Keyword Research Beats Nate Silver’s 2016 Presidential Election Prediction

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/HCCk7vUnoJc/keyword-research-2016-presidential-prediction

Posted by BritneyMuller

100% of statisticians would say this is a terrible method for predicting elections. However, in the case of 2016’s presidential election, analyzing the geographic search volume of a few telling keywords “predicted” the outcome more accurately than Nate Silver himself.

The 2016 US Presidential Election was a nail-biter, and many of us followed along with the famed statistician’s predictions in real time on FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver’s predictions, though more accurate than many, were still disrupted by the election results.

In an effort to better understand our country (and current political chaos), I dove into keyword research state-by-state searching for insights. Keywords can be powerful indicators of intent, thought, and behavior. What keyword searches might indicate a personal political opinion? Might there be a common denominator search among people with the same political beliefs?

It’s generally agreed that Fox News leans to the right and CNN leans to the left. And if we’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that the news you consume can have a strong impact on what you believe, in addition to the confirmation bias already present in seeking out particular sources of information.

My crazy idea: What if Republican states showed more “fox news” searches than “cnn”? What if those searches revealed a bias and an intent that exit polling seemed to obscure?

The limitations to this research were pretty obvious. Watching Fox News or CNN doesn’t necessarily correlate with voter behavior, but could it be a better indicator than the polls? My research says yes. I researched other media outlets as well, but the top two ideologically opposed news sources — in any of the 50 states — were consistently Fox News and CNN.

Using Google Keyword Planner (connected to a high-paying Adwords account to view the most accurate/non-bucketed data), I evaluated each state’s search volume for “fox news” and “cnn.”

Eight states showed the exact same search volumes for both. Excluding those from my initial test, my results accurately predicted 42/42 of the 2016 presidential state outcomes including North Carolina and Wisconsin (which Silver mis-predicted). Interestingly, “cnn” even mirrored Hillary Clinton, similarly winning the popular vote (25,633,333 vs. 23,675,000 average monthly search volume for the United States).

In contrast, Nate Silver accurately predicted 45/50 states using a statistical methodology based on polling results.

Click for a larger image

This gets even more interesting:

The eight states showing the same average monthly search volume for both “cnn” and “fox news” are Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

However, I was able to dive deeper via GrepWords API (a keyword research tool that actually powers Keyword Explorer’s data), to discover that Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Ohio each have slightly different “cnn” vs “fox news” search averages over the previous 12-month period. Those new search volume averages are:


“fox news” avg monthly search volume

“cnn” avg monthly search volume

KWR Prediction

2016 Vote

Arizona

566333

518583

Trump

Trump

Nevada

213833

214583

Hillary

Hillary

New Mexico

138833

142916

Hillary

Hillary

Ohio

845833

781083

Trump

Trump

Pennsylvania

1030500

1063583

Hillary

Trump

Four out of five isn’t bad! This brought my new prediction up to 46/47.

Silver and I each got Pennsylvania wrong. The GrepWords API shows the average monthly search volume for “cnn” was ~33,083 searches higher than “fox news” (to put that in perspective, that’s ~0.26% of the state’s population). This tight-knit keyword research theory is perfectly reflected in Trump’s 48.2% win against Clinton’s 47.5%.

Nate Silver and I have very different day jobs, and he wouldn’t make many of these hasty generalizations. Any prediction method can be right a couple times. However, it got me thinking about the power of keyword research: how it can reveal searcher intent, predict behavior, and sometimes even defy the logic of things like statistics.

It’s also easy to predict the past. What happens when we apply this model to today’s Senate race?

Can we apply this theory to Alabama’s special election in the US Senate?

After completing the above research on a whim, I realized that we’re on the cusp of yet another hotly contested, extremely close election: the upcoming Alabama senate race, between controversy-laden Republican Roy Moore and Democratic challenger Doug Jones, fighting for a Senate seat that hasn’t been held by a Democrat since 1992.

I researched each Alabama county — 67 in total — for good measure. There are obviously a ton of variables at play. However, 52 out of the 67 counties (77.6%) 2016 presidential county votes are correctly “predicted” by my theory.

Even when giving the Democratic nominee more weight to the very low search volume counties (19 counties showed a search volume difference of less than 500), my numbers lean pretty far to the right (48/67 Republican counties):

It should be noted that my theory incorrectly guessed two of the five largest Alabama counties, Montgomery and Jefferson, which both voted Democrat in 2016.

Greene and Macon Counties should both vote Democrat; their very slight “cnn” over “fox news” search volume is confirmed by their previous presidential election results.

I realize state elections are not won by county, they’re won by popular vote, and the state of Alabama searches for “fox news” 204,000 more times a month than “cnn” (to put that in perspective, that’s around ~4.27% of Alabama’s population).

All things aside and regardless of outcome, this was an interesting exploration into how keyword research can offer us a glimpse into popular opinion, future behavior, and search intent. What do you think? Any other predictions we could make to test this theory? What other keywords or factors would you look at? Let us know in the comments.


Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Infographic: The Perfect Execution of Conversion Rate Optimization

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/crazyegg/~3/5lcKRdtZGTo/

if CRO is done properly

Today’s infographic is a good primer on what it takes to effectively run a conversion rate optimization campaign. However, one thing that I would like to add to this recipe is documentation. Conversion rate optimization is a science project. You’re dealing with data, hypotheses, results, measurement techniques and sources of error. Sounds like chemistry class right? Proper documentation is extremely helpful for interpreting results, understanding sources of error and providing historical record keeping for future testing. If you’re running conversion rate experiments today, you may have to hand the baton off to someone else when you move on. If you’re…

The post Infographic: The Perfect Execution of Conversion Rate Optimization appeared first on The Daily Egg.


How to Edit Your Blog Posts Like a Pro

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/3o4r0jNO7r8/

It’s every blogger’s worst nightmare.

Your latest post gets shared by a big-name blogger, and you start getting lots of traffic. Hurrah!

But then someone sends you an email (or worse, leaves a comment) pointing out a glaring mistake in the first paragraph.

Mistakes can knock your reader’s confidence in you. A study in the UK a few years ago suggested that spelling mistakes might be costing businesses millions of dollars.

Of course, editing isn’t just about fixing typos and spelling mistakes. It’s also about shaping your post so it’s easy for readers to engage with. Even if your post is free of grammatical and spelling mistakes, you’ll still lose readers if it takes forever to get to the point, or switches between topics too much .

Perhaps you’ve struggled to edit your posts effectively in the past. You may have spent hours tweaking them, only to feel the result wasn’t much better than what you started with. Or maybe you think it simply takes too long.

In this post, I’ll explain how to create a simple checklist to help you edit – just like we do here at Problogger.

Our Editing Process at ProBlogger

Every post we publish goes through the same streamlined editing process.

Several members of the ProBlogger team write content (mainly Darren and me), and we also publish posts from our subject matter experts. This means we need a clear, step-by-step editing process that makes it easy for everyone to collaborate. and ensures all posts follow our style guide.

Part of our process is this checklist template, which we apply to every post in CoSchedule.

Even if you’re the only person who ever writes for your blog, it still helps to have a clear editing process.

Also think about where you edit. If you’re working with outside parties (e.g. guest posters or companies/agencies providing sponsored content), you may want to use Google Docs like we do. You can collaborate with the author as you edit, and hand the post on to someone else who may be handling formatting and uploading.

If it’s just you, it’s still important to have a self-editing process. It could mean clearly separating your roles as “writer” and “editor” so you’re not trying to edit as you write.

I also recommend coming up with a checklist you can use again and again so you never  have to worry about missing a crucial step when editing a post. Here’s how.

Creating Your Own Editing Checklist

You probably already have a process you work through when editing, whether you realise it or not. Open a blank document and type out the typical steps you go through. For instance, maybe you always add the formatting (subheadings, bold text, lists, etc.) when you edit, rather than while you’re drafting.

Now, see if anything is missing from your checklist. Here are some important things to include:

#1: Introduction

Make sure your introduction has a hook, ideally in the very first line. What will the reader gain from this post? Give them a clear reason to keep reading.

Avoid overly long introductions. You’ll lose readers when they’ve barely started on your post. One trick to try is to remove the first paragraph or two of your post entirely. Does it work just as well (or even better) without them?

Further reading: 10 Tips for Opening Your Next Blog Post, Darren Rowse

#2: Subheadings

Unless your post is very short, add subheadings to break it into sections. This helps all your readers. Those who skim for information can quickly find the relevant parts of your post, while those who read every word won’t feel lost in a sea of text.

You should format subheadings by using a heading tag. Make sure the hierarchy is correct (i.e don’t skip from H1 to H3). This is something we always check for here at ProBlogger.

Further reading: How to Use Subheadings to Add Structure to Your Blog Posts , Darren Rowse with Ali Luke

#3: Visual Breaks

Create white space in your post wherever possible. If you can put something into a bulleted list, do it. We also use the blockquote format to highlight key parts of a post. It gives the content more space, and makes it look more attractive.

Images can also create useful breaks in your post. They’re particularly useful if you’re giving instructions on how to do something, because you can show readers how it should look at each step.

Don’t be afraid to use one-sentence (or even one-word) paragraphs. They can be tremendously powerful. Smart Blogger and Copyblogger both make great use of them in their posts.

Further reading: How to Write a Great Paragraph, James Chartrand

#4: Extraneous Material

Delete anything that isn’t relevant to your post, no matter how witty, clever, or well-written it is. If you can’t bear to lose it completely, copy it into a ‘snippet’ file. You might be able to use it in a future post. (A great tip from Bill Harper who edits our posts.)

If your post includes a lot of detail to get beginners up to speed (or to give experienced readers extra food for thought), consider linking to that information in other posts (yours or someone else’s) instead. That way, you can give those who need more help (or want to go deeper) the information they need without everyone else getting bogged down in your post.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write long posts. Some topics require more space to cover all the details. Just make sure every paragraph is necessary.

Further reading: ProBlogger FAQ: How Long Should Posts Be?, Darren Rowse

#5: Conclusion

Make sure your post has a conclusion. Some bloggers have a tendency to end their posts abruptly – especially if they’ve written a list post. Remember, the last few lines of your post are an opportunity to leave your readers with a good impression. You can also give them a call to action, such as leaving a comment, sharing your post, or even buying your product.

Like introductions, conclusions don’t need to be long to be effective. But they do need to be there.

Further reading: 7 Powerful Ways to End Your Next Blog Post, Ali Luke

#6: Complex Sentences, Phrases and Words

Read your post out loud. Another great tip from Bill (that I don’t have the patience to do myself). Are any of your sentences too long? (You shouldn’t need to take a breath mid-way.) Are some a bit of a tongue-twister? Listen to how your writing sounds, and split up or rewrite any sentences you struggle with.

Look for words and phrases you can replace with simpler ones. For instance, don’t say “obtain” when “get” works just as well.

Further reading: Shorter, simpler words: Guide to concise writing, KingCounty.gov

#7: Links to Other Posts

Linking to other posts on your blog is always a good idea. And not just for the potential search engine benefits. It also helps new readers dig more deeply into your body of work, and increases the chances they’ll stick around.

As you edit, look for opportunities to include a link to a post in your archives. Consider linking to other blogs too. It shows readers that you read and research in your niche, and can be a great way to build a strong relationship with fellow bloggers.

Further reading: Why Interlinking Your Blog Posts is a Must (and Not Just For SEO), Daniel Vassiliou

#8: Before Publication

You may want to include this step as part of your editing checklist, or create a separate checklist for ‘uploading’ or ‘publishing’ blog posts. (It’s particularly useful if you work with a virtual assistant.)

Depending on your theme, and how you like to format your posts, it might include things like:

Ensuring the post is assigned a category and, if you use them, tags Including a featured image for your post Adding a “read more” link (so only the first part of your post appears on the front page of your blog) Scheduling your post to appear at a future date

Further reading: Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting your Content

While content isn’t the only thing you need for a successful blog, it’s crucial that your posts are as good as you can make them. That means careful editing. And if you use a consistent process like we do here at ProBlogger, you’ll always be able to edit quickly and effectively.

Di we miss any items that you have in your checklist? Share them with us in the comments below.

Image credit: Joanna Kosinska

The post How to Edit Your Blog Posts Like a Pro appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


7 Ways to Write More Engaging, Compelling Website Copy

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/VtZ1vSmCpoM/website-copy

Kurt Vonnegut, one of the heavyweights of 20th century literature, once said that every single sentence of a story should either reveal something about a character or advance the action.

website copy tips

You might not be crafting traditional narratives on your website, but Vonnegut’s timeless advice still holds true whether you’re helping people learn a new skill or selling plumbing fixtures.

Every single line of copy on your website should help your visitors accomplish or learn something, and in this post, I’ll show you seven ways to write more engaging, compelling website copy.

These tips and techniques aren’t specific to any one particular type of website, so whether you’re in ecommerce or run a nonprofit, there’s something here for everyone.

1. Emphasize Benefits Over Features

One of the most common mistakes companies make with their web copy is spending too much time talking about how great they are. While it’s understandable to want to highlight the accomplishments, distinctions, and aspects of your organization that make it great, this is not why your visitors came to your site.

We’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – people don’t care about your company, they only care about how your company can solve their problems.

Website copy I don't care rainbow illustration 

That’s not to say that none of your visitors care about your company. Some, like your fiercely loyal brand evangelists, may in fact care about your company quite deeply. That doesn’t change the fact that most visitors are looking for a solution to a very real problem.

Let’s take a look at the differences between benefit-driven copy and feature-driven copy.

Feature-Driven Copy

The screenshot below was taken from the Infinity website.

Website copy Infinity rear parking sensor illustration 

As you can see, this particular page tells the reader about Infiniti’s rear-view camera and proximity sensor technology, and features several high-resolution images showing this tech in action.

This is all well and good, but the copy – and the overall framing – doesn’t mention any benefits explicitly. You could argue that the benefits of this technology are obvious or implied; having a 360-degree field of vision around the entirety of the vehicle will definitely make parallel parking easier, but the copy doesn’t tell us that; we’re left to assume what the benefits of these features are.

The Hyundai ad below, however, makes the benefits of this kind of technology abundantly clear, which makes for a much more compelling demonstration of the underlying tech: 

Benefit-Driven Copy

The screenshot below is taken from Slack’s website.

Website copy Slack benefits illustration 

As a communications platform, Slack could have focused on the bells and whistles that people like about Slack, such as private chat rooms, emoji responses, and the service’s many integrations. However, Slack knows that its ideal customers aren’t interested in that – at least, not as much. No, Slack’s potential users want to save time and hassle, which is why Slack’s primarily benefit-driven copy is so persuasive. Who wouldn’t want to receive almost 50% fewer emails or spend 25% less time in meetings?

By leading with the benefits, Slack is answering the user’s most important question – how will this make my life better or easier?

Emphasizing the benefits of your products or services doesn’t stop you from mentioning features completely – it’s just a simple matter of priorities. By all means include copy that tells visitors how great your products are, but don’t do so at the expense of explaining clearly and concisely why using your products or services will make visitors’ lives better.

How this improves your website copy

By showing visitors exactly how your offerings will make their lives better.

2. Use The Voice of the Customer

Tone and style are crucial when it comes to website copy, as they define the voice of your brand across multiple channels. However, as important as style and tone can be in establishing and maintaining editorial consistency, we can take it one step further to serve as a powerfully persuasive way to reach prospective customers with your copy, known as the “voice of the customer.”

What Is the Voice of the Customer?

As Brad McMillen explains in his excellent primer on the technique, the voice of the customer is a technique commonly used in market research, which “focuses on customers’ (and prospects’) wants and needs, then prioritizes them into a hierarchical structure before prioritizing them in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives.”

Simply put, VOC is a way to describe your customers’ experiences with and expectations for your products or services in their own language.

What does this mean? Let’s take a look.

Website copy FreshBooks voice of the customer example 

An example of web copy written using the voice of the customer

You can find examples of your customers’ real language in a number of different ways; for example, reading customer reviews and conducting surveys are two of the best ways to gather this data, as they provide customers with ample opportunity to tell you about their problems in their own words.

Before we can create a profile to begin crafting our voice of the customer, we need to identify several key data points, including:

The problems that frustrate people who could benefit from your products or services What they would like to see as a potential solution Customer desires and expectations for companies like yours Powerful or memorable quotes based on actual user experiences

Identifying common pain points should be among the first things to look for in your customer research data. This likely includes the frustrations that are common in your industry; think labyrinthine automated customer service helplines, hidden fees or opaque pricing structures, lack of competition, that kind of thing.

Following on from this, you should identify the things your customers want in a company or service provider like yours, such as responsive customer assistance from an actual person, or a simple, easily understood pricing structure.

Once you have this data, you can write copy that addresses each of these elements in order of importance. All the information on your site – from your About page to individual product descriptions – should address one of the dimensions you identified in your market research. This means that, wherever a user happens to be on your site (or within the traditional marketing funnel), your copy is speaking to something that your prospective users have identified as a priority for them.

In the example above from FreshBooks, the copy mirrors common customer pain points, such as the time-intensive nature of some bookkeeping workflows, as well as the solution that these customers want, which is simplified, streamlined accounting software that lets them get on with actually running their business.

How this improves your website copy

By showing visitors your speak their language, you’re on their level, and you understand their problems.

3. Conduct Customer Surveys to Determine Brand Values

These days, many companies have jumped firmly on the “corporate values” bandwagon in an attempt to attract top talent. However, brand values aren’t just what you say they are – they’re just as much a byproduct of how your customers and audience views your business. How can you discover what values people associate with your brand? By conducting customer surveys.

Website copy customer survey illustration 

Image via Lynda.com

Similar to the market research you conducted to gather data to create the voice of the customer, surveys and questionnaires are an excellent way to learn how people perceive your brand with regard to brand values. Just as there is often a considerable disconnect between how we think users behave and how they actually behave, there can sometimes be a similar gap between the brand values you think your company exemplifies and how prospective customers actually see your company.

At the heart of this process is a concept known as “brand attributes.” This refers to the characteristics that people associate with your brand. For example, philanthropy and charitable giving is a brand attribute of companies that have embraced ethical marketing, such as TOMS shoes. Similarly, glamour and opulence are brand attributes commonly associated with brands such as Rolex or Swarovski.

Conducting Brand Value Research

One of the greatest challenges of conducting brand value research is that it is primarily qualitative, meaning that the responses necessary to create this kind of profile are often much more in-depth and personal to the person taking the survey. Quantitative research, on the other hand, usually relies on larger data sets often involving standardized questions, typically presented as yes/no or agree/disagree scenarios or multiple choice questions.

Website copy qualitative research concept illustration 

This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Although this type of qualitative research can be tremendously valuable, it’s also significantly more time-consuming to gather than quantitative research data, and it asks a great deal more of your respondents. To offset this, many companies offer incentives such as discounts, coupons, freebies, and other goodies to tempt people into completing these surveys.

However you decide to structure your questionnaires, consider the following:

Don’t just ask respondents which brands they like – ask them why they like those brands Invite participants to explain how their perceive those brands and the characteristics they share Ask speculative questions about not only the brand attributes your audience already associates with your brand, but the attributes they want to associate with your brand in the future Embrace negative feedback – it can be just as valuable (if not more so) than positive feedback Ask open-ended questions that give respondents ample opportunity to answer A Real-World Brand Values Case Study

Fortunately for you, WordStream recently conducted this research for our own use, so I can show you exactly what this process looks like.

We asked respondents to select five brand attributes that they associate with the WordStream brand. Here’s what they told us:

Website copy WordStream brand attributes 

As you can see, the top five attributes respondents associated with WordStream are:

Knowledgeable Helpful Educational Influential Friendly

This data was not only immensely useful to us, but also very rewarding. Our aim is to make digital marketing and PPC accessible to businesses of all sizes – small businesses in particular – by providing valuable, actionable, and insightful content. The participants’ responses tell us that we’re succeeding in this goal, which is awesome.

We didn’t stop there, however. We also asked participants which attributes they want to associate with the WordStream brand in the future:

 Website copy WordStream desired brand attributes

This is almost as revealing as our initial results. Based on these responses, we know that the top five brand attributes people want to associate with WordStream in the future are:

Creative Trustworthy Influential Helpful Friendly/Educational

This tells us several things. For one, people want to see WordStream as a creative brand; we like to think we’re on our way, but it’s clear we still have room to improve. Secondly, trust remains a highly desirable brand attribute, and it’s one that we’re constantly striving to cultivate. Finally, this data tells us that what we’re doing is working and that we need to not only diversify and branch out into more creative avenues, but also that we need to continue to develop the influential, helpful, and friendly/educational brand values people already associate with the WordStream brand.

In just two slides of actual audience response data, we’ve gained incredible insight into how our audience perceives us, highlighting how useful and actionable this kind of market research data can be.

How this improves your website copy

By ensuring that your writers reflect the brand values that your valued customers want to see on your site.

4. Create a House Style Guide to Establish Brand Voice

You’ve probably heard of news agencies such as The Associated Press, or AP. The AP began as a newswire service, meaning that it provided newspapers around the world with syndicated news content produced in part by regional reporters known as stringers who work exclusively for news agencies rather than newspapers themselves.

Website copy AP style headline with corrections 

TFW an Associated Press story doesn’t adhere to AP style

Since the AP was founded long before the advent of online content, space in newspapers was (and still is) at a premium, meaning no space – typically measured in column inches – could be wasted. This necessary brevity resulted in the creation of the AP Stylebook, a bible for journalists and copyeditors alike that states how certain things should be written and formatted.

Of course, your own brand style guide doesn’t need to be as detailed as the style guides that newspapers use. Instead, you want to use the brand values you established in the last exercise to create some guidelines for all your content writers and creators to follow. This can help them make decisions like how formal to be, and whether it’s ever OK to swear (say, on your blog).

Getting Started with an In-House Style Guide

The first thing you need to do when creating an in-house style guide is to meet with your editorial team and relevant stakeholders and identify the priorities to be addressed by the style guide.

Voice and tone have an incredible impact on the entire experience of using your site, so it’s important to settle on an appropriate brand voice for your company that aligns with the business goals of your copy and content.

MailChimp has a particularly good in-house style guide that covers a range of content types including technical documentation, social media content, general copy, and also features a section dedicated to voice and tone. For example, it includes this list of guidelines for how to nail the MailChimp voice:

One way to think of our voice is to compare what it is to what it isn’t. MailChimp’s voice is:

Fun but not silly Confident but not cocky Smart but not stodgy Informal but not sloppy Helpful but not overbearing Expert but not bossy Weird but not inappropriate

This is an excellent resource for marketers hoping to create their own style guides, and should give you an idea of the kind of things a solid style guide should cover.

How this improves your website copy

By establishing brand standards that all your writers can reference for a consistent user experience.

5. A/B Test Copy on High-Value Pages

Nobody knows your customers better than you do, but that doesn’t mean you should gamble by making decisions based on how you think your visitors will behave. Just as you would (or should) test crucial elements of your campaigns such as landing pages, you should be regularly A/B testing the copy on your highest-value pages.

Website copy A/B test concept 

Not All Copy Is Created Equal

Before we go any further, it’s important to mention that even if you have the resources to do so, it’s probably unnecessary to A/B test every single word of copy on your site – you just need to focus on the pages that really bring home the bacon. Maybe your product overview page has a killer conversion rate, or maybe it’s your FAQ page or product documentation. Whatever your strongest pages are, those are the pages you should be testing.

Some web copy elements you might want to test could include:

Questions versus statements in headlines Headline length Short-form versus long-form copy Language and/or word choice Points of view (i.e. first-person versus third-person)

Actually conducting an A/B test on your web copy is largely similar to the way you’d split-test pretty much anything else. Begin by identifying those high-value pages using Google Analytics or similar data, then create two versions of the page, each with its own unique copy. Send approximately 50% of your total traffic to the control version of the page (the original page as it exists today), and send the other half to the variant (the page with the new copy). Allow the test sufficient time to ensure you’re working with a statistically significant data set, and see which page converted better. Easy, right? Well, kinda.

Website copy A/B test concept 

Image via VWO

Since you want to figure out which copy performs more strongly, you need to test copy that actually asks the user to do something. This could be a prompt to download a guide, sign up for a free trial, subscribe to a newsletter – some kind of clearly defined call to action. If you don’t focus on actionable copy with a true call to action, it’s harder to determine if the variant of your copy is any better than the control page. However, since your highest-value pages are likely already associated with a defined conversion pathway, this shouldn’t be an issue but it’s worth bearing in mind.

How this improves your website copy

By giving you data, rather than assumptions, on what copy really resonates with potential buyers.

6. Think About Intent At All Times and Write From the Perspective of the User

We’ve talked about commercial intent before (as well as the wider topic of intent marketing), but it amazes me how few websites seem to factor in user intent into their web copy.

What Is User Intent?

User intent refers to what a given person intends to do when they reach your site. Sometimes this intent leads to a clearly defined action – such as buying something – while other times it may not.

Although the underlying problems your users are trying to solve are likely quite diverse, there are only a few reasons a person visits a website. These align with one of the three primary types of search – informational, navigational, and transactional – and include:

To learn about the industry in which your company operates To learn more about service offerings in your industry To learn more about your company in particular To comparison shop and compare products, offers, prices etc. To buy something

Obviously, it’s impossible to account for every user’s intent in your web copy, and you definitely shouldn’t attempt to. However, considering user intent should inform every aspect of your web copy.

How to Write Web Copy with User Intent in Mind

Whether you’re writing the copy for your website yourself or hiring someone to do it for you, it’s crucial that you consider user intent from the outset.

Picture yourself in your prospective customers’ shoes and ask questions about your copy:

Is it immediately obvious what your company sells or does? Is your web copy benefit-driven, and are those benefits clear? Does your website assume prior industry knowledge on the part of the visitor? Is this knowledge necessary to understand and navigate your site? Does your site’s navigation allow different kinds of users at different stages of the funnel to quickly and easily access the information they need?

Considering user intent can be challenging, because it can be difficult to truly divorce yourself – and your considerable industry knowledge and expertise – from the reality of the experience of using your site. To this end, it may be worth conducting qualitative market research by asking laypersons who aren’t familiar with your business to use your site and provide feedback. This can highlight gaps in both your web copy and your awareness of these gaps, allowing you to craft web copy that better addresses these issues.

Website copy user intent diagram 

Image via SuperX Growth Hackers

Writing from the perspective of the user, on the other hand, is a little easier than trying to preemptively solve for user intent. Whenever you’re writing any copy – or content – ask yourself whether your copy follows our variant of Vonnegut’s rule: does every single sentence of copy reveal some useful information about your products or services, or advance your visitors’ understanding of what you do?

Many people mistakenly assume that focusing on user intent or benefit-driven copy means there’s no room to talk about their company’s achievements. This isn’t true at all – you just have to consider where and when to wax lyrical about how great you are.

For example, if you’d never heard of a company and weren’t familiar with their goods, you probably wouldn’t care about how that company is a great place to work, or how many awards it has won – none of this information answers your questions or helps you solve your problems.

If, however, you’ve already done some research into the company, like its products, and can visualize how patronizing this company will make your life better – essentially at any point during or beyond the “consideration” stage of the classic sales funnel – information about how great the company is might be a powerfully persuasive tool. That’s when you want to hit your visitors with your innumerable accolades.

It all comes back to thinking about the user and what they want, rather than what you want.

How this improves your website copy

By giving your visitors what they want to see, increasing their satisfaction and encouraging them to stick around.

7. Include Statistics, Quotes, and Original Data to Increase Your Site’s Authority

Not so long ago, blogs and bloggers were rightly seen as amateur ventures whose passion and enthusiasm were faultless, but whose actual credibility and authority were suspect. Not so today, when some blogs and independent bloggers have become on par (or even surpassed) “traditional” journalism and media outlets.

However, the little guys still have to work harder than the bigger players, and one of the best things you can do to establish (or enhance) your credibility and authority is to use statistics, quotes, and original data in your web copy and content.

Website copy WordStream original data 

An example of WordStream’s original research data

One of the reasons that the inclusion of statistics, quotes from industry experts, and original data is so persuasive is because it strengthens the points you make in your copy considerably. It’s one thing to make a vague assertion about, say, Facebook’s growing ad revenue, but it’s another thing to say that Facebook’s total revenue increased by 56% and ad revenue increased by 59% in 2016.

This technique works so well because it’s an established journalistic convention, and readers expect this kind of citation in their content. However, it’s not without its downsides.

The Dangers of Overreliance on Third-Party Data

There is no doubt that including statistics, quotes, and original or third-party data in your copy can significantly increase the authority of your site. Overreliance on this kind of data, however, can have a detrimental effect.

Website copy how many citations is too many PhD comics 

Image via Jorge Cham/PhD Comics

You’ll already know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever read a blog post in which every other statement is cited or begins with, “According to…” Relying too heavily on cited stats – no matter how well-sourced or relevant – can dilute the authority of your copy because it suggests either an inability or reluctance to make an assertive, original statement. People don’t want to read copy or content that reads like a book report written by a nervous high-school student – they want to hear original thoughts and opinions that challenge their ideas or help them learn more about a topic.

One way to offset this without losing the authority that comes with including and correctly citing statistical data is to use original research. Here at WordStream, we devote a great deal of time and energy to producing original data and research. This isn’t just a ploy to increase our authority; it’s a way to reinforce our copy and content with research that other publications want to link to.

 Website copy WordStream original data

Granted, creating original research requires sufficient data to draw from (which we’re lucky to have in abundance, something not every business has) or the financial means to commission professional researchers to produce original data, but as far as assets go, it’s hard to beat in terms of return on investment. Our original research has generated millions of unique visits and hundreds of inbound links over the past several years, making it one of our most consistently valuable and strongest-performing content assets.

How this improves your website copy

By making your brand more trustworthy and dependable.

Better Copy, Better Results

Writing web copy that converts like gangbusters is a lot harder than it looks. However, by making just a few adjustments to how you view and approach web copy, you can provide your audience with a much more useful, relevant, and ultimately actionable experience.


Community Discussion: How Do You Survey Your Readers?

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/HfiFg9x9-0s/

how-to-survey-your-readers.jpg

As the end of the year nears, you might be thinking about plans for your blogging in 2018.

One thing that will help inform that is a reader survey. On both ProBlogger and Digital Photography school I do an annual survey, usually around November.

As we plan our surveys, I thought I’d share some of the types of questions you can ask and give you a chance to share some of the survey techniques that have been successful for you too.

Types of questions you could ask: Demographics: find out your readers’ gender, age, income, and interests. You can compare this with the analytics you get from Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. Content: What types of content do your readers like? Practical, inspirational, case studies? What length of blog post do they prefer, and how often do they like reading? Products: If you’re planning new products you can test out some ideas and price points in your survey. Problems: Some of the most useful information you can find out is the kinds of problems your readers want solved – the keystone to creating engaging content.

Another area you may want to include is any questions that regular advertisers/sponsors may want to know, or information you can use to attract regular advertisers and sponsors.

A good example of this is finding out the intentions of your readers. If you have a travel blog, and know that 50% of your readers are planning international travel in the next three months, you can use that information to show the relevance of your blog to overseas destinations or maybe insurance providers.

Maybe you’re wondering about how to implement a survey. We use SurveyMonkey for our surveys, but you could also use Google Forms. Typeform is another survey tool we’ve checked out. The main thing is to use something that will let you ask succinct questions and get aggregated answers that can easily be viewed and analysed as data and graphs.

If you’ve got some tips on how you run readers surveys, please leave them in the comments below so we can create a more detailed post in the future.

Image Credit: Emily Morter

The post Community Discussion: How Do You Survey Your Readers? appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


215: Simplify Your Business and Make More Money Blogging

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/JndOJNGM6vQ/

Ways You Can Simplify Your Business and Increase Your Blogging Profitability

Today, I want to share two big lessons I learned this year at our Australian ProBlogger events. They were lessons I think apply to many aspects of blogging and online business.

It’s all about simplifying what you do while making more profit.

I’m heading to Dallas for our Success Incubator event and to speak at FinCon in a few days time.  So I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off the podcast to travel and focus on the event attendees as much as possible.

In the meantime, dig into the archives. There are now 215 to choose from.

Recommended Further Listening for the Next Couple of Weeks: Episode 137 – 7 Days to Finding Your Blogging Groove Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view

Hi there. My name is Darren Rowse. Welcome to Episode 215 of the ProBlogger Podcast. ProBlogger is a blog, a podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to grow a profitable blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

Now in today’s lesson, I want to share two big things that I learned at our Australian ProBlogger events this year. They were lessons that really apply to business as a whole, but I think they’re particularly applied to many aspects of blogging and online business. I guess really the theme of today’s show is to think about simplifying what you do whilst also increasing your profit because both of the lessons that I’m going to talk about today do exactly that; simplifying what you do, taking some of the complexity out of what you do, but also increasing profit.

Now before I get into the lessons today, I just want to share I’m heading off to Dallas later this week for two events, the Success Incubator event, the ProBlogger event that we’re running in Dallas, and also to speak at FinCon. I’m doing the keynote there. I’ll be taking off to Dallas in a couple of weeks time. I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at those events. There still are a few tickets left for the Success Incubator event, it’s a one and a half day event with people like Pat Flynn and Kim Garst and Rachel Miller who many of you will be familiar with from previous episodes of this podcast.

You can go to problogger.com/success to get any last tickets that may still be available. There’s also a virtual pass there which is pretty affordable. You get plenty of teaching with that.

I’m heading off to that event in a few days time and while I’m away, I am going to be pressing pause on this podcast. Just wanted to let you know that for the next couple of weeks, there won’t be episodes, highly unlikely that there will be episodes. I may chime in and suggest some previous ones to listen to, but there’s plenty in the archives to dig back into. I will suggest a few episodes at the end of today’s show that you might find useful, particularly practical episodes that we’ve done in the past. Dig around in the archives and I look forward to getting back with you late in October, probably early November.

You can get all of the details of our events and I will link to all the podcasts that I recommend you dig back into over on our show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/215.

Okay, so let’s get into today’s show. The lessons I learned this year were from our event. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized that these are lessons that I’ve been learning over the year in other areas as well, and I’ll touch on some of those towards the end. But just to give you a little bit of the backstory, the ProBlogger event, for those of you who haven’t been, we’ve been running it since about 2010. This makes it our seventh year of running the event. Since we ran the first event back in 2010, the event has evolved a lot. And I’ve told the story of that evolution in previous episodes. Back in that first event, it was a very simple event. It was one day, one stream, so we were all in the room all day. I think it was 120 or so people there. We had five or six speakers and really it was very simple. We didn’t add in extra parties, it was just hastily organized and as a result very simple.

Over the years, it evolved from something very simple into something that got quite complicated. We were getting, in our biggest year, I think up towards 700 attendees and speakers at the event, so it was getting quite large. But it also had lots of moving parts. We added in sponsors, we did two days instead of one day, then we added in an extra half a day before it, and some extra stuff at the end. We had five tracks, five different rooms of sessions running multiple at that same time. We had 40 or so speakers one year. It was very complicated.

It was great on many levels. Every year, our attendees told us that they loved it and it was the best event that we’d ever run. As a result of that, we felt driven, or I felt driven, to keep adding more and more to it. I’m a people pleaser. I just wanted to keep making it the best event ever, I wanted to make it more impressive, more valuable to people. So we added more sessions, we added parties, we added workshops, we added more speakers. we added teepees one year, which we had our party in. I drove in on a Segway one year. It got more and more complicated. We had more and more bells and whistles, more and more sparkle.

But all of this extra stuff came at an expense. It was beginning to take over my life, it was beginning to take over my business. The amount of time and energy that we were putting into this event was enormous, it was taking 12 months to plan. In fact, some years we were thinking about the next year’s event before we had even done this year’s event, so it was taking longer than a year.

The other factor was that whilst it was making some profit, the amount of time that we were putting in versus the profit that was coming out, it really didn’t compare. It was profitable on paper but in terms of the amount of effort we were putting in, it wasn’t particularly profitable. And this was partly because we weren’t… well I felt we weren’t able to charge as much as some other conferences. Many of our attendees were new to blogging, or they were mums and dads doing their blogs on the side while they’re looking after kids. And with travel to get to the event, it was a big ask. And so I felt really like I wanted to keep it as affordable as possible.

And so the model for the event, in terms of the business model, was that we actually charged less for the tickets than it cost us to put the event on. And we subsidized the tickets and took our profit out of getting sponsors into the event. Now this worked really well some years where we were able to land some big sponsors and we got some great sponsors who added a lot of value and paid us to access our audience. But other years, it was harder to get those sponsors. And so it was a bit of an up and down rollercoaster ride. And it was a lot of work working with sponsors at that kind of level. That was an area where we’re putting in enormous amounts of work and it was quite stressful as well.

The event was dominating our time, it wasn’t really the most profitable thing that we do, and we realized also that it was only really serving a small segment of our audience being an event for Australians whilst our audience is very global. And we realized that there was so many of you listening to this podcast, it just wasn’t feasible for you to get to our event, even though a few did fly in from overseas. And so after 2016’s event, I did a lot of soul searching, my team did a lot of soul searching, and we really considered carefully how we moved forward with the event. I realized that we just couldn’t keep going in the direction that we were going by adding more and more value in.

To be honest, I very nearly pulled the plug on the events. I almost stopped doing events altogether. But at the same time I had this little nagging feeling that events were also one of the best things that I did. I enjoyed it incredibly and I could see that it was having a big impact upon the people who were coming. So rather than giving up on doing the ProBlogger event, I decided we needed to evolve what we do as an event. And to do that, we really needed to simplify what we were doing and get back to the basics. I guess return to what we did at that very first event.

We began to dream of a simpler event. The simpler event that we came up with, we sat as a team and really wrestled with this, but we came up with let’s go back to a single day event, let’s go back to a single stream event, everyone in the one room. Let’s strip back those 40 or 50 sessions that we had available to attendees, let’s just strip it back to five or six core sessions on the core things that ProBlogger stands for. In those 40 or so sessions that we were running, we were doing really interesting stuff but it wasn’t our core teaching.

Let’s strip back having sponsors, and add in some extra profitability through other means – through decreasing our expenses but also building in a little bit more in terms of what we were charging as well to people. So that’s what we did. We designed this event. It was significantly less expensive to run because we only had six speakers instead of 40. We weren’t flying in 40 or so speakers and putting them up in hotel rooms. We had a smaller venue because we only needed one room rather than a hotel with lots of different rooms. Really, it cut down our cost in terms of things like audio and video and all of that type of thing. No more teepees, no more Segway.

We really pulled back in many regards. We simplified things and we did it for our own benefit, really, in terms of organizing the event. But it had some unexpected benefits which I’ll talk about in a moment.

This new format of event felt right. But it also felt risky. I lost a lot of sleep in the lead-up to putting the tickets on sale and running the event. My worry was that our past attendees might feel like they were missing out on some of what we previously offered because we were pulling things out. I was pretty stressed about doing that. But at the same time I felt it was going to allow us to spend more time on other projects, it was going to be a more sustainable model, and it was something I needed to do.

There were two other things that we tried as part of what we were doing as well, which I’ll briefly touch on. Firstly, we wondered when we saw this simple event whether we’d designed something that could be run and reproduced in different places. We often talk on ProBlogger about repurposing your content, and I began to wonder what can we do with this event. Could we repurpose this event? It was a simple event where we had almost built a product, a formula for an event. ‘Could we do the event more than once?’ was an idea that I came up with.

We began to think about could we do it one on one weekend, one on another weekend in different cities to make it more accessible to our attendees, to reduce some of their expense, which might get more people there. We decided to run it over two consecutive weekends, we did it in Brisbane and in Melbourne here in Australia, and really had the idea that maybe we could even reproduce the event in more places as well, maybe even in other countries in future years.

The last big change that we did this year was to offer masterminds – an extra day for those who wanted to have a more intimate, higher-level, more personal, more interactive experience. A smaller group, we knew that it wouldn’t appeal to the large percentage of our audience, but could we offer this higher-value event on top of a premium experience for our attendees. This is something we’d actually been asked for for years, ever since the first year I ran the event. It was always something that I was used to because I knew I’d have to significantly raise the price and charge a lot more to be able to run that type of event. It would take quite a bit more expense of having speakers who are there to really do that one on-one-stuff.

I decided, ‘Okay, I’ve been asked for this, the demand’s there, maybe we need to give it a go’. And we decided to add the mastermind day into both of the cities. So day one was everyone all in together, that cheaper event, single stream, larger event, less personal but still valuable. Then, the mastermind event for day two, more intimate. This all felt really risky to me. I worried a lot. I lost some sleep in the lead-up to it all. But the results were fantastic, and I really am grateful that I took that leap and that my team went with me with this as well.

The events were a few months ago now. But it was one of the best things that we’ve done over the last year. The planning of the events were so much simpler – we designed the content very quickly, we locked in our speakers very quickly, we booked venues very quickly, we released the tickets and got it all out there very quickly. Not having the sponsors cut down a massive amount of work. Preparing for the event was a lot less work, and it enabled us to then move onto other things within the business.

Running the event was so much simpler. We came away from the first event nowhere near as tired. Also, having felt like we were able to really pay a lot more attention to our attendees. It took a much smaller team to run the event and we were more present with that audience.

The only tough part of the event really was on a more personal note. Unfortunately my father-in-law passed away the day before that first event which was a tough time for the family. And it was I guess a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me personally. I’m not sure how I would’ve gotten through the event if it had been a bigger, previous event. Having that event, a simpler event, certainly took a less toll upon me. Despite that setback and that tough part of the event, on a personal level, the event was much more of a pleasure to run if I can say that in the midst of a tough time. Attendees’ feedback was really positive.

We did get some of our previous attendees who mentioned in their feedback that they definitely missed some of the sparkle of previous years, but over half of our attendees were actually first timers. They had nothing to compare it to, I guess. I was worried that by stripping back the amount of choice of our sessions, going from 40 or so sessions to six, I was worried that maybe there would be complaints about that.

Interestingly, even amongst our previous attendees, the overwhelming feedback was that people actually liked having to make fewer choices. This was a massive lesson for me. We actually simplified the event for our benefit as a business but it actually benefitted our attendees. What we realized is that in previous events, we’d actually created an event that for some of our audience was quite stressful to attend, it was quite overwhelming and they really enjoyed the stripped back, simplified event. I think this is a big lesson and this is something I’ll talk about in a moment or two as well. I lost count of the amount of people who told me they enjoyed the simple event. Whilst it certainly didn’t suit everyone, it worked very well.

I guess the big lesson for me was for years I felt like I needed to add more and more and more into the event, but in this case I actually learned that less is more. Whilst we made the event simpler for our own benefit, it really benefitted that audience. They were less stressed out.

On reflection, I think maybe we stripped things back a little bit too much and we would probably add a little bit more in, a little bit of that sparkle back in over in the coming years if we continue to go forward with this event. But I think we are on the right track.

The other two changes that I mentioned went really well as well. Creating an event format that could be reproduced or repurposed in different cities worked well. I’m not sure whether we’ll continue to do that or not in future years, but it certainly taught me that an event can be repurposed. Creating a simple structure that can be repurposed is something that we could do again.

Lastly, the masterminds. They went off. Wow, they were my highlight personally. They sold out and so there was demand there even at that significantly higher price. Secondly, they ran really well. The overwhelming feedback from mastermind attendees was really positive. We saw people taking action at the event that paid for what they paid to attend the event. There were people at the event who were creating courses and products. That week later, they had already made more than what they paid to attend the event. People took action, and that was probably the best thing for me. But they loved their intimacy, access to speakers, the networking, and we’ll definitely be doing more masterminds in future. And I personally loved having that more intimate experience with attendees as well. Again, we’ll evolve masterminds, but it was a big lesson for me.

The two big lessons, and these are two lessons that if you’re running events will apply, but I think these also really apply to blogging. I’ll really tie them back to blogging in each case. The first lesson, simple is good, less is more. Sometimes, as product creators, as bloggers, we feel compelled to add and add and add when it comes to value. And ‘value’ I put in italics, I guess. We feel like we want to add in more value, we want to add in more features, we want to add in more bonuses in the products we create and what we do as bloggers. And we do it because we genuinely want to provide as much value as possible. We think it will benefit our readers to add in more. We think it will also make our products more attractive people if there’s more features, if there’s more bells and whistles. Maybe people will be more attracted to what we do.

But in doing that, sometimes by adding in extra, we create complexity. Our products can end up feeling overwhelming. They can also end up feeling unfocused, and this is one of the things I realized about our event. Our first event was about how to make money blogging. But we’d actually built an event that was more about how to take photos, how to do social media, and some of these extraneous things which are important as bloggers, but really we’d lost some of that focus by adding in and adding in and adding in. By adding in the extra, we’d actually created something that was stressing out some of our attendees as well.

Sometimes, we end up putting out more and more and more and we overwhelm, we create complicated products, and we create complicated blogs. But also, we are putting in more time and expense as well, that really isn’t needed. The big question I came out of this event with was, ‘What else can I strip out of what I do? What other areas in my business have become complicated?’ It’s very easy for a business to evolve and become complicated in many different areas. I’ll talk about some of those in a moment.

What can you strip out, I guess is the big challenge, from what you do? We’ve actually been experimenting in a number of ways. I think simplification can relate to blogging in many different ways. Let me just touch on a couple.

Firstly, content. The content this year on ProBlogger, we’ve really simplified it. I know some of you have noticed this. A year ago, we were producing upwards of seven, sometimes up to ten pieces of content every week. I was getting emails from readers saying ‘That’s too much, I can’t read it all, I can’t consume it all. I’m feeling stressed by the amount of content that you’re producing.’ So we really stripped it back. Instead of ten pieces of content every week, we now do a podcast, two blog posts, a live video, and an email. that’s five pieces of content every week. The email is really a summary of the other four. It’s really four main pieces of content every week.

Simpler, it’s simpler to consume I hope for you, but it’s also simpler to produce. In doing that, we’ve reduced our expenses and the amount of time we’ve put into that and we’ve been able to increase the quality of what we do as well, which is always a good thing. It really has led to no dip in traffic, but it’s increased the engagement that we’ve had around each piece of content. Content scenario you can simplify.

Community. This year, again on ProBlogger, we simplified our approach to community. We really focused in our efforts on one area, our Facebook group. Rather than trying to provide community in lots of places, we’re encouraging anyone who’s a part of the ProBlogger audience to join our ProBlogger community Facebook group and to interact in the one place. In that group, we’ve tried to simplify things as well. Those of you who joined that group in the early days knew that it was a pretty noisy place and we’ve simplified it. We’ve pulled it back and we’ve asked you only to share tips and ask questions, not do anything else. We’ve built a rhythm for the week as well, we do different things on different days. Simplifying what is happening within that community has helped as well.

Simplify content, simplify community, simplify monetization, simplifying if you’ve got products, you probably can already see some things in what I’ve said before. Obviously, we did this this year with our event, we pulled things out of this product of the event. But you can do the same thing as well with other types of products that you offer as well.

I think back to a product we used to offer at ProBlogger, which was our membership site a few years ago. In that membership site, we had weekly calls, I had weekly teaching, we had a forum, we had deals of the week, we offered plugins, we offered a lot of bits and pieces within that community. Again, I wanted to add in as much as possible. I wanted to make it as valuable as possible, I wanted to add in extra features. But in doing so, it created so much work for my team but it also became quite overwhelming. As a result, you as the audience who are part of that weren’t engaging in that community as you could’ve been. I really realized that I created this beast that was hard to continue, it was hard to sustain from my end but it also wasn’t being utilized from others.

My friends who have really successful, the most successful membership sites that I’ve come across, really in most cases offer something that is very stripped back. They don’t offer loads of new content every week, they don’t offer forums with hundreds of threads, they offer very simplified things. They offer a little bit of content, high-quality content. They have very focused areas of community, they offer a little bit of coaching and personal access, they keep things minimal, they keep things focused. Again, you can simplify either the products that you create, the monetization that you do as well, and then the systems that you have as well.

It’s very easy as bloggers to evolve your systems and what you do to become quite complicated. For example, I know bloggers that have very complicated social media sharing systems. They share 20 times an hour on Twitter. In fact I’ve got one friend who’s a podcast friend who recently I was looking at what he did on Twitter. He tweets every two minutes. It’s not him, of course, it’s automation. It’s evolved to the point where he’s just being very noisy and maybe it’s a little out of control. I think it could be more in that particular case because I, for one, have muted his tweets. I’m not actually engaging at all with him anymore because there’s just too much going on. Less can be more, and it could be ‘less can be more’ in many different areas of your business. ‘What can you simplify?’ I guess is the question that I have for you there from that first lesson, less can be more.

The second lesson that I want to talk about that I learned at this event that I think really does apply in many ways to business in general, but also to blogging particularly, online business, is that a certain percentage of your audience is going to be willing to pay a higher premium for more. I’ve always, as I mentioned before, kept our prices for our events very low, the low cost, below what it actually cost us to put it on and we make our profit from sponsors. This was to make our event more accessible. On that front, I’m really proud of what we’ve done. I know that there are people who attend our events because they are so much cheaper. Every year, we get to hear from people saying, “This event is four times cheaper than other events I go to in industry events.”

I’m proud of that on some levels, but it also has been an increasingly risky move to do for my business, and it’s not really sustainable. I know that it’s risky. If my business goes under because of it, then that’s a disservice to our attendees to charge them less. Keeping our prices lower is a risky move, it’s something that wasn’t sustainable, but it also actually doesn’t allow us to fully serve our audience as well. Our audience have been asking for more, they want more personal, they want more interactional experiences. We’ve not been able to afford to offer that because we’re not charging as much.

This year, we didn’t actually put our prices up. But because we reduced our expenses and reduced the length of the event, that first day as well, we’re able to increase our profit margin and our tickets as well. In essence, we gave our attendees less but charged them the same, In effect, I guess putting our prices up a little. Also by adding in that premium level product, we offered a product that was significantly higher, I don’t exactly remember how much higher, I think it was four or five times what they might’ve paid in previous years to attend that mastermind. Our margin grew in that regards. As I said before, I was really nervous in doing that, by having that premium level product at that higher price point. But I guess what I learned is that it was well worth doing.

One of our speakers this year was James Schramko. He’s got a business called SuperFastBusiness. He did a video recently on his Facebook page that said that, “Ten percent of your audience will pay ten times more for what you offer.” Ten percent of your audience are going to pay ten times more, they’d be willing to pay ten times more for what you offer. I’m not suggesting that we all just increase our prices tenfold, but it’s kind of food for thought, isn’t it? If there’s ten percent of your audience who are willing to pay ten times more, that means you’re leaving some money on the table, I’m leaving some money on the table. I was really worried about offering that premium type product, but what I realized is that there was a significant proportion of our audience who wanted more and they were willing to pay for it.

Over ten percent of our attendees this year ended up coming to the mastermind, in fact it was closer to 20% of our attendees ended up coming to our mastermind. By significantly increasing the price for the masterminds, I learned that a significant proportion of our attendees could afford a higher price and were willing to afford that higher price if I could offer something extra value.

Really, this for me is the key. What can you add to what you offer? What can you add to your products to make it a premium level product? Not everyone is going to take that offer, that’s totally fine. They will continue to buy your low-priced products. But there are a proportion of your audience who would be willing to take the extra step if it’s valuable. Really, that’s the key. It’s got to be valuable. I think our masterminds proved this year that that was the case. As I said before, we saw people taking action at the masterminds who were making money at a higher rate and it paid for them to really attend those masterminds.

I know masterminds are going to be a part of what we offer going forward. In fact, if anything, I think we’ll expand them from one-day events to longer ones as something that our attendees actually want more of, they want a longer, more intense, more immersive experience as well.

How does this particular lesson apply to blogging? I think it can apply in a few different ways. If you are monetizing with a product, an ebook or a course or something else, what could you add to make it a premium level product? I’m not suggesting just put your prices up, although that may be the case, maybe you could do that. But what could you add to make it into a premium level offering?

If you’re selling an ebook, what could you add? Could you add some bonus videos? Could you add some printables? Could you add some access to you personally in a coaching package? Could you add access to a private Facebook group? You might already have the thing that you could add, or you might need to create it. In most cases, something could be added to make it an upsell I guess, to make it a premium level offering.

If you don’t have products, you could also take this same principle and apply it in other areas as well. For example, if you’re doing affiliate promotions, maybe you should be considering throwing into the mix of the things that you promote the occasional higher price point product. We’ve done this on Digital Photography School. We typically promote ebooks or courses that may be $20 to $50 as a price point. That’s a sweet spot for our audience. They like to buy products around the $20 mark up to $50.

But occasionally, what we’ve done over the last couple of years is promoted very comprehensive courses that have sold for over $200, up to ten times the price of the $20 product. Whilst a small percentage of our audience buy those products, you don’t have to sell too many at that kind of price point to make a pretty decent product. Maybe mixing it up, the types of product that you promote and promoting different price points as well.

Alternatively, if you’re promoting physical products on Amazon or some other store, maybe when you promote a product that’s a budget product, maybe putting alongside a premium product as well. On Digital Photography School we quite often review lenses. We might review a budget lens for a camera, might be a $200 lens, very affordable. But we know there are other lenses out there that are more professional grade lenses, maybe during the review, in the middle of the review, we might mention if you’ve got a higher budget, here’s a professional grade lens and here are some of the benefits you’ll get from upgrading. Maybe putting products alongside each other in that way may be worthwhile as well.

These are the two big lessons that I learned this year about events, but I think they really do apply across to blogging. Less is more, simplify what you do. You may be adding too much complexity into your content, into your community, into your monetization, into some of the systems that you have. What fat can you cut out of what you’re doing to simplify and reduce the expenses, and also to remove some of the stress and overwhelm amongst your audience as well.

Secondly, there are a percentage of your audience who are willing to pay more for what you do than you’re already charging. So what can you add? What extra can you add in to give a premium level product and service to what you do as well? I think it does apply to not just products but also services as well. If you’re a freelancer and you offer your services as a writer, what premium-level package could you add in as well? What could you add in on top of the writing for the clients that you have? You can add in premium level stuff on that regard as well.

I would love to hear your feedback on today’s show around these things. How are you going to simplify what you do? What premium-level products could you create? You can let us know over on the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/215 or you can find us on Facebook if you just search for the ProBlogger Community on Facebook, you’ll find our little community, or you can just go to problogger.com/group and you’ll be forwarded into that group as well. Let us know what you think of today’s episode.

As I said before, I’m heading away to Dallas in a few days’ time so I will not be doing new podcasts over the next couple of weeks. But there’s plenty of episodes to dig into. One that I really do recommend that you go back and listen to, in fact it’s just the first of a series that we did a year or so ago now, was Episode 137. I really think that if you want to give your blog an injection of goodness and greatness, if you wanna get your blogging groove back, I would really recommend that you go back and listen to Episode 137. It was the start of a series that I did over a week. It was called Seven Days To Getting Your Blogging Groove Back. Actually goes from Episode 137 through to Episode 143, I guess.

It gives you, every day for seven days, a different type of blog post to create. Every day I teach you how to do a different type of blog post. Then, I challenge you to create that blog post. We went through this little challenge as a community over seven days a couple of years ago now. It was amazing to see the feedback as a result of that.

You may choose to do this over seven days, you might want to do it over the next week, or you can spread it out a little. I’m away for two and a half weeks from this podcast, so over the next couple of weeks, you might want to choose one every couple of days and create those posts as a result of that. You can let us know how you go with those over in the Facebook group as well. If you go to problogger.com/podcast/137, you’ll find links to all of those shows. It’s Episode 137. Alternatively, you can find them over in iTunes, or in Stitcher, or in any of the other podcast apps that you use as well. Episode 137, Seven Days To Getting Your Blogging Groove Back.

Hope you enjoy that little series. I look forward to chatting with you in the next episode of the ProBlogger podcast in a few weeks time. Thanks for listening.

How did you go with today’s episode?

Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.
Click Here to Subscribe to ProBloggerPLUS for Free

The post 215: Simplify Your Business and Make More Money Blogging appeared first on ProBlogger.

     Related Stories184: 2 Blog Monetization Strategies that Have Increased My Blogs Earnings by over 40%185: How to Get a Blogging Job 


AdWords Changes, Keyword Madness & Other Spooky Stories from October

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/X68IFk0BZR8/best-of-wordstream-blog-october

As witches descend from their mountainous caves in search of lost hikers to sacrifice to their eldritch gods and the restless dead rise from their dusty crypts hungering for the warmth of human flesh, it’s time to look back at the spookiest and most popular posts from the WordStream blog from October.

 Best of the WordStream blog October 2017 Stranger Things-style text

And my, were there some spooky stories this month! From major changes to how Google spends your money and how to find your most valuable keywords, to innovative chatbots and duplicate content, there were more than a few scares in October. Grab some of the candy you’ve been “saving” for tonight, secure a flashlight firmly beneath your chin, and catch up with the most popular posts of the month.

1. Breaking: Major Changes to How Google Spends Your Budget

Our top story this month was this emerging news story from Allen concerning forthcoming changes to how Google will spend your ad budget. This change will affect all advertisers regardless of size or spend, so if you haven’t heard about these important changes or how they’ll affect your campaigns, find out everything you need to know.

2. How to Create the Ultimate Facebook Business Page

Creating a Facebook business page is deceptively tricky. Sure, it’s easy to get one up and running, but is it any good?

 How to create the ultimate Facebook business page

In our second-most popular post of October, Allen walks you through how to create the ultimate Facebook business page to drive leads and sales via this immensely powerful social platform.

3. How to Find Your Most Valuable Keywords (& Find More)

Newcomers to paid search often mistakenly believe that keywords with high CTRs are their most valuable keywords, but if high CTR keywords aren’t converting, they’re not nearly as valuable as they might appear. In this post, Allen explains how to identify your most valuable keywords – the keywords with high CTR AND high conversion rates – as well as how to consistently find more of these keywords. Essential reading.

4. 8 Ways to Make the Most of Your AdWords Keywords

Once you’ve found your most valuable keywords, it’s vital that you make the most of them – which is precisely what guest author Max DesMarais of Vital Designs shows you how to do in our fourth-most popular post of October.

 Average search position CTR myth

Max covers a wealth of important topics in this highly actionable guide, including optimizing landing pages, conducting A/B tests, and more.

5. 6 SEO Tests You Need to Try

Speaking of A/B tests, our next post in this month’s spooktacular round-up focuses on testing for SEO. In this comprehensive guide, Brad outlines six SEO tests that you should be running to ensure your site is as tightly optimized as possible. How many of these tests have you already run?

6. How to Pass the AdWords Exam: 7 Tips from Newly Certified Professionals

Achieving AdWords certification is often among the first steps taken by fledgling new account managers – including every single member of WordStream’s rapidly growing Customer Success team – but passing the exam is a whole different animal entirely.

 Passing the AdWords Certification exam tips from newly certified professionals

In this post, Margot offers seven fantastic pointers on passing the AdWords certification exam from newly minted AdWords-certified professionals. If you’re planning on taking the AdWords exam, you need to read this post.

7. 10 of the Most Innovative Chatbots on the Web

Love them or hate them, chatbots are here to stay – and some of them are becoming increasingly sophisticated. In this post, yours truly looks at 10 of the most innovative chatbots on the Web, as well as the ways in which conversational agents could further transform the landscape of the Web in the future.

8. The Beginner’s Guide to Duplicate Content

There are dozens of stubbornly persistent SEO myths that, like zombies rising from the grave to exact a terrible vengeance on the living, simply refuse to die – and misconceptions about duplicate content are among the most prevalent. In this post, Jean Frew of Hallam Internet dispels some of the myths about duplicate content and what you should do about it.

9. How to 3X AdWords Conversion Rates Without Touching AdWords

Everybody wants higher conversion rates. Not everybody wants to spend years learning the arcane, mystical rites hidden in the depths of the AdWords interface in order to achieve them.

 RLSA campaign performance graph how to increase conversion rates without touching AdWords

Fortunately for you, Larry Kim is here to help. In our penultimate post of this month’s round-up, Larry shows you how to triple your conversion rates without touching a single setting in AdWords.

10. Case Study: Google Search Ads vs. Facebook Ads for a Small Local Business

For many small businesses with limited marketing budgets, paid search and paid social is often an either/or proposition. Unfortunately, many newcomers to digital marketing are unsure about which type of campaign is right for their business, which is why this case study by Hallam Internet’s Lauren Ahluwalia is essential reading for small, local businesses just getting into digital marketing.


How Social Media Has Evolved and Where It Is Headed

Originally published on: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-social-media-has-evolved-and-where-it-is-headed-brian-solis/

Want to prepare for emerging social technologies and marketing tactics? Wondering how to reach your audience as algorithms change? To explore the past, present, and future of social media marketing, I interview Brian Solis. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed […]

This post How Social Media Has Evolved and Where It Is Headed first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle


5 Real-Life Popup A/B Tests That Will Help Boost Your Conversion Rate (Based on Actual Case Studies)

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/crazyegg/~3/8AW1mnCb-Sg/

5 tests

Do you think your popups are converting at their highest potential? I’m guessing that unless you’ve been testing them to figure out what makes your audience tick, then probably not. Luckily, you can figure that out by, well,..testing of course :). And if you’re wondering what to assess first, I have some suggestions. As Head of Customer Success at WisePops, an intelligent popup builder, I’ve reviewed hundreds of A/B tests. Based on this experience, I’ll share 5 popup A/B tests which can make a difference for your future and existing campaigns (spoiler: one of our customers almost tripled the number…

The post 5 Real-Life Popup A/B Tests That Will Help Boost Your Conversion Rate (Based on Actual Case Studies) appeared first on The Daily Egg.