Category Archives: InfusionSoft

Small Business Ideas | Infusionsoft Blog Homepage

by Michael TaylorNot everyone likes change, especially management. Scott Berkun wrote, “No matter the organization, often once people are in management roles they tend to want to change as little as possible out of fear of losing that power. Despite all of their rhetoric about progress and…

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Small Business Ideas | Infusionsoft Blog Homepage

How to Get Your Sales Team to Use CRM

Ellis has spent a lot of her adult life chest-deep in small business adventures, especially the year she spent opening the Beijing branch of a Shanghai-based air purifier and lifestyle business. Most of her experience stems from her diverse media background in film, magazine publishing, blogging, and photography, but she’s also a published author and Infusionsoft’s blog manager. Ellis has an idiosyncratic fondness for grammar, style, and sarcasm, and fills most of her time away from the keyboard tasting scotch whisky, traveling abroad, and hiking.

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How To Write an E-Book that Gets Read and Shared

When did e-books become a content marketing staple? It’s tough to say when, exactly, but they are just that—a staple for your content marketing efforts.

But e-books are also incredibly daunting, especially if you’ve never written one before. Just the sound of the project is intimidating.

There are also other fears—what if you spend your precious time and resources creating this masterpiece and no one reads it and it generates zero leads?

Worry no more. Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating your next e-book and ensuring it gets read and shared:

When did e-books become a content marketing staple? It’s tough to say when, exactly, but they are just that—a staple for your content marketing efforts.

But e-books are also incredibly daunting, especially if you’ve never written one before. Just the sound of the project is intimidating.

There are also other fears—what if you spend your precious time and resources creating this masterpiece and no one reads it and it generates zero leads?

Worry no more. Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating your next e-book and ensuring it gets read and shared:

1. Choose a topic

There are three criterion to keep in mind as you set out to choose a topic for your e-book.

• Relevance: Does it make sense for your business to be publishing something on this topic? Make sure the topic you choose is relevant to your business.

Tip: If you’re writing your first e-book, pick a more general topic to begin with and zero in on specifics. If, for example, you’re a lighting company, write about energy-efficient lighting solutions before you write about the best light bulbs for a fast food restaurant.

• Shelf life: Content marketers love to throw around “evergreen” as an adjective. What does that mean, exactly? Evergreen content—or content with a long shelf life—remains relevant for a long time. If the topic you’re writing about could lose its relevance in the near future, avoid it. Unless you’re pumping out multiple e-books every month, always opt for more evergreen e-book topics.

Tip: Talk with internal subject matter experts to determine the evergreen quality of the topics you’re considering. Perhaps there’s something on the horizon that could dilute a topic and your subject matter expert is privy to that something.

• Industry specificity: Conglomerates aim to be world leaders. You simply want to be an industry leader. How do you do that? Set yourself apart by publishing long form content like e-books that demonstrate your expertise.

Tip: Keeping shelf life in mind, try to identify emerging topics to write about—things that you’re certain will get a lot of airtime in the days ahead. Those things are what people will be clambering to understand and your resource could well materialize as the go-to resource on that topic.

2. Source internal content

If the topic you chose is relevant, evergreen and industry-specific, you’ve probably written related content before. Call all of it up and scour it for repurposing. Are there blog posts, other content offers, or sections of other pieces you’ve written that could be repurposed for your e-book?

Grab all of that text, copy and paste it into a master document, and proceed to the next step.

3. Develop a skeleton

Talk with your team about the order of the information you’re presenting. Look for natural progressions. Write out big ideas and order them and identify connections between them. Make sure there’s little overlap between them.

Bullet out each big idea and use numbered lists where they’re fitting. Make sure you can find clear calls to action for the e-book itself and each section individually. 

4. Add flesh to your skeleton

Here’s where you’ll go through that master document and look at your repurposed content. Look at that side-by-side with your skeleton; see if you can plug any of it into your e-book-in-progress.

Start to fill out the skeleton with meaty pieces of text. That could be repurposed stuff or new ideas you conjure as you run through the skeleton.

This step is where your e-book begins to develop a look and a feel. Look closely at each section of the skeleton and add as many strong ideas as you can. Add punchy, weighty sentences that the sections can lean on.

Tip: As you add repurposed content, look for areas to paraphrase to better fit the context. Maybe your e-book has a theme that the text from the original blog post or content offer doesn’t carry. Figure out how to integrate it naturally, so there are no awkward sentences that might detract from the overall readability of your e-book.

5. Write with your head down

Now is when the real flesh-adding happens. Add as much relevant content as you can in this step. Don’t stop to edit. Don’t nitpick. Just go. Dump all of your thoughts here.

Look to elaborate on the points you’ve made thus far. Add illustrations and data as best you can. How can you give readers the best content possible?

6. Edit and polish

“Edit and polish.” Does that sound redundant? It’s not. Here’s what you want to do:

• Edit: Make sure your e-book is error-free and clean. Cut out redundancies and smooth out transitions.

• Polish: Look closely at verb choice—strengthen weak verbs like “get” and “are.” Look for out-of-theme areas and try to integrate e-book-native language as best you can throughout. 

7. Publish and promote

Whew. That was a lot of work. Now you need to focus on getting people to your e-book. How? Here are a few ideas:

• Create a compelling cover: If you don’t want to use a designer, use a site like canva.com to create an aesthetically-pleasing e-book cover.

• Create a landing page: Use a landing page and a lead-generating form dedicated to your newly created e-book.

• Create and disburse call-to-action (CTA) buttons: Carefully design CTA buttons for your e-book and integrate them into past and future posts. 

For more ideas to bring in leads (e-books aren’t the only way), register for a free webinar by clicking the image below.

frank kern cta How To Write an E Book that Gets Read and Shared

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How to Write a Blog Post that Cuts Through the Noise

Five exabytes. Does that sound like a lot? It is.

How much is an exabyte? It’s one billion billion, or a quintillion. Or two to the 60th power.

Okay, now that you have your mind around that, try to get your mind around this: five exabytes is the approximate volume of content that was produced in all of history up until 2003. Five exabytes is also the approximate amount of content which has been produced daily since 2013, according to Newstex.

Did you catch that? Five exabytes of content produced from whenever-the-heck B.C. until 2003. Five exabytes of content produced every single day since 2013.

That’s a lot of noise to deal with. It can be easy to think your blog post will be drowned out and that it won’t matter among the estimated two million posts which are published everyday.

Don’t buy that.

With the right approach, you can cut through all the noise, rank high with search engines, and offer value to the readers who end up on your blog. 

Steps for writing a great blog post

1. Choosing a blog post topic

First things first: What should you write about?

If you’re struggling to find an answer to that question, a great place to start is with customer questions. Answer those. And turn those answers in to blog posts.

Say, for example, your company is a B2B commercial real estate agency. Talk to your agents and ask them each to give you a list of customer FAQs—maybe five or 10. Then compile a master list of those questions, isolate key phrases and words from each, and use Google’s Keyword Planner to prioritize the order in which you carry out the posts. Answer the questions containing the most-searched phrases first and move down the list.

Answering customer questions in a blog post not only provides evergreen magnetic content for your site, but preempts the sales meeting, priming your leads and setting a more expeditious pace for conversion.

Here are some other types of posts that perform notoriously well across almost every sector:

• How-to (ex. “How to write a blog post that cuts through the noise”)
• Numbered lists (ex. “7 steps for writing a great blog post”)
• Tips (ex. “7 pro tips for writing a great blog post”)
• Video integrations
• Recaps and takeaways (ex. “10 big takeaways from Commercial Real Estate Fair 2015”)
• Checklists (ex. “The ultimate checklist for promoting your blog online”)
• Dos and Don’ts (ex. “The big Dos and Don’ts of using CTA buttons in blog posts”)

2. Writing a blog post outline

Front-end planning is crucial for ensuring that your message comes across.

Early Internet blogging might have encouraged free writing, but blogs today are pivotal grounds for you to strategically connect with your customers.

Blogging today isn’t meant for theses and manifestos—especially when you’re writing on behalf of your business. Instead, it’s somewhere between “Dear Diary” and research paper, meaning some level of planning is required.

To begin your blog post outline, jot down a list of high points you’re looking to address. Use those as the section headers. Then, anchor the sections of your outline with a pivot point—something that can serve as the core of the section. The pivot point could be a metaphor, a quote, a big idea—anything that has the strength to stand on its own and drive the section before you build your other content around it.

Your outline should also include your intended call-to-action. Make it prominent at the bottom of your outline so that your content tees it up nicely and the call itself feels natural and not pushy. 

3. Titling a blog post

Coming up with a blog post title isn’t difficult by nature. If you can write a several-hundred-word blog, certainly you can write a short title for it.

Writing a strong blog post title is another thing altogether.

Here are some key things to consider when crafting a title which resonates with both readers and search engines:

• Be honest: Make your title an accurate representation of the content in your blog post.
• Be concise: Your blog post title should ideally be 70 characters or less, as that’s what shows in Google search results.
• Be upfront: Remember those keywords you identified? They should be at the front end of your title.
• Be strategic: A post titled something like “Thursday Thoughts” or “My Mad Monday” probably won’t intrigue readers and definitely won’t intrigue search engines unless, of course, your name is Seth Godin, in which case you don’t need seven steps for writing a great blog post.
• Be human: Avoid jargon-y buzzwords and big vocabulary words and talk to your readers in an authentic way.
• Be moderately clickbait–y: The liberties you take with your blog post titles are largely dependent on your industry and target audience; unless you’re writing for teenagers or a tabloid, try to keep overstatements and superlative statements like “You’ll never believe” or “The best (blank) ever,” etc. Less-emphatic descriptions like “top 10” or “intriguing” can be useful in titles.

google search bogs How to Write a Blog Post that Cuts Through the Noise

4. SEO considerations

You read about using Google’s Keyword Planner earlier in order to isolate and identify keywords for your titles. Those keywords should also be integrated in to the body text. There isn’t a real quota for how many times you need to use a keyword in a post, but it’s not a bad idea to loosely aim for once for every 200-300 words.

Furthermore, the word count of your blog post matters. Every post should be a bare minimum of 300 words. But 300-word posts should be extremely rare if you care about search visibility.

As serpIQ demonstrated with a key piece of research, the bigger, the better.

serpiq How to Write a Blog Post that Cuts Through the Noise

5. Headers and formatting

Speaking of SEO, the way you use your headers is critical for both search engines and readers.

It’s important to clearly tell your readers what you’re going to cover in the section ahead. Again, a vague header is just as dampening as a vague title.

Using the aforementioned keywords in your headers is a good way to reinforce them for SEO purposes, but don’t use them in every header. And when it comes to coding your post, make sure your headers are tagged as H2s.

Finally, when it comes to formatting, keep the following points in mind:

• Long paragraphs can be repellent to online readers. Try to keep paragraphs to four sentences or shorter.
• Bulleted and numbered lists are really effective in organizing your information. Use them freely to help readers quickly work through your post.
• Too much boldface and underlining could cause readers to miss large parts of your post, so be careful not to overuse them.

Cutting through the noise: Quality matters

Even if you follow all of the steps above, there’s no hacking the search engine algorithms anymore. If your post isn’t enjoyable to read and actually helpful, readers won’t read it, Google will find out, and you don’t stand a chance of ranking well. Seek to genuinely help your readers with well-written, well-organized content. Make it enjoyable, memorable, clear, educational and concise while you’re at it. 

For more information on how to generate leads (blog posts can bring some new prospects in), register for the free webinar by clicking the image below.

frank kern cta How to Write a Blog Post that Cuts Through the Noise

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Big Business Branding Tips for Small Business

Ellis has spent a lot of her adult life chest-deep in small business adventures, especially the year she spent opening the Beijing branch of a Shanghai-based air purifier and lifestyle business. Most of her experience stems from her diverse media background in film, magazine publishing, blogging, and photography, but she’s also a published author and Infusionsoft’s blog manager. Ellis has an idiosyncratic fondness for grammar, style, and sarcasm, and fills most of her time away from the keyboard tasting scotch whisky, traveling abroad, and hiking.

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5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

Email Marketing. You could say it’s kind of our jam (no false modesty around these parts). And truth be told, the stats are clear—if you’re trying to market yourself online, it should be your jam too. With the fierce competition for valuable inbox space—and for those priceless click-thrus, it pays for every small business owner to become an email marketing maven. 

email marketing jam 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

We can’t yet offer an MBA on the subject, but we can help you cut through the plethora of information out there and direct you to the best resources we find out there in the vast reaches of cyberspace.

Consider this our version of Email Marketing 101—crowd-sourced style. Stay tuned, we promise there will be more. 

How to Stand Out by Writing with BS (When to Use Profanity in Email Marketing) (via @writeraccess)

swear jar 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

“At WriterAccess we don’t take language lightly. So we defined a process to scientifically confirm whether or not we should use mildly offensive language in our content. First step, research.”

Whether or not you have the vocabulary of a sailor, or an angel, you may sometimes find yourself wondering how far you can push the envelope when it comes to your emails.

It is true that playing it safe can be the biggest mistake you make in marketing. No, you won’t get your mouth washed out with soap this time, but will courting a little controversy—whether it be in the language you use or the content you create and share—help you stand out from the crowd, or be buried until a pile of angry unsubscribes?  Check out this experiment to see some surprising results Writer Access discovered when they tested some colorful vocabulary in a recent campaign. 

a christmas story soap 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

Spoiler Alert: It may not make your mother happy, but the curse words win with 15 percent higher clicks than the PG version. 

Who should read this? Are you tired of playing it safe and itching to push the envelope in your email marketing? Read this for some data driven recommendations that can help you decide if you keep it PG, or go for broke. 

5 Preheader Text Ideas to Increase Your Email Effectiveness (via @emailonacid)

subject line 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

“‘Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view it in a web browser.’ No doubt you’ve seen this phrase at the top of hundreds, if not thousands of email messages. However, you don’t want this to be the first thing after your subject line that your audience reads.”

Preheader text. Now there’s a scintillating topic. 

sure jan 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

Yes, we are being sarcastic. No, it’s not as enticing as whether or not to use colorful language, but it’s an important and often ignored opportunity improve your email open rates. That little bit of text that shows when your email is previewed can have an enormous impact on whether your marketing missive gets opened—or sent straight to trash. Learn to make the most of your pre-header with this example-filled post.

Who should read it? Do your emails rely on the generic text above? If so, get these over to this post and learn how to maximize every valuable character. 

We A/B Tested Our Email Subject Lines For Months. Here’s What We Learned. (via @coschedule)

ab testing email subject lines 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

In the never-ending struggle to find a way to get readers to click and read your content, testing your email subject lines is important. Not only for that specific email, ensuring that your best email goes out to your list, but also to learn about what attracts your list the best.

You know to avoid spam worthy subject lines that promise instant riches, anatomical er…improvements, or anything involving a wire transfer from a recently deceased great uncle in Nigeria. But it can be tricky to navigate what words and phrases make the difference between your email being opened and enjoyed—or destined for the trash bin (or worse, a dreaded unsubscribe or spam complaint). To make it even more difficult, what works well for one audience may mark inbox death for another entrepreneur with a different target. The solution? Split testing. This post lays out the results of six months of testing, and their experiments can give you great insight into how to do the same for your own marketing efforts.

fry can t tell meme generator can t tell if spam or actual email 9a6bf0 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

Who should read this? Ever wonder if some small (or large) headline tweaks may make a big difference to your email list? Read on and learn. 

No Email Marketing Strategy is Complete Without These Two Tactics (via @Unbounce)

soul mate candy heart 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

“Segmented emails and landing pages are conversion soul mates. Conversion rate optimizers make landing pages. Email marketers send emails…if your marketing strategy isn’t unified across all channels, chances are you’re leaving conversions on the table.”

This example-filled post from Unbounce serves up the one-two punch for successful conversions—a dedicated landing page for each email marketing campaign plus a segmented approach that drives the right customers to the right pages at the right time. The post makes the cast for targeted, specific and visually cohesive landing pages to make the most of your email marketing efforts. Combine that with a well-segmented list driving to a well designed landing page optimized for that segment, and you’ve got a match made in conversion heaven.

Who should read this? Are you still driving your list to general pages on your website instead of dedicated landing pages? Have you been avoiding segmenting your list? Get thee over to this post—test out this approach with one of your existing campaigns and watch your conversions increase.

How To Write an Awesome Newsletter (via @hootdesignco)

how to write an awesome newsletter 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

So you’re about to write a newsletter. What should you include? Well, after some trial and error (and lots of reading!) we’ve established some key elements for creating on-brand, readable, engaging newsletter content. Curious? We’ve compiled it all in one awesome anatomy lesson.”

The email newsletter. What on earth do you include? What do you leave out? How do you make it stand out from the veritable sea of similar email newsletters? How do you create a newsletter that gets opened—and gets results? This beautiful infographic takes you through each piece in the anatomy of a well-designed email newsletter. Open this sucker and compare it to see how your newsletter content fares in comparison. Did you find room for improvement? Good—now get to work.

tom hanks working 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

Who should read this? Any small business owner who wants to create the very best email on the planet. So, basically, all of you. 

Bonus Video: 3 Quick Tips for Small Biz Email Marketing Success (via @NFIB)

Okay—so this is a video.  But technically, you still have to read it. Give us 54 seconds of your valuable time and get a quick reminder of why you can’t afford not to focus on email marketing.

Want some more email marketing tips? Check out these posts:

5 Ways to Know the Best Time to Send an Email

Copy Talk: How to Write Email Copy that Reads Like Buttah

5 Best Small Business Email Marketing Campaign Tricks

Tell us, what are your biggest email marketing questions or dilemmas?  Let us know in the comments or on social and we’ll be sure to dig up some helpful resources in a future roundup. 

And, if you want information on lead generation (someone has to get those emails you send), register for a free webinar by clicking the image below.

frank kern cta 5 Things You Need to Read Right Now: Email Marketing Edition, Vol. 1

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We Feel Your CRM Adoption Pain

by Ben Snedeker

It turns out that the biggest pain of CRM for businesses is adoption, as in, 58 percent of businesses agree that it’s the biggest pain. In other words, over half of businesses say to themselves, “If we can just get our team to adopt the new CRM software, we’d be over the biggest hurdle and on to the benefits of CRM.”

So if you’re thinking about CRM for your business, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about adoption issues, too. You’re probably asking yourself questions like:

  • Will my team buy in?
  • What will it take to get them to buy in?
  • Is it more work to set up and maintain than it’s worth?

These are tough questions to navigate, and everyone has an opinion. Wouldn’t it be great to have a guide to help you find your way through these questions? Our free e-book, The Small Business Field Guide to Accelerating CRM Adoption, is exactly that resource.

Why is CRM adoption mission critical?

It’s not uncommon for small businesses to experience growing pains. At a certain point, they realize that they have been relying on a hodgepodge of tools to manage their sales and nurture their leads.

For instance, many businesses use a bunch of spreadsheets to track their customer interactions, or a pile of business cards on someone’s desk, or even sticky notes pasted around a computer monitor frame. This can work for a small business in the early days, but as the business grows, inefficient systems start to become costly. CRM has helped countless businesses get organized, work smarter, and most importantly, become more profitable.

It sounds like a no-brainer, then, right? Well, making the switch to CRM isn’t something you can take lightly. There are myriad questions businesses ask, but some of the top questions are:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Will my staff use it?
  • Is there a clear ROI?

Our Trail Guide will walk you through these questions and point you in the right direction for your individual business.

More resources for CRM adoption

In addition to the deep look at CRM Adoption we take in our Trail Guide, we want the most value in one convenient place, so you don’t have to keep digging around the Internet to think through the adoption question.

Embedded in our trail guide, you’ll find our ROI calculator tool, which will help you think through just how much value you can get out of CRM.

We’ve also tacked on a detailed checklist, which outlines the very important questions and action items you’ll need to keep in mind as you think through the adoption process.

Check out our free Trail Guide here. And while you’re at it, subscribe to our blog so you never miss valuable insights on sales and marketing for your business.

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5 Tips to Improve Content Marketing Efforts

by Grant Lingel

The world is more connected today than ever before. Ideas cross the globe in the blink of an eye, simply by touching a button. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can reach an audience that at once seemed unimaginable.

Content marketing has become the “it” strategy for getting the word out, but by no means is content marketing a new idea. At the end of the 19th century, John Deere launched The Furrow. His customer magazine is still around to this day. This was the first real case of native advertising, an important piece of the content marketing puzzle.

Brands and businesses have been telling stories for hundreds of years. The difference now is that there are so many ways to spread the word.

Content marketing has as many definitions as it does approaches. Entrepreneur calls it “king.” Forbes calls it the “mercantile version of thought leadership”.

The most thorough definition comes from the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Content marketing is a megaphone that has a remarkable reach. When pointed in the right direction, it can get news out to the masses about products and services at incomprehensible speeds. Great marketers are able to get complete strangers working for them. These strangers can then send the ideas to the world, sharing them along all their networks. So how are these savvy marketers able to do this? How do they join forces with complete strangers to sell products and ideas?

The idea is simple, but the execution is where things get complicated.

Build the right team

Content marketing is no easy task. Understanding your audience and figuring out the right way to reach them can be a daunting experience. That is why delegating each responsibility to the right person can go a long way.

The right content marketing team is a lot more than just a brilliant marketer. There needs to be an excellent copywriter, videographer, promoter and social media expert. To truly maximize the efforts of each campaign, the right people must be in place.

Combining experience and creativity makes a content marketing campaign much more likely to succeed. 

Make it cool and interesting

Most people have no patience waiting for the three seconds to pass so they can click the “skip this ad” button on YouTube. If we are so quick to disregard those ads, why are we so quick to share other “advertised” content? Because it’s crafted in a cool way.

It brings intriguing, relevant information to the customer hidden as entertainment or educational material. No one likes to see ads floating around the margins of their favorite blog. But when there is an interesting post within that blog that indirectly promotes a product or idea, we eat it up. Even better, we share as if we were part of the company producing said content.

The idea is to not be obvious; blog posts created for content marketing strategies have no blatant references to the company producing it. Most of the time, there is no mention of the company at all within the text. Usually, there will be a tiny mention in the author byline and that is all. Doing this over and over across many sites will likely turn that author into a thought leader. Since the author is a content manager or content marketer for a certain company, that company will also become a thought leader, thus, growing their audience indirectly.

Attract new users with landing pages

You will benefit greatly down the road by setting up a striking landing page where people enter their name and email and receive exclusive content in return. This will help you grow your database and number of leads, while also gaining loyal followers.

Make those who sign up feel like they are getting the most exclusive experience as possible. Letting them know that the e-book, discounts, contests and more are only available to those who sign up, your clients will feel as if they are a part of something special. This is a key factor in boosting customer retention. Sure, it is great to get the e-book out there and that should be one of the focuses, but the end goal is customer retention and that can only happen when customers are happy.

A landing page is designed to receive campaign traffic and lives separately from the website. This allows landing pages to focus on single topics, which then makes reporting and testing easier.

Educate your audience

Producing well-researched, informative guides and e-books is the one of the best ways to attract a new audience. Giving these away to people who visit your site is a multi-faceted way to grow your viewership and stockpile user emails. Offer these guides for free, asking only for people’s names and emails in return. Sure it will take a long time to produce and you won’t get any cash return with the distribution, but becoming a thought leader in your area has a much higher value and return than charging a few bucks for the download. Free goes a long way.

Involve your customers

Customer lifetime value (CLV) will skyrocket if they feel a strong connection with a business.

A report by Econsultancy revealed that a remarkable 94 percent of businesses believe that personalizing the customer’s experience is “critical to current and future success” of the business.

Customers don’t want to simply be considered part of company’s profit margin; they want a real relationship. When companies involve their customers, either by actively seeking their feedback or rewarding them for partaking in marketing campaigns, they feel more connected.

If customers get more out of the experience than simply purchasing a product or service, they will be way more likely to help spread the word. This makes the content marketing campaign stronger and more effective than ever.

Personalize the experience by interacting with customers. Be quick and positive in response to all correspondence; send them birthday cards, special deals, referral programs and more. These simple, low-cost strategies are crucial when it comes to enhancing CLV and getting customers feeling as if they are part of the team. When they feel this way, they will work with you to get the word out about your business.

Content marketing knows no bounds

Sure, some strategies might not work as well as others, but the learning experience drives the campaign in the right direction. This is why having the right content marketing team with plenty of experience is so important for any company, regardless of size or budget.

When it comes to content marketing, try and try again. Learn from ideas that didn’t go as planned and move forward by tweaking and experimenting. The right team will continuously brainstorm, building on both successful and failed strategies.

The beauty of content marketing is that there is no limit to what can be accomplished. 

 5 Tips to Improve Content Marketing Efforts

Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Grant now lives in Brazil where he owns a hostel and works as the Content Manager of Bunny Inc., creators of VoiceBunny and ArticleBunny. Before Brazil, he was working in the travel industry as a freelance writer, consultant, and promoter for over a decade and has visited dozens of countries across five continents on assignment. 

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4 Ways to Generate Leads with Live Chat

by Arielle Hurst

Lead generation is not just about driving visitors to your website. It’s about qualifying those visitors, engaging them on your site, and capturing their information. Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily. Live chat is a simple, low maintenance tool that your business can use to accomplish these goals and generate qualified leads in four key ways. 

#1: Chat Conversations

When a visitor comes to your website, they want someone to connect with right away. A survey conducted by Forrester Research reveals that “44 percent of online consumers say having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.” Fortunately, live chat software makes your team instantly accessible by automatically engaging visitors on key pages of your website.

When a potential lead chats with your team, you can instantly collect their information and determine where quality prospects are coming from by checking out the referral source. Then, at the end of a conversation, you can do two things to keep them moving through your sales funnel:

●Include a call-to-action button that encourages them to sign up for your newsletter, download your e-book or schedule a demo.

●Use a live chat app in the Infusionsoft marketplace to create or lookup an Infusionsoft contact, add a tag, send the transcript into the system and trigger automation.

#2: Email Capture

To really boost your conversion numbers it’s important to have someone that’s regularly available to chat, but when you’re not around you can use live chat tools to collect leads in your sleep—literally. When your team isn’t able to connect with prospects in real time, the chat box turns into a lead capture form that allows you to grow your email list by making it easy for site visitors to send you their information.

#3: Social Chat Links

Social media can be a great place to reach people who are talking about topics related to your product or service, but haven’t made it to your website yet. Rather than limit the conversation to 140 characters, you can tweet out a chat link that allows potential customers to start a chat straight from social media. These chat links can also be added to email signatures and embedded on Facebook pages to engage leads in instant conversations wherever they are on the web.

#4: WOM Referrals

Word-of-mouth referrals are the highest converting lead source for most small businesses. In a study conducted by KellerFay, “Word-of-mouth (WOM) has been able to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54 percent.” Because people are usually inspired to make referrals for emotional reasons, providing amazing customer service is one way to connect with them on a personal level so they’re more likely to tell their friends.

Even though the benefits of live chat are immense, the rewards aren’t worth it if you have to spend 24 hours a day chained to your desk. That’s why some live chat software allows you to connect with leads on the go from the iOS, Android and Kindle apps. When you’re available in the field, the app will send you a push notification to let you know a lead is trying to connect. Once you’ve accepted the chat, the conversation is just as easy as texting.

At the end of the day, live chat is a no-brainer for small businesses that want to significantly boost conversions and generate more qualified leads. With a low price point and quick implementation, it’s easy to start generating more leads with Pure Chat and moving them through your sales pipeline with the systems you’ve set up in Infusionsoft.

arielle hurst 4 Ways to Generate Leads with Live Chat

Arielle does marketing at Pure Chat, a live chat software for small businesses. As a journalism graduate she loves anything content related – from videos and podcasts to blog posts and infographics. Arielle is passionate about fashion tech, startups and secondhand shopping. Connect with her @ArielleHurst.

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5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

Productivity.  It’s a hot buzzword, no doubt. Can you think of a single small business owner who doesn’t wish they could get more done in less time?

A quick Google of “productivity hacks” returns 1.2 million results—and that is just the tip of the time management iceberg. Productivity is a popular topic—we are responsible for a few of those Google results ourselves, and they are consistently among our most popular posts.  

productivity hacks google search 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

Heck—we even offer a free course to help small business teams get productive.

But, no matter how many lists we read with titles like 15 ways to revolutionize or morning routine” or “23 apps to help you double your work in 50 percent less time,” we still seem to have a hard time making the lessons stick.

We get off-balance; we procrastinate. Some of us may experience occasional issues with the vortex of adorable cat videos available on YouTube (not mentioning any names). 

kittens snuggling 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

We run from meeting to appointment to school pick-up to home.  Sleep?  It’s for the weak. We’re trying to do more and more work in less and less time—and it shows.

So, this week we thought that we’d devote our roundup to going beyond the countless lists of hacks and apps and tools (as much as we love them) and share some articles and tweets that challenge assumptions, ask the right questions and dig into some less obvious tactics to getting stuff done. 

Do We Have To Work 8 Hours A Day? (via @podio)

do we have to work eight hours per day 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

Work less? Okay! This infographic from Podio shows the history of the eight-hour work day, calls attention to all the reasons it does not work and suggests three alternate work patterns that may be more effective. Bonus points—it’s an infographic, you can scan it quickly (and get back to being productive).

Who should read it?  Have you ever wondered how this standard eight-hour work week came to be, or wondered if there was a better solution? This post is for you.

Nobody Cares How Hard You Work (via @99u)

nobody cares how hard you work 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

As you sink into the couch, or slide onto the barstool, at the end of an exhausting workday, it’s hard not to experience the warm glow of self-congratulation. After all, you put in the hours, cranked through the to-do list; you invested the effort, and got things done. Surely you’re entitled to a little smugness…”

This thought provoking post from the fine folks at 99u tackles the myth that effort equals results. It’s been drilled into our head since childhood—hard work is what matters most. But, as a small business owner you know that you can work yourself to the bone—but unless your hard work is getting results, your business won’t last. In order to get those coveted results you’ve got to do the right things, not just the hard things.

Who should read it? Raised with that old fashioned work ethic that leaves you exhausted every day, yet not getting done what you need to do? Read this to shift your hard work paradigm, and do more of what really matters. 

tired frenchie 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

My Motto: Screw Productivity Tips That Only Make Your Life More Stressful (via @musejobs)  

life more stressful 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

I once dated a guy who tried to tell me how to ride the subway.”

liz lemon eye roll 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

I have to admit: Jennifer Dziura had me from the first line. If you’re from NYC, you probably don’t want to be told how to ride the subway. And if you’re already trying to cram in more than 24 hours should hold, you might feel overwhelmed when yet another blog post tells you how you can do it all a little faster or better or prettier.  Think of this as the anti-productivity hack. Instead of 17 (or 23 or 57) ways to be more productive, it comes down to one thing: What if we put pleasure first and actually enjoyed our work?

Who should read this? Anyone who feels their anxiety creep up every time they read a list of things they should be doing. Read this post and see what happens if you go against the grain.

50 Better Questions To Ask Than How To Be More Productive (via @charliegilkey)

productivity definition 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

“How can I be more productive? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves without realizing that the question, as stated, is impossible to answer.”

Part of getting the right answer is asking the right question. In this post, the mastermind behind the popular blog Productive Flourishing shares 50 questions you can ask that will lead you to the kind of deep insight that will get you focusing on actions that will really make a difference to your small business.

Who should read it?  Tired of chasing productivity without any real understanding of what that means for YOUR business? Skim the questions and choose three that really connect. Free write your answers and see what valuable insights you uncover.

Sleep Deprivation is Killing You and Your Career (via @inc)

sleep deprivation 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

“The negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep.”

Eight hours? You’ve got to be kidding. Sure, we all know we need sufficient sleep for optimum functioning, but somehow the 24 allotted hours in the day don’t seem to be enough to make it happen—especially for entrepreneurs. Yet, prioritizing work over sleep is detrimental to your body, your mind AND your business. For a dose of 10 research-backed recommendations, take the time to read the entire thing (that is, if you’re not too tired to focus).

i will start working when my coffee does 13961 5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

Who should read this? Perpetually exhausted and living on caffeine? Need some proof that an afternoon nap will benefit your business? Don’t miss this one.

Want more reading?  Check out our top productivity posts: 

The 13 Best Productivity Apps, Tools and Methods

Top 6 TED Talks for Unusual Productivity Solutions

The Infographic Guide to the Best Productivity Apps and Tools

Now we want to hear from you. Take our quick poll and tell us your biggest productivity challenge (bonus points for anyone who can guess mine). 

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