that increased funding, they can go away and build better rockets.

With that in mind, before you start working on your next presentation, ask yourself the following questions about your audience:

  • How old are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • What jobs do they do?
  • Who do they work for?
  • How experienced are they?
  • What are their pain points?

The idea here is to identify the “thing” you know that’s of most value to your audience. The more you can niche down, the better. If you can’t answer some of those questions, speak to the event organizers; they should be able to help.

3. Incorporate Humor and Stories

Throughout human history, storytelling has been one of our most effective tools for influencing, inspiring, and teaching one another.

Paul Smith, author of “Lead With a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire,” put it better than me when he wrote:

In any group, roughly 40 percent will be predominantly visual learners who learn best from videos, diagrams, or illustrations. Another 40 percent will be auditory, learning best through lectures and discussions. The remaining 20 percent are kinesthetic learners, who learn best by doing, experiencing, or feeling.

Storytelling has aspects that work for all three types. Visual learners appreciate the mental pictures storytelling evokes. Auditory learners focus on the words and the storyteller’s voice. Kinesthetic learners remember the emotional connections and feelings from the story.

With that in mind, another key way to improve your presentation skills is to work on your storytelling. Don’t just tell your audience how a certain tactic can get them more sales; give them specific, real-world examples that help them relate your advice to their own circumstances.

Also, don’t overlook the power of humor to engage an audience. As the British comedian John Cleese said:

If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth.

I’m not suggesting you go away and write a 30-minute standup set, but if you can drop a couple one-liners here and there, it can go a long way to getting your audience on your side.

4. Practice in Front of an Audience

Glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, is a common complaint. One much-quoted (and very old) Gallup survey claims it’s the second-most prevalent fear in Americans, affecting 40 percent of respondents.

presentation skills - fear of public speaking

Clearly, it’s not the “speaking” element that puts us on edge. It’s the idea of doing it in front of an audience. What if we make fools of ourselves, or say the wrong thing and get booed off stage?

Painful as it might sound, in my experience, the best way to overcome this is to seek out opportunities to speak in front of an audience. This can be in your professional or personal lives. It can be as simple as saying a few words at family gatherings or giving small presentations to your team at work.

Use Your Presentation Skills: 5 Tips for an Effective Marketing Presentation

You’ve set goals for improving your presentation skills, done your research, crafted a handful of engaging anecdotes, and practiced in front of an audience. Now, it’s time to weave all those things together to create a killer marketing presentation. Bear these five tips in mind while you’re doing it:

1. Start Strong

According to one study, you’ve only got 30 seconds before your audience’s attention starts to lapse. That means you need a strong start to persuade them you’re worth listening to. Lead with your most eye-catching statistic, your best joke, or your punchiest anecdote, and keep it short. On average, we speak at up to 130 words per minute, so that only gives you a maximum of 65 words to play with.

2. Make a Good First Impression

Presentation skills aren’t just about what you say. They’re also about how people perceive you.

A study at California State University, Northridge, found students followed instructions far more accurately when those instructions were given by someone who was dressed casually rather than professionally.

Why did this happen? One interpretation from the study’s authors is that the students responded better to someone dressed similarly to them:

Perhaps the participants in our study felt that they were better able to relate to the experimenter in the casual-dress condition, thereby lowering their anxiety and increasing their ability to follow directions correctly.

In short, there’s no such thing as a right or wrong way to look or dress for a presentation. Rather, we should reflect our audience.

3. Come Prepared

Don’t kid yourself it’ll “be alright on the night.” If you don’t prepare properly, it won’t!

Figure out what works best for you by running through your presentation multiple times. Do you find it easiest to work off cue cards? Do you need visual aids? Or is it better for you to run lines until you’ve memorized your presentation word for word?

4. Ask Questions

There’s no better way to guarantee people are paying attention than to ask regular questions throughout your speech!

This isn’t about putting people on the spot. Instead, it’s about turning your presentation from a one-way narrative to a two-way conversation.

Say you’re giving advice on tackling a specific problem. Ask how many people had experienced that problem, when they first noticed it, and why they’re so keen to fix it.

5. Back Your Claims

There are very few instances in which you shouldn’t be supporting your claims with real evidence. Even if you’re giving your personal opinion on a topic, those opinions should be backed with actual data from reputable sources.

If I’m telling you that Facebook is the best platform to grow your business, you likely wouldn’t just take my word for it. You’d want to hear evidence about Facebook’s audience, the effectiveness of advertising on the platform, and how much it’ll cost.

Conclusion

No one is born with incredible presentation skills; not even Steve Jobs.

Sure, some of us are more confident than others at talking to an audience and getting our points across effectively. However, it takes work; and if honing your presentation skills is taking you away from other important work, like content marketing or SEO, our agency is here to help.

The good news is the harder you work at it, the more confident you’ll feel, and the better your presentation skills will become. It’s a virtuous circle!

What tips have you used to level up your marketing presentation skills?

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