Tag Archive | "Smart"

Google releases Target Impression Share, its latest Smart Bidding strategy

The automated bidding feature aims to maximize reach and awareness.



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Lenovo debuts Smart Displays featuring Google Assistant

Combining a tablet-like display with a high-quality speaker, the Lenovo Smart Display incorporates Google Assistant into an interactive screen for a richer visual experience.



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How Do You Set Smart SEO Goals for Your Team/Agency/Project? – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Are you sure that your current SEO goals are the best fit for your organization? It’s incredibly important that they tie into both your company goals and your marketing goals, as well as provide specific, measurable metrics you can work to improve. In this edition of Whiteboard Friday, Rand outlines how to set the right SEO goals for your team and shares two examples of how different businesses might go about doing just that.

Setting Smart SEO Goals for Your Team, Agency, or Project

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about SEO goals, how to set smart ones, how to measure your progress against them, how to amplify those goals to the rest of your organization so that people really buy in to SEO.

This is a big challenge. So many folks that I’ve talked to in the field have basically said, “I’m not sure exactly how to set goals for our SEO team that are the right ones.” I think that there’s a particularly pernicious problem once Google took away the keyword-level data for SEO referrals.

So, from paid search, you can see this click was on this keyword and sent traffic to this page and then here’s how it performed after that. In organic search, you can no longer do that. You haven’t been able to do it for a few years now. Because of that removal, proving the return on investment for SEO has been really challenging. We’ll talk in a future Whiteboard Friday about proving ROI. But let’s focus here on how you get some smart SEO goals that are actually measurable, trackable, and pertain intelligently to the goals of the business, the organization.

Where to start:

So the first thing, the first problem that I see is that a lot of folks start here, which seems like a reasonable idea, but is actually a terrible idea. Don’t start with your SEO goals. When your SEO team gets together or when you get together with your consultants, your agency, don’t start with what the SEO goals should be.

  • Start with the company goals. This is what our company is trying to accomplish this quarter or this year or this month.
  • Marketing goals. Go from there to here’s how marketing is going to contribute to those company goals. So if the company has a goal of increasing sales, marketing’s job is what? Is marketing’s job improving the conversion funnel? Is it getting more traffic to the top of the funnel? Is it bringing back more traffic that’s already been to the site but needs to be re-earned? Those marketing goals should be tied directly to the company goals so that anyone and everyone in the organization can clearly see, “Here’s why marketing is doing what they’re doing.”
  • SEO goals. Next, here’s how SEO contributes to those marketing goals. So if the goal is around, as we mentioned, growing traffic to the top of the funnel, for example, SEO could be very broad in their targeting. If it’s bringing people back, you’ve got to get much more narrow in your keyword targeting.
  • Specific metrics to measure and improve. From those SEO goals, you can get the outcome of specific metrics to measure and improve.

Measurable goal metrics

So that list is kind of right here. It’s not very long. There are not that many things in the SEO world that we can truly measure directly. So measurable goal metrics might be things like…

1. Rankings. Which we can measure in three ways. We can measure them globally, nationally, or locally. You can choose to set those up.

2. Organic search visits. So this would be just the raw traffic that is sent from organic search.

3. You can also separate that into branded search versus non-branded search. But it’s much more challenging than it is with paid, because we don’t have the keyword data. Thus, we have to use an implied or inferred model, where essentially we say, “These pages are likely to be receiving branded search traffic, versus these pages that are likely to be receiving non-branded search traffic.”

A good example is the homepage of most brands is most likely to get primarily branded search traffic, whereas resource pages, blog pages, content marketing style pages, those are mostly going to get unbranded. So you can weight those appropriately as you see fit.

Tracking your rankings is crucially important, because that way you can see which pages show up for branded queries versus which pages show up for unbranded queries, and then you can build pretty darn good models of branded search versus non-branded search visits based on which landing pages are going to get traffic.

4. SERP ownership. So ideas around your reputation in the search results. So this is essentially looking at the page of search results that comes up for a given query and what results are in there. There might be things you don’t like and don’t want and things you really do want, and the success and failure can be measured directly through the rankings in the SERP.

5. Search volume. So for folks who are trying to improve their brand’s affinity and reputation on the web and trying to grow the quantity of branded search, which is a good metric, you can look at that through things like Google Trends or through a Google AdWords campaign or through something like Moz’s Keyword Explorer.

6. Links and link metrics. So you could look at the growth or shrinkage of links over time. You can measure that through things like the number of linking root domains, the total number of links. Authority or spam metrics and how those are distributed.

7. Referral traffic. And last, but not least, most SEO campaigns, especially those that focus on links or improving rankings, are going to also send referral traffic from the links that are built. So you can watch referral traffic and what those referrers are and whether they came from pages where you built links with SEO intent.

So taking all of these metrics, these should be applied to the SEO goals that you choose that match up with your marketing and company goals. I wanted to try and illustrate this, not just explain it, but illustrate it through two examples that are very different in what they’re measuring.

Example one

So, first off, Taft Boots, they’ve been advertising like crazy to me on Instagram. Apparently, I must need new boots.

  • Grow online sales. Let’s say that their big company goal for 2018 is “grow online sales to core U.S. customers, so the demographics and psychographics they’re already reaching, by 30%.”
  • Increase top of funnel website traffic by 50%. So marketing says, “All right, you know what? There’s a bunch of ways to do that, but we think that our best opportunity to do that is to grow top of funnel, because we can see how top of funnel turns into sales over time, and we’re going to target a number of 50% growth.” This is awesome. This can turn into very measurable, actionable SEO goals.
  • Grow organic search visits 70%. We can say, “Okay, we know that search is going to contribute an outsized quantity of this 50% growth. So what we want to do is take search traffic up by 70%. How are we going to do that? We have four different plans.
    • A. We’re going to increase our blog content, quality and quantity.
    • B. We’re going to create new product pages that are more detailed, that are better optimized, that target good searches.
    • C. We’re going to create a new resources section with some big content pieces.
    • D. We’re going to improve our link profile and Domain Authority.”

Now, you might say, “Wait a minute. Rand, this is a pretty common SEO methodology here.” Yes, but many times this is not directly tied to the marketing goals, which is not directly tied to the business goals. If you want to have success as an SEO, you want to convince people to keep investing in you, you want to keep having that job or that consulting gig, you’ve got to connect these up.

From these, we can then say, “Okay, for each one, how do we measure it?” Well…

  • A. Quantity of content and search visits/piece. Blog content can be measured through the quantity of content we produce, the search visits that each of those pieces produce, and what the distribution and averages are.
  • B. Rankings and organic traffic. Is a great way to measure product pages and whether we’re hitting our goals there.
  • C. Link growth, rankings, and traffic. That’s a great way to measure the new resources section.
  • D. Linking root domains plus the DA distribution and maybe Spam Score distribution. That’s a great way to measure whether we’re improving our link profile.

All of these, this big-picture goal is going to be measured by the contribution of search visits to essentially non-homepage and non-branded pages that contribute to the conversion funnel. So we have a methodology to create a smart goal and system here.

Example two

Another example, totally different, but let’s try it out because I think that many folks have trouble connecting non-e-commerce pages, non-product stuff. So we’re going to use Book-It Theatre. They’re a theater group here in the Seattle area. They use the area beneath Seattle Center House as their space. They basically will take popular books and literature and convert them into plays. They’ll adapt them into screenplays and then put on performances. It’s quite good. We’ve been to a few shows, Geraldine and I have, and we really like them.

So their goal — I’m making this up, I don’t actually know if this is their goal — but let’s say they want to…

  • Attract theater goers from outside the Seattle area. So they’re looking to hit tourists and critics, people who are not just locals, because they want to expand their brand.
  • Reach audiences in 4 key geographies — LA, Portland, Vancouver, Minneapolis. So they decide, “You know what? Marketing can contribute to this in four key geographies, and that’s where we’re going to focus a bunch of efforts — PR efforts, outreach efforts, offline media, and SEO. The four key geographies are Los Angeles, Portland, Vancouver, and Minneapolis. We think these are good theater-going towns where we can attract the right audiences.”

So what are we going to do as SEOs? Well, as SEOs, we better figure out what’s going to match up to this.

  • Drive traffic from these regions to Book-It Theatre’s pages and to reviews of our show. So it’s not just content on our site. We want to drive people to other critics and press that’s reviewed us.
    • A. So we’re going to create some geo landing pages, maybe some special offers for people from each of these cities.
    • B. We’re going to identify third-party reviews and hopefully get critics who will write reviews, and we’re going to ID those and try and drive traffic to them.
    • C. We’re going to do the same with blog posts and informal critics.
    • D. We’re going to build some content pages around the books that we’re adapting, hoping to drive traffic, that’s interested in those books, from all over the United States to our pages and hopefully to our show.

So there are ways to measure each of these.

  • A. Localized rankings in Moz Pro or a bunch of other rank tracking tools. You can set up geo-specific localized rankings. “I want to track rankings in Vancouver, British Columbia. I want to track rankings from Los Angeles, California.” Those might look different than the ones you see here in Seattle, Washington.
  • B. We can do localized rankings and visits from referrals for the third-party reviews. We won’t be able to track the visits that those pages receive, but if they mention Book-It Theatre and link to us, we can see, oh yes, look, the Minneapolis Journal wrote about us and they linked to us, and we can see what the reviews are from there.
  • C. We can do localized rankings and visits from referrals for the third-party blog posts.
  • D. Local and national ranking, organic visits. For these Book-It content pages, of course, we can track our local and national rankings and the organic visits.

Each of these, and as a whole, the contribution of search visits from non-Seattle regions, so we can remove Seattle or Washington State in our analytics and we can see: How much traffic did we get from there? Was it more than last year? What’s it contributing to the ticket sales conversion funnel?

You can see how, if you build these smart goals and you measure them correctly and you align them with what the company and the marketing team is trying to do, you can build something really special. You can get great involvement from the rest of your teams, and you can show the value of SEO even to people who might not believe in it already.

All right, everyone. Look forward to your thoughts and feedback in the comments, and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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SearchCap: Smart devices, SEO in 2018 & ad targeting

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

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The Bold and the Stressful: Smart Ways to Make a Big Move

Sometimes, you just have to muster your courage and do something Big. It might mean making a brave statement with your content, or creating a splash by launching something new and amazing. On Monday, Brian Clark shared a strategy for telling a more gripping story by using the framing power of contrast. And he showed
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Building a Community of Advocates Through Smart Content

Posted by Michelle_LeBlanc

From gentle criticism to full-on trolls, every brand social media page or community sometimes faces pushback. Maybe you’ve seen it happen. Perhaps you’ve even laughed along as a corporation makes a condescending misstep or a local business publishes a glaring typo. It’s the type of thing that keeps social media and community managers up at night. Will I be by my phone to respond if someone needs customer service help? Will I know what to write if our brand comes under fire? Do we have a plan for dealing with this?

Advocates are a brand’s best friend

In my years of experience developing communities and creating social media content, I’ve certainly been there. I won’t try to sell you a magic elixir that makes that anxiety go away, but I’ve witnessed a phenomenon that can take the pressure off. Before you can even begin to frame a response as the brand, someone comes out of the woodwork and does it for you. Defending, opening up a conversation, or perhaps deflecting with humor, these individuals bring an authenticity to the response that no brand could hope to capture. They are true advocates, and they are perhaps the most valuable assets a company could have.

But how do you get them?

Having strong brand advocates can help insulate your brand from crisis, lead to referring links and positive media coverage, AND help you create sustainable, authentic content for your brand. In this blog post, I’ll explore a few case studies and strategies for developing these advocates, building user-generated content programs around them, and turning negative community perceptions into open dialogue.

Case study 1: Employee advocates can counter negative perceptions

To start, let’s talk about negative community perceptions. Almost every company deals with this to one degree or another.

In the trucking industry, companies deal with negative perceptions not just of their individual company, but also of the industry as a whole. You may not be aware of this, but our country needs approximately 3.5 million truck drivers to continue shipping daily supplies like food, medicine, deals from Amazon, and everything else you’ve come to expect in your local stores and on your doorstep. The industry regularly struggles to find enough drivers. Older drivers are retiring from the field, while younger individuals may be put off by a job that requires weeks away from home. Drivers that are committed to the industry may change jobs frequently, chasing the next hiring bonus or better pay rate.

How does a company counter these industry-wide challenges and also stand out as an employer from every other firm in the field?

Using video content, Facebook groups, and podcasts to create employee advocates

For one such company, we looked to current employees to become brand advocates in marketing materials and on social media. The HR and internal communications team had identified areas of potential for recruitment — e.g. separating military, women — and we worked with them to identify individuals that represented these niche characteristics, as well as the values that the company wanted to align themselves with: safety, long-term tenure with the company, affinity for the profession, etc. We then looked for opportunities to tell these individuals’ stories in a way that was authentic, reflected current organic social media trends, and provided opportunities for dialogue.

In one instance, we developed a GoPro-shot, vlog-style video program around two female drivers that featured real-life stories and advice from the road. By working behind the scenes with these drivers, we were able to coach them into being role models for our brand advocate program, modeling company values in media/PR coverage and at live company events.

One driver participated in an industry-media live video chat where she took questions from the audience, and later she participated in a Facebook Q&A on behalf of the brand as well. It was our most well-attended and most engaged Q&A to date. Other existing and potential drivers saw these individuals becoming the heroes of the brand’s stories and, feeling welcomed to the dialogue by one of their own, became more engaged with other marketing activities as a result. These activities included:

  • A monthly call-in/podcast show where drivers could ask questions directly of senior management. We found that once a driver had participated in this forum, they were much more likely to stay with the company — with a 90% retention rate!
  • A private Facebook group where very vocal and very socially active employees could have a direct line to the company’s driver advocate to express opinions and ask questions. In addition to giving these individuals a dedicated space to communicate, this often helped us identify trends and issues before they became larger problems.
  • A contest to nominate military veterans within the company to become a brand spokesperson in charge of driving a military-themed honorary truck. By allowing anyone to submit a nomination for a driver, this contest helped us discover and engage members of the audience that were perhaps less likely to put themselves forward out of modesty or lack of esteem for their own accomplishments. We also grew our email list, gained valuable insights about the individuals involved, and were able to better communicate with more of this “lurker” group.

By combining these social media activities with traditional PR pitching around the same themes, we continued to grow brand awareness as a whole and build an array of positive links back to the company.

When it comes to brand advocates, sometimes existing employees simply need to be invited in and engaged in a way that appeals to their own intrinsic motivations — perhaps a sense of belonging or achievement. For many employee-based audiences, social media engagement with company news or industry trends is already happening and simply needs to be harnessed and directed by the brand for better effect.

But what about when it comes to individuals that have no financial motivation to promote a brand? At the other end of the brand advocate spectrum from employees are those who affiliate themselves with a cause. They may donate money or volunteer for a specific organization, but when it comes down to it, they don’t have inherent loyalty to one group and can easily go from engaged to enraged.

Case study 2: UGC can turn volunteers into advocates

One nonprofit client that we have the privilege of working with dealt with this issue on a regular basis. Beyond misunderstandings about their funding sources or operations, they occasionally faced backlash about their core mission on social media. After all, for any nonprofit or cause out there, it’s easy to point to two or ten others that may be seen as “more worthy,” depending on your views. In addition, the nature of their cause tended to attract a lot of attention in the holiday giving period, with times of low engagement through the rest of the year.

Crowdsourcing user-generated content for better engagement

To counter this and better engage the audience year-round, we again looked for opportunities to put individual faces and stories at the forefront of marketing materials.

In this case, we began crowdsourcing user-generated content through monthly contesting programs during the organization’s “off” months. Photos submitted during the contests could be used as individual posts on social media or remixed across videos, blog posts, or as a starting point for further conversation and promotion development with the individuals. As Facebook was the primary promotion point for these contests, they attracted those who were already highly engaged with the organization and its page. During the initial two-month program, the Facebook page gained 16,660 new fans with no associated paid promotion, accounting for 55% of total page Likes in the first half of 2016.

Perhaps even more importantly, the organization was able to save on internal labor in responding to complaints or negative commentary on posts as even more individuals began adding their own positive comments. The organization’s community manager was able to institute a policy of waiting to respond after any negative post, allowing the brand advocates time to chime in with a more authentic, volunteer-driven voice.

By inviting their most passionate supporters more deeply into the fold and giving them the space and trust to communicate, the organization may have lost some measure of control over the details of the message, but they gained support and understanding on a deeper level. These individuals not only influenced others within the social media pages of the organization, but also frequently shared content and tagged friends, acting as influencers and bringing others into the fold.

How you can make it work for your audience

As you can see, regardless of industry, building a brand advocate program often starts with identifying your most passionate supporters and finding a way to appeal to their existing habits, interests, and motivations — then building content programs that put those goals at the forefront. Marketing campaigns featuring paid influencers can be fun and can certainly achieve rapid awareness and reach, but they will never be able to counter the lasting value of an authentic advocate, particularly when it comes to countering criticism or improving the perceived status of your brand or industry.

To get started, you can follow a few quick tips:

  • Understand your existing community.
    • Take a long look at your active social audience and try to understand who those people are: Employees? Customers?
    • Ask yourself what motivates them to participate in dialogue and how can you provide more of that.
  • Work behind the scenes.
    • Send private messages and emails, or pick up the phone and speak with a few audience members.
    • Getting a few one-on-one insights can be incredibly helpful in content planning and inspiring your strategy.
    • By reaching out individually, you really make people feel special. That’s a great step towards earning their advocacy.
  • Think: Where else can I use this?
    • Your advocates and their contributions are valuable. Make sure you take advantage of that value!
    • Reuse content in multiple formats or invite them to participate in new ways.
    • Someone who provides a testimonial might be able to act as a source for your PR team, as well.

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Practical Strategies for Smart Content Creators

Practical Strategies for Smart Content Creators

Before we get started — just a reminder that if you’ve been thinking about moving your site to StudioPress Sites, this is a fantastic week to do it. Not only will you get your first month free, we’ll even migrate your existing WordPress site for you. Also for free. Hooray for free, my favorite amount.

StudioPress Sites lets you keep the power and flexibility of WordPress … without the hassles. The special deal ends a week from today, on April 28, 2017, so go check it out now before you forget.

On to the content! On Monday, Jerod Morris explained how he’s leveraging those impressive new-dad time management skills to get more efficient at content creation. He walked us through a great way to take a single strong idea and turn it into multiple formats, without spending a ton of time.

On Tuesday, Brian Clark showed exactly how to build a content strategy for a business or project … demonstrating how he’d approach a specific persona with a specific sequence of relevant, useful messages. Twenty bonus points if you can catch the incredibly subtle promotion he works in there …

And on Wednesday, I wrote about the magical powers of doing your homework. It may not sound sexy, but when you approach influencers or companies and they don’t curse at you and mark you as a spammer, you’ll find out how sexy homework can be.

Over on the Copyblogger FM podcast, I talked about what I suspect was behind that spectacular United Airlines fail the other week … as well as the genius moves from Pepsi and Nivea.

Your winning difference is the reason people do business with you and not someone else — it sets you apart and makes you the only real choice for the right people. And you reflect that difference with your content marketing.

So, how do you find your winning difference?

On Unemployable, Brian shared three different five-minute exercises that will shake loose an idea that works for your content marketing efforts.

Hope you enjoy all the good stuff, and we’ll catch you next week!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


this is how you increase the likelihood of reaching new audience members with your best workQuality Over Quantity: Repurpose Your Best Ideas and Distribute Them Far and Wide

by Jerod Morris


content marking is broader than email marketing, but your email list remains your core focusHow Strategic Content Converts to Email Subscriptions and Sales

by Brian Clark


I can’t tell you how many cold sales emails I get from people who demonstrate they have no idea what my company does3 Ways to Get What You Want by Doing Your Homework

by Sonia Simone


WordPress Made Fast and EasyFirst Month Free + No Charge Migration to a Faster WordPress Website

by Brian Clark


How to Do Simple PPC Advertising for Your Online BusinessHow to Do Simple PPC Advertising for Your Online Business

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


The Painful Core Lesson Taught by 3 Astonishing Big-Brand FailsThe Painful Core Lesson Taught by 3 Astonishing Big-Brand Fails

by Sonia Simone


How Hugo Award Winning Sci-Fi Author John Scalzi Writes: Part TwoHow Hugo Award Winning Sci-Fi Author John Scalzi Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


Are You Doing Enough with Your Best Ideas?Are You Doing Enough with Your Best Ideas?

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


The Essential Guide to Hacking the Growth of Your Online BusinessThe Essential Guide to Hacking the Growth of Your Online Business

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


How to Find Your Winning DifferenceHow to Find Your Winning Difference

by Brian Clark


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The Smart and Simple Framework for Finding the Right Pricing Model for Your Membership Site

don't guess! discover the pricing model that works

Building profitable membership sites is one thing we know a lot about at Rainmaker Digital, and one question we often receive is:

How do you create the right pricing for a membership site, especially one that is just launching?

Even sophisticated online entrepreneurs struggle with that question.

And while there are many ways to optimize your pricing plans once your site is launched, starting with the right foundation will make it easier to improve.

In this post, I will walk you through a basic framework you can use to determine the best pricing models for any type of membership site.

Rule #1

The most important rule you must remember is this:

You are in control of your pricing.

There is no national database of pricing that you have to follow. You are in control of everything when it comes to pricing — so don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else does.

Yes, the “market” does decide if your price is “right.” But you influence the perception of your price through the unique value you offer.

So toss out any preconceived notions of what you have to do and focus on what works for you.

Know your costs

I know what you are thinking right now:

“Damn it, Sean. I am a marketer, not an accountant.”

Don’t worry. You just need a “bare bones” understanding of basic math and a little logic to find your costs, so that your site will “live long and prosper.”

All membership sites share a common set of annual costs, including:

  • Credit card or PayPal fees
  • Hosting costs
  • Platform costs
  • Time spent on customer service
  • Time spent on contributing to the site

You should think of your costs as the money you spend to fulfill the customer’s purchase.

And these costs are different from expenses.

An expense is the money you spend to run your business.

Typical expenses include:

  • Sales and marketing: the money you spend on promoting your products and services, including affiliate commissions, advertising, or content marketing
  • Research and development: the money you spend on building your membership site, developing content for the site, or educating yourself on digital commerce
  • General administration: expenses like your internet connection, rent, or accountant

Expenses are not costs even though you spend money on them.

Why is this distinction important?

Unless you identify your costs, it makes it very hard to determine your profit. Profit is defined as your revenue less your costs and before you pay any expenses.

And as a general rule of thumb, a membership site should generate a profit margin between 90 percent – 75 percent.

Or put another way, for every $ 100 you collect in revenue, your costs should be $ 10 – $ 25, netting you a profit of $ 90 – $ 75 per sale.

An example of membership site costs

Let’s say that for a year, you estimate your costs as follows:

  • $ 12,000 on credit card fees
  • $ 1,500 for your Rainmaker Platform site (includes hosting)
  • $ 6,500 for a part-time assistant to handle customer service questions
  • $ 80,000 for you to manage and contribute to the membership site

Based on these items, your total costs are $ 100,000 per year, before you pay for any expenses. And if your costs are 10 percent – 25 percent of your total revenue, your target revenue is between $ 400,000 and $ 1,000,000 per year.

Your profit will be between $ 300,000 and $ 900,000 per year.

membership site profit example

That’s a lot of money, but don’t get too excited yet.

You will still need to pay for your affiliate commissions, advertising, and any other expenses you incur to operate your business — and that comes out of your profit.

Now that we have covered your costs, let’s get to work on pricing your different membership categories and offers.

Create an anchor offer

An anchor offer is the most expensive membership type you sell.

For example, your anchor offer could include telephone consulting, personalized daily emails, and/or exclusive access to webinars, conferences, or other high-touch events.

Basically, it is the offer you would give to someone that includes everything you would ever want to provide to a person willing to pay you a huge premium.

The good news is that very few people, if anyone, will buy it because it is so expensive!

So, why create it?

By creating a very high-priced offer, you anchor the expectations of website visitors for your lower-priced offerings. Your goal with your anchor offer is to create an emotional desire for it, knowing that most people can’t afford it.

Luxury brands use this tactic all the time.

Buying a luxury car? The most expensive ones are in the showroom. Want a deluxe coffee maker? They show you the $ 5,000 model first, before they show you the $ 500 one.

When you create your anchor offer, you set the expectation of quality in the mind of your customer, even though they will probably buy your lower-priced membership.

Next, create two lower-priced offers

Once you’ve defined and priced your anchor product, you can create two other offers or categories for your members.

Why just two? To avoid analysis paralysis.

The first offer you need to create is the lowest price for a membership to your site — ideally between 10 percent and 25 perfect of the price for your anchor offer.

This low-priced offer should meet the basic needs and wants of your customer, including some, but not all, of the features and attributes of the anchor offer.

The second membership category is the mid-tier offer that is priced between the low price and your expensive anchor offer. It should have more benefits and features than your low-priced offer and is generally priced between 30 percent and 49 percent of your anchor offer.

So, let’s say your anchor offer is priced at $ 97 per month, and you want your lowest-priced offer at 20 percent and your mid-tier offer at 40 percent.

Your lowest price will be $ 19 per month and your mid-tier price will be $ 39 per month.

Pretty easy, right?

But now comes the real question …

Can you afford your customers?

We started this article with a basic discussion about costs, but we did not determine if those costs are sufficient to run your membership site.

This is where a little math and a basic rule of thumb can help.

In general, the average revenue per member you will receive from a membership site will be between your lowest-priced offer and your mid-tier offer.

For example, if your lowest price is $ 19/month and your mid-tier price is $ 39/month, then your average revenue per member will be around $ 29/month.

Let’s look back on our costs. We identified $ 100,000 of costs per year and we want to target $ 400,000 per year in revenue. That means that every month we need to generate $ 33,333 in revenue ($ 400,000/12 months).

If the average revenue per customer is $ 29/month, then we just need to divide our target monthly revenue ($ 33,333) by the average monthly revenue per customer ($ 29) to find the number of customers you need:

$ 33,333 / $ 29 = 1,149 customers per month

Now you want to ask yourself:

Does your $ 100,000 in annual costs allow you to support 1,149 members per month?

If the answer is “yes,” then you are good to go.

If the answer is “no,” then you either need to increase your pricing or lower your costs.

Get all the details in this SlideShare presentation

Your head might be spinning right about now, but we want to make it easy for you.

Here’s a SlideShare deck that breaks down all of the information above:

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Every week, Jessica Frick and I provide an entertaining format to discuss the challenges online entrepreneurs face with ideas that you can implement to improve your own site.

So, if you are serious about running and growing a profitable membership site, we hope that you will tune in.

And since the show is free, we know the price is right.

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The post The Smart and Simple Framework for Finding the Right Pricing Model for Your Membership Site appeared first on Copyblogger.


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3 Smart Moves that Supercharge Sales Funnels with Content

use content to power up your funnel

The problem with many business blogs is that they’re boring, product-centric, and full of corporate jargon — not exactly the juicy, engaging, personality-filled content that readers love to consume and share.

While you want to establish trust and authority with your audience, content that helps you meet business goals also fills your sales funnel with interested prospects.

So, if you’d like your content to be share-worthy and generate leads, this post is for you. Read on for three ways to supercharge your sales funnel.

1. Eliminate fuzzy funnels

If your current sales funnel is vague and amounts to something like, “I’ll get people onto my email list, and then when my bank account gets low, I’ll make an offer,” don’t worry; you’re not alone! But as a Copyblogger reader, I know you can do better.

At its most basic, your sales funnel is an intentional path that turns a website visitor into a paying customer — and then into a happy, repeat customer.

Your sales funnel might be an email autoresponder that utilizes marketing automation. It helps your audience get to know your business, builds credibility, and makes an introductory offer.

Here’s my main point: if you create content to generate new leads, you first have to establish what your sales funnel looks like.

Action step

Draw out your sales funnel, digitally or with good old pen and paper.  

  • What are the steps that turn a website visitor into a paying customer?
  • How do they hear from you?
  • What offers do they receive and in what order?

2. Give your audience a “little slice” as your opt-in

To fill your sales funnel with the most qualified prospects — your ideal customers — give them a “little slice” of your product or service for free.

Here’s how the “little slice” technique works:

  • For each offer in your sales funnel, identify the problem it solves for the customer.
  • How can you take a “little slice” of that problem and solve it for free in your opt-in gift?

Let’s first look at an example of what not to do

Imagine you’re a weight loss coach. You need an opt-in gift, so you decide to make a PDF with “5 Healthy Recipes.” Unfortunately, this recipe PDF attracts all sorts of different people. (Or, as is the problem with lots of generic content, it attracts no one!)

So, now you’re filling your sales funnel with people who might want weight loss advice, but also busy moms, broke students who need quick meal ideas, bodybuilders, diabetics, and anyone else interested in healthy cooking.  

When you eventually make an offer for your weight loss program, there are only a small percentage of people in your funnel who are seriously interested in losing weight. Everyone else has problems that you’re (probably) not solving.

Contrast that example with the “little slice” technique

This same weight loss coach might offer a free seven-day weight loss jump-start challenge as an opt-in, which then leads to an offer for her paid weight loss program.

That “little slice” opt-in attracts prospects who are interested specifically in weight loss and who also want to participate in a program to help them reach their goals.

These prospects are much more likely to buy a full weight loss program than the random mix of people interested in “healthy recipes.”

The “little slice” technique works for all types of businesses

A software business might offer a free trial or free plugin with a portion of their product’s functionality, which leads to an offer for the full product. 

The “little slice” technique attracts the right people into your sales funnel because your content focuses on a central problem that you solve with your products or services.

Action step

For each product or service in your funnel:

  • Identify the problem it solves
  • Take a “little slice” of that problem and solve it in an opt-in gift

The next step will show you how to extract more “little slices” for additional pieces of content.

3. Create content that attracts your ideal customer

As you know from your own experience, you’re not always in buying mode. Sometimes you’re searching online because you’re ready to buy, but most of the time you just want information, connection, or entertainment. It’s the same for your prospect.

Writing content that your ideal customer wants to read (and share!) starts with identifying which phase of the sales funnel he is in.

Sales funnels can get really complex, but there are essentially three major phases:

  1. Awareness Phase. The prospect has symptoms, may realize he has a problem, but isn’t looking for solutions (he might not even know that solutions exist).
  2. Consideration Phase. The prospect knows he has a problem and knows solutions exist, so he’s actively researching solutions.
  3. Buying Phase. The prospect is actively evaluating solutions to choose the best fit.

We’ll focus on the first two phases, which is when the majority of leads will enter your sales funnel. (You’ll want to handle leads in the Buying Phase differently — by tracking visits to a pricing page and making it easy to get answers to last-minute questions.)

Imagine the type of person who is attracted to the blog post with the headline “Why So Tired? 6 Little-Known Causes.”

This post attracts a reader who feels tired and wants to know why she might feel this way. This reader is most likely in the Awareness Phase.

She has symptoms but isn’t sure about the underlying cause — so selling her directly on your “Quit Caffeine” course wouldn’t work because she doesn’t realize caffeine consumption is related to her tiredness.

Now imagine the type of person who is attracted to the blog post with the headline “How to Quit Caffeine for Good.”

This post attracts a reader who already knows she needs to quit caffeine. She’s probably in the Consideration Phase because she’s looking for a solution to her problem.

You’ll want to bring both types of readers into your sales funnel, but you’ll communicate with them differently.

Readers in the Awareness Phase want to read about their symptoms, the underlying problem, other people who have the same problem, and that there are solutions to fix their problem.

For this phase, consider creating content related to these questions:

  • How can you help them solve a little piece of their problem for free (“little slice content”)?
  • What are the symptoms they’re experiencing and what’s the impact on their lives?
  • What’s the underlying problem that you recognize as an expert, but they don’t?
  • What does a beginner need to know about Problem XYZ?
  • What are the first steps to solve Problem XYZ?

Readers in the Consideration Phase know they have a problem and are looking for a solution.

They’re attracted to:

  • Case studies — how others like them have already solved this problem
  • Review posts that compare various solutions, including yours
  • Buying guides that help them make a smart decision
  • Content that addresses objections
  • Implementation tips, advice, and FAQs

Content that is more likely to be shared isn’t only about your specific product or service; it’s beneficial guidance related to the type of product or service you offer.

Action step

Make a list of content topics based on the ideas above and remember to include topics that provide a “little slice” of your opt-in gift, as well as topics that address the concerns of prospects in the Awareness Phase and prospects in the Consideration Phase.

Plan this content into your editorial calendar to meet your ideal customers’ needs.

Over to you …

When you follow these three methods, you’ll find that your content attracts more of the right customers who also want to share your useful content.

How do you make sure your content helps convert prospects into customers? Share in the comments below.

The post 3 Smart Moves that Supercharge Sales Funnels with Content appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Bing gets smart: adds trivia, quizzes & polls

Replacing the “hotspots” previously listed atop the image of the day is a graduation cap icon that leads to a three-question quiz.

The post Bing gets smart: adds trivia, quizzes & polls appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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