Lead Magnets 101: How to Fill Your Sales Funnel the Easy Way

Lead Magnet

Do you and your team groan with frustration every time you check your website’s conversion rate?

If you’re failing to see the numbers you’re hoping to attract with your content marketing strategy, you may be looking at the data all wrong.

See, you shouldn’t be focusing on the clicks that accompany a purchase (or lack thereof). You should be more interested in the visitor doing all the clicking around on your site.

Think about this: a whopping 96% of your traffic isn’t ready to make a purchase when they first land on your website — especially if your service or product comes with a hefty sticker price.

So instead of trying to convert first-time visitors, why not aim to grow your email list with this new traffic?

After all, once you capture an email address from a potential customer, you’ll be able to send them through your sales funnel and make the conversion happen on both of your terms.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the less you focus on converting traffic in the short term, the more conversions you’ll actually see in the long term. Let’s talk about why this actually works so you can make it happen for your brand.

 

What’s a Lead Magnet and Why Does My Brand Need One?

A lead magnet is supposed to do exactly what it’s named for: attract potential buyers (leads) to fill your sales funnel.

It should pull your target audience like a strong magnet and be irresistible to anyone in your specific niche.

Here’s how it works:

Your brand will offer a free piece of content that solves a, very universal, challenge your target audience is currently facing. All your visitor has to do to receive this content is trade you their name and email address.

Easy peasy.

Now, if you’re thinking that lead magnets sound awfully similar to content upgrades, you’re not wrong. Both give your visitor a useful bonus gift in exchange for their contact information.

However, as we discussed in our article about why your content always needs free bonus material, a content upgrade is extra information that accompanies a specific piece of content you create. A lead magnet is a more general — yet still very specific — site-wide offer.

This means nailing your lead magnet is really a lot harder than ace-ing a content upgrade.

Content upgrades only have to appeal to someone interested in the corresponding content. That visitor should be, but is not necessarily, part of your target audience.

On the other hand, your lead magnet has to speak to your specific target audience members and needs to appeal to your ideal buyer persona.

Your lead magnet has to speak to your specific target audience members and needs to appeal to your ideal buyer persona. Click To Tweet

If you’ve had a lead magnet in place for awhile and the results have been abysmal, chances are your lead magnet is not speaking to your target audience.

 

How to Create a Lead Magnet that Vets Prospects for You

Look, your lead magnet is supposed to work for you.

When most brands create their first lead magnet, they hope to attract every visitor that lands on their website. This seems great on the surface (we’re filling our sales funnel!), but then your inbox starts to explode with unqualified leads and your conversion rates never get any better.

To make a lead magnet effective for both you and your audience, follow these three tips:

 

Always Keep Your Ideal Buyer in Mind

You and your team should already know your ideal buyer personas inside and out. You should know their biggest struggles and challenges as if they were your very own.

If you’re a little shaky on these details, don’t even waste your time moving forward with a lead magnet.

You need to know everything about your ideal buyer in order to appeal to them. The good news is that it’s not that time-consuming to get right; we even have a post about how to find your target audience in less than one hour so there’re no excuses!

 

Solve a Universal Problem Faced by Your Target Audience (that Really Shows Off Your Brand’s Best Skills!)

Hopefully, you’ve been solving lots of smaller challenges in your target audience’s life thanks to your education-based content marketing, but now it’s time to think about the one struggle everyone in your target audience faces universally.

The kicker here is to correlate this issue with what your brand is really spectacular at.

So take a problem that every member of your target audience will face at some point in their personal or professional lives and solve it for them (more on this later!).

When visitors sign up for your lead magnet, your team already knows that they have the exact problem your lead magnet promises to solve.

This is like pure gold to your team.

You have a visitor who has a need for your product or service, and they’re even willing to give you their name and contact information so they can snag more of your secrets and wisdom later down the line.

Remember, tire kickers and serious prospects alike will download your lead magnet before making any purchase from you just to see if you can deliver on what you claim. This is why your lead magnet needs to reflect your team’s best skills.

The more professional your lead magnet looks, the higher the perceived value of your services will be from your visitor. This does wonders for making your actual price tags seem totally justified.

 

Make it Easily Actionable and Attainable in a Set Period of Time

If you promise to solve a problem, the steps your visitor needs to take should be easy to understand and even simpler to put into practice.

This is not the time to talk about your brand or pitch your services; this is the time to give your users the tools and intel they need to succeed in a quick timeframe (15 minutes, 1 hour, etc.).

Your visitor should be able to solve this particular issue — or at least know exactly how to solve their issue — after they read your freebie.

Sharing these secrets of success makes your visitors believe you care more about them growing and thriving as individuals than you do about selling every visitor something.

Make your visitors believe you care more about them growing and thriving as individuals than you do about selling every visitor something. Click To Tweet

You move from the role of pushy salesperson to wise teacher in your customer’s’ eyes.

Though it may sound less glamorous, a teacher is exactly who you want to be thought of.

You have all the answers. And you created a cheat sheet in the form of a lead magnet to help your visitor succeed. And you’re giving it away for free?!

You want your visitors to scream Sign me up! as soon as they read your lead magnet’s call to action.

So when your visitor enters their contact information, your lead magnet should begin downloading or a link should be emailed to them immediately. Don’t make your visitor wait for your lead magnet to appear since signing up is typically a move of impulse.

 

Perfect Lead Magnet Ideas

Creating your brand’s lead magnet doesn’t need to be an agonizing process for your team.

Use this easy-to-follow lead magnet checklist to help your team brainstorm ideas about the topic you’re going to use.

Then, discuss how your tips and advice will be best utilized by your visitor. Popular and highly effective lead magnet ideas include:

  • Mini ebook
  • Introductory email course
  • Whitepaper
  • Private video or how-to series
  • Exclusive podcast episode or interview
  • Quiz or evaluation
  • Worksheet, template, guide
  • Brainstorm and discussion questions
  • List of tools and resources to help them solve the problem

Don’t let this list overwhelm you and your team; use it as inspiration to see what will work best for your audience.

If you need help with the actual design process of your lead magnet, check out this DIY video about creating beautiful and professional lead magnets using free design software like Canva:

At the very least, a lead magnet establishes your brand’s credibility and authority. At the very best, it builds a relationship with your online visitors and paves the way for conversions and happy customers.

Make your lead magnet the star of your website and give potential prospects the best of what your brand has to offer. They’ll be so impressed (and delighted!) that they’ll not only return for more of your content, they’ll be dying to see what your work is like when you actually charge for it.

How Does Content Promotion Work Exactly?

 

There are two types of people in the content marketing world: those who believe in content marketing wholeheartedly and make it a success, and those who gave up because they never saw results.

But guess what?

Unbelieving skeptics who doubt the power of content marketing — aka increasing your visitors, subscribers, social media followers, and customers through helpful and interesting content — probably just never learned how to promote their content effectively.

See, even though creating fresh posts is a ton of work for you and your team (especially if you’re posting on a consistent basis — which you definitely should be!), it’s only half the equation of your content marketing strategy.

Fail to promote your content the right way and those insightful blog posts or hilarious videos your team so diligently created will never gain the traction you’re hoping for.

Why?

 

Because You Can’t Rely on Organic Traffic

Using niche and content specific keywords is a great way to capture organic traffic from search engines and social media, but if this is the only way you’re hoping to drive traffic, you’re going to be waiting around a loooong time for conversions.

You can’t just create content and expect your ideal buyer to luckily stumble upon it. If only! You need to put your content in front of as many potential followers as possible.

Organic traffic is not your goal. We’re aiming for a much more deliberate outcome.

Let’s jump in the fast lane of content promotion with the easiest outreach method in your toolkit: social media.

 

Content Promotion is All About Maximizing Your Social Media Outreach

There are 7.4 billion people in the world and 2.3 billion of them are active social media users.

Considering that there are only 10 major social media sites customers frequent, there are not too many places for your audience to hide.

In fact, if you’ve been promoting your content on every social media site, you’re probably wasting a lot of time.

The truth is, there will always be a handful of your tribe members on new social media sites and ones that have fallen out of the spotlight. Concentrate your promotion efforts on the platforms that the bulk of your audience members check frequently and engage best on.

When you learn which specific social media sites your audience uses most, it’s easier to predict the behavior of your visitors (and drive them to your site).

 

Learn What Makes Your Chosen Social Media Platform Tick

Pinterest and Instagram both rely heavily on graphic or photographic content to drive traffic. On the other hand, well-written white papers by respected thought leaders get way more attention on LinkedIn.

So if you’re trying to post funny cat memes on LinkedIn and links to your articles on Instagram, it’s no wonder you’re seeing a disconnect.

Your content should start conversations with visitors. Even though that meme is funny, it won’t add to the type of dialogue taking place on LinkedIn.

 

Like Cory Doctorow says, content is great, but conversations build connections and strengthen engagement rates. Play to your chosen social media platform’s strengths and you’ll get noticed and shared more in those realms.

 

Post Often and Frequently

Did you know that the highest average Facebook click-throughs occur between 1:00–4:00p.m.? Or that posting anything on Twitter after 8:00p.m. may as well disappear into a black hole?

Check out this infographic from Fast Company to see what we mean:

 

You should have a general idea of where your target audience (and existing customer base) lives. If you’re only posting during Eastern Standard Time, but the majority of your customers live on the West Coast, they may be sleeping through your social media updates and missing your content entirely.

This doesn’t mean you need to post new content every hour (and annoy your current followers). Experiment to see if posting throughout the day at various times improves your engagement.

Space out your updates and don’t be scared to repost content written in a different way. Tom Tunguz discovered that reposted content on Twitter got 75% as many retweets as the previous time it was posted.

 

Find a Social Media Influencer in Your Niche

You’ll aspire to be a social media influencer in the future, but you’ll do better off identifying one to help you out in the beginning.

A social media influencer is someone your current audience already follows. Their content aligns well with your brand and your niche and vice versa.

Influencers have established audience numbers. If you influence an influencer, they’ll share your content with their huge network and spread awareness for your brand.

Influence an influencer, they’ll share your content with their huge network and spread awareness for your brand. Click To Tweet

What should you look for in a social media influencer? Brands, people, or entities in your niche with large numbers of:

  • Subscribers
  • Social media followers
  • Comments on their content
  • Replies to comments and questions
  • Topics/categories/interests that overlap yours

Just because someone has a million followers doesn’t mean that person or brand has an engaged audience.

You want influencers with quality over quantity; place the emphasis on genuine interactions with followers instead of lots of random follow-back bots.

If it seems like someone has way too many followers and very little interaction other than posting their own content, move on to someone who frequently replies back to their fans, shares content from other sources, and seems to align well with your brand’s message.

The best way to interact with an influencer?

Give them something they can use.

Social media influencers post at all times of the day. Going through all this content means they’re always on the hunt for new posts that keep them interesting to their followers.

Provide genuine comments and add to the conversations your influencers are starting. Eventually, you can start sharing your content with them and hope they find it so valuable they pass it on to their tribe.

 

Try Guest Hosting

Have you developed any (digital or social) business relationships as a result of your new content marketing strategy? Get chummy with any social media influencers?

When you guest host, another brand will allow you to post content for their site, or they may give you free reign of their social media account, for a specific period of time.

To get in this position, you’ll need to develop a very strong one-on-one relationship with the brand you’ll be hosting for. You should almost always return the offer. This is exactly why it’s so important to find other brands that align with yours and work well together.

Always get a byline and make options for following your brand visible on your host’s site.

Create content that will not only appeal and attract new audience members for yourself, but that actually benefit your host, too. The more traffic you attract to their site, the higher their conversions as well.

This has the potential to be a lucrative win-win partnership for everyone.

 

Questions and Comments

Search forums such as Reddit and Quora, but don’t just reply with a bunch of spammy links to all of your relevant content.

Reply with personal answers and agree with the comments from other experts by adding your points to back up their statements.

Network here to get your name out and show visitors that you’re not only knowledgeable about your field, but that you’re willing to reach out and help those who aren’t.

 

Strengthen Your Calls to Action (CTAs)

Using boring social media updates like: “New blog post is live! Check it out here:”; will not grab your visitors’ or followers’ attention.

Step up your game and be enticing. Don’t let your CTAs be ignored. Think:

“Don’t miss today’s post: 10 Streaming Music Apps Worth Spending Money On (+10 That Aren’t Worth Jack). Because we hate annoying commercials more than you do:”

You should be able to tell visitors what your content’s about and why they need to check it out. Throw in a couple of CTA buzzwords to compel click overs and you’re set.

 

The beauty of content marketing is that it works to attract visitors around the clock. Lead your target audience members by writing compelling CTAs on their most visited social media platforms and then convert them with your stellar content.

Lead your target audience members by writing compelling CTAs on their most visited social media platforms and then convert them with your stellar content. Click To Tweet

Even though your content may be attracting a small audience, you must spend the time to promote it thoughtfully if you want to build a dedicated following of loyal customers for your brand.

Dive deeper into content promotion with this Slideshare of 13 Non-Obvious Content Promotion Tricks shared at ContentJam:

Featured Image Vecteezy

How to Find Your Target Audience in Less than 1 Hour

find-target-audience

Would you rather create content that attracts 100 visitors and converts 10, or attracts 50 and converts 30?

If you’re in the latter camp, you’re one smart cookie.

The goal of every content marketing strategy is to convert as many visitors as possible. Though the former group may have more brand awareness, their content isn’t as profitable for their company or as valuable for their customers.

Think about this: between 2013 and 2014, brands increased their content by 78%, but content engagement decreased by 60%.

The culprit behind these pitiful numbers? Irrelevance.

See, it doesn’t matter how awesome your content is if it’s not connecting with readers who convert. Your team will only be wasting time researching and developing content — which is time spent away from selling — without a real ROI.

So how do you always make sure you’re preaching to the right choir?

We’ll help you solve that problem today so you and your team can discover your target audience in less time than they spend Snapchatting during their lunch breaks.

 

First, Determine Your Brand’s Identity

It may seem a little backward to discover your target audience by thinking about your own brand but trust us: you need to know your own identity before you can find other like-minded individuals to connect with.

So think about the image you want your company to project to the world.

When visitors skim your ‘About Us’ page on your website and scan your social media posts, they’re really deciding how much they like you, your interests, and what you have to say. Ideally, all of these should correlate with your visitors’ interests and beliefs as well.

If it helps, try to personify your brand as if they were a person standing right in front of you.

Would your company wear flip flops and shorts or an expensively tailored suit? What kind of music would they listen to? Which social media platforms would they use the most?

Though these details may seem unimportant, they’re the kind of subtle nuances that prompt consumers to choose one seemingly similar brand over another.

Think about what your brand stands for to the customers you want to help.

For example, if you’re a sneaker-wearing skateboard company, you’re not going to appeal to the nothing-but-high heels crowd no matter how many times you tell them how comfortable your favorite shoes are.

Your visitors have to see that your brand not only understands who they are and where they’re coming from, but that you can help them overcome their current and future challenges because you know them so well.

Take Action Task: Brainstorm a few keywords that relate to your brand’s identity. Then, create a brand story that grabs the attention of visitors and lets them learn more about who your band really is.

 

Play to Your Brand’s Biggest Selling Points

Let the products or services you offer direct you to the people who will benefit most from them.

Let the products or services you offer direct you to the people who will benefit most from them. Click To Tweet

As Adrianne Glowski writes for Technori, “Don’t think about who you would like to sell to, think about who is looking for the products and services you offer.”

Knowing these finer details will help you discover which types of consumers will find value in these perks.

Plus, it also helps you come up with other keywords relating to struggles in your niche.

Case in point, if your product solves time management problems, use keywords such as “procrastination” or “inefficiency” that will bring you to people (ahem, leads) currently struggling with those issues.

Take Action Task: Ask your team about how your biggest selling points make you different from other competitors in your niche. Write down your product/service’s three best features.

 

Tools of the Trade: Keyword Alerts

Ok, you should have a list of keywords that relate to your brand’s identity and a list of your brand’s biggest selling points by now.

Using keyword tools such as Google Alerts or Mention, you’ll be able to track searches for your specific keywords in real time. You’ll not only be able to see who’s interested in these keywords, but you’ll also see what other interests these people share.

Event planners may use keywords relating to invitations, decorations, and party locations to discover a huge niche market in surprise weddings or destination vow renewals, for example.

Take Action Task: Set up your brand’s personal alerts on Google by using your list of keywords.

 

You can modify settings for where you want your results delivered (via RSS feed or email) and how often you’ll be notified whenever your chosen keywords are searched for or mentioned online.

 

Whittling Down Your Target Audience

Now that you know who your brand is and what sorts of people are looking for information in your niche, it’s time to connect with your specific audience.

“Don’t assume that you can think like your target market,” Greg Habstritt, founder of SimpleWealth.com, says. “You have to ask them and talk to them to really understand them.”

So how do you interact with your potential readers and customers?

 

Take Stock of Your Existing Customer Base

Your current and recent customers represent the pulse of your business right now. If you can paint a general picture of your happy (paying!) customers, you’ll want to build on these demographics.

Take Action Tip: Try to schedule short interviews over the phone or send out email surveys to get honest feedback from your customers as to why they like your brand and your product’s features. Use this intel to fill out your buyer persona later.

 

Find Problems to Solve

Online open forums such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, and Reddit, where users can ask a large community of “experts” to answer their questions or help them solve their issues, are the best places to start your team’s market research.

Here you’ll have access to the struggles of real people looking for products, services, and advice.

In essence, that’s exactly what your content marketing and education-based marketing strategies are all about: giving your readers the information to help them better their lives (while promoting your brand).

Take Action Tip: Search for posts containing your specific keywords and take stock of the similarities between users and experts replying (aka your competitors).

Write down specifics you encounter, such as profession or industry, age range, skills, interests, etc., to refine the details of your target audience.

You’ll be using your content to solve these problems for your audience after you’ve identified them.

 

Get to Know Your Buyer Personas

We spent a lot of time discussing why buyer personas are so important for your business so we won’t rehash those (crucial!) details again.

But basically, a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. This is who you want your team to spend the majority of their time marketing to.

Now that you’ve spoken to your existing customers and checked out the problems other leads are facing in your niche, it’s time to build your buyer persona.

You can use standard demographics to start out, such as age, gender, education level, income range, etc., but your team will also need an understanding of your customer’s deeper buying characteristics. These will help you connect and create content on a more personal (and lucrative) level.

Think about your target audience’s:

  • Lifestyle and daily activities
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Beliefs, values, fears, and expectations
  • Personality, humor, intelligence

When you have this information, you’ll know exactly how to write for your target audience instead of to them, making all the difference between a one-on-one connection and a sales pitch.

When you have this information, you’ll know exactly how to write for your target audience instead of to them, making all the difference between a one-on-one connection and a sales pitch. Click To Tweet

Use these characteristics to create content that attracts leads to your website. Once there, they’ll make their way through your highly-efficient and automated sales funnel all on their own.

When you find your target audience and create high-quality content tailor-made for them, you’ll never waste manpower hours pitching to the wrong audience again.

Your team’s time spent creating content will be both productive and profitable as long as every piece created reflects the interests and needs of the audience members in your niche.

The biggest benefit to understanding your ideal client, besides building rapport and increasing engagement, is that you’ll establish a connection that will help you better predict your customers’ needs and interests in the present and future, ensuring steady growth and success.

Since one of the purposes of identifying your target audience is to create high-quality content just for them, check out this infographic about how and why you should build a loyal blog audience for some final tips:

Keys to Creating a Loyal Blog Audience

From Visually.

 

How to Shift From Managing to Leading Your Team

Manager Leader Header

What’s the difference between a manager and a leader?

Though both hope to motivate their employees to complete their tasks, only one of them is more likely to get the job done.

See, managers typically rely on keeping a close watch of their employees’ every move. Micromanagement is the name of the game and everyone is on edge. A team under this pressure is bound to make a mistake—and when they do, it will be a costly one.

A manager in this position is also likely to bark orders and rule with an authoritative fist.

Then there are leaders. The complete opposite.

A leader trusts her employees and knows that they are the right person to complete the job. So instead of micromanaging, leaders spend their time encouraging employees and creating a shared vision that everyone can jump on board with.

Who do you think you’d be more successful working for?

I’d imagine that most of us would choose the second style, the leader, hands down.

Thanks to this HubSpot infographic, we can take a look at what actually makes a leader different from a manager.

Managers Leaders Infographic

Standing Out as a Leader

A manager tells her employees what needs to be done and how to do it.

On the other hand, a leader sells the idea as a vision that everyone—no matter how low or high their job status—is a part of. Tasks aren’t seen as mere to-do lists that chain employees to their desks. Instead, tasks are seen for their contribution to the overall picture.

Leaders also set this picture, or vision, in-person. You won’t find passive emails and memos for communication like you would with a manager.

You’ll also find that leaders are focused on growth instead of settling for just meeting goals each quarter.

This is because leaders challenge the “norm” and keep their eyes on the horizon. They’re not bogged down with monthly metrics. This also helps them stay open to new opportunities and keeps them planning for the long haul.

Managers who refuse to update outdated systems and only focus on the bottom line won’t have this vision.

Another key distinguisher between managers and leaders is that the former relies on authority and an assertion of power and control. If the job doesn’t get done right, the employees already know there are consequences around the corner.

A leader sees this tight control as unnecessary. Leaders know their employees don’t need a babysitter. They don’t have to assign duties like a military drill sergeant. They create an environment that fosters new ideas and promotes individual growth.

Leaders say that the rules are meant to be broken. And following a map is unnecessary. Leaders enjoy paving new ways and freeing the red tape that holds people or the company back.

Sure, a leader will do the right thing, but this may involve bending the rules in some cases.

This is a huge no-no in the realm of managers. They believe roadmaps are a must-have and rules are there for a reason—no exceptions made. Not much in the way of inspiration, right?

While you may hold the official title of “manager”, it’s far better to be a leader.

Featured Image by Vecteezy!

How Important are Buyer Personas for Your Business?

Buyer Personas

If it seems like you can’t go a day without a thought leader from your marketing or sales circles mentioning ‘buyer personas’, there’s good reason for it. Working without them is simply not an option if you want to be successful.

To give you perspective, trying to market or sell your services without having detailed buyer personas is like inviting everyone you know to the same party at your house.

Sure, it would be great to see all of your friends, coworkers, and family members together, but since these acquaintances are all so different, it might make for an awkward get-together.

For instance, how will you know if your work friends like the music you and your college buddies listen to? Will your family members hate the same food your neighbors love? What activities should you plan to keep the night interesting?

No matter how awesome your preparations are, the chances of everyone liking everything are very small. Something may appeal to one of your friends, but it may send another screaming from the room.

You cannot afford to spin your wheels trying to please everyone — and that’s exactly what you need to learn for your business to increase.

To have highly-converting leads all the time, you’ll need to narrow down the playing field in which you market your services to. All you need to do is create one or a few impeccable buyer personas to get you started.

Don’t worry — we’ll show you exactly how to tackle this important step today.

 

What Are Buyer Personas Anyway?

A buyer persona is the fictional representation of your ideal client.

That seems easy enough, especially if you’ve been marketing and selling for a while, but we’re not just talking about general demographics like age and gender here.

A comprehensive buyer persona will detail information. Such as:

  • How your target customer defines their challenges, goals, and meaning of success.
  • What skills and tools are required to perform their job.
  • And even outlines their preferred social media platforms.

At their heart, buyer personas should give you intel, about the thinking and rationale, behind every purchase your target customer makes.

The more detailed your buyer persona, the easier it will be to close sales because you’ll know exactly what your ideal consumer is looking for.

 

Here’s Why Buyer Personas Are So Important

They Create a Cohesive Message

When a brand doesn’t know the clientele it wants to attract, they may try to appeal to everyone, refusing to nail down a point of view that defines their true message.

But a wishy-washy message is just the same as a weak message, so in reality, it appeals to no one.

A wishy-washy message is just the same as a weak message. It appeals to no one. Click To Tweet

Once you know exactly who you’re targeting, you’ll be able to use the same language your clients use on the same platforms they frequent to convey an understanding of their struggles. Your target client will identify with your brand because your motives and solutions seem to be tailor-made just for them.

 

They Focus Your Marketing Efforts

Many business owners and salespeople believe that “anyone and everyone” is a potential customer. They think that by casting a wide net, they’ll have access to a greater amount of leads.

While this may be true in terms of numbers, it means nothing when we’re talking about conversion.

You don’t need a million potential customers, you need a million paying and converting customers.

Once you understand exactly what your buyer persona is struggling with, and learn what it takes to convince them to invest in your services, you’ll never need to worry about pitching your services to leads who won’t ever convert.

“Buyers are 48% more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues.”

Your marketing efforts will be so laser-focused they strike gold every time and resonate with your target audience.

 

You’ll Learn What Influences a Sale

When you create a buyer persona, you’ll uncover what your potential customer needs to see from your company, or any other competitor for that matter, before they hand over their cash.

Understanding your potential buyer’s hesitations means you can address these specifically during your pitches. You’ll be able to turn these former hindrances into talking points that work to boost the appeal of your services.

Eliminate the reasons a lead may walk away and you’ll always convert.

Plus, buyer personas also inspire the development of new products or services to solve the challenges you discover during your research. This will be an invaluable guide when deciding how to progress your company forward and get repeat business from customers.

Now that we know why buyer personas are so necessary, let’s take a look at a few examples to give you an idea of what you’ll need to create for yourself.

 

How to Create Stellar Buyer Personas (with examples)

Buyer personas aren’t supposed to be stock characters from a generalized marketing textbook — they should mimic real-life customers so you can see your leads as humans who need help instead of sales numbers.

You can create a general outline of your fictional buyer persona, but it will never be as accurate as the information you receive from previous customers. The best way to solicit these answers is to send out a survey or schedule phone interviews with happy customers so you can gather your research data.

If you’re the mine-for-data type, you can easily find this information on your own by checking your sales database and looking for trends or patterns that may help explain which customers are most satisfied with your services.

Once you gather enough information, try to organize it so it represents someone you may know.

Determining your persona’s goals and challenges will help you understand where and how you and your team can help.

When your target client sees the value you bring to the table—aka how you understand and plan to help them achieve their goals—they’ll be more likely to choose your service or product over a competitor who only partially gets what they’re facing.

Now, you can have one or two specific buyer personas, or you can have upwards of 15+ if you’re a large company selling to a wide range of consumers. Rob Petersen, advertising and marketing executive and the founder of the BarnRaisers agency, says that in his experience, “3–4 personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales.”

3–4 personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales. Click To Tweet

No matter how many you have, your main goal should be assessing every persona’s needs, concerns, and buying behaviors to learn how to position your service or product as the solution.

Creating a buyer persona is more than identifying simple characteristics that make up your target audience. Buyer personas are supposed to help you understand and predict their behaviors so you convert the leads you acquire more often.

Each of your persona’s distinguishing traits will influence their decision to buy in some form or another. The trick is knowing how to use them to your advantage.

How to Achieve Success by Combating the Case of the Mondays

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If you learned that the secret to being successful started with how you handled Monday mornings, would you dislike them any less?

Sure, we all get a case of the Mondays after a nice weekend; just the thought of starting yet another hectic workweek sends most of us into a spiral of being unmotivated.

But the truth is, even the most successful people experience these dragging feelings.

The major difference is that they’ve learned how to push through these annoyances in order to make daily progress and reach their goals.

Today we’re going to show you exactly how to revamp your Monday mornings so they become super productive and something you actually start to look forward to (promise!).

 

Monday Mornings Can Be Your Ticket to Success

When DollarsDirect studied the morning routines of business elites, they found a few key distinguishing habits that separate them from the rest of us.

For one, they’re not hitting the snooze button half a dozen times before they get out of bed each morning.

Successful business people know just how important sleep is to their achievement. Instead of staying up late to watch TV, they’re hitting the sheets at a reasonable hour. This explains why most of them report waking up around 5am as their norm.

These sleep-charged elites also tend to walk their dogs bright and early. This gives them a chance to slowly wake up both their bodies and their minds. It’s a time when they can reflect on what’s in store for their day and conceptualize a loose game plan.

Successful people are also more likely to give their bodies a healthy breakfast (read: no sugary PopTarts or fast food).

They also opt to work out in the morning post-breakfast since their schedules are so jam-packed. This prevents them from coming up with excuses later on when their day drains them physically and mentally.

Once their workouts are complete, you’ll find these elites catching up on the latest news. They want to be in the loop before they even step foot in the office.
Speaking of which, there are two more areas that a successful person will tackle before clocking in for the day.

First, they’re more likely to clean up their emails at home.

Managing their overflowing inbox helps them walk into only the most urgent emails at work. This makes it super easy for them to start their day since they know precisely what to take care of first.

Second, top-tier business people always make sure their house is tidied up before they jet off to work. This guarantees that they’ll come home to a clean home after a long, stressful day instead of a sink full of dishes or a stack of laundry to put away.

Successful people know that planning ahead and avoiding procrastination means they’re able to enjoy their time away from the office. This time off gives them a chance to recharge and repeat the whole process again the next day.

These simple changes set them up for a productive week of accomplishment and success. Successful people also know the difference between Leading their employees as opposed to Managing them.

It’s easy to adopt a successful lifestyle if you just change a few tasks in your morning routine. Start small by tackling one or two items on this list and then move on once you’ve established the habit.

You’ll no longer dread Monday mornings and you’ll start to see a (more) successful version of yourself emerging in no time.

5 DO’S When Using Facebook for Business

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While many of us consider Facebook a great platform for sharing pictures, connecting with friends, and posting recent statuses; this super successful social media platform has become a valuable tool for businesses all over the world.

Whether an established business owner or a start-up entrepreneur, you too can utilize the power of Facebook for promoting your business. To get the best results, remember to observe the basic guidelines. This will make Facebook work wonders for your business.

 

1. FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE

This rule tells you that 80% of the content you create should be very valuable and social yet still relate to your industry or audience. The other 20% should pertain to your products or services.

This bigger thrust on social content is a must-do for a very simple reason. The internet is full of garbage hoping to either sell, scam, or both, to people. Online users are no fools. They see through it, dislike it and want to see informative, relevant and entertaining content instead.

Using the other 20% also requires a crafty approach. Rather than selling, or focusing on prices, you need to put the spotlight on the value that your product or service delivers.

 

2. RESPOND WITHIN 60 MINUTES, AND NOT A MINUTE LATER

Good comments or bad; lay the red carpet for all.

Your social media account is very much a bridge to your followers or customers, one that gives your business a more human touch. You need to show you care.

Acknowledge the compliments gracefully by stating, “Thank you, and hope to do even better in future.

Accept the bad feedback too with good grace. You may even comment that you will be working harder to improve your service.

 

3. USE 80 CHARACTERS OR LESS

It’s always better to say more with fewer words.

Kissmetrics has published findings that posts with 80 characters or less yielded 66% more engagement from followers and other online users.

No one has the time or the inclination to read a Facebook post that looks like a mini-novel.

 

4. CREATE AN ORGANIC FACEBOOK FOLLOWING

It’s a matter of quality over quantity.

You need real people to actually love your business before they can become followers. There’s no use paying a service to gain thousands of likes without getting real people to read what you have to say on your promotional campaigns. At the end of the day, the quality that you deliver will always grow your organic followers.

 

5. 1-4 TIMES A WEEK, 1-2 TIMES A DAY

Distribute the content you plan to put on your Facebook page.

According to Lab42’s research, close to 82% Facebook users like interacting with brands on the platform. However, 47% users hate the brands that clutter their newsfeeds.

Even if you have a decent amount of ready content, do not post all of it on a single day. Distribute content posting over a period of time-1-4 times a week, 1-2 times a day.

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eBooks and Whitepapers and When to Choose

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Content offers, like eBooks and whitepapers, give your business added credentials. They present your company as a leader in the industry, able to speak on a variety of topics in depth.

Targeted content can be written for a specific goal and to a specific group of people, opening up conversations with potential customers and educating them on your product or service.

These are sometimes (but rarely) written directly about the business itself or its products or services. Ideally, content offers should be designed to educate the reader, not directly make a sale. Content offers should simply attract the visitor or collect information, such as an email address.

Defining the Terms

First, let’s look at the difference between eBooks and whitepapers.

 

Whitepapers

Traditionally, a whitepaper is highly-technical and more detailed. It will rely on data-rich text, over style, to convey information in a longer form. A whitepaper is typically 10-30 in length, focusing on a single idea.

 

eBooks

An eBook uses visuals and a more casual, conversational tone to give a quick overview on multiple topics or ideas, in 6-12 pages.

Before writing and formatting either, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your Goal? Determine whether you want to be seen as an expert in your field or to display knowledge while starting a larger discussion.
  • Who is my Audience? Decide whether you’re targeting readers among the B2B market, or speaking  to consumers directly.
  • How Detailed Should It Be? Choose a standpoint. You can either speak conversationally about your topic or take a formal approach, delivering just the facts and figures.
  • Which Visuals Are Available? Research your topic and find out whether charts and graphs will be your primary support or real life images.

When deciding whether or not to create an eBook, remember design is as important as your written content. Whereas your whitepaper’s only distraction from the text should be graphs and charts displaying statistics.

Choosing a Content Offer

Whitepapers are ideal for discussing a complex topic that proves your company an expert in the field. By providing useful information on a subject that will be easily understood, you enrich aspects of your own business and inform on related topics.

Most often written in the long style, you are able to discuss detailed information that is straightforward, without losing anything by trying too hard to simplify the concept. Whitepapers offer readers the opportunity to inform themselves on the same level as the experts and act as a great resource to share, particularly in the B2B world.

eBook’s appeal more to consumers since they are generally looking for information that is accessible and easily digested. You will showcase your knowledge in a more casual and visual way so you reach a range of people who otherwise wouldn’t have the time to commit to a more weighty document.

Eye-catching visuals lead the reader into an informative discussion via a book-like layout. Often, eBook topics are loosely related to your company, offering the opportunity to interest a wider group of people in your business.

Whitepapers and eBook’s are more than a blog or email campaign, and should act as a value piece for consumers who in return give some sort of information about their own interests. Whichever content offer you choose, make it worth everyone’s while. Do your research and ensure it fits your reader.

 

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The Art of a Successful Landing Page

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A successful landing page is a stand-alone ambassador of your brand. Designed to impress visitors and convert them into loyal customers.

(Separate from a homepage, which offers several calls-to-action and has many options to navigate.) Each landing page will have a primary conversion goal, with a single focused plan.

There is almost no point to drive traffic to a website if there’s no plan for what to do with the visitors or where to send them next.

There is almost no point to drive traffic to a website if there’s no plan for what to do with the visitors or where to send them next. Click To Tweet

While raising awareness of your company and its offerings is a start, you must then craft a plan for your visitors. Tell them exactly what you want them to do and why they should do it.

That’s your landing page. A crisp, clear picture of the next steps and the useful guide that your potential customers have been looking for.

 

Unique Selling Proposition

How do you describe the essence of your existence? What is your stellar point of differentiation? The one-liner reason a reader should take time to continue learning about your company?Break down your offer into clear, enticing phrases that will catch the eye with:

Break down your offer into clear, enticing phrases that will catch the eye using:

  • Headline – As the first thing visitors will see, this should be a strong message, confirming connection and
  • Sub-Header – Elaborate on your headline with extending messages that finish the thought or support the message with further persuasion
  • Reinforcing Statement – Resting about halfway down the page, this is another opportunity to drive home your message as a second headline which further reinforces the point of the page.
  • Ending – Close the argument with a final compelling statement that reminds visitors why they can’t just leave, backing up your original proposition in a way that is too good to pass up.

 

Visual Support

Stunning visuals are essential on a successful landing page, demonstrating the value of your products or services in a way words cannot. Two proven methods to ensure this are:

  1. Graphics that place your offer in a real life scenario prove its superiority and usability and show what the viewer has truly been missing.
  2. Videos can thoroughly showcase the ins and outs of a product or allow a charismatic representative to further convince of its merit.

Allow your visitors to imagine themselves as your current customer. Show them your company can and will solve the problem at hand or why you are the answer to fill their need or desire.

 

Unbeatable Benefits

After winning the attention of your audience with powerful visuals and irresistible headlines, it’s time to carefully choose advantages that will convince, without becoming too wordy.

Include a brief summary and clarify with 3-5 bullet points.

  • Add details about how features will benefit the user
  • Solve for problems that exist
  • Improve upon current standards in the industry.

Focus on indisputable reasons that the visitor should choose to connect with you further.

 

Social Proof

Understandably, nobody likes being the guinea pig. And the bigger a decision is, the more we appreciate – reassurance. Specifically, from someone who has made this same decision before.

People want to know that your company and services are tried and true. They’re looking to see that every person who’s been converted to a customer, remains thrilled that they did! Display how your customers cannot imagine a life before your product or service.

A few key ways to do so are by listing:

  • Social media stats of followers, likes, and comments.
  • Written Testimonials
  • Star ratings, with reviews.
  • Video Testimonials
  • and professional write-ups or recommendations.

Of course, if you are just starting out in the social media world, there are other options for reassuring your potential customers. Feature quotes from satisfied customers, true success stories, and statistical examples of ways you have saved money/improved business/made life better.

 

Call-To-Action

A single conversion goal is the purpose of the page. Give browsers a simple direction once you’ve impressed them with what you’ve shared so far. This is where you truly want people to interact with your page. So design and placement are key.

If you are including a form, make sure that it is short! Avoid pointless statements like “CLICK HERE” or “SUBMIT” in favor of CTAs that remind users what they are interested in such as “REQUEST FREE CONSULTATION”.

Visitors to your landing page should have a clear understanding of your company, what it has to offer, and be provided with an easy opportunity to find out more.

Create your landing pages with a clear purpose and direct business goals. By doing this, you will greatly – and simply -contribute to your overall marketing strategy.

 

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Why Inbound Marketing is the Oil to Your Sales Funnel Machine

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Okay so you’ve built this amazing blog and now the leads will start pouring in and becoming customers, right? Wrong.

Well, partially wrong. If you’ve taken the steps to ensure this “top of the funnel” content will further lead your visitors into your sales funnel, then yes absolutely! But if you’ve only created this blog with the expectation that it alone will do all the work – you should read a little further.

In a recent article titled “Why Inbound Marketing is Necessary at Every Stage of the Sales Funnel,” the HubSpot team discusses the value of implementing inbound marketing tactics at each stage of the buyer’s journey through your funnel.

Inbound Marketing is Necessary at Every Stage of the Sales Funnel Click To Tweet

Before you dig into the depths of this highly detailed article, we took the liberty of extracting the basics of what we believe you need to know.

 

THE SALES FUNNEL AND INBOUND MARKETING

Let’s think of your sales funnel as an equivalent to your car, and inbound marketing, the oil. Sure, your car might run for a while without the recommended amount of oil, but we both know that wouldn’t last.

They didn’t coin the phrase “well-oiled machine” for nothing.

The same can be said for your sales funnel. If you’re not fully implementing an inbound marketing strategy at each phase of your funnel.

 

INBOUND MARKETING AT THE TOP OF THE FUNNEL (TOFU)

When at the TOFU, a consumer is trying to find resources that can help he or she determine possible ways to fill a need or fix a problem that they have.

For example, someone is looking for possible ways to have a television mounted on a wall. And this is a service that you offer. It would be appropriate that your TOFU offer is to post a blog showing the value of having a TV professionally mounted. It wouldn’t hurt to also include the risks and dangers associated with attempting to mount a TV on your own.

While the TOFU level leads should eventually convert into sales leads, HubSpot emphasizes that this is level is essentially pointless if you have nothing to take them further into your funnel.

This is where your inbound strategy for your TOFU needs to coincide with your MOFU plan.

 

INBOUND MARKETING AT THE MIDDLE OF THE FUNNEL (MOFU)

The top of the sales funnel’s purpose is to generate interest. The middle of the sales funnel is where it gets more exciting. Here’s where you filter through all of the interested people (which can sometimes number in the millions) and connect with qualified sales leads.

As HubSpot suggests, inbound marketing offers a great set of channels for executing this.

In order to connect with qualified leads at the MOFU level, you can use gated inbound content to:

  1. Continue providing leads with the content that they need.
  2. Filter out any leads that aren’t serious about possibly buying.
  3. And create a stronger connection with each qualified lead by acquiring an email and name.

 

INBOUND MARKETING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL (BOFU)

The BOFU level is where (if you’re implementing everything so far) most sales will close.

HubSpot notes that most marketers make the mistake of only going for the “low-hanging fruit” leads that can be converted by way of free trials and demos. But because you cannot guess when a lead is ready to make a purchase, this strategy can interrupt their trip down the sales funnel.

You cannot guess when a lead is ready to make a purchase, this can interrupt their trip down the sales funnel. Click To Tweet

Especially if this type of offer leads to a dead end.

Keeping this common sales funnel mistake in mind, make sure you’re combining your BOFU and MOFU offers. They can then work in sync (like a well-oiled machine); to ensure that you are providing the right offer at the right time.

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