How to find an email for just about anyone

Everyone loves to hide their emails on their website. They use contact forms to avoid spammers picking up their email, so how exactly do you find someone’s email address? These are some tools that I use.

Website

First stop, their website. Some businesses freely post their email, although it may not be the best one to contact them on. Check the contact page or the footer to see if there’s an email address.

Tools

No luck with the website? Check out these tools to help you discover emails out in the open.

Clearbit Chrome Extension

Clearbit Chrome Extension
The free version lets you find 40 emails per month, the paid let’s you find 100. Once installed, head to Gmail and compose a new email. The tool will pop up and you search by company name or domain.

Norbert
Find email addresses and verify them. You get 50 free searches per month.

Hunter.io
This website let’s you search for emails by domain name. Just type the domain and you’ll see blurred out emails. Don’t worry! Just click the sources links to the right and you can find the emails on certain pages.

Facebook

Not many articles I’ve read mention looking on Facebook pages. For some reason, companies won’t put their email on their website, but 75% will put it on their Facebook page. Check the about section of a company’s Facebook page and see.

WHOIS

Lastly, I recommend checkout out WHOIS.ICANN.org, this site let’s you see who registered a domain name and it usually includes an email. This works as long as the company doesn’t use a proxy to shield their information. When using this site, make sure to enter the email without any symbols so http://buffer.com needs to be buffer.com.

Content Threshold

Is there a point at which we start receiving so much content that we will choose to opt out?

The thought came to me when I was going through the promotions tab on Gmail for an email that I don’t use too often. I ended up just deleting everything because it was so overwhelming.

On my main Gmail account, I like signing up for newsletters from people I follow like Jason Zook, Paul Jarvis, Justin Jackson, Neville Medhora, Noah Kagan, etc. This is on top of all the other emails I get. I enjoy reading their newsletters and getting their latest articles. But I feel that often times I get multiple of these per day and I end up skimming or deleting them.

So where is my content threshold? At what point is there too much stuff in my inbox that I decide to delete it all and just not read it?

I think it will become like my relationship with the news.

I don’t watch the news. First, I don’t have tv so I avoid the tv news trap. But I used to be a news junkie. Every morning in high school I would check Flipboard and the NYTimes app (before it had a paywall). I had to go through it every single day.

But now? I don’t check any news sites, don’t watch the news, don’t subscribe to news on Twitter or anything else. I even removed the “trending” section on Facebook.

Why?

Because if there is important news, it will get to me somehow. I don’t need to keep up with the news all day and learn about a robbery or a missing kid or an alligator that walked into someone’s yard.

But something important like 9/11? I would find out about it.

Luckily right now, my Gmail inbox is not extremely overwhelming. I like to hit Inbox Zero every day which leads me to either read the email or delete it if I’m not going to read it right away.

But I feel that constantly subscribing to more and more emails (even if it is great content) is going to end up forcing me to opt out altogether. Sure, I could cull my subscriptions down, but I think there will be a point where I just don’t want any of it anymore. A lot of the information I get from these emails are useful but not necessary.

If there is an article I MUST read, I’m sure I’ll find it eventually through Reddit or Twitter. If not, am I worse off for not having read it? Probably not.

Why you need to focus on email (plus examples)

Social media is fun and all. Writing blogs can be cathartic. But are they getting you the results your business needs to survive?

Social media and writing blogs are an essential part of marketing, but they’re not likely to drive sales (at least not immediately). These are parts of your marketing strategy that are meant to help you connect with your audience.

If you’re not doing email, you need to start now.

Why focus on email?

Because it’s your best chance to continue reaching your audience and to stay “top of mind”. When I say “top of mind” I mean that you want your business to be the first thing someone thinks of when they think of your industry. One of the best ways to do that is through consistent, value-driven email marketing.

This isn’t email marketing for email marketing’s sake. That stuff is junk and ends up getting thrown in spam or unsubscribed.

I’ve had experience with this kind of email marketing and it sucks for both the business and the audience. You know the emails I’m talking about. The every-holiday-on-Earth emails, the ones that go out each holiday and just push products or lame sales. (I’m looking at you clothing retailers).

Holiday emails are easy pickings and everyone does them, so you shouldn’t do them.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

You should be focusing on email and growing your list because you own your list. Lots of online entreprenuers talk about the value of owning their email list. Sure, you have your Facebook audience, but Facebook keeps tweaking their algorithm so less and less of them see your posts.

Your email list is yours, and you can bring it anywhere you want. If you switch email service providers, you bring it with you. But if Twitter shuts down, you can’t take those followers somewhere else.

Once you have someone’s email, you have access to their inbox. And if you’re clever, thoughtful, trustworthy, personable, you can get them to keep opening your emails. Sure, they may not purchase one the first, second, or even fifth email. But once the time comes that they need your product or service, they’ll remember you.

What do I need to grow my email list?

First, you need forms.

Not just a newsletter sign up form, but also lead magnets.

ConversionXL lead magnet
ConversionXL Lead Magnet

If you’re not familiar, a lead magnet is, usually, a valuable piece of content that your audience is willing to give their email address to receive. This could be anything from a video course to an ebook to a spreadsheet. The important thing is that this needs to be VALUABLE! This can’t just be “Top 5 Twitter tips”, this needs to be “50 ways to reach out to Twitter influencers, including email copy templates”.

Here’s a list of 19 lead magnet ideas.

This has to be something they can only find on your site, and something that’s relevant to their needs and what your business offers.

WPCurve content upgrade
WPCurve content upgrade

Another form of a lead magnet is a content upgrade. These are like lead magnets for individual blog posts.

The beauty of these is that if you get someone to read your article about “Pool cleaning robots: Should you buy one?” they will probably be interested in downloading a comparison chart of the top 25 pool cleaners.

Content upgrades are a great idea in theory, but they can become time consuming to create for every article. Some people create content upgrades for certain categories of posts, others do them just for popular posts.

What should my emails be about?

This is tricky, because there is no one size fits all answer.

If you’re an individual, like a business coach, then you need to be providing information about you, to help build a relationship with your audience. You need to be sending emails filled with your valuable knowledge that helps cement your authority in the space.

The main thing you need to do in your emails is GIVE GIVE GIVE and then GIVE some more.

If you take away one thing from this article, it should be that your emails are about giving to your audience.

Your audience signed up to get your emails because they found the lead magnet or content upgrade valuable, now you need to continue on that path and keep providing great content.

Your emails can really be anything:

  • Links to your blogs
  • Link roundups
  • Webinar invites
  • Promoting your guest post on a site
  • Asking your audience questions

For the example of a business coach, you really want to be creating a relationship.

In this case, I would recommend focusing on plain-text emails. Plain-text look just like any email you’d write in Gmail. There’s no fancy headers, no graphics except maybe your logo at the bottom. It’s all about writing and your thoughts.

These emails work well because they give off the feel that they’re personal and coming from you.

You should focus on writing as yourself, not using marketing language.

These first few emails in your sequence will be about giving away your knowledge. Later on you can start promoting your product or service, because by now your list has gotten tons of value from you.

What do I do now?

Now that you know the basics of email marketing: the forms you need, getting a lead magnet, the basics of your emails, you can start growing your list!

You’ll need an email service provider. It’s really up to you what you use, but make sure if your list grows, you’re willing to pay the monthly cost to stick with that provider. Make sure it’s one that does autoresponders and drip emails.

Here’s a list from Zapier to help you pick a provider.

Once you get set up, you need to build some forms. If you’re in WordPress, try Ninja Forms or a similar plugin that links to your ESP.

After you create the form, you need to create the autoresponder email that will go out when someone signs up for that lead magnet. One way to do this is to set up a page on your website with the lead magnet. Then in your autoresponder email just include that link.

Next, you need a few follow up emails to keep your new sign up interested in you. You can pick the timing to send them out and the content, but just make sure the email is either building a relationship or providing value.

Set up these campaigns for your lead magnet, as well as any other forms you set up like content upgrades and your newsletter. For some sign ups, you may want to provide different information.

If someone downloads your lead magnet on 50 robot pool cleaner tips, they will want different content from someone who signs up for your “Master plan for hot tub cleaning” guide.

Make sure the content of your emails matches what the user signed up for (their interest).

Can you show some email examples?

Yeah! These are all actual emails from my inbox. You know they’re good because I actually haven’t deleted them.

Bryan Harris Email - Videofruit.com
Bryan Harris Email – Videofruit.com

The email above is from Video Fruit’s Bryan Harris. It’s short, all text, and is just about cool things you should check out. No selling, just giving you information.

Drip email course
Drip email course

This is an email you get when you sign up for Drip.com’s video course. It’s packed with value, showing just how you can use Drip for your email marketing. The email is plain and just lets you know what you’ll learn.

LeadG2 email
LeadG2 email

This email is just a follow up from LeadG2 after I downloaded something from them. They provide other resources, but also do a quick ask if I’d like to talk on the phone. It’s not pushy and it’s not all about the phone call.

How I’m helping launch an ebook

How i'm helping launch an ebook

A few months ago I finished creating a pretty big ebook project. This was on a topic I really had no prior knowledge about, but it was a fun process learning about everything and putting it all together, working with the designer to get it all finished.

It’s now live and has it’s own dedicated landing page where people can sign up to receive it.

I’m playing around with promotion ideas which I’ll cover below.

I spent a while collecting Facebook groups around the topic and share it there, which resulted in well over 100 sign ups the first day. I’m continuing to find more groups to share the book in as we speak.

Next, I sent out an email announcing the ebook release to the company’s current customers. So far this has resulted in another 100 or so sign ups.

Still good, but there’s more work to be done.

I would love to create a blog around the ebook. There would be articles digging deep on each topic and chapter, interviewing people in the industry, finding cool customer stories. But I need client approval first :/

Next, I want to reach out to some big publications and sites in the industry. Maybe work on a partnership or just have them share the ebook on their social media or in their next newsletter. I want to work on a good pitch for that so it doesn’t just sound like “Share this ebook please”.

Another strategy is to get in touch with some influencers in the space, see if they’d be willing to share the ebook. Again I need a good pitch.

Once we get a decent number of sign ups, I want to send them all an email asking them to fill out a survey to see what they liked (or didn’t like) about it, what we can improve, and any testimonials. I’ll add the testimonials to the landing page for some good social proof.

I have a press release written up that I’ll distribute to a few industry-related PR sites.

Then I’m going to try some guest blogging. I hope by writing some great content on one of the topics covered in the ebook, we can gain some exposure on a larger site.

I’d love to get in and A/B test the landing page elements, but it’s not possible unfortunately :/ Once the design is set, this client doesn’t like fine-tuning it or touching it.

Kind of all over the place with the strategies but I really want to try out everything I can. Things that work (like consistent sharing in Facebook groups) will stick, and things that don’t work or provide weak results will end.

It’s an experiment because neither I nor this company has ever done something like this. I’m glad I’m steering the ship and get control over distribution so I can really see what works and what doesn’t.

What to look for when hiring a social media marketing service

What to look for in social media marketing services

I just had a conversation on Reddit with someone running an ecommerce store. They were looking to hire someone to do their social media marketing. Everyone was quoting them between $1000-$2600/month.

I get it agencies. You have lots of hungry mouths to feed and want to charge more for your services.

But at the agency I worked, the amount of time they give to social media is so low it’s laughable. They don’t care.

I hate seeing agencies quoting prices like this, especially for small companies. If you plan to dedicate one person to work on this account for 60 hours per month, then maybe it’s a good deal. But the agency I know of, you’d be lucky if you get 10 hours of work. 10 hours of work for $1000/month is $100 an hour!

For that price you might as well hire someone part time at $25/hr to do your social media and you’ll likely get better results.

In my agency experience, they want to spend as little time as possible on your account. They don’t want hours stacking up and eating away at their profit. So they task an intern to write daily posts that are generic and dull. They tell them to pull photos online without sourcing the creator. I despise what social media marketing has become. It’s such a low barrier that everyone thinks they can do it, and businesses need help so they’ll hire anyone who says they can do it.

How can I ensure I hire a great social media manager?

If you’re out to hire a social media manager, ask about their previous track record. What have they done? Who have they worked with? What were the results?

Social media is not great at producing immediate ROI. It’s more about community building and strengthening your brand with your audience. It’s also about customer service.

If that’s what you’re looking for your social media to do, then great!

But if you want social media to be getting you sales and becoming your main driver for business growth, good luck.

It takes tons of time and effort and hiring an agency that can’t prove it’s worth is no good.

I have a horror story from another agency that my mom hired (without telling me). They really took advantage of someone they knew was not business-savvy. They produced zero results and charged way too much each month, I don’t even want to say how much.

As you can see, I have a bit of a grudge against marketing agencies. It stems from lots of experience with them and seeing how they treat business owners (my mom included).

Don’t let them speak their sweet marketing jargon at you. Ask for results, ask for data, ask for case studies.

They don’t have it? There are hundreds of other agencies awaiting your call or email.

Why do businesses love social media marketing anyway?

If you’re just starting out, like I told this person on Reddit, focus more on additional strategies not just social media. Small businesses and side project creators love starting with social because it’s easy and free.

Other strategies like email marketing (which I highly recommend) and content marketing (creating valuable articles, videos, etc. not just throwing up a few articles here and there about your company), take a lot of time and effort and usually a bit of money.

There’s a learning curve to other strategies.

With social media, everyone thinks that since they’re on Facebook and Instagram they know how to market to people on the platforms.

They see brands getting huge and posts going viral and want the same. They do contests to get likes on their Facebook page (which is actually against Facebook’s terms of service) and try to follow tons of people on Instagram to build their follower count.

But if you’re not creating something worth viewing, you’re wasting your time.

I would tell someone, is the content you’re creating something you would like to spend time viewing if you didn’t own this business?

If you’re an ecommerce store selling rings and you just post about your rings, people aren’t going to be interested in that, unless maybe they’re your friends or family.

Instead, people will come to your social media page and follow you if they learn about you and your story, why you created the business, your process for making each ring (if you make them yourself). A video of you creating the ring or finding inspiration for a new design is a great piece of content.

It’s all about entertaining and keeping the attention of your audience.

Sure, social media is easy and free to get started. Anyone can create a Facebook page or Twitter handle and just start posting. And that’s the reason why social media is also so hard. It’s difficult to gain followers and grab attention when you’re competing with millions of other profiles.

Social media is a good marketing strategy when used the right way, and when time is invested into it.

People get discouraged too easily when they don’t see results or engagement. But those who keep it up eventually get something out of it if they’re using the platform the right way.

So that’s it, that’s my rant on social media marketing services. I’m highly biased because I’ve worked in the industry and most of my points are based on my own experiences.

I’d love to hear about small businesses that have hired an agency or service to run their social media and had a great experience.

Why many marketers suck

I was reading an article for the blog post I just wrote about gated content. Within the article I saw a link to another post about what happened when someone followed 150 digital marketers on Twitter.

Oh this is going to be good, I thought. So I clicked.

I had some thoughts going into that post. Knowing the digital marketing space and how agencies run, I knew there would be some accounts that would auto DM or auto Tweet to this person. As a digital marketer, you should know better. But unfortunately this space is filled with people who really shouldn’t be giving marketing advice.

I was not surprised to see that they got tons of tweets and DMs. But of the 150 people they followed, they got 100 tweets and DMs back. That’s really bad.

It makes me think of the shear amount of marketing going on on Instagram.

I run about 10 Instagram accounts for small businesses. I would say 95% of the comments these posts receive are generic things like:

  • Great post
  • Love it
  • Cool photo
  • Love your account
  • Check out my stuff
  • Get 1000 followers blah blah blah

It’s awful. It makes me not want to use Instagram much anymore. I have started ignoring comments because they’re all self-promotional.

It makes me wonder what kind of people are behind these accounts. What marketer has their Twitter account set up to auto DM everyone who follows them? How great of a marketer could that person be?

Why do many marketers suck?

They’re in the business for the wrong reasons.

They say they care about their clients and maybe they’re being honest.

But I think many are in it purely for money. I’m not saying money is bad, it’s a powerful motivating factor to starting a business, or becoming a consultant.

bad marketers

But going into marketing just for the money will not lead to great results for clients.

I consider myself truly passionate about marketing. I love learning new things all the time, digging deep into certain topics, and knowing there is always more I can find out, test, and learn from.

I have worked with marketing agency owners that are in it for the money. They don’t take the time to truly understand certain parts of the business and won’t accept new ideas or ways to do things. They don’t want to take an extra few days to run a test or create buyer personas, they want to get the work done in the fewest hours possible for maximum profit.

It’s a terrible way to do business and I really feel for the clients. They are not getting the work they deserve. But many are coming to an agency because they don’t understand marketing and put their trust in these people. If they really understood marketing, they would run away from these agencies as quickly as possible.

These bad agencies are continuing to get new clients. These are clients that need help and expertise and don’t understand CRO, SEO, or even how to set up Google Analytics. You tell them about email marketing and their mind is blown. These are the people who really need a great agency to guide them and give them great results. Instead many of them get stuck with agencies that care about the bottom line, not results.

It’s a shame to see so many bad marketing agencies and consultants out there. The best thing we can do (as good marketers) is to show our value, explain exactly what we’re doing for a client, create relationships, build trust, and be transparent. Shady agencies will hide their practices and give excuses when results aren’t hit. Good marketers will be upfront, explain challenges with certain strategies, and show the customer that results won’t happen in a week or a month, they take time.

What’s the worst you’ve seen an agency do?

Have any experience with bad marketing agencies or consultants? Did you hire a social media expert who didn’t seem to do much? Let’s hear about it!

Gated Content: What it is and why I hate it

Gated content what it is and why I hate it - Habit Content

I’ve heard about gated content for a while now. It’s one of the newer ways of growing your email list, and you know how much I love ideas that can grow a list.

But with gated or “premium” content, I’m turned off.

Here’s the scenario…

I’m searching around on Inbound.org (one of my favorite communities) and see a new article that catches my eye. I open it and see about 2 paragraphs worth of writing and then I’m hit with a gated content box asking for my email to unlock the rest of the article.

Automatically, I’m annoyed. Yes, I get you want to get my email and you’re making this content for free. But to ask in this way feels dishonest.

I went back to the comments section on Inbound and saw that many other people complained about it too. A moderator said they would be implementing something so that gated content wouldn’t be allowed to be shared on the site. Phew, I’m happy about that.

Why I think it’s a bad tactic

Let’s say the article was “50 copywriting tips to improve your landing page”. I head to the site, start reading a few, and BAM I get a gated content box. Personally, I will exit out, and feel annoyed.

If you had made this same article a lead magnet or a content upgrade in another article, I would’ve been more likely to sign up. Because I know right away that I am trading my email to unlock this content.

With gated content, I am tricked into opening the article, reading, and only being allowed to finish the article if I give my email.

It’d be like giving someone a whole pizza, no strings attached. They take a few bites, and then you pull it away from them telling the person that they have to pay for the pizza now.

I understand the psychology behind it. How people like to finish things they start. It’s a great psychology hack to get people to give their email.

Maybe I’m too much of a skeptical marketer, but I think the practice is dishonest.

People already hate marketers and their never ending need to advertise and create pop ups, we don’t need to give people another reason to hate us.

gated content

Here’s an example of an article with gated content. See the red box I created? The content in there is all you get to read. Everything below that is gated.

gated content

Now I have to give my email to “unlock all exclusive, premium content site wide”.

I thought this article would just be an article, now I have to give my email to even just access articles on the site.

As you can see, I’m not a fan of this.

Let’s test this

I’d be very interested to ask The Muse what their conversions are like on posts with gated content. I’d like to see if they have comparison data from before they implemented gated content and after.

It’d be nice to compare gated content vs. 50% scroll pop ups vs. content upgrades. I also want to see what length of time is spent on the site if the person enters via an article with gated content. Do they leave right away? Do they visit other pages? Do they give their email?

Just because I’m not a fan of this practice doesn’t mean I don’t want to see how well it works. If sites are using it, there must be a good reason.

Personally though, even if it gets tons of conversions, I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable using it.

Why it works

While I don’t like gated content, I can see why it works.

First, you are separating qualified and unqualified leads. If I get to a gated article on 50 copywriting tips and I don’t choose to submit my email to read more, maybe I’m not the right fit for this company. If you do submit your email, it means you really want to learn about those copywriting tips because you either don’t know much about copywriting, need help with it, or a super curious to learn more.

For me, I wouldn’t submit my email because I know I can find more copywriting tips elsewhere. Unless this is someone I admire in the copywriting space like Joanna Wiebe, I wouldn’t give my email to unlock the content.

Second, you are now able to build a deeper relationship and start building trust with this person. Someone who chooses to unlock the content is now likely in your funnel and will receive certain emails from you. If they really value your content, they’re likely to open your emails and learn much more about you and your company than they would have if they hadn’t signed up.

Why it doesn’t work

It won’t work well unless you already have some authority in the space and your content is extremely valuable. Not everyone wants to throw their email around just to get access to your article.

This better be a damn good article, because if it is mediocre or average, you’ve just lost trust with the reader.

Second, gated content is annoying (as I’ve said over and over in the beginning). That’s the first word that comes to mind when I see an article that is gated. Do you really want to annoy and alienate part of your audience?

Third, I read an article on Unbounce called Is Gated Content a Necessary Evil?. It talked to a few marketers about their thoughts on the practice, the good and the bad.

I like what Ian Rhodes said,

“I don’t believe in content gates for one simple reason. If the information you’re putting out is truly worthy of my time, I’ll naturally want to receive more. I’ll be hooked. How will I receive more? That’s my call. Email, RSS, Twitter follow, Linkedin connection. Give me easy access to your information and I’ll be your biggest customer. Your biggest advocate. That should be the real intent of your content.”

Your audience is smart (I hope) and if they really value you as an authority and appreciate your content, they will find a way to sign up. Creating gated content is a sort of trick to get them to sign up when they really didn’t want to.

Someone forced to sign up to finish an article may not be an ideal lead for your business. They may have signed up because they wanted to finish the article, not necessarily because they wanted to receive more information from you.

I’m not sure if you can have gated content emails verified, but when I submitted a false email to unlock a piece of content, it worked. So now you are inviting readers to give fake emails just to get your content, which now means you’re going to get more bounced emails.

Your thoughts?

Having never used gated content first hand, I want to hear what you think of them. Have you used them in your business? How well do they work? Have you gotten negative feedback?

Maybe I’m too skeptical for my own good, but I don’t see the practice living on for too long. I see lead magnets and content upgrades as sticking around much longer, as they provide a more honest way of getting readers to sign up for your content.

I really like this blog from Drift about their CEO wanting to get rid of all forms on the site making all content open, no content upgrades or lead magnets.

Why your content isn’t good

why your content isn't good - Habit Content

There, I said it. Your content probably isn’t good, or even decent enough to take the time to read.

It’s harsh, but it’s often the truth.

Businesses have their marketing team, or even worse, an intern, or worse yet, a marketing agency behind on the times, set up a blog and start writing.

No strategy, no guidelines, just writing about the company and its industry.

Worse yet (and I’ve seen this first hand) is having blogs written solely around the company. Meaning a home care agency has a blog called “5 Reasons to Use a Home Care Agency” and includes tons of self promotion.

Maybe a non-savvy internet user might read this and find it useful. If I were looking for a home care agency, I would definitely not read that article.

I try to write articles that are as unique as possible. It took me a long time since I started working in marketing to realize that not all content is good content.

Not all content is good content!

I had to repeat that for dramatic effect and so you will really remember it.

Just because you set up a blog and start writing doesn’t mean people will read it.

Shocker, I know.

But there are tons of new bloggers and small, medium, and even large businesses that think creating a blog means tons of sales.

There are a few things I want to go over:

  1. Blogging isn’t content marketing
  2. Content marketing doesn’t often result in direct sales
  3. Quality > Quantity

 

Blogging isn’t content marketing

Content marketing doesn’t mean just setting up a blog and writing posts. It’s about doing marketing for the business that just happens to be done through content. That can mean blogs, but also podcasts, webinars, infographics, videos, and more. If you’re no promoting your stuff, nobody is going to find it. You need to have an audience in mind who wants and needs your content because it fills a gap in that space.

If you’re in marketing stop writing “5 Ways to Increase Twitter Followers”. I bet I can find an article that goes way more in depth, so why would I bother reading yours?

 

Content Marketing doesn’t often result in direct sales

This is similar to social media. Companies love trying to find the ROI for marketing strategies and apply the same thinking to strategies that are not about direct ROI. Content marketing, like social media, is about relationships and resonating with your audience. You want to build trust, become an authority, provide valuable information to your audience. They probably aren’t going to buy from you after reading just one of your articles, but maybe they will after seeing a webinar, and reading your eBook, and seeing you guest post on another site.

 

Quality > Quantity

I’m sure I don’t need to repeat this. If you’re in content marketing, you know that quality trumps quantity every time. If you put out boring 300 word articles every day that are just rehashing common topics you’ll get no following. If you instead spent those 30 days creating two 2500 word articles, going in depth into a subject you haven’t seen done before, you’ll likely get at least a few readers. Promote it properly and you can gain new audience members who subscribe to get more.

Get out into your industry. Spend time researching what others are doing and what you can improve upon. See an article about cold emailing?Write one about the 4 awesome cold emails you received and explain exactly why they succeeded.

It’s all about the effort you put in. If you take the easy route (like so many half-baked content marketing strategies out there) you will end up with poor results. The easy route has been done, the easy topics have been written about to death. You have to put a new spin on a topic, go deep, or think of something brand new (or at least hasn’t been written about a whole lot).

 

Message to Small Businesses

If you are hiring a marketing agency, ask what their content marketing strategy looks like for you. If they are writing based on SEO keywords, take time to look at those keywords because some are strange and will make your article sound like it was written for SEO purposes. An article written around the keyword “HVAC Florida” is going to result in a terrible article.

Make sure they are writing unique, useful articles. There are some agencies out there that outsource this work or have their interns do it because they don’t value it. Content marketing to them is not something they can really sell small businesses on because it doesn’t provide that juicy ROI we love to see.

But if you’re a smart business owner (you’re reading this blog so I know you are), you will have them explain the content marketing strategy they’ve created for you and their promotion efforts. If they just post to social media, that’s no good. They need to be guest blogging, reaching out to sites they mention in the article to have them share it.

They need to be writing long, detailed blogs. Don’t let them charge you for three 300 word articles because it’s likely junk. Make them do a 1000 word article instead. A 300 word articles is easy to write and takes about 20 minutes, and anyone can do it. It takes a good writer and researcher to plan out and create a 1000+ word article that involves images, sources, quotes.

Make them work for the money you’re paying them!

That is all 🙂

PS. My agency rant is because I’ve seen how they work from the inside. It’s not how I want to see content marketing done and I want to make sure small businesses aren’t getting taken advantage of.

Working with clients that won’t listen

Working with clients that won't listen - Habit Content

I bet you clicked this because you have gone through the frustration and stress of having to work with a client who hires you for your expertise, but then won’t listen when the time comes for you to give them advice.

I’ve gone through this a few times, and right now it’s happening with a client and their social media.

Here’s what happened.

I get a call the other day from the new manager of a restaurant I help do marketing for.

I write up this restaurant’s posts, and she will post about daily specials and entertainers throughout the week.

She proceeds to tell me that her posts are only getting 30-50 people (she meant reach) while mine get 600-800 in reach. She wants to know what I’m doing.

I told her that the reach is determined by multiple things: time of day, amount of people online, quality of the content, if people share it (a big factor), and Facebook’s algorithm likely has some role in it too.

She says “No, that’s not it.”

My frustration begins.

“Ok well then I’m not sure what it is then, because there’s no secret process I’m using to get more reach.”

“Yes you are, it must be because your page (meaning the marketing Facebook page) has lots of likes”

  1. This isn’t true, it has less likes than this restaurant’s page
  2. I post to this restaurant’s page with my own personal profile

I told her but she still doesn’t believe me.

What can you do?

Really, what can you do in a situation like this?

If it’s just one time, I’ll get over it because I know she doesn’t understand Facebook that well.

But if it keeps happening and I keep getting calls which distract me from other work, sometimes it is best just to finish out the month and end the relationship.

You can fire clients! It’s a revelation, I know.

I had never thought of this until I read it somewhere (can’t remember where).

It’s the Pareto Principle. If 20% of your clients are taking up 80% of your time, fire them. If 80% of your income is coming from 20% of your clients, fire the rest.

You don’t have to fire them like how employers do it to their employees.

You can let them know your rates have gone up (and if they want to pay this higher rate then factor in the time you’re spending and account accordingly to make it worth your time).

You can refer them to someone else you know in the same business. It’s a good idea to have a partnership with others so you can do some referral deals. If you’re in marketing, connect with a web design team.

It can feel strange to let go of a client. But if they really are not advancing your business, and if they’re taking up way too much time, it’s just not worth it to deal with them.

When you’re starting out, you take every job that comes your way. Eventually you realize that not all clients are created equally and some partnerships are just not meant to be.