Outbound Marketing

Tackle Instagram Without Visual Content - Yes, It's Possible

By now you already know that Instagram is rapidly becoming the most popular content marketing tool for many B2B firms.

You probably also know that compelling content is what drives this particular bus.

So, what do you do if your business lacks compelling visual content in general?

It’s really all about following a few key tips and using what you have.

Using Email Marketing to Grow Your Digital Agency

As a web designer, web developer, or digital marketing pro, you probably offer your clients email marketing setup as a service.

Why avoid it when dealing with your own sales process?

Email marketing is a fantastic tool for any digital agency - it’s time to start practicing what you preach.

Get Insta-Success: Create Instagram Captions for Your Business

Is Instagram a bit of a headache for you?

Have you given this valuable marketing tool a miss because you think it’s too much of a headache?

We’ve got some rad tips that show you how to make the most of your content marketing efforts by adding this platform to your mix of tools.

Ocean's 15: Stealing Your Competitors' Customers

Stealing your competitors’ customers is a genius way to make sure you’re getting qualified leads. Is it a little sneaky? Sure. But don’t you worry, you’re doing those clients a favour.

Hacking Quora Like a Pro: Part 2 - How to Find the Right Topics and Questions

Once you've taken the time to optimise your Quora profile, you can start searching for relevant topics and questions to answer. Before getting started, it's worth considering what your ultimate goals are.

Do you want to focus on traffic generation?
Do you want to set yourself up as an authority in your sphere?
Do you want to communicate value and set yourself up as a useful connection?

With your goals in mind, you'll be able to sift through topics and choose the ones that best fit your needs. It'll also help you to set the tone of your answers. 

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How to Find the Right Topics and Questions

There's no point in running rampant on Quora and answering every question that crosses your path. This isn't Hogwarts and you're not Hermione. Out here in the digital world, people appreciate topic experts who offer a true focus on their niche. Life isn't all that different from the schoolyard. No one likes a know-it-all but pretty much everyone appreciates honesty, transparency, and real expertise. 

Here are a few steps to take when you're ready to tackle the platform.

1. Do Some Keyword Research

Keyword research is so important. Find primary and secondary keywords that might lead to questions in your target niche.

If you're a marketer who wants to share extensive knowledge on content marketing, your primary keyword will probably be "content marketing". Secondary keywords to look for might include "email marketing" or "marketing copy". 

To do your research, it's best to use Google's Keyword Research Tool or Ubersuggest. These are the two most reliable ways to find new keywords and the accompanying search volume data. After you've decided on a primary keyword to target, the keyword research tool will help you find related keywords that might help you hone in on the right topics. 

After you’ve determined a primary keyword to target, use the keyword research tool Answer The PublicThis will help you find frequently asked questions related to your keyword that you’re likely to find on Quora. 

2. Search For Topics Using Quora's Search Bar

Once you've managed to round up 2 to 3 primary keywords, using Quora's search bar to find relevant topics is easy enough. Just type in your keyword, and Quora will show you the most popular related topics. 

You might find that the dropdown doesn't instantly display the topic you're looking for. If, for example, you've typed in "marketing" but the dropdown doesn't specifically show "content marketing", there's no need to panic. Just click on the first result which will take you to a search results page with additional filters. 

To see additional topics pertaining to your keyword, navigate to the By Type filter in the menu on the left. Next, click on Topics.  You'll find yourself on another search results page that displays a ton of additional topics related to your keyword. 

3. Search for Questions Using Quora's Search Bar

If you want to bypass the topic search, it's possible to use Quora’s search bar to search for a specific question; or questions that are closely related. 

Let's focus on the question, "What is content marketing?" All you would need to do is enter the question into the search bar and choose your preferred result from the drop-down options. 

Much like topics, Quora doesn’t automatically display every question related to your search query. On the bright side, Quora displays related questions on the same page as the corresponding answers. So, if you were to answer a question on "What is content marketing?", you'll see additional questions worth answering on the right-hand side of your screen. 

If you prefer, you can follow precisely the same procedure as outlined in the section on searching for relevant topics. 

4. How to Identify Topics With the Best Potential

When searching for topics with the most potential, there are a few things to look out for. Managing Quora can be a time-consuming task, so you want to eliminate time wastage whenever possible. 

Always make sure that the topic has a profile photo and filled-out About section. Some other green flags to look for include:

  • A recently added answer to show that the topic is active
  • A large number of questions
  • A decent number of followers
  • Several edits, which show that the topic is up-to-date  
  • A dedicated FAQ page
  • A comprehensive list of the most-viewed writers

5. Use Google Search to Find Relevant Questions

It's also a good idea to use a simple Google search to find highly-trafficked questions. Simply enter your search query (be sure to include a relevant keyword) and browse the first page of Google search results. You'll find several popular questions here - and there's almost no effort involved.

Remember to use the keyword research tool Answer The PublicIt'll help you generate a fairly long list of frequently searched questions that you might want to answer. 

Finding topics and questions is half the battle won. Once you've nailed the perfect way to find what you're looking for, you'll be able to answer several questions a day. The more you answer, the better your profile will look. Always remember to stay within your niche and build up a reputation of reliability. It's better for you, it's better for your brand, and it makes you look pretty damn good. 

We've saved the best for last with the third part of this series.

Want to know how to answer Quora questions cleverly? Stick around and we'll give you our best practices. 


 

Hacking Quora Like a Pro: Part 1 - Getting Yourself Set Up

When it comes to outbound marketing, you have to pursue every possible avenue - especially if it's a free one. Social networking is a bit like a skeleton key - it unlocks more opportunities than you could possibly imagine.

Gone are the days of stuffy exchanges, straight to the hard sell, hoping against all odds that at least one fish will bite. Today, it's all about transparency, providing your audience with value, and making sure that you're someone people feel they can rely on for accurate information.

In short, if you look like you're full of shit and only care about raking in the cash, people move on. If you're the kind of person who communicates value, answers questions, and networks like crazy, you're going to nail the outbound marketing gig. 

Quora is often overlooked as a networking opportunity. Here's some sage advice: Don't be so quick to push it aside. It's one of the top platforms for you to shine! 

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The key to using Quora is to provide value to other users. It's that simple. 

Before you can dig into those unanswered questions, you need to get yourself set up properly. 

Getting Set Up: How to Optimize Your Quora Profile

It's not surprising that Quora is rapidly becoming one of the top social networks to connect not only with a targeted audience but with influencers as well. Quora is so much more than just a Q&A site. It offers you a chance to show credibility, the opportunity to connect, a clever way to learn, and the best possible place to show off your own knowledge.

To help make sure you’re getting the most out of the network, there are a couple of things you should do to your profile to help you stand out. Your profile can also help drive clicks to your website.

1. Edit Your Credentials

Your credentials are the 50-character taglines on your profile that are shown directly under your name. Always be sure to include your current job title and brand name in your credentials. This helps boost your legitimacy.

Not many people know that you can have multiple credentials on Quora. Knowing this will come in handy when you need to share your knowledge on various different topics. 

If, for example, you want to answer the question: “What's the best way to publish a graphic novel?”, your credentials as a Sales Executive in the Food Industry aren't really relevant.

You could, however, change your credentials to: “Graphic Artist, 2014 – Present”. This might reassure readers that you actually know what you're talking about, since you're in roughly the same boat as other graphic artists. 

To edit your credentials, click the Edit button next to the Credentials & Highlights section on the right-hand side of your profile. Depending on the questions you'd like to answer, add your credentials and remember to include places you’ve studied, locations, languages, and relevant topics.

2. Be Smart About Your Bio

Use your bio section wisely. Use this section to clearly and concisely explain who you are and what you do. 

Quora doesn't appear to have a character limit on the bio section, so it gives you an opportunity to add a CTA. Feel free to ask readers to download a copy of your e-book or to sign up for your course. Just make sure that your CTA is related to the topics you're aiming to address. 

While you definitely don’t want a description full of links, you'll want to make sure you add links to the homepage of your website, your social accounts, or a link to a page where people can contact you to learn more. 

It's important to be mindful of mobile users when editing your bio. On mobile devices,  the first three lines of your bio are visible. This is followed by the “Read More” prompt, which no one will hit unless they're super hooked. Do your best to make those first 3 lines engaging.

3. Edit the "Knows About Section"

Located under the “Credentials & Highlights” section, this portion of your bio allows you to showcase the topics you're most knowledgeable in. Feel free to list as many topics as you want but make sure to stay in the right niche. Don't list mostly marketing related topics and then fling out a random one centred around the performing arts, for example. Remember, Quora will only display the topics where you've contributed the most answers. As always, it's important to find your focus and stick to it. 

4. Link Your Profile to Your Social Accounts

With Quora, it's easy to add links to your other social accounts. Simply navigate to your account settings and connect Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other available option that fits you and your brand. These will be displayed on your profile page, making it easier for other Quora users to connect with you elsewhere. Remember, social is all about networking, so it's smart to use every tool at your disposal (within reason). 

Whenever you've answered a particularly pertinent question on Quora, you can share your answer on your other social accounts. Doing this will help boost the visibility of your Quora profile and ensure that you're making the most of all your audiences. Whether your aim is to set yourself up as an industry expert, or whether you simply want to be seen as communicating value wherever possible, sharing your answers far and wide will help you achieve your goal. 

5. Use Analytics to Your Advantage

A major part of using Quora successfully is knowing your audience. Whenever you provide an answer, you'll notice that there are statistics on how many times that answer has been viewed. Click on the number of views and you'll be able to see how people are accessing your answers.

Users might be accessing your answers directly through your profile, by searching for a topic, or just browsing the site at their leisure. Knowing how, where, and why people are finding your answers will help you figure out where to refocus your optimisation efforts.

Once you've optimised your profile, you'll be able to get the ball rolling on searching for relevant questions to answer. Getting yourself set up properly is always the first step to a successful strategy and Quora is no different.

Stay tuned for the next part in our series on "Hacking Quora Like a Pro" where you'll get the nitty gritty on finding the right topics and questions to answer. 

 

 

10 Instagram Hacks to Grow Your Account 8x in Less than 5 Months

We recently did a poll on our community page asking which networking platform you'd most like to crack. The winner: Instagram.

 

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Instagram is probably one of the trendiest kids on the block. It's all about quality content and engagement. Instagrammers are looking for content they can relate to, advice they'll actually use, and cool stuff they just can't live without. And then there's the food...boy are there a ton of lunchtime snaps or what? 

Cracking the Insta-code isn't too crazy. All you really need to do is stay on trend, post regularly, reciprocate on post interactions, and be as authentic as possible. 

We've come up with 10 hacks to help you grow your account organically and fairly quickly too!

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1. Kick Some Ass With Your Content

Facing a bit of a content block? Cool your jets and quit panicking. Check out what your competitors are doing and rework their stuff. Big brands spend thousands of dollars on content research, so they know what works. Emulate their strategy and recreate their top posts. Work smart, not hard!

Amp up your smart content creation approach by re-posting other people's posts. Don't use a re-post tool. Save the image to your phone and post it on your profile. Make sure to credit the original poster by tagging them directly and by crediting them in your caption.

Do a little exploring. Search the top 9 posts on Instagram for a popular hashtag. Save the pic to your phone and repost it from scratch on your profile. Don't forget to tag the original poster directly, and credit them in the caption. Flattery is everything.

2. Consistency is Key

Don't be a lame-o. Post consistently to keep your interaction up. If you can post multiple times a day, you're definitely winning. Make a big effort and Instagram will prioritise your content.

If you post several times a day, you'll be reaching a wider audience. The more time zones you hit, the bigger your audience will be.

3. Scheduling Software is a No-No

I get it. You've got a ton of shit to do and scheduling software makes your life easier. Just this once, you're going to have to do some manual labour.

You won't get banned if you use 3rd party software BUT your posts will be de-prioritized. Instagram rewards its loyal manual posters.

4. Buying Followers is Insta-Death

This isn't an exaggeration. If you're going to buy followers, consider writing off your Instagram account as a dead end.

Anyone you pay to become a follower will probably unfollow you after a month or so. Their duty is to boost your count for a short time only. Once their job is done, they'll unfollow and move on.

Fake followers are never going to buy from you. Why are you investing in these people when there's no return?

Your engagement ratio is going to plummet. Your engaged follower count will be way lower than your total followers, so you're really just kicking yourself in the teeth. Instagram will deprioritise low engagement ratio posts and accounts. It is what it is.

5. Do Your Hashtag Homework

Hashtag research is crucial - you can't just wing it.

Keep your hashtags as unique and low-competition as possible. General hashtags have millions of followers so unless your follower count is up there too, you're kinda wasting your time.

Your goal is to rank in the top 9 posts for a specific hashtag so that Instagram will show off your post on the Explorer page. This is where you'll be pulling your new audience from, so make it count!

6. Stop Using the Same Old Hashtags on Repeat

Don't turn your account into the broken record of hashtags. Use important hashtags that align with your brand but mix it up by throwing in something a little different each time.

Instagram is working overtime to clamp down on bots. If you're posting at the same exact time every day and you're using the same old hashtags each time, you might get mistakenly flagged as a bot and face a shadowban (or worse) on your account.

7. You Have 30 Hashtags Available - Use Them

If you pass up on the chance to use all of your hashtags, only your friends will see your posts. You wouldn't waste a free lottery card, don't waste this awesome opportunity.

Your content could compete with the best of the best but if your hashtags aren't solid, your content is going nowhere.

8. Play Nice and Socialise

It's called social media for a reason. So, be social!

Like your followers' posts, comment occasionally, thank your top followers for their support! Again, flattery gets you everywhere... but don't be a suck up about it. People value quality interaction - after all, that's the whole point.

Connect with other accounts that you might be able to collaborate with. Do some cross-promoting, maybe some sweepstakes here and there. Be creative.

9. Make the Most of Every Function

Be smart about using the functions presented to you. If you want to make the most of Instagram, get used to IGTV, stories, and posts. Instagram is a big ass machine, which will work best if all its parts are functioning properly.

Social media platforms tend to prioritise features they've just introduced. Everybody wants to promote their new stuff, right? This means that IGTV is the hottest of the hot right about now.

Repurpose your content if you're worried about finding a whole ton of new content ideas on a daily basis. Create a short teaser of your IGTV video. Use the main point of your video and create a few additional posts around that.

If you have more than 10 000 followers, it's a good idea to link your story to your IGTV and/or website.

10. Connect with Influencers

Take a little time to make a list of all the influencers in your niche that you might like to work with.

Work on developing a relationship with them. Spend some time each day just interacting with their posts. Leave a a meaningful comment or three. Simply throwing out phrases like "great post" or "I love your profile" aren't going to get you anywhere. Talk specifically about the content in their post.

Mega influencers aren't the only way to go. Micro influencers are rapidly becoming more and more important as people realise it's interaction, and not numbers, that counts.

If you are going to work with micro influencers, remember this: you're NOT doing them any favours. Offering them a paid gig doesn't mean you own them. They're not always going to have the ideal turnaround time - it takes a while to really get the word out on Instagram. Be patient, and they'll make a world of difference to your brand.

Smart Ways to Slip Past Those Pesky Gatekeepers

We've all been there at some point or another. You're making your way through yet another day of awesome sales-y stuff - taking names, kicking ass - and you find yourself face-to-face with the dreaded Gatekeeper

There's nothing much worse than these guys. They're like the final boss on every level of an RPG game. They get between you and the decision-maker with their feet planted firmly on the ground, and it feels like your banging your head against a brick wall every time you try to get past. 

Are there any fancy one-liners or clever strategies you can use to slip past them? 

In short, no. You're not going to slip past them by being a sly old fox. 

The good news? You can make a few simple changes to your perspective (and your approach). 

"You shall not pass," will be a thing of the past. 

Let's get one thing straight: this isn't rocket science.

You have two choices. You can either engage with the Gatekeeper or you can opt for complete avoidance. Neither option is the "wrong approach". Both of these strategies can work for you, you just need to stick it out.  

How to Avoid Gatekeepers

If avoidance is your chosen path, there are three main ways to go about it. Sometimes, you just don't have the time or patience to engage with someone who's trying to dissuade you from your end goal. That's totally reasonable. It's up to you to decide how your time is best spent.

Use Those Referrals

The best thing about being introduced to decision-makers via an existing business acquaintance is that it'll be a direct introduction. It's even better if you're introduced by a current client of yours - it's word of mouth at its best!

Direct introductions like these help you skip the Gatekeepr completely. Just make sure that whoever does the referring sends an email copying everyone in as a personal introduction. This is infinitely more effective than handing you the email address and getting you to send a cold email. Frankly, cold outreach is what fuels the Gatekeeper's fire ;) 

Social Media is Your Friend

Social media is about way more than posting a few pictures of your lunch. Welcome to the Digital Age, folks. Everyone is networking actively on social media. If you're not one of them, you're the weirdo. 

Use LinkedIn to find prospective decision makers and reach out to them. It helps if you have a few connections in common. It's also helpful if you're based in the same area or if you've spotted some of their posts doing the rounds. Look for anything that will help you with your outreach and go for it! 

Just remember that sending a random message isn't going to help you forge that connection. Don't even bother trying to sell to them right out of the gate. Rather ask them a pertinent question or give feedback on an article they might have posted recently. If it looks like you're pushing an agenda, you've lost before even getting started. 

Contact Them Outside of Office Hours

This may sound unnecessarily sneaky but you'd be surprised at what you can achieve when the Gatekeeper isn't looking. If you're feeling particularly brazen, try calling the decision maker either before or after official working hours. Execs often can't resist working late, so you might catch them answering their phones when they have their office to themselves. 

Getting the Gatekeeper on Your Side

If you've made up your mind about engaging with the Gatekeeper, more power to you. Avoidance isn't everyone's cup of tea, so you should do what you feel comfortable with and own it!

Shift your perspective a little and you'll realise that your goals aren't so different from the Gatekeeper's own. They need to keep the wrong sorts of people away from the boss. So do you. They want to introduce the boss to the right kinds of people. So do you.

You'll only want to speak to the decision-maker if there is an actual need for your solution. You don't want to waste your time coaching someone towards a sale if there's no way in hell they'd be interested.

The best way to qualify this particular type of prospect is to engage the Gatekeeper. Open up a discussion about whether or not it'll be a good fit for you to meet the boss. All in all, people love to be involved in important decisions and a Gatekeeper is no different.  

What are your tips for getting past the decision-maker's Gatekeeper? We'd love to hear more about your approach. 

All That and a Bag of Lead Generation Tools: What They are and How to Use Them

There’s no one-size-fits all approach to lead generation. While there are tons of tools out there, they can’t all be used for the same thing. Check out our list of the various tools you can use and how to use them.