Blogging & Content Marketing

Web Design - Appealing to the Hunter

How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation

This article was contributed by Rukham Khan.

You’ve finally turned that business idea that you’d been dreaming about forever, into an actual product or service.

You can’t wait to get the business started.

Or maybe you’re just really passionate about a certain topic and want to share your love through a blog.

You’ve built an amazing website and just about everything is right…except there’s no traffic.

You’re scratching your head at this point, seemingly having done everything by the book but you’re still not getting any traffic or leads. There’s no need to worry though.

The answer lies in Content Curation.

According to Hubspot, 63% of companies claim that lead generation is their biggest challenge, coupled with 53% of marketers saying blog content creation is a top priority for them. So if all these companies are looking to create leads through content, there must be someone who has figured it out? Right?

Luckily there exists a strategy that substitutes the heavy resource-dependence of content creation, and also increases the number and/or quality of sales-ready leads.

Marketing Challenges

Courtesy Hubspot

Along with creating content for your blog, you’ve got to curate content to keep customers engaged.

What is Content Curation

So now that we’ve figured out that a mix both creating and curating content works best. What actually is content curation? Hootsuite provides an apt explanation:

“the process of content curation is the act of sorting through large amounts of content on the web and presenting the best posts in a meaningful and organized way. The process can include sifting, sorting, arranging, and placing found content into specific themes, and then publishing that information.”

Content Curation

Courtesy Raphaëlle RIDARCH

So basically, content curation is the process of digging the web for content relevant to your brand, selecting and posting the best content for your viewers and adding value through informing them why the content is worth their time.

Good and consistently curated content can help establish your blog as an authority on a topic. When you have credibility and authority, people will come to you to seek information. More people means more traffic and more traffic means an increase in sales leads (or ad revenue potential).

Why Content Curation is the Perfect Strategy

Content Curation Advantages

Some of the advantages of content curation are:

  • Improves your SEO: Curated Content is further indexable pages that people can find through search engines, providing more entryways to your blog/website.
  • Establishes your credibility: When you publish content that your readers engage with, it establishes trust and credibility in you as a thought leader.
  • Supports lead generation: more content means more site visits which means more potential leads.
  • Complements social media and blogs: curated content is also a great tool to keep your social media followers engaged by scheduling industry-relevant content. This facilitates social media conversations and helps you attract more followers.
  • Removes the heavy load from content creation: it can be tiresome to keep consistently producing original and relevant content, curation helps carry some of that load.

These benefits are succinctly summed up by the team at Curata

“content curation helps you deliver improved content marketing ROI, lower per-lead costs, greater efficiency, increased credibility, and all the other benefits of a robust content or ‘inbound’ marketing strategy.”

You can also save a whole lot of money by curating content and not having to hire writers to write for you.

How to Curate Content

Content Filtering

We’ve gone through the whats and the whys of content curation. Now, how do you actually curate content? And how do you make the content personal and relatable?

There are 4 main steps to content curation:

  1. Content Aggregation
  2. Content Filtering
  3. Content Distribution
  4. Content Personalization

Step 1: Aggregate Content

There are a few ways you can start collecting on the topic of your choice, you can

  • Follow influencers on social media who’re experts on the subject of your choosing
  • Use blog aggregation tools like Feedly to collect blogs. They let you view posts from various websites all under a single banner
  • Search for video content on channels like Youtube, DailyMotion, Medium and use Soundcloud to discover relevant podcasts
  • Search Goodreads for Books to research for long-form content (but don’t post or write on Books if you haven’t read them yourselves!)

These sources should get you started. Once you get the feel of collecting from these sources, you’ll have more content than you’ll know what to do with!

It’s best if you save and organize all your content candidates on an app like Evernote, Google Docs, Notability or SmartSheet.

If you’re working as a team, you can even use Asana to collect and schedule your content.

These softwares and services keep your notes, links and clippings archived and organized.

Step 2: Filter Content

You’ve scoured the web and gathered content candidates from all over. Now we sift through these candidates to choose the best content, the stuff we’re going to share.

A right-hand rule to gauging whether the content is worth publishing is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and see if they would enjoy it.

Each piece you publish must demonstrate your interest in the topic or industry you’re posting about, it should establish thought leadership, and/or provide a solution to a specific problem in your chosen domain.

Step 3: Distribute content

After you have decided on what you’re going to share, you will be sharing your expertly curated content across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Emails, and Blogs.

The exact channel selection will depend on your marketing strategy and effectiveness of reach of each channel, a question you must ask is: is this the right platform to be engaging my audience?

You can gauge that if you know you target audience.

For example, if you’re posting content on the latest celebrity news, you can get better engagement on instagram and twitter. Similarly if you share the same content on LinkedIn, you might not get a good response as linked in mostly used for networking and business industry news.

but Email is usually a safe bet, its a universal platform used by almost any one who has a computer or a phone.

80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention. Besides email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content on social media than leads who came through another channel, according to QuickSprout.

There are some great tools to help you design emails, some good options to get you going are MailMunch, Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor. These software integrations offer fully customizable themes and A/B testing, just to name a few features.

Step 4: Add a Personal Touch

Curated Post

The ‘art’ in art of content curation comes from 2 aspects.

First, it comes from practicing content curation and over time developing a keen eye and a knack for great content your audience is bound to enjoy.

Second, the art is in personalizing the content you’re sharing.

Add splashes that colorize the content and brings out your true flavor. These can be commentaries about the post, images, or they can be complete articles responses on your content of choice.

A great practitioner of content curation is Maria Popova who runs the Brain Pickings blog. She writes long-form content with detailed reviews on books and notable historic personalities.

She has 881,000 followers on Twitter, 171,000 on Instagram and a whopping 5 million fans on her Facebook page and god knows how many email list subscribers!

Her success comes from having chosen a brilliant niche to write in. She writes about the meaning of life (which let’s face it everyone is looking for) and she chooses great books and personalities to review. But what makes her content really great is her personal touch of detailed commentary that people really enjoy reading. Here’s how she herself describes how she came to be where she stands today:

“My philosophy, and the one thing I’ve been strategic and deliberate about from the beginning is reader first …”

Take a leaf out of Maria’s book and you can expect great engagement with your curated content.

Know Your Audience

Content Marketing Mistakes

By now you’re hopefully convinced to start curating yourself to drive those traffic numbers up.

But scavenging the internet for influencers, tools, and content will be useless if we don’t actually know who we’re addressing in our curated posts.

Do you really know your audience? A simple question, sure, but one that is more complex than it might seem. Most brands want to create content that reaches millions, but that may not be the right approach. Content strategy should be value over volume.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be striving for volume either, in fact, Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.

What value over volumes means is quality always comes first.

If you are putting out content that offers thin air, you can pump out in excess of 20 posts a month but they won’t mean a thing to your readers and customers.

Patrick Armitage, Director of Marketing at BlogMutt, has great advice for marketers and bloggers looking to curate content:

“Great curators build trust with their audiences and become an indispensable resource as they help to sift through online information to distribute what’s worth reading.”

And the only way to build trust with your audience is to first know who these people are. Really dig in, find out and engage your customers, monitor social media conversations, use segmentation tools, Google Analytics, SEO research…whatever it takes to assemble a complete picture of the people you’re serving.

Another strategy to figure out your consumers is to create ‘audience personas’. These personas are fictional, general qualitative representations of your ideal audience. These personas help to attract the people we want to curate for, and view them as actual humans (and not numbers) while we do it.

Some questions that you can ask to get a better image of your audience includes:

  • What jobs/titles they have
  • What skills do they possess/want to have
  • What are the challenges you can solve for them
  • What type of information do they seek online
  • What sort of content do they enjoy online

These are just some basic questions you can get started with. You can create more specific questions according to the purpose of your blog or website to create more meaningful audience personas.

You Have Great Content… Now What?

There you go, you are now absolutely ready to go out and start collecting and curating content on your own.

Fast forward a bit…

Let’s safely assume you’ve followed all the steps, you’ve found the best sources for content, you’ve figured out your distribution strategy.

You’ve even developed that touch of a professional curator, who knows what and who they’re serving. You keep on rolling out content regularly and surely.

Now what?

It’s great that you’re putting out content, but the story doesn’t end there. The big payoff comes from creating an engaged following and improving your SEO rankings.

As mentioned earlier, whatever topic you curate content for, it is in your benefit to be seen as an authority if you want to make sales or earn ad revenue, and high SEO ranking are one measure of subject authority.

When you have published great content, you need a dedicated following who you can regularly address with your messages.

These customers will receive your finely tuned content, increase visits to your website, and share with others, events that will increase your search rankings. You don’t have to collect website visitors manually though, email capture technologies like MailMunch can assist you in building your email lists.

You can convert visitors into leads through landing pages and pop-ups which are non-intrusive and captivating, and there is little to no coding involved in getting it set-up.

Start using these tips today to curate content. We would love to hear from you how your content curation journey unfolds!


About the author: Rukham Khan writes on e-commerce and email marketing topics to help people understand the industry landscape. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications. In his personal time, he writes on Medium on topics ranging from music to psychedelics. Lead magnet image by VecktorKnight on Shutterstock.

How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation How to Get Traffic & Leads with Content Creation
Marketer Cheats his Field With Design - Creates 15 Logos in 15 Da...

How to Win at Email Design

Below is an interview with Mike Smith, the art director for Aweber (the email marketing service I use for JUST Creative) and he has answered a few common questions on email design.

On a side note, if you’ve designed a great email newsletter, enter it into EmailMonks’ free newsletter competition and win your share of $10k in prizes.

1. How can using a consistent template build brand trust?

Templates are beneficial for many reasons, but specific to your customers, a consistent template design helps to establish expectations. A consistent template makes the cognitive load on subscribers lighter because they see a recognizable structure and aesthetic. This minor mental trigger builds a subconscious trust with readers which goes a long way to making your brand stronger.

2. What are the best colors and placements for CTAs in emails?

The best way to know how subscribers will respond is through testing, but here are some tips we’ve learned with our own testing. If you can place a link or button just under a header image or headline we’ve seen marked increases in the click through.

When it comes to color, matching your brand is important but so is contrast. The higher the contrast between a button and the background it sits on the more actionable it will appear.

3. How much do I really need to change on the template to make it unique?

Aweber Email Template

The templates in your email provider have been designed to make your life easier. If you only change the colors and logo that is sufficient enough to make a well designed email. No need to go crazy with changing all the elements just to “make it your own”.

The templates are also created to be flexible so adding additional images and content should be easy to make work within the constraints the email designer created for that specific template.

4. Should my template match my website?

Aweber Website vs Email

It’s a big challenge to match an email and web experience 1 to 1. The use cases for each are quite different so there isn’t a point in beating yourself up to make it perfectly match. The important elements of your site–fonts, colors, logos, image styles– are enough to make the two coexist.

Think about your email in the way that old school correspondence kits were designed. Your business card and letterhead don’t look identical, because they have different purposes. But they did obviously live as part of the same brand. That is the same logic that applies to a website and email template, similar but designed with the medium’s intent in mind.

5. Should design or content come first when thinking about creating an email newsletter?

A flexible email template design should allow for all types of content.

6. What are fun and unique ways to make your email stand out from other brands?

Let your personality shine! This doesn’t have to be through witty copy or flashy GIFs but it could be. Whatever you do make it true to you. Every person and brand are a unique mix of their history, their convictions, and their personality. Allow that to come through in your design decision making, don’t focus on “being different”.

7. What’s the number one mistake you see marketers make in email designs?

Don't be fancy

Trying to be fancy. Clip art images, crazy fonts or font colors, or whacky layouts aren’t necessary. Drive home the value every time you send an email and subscribers will want to hear from you. Don’t put a bunch of silly distractions in the way of getting to the value!

Win at Email Design: Video Series

Mike Smith has been working on a series of videos about email design. Below is the first video which teaches you how to design an awesome welcome email, focusing on the principles of brand aesthetics, setting expectations and showing humanity.

Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMceqQMoac8&w=560&h=315]

How to Win at Email Design How to Win at Email Design How to Win at Email Design How to Win at Email Design How to Win at Email Design How to Win at Email Design

10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails

This article was contributed by Kevin George.

Emails are constantly evolving. What began as an interdepartmental communication channel is now a vital marketing tool to reach the masses. Unlike a social post which is lost in a sea of updates, your emails reach your subscribers’ inbox, ready to be opened and read.

But the steps every email goes through are almost similar. Your subscriber receives your email, opens it, spends roughly 8 seconds to go through it, decides to either respond or move to the next email and repeats the same steps. Every email marketer struggles to make their emails interesting enough for their subscriber to spend more time and this increased time spent can be really pivotal in converting them into customers.

To make any email engaging, you have two options:

  • Make your email content engaging
  • Make, how your email content is presented, engaging

Email marketers have been using best practices and experimenting with email elements such as layouts, colors, email copy, visually appealing hero images, since long. Now, what if we tweaked the method of presenting the above-stated email elements so that your subscribers interact with your emails to unfold the message?

See here for the anatomy of the perfect email and how to use personalization in email.

Dr.-Marten

Would you like to remind your subscriber about limited sale via text (a) or have a countdown timer (b) in your emails?

Presenting Interactivity in Emails…

Ever since the amalgamation of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) into HTML emails, the scope for including keyframe animation in emails became possible. Using keyframe, any specific element from an email can be moved, expanded, reduced, flipped, etc. The end result is super amazing elements that change according to the user interactions.

We shall look into some of the interactive email elements that are being included by brands to make their emails STAND OUT. With some minor exceptions, the below stated interactive email elements are supported well in most of the widely used email clients.

Countdown Timer

Countdown, in any form, triggers the fear of missing out in the minds of the reader. Leveraging this sense of urgency, email marketers use countdown timers in their sale promotion/ announcement By using CSS, you can enable the timer to countdown from the time the email was opened to the deadline time. Unfortunately, this is currently only supported in Apple devices and Thunderbird, but fortunately for the non-supporting email clients, a GIF of the countdown timer can be a good fallback option.

The E-commerce industry can use countdown timers to depict the expiry of an ongoing offer or even for the abandoned products in the cart.

Dr.-Marten

In the above example, the countdown is right in the first fold. 

Scope of Application:

  • Ecommerce sites can create ‘limited period’ urgency while offering discounts on different products and in their cart abandonment emails.
  • Attendees to an event can be sent reminder by event companies
  • Automobile industry can send emails to enthusiasts with a countdown before the launch of a new car model.

Navigation Menu

Most of the brands now feature a navigation menu in the header or footer of the email. But when the email is opened on a mobile device, the content stacks up to make the email unintentionally long. This can be overcome by hiding the navigation menu within a collapsible menu so that only those interested can click on it. Moreover, the navigation when placed at the footer, shall not force the email content to shift down, as with the case in the navigation menu on the top.

This is compatible currently on Android native and Apple’s Native email clients.

Nike

As you can observe, in the above email the mobile layout features the navigation menu at the bottom

Scope of Application:

  • Links to extensive tour options can be offered by brands in Travel and hospitality services, neatly tucked behind menus within emails.
  • E-commerce websites can provide links to different product sections to showcase new product launches, recommendations and cross selling within the navigation menu.

Rotating Banner

When you need to showcase different products or variation of the same product, stacking them into columns is not a very wise decision in terms of email length. In such cases, integrating all the images into a rotating banner can be really helpful. Rotating banners automatically loop between different images, separated by a preset time interval – one image at a time. This doesn’t require any manual input from the user’s end and it keeps on running in a loop, being especially helpful when viewing on mobile devices.

Rei Ghost - Carousel

Adventure Gear retailer REI’s email features a rotating banner at email header explaining their featured product

Scope of Application:

  • Tour and travel companies can showcase various tour packages in limited space.
  • Academic and educational institutes can have a slideshow of their awards and achievements.

Sliders

Counterpart of rotating banners, sliders perform a similar function but the only difference is that in sliders the subscribers can rotate the banner in either direction, based on their interaction. Moreover, you can have separate CTA buttons for individual frames to help monitor user interactions.
Nest Slider

Home Automation Nest email features the slider showcasing their products.

Scope of Application:

  • Technological companies can display their products/services offerings, customer feedbacks, etc. through a slider.
  • Retailers can show all their newly launched products in one email, courtesy sliders in email.

Scratch & Flip Effect

For a dramatic effect, coupon codes in emails can be hidden behind a silver strip that a subscriber needs to virtually scratch or click in order to reveal. This is helpful in creating a sense of mystery and raises the subscriber’s curiosity level.

In desktop, both effects will work well in Apple Mail & Thunderbird; in mobile devices, it will work in native apps only.

Email-Flip-New

EmailMonks have implemented a flip in their email for Easter offer

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites can create some drama by sending a coupon code that is revealed by a scratch effect and flip-flop a product’s image and information.
  • For a research company, providing stats and a brief about a research can be done successfully through a flip effect.

Accordion Effect

You can reduce the overall email length by hiding the email content behind tabs. When the subscriber clicks a tab, the content expands and any other tab shall get collapsed automatically. Really helpful when you need to share secondary information on a single product that’ll remain hidden until tapped. Although supported in desktop clients, its applications are best enjoyed in emails opened in mobile devices.

Accordion

In the above email, the content is neatly stacked into tabs when viewed in the mobile layout

Scope of Application:

  • Publishers and bloggers can implement accordion to accommodate more content in their email newsletter.
  • eCommerce retailers can provide secondary information about a product that’ll remain hidden until tapped.

Integrated Forms

Integrated Forms

Instead of redirecting your subscribers to a landing page, you can embed in-line forms within your emails for lead generation purposes. By having an integrated form in email, you increase the form filling efficiency manifold. But what needs to be noted is that only Text box, Paragraph, Checkboxes, and Radio Buttons are supported currently.

These come very handy when you need to conduct surveys or collect feedbacks. The data collected in the form field can be redirected to any search engine or your website database to enable search right from your email.

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites, in their post purchase email, can add a form in which the customer can review the product.
  • Restaurant owners can send promotional emails to get subscribers for filling form to process the specific order or for reviewing their experiences.

Tooltips

Tooltips

Similar to the tooltips you encounter on websites and desktop applications, you can integrate a tooltip within an email. This can be really helpful for e-commerce emails, where subscribers can get additional information about a specific product by clicking or tapping on the overlay. Combined with embedded forms in emails, it can be used to provide helpful information.

Scope of Application:

  • Apparel and retail stores can show elaborate information on their products when the user clicks on the tooltip box.
  • Tourism companies can share the details about amazing destinations with related package details displayed on correct word.

Video

The most engaging content since the popularity of Youtube and Snapchat, you can even include a video that is embedded in the email. Upon user interaction, the video can play right inside the email. Currently supported in Apple devices, Outlook for Mac and Android native clients.

In the above email, Eurostar has added a rotating banner using GIF as well as an embedded video right in their email.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing still manages to bring the highest ROI, and innovations such as these interactive elements, keep email at the top as the preferred marketing tool by most marketers. Moreover, those with non-supporting email clients are not left in the dark since all the above interactive emails designs come bundled with appropriate fallbacks in order to not ruin the user experience.

Have you ever received or sent any interactive email? Share your experience in the comments below.

About the author: Kevin, the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free master email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. 

10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails
Author eBook Bundle

FREE eBook Library to Skyrocket your Career! [Ends Aug 19]

Although JUST Creative mainly shares design resources, I am sure there are a few of you here that write, have a product or course you sell online, want to self publish a book or simply want to build your email list.

If so, let me introduce to you the FREE Author Success Bundle.

The Author Success Bundle is a library of free ebooks with the best advice on growing your career as rapidly as possible. It’s mainly directed towards writers but, there are tons of varied tips in here for all sorts of careers.

It includes books from top bestsellers and six figure authors like Derek Doepker, Jesse Krieger, Adam Houge, Tom Corson-Knowles and many more!

Included in your bundle is a free full month of Thinkific, a platform for turning your books into profitable online courses – and a free ticket to the Author Success Summit ($997 value).

But please note that this bundle will only be available until August 19th.

You can find the full details of each title included and grab your free bundle here:

» Download Free eBook Bundle

This bundle has been put together by Adam Houge, who is a master at online selling and earns six figures every year on his various book income streams. Adam invited me to be apart of his next bundle, hence sharing this bundle with you.

I suggest having a look through his “Rapid Email List Building” eBook which has invaluable advice inside.

Again, you can get this book and many others, along with a free month of Thinkific and tickets to the virtual summit, The Author Success Summit, all for free.

» Download Free eBook Bundle 

The tickets to the summit and everything included in the bundle are over a $1000 in value and will only be available for a few days so grab yours before it’s too late.

You can always get it now and read later!

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