I’ve always been a big believer in the power of webinars! Not only do I enjoy learning from them, but we’ve also been building a library of webinar content of our own for years. And with recent shifts to moving more digital, webinars can be a great tool to help you expand the reach of your business. But the average business owner has no idea how to create a webinar.
So you know when one of my favorite resources, SEMrush, hosts a Twitter chat on the subject, I had to be there. The SEMrush webinars are some of the best out there, and they’ve helped me stay on the cutting edge of digital marketing for several years now. And having their Head of Global Marketing, Olga Andrienko, and their Head of Video Content, Anton Shulke, on the chat was a huge bonus. They are the real deal!
And because the focus of this chat was so valuable, I thought I’d share the highlights of the conversation here. I also thought it would be a good place to add a few bonus tips and resources if you’re exploring how to create a webinar for yourself.
Here’s the conversation…
Q1. Free or paid: How do you decide whether to charge for your online conference or webinar? What other ways have you found to monetize online events?
A1. I typically do FREE webinars focusing on very broad or micro-topics. They are a great source for lead-gen.
And then I like to build on deeper dives into those topics for use in e-courses for PAID content. Those are typically bigger build-outs of topics.#SEMrushchathttps://t.co/FFd7ShW1oL
The big thing with how you use them is determining what your goal is for them. Generally, free webinars can be great for lead generation and nurturing. But there’s also a sales opportunity for deeper and more exclusive content too. Here’s what Olga and Anton had to say about it too…
A1: Free webinars will get you more leads, paid ensures people show up. We are more committed to something we’ve invested in. In the current situation I’d suggest free webinars. You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if you arrange something people have to pay for. #semrushchathttps://t.co/mN7tA8lMNk
A1.2 Probably now when there is no conferences, paid online events will start to appear. But probably it will be other idea: monetize the event, not get it "more important" With exponential growth of total number of online events, that won't be easy to exploit#semrushchat
I definitely agree with the idea that with a slowdown with in-person conferences, many are going to find ways to do more online. This certainly represents some great opportunity to innovate and reach more people with premium content.
Q1 Recap. As an online event organizer, the first thing you have to decide on is whether you want to make it paid or free and what are the additional ways to monetize your event 💡 Below you can find some ideas gathered by the #SEMrushChat community members 👇 pic.twitter.com/YrJUPMDecZ
Q2. What platforms and software are best for hosting online events?
A2. I use YouTube Live for the main video delivery tool, but then focus on having a landing page on my #WordPress website where I do registration and embed the video feed. I use @hubspot as my CRM for registration forms. All simple setup, and integrated lead mgmt.#SEMrushchathttps://t.co/lxS3w7zC58
Specifically, I use the OBS Studio software to manage what my live webinar video feed looks like, but YouTube Live can be broadcast with just a webcam. This can also be accomplished with your mobile phone and Facebook Live. You’re really pretty unlimited with options for how you broadcast a live event online.
A2: We use YouTube, but it’s not the perfect solution. We know who has registered for the webinar, but not much else. Benefits are bigger exposure and appearing in YouTube search after the webinar is finished #semrushchathttps://t.co/kKK6aKIBut
A2.1 Before choosing the platform you have to answer The Question: why are you doing this webi? Do you want to collect as much info from audience as possible or you want to make your event as easy to accesses as possible There are tones of software on the market#semrushchathttps://t.co/Fu2vjkDjuy
Ultimately, the software and platform you use will depend on your goals. If lead capture is important, then that needs to be part of how you set it up. It doesn’t need to be complex, and often the simplest way to get started is to get the registration done by creating a landing page for the event on your own website. Then you can communicate with that email list as the event approaches. This way you can point them to anywhere you plan to run the broadcast.
Q2 Recap. One of the biggest headaches of hosting an online event is to choose the right platform & software 💆The #SEMrushChat community is here to walk you through the best ones 👇 pic.twitter.com/sZmDKoij7y
Q3. Checklist: How do you ensure the quality of the stream?
A3. My checklist is:
🤜 Internet service at 500/500 MB 🤜 Directly connected to modem via ethernet cable (not wi-fi) 🤜 Close down non-essential software on computer during stream 🤜 Good equipment (camera/mic) … i love my @rodemics#SEMrushchathttps://t.co/YCJ3Ju22yJ
I saw some chat going on about connecting via wi-fi. And the only time I would suggest that is when you’re conducting some sort of live stream from your mobile phone. But if you’re planning to create a webinar a little more formally, then run it from your desktop and make sure you’re directly connected (if possible). I would also suggest that if you’re just getting started, then don’t sweat it with getting lots of fancy equipment. If you have a webcam with a mic, then you can do it. As you get into it over time, then consider upgrading to improve quality and performance.
A3: Webinar essentials: Good light – people need to see the speaker HD camera – no pixelated images Invest in good microphone Ensure your guests also have all the necessary equipment and don’t be shy to check #semrushchathttps://t.co/XjduEdWCtg
A3: One not so obvious but very important point! Professional background. No kitchen mess, no bedroom – nothing personal in the background. Your online conference should feel professional. #semrushchathttps://t.co/XjduEdWCtg
A3.2 Audio is more important than video! Never use laptop's mics, NEVER! Webinar is not an opera, just headset will do. But it needs testing. Test it a few days before the webi. If it is not perfect, push people to fix it. Not perfect test – disaster webinar#semrushchat
A3.4 Presentation, if your speaker using slides, make sure they are in "YouTube" format (even if you are using different platform) Visibility over elegance If slides are not readable on small screen people will leave (rightly so) Bigger font, less text#semrushchat
I definitely appreciate the focus on the setting you use when you create a webinar. Things like lighting, background, etc all can make a huge difference in how your broadcast comes off to a viewer. The big thing here is to show that you cared enough to put the effort into creating a good environment for your viewers.
Q4. Self-hosted or including guests: What makes some formats more successful than others?
A4. I've done both. It's usually nice to have someone else on with me, but I haven't seen a difference in goals met when I do it solo. Plus it's easier to manage just doing them by myself. #SEMrushchathttps://t.co/zlWDMGvBhf
Really, the bottom line for me here is that adding more people to the webinar broadcast (remotely) adds an additional layer of complexity in pulling it off. It’s not super difficult, but it is an extra layer. And ultimately, I haven’t seen the difference in goal performance when I have others on with me or not. So I tend to just keep it simple, and create my events. But that doesn’t mean I’ll always do them solo.
A4: If company has a spokesperson, you can host a webinar without external guests. But nobody wants to listen to one person forever, no matter how great they are. Bring in guests every once in a while #semrushchathttps://t.co/AkhPNXHb07
A4: One host and one speaker is the most popular format. Not only in video, but in audio format too. Try inviting one main speaker and several guests for a panel discussion #semrushchathttps://t.co/AkhPNXHb07
This is really another one that depends on your goals. I can also say from my experience that it’s difficult to keep people’s attention as a solo presenter for longer periods of time. If I’m on an hour-long webinar, then having multiple people in a conversation certainly helps. But I’ve been experimenting with doing shorter 20-30 minute webinar sessions, which is more manageable for the viewer when I’m going solo. But the key here is to test some variations, and measure how they perform. The data will tell you what you can reasonably do.
Q4 Recap. Self-hosted or including guests: what format should you choose and what makes some formats more successful than others? 🤔 Check out this quick recap to learn ⬇️#SEMrushChatpic.twitter.com/0YCcyu0pg3
When measuring success, things like the number of registrations I get tell me how helpful the topics are. And success is mostly determined by the number of inbound leads it generates. I’m not looking for instant sales either. But the inbound lead gets some follow-up and an offer for a free consultation. If they don’t bite right away, I don’t sweat it. They end up on my “webinar club” mailing list and get notifications of upcoming webinars. And I’ve seen some of these people reach out to us after viewing several webinars asking us for help with their projects. Ultimately it’s a long-game, and then just continuing to work my email list over time.
A5.2 Talking about feedback We are extremely interested in speakers’, panelists’, hosts’ feedback We are doing events not only for the audience (I know it sounds heretical 👺) "Pleasing" participants is also a goal We DO want to convert them to brand advocates#semrushchat
I also look at the long-term usefulness of each webinar. I evaluate how much I direct people to webinars in other ongoing sales and support conversations. Even old, recorded webinars carry a great deal of value over time as I support the conversations we have with clients and potential clients. That’s not to mention how we can trim out sections of the video to repurpose for some short-form social media posts. I love repurposing content!
Q6. Social media, paid promotion, third party platforms, affiliate network… How do you promote your online event or webinar?
A6. We keep everything pretty simple…
🤜 New webinar email updates to all previous registrants 🤜 Monthly #TBT webinar feature to all previous registrants 🤜 Social Media (primarily FB and LinkedIn) 🤜 Some targeted social media ads#SEMrushchathttps://t.co/MrLmaVUe8E
Promotion is mostly about two things for us. First, nurturing the existing Webinar Club email list. The people on that list who are already clients appreciate the expertise and perspective we share. And people who aren’t clients (yet) get more exposure to our brand as one they can trust as experts in the field. Second, social media, boosting/advertising posts help us get exposure to new potential audiences with very targeted interests.
A6. Ensure that you invest money into paid social media ads. Would be great to work with lookalike audiences, that would lower down the acquisition cost and ensure you have relevant audience on your webinar. #semrushchathttps://t.co/5KVSUVoeEj
A5 Email is still The Best webinar promo! Getting speakers and panelist to send their email is a great way to extend webi audience. We also experimenting with WebinarChatBot#semrushchatshttps://t.co/TPddsui4my
And I love Olga’s point about lookalike audiences (in Facebook Ads). I can take my existing client email lists and my Webinar Club email lists and have Facebook target other people who are like these people. It’s a great way to focus on an audience who is most likely to engage with what you’re offering.
Final Thoughts On How To Create a Webinar (or Other Online Expert Event)
If you’re focusing on generating leads for your business and are a subject matter expert on a specific topic, then running a webinar can be a great tool in your marketing plan. Great webinars can help you engage with potential (and existing) customers in real-time, and they can build your brand and credibility. Contrary to what you might believe, they aren’t too difficult to pull off! However, you should have a plan for how you’re going to promote your webinar and capture the people who have an interest in the topics you plan to discuss.
Do you need help figuring out how to get something like this implemented? Need someone to help you brainstorm topics or a plan for how you move forward with this? Let us know! Grab some (free) time to talk with us, or hit us up in the online chat here on the website. We’ll get you on the right path to creating your own webinars and using them to generate leads.
If you’re building your social media platform on Instagram, and haven’t considered using a linktree page for your bio link, then you’re missing some really great opportunities.
Instagram has established itself as one of the top and most influential social networks out there right now. But from the perspective of a content producer (blogger or small business), the big downside is that you cannot put functional links in the content of your posts. You get one active link, and that’s in your bio.
With only one link being available to you, it’s difficult to ensure people are getting to your most important content or whatever you want them to see when you post something in your feed.
That’s where a linktree page comes in.
What Is Linktree Page? (and Why You Should Use One)
A linktree (or bio links) page is a webpage that contains a group of important links that point people to your most important content and resources. They are designed to use in social media bios, especially in places like Instagram, where only one link is allowed (and posts cannot contain links).
In response to this need, services like LINKTR.EE have emerged to make it simple to develop stylish landing pages to use in your social media bios.
This helps bloggers (and content producers of all kinds) share posts on Instagram about new content. Just mention “link in bio” (or hashtag #linkinbio), and people can click-thru that link to get to the content you want them to see. So where you get one link to point people to, using a landing page like this gets people to where you want them much more efficiently.
Even better, you can integrate other features like newsletter signup, products or services, event details, or other promotions you’re running.
While LINKTR.EE has a very basic free level of service, the best features (and some very important ones) come in the premium version. And LINKTR.EE is the most popular bio links landing page service currently available.
However, when you’re using tools like this, it’s important to have consistency in how you present your brand. And you may want to add some features not available, especially in the free version. Plus, you may not want their branding all over your stuff. That doesn’t help you build your brand as much.
So if you like the idea of LINKTR.EE, but want to explore other options, then there are several to consider, including:
Campsite.Bio – Another freemium service (free and paid versions) that gives you the basic bio link pages for free, with some nice upgrades in the paid version. It provides a simple interface, and the ability to add images in the free version.
ContactInBio – Also a freemium service which features full landing page capabilities, which is pretty nice. It also has a lifetime plan so that you can get all of the premium features and not have to pay a recurring fee.
Build Your Own – This is a completely free option, leveraging the website you already have in place. Especially with themes like Divi (which is included in our BASIC and above hosting plans), you can build a page that lives on your website with all of the same features. Plus your customization capabilities are unlimited!
The build-your-own approach is by far the best option. It gives you full control over design and how you present your brand. Not to mention that it gets visitors on your website with a page that’s designed to get them to other key content you have (improving on-site engagement metrics, which is good for your SEO).
The Anatomy of a Good Bio Links Page
Especially if you’re going to build your own page, you should understand a few key concepts for how to build it well.
The first rule for your bio links page is to keep it simple. You don’t want to overwhelm people with so much stuff that you end up scaring them away. Remember, the main goal is to just get them to the next step. So focus on the core elements that encourage them to tap through to that important content.
A few key elements you’ll want to consider are:
A profile pic (or logo) – This is a key branding element.
Your name – Another important core branding piece.
Short description (optional) – If you do this, keep it brief. It’s not the place for your full story (like your about page), but definitely good for a brand-building tagline or short description statement.
Quick link(s) to recent content – Have a button going to your latest blog post, or even add a blurb from the post itself.
High priority links – Use buttons to connect people to key pages on your website, including books, products, etc.
Email opt-in – Add a simple opt-in on the page, or use a button to link to it.
Social media links – Make it easy to connect in other places you engage with your audience.
To make this process simple for you, we’ve created several templates that you can upload to your website (using WordPress with the Divi theme), and customize from there. Check out the demos of these Linktree-alternative pages, and download your free templates now!
How To Build Your Own Bio Links Page (With Divi)
We’re big fans of the Divi theme (by Elegant Themes) around here. One reason we love it is the portability of page layouts (and other elements). We use it almost exclusively with our clients on all web development projects. So you can download those templates (mentioned above) and load them to your website as a starting point.
After that, you can edit each module however you’d like.
Basic Layout and Design
The templates use Text modules for each of the buttons on the page. You can change the text that appears on the button, and update the link that it points to.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even change styles, animations, or any other properties you’d like.
The page background can be updated in the Background settings in Section Settings (click the gear icon on the blue bar). There you can change the background image or colors.
And, as with any other page built in Divi, you can add all kinds of modules to add to your page. It’s still best to keep the page simple, but modules like Email Optin, Countdown Timer, Search, Testimonial, Video, and many others can really help you take your bio links page to the next level.
To ensure the best look, toggle over to the Phone View to see how everything appears. Assuming that you’re using the page for your bio link on Instagram, nearly all of the visitors to the page will likely be coming from mobile devices. So it’s most important for it to look good there. And if you want to adjust for potential desktop viewing, you can do that too. But desktop should definitely take a backseat to mobile in the design and appearance on this page.
Page Attributes Settings
Once you have the page elements in place and are ready to publish the page, there are a few key attributes that will be important to consider. The first of which is the permalink structure. Ultimately, the page name can be whatever you’d like. But simple is best. And visitors on Instagram will see the link name in your bio. While simplicity is the key, feel free to have fun or give it a call-to-action kind of feel. It’s okay to let your personality show. A few examples for permalink page names are:
Also, you’ll need to update a couple of settings in order to ensure everything displays properly. Look for the Page Attributes widget and update the following settings:
Parent: (no parent) – Do not make this page a sub-page to another page (like About, etc). That will extend the permalink unnecessarily. Keep this page on the first level (no parent) in order to keep the permalink short.
Template: Blank Page – This setting removes all of the normal website headers and footers. Everything you need in the design for these pages is included in the layout itself, so you don’t want to complicate everything with more navigation and other elements.
Whether you’re using the free templates or starting from scratch on your own, you’ll love the flexibility and virtually unlimited design options and control you can get. And hosting all of this on your own website means that you’ll get it all at no additional cost!
How To Use a Bio Links Page In Your Instagram Bio
Once you’ve published the page on your website, it’s time to add it to your Instagram bio. To edit your bio:
Go to your profile
Tap the Edit Profile button next to your current bio
Type (or copy/paste) your page URL (permalink) in the Website field
Tap the Done (or check icon) button
Whenever you make changes like this, it’s always best to visit your profile and tap the link to ensure everything works as it should. But easy-peasy… you’re new Instagram linktree-like bio links page is live! Now you can mention in your posts, “link in bio,” to get visitors to all of the great stuff you want to direct them to.
Other Places You Can Use Your Bio Links Page
While these kinds of bio link pages started with Instagram, you can use them just about anywhere. And if you want to get super cool, you can create separate linktree pages for various platforms. For example, the bio links page you want people to visit coming from your LinkedIn page may look a little different than the one for visitors from Instagram.
Get creative and explore different ways to use pages like these. Here’s a quick list to inspire you:
LinkedIn profile – Share links to your portfolio, previous work, email, and social profiles
Twitter bio – Connect people to your other social media profiles and important links
Business cards – Increase the dynamic with special links and content for people you share your business cards with
QR Codes – Point a QR code on posters and other print advertising to share specials, etc with people
Your email signature – Important content to direct people to from your emails
Links in your book(s) – Share key resources with readers of your books
The possibilities are really endless. And if you’re doing this on your own website, you can create as many of these specialized pages as you want. So change designs, content, and everything for really just about any audience you can imagine.
If you run a content platform (blog, etc) of any kind, then getting your core content in front of people is critical. Linktree certainly brought a level of convenience to highlighting that content in the one link you get for your Instagram bio.
But building your own on your website has a bunch of great benefits. The big goal of digital marketing is always to get people onto your website and have them take some action. Having a well-structured bio links page (or several of them) accomplishes just that. And driving traffic to an engagement-focused page can improve your overall SEO by showing Google that your website is worth engaging with.
Better yet, maintaining full control over the branding and design is an important element for growing your platform online. It’s important to build a presence that people will recognize when they think about you.
If you’re looking to improve your visibility on search engines and drive more traffic to your website, then Fiverr SEO gigs can be a great way to get you some good traction. The Fiverr Marketplace makes finding the services you need easily accessible and affordable. That means you can explore and try different services without making a major commitment to an SEO provider.
However, SEO is a process, not just a one-time event. It’s important that you’re strategic in your approach.
That’s what this guide is about. It’s designed to help you start from the beginning, and understand (at a basic level) how to use various types of SEO gigs to get you the kind of results you want to see.
But first, let’s explore briefly why using Fiverr SEO gigs can be a good approach to fulfilling your needs.
Why Fiverr SEO Gigs Can Be Good For You
The platform started as a marketplace for $5 services from freelancers. You could find anything from logo design to animation videos to SEO services (and much more). Buyers for these services could find and compare options to meet their needs, all with a very low investment to get the work done. It’s been a great tool for startups, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and just about anyone trying to build a brand online.
Over the years, the platform has evolved to make it even more robust. While it’s still the home of the $5 gig, you can find many more advanced services (full website design, etc) which can cost much more. This means the level of talent there isn’t limited to freelancers who are only willing to work for only $5. It’s not realistic to find a web designer who is only willing to build your website for just $5. But you can find highly rated freelancers who also offer web design services (at often still affordable prices).
A few factors that make the Fiverr platform a great place to find talent are:
Its affordability makes many services more accessible to brands who don’t have monster budgets.
Gigs are typically scalable. That means you can get an entry-level service for a low price, or you can upgrade for more features and/or faster completion timelines.
The built-in review system means that every gig is rated by the buyers. This gives the freelancers a high level of motivation to deliver well on all of their gigs or risk not getting the work they desire.
Seller levels also show you who is consistently delivering at a high level. This means you can pick someone who has proven themselves over and over again.
With that, let’s take a look at six Fiver SEO services that you can use right now to build a stronger presence on search engines.
The first thing you should be looking at when trying to improve your SEO is the technical structure of the website itself. Some of the most common factors that limit websites are technical issues resulting in broken links, slow page load speeds, missing code/information on pages and posts, and many other issues.
Therefore, getting a deep scan on your website can reveal specific actions you can take to ensure you have a technically strong website.
Many of the issues have easy fixes, especially in a WordPress website with good hosting. A good technical SEO audit report will also prioritize the importance of the issues for the greatest impact. If you have a little technical knowledge, you might be able to correct the issues on your own. But a good upgrade to this report includes having the experts to take care of everything for you.
Once you have a strong technical foundation with your website, the next step is to understand the keywords people are using to get there. And this is more than the simple term(s) you use to describe your own service. The key here is finding the terms other people use to find you.
With an SEO Keyword Research Report, we start with the core keywords you use to describe what you’re offering on your website. Then we look at exact match, phrase match, broad match, and related keyword terms.
From this data, we’re able to prioritize the keyword phrases by things like total monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, and potential click rates. That information can inform several other aspects of your SEO strategy, including overall website architecture, topics for blog posts, and terms used in link-building strategies.
The next step continues with the on-site SEO theme. Once you’ve corrected the technical foundation, and you know the keyword terms you should be targeting, then a good on-page optimization service will help you ensure the content on the page is well optimized for the target keyword(s).
These reports provide optimization ideas related to strategy, SERP features, backlink opportunities, semantic content, technical SEO, and user experience.
Additionally, these reports are great for any page you want to get ranked, not just the homepage. So if you have pages for core products, service areas, or other authority pages, then run this on each one to ensure you’re maximizing your opportunity to get found for a range of terms.
Now that you’ve taken care of all of the on-site elements, we can start evaluating how the search engines see your site. That’s where a Keyword Positions Report can help us see what terms you’re currently ranking for, and the positions you rank for them.
This information can be used in a variety of ways. Typically, when we build an SEO strategy for our clients, we look for low-hanging fruit in order to achieve some easy wins. The goal is always to get terms ranking in the top three positions on the first page, which is where over half of all clicks go. So we look for the terms in positions 4-10 on the first page and terms on pages two and three of the results. With these terms, we can try some of the more simple tactics that can get the site ranking better more quickly.
Exactly how we use this information can vary quite a bit, which is why a consult is a good follow-up to this report. We can help sort through the data to ensure you have the right plan for how to move forward.
Link-building is still one of the most powerful signals we can send to search engines to show the value of a page/site. And while there are several tactics we use to create a strong backlink portfolio, there is one thing we’ve seen make a huge difference for local business rankings. Creating (or cleaning up) your local business citations has proven to be a crucial factor in strong rankings.
Basically, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of online directories that have (or could have) listings for your business. Yelp is a big one. But there are lots of those kinds of sites. And there are two keys to leveraging these directories. First, it’s important to ensure the NAP (name, address, phone) matches what Google and your website show. Inaccurate listings can damage your credibility, and therefore negatively impact your rankings. Second, each of these listings typically has a link back to your website. And quite often these are from higher-authority websites, which results in good credibility links boosting your authority.
The report shows you the accuracy of your listings on top directory websites. Then cleaning up those listings (or creating them where they don’t exist) is a high impact service we suggest for every small business.
As I mentioned earlier, good SEO is a process. That’s why having an ongoing content strategy is one of the best things you can do to increase your website’s overall keyword value. It not only increases the number of terms you can end up ranking for, but it also creates more entry points onto your site that can potentially reach the coveted top three positions.
Blogging for your business is tricky, though. By now I’m sure you can see how strongly we feel about leveraging the data and being strategic about the approach. That’s why we like to do a little content research using the target keywords.
Research like this can be done for every blog post you produce. And it’s the foundation for every blog post our team of SEO writers produces. Ultimately, the goal is to produce content that has search engine and social media value. This approach can help you build a library of great resources that can drive traffic for years to come.
Premium: Content Research + 1,000-Word Post ($170)
Final Thoughts On Fiverr SEO Gigs
It’s not super difficult to drive substantial traffic to your website through search engines. But you do need to be strategic about how you go about it.
You can leverage Fiverr SEO gigs to help you explore SEO services and drive more traffic to your website. It’s important, however, to not just go out and buy random gigs making big promises. You should know where you are with your website, where you want to go with traffic, and where your greatest opportunities for traffic can be found. Then build a plan that drives you towards your goals.
If you want to start by chatting through any of this, we’re always happy to talk (for free) and get you pointed in the right direction. You can schedule some time with us anytime. And feel free to grab some of the gigs featured here to get your SEO strategy moving in the right direction.
You’re probably already doing it. Failing, that is. Most small business owners I know fail miserably at social selling. They are incredible contractors, interior designers, real estate agents, and whatever else they do. It’s just that being great at your craft doesn’t mean you’re an expert in the nuances of social media marketing.
Here’s the deal. Most small business owners I know come at social media with a “sell it” mentality. Every post needs to be a homerun sales pitch. And then they get frustrated when they fall flat and fail to produce any results.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to sell on social media is to stop selling. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are not inherently sales platforms. They are social platforms. When you think about buying something, you go somewhere like Amazon. That’s a sales platform. When you get onto social media sites, you’re looking to connect with people. And in those connections, you share (and discover) ideas that help you shape your life.
That’s why looking to social media strictly for selling is the wrong approach. You should be there to connect. And if you’re really good, to tell a story about who you are, what you do, and how that intersects with your customers – and potential customers – lives.
There’s a great fable from Aesop that serves as a guide for how you should approach your social media strategy for business.
The Wind and the Sun are arguing over is stronger. Suddenly they see a traveler coming down the road. They decide to settle to an argument over whoever can get the traveler to take his coat off. The Wind blows as hard as it can, but the traveler tightens his coat up even more. Then the Sun softly shines its rays on him. The traveler suddenly feels hot and finally removes his coat. Declaring the Sun, the winner.
The lesson here is that persuasion is a far better tool than force. The same applies to your social selling strategy. You’ll get much further with a more kind and humble and gentle approach than you will by blasting at them.
Forcing It Never Works
“I want to get on social media and hang out with a used car salesman.”
– No one ever.
Here’s my big challenge to you. Don’t be that guy. You know, the one who tries to sell you a car just because you have a driver’s license.
Don’t get me wrong. You probably have a great product or service. And it likely could make people’s lives much better. The problem is in the approach, not the product. For car buyers, 60 percent of the process occurs online. People search third-party websites (78%) and dealer/manufacturer websites (53%). So much of the legwork for car buying happens like this because people don’t want to deal with the pushy salesman. We naturally reject that kind of in-your-face tactics.
If you go into your social selling approach like the North Wind, you’ll get the same result. People will pull that coat tighter and try to protect themselves from your blow-hard approach.
The Art of Persuasion
Social selling is about persuasion. And persuasion is about influencing convictions or beliefs. In our fable, the Sun didn’t force the traveler to take off his coat. Instead, he created an environment where that outcome was more likely. The traveler became convinced that taking off the coat on his own was the right idea.
Making them look smart to their friends by being a helpful resource
Being the fun guy in the room
You’ll get to social selling opportunities when you present the kind of personality people want to do business with. Social selling is the result of creating the right kind of environment. When they decide the time is right, they’ll buy from you.
Final Thoughts on Social Selling
The bottom line is that there are customers out there to be found on social media. Lots of them! But winning at social selling is more about taking the softer and more persuasive approach than it is about forcing your sales pitch on people.
It’s also worth noting that social selling works best when you understand the differences between how people use each platform. What you do on LinkedIn should look very different than what you do on Facebook. They are different kinds of parties. The key is to connect well – and naturally – in the environment you’re in.
Stories have been the primary tool for connecting people and sharing ideas for thousands of years. And if you want to develop deeper connections with your customers (existing and potential), then brand storytelling is a marketing strategy you’ll want to master.
Storytelling has been a big part of my journey both as a blogger/author and a business owner. So you can imagine my excitement when #SEMrushchat, a weekly Twitter chat with some of the best minds in digital marketing, picked this as a discussion topic.
#SEMrushChat is live TODAY 📣 This time we will be discussing the power of storytelling as a marketing tool with our special guest @iSocialFanz 🔥
I’m not going to share every Tweet from that conversation, but I thought the conversation was worth sharing here. Here are the questions, my responses, and the SEMrush question recap posts that include details from other people’s responses.
Q1. Why is storytelling important for business?
A1. Stories are what connect us.
We identify with each other and our ideas when we process that through stories.
Step away from marketing strategy for a moment. Stories have been used to communicate and carry on ideas for thousands of years. Hearing a story gives you a greater opportunity to connect emotionally. It also makes the idea easier to remember and communicate. We still tell stories written decades and centuries and millennium ago. The staying power is awesome.
Now think about how powerful it would be if you could use that in your business. Brand storytelling is all about using the power of story to connect with your customers over shared ideas and values. And that can be an incredible marketing tool!
Q1 Recap. If you want to get more attention, make an emotional connection, and stand out from the crowd, using the power of storytelling is your best bet 🌟 #SEMrushChatpic.twitter.com/xOQ31SX9w3
I love the responses that get into things like how “stories humanize brands.” So much of how small businesses do digital marketing is to blast features, benefits, and technical aspects of their products. That misses the mark. If you can get into the story you need to tell, then you’re building something people can better relate to.
Q2. Once you’ve decided to create a storytelling strategy, what are the steps you should take?
A2. The first step is to clearly define the elements of the story…
🤜 The hero (put your customer here, not yourself) 🤜 The guide (you, helping the hero through their journey) 🤜 The challenge/antagonist (the problem to overcome) 🤜 The journey/path#SEMrushchathttps://t.co/6yygkydyr6
The stories we tell can be dynamic and flexible for sharing in different ways on and offline. So the first thing you need to do is clearly define certain common elements. I often take an approach of making the customer the hero of the story, not you (the brand/business). And you can have a few different stories related to different types of customers and/or problems they encounter. So being clear on what the hero in your stories looks like helps you to have a framework for telling many different stories everywhere you want to tell them.
But this idea of not telling your story, and making the customer the focus (hero) is something others don’t always easily get…
For the most part… clients aren't as interested in YOUR story as they are in how you can help them in THEIR story.
That means flipping the story so they are the focus (the hero), and you are their "Yoda".
Self-focused stories tend to be more like bragging.#SEMrushchat
This is an idea that I’ve experienced in many of my non-profit storytelling adventures. We’ve raised large amounts of money online by inviting other people to be the hero of the story. And applying the hero/guide concept to brand storytelling is something one of my favorite writers has been teaching too. Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen (affiliate link) book is a great resource that digs much deeper into this topic.
Ok, thanks. Sometimes your own story is relevant — I'm thinking to demonstrate credibility — e.g., demonstrating how by having gone through that journey yourself you now have the skill to guide them in theirs. But I see how the story is still about them. #SEMrushChat
Point taken. In Star Wars (the original trilogy), Luke Skywalker is the hero. And with brand storytelling, that’s where we want our customers to be. It’s all about their journey. Then there’s Yoda, the guide. And that’s where you want your business to be. It’s not that Yoda’s story doesn’t matter, but it’s not his journey, and he’s not the hero of that story. In fact, the more we learn about Yoda’s backstory, the more helpful it is to understand his role in Luke Skywalker’s journey. So I’m not saying ignore yourself. Just position yourself properly within the story.
One of the biggest things I see from others in this part of the conversation is the importance of planning your content. And that’s definitely a big factor with any marketing strategy. The stories we develop can be used in various ways across many platforms. Take the time to develop it well, and plan how you are going to use it in different places. Then let it guide how you share everything. Even when you’re curating content from other sources on your social media profiles, ask yourself how it supports the stories you’re telling.
Q3. What are the essential questions to begin gathering your own stories?
A3. Some of the core questions should be:
🤜 What problem/obstacle did you overcome? 🤜 What tools/people/concepts helped you overcome it? 🤜 What does/did the end result (victory) look like? 🤜 How will other people find themselves in similar situations?#SEMrushchathttps://t.co/tyNsxrRo6M
For me, the biggest questions are around the elements of the story. These elements can help you draw strong connections between the stories you have in your back pocket, and communicating what a particular customer needs to hear. It’s important to have a library of stories that you can tell. Not every one of them is going to match the journey another new customer is on. So spend the time thinking about all of the problems/obstacles you encounter, so that you can have one of those stories ready for the next person who needs to hear it.
And I love seeing responses talking about things like values. As a business owner myself, my values are part of the reason my customers like me. The core products themselves can maybe be purchased elsewhere. But not everyone has the same values I do. And that kind of thing can be a big deciding factor for potential customers.
Q4. What are the possible forms of storytelling available for any business?
Not only can the stories be told across various platforms, but how you tell them can vary too. And it should also be the filter for anything else you do, whether you’re “telling the story” or not. Think of your company’s Facebook page timeline. Look over the posts for the last couple of months like you’re reading a book. What story does it tell?
And I totally agree with the idea that everyone learns and engages differently. Too many businesses use the same exact post shared on multiple social media platforms. Take the time to evaluate and customize the messaging for each platform. It’s a little more work, but the payoff is huge.
Q5. What resources on marketing storytelling would you recommend to go deeper into that topic?
Basically, I believe it’s important to be a student of the subject in order to be an effective marketer. One practice for that is to read good stories (and watch movies with good stories). This is also where books like Invisible Ink, Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View, and On Writing (affiliate links) have proven to be valuable resources for making me a better marketer.
The other resources mentioned here are all fantastic. I’ve already seen several of these and can attest to how valuable they are. And the others just got added to my list of things to study on the topic.
Final Thoughts on Brand Storytelling
One important takeaway I got from this #SEMrushchat session was that brand storytelling is something that needs to be strategic and well thought out. It’s not good enough to scribble a few ideas on a napkin, make a quick YouTube video about yourself, drop on your website, and call it a day.
Spend some time thinking through what your brand stories should accomplish, craft them well, and let them take on their own life… everywhere. Putting in the effort will get results if done consistently over time.
Many of the small businesses we work with have a small marketing budget. That means when it comes to evaluating the services they spend on, they are often looking for cheap SEO tactics. Not cheap as in worthless, but cheap as in not breaking the bank.
Ultimately, the goal is to get pages on your site to rank in the top 3 positions on Google. Studies have shown that approximately 62% of search engine traffic goes to websites ranked in the first three positions (33% to position one, 18% to position two, and 11% to position three). That means only a third of it goes to the other seven results on the first page. Then things drop off significantly after that…
Getting results with SEO is definitely an investment. And it’s not an overnight success kind of thing. Rising to the top of the rankings for all of your biggest keyword terms can cost a pretty penny and/or take some time to build the momentum you need.
But there are some great SEO tactics that can help you get some nice traction, without spending a ton of money. This case study looks at work done recently with a client of ours. We’ll break down the work that was done, the results of that work, and explore suggestions we have to drive even greater impact.
The Digital Marketing Strategy, Specifically for Local SEO
The large majority of the marketing budget went towards other strategies (ads, etc). But we kept some regular search engine optimization work in the mix. The reason is simple. Over the long-term, earning rankings sticks better. Google Ads stop delivering the moment you stop paying for them. But if you earn a spot on the first page, then you’re more likely to keep it (at least until someone proves they’re better than you).
But, we had to keep the budget investment in SEO as low as possible. So we focused on what I considered two “must-have” tactics that I believe every small business should be doing. Those tactics are content marketing (business blogging) and local citation link building. Here’s the breakdown of the work we did every month:
Local Citation Link-Building ($197) – After running a full citation audit, we would add/update ten online business directories (i.e., Yelp, BBB, Thumbtack, etc), ten geotagged photos, and ten social profile links every month.
1 x Blogger 500 ($97) – Our team of SEO writers would research and find trends to write 500-word blog posts targeting general keyword terms related to the client’s industry.
1 x Blogger 1,000 ($173) – We would also research and write 1,000-word blog posts related to high-value keyword terms we wanted to build authority around.
So for less than $500/mo we were building links and developing a core of content on the website with a focus on high-value, local search terms. We did this consistently, month after month, without fail. And consistency is one of the keys to building momentum with search engine results.
The Results We Saw
The initial baseline report at the end of December 2018 showed a very low volume of total keywords, especially those on the first page. Just one term ranked on the first page, and there were only six total keywords on the first three pages. And while there were other terms ranking on pages 4-10, the overall volume was still pretty insignificant.
The September 2019 report (nine full months later) showed a very different picture. We increased the number of keywords ranking on page one of the search results from 1 to 10, and the total for the first three pages from 6 to 82. Additionally, the total number of terms ranking anywhere in the top 100 positions on Google increased from 81 to 505.
While the total volume of terms appearing on the first page of search results isn’t overwhelming, this definitely shows a trend of increasing opportunity to get found. The breadth of keywords fueled by the blogging strategy coupled with the authority driven by link-building is a solid mix for driving visibility.
The Impact of Cheap SEO, and Driving Better Results
This data shows some encouraging trends, however, there are still some big opportunities to improve. Here are a few key take-aways:
1) Consistently adding content and building links drives positive results. This is an important concept in the strategy. These results are what we’ve seen over a nine-month period. If we did a couple of posts here and there or stopped the link building, then we wouldn’t have experienced this kind of success.
2) It’s an active and ongoing strategy. With this latest report, there are 10 keywords ranking on the first page, and only 5 of those in the coveted first three positions. However, our SEO strategies look for low-hanging fruit to push forward, and that’s everything from positions 4-30 (the rest of page one through page three). Those are the terms that are doing well enough where a little boost could bump them higher onto the first page. Looking at the current data, in this case, there are 77 opportunities in this range to focus our efforts to get significant rankings. Time to get to work!
3) The lower budget for SEO means slower results. Cheap SEO can drive some results. Some. But to be completely honest, these results aren’t driving a ton of traffic yet. And at the current budget for SEO spending, it’ll still take some time to experience big impact. Investing more in additional content (I like to see 4 posts per month) and additional link-building tactics (guest posting, content syndication, etc) will drive stronger and faster results.
There’s plenty of good news in this data. But, there’s also still a great deal of opportunity. The key is to stick with it, follow the data, and keep building based on what that data is telling you. Got questions about how a strategy like this can drive more traffic for your business? Grab some time with us to talk through your digital strategy. (Talking is always free!)