Tag Archive | "Relationships"

Critical tips for navigating difficult client relationships

Dealing with a challenging PPC client? Columnist Jeff Baum explores some tips for reducing client frustration and fostering trust so that you can focus on what really matters: driving results.

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SearchCap: AMP data, agency relationships & hip hop Doodles

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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8 Calls to Action that Initiate New Relationships with Customers and Collaborators

"Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business." – Stefanie Flaxman

I know. I know. I know.

“Viral” is an actual term people use to describe wildly popular content that has spread across a variety of distribution channels, landing in our Twitter feeds, Apple News updates, text messages, and emails from Uncle Sue.

But I still don’t like the word.

When “going viral” is a goal for a piece of content, it puts me a little on edge.

Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business.

Business success without “going viral”

I understand it’s frustrating if no one knows about your products or services. That’s why you want a lot of people to see your work.

But sustainable success stems from your dedication to produce one great line at a time and consistently publish your content. One article/podcast episode/video is not going to change everything.

Plus:

Many smart content moves have nothing to do with a piece of content “going viral” and don’t depend on a massive amount of views.

So, stop putting pressure on yourself. “Viral” doesn’t need to be your goal.

Let’s talk about what you can do right now to initiate new relationships with the customers and collaborators who will help build your business.

1. Ask for comments and suggestions

I always talk about crafting a thoughtful presentation, but individual pieces of content are not definitive articles on a topic — nor should they be.

While you want to thoroughly express your message, an exhaustive guide that tries to tackle the subject from every angle is tedious to read. It’s also futile — there’s always going to be some other point of view you didn’t consider.

Instead, publish your useful material and invite your audience to contribute their thoughts.

For example, my article last week about proofreading pointers didn’t explain every possible proofreading technique. I provided the top three tips I frequently use, and then readers added the methods that work for them in the comments.

The content opened up a discussion that encouraged people to participate. Readers, viewers, and listeners who become personally invested in your content are the ones who stick around and want to hear more from you over time.

2. Spark new social media conversations

When you optimize your content for social media sites, you don’t just increase your chances of getting clicks to your website from your existing followers.

Interesting conversations about your content on social media will attract people who have never come across your work before.

This is good, old-fashioned word of mouth that happens organically after you’ve done something remarkable.

And rather than just blatantly promoting a piece of content, see how you can initiate meaningful interactions that draw people back to your website to find out more.

For example, an intriguing photo on Instagram could spark comments, shares, and likes, as well as prompt viewers to read the blog post or listen to the podcast episode that gives the photo context.

3. Pull in audiences from different platforms

I regularly drool over the short and entertaining food-preparation videos on the AnarchistKitchen YouTube channel.

But do you know what the videos don’t provide?

The recipes for the mouth-watering food.

To get the recipes, you have to go to their blog. The videos capture the attention of people who may have not otherwise known about their website (like me).

Next week, Jerod is going to talk more about ways to distribute your best ideas on different platforms.

4. Offer a shareable summary

No one wants to be that person who bores all their friends with their latest obsession — whether it’s a blog, book, or beverage.

But the desire to share something new that you love is understandable.

So, how do we convert our friends in a non-pushy way?

It’s a lot easier if you have a sample of a blog, book, or beverage recipe that others can browse on their own terms rather than hearing all the benefits from you.

Content marketers can create mini packages for their audience members to share with their friends.

For example, you could offer a beautiful PDF as a free download that summarizes who your site is for and how you help them, with some snippets of particularly useful advice. You’d then encourage your visitors to share the PDF rather than just share your website link.

It’s a more direct way to show what you’re all about, rather than hope a first-time visitor immediately clicks on the most engaging parts of your website.

5. Take the first step

Let’s say you meet someone in person, talk about a potential business collaboration, and exchange contact information.

What if you took the first step needed to make that collaboration happen before you contact them?

You could write the guest blog post for their site that you mentioned, outline a podcast interview, or draft the budget for the video series you discussed.

The work that you perform upfront could be the push the project needs to get off the ground faster, so consider initiating it rather than merely sending a follow-up email with pleasantries or questions.

6. Build your email list when you host live events

Live events don’t have to be elaborate, expensive productions.

I’m talking about having a booth at a local fair, giving a seminar at a bookstore, or teaching a workshop at a community center.

Or maybe live events, such as yoga classes, are your business.

People who have terrific experiences will want to know how to keep in contact with you so they don’t miss anything else you offer.

Encourage your guests, visitors, or students to sign up for your email list.

I’m very (very, very) picky about where I share my email address. The only time I have signed up to be on an email list in recent history was after I had such a great time at an event that I wanted to keep in touch with the organizer.

7. Describe your products or services

If you’re not sure when to mention your business in a piece of content, ask yourself:

Would someone who benefits from this free content get even more help with one of my products or services?

Then you can find ways to show how your paid solution would be a good fit for your reader.

For example, a locksmith might write an article about what to do if your key breaks off in your lock.

The content could outline steps to fix the problem, but many people who find it are going to need immediate help. The company should include a call to action so local searchers know how to get in contact with a locksmith who can help them.

You won’t necessarily mention your products or services in every piece of content you create, but you also can’t assume your audience knows you offer something they need. Potential customers need to be absolutely clear how they can move forward with what you have to offer.

8. Provide a special recipe

Content that makes an impact on someone’s life is the type that gets shared.

As Sonia has said:

“Make your advertising too valuable to throw away.”

Use tutorial content to educate your prospects about specific ways to use your product. They’ll be empowered to apply what they learn to get the results they desire.

I was recently reminded of this technique when I bought a package of rosemary that said “Try the recipe inside!”

If I make the rosemary roasted potatoes from the package and share the food with dinner guests, they could potentially ask for the recipe and buy that brand of rosemary as well.

What do you think about viral content?

Let us know how you form individual connections with potential customers or collaborators.

Is “going viral” a major goal (or secret wish) every time you publish content?

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How to Build Relationships with Online Influencers (Without the Awkward)

"There is only one reason you should initiate a relationship with a content publisher — you genuinely enjoy their work." – Sonia Simone

We’ve been telling you there’s no great secret to search optimization, but that’s kind of a lie, isn’t it?

There is one not-so-secret ingredient that makes SEO work. It also makes social sharing work. Referrals, too.

I won’t be mysterious about it — it’s links. Links make the web go around. They’re why it’s called a web in the first place.

When good websites link to you, those links are votes of confidence. Get enough votes and you win.

The hard part? Getting enough of the right links, from the right people. To do that, you need two things:

  1. Great stuff to link to
  2. Relationships with solid web publishers

We hammer you endlessly with advice on #1. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about #2.

The most valuable asset you have

When you’re online, publishing content and interacting with your fellow humans, you develop a collection of what we can call assets.

You have a website, hopefully on your own domain. You probably have some social media accounts. An email list is invaluable. You might have a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel.

But there’s one asset that’s more valuable than any of those — your reputation.

Do people know who you are? And if they do, do they want to spend more time with you?

If the answer to either question is largely No, you have a problem.

Reputations are built with content, but maintained with relationships. If you publish good work and you are a good, honorable, and trustworthy human being, your reputation will grow.

But before you can have relationships, you have to get connected in the first place.

Who are your content crushes?

There is only one reason you should initiate a relationship with a content publisher — you genuinely enjoy their work.

Don’t try to connect with web publishers because they have giant audiences or massive influence. Connect with the ones you have a “content crush” on — the ones building something you find exciting and juicy.

Some of these folks will probably have large audiences, because exciting work tends to attract a crowd. Some will have tiny audiences. Some have sites that are growing. Some have sites that are more active or less active.

You’re not going to try to become these folks. That would be weird and insulting. But you might try to find a place for yourself in their ecosystem.

What is it about their work that turns you on? Is it their values? Their approach to the topic? Their voice? Some combination of all of those?

When you take in a lot of exciting work, your own work becomes more exciting. Not because you’re copying, but because you’re inspired by different approaches to your subject.

Don’t suck up — just be nice

If your content crushes are decent human beings, they’re going to be a bit weirded out if you immediately head over to their site and start “squeeing all over your shoes,” to use Pace Smith’s fine phrase.

People who make content share all of the insecurities, preoccupations, and problems any of us have. Good people don’t like to be treated like deities.

So instead of making your content crushes into gods, geek out with them over your topic.

The subjects we write about make dandy subjects for good conversations. Talk about their post structure, the visual detail of those YouTube tutorials, or the epic over-the-topness of that last rant.

When you talk about the work, it’s interesting. When you talk about the topic, it’s engaging. When you talk about how awesome and amazing and godlike the person is, it’s just awkward.

We’ve all done the awkward squee thing. I certainly have. Try not to be embarrassed about what you might have done in the past — just move forward with a different approach in mind.

Find teachers

One thing about our content crushes is that a lot of them teach, either part-time or full-time.

Maybe they’re running a workshop or speaking at a conference. You won’t be able to make every one, but I bet you can make one or two a year. Meeting people in real life makes an impression that can’t be duplicated online, as much as I might love my cozy digital reality.

But we’re digital denizens, and online connections are an important part of how we connect. See if your content crush offers online classes somewhere. If they do, try to attend. You’ll get a much closer look at why their work looks like it does … and it can be a great place to share your own experience, to polish your craft, and maybe even show off a little.

Seek social playgrounds

As a writer, I admire the evocative, nimble, and hilarious writing of Gary Shteyngart.

I also admire Salman Rushdie’s multilayered verbal embroidery.

And one memorable afternoon on Twitter, I got to watch the pair of them play a game of writing handball, tossing tweets back and forth in a dizzying rush, playing with language at a sublime level.

Oh yeah, I fangirled. (Quietly.)

Social media sites make marvelous playgrounds for creative folks. Lots of writers love the compression and immediacy of Twitter. Visual artists naturally make homes on Pinterest and Instagram, but don’t overlook a more niche playground like Sktchy.

And good old Facebook has thriving groups for nearly any endeavor you can think of, from Activism to Zentangle.

Where do your content crushes go to play? You can go there, too. Often, you can even play in the same sandbox. Maybe you’ll make a connection with your content crush, and maybe you won’t. Either way, you’ll expand your ecosystem and find other rich relationships.

Which brings us to an important point:

An ecosystem is not made of two people

“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.” – playwright Wilson Mizner

If you have a secret fantasy of you and your content crush sailing off into the sunset together, I won’t judge you. We’ve all been there.

But trying to connect only with that person, and ignoring everyone else in the room, is obnoxious. As you work on building relationships with your content crushes, you’re also building relationships with all the other folks in the ecosystem — and that’s often where you find the greatest value.

  • You’re connecting with their support teams. (Do not underestimate the value of this.)
  • You’re connecting with other students.
  • You’re connecting with the other writers or experts they work with.

Maybe you aren’t a brilliant expert in your own right … yet. That’s fine. Getting really good at your chosen content form is a matter of lots of deliberate practice.

Working (and playing) within a creative ecosystem makes that practice a lot more deliberate, and a lot more inspired. And as you grow, you’ll meet other folks to share your obsessions with. The relationships with those folks are part of your wealth.

Avoid these relationship killers

I would think all of these would go without saying, but … I have to tell you, people surprise me every day.

Relationships take time to build, but they can collapse in an instant. Wise relationship habits will help you keep the friendships that you form.

  • If someone in your ecosystem does something that bugs you, bring it up with them privately rather than bitching about it on Twitter.
  • Also avoid “Vaguebooking” — complaining on Facebook without naming names.
  • When you do get the chance to work with folks, meet your deadlines and keep your promises.
  • Don’t offer other sites second-rate work. Publish excellent material, everywhere you publish.
  • Don’t gossip. Trust me, it always, always gets back to the person you’re trashing.
  • If you do or say something that isn’t great (it happens), be brave, own up to it, and do what you can to make it right. Hiding from your mistakes just makes them worse.

You already know all of this, I’m sure, but reminders can be useful. :)

Circling back to SEO

So — now that you have a rich ecosystem of friends, acquaintances, and connections who are publishing content about your subject, you’ll just email them 10 or 15 times a week asking for links, right?

Yeah, you know that’s not the answer.

I don’t think you have to wait around hoping your content masterpiece will get noticed. But not everything you create is a masterpiece, either.

It’s fine to let your ecosystem know what you’re working on. It’s fine to point people to your content, as long as that isn’t all you do. You don’t want to be a self-promotional boor, but you also don’t want to be so polite that no one has the faintest idea what you do. Keep it balanced.

Remember, relationships are wonderful, but they’re just one side of the equation. If you don’t have something on your own site that’s truly worth linking to, you won’t get good links.

No one understands how to do this quite like Copyblogger’s founder, Brian Clark. And he’s going to be writing more specifically about exactly that on Monday. So stay tuned …

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The 6-Step Process to Building Better Relationships With a Data-Driven Approach to Outreach

golden retriever puppy running alongside an English bulldog

Outreach is the art of connecting with bloggers or authors and building relationships through social media, email, or other online channels.

It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

Earlier this year, I spoke about this topic at Authority Intensive, sharing the insights I learned while down in the trenches — building outreach teams from scratch, and seeing them lose opportunities to gain substantial visibility because of a lack of data-driven research and improper targeting.

Truly effective outreach is based upon deep research, relationship-building skills, and a fundamental understanding of SEO

To form the relationships you want, you need to customize each outreach campaign.

Unfortunately, outreach campaigns often fail when content marketers only perform surface-level research.

Here are six essential tips for conducting thorough outreach research that creates a foundation for ongoing, strong relationships.

1. Review outreach fundamentals

Data-driven research helps you identify relationships that are mutually beneficial.

There are several consistent, fundamental components of outreach execution:

  • Time
  • Data
  • Conversations
  • Relationship Maintenance
  • Value-Add

But one element is especially easy to neglect: Using data to hyper-target potential relationships.

When you perform outreach correctly, you form a mutually beneficial relationship.

2. Assess your value-add

The first question you should ask yourself when working on outreach is: “What’s your value-add?”

Notice the phrase “your value-add” rather than “their value-add.” This slight mental shift is an extremely important part of outreach.

You need to offer valuable information, including, but not limited to:

  • Original data and studies. Provide proprietary industry or consumer data, or studies in the form of stand-alone content.
  • Unique expertise. How can you help through Q&A sessions, live blogging, interviews, etc?
  • Exclusive resources. To appeal to a publisher or blogger, offer an information page that complements their research or interests.
  • Supplementary help. To initiate a relationship, present the assets you can contribute other than content.

3. Identify potential relationships

I heard somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. I find it extremely comforting that we’re so closely connected.

But building meaningful connections is not easy. You have to find the right six people to make the right connections.

Some teams fail because they search Google to find relevant publishers or bloggers — that’s basically busy work.

The best place to start is with the actual data from your website or your client’s website. Review:

  • Backlinks and mentions. Backlinks help you find authors or publishers who have covered you in the past. Mentions reveal discussions about your brand.
  • Competitors’ backlinks. Take advantage of tools like Majestic SEO to dig through their backlinks and mentions. Since you have similar audiences, use these sources to create a list of publishers or bloggers to contact.

Once you have a list of author and publisher websites, you should also mine:

  • Backlinks of the publishers’ websites. This will help you identify who shares their content.
  • Backlinks of those backlinks. This will help you identify their extended audience.
  • Authority metrics on the publications. Determine domain authority, citation trust, and citation flow scores of both small and large websites to help you decide who to work with.

The goal at this point is to make a large list that you can whittle down with the tools listed at the end of this post.

4. Learn about authors

Notice I wrote “authors” — not publishers, not the editorial staff. Authors.

Since you’re going to build relationships with authors, take time to understand them. Find out:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • Where did they go to school?
  • Where do they write?
  • What topics do they love to cover?
  • What are their interests outside of their industries?
  • Are they active on one particular network over another?
  • What are their temperaments?
  • What topics or brands do they love or hate?
  • How well does their content perform socially and organically?

In the screenshot below, I’ve pulled an example that shows basic data about an author who writes for The Next Web. You see URLs of posts he wrote for the specific publication, social metrics, and organic metrics, such as number of referring domains and backlinks.

Author Data Example

The data gives an overall view of whether or not the content performed well, or if specific topics resonated with the audience. Next, I usually check out comment engagement.

There are multiple tools that you can use to aggregate this information. BuzzSumo has quickly become my favorite tool because it allows you to view metrics and segment your search by types of content, specific authors, or URLs.

BuzzSumo Search

BuzzSumo also allows you to view metrics about other posts from that author, and SharedCount is a tool that quickly pulls social metrics. I use Majestic SEO to pull backlinks and referring domains.

BuzzSumo Authors

5. Make your cold market warm

Relationships always start out cold, but that doesn’t mean they can’t quickly become lukewarm with a little bit of effort.

You can find ways to genuinely connect with different authors, even if you don’t have any type of potential collaboration in mind.

Focus on building relationships that are both personal and professional:

  • Connect through social networks and blog post comments.
  • Share their content that you find interesting.
  • Talk about non-business topics.
  • Meet in real life at a conference or event — just make plans ahead of time so you are not relying on happenstance.

6. Drive success

Once you collaborate on a project with a particular author or publisher, your job isn’t done. Contribute to the success of the content.

Different techniques and strategies depend on individual situations, but here are a few examples.

Share across relevant networks

Find specific communities interested in the content produced from your collaboration. Do you know other authors who may want to share the content?

An author may find it useful to reference your research in an upcoming blog post or in a round-up post she shares with her audience or email list.

Paid social

You can boost a post on Facebook after you share the link. It’s inexpensive, and it helps get more eyeballs on the post, which can also result in more shares or organic links. 

Below is a screenshot of an example from one of my own previous local campaigns.

Facebook Boost Example

Discuss future collaborations

Suggest other ways you may be able to contribute content. When you provide unique value as an expert on a topic, you help the author with his or her editorial calendar.

What not to do

Relationships are delicate, so I’m going to arm you with several crucial tips to make sure you keep your relationships strong:

Don’t ask for multiple links

Some authors work for publications that have strict guidelines regarding links in content or author bios. Be respectful of that. Links should provide extra value and, of course, be relevant to the content.

Don’t cut off communication

Avoid a “said it and forget it” relationship. Remember what I said about building a personal and professional relationship. Treat it as such, and don’t neglect or end a relationship after a promise has been delivered.

Don’t offer multiple publishers the same article

This should be self-explanatory, especially if you promised exclusive content. Be careful not to break trust.

Don’t assume you know their audience

If there’s anything authors or publications hate, it’s having an outside party claim that their own content is perfect for a publication’s audience. If appropriate, reference other posts on their website that are similar to your proposed topic, but make sure you let them decide whether or not it’s the right fit.

Tool recommendations

I am a tool freak. I use a lot of them.

For the sake of not overwhelming you, I’ll share some of the key tools I use when putting together outreach research:

  • Majestic SEO — backlinks, backlink volume and metrics, mentions, and topical exploration.
  • NerdyData — a source code search engine that is limited without a paid subscription, but fun for sleuthing backlinks and mentions.
  • Open Site Explorer — backlink and mention exploration tools.
  • SharedCount — a free way to pull social metrics on bulk URLs.
  • BuzzSumo — social metrics for content and author sleuthing.
  • BuzzStream — an outlet for relationship building and PR.
  • Meshfire — tracks conversations and recommends who to follow and engage with to broaden your social relationships and opportunities.

[Editor's note: And don't forget, Scribe allows you to do in-depth keyword and social research right from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard.]

As a bonus, I’ve also put together an outreach research spreadsheet you can duplicate. 

It’s not an extensive tracking system, but it’s a great starting place that you can customize as you perform your own outreach research.

Over to you …

Have your current outreach techniques produced successes or failures?

How do you ensure that your relationships are mutually beneficial?

Let’s go over to Google+ and continue the discussion!

Editor’s note: If you found this post useful, we recommend that you also check out 5 Ways Listening to Community Data Can Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy by Shannon Byrne.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Douglas Sprott.

About the Author: Selena’s (caffeine induced) data-driven research and diverse execution experience allows her to create custom organic search strategies to help clients reach their goals. You can find her speaking at conferences, training, advising businesses, or focusing on SEO strategy consulting, content strategy, and social activation for events with her company, Orthris. You can contact her through her personal website, or via @selenavidya on Twitter.

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Why Savvy Marketers Build Affiliate Relationships with Bloggers

Having bloggers on your marketing team can keep your content flowing, but there are limits to their reach in terms audience perception.

Watch this interview from the MarketingSherpa Media Center at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition with Carolyn Kmet, Chief Marketing Officer, All Inclusive Marketing, to learn more about how recruiting bloggers as affiliates can expose your brand to fresh new audiences.

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How To Leverage the Science of Relationships to Gain True Influence

Image of Vintage Laboratory Equipment

If you define influence by the size of your Klout score, you can stop reading this right now.

If you believe influence is driven by the creation of a relationship between two parties, where one sees the other as truly knowledgeable about a particular product or service, then let’s talk about the science behind that influence.

Establishing influence is a multi-step process that moves the influenced through four key stages.

They move from awareness of the influencer, to knowing the influencer, to liking the influencer and finally finishing with preference for the influencer’s advice and counsel.

And, as an influencer, you’re going to earn your long-term living in that last stage of the relationship.

But you’re not going to get there by simply writing or talking about a particular subject matter. Instead, you need a strategic plan anchored in real science.

The law of propinquity

The law of propinquity states that the greater the physical (or psychological) proximity between people, the greater the chance that they will form friendships or romantic relationships.

The theory was first crafted by psychologists Leon Festinger, Stanley Schachter, and Kurt Back in what came to be called the Westgate studies conducted at MIT.

In the study, the strongest friendships developed between students who lived next to each other on the same floor, or between students who lived on different floors, if one of those students lived near the stairways.

In non-scientific terms, the Westgate Studies found that the frequency of contact between students was a strong indicator of future friendship formation.

The propinquity effect

There are two dimensions to propinquity, and they play different roles in marketing strategy.

There is physical propinquity and psychological propinquity. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on psychological propinquity, as it most directly relates to creating influence through content creation.

Propinquity theory tells us that the more often people see your content, the better they get to know you. This makes sense. Each time someone is exposed to your content, they are interacting with you, your thoughts and beliefs. This leads to a feeling of knowing you, because it mirrors how we get to know people in the real world.

Repeated exposure to your content moves them from simply knowing you to actually liking you. Again, this mirrors the making friends context we’re all familiar with in the offline world.

The more we interact with people we know, the more we tend to like them — which has been repeatedly proven in numerous studies of romantic relationship formation.

Because they like you, they consume more of your content. As they do, a portion of the audience will find a common ground with your beliefs. This intersection of your beliefs, interests, or personality and your audience’s creates Psychological Propinquity. And that is what leads to preference and influence.

Know. Like. Trust.

An important note: studies also showed that being a jerk invalidates the propinquity effect. If research subjects didn’t like an initial interaction with a person, subsequent interactions didn’t lead the subjects to change their mind and begin liking the person.

Creating propinquity

Because of the power of propinquity to create influence, it’s not something you want to leave to chance.

Instead, strategically map out a propinquity platform and then fill that platform with high-quality content. The process of creating a propinquity platform is a bit too complex for a single post, but here are four steps that you can use to begin the process today.

  1. Catalog all the places your desired audience turns to for information — specifically information associated with the product or service you sell. If you’re paying attention to your audience’s world, this should be a fairly easy exercise and produce a list of obvious online and offline media, conference, and trade-show options.
  2. Begin finding those platforms that you’re not familiar with yet. Use a keyword generator tool to find the terms your audience uses to seek out relevant information. Then conduct searches on Google using those terms. Visit the sites you find on the first couple of pages and look for signs of active communities of readers.
  3. Listen to your desired audience on social media channels — Twitter makes this especially easy. Specifically, you’re looking for posts where they share a link. Create a list of sites they share, and look for correlations.
  4. Find relevant Twitter chats and participate in them. When the chat is over, scroll back through the chat and create a Twitter list of all the participants. Then follow that list for a few weeks — and again, look for tweets that contain links.

These last two are especially useful when you’re trying to create influence in a new industry where you don’t have extensive direct experience. Provided your target audience uses Twitter, these last two steps can help you quickly understand the key websites favored by your audience.

Your goal is to find online sites that your desired audience turns to for helpful information. Then determine if any of these sites will allow you to guest post or create content for their use.

By doing so, you will create multiple propinquity touches against your prospects. You’ll be the person “they see everywhere” and come to associate with category or product expertise.

The benefits of propinquity marketing

By mapping (then managing) your prospects’ progression through the various “Propinquity Points,” you can exponentially increase the frequency of your content impressions against a specific audience over a shorter time period.

This higher frequency of impressions — combined with the halo effect of your content appearing within already-trusted content channels — will more quickly move the audience through the propinquity process.

Do you have other ideas for creating a trusted propinquity platform? Let me know in the comments below …

About the Author: Tom Martin is a 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets. He is the founder of Converse Digital and author of The Invisible Sale. Get more from Tom on Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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Microsoft Revamps AdCenter For Agency Relationships

Microsoft has updated adCenter to enable advertisers to change or add agencies without losing their entire account history. With what they’re calling “Agency Enablement” features, adCenter now makes it possible for agencies to link or unlink to client accounts, onboard new clients…



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B2B Social Marketing: 4 ways to build one-to-one relationships with social influencers

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How to Use Webinars to Create Great Relationships with Prospects and Customers

image of modern meeting room

You may have noticed that a lot of businesses are using webinars to generate leads.

Do webinars work for that? Absolutely — they’re fantastic at it, as a matter of fact.

But you might not know that you can also use webinars to build great relationships with customers and prospects.

The fact is, webinars can be used in all kinds of different ways, depending on your business goals. The more creatively you approach them, the better business results you’re going to see.

Today I want to take a look at two different webinar models that can help you form a deeper connection with your prospects, or with your existing customers.

First, in case you’re not completely familiar, let’s get the 30-second definition.

A webinar is a web-based event, usually live, that incorporates audio and visual elements as well as attendee interaction. GoToWebinar is one of the most popular providers, and it’s the one that Copyblogger uses, as well as what I use in my own business.

Webinars are a great customer communication tool because they bring together three powerful elements — customer or prospect interaction, audio, and visual elements including video.

Two of my favorite uses of webinars for customer engagement are Q&A sessions and group coaching. Let’s see how both of those work.

How to build your business with ultra-useful Q&A sessions

My recommendation is to host publicly available Q&A webinars throughout the year, which allows you to “give back” to your market while also gaining valuable intelligence.

Pay close attention to recurring questions or themes in your webinars, since these are the signs your market may be ready for a new product.

They’re simple to do — just pick a topic and host an hour-long webinar where attendees can ask anything they’d like to learn more about or are struggling with.

Your job is to look for those repeating themes, because that’s what your market is hungry for.

If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can also record the Q&A session and post it on your blog or mail it to your list. (These recordings make great bonuses for your email newsletter subscribers.)

You can usually bet that the questions you get in your Q&A sessions are ones that lots of other customers have as well. When you solve real customer problems, you put yourself at the head of the pack in your niche.

How to deliver insane value with webinar-based group coaching

This is my favorite webinar model, because it gives me the opportunity to take a large topic and break it down into smaller pieces, usually in weekly sessions, and form a deeper connection with my clients.

The crew over at Teaching Sells does this as well, offering live group coaching sessions as a bonus that helps their customers put all of the valuable advice in the course into practice.

Their coaching webinars make their primary product considerably more valuable — and that’s the model you should adopt for your own programs.

Here’s what you should focus on when you’re putting together a group coaching program:

  • An outline for you to follow, which will highlight what you’ll be teaching in each module and in what order. Don’t just wing it — be prepared.
  • A step-by-step process of what your coaching students must do in order to accomplish the results you’ve promised.
  • A way to benchmark progress. There should be a way for you and your students to continue measuring their progress once the coaching series ends. This will also encourage them to keep working, since there’s a result to look forward to.
  • Support. Do you plan on offering support or some sort of follow up once the coaching series is complete? This is something you’ll need to decide beforehand.

The great thing about group coaching for customers is that people are motivated to show up and do the work, since they’ve got skin in the game (namely, the money they’ve paid you). You can use your coaching sessions as a standalone product, or as a bonus to any other product you sell.

You can also further that motivation by publicly calling on people to share their progress at the beginning of each coaching session. This kind of public accountability can be even more motivating than money at times … since no one wants to look foolish for not following through.

Always remember that no matter how big your list may grow, each number still represents a unique human being with their own fears, desires, and dreams.

It’s your job to stay connected to what those are and how you can best serve them. Once you get a handle on that, everything else will begin to fall into place.

How about you? What are some great ways you’ve seen webinars used? What do you not like when you see or hear it in a webinar?

Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Lewis Howes is the author of The Ultimate Webinar Marketing Guide and an avid salsa dancer. Connect with Lewis on his website here.

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