Marketing is all about experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. This can be frustrating for someone (ahem, me) who wants quick results. Unfortunately, you don’t know until you try.
Like a good marketer, I’ve different marketing campaigns and tactics over the years. Five completely failed: Doing live video (trolls suck), answering queries on HARO (zero results), offering free audits (note to self: people run from the word “audit”), advertising on LinkedIn (no need if you’re active on the platform) and using a social media dashboard (total time-suck).
Could those tactics work for you? Sure. But they didn’t work for me.
Marketing campaigns that have been successful
Marketing is a short-term expense and a long-term investment. You’ll know if a marketing campaign is working if you see a steady increase in results over six months. If you get to the six-month mark with nothing to show for your efforts, it’s OK to pull the plug and try something new.
On the other hand, something could work great for months or years – and then fall off a cliff (looking at you, Twitter chats). It’s so disappointing when that happens, but it happens – to all of us.
Around five years ago, my friend Nicole Krug
floated the idea of creating videos together. We worked together all the time, got along famously and were (are) comfortable in front of the camera. “Why not?” I thought. “This could be fun.”
It still is, which you can clearly see when you watch any of our videos.
Five Business Rules
is still a rather small YouTube channel, but man, the people who watch the videos LOVE them. And yes, it has brought us clients. (This proves that you don’t need to have a huge audience on social media. You only need to have an engaged audience.)
Actively using LinkedIn
My marketing agency is B2B, which makes LinkedIn the best social media channel for me. It’s where my current and potential clients hang out and, importantly, want to learn more about business-related topics.
Are they on Facebook and Instagram, too? Probably. But they don’t want to hear my thoughts on, say, how to measure your blog’s success when they’d rather watch a video of their cousin’s new baby or gape at over-styled charcuterie boards.
The key to LinkedIn marketing success is being social. At least once a week, I scroll through my feed. I react to or comment on what people are posting. I usually read other comments, and I might respond to what someone else posted.
If I really like what I read, I share it with my network.
When someone comments on my latest article or post, I thank them. I get a fair number of direct messages, and I always respond – even if the opportunity is not right for me. It’s just the polite thing to do, and it only takes five seconds.
I also use LinkedIn to grow my network. Whenever I reach out to someone, I include a note reminding them how we met or explaining why I’d like to connect.
And yes, it’s a great lead generation tool for me.
Sending a monthly email newsletter
A relevant, interesting and short email newsletter remains one of the best ways to stay in front of your audience. Even if someone doesn’t have time to read it this month, they’ll see your email and be reminded that you exist.
Since I’ve been emailing a newsletter for years, I have the process down. At the beginning of every month, I put together a newsletter that includes four things:
Two recent blog posts (title and short introduction only)
A recent Five Business Rules video (see above)
A funny meme (it usually involves wine)
The blog posts and video include links so if you’re interested, you can read the full post or watch the video.
My open and click rates average 30% and 4.3%, respectively, which is head and shoulders above the industry average (13.3% for opens and 1.7% for clicks). I attribute this success to three factors:
1. A/B testing subject lines
2. Writing eye-catching subject lines (last month, it was “Yes, alcohol can make you a better writer”)
3. Consistently delivering interesting, and oftentimes, entertaining content
Creating downloadable content
One of the best ways to generate leads is with a free giveaway. Your target market gives you their name and email in exchange for something valuable. For me, that’s in the form of downloadable guides
: two ebooks, one checklist and two one-pagers of tips.
When someone opts-in to receive one of these free resources, an automated email campaign is triggered. The emails are short and customized and each one offers something new of value. Once they complete the campaign, we add them to our main newsletter list.
I don’t believe I’ve gotten a client directly from one of these resources, but they have definitely helped me grow my email list. Marketing is a long-term game, and I’m good with that.
Your turn: What marketing campaigns have been most successful for your business?